Everybody's Dummy, February 4, 2009

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Everybody's Dummy

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The Delivery Man

Elvis Costello & The Imposters

Wardo

Elvis Costello 23: The Delivery Man
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It seemed that anytime there was a reissue program underway, Elvis would get prolific and start issuing new albums on an annual basis. So after the argument-starter that was North, he took the Imposters down south for a residency at a few tiny clubs, and began honing elements of a song cycle of sorts that he'd been pondering for a decade or so. The Delivery Man appeared on the heels of advance reviews that made it seem like we'd be getting a cross between the Americana of King Of America and the live chaos of Blood & Chocolate. (Pointedly, the all-country Almost Blue had been reissued earlier that year, adding to the Southern mood.)

The resulting album, while a cohesive whole, is still a hodgepodge. The story (or what there is of it) is only slightly helped along by the upfront contributions of Lucinda Williams and Emmylou Harris; the former is an acquired taste, but Emmylou could sing the phone book and it would sound like heaven. (One great moment: the end of "Heart Shaped Bruise," while Elvis and Emmylou join on "it will fade" while the song does just that.)

Best of all, the Imposters are given full rein to do what they do best. Steve Nieve explores every keyboard he can reach, Pete Thomas pounds the skins as hard as any punk and in bassist Davey Faragher Elvis finally has a decent harmonizer to help him cover those notes.

As usual there are a few wordy rants, like "Bedlam" and "Needle Time," but songs like "Country Darkness," "There's A Story In Your Voice" and even a few that had already been recorded by other people for earlier projects — namely "The Judgement," "Either Side Of The Same Town" and "The Scarlet Tide" — stick in one's head.

Fans were very pleased with the album, when in a growing and annoying trend it was reissued a few months later with a new cover, a track that had been exclusive to the UK version, and an EP of alternate takes and two unreleased songs. Still, we wished he'd've left it alone.

Elvis Costello & The Imposters, The Delivery Man (2004)
2005 Deluxe Edition: same as 2004, plus 8 extra tracks



Tags: The Delivery Man The ImpostersNorthKing Of AmericaBlood & ChocolateAlmost BlueLucinda WilliamsEmmylou HarrisHeart Shaped BruiseSteve NievePete ThomasDavey FaragherBedlamNeedle TimeCountry DarknessThere's A Story In Your VoiceThe JudgementEither Side Of The Same TownThe Scarlet Tide

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Everybody's Dummy, February 4, 2009


Wardo reviews The Delivery Man.

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The Delivery Man, 2004

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