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Elvis Costello Help

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
I just managed to get a copy "The Delivery Man" and I love it. He has a tremendous catalog. I need advice on where to go from here.
post #2 of 25
Definately check out Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz with Guest Elvis Costello. Absolutely FANTASTIC!!!
post #3 of 25
"My Aim is True" - his debut album. Classic.
post #4 of 25
I don't usually do this (because the reference is to anther forum, but it's a great forum and Steve Hoffman is a member here and a friend to many so why not)... eat your heart out reading this thread:

http://www.stevehoffman.tv/forums/sh...Elvis+Costello

There are some serious music nuts over there, and I say that in the most respectful way I possibly could. I'm a music nut and don't really count myself worthy in their company, but learn a lot by reading and lurking there.

Ok, so if 50 pages wasn't enough reading, pick it up here:

http://www.stevehoffman.tv/forums/sh...Elvis+Costello

My favorites, for what it's worth, are mostly from the early years. There was a certain rawness to his material back then. In no particular order:

My Aim Is True
This Year's Model
Get Happy!!
Trust
Armed Forces
Punch The Clock
King Of America
Blood And Chocolate
All This Useless Beauty
When I Was Cruel (& Cruel Smile)

I'd say the first 2 on this list (which also happen to be his first 2 albulms) are pretty much essential in terms of seeing where he came from. After that, you can go in so many directions with Elvis Costello and it's hard to find agreement on a lot of his albulms. Not many of them have been total flops, at least not to his fan base. But he has gone in all sorts of directions, muck like you could say about the likes of Dylan, Springsteen, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, etc. So it's really a matter of what you're looking for, I guess.

I like the punchier, more upbeat stuff that he's done. Almost Blue, for example, is a fine albulm, but just a little too country for my tastes. Juliet Letters I simply don't get. It bores me to tears and I would have never thought I'd say that about any of his albulms, but that one didn't work for me at all.
post #5 of 25
My interest in Costello spawned from his marriage to Diana Krall. I picked up the Piano Jazz album because it contained Almost Blue and My Funny Valentine. I'm really digging this album so I grabbed "Painted From Memory", with Burt Bacharach last night.

I'm liking what I'm hearing so far, but like the OP I'm not sure where to go next. Perhaps I should start at the start, or perhaps somewhere else?
post #6 of 25
i found "Armed Forces" for peanuts at a garage sale on vinyl, and it sounds soooo good. coupled with "Argybargy" by Squeeze (which I believe Elvis produced?) it makes for a great night of wry observation.
post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jahn View Post
i found "Armed Forces" for peanuts at a garage sale on vinyl, and it sounds soooo good. coupled with "Argybargy" by Squeeze (which I believe Elvis produced?) it makes for a great night of wry observation.
I actually first saw Elvis Costello as a teenager, on the Trust tour; Squeeze opened for him. It was at the old Palladium, which was a concert hall that became a cavernous '80s nightclub. It has now been colonized by New York University, like much of Greenwich Village.

I can't say I'm a big fan of Costello's recent stuff; he's not really following the same songwriting impetus anymore, and not using his voice's full capabilities, either. Not sure that folks who get onboard now will dig rocking classics like My Aim Is True, This Year's Model, Armed Forces or Trust. I haven't warmed up to a record since the late '80s, so if I were to suggest something to someone who actually likes Costello's new stuff I'd select records where his "expanded vision" still blended with his punkish new-wave sensibility, like Imperial Bedroom, King of America and perhaps Punch The Clock, which has that great song "Shipbuilding." (Chet Baker plays the trumpet solos on it.)

Hope this helps…
post #8 of 25
The delivery man was a return to the more rocking early style Elvis in many ways.

In that vein, "Armed Forces "would be my top pick followed by "this years model" and "Trust'.

If you want a decent sampler/overview you might want to look at The best of elvis costello, the first 10 years. I have seen it in stores for $10.

much harder to find, but well worth it is "Live at the El Macombo". It was recorded about the period of Armed forces and floated around for a long time as a bootleg.

there was an actual released version that was packaged in a box set fro rhino along with his first three albums.
post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by sno1man View Post
If you want a decent sampler/overview you might want to look at The best of elvis costello, the first 10 years. I have seen it in stores for $10.
Wow. That program's better than decent; a really good blend. Definitely the place to get up to speed.
post #10 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by tru blu View Post
I actually first saw Elvis Costello as a teenager, on the Trust tour; Squeeze opened for him. It was at the old Palladium, which was a concert hall that became a cavernous '80s nightclub. It has now been colonized by New York University, like much of Greenwich Village.

I can't say I'm a big fan of Costello's recent stuff; he's not really following the same songwriting impetus anymore, and not using his voice's full capabilities, either. Not sure that folks who get onboard now will dig rocking classics like My Aim Is True, This Year's Model, Armed Forces or Trust. I haven't warmed up to a record since the late '80s, so if I were to suggest something to someone who actually likes Costello's new stuff I'd select records where his "expanded vision" still blended with his punkish new-wave sensibility, like Imperial Bedroom, King of America and perhaps Punch The Clock, which has that great song "Shipbuilding." (Chet Baker plays the trumpet solos on it.)

Hope this helps…
Yeah, thanks, I think I'll grab MAIT and one of the ones you mentioned next and see where I end up.
post #11 of 25
This Year's Model
Armed Forces
Brutal Youth
Blood & Chocolate

Grab the now out of print 2CD deluxe versions on Rhino. Good sound quality and tons of extras.
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasper994 View Post
Yeah, thanks, I think I'll grab MAIT and one of the ones you mentioned next and see where I end up.
Really great to hear you're an album, rather than a "best of", kind of listener. In that case, I'd say My Aim…, then definitely King Of America (those two offer very distinct takes on American roots music), then Imperial Bedroom. If you can't get enough, you'll want to reach for the other early stuff, and welcome yourself to the fan club.
post #13 of 25
Thread Starter 
Im not much the "Best of" type either. I enjoy the progression of albums and that slice of time feeling it provides
post #14 of 25
i just read the OP again and realized the later mellower Elvis is probably what the target it - in which case grab that collab with Burt Bararach - here's a clip!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AK2AB...elated&search=
post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by markl View Post
TGrab the now out of print 2CD deluxe versions on Rhino. Good sound quality and tons of extras.
Forgot to mention that! I've got them all, as I'm sure Mark does as well, and must say there is a LOT of great material in the bonus discs. In general, go for almost anything that Rhino puts out as a remaster. I'm not talking just about EC, I'm talking about anything and everything that they remaster and put out in deluxe editions (assuming that you're at least remotely interested in the music itself). They're uniformally well done in terms of sonics, the packaging is always first class, and the value is hard to beat.

Getting back to the EC Rhino remasters, the sound quality is excellent and the bonus discs are lively and varied. Anything from extra cuts that didn't make the albulm, alternative studio takes of cuts that did make the albulm, or live tracks that were recorded during the same general time frame, although these bonus discs each have a life of their own and don't suffer needlessly by following a 'pattern'. As a fan, this material has really helped me to sort of flush things out a bit and have a better sense of where he was coming from at various points along the road. Sadly, they haven't reissued everything in his catalog, and I for one would like to see this done.

Supply and demand forces (or probably more accurately, publishing rights issues) seem to have dictated otherwise even though there are quite a few of them (at least 15 or more) in existence. You can't really go wrong because: 1) the sound quality of the Rhino reissues (disc one, the originally released albulm) is better than what was out there before, 2) the bonus discs are a real treat in many cases, and 3) they don't cost anything -- or much -- more than the originals.

By complete coincidence, I happen to be listening to Punch the Clock at the moment which makes this thread even more fun.
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