The Album Considered

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

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

6 Aug 2020  |  5 min read

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

JEFFERSON STARSHIP: EARTH, CONSIDERED (1978): Who's at the controls on the flight-deck?

10 Jul 2020  |  5 min read

Pulling albums randomly from the shelf for this stand-alone section of Elsewhere can be fraught. As with this one by Jefferson Starship who were on their fourth album in that post-Airplane incarnation, with some solo outings by various members between times. By just a fraction of a centimetre we could be looking at their much better album, Red Octopus of '75 which -- although more MOR... > Read more

THE DURUTTI COLUMN: THE GUITAR AND OTHER INSTRUMENTS, CONSIDERED (1987): Man and machine music

3 Jul 2020  |  3 min read

Manchester's Vini Reilly -- who steered Durutti Column through scores of studio albums and many side-projects from the late Seventies until fairly recently -- probably only ever earned enough to pay the mortgage . . . and never enough to pay it off. Respected, nervous, anorexic and almost popular sometimes, he was always his own man. Reilly – in his mid Sixties at... > Read more

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