16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 16 January 2001
The last two albums Elvis did, RCA/BMG has sliced into this fabolous hybrid...These are some of the best ballads ever written and the best recordings avaiable of them. Elvis recorded these songs at home and emphasized that he was more than the king of rock...You've got snappy rockers (Way Down) and tearpershing ballads (Bitter they.., Hurt, He'll have.., She thinks I.. etc. etc.) This was Elvis at his physical worst, but in a strange way near his musical (not artistically) best, especially in regards to the original Moody Blue-songs............Really, go buy it. This is a must!!!!!!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Presley's last album and while not a classic it's nothing like as bad as we feared it might be given the man's physical condition at the time. Quite remarkably some of the tracks on it are near classic performances though the level isn't sustained throughout.
The original album contained 6 tracks recorded at Graceland in February and October 1976 plus 4 tracks recorded on tour - the latter were added because Elvis wasn't recording enough studio material. When "Moody Blue" was released on CD in 2000, the tracks from the preceding album, "From Elvis Presley Boulevard" were added, these also coming from the February `76 Graceland sessions, and one of the on tour tracks was dropped.
Enough of boring detail, what was the music actually like? Well there are two tracks from the original "Moody Blue" studio set which stand up well against the majority of Elvis' country records. "She thinks I still care" is a great country weepie from the early days of George Jones. It's received the compliment of several covers over the years but none surely as good as this one. Elvis takes the song, tears it all apart and reconstructs it his way aided by excellent overdubbing from Felton Jarvis. I don't think he ever included it in his stage set but if he did I'd wager there wouldn't have been any dry eyes in the house. Simply a stunner.
The other country goodie is "He'll have to go", a number irrevocably associated with Jim Reeves and indeed, one of his very best songs. It also has received a few good covers over time including a beautiful tex-mex one from Ry Cooder. Presley's version again differs considerably from the original with a deep, deep guitar strongly featuring. "Tell the man to turn the jukebox way down low - sung very low - and you can tell your friend there with you, he'll have to go". Sterling stuff.
As if that wasn't enough we get one more goodie from the man, another slowie but this time with R&B overtones. The song is "Pledging my love" from the great Johnny Ace and it's the one he recorded just before his death, creating a big posthumous hit in the US. While it's great to hear Elvis singing the song it doesn't quite have the knock-you-out appeal of the previous pair. It's also slightly marred by what sounds like massed kazoos on the break (which occurs twice!).
The rest of the album is OK but not fantastic. The live "Unchained Melody" is much as one might expect, plenty of bombast but delivered well, "Little Darlin'" is a bit of fun but doesn't wear repeated hearings, the title track has the Tom Jones cum Elvis Vegas sound. But this set is really about those two country songs.
"Elvis Presley Boulevard" gives us another country classic plus a couple of other very good tracks. The country number is "Blue Eyes Crying in the rain", a great song written by Fred Rose and originally performed by Roy Acuff. Hank also did it, his way of course. Willie Nelson is justifiably responsible for the best known version of the song. It was the highlight of his "Red Headed Stranger" album. Though I should add that there's a live version I've seen/heard which is even better than his studio recording - his vocal phrasing is even jazzier and the guitar playing is spectacular. There was also a nice version from Gene Vincent on his "Crazy Times" album - Gene was one of the few with the raw vocal capabilities to match Elvis - he does a nice soaring bit into the middle eight.
Anyway, enough of all that, Elvis' version features himself on gospelly piano with a slightly messy backing dubbed on. But the latter doesn't matter, it's Elvis' vocal that counts and that scores on all counts. The performance is sombre but joyful at the same time. Apparently this was a song which he used to perform privately for his family.
A couple of other tracks on "... Boulevard" are well worth mentioning. "Hurt" is the song that Timi Yuro had a hit with in 1961 and it`s her most well known number. Elvis had been a fan of Timi for many years, and the song which is basically an early slab of blue eyed soul, fits well with his style even down to a brief chunk of monologue. It's a good performance but, for me, doesn`t erase the memory of the penetrating vocal on Yuro's original.
"Danny Boy" is the other track which warrants a listen. I can't say that it's one of my all-time favourite songs but if anyone's going to sing it it might as well be Elvis. The back up boys - presmumably overdubbed - avoid any possibility of Vegas overkill and our man hits those high notes magnificently. Has to be one of the better versions of the song.
Elsewhere it's not bad but overall doesn't quite make five stars.
And do we or did we still care? Well he kept on going till the end pretty well - there's music here that's as good as stuff he recorded well over a decade earlier. Of course we cared and we still do.
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 8 February 2002
Moody Blue was Elvis brilliant last album, it hit #3 in America, Britain and Australia and has sold 14 million copies world-wide.
As a bonus, the songs from the album From Elvis Presley BLVD are here also. This was a fine album, and deserved to be much better known and a bigger seller than it was.
On Moody Blue Elvis goes back to old school rock n roll here with the Diamonds Little Darlin and Pledging My Love. But its the breathtaking Way Down that steals the show, this raw, bass driven rock song was #1 in Britain and a million selling top 20 song in America.
Unchained Melody is another highlight, this is awesome, unlike the Riteous Brothers version, but much much better.
The title track, Moody Blue was also top 10, this is a catchy country song, some seem to think that its disco inspired....i cant see it myself.
Its Easy For You is an Andrew Lloyd Webber song, and you can tell, its dramatic and has some great lyrics.
He'll Have To Go is one of the definitive country songs, but Elvis turns it into a long blues, relsihing the lyrics and bluesy guitar licks.
The bonus tracks come from the under rated From Elvis Presley Boulevard album. This is perhaps the mosts heartfealt album he ever made. Only one fast song here, the tremendous
For The Heart, listen for the slippery bass lines.
Danny Boy is the best version of theb song i've ever heard. Blue Eyes Cryin In The Rain is the Willie Nelson classic; Willies is still the definitive version, Elvis is excellent though, faster and a little honky tonk....apparently Elvis plays bass on this track!
Hurt is astonishing, Elvis vocal power is unrivalled. I'll Never Fall In Love Again was a big hit for Tom Jones, but his schmaltzy over the top version is nowhere near as good as Elvis shatteringly good version heard here.
This is a fine CD, and desreves a place in any collection, it just feels so damn good
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 10 February 2014
In terms of his studio albums, Elvis sadly didn’t quite go out with a bang. However, this was certainly not his fault, at least not directly.
It’s (fairly) well known that the quality of the songs Elvis was being offered gradually declined throughout the seventies as a direct result of the ‘Colonel Parker’ (a Dutch-jewish immigrant) demanding shocking percentages of subsequent royalties (perhaps to pay his astronomical casino gambling debts?) that scared the quality songwriters away. This is, in my opinion, quite apparent on Elvis final studio album.
Although, I must say, considering very minimal updates to live setlist and extremely rare recording sessions, it seems that Elvis simply lost interest in the music, possibly due to years of his own artistic integrity and excellence being marginalized and neglected by those who knew much about reproducing dollars but little about music.
The remastered edition of Moody Blue also includes the ten tracks from the previous album, ‘From Elvis Presley Boulevard Memphis Tennessee’ (tracks 10-19), and the tracks on this album are certainly superior to those on the original Moody blue album (tracks 1-9).
The first three tracks on Moody Blue are all live: Unchained Melody is stunning, If You Love Me Let Me Know is scraping average at best, and Little Darlin’ is a mediocre song that Elvis should have rejected outright – though I’m guessing the final album content was no longer Elvis’ concern. Stand out tracks are He’ll Have To Go, She Thinks I Still Care and the fantastic Moody Blue [hardly surprising that this song is so good as it was written by the same man who wrote Suspicious Minds and Always On My Mind]. Way Down really isn’t suited to Elvis style at all in my opinion; It’s Easy For You is another barely average song and Pledging My Love sounds like an embarrassing 50’s parody (much like his pointless seventies live reproductions of Hound Dog, Jailhouse Rock and Blue Suede Shoes).
The following ten tracks include most of the gems on this CD: Hurt, Danny Boy and Solitaire are breathtaking - especially Danny Boy (seek out the brilliant improvised live version on the Tuscon ’76 live FTD CD). Love Coming Down is a personal favourite and I really think The Last Farewell is a great attempt by Elvis at updating an old British folk song, and it’s unfortunate he didn’t include it in his live setlist, though who knows what would have appeared in the setlists for the late ’77 tour-that-wasn’t-to-be.
The other tracks on part II of the CD are very listenable; Never Again and (ironically) I’ll Never Fall In Love Again being the only weak points. I have come to the conclusion that Joergensen perhaps understood that putting both these albums together under the Moody Blue title would result in a much stronger album overall, as the original Moody Blue, even with Let Me Be There, must have been a very weak Elvis album indeed.
Though I’ve made a few uncomplimentary comments above, it should be remembered that Elvis’ poorest studio recordings in the seventies were usually better than almost every other popular artist’s/band’s best recordings.
Even if you already have the 70’s Masters 5CD boxed set, I recommend buying this as a supplement along with the new Elvis at Stax set, Promised Land remastered, Elvis Country legacy edition and various other seventies era studio releases.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 1 July 2014
I bought this as a download because I didn't like what they'd done to the 2003 copy. They had left Let Me Be There out because that track was originally from the On Stage in Memphis album, but when I bought the original vinyl album, this track was included and I wanted to get the album in it's original track listing. When my mum read the dates on the vinyl sleeve, I realised how short of material RCA were at the time of its recording. Four studio tracks only were recorded in 1977 (probably it was hoped more would be recorded) and in the dearth of studio material, three live tracks were included . Moody Blue and She Thinks I Still Care were recorded in 1976. Yet for all that, every track is excellent. I would never say otherwise about Elvis's material, as I had been a fan of his music for several months before his death. One of the best live tracks for me is Olivia Newton-John's If You Love Me Let Me Know. He ends Unchained Melody in a falsetto voice and I liked that on my first hearing of the vinyl album, courtesy of a school contemporary. But the tiredness in his voice comes over on some of the tracks, especially He'll Have to Go. I think the album was released soon after his death. Still, 37 years after I was given the vinyl recording as a Christmas present, as in every Elvis recording, I still look forward to every track with each listen. The digital recording was excellent.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 28 June 2014
You must buy this its excellent, it's really "Really" moving. Plus it has Elvis Presley's last uk chart single on it - WAY DOWN
I love this album/CD it's got some of his most moving song's on here - All sang Brilliant with true moving feeling's
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 11 June 2003
This is an all time great,Iam 37 years of age, I grew up with this music and i am still finding it hard to forget. It reminds me of so many pleasures in my childhood! Elvis is one of those all time greats that each and everyone can adapt too, even the younger generation!. Hes a legend in Himself!!! (of course).
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 22 April 2013
Excellent album by the one & only King Elvis. Would definitely reccommend to anyone. Would also reccommend Elvis dvd 'Thats the way it is'.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 16 October 2004
This album was released in 1977, the year that the King disappeared from public view. The performances here show a more mature, experienced yet world-weary Elvis. However, this complements much of the material superbly. For instance, 'It's easy for you' is given a truly masterfull treatment, with Elvis bringing out the pathos of the tune magnificantly. Also magnificent, yet bordering on bombastic and overblown is Elvis' version of 'Unchained Melody'. There has simply never been or could ever be a more melodramatic and bloated version of this song. In any other than in this living legends hands this music would fall apart at the seams like bad trousers but not here. Although he wasn't the healthiest man on earth at the time, this doesn't take away from the calibre of performance on display here. I'm sure that now, as he is sitting in his Villa in South America, Elvis smiles when he thinks of this achievment. Hail to the King!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 November 2014
Elvis in his declining years to be sure but that only meant he did not do many up tempo numbers but he still had that amazing beautiful voice.Moody Blue and Way Down are almost Elvis classics now and the standout track is Hurt with such power which was probably his greatest performance of the later years.It was a minor hit single but should have been bigger.Another favourite was Solitaire.A rarely heard Elvis song which I read recently the writer of the song Neil Sedak said he did all wrong.I totally disagree Sedakas view I have to say.Anyone who likes good music in general and Elvis in particular should have this album in their collection.Great value.