Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink is a 670 page memoir from Elvis Costello. Written in his poetic hand with a lot of discussion and samples of the lyrics to his songs, you’re going to wish this book came with a soundtrack to follow along with the stories. It’s not that I don’t know Elvis’ music, but being more of the pop music fan, I’ve never felt the need to listen to any of his entire albums. Maybe it’s my own fault then that I had trouble keeping up.
But there are other problems too. Mr. Costello loves to tell you of his family history, just not in one or two neat and tidy chapters. He likes to digress throughout the book, never letting his reader know at any given moment what decade they may end up in whether it be with his great grandparents or parents or someplace else in time. I could almost swear that several times, he flashed back and never came back to the original story he had started telling.
Still, some the stories he tells of the artists he’s worked with are truly amazing. He sings the praises of working with Johnny and June Cash, Burt Bacharach, Allen Toussaint and so many others. (Note: Oddly, I got to the part about his working with Allen Toussaint the day after Allen passed away. Cue Twilight Zone music.) Elvis worships his father and tells the heartbreaking story of his passing within days of the untimely death of his wife (Elvis’ stepmother). And yes, he talks about working with Paul McCartney, but I was surprised that it wasn’t with as much gusto as I would have expected.
Unless you’re an over the top Elvis Costello fan that has followed his every move from the very beginning of his career, don’t plan on this being a fast read. Sit back and just enjoy the storytelling. And for that reason…
I rate this book, 3 out of 4 Beetles!