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Reviews Written by
Marc Haegeman "Marc Haegeman" (Gent, Belgium)

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How Great Thou Art
How Great Thou Art
Price: £5.99

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic gospel album, 9 Nov. 2004
This review is from: How Great Thou Art (Audio CD)
A classic Elvis Presley album, cut at the May 1966 studio sessions in Nashville, the first under the supervision of producer Felton Jarvis, who would be fundamental in the latter part of Elvis' career. Released amidst a series of formula movie soundtracks, the inspired "How Great Thou Art" appeared as a beacon of hope and the harbinger of artistic revitalization that would eventually result in Elvis' comeback of 1968/69.
The album, grouping 12 traditional religious songs recorded at the May 1966 session, plus "Crying In The Chapel" from 1960, is a treat from start to end. Outstandingly sung and superbly crafted, it earned Elvis a Grammy Award. Highly recommended.

From Elvis In Memphis
From Elvis In Memphis
Price: £5.99

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Elvis album, 24 Oct. 2004
This review is from: From Elvis In Memphis (Audio CD)
A classic Elvis Presley album, and indeed one of his all-time greatest, "From Elvis in Memphis" presents the harvest of two recording marathons in early 1969 at Chips Moman's American Studios in Memphis. Following hot on the heels of the '68 Comeback Special, the Memphis sessions produced a string of hits and sterling cuts, which helped to reestablish Elvis as one of the leading figures in rock culture. Even now, some 35 years after date, there isn't a weak number on this disc, with Elvis returning to his roots of blues, rhythm 'n' blues, country and gospel, and blending it all into his charateristically eclectic mix, as only he could, yet with a force and conviction which hadn't been heard for years. The way he turns the old Eddy Arnold country hit-tune "I'll Hold You In My Heart" into a powerful blues cut which doesn't let go, is just one example. The opening "Wearin' That Loved on Look", "Long Black Limousine", "Power Of My Love", and "Any Day Now" are all magificent achievements.
For the current CD release six more songs from the Memphis sessions (the hits "Suspicious Minds", "Kentucky Rain", "Don't Cry Daddy", among others) were added.
Highly recommended.

Dvorak: Symphonic Poems / Concert Overtures / Symphonic Variations / Scherzo Capriccioso
Dvorak: Symphonic Poems / Concert Overtures / Symphonic Variations / Scherzo Capriccioso
Offered by Musical Notes
Price: £24.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First-rate anthology of orchestral Dvorak, 10 Oct. 2004
First-rate anthology of Antonin Dvorak's brilliant and colourful orchestal pieces. Lesser known than his three last symphonies and his "Slavonic Dances", Dvorak's symphonic poems and concert ouvertures are nonetheless required listening to anyone caring about the Czech composer. And this set is an ideal starting point to explore them. (One can only regret the fourth symphonic poem "The Wood Dove" isn't included.)
Istvan Kertész was totally at home in Dvorak's sound-world and secured magnificently atmospheric playing from a London Symphony Orchestra on top form. Excellent 1960's recordings from Decca to match. Warmly recommended.

Elvis At Sun
Elvis At Sun
Price: £5.99

56 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive release of Elvis's Sun material, 20 Sept. 2004
This review is from: Elvis At Sun (Audio CD)
This is by far the best release of Sun material around, surpassing all previous efforts by the mere quality of the sound restoration. Other releases might have been more complete, but listening to "Elvis at Sun" proves more revelatory than all, even fifty years after date.
Groundbreaking, visionary, indispensable.

The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes [DVD]
The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes [DVD]
Dvd ~ Robert Stephens
Price: £5.00

33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing DVD release of a masterpiece, 13 July 2004
A none too brilliant DVD transfer of this wonderful film. The European release leaves out all the extras from the American one, while for this DVD a print with frequent blemishes and often unstable contrast has been used. Colours are rather indifferent. Fortunately, the film is presented in its widescreen format and in an acceptable mono transfer.
However, there is no way to access the chaptering from the menu while the transition between the DVD layers is handled in a very clumsy way.
Surely, they could have done better for a film of this artistic value.

Polk Salad Annie
Polk Salad Annie

11 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Cough Salad Annie, 12 July 2004
This review is from: Polk Salad Annie (Audio CD)
I have great respect for the Follow That Dream label and the manifold treasures from Elvis Presley's recorded legacy they have been giving us over the last years. Yet, the current "Polk Salad Annie" CD should never have been considered for commercial release, not even on a label which basically aims at fans. FTD producer Ernst Jorgenson himself warned us about the recording of the Vegas concert on February 15, 1970 in his book, when a cold-ridden Elvis was coughing through most of the songs. And yes, this is exactly what they released this time. The result is abominable with most of the songs screwed up by a coughing or laughing Elvis. The few rehearsal cuts from a later date (which we already had on Platinum anyway) cannot save the disaster.
What are they going to find next to milk the cash cow?

Elvis Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis
Elvis Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis
Price: £34.98

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, if not great reissue, 8 July 2004
The 1974 "Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis" is regarded by some as Elvis Presley's greatest concert from the 1970s on record, by others as one of his worst. Thanks to the Follow That Dream label you can now judge for yourself by listening to the complete edition in remastered sound.
Curiously, for an issue which aims at comprehensiveness, all songs are now included, yet compared to the original LP (or previous CD issues) some of Elvis' chatter and fooling around has been edited, and, perhaps even worse, a lot of useless reverb has been added.
Presented in an agreeable deluxe gatefold 7'' sleeve packaging, with some great shots from the March 20, 1974 concert (surely the prints could have been better, though), this release is bound to tempt many fans, although the new "Elvis Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis" definitely not one of this label's best efforts.

Elvis Presley - '68 Comeback Special [Deluxe Edition] [DVD] [2004]
Elvis Presley - '68 Comeback Special [Deluxe Edition] [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Elvis Presley

40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sensational!, 27 Jun. 2004
Sensational is the word that comes to mind while browsing through the new "Elvis - The '68 Comeback Special (Deluxe Edition DVD)". This 3-disc set assembles all the footage related to the famous '68 Comeback Special. A great deal of the material shown is released here for the first time in its entirety, or released for the first time pure and simple.
While some parts, delightful as they are, will definitely be for Elvis fans only (the takes and raw components of the production numbers on disc 3), the bulk of this set is essential watching for any rock enthusiast - the two sit-down shows, the two stand-up shows, and the adapted NBC TV special as it was originally aired on December 3, 1968, represent not only some of Elvis's finest moments of his whole career, but are nothing less than some of the most exciting rock gigs ever filmed. Watching these shows now, in great remastered sound (there's choice between Dolby stereo and Dolby 5.1) and unseen picture quality, and realizing that they have been in the vaults for more than 35 years, one can but wonder why it took them so long to release them. In his almost frightful effort to reinvent himself, Elvis continually transcends the limitations of space and time, revealing along the way as only he could what rock 'n' roll is all about - and we have a true classic performance on our hands.
You can now watch some 7 hours of it. Not to be missed.
(In the European issue of this set "It Hurts Me" has been erroneously left out on the Original Broadcast Version of the Comeback Special.)

Casablanca -- Two Disc Special Edition [DVD] [1942]
Casablanca -- Two Disc Special Edition [DVD] [1942]
Dvd ~ Humphrey Bogart
Offered by Champion Toys
Price: £9.99

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive Casablanca, 25 Jun. 2004
One of the all-time favourite Hollywood movies may well have found its definitive presentation in this superb double DVD Special Edition set.
The picture quality of this new digital transfer is downright stunning and easily surpasses all previous DVD releases. The sharpness and the rich contrast reveal the plasticity and the expressive quality of the image in an unsuspected dimension. To take but that example, the studied close-up shots of Ingrid Bergman's face are simply breathtaking. The sound is mastered perhaps a little low, but with the volume turned up sufficiently, proves clear and flawless.
The extras alone would already be worth the investment. There are two interesting, complementary commentaries by film historian Rudy Behlmer and critic Roger Ebert. Especially Ebert's narration will learn you a lot about what you actually see on the screen. (Watch for the midgets around the plane in the closing scene). There is a fine documentary on Humphrey Bogart presented by Lauren Bacall and on disc 2 Stephen, son of Humphrey Bogart and Pia Lindström, daughter of Ingrid Bergman evoke how their parents experienced Casablanca. In "You Must Remember This: A Tribute to Casablanca" one gets a complete view of the production. Finally, there are trailers, biographical sketches, scoring stage sessions, and even (silent) outtakes and additional scenes.
In short, Casablanca gets what it deserves and this DVD set should figure in every serious movie collection.

Elvis: Aloha From Hawaii (Deluxe Edition) [DVD] [1973]
Elvis: Aloha From Hawaii (Deluxe Edition) [DVD] [1973]
Dvd ~ Elvis Presley

57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally the definitive Aloha from Hawaii, 20 Jun. 2004
2004 will go down into history as one of the years that Elvis fans were spoilt by a stream of remarkable releases. One of the highlights (along with the '68 Comeback DVDs) is definitely the "Elvis, Aloha from Hawaii" Deluxe Edition double DVD-set which assembles about everything connected to Elvis' historical television special in January 1973, at the time beamed throughout the world by satellite.
In fact, this new set brings 3 full length concerts: the rehearsal concert filmed on January 12, the actual concert from two days later, and that same concert as it was edited for the US television broadcast in April 1973. All are finally presented in their complete form and unlike previous home video issues none of the songs are missing.
Soundwise the set is a marvel. The remix is absolutely thrilling, with enhanced clarity and detail, and there is choice between Dolby stereo and Dolby 5.1 - why no DTS? Even though it surpasses all previous video efforts, the image quality is slightly less satisfying, especially in the rehearsal concert where the horizontal bands gliding over the screen bottom to top, are at times still quite visible. The completely re-edited January 14th concert fares a whole lot better, though, with superior lighting and more vibrant color. In matters of picture sharpness we have never seen better either.
As a bonus we get 17 minutes of the raw, uncut "Elvis arrives" sequence, part of which opened the TV broadcast, as well as the five post-concert insert songs, often in different takes. I wonder though if we needed to have disc 1 started with the "Elvis arrives" sequence, as this is material for die hard fans only. (There is an error in my disc as the image jumps after a few minutes to the beginning of the concert).
All in all, a fantastic set, nicely packaged in a three-fold digi-pack and including an informative booklet, which no Elvis aficionado can (or should) live without. Bound to give more than a few hours of listening and watching pleasure. Thanks BMG!

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