The Album Considered

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

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MARK WILLIAMS, SWEET TRIALS, CONSIDERED (1976): It was drag, and a drag

25 Feb 2024  |  2 min read

A bit later in life Mark Williams, originally from near Dargaville, could accept that the way he dressed – feminine clothes he'd made himself, eye-liner and make-up beneath a teased Afro bouffant – “almost looked like drag". "It was drag actually”. But that was later. At the time in the early Seventies when he started having hits, was on TV and... > Read more

Sweet Wine

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

19 Feb 2024  |  5 min read  |  2

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

CAT MOTHER AND THE ALL NIGHT NEWSBOYS. THE STREET GIVETH … AND THE STREET TAKETH AWAY, CONSIDERED (1969): The musicians not the music?

15 Feb 2024  |  4 min read

For the moment let's not worry about the music on this old album pulled from the shelves at random for consideration in this on-going series. The music will make itself known to us as we go. Let's instead just concentrate on the names involved, who they were, where they went and who they became. There is a story worth telling right there. The co-producer of this debut album by the New... > Read more

MARC RIBOT AND CERAMIC DOG. CONNECTION, CONSIDERED (2023): Wrecks small speakers . . . .

8 Jan 2024  |  2 min read

Although avant-guitarist Marc Ribot has appeared at Elsewhere under his own name, he is perhaps best known for his work on albums by Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Laurie Anderson and with Robert Plant and Alison Kraus. We profiled him as a "cosmopolitan guitarist without portfolio" here. Like fellow traveller Bill Frisell, Ribot can fit in. But in Ceramic Dog with... > Read more

Connection (title track)

THE SEEKERS: THE BEST OF THE SEEKERS, CONSIDERED (2023): You say goodbye, then wave hello

27 Dec 2023  |  4 min read  |  1

At some point in the late Nineties I interviewed Judith Durham of the Seekers, the Australian band which had half a dozen memorable hits in the Sixties. Their album The Best of the Seekers seemed to be in everyone's home at the time and is now readily found in charity shops and secondhand stores alongside Neil Diamond's Hot August Night. I can't remember if Durham was touring under her... > Read more

The Carnival is Over

DIONNE WARWICK; AN INTRODUCTION TO DIONNE WARWICK, CONSIDERED (2023): Impossible to walk on by her

28 Oct 2023  |  1 min read

Yes, she was sometimes a little flaky (adding an “e” to her surname at the recommendation of her astrologer, infomercials on the Psychic Network) and sometimes had a troubled life (marriages, big problems with the tax department). But at her peak in the Sixties – and in truth often enough since then for her to always be of interest – Dionne Warwick was a sophisticated... > Read more

TEDDY PENDERGRASS: THE REAL TEDDY PENDERGRASS, CONSIDERED (2023): Sex and soul music

16 Oct 2023  |  2 min read

When the great soul singer Teddy Pendergrass was involved in car accident in early '83 which left him a paraplegic, he was at the height of his career as a crossover artist whose smooth style of bedroom ballads matched that of Barry White and Marvin Gaye. He had brought an emotional depth and sexual ache to many of his more recent songs (titles included Love TKO, Feel the Fire, I Can't... > Read more

It's Time For Love

DIANE HILDEBRAND: EARLY MORNING BLUES AND GREENS, CONSIDERED (1969): But what's the genre, Jac?

24 Sep 2023  |  2 min read

Some of the albums Elsewhere has pulled from the shelves at random for a consideration are a mystery: when, how – and often, why – was that acquired? However this oldie by a fascinating singer-songwriter does come with a backstory. It was a recent acquisition (2014) and I told the story of how it came to hand when I posted a track off it at From the Vaults shortly after.... > Read more

TOM WAITS. BONE MACHINE, CONSIDERED (1992): Skeleton-rattling sounds and buried beauty

4 Sep 2023  |  1 min read

In the early Nineties Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead observed that Bob Dylan still wrote the most beautiful tunes . . . didn't always sing 'em of course, but the melody was in there somewhere. With Bone Machine -- Waits' best album since Rain Dogs in '85 and clear contender for album of the year in '92 -- Waits penned a bracket of melancholy, beautiful ballads which recalled his best... > Read more

Tom Waits: Earth Died Screaming

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

7 Aug 2023  |  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

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

23 Jul 2023  |  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)

ALABAMA SHAKES. BOYS & GIRLS, CONSIDERED (2012): Raw and roaring out the gate

17 Jul 2023  |  3 min read  |  1

The first song I heard by this funky Southern-roots rock'n'roll band from Athens in Alabama was the stunning Don't Wanna Fight from their second album Sound & Color. It was such an extraordinary piece that for many years I would play it to my university music students to illustrate the power of a single phrase and also how singer Brittany Howard wrung it for meaning from anger through... > Read more

THE LIVERPOOL KIDS, BEATTLE MASH. CONSIDERED (1964): The UnFab Three. Or four.

7 Jun 2023  |  3 min read

So much to enjoy about this quick cash-in on the Beatles. And none of it to do with the music. First there is the album title where – to avoid legal ramifications? – they use “Beattle”. Although on the label it is the more traditional spelling “Beatle”. Then there is the problem of what the band's name is. On the front they are called the... > Read more

VARIOUS ARTISTS. NIPPON GIRLS, CONSIDERED (2015 compilation): Cute and classy

1 May 2023  |  2 min read

Elsewhere happily passed this retro J-pop path in early 2015 with Nippon Girls 2  . . . but then this "prequel" became available later in the year -- also on vinyl in a gatefold sleeve and again with an excellent essay by New York's Sheila Burgel who has a great girl pop website. So we once again immersed ourselves in "Japanese Pop, Beat & Bossa Nova 1967-69"... > Read more

Black Room

YEAH YEAH YEAHS. COOL IT DOWN, CONSIDERED (2022): NYC, you mean something to me

8 Apr 2023  |  2 min read

Those who receive Elsewhere's weekly newsletter would know of what befell us in January 2023: flooding through the office which took out about 500 record albums, scores of CDs, books, travel journals, mementos and family photos. What was salvageable ended up in two lock-ups and so the shelves we normally pull a record off at random for consideration are now empty. The shelves are either... > Read more

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

27 Mar 2023  |  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

STEVE HILLAGE. RAINBOW DOME MUSICK, CONSIDERED (1979): Tune in, turn off and . . .

17 Feb 2023  |  2 min read  |  1

When long-haired prog-rock guitarist Steve Hillage – who had played with Soft Machine and in Gong, appeared in the first live performance of Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells and had interesting solo albums behind him – released Rainbow Dome Musick it ran counter to the prevailing trends. The punk wave had broken and edgy post-punk bands and artists were everywhere. Hardly the... > Read more

ACKER BILK. HITS, BLUES AND CLASSICS, CONSIDERED (1989): In my client's defense, m'lord . . .

1 Feb 2023  |  2 min read

The only time I saw Acker Bilk he was drunk. Then again, when I saw Georgie Best he was too so . . . The difference being that Best was in a bar and Bilk was on a stage playing to the paying public who had every right to expect something better than his shambling show. I can't remember who else was on the double bill, but I suspect it was Kenny Ball who... > Read more

HAROLD BUDD, BRIAN ENO: AMBIENT 2; THE PLATEAUX OF MIRROR (1980)

23 Jan 2023  |  2 min read

Following his wonderful Music for Films and After the Heat (with Moebius and Roedelius of Cluster), this collaboration with pianist Harold Budd continued Eno's exploration of ambient music after the first volume Music for Airports and his work with Budd on The Pavilion of Dreams two years previous. Pulled from the shelves at random for this on-going column, my copy is in excellent condition... > Read more

RETURN TO FOREVER. ROMANTIC WARRIOR, CONSIDERED (1976): It's fusion Jim, but you'll be safe

13 Jan 2023  |  2 min read

Guitarist John Scofield – who was there at the time – laughs about “the old fusion curse” of the Seventies when light-speed fretboard work was the order of the day. There were a few guitarists who could pull off jazz-fusion – Scofield, John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola among them – but that period where jazz crossed into rock culture post-Hendrix/post-Bitches... > Read more