Elvis Costello and the Attractions Almost Blue on Numbered Limited Edition 180g LP from Mobile Fidelity! Original Master Recording! Special Static Free - Dust Free Inner Sleeve!
Costello’s Soulful Country & Western Covers Album Tackles Standard Tunes by George Jones, Hank Williams, Gram Parsons, and More!
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Expertly played 1981 set marks the second of the Encyclopedic Pop Musician’s many forays into multiple styles.
Half-Speed Mastered from the Original Master Tapes: Knockout Sonics Present
Costello’s Close-Up Vocals, Steve Nieve’s Piano, and the Pedal-Steel Guitars in
Elvis Costello was so enamored with American country music when he finally
discovered it, he was motivated to record Almost Blue. Renowned as one of the
most passionate and enthusiastic covers albums ever made, the 12-song set finds
the iconic singer/songwriter interpreting standards by the likes of Hank
Williams, Gram Parsons, George Jones, Merle Haggard, and other legends. Replete
with heartbreak, lonesomeness, boozing, cheating, and dreaming, it’s laden with
country and western’s customary themes and dignified by one of the finest
performances of Costello and the Attractions’ peerless career.
Half-speed mastered from the original master tapes, Mobile Fidelity’s numbered
limited edition 180g LP opens up the soundstages, clears previously muddled
midrange frequencies, and places the imaging of the various country-tuned
instruments into clear focus. For the first time, listeners can hear just how
much of himself Costello invests in the vocal performances, while the
Attractions don’t miss a beat, particularly pianist Steve Nieve and guest
musician John McFee. Moreover, the strings (when employed) take on new life, and
the record’s cover art, a take-off on Kenny Burrell’s Midnight Blue, is
At the time of the album’s recording in 1981, Costello was admittedly
emotionally shattered. The title of the effort isn’t merely coincidental.
Feeling dejected and disenchanted, the vocalist had been put through the ringer:
His pop stardom yielded one incredible record after another, but Costello’s
marriage was in tatters, his behavior deplorable, and his reputation tarnished
by a famous drunken incident that shamed him for decades. In addition, he chose
to follow his string of original LPs up with the soul- and R&B-minded Get Happy,
a creative masterwork that nonetheless caused some of his mainstream fans to
believe he’d abandon his hit-making pedigree.
So he did what any self-respecting, astute musician would want to do: Cut a
country and western record steeped in heartbreak, fragility, sadness, despair,
and beer-glass-raising spirit. Largely informed by the stacks of country LPs he
bought in used shops during U.S. tours, and in the ideal frame of mind, Costello
sought out not to make standards such as “Sweet Dreams,” “Too Far Gone,” “Honey
Hush,” and “Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down” his own but to put a unique spin on
the darkness, surprise, soulfulness, foreboding, and authenticity that they
With each note, Costello succeeds and exceeds expectations, turning in versions
that sound both old and new. Such timelessness, and the confluence of
contemporary and traditional, distinguishes Almost Blue from nearly every other
country tribute album made by pop/rock artists before and since. Costello and
the Attractions embody the deep sentiments attached to these weeping ballads,
tear-jerking lullabies, honky-tonk rave-ups, and playful shuffles in an
incredibly convincing manner. Producer George Sherrill, famous for working with
the likes of Tammy Wynette, George Jones, and Marty Robbins, and brought on
board specifically for the project, frames the music with the perfect blend of
grit and professionalism.
Recorded in CBS Studio A Nashville May 18-29, 1981.
• Numbered, Limited Edition
• Half-Speed Production and Mastering by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab
• Specially Plated and Pressed on 180 grams of High Definition Vinyl
• Special Static Free - Dust Free Inner Sleeve
• Heavy Duty Protective Packaging
• Mastered from the Original Master Tapes
Elvis Costello, guitar vocal
Pete Thomas, drums
Bruce Thomas, bass
Steve Nieve, piano organ
1. Why Don't You Love Me (Like You Used to Do)?
2. Sweet Dreams
4. I'm Your Toy
5. Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down
6. Brown To Blue
7. A Good Year for the Roses
8. Sittin' and Thinkin'
9. Colour of the Blues
10. Too Far Gone
11. Honey Hush
12. How Much I Lied