In 1997, during the “Always Elvis”-manifestation in Amsterdam, Rob van Scheers presented his book “Elvis In Nederland” ("Elvis In The Netherlands"). It was said back then that it would be the last “big Elvis thing” in Holland. A decade later… so much happened… and now there’s even an upgraded version of “Elvis In Nederland”.
This upgraded version is indeed Upgraded with a capital U. The full colour print on glossy paper is very inviting, the book almost demands to be picked up over and over again. Personally I think the idea of Elvis’ head in the outline of our small country – gladly they took a young Elvis ;-) - is good, but it could have been worked out better. The title with drop shadow over it makes the total design a bit messy.
The introduction and back of the book read the famous quote “In a perfect world Elvis would be alive and all his impersonators dead”. So content wise it is almost a must ;-).
Although I read the book 10 years ago, I didn’t think it was appealing enough to buy it. So I can’t really compare the content anymore and judge if that is really upgraded too. The majority of the book is filled with more or less well known Dutch(wo)men: the late André Hazes, Monique van der Ven and Jan Cremer to name a few.. I guess that makes it an interesting read for the Dutch fans, at least it was for me. Even if I’m not interested in the interviewed person, it is nice to know how others experience(d) The King.
The book is decorated with a lot of material from Ger Rijff’s archive – so picture wise we’re settled. I noticed a few small mistakes with dating some of them (why not used Ger’s knowledge all the way??).
New for certain are two chapters at the end of the book: an interview with Peter Guralnick – which was for a large Dutch magazine originally. So okay, that justifies the including of it. Furthermore there’s a new interview with Tom Holkenborg aka Junkie XL on his experience with remixing A Little Less Conversation.
There’s a bonus included in the book: a CD by - again more or less – known Dutch artists. Each of them performs a song of Elvis’ large catalogue. The CD is surprisingly listenable, gladly except for some phrases all songs are in English and not in Dutch. Some songs are even very good. Erwin Nijhoff, Birdcatcher, Arthur Ebeling, Frédérique Spigt and the Bintangs did a more than nice job on respectively “In The Ghetto”, “When It Rains It Really Pours”, “Mystery Train”, “Suspicious Minds” and “Burning Love”. Even the bonus has a nice bonus… a version of “You’re The Boss” by ?? I really don’t know, but it has the same ease and fun as Elvis and Ann Margret’s version.
A nice book to have nearby, I for one will thumb through it regularly. It is certainly an Upgrade. Even the CD might find its way to my player more than once.