The Album Considered

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

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VANILLA FUDGE: THE BEAT GOES ON, CONSIDERED (1968): The most pointless album of the rock era?

24 Jan 2022  |  4 min read

When Vanilla Fudge released their Shadow Morton-produced album The Beat Goes On in 1968 the times and drugs were different. Rock musicians were reaching, and often over-reaching, the idea of a “concept” album had become embedded after Sgt Pepper, singles were being sneered at and albums – often with pretensions to classical influences – were where you could make Your... > Read more

MEREDITH MONK: DOLMEN MUSIC, CONSIDERED (1981): Sing, shout, let it all out

17 Jan 2022  |  3 min read

When Meredith Monk performed at New York's Town Hall on West Forty-Third in January 1973 she had only recently turned 30 and this was, after years of experimental music, dance and multi-media projects, a big moment for her. She had rented the 1500-seat theatre and her only instrument – aside from her astonishing voice – was a wine-glass which she played in the familiar manner of... > Read more

Travelling, from Dolmen Music

JUDY COLLINS: WILDFLOWERS, CONSIDERED (1967): Respect it, can't love it

10 Jan 2022  |  3 min read

Elsewhere's shelves are weighed down by albums, some shameful, some in shameful covers, others just plain odd and some unusual 10'' records. There are also excellent records of course, the rare free jazz albums, masses of Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, the Beatles and Stones and . .. There is Laura Nyro and Dory Previn, punk and country, rare reggae, classic soul and... > Read more

Albatross

MOLLY HATCHET: DOUBLE TROUBLE LIVE, CONSIDERED (1985): Flogging a bit too much Molly

13 Dec 2021  |  1 min read

Molly Hatchet out of Florida may never have reached the critical acceptance of the Allman Brothers Band or the popularity of Lynyrd Skynyrd, but like Atlanta Rhythm Section they were a pretty powerful second tier band. And given those three bands mentioned who had either disbanded or were in decline in the mid Eighties, they were a decent off-course substitute. On this mostly flat-tack... > Read more

Gator Country

JOHN DEEN AND THE TRAKK. BEAT 69, CONSIDERED (1969): And tonight Matthew, we're going to be . . .

6 Dec 2021  |  3 min read

Usually for this column the album under consideration is something pulled from the shelves at random, hence the haphazard subjects. But this one wasn't like that. It came to hand recently through a friend – who, despite this album, remains a pal – and he thought I might be interested in it. I played it once and put it aside. Since then it has shifted from the front of... > Read more

High Phen (instrumental)/Your Whole Life Through

LUCINDA WILLIAMS. HAPPY WOMAN BLUES, CONSIDERED (1980): A distinctive voice emerging

22 Nov 2021  |  1 min read

Because we've had a few decades of Lucinda Williams' distinctive, vowel-dragging and often world-weary vocal style, it's hard to remember when she was a more clear and less affected singer, let alone when she was close to cracking a jangling pop single (I Just Wanted to See You So Bad in '88). This album – her second after Ramblin' On My Mind – pulled from the shelf at random... > Read more

King of Hearts

THE LOUVIN BROTHERS: SATAN IS REAL, CONSIDERED (1959): Hellfire and burning tyres

15 Nov 2021  |  4 min read

It's not strictly true that “You can't judge a book by its cover”. If the title is Sex, Strippers and Sleaze and the photo is of naked people cavorting in a dungeon then you can probably guess it isn't essays on the life of St Francis. Okay, that's not exactly judging, but you get the point. Similarly with album covers. Gothic lettering, umlauts and a devil's head tend... > Read more

Dying From Home and Lost

BURN YOUR BRIDGES. BURN YOUR BRIDGES, CONSIDERED (2003): The phlegm and the fury

8 Nov 2021  |  1 min read

As regular readers will know this column happens when I pull an album off the shelf at random and sit down to give it some consideration. It's in the random nature that sometimes it might be an album by a major name (sometimes a lesser album by them, of course), an oddity or a rarity. And then there are albums like . . . well, this one by Burn Your Bridges (Chris and Bob apparently) out... > Read more

Always Been a Good Boy

MC OJ AND RHYTHM SLAVE. WHAT CAN WE SAY?, CONSIDERED (1991): If you wanna rhyme they gotta crop

1 Nov 2021  |  2 min read

Every now and again tribes face off on the field of battle to establish supremacy, or at least to stake their claim on the ground. Turntablists Vs guitar bands; rappers Vs singers; home-recording electronica boffins Vs those slugging it out in clubs and pubs; punks Vs just about everyone . . . When hip-hop arrived there was considerable resistance from mainstream rock artists and... > Read more

Sway Like This

VARIOUS ARTISTS. ART FOR CHART SAKE, CONSIDERED (1986): Straight outta right-field Dunedin

18 Oct 2021  |  3 min read

For many New Zealand artists the Eighties was the decade of EPs, cassettes and compilations. EPs were manageable if you only had a few songs you'd polished up, while tapes allowed more free range. But compilations could be pulled together quickly by someone else and getting your song on one meant you were sometimes rubbing shoulders with fellow travelers or even those you respected. And... > Read more

Love in Vein by Armalite Hour (recorded from vinyl)

LOUIS ARMSTRONG. THE COMPLETE TOWN HALL CONCERT (1947): The Brother Bob of jazz?

11 Oct 2021  |  4 min read

Surprisingly, it's quite easy to get people under 30 interested in Louis Armstrong. Because they know nothing or very little about him beyond the name and that he was famous. For some reason. “Jazz, maybe?” Young people – unlike those a few decades older – aren't weighed down by the cliched images of Armstrong mugging around and, to some observers, looking... > Read more

Back o' Town Blues (recorded from vinyl)

PETULA CLARK. GREATEST HITS, CONSIDERED (1984): A sign of her various times

3 Oct 2021  |  4 min read

It wasn't until some time later when my mum said, “Oh, I remember her” that I realised Petula Clark wasn't just another Cilla, Lulu, Sandie or Marianne. At the time – the mid/late Sixties – information on pop artists wasn't easy to find. I relied on the excellent Rave and the girl's teen-magazine Jackie (interesting girl-loves-handsome boy graphic stories... > Read more

You Better Come Home (from original vinyl)

DEVADIP CARLOS SANTANA. THE SWING OF DELIGHT, CONSIDERED (1980): So, that happened . . .

27 Sep 2021  |  2 min read

Dating from the time when Sri Chinmoy followers took on the prefix name he gave them (Mahavishnu John McLaughlin, Narada Michael Walden), this double album (about 15 minutes each side to preserve the recording quality) found the guitar master with his dream band, among them – on various tracks – saxophonist Wayne Shorter, drummer Tony Williams, keyboard player Herbie Hancock... > Read more

QUEEN IDA. COOKIN' WITH QUEEN IDA, CONSIDERED (1989): Getting that bon temps rouler-ing

20 Sep 2021  |  2 min read

Before Ry Cooder "discovered" Cuban music for a mainstream audience with the Buena Vista Social Club (album/tour/film) there was cajun which was enormously popular for a while and artists like BeauSoleil, Wayne Toups (who came the New Zealand), Jo-El Sonnier and other became well known. An off-shoot of the cajun connection was zydeco which also emerged out of Louisiana. Like... > Read more

THE LOVIN' SPOONFUL. THE VERY BEST OF THE LOVIN' SPOONFUL, CONSIDERED (1984): From daydreams to dark clouds

13 Sep 2021  |  2 min read

Many bands of the Sixties whose hits have endured had remarkably short lives, far more brief than their legacy might suggest. When previously writing about The Mamas and The Papas we noted that their career with the seminal line-up lasted only 20 months, but in that time they had half a dozen hit singles. And when this collection of hits by The Lovin' Spoonful came to... > Read more

PENETRATION. MOVING TARGETS, CONSIDERED (1978): Post-punk rock'n'roll from up t'north

6 Sep 2021  |  3 min read

The first gobs of British punk in 1976-77 were mostly short, sharp, angry and anti-establishment (and sometimes anti-social) songs which made a virtue of energy over accomplishment. But that was necessary to kick down the doors and walls of the music establishment, although the scorched earth policy some advocated didn't quite match up with the ethos. These days an over-riding... > Read more

CARLA BLEY, PAUL HAINES. ESCALATOR OVER THE HILL, CONSIDERED (1972): Are you along for the ride?

28 Aug 2021  |  4 min read  |  2

In the almost five decades since I bought this triple album by jazz composer/ keyboard player Carla Bley, lyric writer/conceptualist Paul Haines and Bley's Jazz Composer's Orchestra, I must have pulled it off the shelf at least half a dozen times. And never got as far as side five. This is a monster with a cast of dozens: Roswell Rudd, Gato Barbieri, Charlie Haden, Don Cherry, Jeanne... > Read more

JOHN COLTRANE. FIRST MEDITATIONS (FOR QUARTET), CONSIDERED (1965): Supreme love . . . and its consequences

23 Aug 2021  |  3 min read

It should be accepted without question that half a dozen John Coltrane albums – the list usually starting with A Love Supreme (1964) – belong in any serious jazz, or even general music, collection. If the majestic spirituality of A Love Supreme is someone's first taste of Coltrane they would most likely want to hear more from this giant of jazz who... > Read more

NGAIRE: NGAIRE, CONSIDERED (1991): When the singles have gone

13 Aug 2021  |  2 min read

Ngaire Fuata was a brief but bright comet across New Zealand radio in the early Nineties, as much on the strength of some canny song choices by her producers as for her gently soulful voice. Her producers (and sometimes songwriters) were Simon Lynch and Tony T (Tony Nogotautama) who recorded this sole Ngaire album at the Lab in Auckland. Their funky and percussive programmed rhythms... > Read more

THE ROLLING STONES: BETWEEN THE BUTTONS, CONSIDERED (1967): A laugh turned to farce?

26 Jul 2021  |  4 min read

The shorthand for the Rolling Stones' recording career before Exile on Main Street is usually reduced – even by Stones' fans – to something like this: some blues and r'n'b covers albums with a few originals thrown in, Aftermath in '66 where they wrote everything themselves and so is a classic (it's not, it's flawed like most Stones' albums), the substandard foray into Pepper-style... > Read more

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