Sunday, May 10, 2009

I Forgot to Remember to Forget

Today is HarriSunday, and another day when I have no real time to do anything other than dance out of the hotel room and out on my way. How about an Elvis cover? Word.

I think this might be first Elvis cover I've managed to listen to this year, which, well, it isn't THAT weird-- the Beatles didn't record that many of them, and when they did it tended to be for live performances that ended up on the likes of Live at the BBC. But obviously Elvis was a god to them, as he was to all would-be rock stars of their generation (and of future generations as well, of course). "I Forgot to Remember to Forget" is an early Elvis track, one from his days working as part of a trio of sorts with Scotty Moore and Bill Black, a guitarist and bassist respectively. It might be one of the most country-fried songs that I know of in the Elvis canon. (I'm not as well-versed in Elvis as I should be-- I've got tons of respect, I'd just rather listen to Chuck Berry or Little Richard if I have the option, all things being equal-- so I might be wrong, but I can't think of a more country Elvis than this one.)

If I'm to make one sweeping generalization about Beatles covers, it might be that the Beatles seem to approach songs-- especially the groovier, more laid-back country songs-- with a certain manic spirit and nervy energy that, for me, pumps the songs full of life. This one is no exception. Elvis sings this with heaps of soulfulness, whereas George sings it with what sounds like a wry smile. (Again, I don't know enough to really be saying things like this, but I can't conceive of Elvis ever singing a song with a hint of irony-- his voice isn't capable of it, to me-- whereas the Beatles were blessed with ironic spirits and voices.) The tempo in Elvis's original is also slower than the Beatles take it-- even Paul, who's wicked solid on the walking bass, seems to want to push the tempo a little bit, doesn't he?

Nevertheless, George's guitar is about as beautiful and clear and country-fried as you could ask for. The cover benefits, to my ear, by just sounding so much more fun. So let me slow-dance out of here with a big smile on my face and leave you with that.


  1. They did George right with the reverb on his voice -- he sounds great. Great performance. I had to listen to this one; I didn't remember it.

  2. "Elvis with a hint of irony" - try "Suspicious Minds", particularly if you can get a live version... he definitely gives a (vocal) wink and a nod on that one.

  3. Perhaps I should listen to that one live. I find the recording to be kind of over-the-top in its earnestness, but the irony could just be soaring over my head. Wouldn't be the first time.