ARTIST: Elvis Costello
TITLE: Taking Liberties
YEAR RELEASED: Compilation
CHART ACTION: #28
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.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.
GRADE: A-: A treasure trove of Costello’s lesser known material.