National Ransom

( 4 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Elvis Costello has worn willful eclecticism as a badge of honor for so long that his decision to retain the same essential support and sound for 2010's National Ransom as he did for its 2009 predecessor Secret, Profane & Sugarcane means something. Building upon a foundation instead of beginning another journey suggests that he knows he has a fruitful collaboration with producer T-Bone Burnett and a good band with the Sugarcanes, who are now melded with the Imposters to give this Americana -- equal parts roots-rock, country, and pre-war balladry -- some serious kick. Secret, Profane and National Ransom share some superficial sonic characteristics, but the ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Elvis Costello has worn willful eclecticism as a badge of honor for so long that his decision to retain the same essential support and sound for 2010's National Ransom as he did for its 2009 predecessor Secret, Profane & Sugarcane means something. Building upon a foundation instead of beginning another journey suggests that he knows he has a fruitful collaboration with producer T-Bone Burnett and a good band with the Sugarcanes, who are now melded with the Imposters to give this Americana -- equal parts roots-rock, country, and pre-war balladry -- some serious kick. Secret, Profane and National Ransom share some superficial sonic characteristics, but the former played as a clearinghouse of odds and ends, while National Ransom is a purposeful album, its themes elegantly meshing together and carrying considerable momentum. Costello deliberately stays in familiar territory, often recalling his first Burnett-produced record, King of America, but he's not churning out familiar songs -- complacency is anathema to him, of course -- he's using the familiar sounds to provide context for the present. In a conceit that's a shade too clever, he's presented a year where each song takes place, but that's a bit of misdirection, too, because modern-day tales sound ancient and vice-versa, not unlike Dylan's latter-day albums. Costello shares a similar love of Tin Pan Alley songcraft as Dylan, but he favors bluegrass to blues and betrays a little bit of artful affectation when he writes a '20s shuffle like "A Slow Drag with Josephine" or a ballad like "You Hung the Moon," but that's part of his charm: a Costello album without such punning tricks is a bit of a drag. And while National Ransom doesn't rage like This Year's Model, it does tap into that same sense of rage on its title track, and Costello gives guitarist Marc Ribot plenty of room to strangle out notes, giving this a far less stuffy feel than Secret, Profane & Sugarcane. Ribot's manic fretwork ties this to Costello's dense turn-of-the-'90s albums for Warner, so the album winds up with trace echoes of all eras of Costello, but that's only a reflection of how National Ransom is a masterwork in the traditional sense: he's summoned all his skills to deliver an album that summarizes his world view.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/2/2010
  • Label: Hear Music
  • UPC: 888072321427
  • Catalog Number: 32142
  • Sales rank: 68,363

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Elvis Costello Primary Artist, Acoustic Guitar, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Vocals, Track Performer, farfisa organ, Fender Telecaster, Vocal Harmony
Jerry Douglas Dobro, Lap Steel Guitar
Jim Lauderdale Vocal Harmony
Leon Russell Piano
Marc Ribot Acoustic Guitar, Banjo, Electric Guitar
Bruce Dukov Violin, Concert Master
Steve Nieve Piano, Celeste, Vox Continental, Hammond B3
Mike Compton Mandolin, Vocal Harmony
Dennis Crouch Double Bass
Stuart Duncan Fiddle, Violin, Electric Violin, Electric Viola
Vince Gill Vocal Harmony
Darrell Leonard Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Bass Trumpet
Buddy Miller Guitar (Electric Baritone), Vocal Harmony
Ira Nepus Trombone
Tom Peterson Bass Clarinet, Alto Flute, Baritone Saxophone
Maurice Spears Bass Trombone
Pete Thomas Percussion, Drums
Mike Piersante Shaker
Jeff Taylor Piano, Accordion, Low Whistle
Caroline Campbell Violin
George Bohanon Trombone, Baritone Horn
Andrew Duckles Viola
Neel Hammond Violin
Lucia Micarelli Violin
Radu Pieptea Violin
Dave Eggar Cello
Matthew Funes Viola
Tim Lauderdale Vocal Harmony
Technical Credits
Jim Lauderdale Composer
Elvis Costello Arranger, Composer, Horn Arrangements, String Arrangements, Whistle
Leon Russell Composer
Jill Dell'Abate String Contractor
T Bone Burnett Composer, Producer
Darrell Leonard Horn Arrangements
Drew Bollman Engineer
Gavin Lurssen Mastering
Mike Piersante Engineer
Joey Turner Engineer
Paul Ackling Guitar Techician
Jason Wormer Engineer
Curtis Laur Guitar Techician
Kyle Ford Engineer
Vanessa Parr Engineer
Darrell Gilmour Management
Larissa Collins Art Direction
Tony Millionaire Illustrations
Steve Macklam Management
Sam Feldman Management
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 8, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    SUPERB - Costello Does It Again

    Yes, it's another great album from Elvis Costello. And to a certain extent, that's a problem for Costello, because in some quarters, there is fatigue associated with an artist who writes TOO many good songs and records TOO many great albums.

    Here's the thing: almost every Costello record since the early 1980s has been hailed by SOMEBODY as a "return to form." The thing is, he's never really had a dry spell that everybody agreed on. While there is nearly unanimous praise for his first trio of albums in the late 70s, almost each record he's put out in the past three decades since has gotten a ton of people hailing it as a masterpiece (or a comeback), while a smattering of others have expressed disappointment or exasperation with yet another album in the always-expanding canon of Elvis Costello recordings.

    If Bob Dylan or Paul McCartney were to write and record an album of 16 songs as good as those featured on NATIONAL RANSOM, we'd be talking Album Of The Year, no question. But with Costello, the headline is: ANOTHER YEAR, ANOTHER GREAT ALBUM, followed by the complaint: "too many good songs" or even "too clever."

    Perhaps the solution would be for Costello to write some truly terrible songs and get the hackiest pop producer he can find to ruin them. Repeat that trick a few times and the stage would be set for an album like NATIONAL RANSOM to receive the kind of adoring reception it actually deserves.

    I have no doubt that people will stil be "discovering" this album twenty years from now. Many will wonder why it wasn't more beloved in 2010, by more listeners. Buy it today, and be there to tell them, "well, I was one of the lucky ones. I got there FIRST..."

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted November 20, 2010

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    Posted January 13, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2011

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews