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National Ransom

Elvis CostelloAudio CD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)

Price: $12.10 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
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MP3 Music, 16 Songs, 1 Digital Booklet, 2010 $9.49  
Audio CD, 2010 $12.10  
Vinyl, 2010 --  

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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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National Ransom + Secret, Profane and Sugarcane + Momofuku
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 2, 2010)
  • Original Release Date: 2010
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: HEAR MUSIC
  • ASIN: B003ZDZ1XK
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,025 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. National Ransom
2. Jimmie Standing In The Rain
3. Stations Of The Cross
4. A Slow Drag With Josephine
5. Five Small Words
6. Church Underground
7. You Hung The Moon
8. Bullets For The New-Born King
9. I Lost You
10. Dr. Watson, I Presume
11. One Bell Ringing
12. The Spell That You Cast
13. That's Not The Part Of Him You're Leaving
14. My Lovely Jezebel
15. All These Strangers
16. A Voice In The Dark

Editorial Reviews

2010 album from the veteran British singer/songwriter. National Ransom was recorded in a total of eleven days at Sound Emporium, Nashville and Village Recorders, Los Angeles and was produced by T Bone Burnett and engineered and mixed by Michael Piersante at Electromagetic, Los Angeles. All of these songs are newly composed by Costello with the exception of "I Lost You," co-written with Jim Lauderdale and "All These Strangers," for which Costello and T Bone Burnett collaborated on the lyrics. Costello and Burnett also provide the lyrics for "My Lovely Jezebel," a Leon Russell Rock 'n' Roll tune . All members of the Imposters and Sugarcanes appear on the album along with guests Vince Gill, Marc Ribot, Buddy Miller and Leon Russell.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elvis hits the mark on this one November 2, 2010
By Kil Roi
Format:Audio CD
"National Ransom," the latest release from Elvis Costello, is musically tasteful and lyrically sophisticated. In short, Elvis really assembled this one well.

A Whitman's Sampler of styles, "National Ransom" takes the listener on a sonic trip: edgy rock, New Orleans jazz, acoustic jazz, country, ballads, blues ... even a detour back to the "Attractions" days. Yes, for all you longtime Elvis fans, "Alison" could be slipped onto this disc and would blend in.

But it doesn't stop there. From the country churns ("That's Not the Part of Him You're Leaving" and "I Lost You") to the Victrola waltzes ala Leon Redbone ("You Hung the Moon") Elvis' voice hasn't sounded better.

Like acoustic guitar? "A Slow Drag With Josephine" is spot on, complete with mandolins and whistling -- echoes of Ry Cooder.

"Jimmie Standing in the Rain" -- a melancholy night in the French Quarter.

"Bullets For the New-Born King" -- Which is more poetic? The lyrics or the silky acoustic guitar. You decide.

"National Ransom" is a monster step up from Elvis' previous album, "Secret, Profane & Sugarcane," which housed a lot of mediocre and forgettable tunes.

Meandering cleverly through the various genres, "National Ransom" is Elvis at what is perhaps his creative peak.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Elvis Costello has a lot of different sides, a lot of different interests. When a new release comes out, you gotta wonder what you are going to get--will it be straight ahead rockers with a dash of humor? Will it be sophistipop with elaborate arrangements ala Burt Bacharach? Will he collaborate with a string quartet on one of the most ambitious albums by a rock musician ever? Will he re-interpret classic pop tunes with an opera Diva? Will he give us smoky jazz? I love all the possibilities, and bought this sound unheard. I have to say, wow, it is all and none of those things, and it is great!

Elvis digs deep into all of his past work--his lyrics are sophisticated, humorous, touching. He shines on his melodies--catchy yet not obvious. INstrumentation is tight, and it feels like he has lived these songs for a while. Instrumentation is straightforward, but feels very full and well orchestrated.

As I listened to the album, I could feel some influence from the southern US--pickers, some jazzy chord changes, even a little dixie jazz feel in places.

Listen, if you like Elvis Costello, if you are one of the faithful who has stuck by him in all his many incarnations, then this is a no-brainer. Buy it now. If you are a relapsed fan, this is a great place to jump back in--the album is approachable, beautiful, fun, and artistically impressive. If you've never listened to Elvis Costello before, you've got a great set of treats to pick up. You're going to want to pick up some of his older albums as well, but this is a fantastic into to the quirky, fascinating, multigenre spanning talent of Elvis.

Get it. I can't wait to buy another copy to give away!
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars National treasure November 2, 2010
Format:Audio CD
Elvis Costello's new CD "National Ransom" is produced by T-Bone Burnet and sees him traipsing through Blues, Rock, Jazz and even Country. Backed by his regular touring band The Imposters, as well as a few guests like Vince Gill and Leon Russell. The rocking Blues title track opens the album, followed by the Ragtime "Jimmie Standing In The Rain" which tells the story of a failed music-hall singer getting drenched in the rain at a Lancashire train station.

Each of the album's 16 tracks is special so I'll just pick on a few to highlight. The woozy enthralling "Stations Of The Cross", "A Slow Drag With Josephine" is acoustic Folk, "Five Small Words" is bouncy Country with quivering guitars, "Church Underground" is Bluesy Pop (with snarling vocals and guitars), the slow shuffling Jazzy "You Hung The Moon", the Folk/Blues "Dr. Watson, I Presume", the acoustic "One Bell Ringing", and the vaudeville "A Voice In The Dark".

"National Ransom" is like a well stocked jukebox which ticks all the right boxes.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece November 2, 2010
Format:Audio CD
"National Ransom" is going to go down as one of the very best recordings E.C. has ever made. The range of the material is astonishing, as the other reviewers so far have noted, but the little miracle is that the disc doesn't feel like a grab bag. Each song is extremely powerful in a different way. There are flat-out rockers -- if you like to hear Elvis rock, you'll have plenty to listen to, like the title track, or "My Lovely Jezebel." There are some that seem to have stepped out of some antique English music hall, like "Slow Drag With Josephine," or "Jimmie Standing In The Rain." And there are others that just defy description, extraordinary vocal performances of complex, subtle and deep lyrics, and music that is sophisticated and accessible at the same time, the most affecting of which might be the flood-themed "Stations of The Cross."

Often musical genres are mashed together -- he has combined his country band (the Sugarcanes) with members of the Imposters and old friends like the eclectic jazzer Marc Ribot -- and you end up with songs like "One Bell Ringing" and "The Spell That You Cast" that make their own rules and succeed brilliantly. Oh yeah -- and then he can turn around and break your heart with a ballad like "You Hung The Moon" or "All These Strangers".... I don't think his voice has ever sounded better or more nuanced.

Somehow this incredible variety and depth hangs together and becomes a complete artistic statement. Partly this is because little common thematic strands run through most of the songs, which you only notice at first out of the corner of your eye, glinting here and there. But the more you look for them, the more you find.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars a gift for my daughter
My daughter loves elvis costello and she plays this quite often I even like a couple of the songs on it
Published 9 months ago by bookwormser
4.0 out of 5 stars Elvis tackles another genre and does it well
So he starts out as a rocker. Does a litlle bit of classical with his edge. Takes ballads and makes them cool. Now it is bluegrass/folk. amazing song craft at work here. Read more
Published 16 months ago by J. Charvat
1.0 out of 5 stars cant believe I spent money on this
Costello makes a living selling records to unlucky people who haven't heard how bad he is. Would not recommend .
Published 16 months ago by alex
5.0 out of 5 stars Great as always
Long time Elvis Costello fan and like a lot of folks I wish he was strumming the tunes like he did in the 70s yes he's slowed down but this is a great album. Read more
Published 22 months ago by W. Wood
4.0 out of 5 stars worthwhile album
Well, this is yet another pretty darn good Costello album. It won't rank among my very favorite EC studio albums, but there are some wonderful songs to be found on here, all spiced... Read more
Published on April 20, 2012 by Donald E. Gilliland
5.0 out of 5 stars National Ransome
This is one of the best offerings in a very long time from Elvis. It starts strong with the title song and continues to drop pleasant surprises of hooks and poetry as we walk... Read more
Published on January 25, 2012 by D. Carlisle
1.0 out of 5 stars ZZZZZZZZZZ Elvis has Left the Building again...
there was a time when I would wait with bated breath for a new EC album to come out now I dread it. seems the last fully realized EC album was brutal Youth. Read more
Published on January 24, 2012 by Joseph Caravella
1.0 out of 5 stars National Disgrace
Yet another collection of drivel purchased only by die-hard fans still stuck in the '80's. Elvis has become little more than a smart aleck with a guitar, and those are a dime a... Read more
Published on June 16, 2011 by JTR
4.0 out of 5 stars He is a genius!
National Ransom is an exceptional record. The variety of songs and styles...the stories and the sadness...the comedy and elation. Read more
Published on May 24, 2011 by D. R. Davis
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't love everything he does, but I love this!
Since this is now the the third time I'm buying this CD (I gave the other two copies away to friends and said "listen to this! this is a great CD! Read more
Published on May 18, 2011 by Bradley D Turock
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