Saturday, 10 January 2015

Alternative Elvis: An 80th Birthday Celebration

by Emma Bell

(source: sunrecords.com)
On the occasion of Elvis’s 80th birthday (January 8th, 2015), there seems little else to say on the man and the myth. But it seems a good reason to dig out some unknowns from the Presley catalogue and celebrate his voice in these cuts. Happy Birthday, Elvis.

1. Down in the Alley (1966). A stomper of a record, and a personal favourite. Elvis takes this cover from The Clovers and powers it forward with his bluesy voice. Mouth organ, sax, Hammond and guitar add a true Memphian flavour to this track. Superb. 

(Note: RCA sat on this record for two years before adding it to the Clambake movie soundtrack. Pah.)




2. Tomorrow is a Long Time.(1966) Recorded at the same session, this cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Tomorrow..’ was rated by the writer himself as his favourite version of any of his songs. (Note: Bob Dylan. "The highlight of my career? That's easy, Elvis recording one of my songs.") The sparse and elegant restraint of Presley’s voice make this a standout 60’s track.




3. Edge of Reality (1969)
Recorded for Live a Little, Love a Little, this track confirms that despite the dross there were often hidden gems in these run of the mill movies. A dream sequence, a song and arrangement very much of the time - Psychedelic Elvis…




4. Good time Charlie’s Got the Blues (1974)
A gem from late-period Elvis, his voice in fine shape. The lyrics suggest a darker place, an understanding of his mistakes and flaws. Mortality was beckoning.





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