Elvis Costello And The Sugarcanes
Count Basie Theater
Red Bank, NJ
June 9, 2009
Elvis Costello - guitars, vocals
Jim Lauderdale - guitar, vocals
Jerry Douglas - dobro, vocals
Mike Compton - mandolin, vocals
Stuart Duncan - violin
Dennis Crouch - double bass
Jeff Taylor - accordion
Source: master audience recording
Equipment: Sony cassette recorder
Sound: good (mp3 samples attached in the comments)
Lineage: CDR > EAC > WAV > TLH > FLAC 6 (align SB) > Foobar2000 (flac tags)
First performance of The Sugarcanes
Track 01 "My Resistance Is Low" starts late
Track 14 "There's A Story In Your Voice" has a false start - EC has the wrong guitar
Track 19 "Little Palaces" has a tape flip at 2:29
Track 27 "The Race Is On" is a first time performance
Elvis Costello brings country sounds to Count Basie Theatre
Published: Wednesday, June 10, 2009, 3:44 PM
By Matthew Oshinsky
Elvis Costello performed with his new group, the Sugarcanes, at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank on Tuesday.
Performing at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank Tuesday night, Elvis Costello mentioned that he had an
opportunity to perform with the late Count Basie himself, in 1983. It didn't go well. It went so bad, in fact,
that he has paid a lot of money over the years to keep the tape in the vault, he joked.
Since that incident, though, Costello has changed musical styles countless times, and worked with everyone
from Burt Bacharach to the chamber group the Brodsky Quartet. And he rarely has embarrassed himself again. His
latest project is one of his boldest: he hired master country-bluegrass musicians to back him on his new album,
"Secret, Profane and Sugarcane," and kicked off his tour with them at the Basie.
The six-piece backing band -- Jerry Douglas on dobro, Stuart Duncan on fiddle, Dennis Crouch on upright bass,
Mike Compton on mandolin, Jeff Taylor on accordion and Jim Lauderdale on acoustic guitar -- was billed as the
Sugarcanes. Costello played, mostly, acoustic guitar, and the musicians stood around him (three on one side,
three on the other) throughout the show.
There were some opening-night problems, including a muddy, bass-heavy sound mix and a do-over of one song's
start after Costello realized he was playing the wrong guitar. Also, the emphasis on the "Secret, Profane and
Sugarcane" material -- he played 11 of the 13 songs -- made some crowd members restless, so he might want to
think about cutting a few as the tour goes on.
But overall, the experiment worked. The musicians backed him with casual virtuosity; Douglas took the most
solos, and Lauderdale added vital harmony vocals. The new band doesn't back Costello into a corner, but give
him new avenues to explore. The arrangements often had a touch of old-timey swing, or cabaret torchiness, or
even a little rock 'n' roll muscle.
Costello resurrected some long-dormant songs from his catalog, revamped some more familiar ones, and sprinkled
in a few covers, too. Few musicians would dare to reinvent themselves so thoroughly at the age of 54; at the
very least, this was an opportunity to see a Costello show like no other.
The biggest surprises were slowed-down, plaintive reimaginings of one of Costello's most famous pop songs,
"Everyday I Write the Book," and one of his signature rockers, "(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes." He also
played his own honky-tonk weeper "Stranger In the House," which he once recorded with George Jones; and a version
of Jones' "The Race Is On" that was so fast and spirited it verged on rockabilly. Other covers included Merle
Haggard's "Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down" and Costello's folky take on the Velvet Underground's "Femme Fatale"
(included as a bonus track on some versions of "Secret, Profane and Sugarcane").
Costello's own "Blame It On Cain" had a new, loping beat, and his "The Delivery Man" was delivered with priceless
melodrama. Not surprisingly, Costello also emphasized material from his 1986 roots-rock album, "King of America,"
performing "Brilliant Mistake," "Little Palaces," "Our Little Angel," the tortured "Indoor Fireworks" and an
impressively stately "American Without Tears."
Highlights from the "Secret, Profane and Sugarcane" material included the sweet love song "The Crooked Line,"
performed as breezy country-rock; and the comic "Sulphur To Sugarcane," where Costello built risque rhymes around
city names like Poughkeepsie and Ypsilanti."If I could find a piano/Here in Bloomington, Indiana/I would play it
with my toes/Until the girls all take their clothes off," he sang, adding one more style to the long list of those
he has touched on, throughout his career: vaudeville.
01 My Resistance Is Low (partial)
02 My All Time Doll
03 Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down
04 Stranger In The House
05 Our Little Angel
06 Femme Fatale
07 I Felt The Chill Before The Winter Came
08 Hidden Shame
09 The Delivery Man
10 The Butcher's Boy
11 Blame It On Cain
12 Indoor Fireworks
13 I Dreamed Of My Old Lover
14 There's A Story In Your Voice
15 She Handed Me A Mirror
16 Five Small Words
17 Everyday I Write The Book
18 She Was No Good
19 Little Palaces
20 Complicated Shadows
21 Down Among The Wines And Spirits
22 Brilliant Mistake
23 Red Cotton
24 The Crooked Line
25 American Without Tears
26 Sulphur To Sugarcane
27 The Race Is On
28 (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes