Elvis Presley’s “Spinout” Reviewed

Written by | June 7, 2016 5:09 | one response

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“Tomorrow Is A Long Time” wasn’t taken as a slow country love ballad, not folkie at all,  it sounds like something Jim Reeves could have sung and Presley, after so much years of so many nonsense lyrics, try “Datin'”  from just a year earlier , know what he has on his hands. A Bob Dylan lyric of such immense feeling, Presley tries to touch it lightly, as though any sale of it would be overkill. “Lonesome would mean nothing to me at all”, is a Presley payoff line, for all his money and success and girls, between the Memphis Mafia and the Colonel, lonesome meant something, indeed.

The Dylan track is a very pure love song: her absence makes it impossible for the man to rest in comfort, his need for his own true love is so complete that without it there is nothing, “I can’t hear the echo of my footsteps”, Dylan said, a lost distraught where without the sound of her heartbeat, he can no longer hear anything at all.

Presley’s vocal is so understated and stately, it has the pace of thought and he sings it like he is thinking it, like we are listening in on his most innermost moments. A sublime version of a great Dylan version.

The rest of the album #27  isn’t the usual dross, since Presley plays the leader of a four piece rock band, on the live in show numbers, “Stop Look And Listen”, “Adam And Evil”, “Never Say Yes” -all mediocre rockers performed on stage here. The outtake “Down In The Alley” is a handily grafted blues track with a cool harp. The rest of it is less, but it isn’t an unmitigated disaster.  “Am I Ready” would be  an ok ballad if they’d bothered to write a song for him to sing.

But it is getting old, sales are on a steady decline, the movies are bad and the albums no  better and as you listen you can’t help but start getting irritated with the man. Time is short, don’t waste it on “Beach Shack”, a calypso dog. There is something so hermetic about Presley, so completely out of sync with himself. It was 1966, the summer of bore, and in a way Presley has abdicated from the world: he sounds so distracted. It comes too easily and it is seldom good enough for him to make the effort.

Grade: C

 

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