Thursday, March 1, 2012

Elvis Presley

March, 2012: I revisited a wallet of CDs I used to carry around with me during a certain rootless, homeless period of my life.  Most of them were burns from Nic's vast collection, and comps of favourites put together by him or Galea.  I'd listened to them heavily, drawing comfort from them.  Revisiting them was a bit scary - would these CDs suck me back into that sad time?  Music is magic, and I wouldn't dare underestimate it.  
Among the CDs I revisited was one of Elvis's, Rhythm And Country.  It's a burn, so I don't have the liner notes, but it's a late-90s release of a session he did in Memphis in 1973, including heads and tails where Elvis is warming up and mucking up.  Not that I had any doubt, but it proves his consummate skill as a singer.  The song I fell profoundly and permanently in love with, back in 2003, was Danny O'Keefe's 'Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues'; this time, it was 'YOUR LOVE'S BEEN A LONG TIME COMING'.  There's nothing to this song, so it seems; it's built in a loose and slap-dash way around that one line: "Baby, your love's been a long time coming."  Next comes: "Baby, your love's got a hold on me/ Baby, your love's sure got me humming/ Baby, your love's been a long time coming."  I can picture a few songwriters (some internetting has yielded up three authors: Carmol Taylor, Norris D. Wilson and R. Bourke) whipping it up in five minutes - "Hey, what rhymes with 'coming'?"  "Bumming, gumming?  Humming?"  And I can see Elvis singing the lyric straight off the page, accidentally skipping over a verse, adding a second chorus to make up for it, (it goes: verse, another verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, chorus), the session players adeptly following him.  To me, it sounds like the work of experts, the sort of perfection people can throw off only after years of slaving over their craft.  "I felt a feeling, such a wonderful feeling, that I never felt before" - I would never be game to write such a line!  Then to repeat similar waffle in the bridge, "Deep in my heart there's a feeling I never knew."  But somehow it all binds together, melody, lyric, performance, capturing a specific emotion.  If you are ever at a point in your life when, after untold number of romantic disappointments, you finally find someone who really loves you (and vice versa), this is the song you'll be singing.

This is a bit more produced (the backing vocals are a bit excessive) than the version I was listening to, but it's still good: