Elvis Costello

Declan McManus (Elvis Costello) was born in London in 1954, he emerged out of the 1970's punk insurgency. However unlike the punks of the day Elvis grew into a truly eloquent song writer and performer. Costello's debut album in 1977 entitled, My Aim is True was the beginning of an adventurous and diverse musical career that eventually led to his 1986's roots multi-flavored classic album the King of America.

This newly re-released gem of an album just got even better than the original. Primarily, the CD has been re-mastered with a bonus disc included. The extra disc includes several juicy nuggets, such as solo demo versions, live recordings and outtakes…a real special feature for all fans. "Indoor Fireworks" & "Poisoned Rose" are among the best he's ever penned. Right up there with classics like, "Almost Blue". The bleak majesty of "Little Palaces" & "Sleep Of The Just" will haunt you in your sleep. And things don't get any more derisive than the likes of "I'll Wear It Proudly" or "Suit Of Lights". As for the rest, "Brilliant Mistake", "Jack Of All Parades" & "Big Light" all go to show there really isn't a dud on the album. Costello also does well on his choice of covers. His raspy take on "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" is as brooding & menacing as it gets. On "Eisenhower" he wisely lets his guest stars blow off some much needed steam. Of course, the real clincher for fans is the bonus disc. "Having It All", "Suffering Face" & "Deportee" capture Costello at his maudlin best. "Shoes Without Heels" & "King Of Confidence" would have only improved the original album. His covers of "True Love Ways" & "End Of The Rainbow" are priceless. As for the live cuts, things like "Tears Me Up" are gut wrenching to say the least. I almost forgot, the CD's booklet which describes Costello's thoughts about the album and the process of producing it with renowned producer T-Bone Burnett and Larry Hirsch. Further, Elvis Costello was surrounded by a cast of stellar and legendary musicians including ex-Elvis Presley guitar ace James Burton and bassist Jerry Scheff. Even though "King" was a studio recording it came off sounding live and vibrant.

Originally this album contained 15 toe tapping tunes but now Rhino has included a second disc with 21 never before recorded tracks. This is a real treat for any Costello fan, including myself. This is among my favorite re-issues of the year, go out and buy it.

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