- FTD CD review -
a fascinating look at Elvis' Hollywood Sessions in 1972 & 1975
8 returns to Elvis' Studio material, giving us alternate versions
recorded in March 1972 + 1975 at RCA's Studio C in Hollywood.
The first 6 tracks are from the 2 nights in 1972 that produced
'Burning Love' and 'Always on my Mind' and the final 6 tracks
focus on the session that produced the TODAY album.
some strange reason, sandwiched in the middle, we get 7 tracks
from the "On Tour" concert rehearsal sessions also recorded
in the same studio.
the Seventies Elvis rarely experimented in the Studio in the same
way as he did earlier in is career and usually the differences between
each take was quite minor, So is this a worthy FTD release ? Ahh,
Goddamn it, of course it is !!! (but this time with some reservations).
feature of the 70's was for Felton Jarvis to overdub everything
Elvis recorded, often burying his vocals and adding un-called for
syrupy strings. These luckily are absent on these alternate versions
and this is the true bonus of this CD - no orchestra, a cleaner
mix and Elvis' voice way up front. So what do we get ? …..
on my Mind Tk 3 - I so wish that the CD had started with a few words
from 'The Man' to set the scene. Oddly enough Take 1 ended up being
the Master (with overdubs) so it would have been great to hear Elvis
say something about the band playing tighter or to James Burton
about his delightful guitar picking - which is far more prominent
in this version than the first 2 takes (Take 2 was on Platinum).
Yes, it's close to the original but here we have it without the
final overdub and also a much better sounding mix of Elvis' with
the backing vocals at the end of the song. .
Love Tk 2 - It is often said that Elvis never particularly liked
this song so again it is a shame that we don't get any Studio chatter.
Not up to the power of the final Master (Tk 6) which was driven
by Dennis Linde's (the writer of the song) overdubbed guitar. Here
James Burton's wah-wah guitar kick-starts the song. Not a great
version but still interesting to hear how the song developed - Emery
Gordy's bass guitar drops out of the mix for part of the song but
the band keeps playing.
The Good Times Tk 3 - Some reviews have said that this is the same
take as on Platinum which was in fact Take 2 (but misprinted on
the sleeve). This version is a delight even if close to the Master
(Tk 4) but here we have no orchestra overdub. Compared to Take 2
this is slightly faster plus the addition of some fine solo guitar
picking from James Burton.
do I go From Here Tk 6. - Never a favourite Elvis track of mine
but here driven by some great wah-wah guitar and again benefiting
from not being overdubbed. Elvis says "Felton hold that last take" at the end which shows his own interest in this version.
1. This again is close to the Master, which was take 2, but greatly
improved by the lack of syrupy strings which were dubbed onto it.
The lack of overdubs makes Elvis sound more fragile, which improves
the feel of the song, plus we get the joy of the full 4 minutes
rather than the short fade out of the original.
a Matter Of Time Tk ?1? - Elvis slips out of key suggesting a first
take otherwise this is very close to the Master with very slightly
changed phrasing. Nothing particularly new here.
The next 7 tracks
are "On Tour" rehearsals and seem out of place to me - Surely we
should be getting these all in the up and coming "On Tour" releases
? However the sound quality - compared to previous Bootlegs - is
Fantastic, plus again the joy of no on-stage orchestra.
See Rider - kicks ass. Until It's Time for You To Go - Being a 70's
song this does fit nicely into this CD - a charming, delicate, version
- Elvis sings "You're not a dream, You're a woman, Lord I Hope so
!" which is a nice touch. Put your headphones on and let Elvis sing
a 'concert' song just to you alone- delicious!
Hunk O' Love - Another dynamite song - Throbbing bass work and Elvis
lets rip - Great stuff.
All Shook Up/Heartbreak Hotel/Teddy Bear/Don't
Be Cruel - All familiar 'throw away' versions - I agree with Oven
from the web site "Still Active in Norway" when he says "What is
worse than listening to a 70's version of 'All Shook Up' . . . .
a rehearsal version" . !
Help Falling in Love - Actually does sound better without the orchestra
and is, in fact, a fine end to this mini rehearsal. Elvis laughs
and sings "Wise men say, only Fat Fools rush in"
March 1975 was
Elvis' only studio recordings in the whole of 1974 and 1975 and
these tracks close this CD. I was surprised to find that, after
a few listens, it was this part that of 6363 that I enjoyed the
most. In 1975, as well as overdubbing the TODAY material, Felton
Jarvis also added some echo and reverb to all the tracks giving
them a "Concert Hall" kind of sound. Here we get them clean, with
Elvis singing straight to you with beautiful clarity, compared to
the TODAY album where it sounds as if the band is in the bathroom
down the corridor!
Green Grass Of Home Tk 2,3 - A false start before a delicious take
3. Elvis' vocal is clear and way up front - a real joy compared
to the overdubbed original. No sweetening strings, less backing
vocals, this version sounds so much lighter in style. When Elvis
says "Then I awake and look around me" he's right there with you
When She Tried Tk1,2 - Great to get 2 new takes of this song and
Elvis sounds like he's enjoying himself. On Take 1 he changes the
girl's names on purpose and laughs. No echo or overdubs here - great
banjo picking and Take 2 runs nearly 3 minutes unlike the original
fade at 2:15. Also in 1975 there was definite tension between Elvis
and his new Bass player Duke Bardwell, so much so that all his parts
were later erased at Elvis' request. Here we have the interesting
comment from Elvis "Get it right Duke, Damn!"
I Love You So Tk1 - Elvis says to then girlfriend, Sheila Ryan, "Step here Sheila and let me sing to you baby". A delicious version
- just beautiful. The version on 'Platinum' Tk 2 still had the reverb
present where Elvis, Sheila and the band sound like they are in
the "Bathroom"! Elvis is far clearer here, one of the best tracks
on this CD.
it Back Tk 2,3 - "Next piano player" quips Elvis at the start, referring
to the fact that Voice's Tony Brown was asked by him to play piano
on this track (Elvis had liked his playing on the demo). I have
never understood why this fairly pedestrian song was chosen as a
single in the USA but here it benefits from the lack of overdubbing
that so spoiled the Master.
T.R.O.U.B.L.E.Tk1 - Elvis has trouble himself with the spelling, which is fun, and
this is a good version for a first take - If you listen to the Master
Tk 4 you can hear how much more Elvis was going for the song by
then, rockin' until the end fade out. However the extra overdubbed
backing vocals pushed him further down into the mix which was a
shame - A undubbed Master version should have been included here
A Hand Tk2 - The final track and similar to the Master but with
Elvis' vocal more prominent. On this song the "Gospel choir" overdub
actually benefited the final mix giving it a rousing Gospel chorus
at the end -. This version fades earlier than the final Master,
which is odd, but ends nicely with Elvis changing the lyrics to
"Shake a Hand, Shake a Leg"!
complaint is that the between song chatting that made The Jungle
Room Sessions such a delight, is missing here. There you felt that
you were privy to something very special happening - a private 'fly
on the wall' view letting you feel Elvis' mood as well as hear the
songs develop and take shape.
IMO, apart from "Until it's Time for you To Go", the mini rehearsal
doesn't fit well on this disc. Maybe all that was needed was the
'old rockers' being replaced with rehearsals of newer 70's songs
and we know from the "On Tour" Bootlegs that Funny How Time Slips
Away, Proud Mary, etc were all potential inclusions.
CD runs an hour so maybe there just wasn't enough material but in
that case why are there no versions of the fantastic song "Separate
Ways" here? Elvis recorded 25 takes of the song yet only 2 have
been released. Why not more studio discussions?
Help" is also not represented on the later half of the disc and
I would loved to have heard Elvis saying "Billy Swan my Ass" as
a prelude to the recorded take!
Also the missing 1975 songs - Fairytale/Woman
Without Love/Pieces of My Life without their final overdubs would
have been a good addition too. Like "Pledging My Love" on the Jungle
Room Sessions - (which played for it's full length and completely
changed my opinion of the song - You can hear how much soul Elvis
poured into the track compared to the brutally edited single version)
- these tracks often benefit from playing for their full length
rather than the usual shorter Master fade outs. "Fool" being a good
example on this CD so - - - - "More please" !
Verdict: Possibly too short, and the 6363 Studio theme doesn't hang as well together as other FTDs. The CD would also have benefitted from more studio banter and a different selection of On Tour rehearsals. However we do get an hour of officially unreleased Elvis in brilliant audio quality including a coupel of gems. Overall not my favourite FTD CD so far, BUT - "Keep 'em coming" ! !
Review by Piers Beagley. EIN copyright.
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Track listing: For The Good Times, Where Do I Go From Here, Burning
Love, Fool, Always On My Mind, It's A Matter Of Time, A Big Hunk O
Love, Until It's Time For You To Go, See See Rider, All Shook Up,
Heartbreak Hotel, Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel, Can't Help Falling In
Love, Green, Green. Grass Of Home, And I Love You So, Susan When She
Tried, T-R-O-U-B-L-E, Shake A Hand, Bringing It Back Unreleased outtakes
from the March 1972-75 Sessions.
Since this release '6363' CD FTD have issued their DELUXE double FTD 'TODAY' album. This features the above takes from 1975 plus much much more.
The Elvis 'ON TOUR; Rehearsals' have also been covered by a 2005 FTD of the same name!
more FTD reviews and FTD soundtrack releases:
FTD 'ON TOUR; Rehearsals'
MORE EIN relevant reviews and information for 1975.
FTD Deluxe 'Elvis Today'
FTD Dixieland Rocks review - May 6 1975
FTD 'Dinner At Eight' review Las Vegas, December 1975
FTD Big Boss Man review Las Vegas, March 28th 1975
FTD 'Southern Nights' review June 1975