That Elvis sure is a card! Just when you think he’s cashed his last chip and sold so low he can’t get no crasser, he comes along with something like this and proves that he and Colonel Bogey are still one jump ahead of the rest of us would-be Barnums. You gotta love him for it; it makes him matter, and even if that don’t matter, his exploi-expertise is his charm.
Since the Big EP had just cut his most gutsy single in a skunk’s age, causing some fools to drool on spec ’bout how he just might be about to make that big authentic album — well, if you were Elvis, what would you do? Cater to these cretins who’ve missed your point for over a decade? No! You wouldn’t make that album now even if you’d had some hankerin’ to, because they don’t deserve it besides which you just feel like being ornery.
What you would do instead is take this monolithic taco and put it out as the centerpiece on a whole lazy susan of the same old shit you been blurping out for years. In fact, you wouldn’t even bother to record new same old shit, you’d just put on a blindfold and take some darts and toss ’em at a few of yer old tripe faces, then you’d take out your whittlin’ shiv and slice out the cuts with the dart holes in ’em and sluice ’em right on down to RCA Camden, the Victor empire’s cheapo scrapyard, and sell the whole cuddly kaboodle for 2/3rds to half of what an official new EP set on the mother label would cost. Takes smarts to make hay in muzak biz, Junior! Keep your eye on that man.
But you! You don’t have every Elvis album, so you got no excuse for passing up Burning Love and Schlocko-plus, because I bet you’re one of these hip dips who never bought a single Elvis soundtrack in all your born days. In which case you don’t know what you’re missing — some of the goofiest gruel this side of Kathryn Kuhlman. It’s like watching a really shitty cartoon on TV: You know that Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy eat pud flakes, but you’ll sit there and watch it anyway because you’re sick and tired of all this never ending barrage of significance pounding away at your prefrontals. Who but a snot-hip dud could resist Elvis prattling away at the mandolin-dripping proto-quaeso sea chanty “I Love Only One Girl” (“… in every town/ The one I’ve got my arms around.” Bet Joe Dallesandro don’t score that heavy!)
Or the soggy enchilada emoting of “Guadalajara” from Fun in Acapulco where Elvis tries out his Latin accent while the rurales yip at him proving that even South of the Border and in foreign climes Elvis is always good for a bellylaugh. “Santa Lucia” is more of the same, and rightly so, while “No More” is a wahine-melting hula-samba from Blue Hawaii, and “Tender Feeling” is a limpoid makeout ballad from El’s Ozark epic Kissin’ Cousins. Damn me to a turnip if this record don’t overflow with more international and ethnic goodwill-by-eclecticism than any platter since the Longines Symphonette used to placebo the Cold War by cramming 30-second versions of folksongs from every nation on the globe into one two-record set. Fuck them protest kooks — Elvis’ heart is in the right place and if you don’t buy this album you’re a Commie!
Besides, we gotta support RCA Camden and make sure it stays in business. This is the best album they’ve released since TV Action Jazz! by Mundell Lowe and His All Stars and that came out in 1958, so their history has been somewhat spotty, but given the people Papa Vic is signing today their future literally glitters: just image cheapo racks full of albums like Lou Reed’s Golden Gutter, or David Bowie, the Moonlight and You. The future’s as bright for us as Elvis’ past!