GOSPELLING ELVIS WITH SOCIAL MESSAGE
ELVIS PRESLEY : In The Ghetto (RCA)AN unusual disc from Elvis – a song with a message, almost a protest song in fact. It’s the sad tale of a youngster’s life in the Negro slum quarter of Chicago – his family’s poverty during his childhood makes him acquire a built-in sense of bitterness and resentment, and he’s eventually gunned down in a street battle.
Must say that the King handles it with dignity, compassion and authority. The song has a sort of spiritualist-cum-gospel flavour, with a choir helping out in the backing, but is not as tuneful as some of El’s discs.
A serious, thought provoking record which may deter some of the younger fans. But Presley’s enormous popularity should carry it.
NME, 7 June 1969