In his 2015 memoir Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink, Elvis Costello recalled an early gig at the British Legion Hall "on the posh side of Birkenhead Park" in Birkenhead, Merseyside. "I can't say my set was a triumph," he wrote. "I went off to a round of feeble applause from a handful of pensioners supping mild beer and a smattering of teenagers in army petticoats drinking cider. However, once I found a singing partner in Allan Mayes, my performances became a little more controlled and his superior musicianship and more melodious voice balanced by chaotic approach." Initially with Alan Brown on bass and then as a duo, Costello (then known by his birth name of Declan MacManus) and Mayes performed together as Rusty from January 1972 through June 1973. They played roughly two dozen gigs - most in Liverpool and Widnes but also in Coventry and London. But other than a reunion at an Austin, Texas bookstore in 2015, nobody's heard from Rusty in almost 50 years. On Friday, June 10, that all changes with the release of The Resurrection of Rust.
Yesterday, May 30, the prolific Costello announced that he and his old friend Mayes had reunited to record "the record we would have cut when we were 18, if anyone had let us." The Resurrection of Rust, arriving June 10 digitally and June 10 on CD (July 1 in the U.S.), features six songs from Rusty's original setlists. These include two tunes by Nick Lowe ("Surrender to the Rhythm" and "Don't Lose Your Grip on Love"), Jim Ford's "I'm Ahead If I Can Quit While I'm Behind," a medley of Neil Young's "Dance, Dance, Dance" and "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere," and two Rusty originals, "Warm House" and "Maureen and Sam." The former was written by D.P. MacManus and the latter by MacManus and Mayes.
"Surrender to the Rhythm" and "Don't Lose Your Grip on Love" both featured on Brinsley Schwarz's 1972 album Nervous on the Road; Elvis revisited "Don't Lose Your Grip" in 2010 at a Costello Sings Lowe/Nick Sings Elvis benefit and again in 2020 on a benefit webcast with Mayes during which they also revived "Warm House." The other Rusty original, "Maureen and Sam," was first written as "Maureen and Dan" and recorded by the solo Mayes on his 1986 album Stumbling in the Aisle. Elvis' 1980 song "Ghost Train" was inspired by "Maureen and Sam" and featured the same characters, with Dan/Sam renamed Stan. Jim Ford's "I'm Ahead..." was featured in Brinsley Schwarz's rendition on the 1972 LP Greasy Truckers Party and performed by Costello in 2009 on his Spectacle television show.
For The Resurrection of Rust, Costello and Mayes welcomed The Imposters (Steve Nieve, Pete Thomas, and Davey Faragher) as well as Brinsley Schwarz keyboardist Bob Andrews (who later played with Graham Parker and The Rumour) who added Hammond organ and piano on "Surrender to the Rhythm." Costello co-produced with collaborator Sebastian Krys (Look Now, Spanish Model, Hey Clockface, The Boy Named If).
The six-song release will be available on CD at Costello's upcoming tour dates; the Boy Named If and Other Favourites tour first swings through the U.K. beginning June 5 before heading to Belgium, the Netherlands, and Denmark. The tour reaches the United States on August 4 and runs through early September.
The Resurrection of Rust arrives digitally June 10; a CD is also released that date although the U.S. date isn't until July 1. A vinyl LP edition is expected to arrive in the fall. You'll find the track listing and pre-order links (where available) below for this new slice of Costello history.
- Surrender to the Rhythm
- I'm Ahead If I Can Quit While I'm Behind
- Warm House (And an Hour of Joy)
- Don't Lose Your Grip on Love
- Maureen and Sam
- Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere/Dance, Dance, Dance