Customer Review

3 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars don't believe the hype - it doesn't hold a candle to Elvis., 2 Nov 2002
This review is from: The Original Hound Dog (Audio CD)
There is much mythology and fable in rock 'n' roll; that's partly what makes it so alluring - it's the only romantic tradition left. But, as in all other romantic traditions, there's a point where myth and fable disappear over the abyss into plain old fashioned codswallop, and it's pretty difficult to say where that point is.
What you can say, I'm afraid, is that Big Mama Thornton's place in pop history is assured only courtesy of such a piece of codswallop.
Big Mama's version of "Hound Dog", so the legend goes, puts the subsequent version by Elvis Presley into the shade (oddly, though, the legend doesn't say how, exactly). Had only Big Mama been white, and a man, and it would have been her on the Ed Sullivan show and not E. Big Mama, you see, is a victim of her own poor circumstance. Elvis was simply a lucky chancer.
Thus are our political and mythical needs sated. No matter that it's utter nonsense.
There's a simple experiment you can perform, in the comfort of your own home, which will demonstrate how patent this nonsense is. All you have to do is play the two artists' versions of "Hound Dog", one after another, on your stereo. Play Big Mama first, then Elvis. Then Big Mama again, to give her the benefit of any doubt.
Big Mama's version is nice enough, in a comfy R+B sort of a way - no denying that.
On the other hand, Elvis' version, from the very first snarled syllable, peels paint off your walls. To this very day, there has been barely a record released which captures the same sort of energy and potent exuberance of youth. In fact I can think of only one which compares: the Sex Pistols' Anarchy in the UK.
So forget the notion that Big Mama outdid the king. The myth is more pernicious even than that, though, for not only did Elvis not unjustly deny Big Mama her rightful fame and fortune, but to the contrary, she's done quite OK out of Elvis. Can you imagine anyone buying her records now (um, care to mention any of her other top ten hits?) had Elvis not sung Hound Dog?
She, er, ain't never caught a rabbit... Oh, never mind.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 9 Oct 2013 20:21:26 BDT
B. Holt says:
I gave your test a try and I find the Elvis version insipid. Elvis is more lively but soulless in my opinion.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Oct 2013 22:28:06 BDT
Olly Buxton says:
Well, thank you for trying!
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