From the Vaults

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Paul McCartney: Rainclouds (1980)

7 Aug 2020  |  <1 min read

The day that Britain and the world woke to the news that John Lennon had been shot in New York both George Harrison and Paul McCartney went to work, Harrison in his home studio and McCartney in London. That may seem strange, but what else to do? As Paddy Moloney of the Chieftains – who had been booked for the McCartney session – said later, “there were a lot of... > Read more

Stephanie Dosen: Within You Without You (2007)

31 Jul 2020  |  1 min read

For centuries a wide strain of folk music existed without the appellation “drone folk”, a convenience label which seemed to emerge some time in the Nineties. There was always an element of drone in many aspects of British folk, notably Celtic music where the pipes/bagpipes or hurdy-gurdy created an effect not dissimilar to that of a tanpura in Indian music. Folk artists... > Read more

The Rolling Stones: Continental Drift (1989)

26 Jul 2020  |  1 min read  |  2

For reasons which were never clear or explained, in 1989 the Rolling Stones included this interesting piece of rock exotica on their Steel Wheels album, which was otherwise business as usual in the riffery stakes (the most memorable track which appeared in subsequent concerts was Mixed Emotions). The album wasn't too bad at all actually (a considerable improvement over its predecessor Dirty... > Read more

Bobby Parker: Watch Your Step (1961)

18 Jul 2020  |  1 min read

American r'n'b singer Bobby Parker couldn't possibly have known that the young Beatles used to play his '61 single Watch Your Step in clubs, although he may have heard Adam Faith's cover of it. In fact the song was so popular in the UK that a number of acts performed it (Manfred Mann among them) but it was the Beatles who got the most mileage out of its distinctive riff which they... > Read more

Joan Baez: Simple Twist of Fate (1975)

6 Jul 2020  |  <1 min read

In late '74 Joan Baez went into a studio with hot session musicians and jazz players (Jim Gordon, Larry Knechtel, Joe Sample, Larry Carlton, Wilton Felder), and she had been hanging around with her new friend Hampton Hawes. So jazz -- and Joni Mitchell -- was in the air, and Baez responded by delivering the album Diamonds and Rust which was a step well away from her folkie image. But... > Read more

Martha Reeves and the Vandellas: Third Finger Left Hand (1967)

28 Jun 2020  |  1 min read

Beyonce's thrilling Bollywood-influenced dancefloor hit Single Ladies; Put a Ring On It reminded of the long tradition of songs about wedding rings, or the lack of them, or how tarnished a memory can be . . . Elsewhere has already posted a number of such songs: Gary Lewis and the Playboys' pop hit This Diamond Ring and Freda Payne exceptional and ambiguous Band of Gold (about... > Read more

Pee Wee Crayton: Do Unto Others (1954)

15 Jun 2020  |  <1 min read

Elsewhere pompously prides itself on some rather arcane Beatles' knowledge but until someone recently posted this on a Facebook page we'd never heard of this connection. Following Dyaln's famous phrase "amateurs borrow, professionals steal", John Lennon quite obviously filtched the intro of this for Revolution in 1968. Crayton, an r'n'b singer and guitarist, was born in 1914... > Read more

The Temptations: Message from a Black Man (1969)

2 Jun 2020  |  2 min read

In its early days Motown didn't directly address political issues -- although there's a good case to be made that its very existence and popular success was, like rock'n'roll of the Fifties, a political act in itself. But as the decade rolled on and young black men were either being shipped off to Vietnam or getting edgy in the streets back home, it was hard to ignore the rise of the Black... > Read more

Daniel Hart: Three Day Bank (2018)

31 May 2020  |  1 min read

In August 2018, Robert Redford announced the film The Old Man and the Gun would be his last. He was 82 and went out with a very low-key and wry story about the real life recidivist bankrobber and serial prison escapee Forrest Tucker whose final spree was four banks in a single day when he was 79. That time he didn't live to escape or be freed, he died in prison at 83. The story... > Read more

Souad Massi and Pascal Danae: Tell Me Why (2007)

24 May 2020  |  <1 min read

This delightfully trippy exotically psychedelic song sounds like it has been beamed back to us for the late Sixties but in fact was on the excellent Essential Elsewhere album Honeysuckle/Mesk Elil album by the Paris-based, Algerian-born singer-songwriter Souad Massi. On her subsequent album O Huria/Liberty she had Paul Weller as a guest and from that album's title you can guess she is... > Read more

Billy Butler and the Enchanters: I Can't Work No Longer (1965)

18 May 2020  |  <1 min read

It's only Monday but this title just about sums it up . . . Except? While this wonderful post-Sam Cooke soul ballad starts off as you might expect (want to get home, we ain't getting any younger) it does take a slightly darker and more interesting turn if you are prepared to hear it that way:  "I'm just another lonely man" . . . And there is another woman on the... > Read more

Willie Nelson: Healing Hands of Time (1961)

4 May 2020  |  1 min read

By the time Willie Nelson laid down this demo of what is arguably one of the greatest songs of his pre-fame period, he had already written Family Bible (a top 10 country hit for Claude Gray although Nelson had sold the song outright so got no writing credit or cash) and Hello Walls (number one for nine weeks in '61 for Faron Young). Crazy, which he had also written, would become a huge hit... > Read more

Queens of the Stone Age: Never Say Never (2011)

27 Apr 2020  |  <1 min read

Elsewhere always liked the Californian band Romeo Void – who sounded very New York/New Wave in the early Eighties – and especially on their sole hit Never Say Never. It was written by singer Debora Iyall and the come-on hook “I might like you better if we slept together” was written for the band's bassist Frank Zincavage, although she didn't tell him that... > Read more

Timothy Leary: You Can Be Anyone This Time Around (1970)

20 Apr 2020  |  <1 min read

Older, if not wiser, "heads" will know exactly who Dr Timothy Leary was -- an advocate of the widespread use of LSD to change cultural consciousness and to open individuals to the vastness of the cosmos within and without. Tune in, turn on and drop out became a mantra in the late Sixties. His album You Can Be Anyone This Time Around was one of the first cut'n'splice albums of... > Read more

Nina Simone: Alone Again, Naturally (1982)

18 Apr 2020  |  1 min read

Lord knows, Gilbert O'Sullivan's 1972 hit Alone Again, Naturally was one of the more depressing songs ever to top the charts around the world. Although the tune sounded almost jaunty the opening lyrics were, “In a little while from now, if I'm not feeling any less sour, I promise myself to treat myself and visit a nearby tower. And climbing to the top will throw myself off . . .”... > Read more

Asha Bhosle and Mohammad Rafi: Dekho ab to kisko nahin hai khabar (1965)

11 Apr 2020  |  <1 min read  |  1

Amazing what you find by accident on aircraft film channels if you forgo watching the US blockbusters or Lord of the Rings again. On a recent trip between Kuala Lumpur and Melbourne - by Emirates whom I unequivocally recommend, and who mercifully don't have LOTR -- I was flicking through the hundreds of options on Emirates and came across a whole channel of Indian film clips which featured... > Read more

Psychic TV: Only Love Can Break Your Heart (1989)

23 Mar 2020  |  <1 min read  |  1

This post-punk British experimental/psychedelic/industrial outfit helmed by the late Genesis P. Orridge -- who died on March 14 -- once released more albums in a year than the Beatles did in their whole career. They were productive, worked under numerous disc pseudonyms and were still - in some form or other -- going until recently. Given the edgy nature of much of their material, it is... > Read more

Lou Christie: If My Car Could Only Talk (1966)

16 Mar 2020  |  1 min read

Elsewhere has previously essayed the delights and confusion that Lou Christie's career threw up: the darkly romantic older woman in his life (who was allegedly some gypsy mystic), the soaring falsetto, the camp melodrama, the windshield wipers beating out their sexual rhythm on Rhapsody in the Rain . . . Producer Jack Nitsche who was on hand for this slice of  . . . . whatever the... > Read more

Tom Waits: What's He Building? (1999)

6 Mar 2020  |  <1 min read

One of Tom Waits’ most eerie yet surprisingly popular songs is What’s He Building? which appeared on his very successful Mule Variations album. It possesses a spooky sound design entirely in keeping with the disturbing theme. A curious neighbour – and, by seduction, the listener – speculates about the odd nocturnal activities of the man next door: “He has... > Read more

The Dream Academy: Life in a Northern Town (1985)

10 Feb 2020  |  1 min read

Although not quite a one-hit wonder (the follow-up to this, The Love Parade, got to 36 in the US), the Dream Academy probably deserved better just on the strength of this curious and clever debut single. It manages to be a lot of things in its 4.18 running time: part wistful nostalgia in the manner of Penny Lane, a nod to Nick Drake, references to Sinatra, JFK and the Beatles (cue... > Read more