The Other Side of Summer: Elvis Costello


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19 Comments on “The Other Side of Summer: Elvis Costello”

  1. im6 Says:

    Thanks for reminding me how good Elvis was and CAN BE. Unfortunately, he seems to be one of those people who have become TOO prolific — releasing just about any and everything he does. Bacharach duets, outings with string quartets, etc. He’s certainly not the only one guilty of this, but I rather miss the days when a release by an artist was an event — something to look forward to and not just this month’s edition like a magazine or something. In my opinion, Dylan is certainly guilty of this. McCartney comes close. I’d rather get less good music than more mediocre music. Am I alone in this opinion or can other give examples as well?

    • Birgit Says:

      im6, I don’t really follow official releases that much, but I agree in less good music than more mediocre music. Nowadays I’m glad that I often can listen to some songs on the internet before I decide to buy an album. For example a lot of old former concert bootlegs are now sold semi-officially. I don’t have high audio standards, but some of these concerts are so badly recorded that they are a torture to listen to. As a Stooges fan I know what I’m talking about ;-)

    • katry Says:

      im6,
      No, I agree with you. Singers whose new albums were part of a countdown lose their shine when they push albums. Some of these current so-called new albums are remastered with added tracks which were left out because they didn’t meet the original standards, but they’re just fine now! I say the same thing about authors. James Patterson publishes what seems like a new novel every month and few are worth the read.

      Give me Dylan of old. I never tire of his albums.

  2. Birgit Says:

    I saw Elvis Costello live in 2004. The backing band led by Jazz guitarist Bill Frisell was way more interesting than Costello himself. Sometimes well known good musicians just disappoint in concerts. Also Rickie Lee Jones and Susanne Vega, two of the most boring concerts I’ve ever seen.

    • katry Says:

      Birgit,
      I think that some singers need their music “improved” in the studio while others have a few good songs, but the rest just don’t make it. That’s what makes some concerts boring.

      • Richard Says:

        I’ve seen Costello 20 times (+/- a couple, maybe) and have never been disappointed, solo, with others, and with the imposters and the attractions,
        his tours with the imposters have been as good if not better than when he toured with the attractions,

        great artist, maybe he was having a bad night

      • katry Says:

        Richard,
        I have to agree that it might have been a bad night given the number of times you have seen him, and he hasn’t disappointed. Even the best has a tough night every now and then.

  3. im6 Says:

    Don’t get me started on Rickie Lee, Birgit. I saw her when she first started (with a young newcomer by the name of Tom Waits as her opening act!). She was quite good. Saw her in Berkeley and it was okay. Tried to see her in Chicago and was standing in line waiting for the doors to open and we waited and waited and waited until we were told she was cancelling the show because she didn’t like the fact that the elevated trains were making too much noise for her. Way to treat your fans, RLJ. I guess she’s always been a bit adventurous in her music, but, to my ears, she didn’t just get off the road, she got way out in the wilderness. Her most recent, “The Devil You Know” is all covers (with Ben Harper) and it’s almost unlistenable with many of the songs unrecognizable. I’m all for musicians stretching their creative muscles, but she pulled her muscle a long time ago. It’s so disappointing to be let down by an artist you previously loved. (Van Morrison, I’m particularly talking to you!)

  4. hedley Says:

    The lead off track from Elvis’ 13th album, Mighty Like a Rose, and by then he was not the same force that had driven new music out of the 70s and in to the 80s. Trust, Get Happy, Armed Forces, the great music kept coming.

    After my daughter cranked my wife’s new car, Elvis gave us back stage passes (too long a story) and we spent a very happy evening after the show talking about our days as bank clerks, Elvis at the Midland Bank and me at the Bank of England. I told him that when I left my friend Madeleine gave me a copy of My Aim is True on the original Stiff label with the prophetic words “you are really nice but you are really stupid”

    and my favorite Elvis song….New Amsterdam

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      I find I tend to like earlier albums because many singers’ voices don’t age well. Tom Waits is my example of that. I adore the early albums but just can’t understand his gravelly voice much anymore.

      I like Elvis Costello’s early albums more than those of his later career.

      • hedley Says:

        Kat, I never really came to grips with Waits. Rain Dogs has been held out as his best work, but really does very little for me. I don’t even think PEDs will cause me to go find that disc.

      • katry Says:

        Only early Waits for me, MDH. I think I like songs here and there rather than whole albums.

      • im6 Says:

        Hedley, you might give Waits’ “The Heart Of Saturday Night” a listen. It’s one of his best (I believe it was his second) and one of the more mainstream. By that, I mean there are more conventional “songs” on it. :-) I’m also a fan of “Small Change” which is a bit more adventurous, but in a good way!

      • hedley Says:

        im6, I will try to sample it – I guess I never cared for Tom Waits’ voice.

        Meanwhile the US Postal Truck that brings our goodies is under increasing pressure as I wait anxiously for the arrival of the Nilsson box set. It was a Bona price from the UK at $58 for the 17 discs.

        Your prior conversation with Birgit was heading very quickly down the road of “the worst show that I ever saw”

      • im6 Says:

        17 discs is way too many for me to even contemplate! And I like Harry a lot (did you see the documentary “Who is Harry…”?). I generally try to pick and choose concerts very carefully (at least when I still went to them), so I’ve had very few disappointments. As you might guess, Van The Man, may head my list, but that’s probably because he did mostly blues numbers with Chicago blues musicians (hey, that’s where the show was) and I’m really not a fan of the blues. Otherwise I’ve been really lucky except for the time I thought going to see Paul Shaeffer and band was a good idea. Once again, it was in Chicago and he let every Chicago blues player in town get their time in the spotlight. Yaaaaaawn!

      • hedley Says:

        im6, I am in at $3.41 a disc, if I don’t like them I can Frisbee them at the car hauler I see every morning on Telegraph Road . But for bonus tracks, remasters, and outtakes, I am willing to give it a go.

        Van is Van, these days you get exactly 90 minutes. He takes his watch off, finishes with Gloria and adjusts the length of the song to match his departure. The last time he was in the no alcohol no cigarettes deal which meant everyone, he wanted to start at 7.30 pm and said no late arrivals. He played exactly what he wanted and at 9.00 as we were leaving I was listening to people complaining that he hadn’t played Brown Eyed Girl and was surely coming back – he wasn’t. there is a lazy show (brown eyed girl, moondance, Gloria) and a Van show.

        I love Van, a friend of mine just flew to Dublin for one of the 350 seater dinner shows and drew the attention of Van’s keyboard player So you never know

        Diana Ross really sucked, Whitney Houston, Anita Baker, Francis Zappa and Hank Williams Jr were not very far behind

      • im6 Says:

        You had to remind me of Diana Ross, didn’t you, Hedley? I’d successfully buried that memory until you went and brought it up. I guess she sang okay, but WHAT A B.I.T.C.H. !!! Spent half the show complaining about the piano and how the sound just wasn’t right for her. Well, how ’bout doing a sound check, Miss My-You-Know-What-Don’t-Stink? And guess what, girl. ANYONE’s gown will flow if the material is flimsy enough and you walk around the circular stage fast enough. That doesn’t deserve applause, but I guess she didn’t get the memo.

      • hedley Says:

        im6 – We were at the midnight show at the Joe Louis Arena in 1981 as part of the Superbowl events. Aside from the fact that she relied almost entirely on her back up singers, we were treated to three costume changes, some randoms being invited to dance on the stage and the houselights being turned up so we could all hold hands, all in approximately 75 minutes. Took three hours to get home in an ice storm.

        Anita Baker clearly had not rehearsed with her band, complained non stop, played 60 minutes and was gone. I see Anita a lot, especially at Pistons games, but have chosen not to mention my one “in concert” experience


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