Wednesday, October 7, 2009

God Only Knows

I was reminded in an early morning email of this wonderful bit of music. When "The Juliet Letters" was released, the collective groan of Elvis Costello fans was heard around the world. Did we really need "a song sequence for string quartet and voice," recorded with the Brodsky Quartet and inspired by a Verona professor who responded to letters addressed to Juliet, of Romeo and Juliet? What we all really wanted was "Imperial Bedroom Part Two."

It turned out to be pretty..pretty..pretty good. Some of it sounds forced, with Elvis never really sounding comfortable singing these occasionally clumsy and dramatic classical pop pieces. But there are some truly moving moments, including this song here.

"Jacksons, Monk, & Rowe" would not have sounded out of place on "Revolver," "Odessey & Oracle," or ""Shazam." (These are records by The Beatles, The Zombies, and The Move, by the way.)

And as a bonus, here is a zip file of Elvis & The Brodskys doing "God Only Knows," live from NYC's "Town Hall." Quite daring and quite beautiful, if you ask me.

Thanks to DH on the left coast for pointing out one more "good" Brian Wilson/Beach Boys cover.



cmealha said...

This is one of Elvis' side trips that really worked for me from beginning to end. Those concerts at Town Hall rank in my Top 10 of all time. His singing ran the gamut from comedy to tragedy. Some beautiful melodies. While there were some forced moments I thought it was his strongest effort into another genre with the exception of his collaboration with Burt Bacharach.

Anonymous said...

I remember the day i bought this cd, i was so depressed and Elvis's music brought me out of my depression with his beautiful melodies.
Thanks for this post.
It's makes me want to go see him next time he's playing in Philly.

Rick Crumb

cmealha said...

And since we're still kind of talking about Beach Boys covers how about "Don't Worry Baby" by Susan Cowsill which you turned me on to. Terrific!

Mister Pleasant said...

I have always been fond of The Juliet Letters, and in fact I just recently watched the video from start to finish - on LaserDisc! (Glad my player still works).

If I am not mistaken Jacksons, Monk, & Rowe was written by the Brodsky's first violinist, not by EC. It is definitely the poppiest number on the disc.