Saturday, October 18, 2014

Law of Attraction: The Birth of the Beeb

I've been super busy with work -- it's a full-time job staying this broke all the time, you know -- but let's take a bloggy moment to acknowledge a pertinent anniversary, shall we? Raise your tea and biscuits in salute to the BBC, incorporated this day in 1922!
And what better way to celebrate the broadcasting home of so much tremendous music than with a tremendous concert from the BBC? I don't have much from the 1920s (my Victrola is as broke as I am), but believing as I do that one good anniversary deserves another I do have something suitably tremendous.
Honestly when I was reading yesterday about the 92nd birthday of the BBC I immediately thought of this show, recorded 31 years ago in the Hammersmith Palais in London and featuring the big band Elvis Costello had for the "Punch the Clock" LP, with the horns and the background singers augmenting the Attractions.
Yes, that tour was the closest Elvis ever came to sounding like like... that other Elvis! So I dug it out and dusted it off and set about repairing its many flaws and dropouts, as well as appending the last song -- not included on the boot CD of the original transcription LPs, but recorded off the air onto cassette when the show went out live and exceeded the allotted hour -- back onto the end of the set. 
 Elvis Costello & the Attractions (w/Afrodiziak & the TKO Horns)
Hammersmith Palais
London, UK
EN pre-FM+FM remaster

01 Let Them All Talk
02 Possession
03 Watch Your Step
04 The Greatest Thing
05 Man Out of Time
06 Shabby Doll
07 From Head to Toe
08 Charm School
09 Oliver's Army
10 Shipbuilding
11 The World and His Wife
12 Alison
13 Clowntime Is Over
14 Everyday I Write the Book
15 TKO (Boxing Day)
16 Pump It Up

Total time: 1:02:43

Elvis Costello & the Attractions:  
Elvis Costello – vocals, guitars
Steve Nieve – keyboards
Bruce Thomas – bass
Pete Thomas – drums

The TKO Horns:
Jim Paterson – trombone
Jeff Blythe – alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, clarinet
Paul Speare – tenor saxophone, flute
Dave Plews – trumpet

Caron Wheeler, Naomi Thompson and Claudia Fontaine – backing vocals

remaster by EN
Tracks 01-15 sourced from a boot CD made from pre-FM BBC transcription LPs
Track 16 sourced from a master FM cassette of the original live BBC broadcast
A bunch of remastering went on, as I tried to match the pre-FM source with the FM-sourced final track, which I felt had the horns more brassy and prominent somehow, perhaps due to the FM compression but who knows? The pre-FM source sounds awesome but lacked gain and needed more on top for the horns to really break through, so I went in that direction without changing it too much. Anyway I think I've got it sounding nice and punchy crisp now, so enjoy and thank you BBC for 92 years of great music on radio, and thank you Elvis Costello for this ferocious concert from the first night of the "Punch the Clock" tour 31 years ago, aired on the BBC!--J.

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