Rhino Records will reissue Elvis Costello's Columbia and Warner Bros. catalog as a series of augmented two-CD sets, including a full disc of alternate, rare, and previously unreleased material, Billbo

Rhino Records will reissue Elvis Costello's Columbia and Warner Bros. catalog as a series of augmented two-CD sets, including a full disc of alternate, rare, and previously unreleased material, Billboard exclusively reports in its May 12 issue. The reissue program, which will be organized thematically rather than chronologically, begins Aug. 7 with Costello's 1977 debut, "My Aim Is True"; his Warner Bros. bow, "Spike" (1989); and his final Warner studio set, "All This Useless Beauty" (1996). Rhino will issue a new set of Costello albums every three months through early 2003.

Of the bonus material, Costello says, "[For] 'My Aim Is True,' there isn't an awful lot of additional material, apart from what came out on the original reissue. A couple of tracks that were missing then have come to light, gladly [including] a killer version of 'No Action' that was cut at the same session as 'Watching the Detectives.' It's almost totally distorted, because the mikes were set for a much quieter song, and we went blasting into this."

A wealth of extra material intended for "All This Useless Beauty" exists, "including some alternate versions of some songs that have totally different arrangements, ranging from acoustic-guitar demos done in proper studios to very funky-sounding 4-track demos done at home on a cheap 4-track recorder," Costello says."

The second group of reissues, due Oct. 16, comprises three albums featuring Costello's longtime band the Attractions (bassist Bruce Thomas, keyboardist Steve Nieve, and drummer Pete Thomas): "This Year's Model" (1978), "Blood and Chocolate" ('86), and "Brutal Youth." ('94). "They're the beginning, middle, and end of the Attractions as a rock'n'roll band," Costello explains. "They all sort of relate to the band blueprint. It's a sound we checked in with about every eight or nine years."

The third flight of releases, scheduled for January 2002, comprises Costello's most elegant pop records: "Armed Forces" (1979), "Imperial Bedroom" ('82), and "Mighty Like a Rose" ('91). According to Rhino, the April 2002 grouping of "Get Happy!" (1980), "Trust" ('81), and "Punch the Clock" ('83) will explore the Attractions' evolution, while the July 2002 set of "Almost Blue" ('81), "King of America" ('86), and "Kojak Variety" ('95) will survey Costello's American roots music influences.

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