The Album Considered

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

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

THE STAIRS: MEXICAN R'N'B, CONSIDERED (1992): Through the past, smartly

4 Jul 2022  |  3 min read

And suddenly, they they were, all The Definite Article bands. After years of single-name grunge outfits (Nirvana, Soundgarden, Mudhoney, Tad etc) the post-Britpop groups appeared with “the” in front of their names. This wasn't new, of course, but in that Brit-pride world which had musically looked back to the Sixties for reference points (the Beatles, the Kinks, the Who, the... > Read more

Flying Machine

THE ROLLING STONES. 12 x 5, CONSIDERED (1964): Hits and misses

27 Jun 2022  |  2 min read

In one the best covers of the period – by David Bailey – this second album by the Rolling Stones was simply an expansion of their chart-topping EP 5 x 5 recorded in Chicago's Chess Studios and announced with more certainty than their self-titled debut the emergence of Jagger and Richards as songwriters. Not especially good ones, but writers of three songs. And contributors to... > Read more

2120 South Michigan Avenue (long version)

RONEE BLAKLEY. RONEE BLAKLEY, CONSIDERED (1972): The story begins

12 Jun 2022  |  3 min read

For most people, Ronee Blakley – now 76 with 10 studio albums and a couple of live recordings behind her – only appeared twice. In Robert Altman's '75 film Nashville where she was the emotionally fragile country star Barbara Jean (hair modeled on Loretta Lynn's bouffant), and for which Ronee was nominated for multiple awards. Later that year she was part of Bob Dylan's... > Read more

Along the Shore

MARY COUGHLAN: TIRED AND EMOTIONAL, CONSIDERED (1987): A large drop of the dark stuff

30 May 2022  |  2 min read

When the Pogues staggered and slurred their way into the spotlight, the Irish singer-songwriter Christy Moore said something to this effect: Great, just what Ireland needs, another bunch of drunk musicians. Moore – who had been in the bands Planxty and Moving Hearts, and had enjoyed a dram or few in the past – could spot a cliché when he saw one. You have to wonder then what... > Read more

Nobody's Business

MAHALIA JACKSON: NEWPORT 1958, CONSIDERED (1958): Twelve steps to heaven

15 May 2022  |  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

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

28 Mar 2022  |  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

WINGS: RED ROSE SPEEDWAY, CONSIDERED (1973/2018): The malaise or just lazy?

21 Mar 2022  |  3 min read  |  2

For every person who loves Paul McCartney's Mull of Kintyre there is another who couldn't hate it more. For everyone who loves With a Little Luck there is me. McCartney's most popular songs seem to divide people: he could write beautiful love songs . . . and Silly Love Songs. A curious case in point is My Love which appeared on his Red Rose Speedway album in 1973. Some people find it... > Read more

Loup (First Indian on the Moon)

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

14 Mar 2022  |  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

LULU: THE MOST OF LULU, CONSIDERED (1971): Pop without the Shout!

7 Mar 2022  |  3 min read  |  1

Six weeks after her 15thbirthday, Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie didn't go back to school in Glasgow and never bothered to get her official leaving certificate. Six months later a school inspector knocked her parents' door and said, “We want to know why Marie hasn't been at school”. “Do ye nae read the papers or watch TV?” he mum laughed. “She's a pop... > Read more

THE HASSELHOFF EXPERIMENT: ALWAYS OUTNUMBERED ALWAYS OUTGUNNED, CONSIDERED (1999): Loud, fast and in control

28 Feb 2022  |  2 min read

History and memory become conveniently codified, reduced down into a few key images, explanatory paragraphs, illustrative memories and some further associations to suggest breadth and depth. But all nuance disappears, outliers or those things which don't conform are ironed out. Consider the case of Flying Nun. The shorthand has been simple: white-boy guitar bands in black jeans, reverb... > Read more

Brown Paper Bag

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

21 Feb 2022  |  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

THE MOTORS: APPROVED BY THE MOTORS, CONSIDERED (1978): They had the look, unfortunately

14 Feb 2022  |  3 min read  |  1

You gorra feel sorry for the Motors. Although owing a debt the genre, this British band weren't really “pub-rock” in the manner of, say, Dr Feelgood or Ian Dury's Kilburn and the High Roads. They were more pop-rock – strong on melody, hooks and choruses – but they formed in '77 when the spirits of pub-rock and then punk were abroad. Their origins had been in... > Read more

DAVID BOWIE. LOVE YOU TILL TUESDAY, CONSIDERED (1984 compilation): From when 'e was before who 'e was

7 Feb 2022  |  3 min read

Believe me, Elsewhere has no shortage of David Bowie records on its shelves other than this odd one. A quick scan of his discography would confirm we have all his albums on vinyl right up to Tonight in '84 and after that we measure the wall in CDs. We also seem to have two copies of the double live Stage as well as him reading Peter and the Wolf, the Christiane F soundtrack, blackstar... > Read more

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

31 Jan 2022  |  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

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

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

11 Jan 2022  |  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 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