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ARTHUR RUSSELL

Originally released on LP in 1986, “World Of Echo” is a deeply intimate and meditative work of awe-inspiring grace and remains a timeless work of sublime beauty. Arthur’s aim was to achieve what he calls 'the most vivid rhythmic reality', with just cello, voice, and echoes. Arthur achieved all of this and more on one of the most amazing albums you will ever hear.

Often listed in the various 'most important albums you'll ever hear' type of fair; its innovative and maverick approach to the whole production process (even famously recording the album on a full moon) would go on to inspire countless future generations of creatives; especially across lo-fi and DIY scenes. His mix of classical training, frankly punk attitude and love of experimentation forged a sound that was unequivocally his own; a rare and epochal force of nature that will never be copied again.

If you don't own a copy of this album, I urge you to reconsider! It's a must-have for any serious music lover. Copies always fly out too, so take advantage now as when its out of press it always commands big bucks.






TRACK LISTING

Tone Bone Kone 0:57
Soon-To-Be Innocent Fun / Let's See 9:19
Answers Me 2:04
Being It 5:23
Place I Know / Kid Like You 3:20
She's The Star / I Take This Time 4:46
Tree House 2:09
See-Through 2:08
Hiding Your Present From You 4:06
Wax The Van 2:05
All-Boy All-Girl 3:34
Lucky Cloud 2:46
Tower Of Meaning / Rabbit's Ear / Home Away From Home 4:20
Let's Go Swimming

At once kaleidoscopic and intimate, "Iowa Dream" bears some of Russell’s most personal work, including several recently discovered folk songs he wrote during his time in Northern California in the early 1970s. For Russell, Iowa was never very far away. “I see, I see it all,” sings Russell on the title track: red houses, fields, the town mayor (his father) streaming by as he dream-bicycles through his hometown. Russell’s childhood home and family echo, too, through “Just Regular People,” “I Wish I Had a Brother,” “Wonder Boy,” “The Dogs Outside are Barking,” “Sharper Eyes,” and “I Felt.” Meanwhile, songs like “I Kissed the Girl From Outer Space,” “I Still Love You,” “List of Boys,” and “Barefoot in New York” fizz with pop and dance grooves, gesturing at Russell’s devotion to New York’s avant-garde and disco scenes. Finally, the long-awaited “You Did it Yourself,” until now heard only in a brief heart-stopping black-and-white clip in Matt Wolf’s documentary Wild Combination, awards us a new take with a driving funk rhythm and Russell’s extraordinary voice soaring at the height of its powers. On "Iowa Dream", you can hear a country kid meeting the rest of the world - and with this record, the world continues to meet a totally singular artist.




TRACK LISTING

Side 1
1. Wonder Boy
2. I Never Get Lonesome
3. Everybody Everybody
4. You Did It Yourself
5. Come To Life
6. Iowa Dream
7. Words Of Love
8. I Still Love You
9. You Are My Love
10. Barefoot In New York
11. Just Regular People
12. I Wish I Had A Brother
13. I Felt
14. The Dogs Outside Are Barking
15. Sharper Eyes
16. Follow You
17. List Of Boys
18. I Kissed The Girl From Outer Space
19. In Love With You For The Last Time

Another Thought was the first collection of Arthur Russell’s music to be released after his death in 1992. Released in 1993 on Point Music it marked the beginning of nearly 30 years of work to let the world hear the enormous archive of unreleased recordings Arthur left behind. Be With revisits this first compilation for a new gatefold double vinyl version and a triple-fold digipak CD reissue.

Both versions of Be With’s 2021 reissue of Another Thought have been mastered by Simon Francis and the vinyl cut by Pete Norman. The original artwork has been restored and tweaked at Be With HQ for the gatefold sleeve and the triple-fold digipak, with the essential help of Janette Beckman. Each version comes with an insert reproducing the liner notes and lyrics from the original CD release.

Together with Calling Out Of Context, Soul Jazz’s World of Arthur Russell, and much of the ongoing work of Audika, Another Thought is absolutely essential for even the most casual Arthur Russell collection. In fact we’d argue it’s essential for any fan of non-obvious pop music. This is the only place where you can hear some of Arthur’s most recognisable tunes and it’s an album that absolutely deserves to be kept in press.


We’ll assume that by now you’re all at least a little familiar with the story of Arthur Russell, the farm boy from Iowa who moved to 1970s New York. Arthur Russell the genuine musical genius who died just 40 years old, leaving behind a wealth of music that dwarfed the few 12"s and LPs that were released during his short life.

Although Arthur had been working on an album for Rough Trade during his last years, with the label no-longer operating it was Point Music (Philip Glass and Michael Riesman’s label set up together with Philips) who stepped in to help Arthur’s partner Tom Lee start working out exactly what Arthur had left behind.

Tom suggested that Arthur’s friend Mikel Rouse was the right person to make the first catalogue. Working in Tom and Arthur’s apartment he had only two weeks to go through what turned out to be around 800 tapes.

As Tom explained “at the end of each day he would generally wait for me to come home and I would, to the best of my knowledge, name and identify pieces in question from that day’s work. As he worked Mikel compiled about a dozen cassettes that he thought would present the most finished sounding songs for Don/Point to use. As Don listened he would then suggest and ask me and thus we collaborated on the choices.”

Don is Don Christensen, Another Thought’s producer. With a final selection of songs from recordings made between 1982 and 1990, including sessions with some of Arthur’s regular collaborators Peter Zummo, Steven Hall, Mustafa Ahmed, Elodie Lauten, Julius Eastman, Jennifer Warnes and Joyce Bowden, it was then Don’s job to turn these into a finished album.

Another Thought is a little different from the compilations of Arthur’s music that came out since. In our conversations with Steve Knutson (who founded Audika Records and who manages Arthur’s estate together with Tom), he explained that “more than any project released by Arthur during his lifetime or posthumously by Audika, ‘Another Thought’ is the most worked over. The material was significantly edited and rearranged from the original source tapes”.

If the aim was to release a comprehensive exploration of every facet of Arthur’s music, from the most avant-garde of his avant-garde compositions through to the most disco-not-disco of his disco-not-disco tunes then the project was a spectacular failure. But as a coherent album of non-obvious pop music Another Thought is wonderful.

Starting with the sparse voice-and-cello of the title track, A Little Lost adds some guitar along with the sneaking suspicion that we’re listening to something nowhere near as simple as it first sounds. By the time we get to This Is How We Walk On The Moon - it could be the moment you notice the congas, or the percussion that’s been building behind them, or maybe it’s that blast of trumpet and trombone - we realise we’ve gone from splashing around to being completely submerged in the musical world of Arthur Russell.

From here the album heads off on its journey around the sounds of the left-field contemporary classical music of the time, re-directed towards pop ears, with minor detours through the swirling woozy disco of the half-remembered night before on In The Light Of The Miracle and My Tiger, My Timing. Whether it’s just Arthur, his cello and some bleeps on Just A Blip, or whether he has some vocal help as he does on the bounding Keeping Up, this is difficult music made so, so easy. And through it all is Arthur’s voice and cello. Sometimes drowned in distortion and sometimes clear as a bell, but always there somewhere.

A Sudden Chill finally returns us to the calmer waters we started in and this last track closes the album with a melancholy that’s not surprising given how soon after Arthur’s death the album was put together.

Whilst Another Thought holds together with the consistency of a proper album, there’s still no getting away from the fact that this was put together from audio recorded in different ways, in different places, with different people at different times. Those with keen ears will hear traces of tape hiss, the occasional blown-out note and some digital fuzz, all fingerprints of those original recordings as well as of the 1990s digital equipment that was used to piece Another Thought together.

Add to this Arthur’s obvious pleasure in making music from the sort of sounds that can make microphones, speakers and ears uncomfortable, it’s no surprise that Another Thought isn’t glossy and pristine. Don Christensen’s productions have been careful to not scrub up those original recordings so much that they lose their original vibe, understandable given that Arthur wasn’t around as a guide. We’ve applied a similarly light touch with the mastering for these Be With versions, just working to make sure they sound like they should on both the vinyl and the CD.

Despite the Discogs rumours, Another Thought was never originally released as an LP. So when it came to the sleeve for this Be With vinyl version we took the original CD artwork as a starting point to come up with something that looks like it could have been in the record racks back in 1993.

We have to thank Janette Beckman for helping us reproduce her iconic photograph of Arthur in his newspaper boat hat. One of many photographs she took of Arthur, Janette shot this in her New York studio back in 1986 for a short article in the January ’87 issue of The Face Magazine. Those with eagle-eyes will notice we’ve used an ever-so-slightly different shot from the one that appeared in The Face and then again on the original cover of Another Thought. The original has long since been lost so we’ve worked with what is left in Janette’s archives. And we also have to thank Tom Lee for giving us permission to reproduce his liner notes from the original CD booklet, together with Arthur’s lyrics.


TRACK LISTING

01 : A1 : Another Thought (02:16)
02 : A2 : A Little Lost (03:18)
03 : A3 : Home Away From Home (05:12)
04 : A4 : Lucky Cloud (02:16)

05 : B1 : This Is How We Walk On The Moon (04:42)
06 : B2 : Hollow Tree (02:30)
07 : B3 : See Through Love (04:46)

08 : C1 : Keeping Up (06:20)
09 : C2 : In The Light Of The Miracle (06:05)
10 : C3 : Lucky Cloud (Return) (03:00)
11 : C4 : Just A Blip (03:42)

12 : D1 : Me For Real (04:55)
13 : D2 : Losing My Taste For The Night Life (04:34)
14 : D3 : My Tiger, My Timing (05:41)
15 : D4 : A Sudden Chill (02:45)

Tim Lawrence

Hold On To Your Dreams : Arthur Russell And The Downtown Music Scene, 1973-1992

    Hold On to Your Dreams is the first biography of the musician and composer Arthur Russell, one of the most important but least known contributors to New York's downtown music scene during the 1970s and 1980s. With the exception of a few dance recordings, including "Is It All Over My Face?" and "Go Bang! #5", Russell's pioneering music was largely forgotten until 2004, when the posthumous release of two albums brought new attention to the artist. This revival of interest gained momentum with the issue of additional albums and the documentary film Wild Combination.

    Based on interviews with more than seventy of his collaborators, family members, and friends, Hold On to Your Dreams provides vital new information about this singular, eccentric musician and his role in the boundary-breaking downtown music scene. Tim Lawrence traces Russell's odyssey from his hometown of Oskaloosa, Iowa, to countercultural San Francisco, and eventually to New York, where he lived from 1973 until his death from AIDS-related complications in 1992. Resisting definition while dreaming of commercial success, Russell wrote and performed new wave and disco as well as quirky rock, twisted folk, voice-cello dub, and hip-hop-inflected pop.

    "He was way ahead of other people in understanding that the walls between concert music and popular music and avant-garde music were illusory," comments the composer Philip Glass. "He lived in a world in which those walls weren't there." Lawrence follows Russell across musical genres and through such vital downtown music spaces as the Kitchen, the Loft, the Gallery, the Paradise Garage, and the Experimental Intermedia Foundation. Along the way, he captures Russell's openness to sound, his commitment to collaboration, and his uncompromising idealism.

    Peter Broderick & Friends

    Play More Arthur Russell

      This is a short live record made up of Arthur Russell covers which were not included on the first album of of Arthur covers. Recorded throughout various performances in the UK (and one track in Ireland) with a wonderful band of Scots.

      Big thanks to the crowd at The Blue Arrow (Glasgow) in early 2019 . . . it was the energy of these fine folks that inspired this record. The room was on fire while we performed 'Go Bang!' . . . such an explosively fun moment -- and luckily it as recorded -- I thought it deserved to go on a record!

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Go Bang? 01:25
      2. The Letter 04:16
      3. I Wish I Had A Brother 03:17
      4. Close My Eyes 02:44
      5. Lucky Cloud 03:40
      6. Go Bang! 07:23

      Arthur Russell

      Calling Out Of Context

        During a short, prolific, and often misunderstood career, Arthur Russell bridged the boundaries between downtown New York's vital rock, avant-garde and post-disco scenes of the '70s and '80s. More than a decade after his death from AIDS at age 41, the full breadth and influence of Russell's work will finally reveal itself with various reissues and collections. Following on from Soul Jazz's "The World Of Arthur Russell", "Calling Out of Context" is a collection of his final, unreleased recordings, including a 1985 LP "Corn" and an abandoned LP recorded for Rough Trade between 1986 - 1990. Mixing funky, avant garde rhythms with pop melodies Russell created some of the most beautiful, off kilter tracks from that time.

        TRACK LISTING

        The Deer In The Forest Part One 1:35
        The Platform On The Ocean 8:05
        You And Me Both 3:45
        Calling Out Of Context 5:46
        Arm Around You 6:32
        That's Us / Wild Combination 6:58
        Make 1, 2 2:50
        Hop On Down 6:03
        Get Around To It 4:59
        I Like You! 5:01
        You Can Make Me Feel Bad 1:29
        Calling All Kids (Walter Gibbons Remix) 7:16


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