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Kojak Variety

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iTunes Review

Elvis Costello had envisioned this album of covers as one that would just magically appear in record shops with no advance publicity, giving it the aura of a “lost” album. He’d assembled an incredibly accomplished band of session musicians — guitarists James Burton and Marc Ribot, drummers Jim Keltner and Pete Thomas, keyboardist Larry Knetchel, bassist Jerry Scheff — and brought them to Barbados to record these 15 tracks that cover everyone from Bob Dylan (“I Threw It All Away”) to Ray Davies (“Days”), stopping off for a heavy dose of R&B with Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “Strange,” Little Richard’s “Bama Lama Bama Loo,” and James Carr’s “Pouring Water On A Drowning Man.” The record company decided to try and promote it as his latest release in 1995, though the sessions had taken place years earlier. The playing throughout is impeccable. Larry Knetchel’s organ often shadows everything with an eerie presence and Burton’s guitar stings with precision as exemplified on “Leave My Kitten Alone.” 

Customer Reviews

On under-rated and overlooked gem.

Stumbled onto this recently, and I really wish I'd bought it back in '95 now. Elvis is in fine voice throughout, the band is impeccable and creative, and the material is all aces. It's an enjoyable and easy listen, and short enough that the concept never wears out its welcome. Well worth your time and money if you love Elvis.


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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Kojak Variety, Elvis Costello
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