The Album Considered

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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


18 Sep 2022  |  2 min read  |  2

As with albums by The Amazing Blondel, Ram John Holder and Mireille Mathieu, I have no idea how the Faces album by Shawn Phillips came my way in the early Seventies. But I'm very glad they did.  Back in that time the American folk-rocker Phillips was known for two things: the astonishing length of his hair, and a soaring falsetto. And although he was moderately successful at... > Read more


CHROME. RED EXPOSURE, CONSIDERED (1980): Dance animal-machine, dance

9 Sep 2022  |  2 min read

The British press didn't really get Red Exposure – or even Chrome – when this album came out, which is surprising because in that exciting post-punk period they'd already had Pere Ubu, The Pop Group, Rip Rig and Panic, This Heat, The Slits and others out of left-field. But Chrome from San Francisco – founded by Damon Edge and here with Helios Creed on their fifth album and... > Read more

BOB DYLAN: DESIRE, CONSIDERED (1976): To the valley below . . . and beyond

28 Aug 2022  |  5 min read

In the collective memory, Bob Dylan's Desire album of '76 comes between the exceptional Blood on the Tracks and is sandwiched between the two legs of his Rolling Thunder Review of late '75 and early '76. Desire came out before that second (and less happy) part of the Thunder tour but he'd already taken the songs – notably Hurricane about the boxer Rubin Carter, One More Cup of Coffee... > Read more

CINDY LEE BERRYHILL. NAKED MOVIE STAR, CONSIDERED (1989): Neo-folk boho Downtown urbanists

14 Aug 2022  |  2 min read

Some advice to young artists, a couple of things to avoid. First, never join a movement which has a manifesto because within a very short time people will fall out over how to interpret it. And next thing you know the movement has broken up and counter-manifestos have been published and are being argued over. Second, never get involved with anything which styles itself as... > Read more

12 Dollar Motel


8 Aug 2022  |  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

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

1 Aug 2022  |  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)

DINAH LEE: INTRODUCING DINAH LEE, CONSIDERED (1964): Pop, ska and whatever else is available

24 Jul 2022  |  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

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)


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


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