This album came about after an August 1992 concert commemorating the 15th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley. McDowell, who in addition to being a country star had emulated Elvis for television soundtracks, asked Scotty Moore, D.J. Fontana, and the Jordanaires -- all of whom had played on Presley's early recordings -- if they wanted to do a recording project. A Tribute to the King was the result. Perhaps if popular music was a math equation, this would be the formula for the best possible emulation of Presley in the singer's absence: the most competent Elvis sound-alike, teamed with the surviving musicians most important to supporting Presley on record. But life's not that simple, is it? Although McDowell does sound more like Elvis than just about any lounge imitator, there isn't any reason to buy this collection of Presley covers (with a couple of Elvis tribute songs thrown in) when the immeasurably superior originals are still available, and always will be as long as people are buying records. These are faithful, watered-down covers of many of the hits from Elvis' early career, from "Heartbreak Hotel" and "Love Me Tender" to the best of his early-'60s tracks, like "His Latest Flame (Marie's the Name)" and "(You're The) Devil in Disguise." McDowell only covers songs from Presley's first decade, feeling (and he has a strong argument) that this was Elvis' good period. The backing is agreeably competent, the arrangements sometimes straight-ahead and sometimes disagreeably slicked-up with contemporary production. The two non-Elvis-identified songs are a remake of McDowell's 1977 tribute hit, "The King Is Gone," and another Presley-inspired tribute, "Tupelo's Too Far."
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger