Beefs, Box Sets — November 25, 2011 at 7:35 am

Elvis Costello: ‘Steal’ my new $260 box set — or buy Louis Armstrong collection instead

Elvis Costello’s new live box set The Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook!!! is currently listed at $262.39 on, and if you think that’s a ridiculous price for a release that features just one CD, one DVD and one 10-inch vinyl record’s worth of music, you’re not alone — Costello himself does, too.

Costello’s official website condemns the upcoming release as an “elaborate hoax” — “the price appears to be either a misprint or a satire” — in a missive entitled “Steal This Record” posted last week under the pen of “The Right Reverend Jimmy Quickly,” one of the singer’s aliases. (See full details of the ‘Spinning Songbook’ box set and tracklist here.)

Due out Dec. 6 via Universal Music Enterprises and limited to 1,500 copies, the live box set commemorates this year’s revival of Costello’s “Spectacular Spinning Songbook” — which debuted during a 1986 trek that saw him choosing setlists onstage via a giant spinning wheel — and is culled from May 11 and 12, 2011, concerts at The Wiltern in Los Angeles.

The message on Costello’s site says “we… find ourselves unable to recommend this lovely item to you,” and notes that for fans who really want to hear the Spinning Songbook collection, the concerts will be issued early next year on standalone CD and DVD releases, “assuming that you have not already obtained them by more unconventional means.”

Furthermore, Costello’s site recommends that instead of buying the full-priced Spinning Songbook box set — which also comes with a 40-page book, a poster and various other souvenirs — fans purchase Louis Armstrong’s 10-disc Ambassador of Jazz collection: “The box should be available for under one hundred and fifty American dollars and includes a number of other tricks and treats. Frankly, the music is vastly superior.”

Costello’s site also today announced the death of the singer’s father, Ross MacManus, at age 84: “He was surrounded by love at the end. The family are deeply grateful for the care and kindness he received from the doctors and nursing staff and for the kindness and support of their friends.”

Read the full Spinning Songbook message posted to


Steal This Record

A Pastoral Address From The Right Reverend Jimmy Quickly

There was a time when the release of a new title by your favourite record artist was a cause for excitement and rejoicing but sadly no more.

6th December 2011 sees the issue of “The Return Of The Spectacular Spinning Songbook” by Elvis Costello and the Imposters.

This beautifully designed compendium contains all manner of whimsical scribblings, photographs and cartoons, together with some rock and roll music and vaudevillian ballads.

Tape and celluloid were rolling at the Wiltern Theater, Los Angeles in April this year and present a vivid snapshot of the early days of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook show on “The Revolver Tour” of 2011.

The live recording finds the Imposters in rare form, while the accompanying motion picture blueprints the wilder possibilities of the show, as it made its acclaimed progress across the United States throughout the year.

Unfortunately, we at find ourselves unable to recommend this lovely item to you as the price appears to be either a misprint or a satire.

All our attempts to have this number revised have been fruitless but rather than detain you with tedious arguments about morality, panache and book-keeping – when there are really bigger fish to filet these days – we are taking the following unusual step.

If you should really want to buy something special for your loved one at this time of seasonal giving, we can whole-heartedly recommend, “Ambassador Of Jazz” – a cute little imitation suitcase, covered in travel stickers and embossed with the name “Satchmo” but more importantly containing TEN re-mastered albums by one of the most beautiful and loving revolutionaries who ever lived – Louis Armstrong.

The box should be available for under one hundred and fifty American dollars and includes a number of other tricks and treats. Frankly, the music is vastly superior.

If on the other hand you should still want to hear and view the component parts of the above mentioned elaborate hoax, then those items will be available separately at a more affordable price in the New Year, assuming that you have not already obtained them by more unconventional means.






  1. THIS is why I’ve been a Rev. Jimmy Quickly fan for more than 30 years. And condolences to that Costello fellow.

  2. He’s right about Armstrong’s music.

  3. Wow. Costello is a cynical hypocrital whore.

    He acts like he’s a helpless pawn of corporate greed, yet he’s on his third round of deluxe expanded colossal super-wonderful reissues of his classic (read: superior) works which he shamelessly takes large advances for and then adds more unreleased material to in a baldfaced attempt to pick the pockets of his put-upon longtime fans, many of whom are buying these releases for the fifth or sixth time (if one takes into account vinyl and earlier plain vanilla CD releases).

    He shamelessly exhumes old bands / members / tour concepts to promote same, but at the same time flies into a rage whenever a journalist wants to discuss bygone classics instead of his recent mediocre “achievements,” the most successful of which is a pretty substandard talk show (!!).

    Too bad about all the ex-wives, without whom EC might have mercifully faded into his lukewarm tedium sunset years of instead of digging up his own bones every few years to remind us of a time when he knew his way around a tune and actually meant something.

    He is the last page of “Wanted” except boring.

  4. apparently elvis doesn’t comprehend the concept of a ‘collectible’ item, the very nature of which is desirable for it’s scarcity. When something is pressed in only 1,500 copies yet there are tens of thousands of people who might like to own it, it becomes a symbol of personal pride to obtain it. That is the very essence of being a collector of something – coins, posters, movie props, music items and the like.

    In a way, he’s calling fans who choose to collect the limited editions items that relate to him, stupid….

  5. Ever the slut, he picked a Universal release to buy instead.

    What a rebel, yawn.

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