on 11 December 2002
Harris has an gorgeous voice. It is heartrendingly pure and crystal clear - you really can't imagine how beautiful until you've heard it yourself. This is one of her earlier albums, and one of my favourites, certainly my favourite from her work in the 70s. The broad selection of songs allows her to fully explore her outstanding vocal range, from a Lennon/McCartney cover to classics by the likes of Gram Parsons and Patsy Cline. I never liked country music until I heard this album, but to hear such strong songs so wonderfully sung is a moving experience. This woman is so good that she transcends genre and heads straight for your gut.
Elite Hotel was the follow up to Emmylou's magnificent Pieces Of The Sky. The tuneful material includes both achingly beautiful ballads and fast country rock. The album kicks off with the uptempo Amarillo full of twang, and is followed by the sensitive weepie Together Again which was her first number one country single in 1976.
The slow songs encompass a variety of styles: Sin City a gentle ballad with lovely male harmonising; One Of These Days, a number 3 hit on the country charts, is a lilting mid tempo ballad, whilst Till I Gain Control Again showcases Emmylou's interpretative skills to their best on his sensitive and evocative love song.
Lennon/McCartney's Here, There And Everywhere receive a subdued, mellow treatment, whilst Sweat Dreams, another country chart topper, is fragile and soulful. The most spiritual moment on the album is the moving Satan's Jewel Crown, a song that is up there in her repertoire with transcendent masterpieces like My Songbird and Calling My Children Home.
Besides Amarillo, the fast rockers include the rowdy Feelin' Single Seein' Double, the catchy and propulsive Ooh Las Vegas with its impressive playing, the lilting live recording of Jambalaya and the soaring mid tempo ballad Wheels, a duet with Jonathan Edwards. Full of yearning and acceptance, it is one of the most memorable road songs in any musical genre.
The two bonus tracks tie in perfectly with the mood of the album. The stirring ballad You're Running Wild is a duet with Rodney Crowell, whilst the buoyant Cajun Born is an energetic number from the same tradition as Jambalaya. They're both great songs that enhance an already brilliant album.
The most gripping moments on this album, in my opinion, are Together Again, Sin City, Till I Gain Control Again, Satan's Jewel Crown and Wheels. But Elite Hotel is as beautiful and essential as Pieces Of The Sky, Cowgirl's Prayer, Blue Kentucky Girl, Cimarron and Quarter Moon In A Ten Cent Town.
on 3 August 2010
This album, following on from 'Pieces of the Sky, set in train one of the great musical careers of the last 40 years. Emmylou's second solo album was really an extension of the first, containing extremely well chosen songs, all sung in Emmylou's shimmering voice, and supported by the best backing band of the day. Aside from the pedal steel of Hank de Vito and the acosutic guitar fills of Brian Ahern, just listen to the sympathetic artistry of the rhythm section - Emory Gordy on bass, John Ware on drums and the incomparable Glen D Hardin on piano. And then wonder at the blistering guitar licks of James Burton, so good that when I saw the band play at Hammersmith and after one of the THE great live guitar solos on 'Til I gain control again', the band stopped playing and applauded him.
Emmylou Harris has written and recorded some great albums over the last 30-something years but the first two are really the ones that stick in the mind, firstly for the consistently high quality of song choice and secondly, for the overall impact that they had on country music. Essential listening
Like many others, I tend to regard this album as the weakest of Emmylou's classic era, yet this is an outstanding album in its own right - it's just that the quality of Emmylou's first seven original albums (including her Christmas album) for Warner was unbelievably high - so much so that the eighth (Evangeline) while also excellent by normal standards, has never been released on CD although several tracks have appeared on compilations.
This album contains many covers but other singers have recorded covers of the original songs included here, so this is a very influential album. Rhino re-released this album with two extra tracks (You're running wild, Cajun born) but I haven't heard these tracks. The album is worth buying just for the original twelve tracks on which my review focuses.
The original songs include Amarillo (a rousing up-tempo song that Kathy Mattea covered for her album, Lonesome standard time), Feeling single seeing double (another up-tempo song - this one has been covered by Chely Wright for her album, Let me in) and Till I gain control again (a lovely ballad since covered by several singers including Crystal Gayle, who had a country number one hit with it, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson).
Three of the covers are of Gram Parsons songs - Sin city, Ooh Las Vegas and Wheels. Other covers include Jambalaya (a Hank Williams song that became a pop hit for Jo Stafford at the time and later became a pop hit for the Carpenters), Here there and everywhere (which became a UK pop hit for Emmylou) and two songs that became country number one hits for Emmylou - Together again (Buck Owens) and Sweet dreams (the Don Gibson song normally associated with Patsy Cline).
So this is a very strong album, with or without the Rhino bonus tracks. If you are interested in building a collection of Emmylou's original albums, this one should certainly be on your list of albums to buy.
A great CD from Emmylou Harris with 12 lovely tracks. The quality of this singer songwriter's voice is beautiful. Some of the songs you will recognise as having been recorded by other artists, but Emmylou brings her own style to them and makes them magic to listen to.
Tracks - Amarillo - Together Again - Feeling Single - Sin City - One of These Days - Till I Gain Control Again - Here, THere & Everywhere - ooh Las Vegas - Sweet Dreams - Jambalaya - Satan's Jewel Crown - Wheels
on 20 June 2012
I bought this album in the seventies,when it first came out.It has stood the test of time well and still sounds fresh,I played the record constantly,it was my first record of Emmy's and I still think it is one of her best.This version has additional track's which are not included on the original.Elite Hotel (Expanded & Remastered) (Us Release)
on 15 September 2010
This was the first Emmylou Harris LP I bought in the 70's, and it holds a special place in my affections.Now that I have nearly all her CDs -(Why can't her company re-release Cimarron on CD ?), I find that I generally prefer her slower style, eg the mind-blowing "All I intended to be". There are 4 uptempo songs here (Amarillo, Feelin' single, Ooh Las Vegas, and Jambalaya), which I feel I have heard enough, but, to compensate, this album contains what must be my favourite Emmylou track of all, the hauntingly beautiful "Till I gain control again", written by Rodney Crowell. This wonderful track doesn't appear on any of her compilation CDs that I have noticed, and is a reason in itself for buying this Cd.
on 14 October 2013
Still got my battered LP version of this, but wanted click free sound. Classic album, everyone should have a copy alongside Gram Parsons music.
on 14 December 2012
Wonderful songs and perfect performance. All the nuances of my lost tape found on the CD! Must be one of the best Albums of it's type ever.
on 6 August 2015
Along with tThe Ballad of Sally Rose. Heartaches & Highways,great replacements for tapes that have seen better days.