Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Elvis Costello found new excitement in the studio and quickly produced this loose and lively instant record.  While recording with Jenny Lewis for her album 'Acid Tongue', he started noodling around with some songs of his own:  "I went down to do the song 'Carpetbaggers' with Jenny, and they were wondering how to pay me. I said, 'Don't worry about money, let's just cut something for fun.' And we cut three songs in one afternoon. I went home with the CD, and I thought that the tracks all sounded good. I had a song I wrote with Rosanne Cash, a song I'd written with Loretta Lynn, and I wrote another eight in three weeks. And we cut the whole thing in ten days."

The whirlwind sessions featured Elvis Costello on organ, guitar, piano, vocals, background vocals, vocal group, baritone guitar, production; Davey Faragher on bass, vocals, background vocals, and vocal group; David Hidalgo on guitar, viola, hidalguera, vocals, background vocals, and vocal group; Jason Lader on production, engineering, mixing, and photography; Jenny Lewis on vocals, background vocals, and vocal group; Stephen Marcussen on mastering; Steve Nieve on organ, clavinet, melodica, wurlitzer, grand piano, pianette, and vox continental;  Johnathan Rice on guitar, vocals and vocal group; Farmer Dave Scherr on organ, pedal steel, lap steel guitar, and vocal group; Coco Shinomiya on design; Josh Smith as assistant engineer; Pete Thomas and Tennessee Thomas drums; and Jonathan Wilson on guitar, twelve string guitar, vocals, and vocal group.  

Costello reveals:    "The title is a tribute to Momofuku Ando, the inventor of the Cup Noodle. Like so many things in this world of wonders, all we had to do to make this record was add water.  Now, I understand that there is also a fancy eatery in New York City that has made the same connection with Ando-San. So, just in case anybody is inclined to mistake our record for something edible, we’ve added a disclaimer to the record jacket. I like saying, 'record jacket' again.  This record actually came about because of an invitation I received from Jenny Lewis to sing on her upcoming record. Davey Faragher had been playing bass on some of the sessions, so it didn’t seem like too much of a stretch to call Pete Thomas to complete the Imposters’ rhythm section...I’d been telling people that I was done with recording and believed it myself. This record date reminded me that it wasn’t making music in the studio that made me miserable but the nonsense that predictably follows in what we laughingly call the 'music business'. So I decided to change it and my mind. That’s what I do.  We booked Sound City Studio in Van Nuys for six days of February and cut the eight new songs that I had written in the weeks following Jenny’s January session...The Imposters and I recorded a number of songs as a quartet, including 'American Gangster Time', 'Mr. Feathers' and 'Pardon Me, Madam, My Name Is Eve' and 'Harry Worth'... Jenny, Rice, 'Farmer' Dave and their pal, the guitarist Jonathan Wilson came back in for a couple more days and to add their voices to the new songs. We had a ball making up the parts for the vocal 'supergroup' to which everyone contributed. The live band for “Turpentine” and “Song For Rose” got up to nonet. That was a fine old noise.  For those who like to know these things, we recorded exclusively to tape, completing and mixing each song before moving on to the next. The entire record took a week to record and mix...Jason Lader not only recorded and mixed the record; he also managed to document the sessions with his camera...Every record has its own method. This was the one for these songs."

'Momofuku' made it to number one hundred and twelve in the UK, ninety-eight in Japan, fifty-nine in the US, and thirty-four in Norway.  Costello says:   "I'm very glad to be doing the job I'm doing, which is playing music in front of people, and I can do that in a variety of ways. Just last year, I played MerleFest with bluegrass musicians, then I'm touring with the Police, then I'm playing in Europe with an orchestra, then I'm playing a solo show. It's the same reason Bob Dylan is on the road — because that's what he does. He comes from the tradition of people who just play. Making records — it used to be the thing that made the motor go round. Now I sort of just make a record and let it go."

"No Hiding Place" 

"American Gangster Time" 


"Harry Worth" "is not actually about the beloved English television funnyman but a true story nonetheless."

"Flutter and Wow" "I called Steve Nieve in from Paris and asked our friend, David Hildalgo to add little guitar. "

"Stella Hurt" 
"Tennessee Thomas played alongside her Dad for two more cuts, including “Stella Hurt” – which is a true story – but then she had to leave for the mixing of The Like’s great new album."

"My Three Sons"   "Hildalgo played viola and then added Hildalguera to “My Three Sons”."

full album:

All songs written by Elvis Costello unless otherwise indicated.

"No Hiding Place" – 3:59
"American Gangster Time" – 3:45
"Turpentine" – 5:40
"Harry Worth" – 4:28
"Drum and Bone" – 2:34
"Flutter and Wow" – 4:18
"Stella Hurt" – 4:46
"Mr. Feathers" – 2:45
"My Three Sons" – 3:05
"Song with Rose" (Costello, Rosanne Cash) – 3:02
"Pardon Me Madam, My Name Is Eve" (Costello, Loretta Lynn) – 3:53
"Go Away" – 4:55

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