Calling all fans of “The King;” the Elvis Presley train is pulling into the station again with some friends in tow.
HBO will be premièring a new Elvis Presley documentary April 14, and this is the Soundtrack to the film with a lot of extra material.
The music of Elvis has been released many times and in just about every format imaginable. The 18 tracks from the documentary, when taken apart from the film may seem like an eclectic group, but that is part of their charm. From his early Sun material, “My Baby Left Me,” “That’s All Right,” and “Baby Let’s Play House,” to the immortal “Hound Dog” and “Heartbreak Hotel,” to some lesser known tracks, “Milky Way,” “Like A Baby,” and a rehearsal version of “Separate Ways,” it is a different approach to his music and legacy.
The other 37 Elvis tracks follow the same pattern. While the former fit into the documentary; the rest of the material by Elvis has a seemingly random approach and so you take the good with the bad. I’m not sure I need another copy of “Suspicious Minds (Take 6)” or a rehearsal version of the Bee Gees “Words,” but tracks like “Reconsider Baby,” “You Gave Me A Mountain,” and “An American Trilogy” are always welcome.
It is the third disc that sets the release apart. Mike McCready (Pearl Jam) contributes “Dissolution” and “Rebound,” while Petty’s cover of “Wooden Heart” is present.
It is the music that purportedly influenced Elvis that makes the disc worthwhile. Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup’s version of “That’s All Right” is still a raw experience, while Howlin’ Wolf’s “Smokestack Lightning” explores the beginnings of rock and roll. Bill Monroe’s “Blue Moon Of Kentucky” examines Elvis’ early sound from a country perspective. Throw in such forgotten performances as “Mystery Train” by Little Junior’s Blue Flames, “She May Be Yours But She Comes To Me Sometimes” by Joe Hill Lewis, “Rocket 88” by Jackie Bernston, and “Write Me A Letter” by the Ravens are worth the price of admission.
The Searcher” examines the music of Elvis Presley from a different perspective. Taken outside of the film, it is an interesting listen with a lot of good music.