Reviewed by Nigel Patterson, June 2007
The name HT Long has long been an important one in Elvis circles throughout South-East Asia. As President of the Malaysian Elvis fan club, HT has been at the forefront of things Elvis for many decades.
To top it all off he is also one of the region's premier Elvis tribute artists, with a number of stellar album releases to his credit.
HT's latest album is Light & Easy With The Golden Voice of HT Long. It is a very strong and engaging release with 14 tracks expertly fashioned by an artist who really knows his craft.
HT's vocal and carefully orchestrated delivery nicely invoke the Elvis style as he effortlessly moves through a very entertaining mix of the familiar and not so familiar. Worldwide Elvis' Paul Dowling was spot on when he dubbed HT, "Mr Golden Voice".
From the opening drum beat of Treat Me Nice to the closing notes of I Miss You, HT Long stamps himself as a superior interpreter of the Elvis catalog.
Also in the mix are a lilting Anyway You Want Me and a resonantly deep, As Long As I Have You. Whether it be delighting the listener with the frothy Puppet On A String, bringing a smile to our face with the jaunty Beyond The Bend, or losing his independence on I'm Falling In Love Tonight, HT has a golden smooth "Elvis" voice which will entrance many fans.
While this latest album is essentially for ballad lovers, HT also lifts the tempo slightly with his rhythmic renditions of the quasi-rockers, Treat Me Nice and All Shook Up.
Among the other tracks on album are the (unfortunately) rarely sung Tender Feeling, the Latin infused and soaring, Marguerita, and one of The King's most infectious songs, Tonight Is So Right For Love.
HT's renditions of the ballads I'll Never Know and I Miss You evoke that wonderful Elvis quality of being able to effortlessly touch each listener through a magnetic vocal.
There are several highlights on the album. The inclusion of the often overlooked and similarly underrated Lonely Man is superb. This is a recording very true to Elvis' hauntingly beautiful and resonant record of the despair felt after the break-up of a much valued relationship.
Another highlight is Anyone (Could Fall In Love With You), one of the strongest tracks from one of Elvis' weaker film vehicles, Kissin' Cousins. It is beautifully sung by HT Long.
On all of the 14 tracks the backing is very solid, nicely complementing HT's strong and emotionally moving vocal.
It is always a positive when vocal enunciation is clear and sans the slurring of words so many western Elvis tribute artists seem to believe is the way to interpret the Elvis song catalog. HT Long is to be congratulated on his well modulated and crystal clear enunciation.
Verdict: Not only does this album live up to its name, but is also a thoroughly professional and highly enjoyable one. Play it once and I guarantee you will play it many more times.
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