"Elvis Presley is the greatest cultural force in the 20th century."

(Leonard Bernstein)


"If you're an Elvis fan, no explanation is necessary; If you're not an Elvis fan, no explanation is possible."

(George Klein)


"For a dead man, Elvis Presley is awfully noisy."

(Professor Gilbert B. Rodman)


"History has him as this good old country boy, Elvis is about as country as Bono!"

(Jerry Schilling)


"Absolute id crashed into absolute superego...as the uptightset man in America shook hands with just about the loosest."

(Mark Feeney on the 'Elvis meets Nixon' meeting)


"Elvis is everywhere"

(Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper)


"...especially in the South, they talk about Elvis and Jesus in the same breath"

(Michael Ventura, LA Weekly)


"The image is one thing and the human being is another...it's very hard to live up to an image"


(Elvis Presley, Madison Square Garden press conference, 1972)


"Elvis was a major hero of mine. I was actually stupid enough to believe that having the same birthday as him actually meant something"

(David Bowie)


"No-one, but no-one, is his equal, or ever will be. He was, and is supreme"

(Mick Jagger)


"I wasn't just a fan, I was his brother...there'll never be another like that soul brother"

(Soul legend, James Brown)


"Before Elvis there was nothing!"

(John Lennon)


"There were rock 'n' roll records before Heartbreak Hotel, but this was the one that didn't just open the door…it literally blasted the door off its rusted, rotten, anachronistic hinges…. producing....no propelling...an unstoppable, fundamental and primordial shift in not only musical... but social, political and cultural history"

(JNP, BBC website)


"Elvis, the musician, is largely a relic belonging to the baby boomer generation...Elvis, the icon, is arguably one of the most potent symbols of popular culture"

( Dr. John Walker)


















































































































































































































































































FTD CD review

'Clambake' is the fourteenth FTD extended movie soundtrack release. Once again presented with the original LP, alternate takes, plus a colour booklet full of photos and information.

Many Elvis fans would have previously purchased these soundtracks on LP 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.

‘Clambake’  (February 1967. 25 tracks, 71 mins).

Elvis’ 25th film and, along with ‘Double Trouble’ & ‘Easy Come, Easy Go’ released in the same year, Elvis’ movie career was as low as it could go.

During this period Elvis had a new passion, his new ‘Circle G’ ranch & had no desire to go back to Hollywood. Elvis was having fun, even getting up early in the morning to check on the horses. All his entourage moved out of Graceland into new semi-trailers and there were regular races & picnics.

Due to this The Colonel moved the soundtrack recording session to Nashville to make it easier but Elvis still didn’t bother to turn up on the second day. Elvis felt the same with the commencement of the film production and it was delayed several times for reason as various as ‘saddle sores’ and the well-known Rocca Place concussion incident. (This is where The Colonel berated the Memphis Mafia for not looking after Elvis properly & then suggests that Elvis get rid of his spiritual books).

Filming finally started in March and the ‘Clambake’ production takes 5 weeks. During this time both ‘Easy Come, Easy Go’ and ‘Double Trouble’ are released only 2 weeks apart. Both are relative failures and the ‘Easy Come, Easy Go’ E.P, from Elvis’ last recording session, only sells a paltry 30,000 copies.

While the soundtrack to ‘Double Trouble’ was pretty awful it still had the feel of a movie soundtrack LP. The trouble with the original ‘Clambake’ LP was that the added bonus songs were from Elvis’ late 1967 ‘Guitar Man’ session which in turn made the soundtrack material sound even worse! After all this is Elvis’ only soundtrack album that did not start with a song from the film. Going from ‘Guitar Man’ to ‘Clambake’ to ‘Who Needs Money, & ‘Confidence’ is extremely jarring.

At least the soundtrack LP ran 30 minutes this time but this was because of the 5 extra tracks from the later Studio session.

No Soundtrack song was deemed worthy of a single release but of course both ‘Guitar Man’ & ‘Big Boss Man’ were single releases. These helped the 'Clambake' soundtrack album struggle to a lowly #40 in the US charts.

Elvis’ disinterest in the Soundtrack actually works in our favour as, with the session moved to Studio B in Nashville, at least the sound quality is good and a great improvement on the substandard (Radio Recorders) ‘Double Trouble’. However ‘Who Needs Money’ and ‘Confidence’ were true humdrum movie-fare and hardly worthy of record release. Elvis probably felt the same since he only recorded vocal overdubs for both songs.

‘Confidence’ is also a straight copy of Frank Sinatra’s Oscar-winning song ‘High Hopes’ from his 1959 film ‘Hole In The Head’. How Sid Tepper & Roy Bennett got away without crediting original writers Sammy Cahn & Jimmy Van Heusen I have no idea. Unfortunately another track ‘Hey, Hey, Hey’ is also one of Elvis’ lamest soundtrack numbers.

Even with the general poor content there are also some minor quibbles with this release. The LP tape master has been used for the original twelve tracks and the audio isn’t as bright as on the earlier ‘Double Features’ release. It is a shame that the Studio tracks were also better on the 60’s box-set, ‘Just Call Me Lonesome’ being particularly poor here.

In a strange move FTD (Masterer Lene Reidel?) has also decided to add unnecessary echo to the Outtakes. The echo is not on the LP Masters for the same songs so why add it to the outtakes? While this may sound ok on a couple of tracks, the intimacy of some songs i.e. ‘A House That Has Everything’ in that special atmosphere of Studio B is lost. At times it sounds as if Elvis is singing down the corridor in the toilet! The original clean Studio tapes of Elvis singing with no echo sound more intimate and much better.

Finally there is also a disc Mastering fault which may cause some CD players to skip at the beginning of Track 24 and halfway through Track 25. This however happened on only two of the ten CD players that I tried, and not on every occasion.

The booklet and sleeve contain the usual mix of photos & memorabilia. Ernst & Roger Semon are credited with 'Art Design' and, along with FTD designer Chris Lambeth, they have created an extremely good looking booklet & cover. Definitely one of their best.

Included is the original ‘Bonus’ signed photo of Elvis & Priscilla’s wedding (right) which was new to me, and there are some good shots of Elvis looking both happy & disillusioned, which at the time I am sure he was!

Below: Elvis wonders why he has to record 'Confidence' and a page of Clambake memorabilia.

Looking closer at the outtakes ..

‘Clambake’ – The best ‘fluffiest’ soundtrack song here. If recorded 2 years earlier it would have been perfect for ‘Paradise Hawaiian Style.’ Take 3B is the same as featured on the great ‘Silver Screen Stereo’ (there called Take 11) and is the most interesting outtake. Although just a vocal overdub, Elvis finds it fun enough that he can laugh at himself as he messes up the lyric. Unreleased Take 1 has Elvis singing one line ‘The Sands Of Time’ before the start but the overdub soon falls apart. On ‘new’ Take 5 you can hear that Elvis is already stumbling on the first verse and that it is never going to be the Master. The strange thing is how uninterested Elvis sounds at the start of the final cut, Take 10, that was released as the Master.

‘How Can You Lose What You Never Had’ – Take 1 was previously on ‘Collector’s Gold’ which had Elvis singing the line from ‘Down In The Alley’ that was actually taken from the start of ’The Girl I Never Loved’ Tk 4. There is some excellent studio eavesdropping here showing that Elvis was in a good mood no matter the quality of his material. Take 1 & 3 were featured on ‘Collector’s Gold’ but here the studio banter isn’t edited. The earlier takes have a slower tempo.
Take 3 – is similar to The Master but Elvis sounds enthusiastic urging the band on @ 01:28 and clicking his fingers. The piano break & saxophone is nicely mixed here too.

‘You Don’t Know Me’ – The stand out track from the session but unfortunately the echo added to these Studio Masters does not improve anything. Elvis was dissatisfied with these results and would re-cut it in the September session later that year. The final Studio version would have a very different & fuller arrangement.
Take 1 is a delight for being a much simpler arrangement with Elvis’ vocal nice & forward & less Backing Vocals in the mix, compared to the movie master.
Take 7 is cute and a nice addition to our collection with Elvis fluffing the words singing, "Anyone can tell, you can go to hell" & adding "That’s it!" Take 10 is similar to the Master.

My real annoyance is that one of the best parts of the original Studio Tapes is Take 2 where Elvis and the band discuss the tempo. Elvis says, "Let’s don’t get the tempo too fast fellows" and Felton Jarvis with his normal hipness delightfully adds, "No. Keep it cool and moody". At this point the band starts playing a very cool groove with Elvis confirming, "Oh, that’s good!" This is a real highlight of this studio session - but isn’t featured on this disc! What is going on?

‘Hey, Hey, Hey’ – It was only 11 years before that Elvis changed the world with ‘Heartbreak Hotel’, would Elvis really want us to have any outtakes of this absolute crap? Look at these lyrics...
- "We got a magic potion that will help us win,
I don't know how to spell it but dig right in,
Glako-oxo-tonic phosphate, it's the latest scoop,
But that's all right girls you can call it 'Goop'.
- Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!
Get a rhythm going, nice and easy,
Come on and use a little elbow grease-y."

In comparison The Beatles had just released their ‘Sgt Pepper’ LP. The only interesting thing about these lowly overdubs is that Elvis actually manages to laugh about the stupid lyrics. No wonder he tried to stay on the ranch.

’The Girl I Never Loved’ Tk 4 & 5 – A sensitive ballad and there is a treat here in hearing Elvis rehearsing with the band & running over the melody. Elvis also throws in a line from ‘Down In The Alley’. However the mistake here is that the Studio tapes have been adulterated with unnecessary echo which removes the intimate atmosphere of Studio B. Now it sounds like Elvis is singing in the shower! In the past the benefit of these FTD outtakes has been getting to hear the genuine tapes of Elvis’ studio vocals. This is a waste, even the old album Master sounds better!

‘A House That Has Everything’ – Tk 4, 5, 6 – Another nice soundtrack ballad. Again it is nice to have more studio eavesdropping while Elvis runs over the melody before the beginning. Take 4 is a False Start while Take 5 stops after 30 seconds when Elvis & the band drift off key. The final Take 6 is similar to the Master but again these are all covered by unnecessary echo. How annoying that again the LP Master sounds better.

‘Clambake’ (reprise) – This is actually the most interesting part of the soundtrack, a totally lighweight soundtrack-song but with a blues twist! Take 1 was featured on ‘Silver Screen Stereo’ with Elvis spontaneously singing, "Well I went down to New Orleans, thought I’d find myself a girl there" beforehand. There is a real blues feeling and the following 2 Takes capture the same feeling. Elvis is in good humour, hums along and backed by only an acoustic guitar there is a great vibe. It is a very nice way to end this Deluxe Soundtrack and what a shame that Elvis didn’t try some other blues numbers at the same time.

Verdict – This is the sound of Elvis at the crossroads trying to break free from his movie contracts and heading for renewed musical creativity. Unfortunately there are too many sub-standard songs here along with several missed opportunities, plus a disc mastering fault. Of course ‘Guitar Man’ & the studio songs are fine but we already have those and in better quality. This FTD Soundtrack series is a great idea but certain albums, like 'Double Trouble', 'Paradise, Hawaiian Style' or 'Clambake' were always going to be a hard sell. However if ‘Clambake’ does bring back happy memories then this FTD, along with its great packaging and some very nice studio moments is for you.

'Clambake' Special Edition - LSP-3893
- FTD 2006 July release #8287676964-2

Tracklisting -
1. Guitar Man
2. Clambake
3. Who Needs Money
4. A House That Has Everything
5. Confidence
6. Hey, Hey, Hey
7. You Don't Know Me
8. The Girl I Never Loved
9. How Can You Lose What You Never Had
10. Big Boss Man
11. Singing Tree
12. Just Call Me Lonesome
– Additional Masters
13. You Don't Know Me (film version)
14. Clambake (reprise) (Tk 4)
– Outtakes
15. Clambake (Tk 3B)
16. How Can You Lose What You Never Had (1, 2*)
17. You Don't Know Me (film version) (Tk 3)
18. Hey, Hey, Hey (Tks 3, 5, 6)*
19. The Girl I Never Loved (Tks 4, 5)*
20. Clambake (Tks 1, 5)*
21. A House That Has Everything (Tks 4, 5, 6)*
22. You Don't Know Me (film version) (Tks 7, 10)*
23. How Can You Lose What You Never Had (Tk 3)
24. Hey, Hey, Hey (Tks 7, 8)*
25. Clambake (reprise) (1, 2*, 3*)
* Denotes previously unreleased material

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 our previous Soundtrack reviews
Loving You
Viva Las Vegas
Fun In Acapulco
Kid Galahad
Girl Happy
Harum Scarum
Paradise, Hawaiian Style
Double Trouble
Frankie & Johnny
It Happened At The World’s Fair
Follow That Dream
Tickle Me

Click to comment on this review.

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Quote:"Elvis Presley is the supreme socio-cultural icon in the history of pop culture"

(Dr. Gary Enders)

Quote:" Elvis is the 'glue' which holds our society together....which subconciously gives our world meaning"


Quote:"Eventually everybody has to die, except Elvis"

(humorist Dave Barry)

Quote:"He is the "Big Bang", and the universe he detonated is still expanding, the pieces are still flying"

(Greil Marcus, "Dead Elvis")

Quote:"I think Elvis Presley will never be solved"

(Nick Tosches)

Quote:"He was the most popular man that ever walked on this planet since Christ himself was here"

(Carl Perkins)

Quote:"When I first heard Elvis' voice I just knew I wasn't going to work for anybody...hearing him for the first time was like busting out of jail"

(Bob Dylan)

Quote:"When we were kids growing up in Liverpool, all we ever wanted was to be Elvis Presley"(Sir Paul McCartney)