Sunday, December 30, 2012

Elvis Costello: The Other Side of Summer

I find that I featured Elvis Costello here back in 2009, so it is high time to hear from him again.

The Other Side of Summer comes from Costello's 1990 album Mighty Like a Rose. It has always sounded to me like a Beach Boys track but one that evokes a very different landscape from Californian beaches of the early 1960s.

Read the sleeve notes for the album and you will see I more or less had it right:
This album opens with “The Other Side Of Summer”. The arrangement is a pastiche of The Beach Boys after the fashion of The Beatles’ “Back IN The U.S.S.R.” In our case, the music and vocal parts take their cue from some of their early ‘70s album tracks like “The Trader” and “Funky Pretty”. 
The words are a catalogue of pop conceits, deceits, hypocrisies, and delusions. I include myself in this parade of liars and dupes. The track was cut in the vast Studio One at Ocean Way, Hollywood, where most of this record was recorded. It features our own version of the “Wall of Sound”: drums, two basses, two guitars, and four keyboard players (including my own efforts on electric and toy pianos). When this proved insufficiently powerful, we simply double-tracked the entire rhythm section before adding the glockenspiel, castanets, sleigh bells, and the vocal parts. 
It is not easy to isolate one instrumentalist in such a large ensemble, but I must salute Larry Knetchel’s towering piano part. Larry’s piano, organ, and bass credits include “Mr. Tambourine Man”, “Good Vibrations”, and “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, although you could barely get a word out of him about having played on these legendary cuts. His modest demeanour and utterly musical sense lent a lot to these sessions.


Andrew Hickey said...

How odd. I've known and loved the song for years, of course, and it's very obviously a Beach Boys influenced track, but I'd never in a million years have guessed he was going for a Funky Pretty/Trader sound. He completely missed...

wolfi said...

Hi Jonathan!

Just a small correction: Larry's name was Knechtel - sounds Jewish to me, maybe connected to the German "Knecht".

Another great guy whose name nobody knows - he started with Duane Eddie (oh, those were the days ...) and was part of Phil Spector's "The Wrecking Crew" helping with the wall of sound:

BTW: Happy New Year to everybody here!