Elvis Costello – Taking Liberties

ARTIST: Elvis Costello 220px-ectl

TITLE:  Taking Liberties

YEAR RELEASED: Compilation


SINGLES: Talking in the Dark

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW:  Girls Talk, Big Tears, Radio Sweetheart, Clowntime is Over, Hoover Factory

LINEUP:  Elvis Costello, Steve Nieve, Pete Thomas, Bruce Thomas

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Clear the decks! A release of Costello’s b-sides, outtakes and songs dropped from the US version of albums released in 1980 makes its own artistic statement. 

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Elvis Costello’s early work the Attractions was so fertile that he was able to fill a 20-song record of songs that weren’t released on his US albums, and most of them were just as good as the songs that were on the records.

While it’s not a thematic album, like his regular releases, the quality and distinction of many of these tracks is undeniable. Artists would die to have a song like “Big Tears”, “Girls Talk” or “Radio Sweetheart” in their repertoire.

A few songs sound like first drafts of more famous songs, and probably did deserve B-side status. Again, though, that’s relative. This is an artist saying that he’s got a lot more in the tank than you’d realize.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: In the UK, he released a similar album called Ten Bloody Marys and Ten How’s Your Fathers, which had three UK singles that never wound up on UK albums.


GRADE: A-: A treasure trove of Costello’s lesser known material.

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