Elvis Presley - King Creole (Classic Album US 1958)

Senin, 08 Oktober 2012

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Source: Japan 24-Bit Remaster

King Creole is the sixth album by Elvis Presley, issued on RCA Victor Records, LPM 1884 in mono in September 1958, recorded in three days at Radio Recorders in Hollywood. It contains songs written and recorded expressly for the film, and peaked at #2 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart. It followed the film release by over ten weeks.

The bulk of the songs originated from the stable of writers contracted to Hill and Range, the publishing company jointly owned by Presley and Colonel Tom Parker: Fred Wise, Ben Weisman, Claude Demetrius, Aaron Schroeder, Sid Tepper, and Roy C. Bennett. Conspicuous in their relatively limited contribution were Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who had come to an impasse with the Colonel during the making of the previous movie, Jailhouse Rock, in which they had practically dominated the musical proceedings. Furious over mere songwriters having such easy access to Presley without going through Parker's "proper channels," the Colonel closed off their avenue to his prize client, especially since the duo had also tried to influence Presley's film direction, pitching him an idea to do a gritty adaption of Nelson Algren's recent novel, A Walk on the Wild Side, with Elia Kazan directing, and Leiber and Stoller providing the music. 

The Colonel put the kibosh on such notions, although echoes of the concept remained in the film, and the pair still managed to place three songs on the soundtrack, including the title track and "Trouble," arguably the film's best songs. Presley's performance of "Trouble" in the film alludes to Muddy Waters and Bo Diddley; he would return to the song for his tremendously successful television comeback special.

The songs "Hard Headed Woman" and "Don't Ask Me Why" appeared as two sides of a single on July 10, 1958, to coincide with the release of the film. "Hard Headed Woman," the A-side, and "Don't Ask Me Why" both made the pop singles chart, peaking at #1 and #25 respectively.

The album was reisued for compact disc in an expanded edition on April 15, 1997, and again in an audiophile version from Japan on August 25, 2005. For the both reissues, an additional seven tracks were added, including the song "Danny" taken from the same sessions, with six alternates, four previously unreleased.

King Creole was the last movie that Elvis Presley made before he entered the army in the spring of 1958 -- it was also his last film in black-and-white, as well as his final effort directed by a serious old-time filmmaker (Michael Curtiz); and, apart from a few isolated, quirky efforts like Flaming Star, Change of Habit, and Charro, this was the last of his serious movies, in which Presley was trying hard, pushing himself as an actor and, really, all through the score, as a musician. This is reflected in the soundtrack, which is one of the stronger film-related releases of his career. 

The original 11 songs included a hot title track by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller that was a dazzling showcase for Scotty Moore's and Tiny Timbrell's guitars as well as Elvis' intense, exciting lead vocal. Leiber and Stoller's "Trouble" and Claude Demetrius' "Hard Headed Woman" have Moore's and Timbrell's electric guitars competing successfully with a five-man brass and reed section. Even "Dixieland Rock," if not up to the level of those other two numbers, features good playing and a strong performance by Presley, and "Young Dreams" is a decent midtempo number. 

The slow ballads are where the soundtrack falls flat, "As Long As I Have You" coming up to standard but "Lover Doll" and "Don't Ask Me Why" failing to excite or maintain interest; "Crawfish" can only have been included to bring the album up to the minimum acceptable length for an LP. 

The 1997 remastered CD features rather upgraded sound and seven additional numbers that are outtakes from the score; these include two alternate takes of "King Creole" with considerably different guitar and brass parts, and two superior alternate versions of "As Long as I Have You," both in a much more spare arrangement -- basically just Elvis and a single piano accompanying him -- plus a discarded alternate title track ("Danny"). The undubbed "Lover Doll" is superior to the released version, featuring Presley accompanied by a single acoustic guitar.

01. 1/23/58 King Creole Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller 2:16 
02. 1/16/58 As Long As I Have You Fred Wise and Ben Weisman 1:50 
03. 1/15/58 Hard Headed Woman Claude Demetrius 1:53 
04. 1/15/58 Trouble Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller 2:16 
05. 1/16/58 Dixieland Rock Aaron Schroeder and Rachel Frank 1:46 
06. 1/16/58 Don't Ask Me Why Fred Wise and Ben Weisman 2:06 
07. 1/16/58 Lover Doll Sid Wayne and Abner Silver 2:09 
08. 1/15/58 Crawfish Fred Wise and Ben Weisman 1:48 
09. 1/23/58 Young Dreams Aaron Schroeder and Martin Kalmanoff 2:23 
10. 1/23/58 Steadfast, Loyal And True Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller 1:15 
11. 1/15/58 New Orleans Sid Tepper and Roy C. Bennett 1:58 

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