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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Really Saying Something

Too many podcasts are either re-purposed radio or newspapers read aloud. Elvis Costello's the First Ten Years, is the best podcast I've heard since Danny Kelly stopped fronting his weekly football show for the Times. It's been done as a promotional series to accompany the reissue of his early albums. Elvis talks, possibly in response to an unheard interviewer, about what happened at each stage. There are short extracts from the music but it's mostly speech. Elvis is lucid, articulate and able to put over how it felt to enter the music business at a time of great change and slowly become a professional. He's at his best talking about the things it would never occur to an interviewer to ask. Things like music. His account of how the differing backgrounds of the members of the Attractions and his producer Nick Lowe came together to create early records like "Watching The Detectives" is the kind of thing that editors tend to red pencil for being too slow. The keyboard player Steve Naive was a 19 year old classical music student who was constantly wanting to play variations. Nick Lowe and Elvis, who were students of classic pop, had to keep steering him back to his first thought. You should hear it. Costs nothing.