LOVE this album. His voice sounds rich and warm, the mix of tracks is nice - and he sounds enthusiastic in the discussion on the beginning/end of some tracks.
A favourite of mine is "It's Still Here". Pity it's a bit jerky (false starts, stumble on a line) as it's a lovely vocal.
The only 2 that I (personally) am not keen on are tracks 19/25 (I'll Be Home On Christmas Day). They are both the version with the children's named listed and the lyrics just don't seem to scan right. I've got a few versions of this track and the one I really love is Take 4 (on Platinum - A Life In Music) - a version without the children's names. That take, for me, is perfection and I always play it 2-3 times when it comes on my playlist. Makes the hairs on back of my neck stand up, that one.
But that is only the teeniest of gripes - it's a wonderful album.
Frankly, I was never a big fan of the '71 sessions. I think the March session was very reasonable but the later sessions I had always considered rather disappointing. I am pleased to say however that this cd has really made me change my opinion. Elvis vocal performances though weaker than the 1970 sets, are still exciting and he does a grand job on most of the material. The "piano" songs are great and "Until it's time for you to go" is superior to the official release. Elvis did still appear interested in recording in '71, this was probably the last time he showed such motivation. A nice cd though, shame it wasn't a "double"
It's always good to hear how a song has evolved during the initial takes to become the polished item. Elvis never wrote any songs himself but was able to present a song, for the most part, as if it had been penned by himself. That was his strength. Sometimes, as with lots of commercial releases, the finished item is 'modified' to appeal to a particular trend or to a specific section of the listening audience. By using classical as well as electrical instruments throughout his career Elvis, perhaps subconciously ensured that his music became timeless. Elvis's voice and the artists accompanying him, at the time some of the best in the world, seemed to always have an air of the 'live sound' during sessions and this was due partly to the fact that Elvis recorded his vocals whilst being stood amongst the other artists as if it were a jam session. This closeness produced a feeling of spontaneity and you can't help but feel the enjoyment from track one of this album `Bosom of Abraham' through to the sincerity of `Until it's time for you to go' and `Padre'. Kathy Westmoreland, one of Elvis's live backing singers (soprano) in the `70's, once commented that to `hear Elvis singing in front of you in the flesh was so much better than to hear his recordings in that the grain of his voice was so unique that you could hear two or three notes in every note he sang which gave his voice the natural emotion and depth. This album enables that sound to be heard as closely as we are ever likely to get. We hear all the time how Elvis loved his music. It is such an easy, throw away comment. Listening to this album helps you to understand this comment. I got a feeling from these recordings of a man with real values who loved his religeous upbringing and most of all his music, both of which he never strayed from or turned his back on. As you can hear from these recordings his musical legacy encompass blues, gospel, opera, R&B & R&R. His roots, as poor as they were, were the foundations which enabled him to produce diverse and captivating music into which his soul appears to have been intervoven naturally and seemlessly. That is what makes the effortlessness of his music still appeal over thirty years after his death. A valuable and extremely enjoyable historical record.
at last some more stuff from the nashville sessions in '71. this mixture of ballads,gospel and a bit of xmas is surprisingly up there with ftd's finest.the much forgotten "it's only love" is a great take, along with a powerful "love the life i lead" are the highlights. there is also a slower "home on christmas day" which captures the man's voice in all it's glory. there is an outing for "early morning rain" which has got my attention and what better way to kick off an album than which bosom of abraham. "wellll you rocka ma soul".tcb