In a career that has spanned more than 30 years, Elvis Costello has distinguished himself as one of pop music’s most prolific and versatile musicians. What’s more, in the last decade he’s proven himself to be the ultimate carpetbagger by bringing his bile-spewing lyrics and endless melodicism to the American South and re-making American roots music in his bespectacled, gap-toothed image. His latest work, National Ransom, was produced by T Bone Burnett, and features all members of The Imposters and The Sugarcanes performing a wide variety of new combos with guests Vince Gill, Marc Ribot, Buddy Miller and Leon Russell. The man is a genius … and you need this!
Produced by T Bone Burnett, The Union marks the culmination of a mutual musical adoration that began in the late-1960s, ahead of Elton John‘s debut U.S. performance in 1970 at The Troubadour Club in Los Angeles. The album is a collaboration between Elton and Leon Russell, with songs by Elton and Bernie Taupin; by Elton, Bernie and Leon; by Elton and Leon and by Leon alone. The Union was recorded in Los Angeles earlier this year, with guest musicians including Brian Wilson, Booker T, Don Was and Neil Young. Cameron Crowe has filmed the sessions for a documentary, creating too a moment of history as this is the first time that the genesis of Elton’s music has been recorded on film. Elton describes it as a “Seventies record with a modern feel.” Furthermore, it was produced by the ubiquitous T Bone Burnett. What more do you need?
Band on the Run should have been a disaster. Two of Wings‘ original members quit in a huff just before its production. The whimsical decision to record in Lagos, Nigeria, became a nightmare when Paul McCartney and company found themselves in a decaying studio, then had many of the project’s demos stolen by armed bandits. Despite these hardships — perhaps because of them — Band on the Run remains the most focused and consistently satisfying record of McCartney’s post-Beatles career. Band on the Run will be available in a variety of formats originating with the single disc digitally remastered, essential 9-track standard edition, a three-disc version (including a DVD), a four-disc deluxe package with a big-ass book of unreleased photos, and (why not) on sweet, sweet double-vinyl complete with hi-res downloads of all the goods. You need this.