Research ∕ Learning

The musical record

Lorcan 3 min read

I was reading an interview with Elvis Costello yesterday and was pleasantly surprised to come across this question from the interviewer, David Hepworth:

Right. I was interested, you did those reissues, and they’re doing them again, and you’ve got huge numbers of B sides and live recordings and all this kind of stuff, do you have somebody who curates your stuff, do you have somebody who looks after it all? [The Elvis Costello interview | Word Magazine]

Curates, no less ….
He goes on to ask …

Do you think the music business is full of fragments like that that are on cassettes and tapes and whatever in people’s drawers? [The Elvis Costello interview | Word Magazine]

Costello (EC) goes on to talk about value and what is worth adding to the ‘record’ in terms that will be quite familiar to readers here.

I’ve got boxes full of the songs of my own, so I can only imagine other people have got them as well, but whether they’re interesting, I mean, I really don’t know. I mean, there’s a particularly disposition of person who wants to hear every last piece by anybody they really care about and then sometimes there’s a reason why they’re called outtakes, you know. I remember buying a Billie Holiday set, you know, I got in Japan, that had every take that she had ever done for Columbia, but they were all one after another, so you’ve got The Man I Love and then you’ve got the three attempts to make The Man I Love. But they weren’t really that much different, you know, there was usually just, like she fluffed a lyric or somebody came in at the wrong point. They weren’t like a really different interpretation. Sometimes a demo is interesting because the song is taken off somewhere and maybe, in some cases, ruined. And I’ve done it myself, you know, I’ve gone back to the demo of a song and thought, well, I really let that one get away because of whatever I did to it in the process of recording. And there’s sometimes that you can sing the song one way and then end up recording it another and both versions are legitimate, they’re both valid interpretations of the song, whether or not one is better than the other is just a matter of your taste. And that’s the same with a lot of artists I like, the Dylan sets that have come out and Neil Young and people like that who, you know… And that fantastic box they did on Tom Waits, you know, that Anti put out. Stuff like that I find interesting, but the people that you’re talking about are interesting artists, so you’re going to be intrigued by their attempts to do the song in a different way. But not every last note played by some people, that’s just not that brilliant. I mean, I’m much more, you know, everybody’s got a couple of, a handful of titles that they can say, you know, I bet you never heard this one, it’s a knockout, you know, whether it’s an obscure Motown record or some weird garage band record. And there’s always somebody somewhere putting a compilation of that together and I think that’s what makes, you know, the big archive of music, however it’s stored, however it’s delivered, something of richness, it makes life interesting. I mean, I went into that record store I told you about, when I was in Los Angeles last week, and you’d think all the records I’ve got and I still bought $500 worth of records in about 20 minutes. [The Elvis Costello interview | Word Magazine]

Incidentally, Elvis Costello (AKA Declan MacManus) and Diana Krall had twin boys at the end of 2006, one of whom is named Dexter Henry Lorcan. Patrick and Jillian Fink Dempsey also had twin sons in 2007. So, for a while, searches on Lorcan Dempsey would bring back results from stories about celebrities with twins 😉

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