Wednesday, August 30, 2006

 

E.C. or Elvis?


I always thought that Elvis Costello was not the best of choices for a stage name, after all E.C. was already taken by slowhand himself and as for his Christian name that had been copyrighted by the end of the 50's by a young lad from Memphis. Despite this confusion I was taken by him the very first time I heard his voice over the spikey beats that were 'Less Than Zero'. The albums came in quick succession with never a dull moment, one could almost say that we grew up together, as his music matured so did my tastes. I only got to see him live the once and that was at the beginning, he was either touring 'This Years Model' or 'Armed Forces' and it was at the Hammersmith Palais (the venue made famous by the Clash song) with Richard Hell as support. I own just about everything he has officially released even the not so great Warners albums. I know that he has a habit of interpreting other peoples material live, quite why escapes me as his real skill is as a song writer. So it seems normal that other artists have tried to stamp their mark on his songs or simply paid homage to the great man. I guess you have realised that today it's going to be cover versions two of which come from the same album 'Peace Together' which was available in 1993. The CD was one of those various artist jobs for a worthy cause, according to the cover it was "an album in which British and Irish musicians focus on strength and hope in the face of adversity", with the proceeds being invested to benefit the youth of Northern Ireland. Quite who was behind this I'm not sure anyway there are some reasonable cover versions on the album including Therapy's take on 'Invisible Sun' and Pop Will Eat Itself revisiting 'Games Without Frontiers' though what is of particular interest to us today are the two Elvis Costello songs 'Peace In Our Time' by Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine, a song that strangely enough suits the style of the south London duo and would not have been out of place on one of their early albums. 'Olivers Army' is a rather straight forward cover signed by Blur. Our third cover is not Strictly speaking an Elvis song as it was penned by Robert Wyatt though it is probably the Imposters version that is better known. Dating from 1995 the first War Child album was considered to be so necessary that it was rushed into the shops before a proper sleeve could be printed with the track listing and so part of the enjoyment, apart from donating to a good cause, was for those who purchased the first copies guessing who was who. One of the better surprises was Suede doing 'Shipbuilding'. Now there does seem to be a war theme running through these three songs, so I would like to suggest that if they have pleased you then maybe making a donation to War Child would be a good idea?

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