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Looks good but is it?,
This review is from: Original Album Classics (Audio CD)
First glance at this set suggests a good collection with some reservations, about which see later. I've already posted full reviews for the first four of these albums in chronological order but have included a para on each of the set below:
1. Elvis Presley - 5 stars. This is the one with THAT sleeve. Original LP tracks only without the extra tracks which got added on for the CD release. RCA obviously couldn't get an album out quickly enough after Presley moved across from Sun since they padded out the 7 new tracks that had just been recorded with 5 that they had picked up from Sun as part of the transfer deal. I say "padded out" but in reality at the time it was great to have these tracks - remember nothing from Sun had been released in the UK. Much of this album retains a rockabilly and rootsy feel. Apart from the presence of DJ Fontana on drums, the RCA numbers don't sound dramatically different to the Sun stuff. Contains the early classic "Trying to get to you" with great guitar work from Scotty Moore. Would have been nice to have had the extra tracks but you can't get everything...
2. Elvis (also called "Rock`n`Roll No 2") - 4 stars. Original LP tracks only again. RCA seemed to be of mixed mind about this one. I listed the contents in my review of the CD as "4 rockers (inc. 3 Little Richard covers), 4 ballads, 2 easy-listening (or what we used to call middle-of-the-road), 1 mid tempo old country chugalong, and 1 blues (a cover of yet another Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup number - Elvis evidently knew his catalogue well)." So there was an appearance of keeping plenty of rock in to keep the teenie boppers of the day happy but also trying out some easy listening in case the market for rock'n'roll suddenly disappeared. Couple that with a slight softening in the output caused by the ever present Jordanaires and for a died-in-the-wool inveterate rocker like myself, the signs weren't too good. That said it's still a pretty good album and the other side of the coin is that Elvis was showing versatility across a wide range of material.
3. Loving You - 5 stars. Ostensibly this was a film soundtrack but since the film was short on songs, even the original LP had extra tracks that had to be specially recorded. Also on this one we benefit from the extra tracks which were added for the CD version. These include an alternate cut of the later hit "One Night" (and the version here retains the original title "One Night of Sin" as on the first Smiley Lewis cut of the song). Whilst this may sound like a bit of strange mix, in fact the album is excellent. Elvis is in great voice throughout and the band are on blistering form.
4. Elvis is Back - 5 stars. Also contains the extra CD tracks (which include "It's Now or Never", "Mess of Blues" and "Are You Lonesome Tonight", i.e. extras which are really, really worth having). This is one of Presley's best albums. Whether you feel he had a point to prove or not, on his return to civilian life after the army, he certainly came up with the goods in his first series of recording sessions, on a range of songs spanning country, blues (several) and rock oriented pop.
5. G.I. Blues - 2 stars. Doesn't contain the CD extras. This was Presley's first film and soundtrack post-army, setting the pattern for much of the `60's. Not my scene at all though I know that there are loads of people who will snap this up. Among the rather negative comments made by AllMusic is the statement "One can't imagine even considering listening to this music had any other singer on the planet recorded it." Yup. Too true even though Elvis does give his all.
The presence of this last album makes for a rather strange ending to this set. It would have been far more logical to have included the "King Creole" album instead. The set would then have comprised the first 5 albums from El minus the Christmas LP which wasn't released in the UK. "King Creole" was a lot better than "G.I. Blues" as well. The other gripe I have with this set is the random inclusion / exclusion of extra tracks. The whole appearance is of very little thought going into these Original Album Classics releases. I know they're not really aimed at serious collectors and more targeted at the casual buyer or someone wishing to replace worn vinyl, but a little more thought could make them that bit more attractive.
Regardless of those comments we do still get a significant percentage of pre-army RCA Elvis in this set plus the "Elvis is Back" album so it's got to be 5 stars for sheer value.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 30 Mar 2012 02:10:38 BDT
Glenn Cook says:
A good review.
I've added my own and have recommended people read your in depth one,
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