Louisville Courier-Journal, October 7, 1995

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Kojak Variety

Elvis Costello

Allen Howie

Kojak Variety is an absolute gas — Elvis Costello covering 15 of his favorite obscurities. His lengthy liner notes expand on the set list, which ranges from the very well-known (Bob Dylan, Randy Newman, Little Richard) to tunes by Little Willie John, Walter Hawkins and Mose Allison. The whole thing recalls nothing so much as Elvis Presley's early Sun recordings. All the tracks here were recorded in two weeks with a band that includes Attractions drummer Pete Thomas, plus Costello regulars Jerry Scheff on bass, Larry Knechtel on piano and organ, and Marc Ribot on guitar. Since nothing here was written after 1969, Costello and the boys aim to capture the kinetic charm of an earlier era, and their aim is true.

Every tune here is a perfect delight, highlighted by Hawkins' "Strange," John's skittish "Leave My Kitten Alone," and a skeletal reworking of Allison's bluesy "Everybody's Cryin' Mercy." And Costello's written observations on each song are a fan's notes, full of the enthusiasm of a true believer spinning his favorite discs. All of which should make this one of yours.


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The Courier-Journal, Scene, October 7, 1995


Allen Howie reviews Kojak Variety.

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1995-10-07 Louisville Courier-Journal Scene page 04.jpg
Page scan.

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