I was fortunate enough to find a bootleg Elvis Costello CD entitled The Great Lost Album at a record fair. It comprises of various covers which, I assume, were to have appeared on Kojak Variety the planned follow-up to Mighty Like A Rose. Could you provide any clues regarding the original recordings covered on the disc, as the tracks are pretty obscure to say the least!
— S Crouch, Rainham, Essex
This page has touched on the subject of this record before, but never listed the original versions. Here's a partial rundown (pieced together with the aid of Terence Trent Staunton) listing the tracks we know about:
1.) "I Threw It All Away" — the Bob Dylan song from Nashville Skyline.
2.) "Days" — the 1968 Kinks hit which Kirsty MacColl also took into the Top 20 in 1989. Costello’s version has seen the light of day on the soundtrack album to Wim Wender's movie Until The End Of The World.
3.) "Must You Throw Dirt In My Face" — a country music song recorded by the Louvin Brothers back in 1962. Waylon Jennings and Roy Clark also covered it.
4.) "Bama Lama Bama Loo" — the Little Richard stomper.
5.) "Leave My Kitten Alone" — a staple of the Costello live set since the days of The Attractions. They played this on Whistle Test in 1986. Incidentally, the title gets a namecheck in the lyrics of "Crimes Of Paris" on Blood & Chocolate. Little Willie John placed it in the R&B charts back in 1959.
6.) "Everybody's Crying Mercy" — featured in Costello's live set on the Mighty Like A Rose tour of 1991. Bonnie Raitt also recorded a version on "Takin’ My Time." But neither Tel nor myself can recall its parentage.
7.) "Pouring Water On A Drowning Man" — James Carr had the initial hit with this during 1966, although Percy Sledge and Otis Clay, among others, also recorded versions. One of the songs featured on the 1987 Confederates tour.
8.) "The Very Thought Of You" — an age-old ballad originally penned and recorded by big band leader Ray Noble in 1934.
9.) "This Time Be Different" — this Burt Bacharach song – properly titled "Please Stay (Don't Go)" – provided a hit for The Drifters in 1961.
10.) "Running Out Of Fools" — the title song on a 1964 Aretha Franklin album.