Artist: Elvis Presley with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Album: If I Can Dream
Release Date: 10/30/2015
If I Can Dream: Elvis Presley with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is a record that was crying – no, screaming – to be made. This is not another package of Elvis’ biggest hits with strings and tympani added; it is a very carefully carved montage of hits and rarities. Produced by Don Reedman and Nick Patrick at Abbey Road Studios, the arrangements carefully match to fit Elvis’ vocals, bringing out the purity, the soul, the growl and the power of his voice, while never overpowering him.
While “Love Me Tender” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love” begged for a full orchestra, others come as a pleasant surprise. “Fever” (check it out on YouTube here) is possibly the most sultry song Elvis ever recorded. Here, in a duet with Michael Bublé, it creates a sound that could have come directly from Porgy and Bess. On “There’s Always Me,” a minor hit from 1967, the orchestration accentuates the purity and beauty in Elvis’ soul, while “If I Can Dream” uncovers a relevant poignancy for today’s world.
Big band blues drives the raw power of James Taylor’s “Steamroller Blues,” and the growing intensity of the instruments mesh perfectly with his original vocals on “You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” (watch here) distinguished also by the unmistakable twang of Duane Eddy’s guitar.
If I Can Dream: Elvis Presley with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra merges Elvis and an acclaimed symphony to accentuate the power of music. One listen and it’s obvious why, as Priscilla notes, “this would have been a dream come true for Elvis.”