Life at 33 1/3: A paragon of virtue

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Elvis Presley: Loving You (soundtrack) (RCA Victor)

The raw, authentic nerve of the SUN singles and the first two RCA albums meets Hollywood.  I’d call it a draw.  The album delivers a mix of blistering rock’n’roll, gentle ballads, show tunes and well played cover versions.  The arrangements and the way especially the fast-paced numbers are presented in the movie downplays Elvis’ rebellious image.  

Check out the YouTube-link for “Got A Lot O’ Livin’ To Do” where two frightened middle-aged ladies in the audience are seduced by Elvis’ charm within a scant two frantic minutes.  They look visibly relieved.  What a charming young man, he’s not a juvenile delinquent at all!  He’s not after the knickers of teenage America, he’s a paragon of virtue, a teddy bear, a well-mannered entertainer, a defender of American traditions and a role model for the young.  That’s Hollywood for you, and that’s what Hollywood wanted Elvis to be.  But they didn’t succeed just yet.

As a teenage movie “Loving You” is stupid in an entertaining sort of way.  But I recommend you listen to the album as just an album.  The movie might ruin it for you.  There are actually songs here that’ve got the fire in them, even if they might appear a bit over-dressed.  Check out “Got A Lot O’ Livin’ To Do”, “Mean Woman Blues” and “Party”.  They rock.  And Elvis sings them like he means it.

There are also some ballads here that’ve got enough authentic blues in them to win you over, even if they are sugary.  Check out the title track, “Don’t Leave Me Now” and “I Need You So”.  Then there’s the pop chestnut “Teddy Bear”, written into the film because the producer liked it so much.  Elvis’ fling with Bing Crosby does not impress, however, and his version of Fats Domino’s “Blueberry Hill” does not add anything to the superior original.

The cover photo has always puzzled me.  Why did they pick that shot?  The flabby and grumpy guy who eyes you with suspicion doesn’t look much like a rock’n’roll star.

Released:  July 1, 1957

Produced by:  Steve Sholes

Side One

(Songs from the film “Loving You”):

1. “Mean Woman Blues” (Demetrius)  2:15

2. “(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear” (Mann/Lowe)  1:45

3. “Loving You” (Leiber /Stoller)  2:12

4. “Got a Lot O’ Livin’ to Do” (Schroeder/Weisman)  2:31

5. “Lonesome Cowboy” (Tepper/Bennett)  3:07

6. “Hot Dog” (Leiber/Stoller)  1:17

7. “Party” (Robinson)  1:27

Side Two:

1. “Blueberry Hill” (Rose/Lewis/Stock)  2:38

2. “True Love” (Porter)  2:07

3. “Don’t Leave Me Now” (Schroeder/Weisman)  2:00

4. “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?” (Russell /Wiseman)  2:30

5. “I Need You So” (Hunter)  2:40

Personnel:

Elvis Presley – vocals, acoustic guitar (playing the back of his guitar on “Teddy Bear” and “True Love”)

Scotty Moore – electric guitar

Tiny Timbrell – acoustic guitar

Dudley Brooks – piano

Gordon Stoker – piano

Hoyt Hawkins – piano, organ

Bill Black – double bass

D.J. Fontana – drums

The Jordanaires – backing vocals

George Fields – harmonica

Hits from the album:

“(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear” #1 (US), #3 (UK)

“Loving You” (B-side of the above) #20 (US), #24 (UK)

“Party” #2 (UK)

“Got A Lot O’ Livin’ To Do” (B-side of the above) #17 (UK)