‘I AM FLOORED BY WHAT HE COULD DO WITH HIS VOICE…’ FORMER TCB BAND MEMBER DUKE BARDWELL REMEMBERS ELVIS
It’s now 35 years ago that Elvis Presley died, but former band member Duke Bardwell continues to be fascinated by his voice: ‘I have to tell you, any time I hear him sing, I am floored by what he could do and how expressive and perfect his phrasing is…..I'd say "was"…..but it is an "is"’, he says. Duke was introduced to the magic of Presley’s voice at the tender age of 14: ‘I picked up on Elvis in 1957 when I heard Old Shep and was hooked’.
Bardwell worked with Elvis during 1974 and ’75, a turbulent period that marked the beginning of the end for Presley. Much has been made of Elvis’ sometimes sarcastic comments on stage towards him, but in private Duke got to see a very different side of Presley: ‘I had a couple of opportunities to be with him in private and in these situations he was very nice, considerate, inquisitive, relaxed and sincere. This made the public "snide" remarks even
Did he ever attend the gospel singing sessions in Elvis’ penthouse suite at the Las Vegas Hilton? ‘I did hear some of the famous after hours gospel singing sessions as a listener, never as a participant. I didn't know any of the songs or I would have been up in there singing with them’. Bardwell remembers. The last time he saw Presley? ‘I don't remember the exact date but it was the last show that I did with him in Vegas. We did not speak….but we had a great water gun fight on stage…..and I won. What he said is not for print!’, Bardwell says laughingly.
A CELEBRATION OF THE MAN AND HIS MUSIC
Duke will be coming to Europe this April as part of ‘The Original Elvis Tribute’, a top-notch tribute show which features various musicians and singers who worked with Presley, and he' looking forward to it: ‘There has been little that I have done that has offered me the personal privilege of being a part of a group of talented people such as the "Tribute". All involved are consummate performers and such lovely people. Bobby Wood is "The Concert Master".
To work with him is such a privilege. I have not worked with our new guitar player before but I really look forward to his youth and enthusiasm, and from what I have listened to that boy can play. Jerome "Stump" Monroe is a joy, solid as a big ol' rock, and I love him. The Holliday Sisters are a new addition to the show, and I can't believe we have the opportunity to play with them. This takes the entire show to another complete level.
Now, Robert Washington, all I can say is if it wasn't for him, I'm not sure I would be doing this. It is my great pleasure and privilege to take the stage with this man. Come see for yourself’, he says. Asked whether he has a message for the Elvis fans coming to these shows, he smiles and says: ‘Let us celebrate the man. Let us celebrate the music. Let us celebrate the FUN!!’.
For more information on the tour, please visit: www.elvisnews.dk
To see Duke’s new tour promo video, go here:
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