FTD Book & CD review
Fabulous pictures and music
make this FTD release a must buy!
by Piers Beagley,
18 July 2004)
The quality, creativity and depth of Elvis' work in the fifties would never be surpassed.
Elvis fans are always hoping for something new about that special period and here FTD present us with their second 'audiovisual documentary' combining a 170 page book of rare & fascinating photos with a CD of unreleased material from 1956-1958.
I particularly like Elvis' off-stage bolero jacket
from Vegas 1956 and it is a delight that there are so many non-posed
photos, capturing a relaxed and spontaneous Elvis, before the publicity
shoots took hold.
Visuals. In the same way that Elvis stares out at us from
the cover, the book lets us look into his life enabling us
to explore deeply his public & personal life via the 18 chapters
which all focus on specific periods.
authors Sherif Hanna & Ernst Jorgensen are the best in the
business and with nearly 300 photos there is plenty to explore.
There are so many rare & previously unpublished candids & behind-the-scenes photos that it is hard to pick out any particular favourites. It is all so damn good!
section on Miami August 1956 captures the true intensity of an early
Elvis concert, in fact the crowd was so excited that they tore Elvis'
trousers off! There are some amusing shots of Elvis sitting in only
his boxer shorts after the gig! Maybe the highlight of the book
is the fact that in the fifties Elvis did let photographers follow
him where-ever he went and from these pictures we can get a little
more understanding about what it must have been like for him to
live through these turbulent 30 months.
my point of view another highlight is the studio shots of Elvis'
recording sessions. By looking at the sound-stage for the recording
of the Love Me Tender soundtrack you can appreciate even more why
the songs sound like they do. Of course, Scotty & Bill were cruelly
left out of that session but there are plenty of early Radio Recorders
shots, which again bring those soundtracks (Loving You, Jailhouse
Rock etc) to life.
is some fascinating memorabilia too noting that 'Danny' would
be used in the film King Creole & explaining the 'Baby, I
Don't Care' overdub session. Perhaps the most fascinating
aspect is the glimpses you can see of a still shy and unsure
Elvis before the fame & fortune truly got to him.
pictures of Elvis' return to Tupelo in September 1956 are
particularly enlightening. Already a huge star, Elvis still
looks so young & innocent. The enormity of the stadium with
almost no amplification is fascinating to see. Did anyone
ever hear Elvis singing at his fifties concerts? ! While the
majority of the photos are Black & White there are plenty
of absolutely gorgeous colour pages.
images of Elvis in his gold lame suit (live March 1957) are sensational,
as are the Love Me Tender publicity shots (gorgeous red-velvet
shirt & with his hair still brown) and the Chicago Press conference
photos in his striped tan jacket are all essentials for any
I have any complaint, it is that I would have loved to have more
information, (Exact dates, who is with Elvis, etc) to accompany every
photo. But there is no doubt that the lack of text on the page does
make the layout, a great job by Nic Oxby, look particularly appealing.
Audio. In the same way that the photos let us explore Elvis'
personal life the CD, of 25 unreleased outtakes from the same period,
is what everyone has been asking for. Another superb-sounding collection
of songs from Elvis in the fifties and, while it has to be obvious
that there can be hardly any really new material left from the fifties,
this is a great selection.
track is worth exploring and Ernst has even discovered the last
half of take 4 of Heartbreak Hotel, so we are even treated to another
version of the classic Elvis song to start the CD. There are so
many great new versions of classic Elvis tracks and many are earlier
takes than we already have. While many of these have been available
on previous bootlegs the audio improvement is so good that it is
like hearing them afresh.
great to get a completely new take of 'I Was The One'. The information says Take 7 (same as the single) unedited, however Elvis' phrasing is slightly different from the actual single Master. Hearing
Elvis rock through new versions of 'Lawdy, Miss Clawdy' and 'Shake,
Rattle & Roll' is also a delight. There is that special feeling of eavesdropping
on Elvis and the band as they create & develop these masterpieces
and if you don't have these elsewhere you will be stunned. As Elvis
says, "Hang up that tambourine and go!"
the four takes of 'Rip It Up' are essential. D.J. Fontana plays
a much more laid-back beat and there is a tremendous ambience you
can hear from the studio. In the earlier takes Scotty Moore's guitar
solo is nice and rough too!
Early Take 2 of 'A Big Hunk O' Love' has Elvis really enthusing over the song, joining in while Scotty
plays the solo.
a similar way we have 5 of the earliest attempted takes of 'I Got
Stung' which shows Elvis in a fantastic & creative mood. These are
a long way from the Master (Tk 24) and are great listening. The
rock 'n' roll is nicely balanced by the ballads and the earliest
released take of 'I Want You, I Need You, I Love You' finds Elvis
sounding very unsure and reticent. The song also has a completely
different arrangement and tempo to the middle-eight. Fascinating.
Counting On You' is also a delight since the original version seemed
to come from a tape that was running a little slow and here that
at last has been corrected. The audio quality is so clear and the
backing vocals have a simpler arrangement.
The last ten tracks are
Binaural recordings (Elvis' vocal on a separate track) and we are also treated to the very first flawed & primitive take of 'That's When Your Heartaches Begin'. The backing
vocals are all over the place!
I can never get enough versions of the gorgeous 'Is It So Strange' and the remastering lets you hear every delightful studio moment.
And even though we have multiple takes of 'Loving You' there is
a great sound to Bill Blacks' bass here that again makes these worthy
Me Nice' however has to be the highlight of the whole CD and
these three takes alone are worth the price of the CD!
and the band try and work out the arrangement which is so
totally different from the final single, and also from the
movie versions on 'Close Up'.
the start Elvis says to the studio, "Hold it a minute Thorny
and let's get this straight"! Dudley Brooks plays a totally
different rhythm on the piano and Elvis nonchalantly slaps
his guitar for a backbeat. Elvis vocal work is deliciously
cool and at the end he breaks up with enjoyment. Elvis says, "That's a Hit"! Absolutely sensational.
Verdict - While a little expensive for some, in a similar way to their earlier FTD outing "That's The Way It Was", the CD and book are worth every hard-earned cent. Elvis fans and collectors will get hours of fun and enjoyment while exploring both the pictures and the fabulous music. If you like Elvis in the fifties this book & CD are an absolute must.
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Flashback CD and Book
Released - April 1 2004
Track listing :
- The Mono Outtakes
Heartbreak Hotel – Edit Takes 5 (1st part)/ 4 (2nd part)
Money Honey – Take 10 intro only
I’m Counting On You – Takes 1,2, unknown
I Was The One - Take 7 unedited
Lawdy, Miss Clawdy – Takes 11,12
Shake, Rattle And Roll – Takes 3,5,6,7
I Want You, I Need You, I Love You - Take 3
Rip It Up – Takes 10,11,12,16
Loving You (slow) - Takes 2,3
I Need Your Love Tonight - Takes 12,13
A Big Hunk O' Love – Take 2
Ain’t That Loving You Baby – Take 8
A Fool Such As I – Takes 4,5
I Got Stung - Takes 4-8
- The Binaural Outtakes
That’s When Your Heartaches Begin - Take 1
It Is No Secret - Take 5
Blueberry Hill – Take 3
Have I Told You Lately That I Love You - Takes 6,7
Is It So Strange - Takes 8,9
Loving You (main title version) - KX Take 6
Loving You (main title version) – KX Take 12
Treat Me Nice (1st version) – 2003 Takes 1,2,3
Young And Beautiful – 2004 Take 6
I Want To Be Free – 2009 Take 11
Don’t Leave Me Now - 2017 Take 7,8
All tracks previously unreleased.
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