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Sloppy late career Elvis Presley compilation
on 9 July 2011
Elvis' Gold Records 1-4 were compilations released in the singer's lifetime. 'GR4' brought the series up to the end of 1967, at which point the old RCA Victor label deemed further instalments unnecessary. But they had a belated rethink and ‘GR5’ came out posthumously in 1984. Presley classics like 'Suspicious Minds' and 'In The Ghetto' made the cut but some of the selections were questionable. This expanded, remastered CD by Sony could have brought the collection up a couple of notches by adding terrific single A- and B-sides such as 'Hi-Heel Sneakers', 'Don't Cry Daddy' and 'An American Trilogy'. But they’ve opted instead for weaker material, including an obscure psychedelic movie song, a terrible finger-pickin' country hoedown bursting with macho postal delivery metaphors, and Elvis's bombastic misreading of Dusty Springfield's fragile 'You Don't Have To Say You Love Me'. Moreover, this collection doesn’t flow well because - though The King's vocal timbre changed dramatically and his music became far less edgy in this 1968-1976 time frame - the extras have been bunched together just before the end rather than being woven into the chronology. Also, the stereo mix of 'If I Can Dream' used on the original vinyl album has been dropped in favour of the lower-spec NBC tv special LP version - awful overdubbed applause erupts from nowhere near the end and is faded out in a rush before Elvis says his, “Thank you, goodnight,” line. This revamped 'GR5' is no way to curate The King's legacy.