Elvis span a new 45 yesterday – sorry, I mean he dropped some new sounds on multiple electronic platforms. The music is a racket on which he plays everything, his ‘I knocked this up myself in the shed’ tradition that goes all the way back to Hoover Factory 40 years ago. The lyrics might just be a bitter and sorrowful swipe at those who find themselves manipulated by anti-democratic leaders. Chill out music it ain’t.
I have no particular recollection of noticing many comments or articles here about this show. Hence, I’m interested in your experience of it. I recall buying season one on DVD and pretty much rushing home to watch it thinking that I was in for a treat and a feast. I expected insightful interviews with an interesting array of people.
It certainly is an interesting array of people and season two, which is available now on YouTube, continues in that vein. However, to my surprise, Elvis is a terrible host and a bad interviewer. He reminds me a little of James Lipton who had the job of hosting Inside the Actors’ Studio. Great guests, but Lipton could make you squirm as he leaned into his guests attempting to oil his way into their affections.
Costello seems not to know how to actually ask a question. This is a problem that I see in the vast majority of interviewers, even professional ones, so I’m not that surprised to see it in an amateur. Costello is not a professional journalist and it shows. Instead, he’s egotistical, determined to show that he is the star here and everybody else is a guest. This seems » Continue Reading.
If you’re fresh from cheering and clapping our precious battered NHS out of your window you might like to know about Artists 4 NHS. It’s a group fundraising for official NHS staff charities and set up in the last few days by musician Ronan MacManus, whose wife works at Northwick Park hospital in London. The first streamed performance is tomorrow (Friday 27th) at 7.30pm and is from Ronan’s half brother, a certain Elvis Costello, live from his basement apparently.
Do join – and do open your wallet a little if you can. He’s bound to pull out a rarely heard song or two as well as a hit or three.
It’s several weeks – though feels a world away – since I saw Elvis at what turned out to be the last night of his UK tour. I can report that he’s older but still great and fired up, including when he spoke from the stage about the NHS and the running down it usually receives from our politicians. He also praised the care they give his 92 year old mum in the same hospital that was quarantining Covid-19 patients returning from abroad. Just like after one of » Continue Reading.
Hey folks, I was due to fly to London this Friday and see Elvis Costello and the Imposters at the Eventim Apollo Hammersmith. Obviously the other stuff happening is keeping me grounded in Dublin. The tickets are Circle Standing so they’re relatively cheap, £100 the pair. Anyone more local interested? Elvis is always great to see live. Ta!
I happened to see that Elvis Costello was on Wednesday night’s One Show (BBC One) so watched it on the iPlayer machine…I did fear it might have been car crash TV ( Matt Baker and Elvis?!?!) Turns out it was mildly interesting and Elvis was quite funny. He was plugging his forthcoming album and, from what I heard, it might be quite good.
I still can’t do the links but a few of you may wish to seek it out.
Just found this. Elvis Costello/Declan MacManus in his band Flip City in 1974 at a festival in London. Starts around 43.30 in. They play 2 songs, sounding very pub-rockish.
Live television is the last place you should try and be spontaneous
At the time that Elvis Costello and The Attractions, in the middle of a pulverising touring schedule that made their reputation as a fearsome live band, played the cult late night comedy show on NBC it was regarded as a daring and provocative response to Monty Python. Or at least a team of the US best and brightest comedy performers – Dan Aykroyd , John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Gilder Radner, Bill Murray et al. The shows passion for presenting musical acts that might not necessarily get airtime elsewhere gained it a reputation for being cutting edge – so Elvis and the razor sharp Attraction seemed a perfect fit.
But it wasn’t supposed to happen at all.
Nearly two years before on a sleepy teatime TV show in the UK, the popular and interview shy Queen were booked to appear on the Today show. Perhaps wishing to avoid the comfy area chat with host Bill Grundy they withdrew at the 11th hour. A desperate EMI publicity department searched round for a stable-mate to replace them and found that fresh young signings, The Sex Pistols, were rehearsing across town. A » Continue Reading.
After a few days of heavy tweeting, EC has announced that something new from The Imposter is coming out tomorrow.
An Imposter single? On the Fourth of July? I wonder who it might be about…
I heard someone give Revisionist History by Malcolm Gladwell a big up on the Afterword podcast, so I gave it a go and thank you very much to whoever mentioned it.
I bring it up because the 8th episode ‘Hallelujah’ is right up the Afterword alley – talking (briefly) to Alan Winstanley about working with Elvis Costello and making an album they all hated (Elvis, Alan and mega-fan Gladwell); the creation and eventual emergence of Halellujah as a classic covered by all and sundry; the difference between Dylan and Cohen and much more.
The rest of the series is very interesting too. Made me think about my thought patterns, behaviours and choices on more than one occasion… The tryptic on education started making me very angry.
A couple of rather good recent WTF podcasts, one with Elvis Costello and another with Steve Albini which were both very interesting. Shame they weren’t longer really.The ones with James Taylor, Peaches and John Mayall are worth a listen too.
I’m currently reading the Elvis Costello autobiography and there’s a chapter dedicated to the young Declan’s first faltering steps as a live performer. He describes the folk clubs and pubs who allowed virtually anyone to get up and perform. These days I suppose we’d call them “Open Mic Nights” but back then they weren’t really a feature so much as a way to fill the gaps between the main (ie paid) performers. Sometimes the floor singers were pretty good, often they were terrible, but mostly they were simply dull.
Folk clubs were the natural habit of the floor singer of course and this reminded me of the times I spent at arguably the most famous folk club of them all, Les Cousins.
Come with me now as we travel back in time to a more innocent age….
What’s the matter with y’all? The Costello autobio has been available for 16 hours and not a word about it so far.
There’s a Kindle sample up.
It looks proper interesting like (despite a couple of copy-editing howlers, but that’s standard practice for rock ‘n’ pop ‘n’ rollers’ memoirs, it seems).
Produced by Steve Van Zandt and written by Elvis Costello, this is the first single from the new album from Darlene Love. The album also contains anothe EC song and a couple by Bruce Springsteen. The video is packed with stars and is a hoot. The song is an absolute ear worm and Ms Love can still belt out a lyric.
I just saw that Billy Sherrill, who produced Elvis Costello’s Almost Blue, has passed away.
As a somewhat love-sick 17 year old, I was very taken with Mr Costello’s version of Sweet Dreams. As I recall, the single had a cover of Jack Kittel’s Psycho on the B-side. I liked that too, but not because I was love-sick.
Almost Blue was my gateway to Patsy Cline and Gram Parsons and it is still one of my favourite Elvis Costello albums. There’s a documentary (Edit: I see it’s the South Bank Show) about the making of Almost Blue, which I remember as being good. I see it’s on YouTube, so that’s my next hour sorted.
Billy Sherrill also co-wrote Stand By Your Man. I find Tammy Wynette’s version a bit cloying, but I like Lyle Lovett’s. I was going to pop that in here too, but I don’t know if I can, so I will (try to) be the first to comment on my own post and put it there.
I was going to write a diatribe against religious zealots that seem only content when they are killing those who don’t share their fairytales about invisible Dads etc. Yet after a day of horrific news I was moved to tears by this wonderful Nick Lowe lyric at Elvis C’s Basingstoke show last night. It replaced the angry ranting John Lydon screaming PIL’s ‘Religion’ in my head.
Maybe the upswing of vinyl has to do with that tactile and beauty of album artwork. Which are your favourites and most inventive ones?
This is one of mine (unsurprisingly) from the great Barney Bubbles
This October, The Emotional Toothpaste himself releases his (first) memoir/autobiography. Can’t wait. Make sure it’ll fit your stocking, pop-pickers and brace yourself for “Everyday He Writes The Book”-style headlines.
Elvis Costello is on his solo touring of the US tip once more and washed up in Alabama. So he decided to roll out a Dylan cover
Haven’t read it yet, I’m on the dog, but a few talking points here, I’ll be bound.
I’m moving office which has lead to me moving some CDs, which has obviously lead to a lot of listening to things I’d forgotten. One I’d not quite forgotten is Brutal Youth by Elvis Costello. I still have not got round to listening to it though. I bought it because I saw them play 13 steps lead down on TV and thought it sounded good, but obviously not good enough for me to listen to the thing. As I load it into Itunes I realise I have had it for 20 years (since 1994) without playing it. Is this a record? (no, a record is the black vinyl thing, boom tish).