And now for something completely different. In my last post I mentioned Mumford & Sons and thought it would be great to present one of their performances (and I will). But that led me to a video they did with Elvis Costello, and that led me here. YouTube is such a lovely rabbit hole.
I remember the excitement about Elvis when this song came out. I believe people who didn’t think the other Elvis was cool anymore were glad to have an Elvis of their own. To me, the 1970s were a time when bands were wildly fusing disparate genres into popular music. There was already a connection between folk and popular music, but by the time this song came out, that was sort of passé. The Stray Cats infused rockabilly into popular music. The Police infused reggae. Of course, there were other bands already fusing jazz and classical music into popular songs. To me, Elvis Costello sounded like a lot of things blended together. You can’t help but hear jazz and punk in this performance. Other songs of his were straight up singer-songwriter. But, no matter how you might assign a genre to his music, like many great song writers, Elvis told stories and painted pictures. That said, you might need a shot of whiskey to survive the images painted in this song.
This is a live performance of the song Watching the Detectives. It’s nice, sometimes, to have a performance be true to the studio recording, but not always. In many ways, this is the perfect example of what a live performance can do for a song. It kinda pushes it into your face and makes it an experience. Given the choice to watch this video or listen to the studio recording; I’ll want to watch this video every time. Oh, your attention will always be drawn by Elvis here, but pay attention the keyboards. Really nice.