Almost Blue

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Almost Blue
Studio album by Elvis Costello and the Attractions
Released 23 October 1981 (1981-10-23)
Recorded May 1981, Nashville
Genre Rock, country, alternative country, new wave, cowpunk
Length 32:35
Label F-Beat (UK)
Columbia (US)
Demon/Rykodisc (30 August 1994 Reissue)
Rhino (3 August 2004 Reissue)
Hip-O (1 May 2007 Reissue)
Producer Billy Sherrill
Elvis Costello and the Attractions chronology
Trust
(1981)
Almost Blue
(1981)
Imperial Bedroom
(1982)

Almost Blue is an album by Elvis Costello and the Attractions. It was recorded May 1981 in Nashville, and released on 23 October 1981. The record's songs consist entirely of country covers, including works originally written by Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, George Jones and Gram Parsons. It is Costello's first album not to be produced by Nick Lowe.

Contemporary critical reaction to Almost Blue was mixed, with Trouser Press labelling the album "surprisingly clumsy" and "a dud", while Robert Christgau gave it a grade of B- and Rolling Stone gave it an overall positive three-star review. In recent years, Allmusic rated it favourably, and Rhapsody praised the album, calling it one of their favourite cover albums.[1]

Packaging and artwork[edit]

Album cover was designed by Barney Bubbles. The design is an homage to the 1963 Blue Note album Midnight Blue by Kenny Burrell. Many versions of the artwork were made, with slightly different base colours.

It originally appeared with a warning label that read "WARNING: This album contains country & western music and may cause offence to narrow minded listeners." An alternative label read "WARNING! This album contains country & western music and may produce radical reaction in narrow minded people."

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars link
Robert Christgau B− link
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars link
Stylus Magazine (not rated) link

Track listing[edit]

Side one[edit]

  1. "Why Don't You Love Me (Like You Used to Do)?" (Hank Williams) – 1:40
  2. "Sweet Dreams" (Don Gibson) – 3:00
  3. "Success" (Johnny Mullins) – 2:41
  4. "I'm Your Toy" (Gram Parsons, Chris Ethridge) – 3:23
  5. "Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down" (Merle Haggard) – 2:09
  6. "Brown to Blue" (George Jones, Virginia Franks, Country Johnny Mathis) – 2:40

Side two[edit]

  1. "A Good Year for the Roses" (Jerry Chesnut) – 3:10
  2. "Sittin' and Thinkin'" (Charlie Rich) – 3:02
  3. "Colour of the Blues" (Lawton Williams, George Jones) – 2:21
  4. "Too Far Gone" (Billy Sherrill) – 3:28
  5. "Honey Hush" (Lou Willie Turner) – 2:15
  6. "How Much I Lied" (Gram Parsons, Pam Rifkin) – 2:55

Note: The Rykodisc version has the original tracks and bonus tracks on one CD. The Rhino version has two CDs with the original tracks on the first CD.

Bonus tracks (1994 Rykodisc)[edit]

  1. "He's Got You" (Live) (Hank Cochran) – 4:07
  2. "Cry! Cry! Cry!" (Live) (Johnny Cash) – 2:45
  3. "There Won't Be Anymore" (Live) (Rich) – 2:23
  4. "Sittin' and Thinkin'" (Live) (Rich) – 2:55
  5. "Honey Hush" (Live) (Turner) – 2:31
  6. "Psycho" (Live) (Leon Payne) – 3:36
  7. "Your Angel Steps Out of Heaven" (Jack Ripley) – 1:58
  8. "Darling, You Know I Wouldn't Lie" (Wayne Kemp, Red Lane) – 2:37
  9. "My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You" (Lee Ross, Bob Wills) – 2:04
  10. "Tears Before Bedtime" (Early Version) (Costello) – 2:27
  11. "I'm Your Toy" (Live) (Parsons, Ethridge) – 3:49

Bonus disc (2004 Rhino)[edit]

All songs written by Costello unless noted.

  1. "Stranger in the House" (duet with George Jones) – 3:39
  2. "We Ought to Be Ashamed" (duet with Johnny Cash) (James, Montgomery) – 2:47
  3. "Radio Sweetheart" (Live) – 3:15
  4. "Stranger in the House" (Live) – 3:56
  5. "Psycho" (Live) (Payne) – 3:35
  6. "If I Could Put Them All Together (I'd Have You)" (Live) (Even Stevens) – 2:28
  7. "Motel Matches" (Live) – 2:21
  8. "He'll Have to Go" (Live) (Joe Allison/Audrey Allison) – 2:51
  9. "Girls Talk" (Live) – 1:46
  10. "Too Far Gone" (Lost Session version) (Sherrill) – 3:11
  11. "He's Got You" (Lost Session version) (Cochran) – 3:51
  12. "Honky Tonk Girl" (Loretta Lynn) – 2:26
  13. "That's Why I'm Walking" (Melvin Endsley & Stonewall Jackson) – 2:22
  14. "Wondering" (Joe Werner) – 2:21
  15. "Darling, You Know I Wouldn't Lie" (Kemp, Lane) – 2:37
  16. "My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You" (Ross, Wills) – 2:04
  17. "Blues Keep Calling" (Janis Martin) – 2.07
  18. "Tears Before Bedtime" (Early Version) – 2:27
  19. "Psycho" (Payne) – 3:32
  20. "Cry, Cry, Cry" (Cash) – 2:45
  21. "I'll Take Care of You" (Brook Benton) – 3:11
  22. "Your Angel Steps Out of Heaven" (Ripley) – 1:59
  23. "Brand New Heartache" (Live) (Felice Bryant/Boudleaux Bryant) – 2:29
  24. "There Won't Be Anymore" (Live) (Rich) – 2:32
  25. "Sittin' and Thinkin'" (Live) (Rich) – 2:51
  26. "Honey Hush" (Live) (Turner) – 2:30
  27. "I'm Your Toy" (Live) (Parsons, Ethridge) – 4:01

Personnel[edit]

Additional personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Album

Year Chart Position
1981 Billboard Pop Albums 50

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rhapsody’s Favorite Covers Albums Referenced 1 August 2010