'That's The Way It Is'
FTD Classic Album preview
Released in November 1970 Elvis' original 'That's The Way It Is' was the exciting follow up to his live 'On Stage' album of five months previously.
In England 'I Just Can't Help Believing' became his highest charting single since 'The Wonder Of You'.
Next month FTD releases the double-CD Classic Album version of this great LP - but it is just a rehash of the 30th Anniversary BMG release?
EIN's Piers Beagley is truly excited about this up-coming release and states his reasons why.
The April FTD release of TTWII is an interesting one.
Is the new TTWII Classic FTD release just a rehash of the 30th Anniversary BMG release? As Elvis fans often complain of being forced to buy the same material repeatedly for only a couple of new snippets - are they being ripped off once again?
Several fans have suggested to EIN that FTD's recently announced 'That's The Way It Is' deluxe Classic Album release is only a re-hash of the 2000 30th Anniversary 3CD release of 'TTWII' Special Edition and not worth ordering. However I believe that this new version will become a firm turntable favourite.
The 2008 FTD Classic album release of 'That's The Way It Is' is actually a very interesting one - although I am not surprised that some fans are a little reticent about ordering it.
Certainly the majority of tracks have been released before over several CDs, however this is a very different package from the 3CD 30th Anniversary Special Edition - which was also released to focus on the new 'Special Edition' re-edit of "TTWII" which had just hit the cinemas.
There are several main reasons why I believe that this FTD will become a favourite.
On the 30th Anniv release while the Bonus Tracks were nice extras a true fan could hardly see the later-released 'When I'm Over You', 'Sylvia' or 'I'll Never Know' as part of the original 'TTWII' album. The excessive overdubbed/sweetenings on these tracks would only have diminished the power of the original LP.
In fact on this new release only 14 of the 40 tracks are repeated from the 'TTWII' 2000 version. (see tracklist below)
Focussing on the sound upgrade, the audio remasterer/compiler Jean-Marc Juilland is one of the best FTD audio engineers and will push for the very best sound. (See EIN's 'Raised On Rock' review). Audio engineer Vic Anesini's work is also superlative, as everyone should know from buying last year's 'Viva Las Vegas' double CD and his work on the BMG Genre series. I am hoping for a real improvement over the somewhat flat sounding '30th Anniv Edition' TTWII Masters.
'That's the Way It Is' Classic Album FTD
40 tracks on 2 CDs including 29 new "takes".
Released as a 7" deluxe package with 20 page booklet.
Compilation by Ernst Jørgensen & Roger Semon. Mastered by Jean-Marc Juilland and Vic Anesini.
Original A&R/Producer: Felton Jarvis. Original engineer: Al Pachucki.
CD1: Original Album and outtakes
1: I Just Can't Help Believing
2: Twenty Days And Twenty Nights
3: How The Web Was Woven
4: Patch It Up
5: Mary In The Morning
6: You Don't Have To Say You Love Me
7: You've Lost That Loving Feeling
8: I've Lost You
9: Just Pretend
10: Stranger In The Crowd
11: The Next Step Is Love
12: Bridge Over Troubled Water
13: Patch It Up (studio)
14: I've Lost You (studio)
15: Twenty Days And Twenty Nights (8*)
16: Bridge Over Troubled Water (live master)
17: Little Sister/Get Back (live 12.08.70)
18: Something (live 11.08.70)
19: The Next Step Is Love (undubbed master)
20: Patch It Up (1*)
21: Bridge Over Troubled Water (alt. mix)
- * previously unreleased take.
= On TTWII 30th Anniversary release
|CD2: Different mixes and outtakes
1: Tiger Man (jam) [Nashville Marathon]
2: Twenty Days And Twenty Nights (reh*, 1*, 2*, 3) [Nashville Marathon]
3: I've Lost You (reh*, 1) [Nashville Marathon]
4: Bridge Over Troubled Water (1) [Nashville Marathon]
5: You Don't Have To Say You Love Me (reh. composite*)
6: The Next Step Is Love (reh.*, 2*, 3*, 6) [Today, Tomorrow And Forever]
7: How The Web Was Woven (reh.*, 1) [Nashville Marathon]
8: Stranger In The Crowd (reh.*, 1*, 3*, 4*, 5*)
9: Stranger In The Crowd (master rough mix)
10: Mary In The Morning (1*, 2*, 3*, 4) [Nashville Marathon]
11: Patch It Up (2*, 3*, 4*, 5*, 6*, 7*)
12: Patch It Up (9) [Essential Elvis Vol. 4]
13: You Don't Have To Say You Love Me (1*, 2) [Essential Elvis Vol. 4]
14: Just Pretend (1*, 2) [Essential Elvis Vol. 4]
15: The Next Step Is Love (7*, 8*, 9*, 10) [Nashville Marathon]
16: Bridge Over Troubled Water (reh.*, 2*, 5) [Essential Elvis Vol. 4]
17: I've Lost You (4*, 5*, 6) [Essential Elvis Vol. 4]
18: Twenty Days And Twenty Nights (5*, 6*)
19: Twenty Days And Twenty Nights (master rough mix)
- * previously unreleased take
CD 1 contains the original album plus nine related cuts only 2 of which were featured on the 2000 'TTWII' version.
The studio versions of 'Patch It Up' and 'I've Lost You' fit perfectly in context here and the idea of an alternate mix of 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' is tantalising, as is the undubbed 'The Next Step Is Love' - which is apparently the only undubbed Master surviving from these sessions. (More undubbed Masters please Ernst!)
It is more often than not that Elvis' Studio outtakes sound even better than the well-worn Masters. J-M-J's 'Raised On Rock' FTD "rough-mixes" were fantastic in comparison to the LP Masters and here again we get some new rough or alternate mixes. Another point to consider is that the FTD Classic Album outtakes are often more complete and sometimes without fades-outs compared to their earlier outings.
For instance on 'R.O.R' FTD the previously released ‘Are You Sincere’ Take 2 was a revelation! Already on the BMG ‘Platinum’ box-set it was a totally different, more subtle mix and with pianist Donnie Summer playing on past the end of the song (again edited out on the ‘Platinum’ version) with Elvis cutely commenting, "Donnie, that’s the end of the song!" Hopefully we will get more of the same kind of extras here.
I can certainly see myself playing CD1 of this set in preference to CD1 of the 'TTWII' 2000 version.
CD 2 featuring the "best of" outtakes looks very impressive.
There is a nice focus on the rarer classics like 'I've Lost You', 'Twenty Days And Twenty Nights' and 'Mary in The Morning' and to get new unreleased takes, and even better the seven rehearsals will be nice addition to what we already have. With over 40 takes featured the new false starts, and possibly whatever rehearsals were caught on tape, may be very short indeed however there can be no doubt that a few will be truly fascinating.
Once again with FTD trying to provide something new with every re-issue we can be hopeful that the mixes will differ on the tracks that have already been released. (as on 'R.O.R').
In the end the second CD with the extra takes will no doubt help demonstrate Elvis' crucial musical development in 1970 as he works through these new and all-important songs. And of course (see below) Elvis was working with one of his finest bands
With the 20-page booklet as well, this has to be FTD's best Classic Album artistic endeavour yet. (Hell, even the 'Clambake' FTD booklet looked great - shame about the musical content!)
EIN's short-list of reasons to buy this FTD,
1) Twenty-Nine new "takes" etc, albeit some short false starts.
2) The new different mixes of Master takes.
3) New unreleased rehearsals of seven of the songs from the original album.
4) Sparkling new audio.
5) 20 PAGE booklet - Nice!
6) DELUXE double CD package at a SINGLE CD price.
For fans who complain about the cost of FTDs and also their minimal presentation compared to the high-end bootlegs, perhaps the final reason is the key.
I reckon it will be one of the very best FTDs this year and one of my most played 1970's Elvis CDs in the future!
Personally I so adore 'I Just Can't Help Believing' that I expect that I will "drop in" a couple of alternates in preference to some other choices but overall I would argue that this is an essential purchase.
But do YOU agree? Is this an FTD essential release? Are we buying the same old song all over again?
Click here to add your comment.
See reader's feedback below.
Recording info : 'TTWII' RCA’s Studio B, Nashville June 4-8, 1970, and live at The International Hotel, Las Vegas, August 11-13, 1970.
Nashville musicians: Guitar: James Burton, Chip Young, Elvis Presley; Bass: Norbert Putnam; Drums: Jerry Carrigan; Piano: David Briggs; Organ & Harmonica: Charlie McCoy. Overdubs: Guitar: James Burton; Organ: David Briggs; Percussion: Jerry Carrigan; Percussion and Vibes: Farrell Morris; Steel Guitar: Weldon Myrick; Vocals: Mary Holladay, Mary (Jeannie) Green, Dolores Edgin, Ginger Holladay, Millie Kirkham, June Page, Joe Babcock, The Jordanaires, The Imperials.
If you are in Australia or New Zealand you can order this great value 'TTWII' Classic Album through EIN's FTD shop. Click here.
With many thanks to Oven Egeland for tracklisting details. See his fine website 'ElvisIn Norway'.
Preview by Piers Beagley
Copyright EIN - March 2008
Click here to comment on this article
EIN feedback & some readers comments:
From: mark cunliffe
I was initially disappointed at the song content as there seemed little additional material and limited alternative takes from what has previously been released (30th anniversary 3 CD set, the excellent Essential Elvis 4 - One Hundred Years from Now and the superb FTD Nashville Marathon). Given this, I found it difficult to understand the evident enthusiasm and anticipation. However I took time to look again at things, and upon reflection I can’t help but join in the excitement of this new FTD Classic CD. This will be truly another must have release for the following reasons:-
1) One Hundred Years From Now(Essential Elvis 4) and the FTD Nashville Marathon are rightly up there as two must have Elvis CD's. Elvis and the band are on fire and the music seems to flow effortlessly from all concerned. Listening again to the tracks that are being taken from these two CD’S to be included on this FTD Classic release again really stoked up my enthusiasm for this new FTD release. They are exceptional alternative versions of masters originally included on TTWII, and if they are even close to the new alternative takes we will be getting, we’re in for a treat.
2)All the previous TTWII CD’s are now pretty old (originally released 2000, 1996, and 2002 respectively), positively ancient when compared to the leaps forward that have been made in audio quality and mixing expertise since then. Getting to hear Elvis at his very best with the now excellent FTD audio quality is something well worth looking forward to.
3) We are getting all the alternative takes of the masters, so it’s futile to complain there isn’t more. Ernst and team aren’t magicians who can summon material where there isn’t any to be had. In-fact, we can see with the additional rehearsal material, alternative mixes and undubbed masters, they have strived to give us as much new material as possible. In this light, we should rejoice in the new recordings we will get!
4) An album that can give us 5 separate Bridge Over Troubled Waters tracks, 6 Twenty Days and Twenty nights, 5 Patch It Up’s, 3 Strangers in the Crowd, and 3 I’ve Lost You’s, many including multiple alternative takes, plus all the takes of Mary In the Morning, has got to be serving up something very special indeed.
So, on reflection, while there’s some duplication with the previous TTWII releases, there is so much more in addition to look forward to. The anticipation should be there for all Elvis fans .This will be one of the best FTD releases this year, and, if it delivers what we are all hoping it will, it should become one of our all time favorite FTD releases.
From: Gerald M
Personally, there wasn't much I liked about the 3 disc SE of TTWII except the concert on disc 2. I'll certainly play this disc 1 more than I ever played the other. I'm expecting stunning sound improvement. This version of TTWII will be well worth the money. April can't come soon enough.
From: Armond J
I certainly agree with your opinion on this matter! The track breakdown makes me realise how this release will stand up to the 30th anniversary edition. If FTD continues using the fantastic "sound wizards" and giving the classic albums this kind of stellar treatment, we will be in seventh heaven for a long time to come.
From: Ida R
Thank you for all your information and I believe it will be a favorite. But I still believe that I am buying the same songs all over again. I agree to the fact that some people do buy some of the new FTD releases when only one or two new songs are added. For that reason I pass on a lot of them.
From: Robert V
Most disappointed initially with the track listing on TTWII 2CD. Is this all we are getting? Surely Ernst has more material he's not giving us (complete takes, undubbed masters & a few surprises). But will it be worth it for the sound quality alone?
From: Lyle Ray
I'm sure this will be a real killer, both sound wise and material wise. They have the right guys working on this, Pot Luck and G.G.G. are both amazing.
From: JASON L
Any new takes from 1970 are always welcome, The Nashville Marathon is my favorite CD. Elvis was in a great mood and was really having fun getting ready for the up coming MGM movie. I would love to have all the rehearsals from TTWII on one CD. I know there are a lot of them, 7 is a good start. I would have to say I will probably have a new favorite CD when I purchase this one.