By '68, Elvis had grown estranged to his music, going from session to session and set to set. Since G.I. Blues (1960), he was making between two and four films a year which were generally shot in two weeks time. The King was becoming frustrated when comparing his career (to let's say oh... the Beatles, perhaps) to new emerging successful ones on top of the charts. Why couldn't he, the man who'd seen every peek position in a four year period with a handful of grooves, get a piece of it now? Secondly, why couldn't he feel passionate about his music, wings of his soul? Truth is, Elvis wasn't Presley, he was MGM, Paramount and UA. Disowned and discouraged from the claws of pop, that of Good Luck Charm or Have a Happy, '68 came and gave a breath of fresh air with the Speedway ST.
I'm not sure if the Colonel had to with it, But the connection to the sexy, tongue dropping Ms Sinatra seemed to've brought chemistry to the music. Listen to "Speedway" or "Let yourself go" (check out the Comeback version - HOT!). These are, yes indeed, pop dipped tracks but all-groove. There's a feeling in that music which is indescribably fly. La crème de la crème is no other than "There Ain't nothing like a song", where Elvis' voice sounds like it had been sleeping in a Memphis studio for a few years and pulled out of a drawer for the recording. It's fresh, hip and the way E.P. likes it most: Rock'N' Roll, baby.
However, nobody paid much mind to the product, Elvis having been a franchise performer for too long. It was just another Elvis movie with a soundtrack.
"Hey Joe, You wanna like go see that Elvis flick?
- Forget that, man, like I got tickets to see the Byrds.
- Whoa, man, I'm like there too."
Thank goodness, Elvis' prayers from How Great Art Thou (his '66 Grammy award-winning gospel album) had been answered because '68 was a good one. After marrying Pricilla on May 1st, the Comeback Special was filmed two months later and redeemed the man's soul until his death and that, despite those last intolerable films he had to make after the Comeback.
So buy the double album (because ECEG is kinda worth it - Nonetheless, it's better than the two films that part ECEG to Speedway) and pay attention to the Speedway soundtrack. Invite your friends over and have a bikini party with the music. If your friends don't dance, then change your friends!!! The girls should consider taking their tops off by the time Let Yourself Go plays...