Trouser Press Collectors' Magazine, November 1981

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Trouser Press
TP Collectors' Magazine


Costello update

Mark Fleischmann

Our "Make an Idiot of the Editor Contest," staged to plug holes in "The Great Lost Elvis Costello Album"/ "My Aim Is Two" (TPCM, Sept./Oct. 1981), elicited quite a response. Here's the dope us dopes missed:

Dave Marsh, prominent author of various books, says "It doesn't surprise me that you missed Chris Kenner's 'Packing Up' because the only place I've ever heard it is on Kenner's Land of 1,000 Dances LP. Costello's reading is pretty much a straight cop from Kenner's original; the arrangement is a straight cop. Good taste that boy has, tho." Marsh was the only reader to get that one.

"Imagination' is a tune written by the team of Burke/Van Heusen and recorded by Ella Fitzgerald, Glenn Miller, Frank Sinatra, Cal Tjader, and others," according to Erskine Wood of Eugene, Oregon. "I am not sure that this is the same song on Our Aim Is True ["Imagination Is a Powerful Deceiver"], but given Elvis's highly eclectic tastes it is not unlikely." We will confirm or deny this one in a future issue. Reader Wood, if correct, gets sole kudos.

"Third Rate Romance" was written by Howard Russell Smith of the Amazing Rhythm Aces and recorded by the Aces on their Stacked Deck and The South's Greatest Hits LPs. It was a Top 15 hit for the Aces in 1975, though not for Jesse Winchester, who recorded it with the Aces backing him the previous year on his third LP, Learn to Love It. It has also been recorded by country artist Johnny Duncan on a self-titled LP and by the Fabulous Poodles on Unsuitable.

"I Wrote This Song" is actually "The Roadette Song," credited to Dury/Hardy. Dury is Ian Dury; his old band Kilburn and the High Roads released the song on Handsome and Wotabunch.

Perhaps the most embarrassing flub was "Neat Neat Neat," written by Brian James of the Damned. It was that band's first single and appears on the Damned Damned Damned (my sentiments exactly) LP.

Other tidbits: The version of "Lip Service" on Honky Tonk Demos is also known as "Cheap Reward." Honky Tonk itself takes its name from UK DJ Charlie Gilett's Radio London show, for which Elvis recorded the EP in his lean and hungry days. It was also slated to be a prize in a New Musical Express contest, but Elvis and Jake Riviera nixed the idea.

A few letters contained possible additions to The Great Lost Elvis Costello Album, though some are ineligible based on our rule that all material must be written by the artist. Dutch reader Edwin Blanker has a bootleg EP called Cowboy Discs, credited to Tex and the Attractions, that contains "Honky Tonkin' and "Honky Tonk Blues," the latter written by Hank Williams. He also has a song, "Really Mystified," recorded during a BBC session, on a bootleg EP entitled Cornered on Plastic. Alfonso "watching the defectives" Cardenas of Providence, Rhode Island has heard the following titles during various concerts: "Idle Hands" ("Elvis was doing this song with different lyrics from the eventual version which became 'Temptation' on Get Happy!!), "Black Sails in the Sunset," and "Human Hands." Except where noted, we cannot confirm or deny whether Elvis wrote any of these songs.

By the way, if you're interested in covers, Erskine Wood says "there's enough for a 20-song Elvis Sings Others LP." He counts the three covers (actually four and possibly five) on our original track roster for The Great Lost Elvis Costello Album, Bob Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" from Our Aim Is True, six commercially released covers, and 10 more. "One More Heartache" (Marvin Gaye), "(You Got to Walk and) Don't Look Back" (Temptations), and "Help Me" (author unknown — is it a cover?) are available on the bootleg LP Something New, a pressing of a 1980 KBFH radio broadcast. "Really Mystifying" is a Merseybeats song that exists only on tapes of John Peel sessions from 1978; whether it's the same song as Blanker's "Really Mystified" will remain a mystery (though it sounds probable). "Psycho" (author unknown — but it's "not the Sonics song"), "(If I Put Them All Together) I'd Have You" (George Jones), and "He'll Have to Go" (Patsy Cline) appear on the bootleg LP Live at the Palomino Club 1979. Finally, Elvis performed "Little Sister" (Elvis Presley — !), "Need Your Love So Bad" (Little Willie John), and "He's Got You" (author unknown) at the Palladium in New York earlier this year.

I recently acquired a new bootleg LP, This Years Superstar (apostrophe missing), with two songs I'd never heard before — "I Can't Do It All By Myself," a hard-driving blues number (author unknown), and "Girls Go Home." The latter turns out to be a mislabeled "Secondary Modern."

I'd like to thank everyone who wrote in to offer the information above. I usually didn't attribute information except in cases where only one reader knew a given thing, but every response was carefully read and much appreciated, especially the ones that hastened to reassure me that I am not an idiot. I expected a few sparks to fly, but I never imagined that kindness would be one of your most common reactions. Thank to: Fred Mills, Durham, North Carolina; Bill Baldwin, Syracuse, New York; Andrew Elias of Facts on File, Rego Park, New York; Jeff Lemlich, Miami, Florida; Scott McCaughey, Seattle, Washington; Stan W. Twist, Portland, Oregon; Rick Shear, Union, New Jersey; J.D. Henker, West Covina, California; Tom Jefferson (if I read his signature right), East Camden, New Jersey; Ron Lavery, Woodland Hills, California; Brian Fox ("Connecticut's oldest teenager"), Norwalk, Connecticut; Jon Greene, Wilmington, North Carolina; Mark Rosen, Highland, New York; Baker J. Smith, Kenai, Alaska; Morgan Archer, Willowdale, Ontario, Canada; and Charles Lawrence, Falkland, North Carolina. Special thanks to John Cooper, Program Director of WQBK-FM in Albany, New York, who sent a cassette of "The Roadette Song" as recorded by Kilburn and the High Roads, and Emmanuel Mans of the Golden Disc in New York, who phoned in his info as soon as the last ish of TPCM hit the streets. Anyone with new information to update this update is invited to write and will be similarly credited.

And the lucky winner? Well, nobody got 'em all. But I felt somebody ought to get something. A sentence leaped out of John Cooper's letter: "Now if I can just get my hands on Our Aim Is True and Honky Tonk Demos my collection will be complete."

It's now complete.

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Trouser Press Collectors' Magazine, Nov.-Dec. 1981

Mark Fleischmann updates an earlier Elvis Costello article.


1981-11-00 Trouser Press Collectors' Magazine page 14.jpg
Page scan.

1981-11-00 Trouser Press Collectors' Magazine cover.jpg


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