Having produced The Pogues' Rum, Sodomy And The Lash in 1985, Elvis Costello obviously decided to put the polished sheen of his early 80s albums behind him. King Of America was recorded with various top-flight session guys, including James Burton, Ron Tutt and Jerry Scheff, formerly of Elvis Presley's TCB band. The result was a softer, rootsier Costello that may have won him critical acclaim but today seems patchy and just a little bit bland. (Follow-up Blood & Chocolate, recorded with the Attractions, was released the same year and was far more like it: he never sounded as thrillingly vicious again.)
As reissues go, however, it's a masterclass in how to do it: a bonus CD of 21 unreleased outtakes, demos, live and acoustic versions with extensive sleevenotes from Costello himself, means fans will want it, even if they don't need it. What a clever-clogs.