Continuing with its sterling program of reissuing Elvis Costello's entire back catalog plus bonus tracks, Ryko has now reached middle-period, increasingly ambitious E.C. with 1980's Get Happy and 1981's Trust.
Get Happy, which originally crammed an absurd 20 tracks on one slab of vinyl, now contains an even more absurd 30 tracks on one plastic disc. It now incorporates fully half of the 20-track Taking Liberties collection, which was assembled from the outtakes and B-sides that Ryko is now repositioning on the original albums. Get Happy remains a terrific showcase of Costello's Motown and Stax imitations, but the added songs are already in most Costello fans' libraries.
Not so with Trust, which seemed like a rather modest effort at the time, positioned as it was between Get Happy and Imperial Bedroom. Now, however, the songs on Trust sound stronger than those that came immediately before and after, and the bonus tracks are both fresh and exceptional.
"Black Sails in the Sunset" did appear as a 1986 B-side, but it's a much better song than that, combining Costello's best confused-lover lyrics ("Some mysterious dance nobody can do, I thought I knew all the steps, quite clearly I don't have a clue") with a powerful mid-tempo melody driven by Steve Nieve's stately piano,
"Twenty-Five to Twelve" and "Seconds of Pleasure" are quite different versions of the same song, each far superior to most artists' throwaways.
"Sad About Girls" is the best bonus track, however, a plaintive, surging ballad that seems to sum up all of Costello's romantic frustrations: "Unwrap the love before she can know you, she's just got to show you the way that you're going to be sad."
There's also an early version of "Boy With a Problem," which ended up on Imperial Bedroom, and a glum take on Cole Porter's "Love for Sale," pointing the way to Costello's problematic attempt to determine whether, in fact, he actually was a composing genius. Trust shows that, the closer to rock he remained, the closer to genius he got.