The Complete Armed Forces (Super Deluxe Edition)

Pretty self-explanatory
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FrankieJ
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Re: The Complete Armed Forces (Super Deluxe Edition)

Postby FrankieJ » Wed Dec 02, 2020 10:18 am

I went to listen today on Spotify and half the songs are now unavailable! Not to mention before this it was still screwed up with the Big Boys demo and the Busy Bodies alternate tracks being the same. I hope they actually sort it out! It’s a mess.

sweetest punch
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Re: The Complete Armed Forces (Super Deluxe Edition)

Postby sweetest punch » Wed Dec 02, 2020 4:06 pm

21. MOODS FOR MODERNS - from “Armed Forces”
22. TVC-15 - from “Station To Station” by David Bowie

"This song began an earlier life as a roll call of the American television shows that filled childhood hours from “Whirlybirds” to “The Adventures of Hiram Holiday”. All that remains on “Armed Forces” is the guitar lick and wall of synths and double tracked vocals that betrays the hours spent listening to Bowie’s “Station To Station” album. "
Since you put me down, it seems i've been very gloomy. You may laugh but pretty girls look right through me.

cwr
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Re: The Complete Armed Forces (Super Deluxe Edition)

Postby cwr » Wed Dec 02, 2020 5:46 pm

Just confirming that my 7" has Busy Bodies (alternate version) in its proper place!

sweetest punch
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Re: The Complete Armed Forces (Super Deluxe Edition)

Postby sweetest punch » Thu Dec 03, 2020 3:54 am

Apple Music has now the right music for Busy Bodies (Alternate version)
Since you put me down, it seems i've been very gloomy. You may laugh but pretty girls look right through me.

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Re: The Complete Armed Forces (Super Deluxe Edition)

Postby Harry Lime » Thu Dec 03, 2020 7:56 am

FrankieJ wrote:I went to listen today on Spotify and half the songs are now unavailable! Not to mention before this it was still screwed up with the Big Boys demo and the Busy Bodies alternate tracks being the same. I hope they actually sort it out! It’s a mess.


Just checked and here in the US the whole thing is still there. But who knows for how long?
Who put these fingerprints on my imagination?

sweetest punch
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Re: The Complete Armed Forces (Super Deluxe Edition)

Postby sweetest punch » Sat Dec 05, 2020 9:55 am

Since you put me down, it seems i've been very gloomy. You may laugh but pretty girls look right through me.

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Re: The Complete Armed Forces (Super Deluxe Edition)

Postby sweetest punch » Mon Dec 07, 2020 3:25 pm

23. CHEMISTRY CLASS - from “Armed Forces”
24. DEAD END STREET by The Kinks
25. TALKING IN THE DARK - from “Sketches For Emotional Fascism”
26. THE DAMNBUSTERS by Stanley Black & The London Symphony Orchestra

"I’ve no idea what I was thinking when I left “Talking In The Dark” off the final album for “Chemistry Class” but my eyes were not always clear in those days. I don’t know what world “Chemistry Class” came from other than note that the guitar riff in the chorus sounds like a 45 record of “Rebel Rebel” playing at 33 and 1/3.

The melody of “Talking In The Dark” seems to contain echoes of the much loved Ray Davies songs like “Dead End Street” that is until Steve Nieve arrives with a synth solo that always evokes an RAF flypast of Lancaster bombers."
Since you put me down, it seems i've been very gloomy. You may laugh but pretty girls look right through me.

sweetest punch
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Re: The Complete Armed Forces (Super Deluxe Edition)

Postby sweetest punch » Wed Dec 09, 2020 4:30 pm

27. LITTLE HITLER from “Jesus Of Cool” by Nick Lowe
28. PULLED UP from “Talking Heads ’77” by Talking Heads
29. TWO LITTLE HITLERS - from “Armed Forces”

"I think Nick Lowe and I were both considering writing a portrait of a petty tyrant. He beat me to the punch with a song on the album known in the U.S. as “Pure Pop For Now People”. It seems you can sing about tiny dictators in America but you can’t be vain about the name of the Lord.

I continued to write songs in the corridor between the war room and the bedroom and having decoded the music on Talking Heads first record - a band with whom we had shared the bill in Atlanta and Portland during our first Stateside tour - employed the same kind of clickety-clackety guitar found in their arrangements."
Since you put me down, it seems i've been very gloomy. You may laugh but pretty girls look right through me.

sweetest punch
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Re: The Complete Armed Forces (Super Deluxe Edition)

Postby sweetest punch » Sat Dec 12, 2020 2:25 pm

30. (WHAT’S SO FUNNY ‘BOUT) PEACE LOVE & UNDERSTANDING - from “Surrender To The Rhythm” - by Brinsley Schwarz
31. (WHAT’S SO FUNNY ‘BOUT) PEACE LOVE & UNDERSTANDING - from “The Complete Armed Forces” by Nick Lowe & His Sound

"I met Nick Lowe when he was playing the Cavern in Liverpool, when I was 17. Brinsley Schwarz were my favourite group at the time. Down to earth and approachable, Nick became my modest hero. He wrote this song as a satire of Tin Pan Alley peace anthems but it has only got sadder over the years.“
Since you put me down, it seems i've been very gloomy. You may laugh but pretty girls look right through me.

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Re: The Complete Armed Forces (Super Deluxe Edition)

Postby Hawksmoor » Sun Dec 13, 2020 4:24 am

FrankieJ wrote:I went to listen today on Spotify and half the songs are now unavailable! Not to mention before this it was still screwed up with the Big Boys demo and the Busy Bodies alternate tracks being the same. I hope they actually sort it out! It’s a mess.

Everything seems to be back up to normal on Spotify and iTunes now. Temporary glitch?

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Re: The Complete Armed Forces (Super Deluxe Edition)

Postby FrankieJ » Sun Dec 13, 2020 10:28 am

Hawksmoor wrote:
FrankieJ wrote:I went to listen today on Spotify and half the songs are now unavailable! Not to mention before this it was still screwed up with the Big Boys demo and the Busy Bodies alternate tracks being the same. I hope they actually sort it out! It’s a mess.

Everything seems to be back up to normal on Spotify and iTunes now. Temporary glitch?


Yes, finally everything is back in full! Including the missing Busy Bodies song which I've only heard for the first time today because of the problem. Sounds great! Thank you whoever at Spotify got it fixed! They probably just took it down to adjust the issues.

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Re: The Complete Armed Forces (Super Deluxe Edition)

Postby Hawksmoor » Sun Dec 13, 2020 6:13 pm

FrankieJ wrote:
Hawksmoor wrote:
FrankieJ wrote:I went to listen today on Spotify and half the songs are now unavailable! Not to mention before this it was still screwed up with the Big Boys demo and the Busy Bodies alternate tracks being the same. I hope they actually sort it out! It’s a mess.

Everything seems to be back up to normal on Spotify and iTunes now. Temporary glitch?


Yes, finally everything is back in full! Including the missing Busy Bodies song which I've only heard for the first time today because of the problem. Sounds great! Thank you whoever at Spotify got it fixed! They probably just took it down to adjust the issues.

Pretty sure 'Busy Bodies' is the same alternative take that's on the Rhino/Edsel 2002 bonus disc?

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Re: The Complete Armed Forces (Super Deluxe Edition)

Postby sweetest punch » Mon Dec 14, 2020 12:32 am

Since you put me down, it seems i've been very gloomy. You may laugh but pretty girls look right through me.

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FrankieJ
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Re: The Complete Armed Forces (Super Deluxe Edition)

Postby FrankieJ » Mon Dec 14, 2020 5:57 am

Hawksmoor wrote:
FrankieJ wrote:
Hawksmoor wrote:Everything seems to be back up to normal on Spotify and iTunes now. Temporary glitch?


Yes, finally everything is back in full! Including the missing Busy Bodies song which I've only heard for the first time today because of the problem. Sounds great! Thank you whoever at Spotify got it fixed! They probably just took it down to adjust the issues.

Pretty sure 'Busy Bodies' is the same alternative take that's on the Rhino/Edsel 2002 bonus disc?


I wouldn’t know - Not everyone has managed to get copies of these, I’m afraid. Do you know where I can download Rhino versions?

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Re: The Complete Armed Forces (Super Deluxe Edition)

Postby Hawksmoor » Mon Dec 14, 2020 10:15 am

FrankieJ wrote:
Hawksmoor wrote:
FrankieJ wrote:
Yes, finally everything is back in full! Including the missing Busy Bodies song which I've only heard for the first time today because of the problem. Sounds great! Thank you whoever at Spotify got it fixed! They probably just took it down to adjust the issues.

Pretty sure 'Busy Bodies' is the same alternative take that's on the Rhino/Edsel 2002 bonus disc?


I wouldn’t know - Not everyone has managed to get copies of these, I’m afraid. Do you know where I can download Rhino versions?

I don't, to be honest. The (very lovely) Edsel/Rhino double-disc editions which came out in the early 2000s (My Aim is True through to All This Useless Beauty are an absolute bugger to find online.

However, the new box-set is definitely on iTunes in the UK, so you can cherry pick the tracks you want (and/or don't already have) at 99p a throw - including 'Busy Bodies'. In fact, in the UK, the whole set is only £15:99, which for the amount of stuff in it, is pretty good.

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Re: The Complete Armed Forces (Super Deluxe Edition)

Postby sulky lad » Mon Dec 14, 2020 2:26 pm

Two copies of Edsel Rhino on Disocgs currently from 34 Euros !

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Re: The Complete Armed Forces (Super Deluxe Edition)

Postby sweetest punch » Mon Dec 14, 2020 4:29 pm

32. WEDNESDAY WEEK - from “Sketches For “Emotional Fascism”
33. BAND ON THE RUN - from “Band On The Run” by Wings

"Whenever I hear this song I imagine the Attractions and I sitting in some truckstop diner, flipping through the jukebox selections in the booth looking for anything other than soporific F.M. hits. Sometimes we’d take refuge in a Wings record like “London Town” or more especially “Band On The Run” - and I’m sure this suggested the gear change in the middle of “Wednesday Week”. Other times we’d find The Beatles “Help” on the record machine, feed in $5 dollars worth of quarters, punch up the B-side, “I’m Down”, twenty times and then hit the road.“
Since you put me down, it seems i've been very gloomy. You may laugh but pretty girls look right through me.

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Re: The Complete Armed Forces (Super Deluxe Edition)

Postby Harry Lime » Mon Dec 14, 2020 6:52 pm

sweetest punch wrote:32. WEDNESDAY WEEK - from “Sketches For “Emotional Fascism”
33. BAND ON THE RUN - from “Band On The Run” by Wings

"Whenever I hear this song I imagine the Attractions and I sitting in some truckstop diner, flipping through the jukebox selections in the booth looking for anything other than soporific F.M. hits. Sometimes we’d take refuge in a Wings record like “London Town” or more especially “Band On The Run” - and I’m sure this suggested the gear change in the middle of “Wednesday Week”. Other times we’d find The Beatles “Help” on the record machine, feed in $5 dollars worth of quarters, punch up the B-side, “I’m Down”, twenty times and then hit the road.“


I always felt Wednesday Week tipped its hat to Roxy Music's Mother of Pearl--the frantic first half and the subdued second half. Of course, Elvis and the Attractions did it in a third the time.
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Re: The Complete Armed Forces (Super Deluxe Edition)

Postby sweetest punch » Wed Dec 16, 2020 2:06 pm

34. MY FUNNY VALENTINE - from “Song For Young Lovers” by Frank Sinatra
35. MY FUNNY VALENTINE - from “My Funny Valentine” by Miles Davis
36. MY FUNNY VALENTINE - from “Sketches For Emotional Fascism”

"This ballad is the first song that I recorded in the studio that was written by anyone else. It was a short and simple reading with just one electric guitar, cut while waiting for the Attractions to turn up.

Maybe I had no place cutting this song but I’d known and loved the Frank Sinatra recording of this song since I was a little child and came to think of the melody as something that Miles Davis played.

People were planting a lot of musical flags in the last three years of the 1970s. Mine read, “Rodgers & Hart” and that conflict between the flesh and the spirit will probably never be resolved.“
Since you put me down, it seems i've been very gloomy. You may laugh but pretty girls look right through me.

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Re: The Complete Armed Forces (Super Deluxe Edition)

Postby Fishfinger king » Mon Dec 21, 2020 12:11 pm

Hawksmoor wrote:
FrankieJ wrote:
Hawksmoor wrote:Pretty sure 'Busy Bodies' is the same alternative take that's on the Rhino/Edsel 2002 bonus disc?


I wouldn’t know - Not everyone has managed to get copies of these, I’m afraid. Do you know where I can download Rhino versions?

I don't, to be honest. The (very lovely) Edsel/Rhino double-disc editions which came out in the early 2000s (My Aim is True through to All This Useless Beauty are an absolute bugger to find online.



Good price for the first 3 on ebay at the moment if anyone does need them:
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Elvis-Costel ... 1438.l2649
Is that so surprising nowadays?

sweetest punch
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Re: The Complete Armed Forces (Super Deluxe Edition)

Postby sweetest punch » Tue Dec 22, 2020 2:45 pm

http://magnetmagazine.com/2020/12/22/be ... llections/

BEST OF 2020: REISSUES/COLLECTIONS

MAGNET’s A.D. Amorosi picks the best reissues/collections of the year

1) Elvis Costello And The Attractions The Complete Armed Forces (UMe)
2) David Bowie I’m Only Dancing (The Soul Tour 74) (Parlophone)
3) Prince Sign O’ The Times (Super Deluxe Edition) (Warner Bros.)
4) Lou Reed Live At Alice Tully Hall – January 27, 1973 – 2nd Show (Legacy); New York (Rhino); Magic And Loss (Rhino); When Your Heart Is Made Out Of Ice (Easy Action); Lou Reed & John Cale Songs For Drella (Rhino)
5) Ultravox Vienna (Deluxe Edition) (Chrysalis)
6) The Kinks Lola Versus Powerman And The Moneygoround, Part One (BMG)
7) The Doors The Soft Parade Stripped; Morrison Hotel (50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) (Rhino/Elektra)
8) Brian Eno Film Music 1976-2020 (UMe)
9) Marvin Pontiac The Asylum Tapes (Northern Spy)
10) Paul Kantner And Jefferson Starship Blows Against The Empire (Legacy)
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Re: The Complete Armed Forces (Super Deluxe Edition)

Postby Ymaginatif » Wed Dec 23, 2020 5:36 am

sweetest punch wrote:http://magnetmagazine.com/2020/12/22/best-of-2020-reissues-collections/

BEST OF 2020: REISSUES/COLLECTIONS

MAGNET’s A.D. Amorosi picks the best reissues/collections of the year

1) Elvis Costello And The Attractions The Complete Armed Forces (UMe)
2) David Bowie I’m Only Dancing (The Soul Tour 74) (Parlophone)
3) Prince Sign O’ The Times (Super Deluxe Edition) (Warner Bros.)
4) Lou Reed Live At Alice Tully Hall – January 27, 1973 – 2nd Show (Legacy); New York (Rhino); Magic And Loss (Rhino); When Your Heart Is Made Out Of Ice (Easy Action); Lou Reed & John Cale Songs For Drella (Rhino)
5) Ultravox Vienna (Deluxe Edition) (Chrysalis)
6) The Kinks Lola Versus Powerman And The Moneygoround, Part One (BMG)
7) The Doors The Soft Parade Stripped; Morrison Hotel (50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) (Rhino/Elektra)
8) Brian Eno Film Music 1976-2020 (UMe)
9) Marvin Pontiac The Asylum Tapes (Northern Spy)
10) Paul Kantner And Jefferson Starship Blows Against The Empire (Legacy)


Bizarre ... :D
More about me (including some Elvis Costello covers): http://ymaginatifandmusic.blogspot.com/

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Re: The Complete Armed Forces (Super Deluxe Edition)

Postby sweetest punch » Mon Feb 08, 2021 3:09 pm

https://audiophilereview.com/audiophile ... et-part-i/

Elvis Costello’s Complete Armed Forces Super Deluxe Vinyl-Only Boxed Set (Part I)

In 1979, composer, singer and performer Elvis Costello unleashed his third album on the universe which was to seal his status as an influential and successful artist — arguably one of the most talented of his generation — for the rest of his career. He was just 23 years old then!

Called Armed Forces, the album was exactly the powerhouse follow-on he needed after his first two tremendous albums, especially 1978’s This Year’s Model.

Bruce Springsteen once called Elvis’ initial round of albums a “perfect storm” (as a guest on Costello’s Spectacle TV show, a program I recommend highly if you haven’t seen it yet).

And storm Elvis did, across America with an aggressive concert tour that was both assaultive as it was emotional and powerful. I saw Elvis for the first time then (Capitol Theater, Passaic, NJ, March 30, 1979) and it was an incredible evening with a certain edge apparent even outside in the crowd that enveloped you well before you got inside the concert hall… but I digress…

Roughly celebrating Armed Forces’ 40th anniversary, Universal Music has worked closely with Elvis Costello who has curated a genuinely wonderful Super-Duper-Deluxe all-vinyl boxed set celebrating this magnificent album. Dubbed The Complete Armed Forces, in the package you get not only the remastered version of the album – and a special version of it at that – – but you also get a first-time-on-vinyl expanded LP version of the free “EP” (a.k.a. “extended play” single) which came with the original pressings of the album: Live at Hollywood High. These recordings were included in the expanded CD of Armed Forces issued by Rhino Records some years back.

Gotta say, it is wonderful to finally have some of the best performances from this wonderful concert as a “real,” physical album! More on that later in this review series…

You also get an LP of Elvis’ complete set on June 4,1979 at the “Pink Pop” Festival in The Netherlands. There are three 10-inch mini-LPs of previously unreleased live recordings as well as period B-sides and demos recorded in that period.

There is much more which we will go into soon…

But, first, lets look at and listen to the new album…

One of the great details about this release is that for the first time we now have a universal version of Elvis Costello’s Armed Forces. For those not in the know, the US and UK editions of this album were slightly different (as were his first two albums, by the way), swapping out certain tracks for other single releases from the period that were deemed more likely to be popular in America. Thus, the version of Armed Forces released in the United States ended with Elvis’ powerhouse cover of Nick Lowe’s “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding.” The UK version of the album had a different track in the middle of Side 2, “Sunday’s Best.”

So, now for the first time on vinyl we get a universal version of the album with both songs included and it feels fine. By this point, many fans who had the Rhino Records two-CD expanded edition CD of Armed Forces are familiar with that track-listing and most hardcore Elvis fans (if I might speak as one) have many different pressings of the album already. So its nice to see and hear them together in harmony, if you will…

The appropriately khaki-military-green colored opaque 180-gram vinyl is quiet and well centered.

The remastering is interesting on this edition. From the official press materials for this boxed set we learned that this edition of “Armed Forces has been newly remastered by Costello and mastering engineer Bob Ludwig from the original analog tapes to match the sonic fidelity of the initial 1979 UK pressing. Striving for the utmost authenticity, they took care to match the feel and intention of the original mastering.”

Indeed, there is a quite a bit going on in this new remaster which took me a short while to get acclimated to — once I got used to the generally brighter feel they were going for, I got into the spirit of it. Generally this remaster offers quite a bit more detail and insight into the recording than I’ve heard previously – I compared this to an original US white label promo LP, an original UK pressing as well as CD-quality streams on Tidal and Qobuz.

The separation is more distinct compared to the original pressings with a nice sense of the studio ambiance and amplifier tone coming through (listen to those guitar stabs on “Good Squad” for an example of what I’m talking about). But, it is a decidedly shinier (if you will) listen so some of you might well prefer the somewhat warmer sounding original LP. The good news is that both versions can happily exist side by side. I’ll put it this way: I’m happy to have this in my collection alongside my original US and UK editions.

Also, most deeper Costello fans will be happy to know that The Complete Armed Forces reproduces quite nicely the original UK design of Armed Forces. A magnificent multi-faceted fold-out origami-like cover — designed by the great Barney Bubbles — it originally came with four postcards (one of each band member) as well as a more deluxe version of the Live At Hollywood High EP than what was issued in the US. English pressings were always better on that original run of Elvis Costello albums.

In Part II of my review of The Complete Armed Forces we’ll look at more of the rarities in the deluxe edition boxed set… tune in tomorrow!
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Re: The Complete Armed Forces (Super Deluxe Edition)

Postby sweetest punch » Tue Feb 09, 2021 3:13 pm

https://audiophilereview.com/audiophile ... t-part-ii/

Elvis Costello’s Complete Armed Forces Super Deluxe Vinyl-Only Boxed Set (Part II)

In Part I of this review of Elvis Costello’s super deluxe vinyl-only boxed set The Complete Armed Forces celebrating his 1979 masterpiece, Armed Forces, we explored the new original album remaster included in this collection. In case you missed that essential introduction, please click here to jump back to it.

One of my favorite things in this set is the wealth of live recordings officially released pretty much for the first time. On vinyl, Elvis really only put out one live album in 1978 to radio stations: Live At The El Mocambo. This was almost instantly pirated (extensively) but eventually saw legitimate release in the 1993 CD boxed set 2 & 1/2 Years.

The three-song seven-inch extended play (“EP”) included in Armed Forces called Live at Hollywood High, was initially expanded in the two CD edition of the album issued by Rhino Records. The single LP version in this collection mirrors the running order on that CD which is interesting since eventually the entire concert was released as its own stand alone CD in 2010. Having recently re-listened to that concert (which is great), I can see why they kept to this running order which presents the strongest and most unique performances from that concert.

That said, it is fantastic to finally have Live at Hollywood High in an LP format and as a listening experience, it is fabulous! What a great concert including scorching renditions of “Mystery Dance” and “Goon Squad” as well as a rare live version of the non-LP country-western song, “Stranger In The House.” Here, however, the song is played more like the churning power pop of some of Elvis’ other non-LP tracks at that time such as “Big Tears” and “Tiny Steps.” Clearly he had ideas about where that song might go — it was initially recorded with an upbeat country feel (including pedal steel guitar!), issued on a free single included with UK pressings of This Year’s Model (with a scorching live cover of The Damned’s “Neat Neat Neat” on the B-side) and later was recorded by George Jones.

Again, while a full two LP version of the whole show might have been nice, I like this tight curated version of the album. That said, I won’t be at all surprised if that comes out sometime in the future (maybe for Record Store Day!).

Also included in the set is an album called Europe ’79 – Live At Pinkpop recorded at the legendary music festival in The Netherlands. Newly remixed from the original two-inch multi-track master tapes by Costello’s longtime producer and mixer Sebastian Krys, this live album (featuring 13 of the 19 songs performed that day) is a revelation. Fans have no doubt heard tapes from this show, portions of which were broadcast on radio and TV — Costello fans are like new wave DeadHeads, folks — but I’ve never heard it sound this crisp and tight.

And the really fantastic detail about this show is that Elvis broke out much new material that wasn’t even released. Again, like The Grateful Dead, Elvis liked trying out new songs and arrangements live on stage prior to going into the recording studio. So, it is wonderful to to hear in terrific quality early incarnations of songs that ended up on 1980’s Get Happy. These include “B-Movie,” a slower take on “High Fidelity,” “Opportunity” and the non-LP track “So Young.” The latter is a Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons cover which eventually surfaced on the compilation called Out Of Our Idiot.

An important detail which newbie fans might not yet know is that Elvis was great about creating a sense of fun and collectibility among his recordings pretty much right from the start. This makes sense given he is a record collector himself.

No doubt he and his management were — by the time of This Year’s Model and Armed Forces — riffing off the new release schedule aesthetic established when he debuted on the influential Stiff Records label (My Aim Is True).

Accordingly here on The Complete Armed Forces he has created a collection that not only pays homage to the original Armed Forces album but also expands upon it with all manner of fun bonuses.

In the box that you get two portfolios which cradle The 10-inch and 7-inch vinyl bonuses as well as the collection of pulp- and comic-book-styled liner notes booklets. This is a very special and ultimately thoughtful package.

Tune in tomorrow for part three of this review series where I’ll look at more of the bonus discs and other goodies in the set.
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Re: The Complete Armed Forces (Super Deluxe Edition)

Postby sweetest punch » Wed Feb 10, 2021 2:01 pm

https://audiophilereview.com/audiophile ... -part-iii/

Elvis Costello’s Complete Armed Forces Super Deluxe Vinyl-Only Boxed Set (Part III)

In Part I of this review of Elvis Costello’s super deluxe vinyl-only boxed set The Complete Armed Forces — celebrating his 1979 masterpiece, Armed Forces — we explored the new original album remaster included in this collection. In case you missed that essential introduction, please click here to jump back to it.

In Part II we listened to the first time vinyl appearance of a full album presentation of Elvis’ legendary Live at Hollywood High and Pinkpop festival performances from that period. If you didn’t see that part of the series, please click here to read it.

If you thought that wasn’t enough to tempt you into getting this new boxed set, let me put on my late night TV commercial announcer voice and say: but wait… there’s more!

The 10-Inch Mini Albums

Included in The Complete Armed Forces are three — count ‘em, 3! — 10-inch mini LPs containing special rarities.

Live At The Dominion

These recordings are from a 1978 end-of-year holiday UK show featuring four songs captured at the Dominion Theater in London. It is a fascinating document showing Elvis and The Attractions sounding remarkably relaxed and jovial even (far removed from the angry young man persona that was being propagated in the media).

Here Elvis plays some tracks from his debut including a very true-to-the-original-album’s-pace “(The Angels Want To Wear My) Red Shoes” and a fun quazi-disco version of “No Dancing” (for reals kids, imagine if Abba was covering that song!).

They break out a very early version of “I Stand Accused” (which appeared two years later on Get Happy!!) and the soon-to-be classic “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding.” This album comes pressed on lovely white vinyl and sounds great. I only wish it was longer!

Riot At The Regent

Recorded at The Regent Theater on the band’s Australian leg of the 1978 tour, this is a fabulous little taste of just how powerful Elvis and The Attractions had grown as a unit. The show is notable for early versions of “Oliver’s Army” and “Big Boys.” The latter is especially powerful.

There are also great versions of tunes from This Years Model including “This Year’s Girl,” “You Belong To Me” and the instant-classic-concert-closer, “Pump It Up.” Oh, and by the way the concert was so good that the audience rioted and tore up the place — apparently there was no encore so the crowd responded in kind and trashed the venue! Thus, the album’s title…

Sketches For Emotional Fascism

The original working title for Armed Forces was Emotional Fascism and this album includes eight songs that didn’t make it onto the final LP but are no doubt tied to the recording.

I can certainly appreciate that they needed to be included in this set for the sake of completeness, but all of these tracks have been issued previously.

They were, however, scattered over a variety of singles, a soundtrack, CDs and most significantly on the US-only compilation Taking Liberties and the UK-only counterpart Ten Bloody Marys & Ten How’s Your Fathers (initially a cassette-only release, later issued on LP).

These include one of Elvis’ greatest early rockers, “Tiny Steps” and the always-stunning steamroller “Clean Money” (the latter effectively an early incarnation of “Love For Tender” which later appeared on Get Happy). It also includes Elvis’ sweet solo rendition of “My Funny Valentine.”

The more unique tracks here are the (as far as I can tell) first time vinyl appearances of the alternate version of “Big Boys” and the demo of “Green Shirt” (both of which appeared on the Rhino Records expanded CDs of Armed Forces and This Year’s Model, respectively).

This mini LP looks so pretty too, what with its striking pink cover and opaque red/black splatter vinyl that happily sounds good. A wonderful way to include these important tracks in the set.

The 45s

If you are like me, you’ve been collecting all of Elvis’s singles and other rarities over the years and you might fret that your original versions are somehow irrelevant now. Worry not.

While you do get reproductions of the original period UK singles, the B-sides are completely different and they not quite identical (which is totally fine…).

Universal did a laudable job of re-creating the look and feel of the original recordings, however the label designs are inevitably slightly different so you will want to hold onto your first pressings. These new editions include “Oliver’s Army” and the split single with Nick Lowe featuring his A-side “American Squirm” backed with Elvis’ version of “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding” — the latter written by Lowe.

Arguably the coolest rarity here is that for the first time we get to see the reversed-cover version of the “Accidents Will Happen” single re-reversed. Back in the day, the original editions came in a white sleeve with the printed design on the inside of the single! So now it is out in the open for all to appreciate and cherish.

But Do I Really Need This Collection?

Of course the big question comes up: do you need such an expensive deluxe package? Ultimately that answer is personal. Clearly this is a collection for the super fan and if you are like me, chances are you may think you have “everything” and thus might hesitate on your need for this set.

I think you do need it, but not only because of the remaster, the live recordings and rarities. The Complete Armed Forces includes wonderful liner notes and memorabilia presented in unique booklets modeled after classic publications from the past — pulp fiction, comic books, vintage magazine ads, even a children’s science book (for “Chemistry Class”). Elvis had these wonderful designs custom-commissioned and they are a fun treat.

I’m still working my way through them all but there are personal notes from Elvis as well as reproductions of many of his original lyric notebooks from this period of his career.

As a fan of Armed Forces, I think it is a quite grand collection. Of course, it may be the ideal gift for the Elvis Costello fan on your list. If you don’t want to spring for the colored vinyl version there is also black final version of this set available that is a bit less costly.

The Complete Armed Forces makes me wonder — and hope! — if there will be a Super Deluxe Edition celebration set for Elvis’ next album, Get Happy. That happens to be my all-time favorite Elvis Costello record and is in my Top 10 favorite albums of all time. It will be curious to see what happens as we move forward into the next couple of years.

Right now I’m grateful that Elvis has taken the time to curate such a wonderful set for his fans. Save up your pennies, kids and buy this when you can!
Since you put me down, it seems i've been very gloomy. You may laugh but pretty girls look right through me.


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