From Elvis Presley Boulevard was released on May 20, 1976. While it just missed making the pop top 40, stalling at number 41, it reigned as the number one country album for four weeks.
The album was said to have been recorded live but was in no way a concert album. Elvis recorded his vocals in one take in his home studio at Graceland. Felton Jarvis would tinker with the tracks and flush out the sound before releasing the finished product. Elvis was now far from his early rock ‘n’ roll roots and sound. His choices of songs were mainly sad or depressing as he was divorced plus his health continued to deteriorate. The vocals, however, remained pure and strong. Elvis could literally sing the phone book and make it listenable.
Three excellent ballads form the heart of the album. “Hurt” was a top 30 single hit and can almost be considered a biographical song. Elvis’ voice is almost operatic as he sings about what could be the pain in his own life. “Danny Boy” is a classic treatment of this old standard. His voice has a wistful quality that fits this song well. “The Last Farewell” is a moving story-telling ballad that was a big hit for Roger Whittaker. It is a song of eternal love set against an English war. This moving rendition is the equal of the original.
“For The Heart” is a welcome addition to the album as it is a little happier in topic and presentation. Elvis gives a sort of bouncy vocal that is both engaging and poignant.
“Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain” is an average interpretation by Elvis and not of the caliber of the Willie Nelson classic. “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again” is almost a song you would find in a lounge act and is average at best. “Solitaire” and “Love Coming Down” find him on more solid ground as his vocal takes these average songs and raises them to the very good level.
From Elvis Presley Boulevard may not be an uplifting album but there are still some excellent performances to be found in the mix.