The melodies are memorable, the humanity is universal, the outsider is still central to the plot and just when you need to feel it most it comes upon you suddenly and breaks your heart. But more than any of these things it is at its best when it is understanding its own history and acknowledging its own roots.
So in 1981 when people had begun to get over the impact of Punk/New Wave and might well have been tiring of New Romanticism an interesting project by one of the new wave pioneers, Elvis Costello, caught the public imagination. Having plundered the style and sound of Atlantic and Stax (Get Happy) he decided to take The Attractions to Nashville. There he recorded more than an album’s worth of country covers under the watchful eye of Billy Sherrill (legendary producer to George Jones, Tammy Wynette and many more).
What this did for country music is anyone’s guess but for me, at the time, it was further evidence of what I’d already half suspected: Country was cool. On Friday we’re suggesting to you that you might well like to re visit Almost Blue, Elvis Costello’s Nashville record and see if it isn’t also a good building block in the Beginners guide to Americana. In truth it would be an album he’d rerlease five years later which would nod more directly at the Americana direction of the nineties and noughties. But for now this was an interesting marker to put down.
What else Ricky, I feel I’m hearing?
Oh and there will be all the usual nice surprises and things you’ve probably forgotten about. All on Friday at 8 p.m. BBC Radio Scotland.
Bishop Richard Harries on Faith and Politics, We look at how the 21st Century Church is using 21st Century technology and we discuss “Male Initiation Rites.” I know…….!
There will also be some great music from Arrested Development , Alicia Keys and Pete Seeger!