Personnel: Elvis Costello (vocals, acoustic, electric & 12-string guitars, piano, celeste, chamberlin); Mary Coughlan (vocals); Marc Ribot (acoustic & electric guitars, banjo, cornet, horn); James Burton (acoustic & elcetric guitars); Andrew Findon (flute); Davy Spillane (Uilleann pipes); Nicholas Bucknall (clarinet); Richard Morgan (oboe); Neil Levesley (bassoon); Kevin Harris (tenor saxophone); Roger Lewis (baritone saxophone); Gregory Davis, Efrem Towns (trumpet); Simon Rayner (French horn); Charles Joseph (trombone); Larry Knechtel (piano, harmonium, Clavinet, Hammond B-3 organ, calliope);
Rob Wasserman, Nick Lowe, T-Bone Wolk, Jerry Scheff (bass); Pete Thomas, Lionel Batiste (drums); Donal Lunny (bodhran); The Chieftains.
Producers include: Mitchell Froom, Kevin Killen, Donal Lunny, Paddy Moloney, Rob Wasserman.
Recorded between 1990 & 1991. Originally released on Warner Brothers (26575).
Audio Mixer: Kevin Killen.
By the early '90s, Elvis Costello had forgotten more about songcraft and record production than most musicians would ever learn, earning him titles like "modern-day Gershwin." MIGHTY LIKE A ROSE is where he starts showing off his smarts. It's far and away Elvis' most elaborate effort, both in terms of composition and arrangement, making his collaboration with the Brodsky Quartet sound like a Ramones album. Aided by Mitchell Froom and innovative guitarist Marc Ribot, Costello turns out arty, harmonically sophisticated tunes that never go where you expect them to, either musically or lyrically. Ironically, it's the simplest tunes on what could fairly be called Costello's SERGEANT PEPPER that make the most impact, like the very Leonard Cohen-ish "After the Fall" and the elegant melancholy of the McCartney collaboration "So Like Candy."
Q (1/92) - One of Q Magazine's "50 best albums of 1991."
Q (6/91) - 5 Stars - Indispensable "..unleashes the barking mad but inspired Costello of TRUST, IMPERIAL BEDROOM and BLOOD AND CHOCOLATE, where the chainsaw slashes through dictionary and the tunes pile on pastiche and parody...Bitter and twisted...inventive music with cryptic meanings...Classic Costello, perhaps even his best yet.."
Down Beat (6/91) - 3.5 Stars - Good plus - "...contains some of the finest individual songs he's recorded...complex, well-crafted pop music..."
Musician (5/91) - "...probably his best album in years...A significant move forward for Costello...sprawling and dense musically and lyrically, it at once contains Costello's punchiest melodies since ARMED FORCES and some of his most convoluted ever.."
Other Side of Summer, The
Hurry Down Doomsday (The Bugs Are Taking Over) - (featuring Marc Ribot)
How to Be Dumb
All Grown Up
Invasion Hit Parade
After the Fall
Georgie and Her Rival
So Like Candy
Interlude: Couldn't Call It Unexpected No. 2 - (featuring The Dirty Dozen Brass Band)
Playboy To a Man
Sweet Pear - (featuring The Dirty Dozen Brass Band)