Get Emotional [Young American, 1CD]
Live at Leicester, October 22, 1977.
(thanks to bigozine for this review and bootleg)
Few people gave Elvis Costello a chance when he set out on the 1977 Live Stiffs tour, and even fewer could blame them. Up against a bespectacled Herbert and his barely-blooded trio, after all, were ranged the twin behemoths of Ian Dury and Rockpile, artists that had positively decades of experience behind them. Costello, on the other hand, had barely had his name for nine months.
Of course, everyone knows what happened next, as Costello not only pushed his co-headliners aside, he proceeded to shove most of the contemporary music scene behind him, banging out a succession of albums, one-two-three, that remain among the most startling statements of the entire end-of-Seventies nightclub. And this show, taped around midway through the Stiffs outing (Leicester, October 22), shows how he did it.
Quite frankly, this might be the crucial document of the Attractions at their peak, with Elvis firmly transitioning between the airy Dylanisms of My Aim Is True, and the darker idiosyncrasies of This Yearís Model, and the band battling behind him with an aggression that renders even the darkest-hearted oldies all but unrecognizable.
But itís a playful outing too, as Costello opens the show with Richard Hellís "Love Comes In Spurts"; acknowledges Duryís own influence on his writing with a seething cover of the Kilburnsí "Roadette Song," then cheekily teases fellow Stiff star Wreckless Eric, with a turbulent cover of "The Whole Wide World" - the second time the audience had heard the song that evening (Eric was also on the tour), although itís unlikely anyone complained.
The Damnedís "Neat Neat Neat," too, finds its way into the show, stripped back, swampy and stark. But itís the songs that would make up Costelloís next album - "Chelsea," "The Beat," "Little Triggers" and, looking even further ahead, "Dr Lutherís Assistant," that truly reveal where Costello was at - and it was a darker, more dangerous place than heís ever been before. Whatever you thought of Elvis Costello in 1977, Get Emotional will make you re-evaluate it all. - Dave Thompson
Track 01 Love Comes In Spurts
Track 02 No Action
Track 03 (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes
Track 04 Blame It On Cain
Track 05 The Beat
Track 06 Dr Luther's Assistant
Track 07 This Year's Girl
Track 08 (I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea
Track 09 Less Than Zero
Track 10 Whole Wide World
Track 11 Roadette Song*
Track 12 Neat Neat Neat*
Track 13 Little Triggers
Track 14 Radio Radio
Track 15 You Belong To Me
Track 16 Miracle Man
* Released on the bonus disc in Ryko's reissue of This Year's Model (2002) and therefore not included here.