Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Elvis Costello: Artist's Choice



Going into a Starbucks can be a somewhat disorienting experience for someone like me who doesn't drink coffee. When the line is long and the machines are all churning out their hot, frothy brews, the air is thick with steam and caffeine and the potent, pungent aroma of java that is nothing like the "cup o' joe" you would find at a corner diner.

I would skip the experience altogether save for one thing: they have music.

They have tasty compilations that you can't easily find anywhere else. Like this one: the latest in Hear Music's "Artist's Choice" series wherein artists select "music that matters to (them)"...a brief glimpse into their personal influences and record collections if you will.

Costello's choices for this shimmering 18-track collection are eclectic (a man after my own heart) and delightfully surprising. He harkens back to the great Louis Armstrong ("Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love)" and Muddy Waters ("I Love the Life I Live") and forward to 2004 with cuts from Rilo Kiley's cool disc More Adventurous ("Does He Love You?") and (wife) Diana Krall's smoky cover of Costello's own "Almost Blue" from the lovely The Girl in the Other Room.

Along the way he samples familiar cuts from wonderful artists like Aretha Franklin (the immortal "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man") and Joni Mitchell (the wistful "The Last Time I Saw Richard") and well as lesser known tracks from other artists (Paul Simon's "Peace Like a River" from his 1972 solo disc and "You Ain't Livin' Till You're Lovin'" a duet by the classic team of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.)

Clifford Brown, Fleetwood Mac (pre-Stevie and Lindsey with "Oh Well, Part 1"), The Band, Nick Lowe, Lucinda Williams, George Jones, Dusty Springfield, Joe Tex, and Randy Newman (the devastating "Real Emotional Girl") are all given shout-outs by Elvis along the way.

The disc closes with Freda ("Band of Gold") Payne's earnest Vietnam-era anti-war song, "Bring the Boys Home", because Costello feels it has a resonance to today's headlines.

This is a grand little collection and I'm glad I braved the coffee fumes to obtain it :-)

1 comment:

Mac said...

Being a giant coffeehead, I am in Starbucks for the coffee and tend to ignore whatever else they're selling. Of course, after your review it's apparent that I have to have that CD.

Thanks!