The Boy Named If (Alive At Memphis Magnetic) Elvis Costello
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- 1Farewell, OK02:54
- 2The Boy Named If04:24
- 3Penelope Halfpenny02:57
- 4The Difference03:45
- 5What If I Can't Give You Anything But Love?04:03
- 6Paint The Red Rose Blue04:46
- 7Mistook Me For A Friend04:13
- 8My Most Beautiful Mistake04:47
- 9Magnificent Hurt03:13
- 10The Man You Love To Hate04:53
- 11The Death Of Magic Thinking03:31
- 12Trick Out The Truth04:53
- 13Mr. Crescent03:39
- 14Magnificent Hurt (Memphis Magnetic Version)03:18
- 15Truth Drug (Memphis Magnetic Version)01:40
- 16Penelope Halfpenny (Memphis Magnetic Version)03:24
- 17So You Want To Be A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star02:16
- 18What If I Can't Give You Anything But Love? (Memphis Magnetic Version)04:53
- 19The Boy Named If (Memphis Magnetic Version)05:30
- 20Let Me Roll It03:21
- 21Everyday I Write The Book (Memphis Magnetic Version)04:48
- 22Out Of Time04:03
- 23Here, There And Everywhere02:27
- 24Magnificent Hurt (Remix)03:33
Info for The Boy Named If (Alive At Memphis Magnetic)
Elvis Costello & The Imposters will release The Boy Named If (Alive at Memphis Magnetic), a companion to January’s widely-acclaimed album The Boy Named If which earlier this week was nominated for a Grammy Award for "Best Rock Album."
This new album features live-in-the studio renditions of TBNI songs, a version of Costello’s “Every Day I Write the Book”, numbers by The Rolling Stones, Nick Lowe, The Byrds and Paul McCartney and a brand new remix by the Japanese duo, chelmico.
Recorded live-in-the-studio during tour rehearsals at Memphis Magnetic Recording in October 2021 and May 2022, the album captures the band playing, as Costello puts, “Some of our favourite songs while negotiating with any tricky angles in our new tunes."
When The Imposters and I entered Memphis Magnetic studio in October 2021 it was the first time we’d been face-to-face or side-by-side while playing the songs from “The Boy Named If”.
That album had been recorded over “electrical wire” in late 2020 from our respective lairs and cupboards under the stairs but now we were in Memphis on pretext of rehearsing for our first full tour ever since the world ended in March 2020. Now we were three days from opening on the Soundstage at Graceland but what better way to prepare than playing some of your favourite songs while negotiating with the trickier angles in our new tunes.
In the summer of 2021, we’d invited Charlie Sexton to join us on the guitar when we were unable to obtain Steve Nieve’s “Letters Of Transit” from France to play a couple of shows and liked the outcome so much that we all agreed to proceed as a quintet.
We set up with stage monitors, a plan that Pete Thomas and Steve Nieve would have recognized from the “Blood & Chocolate” sessions only without all the sulking and sniping.
Now, Pete Thomas once vaulted over a fence to retrieve a brick from the demolition site of the original Stax Studios building. He told any musicians with a faltering groove in his own basement studio - Bonaparte Rooms East - “That brick has heard, “(Sittin’ On) the Dock Of The Bay”.
We celebrated our return to the city by Pete and Davey Faragher putting a little Memphis magnificence into “Everyday I Write The Book” with Steve leading us on the Hammond and Charlie filling in around my voice, one of a number of repertoire songs that we re-arranged for the tour.
The album, “The Boy Named If”, set out to be an antidote to our mutual isolation. Now with my co-producer Sebastian Krys and his assistant Daniel Galindo in the Memphis Magnetic booth and our road crew tight to the walls of the studio or in the hallway outside, we put on the red light and began finding our way around these new numbers in the same room and at the same time, and shaking off a little dust by tearing through songs like Nick Lowe’s 1976 Dutch release, “Truth Drug”.
Having played our first appearance of 2022 at JazzFest in New Orleans before celebrating the opening of the Bob Dylan Centre in Tulsa and even working up an encore of “Like A Rolling Stone” in the dressing room of “Cain’s Ballroom”, we had now returned to Memphis Magnetic to rehearse for upcoming U.K. and European dates and while we let The Imposters and Charlie loose on the “Hey Clockface” numbers that I’d recorded alone in Helsinki but would now earn their place in the coming shows before lighting “Indoor Fireworks” with a different match and finding a minor mood in “Brilliant Mistake” and filed them away for a future collection called, “King Of America & Other Realms”.
It seems we remained in a freewheeling mood as we cut, “Out Of Time”, the Jagger/Richards tune that I first learned from Chris Farlowe’s Immediate Records release, to which I later added, tambourine, maracas, a second piano and a few other tricks and diversions, after all, we were in a recording studio.
We certainly got the sense of where a tune like, “What If I Can’t Give You Anything But Love?” might be headed from night to night, when Charlie opened up on his guitar solo.
In the evening I returned to my room at the Peabody Hotel and over the next three nights, I heard seven new songs ringing ‘round the walls but that’s a tale for another day…
At the October 2021 sessions, we’d crashed out of “Penelope Halfpenny” into The Byrds, “So You Want To Be A Rock & Roll Star”, now we did something similar, as Paul McCartney’s “Let Me Roll It” emerged from “The Boy Named If” title song. At the end of the final session, we turned off the monitors entirely and recorded a hushed birthday card serenade of “Here, There & Everywhere”.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, chelmico had been working away on a complete re-model and re-fit of “Magnificent Hurt”. Over the last few years we’ve presented some of my songs in other languages on the album “Spanish Model” and the French language E.P. “La Face de Pendule à Coucou” but this track is something of an entirely different stripe.
One of the gifts of the recent interlude from the traveling life has been the time gathered around the family jukebox, a stack of vinyl or the comic book world of film entertainment.
While, his brother and mother were elsewhere working on their own schemes, my son Frank and I worked our way through the entire anime series, “Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!”, an ingenious look at every aspect of animation from storyboarding to the final cut, through the eyes and escapades of three young Japanese students. Each episode kicks off with the chelmico track, “Easy Breezy”, a cool flow of verses and rhymes over a beatbox and some slide guitar.
A couple of calls later and I found myself on a video conference to Tokyo with Mamiko and Rachel and was delighted that they agreed to work up their own version of “Magnificent Hurt”. My only directions were, “You can do anything you want. Cut it up. Turn it round. Wipe it out. Say anything you want. You can’t be wrong”.
As you will hear, the song is now an entirely different story in both words and music, re-harmonizing my interjections between their verses and it is this new Japanese model of the song that closes the storybook on, “The Boy Named If (Alive At Memphis Magnetic)”.
began working as a professional musician 35 years ago, shortly after the release of his first album, “My Aim Is True”. He has made more than 27 studio records, three live albums and numerous guest appearances on stage, studio and screen as well as working as a record producer, bit-part actor and composing music for television drama and dance performance.
He has toured the world with The Attractions, The Imposters and the pianist, Steve Nieve, performing with symphony and jazz orchestras as well as in solo performance. His catalogue of songs includes collaborations with Paul McCartney, Allen Toussaint and Burt Bacharach with whom he won a Grammy for “I Still Have That Other Girl” from their 1998 collaboration, Painted From Memory. Costello’s songs have been recorded by George Jones, Chet Baker, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Dusty Springfield and Robert Wyatt.
Elvis Costello and The Attractions were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003. In the same year he was awarded ASCAP’s prestigious Founder’s Award. His last record was 2010s National Ransom, produced by T-Bone Burnett. Between 2008 and 2010, Costello was the host of twenty episodes of the interview and music show, “Spectacle” on the Sundance Channel.
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