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.
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.
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.
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.