Costello's 'King' Receives Rhino Revamp
"King of America," the 1986 album that saw Elvis Costello ditch the Attractions and turn introspective and even rootsy, is the latest of the artist's catalog titles lined up for reissue via Rhino."King of America," the 1986 album that saw Elvis Costello ditch the Attractions and turn introspective and even rootsy, is the latest of the artist's catalog titles lined up for reissue via Rhino. Due April 26, the Warner Bros. set is expanded to two discs, the second of which boasts a host of Costello's solo demos, as well as rare Coward Brothers and live recordings.
The set was originally credited to the Costello Show Featuring the Attractions and Confederates, since one song -- "Suit of Lights" -- survived scrapped recordings with Costello's longtime band that were intended to make up half of the album. The rest of the set features a crack lineup of musicians that includes guitarists T-Bone Burnett and James Burton, drummers Jim Keltner, Mickey Curry, Ron Tutt and Earl Palmer, bassists Ray Brown and Jerry Scheff, keyboardist Mitchell Froom and multi-instrumentalist T-Bone Wolk.
A critical success, "King of America" found mediocre commercial acceptance upon release, reaching No. 39 on The Billboard 200. Although a cover of the Animals' "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" received the lion's share of rock radio's attention at the time, several songs on the album are top favorites among fans, including "Brilliant Mistake," "Indoor Fireworks," "The Big Light" and "Glitter Gulch."
The new edition's 21-song second disc relies heavily on solo demo recordings to differ it from Rykodisc's 1995 reissue of the title. In addition to several songs that made it through to the original album, there are other notable demos, including "Having It All" and "I Hope You're Happy Now." Only one new live recording not on the Ryko edition appears on the new set, a version of Buddy Holly's "True Love Ways."
While the recordings of "They'll Never Take Her Love From Me" and "The People's Limousine" by the aforementioned Coward Brothers, which consisted of Costello and Burnett, were included on Ryko's version of "King of America," they are still a necessary inclusion relating to this period of Costello's career.
During a Q&A session at last week's South By Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas, Costello insisted that reissuing his catalog again is not a ploy to confuse or milk the cash of his diehard fans. "[They are] for those who missed it the first time around," he said, not for "those obsessed with having everything."