New Elvis Costello album

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Blair N. Cummings
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Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2004 4:14 pm

Re: New Elvis Costello album

Postby Blair N. Cummings » Sun Oct 28, 2018 5:01 am

Martin, it is odd that the female singer on WATP is unknown because starting with the Futures album, Burt began listing the names of previously un-credited vocalists. While I still don`t recognize the voice of the woman in question here, it may be that she was contracted to another label and thus needed to remain anonymous to avoid legal hassles.

pljms
Posts: 538
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2004 8:43 am

Re: New Elvis Costello album

Postby pljms » Sun Oct 28, 2018 6:05 pm

Martin Johnson wrote:Blair mentioning the 'Who Are These People?' track from 'At This Time' reminded me that we've never solved the mystery of just who was the uncredited female lead vocalist alongside Elvis Costello? All we really established was that it was neither Donna Taylor nor Josie James, Bacharach's long-term concert singers who along with John Pagano sang the backing vocals on the track. Listening again now confirms me in my opinion at the time that if it had been more of a song and less of an instrumental it would have been more potent and far more effective in getting its message over:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SKraLpgqWkA


Yes, it definitely needed to be more of a song and with better lyrics than either Tonio K or Bacharach could provide. Still, the fact that Bacharach had found his political voice in song generated a lot of interest and publicity with punning headlines in the UK press like, "Do You Know The Way To Baghdad?" and "What's It All About, George W?".
Paul

Sara D
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Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2008 4:32 am

Re: New Elvis Costello album

Postby Sara D » Mon Oct 29, 2018 5:32 am

Putting to one side questions of taste and decency, I don't think the original last line, "Or we're all fucked", was ever going to be very singable and I'm glad the record company got Bacharach to change it to, "Before it's too late". As Elvis Costello was involved in the recording and apparently shared Bacharach's concerns, maybe he should have been asked to lend a guiding hand with the lyrics?

Blair N. Cummings
Posts: 946
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2004 4:14 pm

Re: New Elvis Costello album

Postby Blair N. Cummings » Mon Oct 29, 2018 5:56 am

I think that it`s damnably difficult to write a political lyric for a mainstream pop song that doesn`t alienate half the audience and overshadow its melody. Brecht made some efforts in that vein, "Solidarity" being the most successful; but even that flirted with "agit-prop." More common were those of the tamer "socially-conscious" variety that even Hal David could do. Somewhere in between was something like "Strange Fruit" and when was the last time you heard anyone sing that?
I`m old enough to still feel a connection to "We Can Be Together" - hell, the entire Volunteers album by the Airplane (that`s Jefferson Airplane for you youngsters) but that was another genre and another era.
In a neat confluence of references, here`s the Airplane doing "Solidarity" on their so-so `89 reunion album. Singer Marty Balin died a month and two days ago at age 76.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkuyMIGRZVw

Still, kind of hard to imagine Josie, Donna and Pagano doing this, isn`t it?

pljms
Posts: 538
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2004 8:43 am

Re: New Elvis Costello album

Postby pljms » Mon Oct 29, 2018 2:52 pm

Grace Slick's autobiography 'Somebody To Love' was a lucky find for me in what we in the UK call a charity shop. It's as candid, honest and funny as you'd hoped it would be and I re-read it every three or four years. As you can imagine, she's especially good regarding San Francisco in the late 60s and how absurdly naive those then strongly held beliefs and convictions seem from a distance of several decades.
Paul

Blair N. Cummings
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Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2004 4:14 pm

Re: New Elvis Costello album

Postby Blair N. Cummings » Mon Oct 29, 2018 3:13 pm

As you might imagine, I could write reams on this subject but I`ll limit myself to this for the present:
We were not worldly sophisticates (politically or otherwise) in those days; we were high school and college age. You know...kids.
That said, I`m pleased that, although certainly not idealistic nor naïve any more, I did not participate in the American ritual of becoming a right-winger in mid- or late-life.

Incidentally, Grace - incredibly - turned 79 a week or two ago. Only she, Jack, and Jorma are left from the Airplane.

pljms
Posts: 538
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2004 8:43 am

Re: New Elvis Costello album

Postby pljms » Tue Oct 30, 2018 5:43 am

I think the trend for people to move inexorably to the right politically as they reach middle-age, no matter how much of a liberal lefty they once were in their youth, is quite universal. Certainly in my experience I've never known any individual to move in the opposite direction from the right to the left! I suppose it's inevitable that we become less idealistic and more pragmatic as we get older but of course that doesn't necessarily mean that most of us are going to turn into mean spirited right-wing reactionaries.
Paul

pljms
Posts: 538
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2004 8:43 am

Re: New Elvis Costello album

Postby pljms » Wed Oct 31, 2018 2:47 am

Assuming the beautiful 'Look Up Again' has lyrics it seems a shame to me that EC didn't include it on the new album. To my ears it's as musically strong if not stronger than any of the three collaborations with BB that were included and, just as important, it sounds 100% Bacharach.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=91YorY0No8Y
Paul

Blair N. Cummings
Posts: 946
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2004 4:14 pm

Re: New Elvis Costello album

Postby Blair N. Cummings » Wed Oct 31, 2018 6:54 am

I would certainly welcome a vocal recording by someone; but the professional popular music singer - once a prominent fixture - is now as moribund as, well, popular music that isn`t dance- or rap-rooted.
I`m not holding my breath.

Hank
Posts: 110
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2006 7:51 pm

Re: New Elvis Costello album

Postby Hank » Wed Oct 31, 2018 8:26 pm

I was thinking the same thing. Way too good for a vocal version not to see the light of day.

Martin Johnson
Posts: 385
Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2010 7:41 am

Re: New Elvis Costello album

Postby Martin Johnson » Tue Nov 06, 2018 6:47 am

'Stripping Paper' is a personal favourite from this superb album. As has been mentioned already, Elvis Costello seems to be singing better than ever these days:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=uJWckSvZC94


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