Sunday, February 17, 2008

Since I was so miserable and depressing yesterday, I thought I'd share something that I like with the three of you who read this blog. Even though I've been a huge Elvis fan for as long as I can remember, there are still some songs out there that I've never heard. Recently, I happened to check out the five disc box set Walk A Mile In My Shoes, The Essential 70s Masters.

A lot of people who claim to be Elvis fans are down on this period in his career. I, for my part, think that he recorded some of his most mature music in this period. These songs might not have climbed the charts the way his more renowned material of the 50s and 60s did, but that's really not his fault. I think people get too hung up on the jump suits, the concert act and the odd behavior he exhibited during the seventies and don't approach the music with an open mind.

I said all that to say this, I think I may have a new favorite Elvis song. It's called Twenty Days and Twenty Nights. He recorded it in June of 1970, and it can be found on disc 3 of the Walk a Mile in My Shoes collection. I was just amazed at the courage it took for the writers to pen the song and a singer of Elvis' eminence to record it when it starts off to tell the story of a guy who ran out on his home and left his wife with a stack of unpaid bills.

Obviously, that's a rotten trick to pull on one's wife, and it doesn't take courage to do it, quite the opposite as a matter of fact. But it takes courage to come out and admit it in the first two lines of a song, when you consider that it's going to alienate the entire listening audience. And I think that, more than anything, is why I really like the music at the end of Elvis's career more than I like a lot of his big hits.

Elvis in the Seventies had the guts to record songs that might not win over a big audience. He was even willing to record songs that caused him a lot of pain, but he didn't wear it on his sleeve the way emo tools do. He was willing to dig deep to find the part of the song that spoke to a part of himself and didn't really give a damn whether people bought it, got it, liked it or cared as long as it mattered to him. And I admire that.

Here's a pretty good version of the song Twenty Days and Twenty Nights available on YouTube. Check it out:

It almost makes up for the local library owning four hardbound copies of the Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood, but nary a copy of Trainspotting. I found that out because the authors are next to one another alphabetically, and I've been trying to read the books that movies I've really liked are based on of late. I highly recommend both the book and the movie version of The Commitments, in case you care. And don't worry, I have neither read nor watched any version of the damn Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood, thank God.

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