Kojak Variety (Warner Bros 9362-45903-2)
Dashed off in the couple of weeks following the Mighty Like a Rose sessions, while Costello still had the band and studio hired, Kojak Variety comprises 15 of his favourite R&B songs and "popular ballads", few of which form part of the common cultural currency the way the songs on Annie Lennox's Medusa do.
Mostly, it's a case of Elvis ferreting out obscurities like Screamin' Jay Hawkins's "Strange" and Jesse Winchester's "Payday", and letting loose a first-rate band. The better known songs are handled tenderly, with Ray Davies's "Days" suffused with an oceanic yearning, and Larry Knechtel's dark organ shadings underlining the melancholy of Dylan's "I Threw It All Away"; while the double-whammy guitar combination of rockabilly virtuoso James Burton and angular auteur Marc Ribot lends a spine-tingling thrill to several tracks. Ribot is on terrific form here, delicate and dark by turns, and taking on a solo in "Hidden Charms" which comes close to the astonishing sprung-steel marvel that is Hubert Sumlin's break on the Howlin' Wolf original. Moreover, it's the crystalline drizzle of Ribot's guitar and Knechtel's piano, brilliantly suggesting a slow frosting of emotion obscuring sense, that makes Randy Newman's "I've Been Wrong Before" the high point of the set.
Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated
tvAn expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle
artLee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Asteroid narrowly scrapes past Earth: how to watch the closest space rock for decades as it flies by
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
- 4 British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
- 5 Watch Richard Dawkins read his own hatemail: 'I hope you do get sodomised by satanic monkeys in hell'
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
30,000 reasons why the rhetoric on immigrants claiming benefits can stop now