Lawrence Journal-World, November 29, 1981

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Almost Blue

Elvis Costello

Beth Scalet

Elvis Costello was instrumental in calling attention to New Wave when it first hit Yankee shores, but his last few albums have made it clear that it would be a mistake to characterize his music as "New Wave." In fact, It's a mistake to characterize his music at all, as Almost Blue proves. Costello has long avowed that George Jones is one of this favorite singers ( they've even worked together), and this album of country music should leave no doubt that Elvis has done his down homework.

To call Almost Blue eccentric would be an understatement. Elvis and his band, the Attractions, rip through Merle Haggard's "Tonite the Bottle Let Me Down," Patsy Cline's "Sweet Dreams," and lesser known heartbreak gems like "Brown to Blue" ("The judge pronounced the words the way you wanted him to do / And changed your name from Brown to Jones and mine from Brown to blue"). The arrangements here are country music the way I remember it, with tick-tick drums, thump thump bass, smarmy pedal steel, and occasional slurpy strings. It wouldn't hurt a few of the urbaner urban cowboys to give this record a listen. There's more lonesome, tear-jerk, lovesick music here than in a whole carton of Mickey Gllley and Eddie Babbitt records.

If you can find an out-of-print copy of Mother Earth Presents Tracy Nelson Country, stick it on your turntable right after Almost Blue and have some friends over for a fish fry.


Lawrence Journal-World, November 29, 1981

Beth Scalet reviews Almost Blue.


1981-11-29 Lawrence Journal-World page 10B clipping 01.jpg


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