Almost You: The Songs of Elvis Costello

Almost You: The Songs of Elvis Costello

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Almost You: The Songs of Elvis Costello

Amazingly, with the flood of tribute records that has washed over record stores in the past few years, this is the first newly recorded tribute to the songs of Elvis Costello. The 15 artists and bands are strictly indie rock, many of them from the American south. Most of the tracks they cover are from Costello's early salad days as an angry young man (three from My Aim Is True, one from This Year's Model, two from Armed Forces, one from Trust, three from Get Happy!!, and one from Imperial Bedroom) with a couple from later records (one from Blood & Chocolate, three from King of America, and one from Brutal Youth). As with any tribute collection, you are going to find the good, the bad, and the imitators. Most of the groups here don't take many liberties, but only a couple go for full-on imitations; Fastball's Tony Scalzo's vocals sound eerily like a young Costello on a reverent take of "Busy Bodies," and Grand Champeen attempts to rock out on "No Action," but despite the volume and good intentions, sounds about one-tenth as mean and messed up as Costello's original. There are plenty of good interpretations to be found here. Matt Pond PA kicks off the disc with the best track here, a lovely cello-driven take on "Green Shoes," with Matt Pond's vocals recalling the snarling spirit of Costello without aping him. Damnation's take on Brutal Youth's "Still Too Soon to Know" is spare and beautiful, featuring a wrenching lead vocal from Deborah Kelly. "Alison" is a song that could easily lend itself to mawkishness, but Vic Chesnutt and Jack Logan do a fairly straightforward, un-over-emotional version backed by guitar and piano. Lil' Cap'n Travis gives "Blue Chair" from Blood & Chocolate a sweeping orchestral country feel with plenty of swooping pedal steel and a healthy dose of glockenspiel. One of the delights of a good collection like this is discovering new bands. Lil' Cap'n Travis is one to keep an eye out for. Fellow obscure indie group the Deathray Davies turn in a spirited take on "Men Called Uncle" and the Mendoza Line end the record in fine style with a Shannon McArdle-sung version of "Sleep of the Just" from King of America that should send listeners straight out to buy all of the Mendoza Line's fine records. There are not really any bad tracks, only a few that don't work very well in context; Brenda Kahn over-sings on "Watch Your Step," Tywanna Jo Baskette monotonally under-sings on "Just a Memory," Okerrvil River's wavering, over-emotional vocals sink an otherwise interesting version of "Riot Act," and Kev Russell's Junker's yodeling version of "Indoor Fireworks" isn't bad really, it just sounds out of place here. Four less-than-great songs don't sink this ship, however. It is a highly listenable disc throughout and sometimes even quite good. Costello should be proud and anyone who is a fan should be sure to check this collection out.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/21/2003
Label: Glurp Records
UPC: 0656605509624
catalogNumber: 133
Rank: 135012

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Brenda Kahn   Vocals
Vic Chesnutt   Vocals
Jack Logan   Vocals
Jon Auer   Vocals
Brian Beattie   Hammond Organ
Kelly Keneipp   Guitar
Tony Scalzo   Organ,Bass,Guitar,Vocals
Joey Shuffield   Drums
Bill Shupp   Drums
Jeff Johnston   Acoustic Guitar,Piano,Glockenspiel,Vocals,Saw
Mendoza Line   Organ,Bass,Guitar,Sampling,Loops
Amy Boone   Piano,Vocals
Gary Maurer   Guitar,Mandolin
Mark Brotter   Drums
Eve Miller   Cello
Shannon McArdle   Vocals
Gary Newcomb   Pedal Steel Guitar,Vocals
Rob Halverson   Guitar,quatro
Nikki Keneipp   Piano
Jonathan Meiburg   Wurlitzer
Jim Hostetter   Cello
Deborah Kelly   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Channing Lewis   Guitar,Trumpet,Vocals
Michael Crow   Bass,Fiddle,Guitar,Trumpet,Vocals
Ned Stewart   Drums
Matt Pond   Vocals
Matt Raisch   Bass
Jim Kehoe   Electric Guitar
Philip McEachern   Organ
Dan Messe   Piano
Steve Curtis   Guitar
Sally Ellyson   Vocals
Tawnya Lorae   Bass
Tywanna Jo Baskette   Vocals
Zachary Thomas   Bass
Greg Price   Keyboards
Catherine Popper   Upright Bass
Rob Bernard   Bass Drums,Guitar (Baritone)
Mark Pedini   Drums
Aaron Kelley   Guitar
Kim Powell   Drums,Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Brenda Kahn   Producer
Elvis Costello   Composer
Jon Auer   Engineer,Instrumentation
Brian Beattie   Producer,Engineer
Clay Jones   Producer,Engineer,Instrumentation
Declan MacManus   Composer
Tony Scalzo   Producer
Eric Zappa   Executive Producer
Jeff Johnston   Engineer
Mendoza Line   Producer
Gary Maurer   Producer
Geoff Sanoff   Engineer
Okkervil River   Producer
Ted "Zaney" Gainey   Engineer
Brian McTear   Producer,Engineer
Grand Champeen   Engineer
Michael Crow   Producer,Engineer
Lil' Cap'n Travis   Producer
Dan Messe   Producer
Burnside Project   Producer
Aaron Kelley   Engineer

Customer Reviews

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Almost You: The Songs of Elvis Costello 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
All the versions of Elvis songs here are ok. In fact, the Damnations TX do a fine job; but, I can't help thinking that Tasmin Archer did a much better job covering Elvis Costello songs on her 'Shipbuilding'EP. Go find it - its brilliant!
Guest More than 1 year ago
nice diverse collection of Elvis covers. I like that obscure and well known material was done.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago