Many critics and listeners think of Elvis
Presley's pre-comeback, mid-'60s recording period as a creative
graveyard filled with awful soundtrack songs.
While he definitely did record too much soundtrack dreck during this
period, Presley also managed to sneak some rock & roll gems out of
the studio during the time. Most of this material was previously
only available via singles or as bonus tracks on soundtrack albums,
but they have finally been given a proper compilation in Tomorrow Is
a Long Time.
Two of the most notable tracks on this album are a pair of Jerry
Reed-penned tracks that became hits, "Guitar Man" and "U.S. Male."
The former is a fast-paced and witty tale of Southern boy's travails
on the way to stardom, and the latter is a talking blues presenting
Presley at his most macho as he warns a would-be Romeo to stay away
from his girl. Tomorrow Is a Long Time a hefty compliment of rootsy
rock performances, including gritty takes on Chuck Berry's "Too Much
Monkey Business" and the R&B classic "High Heel Sneakers." It's
truly a joy to hear Presley cut lose on tracks like these.
Elsewhere, the album's rock & roll contingent is balanced by some
effective ballads: "Love Letters" is a quietly moving, almost
hymn-like reading of the Ketty Lester classic, and "Indescribably
Blue" features Presley hitting operatic heights of melodrama over a
backing that effectively mixes a flamenco guitar melody with ghostly
choral backing vocals. The biggest surprise in the ballad department
is the title track, a subtle, country-inflected take on the Bob
Dylan classic that Dylan once named his personal favorite cover
version of his work. Some of the material doesn't hit the same
heights as these highlights: "Come What May" and "Fools Fall in
Love" come off as slight, insubstantial pop tunes despite tight,
energetic production on both.
Despite these occasional inconsistent moments, Presley delivers
fine, committed vocal performances throughout the album, and there
are more than enough worthwhile moments to make it worthwhile for
Presley fans. As a result, Tomorrow Is a Long Time shapes up as a
definitive retrospective of an underappreciated period in the career
of one of rock's finest performers. (AllMusic Review by Donald A.