Preview: Robert Gordon and Chris Spedding, It's Now Or Never (Label: Ryko)

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The Independent Culture

This collection of almost note-perfect versions of songs made famous by Elvis Presley begs all the same kinds of questions that Gus Van Shant's shot-for-shot remake of Psycho aroused in the film world: why bother?

Clearly in awe of their subject, and perhaps restrained by the involvemen of The Jordanaires, noted rockabilly authority Robert Gordon and session-hardened guitar lick-meister Chris Spedding offer few if any further insights into either the material or its original exponent, without offering any compelling reason why listeners should wish to hear their (admittedly expert) versions of "Don't Be Cruel", "My Baby Left Me" or "(You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care" rather than Presley's.

The project's saving grace is in the choice of material, which has been selected to offer a more individual portrait of Elvis rather than that usually afforded by RCA's repetitive reissue machine. A worthy aim, perhaps, but always leaving you hankering after the originals.

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