The Album Considered

Unusual, over-looked and interesting albums pulled from the shelves for reconsideration

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DeBARGE: IN A SPECIAL WAY, CONSIDERED (1983): Love in the school corridors

25 Sep 2020  |  2 min read

In this on-going series of articles about albums randomly pulled off the Elsewhere shelves for consideration, they've all made sense and have a memory/backstory somewhere. Except, so far, this one. In a Special Way on Motown by the dance/disco r'n'b-cum-ballad band from Detroit is a mystery to me: I have no idea why I have it or where I got it from. It is in mint condition... > Read more

THE MERSEYBEATS: THE MERSEYBEATS, CONSIDERED (1964): Really mystified . . . and the mystifying rest of it

21 Sep 2020  |  4 min read

Across a number of illustrated articles, Elsewhere has shown how Beatles' album covers became so iconic that they would be copied, parodied and paid earnest homage to. If their debut Please Please Me caused no visual ripples at the time (although it did subsequently), With the Beatles of 1963 was a real game-changer. By this time they were Enormously Famous in Britain (America would... > Read more

ELECTRONIC ART ENSEMBLE: INQUIETUDE, CONSIDERED (1982): Electric music for the mind and boredom

18 Sep 2020  |  2 min read

In the early Eighties the great American jazz labels like Columbia/CBS and Verve were struggling: at CBS Miles Davis wasn't selling and Wynton Marsalis was only just starting his career; Verve was undergoing constant business and takeover issues to its detriment. In Europe however ECM was flourishing, recording the kind of jazz which appealed to a young, educated, white audiences and... > Read more

ELLEN FOLEY; SPIRIT OF ST LOUIS, CONSIDERED (1981): Here, there and all over the place

14 Sep 2020  |  3 min read

In the slipstream of their success with London Calling, while battling with CBS, changing managers and wresting scattershot material for what would become their triple album Sandinista!, the Clash still found time for other projects. Among them they helped out their friends Pearl Harbor and Mikey Dread on their albums, and most notably were all over Spirit of St Louis, the second album by... > Read more

STEPPENWOLF: LIVE, CONSIDERED (1970): More but not necessarily better

10 Sep 2020  |  3 min read  |  2

Of the very few people I know who have Steppenwolf albums, none have any other than the three I have owned: their self-titled debut (which featured Sookie Sookie, Born to be Wild and The Pusher); The Second (which included Magic Carpet Ride) and this, their first live album, which was a double of course and had all those hits, most of them stretched out a bit. No one seemed to have their... > Read more

SPLINTER: THE PLACE I LOVE, CONSIDERED (1974): And introducing . . . Hari Georgeson

7 Sep 2020  |  4 min read  |  1

As with the ill-fated Badfinger, the duo of Bill Elliott and Bobby Purvis – known as Splinter – enjoyed the patronage of various Beatles, in their case particularly George Harrison. And like Badfinger, they were spotted by Beatles factotum and friend Mal Evans who brought them to Harrison's attention in the wake of the Beatles' break-up and trouble with Apple. By the early... > Read more

BOB DYLAN/GRATEFUL DEAD: DYLAN AND THE DEAD, CONSIDERED (1989): He's got a lotta nerve . . .

31 Aug 2020  |  4 min read  |  1

By critical and popular consensus, when Bob Dylan teamed up with the Grateful Dead for a tour in the late Eighties it was a terrible mismatch and out of it came the live album Dylan and the Dead, widely considered among the worst – if not the worst – album of Dylan's career. Given their collective memories of music from before rock'n'roll (country, bluegrass and so on) and a... > Read more

RIP RIG + PANIC: GOD, CONSIDERED (1981): Post-punk demented dervish heart-attack jazz'n'rock funk

28 Aug 2020  |  3 min read

When you name your post-punk debut after an album by the great jazz saxophonist Rahsaan Roland Kirk you have really upped the stakes and expectation. And when the band is formed around Mark Springer, Bruce Smith and Gareth Sager of the anarcho-punk Pop Group with guests Neneh Cherry and Ari Up of the Slits, then you know things are going to be . . . at very least, interesting. And the... > Read more

JOHN MAYALL: THE TURNING POINT, CONSIDERED (1969): Blues powered down

24 Aug 2020  |  3 min read  |  1

One afternoon in late '69, while walking in central London, I saw a striking album cover in the window of a record shop across the road. It looked to me like Brian Jones blowing a harmonica, and for a moment I hoped it might be a posthumous blues album by the founder of the Rolling Stones. Still looks like that to me today, more than half a century on. Hard to shake first impressions.... > Read more

BILLY CHILDISH: ARCHIVE FROM 1959, CONSIDERED (2009): His rowdy and rough wayward ways . . .

21 Aug 2020  |  4 min read  |  1

While it's feasible to live a happy and productive life never having heard a note of Britain's Billy Childish (b. Steven Hamper, 1954), the question is, “Why would you?” Perhaps the most off-putting reason would be, “But where would I start? And that's fair enough because Childish has released – under his own name and that of his many bands – something in... > Read more

PAUL McCARTNEY: FLAMING PIE, CONSIDERED (1997): The man in the mirror stares himself down

17 Aug 2020  |  5 min read

The Eighties was a tough decade for many who had come to attention in the Sixties: any Best of 80s Bob Dylan compilation is scraping around; singers like Dusty Springfield, Cilla Black and Dionne Warwick all but disappeared for a while; Van Morrison's album were patchy, the Stones recycled themselves to lesser effect and most people couldn't name a Kinks album in the Eighties. And what of... > Read more

MAHALIA JACKSON: NEWPORT 1958, CONSIDERED (1958): Twelve steps to heaven

14 Aug 2020  |  2 min read

If no one has referred to the great Mahalia Jackson as the Godmother of Gospel then someone certainly should. She's certainly been called the Queen of Gospel. But why stop at just one accolade? Jackson (b. 1911, d. 1972) had all the presence and power of a royal galleon and a voice which soared to the heavens. She took spiritual music from the church to concert stages, halls and... > Read more

STEVE REICH: DIFFERENT TRAINS/ELECTRIC COUNTERPOINT, CONSIDERED (1989): Repeat as required

10 Aug 2020  |  3 min read

The 1965 recording It's Gonna Rain by the New York composer Steve Reich was one of the most interesting, innovative and important pieces of its era. At least for Reich. In San Francisco, Reich had heard a streetcorner preacher Brother Walter in apocalyptic mode warning of another Great Flood to wipe out sinners, and Reich recorded him. As with Dylan's Hard Rain's Gonna Fall, Reich... > Read more

ALBERTA HUNTER: WITH LOVIE AUSTIN'S BLUES SERENADERS, CONSIDERED (1961): And the blues shall not weary them

6 Aug 2020  |  5 min read  |  1

In 1961, the blues singer Albert Hunter – who'd been born at the end of the 19thcentury and had recorded with Fletcher Henderson, Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong, Eubie Blake and many others – went into Rudi Van Gelder's studio to record with Victoria Spivey and Lucille Hegamin for the Prestige label. It was the first time she'd been in a studio in almost 20 years. She was 67... > Read more

DINAH LEE: INTRODUCING DINAH LEE, CONSIDERED (1964): Pop, ska and whatever else is available

4 Aug 2020  |  2 min read

The problem which popular artists had in the mid Sixties was that after the hit singles they were expected to release an album. For r'n'b artists like the Rolling Stones, Pretty Things and Downliners Sect that wasn't such a stretch: all they needed to do was pull out of their grab-bag of blues and r'n'b covers a selection to go alongside their singles and the album would sound coherent.... > Read more

PORTSMOUTH SINFONIA: PLAYS THE POPULAR CLASSICS, CONSIDERED (1974): So bad it's . . . just bad?

2 Aug 2020  |  3 min read

In the liner notes to this hilariously unlistenable and sometimes punishingly painful album, the producer Brian Eno notes that “it is important to stress the main characteristic of the orchestra, that all the members of the Sinfonia share the desire to play the pieces as accurately as possible”. Well, they might try. But they can't . . . and in fact their renditions of In... > Read more

TOMASZ STANKO: LONTANO, CONSIDERED (2006): Emotion from a distance

31 Jul 2020  |  3 min read

Rock audiences have a forgivable problem with jazz groups: the membership of jazz outfits can just keep changing. If you like the Arctic Monkeys chances are you can expect the line-up not to change much over the years. Rock bands -- for the most part -- have an enviable stability which they guard jealously. Consider how long it took for Rolling Stone Ron Wood to be accepted as fully-fledged... > Read more

THE ESCORTS: 3 DOWN 4 TO GO, CONSIDERED (1974): Souls on ice

27 Jul 2020  |  2 min read

It's unlikely you would confuse this group with the Merseybeat-era moptop band of the same name. The seven soul brothers here – who tap the great James Brown, Temptations, Smokey and the Miracles and a bit of the Stylistics and Floaters -- had done, or were serving time, at Rahway prison in New Jersey and the album title refers to the countdown on a sentence. The liner notes say... > Read more

YOKO ONO: THE REMIX ALBUMS, CONSIDERED (1996 – 2016): Offering her art to others

24 Jul 2020  |  5 min read

Given the sexist, racist and hurtful personal comments she received when she arrived in popular culture at the side of John Lennon, Yoko Ono was certainly entitled to release an album under the title Yes I'm a Witch. The wonder is that it took her so long. Yes I'm A Witch arrived in 2007 and Ono told Mojo's Mark Paytress she was happy with that title. “When people kept calling... > Read more

Rising (Thurston Moore remix, 1996)

BLACK UHURU: RED, CONSIDERED (1981): Reggae on the forefront

16 Jul 2020  |  4 min read  |  1

After the death of Bob Marley in May 1981, it seemed the biggest Jamaican reggae band in contention as his successor could be Black Uhuru. There was certainly a lot of their fine and sometimes fiery music about. The previous years had seen release of a self-titled collection of early singles which included new songs alongside some of their 45rpm classics: the broody Guess Who's Coming... > Read more