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Review of Deluxe re-issues of Almost Blue, Goodbye Cruel and Kojak Variety
Uncut, 2004-09-01
Chip Roberts

Elvis Costello

Almost Blue
(4 stars)
Goodbye Cruel World
(4 stars)
Kojak Variety
(3 stars) all Demon

Fifth phase of two-disc reissue series

Lierate punk Costello' country makeover, Almost Blue, sat awkwardly with new wave fans in '81, but it's proven durable, with "Sweet Dreams", "Good Year For The Roses" and "I'm Your Toy" (aka "Hot Burrito #2") sounding as warm and nasty as ever. No less than 27 tracks grace the bonus disc, including a previously unreleased duet with Johnny Cash ("We Oughtta Be Ashamed") recorded at Nick Lowe's house, and four live cuts. Goddbye Cruel World is of-its-time (1984) Langer/Winstanley pop ("The Only Flame In Town", "I Wanna Be Loved"), with 26 bonus tracks: lives, demos, a Specials cover, a "Baby It's You" duet with Lowe. Kojak Variety from '95 was a covers frenzy (Motown, Dylan, Kinks), and the 20 new extras include Springsteen's "Brilliant Disguise" and Cilla's "Step Inside Love".

Chip Roberts