It's hard to say whether this two-disc set of varied artists covering songs associated with Elvis Presley is actually a tribute collection or one long, drawn-out joke. It may well be a little bit of both, and come to think of it, that's sort of what Elvis' own stage act became in the latter portion of his career, full of willful self-parody and dazzling, mesmerizing kitsch that was kitsch all the same. One's tolerance for this collection will depend entirely on whether the kitsch version of Elvis makes one smile or shake one's head, because there is some difficult fare here (like two versions of the sappy "Old Shep" recitation and a version of "Hound Dog" that is straight standup comedy), and even when the music is taken seriously, like Candi Staton's version of "Suspicious Minds" or Lena Martell's rendition of "In the Ghetto," the productions are often so over the top that the song ends up sucked lifeless, or worse, made unintentionally laughable. But that may well be the intent here (the cover features an Elvis figure playing air guitar inside a snow globe, an image that is both comical and culturally apt), and if so, this set succeeds brilliantly. Elvis would undoubtedly prefer to be remembered as a crowd-pleasing entertainer rather than as an icon. He was his own best parody, and one suspects he knew that very well. He did, after all, record "Do the Clam."
AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2