'Fame and Fortune'
FTD CD Review
- "A Treasure to Hold" -
March 20th 1960 when Elvis walked back into RCA's
Studio B it had been an extremely long time since
he had recorded anything professionally.
2 days earlier with the same Nashville 'A Team' backing
band, The Everly Brothers had recorded their #1 Pop
classic 'Cathy's Clown' and now Elvis had to prove
that, after 2 years in the army, he too was still
a creative force.
with 11 dynamic tracks from his crucial 'Elvis Is Back' sessions this CD shows that Elvis, of course, had lost none
of his edge recording an amazing variety of musical styles.
Here we have great Rock n' Roll, sublime ballads, Pop, blues
and even a little bit of Gospel.
first tracks are the real highlight of this CD (and it's
damn hard not to put them on 'repeat') but we also get 8
tracks from 'His Hand in Mine' as well as 8 from his final
session before 'Blue Hawaii'. Compared with the other Studio
outtakes CDs, 'Essential Vol 6' (which focussed on the first
4 years of Elvis' Nashville sessions) and 'Long Lonely Highway'
(which took us on a journey all the way to through to 1968),
'Fame & Fortune' really works by just focussing on the 2
years 1960 & 1961.
again Ernst has added the 'New Orthophonic' logo to the
front cover and like 'Silver Screen Stereo' the audio quality
here is a real highlight, especially on the newly found
'Elvis Is Back' tapes. Elvis recorded an amazing 103 studio
songs in these 2 years and this CD is packed with 27 of
you like this period of Elvis' work, you will love this
CD. I can't stop playing it. NB. - I can thoroughly recommend
that you also give it a listen on a pair of good quality
headphones. For a closer look at what delights are in store
read on …
Me Know It' Tk11 - Elvis' first post army song kicks off
the CD and the false start lets us know that, once again,
Ernst is going to treat us with some eavesdropping on the
band at work. This take has similar backing vocals to Tk3
(on 'Essential Vol 6) but it is the amazing audio quality
that stands out here - 'Orthophonic' indeed!
Boy' Tk7 - A lovely relaxed version. Starting with Floyd
Cramer doing a run on the piano and Elvis, in obvious good
humour, saying, "Hey, I like that!". Previously bootlegged
in terrible quality, Elvis sounds very relaxed with the
song, this is a gem.
On You' Tk1 - Another fun false start and another dynamic
audio mix (Great work by Dennis Ferrante again). Elvis'
vocal is fabulously up front, which makes this version really
shine. This is in fact something that Elvis often complained
about at the time, preferring himself to be mixed down with
And Fortune' Tk5 - An absolute highlight. Scotty hasn't
worked out his guitar fills yet but with a lighter feel
than the final Master this is a sublime version.
A Baby' Tk4 - A great blues song and a real favourite. l
personally prefer the rougher Tk2 (on C's Gold) but the
audio mix is fabulous here. It is also a nice reminder about
how diverse Elvis' choices of songs was as the time, since
the very next track he recorded in the studio was the seminal …
Now Or Never' Tk2,3 - I was surprised how much I enjoyed
hearing this old chestnut again. Take 2 is messed up but
Elvis puts more feeling into these than Tk1 (on Long Lonely
Highway). The percussion is mixed a little higher and they
get so close to the Master but then, just before the end,
the band misses the break. I am really surprised that Ernst
didn't hold this back for the T, T&F box set. A real delight!
Of My Best Friend' Tk3 - Another gem of a discovery since
it sounds so different to the Master that we all know. Taken
at a much slower tempo (the words don't quite fit) this
really demonstrates how Elvis & the band created masterpieces
from the original demos that they started out with.
Dirty Feeling' Tk1 - Never a classic Leiber/Stoller song
this, with the added bonus of a few false starts and the
band interacting, is great to hear. Take 1 doesn't have
the Master's instrumental break but does have the guitar
higher in the mix. This is another song that has been bootlegged
in terrible quality before but here sounds just fine.
Of My Love' Tk1 - Another change of mood as Elvis gets into
some gospel swing and another true delight. A great start
with engineer Bill Porter saying "A little rough" to piano
player Floyd Cramer. Elvis' voice is beautifully clear and
I'll take this version over the Master any day. Delicious.
A Night' Tk1 - Ahh, my all-time favourite Elvis track, a
song that changed my life! This was a surprise to me, as
it sounds SO different from the same bootlegged version
that I always considered strangely weak. The band still
sounds unsure of where they are going but here the mix is
dynamic with the drums crystal clear once again driving
the song along. The backing vocals are also mixed just right.
It was never going to be the Master - (Elvis' "Whoo" at
the end of that said it all!) - but it is a fabulous treat
for all of us and demonstrates how much a careful audio
mix can completely change a song's feel.
Next Door Went A'Walkin' Tk1,2,3 - A slight song that Elvis
recorded as a favour for Scotty. However this is yet another
highlight as with 3 attempts presented here we get to observe
the band at work and they're having fun! I love the sound
of Elvis saying "Hold it" as the song falls apart. Brilliant
stuff. (Take 3 had previously been called Take 6 on bootlegs).
next 8 tracks are from the 'His Hand In Mine' session where,
on Oct 30th 1960, Elvis recorded an amazing 13 tracks in
just one night.
'Milky White Way' Tk4,5 - This starts with
Millie Kirkham discussing how they should be doing the backing
vocals and take 4 breaks down, but Elvis likes the pacing. "That's a good tempo" he says. If you listen to take 3 (Platinum)
you can hear how Elvis decided to speed up the tempo adding
a much better gospel-swing to the final melody.
Hand In Mine' Tk4/5 - The Master was spliced from the same
2 takes but the mix here is very different shifting the
Jordanaires away from the right hand channel creating a
much more satisfying blend of their voices & Elvis'. The
gospel tracks in general are beautiful versions and are
often similar to the originals. The mixes however are lovely
and clear, although I do feel that the bass work of Bob
Moore seems to be a little low in comparison to the Master
Fit The Battle' Tk2 - This song demonstrates how clear these
mixes really are but by this take they have lost that fabulous
spontaneousness that made Take 1 (Easter Special) such a
On A Building' Tk1 - 7am in the morning, after working all
night, and we are listening to the group working at the
creative edge again. "Hey Bill I've got the intro" announces
Hank Garland before the take falls apart immediately. "Hey,
that sounds pretty good, we should have kept it up" jokes
Elvis. This first take again has that great spontaneous
feel, Elvis is clapping along and takes a back seat on the
choruses. Elvis coughs towards the end but this is another
'Surrender' Tk2 - This was the #1 single recorded at this session but
Elvis was having problems getting the powerhouse vocal finish
perfect. Here you can observe the original ending where
Elvis holds back and slides down on the dynamic "Be mine
tonight" finale. Frustrated with his failure the Jordanaires
bass singer, Ray Walker, explained a new breathing technique
to Elvis who then went on to record the classic we all know.
interviews engineer Bill Porter also described how he was
so ill on the night that he was often in the bathroom being
sick while Elvis was recording. This helps explain the roughness
of the mix on this version.
The final tracks of this CD
are from March 12th 1961 where Elvis laid down another 12
songs in just one night. By then 'G.I. Blues' had (unfortunately!)
far outstripped the poor sales of the brilliant 'Elvis Is
Back' album and this is reflected by the new 'Poppier' sound
of this 'Something For Everybody' session.
of the more dynamic songs 'I Feel So Bad', 'Give Me The
Right', 'There's Always Me', & 'I Want You With Me' have
already been released elsewhere so here we get alternate
takes of the remaining 8 songs. Many of the performances
are similar to their final versions but 'I'm Coming Home',
'It's A Sin' and 'In Your Arms' are all excellent and together
they help cool you down before you start all over again!
However 4 tracks do stand out.
'Gently' Tk1,2 - These initial versions are just beautiful. Dennis
Ferrante has produced a very different mix of the Jordanaires
giving them a greater separation which, along with the great
audio quality, helps show off the gorgeous blend of their
and Elvis' vocals.
Me' Tk1 - Yet another great first take. The feel is
much lighter than in the final Master and the ending
is fluffed in a delightful way. This was so nearly a
'one take' masterpiece.
'Judy' Tk1 - At last this gem gets a proper release. Hank Garland's guitar would dominate the final mix but here Elvis wants to play. In a similar feel to the 'Shoppin' Around'
session, Elvis is strumming away on his guitar. "It's twice
in D," he says before they launch into the song. His playing
is very rough & ready and is high in the mix - a lovely
'unplugged' feel. Preferable over the smoother Master take,
if you haven't heard it before you are in for a real treat.
next song Elvis would record was 'Hawaiian Sunset' just
9 days later. Hollywood and the Colonel were about to absorb
him. Elvis recorded another 39 studio songs starting with
'Kiss Me Quick' in 1961 (Hey, Ernst take 1 of that is another
classic!) through to 'It Hurts Me' in 1964. I can't wait
for the next instalment!
a final note it is good at last to have the musicians credited
on the sleeve which also points out that it is Charlie Hodge
harmonising on 'His Hand in Mine' & 'He Knows Just What
I Need'. The inside cover photo is, oddly, the same as in
the 'Essential Vol 6' CD but here we have the complete picture
and can see Charlie Hodge in the reflection in the window.
As Charlie was recently in hospital this is a nicely deserved
credit to his contribution to Elvis' musical legacy.
by Piers B.
- Copyright EIN 2002.
Click here for the FTD 'Classic Album' reviews-
Elvis Is Back!
Something For Everybody
AND for more Elvis Studio Outtakes why not check out
So High - 1966
Studio B 1961 - 1964
Silver Screen Stereo
Elvis - The Jungle Room Sessions
Elvis- The Memphis Sessions
Elvis - The Nashville Marathon
Elvis Presley - The First LP
Elvis: On Tour The Rehearsals
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