It's always nice when something Elvis-related arrives with the mail, but the other day the postman brought me a packet that really meant a lot to me. It was a CD recorded by Michael Jarrett, who wrote "I'm Leavin'" and "I'll Be Home On Christmas Day," both cut by Elvis at the same sessions in 1971.
Michael Jarrett was one of the key performers in the "Original Elvis Tribute Show" that toured Europe in 2009 and 2010, and the CD was released by the Elvis For Everyone fan club in conjunction with the tour.
What made me so happy was the fact that it was Michael Jarrett who'd sent me the CD, and an autographed copy at that. I've listened to it a lot, and can safely say that it's not your ordinarily run-of-the-mill tribute record.
Two of the eleven tracks on the album are Michael's own compositions mentioned earlier, and in a way you get to understand the meaning of the songs more clearly, hearing them performed so emotionally by the writer himself. This is especially true of "I'll Be Home On Christmas Day."
With one exception, a funky version of "My Baby Left Me," the rest of the songs are heartfelt emotional as well. One of my favorites, "It's Still Here," receives a fine treatment, as does the two lesser known songs "Suppose" and "They Remind Me Too Much Of You." Special mention must also go to "Pledging My Love" and "Let It Be Me."
The album was recorded "live" in Michael Jarrett's studio at home, with just him at the piano playing and singing, and I think that's one of the reasons the result is so moving. Another is, of course, all the experience and skill Jarrett brings with him into the studio. I highly recommend I'm Leavin' – A Tribute To Elvis.
Read a review of the album (Elvis Information Network)