The Album Considered

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THE ROLLING STONES: BETWEEN THE BUTTONS, CONSIDERED (2020): A laugh turned to farce?

16 Mar 2020  |  4 min read

The shorthand for the Rolling Stones' recording career before Exile on Main Street is usually reduced – even by Stones' fans – to something like this: some blues and r'n'b covers albums with a few originals thrown in, Aftermath in '66 where they wrote everything themselves and so is a classic (it's not, it's flawed like most Stones' albums), the substandard foray into Pepper-style... > Read more

My Obsession

GEORGE MARTIN: OFF THE BEATLE TRACK, CONSIDERED (2020): From him to you

8 Mar 2020  |  4 min read

It can't be denied that George Martin was indispensable to the Beatles in the studio for his arranging, orchestration and playing skills. It's hard to imagine if we'd ever have heard Yesterday, In My Life, Eleanor Rigby, Strawberry Fields Forever, I am the Walrus and many other classics in the same manner if it hadn't been for his input. His pre-Beatle work with sound and tape effects for... > Read more

NILS LOFGREN: THE EARLY CAREER, CONSIDERED (2020): Head over heels for Nils

24 Feb 2020  |  6 min read

It's likely that most people who know Nils Lofgren for his brief periods with Neil Young (After the Goldrush, Tonight's the Night, Trans) and his long tenure in Springsteen's E Street Band would also be aware of his parallel solo career. But many might not be familiar with this talented singer, songwriter, guitarist and trampolinist and some excellent albums under his own name in the... > Read more

PETER GREEN: IN THE SKIES and LITTLE DREAMER, CONSIDERED (2020): The slight return in the late Seventies

17 Feb 2020  |  4 min read

The sad story of Sixties singer-guitarist and songwriter Peter Green (born Peter Greenbaum in 1946, of Bethnal Green) probably needs little repeating but the bare facts look like this. After playing in a few local groups as a bassist (one featuring drummer Mick Fleetwood and briefly singer Rod Stewart), he emerged as one of the great blues guitarists in the mid Sixties,... > Read more

PAUL McCARTNEY: PIPES OF PEACE, CONSIDERED (2020): Must try harder, lacks effort in class

30 Jan 2020  |  4 min read

By the mid Eighties, albums by Paul McCartney were becoming surplus to requirements. It wasn't just that people by that time had about all the McCartney in their life that they needed, but that there was a very discernible drop off in quality and effort, albeit on albums which were highly polished. Yes, he still cracked out popular singles. But after the... > Read more

BOB DYLAN, BROWNSVILLE GIRL CONSIDERED (2019): The classic that got away?

14 Oct 2019  |  11 min read

By the mid Eighties, Bob Dylan's career was in considerable disarray. After the so-called "Christian trilogy" there had been two mostly middling albums -- Infidels and Empire Burlesque -- and he seemed directionless. The old gunfighter who once commanded the territory had been outdrawn by his acolytes, notably Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen. There had been any number of... > Read more

YOKO ONO PLASTIC ONO BAND: BETWEEN MY HEAD AND THE SKY, CONSIDERED (2019): It was 10 years ago today, Yoko got the band to play

7 Oct 2019  |  3 min read

When Yoko Ono released her artistically packaged Onobox in 1992 -- a six CD retrospective of a solo career which had ceased in the mid Eighties -- that would seemed to have been it from the most famous widow in the world. She was almost 60; had stopped recording because as she wryly noted "there seemed no great call" from the public for any more albums by her; and her attention... > Read more

Higa Noboru

YOKO ONO: TAKE ME TO THE LAND OF HELL, CONSIDERED (2019): As ever, Yoko is as Yoko does

9 Sep 2019  |  3 min read

As endearing as it is idiosyncratic, as brilliant as it is bonkers, Yoko Ono's 2013 album Take Me to The Land of Hell (with the Plastic Ono Band) mostly served to remind what a unique artist she has always been . . . whether you like what she does or simply never listened. After the forgettable aural postcards with her husband John Lennon in the late Sixties when they were clowns for... > Read more

PAUL McCARTNEY: AMOEBA GIG, CONSIDERED (2019): That was him standing there

5 Aug 2019  |  5 min read

In the decade after he disbanded Wings at the end of the Seventies, Paul McCartney's recording career on albums offered diminishing returns outside of a string of mostly vacuous chart hits. It wasn't until Flowers in the Dirt in '89 – and even that pulled its punches too much – you felt he still had something serious to offer. The Eighties were tough times for Sixties stars... > Read more

YOKO ONO: FEELING THE SPACE, CONSIDERED (2019): Singing on the feminist frontline

12 Jul 2019  |  5 min read

Put aside Yoko Ono's contributions to the silly audio-verite and self-centred avant-garde albums (“French for bullshit,” John Lennon had said just a few years previous) with Lennon in the late Sixties: the two Unfinished Music volumes Two Virgins (more famous for its cover than its contents) and Life with the Lions, and the vanity project Wedding Album. Take all of them them out... > Read more

Woman Power

THE STAIRS: MEXICAN R'N'B, CONSIDERED (2019): Through the past, smartly

11 Mar 2019  |  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

WINGS: AT THE SPEED OF SOUND, CONSIDERED (2019): And now, some not so silly love songs?

20 Feb 2019  |  4 min read

Paul McCartney must have been livid with his record company in 1976. Consider: He'd been in the biggest and most culture-changing, money-making band of the century and along the way had written dozens of classic songs; a field-length list which included Yesterday, Penny Lane, Eleanor Rigby, She's Leaving Home and . . . Then when that band broke up he reinvented himself over a couple... > Read more

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

17 Dec 2018  |  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. Some people find it... > Read more

Loup (First Indian on the Moon)

WINGS: WILD LIFE, CONSIDERED (2018): “And in the end . . .” there's a begin-again?

14 Dec 2018  |  5 min read

In the Beatles' Anthology DVD, their producer George Martin observed that no one – other than the four young men themselves – knew what it was like in the hurricane that was Beatlemania. They only had themselves to rely on for support, solace, humour and an understanding of the fear about what could possibly go wrong when the screaming turned to anger and disgruntled US fans... > Read more

Mumbo

THE ROLLING STONES: BEGGAR'S BANQUET, CONSIDERED AT 50 (2018): A walking clothesline of styles

3 Oct 2018  |  8 min read  |  2

Half a century ago the Rolling Stones released their Beggar's Banquet album, widely considered a return-to-form after the debacle of their shapeless attempt at psychedelia on the largely unlistenable Their Satanic Majesties Request of December 1967, released some six months after the Beatles' Sgt Peppers. In a cover which referred to Pepper's glowing hippie-era colours, Satanic Majesties... > Read more

No Expectations

MILES DAVIS : SKETCHES OF SPAIN, CONSIDERED (2017): Jazz at the interface of classical music

8 May 2017  |  5 min read

When Miles Davis entered Columbia Records’ New York studio in November 1959 with composer/arranger Gil Evans and producer Teo Macero to record the material for the album Sketches of Spain, the trumpeter was not on completely unfamiliar territory. He had seen and heard flamenco music, doubtless knew the explorations of Spanish music by Lionel Hampton, Charles Mingus and others,... > Read more

Song of Our Country (take nine)

MILES DAVIS; BITCHES BREW, CONSIDERED (2010): The sorcerer in his laboratory

4 Oct 2010  |  4 min read

Carlos Santana, who says rarely a day goes by when he doesn't listen to some Miles Davis, believes you only have to listen to the Davis' album Live at the Plugged Nickel -- recorded in December 65 at a Chicago club but not released until '68 -- to realise the trumpeter had exhausted standards such as Stella By Starlight and On Green Dolphin Street, and even his own classic So What (from... > Read more

Miles Davis: Spanish Key (single edit)