Moods For Moderns, October 1979

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Moods For Moderns




Gwynne Garfinkle

This LP is a strange hodgepodge of soft rock, new wave, and show tunes that certainly won't attract many buyers, but that will certainly be bought by all Elvis Costello fans.

First the non-Elvis tracks:

"It's a Beautiful Day," by the Beach Boys, is a typical 70's Beach Boys song, pleasant and melodic, but without the punch of their old classics.

"Get a Move On" (the first — and probably last — single from the LP) and "Open Up Your Heart," both by Eddie Money, are songs you'd pick if choosing between them and, say, Rex Smith tunes, but otherwise they're bland.

"Without Love," by Nick Lowe (featured on his Labour of Lust album) is an excellent country-rocker that grows on you with every spin.

"Car Wars," by Tom Scott, should never have been put on vinyl. It was fine in the film, used as background music for car-smasher Meat Loaf, but here it just takes up space. And on a record that only contains eight other tracks, that's probably what it was used for.

"Don't You Ever Say No" works extremely well. Zane Buzby (playing a Vietnamese "puke-rock" star) was one of the few bright spots in the movie, and her punk parody is hilarious on record, though it loses something without the visuals. (Also, the huge orchestra backing her makes it clear that no one working on the song knew what punk was about to begin with...)

"Gold," performed by Harvey Korman, is more dead air. It was boring in the film; here it doesn't even exist.

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Now for Elvis:

He's got two songs on the LP: "(I Don't Want to Go to) Chelsea" (making its first U.S. appearance) and a fabulous outtake from This Year's Model, "Crawling to the U.S.A." From the first line ("I thought I would go to the sea and shrink down very tiny/ And slide inside the telephone wire that runs under the briney") it's a demented delight with the usual "stick-to-your-brain-like-Crazy-glue" tune and an electronically distorted Costello voice harmonizing with Elvis. This song cuts the rest of the album to shreds (besides "Chelsea," of course), and it's an outtake! Now that's genius...

Sound Salvation

Gwynne Garfinkle

Below are a few of the questions we've received dealing with Elvis record collecting. If you have one, be sure to send it to Moods for Moderns.

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Q: We all know that there are drastic differences between the U.S. and U.K. pressings of Elvis's LPs. But would you please list them all for us unfortunates who don't have the albums?

A: To begin with, there are only two differences between the U.S. and U.K. My Aim Is True. One is color: the U.K. pressings are tinted, back and front, with green, while the U.S. ones are yellow and white. (Note: Early British pressings don't have a green color on the front photo — it's left in black and white. Some early U.S. copies are yellow on the back as well as the front.) Also, the U.S. copy includes "Watching the Detectives," which wasn't recorded with the rest of the LP. The differences on This Year's Model are more numerous. The cover photos are different, the British record includes two songs ("Chelsea" and "Night Rally") not on the U.S. (which features "Radio, Radio" in their place), and some of the early British copies have a bonus single ("Stranger in the House"/ "Neat Neat Neat"). Then... Armed Forces! Everyone, please treat yourself to a British copy. It doesn't have "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding," but it's got the wonderful carnival ditty, "Sunday's Best." The lavish cover (full of military artwork) opens out, where you find a British Hollywood High EP and a set of four "Don't Join" postcards featuring Elvis and his three cohorts. (The photo of Steve Naive standing next to a Disneyland sign reading: "This Attraction is Closed" is priceless.) Oh, yeah, almost forgot, the Armed Forces disc is there, too.

Q: How can I tell if my Live at the El Mocambo record is a bootleg or the real thing?

A: Check the vinyl strip between the last song and the label to see if it's hand or machine stamped. The machine stamped ones are real.

Q: I remember that when Elvis first started getting some airplay, I heard "Alison" on the radio, but it didn't sound like the one on My Aim Is True. It had background vocals and strings. My friends tell me I'm crazy. Was there an "Alison" with strings?

A: There certainly was. Don't ask me why, but for some reason, Columbia stuck backing "Oooo"'s and synthesized strings on two U.S. "Alison" singles (neither of them successful). The DJ copies of "Alison" also feature the additions.

Q: Are there any Nick Lowe bootlegs?

A: There aren't any Lowe boots as such, but the Basher is on two Costello bootlegs: The Last Foxtrot (Nick/Rockpile perform "So It Goes," "Fool Too Long," "I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass," "They Call It Rock" and "Heart of the City") and Radio, Radio (he does a "Heart of the City" encore with Elvis).

Tags: Moods For ModernsAmericathonCrawling To The USA(I Don't Want To Go To) ChelseaThis Year's ModelNick LoweLabour Of LustThe Beach BoysEddie MoneyMy Aim Is TrueWatching The DetectivesNight RallyRadio, RadioStranger In The HouseNeat Neat NeatArmed Forces(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding?Sunday's BestLive At Hollywood HighDon't JoinSteve NieveLive At The El MocamboAlisonColumbiaI Love The Sound Of Breaking GlassHeart Of The City

Photos by Gary Oster.

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1979-10-00 Moods For Moderns photo 05 go.jpg

Photos by Gary Oster.


Moods For Moderns, No. 2, October - November 1979

Gwynne Garfinkle reviews the Americathon soundtrack, profiles Ian Dury (page 9) and answers reader questions, amongst several other features.


1979-10-00 Moods For Moderns cover.jpg

Moods for Moderns #2

Gwynne Garfinkle

page 3

Welcome to Moods for Moderns #2. In this issue we have features on the very peculiar Americathon movie and album. For the next few issues, we'll be doing articles and discographies on acts who performed alongside Elvis Costello on the '77 Stiff Tour. Last issue we featured Nick Lowe; this time it's the one and only... Ian Dury!

Also in this issue is a photo essay on Steve Naive. The photos for this are taken by Gary Oster, whose work is featured on many other pages in MFM #2 (including this one). For more on Gary's photos, see page 15. The beautiful drawing of Elvis on page 5 is by Norm Schulman, whose work (like Gary's) will appear in future issues. Also in this issue, of course, is Costello news, collectors' tips, and lots more fun stuff.

A few reminders: We've gotten lots of great letters since MFM #1, but your contributions — letters, photos, drawings, reviews, clippings, and anything else — are always welcome. And remember, classified ads are just $1 for 25 words, name and address free. Only one person, Charles Lawrence (who obviously knows a bargain when he sees one, and who also has a letter in this issue), put an ad in, which appears below. Also, a few copies of MFM #1 are still available for $1 each.

So, Costellomaniacs, enjoy the issue!!!

Page scans.
page 2 page 4

page 5 page 6

page 7 page 8

page 9 page 10

page 13 page 14

page 15 page 16

Photos by Gary Oster.
1979-10-00 Moods For Moderns photo 01 go.jpg

1979-10-00 Moods For Moderns photo 02 go.jpg
Photos by Gary Oster.


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