Elvis Presley

Loving You

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Purporting to be the soundtrack to Elvis' second film, this album collects songs used in the film on one side with new material on the other. The weakness of a couple of the movie tunes and the fact that the new songs were leftovers from the sessions used to produce Elvis' first gospel EP and latest single add up to his weakest album offering, although any album with "Got a Lot o' Living to Do" is alright. If you think of Loving You as simply an Elvis Presley album rather than a somewhat misleadingly packaged soundtrack, it was actually one of his more coherent and cohesive long-players, assembled from sessions all conducted in the first two months of 1957. By this time, he was doing precious little that was wrong, and his range and control were growing geometrically -- thus, amid some powerful rock & roll, including "Mean Woman Blues" (which could almost have passed for one of his Sun tracks), "Teddy Bear," the electric guitar-driven "Got a Lot 'o Livin' to Do," Ivory Joe Hunter's "I Need You So," and a hard, brittle-textured outtake of "I Beg of You," the King does some brilliant ballad singing on "One Night of Sin" and "Is It So Strange," and belts out one of his great blues performances on "When It Rains, It Really Pours" -- which boasts a killer Scotty Moore guitar part -- and moves into Sons of the Pioneers territory with the hauntingly beautiful Western ballad, "Lonesome Cowboy." He doesn't do badly with "Blueberry Hill," either.

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