Reissue catalogue in a mess?

Pretty self-explanatory
Poor Deportee
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Re: Reissue catalogue in a mess?

Postby Poor Deportee » Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:08 am

erey wrote:
Poor Deportee wrote:
There is no "case to be made" for it, apart from whatever interest we find in the question.


Well, then find some interest. Say something interesting.


An oddly hostile response. But I regret that my submissions fall short of erey's inestimable bar of wit and insight.
When man has destroyed what he thinks he owns
I hope no living thing cries over his bones

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Jack of All Parades
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Re: Reissue catalogue in a mess?

Postby Jack of All Parades » Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:49 am

Poor Deportee wrote:That's a great note from EC! The remark about WB cracks me up :lol: I also enjoy the cynicism in the line about "having Universal's money" and hey, they can self-immolate if they like.

As a fan, I'd appreciate his remark about "not living in the past" a lot more if he were still bothering to supply us with a fairly regular diet of new releases.

Elvis's back catalogue is indeed a mess. It's too bad, but then again, I've always felt that he has had a self-sabotaging tendency when it comes to career management. I am far from a completist and don't even own decently remastered versions of some of his classic albums; but my inclination is to wait a while and see whether something closer to definitive re-releases ever takes shape.

A wider question concerns EC's general legacy. 30 years from now, when a good chunk of his long-term fan base is either in the earth or in dotage, how much of his work will remain widely circulated and of ongoing interest? Don't ask me.


It would take you to get me back on here, if only briefly. The thought of legacy haunts me more as the years pass. I can see that 'dotage' fast approaching; I fear it is the same for many of his avid fans. As much as I want to tell myself it does not matter, I want my time, and I suspect EC does as well, to matter. That one is often gone from the collective memory after three generations is a given adage. I would like to think that will not be so for EC. The rapidity of these past seven years has shown me otherwise, though. Little new public musical production and a steady diet of 'remember that tune' tours has, I fear, pushed him further backwards in the great public's musical consciousness. I do not see a future 30 to 50 years ahead where listeners will be twitching to "Pump it Up" or "Radio, Radio" or any of that ilk. I barely twitch for them now. What I do fervently wish for his legacy is a collective memory focused around his unique dissection of human relations in his lyrics and his mastery of melody, a champion of the hue of 'blue'. His latest public song asserts that mastery, yet again. What is that other adage? Oh yeah, you're only as good as your latest song........
"....there's a merry song that starts in 'I' and ends in 'You', as many famous pop songs do....'

sulky lad
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Re: Reissue catalogue in a mess?

Postby sulky lad » Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:29 pm

Oh Jack, that's so poignant and accurate - we can dream of recapturing our past but the excitement and amazement I felt with Get Happy can never be achieved by any other musician, let alone bb Elvis, and I now can acknowledge "there'll never be days like that again !"

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Jack of All Parades
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Re: Reissue catalogue in a mess?

Postby Jack of All Parades » Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:48 pm

TBT--inspired by the discussion on this site of EC's lack of public product for aural consumption over the past seven years--'let there be songs to fill the air'......

https://youtu.be/5wh7ylJManI
"....there's a merry song that starts in 'I' and ends in 'You', as many famous pop songs do....'

Poor Deportee
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Re: Reissue catalogue in a mess?

Postby Poor Deportee » Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:51 am

Elvis's apparently petulant refusal to release new music in the wake of 'National Ransom' has, in my opinion, contributed to his failure to ascend to the status that Bob Dylan managed to secure - that of being cool and interesting to new audiences late in his career. Elvis is an elder statesman of sorts, but one whose work is much more 'respected' than actually listened to. The lack of a 'third act' to his career isn't helping whatever claim to enduring significance his career may have.

On this wider question of legacy, Dylan is again the gold standard: we're living through the first phases of the struggle over Bob's place in the canon of western art, and the early returns are very promising, what with Christopher Ricks throwing his considerable prestige behind the cause and the Nobel Prize putting the official seal of approval upon it. Academics hold conferences of his oeuvre. There is a decent chance that Bob Dylan will be an artist whose work is regarded as significant for generations to come. The Beatles are in a similar situation, although here the groundswell is perhaps more 'popular' than upheld by the official gatekeepers; those songs have just become part of the air we all breathe, and will be sung around campfires and as lullabies, as well as being listened to as fascinating recorded artifacts, for as long as our culture endures - or so I believe.

Below those two are artists like Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell. They may or may not enter 'the canon' at some point, regarded as authors of a body of work that repays serious attention. Failing that, these artists leave some songs that are guaranteed to live on; Cohen, especially, in sufficient numbers that he is unlikely to be forgotten. It helps that he supplements his music with some pretty good written poetry.

I think EC's legacy stands to be on the tier under this. If I had to guess, I'd say that two or three of his songs may survive into the indefinite future. Allison, Almost Blue, and Shipbuilding would be my candidates. The rest is apt to recede into a semi-forgotten museum piece of interest only to the occasional curious person who might want to find out more about this mysterious character who wrote those songs. Ironically, perhaps, The Juliet Letters may outlive his much bulkier 'pop/rock' work, being attractive to the rarified and small circles interested in quartet and voice. My guess is therefore that EC - neither popular enough to have his songs enter the general lexicon, nor genius enough to enter the realms of canonicity - will be *largely* forgotten once the generation represented by this message board evaporates.
When man has destroyed what he thinks he owns

I hope no living thing cries over his bones

cwr
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Re: Reissue catalogue in a mess?

Postby cwr » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:15 pm

EC in the late 90s spoke of the idea of destroying his master tapes in the year 2000. He was half-joking, but in many ways Universal managed to just about do the same amount of damage in terms of utterly bungling the Live releases and making the back catalog completely boring in the aftermath of the definitve Rhino reissues.

Spectacle briefly privided Costello with some late career momentum but the end of that series also seemed to kill that. I wish that he had continued it as a podcast or something. Even if he had continued Spactacle as a touring show, with different guests in every city, I feel like he could have really redefined himself over the past decade. (He could still do this. A touring version of Spactacle, released as a podcast, would be a huge event and I think a big success for him that would further drive listeners to explore his back catalog.)

I agree that EC isn't super bothered about his Legacy, but on the other hand, you don't write memoirs and bother with reissues and liner notes at all if it means NOTHING to you. He does care, at least a little.


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