Happy Birthday Elvis!

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Hey friends, it’s the King’s birthday – all day, all Elvis on the stereo here, hot black coffee in the Elvis mug, peanut butter and ‘nana sandwiches, heads bowed in Presleyterian devotion. Yes sir, yes ma’am. Elvis can truly bring you happiness. I’m kinda ashamed to admit this to y’all but I ain’t really listened to him all that much lately, so much so I didn’t even get out the Christmas records this year. I know. I know what you’re thinkin’, crazy right? How can you have Christmas without the King? Well, seems as the universe has a way of addressing that type of imbalance ‘cos among the gifts under the tree elvis-rpo-300x300this year was a shiny copy of that new “If I Can Dream” recording with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Tell you the truth, I ain’t been so enamoured of the recent bogus ‘duets’ and remix type of things that keep the mighty money machine a rollin’ for the folks in Memphis and I had flat given this a wide berth and refused to entertain the thing despite Priscilla’s “Elvis would have loved this” pronouncements. But, here it is Christmas and I gots it in my hand. Still waited a few days before I braved it and, well, it ain’t bad friends. I done pushed the unwelcome appearance of Mickey Bubbles from my mind and gave her a try. So here’s a couple of obvious immediate things – they used old vocal takes from Elvis and don’t really seem to have edited them any which means the settings  keep quite closely to the tempo and structure of the original versions. The tracklist is an odd but workable and, when you think on it, kinda obvious mix. There’s a couple of overblown numbers he did in the Vegas years better known by other artists, there’s some selections that are just no brainers for this – the title track, American Trilogy, In The Ghetto all of which work just fine. ‘Steamroller Blues’ is a curious choice as is opener ‘Burning Love’ but the rhythmic kick they need comes from a drummer not any fancy pants orchestratin’ in fact it may even be the original drum track I ain’t looked too much into how it’s been done. Seems as they just put some strings on stuff. ‘How Great Thou Art’ works well, ‘Love Me Tender’ maybe best of all. In a way I got to say I wish they’d made a bit more effort into creating something bolder, which I probably woulda hated. So it goes. Priscilla was probably right, he woulda loved it, probably had some ideas to make it better. Simple truth is – It’s fine, no great shakes, no real crime. You don’t need it, nobody needs it, but they ain’t screwed it up too bad. Another repackage on the pile.

Here’s one they didn’t mess with

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~ by Mumblin' Earl on January 8, 2016.

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