Title - Elvis Costello: The Remasters (Rhino)
Artist - Elvis Costello and the Attractions
Get Happy! - Get Happy is essential listening for any Elvis fan, and the Rhino reissue lives up to the usual standards of excellence we've come to expect from them. Get this sprawling 50 song set and relive those wonderful, terrible, substance-and-adrenaline-fueled, whirlwind months of Elvis's musical life when he was burning both ends as well as the middle of his candle. His "soul record" still reflects the brilliance of that combustion. The lyrics are a rushing torrent of some of Elvis's strongest wordplay, images, rhymes and allegory. He's pulling out all of the verbal stops to fill this huge batch of tunes, and he's even giving us insight into the terrible way lots of things were turning out for him at the time.
Punch The Clock – This is an interesting Costello recording. Some of his most upbeat and joyous tunes are to be found here. Songs like ’The Greatest Thing’ with its "Bo Diddley beat" and ’Everyday I Write the Book,’ just seem to bounce off the CD with a sense of fun and unbridled happiness that I find to be infectious. The CD has the usual lyrical agility that you would expect to find in a Costello recording but the overall feeling is more positive than normally found on his recordings. This is not to say the dark side never rears its head, check out ’Pills and Soap.’ But the overall effect is a welcome breath of fresh air and while I don't think it ranks with Costello's best, Punch The Clock is just a bit more fun than most of his stuff.
Trust - It would be difficult to choose among several great albums Elvis Costello recorded between 1977 and 1986, but Trust could very well be the best. It was the first album to showcase Elvis's wide-ranging musical interests and far-reaching songwriting talent. It also contains perhaps the best performance on an album by the Attractions. Of the original 14 tracks, there isn't a single clunker but stand-outs are ’Lover's Walk,’ ‘Strict Time,’ ‘New Lace Sleeves’ and ’Fish 'n' Chips Paper’. This album is a "must have" for any Elvis Costello fan.
All these original albums have been re-mastered from the original tapes and come with a Bonus Disc featuring non-album tracks, previously unreleased outtakes and demos, plus a 28-page booklet with an in-depth note penned by Elvis himself, the lyrics to all his songs, and many rare and previously unpublished photographs.
Reviewed by Jerry Bottin