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Elvis Costello & the Attractions: Almost Blue (Columbia FC 37562)

Sam Sutherland, High Fidelity, January 1982

PITY THE POOR marketing people at CBS faced with explaining Elvis Costello's maverick path through modern rock. Between the eclectic classicism of his Taking Liberties anthology and the R&B-flavored Get Happy, both released in 1980, rock's Next Big Thing has managed to gaze backwards as well as ahead. Now comes this startling collaboration with Nashville hitmaker Billy Sherrill, nothing less than a gourmet anthology of country chestnuts performed in generally authentic (and by 1981 standards that translates to downright austere) settings.

Total word count of piece: 412

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