Wanda Jackson was a mere 16 years old when she cut her first single, but while she was a better than average country crooner from the start, it wasn't until the summer of 1956 that Jackson began to sing like the force of nature now recognized as the first great female rocker. A few things happened to Jackson during that two-year stretch between her recorded debut and her shift into high gear, and one of them was meeting Elvis Presley, who was still recording for Sun when she first played a show with him on July 20, 1955. Jackson generously acknowledges that Elvis taught her how to bring out her inner rock & roller, and they were close friends for years (and for a little while boyfriend and girlfriend). On this album, Jackson pays homage to the Hillbilly Cat by covering 13 songs associated with Elvis, most dating from his days at Sun or from the early years of his tenure with RCA, along with one new song, "I Wore Elvis' Ring," and two spoken word cuts in which she shares her memories of Presley. For the most part, the production and arrangements are in the classic rockabilly mode, with guitarist and producer Danny B. Harvey, drummer Clem Burke, and veteran pianist Don Randi playing with skill and high style without getting in the way of the star of the show, and while Jackson's voice has started to show some slight signs of wear, she dives into these tunes with audible enthusiasm and a great feel for the material. Jackson brings her own style and personality to these songs, no small accomplishment, and while her phrasing leans toward the honky tonk material that dominated the greatest part of her career, her performances reveal what she learned from Elvis as well as what she found in her own musical personality when she embraced the joys of rock & roll. I Remember Elvis is something short of revelatory, but it is a sincere and loving tribute to an influential artist from someone who learned from him first-hand, and it proves that Jackson is still the Queen of Rock & Roll just as much as Elvis remains the King. Fine stuff.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming