My Aim Is True: 40th anniversary

Pretty self-explanatory
sweetest punch
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My Aim Is True: 40th anniversary

Postby sweetest punch » Wed Jul 05, 2017 1:19 pm

https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/ ... elvis.html

Happy 40th Birthday My Aim Is True: The Best Elvis Costello Performances

From the bottomless Paste Cloud, exclusive classic recordings of a young Elvis

Elvis Costello burst onto the music scene 40 years ago this month with what was then, and is still now, regarded as one of the best rock ‘n’ roll debuts ever, My Aim Is True.

The album, released July 22, 1977, offered a reprieve from the excesses that were emblematic of the genre in its day. Setting the tone was a now-iconic cover, with Elvis checking several Eisenhower-era boxes in a sneering Presley pose with pompadour and thick black-rim glasses. Costello has said it was intended as a send-up of rock posturing, but instead it recaptured a bygone era of tighter songs unencumbered by showy virtuosic displays. Nine of the 12 tracks—not including “Watching the Detectives,” which was included on the U.S. release—clock in at under three minutes. Costello was backed by members of a San Francisco rock group called Clover, including keyboardist Sean Hopper, who went on to co-found Huey Lewis and the News. (Though Huey himself was absent from the sessions, that fact does make this mixture of rock criticism and homicide from American Psycho especially hilarious.)

My Aim Is True was also released a month before the death of Elvis Presley, which enraptured critics such as Dave Schulps in Crawdaddy, who felt obliged to clarify things since Costello’s name change from Declan McManus preceded it: “My Aim Is True heralds the arrival of a truly superb artist by any standards. Elvis (and don’t get the wrong idea, he was being called that long before the death of The King) is a sparser yet even harder rocking version of Graham Parker.”

To mark 40 years since My Aim Is True’s release, we scoured the bottomless Paste Cloud and found great audio and video footage of Costello performing the songs from the album, mostly on his first American tour in 1978.

Costello fostered his angry-young-man persona on stage. It was integral to the album’s mood, too, with songs, being “spat out” with a “very fierce beat.” But there is rock’s first real nerd factor at work, too. Consider “Mystery Dance,” which, rather than bragging about sexual prowess in a way that had long been a rock ‘n’ roll trope, confessed to complete incompetence. “There should be songs to sing for the people who don’t have a voice,” he said in 1989.

Let’s start with Costello ripping through “Mystery Dance” at San Francisco’s Winterland on June 7, 1978. He’s joined by his then new band, The Attractions, who would back him capably through various sonic incarnations including soul (“Get Happy”), country “Almost Blue” and Beatlesque pop craftsmanship (1982’s “Imperial Bedroom,” the album that Costello is commemorating this year on tour).

Here’s Elvis saying he’s actually not angry as angrily as humanly possible, at the Capitol Theatre in Passaic, N.J., on March 5, 1978:

Waiting For The End Of The World
The venomous singing style is quite removed from the capable crooner he would ultimately become. Witness it in peak form in this Winterland performance, from June 7, 1978, of “Blame It On Cain.”

“When they step upon your face, then wear that good-look grin
I gotta break out one weekend before I do somebody in
But every single time I feel a little stronger
They tell me it’s a crime, well, how much longer?”

This version of Costello’s very first single, “Less Than Zero,” from May 7, 1978, features a fascinating dichotomy of an organ sound right out of a carnival with Elvis’s proto-punk posturing.

Costello wrapped things up on My Aim Is True (at least on the U.K. version) in a fittingly apocalyptic way with the loopy, incessantly catchy “Waiting for the End of the World” and its ambivalent refrain: “Good Lord, I sincerely hope you’re coming ‘cause you really started something.”

But even then, Costello showed a surprising vocal and emotional range, given how convincingly he pulls off the ballad “Alison,” which only sounds sentimental to the inattentive while giving the album its title.

“Sometimes I wish that I could stop you from talking
when I hear the silly things that you say.
I think somebody better put out the big light,
cause I can’t stand to see you this way.
Alison, I know this world is killing you.
Oh, Alison, my aim is true.”

The biggest radio hit on My Aim Is True is a successor of sorts to “Mystery Dance.” “Watching the Detectives,” an organ-heavy ska number in the style of two-toned Brit roots heavyweights The Specials (who actually formed in 1977) shows that song’s singer having moved on to now having a cold-blooded lover who would rather watch television.

“Long shot at that jumping sign
Invisible shivers running down my spine
Cut to baby taking off her clothes
Close-up of the sign that says ‘we never close’
He snatches at you and you match his cigarette
She pulls the eyes out with a face like a magnet
I don’t know how much more of this I can take
She’s filing her nails while they’re dragging the lake.”
Since you put me down, it seems i've been very gloomy. You may laugh but pretty girls look right through me.

sweetest punch
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Re: My Aim Is True: 40th anniversary

Postby sweetest punch » Wed Jul 05, 2017 1:23 pm

Since you put me down, it seems i've been very gloomy. You may laugh but pretty girls look right through me.

chickendinna
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Re: My Aim Is True: 40th anniversary

Postby chickendinna » Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:09 am

Wow, I am getting old. 40 years ago, yikes!!! MAIT still retains a freshness and energy to it after all these years. Now how about a new album El?

Harry Lime
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Re: My Aim Is True: 40th anniversary

Postby Harry Lime » Thu Jul 06, 2017 6:08 pm

chickendinna wrote:Wow, I am getting old. 40 years ago, yikes!!! MAIT still retains a freshness and energy to it after all these years. Now how about a new album El?


It really is amazing how fresh this album still sounds. Really, all the Nick Lowe-produced albums have a timelessness to them that keeps them relevant today. But there was a lot of energy in that punk/new wave era that keeps some music out of the oldies bin. I heard Anarchy in the UK on the radio this morning and it still holds so much power, 40 years later.
Who put these fingerprints on my imagination?

MOJO
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Re: My Aim Is True: 40th anniversary

Postby MOJO » Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:26 pm

This was a great show. I had tickets for the first show and after it, I got right back in line for the 2nd show it was that good. Worth a listen.

https://archive.org/details/ElvisCostelloAndClover-GreatAmericanMusicHall

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oliversa1
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Re: My Aim Is True: 40th anniversary

Postby oliversa1 » Thu Jul 13, 2017 8:08 am

My UK vinyl of MAiT.
Attachments
mait.jpg
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Don't Start Me Talking, I Could Talk All Night.

johnfoyle
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Re: My Aim Is True: 40th anniversary

Postby johnfoyle » Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:58 pm


sweetest punch
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Re: My Aim Is True: 40th anniversary

Postby sweetest punch » Sat Jul 22, 2017 10:58 am

https://www.facebook.com/ElvisCostello/

“Pathway Studios was no bigger than the average front room, with a Control booth barely able to contain two people and the 8-track mixing board. Nick Lowe was now the full-time producer. We had the entire Clover lineup minus the singers, Ales Call and Huey Lewis, jammed into this tiny space. John Ciambotti was on bass, and Sean Hopper played keyboards, in addition to Shine and McFee. I was pinned behind an acoustic baffle with my amp and a vocal mike. It was rather like recording in a telephone booth. Overdubs were barely an option. Everything is heard pretty much as it was played.”

Image
Since you put me down, it seems i've been very gloomy. You may laugh but pretty girls look right through me.

sweetest punch
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Re: My Aim Is True: 40th anniversary

Postby sweetest punch » Sat Jul 22, 2017 5:57 pm

http://www.billboard.com/articles/colum ... nniversary

Elvis Costello's 'My Aim Is True' Turns 40: Ranking All the Tracks

In honor of the 40th anniversary of English singer-songwriter Elvis Costello’s debut, My Aim Is True, we’re ranking the tracks on this July 22, 1977 debut that turned out to be one of the most influential albums in the history of rock and punk. It's a tall order, but we'll give it a shot.

Recorded with his swinging backing band, Bay Area rockers Clover (sometimes credited as The Shamrocks), My Aim Is True is one of the strongest debut albums in history. It’s rough edged and bluesy—Costello has been an outspoken lover of the New Orleans sound—and explores various genres, including punk, rockabilly, native pub rock, jazz and even honky-tonk country. It’s tightly-wound—most songs are under three minutes—and melodically simple and pop-smart (i.e.: very whistle-able). It sounds exploratory, but with a glue pulling it all together: Costello, his bitter lyrical barbs and the even-handed production from Nick Lowe, who gives it the warm feel of the band performing in your bedroom. If there’s one essential Costello album, it’s this one.

Here goes…

1. “Alison”

It’s the spiritual centerpiece for the album, with Costello’s sometimes-bitter, always-genius lyrical bite on display. A golden-warm, gliding guitar lick—thank you, Clover guitarist John McFee—opens the shimmering, mid-tempo tribute to a young lady. Or is it a tribute? Costello whisper-sings, “Sometimes I wish I could stop you from talking / When I hear the silly things that you say” and coos “My aim is true” over and over and over. So… is Alison in Costello’s cross hairs literally or figuratively? Either way, it’s one of his best-known songs and favorite amongst Costello super fans.

2. “Watching the Detectives”

Costello and Clover reportedly listened to The Clash on repeat while recording My Aim Is True, and it especially shows on the LP’s closing track. Here, Clover prove to be one damn versatile band, shifting to a reggae groove with funky-fun keys and jittery guitar riffs. Costello tells the tale of a murder mystery, then on the bouncy chorus the band pair dub grooves with punk ferocity, driving the keys louder and louder, as Costello yells “shoot, shoot, shoot!” ["Watching the Detectives" was only on the U.S. version of My Aim Is True.]

3. “Welcome to the Working Week”

Costello wastes no time laying on the snide in the opening statement of his debut album. “Now that your picture's in the paper being rhythmically admired,” he sings. Wink, wink. Working is certainly overrated. Musically, it’s smart-aleck pub-rock with crunchy guitars, clapping drums and Girl Group-style doo-doos and wah-wahs to accompany Costello’s barbs about the ol’ 9 to 5. “Welcome to the working week / You gotta do it till you’re through it, so you better get to it.”

4. “Sneaky Feelings”

A recurring jazz-flecked riff is the highlight of this catchy tune, filled with swinging rhythms and stop-start breaks. It’s a hybrid with tricks and turns from various genres, all mish-mashed into a new sound that’s greater than the sum of its parts. Lyrically, it’s a bitter take on concealing his feelings: “Sneaky feeling, sneaky feelings, you can’t let those kids of feelings show / I’d like to get right through the way I feel for you, but I’ve still got a long way to go.”

5. “Less Than Zero”

This chugalug track, Costello’s first single for Stiff Records, is about Costello’s disgust with seeing British fascist Oswald Mosley on TV denying his past actions in the 1930s: “Calling Mister Oswald with the Swastika tattoo,” he sings, before alluding that Oswald is shagging his sister and suggests he move to South America along with all the other Nazis. Yes, it inspired the title of the infamous 1985 Bret Easton Ellis novel about drugs and depravity in the City of Angels (for no real reason other than the author loved the song, which is understandable: Costello’s “Hey oh way-ah-ayays!” are certainly catchy).

6. “Miracle Man”

It’s a kiss-off to a miss-have-it-all that sounds like a Rolling Stones Exile on Main St. tune, complete with a loose honky-tonk riff. “And I’m doing everything tryin’ to please her / Even crawling around on all fours," Costello barks over charging punk rock. “I thought by now that it was gonna be easy / But she still seems to want for more." That barroom riff circles back, then lays it on: "Why do you have to say that there’s always someone / Who can do it better than I can?”

7. “(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes”

Clover bassist John Ciambotti used to refer to this tune as the “one that sounds like The Byrds” and he was right. It’s like a New Wave rendition of the band’s twinkling sound from the psychedelic 1960s, opening with weaving guitars and dreamy organ lines. Costello delivers some of his most impassioned singing, alongside call-and-response vocals from Lowe. The track, written on a train traveling from London to Liverpool in 1976, finds angels appearing to offer Costello immortality in exchange for his red shoes: “Since their wings have got rusted / The angels want to wear my red shoes,” he croons. “But when they told me about their side of the bargain / That’s when I knew I could not refuse.” Those must be some nice shoes.

8. “I’m Not Angry”

It’s one of the more aggressive tracks on the album, exploding with The Who-like guitar heroics and a wall of keys sky-high. It’s a bitter tribute to a girl who picked another guy—then rubbed it in his face. “You’re upstairs with the boyfriend while I’m left here to listen,” Costello spits. “I hear you calling his name, I hear the stutter of ignition.” After each verse, a backing vocalist—presumably Lowe—hushes, “Angry,” and despite Costello’s claims of otherwise, he seems a bit POed. “I could hear you whispering as I crept by your door / So you found some other joker who could please you more.”

9. “Blame It on Cain"

It’s a tribute to American blues, but with a bitter, well-dressed English punk on the mic—deriding his country’s oppressive, money-grubbing tax collector. A roadhouse riff kicks open the door, as the band drives a hard beat to Costello’s rapid-fire delivery. Then the band pauses and the chorus arrives and, damn, it’s so good. Look, Costello doesn’t have any cash and it’s not his fault. So… “Blame it on Cain, don’t blame it on me” he yells with gusto. “It’s nobody’s fault, but we need somebody to burn.” Down with the taxman!

10. "Pay It Back"

It’s hard out there for broke guys. This tightly-wound, jazz-blues rocker with saloon piano bits, bright guitar riffs and a looping chorus has Costello in debt to his country and his love—and wondering how to get out: “They told me I could be somebody,” he sings. “If I didn’t let too much get in my way. I tried so hard just to be myself. If I could fool myself, then maybe I’d fool you.” In one of the many so-simple-it’s-genius melodies on My Aim Is True, Costello offers up this catchy unforgettable chorus: “One of these days I’m going to pay it back,” Costello spits, “pay it back one of these days.”

11. “No Dancing”

Picture Costello fronting a Phil Spector-style girl group and you get this fun track with all the drama of a Ronettes song. It opens with that boom, boom-boom tssskkkkk drum beat from many an early 1960s teen hit, and tells a tale of heartbreak at the sock hop: “I know that she has made a fool of him / Like many girls have done so many times before / But he’s so strange, I don’t know why / But somebody has to cry.”

12. "Waiting for the End of the World"

It’s perhaps the most New Wave-y song of the lot, with angular guitar riffs and deadpan lyrics: “Waiting for the end of the world / Dear Lord, I sincerely hope you’re coming / ‘Cause you really started something.” A guest Jesus spot on Costello’s next album? You never know.

13. "Mystery Dance"

Yes, this track is coming in last place, mostly because it’s a 12-bar blues x-ray that pales in comparison to the originality of the rest of the album. Still, it’s a fun rock n’ roller with guitar wailing and Costello’s lyrics on romance: “Romeo was restless, he was ready to kill / He jumped out the window, ‘cause he couldn’t sit still / Juliet was waiting with a safety net / He said, ‘Don’t buddy me ‘cause I’m not dead yet.'” Now that’s storytelling.
Since you put me down, it seems i've been very gloomy. You may laugh but pretty girls look right through me.

sweetest punch
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Re: My Aim Is True: 40th anniversary

Postby sweetest punch » Sun Jul 23, 2017 12:28 am

Since you put me down, it seems i've been very gloomy. You may laugh but pretty girls look right through me.

sweetest punch
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Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2004 5:49 am
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Re: My Aim Is True: 40th anniversary

Postby sweetest punch » Sun Jul 23, 2017 12:31 am

Since you put me down, it seems i've been very gloomy. You may laugh but pretty girls look right through me.

Richard
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Re: My Aim Is True: 40th anniversary

Postby Richard » Sun Jul 23, 2017 8:16 pm

[quote="sweetest punch"]http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/rock/7874035/elvis-costello-my-aim-is-true-anniversary

Elvis Costello's 'My Aim Is True' Turns 40: Ranking All the Tracks


2. “Watching the Detectives”

Costello and Clover reportedly listened to The Clash on repeat while recording My Aim Is True, and it especially shows on the LP’s closing track. Here, Clover prove to be one damn versatile band, shifting to a reggae groove with funky-fun keys and jittery guitar riffs. Costello tells the tale of a murder mystery, then on the bouncy chorus the band pair dub grooves with punk ferocity, driving the keys louder and louder, as Costello yells “shoot, shoot, shoot!” ["Watching the Detectives" was only on the U.S. version of My Aim Is True.]


Watching the Detectives was a late addition to My Aim Is True when it was finally released in America. It was a stand alone single in the UK and recorded after the Clover sessions but before the Attractions had been fully assembled.
Elvis Costello - vocals, guitar
Andrew Bodnar - bass
Steve Goulding - drums
Steve Nieve - organ & piano overdubs

Andrew Bodnar and Steve Goulding were from Graham Parker's band the Rumor.
The link between Elvis and Graham Parker was Dave Robinson, Stiff Records founder who helped Parker put the Rumor together. And Nick Lowe who produced some of Graham Parkers early albums.

sweetest punch
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Re: My Aim Is True: 40th anniversary

Postby sweetest punch » Mon Jul 24, 2017 11:53 am

http://www.stereoboard.com/content/view/209297/9

Elvis Costello: Many Happy Returns To 'My Aim Is True'

Take a look at the songwriting credits on the Crazy World of Arthur Brown’s seminal 1968 single Fire and, alongside those of the bandleader and his co-conspirator, Vincent Crane,  you’ll find the names Mike Finesilver and Peter Ker. Less than a decade later, with the royalties from the record tucked in their pockets, the duo would turn four walls in north London into a den of punk creativity.
The cosy Pathway Studios was quickly home to a couple of all-time classic debut albums: the Damned’s ‘Damned Damned Damned’ and Elvis Costello’s ‘My Aim is True’. Both were produced by Nick Lowe and put out on Stiff Records, with the latter, released this month in 1977, a whirlwind job that captured the first buds from one of the finest songwriters ever to do it.

"Elvis Costello, the Damned, Wreckless Eric and more – where were those records cut? In Pathway, a tiny studio in Stoke Newington,” Lowe told Uncut in 2014. “It had a great engineer, Barry Farmer, who had pretty much built the place. It was completely analogue, all glowing valves, and it was boiling hot in the summer and freezing cold in the winter, but it had a fantastic sound.”

In 2008, Farmer recalled the studio in fine detail (including the desk he built in the mid-’70s) when personally joining in a Gearslutz forum discussion. Specifically relating to his work with Costello, he said: “I did a lot of the engineering at Pathway and did almost all of the early Stiff repertoire, including ‘My Aim Is True’. Most of the distinctive sound on that album is achieved through the use of a single, fixed delay from the sync head of the multi-track, which I suggested to Nick Lowe as an option and which he subsequently stuck on just about everything! Great record, wonderful musicians.”

At that time, Costello had no backing group. The recruitment of his most celebrated cohorts, the Attractions, would not be completed for some time. Instead, ‘My Aim is True’ was tracked by Costello, Lowe and members of an American country rock band called Clover: John McFee (guitar and pedal steel), Sean Hopper (piano and organ), Johnny Ciambotti (bass) and Mickey Shine (drums). Clover’s vocalists weren’t along for this ride, but one of them, Huey Lewis, wouldn’t have to wait long for his turn in the spotlight.

The main battle for Costello, though, remained winning people over in order to perform his own songs. His early demos had been passed up by labels despite some radio play on BBC London, while his initial interactions with Stiff saw him regarded as a songwriter more than an artist. Mystery Dance, which would make the cut for ‘My Aim Is True’, was considered as a demo for Dave Edmunds, for example. Speaking to Record Collector in 1995, Costello recalled the period:

“I was writing songs very fast, and one day I went to Pathway Studios where Nick Lowe was producing a Wreckless Eric record. Wreckless was very nervous so Nick took him for a drink to loosen him up a little bit, and I recorded eight songs while they were gone, just guitar and voice. That was the bulk of the demos for ‘My Aim Is True’. Up until that point Stiff had actually considered launching Wreckless and myself on the same record, like ‘Chuck meets Bo’, with a side each. They didn’t really think either of us could sustain a whole album, in terms of the audience’s tolerance for two such unusual singers. Then it became apparent I had five times more songs than him, and that they needed to do a full album with me."
The recording contract Costello signed with Stiff was one of a number of offers received, including a “pitiful” prospective deal with Virgin. Eventually Stiff agreed to match Costello’s wages at his day job behind a computer at Elizabeth Arden, allowing him to look after his wife and child. Still, he would have to wait a short while to see the fruits of his labours.

“I was making ‘My Aim Is True’ in stages, using sick days and holidays off work,” he continued in the Record Collector interview. “It only took about 24 hours of studio time, but I had to keep working because I had a wife and child to support. Originally, I was the first artist signed to Stiff. Nick Lowe was the first artist on the label, but he wasn’t actually signed. Despite that, I ended up with the 11th release on the label. All these records came through from people like the Damned and Richard Hell, which were very much tied to the moment, so their timing was crucial. It was frustrating for me because I wanted to get on with it.

“Not that it changed my life when Less Than Zero came out. In fact, the first three singles did nothing. But I’d amassed enough material over those sessions to make up an album, which was when Stiff bosses Jake Riviera and Dave Robinson asked me to turn pro. I said, ‘only if I can earn as much money doing this as I do in my job, because I have my responsibilities’. If I’d been on my own, I’d have taken the risk, but I couldn’t for my family. So they promised they’d pay me the same as my job – which wasn’t a fortune so it wasn’t too difficult.”

Lifting his stage name from the King (who would die soon after the release of ‘My Aim is True’) at the suggestion of Riviera, Costello was off and running. Soon after the album’s completion he began assembling the Attractions and before 1977 was out had released a further classic single in Watching The Detectives, a song that featured the recording bow of long-time pianist Steve Nieve. Also recorded at Pathway, it became Costello’s first hit.

It’s true that tiny studios, including numerous bedrooms, have produced hundreds of records, but Pathway was unique. Like so many places, it was subsequently converted into a flat (and occupied by the Only Ones’ Peter Perrett) but the legacy it left behind is massive. ‘My Aim is True’ is at the top of the pile: many happy returns.
Since you put me down, it seems i've been very gloomy. You may laugh but pretty girls look right through me.

sweetest punch
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Re: My Aim Is True: 40th anniversary

Postby sweetest punch » Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:10 pm

Elvis is celebrating the 40th anniversary of My Aim Is True in Shelburne on July 23:
Miracle Man: https://youtu.be/Kopg2taqe50
Welcome To The Working Week: https://youtu.be/i5kJ0SaUpZ0
Red Shoes: https://youtu.be/dVSGv1cmsoI
Since you put me down, it seems i've been very gloomy. You may laugh but pretty girls look right through me.


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