- John King, Who Made Ukulele Ring With Bach, Dies at 55
By DOUGLAS MARTIN
(New York Times, April 24 2009)
John King adored Hawaii, though he lived there for only a few years as a boy. The "Hawaiian room" in his Florida home was stuffed with hundreds upon hundreds of hula dolls, leis and other artifacts. He once owned 400 Hawaiian shirts, more than enough to wear a different one every day of the year - which he was proud to do. Is it a surprise that Mr. King played the ukulele?
And boy, did he play that ukulele. His huge hands and stocky wrists darted and danced up, down and across the tiny instrument's strings in a way that few, if any, players have ever attempted.
Mr. King resurrected a guitar technique from the time of Bach to play a piece that was almost certainly never before tried on a ukulele, Bach's Partita No. 3, and went on to play other difficult classical works with dazzling mastery. He opened pathways of sound unimaginable to those whose memories of the ukulele involve Arthur Godfrey, Elvis Presley and, of course, Tiny Tim. ...
- Caretaker saves Grammy, autographed photos of Elvis, presidents from burning Jimmy Dean home
By STEVE SZKOTAK
(startribune.com / Associated Press, April 23 2009)
The Grammy survived, as did the pictures autographed by Elvis Presley and several presidents. Even Jimmy Dean's gold record for his spoken word sensation, "Big Bad John," was scooped up before a devastating fire gutted the entertainer's riverfront estate in Virginia. ...
- Album: Elvis Presley, I Believe: the Gospel Masters (Sony) - Reviews, Music
(independent.co.uk, April 23 2009)
Rarely does a year go by without some new reconfiguration of Elvis Presley's back catalogue.
Quite apart from the ubiquitous "CD remastering" con that has been inflicted on virtually every performer of substance, we've had compilations or reissues dealing with Elvis's film music, Elvis's live shows, Elvis's 1968 comeback special, Elvis's Christmas songs, and so many repackagings of his Sun sessions it's hard to believe there's anyone left who doesn't already own them. The worst cash-in was probably last year's album of Spankox remixes; the best by far, for my money, being the collection of blues and rhythm'n'blues tracks Reconsider Baby. Now we have four CDs of gospel recordings, a parade of sanitised sanctimony. The best black gospel which has the gripping tone of supplicants begging their deity for consolation or consideration; by contrast, most white gospel sounds like crafty attempts to cajole that deity through wheedling flattery rather than authentic emotion. So it is here: only those who have never heard The Soul Stirrers' "Peace In The Valley" or The Swan Silvertones' "Milky White Way" could possibly argue the supremacy of Presley's versions, and the overall impression left by I Believe is of the chapel being relocated in the cabaret club, to neither's advantage.