Armed Forces

So happy to finally get this stellar Elvis Costello and the Attractions album from ’79 titled, Armed Forces. Presented here is the US variant cover (UK cover showcases elephants, for those with inquisitive minds). Obviously a much-needed classic, this copy was purchased by my nephews at a South Jersey record shop as a holiday gift. Thanks again, buddies!!

Elvis Model 8

Another find from the recent online hunt is (yet) another Elvis Costello release. This time, This Year’s Model on 8-track. Now, I know we’d “recently” touched upon the vinyl version of this seminal album, but let’s be honest, is $12 too much to pay for an essential, recent obsession on an obsolete format? Well, clearly, the answer is an astounding no! Happy New Year, kids!

True 8 (Elvis)

So, and I’m sure this comes as no surprise, but when I get into something, say an artist, say, Elvis Costello, I get head over heels into them! This recent acquisition, on 8-track cassette is of Elvis Costello’s debut, 1977 album, My Aim is True. Lucky for us, the 8-track stereo hi-fi is in full, functioning order, so casual reading sessions on the living room couch will now sound even better, thanks to Declan Patrick MacManus and his late 70s classic.

The King

Preceding 1986’s Blood & Chocolate by only seven months is this T-Bone Burnett-produced icon, King of America. Billed as The Costello Show featuring the Attractions and Confederates in the UK and simply The Costello Show featuring Elvis Costello in the US, this 15-tracker clocks in at just under an hour (57:36) and features Costello’s fixation with Americana (at some points sounding almost completely country… but in a good way). The cover photo is emblematic and was my only visual recollection of Mr. Costello for much of my budding years… so much so that I thought it was a cover to a Greatest Hits or catch-all double or triple CD box, but alas, just a groovy cover to a groovy album, his 10th studio effort.

Elvis in ’86

I heard Elvis Costello’s I Want You on Spotify a few weeks ago and immediately fell in love with it. A maturing Declan MacManus is not for the faint of heart (at least, not for those heavily into his first two albums: 1977’s My Aim is True and 1978’s This Year’s Model), but respect should be given to the delightful evolution of his songwriting ability. Blood & Chocolate is the King’s eleventh studio album (recorded between March and May of ’86, released that September), and would prove to be the last with The Attractions for nearly a decade (eight years until the release of 1994’s Brutal Youth). I Want You, the obvious standout, is a near seven minute emotional roller coaster that finishes up the first side. Listen with caution, but listen with frequent urgency.

Veronica?

Am I the only one to discover that Sir James Paul McCartney co-wrote and performed on the studio version of Declan Patrick MacManus aka Elvis Costello’s 1989 classic, Veronica? A recent acquisition to the fold, complete with all the juicy credit details is this slightly used copy of Spike, Mr. Costello’s 12th album. I’m not prone to spend $8 on used records these days (cheapskate), but when the obsession takes over, there’s no telling what the outcome will be.

Last Year’s Model

My current obsession… Mr. Declan Patrick MacManus aka Elvis Costello, and specifically his debut work with The Attractions (and second studio album overall), 1978’s Last Year’s Model. Up until (very) recently, all I’d spin was Elvis’ debut, 1977’s My Aim is True, but with a little LA traffic commuting help from Spotify, I’ve rediscovered my love for clever lyrics and shrewd, earworm hooks. This man truly is king.

Clock In

I was fortunate to nab the bulk of Elvis Costello / Elvis Costello and the Attractions’ early releases at rock-bottom, dirt-cheap prices (something like $4 each). One of them was this 1983 release from Columbia Records titled, Punch the Clock. Since I’ve been slammed at the money-maker lately, I figured this album’s title was pretty damn appropriate.

Get Happy!!

I know that when I gobbled up cheap Elvis Costello records, back before I knew what I was getting, that a payoff would be inevitable. Today, I’m reaping the rewards of this legendary man’s artistic contribution to pop music, simply by knowing what I have. Get Happy!! is the fourth studio album by Declan Patrick MacManus (Elvis Costello), and the third as Elvis Costello and the Attractions. Though frequent spins come more from Elvis’ debut album, 1977’s My Aim is True, Get Happy!! is a great addition to this, or any collection. The earlier the better with Costello and his mates, but something to get happy about nonetheless.

Having Nothing to Do With Anything, These are My Thoughts While Listening to Sports by Huey Lewis and the News

News CoverI wonder if Huey got paid for his cameo in Back to the Future, or if his role as the disapproving high school teacher was compensation for the two Huey Lewis and the News tracks featured on the soundtrack. I remember wanting to be a ninja when this album was big. I believe I WAS a ninja for Halloween one year… I should have gone as Huey instead.

I’m not sure why I own two copies of this album. My father introduced me to Huey Lewis and the News, albeit inadvertently. He had Sports on cassette and would play it in his Datsun. I had a small toy Datsun around this time. I used to pretend it was my father’s car speeding through makeshift highways and back alleys… all while listening to Sports, of course.

News BackI wonder who the modern day Huey Lewis is. I have a new respect for the News now that I know they were Elvis Costello’s backing band for his debut, My Aim is True. Does anybody remember the sketch comedy show on HBO, Not Necessarily the News? I distinctly remember the video for Stuck With You, but since that track doesn’t make an appearance on Sports, I’ll bypass further ramblings of this thought.

I wonder what drug Huey was referring to that makes him feel three feet thick. I wonder what the street value of that drug was then, compared to what it is now. Going back to Back to the Future, I wonder how successful the movie would have been had the DeLorean been replaced by say, a 1985 Chrysler Lebaron.

Sports, for me at least, is the soundtrack to a half-decade of childhood memories. I can’t imagine growing up without it.

Mondays are for Wankers

ElvisIt’s Monday, and you know what that means… it’s time to push that rock of content up the endless hill of life. It’s also time to revel in the rhythmic delights of Declan Patrick MacManus (AKA Elvis Costello) and his solemnly realistic fantasy-bursting reality-screamer, Welcome to the Working Week.

Arriving at track one, side one from his debut album, My Aim is True, Welcome to the Working Week is a playful pass of judgment to the 9-to-5’ers; the head-crushing business men and women of our land pushing papers so that the fat have the means to get fatter.

Side oneWelcome to the Working Week, it’s album, My Aim is True, and pretty much ANYTHING by Elvis Costello comes highly recommended by the Groove.

If you haven’t spoiled yourself with the sweet musical nectar of “the other Elvis,” I’ll pass judgment and offer these words spoken by the man himself:

You gotta’ do it till you’re through it so you better get to it.