The Album Considered

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

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EDIE BRICKELL AND THE NEW BOHEMIANS, SHOOTING RUBBERBANDS AT THE STARS, CONSIDERED (1988): What she was and what she is . . .

28 Jun 2020  |  4 min read

Texas-born and based Edie Brickell was 22 in '88 when – on a Saturday Night Live session in New York to promote this debut album with the New Bohemians – she first saw Paul Simon. He was more than twice her age and enjoying global success (and some controversy) with the Graceland album . . . but troubling over a follow-up. He was taken with Brickell's performance and... > Read more

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

20 Jun 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

THE LOUVIN BROTHERS: SATAN IS REAL, CONSIDERED (1959): A slow waltz with the devil

5 Jun 2020  |  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

ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL, COLLISION COURSE, CONSIDERED (1978): Sage and silly songs from sagebrush territories

4 Jun 2020  |  2 min read

Ray Benson seems an unlikely character to have created the soulful Western Swing outfit Asleep at the Wheel, a band which took its lead from the sound of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys as well as sweet Southern soul. Singer-guitarist Philadelphia-raised Benson – now in his late 60s-- is Jewish and founded Asleep at the Wheel half a century ago in West Virginia with pedal steel... > Read more

JOHN SINCLAIR: MOHAWK, CONSIDERED (2014): They gave him 10 for two . . .

25 May 2020  |  2 min read

In popular and political culture John Sinclair is best known for a small handful of things in the Sixties and early Seventies. He founded the White Panther Party, managed Michigan's MC5 and steered them into being a megaphone for radical politics (“We wanted to kick ass and raise consciousness,"), was one of the producers of the Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festivals (although seems... > Read more

JOHN CALE, FRAGMENTS OF A RAINY SEASON, CONSIDERED (1982/2016): The new society still ain't pretty

24 May 2020  |  3 min read  |  3

Most musicians in rock culture establish their sound and reputation over a few early albums and consolidate both if their careers are of any length. The late Lemmy and Lou Reed for example released albums which became their hallmarks, and their personae – wildman Lemmy and pugnacious Reed – became our enduring image of them. That said, in each case there were frequently... > Read more

Library of Force (from M:FANS)

THE UNFORGIVEN: THEIR SELF-TITLED ALBUM, CONSIDERED (1986): The band that died with its boots on

16 May 2020  |  2 min read  |  2

Some time in the early Nineties I met up with two of the guys from Cracker at a bar in New York, and towards the end of our conversation the talk turned to what they had done before their alt.rock incarnation. John Hickman said he'd been in another band . . . and after a long pause said he'd been in a band called the Unforgiven, but that I wouldn't have heard if them. Not heard of them?... > Read more

All is Quiet on the Western Front

RICKIE LEE JONES: PIRATES, CONSIDERED (1981): Heartbreak, heroin and hope

13 May 2020  |  5 min read  |  1

Taken together with Tom Waits' Blue Valentine, Rickie Lee Jones' huge selling self-titled debut album of '79 – which sprung her top five hit Chuck E's in Love – recorded their love affair at it poetic peak. Waits sang her favourite song Somewhere from West Side Story on his for her. But the relationship dissolved quickly thereafter and, for her at least, painfully. Her... > Read more

JIMMY CLIFF: SPECIAL, CONSIDERED (1982): The harder they come the longer they run

11 May 2020  |  4 min read

Jimmy Cliff – arguably the most globally recognised Jamaican singer after Bob Marley – has been many things in his lifetime. Even before he broke through as the singer/star in Perry Henzell's exceptional 1972 film The Harder They Come, he had enjoyed success at the World's Fair in New York in '64 (with Derrick Morgan and Prince Buster). There he met Island Records' headman Chris... > Read more

CATE BROTHERS: IN ONE EYE AND OUT THE OTHER, CONSIDERED (1976): Southern soul brothers

7 May 2020  |  2 min read  |  1

You rarely find twins Ernie and Earl Cate, originally from Arkansas, in any recent rock or soul encyclopedias and reference books.  In fact, when Elsewhere went looking on our deeply bowed shelves they only appeared as a brief mention in an NME book from '78 between Cat Mother and the All Night Newsboys (debut album produced by Jimi) and Harry Chapin. Fair enough, just four albums... > Read more

MILES DAVIS: ESP, CONSIDERED (1965): Old ways going in a new direction

3 May 2020  |  3 min read

The woman staring out of the cover of Miles Davis' 1965 album ESP was his wife Frances. It's an unusual cover: the photo by Bob Cato looks like a casual and informal snapshot with Miles on a recliner staring up at Frances almost quizzically and she engaging the observer/camera with a look of quiet surprise and a hint of fear. In his autobiography Davis says “[it] was taken in our... > Read more

TOMMY JAMES: MY HEAD, MY BED & MY RED GUITAR, CONSIDERED (1971): A walk in the spiritual country

29 Apr 2020  |  3 min read

Leaving aside the Mob connection for the moment, let's just acknowledge that Tommy James and the Shondells out of Michigan delivered a wedge of great danceable, pop-rock singles in the early Sixties (Hanky Panky, I Think We're Alone Now, Mony Mony) and some psychedelic pop in the latter part of that decade (Crimson and Clover, Crystal Blue Persuasion). Their story is confusing because... > Read more

THE OSMONDS: THE PLAN, CONSIDERED (1973): One way ticket to nowhere in particular

27 Apr 2020  |  4 min read

Even those who couldn't abide the idea of the Osmonds, let alone their music, had to concede their '72 single Crazy Horses was a pretty terrific slice of hard rock. And that the album of the same name -- if they heard it -- was much better than anyone might have expected from this family band which, flashing their teeth like grilles, took their brand of soft rock and teeny-bop pop into... > Read more

TONTON MACOUTE: THEIR SELF-TITLED DEBUT, CONSIDERED (1971): The jazz-rock classical connection

25 Apr 2020  |  3 min read

It's likely the most familiar name on the 1971 debut album by British jazz-rockers Tonton Macoute isn't that of any band member or even engineer Martin Rushent (who went on to produce the Buzzcocks, Stranglers and Dr Feelgood among many others). It was that of the sleeve designer. Keef – photographer/designer Keith McMillan – is known for his work for the Vertigo label, and... > Read more

JOHN COLTRANE/JOHNNY HARTMAN: THE MASTER SESSIONS, CONSIDERED (1963): The gifted at their ease

22 Apr 2020  |  2 min read

When the famous “lost” album Both Directions At Once by saxophonist John Coltrane was discovered and issued in 2018, what was only mentioned in passing – as it was in Elsewhere's piece – was why Coltrane's group was even in Rudy Van Gelder's New Jersey studio on that day in May '63 anyway. It was because the group – Coltrane... > Read more

DUSTY SPRINGFIELD: FROM DUSTY WITH LOVE, CONSIDERED (1970): Not really a brand new Dusty

20 Apr 2020  |  3 min read

In 1970, when Dusty Springfield released the follow-up album to her classic Dusty in Memphis -- recorded with the crack production team of Jerry Wexler, Arif Mardin and Tom Dowd, as well as superb session musicians -- it was met with critical indifference. In part that was because it wasn't Dusty in Memphis II, perhaps. Well, it was certainly not that because, if nothing... > Read more

DANGER MOUSE: THE GREY ALBUM, CONSIDERED (2004): Looking through a glass prism

17 Apr 2020  |  4 min read

When DJ Danger Mouse's innovative and crafted The Grey Album – a clever melange of Jay-Z's The Black Album and the Beatles' The White Album – appeared in early 2004 Britain's Mojo magazine was unimpressed. Under the heading “Let's Mock!” with a sub-head which read “bootleggers and imposters roam the land. What happened to keeping it real?” Mojo... > Read more

99 Problems

COUNTRY JOE AND THE FISH: ELECTRIC MUSIC FOR THE MIND AND BODY, CONSIDERED (1967): Psychedelic politico-pop

13 Apr 2020  |  4 min read

Vanguard Records out of New York was one of those courageous independent record labels where the owners – brothers Seymour and Maynard Solomon – recorded what they wanted and liked. In the Fifties and early Sixties that meant classical, blues and folk artists. On their roster were Joan Baez, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Mimi and Richard Farina from the folk end, and great blues... > Read more

GAVIN BRYARS: THE SINKING OF THE TITANIC/JESUS' BLOOD NEVER FAILED ME YET, CONSIDERED (1971): Music of ghosts gone by

8 Apr 2020  |  3 min read

The problem with Tom Waits singing on the 1993 recording of Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet (with the orchestra arranged by Gavin Bryars) is that it is Tom Waits singing. Waits has such a distinctive voice that it is always going to be Tom Waits – in his tramp mode – that you hear. For the full melancholy and true religious import of the piece you need to go back to the... > Read more

JUDY MOWATT: BLACK WOMAN, CONSIDERED (1979): A woman's strength in the concrete jungle

6 Apr 2020  |  3 min read

When the great reggae singer Judy Mowatt toured New Zealand's North Island under her own name in 1990, she was surprised to be greeted by local members of the Twelve Tribes of Israel at the airport. But after the death of Bob Marley, reggae had become embedded in Aotearoa New Zealand and the Twelves Tribes (named for the descendants of Jacob in the Old Testament) were a significant and... > Read more