I know remixes can be controversial and many Elvis "purist" dislike them (hence the name of this collection "Too Much Monkey Business"); however I think they provide an outlet for fans that long for more Elvis recordings. He should have had many more years of recording and remix projects are a way to glean "new" material from an old library of recordings. In 1980 Elvis' long-time producer and friend, Felton Jarvis went back into the studio with a bunch of Elvis vocal tracks to produce a "new" Elvis album. No one else would have had better insight into what kind of music Elvis might have recorded had he been alive in 1980. The end result was the "Guitar Man" album released early in 1981 (which is included in this collection as songs 3 through 12). The album was a moderate success reaching number 49 on the album chart and number 6 on the country album chart in the US. The single "Guitar Man" did better, reaching 28 on the Pop Chart, 16 on the Adult Contemporary Chart, and number 1 on the Country Chart in the US (this turned out to be Elvis' last appearance in the US Top 40 and his last US number 1 single until 2002 when the "A Little Less Conversation" remix topped the US singles sales chart). The album and the song were also modest hits in the UK. "Loving Arms" was released as the second single from the album and was a Top Ten Country hit. Unfortunately Jarvis died just before the album was released and did not see the fruits of his labor.
This collection includes 10 other Jarvis remixes that were not included on the "Guitar Man" album. It is possible that Jarvis had planned to use them on a second album of remixes. While the remixes are pretty good and most have more punch to them, in general I prefer the originals. It takes a few listens to get used to the differences. Some of the songs sound like they just wanted to make them sound different and not necessarily better. One of the exceptions is "Guitar Man"; the remix sounds much better than the original too me. It features the song's composer, Jerry Reed on guitar. He played guitar on the original too, only this time he plays an electric guitar instead of acoustic and it sounds great. "Burning Love" rocks (but so did the original) and I also really like "I'll Hold You In My Heart", "Too Much Monkey Business" and "Clean Up Your Own Backyard".
The package does not include any liner notes, which is disappointing. It would have been interesting to see who was playing what or get additional background on the project since some of the vocals sound like they may be from alternate takes. The "Blue Suede Shoes" vocal is from a live recording. For completeness sake, I wish they had included the 1985 remix of "Always On My Mind", which was released as a single after Willie Nelson's version of the song hit the charts, and has been out of print since then.
While it is a good collection, this is recommended for hardcore Elvis fans only. The differences in the songs are probably not worth the costs of the import CD for most fans. If you want to hear the "Guitar Man" remix, it is available on Elvis' excellent "Great Country Songs" CD at a much cheaper price.