The Album Considered

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BOB DYLAN/GRATEFUL DEAD: DYLAN AND THE DEAD, CONSIDERED (1989): He's got a lotta nerve . . .

31 Aug 2020  |  4 min read  |  1

By critical and popular consensus, when Bob Dylan teamed up with the Grateful Dead for a tour in the late Eighties it was a terrible mismatch and out of it came the live album Dylan and the Dead, widely considered among the worst – if not the worst – album of Dylan's career. Given their collective memories of music from before rock'n'roll (country, bluegrass and so on) and a... > Read more

RIP RIG + PANIC: GOD, CONSIDERED (1981): Post-punk demented dervish heart-attack jazz'n'rock funk

28 Aug 2020  |  3 min read

When you name your post-punk debut after an album by the great jazz saxophonist Rahsaan Roland Kirk you have really upped the stakes and expectation. And when the band is formed around Mark Springer, Bruce Smith and Gareth Sager of the anarcho-punk Pop Group with guests Neneh Cherry and Ari Up of the Slits, then you know things are going to be . . . at very least, interesting. And the... > Read more


24 Aug 2020  |  3 min read  |  1

One afternoon in late '69, while walking in central London, I saw a striking album cover in the window of a record shop across the road. It looked to me like Brian Jones blowing a harmonica, and for a moment I hoped it might be a posthumous blues album by the founder of the Rolling Stones. Still looks like that to me today, more than half a century on. Hard to shake first impressions.... > Read more

BILLY CHILDISH: ARCHIVE FROM 1959, CONSIDERED (2009): His rowdy and rough wayward ways . . .

21 Aug 2020  |  4 min read  |  2

While it's feasible to live a happy and productive life never having heard a note of Britain's Billy Childish (b. Steven Hamper, 1954), the question is, “Why would you?” Perhaps the most off-putting reason would be, “But where would I start?" And that's fair enough because Childish has released – under his own name and that of his many bands –... > Read more

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

14 Aug 2020  |  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


10 Aug 2020  |  3 min read

The 1965 recording It's Gonna Rain by the New York composer Steve Reich was one of the most interesting, innovative and important pieces of its era. At least for Reich. In San Francisco, Reich had heard a streetcorner preacher Brother Walter in apocalyptic mode warning of another Great Flood to wipe out sinners, and Reich recorded him. As with Dylan's Hard Rain's Gonna Fall, Reich... > Read more


6 Aug 2020  |  5 min read  |  1

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


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


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


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

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: THE UNFORGIVEN, 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