The release of this CD in 1990 was no more than putting old vinyl on a disk. The LP, Elvis For Everyone, was released in 1965 to celebrate the cooperation of 10 years between RCA and Elvis. Since Elvis didn’t record any new material RCA had to search and scrape some “old” songs and released them instead. It was a strange compilation, which however gained its goal, and was sold enormously. Even until today this CD crosses the counters regularly.
We see Elvis looking innocent as a lamb, sitting in the middle with “Nipper”, the RCA-dog next to him. The picture is exactly the same as on the LP sleeve. Why bother to change a product that already did its job, must have been the thought of RCA. The booklet is offering nothing more than the track listing.
We get 12 tracks, from a Sun recording to some movie songs from 1963. Of course all digitally remastered, but hey… that was the least they could do. Let’s have a closer look and try to find out why this CD is for everyone.
We start in 1958 with “Your Cheatin’ Heart”. Elvis brings the Jordanaires with him on this first one. I am a bit disappointed with this opening, the song is a bit too dated for me. It’s a real Hank-Williams song. Totally different is the atmosphere of the next song: “Summer Kisses, Winter Tears” from 1960. Elvis sings so “correctly”, he even pronounces all the words in the right way. Is this the “wild-cat” of the Louisiana Hayride? Please don’t get me wrong, I like this song, it’s no topper, but it’s all right.
“Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers” sounds a lot more cheerful. And finally I hear the Elvis I like. The tempo has gone up a bit too, so I am happy again. From 1963 back to 1960 again with “In My Way”, a “Wild In The Country” song, almost a cappella, with only a guitar in the background. The warmth of Elvis’ voice is stunning.
The following song startles me. According to the booklet “Tomorrow Night” was recorded in 1965, but according to The Complete Recording Sessions from Ernst Jorgensen this song was recorded somewhere in September 1954. It was overdubbed for this release with guitar, harmonica and backing vocals, who, according to me, are the Anita Kerr Singers. They sound great with Elvis. Amazing however when you realize that the backing vocals are from 1965 and Elvis’ voice from 1954! This is “easy-listening” of the highest kind.
We move to 1964 with “Memphis Tennessee”, a wonderful up-tempo song, written by Chuck Berry with lovely guitar playing. Ah, back to 1961 with “For The Millionth And The Last Time”. I really love this tune. The Jordanaires on the background, lovely lyrics and Elvis just as I like him, warm and tender.
From 1960 is “Forget Me Never”, a “Wild In The Country” song again. Same receipt as “In My Way”, just a guitar and Elvis. My fingers start to drum on “Sound Advice”, from 1961. A real trifle song, but oh so cheerful. I am sure everybody loves this one. With “Santa Lucia” from 1963 we get an Elvis singing in Italian? Spanish? Well, no English that’s for sure and personally I don’t care much either; the song just doesn’t catch me at all. That’s different with the next one from 1961, “I Met Her Today”. Elvis is singing with his heart and with Floyd Cramer on piano, nothing can go wrong for me. Oops, the last one already, and even an “oldie” from 1957: “When It Rains, It Really Pours”. This is the rawness where it all started with….. The Blues like it was meant to be.
The title “Elvis For Everyone” does suspect a compilation and that it is. It may have been a good idea in the past, but for my taste there is too little on this release. With the short playing time (24:15 min) in mind and only 6 tracks which I personally really like, this CD will not be played much by me. However, different people, different tastes, so judge for yourself.