If there's one thing that's been consistent over the years of my thrift store shopping, it's been Elvis Presley tribute albums. There's tons of them!
So here's how a tribute album works... A bunch of half-talented studio musicians get together, record a bunch of songs, throw it on an album with deceiving artwork (and sometimes no artwork at all), and use fine print to warn the buyer that they are not buying a real album - and that's if they put fine print on the album at all. Lots of people have been duped into buying tribute albums all the way from the 1960s up to the present day.
Judging from the sheer amount of Elvis tribute albums, it seems to me that at one point EVERYONE wanted to be Elvis. NEWS FLASH: You are not Elvis. I am not Elvis. You don't sound like Elvis. You don't smell like Elvis. However, I'm in favor of you DYING like Elvis.
The Golden Ring - Tribute to Elvis Vol 1 & 2
Believe it or not, these two tribute albums sold incredibly well. I run across them very frequently. My guess is they came out right around the time that Elvis died. Combine that with the real picture of Elvis on the cover and a somewhat successful hole-in-the-ground record label (thanks to Anne Murray) and you've got a hit album. I was duped into buying these when I was around 7 years old, and I've seen at least a hundred copies of them.
The Golden Ring didn't just stick with Elvis tributes though. I have a few albums by them singing songs by other artists, including Glen Campbell. For some reason, bands who try to sound like Elvis also like to try sounding like Glen Campbell which I've proven once before.
So here a song from each volume.
Listen to Jailhouse Rock
What the hell is the drummer doing on this one? He puts lots of extra beats in there. There's also no electric guitar. The guitar was the coolest thing about the original version. Instead, the song has turned into a drunken piano ragtime piece of shit.
Listen to I Just Can't Help Believing
Oh, listen to that crowd applause that's faded in and out! It sounds like there's a concert hall full of people enjoying the balls out of a Golden Ring concert. I personally don't believe that The Golden Ring has ever played a live show, and I don't believe that ANYBODY would ever attend one based on their tribute albums. Thankfully for them, there's a large selection of Sound Effects records out there to help boost their egos and make them sound like they've successfully played in front of hundreds of excited fans. Then they woke up and found their penises cum-glued to their bed sheets.
Ronnie McDowell - The Original Soundtrack from the New Motion Picture: "Elvis"
This is apparently the soundtrack for a NEW movie called "Elvis". When you print the word "new" on your album, you automatically look like an asshole. In this case, 8-tracks haven't been mass produced in about 30 years, so I highly doubt that this is a new movie anymore. It's not even a fucking classic because nobody has ever heard of it. I don't think the movie is even available on DVD, VHS, Laserdisc, CED, Betamax, or 16mm. If by some chance I'm wrong, I'll most certainly have the machine to play it on since I own all of those formats.
However, I need to give Ronnie McDougall credit. He duplicates Elvis Presley VERY well.
Listen to Are You Lonesome Tonight
Various Artists - A Tribute to Elvis Presley
Up until this point, we've focused on releases on the Arc label. Now we move onto one of the most celebrated and shitty tribute album labels on Classical Gas Emissions... Sound Alike Music! The phony sticker says it's performed by various artists, but every single tribute album I have by them (with the exception of the compilations) have each been performed by a single band, whether it be The Chancellors, Phil Shields, or Cabbage.
Sound Alike Music is also notorious for doing paintings of original album covers (with the exception of the Grand Funk one which uses the real artwork). So I searched the net and found the original one here.
This is the worst of the four. Not only does the singer NOT sound like Elvis, the band doesn't even try to duplicate the arrangements to be remotely similar to the originals. Even the arrangements they came up with are stupider than a group of retarded children licking ant hills. Heartbrake Hotel (yes, that's how it's fucking spelled on the album) has too many trumpets, an organ, and a guitar player who thinks he's way cooler than the rest of the band by going off and doing something that isn't even part of the song. Have you ever eaten a microwaved peanut butter and cheese sandwich? That's how well these guys work together, and you're going to taste the fail of an album that should have never reached your ears.
There were so many bad ones to pick from, and Heartbrake Hotel ended up being just a little less bad than Blue Suede Shoes. The band is most obviously made up of deaf musicians who can't hear each other play. Poor fake Elvis has to try and make them look better by calling them "cats" as if they're the coolest backing band an Elvis Impersonator could ask for. After the recording, he went and took a shit because it felt better than the entire recording session. Then he died of a heart attack, realizing that taking a shit was more satisfying than being an Elvis Impersonator working at Sound Alike Music.
Listen to Blue Suede Shoes
And that's it for the first installment. I have at least four more Elvis tribute albums to tackle, and I'll most likely own more than that when I finally get around to reviewing them.
Speaking of which, I'm going to be featured on Amateur Hour again by Kent Davies. If you live in Winnipeg, that's 95.9 FM. The show is on August 21 at 5:00 pm. I'll be featuring some stuff that I've previously posted along with stuff that I've haven't got around to posting as of yet. It will be enjoyable for everybody!