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Elvis Presley’s “Girls! Girls! Girls!” Reviewed

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You know the old saw about how Elvis Presley slept walk through the 60s in lousy movies? They mean “Girls! Girls! Girls” -less a role and more a teenage boy’s daydream. Elvis,  as the hysterically funny named Ross Carpenter’s.  Mom died in childbirth and Dad lived long enough to build a boat with Ross, and promptly joined Mom with the choir invisible. Ross sells the boat to bury his dad and gets a job skippering it. But the current owners have to sell it and Ross needs $10K. Meanwhile, he is, insanely in my book, rejecting Stella Stevens for some other chick and this chick has a BIG PROBLEM. She is an heiress but doesn’t want somebody who will marry her for her money. Filmed in Hawaii again, though nowhere near as lushly as Blue, the movie includes the absolute nadir of his career, much much worse than “Wooden Heart”, a duet with two unfortunate preteen Hawaiin girls,  on the terrifying “Earth Boy”.

Fortunately, we are not here to review the movie but album # 16, Girls! Girls! Girls!, which has the distinction of both Elvis Costello and Motley Crue using it for their own album titles.

GGG is better than Pot Luck, it peaks miles higher with “Return To Sender” and the Leiber Stoller title track, and “I Don’t Wanna Be Tied” is a good enough pop rocker. The sax solo on “Girls! Girls! Girls! was Mr. “Yakety Sax” Boots Randolph, now go listen to it again. “Return To Sender” is perfection, a hip swirling, finger snapping, lover’s spot, which by the end finds its natural conclusion, though we don’t know if she accepts his apology. One of his great moments (though the movie performance is a little ordinary after the stuff in “King Creole”. The rest of the album  is fluff or worse: the Hawaiian stuff isn’t up to his past attempts, and singing to baby shrimp? Poor bloke. But to return to the question of somnolent Presley, he is such a pro he sounds committed to Sid Tepper and co’s second rate blather, songs so bad you forget you’ve heard them  while you are, in fact, listening to them.

Presley wasn’t a child anymore, he should have refused to sing these songs, they are way beyond beneath him. It was 1962, somewhere not just Goffin-King, which maybe was a touch too East Coast for the man, but Felice and  Boudleaux Bryant  were writing songs. Why was he stuck with these second rate songs? No, wait, I’m keen to guess.

Grade: C+

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