It's Only Rock 'N' Roll, May 1980

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Get Happy!!

Elvis Costello & The Attractions

Jeff Webb

In response to the album title; I'm happy, Nick Love says he's happy, I'm sure CBS is happy, but is Elvis happy?

You would think so, but as evidenced by the lyrics, he hasn't changed since his first Lp. Elvis is still angry! You would think since his last album Armed Forces made the top 10 and went gold he might be sticking to what got him there. Which kind of sums up this Lp. No real new ground broken, just 20 songs, most of which are about his relationships with women.

That's right 20 songs! It's like a double album on one disc; and for once it's great to say "the side never seems to end!" If you're worried about the sound quality, don't because it's excellent.

As with the lyrics the music isn't really any different from his previous Lps. There's just more of it. There are songs that sound like they could fit on each of his other Lps. "Black and White World" and "Opportunity" sound like My Aim Is True. "Five Gears in Reverse" and "Beaten to the Punch" could be from This Year's Model. The trio of "King Horse," "Possession" and "Man Called Uncle" remind me of Armed Forces, mainly because of the heavy use of piano.

Besides the piano, Elvis is playing guitar again, the most he's played since his first. "Five Gears in Reverse" even has a short solo! This is one of the reasons I like Get Happy more than his last. He seems to be more a part of the band again.

Nick Lowe's production is varied throughout the Lp with Elvis' voice mixed differently on almost every cut. And his lyrics are still first-rate.

All in all, it's a step forward for Costello: the more "mature" vocals (maybe the meeting with his hero George Jones?), and the band is tighter than ever. Maybe E.C. won't be happy 'til he's got a number 1 record. Make him happy.


It's Only Rock 'N' Roll, May 1980

Jeff Webb reviews Get Happy!!.

Ron Young talks to Jake Riviera.


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Photo by Robbin Cresswell.

Come back Elvis!

Ron Young

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Elvis Costello's manager, Jake Riviera, was in Alamo City for Fiesta Week. He was on a brief holiday while Elvis was touring Germany. Riviera, who also manages Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds, said he was in Texas because it was one of the few places he and El liked when touring the U.S.

As for Elvis himself, he won't be touring the U.S. "ever again" because of the infamous Bonnie Bramlett incident in which our hero traded verbal abuses with the better half of the old group Delaney & Bonnie.

"Elvis works too hard," Riviera said, "and he doesn't need the kind of harassment from the press that he got. When he tried to explain it all it only got worse. He won't be coming back unless he could play Happy, Texas," Jake laughed, having a play on the title of EC's new Lp Get Happy.

Later that week Riviera was supposed to go to Austin for a barbecue with the Fabulous Thunderbirds. As far as Elvis and Nick Lowe building a studio in Austin and using it as a U.S. base as we reported in IORNR #3, June '78 — the Elvis cover — Jake said, "Elvis changes his mind like the wind changes direction. It was an idea at the time because he and Nick both liked Austin. But it's not on."

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Cover and page scans.


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