Elvis by the Presleys
First Appeared in The Music Box, June 2005, Volume 12, #6
Written by John Metzger
As a compilation of Elvis Presley’s work, Elvis by the Presleys is a bit of an oddity. Then again, coming in the wake of Elvis: 30 #1 Hits and 2nd to None, which collectively delivered 60 of his best-known and biggest-selling songs, it would have to be an unusual outing; otherwise it would become incredibly redundant. Meant to capture the wide-ranging essence of Presley’s illustrious career as well as provide the soundtrack to a documentary about his life with Priscilla and Lisa Marie, Elvis by the Presleys places so many constraints upon itself that overwhelming success is unquestionably out of reach. Sure, it features an array of indispensable nuggets — I Want You, I Need You, I Love You, Heartbreak Hotel, Suspicious Minds, and the overwrought, but irresistible In the Ghetto, for example — along with other oft-overlooked gems, such as his energetic cover of Ray Charles’ I Got a Woman and his early Sun single Trying to Get to You. Nevertheless, it also includes quite a few odd selections like the schmaltzy Hawaiian Wedding Song and the misguided covers of Bridge over Troubled Water, You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling, and Always on My Mind. Most perplexing, however, is the insertion of a remix of A Little Less Conversation by Dutch artist JXL, which appears at the expense of adding another classic tune. Perhaps, in an effort to make amends for its deficiencies, Elvis by the Presleys also includes an 8-track bonus disc that contains previously unreleased versions of Jailhouse Rock, Baby What You Want Me to Do, and I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry. None of the extras are revelatory, but they do add a level of intimacy that is missing from the bulk of the set.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2005 The Music Box