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Kojak Variety (With Bonus Disc) [Original recording remastered]

Elvis CostelloAudio CD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Amazon Price New from Used from
MP3 Music, 15 Songs, 2008 $9.49  
Audio CD, Original recording remastered, 2004 --  
Audio Cassette, 1995 --  

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Image of Elvis Costello


The Return Of The Spectacular Spinning Songbook


Declan MacManus is known as one of the most idiosyncratic new wave performers, under his alias Elvis Costello. The UK-born singer-songwriter had a string of Top 30 chart hits in the UK in the late 70s and early 80s, though his work throughout his career has always gathered critical respect.

Although he was initially marketed as a punk, his music originally seemed to sound more like ... Read more in Amazon's Elvis Costello Store

Visit Amazon's Elvis Costello Store
for 185 albums, 6 photos, videos, discussions, and more.

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Kojak Variety (With Bonus Disc) + Mighty Like a Rose + All This Useless Beauty
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 3, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: Rhino
  • ASIN: B0002IQFEU
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #152,008 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Strange
2. Hidden Charms
3. Remove This Doubt
4. I Threw It All Away
5. Leave My Kitten Alone
6. Everybody's Crying Mercy
7. I've Been Wrong Before
8. Bama Lama Bama Loo
9. Must You Throw Dirt In My Face
10. Pouring Water On A Drowning Man
See all 15 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Ship Of Fools
2. My Resistance Is Low
3. Innocent When You Dream
4. I'm Coming Home
5. The Dark End Of The Street
6. Congratulations
7. You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go
8. Pouring Water On A Drowning Man (Alternate Version)
9. Still Feeling Blue
10. Brilliant Disguise
See all 20 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

KOJAK VARIETY, Elvis' 1995 multi-genre cavalcade of covers, features such gems as Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "Strange," Dylan's "I Threw It All Away," & Bacharach/David's "Please Stay." The album features the talents of the legendary James Burton on guitar & Jim Keltner on drums-in addition to The Attractions' Pete Thomas. The bonus disc boasts 20 additional rock, pop, & R&B classics totaling over 64 minutes, includes Jerry Garcia's "Ship Of Fools," Springsteen's "Brilliant Disguise," Lennon & McCartney's "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away," & Van Morrison's "Full Force Gale."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice romp through Elvis music collection August 29, 2004
Format:Audio CD
When "Kojak Variety" was first released it was ignored by most EC fans and mentioned by critics as an example of a lack of inspiration on EC's part. Nothing could be further from the truth. While "Spike" and "Mighty As A Rose" demonstrated EC's diversity over the course of a single album, "Kojak" demonstrates where that inspiration originally came from. What's best about this reissue is the second disc included here. With thirty (!) remakes of classic contemporary and older rock 'n' roll gems, the second disc makes this the gem of the recent EC trio of reissues.

Covering Springsteen's "Brilliant Disguise" and a number of other songs to convince George Jones to tackle better material makes for great listening. It tells you 1) Who EC listens to and 2)How great he can be covering other people's definitive versions of their own songs. The gem here aside from "Brilliant Disguise" (which I had as a CD single)is the remake of Paul McCartney's little known gem "Step Inside Love". The song was written for Petula Clark but it sports one of McCartney's lush and innovative melodies. We're also treated to an alternate version of "Pouring Water on a Drowning Man", Arthur Alexander's "Sally Sue Brown", Van Morrison's "Full Force Gale", The Grateful Dead's marvelous "Ship of Fools" and a gem I had never heard before called "My Resistance is Low".

The liner notes are extensive and cover the sessions for the album as well as why EC decided to cover the material he did. Oh, and we finally find out where the enigmatic title comes from as well (there's even photographic evidence to back it up). A delightful covers album. While I've always liked "Almost Blue" (and the reissue has some delightful additional material as well), I've always been more of a rocker at heart. Here we get a glimpse into EC's heart full of rock 'n' roll and soul.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The BEST bonus disc of the EC re-issues, ever! August 24, 2004
Format:Audio CD
I have always had a soft spot for this particular chapter in Elvis Costello's library. Recorded roughly the same time as "Spike," it sat in a vault for a few years before Elvis could talk the WB into putting it out. The original "Kojak Variety" is basically a lighthearted romp through 15 of Elvis' favorites. In the (now expanded) liner notes, he also mentions that it was recorded in about two weeks time. The loose feel of the songs does hint at that, and it provided some of the more uptempo numbers with a free wheeling charm.

But who would have thought that, in this reissue series comprised of Elvis Costello's "neglected" albums, (including "Almost Blue" and "Goodbye Cruel World"), it would be "Kojak Variety" that spawned the best bonus disc of Rhino's ongoing re-releases for ANY of his career? For a change, you get a disc that could've held its own as a solo album, and had it been released as "Kojak Variety Vol 2" would have raised more than a few eyebrows.

As Elvis explains in the liner notes, 10 of these 20 (whew!) extra songs were recorded as a pseudo demo for George Jones as EC's attempt to cut convince Jones to cut a more contemporary country album. These ten covers crush the easy-bake Nashville mentality that tied an anchor to "Almost Blue" down to shrapnel. Had THESE songs been Elvis' valentine to country music, maybe folks might have understood how songs like "Stranger In The House" or "Radio Sweetheart" sounded more honest than anything on "Almost Blue." In particular, assembling "Brilliant Disguise," "Congratulations" and "Innocent When You Dream" in such a consistent manner makes what was basically a likable curio in the Costello library even more fun to own, and raises my rating from its earlier 3 star to the new 4 star commendation.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A treat September 22, 2004
Format:Audio CD
One of the best things about the prolific, complex Elvis Costello is that he is steeped in popular music. Some of his best records, from the Stax/Motown inspired Get Happy! to the Burt Bacharach collaboration Painted From Memory, wear their influences on their sleeves, but it's okay, because he's so creative and he loves the music so much. Sometimes, I think his encyclopedic knowledge causes his reach to exceed his grasp; he can be as great as his heroes, but not as great as ALL his heroes.

But no matter for this CD. "Kojak Variety," both the original album and the surprising, generous bonus CD, are relaxed cover versions of music by writers who've inspired him all his life, or whose talents he admires today. Paul McCartney. George Gershwin. Mose Allison. Gram Parsons. Holland-Dozier-Holland. Ray Davies. Jerry Garcia. Jesse Winchester. Bruce Springsteen. Bob Dylan. Van Morrison. Ray Noble. Paul Simon. And more. The first disc is just a remaster of the album that came out to little notice in 1995. It is unjustly neglected excellence, made especially so by the fantastic backing musicians whose collobarative arrangements are deeply enjoyable. It's an interesting combo--the avant guitarist Marc Ribot, but also the old-timer James Burton. Former attractions drummer Pete Thomas, but also session aces Larry Knechtel and Jim Keltner. It works great.

The second disk is not like most reissue/extra track packages, in that it is not outtakes, but other "cover" versions Costello produced under a variety of circumstances.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 disc Rhino remaster review
Rhino 2 Disc Remaster is great! I'm a long time fan of Elvis Costello, but avoided this album for years. I love it, and like hearing his cover versions. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it!
I purchased this on cassette many years ago and was pleased to find it on cd. I still love it.
Published 7 months ago by Joann K. Jenkins
4.0 out of 5 stars world of covers
I'm still not ecstatic about the original "Kojak Variety" album, but the extra disc of covers on this deluxe version make it a most worthy purchase. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Donald E. Gilliland
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bonus Disc rules, folks!
If you have already heard the original "Kojak Variety" you may wonder if it is worth it to shell out for the bonus second disc. The answer is an emphatic yes!! Read more
Published 20 months ago by William Adam Reed
4.0 out of 5 stars Time changes (almost) everthing
I was reading reviews of this, Costello's mid-90s 'covers' album, and I came across a review I did on it in 1999. I gave it 3 stars and called it "an indulgent detour. Read more
Published on June 9, 2012 by Gordon Pfannenstiel
4.0 out of 5 stars Box'a'Pops
I have always had a soft spot for this particular chapter in Elvis Costello's library. Recorded roughly the same time as "Spike," it sat in a vault for a few years before Elvis... Read more
Published on February 3, 2009 by Tim Brough
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Costello
The song days blows my mind every time I hear it. If you love Elvis Costello this is a great set. It has a very classi sound. It oozes nostalgia.
Published on November 15, 2007 by Minal
1.0 out of 5 stars Telly Savalas would not be pleased (1.5 stars)
A mediocre mess at best. I've heard the bonus CD on the Rhino reissue is good, but I'm not willing to subject myself to the original 'Kojak' again.
Published on August 9, 2007 by Count Istvan Telecky
5.0 out of 5 stars One of My Favorite Bonus Discs!
The bonus disc on this album is really wonderful, quite possibly my favorite bonus disc of all of the Rhino reissues for Elvis Costello. Read more
Published on August 28, 2005 by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Not much more than interesting...
This collection of covers is slightly superior to his OTHER collection of covers, Almost Blue. There are a couple of interesting choices here, and it's good for a few listens, but... Read more
Published on August 23, 2004 by M. O'Grady
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