Houston Chronicle, May 1, 2005

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King of America

Elvis Costello

Terry Lawson

★★★★

For Lennon-McCartneyites, no question; the mid-'60s LPs trio was the zenith. For Dylanophiles, same deal. But when it comes to the next generation's best tunesmith — Elvis Costello — there's nothing like a consensus as to his best collection, or even era. He has released great albums in every decade, and in just about every style. Still, any poll would put 1986's King of America in the Top 5.

While Rhino's new reissue of his first post-fame recordings without the Attractions (who did drop in, with some understandable resentment) does not seem significantly improved sonically, it does add eight unreleased songs recorded in the same time period. Among those eight songs are demos of album tracks "Indoor Fireworks," "I'll Wear It Proudly," "Jack of All Parades" and "Poisoned Rose"; a reworking of "The Deportees Club" titled "Deportee"; a different version of the Richard Thompson song "End of the Rainbow"; a never-heard song written for the Absolute Beginners movie, "Having It All"; and a King outtake, "Betrayal," recorded with the Attractions.

Once again, the extensive liner notes by Costello are worth the price of the album.

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Houston Chronicle, May 1, 2005


Terry Lawson reviews the Rhino reissue of King Of America.


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