The Delivery Man CD (2004)

Artist: Elvis Costello

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Product Overview

With The Delivery Man -- Elvis Costello and the Imposters' first release for Lost Highway -- one of modern music's most admired and prolific talents has delivered a remarkable album that draws on deep American musical roots more than any of his releases since King of America in 1986. It is a collection that ranges from the ferocious, bass-driven opening track, "Button my lip", which speaks in the voice of a desperate man on the verge of committing a terrible crime, to a tender and timely closing rendition of, "The Scarlet Tide", referred to by Costello’s co-composer and fellow Oscar Nominee, T Bone Burnett as an "anti-fear song".

The Delivery Man was recorded in Oxford, MS and produced by Dennis Herring and Elvis Costello. Jon Pareles of The New York Times describes the album as: "...the album steeped in Southern Americana: the gospel-rooted grooves of Memphis soul, touches of pedal steal guitar, Southern-rooted guest singers including Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams and the storytelling that Southern soul shares with country music."

Like a lot of great things in music history, The Delivery Man can be said to have started with the late great Johnny Cash. The Delivery Man is actually a character imported from a song I wrote in 1986 for Johnny Cash," Costello explains. "He's based on a real character. I read this story in the paper about a man who confessed to murdering his childhood friend thirty years later, having been in prison for a number of other things. I thought this story was very interesting because he'd carried this burden of guilt of this childhood crime.


Label Universal Music Group
SKU 61706802
UPC 602498624296
UPC 14 00602498624296
Format CD
Release Date 9/21/2004
Author Elvis Costello
Associated Artist/Work Attractions (The)
Associated Artist/Work Costello
Associated Artist/Work Elvis Costello / Brodsky Quarte
Associated Artist/Work Frisell, Bill
Associated Artist/Work Jazz Passengers
Associated Artist/Work McPartland, Marian
Associated Artist/Work Metropole Orchestra
Associated Artist/Work Metropole Orkest
Associated Artist/Work Nieve, Steve
Associated Artist/Work Original Soundtrack
Associated Artist/Work Richard Harvey (Techno)
Associated Artist/Work Roots (The)
Associated Artist/Work Toussaint, Allen
Technical Info
Engineer Chris Shepard; Csaba Petocz; Jimbo "Hambone" Mathus
Producer Dennis Herring; Elvis Costello; Dennis Herring; Elvis Costello
CatalogID 000259302
Lable Name Lost Highway
Released 09/21/2004
Original Release 2004
Number of Discs 1
SPARE Code n/a
Mono/Stereo Stereo
Studio/Live Studio
UPC 00602498624296
Album Notes and Credits
Personnel: Elvis Costello (vocals, guitar, tenor guitar, ukulele, piano, Wurlitzer organ, glockenspiel, electric bass, tambourine); Elvis Costello (Wurlitzer piano); Davey Faragher (vocals, Fender Rhodes piano, bass guitar); Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams (vocals); Dennis Herring (guitar); John McPhee (pedal steel guitar); Steve Nieve (accordion, melodica, piano, Wurlitzer piano, harmonium, organ, Hammond b-3 organ, Wurlitzer organ, omnichord, Theremin); Pete Thomas (drums, percussion).
Audio Mixers: Dennis Herring; Chris Shepard; Clay Jones.
Recording information: Delta Recording, Clarksdale, MS; Detla Recording, Clarksdale, MS; Ocean Way Studios, Nashville, TN; Sweet Tea, Oxford, MS; Village Recorders, Los Angeles, CA.
Photographers: Dennis Herring; Jesse Dylan.
In between Elvis Costello's 2003 album of jazzy, piano-based ballads (NORTH) and his 2004 album of orchestral, neo-classical compositions (IL SOGNO), rock's original Renaissance man somehow found the time to journey down to Oxford, Mississippi with his band the Imposters (essentially the Attractions with a different bassist) for the follow-up to his masterful 2002 pop album, WHEN I WAS CRUEL. There are some parallels to that record; a similar sense of raw immediacy, spare arrangements, and a couple of songs that echo WHEN I WAS CRUEL's churning, cyclical feel.
For the most part, however, THE DELIVERY MAN, with its prevalence of rootsy country and soul influences (and duets with Lucinda Williams and Emmylou Harris), is closer in style to the much-loved 1986 Costello album KING OF AMERICA. "The Name of This Thing Is Not Love" sounds like it ought to be powering a Sam Moore comeback album, and "The Judgement" was, in fact, recorded by Solomon Burke for his 2002 comeback record, DON'T GIVE UP ON ME. Some cuts leave the rootsiness behind (the slinky, image-laden title song; the pounding, urgent "Bedlam"), but THE DELIVERY MAN is ultimately a deep bow to the American musical inspirations that are a huge part of Costello's vision.
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (p.99) - 4 stars out of 5 - "Even the ballads bristle with force. As these thirteen songs rattle and rumble along, it's easy to miss their depth, their incisive mapping of the places where love, obsession and anger intersect."
Rolling Stone (p.142) - Included in Rolling Stone's Top 50 Records Of 2004 - "Costello's best full-on rock album since BLOOD AND CHOCOLATE..."
Uncut (p.104) - 3 stars out of 5 - "[T]his is a strong and lusty country-punk album placing him in Tom Waits or Neil Young territory....He hasn't sounded this energized for years."
Uncut (p.76) - Ranked #34 in Uncut's "Best New Albums of 2004" - "A strong country influence with lots of steel guitar..."
CMJ (p.5) - "[I]t's done right....Elvis welcomes guest Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams to add the heartbreak you can only get from male/female vocal interplay."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.62) - Ranked #41 in Mojo's "100 Modern Classics" -- "A fun Costello album? You're looking at it."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.97) - 5 stars out of 5 - "So: songs terrific, band sensational, and - big plus - Costello's voice late-developing way beyond that pinched whine into an instrument of substance and character."
Disc 1
1 Button My Lip
2 Country Darkness
3 There's A Story In Your Voice
4 Either Side Of The Same Town
5 Bedlam
6 Delivery Man, The
7 Monkey To Man
8 Nothing Clings Like Ivy
9 Name Of This Thing Is Not Love, The
10 Heart Shaped Bruise
11 Needle Time
12 Judgement, The
13 Scarlet Tide, The
Product Attributes
Artist Costello,Elvis
Label Universal Music Group
Music Format Compact Disc
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