- First, Elvis Costello has a new album called The Delivery Man, which sounds pretty good on the first listen. I don't get where people go off calling it similar to Almost Blue – to me, it sounds like a more swampy, bluesy version of many of the tracks on When I Was Cruel, especially “Dust.” What would you expect from songs that were recorded in two cities along the Mississippi and feature help from Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams ? Like the best stuff he's been doing lately, it's not “pure” at all – the “English” pop moves he's mastered occasionally appear in the melodies and chord progressions, his singing as as expressive as ever, and the mixing is nice and ragged and there are even (gasp) a few synths underneath all that mojo stuff.
The 70s flashback in this case is that John McPhee appears on a track – he was in the Doobie Brothers and Clover, which is the bunch of Americans that backed up Costello on his very first album, My Aim Is True. Man, that goes back !
I didn't pick up Il Sogno, which is some ballet music that the Imposter was commisioned to do, but Richard Dyer of the Boston Globe gives it surprisingly positive review. I wasn't all that impressed with the Juliet Letters, another of his stabs at “high art,” but this could be a real success for him.</cite>
- I also picked up the “Legacy Edition” reissue of London Calling by the band Mick Jones was in before Big Audio Dynamite, the Clash. Perhaps you remember them ? Or Big Audio Dynamite, for that matter ? Anyway, the selling point of the package is the extra CD of the so-lost-they-were-too-obscure-to-legenda
ry rehearsal/demo “Vanilla” tapes, and a DVD on the making of the album and related promotional material. The “Vanilla” tapes are rough – not shambling performances, but volume levels go up and down and clearly their purpose was just to give the band something to refer to when shaping the songs for recording the album. There's a Dylan cover (!) but I think most fans can live without this. I haven't watched the DVD yet.
- Finally, there's the Star Wars box – that all began in the summer of 1977. It's really for O and the kids [yeah, yeah, sure] – we watched part of the first movie and it really does look good. I can do without a lot of Lucas' tweaks to the original but it looks incredibly sharp.