Another League

By LexMay 23, 2010

I saw the TCB-band with quite some singers, beside Elvis: Terry Mike Jeffrey, Maarten and Jenson Bloomer to name the best so far. I liked them all, one better than the other. Tonight I heard a vocalist that is from a totally different league. Dutch singer Bouke is by far the best vocalist – Elvis disregarded most of the time – that I heard singing with the greatest band on earth. He is subtle when needed and powerful when possible.

We went to the Belgian show some 160km away from home, while the show was only 40km away one day earlier. The TCB-band was unfortunately without Jerry Scheff, but he was replaced skillfully by a Belgian bass player, who also made the arrangements for the orchestra. The orchestra was conducted by Joe Guercio and included the original Hammond player. During Also Sprach Zarathustra and the opening riff it was already clear that the TCB-band and orchestra were very well balanced, complementary to each other.

Of course we knew Bouke from the CD that was included with one of the magazines of ElvisMatters and we saw some of his songs on YouTube, but we weren’t ready for what was coming. Boy, that man has a sound… sometimes very close to Elvis, but it never felt like he was trying to imitate him. Obviously the ballads are Bouke’s piece of cake, but also with the up tempo songs he did a very good job, especially Johnny B. Goode was spectacular. This was not only because of Bouke’s singing, but also because of the great solos by James, Glenn and Ronnie (okay, Frank did a nice bass solo too). Also Proud Mary, Polk Salad Annie and Suspicious Minds got a spectacular treatment by singer, band and orchestra.

Still, the ballads got the hands of the audience together the most: You Gave Me A Mountain was astonishing, I Just Can’t Help Believin’ tender, like Don’t Cry Daddy and In The Ghetto. What Now My Love brought the first standing ovation, it looked like Bouke was a bit uncomfortable with it and he went on right away. Also Bridge Over Troubled Water, My Boy and An American Trilogy (with a beautiful flute solo!) caused standing ovations. Still they didn’t belong to the highlight(s) of the show. That was reserved for Glenn D. Hardin on piano, with Bouke singing two of the songs they recorded in Nashville. Lead Me, Guide Me was really beautiful, with a slight support of a Hammond organ and the backing vocals. Unchained Melody was indescribable. Bouke’s rendition made Elvis’ versions turn pale, if I hadn’t more respect for Elvis I would say “Elvis, eat your heart out!”. Before some people (who never heard Bouke actually live) start to react again based on the YouTube version: no it isn’t the karaoke version, but a beautiful slow rendition, just like Elvis’s, but in tune from the first to the last second and way more powerful.

I only have one small comment for Bouke: don’t do the moves, you don’t need them. Last but not least: ElvisMatters congratulations with another great event!

Elvis Presley on: eBay, Amazon


benny scott (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 15, 2010report abuse
Hi Egot : fully agree concerning the "strong language" and difference in understanding (usa/europe), but in the past years sometimes I've read stuff that really was over the top ! There are limits ! All the best to U. Take care. Always El.
benny scott (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 13, 2010report abuse
RandyCute: just for the record : Lex is a man, and he's Loesje's husband. As for their "tolerance" : IMHO ther's nothing wrong with it . They don't have to be more tolerant, on the contrary : I think they sometimes are TOO tolerant when one reads the words some members use to give their personal opinion ! ( not aiming at you of course, let this be clear !)Always El.
Orion (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 6, 2010report abuse
K2 - I agree with you 100 %. It's obvious he's not Elvis. I don't believe any true Elvis fan has ever been fooled by a sound-a-like or ETA. Even when my buddy Jimmy tried to do Elvis, he was good, but there were areas where his vibratto or simple phrasing was off. On this CD, Jamie Aaron Kelley is dead on with "Don't Forbid Me." He must have listened closely to the "Million Dollar Quartet" CD to get Elvis' phrasing and rhythm down. It does sound remarkably close to a 1960ish recording by Elvis. I think that we both spent our money wisely on this release. Thanks for the tip.
NONE000000 (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 5, 2010report abuse
Orion, I'm glad you checked him out. I was in Memphis for Elvis week one year and a lady behind the counter at one of the shops talked me into buying "Unfinished Business". And seeing the Jordanaires and David Briggs and Boots Randolph, DJ Fontana and Millie Kirkham all were on the CD I gave it a shot. I still think if RCA or someone malicious were to degrade the sound on "Don't Forbid Me" and put it out claiming it was a long lost studio recording of Elvis, it would fool a lot of people (think of the Million Dollar Quartet version, but with the Jordanaires doing a very similar backing as they did on "Paralyzed" but with stereo sound as clear as the "Elvis is Back" album). And that is part of my appreciation--he does tracks that Elvis was known to have played around with, but never recorded officially in a studio. But I don't wanna push this guy too hard. He absolutely is not Elvis or in the same league, but as these guys go, I haven't heard better. Also, just as a matter of fact, Cyndi Lauper does a shockingly good version of Unchained Melody. Really, I swear.
Orion (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 5, 2010report abuse
I moved on from the Bouke debate to another thought introduced by someone on here. I took his/her advice and ordered a couple of Jamie Aaron Kelley CDs from CDBaby. I must say his "Unfinished Business" CD is very, very good. Thank you for the recommendation. His version of "Poor Man's Gold" is excellent. It's a shame that Elvis was distracted during the recording of this one. It's a great song with poignant lyrics - especially as I get older. Thanks for turning me on this this guys talents. He's not Elvis, but this CD does sound like Elvis' 1960's Studio B music. If you're a fan of those recordings, I can highly recommend this CD.
Mike Landsdown (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 2, 2010report abuse
Great review of what sounds like an awesome concert by Bouke - and being supported by the TCB band must have made it all the more special - let's hope we continue to hear more about it in the future.

Unchained Melody has been interpretted by literally hundreds of artists over the past 60 or so years, with each putting their own stamp on it. To most contemporary audiences, the Righteous Brothers version is the best known (thanks in part to the film 'Ghost'), with artists as diverse as The Manhattan Transfer (with their uptempo, almost comical rendition) and Bing Crosby (with his signature smooth delivery) being among those in my own collection. Elvis' version is different to any other that I have heard, however, it seems to encapsulate the Elvis of 77 more than probably any other song. It sounds as if Bouke's version has really impressed some long term, serious Elvis fans who are declaring his performance better than Elvis'. I, for one, welcome that (especially as it sounds as if it was inspired by Elvis), as great music didn't cease to exist in 1977 - if it did, we certainly would have nothing to look forward to, musically speaking, ever again......
Ton Bruins (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 1, 2010report abuse
Good reaction, worries..nothing wrong to be defensive on Elvis by the
benny scott (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 1, 2010report abuse
KingKreole : it suits you being defensive on Our Man's behalf, but it suits you too having the guts to admit and say "sorry" ! My respect to you as a good human being, hats off ! Always El.
NONE000000 (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 1, 2010report abuse
Loesje ~ Sorry; maybe I was being too defensive on Elvis' behalf. I probably was. Unchained Melody is a tough song to sing, for anyone.
Loesje (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 1, 2010report abuse
This is a Elvis NEWS website and when the TCB band, which played for so long with the one and only King, it is just that. Besides: this article was written in the 'in my opinion' section, so you are more than free to write an article yourself about anything Elvis related ;-)
NONE000000 (profilecontact) wrote on May 31, 2010report abuse
Loesje ~ I was corrected, a rightfully so, because I was spelling the poor guy's name wrong. I commented again because I wanted to at least acknowledge my dumb mistake and say that the guy does do a fair Elvis impersonation. Lots of people do. You wouldn't expect an Elvis Presley website to have articles talking about how a guy who sorta sounds like Elvis Presley does versions of songs Elvis sang, but better than Elvis did. I don't go to a religious website and read about how Jesus was great, but this new priest or pope does "The Lord's Prayer" even better and made Jesus' version "turn pale". Thanks, your new guy might be swell, but I think I will stick with the original.
snowplow floater (profilecontact) wrote on May 31, 2010report abuse
Its all well and good having this TCB band taking care of Business!! The only problem is, Elvis left the building nearly 33 years ago and he made that many movies in less time. Never went to the TCB Experience, even when they had Elvis up on the screen, why should i? Its an illusion, fair play Elvis is the only departed soul to still tour and sell out arenas but the Tcb lot are nothing without the actual Real Elvis and as for traveling with impersonators!! Forget it!! Saying that i caught a Scotty Moore show a few years back with a pink jacketed sideburned greaser and it was a fantastic show!!
Loesje (profilecontact) wrote on May 31, 2010report abuse
King Creole: I thought you didn't want to go on about Bouke anymore? But just to set the record straight: he has a career of his own and is not working as an impersonator. Which would have been a 'no -go' for the TCB Band btw! So, lets move on now ;-)
NONE000000 (profilecontact) wrote on May 30, 2010report abuse
No wonder it was hard to find clips of the guy on youtube, since I was spelling it wrong. Either way, Bouke is a fair Elvis impersonator, a pale imitation of a great artist
benny scott (profilecontact) wrote on May 30, 2010report abuse
Well said Ton ! After all : no big deal, just like you wrote : to each his own, fully agreed! Always El.
Ton Bruins (profilecontact) wrote on May 30, 2010report abuse
KingKreole, benny scott is right. It is Bouke and not Bourke..and nobody says that Bouke is better than Elvis. Just read the comments better and the article is just that soem people think that Bouke has a good voice and does some good versions of Elvis songs, that's all. Doesn't mean that I like Bouke, but to each his own.
benny scott (profilecontact) wrote on May 30, 2010report abuse
KingKreole : would be nice if you could write his name correctly. We're talking about Bouke, and NOT BouRke. This is your second posting in which you misspell his name. And why should his performance not be discussed on this site ? After all, the guy performed with the TCB-band . Hope "TCB-band " rings a bell ? Sorry for being a little sarcastic .
And by the way : Bouke is NO better singer than our man, but he sings , indeed, The King's songs HIS way. I was there that night and kept score of the standing ovations he got from the aucience . Eight (8) times during 1 performance people stood up to give him what he deserved !!! And pls, don't surf to YouTube to hear how he sounds, NO WAY to compare with the live-performance I witnessed .But : there will NEVER EVER be another singer as good as The King, that's a fact . And to conclude : I'm a diehard fan of Our Man, since 1956 !!! (Yessiree, i'm that old, born in 1940, and not ashamed of telling this. I was there when R 'n' R was born , I'm proud to say I stood at the cradle when it all happened in 1954 with Rock Around The Clock. Always(and forever) El.
NONE000000 (profilecontact) wrote on May 30, 2010report abuse
Yeah...since Bourke is such a wonderful singer--better than Elvis on some songs in some people's opinion--and since Bourke isn't just another lame Elvis impersonator, in some people's opinion--may all praise for him should take place over at instead of here? Or doesn't this great "artist" have a website like that?
Wiebe (profilecontact) wrote on May 28, 2010report abuse
Nothing about Elvis's version of UM is out of tune. It's an intimate moving version, that gives you goosebumps. Bouke's version is more like a karaoke version. Stop making fools of yourselves by comparing Bouke to Elvis.
benny scott (profilecontact) wrote on May 27, 2010report abuse
Hi Ton, amen to that ! Fully respect your point of Always El.
Swen (profilecontact) wrote on May 27, 2010report abuse
Dear L. and L. Never understood why it is so important to you to convince us that this guy is so good, an he sings a certain song better than the King? Remember you even got mad at me, Lex, because I said I disagreed. But just a matter of taste and opinion, I guess. But I wouldn´t like to read a whole lot about various young singers all over the world on the site. I come here every day to read about Elvis.
Ton Bruins (profilecontact) wrote on May 27, 2010report abuse
Benny Scott, I have no problems with his voice either. And it's good that a young man like he is, likes Elvis' music and songs. But I just have enough of singers that "flow" on the succes of Elvis. I just call it impersonators. But when people have a great evening by visiting a Bouke concert with the TCB band, that's fine with me. It is just not my thing. Even when he does a fantastic version of Unchained Melody. To say the true, I really don't care. But he is probably a very nice guy and again I wish him all the succes, because I have respect for anybody who goes on a stage and sings. But even when they would give me a thousand euros to visit his show, I wouldn't
Ton Bruins (profilecontact) wrote on May 27, 2010report abuse
Ok, Loesje..I was getting upset
Loesje (profilecontact) wrote on May 27, 2010report abuse
Ton, I wasn't referring to you ;-)
Ton Bruins (profilecontact) wrote on May 27, 2010report abuse
Don't get upset or angry, Loesje. I respect your opinion, no problem. To my ears he imitates Elvis with his voice. And I know that he doesn't look like Elvis. There is so much more emotion in the Elvis' versions of Unchained Melody, nobody can beat that, that's all I stated. And when you also like Bouke's version that's fine to me.
Natha (profilecontact) wrote on May 27, 2010report abuse
Ton Bruins, I am in full agreement with you. Elvis sang with his natural voice and that is the difference. After checking the YouTube files I decided not to attend.
Loesje (profilecontact) wrote on May 27, 2010report abuse
Reading seems difficult these days. I don't want anyone to sing like or imitate Elvis. I just was and am impressed by the interpretation of Bouke's 'unchained melody'. I am only talking about HOW he sings this song. And live before an audience, with only Glen on the piano! All the high notes, all the vocal tricks, he does it splendidly!

If I would have had ANY moment in which I suspected him to imitate Elvis, I would have left the building myself!

He is not trying to sing like Elvis, or trying to look like him: impossible, with blonde hair, blue eyes and jeans, so please hold your horses and don't read things I did not write.
NONE000000 (profilecontact) wrote on May 26, 2010report abuse
I've heard Bourke. He's no Elvis. Actually, Jamie Aaron Kelley is far far better than Bourke. Neither can hold a candle to Elvis Presley, of course. But if you really think Bourke is something special, you really should check out Jamie then. There are some YouTube clips, but better to check out the song samples at CDBaby. No one comes close to Elvis, NO ONE. But Jimmy Ellis was impressive and Jamie Aaron Kelley is as close as I have heard.
Jerome-the-third (profilecontact) wrote on May 26, 2010report abuse
nice for captivated Elvis fans but Bouke's version can not be compared with E's version because the grain of Elvis his voice is unique and touching- unlike Bouke's. neither does Bouke play piano in his version. Many people love Elvis his rendition because of his remarkable touching and recognizable voice- a voice that even made this rendition in the end of his life worthywhile to many listeners..
Orion (profilecontact) wrote on May 26, 2010report abuse
Lex - sorry to misconstrue your thoughts about the Bouke version of "Unchained Melody." Obviously, I wasn't there to witness and hear what you heard, but I was able to hear a studio version of Bouke singing "Unchained" on YouTube. As I said earlier, it was quite enjoyable but it isn't really fair to compare that particular version to Elvis' 1977 live performance of the song. Funny though, hearing Bouke's studio version did make me think about what a Graceland recording of the song could've sounded like for Elvis. That's something that I never even thought of when Jimmy / Orion cut the song back in '90/'91.
Lex (profilecontact) wrote on May 26, 2010report abuse
Orion, we're talking about a live version here!
Orion (profilecontact) wrote on May 26, 2010report abuse
Just a few thought on the subject.. I have never compared a soundalike's version of a song to the real thing. Even when my friend Jimmy Ellis sang an Elvis tune, I never compared the two. As far as saying that a soundalike's version is better than Elvis' version, I cannot say that Bouke's version is better than Elvis', but considering that the only version of "Unchained Melody" we have by Elvis is a live version where Sherrill hits that last falsetto note for Elvis - I can see where maybe the soundalike is a better listen. Obviously, not better but perhaps an easier listen and better produced than the live version by Elvis.
benny scott (profilecontact) wrote on May 26, 2010report abuse
And now, back to basics , ELVIS ! Don't you agree ? Always El.
benny scott (profilecontact) wrote on May 26, 2010report abuse
Ton, I have no problems with the voice, of course I'm nut sure if he's trying on purpose to sound like Elvis or if it's his real "sound" . I did not like the moves he made, that was rather "imitating", but all in all it was a fine performance. It's a good thing we all do not have the same taste(s), would rather be boring, but.. to each his own. Always El.
Ton Bruins (profilecontact) wrote on May 26, 2010report abuse
On the other hand I just don't like it when singers such as Bouke "score" with Elvis' songs and Elvis' succes/career. Further I wish him all the succes in the world with his own songs. There was only one Elvis. I checked Bouke on youtube ofcourse. Just not my taste. Too much imitation in his voice.
benny scott (profilecontact) wrote on May 26, 2010report abuse
Ton : fully agreed ! Of course you have the right to express your own opinion. Being Dutch you can be proud having such a good singer in your country. We, here in Belgium, have Helmut Lotti, but Bouke is way ahead of our Helmut !Have a nice day. Always El.
Ton Bruins (profilecontact) wrote on May 26, 2010report abuse
No, it's not hard to except there are more good singers in this world, no problem. But I am also free to say that Bouke's Unchained Melody is not better than Elvis' versions. It's different, not better. Just my opinion.
benny scott (profilecontact) wrote on May 26, 2010report abuse
Sorry guys, but I have to agree 100 % with Lex and Loesje ! In my former posting I was prudent writing I wasn't saying Unchained Melody was sung better by Bouke than by Elvis, but now there seems to be some reaction : well, in all honesty : UM was, in my opinion, AT LEAST as good as our man's version(s). I also wrote " there will never be another (as good as ) Elvis" and I'll cling to that statement untill the day I die. And NO, Bouke is not singing better than Elvis in general, but what I heard on the 23th of may, together with hundreds of others, was really great. If you were not there don't judge !!! Loesje states " it's just ONE song we're talking about" , and that's it, we're not talking about the whole setlist. One ( good meant ) advise and hint : become a member of the fanclub "Elvis Matters" and you'll obtain the FREE CD with Bouke singing just with Glenn Hardin on piano, in a Nashville recording studio . Listen to the guy, and afterwards...let's talk again !!! One thing I know : if , in the near future, there should be another concert with the TCB band and Bouke as leadsinger, this concert would be a sell-out in a couple of hours ! To be very clear: once again, there will never be another singer as good as Elvis ( that's my personal opinion, and no one has to agree with that ) but again I have to agree with Loesje : is it THAT difficult to accept that there are other great singers on this planet ??Always El.
Loesje (profilecontact) wrote on May 26, 2010report abuse
No, he is not, but his version of Unchained is! And before you guys fall over us again: have you heard him? Or are you all simply refusing to accept that it is possible? It is just this one song, guys, that we are talking about!
NONE000000 (profilecontact) wrote on May 26, 2010report abuse
So "Bourke" is a better singer than Elvis Presley was?
Lex (profilecontact) wrote on May 25, 2010report abuse
No Benny, it didn't come close at all, at least not on Unchained, it was way way better than Elvis' versions. From A to Z in tune... more than you can say of Elvis' versions. And hey, that's just one song, Elvis had a way bigger catalogue than that one song, and he had plenty of excuses... so it is not as if the world is destroyed. Wake up, not everything Elvis did was great (certainly not in '76/'77).
benny scott (profilecontact) wrote on May 25, 2010report abuse
Bouke sang with the TCB band and orchestra conducted by Joe Guercio. These names are connected with Elvis, aren't they Ton ? So the singer and these names justifie the fact there's being talked about on an Elvis-site. Personally I'm not pretending Bouke sang Unchained Melody better than our man, but if you weren't there that night you can't judge. It came very very very ( yes, 3 times "very" ) close , and this is written in a very serious way ! Always El.
Ton Bruins (profilecontact) wrote on May 25, 2010report abuse
Enough about Bouke now please on an Elvis site...Bouke sings Unchained Melody better than Elvis ? Come on Lex..let's get serious..
benny scott (profilecontact) wrote on May 24, 2010report abuse
And , oh yes, I almost forgot..... made the same remark like Lex, yesterday-night after the show : Bouke boy , please don't make the moves, indeed you don't need 'em !!! By doing so you could create a danger that, in the future, some people will say : " he's imitating The King", and I'm sure that's not your goal !!! Always El.
benny scott (profilecontact) wrote on May 24, 2010report abuse
I was there too last night ! Loesje : you are right : Bouke is himself ! Just like Lex I've heard Terry Mike and Maarten in the past, but this guy Bouke beats everything. Oh my God what a voice !!! Some people reacted on the Elvis Matters Guestbook writing that they closed their eyes and that it was as if they were hearing The King. I do NOT agree, I did not hear Elvis, I heard Bouke and it was really great, great, great. Of course there will never be another Elvis and Bouke is not supposed to be equal like our man, but there is no need at all for that, Elvis was (and IS) Elvis, and Bouke is Bouke. I was really blown away by his performance, the voice, charisma,it's all there.I remember that a while ago, when the first announcement for the 2 concerts was made,( or was it when the free CD with 3 songs by Bouke and Glenn Hardin was sent to the members of Elvis Matters, have to look it up , but that's not the point )some members of this site asked " who is this guy Bouke, never heard of him " ( or something like that ). Well, those who never heard of or heard him : better surf to YouTube, enter "Bouke" and listen to the guy who won the Dutch contest "Waar Is Elvis " ( "Where Is Elvis"). I'm in the autumn of my life now, but really glad I had the chance to hear a fantastic singer, and they can't take that away from me. But..... Always El.
Loesje (profilecontact) wrote on May 24, 2010report abuse
I just think he is himself!
JimmyCool (profilecontact) wrote on May 24, 2010report abuse
Yeah, this Bouke guy is very good... a mix of Rio and Doug Church!
Loesje (profilecontact) wrote on May 23, 2010report abuse
My words exactly :-) Couldn't agree more!

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