Josie Cotton and Kevin Preston have today released their new video for the track titled ‘The Ballad of Elvis Presley’.
As if brought back to a simpler time à la 1955, Josie and Kevin bring a timeless homage to the king of Rock N’ Roll with a starry eyed western croon with rockabilly roots and a fistful of dollars adding grandiose tributes to the guitar of Duane Eddy and the croon of Ray Price. The best music, looking forward, is that type the looks forward while giving a nod to the past. This is what music will be again, thanks to artists like Josie and Kevin.
Check out our other features with Josie Cotton HERE.
Check out our other features with Kevin Preston HERE.
Tapping well known photographer Piper Ferguson (Placebo, Save Ferris, Miranda Lee Richards) to direct the video, Josie, cast and crew captured the dusty and arid ambience of the Wild West and maintained a saturated level of Cowboy Noir, replete with a saloon, cowgirls, a little white chapel, and the obligatory montage on the high plains. “It was my first time working with a female director,” she smiles. “And I adored it.”
Originally written for Brian Setzer by Josie’s longtime songwriting/producer pal Larson Paine (who had written her iconic ‘80s breakthrough single “Johnny, Are You Queer?”), “Ballad of Elvis Presley” was never officially committed to wax. “Larson had written it backstage while he and Brian were waiting to go on, then calling out the chords as he was singing it” laughs Cotton about the song’s genesis. “Brian never recorded it and it kind of sat there for years. I always thought it was the most beautiful song and hoped I could record it one day, but it never felt like the right moment.”
As she headed back into the studio to record her new record recently, she unearthed a cassette of the song she thought was lost. “I took it as a sign that if I was ever going to sing that song, it had to be right then,” she says. As she put it together, the pieces fell right into place with a special round of musicians to accompany her.
Josie’s band for the single included such notables as Clem Burke (Blondie) on drums, Lee Rocker (Stray Cats) on upright bass, Lee’s longtime guitar man Buzz Campbell, Marcus Watkins on lead guitar and Paul Roessler (Screamers, Nina Hagen) on piano. “When Clem came to play drums on a song on the new record, a rock song, I asked him if he’d ever played rockabilly before because I had this Elvis song,” she recalls. “I had no idea that he had made an entire rockabilly album with Wanda Jackson and every song on it was about Elvis. Beyond crazy! If anything, he was overqualified” jokes Cotton. “But he was the real deal… and that’s when I knew I had to get Lee Rocker to play upright bass on it.”
Josie returned to the forefront of the music world with new music as well on her own record label Kitten Robot, which has released celebrated alternative artists such as the dark and experimental CrowJane, Dark Mark vs. Skeleton Joe (featuring the late Mark Lanegan and his musical partner Joe Cardamone), and Spaghetti & Frank (featuring Supersuckers’ Eddie Spaghetti and The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs’ Frank Meyer). Over the last three years, Josie herself has released the singles “Ukrainian Cowboy”/ “Cold War Spy,” a holiday track “Every Day Like Christmas,” the album Everything Is Oh Yeah!, and remastered and re-released her albums Invasion of the B-Girls, From the Hip, Frightened By Nightingales, Movie Disaster Music, her breakthrough debut album Convertible Music, and her electro-pop masterpiece Pussycat Babylon.
“Ballad of Elvis Presley” is a perfect homage to the Wild West and maybe to the three Western movies Elvis made that no one has ever heard of, but also to The King himself, Elvis Presley. It features Josie Cotton (vocals), Kevin Preston (vocals), Clem Burke (drums), Lee Rocker (upright bass), Buzz Campbell (electric guitar), Marcus Watkins (lead guitar) and Paul Roessler (piano). It was produced by Josie Cotton and Paul Roessler.
Featured image by Rio Warner.