Elvis Presley Good Rockin' Tonight [Cleopatra]
- Released: September 14, 2004
- Label: Cleopatra
- 1.That's All Right Mama - (with 13 Cats)
- 2.Baby Let's Play House - (with 13 Cats)
- 3.Good Rockin' Tonight - (with 13 Cats)
- 4.Maybellene - (with 13 Cats)
- 5.Blue Moon of Kentucky - (with 13 Cats)
- 6.Tweedle Dee - (with 13 Cats)
Features 2004 instrumental backing dubbed over original Elvis Presley vocal.
Personnel: Elvis Presley (vocals); Danny B. Harvey (guitar); Lee Rocker (bass instrument); Slim Jim Phantom (drums).
Back in the 1980s, bassist Lee Rocker of the Stray Cats participated in one of the better rockabilly revival efforts of its era, the Carl Perkins live broadcast special Blue Suede Shoes, which also included George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Rosanne Cash, et al., playing alongside Perkins. This CD sort of does the same thing for (or with) Elvis Presley, kind of -- the producers have gotten hold of what they claim are the original, first-generation tapes of Presley's live broadcasts from The Louisiana Hayride and, using digital technology, have inserted Rocker, Danny B. Harvey of the Swing Cats, and Stray Cats alumnus Slim Jim Phantom in place of Presley's band, which was partly drowned out by the crowd and not too well recorded in any case. "Good Rockin' Tonight" offers a very compressed Presley vocal, but "That's All Right Mama," "Baby Let's Play House," and "Maybellene" all kind of work, showing what Elvis might've sounded like working with musicians who were doing more (and this is meant as no slight against Scotty Moore or Bill Black) than making up the music as they went along -- rather, these are real virtuoso musicians who've got the advantage of 50 years on the participants. The songs are all startlingly good, though a bit busier than Elvis' real sound of this period was. Also, it's impossible to tell how Presley would have liked the current musicians' approach to this music, or altered his own contribution; he was very much his own producer, with definite ideas from his first day recording at RCA (if not earlier) about how he wanted each song to sound. Still, as entertainment it works here, as an eerie hybrid of two rockabilly sounds separated by half a century but linked by the same inspiration. And the sound is awesome. ~ Bruce Eder
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