:: Sorry Charlie :::: Professional Lovemaker :::: Sharing The Night Together ::
Aw shoot. It's that time of year again. We must pay tribute to the King. But, because we're a blog mostly about the obscure, it's hard to find anything Elvis ever recorded that isn't available in over 100 countries and selling briskly to this day. So, the obvious choice is a record made by a tribute artist.
When you think about it, a record by a tribute artist is a bit absurd to begin with, but that's where this one is different. Elvis Wade looks like the King, and sounds like the King, but instead of trotting out Don't Be Cruel and Hound Dog, Wade picks up where the King left off. This album, "Introducing: Elvis Wade", is a bit of a "what if?" record. What if Presley had lived? Would he have picked these songs to record? Not likely, but that's ok. You gotta hand it to this guy for trying to do something... original(?).
I figured Wade was another in an almost infinite list of Elvis imitators who made a cheapo record to sell at shows. Boy was I wrong. As it turns out, Elvis Wade is probably one of the most successful fake Elvises out there.
Wade Cummins was a rock singer in Detroit in the late 60s who happened to have a strong resemblance to a certain other, more famous rock singer. One night at a club, some audience members requested an Elvis song, so Cummins gave it his best shot, and took it a bit over the top for comedic effect, but the audience went nuts. Soon, the act was devoted to all Elvis all the time, and they were packing them in. So, while we think of most Elvis imitators having a career after the real Elvis could no longer take his act on the road, Wade Cummins became Elvis Wade in 1968, about 9 years before Presley's death.
Legend has it the real Elvis was told about this fellow who completely nailed his act, and that he attended an Elvis Wade performance in 1976 incognito, and gave him a standing ovation. Not bad.
It was an odd choice then that when Cummins went to record his first album, it was decided they would not use any of Presley's material, instead opting for "All Original Songs", as the cover proclaims. Depends on what you mean by original I guess, but Cummins himself did write "Ain't No Saint" and "Amazing". There are a few songs on the album written by Ava Aldridge, one of them is "Sharing The Night Together", which became a big hit for Dr. Hook. And, although the album is bogged down by too many sappy ballads, it's well produced and Wade does a heck of a job.
But the real story here is that Elvis Wade is still bringing his act to a corporate party, county fair or Indian casino near you. What better way to pay tribute to the King than to see the man the King himself paid tribute to? I honestly don't know the answer to that question.