Chris Isaak – Beyond the Sun

January 01, 1970

(Vanguard)

 

www.vanguardrecords.com

 

It seems a bit presumptuous for any musician
nowadays to think that they can do justice re-recording songs from the storied
Sun Records catalogue. But if any current artists could conceivable pull it off
it’s the pompadoured Chris Isaak. And he does. Rather well, in fact, with his
aptly-titled Beyond the Sun.

 

Not only does the California singer look like
he walked out of the Memphis studio circa 1955, but between his Elvis-esque
croon and obvious-Sun era swagger and influences, Isaak manages to turn in a
nearly all covers album that plays more like a genuine tribute rather than an
easy cash grab (I’m looking at you Rod Stewart). The 14-song record (which also
comes in a two-disc deluxe version with additional tracks) covers the sacred Sun Five: Elvis Presley,
Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis. Along with classics like “Ring of Fire,” “I Walk the Line”
and “Great Balls of Fire,” Isaak slips in his own self-penned, Sun-drenched
song “Live it Up” which fits rather nicely between the traditionals.

 

Covering Sun Records songs is certainly
nothing new, but too often the covers come off sounding like unnecessary retreads
that offer nothing unique. Isaak has somehow managed to make the homage almost
as enjoyable as the originals. Almost.

 

DOWNLOAD: “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” “I Walk the Line” and
“It’s Now or Never”   JOHN B. MOORE

 

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