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Elvis Sings Flaming Star

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Album Review

In the spring of 1969, after a trough of several years, the public finally seemed genuinely interested in Elvis Presley again — the NBC special had been broadcast, the first of the Memphis-based, Chips Moman-produced comeback albums was about to be released, he was being heard on the radio again, and it probably seemed like a good idea to test the waters with some budget-priced product. That's the only possible explanation for the existence of Elvis Sings Flaming Star, a low-priced LP that showed up in the late winter of 1969, encompassing songs drawn from across eight years of Elvis' recording history. Even more astonishing is how this seemingly haphazard assembly of material — including a title song (from one of his best movies) that had not previously appeared on an LP, a live cut from the 1968 NBC special, and a two-song Texas medley that would be completely embarrassing in the hands of anyone else — holds up as well as it did. It is the voice, of course, that matters here — Presley's singing was so good at the points captured on this nothing-seeming little budget release that he could make even the most dubious song seem worth two minutes of one's time. And on "Too Much Monkey Business" and "She's a Machine" you even get the hard, edgy side of Elvis that had been obscured by too many third-rate movie songs. The rock music critics who were around in 1969 were never quite sure what to make of this album because it was a given that it was nothing but the most superficial scratching of the surface of that library, yet time has allowed it to age well, as a strange and idiosyncratic (but strangely satisfying on its own terms) compilation. If it added nothing to his reputation in 1969, then it at least offered an inexpensive way for the curious and the unfamiliar to get a smattering of some of his work that was otherwise mostly unavailable at the time.

Customer Reviews

Gone country

He can sing anything good .


Born: January 8, 1935 in Tupelo, MS

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s

Elvis Presley may be the single most important figure in American 20th century popular music. Not necessarily the best, and certainly not the most consistent. But no one could argue with the fact that he was the musician most responsible for popularizing rock & roll on an international level. Viewed in cold sales figures, his impact was phenomenal. Dozens upon dozens of international smashes from the mid-'50s to the mid-'70s, as well as the steady sales of his catalog and reissues since his death...
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