Baby Plays Around - Elvis Costello, MacManus, Declan
Deep Dead Blue - Elvis Costello, Costello, Elvis
This 1995 Recording Brings Together Two Artists (Elvis Costello and Bill Frisell) who Otherwise Might Not have Performed Or Recorded Together. Features "Poor Napoleon", "Love Field", a Rendition of Charles Mingus' "Weird N... more »ightmare" and Four More Tracks. Recorded Live at London's Queen Elizabeth Hall During the Meltdown Festival on June 25, 1995.« less
This 1995 Recording Brings Together Two Artists (Elvis Costello and Bill Frisell) who Otherwise Might Not have Performed Or Recorded Together. Features "Poor Napoleon", "Love Field", a Rendition of Charles Mingus' "Weird Nightmare" and Four More Tracks. Recorded Live at London's Queen Elizabeth Hall During the Meltdown Festival on June 25, 1995.
"Close your eyes. On the left of the stage sits Elvis Costello, geeky glasses, geeky smile, a microphone in his hand. On the right, Bill Frisell sits on the edge of a little Fender amp, rocking gently, picking his guitar in only the way he can.While the audience applause in between each of the tracks on this album leads me to believe the setting was not quite as small as I like to imagine it, my imagination still beats out my reason. And that's what makes listening to this record so exciting. Clocking in at under twenty-seven minutes, and costing over twenty dollars, I had to wonder if this was worth the money. After it sat on my "To Buy" list for a few months, I decided to just spring for it.I waited until, given what I'd read about the album and what I've already heard from Costello and Frisell as artists on their own, I thought the timing was right. It was a late night in November, sort of chilly outside. I wrapped up in a favorite blanket and listened to the album.The album begins with "Weird Nightmare," an obscure Charles Mingus composition. Costello's voice is haunting when paired with Frisell's sparse lines, and Mingus' creepy lyrics bring out the best in both musicians. The tone is similar through the next three (two written by Costello, one a Lerner & Loewe standard) before picking the mood up considerably on "Poor Napoleon." Though it was originally recorded for Costello's "Blood & Chocolate," it is rerecorded here to a very effective end. Costello's voice is dead on, and (once again) perfectly matched to Frisell's one of a kind style.This is music that needs to be heard. The next time you're lonely, pour yourself a glass of red (or two), light up a Lucky Strike, and curl up with a blanket. These twenty-seven minutes might not make you feel entirely better, but they'll certainly make you feel comforted."
Marcelo Gobbo | Capital Federal, Buenos Aires Argentina | 07/14/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I must say this is a delightful cd... only if you are an open-minded listener. I thought every Costello or Frisell fan was such kind of person. Should I say that through the years I realize I was mistaken? I guess both Costello and Frisell ask for the same musical curiosity (or, lets say it: heterodox musical erudition) from the listeners than the one that obsessed them all the way; that is: their opening to different styles in music is not the attitude of a snob --is the rejoice of a musician who let him be surprised by the "new values" as well as by the traditions of their roots. That is the only way you can enjoy this cd: let you be driven into the subtle complexity of Frisell's guitar on "Love Field" and "Poor Napoleon", two underrated masterpieces written by Costello, who sings them as if he had learned the best of Sinatra's or Bennett's style (but remaining himself); or dive for that rare jewel that is "Shamed into Love" just to merge full of charity and self-consciousness; or re-read the Lerner and Loewe classic "Gigi" and realize that every thirty/fourty-some guy is a nowadays Louis Jourdan character is this XXI century world. Of course, there is more: you have "the taste of beauty" (that already was on "Spike") with "Baby Plays Around"; the rare Mingus song facing a darkness that's always lighten; and the original "Deep Dead Blue" version with its real "deep-end" approach, that breathless feeling of ephimeral marvel, that sort-of-satori revelation that can only be captured when a sublime songwriter (and very personal singer --I must admit: the kind of singer I prefer: honest and imperfect like the glimpse of a truth) and a talented musician, both of them as open-minded as faithful to themselves, work together for an open-minded listener with a wide open and sensitive soul. (By the way, excuse me for my English --it is not my everyday language)."
Incredible sound for only vocals and guitar
drumb | milwaukee, wi United States | 10/07/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When most people think of New Wave, good singers is probably not the first thing to come to mind, heh if not the last. However, Elvis Costello is one of the few New wave artists to have a simply amazing voice and it is never more evident than on this CD. With only guitar and vocals, the CD seems like it would be empty sounding, but instead it is just the opposite, creating a full lush sound that would actually be hurt by the addition of louder, more crash instruments like drums or bass. Bill Frisell's guitar work lies somewhere between the piano style of Eric Satae and the ambient experimentation of Fripp/Eno bridging the gap between minimalism and ambience to create a smooth, flowing wave of notes that wash over the listener. Costello then softly croons over frisell's work in incredible vocal range going from a gentle whisper to a full falsetto. The subtelty and brilliance of this album is breathtaking and the depth and beauty they can create with only 2 instruments at their disposal is more than impressive. Apart from the music, the sound is A+ quality for a live release and allows every note to remain intact in a concert that truly relies on the important of each and every sound. Finally, clocking in at only about 30 minutes, the CD ends without becoming repetative or boring, which eventually would be inevitable using only 2 instruments, simply leaving the content listener with a nice, concise batch of love songs."
Argyllsox | New jersey shore | 01/14/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"live at the meltdown is truely one amazing piece of music. the pairing of elvis and bill was nothng short of genuis!! whether they are doing costello's "lovefield" or a mingus song "wierd nightmare" or the odd pair of writes (cait o'riordan/mac manus)"baby plays around" this CD offers nothing but talent from beginning to end. and i for one love elvis's voice"