Our long time member Deano1 continues his series of original album reviews with Elvis Now
Elvis Now – LP Review – Original Release Feb. 1972 ***
Peaked at #43 on the US Album Chart and spent 19 weeks on the charts.
After a string of successful albums both on the charts and artistically (from 1968’s "Elvis – NBC TV Special" to "Elvis Country" in 1971), 1971 saw the first subpar LP release since the soundtrack days with "Love Letters From Elvis". "Love Letters" wasn’t bad, but it was a definite step down from those previous releases. After a good Christmas LP release in October of 1971, there was hope and anticipation for Elvis’ next release.
Originally perceived as a folk album, the final product had hints of folk music, but also hits on other genres. Sometimes with brilliant success and other times with abject failure. The positive news is that the good out-weighs the bad, but it is an album that could have been so much more.
Elvis sounds a little tired on the verses of the opening song "Help Me Make It through the Night"; however he really opens it up on the chorus and make the song an effective opener, similar to "Songbird" on the "Elvis Country". The next three selections are little puzzling and really bring down the overall quality of the album.
"Miracle of the Rosary" is a well performed sacred song that isn’t overly memorable and definitely seems out of place on the album. One has to wonder why the folksy "A Thing Called Love" wasn’t used on this LP and MOTR on the "He Touched Me" LP.
"Hey Jude" is the next selection and it is abysmal. Elvis isn’t taking the song seriously and one has to wonder why this song was chosen. Elvis had recorded a lot of material in 1971 and this was the second album (Ff to use tracks from those songs and this reject from 1969 is used.
Another sacred song is next and it fits into what the original feel of the album was supposed to be, folk pop music. "Put Your Hand in Your Hand" isn’t one of Elvis’ best sacred songs, but it is well performed by Elvis, the band and the Imperials.
Side one ends on a very high note with "Until It’s Time for You to Go". A folk ballad sung perfectly by Elvis. He wrings every bit last of emotion out of the lyrics and almost seems to sob over some of the words.
Side two is a little uneven, but overall an enjoyable listening experience. The highlight of this is the first song "We can Make the Morning". A song totally unlike any other in the Elvis catalog. It has a very 70’s feel to it and the song itself is well-written. One has to wonder why it couldn’t get any airplay on radio except it might have been a tad long for 70’s AM radio.
The remaining four songs range from good to average. A good rendition of the folk song "Early Morning Rain" followed by a slightly over-the-top, but enjoyable ballad "Sylvia" leading into average album filler "Fools Rush In". None are highlights of Elvis’ career, but none are anywhere near the worst songs or performances recorded by him.
The song used as the subtitle of the "Elvis Country" LP and heard in snippets between the songs on that album, completes the album, "I Was Born About 10,000 Years Ago". A good folk song given a breezy effort by Elvis that is again, enjoyable, but not among his best.
I enjoy listening to this album (minus "Hey Jude") to this day even though it is far from his best work. It is an album that makes you scratch your head thought due to the song selection and the reduction to only 10 songs (TTWII an "Elvis Country" had 12 and "Love Letters" 11 with one of those being a five minute jam). Why with so many folk pop songs to choose from that were recorded in 1971 were songs like "Miracle of the Rosary", "Hey Jude" and even "Sylvia" chosen. The latter of those two were leftovers from earlier sessions.
This has led to me wondering how much more a true Folk Pop album would have been received by the buying public. What do you think of this alternate "Elvis Now" LP?
Help Me Make It Through The Night
For Lovin’ Me
Put Your Hand In the Hand
Until It’s Time For You To Go
I Was Born About 10,000 Years Ago
We Can Make the Morning
Early Morning Rain
The Sound of Your Cry
Fools Rush In
A Thing Called Love
Don’t Think Twice