Elvis Costello: Some news, and a bit of a rant

Kevin Leonard

Supporting Actor
Joined
Mar 11, 2001
Messages
920
I recently turned a few friends of mine onto the genius that is Elvis Costello. They used to dismiss him as "that guy who does all those slow ballads." That was until I played them some of his earlier 70's punk/rock powerhouses like "Watching the Detectives," "Pump It Up," "Radio, Radio" and "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding?"...well, that turned them around real quick.
Now they're desperate to get ahold of some of his work. One problem though: everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) he put out from 1977 to 1996 is now out-of-print. Which is a shame, since Rykodisc put out some great reissues of his "classic years" ('77 - '86) albums, with bonus tracks, remastered sound and liner notes written by Costello. They are now going for 20 bucks and more on ebay now.
Well, as some of you may have noticed, Rhino Records released a 2-disc "best of" recently. Turns out this was merely a prelude to a massive re-issuing of Costello reiusses. All of his albums from 77 to 96 will be re-released as 2-disc sets each. From what I gather, the first disc will contain the album, while the second disc will contain bonus tracks. For those of you who have the Ryko reissues, all of the bonus tracks will be on the Rhino reiussues. It seems 3 albums will be released at a time, following some sort of "concept." The releases are as follows:
August 7, 2001 - My Aim Is True, Spike, All This Useless Beauty
October 16, 2001 - This Year's Model, Blood & Chocolate, Brutal Youth
January, 2002 - Armed Forces, Imperial Bedroom, Mighty Like A Rose
April, 2002 - Get Happy!!, Trust, Punch the Clock
July, 2002 - Almost Blue, King of America, Kojak Variety
Now, this is great news, because it means Costello's work will be readily available to the public, but it is a mixed blessing to me. Because I am a major Costello whore, I will wind up re-buying what I already own. But, since I own the original Ryko versions, they will be of a much higher collectible value.

So, while this news angers me, I am glad to see several classic albums being released. Just wish Costello would pick one record company and stick with it though.
(PS, for those of you who caught the final ep of "3rd Rock From the Sun," could you please tell me what the hell Costello was saying? Sounded like he was mumbling something about "money.")
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Have you ever noticed anyone driving slower than you is an idiot? And anyone driving faster than you is a maniac!! - George Carlin
 

andrew markworthy

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Sep 30, 1999
Messages
4,762
Kevin, I agree it's definitely mixed blessings. On the plus side, there seem to be even more extras than on the last re-issue. On the negative side, it's yet another re-purchase for diehard fans (to be honest, I'll only get the ones I really like, like King of America and Imperial Bedroom; I'm afraid some of his later stuff like Mighty Like A Rose and Kojak Variety leave me cold). Also, just how many extras do we *really* want? There is a limit to even EC's songwriting genius, and arguably some unreleased tracks were left off records for a very good reason (i.e. they're not very good).
 

Vanessa

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jan 1, 2001
Messages
54
Just as an FYI, but I have noticed that in several of the Best Buys around here - they have copies of the 2 1/2 Years set which has the first 3 of the Ryko reissues and an exclusive live album.
Vanessa
 

LarryDavenport

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Nov 15, 1999
Messages
2,973
All I can say is they better be cheap if Rhino wants my money. What they are going to do is take the bonus tracks from disc one, make a disc two and add just two more bonus tracks.
Since I am only interested in the first three albums they had better be great bonus tracks.
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These chicks know how to party! - MoJo JoJo
 

Kevin Leonard

Supporting Actor
Joined
Mar 11, 2001
Messages
920
Todd,
I'm totally in agreement that the Ryko reissues sound wonderful. I have the original CD versions of Blood & Chocolate and King of America to compare, and the difference is night and day.
So really, the bonus tracks are the clincher for me. Costello said he recently discovered a "killer" version of "No Action" (off TYM) that was done when he was cutting "Watching the Detectives." "No Action" is one of my all-time fave EC songs, so I am curious.
In a perfect world, Rhino would recognize that many EC fans already own the original albums, and would put together a "rarities & outtakes" compilation rather than sticking them on a second disc. But such is life.

BTW, did anybody notice that Goodbye Cruel World wasn't listed? Sure, the album is a complete pile of crap (save for a couple tracks), but you'd think he want it out there for the sake of completeness. I mean, hell David Bowie allowed to have his "masterpieces" Tonight and Never Let Me Down be released on CD...THREE DIFFERENT TIMES!

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Have you ever noticed anyone driving slower than you is an idiot? And anyone driving faster than you is a maniac!! - George Carlin
 

Todd Hostettler

Second Unit
Joined
Jun 7, 1999
Messages
283
BTW, did anybody notice that Goodbye Cruel World wasn't listed? Sure, the album is a complete pile of crap (save for a couple tracks), but you'd think he want it out there for the sake of completeness.
Actualy, maybe not. If you read Elvis' liner notes for the Ryko edition, he starts things off with saying, "Congratulations! You now own our worst album." Or something to that effect.
As for Rhino issuing a "rarities" album, I wouldn't rule it out completely. Time and time again, they've proven to be a very consumer-friendly outfit.
 

Kevin Leonard

Supporting Actor
Joined
Mar 11, 2001
Messages
920
As for Rhino issuing a "rarities" album, I wouldn't rule it out completely. Time and time again, they've proven to be a very consumer-friendly outfit.
I'm not ruling it out myself.
But I do recall once that Rhino intended to issue a rarities album of songs by the Cars. It fell through, but they went ahead and put a rarities album anyways...by making it the 2nd disc of a deluxe version of the Cars first album. Now, at the time, I didn't own their first album, so it wasn't a problem to me. But there were fans who were forced to buy something they already owned if they wanted to hear all the rare stuff. Another example is their reissue of the Velvet Underground's Loaded. Again, I didn't own the original album at the time, but many others did.
I'm not trying to bash Rhino here. They do great work and I am eagerly awaiting their Ramones reissues.
It's just that after being screwed over a few times on situations like this, I have become a bit jaded and cynical.
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Have you ever noticed anyone driving slower than you is an idiot? And anyone driving faster than you is a maniac!! - George Carlin
 

Kevin Leonard

Supporting Actor
Joined
Mar 11, 2001
Messages
920
OK, I got the tracklisting for the first three Rhino reissues. The tracks listed in bold italics denote a song that has never before appeared on a Costello album/compilation:
MY AIM IS TRUE
DISC ONE
1. Welcome to the Working Week
2. Miracle Man
3. No Dancing
4. Blame It On Cain
5. Alison
6. Sneaky Feelings
7. Red Shoes
8. Less Than Zero
9. Mystery Dance
10. Pay It Back
11. I'm Not Angry
12. Waiting For the End of the World
DISC TWO
1. Watching the Detectives
2. No Action [demo]
3. Living In Paradise [demo]
4. Stranger In the House
5. I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself
6. Less Than Zero [Dallas Version]
7. Imagination (Is A Powerful Deceiver)
8. Mystery Dance [Honky Tonk Demo]
9. Cheap Reward [Honky Tonk Demo]
10. Jump Up [Honky Tonk Demo]
11. Blame It On Cain [Honky Tonk Demo]
12. Poison Moon [Honky Tonk Demo]
SPIKE
DISC ONE
1. ...This Town
2. Let Him Dangle
3. Deep Dark Truthful Mirror
4. Veronica
5. God's Comic
6. Chewing Gum
7. Tramp the Dirt Down
8. Stalin Malone
9. Satellite
10. Pads, Paws and Claws
11. Baby Plays Around
12. Miss Macbeth
13. Any King's Shilling
14. Coal-Train Robberies
15. Last Boat Leaving
DISC TWO
1. ...This Town [Demo]
2. Deep Dark Truthful Mirror [Demo]
3. Coal Train Robberies [Demo]
4. Satellite [Demo]
5. Pads, Paws and Claws [Demo]
6. Let Him Dangle [Demo]
7. Veronica [Demo]
8. Tramp the Dirt Down [Demo]
9. Baby Plays Around [Demo]
10. Put Your Big Toe in the Milk of Human Kindness
11. The Ugly Things
12. You're No Good
13. Point of No Return
14. The Room Nobody Lives In
ALL THIS USELESS BEAUTY
DISC ONE
1. The Other End of the Telescope
2. Little Atoms
3. All This Useless Beauty
4. Complicated Shadows
5. Why Can't A Man Stand Alone?
6. Distorted Angel
7. Shallow Grave
8. Poor Fractured Atlas
9. Starting to Come to Me
10. You Bowed Down
11. It's Time
12. I Want to Vanish
DISC TWO
1. Almost Ideal Eyes
2. My Dark Life
3. That Day Is Done
4. What Do I Do Now?
5. It's Time [Demo]
6. Complicated Shadows [Demo]
7. You Bowed Down [Demo]
8. Mistress and Maid [Demo]
9. Distorted Angel [Demo]
10. World's Greatest Optimist [Demo]
11. The Only Flame In Town [Demo]
12. The Comedians [Demo]
13. The Days Take Care of Everything [Demo]
14. Hidden Shame [Demo]
15. Why Can't A Man Stand Alone [Demo]
16. Distorted Angel [Tricky Remix]
There you have it. The fans who own the Rykodisc edition of MAIT and are going to buy this edition are going to get royally screwed. The Spike and ATUB reissues are quite nice; unfortunately for me, I own a bootle--I mean, "limited recording" that collects all of Costello's b-sides from '89 to '94. So for me, the Spike purchase will also be iffy. I lost my copy of ATUB so that is definitely going to be one to buy.
All in all, a mixed bag for diehards but a mecca for casual fans.
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Have you ever noticed anyone driving slower than you is an idiot? And anyone driving faster than you is a maniac!! - George Carlin
 

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