11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
The bonuses of Juliet,
This review is from: The Juliet Letters (Audio CD)
This album has been around since 1993, stirring up division among Costello fans. I will not retread all of the tired arguments pro and con (even though I'm on the pro side) and concentrate on the added benefits of this reissue instead.
I had the pleasure of seeing and hearing Costello and the Brodskys perform this stuff live in March 1993 at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, appropriately a classical music venue. As the Juliet Letters cycle is only about an hour's worth of music, the second set was filled out with some five or six encores of originals and covers, including a tune by Tom Waits, who was announced as an opera composer (in view of Robert Wilson's production of The Black Rider). I am delighted to find that these encores are finally made available to the general public in the form of nos. 2 through 7 on the second CD of this remastered collection.
The other tracks on the second CD are mostly guest appearances by Costello on albums by other artists like John Harle, Roy Nathanson and viol ensemble Fretwork. Personally, I have rather mixed feelings about this, because I already own five of the records that are excerpted here and prefer hearing the songs in their original context. Especially Roy Nathanson's wacky but accessible album Fire At Keaton's Bar & Grill should be heard in its entirety. The inclusion of two out of seven songs from Costello and Frisell's Deep Dead Blue EP also seems a bit pointless. On the other hand, Kurt Weill's Lost in the Stars, taken from a rather uneven tribute album, is a gem that deserves to be heard more often.
If you don't have all of this stuff, however, this is a most convenient way to round up these remarkable performances. If you really liked the original Juliet Letters and are curious about Costello's other exploits outside the confines of rock music, this expanded edition is certainly worth looking into.