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Old 05-30-2010, 12:12 PM   #161 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tgpo View Post
His later releases are pretty boring. I miss the high energy of his early material. Although, Brutal Youth stands out with high marks from his recent LPs.
Each to their own I suppose I do remain a huge fan of All This Useless Beauty, When I Was Cruel and especially the Delivery Man and the River In Reverse though, the latter two being just as good as any of his earlier work in my opinion.

As for Brutal Youth, it's definitely a very good album, but I think it gets dragged down a little by one or two weak points, like Clown Strike for example.
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Old 05-30-2010, 05:21 PM   #162 (permalink)
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I pretty much agree here. I haven't heard everything thou.. yet.

I adore Spike, its top 10 albums in my book!
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Old 05-31-2010, 02:12 PM   #163 (permalink)
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I said Brutal Youth instead of When I Was Cruel. Although Brutal Youth is excellent, I was refering to Costello's 2000+ releases. At least Momofuku and Secret, Profane & Sugarcane were quality. I would have had to check out if there were another North released. It's what I expect the soundtrack of C-Span to be.
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Old 06-07-2010, 05:06 AM   #164 (permalink)
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North just never really impresses me as an album. There are a couple of very good songs to be found, but otherwise it just bores me to death everytime. The elusive title track is a really pretty ballad though.

I'm listening to Taking Liberties now by the way, so barring any sudden, catastrophic natural disasters striking this quant little corner of the UK, I'll probably get something typed up on it a bit later.

In other news, new studio album by the name of American Ransom due out this October on Hear Music. Apparently, true to form, it was recorded in about a week in March right under the noses of the music press with both the Sugarcanes and the Imposters (aka two thirds of the Attractions). One new song's already been debuted on radio by the name of Jimmie Standing In the Rain, which sounds pretty damn cool. So, in other words,
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Old 06-14-2010, 04:56 PM   #165 (permalink)
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Well, this didn't take long did it Sorry for the lateness of this one - I've been cut off from the internet for the last week or so...

Taking Liberties
Columbia Records, 1980


1. Clean Money
2. Girls Talk
3. Talking In the Dark
4. Radio Sweetheart
5. Black and White World [demo]
6. Big Tears
7. Just a Memory
8. Night Rally
9. Stranger In the House
10. Clowntime Is Over 2
11. Getting Mighty Crowded
12. Hoover Factory
13. Tiny Steps
14. (I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea
15. Dr. Luther's Assistant
16. Sunday's Best
17. Crawling To the USA
18. Wednesday Week
19. My Funny Valentine
20. Ghost Train

As someone who admittedly maybe listens to a bit too much of the guy's music over so many other rich and deep back-catalogues available at his fingertips thanks to the wonders of teh interwebz (just have a look at my lastfm profile for proof), recommending one Elvis Costello album and one only to a newbie who, credit to him/her/it, is cool enough to want to check the guy out, always makes for quite an annoyingly difficult task. I've said before however many times I might have done (even in this thread alone) that there's so much more to the man than the bespectacled face on Oliver's Army, or the one that croons at you over the credit sequence for that godawful Notting Hill flick or whatever (I'm sure any fanboys would say the same about their respective artists of choice, but hey). Usually, I find it's the earlier stuff that makes for the best starting point, but the trouble with that is that, more often than not, it'll lead to someone picking up a copy of My Aim Is True, listening to it about 50 times in 48 hours and not really wanting to go any further than that, thinking that that's as good as it gets with Costello. As you may have noticed from my feeling the need to start this thread in the first place, that attitude irks me a little.

It irks me to the point that I'd gladly tell anyone not to get My Aim Is True to start out, but instead seek out a copy of this compilation. Taking Liberties is, of course, not some slap-dash best of released very early in a prolific artist's career (Costello had only been a professional musician for some 3 or 4 years when Columbia released this), but is instead a fascinating and very, very worthwhile compilation of the classic sounds of the earlier, new wave Elvis Costello that you have to look a it harder for than, say, Watching the Detectives, Pump It Up, Peace Love and Understanding or whatever. Every song on this compilation makes for what I'd call a good song at the very least myself as well. It's a superb collection of B-sides, one-offs, demo versions, region-specific releases and other rarities which provides the perfect snapshot of Elvis Costello at the start of what's turned out (and is continuing) to be a very prolific career.

Thanks to the frankly marvellous reissue campaign than Costello and Rhino Music have taken on over the last 10-15 years, and all the enthusiastic digging through the vaults required, all these songs aren't so hard to find as they once were, which is just fine really as, like I said, this compilation can easily stand on its own two feet as a very fine album. As I've also already said, this album encapsulates the best known new wave sound of Costello, and was released just before the man started to experiment with jazz, torch music, classical and so on. Frankly, this album should be on your to-do list if only for three of the songs which easily stand among Costello's finest. Two of these are outtakes from the wonderful Get Happy album, the gorgeous ballad Just a Memory and the uplifting Getting Mighty Crowded. Crawling To the USA, recorded for the soundtrack of the 1979 Americathon movie, is another one of Costello's very best, being a great, jovial slice of surf pop. Other highlights include the demo of Black and White World (which, incidentally, is much better than the version recorded for Get Happy), all of the outtakes from Armed Forces (especially the ambitious Wednesday Week and the pumping Clean Money), the jazz standard My Funny Valentine, the lively This Year's Model outtake Big Tears, among others.

Basically, if you're looking for a good starting point for Costello, or even a few of the slightly rarer songs or just an encapsulation of the man's early sound, get this album - it'll do you a world of good. It should prepare you nicely for all the wonderful music the man would record over the following 10 years.

8/10

A quick word about something else that's been on my mind and is vaguely relevant to this thread as well...


^ How cool is that cover? I just love it myself - a terrific work of photography if ever I saw one. Alright, I'm not exactly an anorak when it comes to photography myself, but the grim, downbeat kinda sense I get everytime I look at that picture is always there for me. If I was in a particularly pretentious mood, I'd call it a picture that radiates a very gentle, mellow atmosphere. It's something about the black and white setting, the puddles on the sidewalk, the glistening of the rainfall onto the cobbled road in the old-fashioned looking, suburban setting which is almost inspirational to me.

Shame the album beneath it's so boring. Not bad exactly, just...y'know, boring. I've already been through all this earlier in the thread, but I'm just listening to this again now. Don't take my word for it though - what I find boring is probably fantastic to some. As a matter of fact, it is. I remember when I used to hang around the closest thing Elvis Costello's got to an official message board, and this album would get quite a bit of praise over there. I've seen a few glowing reviews on amazon as well. Anyway, the reason I'm listening to it again as I type this is that I've finally got a hold of an audio rip of this lovely song...


...which I think is something that really should've made the album named after it rather than being left in relative obscurity as a bonus track on the Japanese issue of this album. Also, talking of not taking my word for gospel, I played that song to a mate of mine a few years back and he totally hated it, so there ya go. The other two outtakes, the jazzy Too Blue and the lively Impatience, are easily a couple more of the best songs from the North sessions.

Anyway, I've gone on quite long enough here. I just needed to get all that off my chest
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Old 06-15-2010, 06:55 AM   #166 (permalink)
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On Taking Liberties my can't miss songs are Talking in the Dark (possibly my favorite intro on a Costello song, plus love the synth), Clean Money (so driving, so fun), Radio Sweetheart (Mix of early Costello with Almost Blue country Costello. It works well)
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Old 06-15-2010, 06:25 PM   #167 (permalink)
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^ Three great songs there, especially Radio Sweetheart, which I'd have mentioned if I hadn't heard the odd live version here and there which outdoes the studio rendition in my books. I just noticed that I forgot to mention Hoover Factory among the highlights too - very cute, nostalgic little song, even if there's an acoustic demo from the Trust sessions which is a little bit more effective than the version on Taking Liberties.

As for this thread, I doubt it'll be long before I can think of something else semi-interesting to post in it...
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:52 PM   #168 (permalink)
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Don't forget to add Taking Liberties to the index at the beginning.

I'd like to see live reviews too. I've been eyeing Live at Hollywood High, but have been holding back.
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Old 06-16-2010, 07:41 AM   #169 (permalink)
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Live At Hollywood High's pretty good stuff. If I remember correctly, the version of Accidents Will Happen is spectacular. If I can find my copy of it again, I'll flag it here. Maybe a bootleg review or two's in order as well.
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Old 06-25-2010, 08:25 AM   #170 (permalink)
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RE Live @ Hollywood High, it turns out that I've only got the 1979, 3-track EP version of it, and not the full-length LP that was released not so long ago. Might be a while longer before that review comes about then.

In the mean time, a self-assembled bootleg that might be of interest to any of the more tuned-in among us is uploading as I type this. I'll get round to posting the link here a bit later...
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