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18 June 2011

Elvis Costello - 'This Year's Superstar' (bootleg)

When I pulled this out I thought "Whoa, I still have this." I couldn't remember too much to recommend about this Elvis Costello bootleg unless you're a total nut for the guy. I found this cheap, years ago, and enjoyed it enough when I last listened to it over a decade ago ... but now I was wondering why I keep dragging it around with me. Of course, like many times in Dislocated Underbite Spinal Alphabetical Encourager Templates, the re-listen brings out some rewarding elements and I find a new faith in a record. These recordings seem to come from a radio-recorded concert, situated chronologically I think between This Year's Model and Armed Forces, with decent-enough (for a bootleg) sound quality -- there's crowd noise, but the vocals are mixed high, with the crashing hiss of the cymbals being the biggest key to the illegitimacy of this all. The two sides are suggested by the back cover to start with 'Walk & Don't Look Back', a Temptations cover, but I think the second side is actually the beginning of the concert, as indicated by the fleeting bits of radio announcer voice. 'You Belong to Me' is certainly the set-closer, and then 'Oliver's Army' and a rather aggro 'Pump it Up' serve as encores. There's a shit-ton of vocal effects on 'Watching the Detectives', suggesting that they were really trying to play up the dub/reggae thing. Said reggae influence is evident on 'I Stand Accused', except cut with some slicing Steve Nieve guitar solos. It's sloppy, or just sounds this way because of the recording, and there's a lively energy that makes this a nice alternative to the studio albums. The Attractions (not yet called that, of course) are as furious as I've ever heard them, and I suppose this is a great live document of a time when Elvis Costello carried a vitality he's definitely lost in the intervening years.

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