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Elvis Presley’s “Pot Luck” Reviewed


To simplify, here is Elvis’ career in the broadest of strokes

1953 – 1962 – Pop star

1962 – 1968 – Matinee Idol

1968 – 1977 – Touring Elvis

So that would mean 1962’s album # 15 Pot Luck saw the end of Elvis as a pop star. Well, not really of course, but he didn’t release another album of new material not tied to an album for the next six years -and consider a year in Presley’s career the equal of 20 years in U2s,  so it was a long long break.

The reason was money. Blue Hawaii sold ten times more than Pot Luck, and if one reason was that Pot Luck was an inferior product, the least of triumvirate of sadly weakening albums. From his masterpiece Elvis Is Back through Something For Everybody, till his recorded for albums Pot Luck, which just doesn’t have the material and drags so much that for all Presley’s undeniable vocal abilities, he couldn’t pull it off.

It could have been good, if Parker had put the hit singles from that time on the album (I think he was holding them for Greatest Hits compiliations). There are reasons why it should be good, Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman are all over the album, and wrote one of Elvis’ great songs for the one “Suspicion” (“Suspicious Minds” was a lyrical inversion of the idea), a “Let Me Be Your Teddy” sweet verse turns black as night on the deeply dramatic chorus, and Presley nails it very very well. But after that, oh ok “Kiss Me Quick” is cute, but no better than a mid movie snooze track, and “That’s Someone You Never Forget” is a wrought with sorrow closer. But there is nothing approaching rock and too often it mistakes perkiness for writing.

By the middle of the album, it is one slow song after another and really, for all your love of Elvis, it is difficult to hear what he was thinking.While he shows conviction on song after song, the way he does on his Spiritual work, and sung very much the same way, like love of God and love of a Girl, are the same thing, in the end, why is he singing “Something Blue”? Why isn’t he calling Holland-Dozier-Holland in Detroit. Why can’t they hear that these songs are just  exercises in a certain Presley style.

It’s like people know how to write for Elvis, so they write from the same blueprint but don’t fill it in.With the greatest singer of his generation in the studio, they couldn’t find him anything to sing.

Grade: C+



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