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Almost You: The Songs of Elvis Costello

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Almost You: The Songs of Elvis Costello album cover
Green Shirt
Artist: Matt Pond PA
(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes
Artist: Hem
Busy Bodies
Artist: Fastball
No Action
Artist: Grand Champeen
Still Too Soon o Know
Artist: The Damnations
Artist: Vic Chesnutt, Jack Logan, and Mr. and Mrs. Keneipp
Blue Chair
Artist: Li'l Cap'n Travis
Watch Your Step
Artist: Brenda Kahn
Beyond Belief
Artist: Jon Auer
Man Called Uncle
Artist: The Deathray Davies
Indoor Fireworks
Artist: Kev Russell's Junker
Just A Memory
Artist: Tywanna Jo Baskette
Riot Act
Artist: Okkervil River
Sleep Of The Just
Artist: The Mendoza Line
Sleep of The Just
Artist: Kevin Russell
Album Information

Total Tracks: 15   Total Length: 50:49

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Aim fairly true


"Too soon to know" & "Sleep of the just" (mendoza line) are nice & relaxing versions, and bring something to the party aside from the original. Others, matter of taste but prefer EC.

They Say All Music Guide

Amazingly, with the flood of tribute records that has washed over record stores in the past few years, this is the first newly recorded tribute to the songs of Elvis Costello. The 15 artists and bands are strictly indie rock, many of them from the American south. Most of the tracks they cover are from Costello’s early salad days as an angry young man (three from My Aim Is True, one from This Year’s Model, two from Armed Forces, one from Trust, three from Get Happy!!, and one from Imperial Bedroom) with a couple from later records (one from Blood & Chocolate, three from King of America, and one from Brutal Youth). As with any tribute collection, you are going to find the good, the bad, and the imitators. Most of the groups here don’t take many liberties, but only a couple go for full-on imitations; Fastball’s Tony Scalzo’s vocals sound eerily like a young Costello on a reverent take of “Busy Bodies,” and Grand Champeen attempts to rock out on “No Action,” but despite the volume and good intentions, sounds about one-tenth as mean and messed up as Costello’s original. There are plenty of good interpretations to be found here. Matt Pond PA kicks off the disc with the best track here, a lovely cello-driven take on “Green Shoes,” with Matt Pond’s vocals recalling the snarling spirit of Costello without aping him. Damnation’s take on Brutal Youth’s “Still Too Soon to Know” is spare and beautiful, featuring a wrenching lead vocal from Deborah Kelly. “Alison” is a song that could easily lend itself to mawkishness, but Vic Chesnutt and Jack Logan do a fairly straightforward, un-over-emotional version backed by guitar and piano. Lil’ Cap’n Travis gives “Blue Chair” from Blood & Chocolate a sweeping orchestral country feel with plenty of swooping pedal steel and a healthy dose of glockenspiel. One of the delights of a good collection like this is discovering new bands. Lil’ Cap’n Travis is one to keep an eye out for. Fellow obscure indie group the Deathray Davies turn in a spirited take on “Men Called Uncle” and the Mendoza Line end the record in fine style with a Shannon McArdle-sung version of “Sleep of the Just” from King of America that should send listeners straight out to buy all of the Mendoza Line’s fine records. There are not really any bad tracks, only a few that don’t work very well in context; Brenda Kahn over-sings on “Watch Your Step,” Tywanna Jo Baskette monotonally under-sings on “Just a Memory,” Okerrvil River’s wavering, over-emotional vocals sink an otherwise interesting version of “Riot Act,” and Kev Russell’s Junker’s yodeling version of “Indoor Fireworks” isn’t bad really, it just sounds out of place here. Four less-than-great songs don’t sink this ship, however. It is a highly listenable disc throughout and sometimes even quite good. Costello should be proud and anyone who is a fan should be sure to check this collection out. – Tim Sendra

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