Wednesday, February 4, 2015

get happy !!

Elvis Costello and the Attractions surmounted scandal with this soulful survey of opportunity, temptation, and possession.   It was during the tour for 'Armed Forces' that the seeds for 'Get Happy!!' would be sown.  Costello calls the record:   "Our version of a Motown album.  I had the feeling people were reading my mind — but what could I do, hold up a sign that read, I REALLY LIKE BLACK PEOPLE? Like Tom Robinson or Joan Baez? Turn myself into Steve Marriot: My skin is white but my soul is black?" ... [It was] the illusion of moral superiority that laid me so low in a dark Holiday Inn April of 1979 at Columbus, Ohio, where a ridiculous drunken argument would culminate in me speaking the exact opposite of my true beliefs in an attempt to provoke a fight that inevitably arrived. That I was speaking in some absurd, exaggerated, supposedly ironic humour, in which everything is expressed in the reverse of that which one knows to be true, is no excuse. There was nothing sparkling or glorious in this wordplay, just the seed of madness. It was the product of crazed indulgence. The racial nature of these alleged remarks "I say "alleged" because I have about as much true memory of what actually transpired as any of the other drunken combatants -- created a fairly major scandal...With hindsight, it might be tempting to claim that I had some noble motive in basing this record on the music I had admired and learned from prior to my brush with infamy. But if I was trying to pay respects and make such amends, I doubt if pride would have allowed me to express that thought after I had made my rather contrived explanation to the jury of the seething and self-righteous. I simply went back to work and relied on instinct, curiosity, and enduring musical passions.  I hated just about everything in my world, reserving the greatest disdain for myself...The record was predominantly recorded at Wisseloord Studio in Hilversum, Holland...In the case of "New Amsterdam", a song about a bewildered new arrival in the New World, it proved impossible to improve on the demo rendition captured at Archipelago Studios a ₤15 per hour recording facility in Pimlico, London, and on which I played all the instruments..."High Fidelity" and..."Riot Act"...were recorded back in London at Eden Studios." 

'Get Happy!!'  was produced by Nick Lowe with the Attractions Steve Nieve on piano and organ;  Bruce Thomas on bass, plus harmonica on "I Stand Accused";  and  Pete Thomas on drums.   Elvis Costello did the vocals, guitar, organ on "Possession", and all instruments on "New Amsterdam".  

'Get Happy!!'  reached number thirty-four in the Netherlands, twenty-five in Australia, twenty-four in Canada, eleven in Norway and the US, nine in New Zealand, six in Sweden, and number two in the UK. 

"I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down" tumbled to fourteen in Ireland and four in the UK.


"High Fidelity" 

"New Amsterdam"


"Riot Act"

'Get Happy!!'
full album:

(All songs written by Elvis Costello unless otherwise indicated.)

Side one
"Love for Tender" -- 
"Opportunity" -- 1:56
"The Imposter" -- 5:08
"Secondary Modern" -- 7:08
"King Horse" -- 9:07
"Possession" -- 12:08
"Men Called Uncle" -- 14:12
"Clowntime Is Over" -- 16:30
"New Amsterdam" -- 19:30
"High Fidelity" -- 21:42

Side two
"I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down" (Homer Banks, Allen Jones) -- 24:11
"Black & White World" -- 26:18
"5ive Gears in Reverse" -- 28:14
"B Movie" -- 30:52
"Motel Matches" -- 32:56
"Human Touch" -- 35:28
"Beaten to the Punch" -- 37:58
"Temptation" -- 39:48
"I Stand Accused" (Tony Colton, Ray Smith) -- 42:21
"Riot Act" -- 44:42

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