Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Original Almost Blue

In 1981, British rocker Elvis Costello went to Nashville to record a country covers album called Almost Blue. I wrote about it in an earlier post.

I recently picked up a copy of George Jones' 1965 album Trouble In Mind, which contains the original version of Brown To Blue that Elvis later covered on Almost Blue. This gave me the idea to put together all of the other "original" versions of the songs that inspired Costello. In some cases, the versions below are not truly the "original" versions (example Emmylou Harris, Johnny Burnette), but I think these are the versions that most influenced Elvis.

It turns out to be a pretty good collection of country tunes. Right now I'm really enjoying Sittin' And Thinkin' by Charlie Rich.

1. Hank Williams - Why Don't You Love Me (Like You Used To Do)? (buy album)
2. Patsy Cline - Sweet Dreams (buy album)
3. Loretta Lynn - Success (buy album)
4. The Flying Burrito Brothers - I'm Your Toy (Hot Burrito No. 1) (buy album)
5. Merle Haggard - Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down (buy album)
6. George Jones - Brown To Blue (out of print)
7. George Jones - Good Year For The Roses (buy album)
8. Charlie Rich - Sittin' And Thinkin' (buy album)
9. George Jones - Colour Of The Blues (buy album)
10. Emmylou Harris - Too Far Gone (buy album)
11. Johnny Burnette Rock'n'Roll Trio - Honey Hush (buy album)
12. Gram Parsons – How Much I Lied (buy album)


Anonymous said...

Great blog. Excellent post featuring the original "Almost Blue" versions. It illustrates how good a job Elvis did in covering this music. This was an under-appreciated gem at the time, sounds better even today. He continues to work the country music genre with recent collaborations with EmmyLou and there are rumors of a Coward Brothers reunion. Check out the version of "Wild Horses" he does with Lucinda Williams, I think it's his best vocal performance ever.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a great post. I loved Elvis' version of Why Don't You Love Me from the first time I heard it, and it took me a year to realize it was a Hank Williams song. (In my defense, I was 16 or 17.) That was the beginning of my love for Hank's music, and really for country music in general. So in a sense I owe it all to this album.


Anonymous said...

Great idea for a post, one I've never had before even though I own most of the songs posted. I recently heard an older, dustier sounding version of 'Good Year For The Roses' on a compilation that although poorer in sound quality was absolutely beautiful. I'd have loved to have heard him singing it live in his prime.What a timeless song.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, Elvis suggests in the liner notes for the Rhino Almost Blue that "Sweet Dreams" was based on Tommy McLain's version.

Caleb said...

This is amazing. I'm linking this in my next post.

You have a fantastic blog

Anonymous said...

A truly inspired post! I've always loved Elvis' album but have never really been able to track down all the songs in their originals. This is a real treasure. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Yet another great post!

Dave D. said...

Well done!

Anonymous said...

Good to see someone highlighting how fantastic Charlie Rich is. Maybe I'm out of the critical loop, but, dear lord, when will the man get the acclaim he deserves? As everyone else says: great post!