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King of America [Rhino Bonus Disc]
     

King of America [Rhino Bonus Disc]

by Elvis Costello
 

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Unlike the other installments of Rhino's ongoing Elvis Costello expanded reissue series -- started in the summer of 2001 and only now coming to an end in the spring of 2005 -- King of America is not released as part of a set of three albums. It is released on its own, reportedly because the album is Costello's personal favorite and so he and Rhino wanted to

Overview

Unlike the other installments of Rhino's ongoing Elvis Costello expanded reissue series -- started in the summer of 2001 and only now coming to an end in the spring of 2005 -- King of America is not released as part of a set of three albums. It is released on its own, reportedly because the album is Costello's personal favorite and so he and Rhino wanted to spotlight it via a stand-alone release. That makes a certain amount of sense, but bear in mind, there is only one other album in his 1977-1996 catalog that has yet to be reissued in this campaign and that is his 1993 collaboration with the Brodsky Quartet, The Juliet Letters, which isn't exactly his most beloved album, and wouldn't have made a good companion to King of America, which certainly is among his best-regarded and most-loved albums. Fittingly, King of America has been given a generous 21-song bonus disc, a lengthy new set of liner notes from Costello, and in a series first, a slightly altered cover shot (the black-and-white photo of Costello in a crown, which was once sepia-toned, now has shades of color, so his cheeks are now a rosy red and there's gold highlights on the crown). Of these 21 songs, 11 appeared on the 1995 Rykodisc/Demon reissue -- the two sides of the Coward Brothers single ("The People's Limousine," "They'll Never Take Her Love From Me"), the demo "Suffering Face," the outtakes "Shoes Without Heels" and "King of Confidence," plus a covers-heavy set of six live tunes that was initially released as a bonus disc in 1995 -- leaving ten new songs. Of these, the highlights are a stark solo reading of Richard Thompson's thoroughly depressing "End of the Rainbow" and the bitter, politically charged "Betrayal," a song cut with the Attractions that would later mutate into Spike's "Tramp the Dirt Down." The rest of the new cuts are all solo demos, many of which were recorded on the verge of extreme drunkenness according to Costello's liner notes. Unfortunately, to the average listener they don't sound like they're on the verge of collapse, they merely sound like straight-ahead, mildly interesting demos that are the kind of thing you listen to once and then file away (which applies equally to unreleased songs like the torchy "Having It All" and to such alternate versions as an early, bittersweet version of "I Hope You're Happy Now" [which would surface later in 1986 on Blood & Chocolate] and "Deportee," a reworking of "Deportee's Club" from Goodbye Cruel World). Of course, Costello fanatics will be happy to hear these rarities -- which are, by and large, quite good, even if they wouldn't warrant frequent plays, since they're curiosities more than forgotten treasures -- but most fans who own the Ryko/Demon reissue don't need to replace their copy with this new reissue, since with the possible exception of "Betrayal," all the major songs here are on that previous incarnation of King of America. Plus, the cover art looks better on that 1995 edition, too.

Editorial Reviews

Rolling Stone - Rob Sheffield
This reissue is the definitive version of his 1986 acoustic masterpiece, featuring a bonus disc of extras.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/26/2005
Label:
Rhino
UPC:
0081227464226
catalogNumber:
74642

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Elvis Costello   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Vocals
Jo-El Sonnier   Accordion,French Accordion
James Burton   Acoustic Guitar,Dobro,Electric Guitar
Steve Nieve   Piano,Keyboards,Hammond Organ,Hammond B3
Jim Keltner   Percussion,Drums,Stick
Ralph Carney   Saxophone
Michael Blair   Percussion,Marimbas,Vibes
Ray Brown   String Bass
T Bone Burnett   Electric Guitar,Rhythm Guitar
Tom Canning   Piano
Mickey Curry   Percussion,Drums,Stick
Mitchell Froom   Organ,Piano,Harpsichord,Keyboards,Hammond Organ,Hammond B3
David Hidalgo   Background Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Little Hands of Concrete   Acoustic Guitar,Mandolin,Electric Guitar
David Miner   Bass
Earl Palmer   Percussion,Drums
Jerry Scheff   Bass,Electric Bass,Bass Guitar,Double Bass,String Bass
Bruce Thomas   Bass,Electric Bass,Drums
Pete Thomas   Drums,Stick
Ron Tutt   Percussion,Drums
Henry Coward   Guitar,Vocals
Howard Coward   Guitar,Vocals
T-Bone Wolk   Guitar,Accordion,Electric Bass,Electric Guitar,Vocals,Piano-Accordion

Technical Credits

J.B. Lenoir   Composer
Gary Stewart   Reissue Producer
Elvis Costello   Composer,Liner Notes
Buddy Holly   Composer
Richard Thompson   Composer
Mose Allison   Composer
Dave Bartholomew   Composer
Leon Payne   Composer
Norman Petty   Composer
Dan Penn   Composer
Greg Allen   Art Direction
Bennie Benjamin   Composer
T Bone Burnett   Producer,Audio Production
Larry Hirsch   Engineer,Audio Production
Bill Inglot   Producer
Spooner Oldham   Composer
Andrew Sandoval   Producer
Henry Coward   Composer
Howard Coward   Composer
Declan MacManus   Composer
Ivy J. "Jimmy" Bryant   Composer
Sol Marcus   Composer
Gloria Caldwell   Composer
Val Jennings   Reissue Producer
Larry Kalman Hirsch   Producer
Declan Patrick Aloysius MacManus   Producer
Coward Brothers   Producer

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