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Robert Gordon and Chris Spedding

It's Now Or Never – 2007 (Rykodisc)

Reviewed by Steven Freedman

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CDs by Robert Gordon and Chris Spedding

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Robert Gordon has Elvis Presley down pat on this 15-song collection commemorating the 30th anniversary of the King's passing.

It is eerily possible to listen to Gordon sing "Don't Be Cruel," "Love Me Tender," "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" and the title cut and come away with the feeling that Elvis is somehow inhabiting Gordon's vocal chords.

The conundrums are the appearance of veteran session player and gifted guitarist Chris Spedding, who shares the billing with his old cohort and the contribution of Elvis' former backup singers, the Jordanaires.

Spedding's presence is all but lost on the listener as he is rarely given a chance to stretch his wares. Opportunities where he is allowed to shine are on "Too Much" and "Trying to Get to You." The Jordanaires can be appreciated only for the authenticity they lend to the project and their contributions on "Peace in the Valley" and "Don't Leave Me Now." All of this is not surprising since extended guitar riffs and backup vocalists being given free rein were not exactly symbolic of the Elvis - laden '50s. Besides, having Robert Gordon as the main attraction is easy to take.