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alan.chave@btcellnet.co.uk (London)

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Hollywood Album/Nashville Album/Live in Las Vegas 1969: Collector's Gold
Hollywood Album/Nashville Album/Live in Las Vegas 1969: Collector's Gold
Offered by rainey 7117
Price: £62.95

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Spot the difference on these alternative versions!, 16 Aug. 2000
It astounds me, how many alternative takes, and alternate masters of Elvis Presley recordings exist. All too many of these "rarities" began to surface, even before his death, and continue to be repackaged on bootleg and compilation albums. How many versions of "It's Now or Never" are they prepared to release? For pity's sake, we even had a laughing version of "Are You Lonesome Tonight". Aside from that there's the original studio release, also a live one from 1969, and then, oh yeah, a previously unreleased alternative take with the false start and that breakdown in the middle. The truth is that Elvis has that type of loyal and obsessed fan following, who will buy everything and anything that relates. As long as they are around, RCA and BMG will supply to that demand. And the supply it seems, is endless. My advice to new fans who are eager to discover the recordings of Elvis, is to stick to the original American discography, and follow the king's career that way. Avoid the massess of repackaged compilation albums. It can get expensive.
Here is a nicely packaged 3 disk set, in a box with a booklet. BMG could have used more photos on the CD covers (they got lazy and used the same ones on all 3 disks) and in the booklet. However this set is a good summary of Elvis' career during the 1960's, and it is interesting to spot the small difference between the originals and the alternates.
The Nashville disk is studio recordings mainly from the early 60's. Much like "Essential Elvis - Such a Night" these tracks are the forsaken take-outs (from "Elvis is Back!", "Something for Everybody" & "Pot Luck" recording sessions) because they were presumably of an inferrior commercial standard. Still some of these previously unreleased versions do stand up to the originals. Good versions of "There's Always Me", "Give Me The Right" and Chuck Berry's "Memphis Tennessee" which has a longer drum intro. Listen to "Come What May". Elvis would have to be stoned to attempt such a crap song.
The Hollywood disk contains alternate takes of songs from the many 1960's soundtracks. Elvis was in great voice, unfortunately much of the soundtrack material was dismal! But they are interesting for the hard-core Elvis follower. The lyrics of "What a Wonderful Life" sound a lot clearer than the original. "Flaming Star" is sung under it's original title, "Black Star".
There are some good tracks on the "Live in Las Vegas" disk, recorded in late August 1969, during Elvis' return engagement to live appearances at the International Hotel. Elvis voice is now deeper and richer, and he pours a lot of enthusiasm into these performances. The awesome rythm band (with killer drummer Ronny Tutt, ace bassist Jerry Scheff, and guitar picker James Burton on lead) although still a bit loose at this stage, already showing promise.


Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £2.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rock's First Great Album!, 14 Aug. 2000
This review is from: Elvis Presley (Audio CD)
The king's debut album with its famous black and white cover photograph, and now with extra track, like his first hig single "Heartbreak Hotel/I Was the One." to extend the playing time. The lead song on the LP record was the opener, "Blue Suede Shoes" originally a Carl Perkins tune, but no-one has done a finer version than this original studio master! The other gems are the Sun recordings which were issued by producer Steve Sholes, because he simply did not have a great abundance of recordings to chose from. Listen to "Blue Moon" which I always felt was an eerie masterpiece recorded with lots of that echoe and reverb often used in Sam Phillips' Sun studio. "Trying to Get to You!" is another classic recording, with the 20 year old Elvis giving his blistering heart and soul delivery.
The young Elvis battled with ballads, and although he manages on "I'm Counting on You", and "I Love You Because" he is nowhere near as confident as he would be on what came later in his career. Neither of these ballads are particulary great, but Elvis conveys a warm sincerity, albeit naive. "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Cry" is a fun piano boogie, as is "One Sided Love Affair" and a good one at that. There are some classic rock 'n rollers here: "Tutti Frutti", "Money Honey" and the Ray Charles tune "I Got a Woman" which is very reminescant of the Sun sound. Ace guitarist, Chet Atkins was one of the back-up musicians on some of the tracks.
BMG have also included "Lawdy Miss Clawdy", which is another old Presley favourite, where we can hear that wailing negro sound and feel, that Elvis was so good at recreating.
This is the debut album (and one of the first mega-sellers in history) of an artist who was experimenting with several musical styles which he drew from to create his own brand of rock and roll. Long may it live!


Love In Las Vegas/Roustabout: Double Feature/Original Soundtracks
Love In Las Vegas/Roustabout: Double Feature/Original Soundtracks
Offered by Revival Books Ltd
Price: £26.54

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Proof : Not all soundtrack material was poor., 9 Aug. 2000
Despite the endless ream of sub-standard situation songs, which Presley had to plough through during the 1960's, contrary to general opinion, not all of the soundtrack material was dross. And here are 2 of his better movie soundtracks on one disk. Viva Las Vegas had a strong collection of tunes from the Boss Nova rythms of it's title track to the rythm and blues romp of "What'd I Say". He shares duet with co-star on "The Lady Loves Me", and "You're the Boss" which is issued here for the first time. Elvis mastery of ballads is evident on the slower tunes of both soundtracks, but none stand out, except for his operatic cover of Santa Lucia. Throughout both soundtracks Elvis is in fine voice! Roustabout was not quite as good a collection although It's A Wonderful World was nominated by the Academy for best song 1964. Another great track is Little Egypt. The ending to Carny town has been left to finish with a bluesy ending rather than the original fade out. "Hard Knocks" is the closest he gets to rocking, and he could do that with the greatest of ease. The emphasis of these films was fun, and that is what these soundtracks are: Fun! So don't take them to seriously.


That's the Way It Is
That's the Way It Is
Offered by cdbear1
Price: £101.26

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elvis live is the King at his best!, 9 Aug. 2000
This review is from: That's the Way It Is (Audio CD)
This 3 disk set captures Elvis, vocally and physically at his peak. 1969 to 1970 he was at the orbit of an incredible comeback, and the tremendous exitement of those live engagements are evident on the live cuts, which are the real gems, particulary on the concert disk two which is my favourite of the set. The sound quality is excellent, and we hear Elvis and the group giving full throttle to Polk Salad Annie, Lovin' Feeling (which includes a soulful encore, which must be the envy of any Motown artist) and Suspicious Minds. Elvis chats with the audience between songs, and is good spirit. His voice deep and powerful, he pours his heart and soul into every tune with perfect phrasing. Disk one is mainly studio cuts, which have been issued before, and these showcase the different musical directions he was taking at that time.
Disk 3 is the rehearal has more good live outtakes, so they are not rehearsal at all. Elvis and his rythm band hash around with some oldies in preparation for the concerts. The rehearsals sound quality varies from poor to average, and are more of historical interest. Listen to "Oh Happy Day", and hear, the full grasp that Elvis had on Spiritual and Gopsel music. With this unreleased material which continues to surface, one wonders what else lies in the vaults of RCA and MGM - perhaps the concert at Phoenix which was filmed in September 1970? Or the live sets from Vegas in August 1969? Only time will tell!


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