Very Best of Elvis Costello

Very Best of Elvis Costello

by Elvis Costello
     
 

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It's hard to believe that a quarter century has elapsed since skinny, twitchy, bespectacled Declan McManus assumed the name of the King, changing the face of rock forever in the process. This 42-song collection distills Costello's career with remarkable sharpness, offering not just snapshots from along the way but a genuine aural documentary that follows various… See more details below

Overview

It's hard to believe that a quarter century has elapsed since skinny, twitchy, bespectacled Declan McManus assumed the name of the King, changing the face of rock forever in the process. This 42-song collection distills Costello's career with remarkable sharpness, offering not just snapshots from along the way but a genuine aural documentary that follows various threads -- the fluency in country's lexicon, the crafty arrangements, the soulful spelunking -- from era to era. Folks who are most fond of the Attractions' golden age will be pleased, since a good bit of the material dates to Costello's first decade of recording, including underappreciated classics like the seething "Green Shirt" and the sweeping "Big Tears." Abundant evidence of Costello's angry-young-man phase is aired here -- notably "Radio Radio" and the sinuous "Watching the Detectives" -- but that's nicely balanced by the warmth of classic covers such as "Good Year for the Roses." Both his songwriting and his delivery have grown more nuanced over the years, a progression that can be traced through middle-period favorites like "The Other Side of Summer" and "Everyday I Write the Book," both of which glide along on the go-for-baroque backing that he perfected in the late '80s and early '90s. Towards the end of the nicely annotated set's second disc, Costello dons his current guise -- that of the crooner, the pre-rock traditionalist. And while it may be a bit discombobulating to reconcile the orchestra-backed belter of "God Give Me Strength" with the snotty punk of "Pump It Up," The Very Best of Elvis Costello connects the dots cleverly enough so that it all makes sense in the end.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Elvis Costello seems to have an aversion to presenting his work in a logical, comprehensive fashion, if the double-disc The Very Best of Elvis Costello is any indication. Like its predecessor, Girls Girls Girls, it sprawls over two discs, with very little regard to chronology or style, baffling and enticing listeners in equal measure. Although there are certainly some terrific songs missing, it's hard to argue with much of what's here (with the notable exception of the cuts here to lure in collectors -- the Charles Aznavour cover of "She," first heard in Notting Hill, and a version of "That Day Is Done," recorded with the Fairfield Four, featured on their 1997 album). So, as a reasonably thorough, albeit scattershot, overview, this works pretty well, since the music itself is good, even if it doesn't make sense when presented in this fashion (if it was intended to illustrate Costello's stylistic sweep, it winds up as counterproductive, since it's confusing in this fashion, not enticing). Still, the curious will prefer the single-disc sampler, The Very Best of Elvis Costello and the Attractions, since it's not only more concise, it illustrates Costello's depth and range equally well. And if you want to dig deeper after hearing that, the original albums are worth any fan's time.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/17/2001
Label:
Rhino
UPC:
0081227665227
catalogNumber:
76652

Tracks

Disc 1

  1. (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding
  2. Oliver's Army
  3. Watching the Detectives
  4. Alison
  5. (I Don't Want to Go to) Chelsea
  6. Accidents Will Happen
  7. Pump It Up
  8. I Can't Stand Up for Falling Down
  9. Radio Radio
  10. Clubland
  11. Good Year for the Roses
  12. Man Out of Time
  13. I Wanna Be Loved
  14. Everyday I Write the Book
  15. Brilliant Mistake
  16. The Other Side of Summer
  17. Tokyo Storm Warning
  18. Sulky Girl
  19. So Like Candy
  20. Veronica
  21. She

Disc 2

  1. Big Tears
  2. Beyond Belief
  3. Lipstick Vogue
  4. Green Shirt
  5. Pills and Soap
  6. Tramp the Dirt Down
  7. Shipbuilding
  8. High Fidelity
  9. New Lace Sleeves
  10. (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes
  11. Talking in the Dark
  12. New Amsterdam
  13. I Hope You're Happy Now
  14. Riot Act
  15. My Funny Valentine
  16. Indoor Fireworks
  17. Almost Blue
  18. I Want You
  19. God Give Me Strength
  20. That Day Is Done
  21. I Want to Vanish

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Elvis Costello   Primary Artist,Indexed Contributor,Guitar,Vocals
Dónal Lunny   Acoustic Guitar,Bouzouki
Fairfield Four   Vocals
Paul McCartney   Drums,Vocals
Chet Baker   Trumpet
Rob Mounsey   Keyboards
Marc Ribot   Sounds
Lew Soloff   Flugelhorn
Caron Wheeler   Background Vocals
Burt Bacharach   Piano,Conductor,Flugelhorn
James Burton   Guitar,Vocals
Steve Nieve   Organ,Piano,Keyboards
David Nadien   Violin
Roy Babbington   Double Bass
Julien Barber   Viola
Gary Barnacle   Saxophone
Ian Belton   Violin
Michael Blair   Glockenspiel,Tambourine,Timpani
Brodsky Quartet   Vocals
Paul Cassidy   Viola
John Ciambotti   Bass
Mickey Curry   Acoustic Guitar
Lawrence Feldman   Alto Flute
Barry Finclair   Violin
Claudia Fontaine   Background Vocals
Mitchell Froom   Harmonium,Hammond Organ,Mellotron
Steve Goulding   Drums
Luis Jardim   Percussion
Larry Knechtel   Piano
L.H.C.   Acoustic Guitar
Richard Locker   Cello
Nick Lowe   Background Vocals
John McFee   Guitar,Pedal Steel Guitar
Tommy Millar   Fiddle
Jan Mullen   Violin
Chris Parker   Drums
John Pintavalle   Violin
Sue Pray   Viola
Jerry Scheff   Double Bass,String Bass
Laura Seaton   Violin
Micky Shine   Bass,Bass (Vocal),Drums
Richard Sortomme   Violin
Davy Spillane   Human Whistle,uillean pipes
David Spinozza   Guitar
Bruce Thomas   Bass
Pete Thomas   Drums
Steve Wickham   Fiddle
Trevor Barry   Bass
Geoffrey Alexander   Conductor
David Hartley   Piano
Paul Clarvis   Drums
Paul Reabody   Violin
E.C.   Guitar,Vocals
T-Bone Wolk   Bass
Pete Whyman   Bass Clarinet

Technical Credits

Elvis Costello   Composer,Producer
Paul McCartney   Composer
Burt Bacharach   Producer
David Bedford   String Arrangements
Clive Langer   Producer
Steve Nieve   Orchestration
Charles Aznavour   Composer
Roger Bechirian   Engineer
T Bone Burnett   Producer
Jerry Chesnut   Composer
Geoff Emerick   Producer
Trevor Jones   Producer
Mitchell Froom   Producer
Kevin Killen   Producer,Engineer
Nick Lowe   Producer
Cait O'Riordan   Composer
Frank Ricotti   Vibe Master
Gilly Sherill   Producer
Robert Tassi   Engineer
Alan Winstanley   Producer
Declan MacManus   Composer
Herbert Kretzmer   Composer
Julian Kershaw   Arranger
Larry Kalman Hirsch   Producer
J. Chestnut   Composer

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