The Album Considered

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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


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


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


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


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

NANCY SINATRA. BOOTS, CONSIDERED (1966): Daddy's little girl all grown up

29 Dec 2022  |  2 min read

There were three different instructions producer Lee Hazlewood gave to Nancy Sinatra when she went to sing his freshly written song These Boots Are Made For Walking. Each was as good as the others. First he told her to sing it “like a 14-year old girl in love with a 40-year old man”. Sinatra didn't quite know what that meant so after the first take he suggested she... > Read more

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

19 Dec 2022  |  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. BRING FLOWERS TO U.S., CONSIDERED (2001): It's psychedelic baby, but not really

12 Dec 2022  |  3 min read

Lenny Kaye's Nuggets collection didn't just inspire musicians but also sequels and, of course, record company entrepreneurs . . . like Massimo del Pozzo in Italy. Bari-born del Pozzo was the mainman in the long-running garageband The Others (and other bands like the Tyme Society) as well as running his own Misty Lane Records which published books and had its own store in Rome. It was... > Read more

JEFF BECK. TRUTH, CONSIDERED (1968): Only the band Led Zepp became

5 Dec 2022  |  4 min read  |  1

Strange to consider in this age where so many singles have “ft.” and then a guest artist's name that until the late Sixties musicians rarely played on each others songs, or if they did it was anonymously. Back then "the band" was sacrosanct. So when Eric Clapton played on George Harrison's While My Guitar Gently Weeps (on The White Album) he went... > Read more

RAY MANZAREK. THE GOLDEN SCARAB, CONSIDERED (1974): The world according to Ray

31 Oct 2022  |  2 min read

It's very odd, but I would have put money on the fact that I once interviewed the Doors' keyboard player Ray Manzarek. But I can find no evidence to support that and – although this can be true of many among the thousand or musicians I have interviewed – can drag up no details from the memory. I certainly interviewed the band's very amusing drummer John Densmore but never... > Read more

SPLIT ENZ: CONFLICTING EMOTIONS, CONSIDERED (1983): The start of the short goodbye

20 Oct 2022  |  3 min read

For some reason Elsewhere has two copies of this past-their-best Split Enz album on its shelves, which doubled its chances of it appearing at random for the purposes of this on-going column. Conflicting Emotions followed their enormously successful True Colours which came in vibrant cover art, the somewhat lesser and darker Waiata (the designer said Noel Crombie's cover art “was the... > Read more


3 Oct 2022  |  4 min read  |  1

An amusing irony after the Beatles broke up in 1970 was that the one who didn't write any songs (two in more than seven years hardly counts) and was the fourth best singer in the band should, for a time, have the most commercial – and sometimes critical – success. Ringo Starr's string of singles in the early Seventies – It Don't Come Easy, Back Off Boogaloo, Photograph and... > Read more

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

28 Sep 2022  |  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