CD Review: "Memories of Elvis"
El Gamble, Newmarket Music, NEW3231-2, 2007
Australia's legendary El Gamble releases another hit album!
Rockers are well catered for with a boppy Paralysed and the Creedence Clearwater Revival classic, Proud Mary where you literally feel yourself rollin' on the river.
Australia's "Voice of Elvis", El Gamble, is back with another sublime album of 20 well known and not so well known Elvis tracks. It is this balance between the familiar and not so familiar which gives Memories of Elvis much of its power, a power nicely complemented by a pleasing mix of rock, ballad and spiritual recordings and El Gamble's trademark Elvis vocal.
The album opens with a driving rendition of Trouble with El Gamble invoking the tension inherent in the Leiber-Stoller penned lyrics and music.
With Devil In Disguise the listener is offered the first of many tracks rarely covered by tribute artists.
The happy, toe tappin' joyousness of the early 1960s is evident throughout the album with superb renditions of G.I. Blues and King of the Whole Wide World while She's Not You is one of those beautiful 1960s love ballads you never tire of.
The many highlights include Rock A Hula Baby infused with an infectious, up-tempo energy; Please Don't Stop Loving Me, a rare and as sung by El Gamble, beautifully rendered ballad; and the emotionally desperate and underrated classic soul track, Any Day Now.
The brothers Gibb must have been pleased when Elvis sang Words live in Las Vegas and they will be well pleased again as El Gamble gives it another heartfelt treatment.
El Gamble is renowned for his ability to select the right tracks for each of his albums. I particularly liked the inclusion of You'll Think Of Me, another rarely sung but classic Elvis track originally overshadowed on release as a single by its flip side, the legendary #1 smash hit, Suspicious Minds (which itself also gets a guernsey on the album). El Gamble finds the seminal core and power of both songs - each of which is a listening pleasure.
And of course no contemporary El Gamble would be complete without at least one of Elvis' gospel recordings. In I Believe In The Man In The Sky El Gamble again shows why he is the most genuinely versatile of Elvis tribute artists and why that remarkable "Elvis voice" has real potency.
There is not one weak track on the album and fans liking Elvis' 1970s recordings are well catered for with the inclusion of an echo infused Never Been To Spain, and the powerful ballads You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling and It's Impossible. One of Elvis' lesser known singles, It's Midnight, receives deserved treatment with interesting vocal and pacing intonations, while the beat of Big Boss Man exudes an experienced bluesiness which reverberates long after the song has finished.
The album closes with the latino flavoured You''ll Be Gone, a track written by the trio of Red West, Charlie Hodge and one Elvis Presley!
The use of echo chamber on a number of tracks adds musical impact and resonance to the album.
Memories of Elvis is characterised by El Gamble's customary powerful and professional delivery and his crisp and clear vocals. Each of the 20 tracks is distinctive, and as a total package Memories of Elvis lives up to its title both in the quality of its fine music and the wonderful memories it invokes.
Verdict: If you buy only one tribute artist album this year you will find it hard to better Memories of Elvis. It showcases El Gamble at the top of his game and demonstrates why the artist is recognised as one of the world's greatest Elvis vocalists.
2. Devil In Disguise
3. G.I. Blues
4. Rick A Hula Baby
5. Please Don't Drag That String Around
6. King of the Whole Wide World
7. She's Not You
9. I Believe In The Man In The Sky
10. Any Day Now
11. Proud Mary
12. Never Been To Spain
14. Suspicious Minds
15. It's Impossible
16. Big Boss Man
17. It's Midnight
18. You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling
19. You'll Think Of Me
20. You'll Be Gone
For information on Memories of Elvis and El Gamble contact
(in Australia) 1 300 732 863
(International) +613 9763 6600
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