2007   AUGUST 16   #228

Gone But Not Forgotten: Elvis Tribute Song-Poems


Side 1: Song Title - Lyricist (Vocalist)
01 The Legend Of Elvis Presley - Mary E. Mathias (Gina Val) (2:44)
02 Elvis Is Truly Home - C.H. Lewellen (Jim Ward) (3:30)
03 Dear Lord, Please Take Care Of Him - Cora A. Munson (Jim Ward) (2:09)
04 Elvis' Last Song To You - Art Zettergreen (Matt Vincent) (2:50)
05 Elvis Presley - Pauline Munsell (Jaye Pauley) (2:16)
06 Mansion To Mansion - O.B. Franks (Matt Vincent) (2:32)
07 When Elvis Left Graceland - George A. Mees (Matt Vincent) (2:53)
08 To Our King - June C. Glass (Jaye Pauley) (3:12)

Side 2: Song Title - Lyricist (Vocalist)
09 E.L.V.I.S. - Frances C. Jenkins (Jaye Pauley) (3:31)
10 The King Of Rock N Roll - Deborah Dodd (Jim Ward) (2:54)
11 The King - Marie Mcintosh (Gina Val) (2:21)
12 The King Without A Crown - Margaret A. Weigie (Matt Vincent) (2:23)
13 Elvis Was The Biggest - John Townsend (Jim Ward) (2:30)
14 Forever In Our Hearts - Betty Barkley (Jim Ward) (2:53)
15 Letter To Elvis - Fernn Jenkins (Jaye Pauley) (2:37)

August 16 marks the 30th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley, so let's mark the occasion the 365 Project way: with some song-poems recorded as a tribute to The King.

"Gone But Not Forgotten" is a collection of sappy country songs with lyrics sent in by regular folks who paid their hard-earned bucks to Nashville, TN-based Royal Master Records to have their poems set to music by staff composers Jim Ward (who also sang) and Alex Zanetis. Almost every song is the same - mournful country ballads whose lyrics, sung with grave solemnity, declare Elvis to be the world's greatest and most beloved entertainer who will live in our hearts forever, though he now sings with the Lord's choir, etc.

Although this album isn't listed in the usually thorough American Song-Poem Music Archives, three other Elvis tribute albums on Royal Master are. Apparently, Presley's death made at least one song-poem studio's cash registers sing a happy tune.

What is especially unusual about this album is that fact that pictures of the lyricists are featured on the cover! And what pictures they are. It's why I included the song written by Frances Jenkins - I figured anyone who sees her portrait in the back cover scan (the woman with the enormous white wig) will want to get to know this woman a little better.

"E.L.V.I.S." and "Mansion To Mansion" are representative of much of the album. But "Elvis Was The Biggest Thing" breaks with the format, and is the better for it. The usual slick country band sound is replaced with a demo-like solo piano backing, making the already awkward lyrics seem even more clumsy. It's a lovely piece of musical naivete.

- Contributed by: Mr. Fab

Images: Front Cover, Back Cover

Media: LP
Album: Gone But Not Forgotten
Label: Royal Master Records
Credits: Music by Jim Ward & Alex Zanetis


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