7 THE NEW SOFT SHOE
A smoother, somewhat more contemporary take on the country-rock theme – you could easily imagine the Eagles covering this on their early albums – “The New Soft Shoe” marries a lovely unhurried melody to a pleasingly evasive lyric which seems to portray a lifetime’s worth of labours of love, cherished memories and missed chances. Al Perkins’ steel guitar solo is like sunlight skipping on water.
8 HOW MUCH I’VE LIED
A rogue’s mea culpa, also later recorded by Costello on Almost Blue. A spry little number which would have suited George Jones to a T, James Burton’s twanging dobro and Buddy Emmons’ steel guitar do most of the heavy lifting before the chorus explodes in a sunburst of gilded harmony, a sound thrillingly at odds with the lyric’s deep shade of “burning blue”.
9 LUXURY LINER
Safe At Home, 1968
An upbeat, frill-free slice of chicka-boom rhythm, close-knit harmony and sing-song pedal steel, the symbolic train of American music folklore here becomes “40 tons of steel”, the opulence only highlighting the predicament of a fellow who made “a living running round”. His baby’s gone, but there’ll be another waiting in the next port. Later the title track of Emmylou Harris’ 1977 album.