October 17, 2008 – 3:30 am

Kojak Variety might be Elvis Costello’s covers album but it is gems such as God Give Me Strength and The Very Thought Of You that show the man can be a dapper crooner as well.

Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.

with guests Marc Ribot and James Burton
London 1995 [no label, 2CD]

Live at Shepherds Bush Empire, London, May 17, 1995. Very good pre-FM.

Elvis Costello had released his covers album, Kojak Variety, on May 9, 1995 and here he is, on May 17, promoting the album in grand style - he performs the entire album and more. After all, this is his tribute album to his influences and likes.

Thanks to Butterking for the initial offer of the tracks and to john234 who shared the tracks on the internet. Here are some highlights which john234 points out: “Includes the only known performance of Remove This Doubt; somewhat rare performances of Please Stay, Payday and Days; and Elvis solo on the first three songs - Girls Talk, Complicated Shadows and God Give Me Strength.”

If Elvis Costello was seen as a New Wave artist or even a punk rocker, then Kojak Variety made a great effort to endear the artist (not that he needed to try) to an older generation. With songs such as The Very Thought Of You, Remove This Doubt and I’ve Been Wrong Before, Costello was geared to embark onto the next stage of his career - he’d turned into a crooner.

Perhaps he was testing the waters - right at the beginning, he performed a solo version of God Give Me Strength. If the song, the second known performance here, is any indication, the collaboration with Burt Bacharach seemed a fruitful one. The track was the hit song from the movie, Grace Of My Heart, and paved the way for the memorable Painted From Memory album.

While there are some artists who can’t live down their covers (for a generation of listeners, Mick Hucknall rather than Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes will forever be associated with If You Don’t Know Me By Now), Elvis Costello doesn’t seem to have that problem. And his parting words in the sleeve notes to Kojak Variety is worth mentioning again: “If you enjoy these recordings and do not already know the original versions, then I wish you a lot of pleasure in seeking them out.”

These tracks are no longer available for sharing.CD1
Track 01. Girls Talk
Track 02. talk
Track 03. Complicated Shadows
Track 04. God Give Me Strength
Track 05. band intro
Track 06. Strange
Track 07. Remove This Doubt
Track 08. talk
Track 09. Hidden Charms
Track 10. Everybody’s Crying Mercy
Track 11. intro James Burton
Track 12. Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down
Track 13. I Threw It All Away
Track 14. I’ve Been Wrong Before
Track 15. Running Out Of Fools
Track 16. Leave My Kitten Alone
Track 17. The Very Thought Of You
Track 18. Pouring Water On A Drowning Man
Track 19. Must You Throw Dirt In My Face
Track 20. Bama Lama Bama Loo

Track 21. Days
Track 22. encore break
Track 23. Payday
Track 24. Please Stay
Track 25. Why Don’t You Love Me (Like You Used To Do)?
Track 26. encore break and talk
Track 27. Alison
Track 28. Pump It Up

Elvis Costello - vocals, guitar
Steve Nieve - keyboards
Bruce Thomas - bass
Pete Thomas - drums
Marc Ribot - guitar
James Burton - guitar

Click here to order the two-CD deluxe edition of Kojak Variety.

  1. 2 Responses to “ELVIS COSTELLO, THE CROONER”

  2. Hi Guys!
    Your site is excelent! Great Work!

    Thanks for share such cool info & music,
    From Buenos Aires,

    The Sacred Monster

    By The Sacred Monster on Oct 17, 2008

  3. Thank you- I haven’t yet DL’d this but will as I was actually there! This is a trip- seeing a concert on the Big-O web page that I was at….
    Cheers & Thanks again

    By platterpile on Oct 17, 2008

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