The King & Eye (1989)

This album is a forerunner of the Cube-E album and tour, the third Baby King part featuring some of these tracks. Here, the Residents tackle the music of Elvis, framed with a narrative about "the baby who wanted to be king", as told by the singing Resident, to a group of children. The tracks vary in quality somewhat, perhaps because the album was recorded at Different Fur as opposed to the Residents' own studio. The rather subdued Teddy Bear here was blown up into a growling monster by the time Cube-E got underway. There's a haunting Return To Sender though, and Burning Love is quietly awesome. An amusing thing about their deconstruction of the songs is the way the lyrics are revealed to be pure country bumpkin almost to the point of surrealism (especially Stuck On You and All Shook Up). The superb crucified Elvis cover is by Rex Ray and not Pore No Graphics for a change.

I don't think it's just the absence of the visual aspect, as seen in the Cube E performances, which makes this album seem rather lifeless. There seems to be very little passion involved in most of the Elvis songs covered here. I'm not a big Elvis fan to start with, and The Residents' versions did little to convince me otherwise. One stand-out track for me is His Latest Flame, where Mr X Indeed suddenly appears to relate the sorry tale of Marie's duplicity, his perfect drawl wonderfully counterpointed (just as in Gi3P) by Laurie Amat.