Taking Liberties

Taking Liberties

This 1980 set of B-sides and previously unreleased songs is packed with melodic lift and lyrical power, revealing how Elvis Costello could produce quantity with quality. The tunes work together as a whole—a beautifully crooned Rodgers/Hart standard (“My Funny Valentine”) sidles up pretty smoothly next to power-poppers (“Girls Talk,” “Dr. Luther’s Assistant”), spiky rockers (“Wednesday Week,” “Clean Money”), and rollicking country throwbacks (“Radio Sweetheart” and “A Stranger in the House,” a silky duet with George Jones).

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