Review: Don Robertson's Songs for Elvis...and then I wrote
Family Records, BCD 16654AR, 2003, Listening time: 62 minutes
Nigel Patterson, 3 October 2003
first thing to say about this album is...Don Robertson can sing!
OK, he's no Elvis or Dean Martin in his vocal delivery, but
it's refreshing to hear original Elvis ballads sung in a slightly
second thing to say is...that if you like Elvis' early to
mid 1960s ballads, then you'll like this album.
Elvis related songs like I Met Her Today, Love Me Tonight, What
Now, What Next, Where To; Starting Today, and the hauntingly beautiful,
There's Always Me (note for note virtually identical to Elvis' great
version), how couldn't you?
third thing to say is...would you believe Donald Irwin Robertson
was born in Peking, China! Well he was.
Robertson's songs have accounted for a staggering 500,000,000 sales
worldwide and his song writing relationship with Hal Blaine has
been particularly fruitful (there are 15 Robertson/Blaine compositions
on the album). Their biggest hit was a non-Elvis recording, Ringo,
the smash hit #1 in 1964 for Bonanza's 'Pa Cartwright', Lorne Greene.
struck me about many of the songs was their similarity, and I mean
that in a very positive way. I've dubbed them "The Elvis Group",
as they have similar piano introductions, pacing and lyric sentiment.
Elvis could have sung any one of them and made it his own. Apart
from the well known They Remind Me Too Much Of You and Anything
That's Part Of You, the group includes You Don't Need Me Anymore;
Darling, Let's Go Home; Your Happiness Means Everything To Me; My
Side Of The Story and I''ve Come To Say Goodbye.
fact Elvis could have successfully recorded virtually every one
of the 26 tracks on this album. It symbolises how Don Robertson's
writing skills mirrored Elvis' musical style at the time, and begs
the question for an album: "Elvis Sings Don Robertson!"
from the songs recorded by Elvis, Don delivers other great music
with the mournful 'Road To Heartbreak', the beautiful 'I Hurt' (this
would have made an amazing Elvis recording!) and a break from the
ballad genre with the boppy, toe-tappin', neo Sambo (with plenty
of bongo drums), 'Love Finds A Way'.
song mix also includes the instantly recognisable, Hi Lee Hi Lo,
adapted from an old German folk song, and Hummingbird, which has
a great 60s feel to it.
CD is presented in an attractive tri-foldout, digipack format with
a very informative and picture filled 36 page booklet. It includes
plenty of interesting information about Elvis, including the night
Don and Elvis "jammed" together at Elvis' home in Bel Air! The history
to each of the songs is also documented and often makes for fascinating
'Don Robertson's Songs For Elvis...and then I wrote' is an attractively
packaged collection of musically strong 1960s ballads. His name
may not be as instantly recognisable as that of Leiber and Stoller,
but Don Robertson's songwriting legacy is, nevertheless, a very
important part of 1960s music. This album is a fitting compendium
of that legacy.
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