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Elvis Presley’s “Elvis (Fool)” Reviewed

It is the height of glitter rock and Elvis Presley, with his karate kid jumpsuits and gold studded pbelts, open shirt and heavy medallions, fits right in. It is a question of who came first, Elvis Presley or Gary Glitter, they sure look close enough to be twin under the skin tight, tummy clinging, outro glitter. But the album cover and attitude notwithstanding, Elvis (Fool) (real name Elvis, but we don’t want to confuse it with his masterpiece) is a business as usual outtakes only from his March, 1971 – March 28, 1972 sessions in Nashville, as well as “It’s Impossible” from a Vegas gig. Most interestingly, Presley played piano on “It’s Still Here”, “I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen” and “I Will Be True”.

Some of this is very, very good. The album sold a million copies not just for riding Aloha’s shirttails, but also because of the powerful singer “Fool,” the German pop ballad “Take Me Home, Kathleen,” the proto-Americana harp deep in the mix of Paul William’s “Where Do I Go From Here” . The Taking care Of Business band, his touring band, are behind him all the way and they play these adult pop songs with skill and determination. This is album # 53 and at the very least we can take for granted that Presley’s singing is formidable, that his poise and passion never dims whatever he happens to be singing. and if many of these songs aren’t first tier, they are certainly not “Kissin’ Cousins” or Colonel Parker’s Lonely Song Royalty Band,  either, they are for the most part, fine and discriminating modern pop songs as written. Less country and more power ballad.

However, this is one case where you might want to go in search of the Legacy Edition, -a superb double but I mention it here because the rockabilly 11 minutes plus version of “Don’t Think twice, It’s Alright” is as masterful as anything you’ll ever here (I’ve included it in a fourteen minute take below). The two minutes plus version on the standard version ends with Presley yodeling and is all the better for it.

Grade: B

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