Elvis was a magic name.
It still is.
As long as Presley was alive, there were no outright imitators. Some of Charlie Rich's early discs brought forth a vocal resemblance, but this was coincidental. Now the imitators can be heard throughout the land.
If you want a good example listen to This Year's Model by Elvis Costello (Columbia JC 35331). And if you can stretch your imagination you might think of Costello as a modern-day Presley just appearing on the rock scene.
Back in the 1950s, when Elvis started trying on the rock and roll crown for size, his voice was the primary instrument. The background was guitar music or soft choruses.
With Costello the voice has to be important, but it is buttressed by the electronic sounds of the seventies. This Year's Model is a good album and it should not antagonize Presley fans.
Among the songs are "This Year's Girl," "Lip Service," "Pump It Up" and "Living in Paradise."
Like Presley, Max Morath has a way with an audience. He has appeared in concert with the Boston Pops as well as in solo gigs. A fine piano player, Morath has a feeling for ragtime music that seemingly would type him as a throwback. But he is very much a part of the 1970s. So when you listen to Living a Ragtime Life by Max Morath (Vanguard VSD). you are mixing the past and the present.
This album naturally has a strong ragtime flavor, but one of the numbers is "Dizzy Fingers," a keyboard gymnastic that pop piano players back in the 1930s used to display their digital dexterity — along with "Kitten on the Keys" and "Nola."
An outstanding number is "The Charleston Rag." which Eubie Blake composed in 1899. As of this writing, Blake is alive". 95 years old and in fine shape.
Getting back to the Elvis influence, the album cover of Billy "Crash" Craddock's latest effort, with his name as the title (Capitol ST 11758), shows the artist in a Presley pose. There is only one song associated with Presley's bag, "Jailhouse Rock." and Craddock evokes a pleasant image of Elvis.
Songs in this album include "I Cheated on a Good Woman's Love." "Roll In My Sweet Baby's Arms," "Rock and -Roll Madness." "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" and "We Never Made It to Chicago."