Song of the Day #1,484: ‘Town Cryer [Fast Version]’ – Elvis Costello

Elvis Costello’s many reissues have gotten a lot of play on these Random Weekends, with both good and mediocre results.

Today’s song, a sped-up — practically disco — version of ‘Town Cryer,’ the stately closing track of Imperial Bedroom, is definitely worth a listen. The contrast between this song and its official counterpart is hilariously extreme. This is so bad it’s good… or maybe it’s just good.

Here’s how Costello described the track in his Imperial Bedroom liner notes:

Even during the album session there were some moments of levity. The record closes with “Town Cryer”, a truthful if rather self-pitying lament. The song is taken at a grand slow tempo with the decoration of Steve Nieve’s Philly-style string chart. However, late one evening—and concerned about the gathering gloom—armed only with a wah-wah pedal and a beat group’s attempt to imitate Barry White and the Love Unlimited Orchestra, we recorded an up-tempo arrangement, briefly issued (in mock-French) as the “Version Discotheque” and presented here once more for your amusement.

I’m the town crier
And everybody knows
I’m a little down
With a lifetime to go
Maybe you don’t believe my heart is in the right place
Why don’t you take a good look at my face

Other boys use the splendour of their trembling lip
They’re so teddy bear tender and tragically hip

I’m never going to cry again
I’m going to be as strong as them
They say they’d die for love
And then they live it out
They’ll give you something to cry about
And suddenly you really fall to pieces

I’m the town crier
And everybody knows
I’m a little down
With a lifetime to go
Maybe you don’t believe my heart is in the right place
Why don’t you take a good look at my face

Other boys use the splendour of their trembling lip
They’re so teddy bear tender and tragically hip

Love and unhappiness go arm in arm
Long suffering friends of your fatal charm
Living for the pity that you’re going to get hurt
Just a little boy lost in a big man’s shirt
And suddenly you really fall to pieces

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One thought on “Song of the Day #1,484: ‘Town Cryer [Fast Version]’ – Elvis Costello

  1. Dana says:

    This is hysterical. For those not familiar with the beautiful original, the absurdity of this version may be lost, so I will provide it here, though I could only find a live acoustic version on YouTube. Perhaps you can post or link to the original studio recording?

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