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Taking Liberties

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Editors’ Notes

Thanks to his incredibly prolific nature, after only four short years Elvis Costello had amassed enough extra tracks — b-sides, EPs and alternate album cuts — to assemble his first compilation album. At 20 tracks, it mirrored his previous release, Get Happy!!, and made it seem as if he was a songwriting machine. That 1980’s Taking Liberties was as strong as his actual proper studio albums solidified Costello’s reputation as one of the era’s major talents. The country rock of “Radio Sweetheart” and “Stranger In the House” were not in line with his initial new wave identity. The classic “My Funny Valentine” and the poignant if embittered piano ballad “Just a Memory” displayed a soft side Costello had been resistant to show. But “(I Don’t Want to Go To) Chelsea” was Costello’s punk shoulder to the wheel with its kinetic dance groove, snarling Farfisa organ, and brittle guitar notes backing his venomous attack. “Girls Talk” is the perfect nerd boy fantasy. “Hoover Factory” remains one of the finest less-than-two-minute songs ever written, while alternate takes of “Black and White World” and “Clowntime Is Over” were the first time fans got a chance to hear the Attractions’ now well-known versatility. 

Customer Reviews

Awesome collection of Amazing songs!

I use to listen to this record every night before I fell asleep. Loved hearing Ghost Train before I nodded off. This is a fabulous collection of EC songs from when he was cranking out the hits in the late 70's.

A credit to his songwriting and his band

Their throwaways were better than most "new-wave" bands' good stuff.

The cover of 'My Funny Valentine' is a highlight of the set,
proving that Elvis knows the history of pop backwards and forwards.
Now if he would just release a whole album of "standards"!

"Elvis Costello Sings George Gershwin"

"Elvis Costello Sings Harold Arlen"

"Elvis Costello Sings Rogers & Hart"


Born: August 25, 1954 in Paddington, London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

When Elvis Costello's first record was released in 1977, his bristling cynicism and anger linked him with the punk and new wave explosion. A cursory listen to My Aim Is True proves that the main connection that Costello had with the punks was his unbridled passion; he tore through rock's back pages taking whatever he wanted, as well as borrowing from country, Tin Pan Alley pop, reggae, and many other musical genres. Over his career, that musical eclecticism distinguished his records as much as his...
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