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Monday, November 8, 2010

Elvis Costello's Generous Offer

Whether it's a vintage, Steve Nieve organ riff on the title track,  the vaudevillian, Depression-era chamber pop of "Jimmie Standing in the Rain", or the Doc Watson-inspired "Dr. Watson, I Presume," Elvis Costello elevates American music to contemporary heights. His co-genre explorer and producer T-Bone Burnett (their 2'nd straight collaboration)  calls Costello the most generous of artists. And the two dish out a generous helping of delicious mash ups and guests on National Ransom, like dobro maestro Jerry Douglas playing lap steel and versitile guitarist Marc Ribo jamming on the title song and Leon Russell pounding out his boogie piano deep in the record.

From the exploding oil derricks and the wolf making off with the loot on the provocative album cover, it seems Elvis has something to say about moral and monetary bankruptcy and sets each of the 16 songs in a specific place and year.

Learning from the musical glory and the mistakes from scoundrels from America's past seems to dominate the mood on this weeks' CD of The Week. But, it's way more fun to dive into than a history lesson!

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