Elvis Presley is an artist whose work and influence on music has been celebrated countless times over the years. He’s the true embodiment of a legend and his music will continue to be talked about, possibly for the rest of time. Award-winning film-maker Thom Zimney has taken a new look at Presley’s growth as an artist in his three-hour two-part film Elvis Presley: The Searcher. The film aired on HBO in the US last month and a soundtrack for it has been released across a variety of formats. This review looks at the 18-track CD version of the soundtrack.
Elvis Presley: The Searcher – The Original Soundtrack takes 18 essential tracks used in the film and they are a mix of live performances, hits and rare alternative versions of some of Presley’s best songs. The set opens with a live performance of Trouble/Guitar Man showcasing the blusier side of Presley’s repertoire. It really is a fantastic start to the soundtrack and Presley is in fine vocal form.
From that point onwards, The Searcher offers a fairly expansive look at Presley’s different styles and recordings from across his career. The classics like Heartbreak Hotel, Hound Dog and It’s Now or Never are included here alongside some perhaps lesser-known moments like the soulful Crawfish and the blues moment Like a Baby. An alternate take of Suspicious Minds is also included here, noted as Take 6, and while it’s not wildly different to the version we all know and love, it is different enough to notice.
Another song featured here as an alternate take is Hurt with J.D. Sumner & The Stamps, Kathy Westmoreland and Myrna Smith. Noted as Alt. Take 5, the two-minute track is classic crooner moment from Presley. His vocal is magnificent on the track and that iconic vibrato still sends shivers down your spine as he sings.
One of the best moments is Separate Ways, which is taken from a rehearsal of the track. It’s a perfect showcase of everything that was so special about Presley. He was a gifted vocalist and his celebrity often overshadowed his abilities. It’s nice to be able to listen to a rawer vocal from the legend. The album closes with a live version of If I Can Dream, which is the perfect way to round the soundtrack out.
Elvis Presley: The Searcher – The Original Soundtrack is a fantastic collection. You may be thinking you’ve already got all of Presley’s greatest hits but this soundtrack is something quite special and different. Whether you’re a hardcore Elvis fan or just a casual listener, Elvis Presley: The Searcher – The Original Soundtrack has plenty to keep you entertained. It’s definitely worth adding to your collection.
Track listing: 1. Trouble/Guitar Man (live) 2. My Baby Left Me 3. That’s All Right 4. Baby, Let’s Play House 5. Heartbreak Hotel 6. Lawdy, Miss Clawdy 7. Hound Dog 8. Crawfish 9. Mona Lisa 10. Milky White Way 11. Like a Baby 12. Are You Lonesome Tonight? 13. It’s Now or Never 14. Tomorrow is a Long Time 15. Suspicious Minds (Take 6) 16. Separate Ways (Rehearsal Version) 17. Hurt (Alt. Take 5) (with J.D. Sumner & The Stamps, Kathy Westmoreland & Myrna Smith) 18. If I Can Dream (Live) Record label: RCA Release date: 6th April 2018