ELVIS COSTELLO – ” The Flip City Demo’s “

Posted: January 30, 2020 in MUSIC
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File:1975 Flip City Demos Bootleg front.jpg

A widely circulating bootleg, this is a demo tape of Costello’s early band Flip City, running through a few covers and some Costello originals. The sound is muddy and bass heavy, taken from a several generation copy, but of much historical importance to the Costello fan. Here are early versions of “Living in Paradise” and “Pay It Back” with different lyrics, and a venom-less take on “Radio Radio” called “Radio Soul.” Costello’s links with his idols (Gram Parsons, Randy Newman, Bob Dylan) are more explicit here then on his mature efforts and the cover of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” is a hoot. These songs are also found on the boots Aim to Please and Our Aim Is True with similar sound quality and only one track (“Imagination Is a Powerful Deceiver”) has ever made it on an official release.

Many of his alternative tracks, demos and b-sides have appeared on compilations (Taking Liberties comes to mind) and as bonus tracks on deluxe reissues of his earlier albums. Before Elvis’s first album, 1977’s My Aim Is True, Elvis, then known as Declan P. MacManus was in a band called Flip City. The band played the pub rock circuit in England, much like bands like Ducks Deluxe and Brinsley Schwarz, and though they never officially released anything, they did record three sessions worth of original and cover songs. These songs are interesting not only because of their historical significance, but also it gives a preview of some songs that would later appear on Costello albums in different, rewritten versions. Pay It Back and a early version of Miracle Man (Baseball Heroes) re-emerges on My Aim Is True, while Living In Paradise and a revamped version of Radio Radio (Radio Soul) appears on This Year’s Model. These Flip City demos have been around in bootleg form for years

I only found this because I heard the original version of “Third Rate Romance” on the radio and could barely remember who did it (The Amazing Rhythm Aces). There was also a very good Drifters version of the song on YT.  This version of “Pay It Back” is way better than the official recording,Third Rate Romance is such a natural song for Elvis Costello to cover; he really gravitates to story songs, especially country ones (eg. Different Finger, Motel Matches, Good Year For the Roses). I’ve always thought I’d eventually find him covering The Eagles’ “Lying Eyes”, but it hasn’t turned up so far.

Tracks: 0:00 Exiles Road 3:25 Baseball Heroes 6:17 Radio Soul 10:00 Imagination (Is A Powerful Deceiver) 13:36 Pay It Back 16:10 Radio Soul 20:22 Third Rate Romance 23:45 Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door 27:55 Packin’ Up 30:26 Please Mister Don’t Stop The Band 35:10 Exiles Road 38:22 Wreck On The Slide 42:06 On The Road 45:08 You Win Again 47:15 Sweet Revival

Flip City:
Declan P. MacManus – guitar, lead vocals
Mich Kent – bass, vocals
Steve Hazelhurst – guitar, vocals, keyboards, sax
Malcolm Dennis – drums (early session only)
Ian Powling – drums (last sessions)
Dickie Faulkner – percussion, vocals (last sessions)

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