One of the risks of doing an album of Elvis tunes is that it will be lumped with the multitude of mostly lame tributes put out since 1977. Billy Swan's latest release, however, manages to put a fresh twist on some of the most familiar songs ever recorded.
Swan kicks it off with an uptempo rendition of "Suspicious Minds" in a stylereminiscent of the pop group Squeeze and Leapy Lee's "Feels So Good."
Other tunes radically revamped are the ballad "Wooden Heart," done here asa Jerry Lee Lewis style romp, "Viva Las Vegas, performed as an acapella doo-wop, and "That's All Right," which transforms the Arthur Crudup classic into reggae.
Swan's sense of humor comes through on Bill Monroe's "Blue Moon Of Kentucky," arranged in a ballad style that at first suggests that we are about to hear Rodgers and Hart's "Blue Moon." The Memphis Horns (Wayne Jackson, Andrew Love) lend their unique touch to "Burning Love," "Too Much," and Swan's original " Memphis Rocks," which celebrates the mystique of the city complete with images of Elvis eating barbecue on Beale Street.
Guitarist James Lott is superb throughout, sounding much like James Burtonon "Milkcow Blues Boogie" and "Mystery Train," and adding a George Harrison style slide guitar on "Burning Love."
Recorded at Sun Studio, Swan may not do it exactly "Like Elvis Used To Do," but this album would make the King proud.