Home Music Elvis Costello’s Summer Gift to Us: New Recordings of His Earliest Music...

Today, the ever prolific Elvis Costello is issuing a six track EP under the name Rusty. It’s called “The Resurrection of Rust.” If you want to see where Elvis began, when he was still Declan McManus and five years before “My Aim is True,” I direct you to this little gem.

Costello was a mere 17 when he and Allen Mayes set out as an act. Now, 50 years later, they’ve re-recorded their best stuff with Costello’s very simpatico producer, Sebastian Krys. The result is disarmingly good, swinging, soulful, and catchy.

Elvis sent me an email describing the whole endeavor, which follows below. But the upshot is that this little collection comes from an era that also launched Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds, Brinsley Swartz and Bob Andrews, who became The Rumour, which played famously with Garland Jeffreys and of, course, Graham Parker. Except for Edmunds’s hit cover of “I Hear You Knocking,” we didn’t know about these people in ’72. We weren’t ready for them.

All the tracks on “Resurrection” can be found on YouTube in other older forms from that era. But these new versions are far superior, I think. They’ve become top of the pops in my car over the last week. I can’t get enough of an early Elvis song, “Warm House (And an Hour of Joy)” and a Nick Lowe confection called “Don’t Lose Your Grip On Love.”

PS Let’s not forget Elvis’s “The Boy Named If,” one of the very best records of 2022, which followed his earlier masterpiece “Look Now.” Costello is still pumping away at 67, a lovely rebuke to the lightweights of the current generation.

from Elvis:

This is Rusty making their recording debut 50 years AFTER I joined the band on New Year’s Day, 1972 – then a four-piece.

We played everywhere they’d let us but never made any money and only made one much-rejected demo tape – which sounds like it was recorded in a bucket down a well. 
Allan Mayes and I pressed on until early ’73, when I went back to London (and all that) and Allan stayed in Liverpool, mostly playing other people’s songs before relocating to Texas after getting a contract to play a covers circuit in Texas, Louisiana and Florida, then on cruise ships and oil-worker bars in Alaska before returning to Austin, where he lives and works today.  He wrote to suggest that we might play a few tunes to celebrate this big number but I thought we should make the record we dreamed of making when we were teenagers. I was 17 and still at school when I wrote “Warm House”. Allan and I worked on the early musical draft of “Maureen & Sam” which I later re-wrote as “Ghost Train” with an entirely different melody and a lot of changes to my original lyric, turning “Sam” into “Stan”. And that is why we are singing Nick Lowe, Jim Ford and Neil Young songs from 1972

Much like, “The Boy Named If”, Pete Thomas and Davey Faragher are the rhythm section, Bob Andrews reprised his “Surrender To The Rhythm” organ and piano in New Mexico, while Steve Nieve played on “I’m Ahead” and “Don’t Lose Your Grip On Love”. I play all the electric guitars and piano, bass and drums on “Maureen & Sam”, the mandolin on “Warm House” and the mandolin and electric violin on “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere/Dance Dance Dance”. Allan recorded his vocals and acoustic guitar in Austin.   

PS This is a bootleg version of “Don’t Lose Your Grip” with Elvis and Nick. I’ll have the new one on Friday.

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