This LP is a 20-song collection of unreleased material, B-sides of singles and English album cuts from the Englishman many Americans love to hate.
Because of its nature, this is an uneven effort — it's easy enough to hear why songs such as "Ghost Train," "Sunday's Best," "Talking in the Dark" and "Clean Money" ended up on an album like this — but largely the quality is remarkably high. If nothing else, Taking Liberties is a testament to Costello's songwriting acumen and his ability to work in different genres.
"Stranger in the House," though better performed by Rachel Sweet, and "Radio Sweetheart" are two fine country tunes, complete with pedal steel guitar. "My Funny Valentine" and "Just a Memory" show what a sensitive song stylist Costello can be. And his and the Attractions' version of Van McCoy's "Getting Mighty Crowded" is gritty, soulful rock 'n' roll.
Besides getting the Costello classics "(I Don't Want to Go to) Chelsea," "Night Rally" and "Crawling to the U.S.A.," all of which were on non-American LPs, the bonuses include "Big Tears," "Tiny Steps" and "Wednesday Week," first rate rockers all. All things considered, a bargain.