In Dublin, March 3, 1988

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In Dublin

UK & Ireland magazines


The Courier

Gerry Stevenson

The original motion picture soundtrack for The Courier is scarcely original in format, offering a mixture of specially composed incidental music and the now mandatory string of pop songs.

The eight mood pieces from Elvis Costello sound suitably moody — "Stalking" is just the kind of thing you would stalk to and "Mad Dog" sounds just right for foaming at the mouth while running a magazine. "Funeral Music" features solo piano from Steve Nieve and Don Weller's plaintive sax solo, also called "Funeral Music," provides the essential sax element required by all Irish films. The two substantial pieces, the brassy "Rat Poison" and "Long Boat Leaving" (Elvis's "The Long Road"?) stand up well in their own right.

The seven pop songs on the first side of the album show the current state of Irish pop, with tracks from bands like Cry Before Dawn and Aslan who have already made successful albums and from those like Hot House Flowers and Something Happens's second track "She Came From Here" sticking out. Too Much For The White Man draw the short straw with "Try A Little Harder" which, unless there is a folk-mass scene in the film, has to try too hard to strike a note of unlikely optimism amidst all the stalking and snorting.

Perhaps the incidental pieces should have been interspersed with the pop songs for as it is the album falls into two very different modes and leaves the way clear for U2 to steal the show. Their "Walk to the Water" (previously available only as a B-side) falls physically and musically between the blocks of pop and mood and because it is not trying to be either registers more deeply than both.

Tags:  The CourierStalkingMad DogFuneral MusicSteve NieveDon WellerRat PoisonLast Boat LeavingU2

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In Dublin, March 3 - 16, 1988

Gerry Stevenson reviews the soundtrack to The Courier.
Elvis tells Paddy Kehoe about candidates for his favourite record.


1988-03-03 In Dublin clipping 01.jpg

ELVIS COSTELLO on his favourite record,

as told to Paddy Kehoe.

I was mulling over some of the records I might have said — there’d be ‘The Best of Jimmy Reid’ or ‘Derek Bell Plays With Himself. That’s the greatest title of all time! On that he plays harpsichord, piano, the harp and I think some oboe. It’s really Derek duetting with himself! An eclectic sort of album with bits of Folk, Classical, Hungarian dances on it. If It had a dead serious title, maybe you wouldn’t pick it or see it.

Yes We Can’ by Lee Dorsey might be another; ‘Pet Sounds’ by the Beach Boys, too. Or ‘Rubber Soul’ by the Beatles. Again, there’s always some obscure record you like that no one else likes. It’s very difficult to pick out one particular record. When I’m going on tour I always have two or three compilation tapes I’ve made up myself.

There are albums, too, that are really close to my heart, ones I like for really personal reasons — for example ‘Motown Chart-Busters Vol.3’, the one with the silver cover, with ‘What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted?’ and ‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine’. That was the party record when I was fifteen. Gram Parsons’ first couple of records, or The Band — if I’m away on tour, feeling miserable or something, there’s something familiar about these.

Anyway, my favourite record this week is by The Mothers of Invention. It’s called ‘We’re Only in It for the Money’. I was never a big fan of Frank Zappa — I just have this one record. The cover of it is like a parody of ‘Sergeant Pepper’ and I don’t think it came out very long after that. The whole record is like a send-up of ‘flower power’. It’s very funny but also has some really good music. There are little bits that are more like pop music,rather than the psychedelic freak-out musical lyrics and I hope it’s on rerelease; I got it on a CD while I was in Australia.

There’s lots of weird stuff, stereo stuff, and snatches of conversation between the tracks, which are very short. A lot of the lyrics are satirizing the sort of things that people were getting of those bores who buy the Monty Python records to memorize the sketches.

At that time, I mean, there were lots of people singing sincerely about Peace and Love, but there were also lots of phoneys: people like Scott McKenzie, although I do think ‘San Francisco’ was a good song. I mean there were always people ready to sing about revolution, as long as that was fashionable, but then they’d sing about baseball, if that was what people wanted to hear. At least U2 do it with their heart.

The Mothers’ record still has relevance twenty years later, its time has come around again. Look at Jefferson Starship. I’m in the business ten years now — ten years ago they were still trying to make interesting records but look at them now! Zappa makes fun of all those people looking for a cause so as they can get their heads kicked in, which is funny! In that sense, it’s an honest record.

Tags:  Derek BellLee DorseyThe Beach BoysThe BeatlesGram ParsonsThe BandScott McKenzieSan Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair)U2


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