Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Elvis Costello: Spike (1989)

After releasing records almost every year since the late 70s, it took Elvis three to come back with Spike. I like this record, but Allmusic doesn't:

"There are some moments that work quite well, but there's nothing connecting them, and if anything, he's trying way too hard -- and, for all of the overarching ambition of his early-'80s recordings, that criticism never applied before. Certainly, there are cuts for cultists to enjoy, but Spike's sprawl works against it, resulting in a maddeningly diffuse listen."

Monday, March 30, 2015

Elvis Costello & the Attractions: Blood and Chocolate (1986)

Elvis released two records in 1986. That's pretty good going for an old guy. And this one, in which he was reunited with the Attractions and producer Nick Lowe, is a good one, and it may be one of my favourite Costello records. I can't find any official videos on Youtube.

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Costello Show (Featuring Elvis Costello): King of America (1986)

The listing for this record in Discogs.com indicates that the record is by The Costello Show (Featuring the Attractions and the Confederates). However, the spine on my copy reads The Costello Show (Featuring Elvis Costello). There may be many versions floating around.

This record serves to highlight an irritating aspect of Discogs.com. This record is not listed under Elvis Costello because it is credited on the sleeve to The Costello Show, even though it is an Elvis Costello record. Under Springsteen, some releases are under Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, one under Bruce Springsteen And The E-Street Band, and others are under Bruce Springsteen. It makes no sense. But, then again, Discogs is filled with errors.

But, back to Mr. Costello, I think this is a pretty good record. It's seems to be a return to a more folk sound. It is mellow and very engaging and I find I play this one more than some of the others in my collection.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Elvis Costello And The Attractions: The Best Of Elvis Costello And The Attractions (1985)

This is the only Elvis Costello album that I have on CD as well as vinyl. It's a good summary of his career up to 1985. I find the choices of most best of or greatest hits collections to be a bit odd, as they often miss some of the better songs. That's probably true of this one, but it's a really good collection of tunes.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Elvis Costello & the Attractions: Goodbye Cruel World (1984)

"Congratulations! You just bought the worst album of my career." So wrote Costello in the Rykodisc re-release. It's hard to argue with that, but the album has a few bright spots.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Elvis Costello & the Attractions: Punch the Clock (1983)

First, I have to point out that I had glasses that were almost identical to the ones worn by Prince Charmless on the cover of Punch the Clock.

Second, I hated Everyday I Write the Book. I think that probably had a lot to do with how often I heard it and saw the damned video. In 1983, it seems that there weren't enough videos to satisfy demand and so a few videos were replayed constantly. I wonder if this song would have been as popular if there hadn't been a video. The Charles Diana thing got old very fast for me.

But, today, I think that the song is OK. The rest of the album is OK too.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Elvis Costello & the Attractions: Imperial Bedroom (1982)

I would place IbMePdErRoIoAmL in my top five of Elvis Costello records. It's a really great record. That's all I will say about it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Elvis Costello & the Attractions: Almost Blue (1981)

Mr. Costello went to Nashville to record Almost Blue, his country covers record. Costello added a warning label on the cover, suggesting that narrow-minded people might not like the music. Though I am not a country music fan, I like it, depending on my mood. I wouldn't rank this anywhere near the top of the best Elvis records, but it is listenable. Besides, as an Elvis fan, I had t get it. By the way, I am not sure if I mentioned that I only have one Elvis Costello CD, and that is a best of collection. I think that is weird, since I have lots of his vinyl.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Elvis Costello & the Attractions: Trust (1981)

The long arm of the law slides up the outskirts of town
Meanwhile in Clubland they are ready to pull them down
My copy of Trust is a US pressing, which I find strange, because Canadian pressings were readily available. All of my previous Elvis records were pressed in Canada. I think Trust is a great record, though perhaps not as great as the first few. The record opens strongly, with Clubland, one of my fav Costello tracks. I've also really loved Watch Your Step, the track that closes out side 1. Something about the record cover makes me think of Risky Business, but this record came first, so it ought to be the other way around.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Elvis Costello: Taking Liberties (1980)

This record collects 20 B-sides and other previously-unreleased tracks. If you were an Elvis fan back-in-the-day, you probably already own it. If not, it's worth picking up. The cover is a bit weird.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Elvis Costello & the Attractions: Get Happy (1980)

This album has 20 songs on one record. Granted, some of them are short, but that's quite a lot of grooves, man. I guess this record is a move away from his punky new wave sound into new territories. I think it works, though I will confess that I prefer his earlier stuff better.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Elvis Costello & the Attractions: Armed Forces (1979)

I absolutely hate the cover of this record, well, at least the cover on the Canadian pressing. The UK pressing has a much better cover. On the other hand, Armed Forces contains my fav Costello song - Oliver's Army. The record also has (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding and Accidents Will Happen. It's a cool record.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Elvis Costello: Live at the El Mocambo (1978)

I moved to Toronto long after this show happened, but I am fairly sure that I heard snippets of the broadcast on CHUM-FM, which used to be an amazing radio station. It's been a pathetic blight upon the radio airwaves for the last 30 years.

Live at the El Mocambo is a demo record, meant for radio station replay only, as it says on the jacket. Somehow, a few of these records escaped into the wild. This record is interesting, but the sound is not that great. It is better than a bootleg, but the overall sound is a bit dull. Still, it's cool to have.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Elvis Costello & the Attractions: This Year's Model (1978)

This is a rock and roll record! Although, let me say, once again, that I really hate it when record companies change the song sequencing and even the tracks, on domestic releases. The Canadian version of this record is different from the UK release. Radio Radio is not on the UK release. This happened very often. What do they have to mess with it?

Monday, March 09, 2015

Elvis Costello: My Aim is True (1977)

My Aim is True has to be one of the finest debut records of all time. It's not as good as Leonard Cohen's first record, but what is? My Aim is True is a kind of punky new wave with a few other musical influences thrown in to the mix.

As everyone knows, Costello's backing band was Clover, who went on to be the backing band for Huey Lewis, under the name of The News. I should mention that, in 1977, I had never heard of Elvis Costello. I was young and out-of-touch with some musical trends.

If there is one sad thing to report, it's that my copy of this record has a few scratches, though it still sounds great. It was second hand, and cost me $0.

Here are a couple of live tracks, since there appear to have been no official videos made back then.

Bill Cosby: 200 M.P.H. (1968)

Suddenly, Bill Cosby is topical once again, but for all the wrong reasons. I should probably break this record into a thousand pieces and burn the jacket in my fireplace.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Stewart Copeland: Rumble Fish (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (1983)

I suppose I should see this film some day. For some reason, I have never managed to catch it. As a soundtrack, it's pretty good with lots of soundtrack moments. The best thing about it is Don't Box Me In, the collaboration with Stanard (Stan!) Ridgway (more about him later). Sorry for the crooked cover photo.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Julian Cope: My Nation Underground (1988)

I had no idea that Cope was dissatisfied with this record until I read the Allmusic entry. It's amazing how much I don't know. I've always liked this record, but it is clearly not the best Cope record. That honour definitely goes to Peggy Suicide. Again, China Doll is by no means the best track on the record, but there is a video.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Julian Cope: World Shut Your Mouth (1984)

World Shut Your Mouth was Cope's first solo release after the disbanding of The Teardrop Explodes. The strangest thing about this record is that the song World Shut Your Mouth is not on it. Oh well. I chose the following clip because it seems to be the only video from the record, and not because it's the best song. I like some of the other songs better.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Alice Cooper: DaDa (1983)

The last of Cooper's so-called blackout records is Dada. This is by far the most interesting of the records. The opening track, DaDa, is a weird, abstract piece that I find quite unusual and interesting. It might be the oddest track in his whole catalogue. Sadly, the remainder of the record is not quite as interesting.

Alice Cooper: Zipper Catches Skin (1982)

This is number three of Cooper's four blackout albums, or records that he has no memory of making. The others are Flush the Fashion, Special Forces, and Dada. I find that fascinating. I remember David Bowie saying once that he had no memory of making Station To Station. It's amazing what drugs and alcohol can do to the brain.

It makes me wonder how either of them managed to write the songs in the first place. In this case, the question leads to the unavoidable answer that Cooper probably doesn't want to remember writing this record. It just isn't very good, or perhaps it's simply better left to the die-hard Alice fans.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Alice Cooper: Special Forces (1981)

On CD, I have the first 6 or 7 Alice Cooper albums. On vinyl, it seems that I have a few of his weaker releases. Special Forces was kind of a let down after Flush the Fashion. Generation Landslide mentions Billion Dollar Babies, which is cool, but it leaves me wanting to hear that song, not this one. The music pales in comparison to the early stuff.