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Spot the difference on these alternative versions!,
This review is from: Hollywood Album/Nashville Album/Live in Las Vegas 1969: Collector's Gold (Audio CD)
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.