Elvis Costello and the Attractions' Almost Blue was not well received in the United States when it was released in 1981. The album's 12 country standards were not expected from this punk-edged pop band from England. The album included songs by such greats as Hank Williams, Merle Haggard and Charlie Rich. The brilliance of Costello's adaptations was wrongly overlooked. Luckily, Rykodisc is giving the public another chance with a reissue that includes 11 bonus tracks.
The bonus tracks consist of live recordings and B-sides, together making what could almost be another great album.
Johnny Cash's classic "Cry, Cry, Cry" is the definite standout. Costello tones down the raw edge and transforms the country song into a soft-toned pop song. He performs a similar feat with "Psycho." His version comes close to rivaling Eddie Noack's. A couple of Charlie Rich tunes are included and even one of Costello's own, "Tears Before Bedtime." It fits in well among the classics.
With the fine assortment of bonus tracks, it would make a lot of fans happy if Rykodisc continues to release more of Costello's earlier work just as it did with David Bowie's.