The Album Considered

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

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HEART: DREAMBOAT ANNIE, CONSIDERED (1975): Figuring their way through pop-folk and prog to rock

23 Nov 2020  |  2 min read

In 1997 when Rolling Stone had a substantial Women of Rock issue, they paid scant attention to Heart, just half a dozen sentences. Admittedly their best days seemed to be behind them, but with six multi-platinum albums to that point they certainly deserved more space than Yoko Ono whose contribution to “rock” was marginal. Yet she scored twice as much space as the Wilson sisters... > Read more

VARIOUS ARTISTS; SLY AND ROBBIE PRESENT TAXI, CONSIDERED (1981): Reggae inna state of change

16 Nov 2020  |  2 min read

In the early Eighties reggae was reeling after the death of Bob Marley, the figurehead of style he popularised and, for the great middle-ground audience, was the genre's most identifiable figure. But when reggae had broken in the early Seventies on the back of Marley and the Wailers' upward trajectory, it was apparent to close observers that the tiny island of Jamaica was awash with talent:... > Read more

OLIVER LAKE and JUMP UP: PLUG IT, CONSIDERED (1983): Forget art and argument, let's dance

9 Nov 2020  |  4 min read

First of all, you have to remember the period in which this album by saxophonist Oliver Lake arrived: Wynton Marsalis was making his career run on the back of his neo-conservative stance (hailing Ellington and early Miles, dismissing post-bop, fusion and free jazz etc) and in his corner he had the bullish critic and cheerleader Stanley Crouch. Marsalis being articulate, sharp, handsome and... > Read more

THE BETA BAND: THE 3 EPs, CONSIDERED (1998): The four amigos from Glasgow

3 Nov 2020  |  2 min read

By the time Scotland's Beta Band got to their self-titled debut album in '99, many writers and fans felt they had already done their best work. It has been on three separate EPs – Champion Versions ('97), The Patty Patty Sound and Los Amigos Del Beta Bandidos (both '98) – which had enjoyed such a cult following that they were repacked as The 3 EPs which took their slacker... > Read more

Dry the Rain

RONNIE SUNDIN with WILL JESS and his JESTERS: RONNIE, CONSIDERED (1960)

19 Oct 2020  |  3 min read

Although we are right to celebrate our musical pioneers and predecessors, there is serious danger of falling into the myth of exceptionalism, the belief that New Zealand artists were all pretty great and those obscure albums being resurrected from secondhand stores are lost works of art. Well let's be frank, some artists were mediocre and very few albums from the Sixties particularly... > Read more

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

12 Oct 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

THE BUCKINGHAMS: KIND OF A DRAG, CONSIDERED (1967): The British Invasion from the Windy City

5 Oct 2020  |  3 min read

With their ever-so British name, Carnaby St attire and fashionably Beatles-style hair – not to mention their upbeat pop – the Buckinghams should have been contenders in the mid-late Sixties. And in a modest way they were: they enjoyed two top 20 hits here (Kind of a Drag in '67, Susan the following year) and five in the US (those two, plus Don't You Care, Mercy Mercy Mercy and... > Read more

RHINOCEROS: SATIN CHICKENS, CONSIDERED (1969): Made like the Monkees, and not built to last

2 Oct 2020  |  6 min read

If a supergroup is made of people who have had acclaimed prior form, what do we call a group which did nothing at the time but whose members went on to bigger and better things? Is that like a preparatorygroup? We've encountered their likes before in bands such as the Funky Kings, but Rhinoceros out of LA also have an interesting second-tier backstory – a kind of... > Read more

LOWELL GEORGE: THANKS I'LL EAT IT HERE, CONSIDERED (1979): The long hello and a sudden goodbye

27 Sep 2020  |  4 min read  |  2

The solo debut album by Lowell George of Little Feat was a long time coming. So long in fact that in the time he saw the unsigned Rickie Lee Jones perform her song Easy Money in an LA club and, with her permission, recorded it for his album she – with his help – got signed to his label Warners, recorded and released her massive-selling debut album. Her version of Easy... > Read more

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

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