We have heard all the songs and have bought all the records. There are box sets and rarities. There always seems to be more new Elvis material available every year. There is also a plethora of music that is related to Elvis, but recorded by others. There are three major categories of Elvis music. First there are songs about Elvis. Next there are the ubiquitous Elvis impersonators, who try to sound like the King. Finally we have the tributes and cover versions of Elvis' songs. We present a short review of each record as well as a photo of each one.

Click on any individual image to enlarge.

MOJO NIXON & SKID ROPER "BO DAY SHUS" This is where you will find the unedited version of the Classic "Elvis Is Everywhere". (The 45 is missing the last verse). This song is an epic rant which celebrates the universality of the King. The quintessential Elvis tune in our humble opinion. For those with the fortitude to do so, check out "The Pleasure Barons Live in Las Vegas". Here Mojo unleashes a 12 minute live version of the tune. Not for the faint of heart.

MOJO NIXON & SKID ROPER "ROOT HOG OR DIE". On this album Mojo brings us a followup of sorts to "Elvis is Everywhere" in the form of "619 239-KING". While not of the magnitude of his classic, this is nonetheless a pretty cool tune. The guys get bluesy on this one as Mojo, not convinced that Elvis is dead, implores the King to give him a call. He has a hotline set up to facilitate the call...the "E-Phone"! He even contemplates marrying Lisa Marie to achieve his goal. Considering who she did marry, Mojo might be a little bit too normal for her taste.

KIRSTY MACOLL "THERE'S A GUY WORKS DOWN THE CHIP SHOP SWEARS HE'S ELVIS". The late British songstress gives us perhaps the perfect pop song. Her smooth vocals combined with an irresistable hook result in what could be the best Elvis song of them all. On the flip side there is a great country version of the same tune. Both versions can also be found on the excellent LP "Desperate Character". After listening to this one you will be singing it to yourself all day.

J.D. SUMNER "ELVIS HAS LEFT THE BUILDING" Possibly the worst Elvis song. We know that J.D. was Elvis's friend and that this tribute is heartfelt, but this is unlistenable. Most certainly even Elvis cringed when this song drifted his way. Perhaps the longest four minutes ever pressed onto vinyl.

LEON RUSSELL "ELVIS AND MARILYN" Great idea! Cool sleeve! Bad record! This could have been a classic but instead of the bluesy grit of his early work or the haunting simplicity of his brilliant "Carny" we get a bland overproduced attempt at commercial success. A schmaltzy lament over the fact that Elvis and Marilyn were never lovers. Doesn't even have clever lyrics. What a shame.

HUMAN RADIO "ME AND ELVIS" Clever lyrics abound here. Human Radio was a one hit wonder and this was the hit. They formed in 1989 just as new wave was on it's way out and the Seattle movement was on it's way in. They simply fell through the cracks and disappeared. This is a breezy tune about cruising and hanging out with the King. Clever lyrics? "Me and Elvis never worried about the cops. He flashed that badge he got from Nixon every time that we got stopped".

ORIGINAL FETISH "I'M GLAD ELVIS IS DEAD" Heresy! Blasphemy! Pompous group of so-called satirists gave us this feeble attempt at humor. If it had any redeeming musical value, all might be forgiven. But the tune is weak and the lyrics are lamer than "Elvis and Marilyn". I'm glad Original Fetish is dead.

ELVIS MANIA-More Elvis songs than you thought existed are on this two disc set. 52 to be exact. All novelty songs, with "All American Boy" being the only one close to being a hit. And there are two versions of it, plus a sequel included. Lots of Dickie Goodman style montages and Elvis in the Army songs. Most were recorded 1956-1962. Value as historical document, not worth repeated listening.

ELVIS MANIA 2-You didn't think you were getting off that easy did you? There's more where that came from. Mercifully only one disc this time. Same kind of stuff, with a third version of "All American Boy" and Rick Dees' obnoxious "He Ate Too Many Jelly Donuts", which is actually worse than his number one hit "Disco Duck". Volumes 3 & 4 have now been released, but we will spare you the details.

STEVE GOODMAN "ELVIS IMITATOR" Another candidate for best Elvis song. The late great Steve Goodman's take on Elvis impersonators is right on target. He delivers his amazing lyrics with his typically deadpan humor. "I was imitating him before he died"! If you are a Parrothead you know that Jimmy Buffett covered this tune under the guise of "Freddie and the Fishsticks". His version can be found on the "Bars" disc of his "Beaches Boats and Bars" box set.

JANIS MARTIN "THE FEMALE ELVIS" A good place to segue into the impersonator segment, since she once recorded a tune called "My Boy Elvis", which was a minor hit for her. She was signed as a 15 year old by RCA shortly after they signed the King. RCA soon released an album that featured Janis on one side and Elvis on the other. The Colonel blew a fuse and the record was quickly pulled from the shelves. Even though she was marketed as the female Elvis, musically she owed more to Patsy Cline than to Elvis. By the time she was 16, she was married and pregnant. Not exactly what RCA had in mind. They soon dropped her and Janis never recovered.

JIMMY ELLIS "ORION" The first to cash in as an Elvis impersonator. He showed up immediately after Elvis' death sporting a Lone Ranger mask and sounding just like the King. The gimmick was "Is that really Elvis behind the mask?" He was able to sustain his career performing a mixture of Elvis' and his own tunes until 1997 when he was shot and killed during a robbery at his pawn shop. He left behind a considerable body of work, much of which is still available.

EL VEZ "THE MEXICAN ELVIS" More than just an Elvis impersonator. He is El Vez. He will tell you that Elvis was his father. He will tell you that Charro was his mother. You will believe him. He is El Vez. He will pull you into his world and take you with him. You will love every minute of it. He is El Vez.

JIMMY BROWN "THE KING"-On "Gravelands" Jimmy Brown, an Irish Impersonator, comes up with a new twist. If Elvis is in heaven, what songs is he singing? Why other dead guys songs of course! The King runs the gamut, everyone from Kobain to Marley to Hendrix to Old Blue Eyes. At times he sounds earilly like Elvis. He should have done "Free Bird" instead of "Sweet Home Alabama" though.

JOHNNY DEVLIN "NEW ZEALAND'S ELVIS" New Zealand's first rock star and possibly the great grandaddy of Elvis impersonators worldwide. For nearly two years beginning in 1957 he built a following performing exclusively Elvis material. He eventually expanded his influences and remained popular through the 70's. He still works the clubs Down Under to this day.

??????????? We need some help with this one. We are told that this guy is from Thailand. We dont read or understand Thai, so we don't know his name. We do know that he recorded this EP, recorded in Thai of course. He does a pretty good job, but what's the deal with "Wooden Heart"? Not exactly an Elvis signature tune. If you know who this guy is, send us an email.

INTERNATIONAL ELVIS IMPERSONATORS CONVENTION- Five ethinic stereotypes do their schtick to Elvis tunes on this Rhino EP. Catskills veteran Yankel Prestein has been impersonating Elvis since 1939. Hound Dog Fujimoto has appeared as Elvis in 24 Japanese films, most notably "Elvis Vs Godzilla". Argentinian Ellis Von Berman hones his "Reich & Roll" at the "Deutchland Mansion". Gunga Maharesley is a rare Indian Elvis (no leather jackets there). Elvisini Preliani is the only one without a bio in the liner notes but think "Pavarotti". The whole gang camps it up for the encore "My Way". Very corny stuff. Straight from the Borscht Belt.

POUR LES AMATEURS D'ELVIS VOL 2- Sacre bleu, eh? At first we thought we had a French Elvis on our hands, but soon realized that he was French Canadian. "Cool" we thought. Elvis tunes sung in French. Sort of. Turns out that this is the late Quebecan Johnny Farago who runs through the usual Elvis set with five of the tunes also sung in French. He writes new lyrics for these, the best being "Obsession" (to the tune of "Suspicion") because it is such a cool song and the only one of the five that sounds good in French. By the way we could not find evidence of the existence of Vol. 1 anywhere.

BOB HARRISON-THE MAN OF MANY VOICES-This one has been included just to show how far reaching Elvis' influence actually is. Bob Harrison does not try to sound like Elvis. He does not cover Elvis' material. He writes his own songs. But just look at this guy!

DREAD ZEPPELIN-These guys have to be included in here somewhere. They are a hard rock band with three distinct obsessions; Led Zeppelin, Reggae, and Elvis. Led by front man Tortelvis, who sounds a bit like Elvis, they mix Elvis and Zep tunes, often with a reggae groove. Though they might on the surface appear to be a one trick pony, they combine these elements so well that they have forged their own identity. "You ain't nothin' but a black dog". Indeed!

THE RESIDENTS-"THE KING AND " At this point we will move into the realm of the Elvis tribute, although this curiosity can hardly be considered a tribute. San Francisco's Residents are more performance artists than rock band, as this disc proves. The story of an Elvis impersonator telling his grandchildren about the "Boy King" is intermingled with the Residents versions of well known Elvis tunes. Not very good musically. Elvis fans will hate it.

THE LAST TEMPTATION OF ELVIS-Two disc compilation presented by New Musical Express. Mainstream rockers such as McCartney, Springsteen and Plant side by side with bands such as the Blow Monkeys, Jesus And Mary Chain and The Cramps. Results are as varied as the perfomers. Personal favorite is Sydney Youngblood's a capella version of "Teddy Bear". P.S. What are Hall and Oates doing here?

HONEYMOON IN VEGAS-Soundtrack from the movie of the same name. Another mixed bag, dominated by country artists. Some good stuff, especially Dwight Yoakum's version of "Suspicious Minds" and John Mellencamp's creative take on "Jailhouse Rock". All in all pretty listenable, despite the presence of Billy Joel on two(!) cuts.

IT'S NOW OR NEVER-THE TRIBUTE TO ELVIS-Another compilation, once again heavy on the country side of the coin. Same kind of mix as the "Honeymoon" disc. No Billy Joel this time, but we are treated to a Michael Bolton track. He duets with Carl Perkins on "Jailhouse Rock" resulting in probably his best recorded work. Highlights include Michael Hutchence teaming up with NRBQ for a rousing "Baby Let's Play House" and Chris Isaac's Roy Orbison-like take on "Blue Moon".

NIGHT OF 100 ELVISES-Another compilation, this time comprised of acts that perform at the annual event of the same name. Lots of really cool stuff here by Baltimore area bands such as The Beltways, Towering Beehives, Monsters From The Surf, and Honky Tonk Confidential. Highly recommended, although it is admittedly somewhat difficult sitting through the entire 8 minute "Clambake Medley".

STUDIO 99 "LADIES AND GENTLEMEN ELVIS HAS NOT LEFT THE BUILDING"- Unnamed studio musicians attempt to recreate Elvis' classics note for note. While they are competent musicians, what's the point? Hasn't Elvis already done it? Kind of like rewriting "Gone With The Wind" with a few spelling errors. A successful cover artist adds something personal to the song. Listen to what Shawn Colvin does to "Viva Las Vegas" for example. Do yourself a favor, pick up a copy of "Elvis 56".

SWING CATS-"A SPECIAL TRIBUTE TO ELVIS" Slim Jim Phantom of the Stray Cats put out this uneven tribute to the King. Phantom drums his way through fourteen Elvis tunes, backed by an assortment of friends. Several vocalists are used, none of whom stand out. The best track on the collection is an instrumental version of "Viva Las Vegas", featuring Johnny Ramone on guitar. We think that Jim should have recorded this one with the Stray Cats.

ALBERT KING-"BLUES FOR ELVIS" Blues great Albert King surprised everyone when he released this excellent tribute in 1970. King's smooth as silk guitar playing and soulful vocals are backed by the Stax house band. Produced by Duck Dunn and Al Jackson of Booker T & The MGs fame. If you own only one Elvis tribute, it should be this one.


             
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