CD Review - Return To Splendor by The King aka Jim Brown.
RETURN TO SPLENDOR by The King aka Jim Brown.
15 Tracks. Running Time: 58 minutes 38 seconds.
“PLEASE ALLOW me to introduce myself, I’m a man of wealth and taste” – the first line of the famous Rolling Stones song, ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ – a song about the devil in disguise. I hadn’t expected to find this on an album by Northern Ireland’s foremost Elvis tribute act. Nevertheless, it’s there as the first track of Jim Brown’s second album, ‘Return to Splendor’. I thought that Gravelands was good, but that was just a warm up for this truly splendid CD. Shame about the spelling!
An Elvis fan for many years, I might be expected to welcome any decent tribute to the late King of Rock and Roll. True enough, but until listening to ‘Gravelands’ and this CD, I’d only thought of Elvis tribute acts singing Elvis songs! Who else could get away with adding that special Elvis touch to such a variety of songs and styles? From that opening Stones ballad, through the fast-paced ‘The House is Rockin’’, and country standards like ‘King of the Road’ and a very upbeat cover of ‘Take me Home Country Road’ to apparently outlandish tracks like the Sex Pistols’ classic ‘Pretty Vacant’, ‘The King’ makes them all his own. There’s not a weak track on it!
I particularly liked ‘Sweet Home Chicago’ and ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’ as they gave The King’s Band a chance to excel in some wonderful instrumentals. I also loved the Elvisly-influenced gender-swapped version of Dusty Springfield’s ‘Son of a Preacher Man’. On this ablum she becomes ‘Child of a Preacher man’ with the occasional touch of ‘Elvis That’s the Way it is’ style comments throughout the track! Wow! The album winds down with a pleasant cover of the ever-popular ‘What a Wonderful World’ and a cheerful vesrion of Dean Martin’s tearjerker, ‘Little Ole Wine Drinker, Me’ that quite belies the self-pitying lyrics.
Quite why this talented singer has been so little recognised at home beats me. The man is a musical virtuoso, but his record label is German. He’s bigger there than he is here, so it’s good to see him getting a bit more airplay on Gerry Anderson’s Radio Ulster show in the last few months. I hope that the renewed interest in this talented artist will bring many new faces to his Elvis Spectacular Show in the Clarion Hotel in Carrickfergus on March 3rd.