'Follow That Dream'
FTD Extended Soundtrack review
By Piers Beagley
tenth FTD extended movie soundtrack release. This time
it focuses on the four-track E.P, associated songs,
alternate takes, plus a colour booklet full of photos
Elvis fans would have previously purchased these soundtracks
on vinyl and again via RCA’s "Double-Feature" series.
Here we continue EIN’s in-depth look at each one to
see if they are worth buying again.
That Dream’ - (July 2nd 1961. 22 tracks, 59 mins).
9th movie and although filmed after ‘Blue Hawaii’ the Elvis
"travelogue formula" still hadn’t been established since Blue
Hawaii wouldn’t be released until four months later in November.
The massive financial success of the Hawaiian movie would,
unfortunately, formularise almost every Elvis film from then
Luckily ‘Follow That Dream’ was still a fresh chance for Elvis to
try out his relaxed comedic style of acting and without the
added pressure of too many soundtrack songs. Filmed almost
entirely on location in Florida it is one of Elvis’ best films.
With Blue Hawaii not yet released, the soundtrack recordings
were still being considered for exactly what they were, "movie
musical creativity was still rightly focussed on creating
exciting new studio material and just one week before this
soundtrack session, Elvis had recorded the magnificent double
A-side of ‘His Latest Flame/Little Sister’. In 1961 Elvis
was still re-discovering life after the army years and hardly
had a moment to breathe between work commitments. Just 4 months
previously on March 25th Elvis had performed the magnificent
‘Bloch Arena’ Pearl Harbour benefit. Little did he know that
it would be his last live appearance for 8 years!
The ‘Follow That Dream’ film shoot was, in some-ways, a holiday
for Elvis. He towed his new 22-foot power-boat down to Florida
for the duration and, along with the "Memphis Mafia", enjoyed
regular water-skiing at Crystal River.
the filming Elvis also dated 22 year old co-star Anne Helm.
In an interesting 1995 interview she said, "I don’t remember
him talking much about his feelings, but he did share with
me that he was offered a part in ‘The Fugitive Kind’ that
was based on Tennessee Williams’ play, with Elia Kazan (A
Streetcar Named Desire) directing. It was a wonderful movie,
I mean, almost written for Elvis. He didn’t say he had regrets,
but my feeling was that he did." She also added, "In those
days we were very promiscuous, and of course I knew he was
having a lot of affairs, but we really adored one another,
I mean, I really loved him. I just sensed that his life was
FTD sleeve and booklet contains the usual first-rate mix of
photos & memorabilia. A nice touch here is the fact that Elvis’
hair is his natural colour and he looks healthy and relaxed
in every photo. Elvis of course dyed his hair black from 1957,
except for his time in the army and this brief period in 1961.
After the recording session Elvis asked for the track ‘Sound
Advice’ not to be released on record and ‘Whistling Tune’ was dropped from the movie - only to be re-recorded for his
following film Kid Galahad.
only 6 songs are involved, plus 18 seconds of ‘On Top
Of Old Smokey’ from the film itself, the CD runs 59
minutes, 5 minutes longer than ‘Double Trouble’ the
last FTD soundtrack release!
‘Follow That Dream’ E.P made number 15 in the US charts. This was a fair placing
for a soundtrack EP, released just 2 months after ‘Good
Luck Charm’ had made number 1.
The legendary Hank Garland, who died in December 2004, was Elvis’ lead guitarist during this period. Follow That Dream would sadly be his last recording session before his tragic car crash.
While the title track & Angel are fine songs, the other material was rather weak compared to Elvis’ other 1961 work. Also, as noted on the sleeve, the stereo Masters from the original EP (except Angel) have been lost. All the original mono versions here sound extremely flat & muffled and an odd echo effect was added to the whole track at the time, most noticeable on ‘Angel.’ The real joy of this CD is hearing these songs in stereo, which lets you appreciate Elvis’ great band working in Nashville’s Studio B.
soundtrack recordings really burst into life immediately you
get to the stereo outtakes. However a real disappointment
here is that the Stereo master of ‘Angel’ runs at too slow
a speed. It definitely drags and sounds like an analogue tape
transfer error. The same version of this song on ‘Double Features’
or the ‘Command Performances’ does not have this fault.
Ridiculously it actually sounds better on the Kwimper bootleg CD "Keep
Following That Dream" which was released in 2000! Elvis
recorded all of these tracks in one night’s work and
with the songs well-rehearsed there is, unfortunately,
very little variation between each take, and surprisingly
little studio banter.
the DVD cover for Follow That Dream:
Looking closer at the outtakes...
– This song shows off Elvis' beautiful vocal range, as
well as some cool double-bass work by Bobby Moore. Take 1
ends with Elvis stumbling over his words and adding a nice
whistle. Take 2 is already near perfect, but the band are
still using a fade-out rather than the definite ending of
the Master. Listen out for Elvis’ slight laugh at the very
end, indicating his satisfaction with the take.
Take 4 they have created the final ending, but haven’t perfected
it yet. Takes 5&6 are just beautiful and only emphasise how
Elvis strived for perfection since these appear to be both
acceptable versions. A very nice addition is having Elvis’
two attempts at trying a vocal overdub. While both fail halfway
through, Elvis’ solo vocal on the right-hand channel lets
you hear his every breath and intake. It is really worth turning
off the band playback on the left channel, just to hear Elvis
on his own.
That Dream’ – On Take 1 Elvis misses the intro saying,
"Sorry, darn!", but it is Take 2 that is the real delight.
Previously released, on the ‘Elvis Aron Presley’ box-set,
the audio mix is improved here with much clearer percussion
& background vocals and with the fade-out extended. The tempo
is a little slower and Elvis sounds slightly tentative, giving
it an interesting rehearsal feel. Take 3 is the same as featured
on the ‘Today, Tomorrow & Forever’ box-set (and in the same
quality) but here there is some extra studio chatter at the
start, with Elvis sounding very business like. Take 4 has
the assured vocal & bounce of the final Master and it was
this version that was released on the ‘Command Performances’
box-set (although incorrectly Take 2 was indicated). This
FTD cover says ‘previously unreleased’ but this is not the
A Wonderful Life’ – Takes 2 & 1 were featured on the ‘Collector’s
Gold’ box-set but with the studio banter edited. These versions
again have a nice rougher feel and the band haven’t yet worked
out the break structure. Even Hank Garland’s guitar work is
a little messy! Takes 3, 4 and 5 all fall apart as the band,
or Elvis, again mess up the break. Take 6 is the gem that
sounds so much better in stereo and without the original added
echo. There is a slight falter on Elvis’ vocal which stopped
it becoming the Master but, with the excellent audio mix,
it is the best sounding version yet released.
Not the Marrying Kind’ – A real ‘movie song’ with Elvis
emphasising its silliness by fooling around with the lyrics
at the start of Take 2. Takes 3 & 4 fall apart with Elvis
apologising, "Sorry I lost it." The interesting revelation
is that, with the band playing alone, the melody sounds quite
fine proving that it is only the pathetic lyric that makes
this song so desperately forgettable. Interestingly the poor
mono mix of the Master has Elvis’ band sounding very much
like his original Sun Studio trio, but Take 6 with this better
mix (at last Floyd Cramer’s jazzy piano work is audible) has
a very nice feel. Even with a messed-up ending it is a great
sounding version compared to the Master.
Advice’ – Elvis never wanted this song released, so why
would you? A real throw-away but the simpler arrangement of
Take 1 sounds better and also fits the simple lyric. At the
end Elvis says, "That was ideal". Elvis was right and they
should have stuck with this version. (You have to be thankful
that the other Takes 2-5, actually featured on the ‘Keep Following
the Dream’ bootleg, are omitted here!)
Whistling Tune’ – The original mono (unreleased) Master
had that odd "bathroom echo effect" to the whole track. Take
2 breaks down early on, while Take 3 is quite fun since Elvis
is totally unsure of the melody & even the pace of the lyric!
At the end Elvis even acknowledges this with a grumpy, "Ok,
cut it off!"
Stereo Master Take 4, without whistle overdub, is the same
as on the ‘Collector’s Gold’ box-set but also has the odd
effect of being edited down in length. The real problem here
is that the lyric of the song is about a romantic night-time
walk, yet these earlier recordings all sound like a fast lunchtime
jog! Elvis would re-record it again 3 months later for his
next film ‘Kid Galahad’ with the slower tempo perfected.
Verdict – With only 6 songs this soundtrack release is very
light on content and with such little musical development
they do make relatively repetitive listening. The audio
transfer fault on the Stereo Master of ‘Angel’ is also
pretty unjustifiable. The photos of Elvis however, with
his natural glowing brown hair, are quite delicious!
the positive side the FTD extended Soundtrack releases
are becoming very collectable and if you don’t already
own the bootleg "Keep Following That Dream" this is
a nice addition to the set. This cannot be an essential
soundtrack purchase but if ‘Follow That Dream’ is your
favourite movie then the best sounding versions of all
the songs really are hidden in their outtakes.
to comment on this FTD review
If you have ever enjoyed the happiness & fun of Elvis' movies then FTD's Special Edition Soundtrack series are well-worth exploring. EIN suggests you buy the essential 'Viva Las Vegas' and then continue with your favourite selection of Elvis' movies.
Check out all of other FTD Soundtrack reviews
Viva Las Vegas
Fun In Acapulco
Paradise, Hawaiian Style
Frankie & Johnny
It Happened At The World’s Fair
|'Follow That Dream' 50th Anniversary Spotlight: Follow That Dream was Elvis’ 9th movie and although filmed after ‘Blue Hawaii’ the Elvis "travelogue formula" still hadn’t been established. ‘Follow That Dream’ was still a fresh chance for Elvis to try out his relaxed comedic style of acting and without the added pressure of too many soundtrack songs. Filmed almost entirely on location in Florida it is one of Elvis’ best films. It was released 50 years ago this week on May 23rd 1962.
A great number of Elvis fans share an appreciation for this particular movie even though that appreciation is virtually absent from all critical texts. There are two reasons for this continued level of likeability. One of course is that Follow That Dream is a pretty good movie. The second, less obvious reason, is the fact that it says something good about human nature and that observation makes you feel a little bit better about living.
Go here as EIN contributor Harley Payette takes a fascinating look at this fan favourite.
Review by Piers Beagley.
-Copyright EIN June 2005
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