'Silver Screen Stereo'
- FTD CD review -
"An Orthophonic Delight"
"Silver Screen Stereo" is released so close on the heels of the sensational "Memphis Sessions" that it is hard to give it a fair review.
There is no doubt that opinions are going to be very divided but after a week of continuous listening I realise that Ernst + the FTD team have produced another gem.
This CD is obviously "Out in Hollywood" Vol.2 but there is much more here. 26 tracks, over 70 minutes, and this time the treat of eavesdropping on Elvis and the band working out the songs. But above all the real is the BRILLIANT audio quality.
For me the highlights are the rediscovered tapes of Viva Las Vegas plus the delicious Kid Galahad songs but there's so much more … and it's perfect for an Australian Summer afternoon.
The first 3 tracks are in Binaural Stereo and as soon as D.J's drum kicks the beat in on 'Loving You' you can immediately notice the great sound.
However it is the second track 'Jailhouse Rock' Tk5 that is the first highlight. As soon as Elvis says "We've gotta get this thing goin' " before the explosive start, you know that Ernst is going to let us hear a little more than just the songs. A dynamite sound, with less echo, this version is outstanding. "Just a little too fast" they say at the end, but it's sensational just the same! The Master was next.
Four GI Blues songs follow. We may have heard them before on Bootlegs but never like this. It must also be a new generation tape as the quality is a vast improvement compared to the 'Silver Box Set' outtakes.
'Tonight is So Right For Love' Tk1,2 has the great banter of Elvis being told off for snapping his fingers "My most humble Forgiveness" he says.
'Doin' the Best I Can' is a favourite of mine and this version is a little slower and with less echo and audio compression than the Master or the alt Tk9 released on the GI Blues Special Edition.
'Summer Kisses, Winter Tears' Tk8,9. This version is a little drum heavy but there is some fun studio chat including Elvis laughing and saying "Charlie was trying to bullshit me". At last we get to hear the real Elvis and it's delightful stuff. Yes, he was a real person!
A gentle 'In my Way' follows and then 2 tracks from 'Blue Hawaii'. We might have heard these before but again never in this quality.
'Island of Love' has more fun studio chatter but for some reason Ernst left out Elvis' great quote (that you can find on the bootleg), 'A wise man changes his mind, a fool never does'. Odd.
'Angel' Tk2 is beautiful but it's the 'Kid Galahad' songs, Elvis last recordings in 1961, that I keep going back to.
'I Got Lucky' is in a slightly different arrangement (Backing vocals) but it's the audio quality (less audio compression) that stands out. 'Home is Where the Heart is' Tk13,14 was always a gorgeous song but here it's even better with Elvis' vocal far more prominent.
||'Riding The Rainbow' Tk1 is my favourite and very different from the Master, with a delicious Jazz piano arrangement from Dudley Brooks. Elvis gets his phrasing slightly wrong but it is pure delight.
'The Bullfighter was a Lady' and 'I Think I'm gonna' like it here' from 'Fun in Acapulco' are the 'remakes' for the film. Both differ from the released versions in backing vocals and "I Think" is a great take. Elvis is more involved (he clicks his fingers) and it's at a faster tempo. (Check his delicious 'Umm" at 02.02 !). For all his hate of the movie soundtracks there is no doubt that Elvis was enjoying himself on this one.
However it's the next four tracks from Viva Las Vegas that are the stunners. What great work the FTD team have done with the newly acquired master tapes.
'Viva Las Vegas' Tk1 is worth the CD price alone. Completely different from the single, with a slight tinkling piano and no dynamic percussion, this take sounds like a perfect choice for the final 'movie credits' version. What a shame Elvis stops it half way through. A great stereo mix and less compression make it sound even better.
'The Lady Loves Me' Tk9 starts with Ann-Margret saying "What do I do?". A definite 'movie song' but it's great to hear the interaction between the two of them. Makes me wonder how much more Ernst has found on the tapes.
'You're The Boss' Tk3 is delicious. The mix is totally different from the Master and Elvis + Ann purr very nicely together. Try giving yourselves a treat by turning off the left (backing) channel and listen to just the two of them interact. (Listen to their gentle moan at 00:30 after "You've got me beat upside down ."). And lets' face it with Ann-Margret singing "When it comes down to love, you're a horse", sex was on the cards!!
Disappointingly 'Today Tomorrow and Forever' Tk3,4 isn't the duet we were all hoping for but the audio quality stands out. Maybe Ernst is planning the V.L.V re-release and saving the duet - Or maybe for Out.I.H Vol 3? Here's hoping.
'C'Mon Everybody' Tk1,2,3 is fabulous including band interaction as they work on the spacing, plus a great bluesy finale. "Whoa yeah" says Elvis at the end. A real treat.
The real oddity of Elvis 'Hillbilly vocal' 'Kissin' Cousins' overdub follows. Hardly essential but interesting in that it pointed out to me how Elvis' voice was always powerful enough to record with just one track when, for instance, The Beatles recorded overdubbed 'dual vocal tracks' almost from the start. (and I mean 2 John Lennon overdubs rather than Lennon/McCartney vocals).
'There's So Much of the World To See' benefits from the improved audio but even though it was such a dreadful movie song 'Clambake' Tk 11 is another gem. Great to get rid of the original muddy soundtrack mix and here Elvis is having some fun. There's a great blues reprise and it's a real shame that the whole song wasn't recorded this way as Elvis sounds great. At the end he laughs "Oh shit… I'm sorry".
The CD nicely wraps up with 'Almost' Tk 11 from Elvis' final film and I'm ready for Volume 3 please !
My 1956 single of 'Love Me Tender' intrigued me by having "A new Orthophonic Recording" on the label (yet it sounded as crackly + hissy as all my other singles) and here FTD have the same message printed on the cover (one of the best from FTD) and also the CD. A nice RCA 'in-joke' by Ernst and yes, the audio quality is dynamite.
Overall Verdict - Along with Jailhouse Rock it's the brilliant audio quality of the Kid Galahad, Fun in Acapulco and Viva Las Vegas songs that makes me want Ernst to go back and re-release all the movie compiles again but this time using the master tapes for new Millennium mixes - It's a nice dream. Until then this is a fabulous compile and perfect for summer cruisin'.
Review by Piers Beagley.
-Copyright EIN July 2001
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Silver Screen Stereo - Released July 2001 - FTD 82876 50408. 2
Movie songs in glorious stereo
1: Loving You (main title #2 KX 14)
2: Jailhouse Rock (5)
3: Don't Leave Me Now (16, 17, 18)
4: Tonight Is So Right For Love (FO take 1, 2)
5: Frankfort Special (fast HO 13)
6: Shoppin' Around (BO 1)
7: Doin' The Best I Can (DO 3)
8: Summer Kisses Winter Tears (8, 9)
9: In My Way (1)
10: Hawaiian Wedding Song (1)
11: Island Of Love (7, 8)
12: Angel (2)
13: I Got Lucky (M5 take 1) [Wrongly noted as take 6]
14: Home Is Where The Heart Is (13, 14)
15: Riding The Rainbow (M4 # 1)
16: The Bullfighter Was A Lady (alt. master # 17 remake)
17: I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here (alt. master # 19/18-remake)
18: Viva Las Vegas (1, 2)
19: The Lady Loves Me (9)
20: You're The Boss (3)
21: Today, Tomorrow, And Forever (3, 4)
22: C'mon Everybody (1, 2, 3)
23: Kissin' Cousins (hillbilly overdub #1)
24: There's So Much World To See (movie version 10)
25: Clambake (11, including reprise # 1)
26: Almost (11)
CD Credits: Compilation Produced by Ernst Jorgensen and Roger Semon.
Mixes Dennis Ferrante, Mastered by Lene Reidel.
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