Sunday, August 4, 2013
"NBC Special" by Elvis Presley (December, 1968)
Elvis made a big comeback with this TV special. It shows him at his Vegas-y best, with a mixture of rock 'n' roll, gospel, and cheesy nightclub music. This is the Elvis that the Elvis imitators emulate and parody.
Through it all, though, Elvis shows his sense of humor and a big ol' pile of energy. If you could only buy one Elvis album, this probably shouldn't be the one, but there's no denying it's fun.
Drenched with late-sixties horns, the songs have an appeal that is as rocking as it is cheesy. The King is in fine vocal form, even if the arrangements are often a bit too over-the-top. If you're not much an Elvis fan, this probably won't convert you, but as a document of a time and place and of the mainstreaming of a rebellious teen idol, this is an important record.
For me, Elvis is very hit or miss. From previous albums we've reviewed, I've enjoyed most of his upbeat songs way more than his ballads. This NBC special is mostly upbeat, but the arrangements (like my old man said) are over the top a lot of the time, and again, the slow songs bore me.
This special mostly consisted of a bunch of medleys with some dialogue in between. He busts out some classics, like "Hound Dog" and "Jailhouse Rock", which are always fun to hear. When he's yelling and rocking out, it's pretty great, but overall, this was pretty hard to get all the way through in one sitting with all the ballads and gospel songs. Honestly, I don't know why this album is on this list.