Never the greatest fan of Elvis’ music, it was with a little trepidation and a somewhat reluctant curiosity, that I shelled out for the recently released, reworked album, ‘If I Can Dream’. “Virtually” backed by the wonderful Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and including a sizzling “duet” with Canadian crooner, Michael Bublé, on the Peggy Lee hit, ‘Fever’, ‘If I Can Dream’ has just landed the top spot in the UK album charts, bringing the late great showman’s tally to a round dozen, and making him the greatest selling male solo artist in the UK, of all time.
Released worldwide at the end of October via Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment, as part of the ongoing ‘Elvis 80th Birthday Celebration 2015’, ‘If I Can Dream’ showcases Elvis’ musical diversity – his eclectic voyage of musical discovery, stretching across a broad spectrum of everything from soul to jazz.
The production MO seems to have been to keep the focus on Elvis’ unmistakable deep south voice, and whilst the RPO’s performances are truly exquisite, they are always sufficiently subtle to never overshadow the great baritone-tenor of rock-n-roll and blues.
Produced by Don Reedman and Nick Patrick, and recorded at Abbey Road Studios, London, ‘If I Can Dream’ comprises 14-tracks featuring some of Elvis’ most dramatic original performances, enhanced by exceptional new arrangements by this world renowned orchestra.
Discussing the album, one of the co-producers Don Reedman said, “This would be a dream come true for Elvis,” while former wife Priscilla Presley was quoted as saying, “He would have loved to play with such a prestigious symphony orchestra. The music…the force that you feel with his voice and the orchestra is exactly what he would have done. Abbey Road Studios and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra are as good as it gets and Elvis deserves as good as it gets.”
Aside from the marvellous Bublé duet, ‘In the Ghetto’ is as moving a song as you could ever hope to hear, and the soulful rendition of ‘How Great Thou Art’, is superb. The album also features Rock and Roll Hall of Fame guitarist, Duane Eddy, whose easily identifiable sound can be heard on “An American Trilogy” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. Italian operatic pop trio Il Volo also make an appearance, contributing some stunning vocals to “It’s Now or Never.”
This album is sure to generate a new wave of Elvis fans, not only in the UK but worldwide as a whole. It’s a fitting and respectful compilation which has surely placed the King back upon his musical throne.
If I Can Dream: Elvis Presley With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
01. Burning Love
02. It’s Now Or Never
03. Love Me Tender
04. Fever (feat. Michael Bublé)
05. Bridge Over Troubled Water
06. And The Grass Won’t Pay No Mind
07. You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling
08. There’s Always Me
09. Can’t Help Falling In Love
10. In The Ghetto
11. How Great Thou Art
12. Steamroller Blues
13. An American Trilogy
14. If I Can Dream