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Almost In Love

Fri Sep 16, 2016 6:42 pm

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Luiz Floriano Bonfá (17 October 1922 – 12 January 2001) was a Brazilian guitarist and composer. He was best known for the compositions he penned for the film Black Orpheus (1959):



Bonfá wrote some of the original music featured in the film, including the numbers "Samba de Orfeu" and his most famous composition, "Manhã de Carnaval" (of which Carl Sigman later wrote a different set of English lyrics titled "A Day in the Life of a Fool"), which has been among the top ten standards played worldwide, according to The Guinness Book of World Records.

Here's the version as sung by Harry Belafonte:




Somehow the song already has the same "feel" as Elvis' "Almost In Love".


In a similar style Luiz Bonfá wrote and recorded "Moonlight In Rio" for his 1965 album "The Brazilian Scene":




A few years later Randy Starr added lyrics to "Moonlight In Rio" and "Almost In Love" was born. Elvis recorded his version on March 7, 1968 for his movie "Live A Little, Love A little". Here's a remixed version:






Randy Starr (born Warren Nadel, July 2, 1930) is an American dentist and singer-songwriter who wrote a total of 12 songs for Elvis:

01. "Kissin' Cousins" was written with Fred Wise and was featured in the film Kissin' Cousins.
02. "The Yellow Rose of Texas" was written with Fred Wise and was featured in the 1964 film Viva Las Vegas.
03. "Carny Town" was written with Fred Wise and was featured in the 1964 film Roustabout.
04. "Look Out Broadway" was written with Fred Wise and was featured in the 1966 film Frankie and Johnny.
05. "Datin'" was written with Fred Wise and was featured in the 1966 film Paradise, Hawaiian Style.
06. "Adam And Evil" was written with Fred Wise and was featured in the 1966 film Spinout.
07/08. "Could I Fall In Love" and "Old MacDonald" were featured in the 1967 film Double Trouble.
09/10. "Who Needs Money" and "The Girl I Never Loved" were featured in the 1967 film Clambake.
11. "Almost in Love" was written with Luiz Bonfá and was featured in the 1968 film Live a Little, Love a Little.
12. "I've Got News for You" was written with Fred Wise and was featured in the 1965 Elvis Presley film Girl Happy, sung by Shelly Fabares and Nita Talbot.


Randy Starr in 1957:




How do you rate Elvis' "Almost In Love"?

Re: Almost In Love

Fri Sep 16, 2016 7:08 pm

I really like Almost in Love, Mike. It's a fine bossa nova with a good pedigree. Elvis sings well and shows a certain penchant for this type of song, which also benefits from a strong arrangement. Featuring nice guitar work and a gorgeous string section that's complimented by flourishes of brass, vibraphone and good drumming.

It's a real gem as far as I'm concerned, and I think Elvis could have recorded a good album in this style -- material providing. I'm not convinced that he would have matched Frank Sinatra’s excellent work with Antonio Carlos Jobim, or Como`s best with regards to similar material, but Elvis touched on so many genres that he could have delved into more deeply, and been successful in the process. Especially on such good form.
Last edited by Greystoke on Fri Sep 16, 2016 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Almost In Love

Fri Sep 16, 2016 7:11 pm

Imagine a kid listening to the Almost In Love album.
That was me .It wasn't Jailhouse Rock or Hound Dog or Suspicious Minds but to me it was a cool Elvis.
Even the movie.Wasn't what's called his "classic films" but there again,when I was a kid I thought the Elvis in Live A Love A Little film was cool.Especially that fight seen that had Red West in it.
I still love that Almost In Love album that my mom had.Hers is in pretty rough shape from all the plays it got but I got my own copy plus the CD version .
In fact I got the Almost In Love CD to throw in with Christmas gifts for my brothers this year.
Great behind the song info I didn't know before.

How do I rate Almost In Love?......I rate it COOL .

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Re: Almost In Love

Fri Sep 16, 2016 7:24 pm

I am not particularly impressed with Randy Starr's contributions to the Elvis canon, but I do like Almost In Love.

Re: Almost In Love

Fri Sep 16, 2016 7:29 pm

I hope he's a better dentist than a songwriter.

That being said Could I Fall In Love is a nice little song, no more no less.

Re: Almost In Love

Fri Sep 16, 2016 11:11 pm

Everybody seems to rate Almost In Love so highly and I don't get it. He seems uncomfortable and halting on it, to my ears. It just seems less smooth than most of his other ballad vocals.

Re: Almost In Love

Sat Sep 17, 2016 12:41 am

Well let's hope he was a better dentist than song writer. Oofa. Old MacDonald and Kissin Cousins. Did he write the oink noik at the end or the mulligan stew? AIL is a nice benign ballad-nothing more or less but Elvis does a good job.

Re: Almost In Love

Sat Sep 17, 2016 12:57 am

I have always held Almost In Love, both the song and the album in high regard.

Re: Almost In Love

Sat Sep 17, 2016 1:05 am

Elvis clearly had a love of Latin rhythms, and his voice shines (and he seemed fully committed) on most of the recordings he made of that ilk. Sadly, most of the songs he recorded in the Latin/bossa style were not written by the geniuses of the genre - instead, they were second-hand attempts churned out by the likes of Tepper and Bennett. While Elvis sounds great on Fountains of Love, for example, the song itself is poor and undeveloped and is just a poor imitation of the genuine article by the likes of Jobim and Bonfa. But Elvis seemed to elevate the material with his performances, and so "got away" with the sub-par songs he was recording. Even on something as insipid as Who Are You, Elvis makes it sound better than it is. There were exceptions, such as All That I Am - which showed that Tepper and Bennett could step up to the mark if pushed, and Elvis puts in a superlative performance of the more meaty material.

Then there is the other set of Latin material, namely the Fun in Acapulco soundtrack - where the emphasis is on the fun rather than authentic Latin sounds. Here that doesn't matter as much. Much of the soundtrack is tongue in cheek to start with, and there is little attempt to present it as an attempt to produce anything authentic.

Almost in Love, the subject of this thread, is quite different from both of the above cases. Like so many of the songs by the geniuses of the bossa nova, the song is angular and difficult to sing, and presented a genuine challenge to Elvis that he seems to tackle with relish. His voice isn't as smooth as it was five or six years earlier, but that's hardly a problem here.

He's presented with a decent arrangement - although it's clear listening to other singers' work in this area that Billy Strange was no Claus Ogerman or even Don Costa. Rather than the delicacy of, say, Sinatra's or Doris Day's attempts at this material, Elvis has an arrangement that sounds more lounge than a seamless mix of bossa nova and jazz, and that's a genuine shame. His vocal is superb and shows that he had a genuine affinity for this type of song. It's just such a shame that this was his only chance to sing a genuine bossa song by a genuine bossa composer.

It would have been great to hear an album of Elvis paired with songs by Jobim, Bonfa and others, and arrangements by Deodato, Ogerman or Costa, just to see how far he could have pushed himself in mastering this most difficult of genres. It might not have sold by the millions or pleased the fans of the "rock" Elvis, but it could have been an artistic triumph.

Re: Almost In Love

Sat Sep 17, 2016 1:10 am

As a brazilian, I love this version!

Re: Almost In Love

Sat Sep 17, 2016 1:26 am

stevelecher wrote:Everybody seems to rate Almost In Love so highly and I don't get it. He seems uncomfortable and halting on it, to my ears. It just seems less smooth than most of his other ballad vocals.


While I wouldn't go so far as to say that Elvis sounds "uncomfortable," I too fail to see why others rate this song so highly. It's a pleasant enough track, a touch above, say, A House That Has Everything or The Girl I Never Loved, but it's the weakest track on the LALLAL soundtrack, imo (the movie, though, is ace).

Re: Almost In Love

Sat Sep 17, 2016 1:36 am

Oh only if Elvis did a true bossa nova album! If only he would have done a 4 piece combo rockabilly album, and a dedicated country soul album, and a swamp rock album, and a folk album. I could go on and on. This is why From Elvis In Memphis and Elvis Country are each so appealing and held in high regard. He could have kept this up. The folk album was something he seemed to be interested in considering some of his early 70s recordings. But then he had to consider the publishing thing first and foremost. Too bad.

Re: Almost In Love

Sat Sep 17, 2016 1:46 am

Good song. Elvis closes in on the bossa nova sound as did Sinatra around the same time. I think an album of this material would have been a great late night listen and probably would have been considered one of his top 5 albums of his career as was Franks. and Sam Cooke's Night Beat. if only,,,.

Re: Almost In Love

Sat Sep 17, 2016 3:37 am

March 1968's "Almost In Love" is an example of Elvis trying to find a new style, part of the most eclectic soundtrack session he ever worked, courtesy of producer Billy Strange.

It was also his first full-on session with a live orchestra, ever. That is significant, even if this song is not.

Outtakes from the sessions were released on FTD just last year, and include several of this number, including one in a different key.

Previous discussions of this track are here:
http://www.elvis-collectors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=93136
http://www.elvis-collectors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=89831&p=1441565#p1441565
http://www.elvis-collectors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=86607&p=1356276#p1356276