Trouble - FTD review
ninth FTD extended movie soundtrack release. Once again
presented with the original LP, alternate takes, plus
a colour booklet full of photos and information.
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.
‘Double Trouble’ (June 1966. 25 tracks, 54 mins).
Elvis’ 24th film and, along with ‘Easy Come, Easy Go’ from the same
year, Elvis’ movie career was at rock bottom. Even Elvis self-depreciatingly
said, “I wasn’t exactly a James Bond in this movie but then
no one ever asked Sean Connery to sing a song while dodging
made it worse was that just one month earlier Elvis had started
to redefine his musical roots at the important How Great Thou
Art sessions. He had recorded Dylan’s ‘Tomorrow Is A Long
Time’ as well as added an exciting R’n’B twist to ‘Down In
The Alley’. Fifteen
months later Elvis would be recording ‘Guitar Man’ with Jerry
Reed and everything would change but here he was, yet again,
recording sub-standard movie fare.
day after the Double Trouble soundtrack session Elvis attended
a Jackie Wilson concert and met with James Brown who was in
the audience. These were two performers who were spearheading
the new Soul movement that was dominating the charts along
with The Beatles. And what song had the great Elvis Presley
recorded the day before, ‘Old MacDonald Had A Farm’! I bet
Elvis didn’t mention that to The Godfather of Soul!
this point Elvis was still exploring his spiritual side and
who could blame him? He told Self-Realization Centre leader
Daya Mata at the time that he was sick of the infighting & turmoil in his life.
1967 The Beatles release the astounding ‘Sgt Pepper’
LP, The Beach Boys produced the untouchable ‘Good Vibrations’
- Elvis released ‘Double Trouble’.
The movie didn’t even have the surreal interest of ‘Harum
Scarum’ it was just plain awful. Even the trailer was
ludicrous; “Elvis takes mad mod Europe by song as he
swings into a brand new adventure filled with dames,
diamonds, discotheques and danger”.
The lead actress
Annette Day had never appeared in a film before – and
never would again!
could hardly get any worse. The soundtrack LP only ran 24
minutes in total and that was with the extra ‘Bonus Tracks.’
Only 3 tracks ran longer than 2 minutes. This time at least
‘Long Legged Girl’ was deemed worthy of a single release although
up against ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ it does seem a bit
of a joke.
‘Long Legged Girl’ only made number 63 in the charts.
Elvis Soundtrack LP so far had failed to make the Top Twenty. ‘Double Trouble’ LP only got to number 47.
While a couple
of the songs are an all-time low, the rest are at least a
step up from Paradise Hawaiian Style and the 3 real bonus
tracks help the original LP from failing completely. Disappointed
with the chosen material Elvis deliberately turned up late
to the recording session.
Elvis did at least attend the soundtrack sessions, rather
than do vocal overdubs, although at times he must have wondered
why! To save money MGM moved the second day of recording to
their own soundstage making the recordings even worse. In
terms of audio quality the original LP was one of Elvis’ very
worst and not surprisingly the FTD soundtrack release is not
is noted on the sleeve “Except for masters & alternate masters,
all original 3-track tapes seem to be lost” and most of the
outtakes are therefore in mono.
original LP Masters are slightly improved from their flat-sounding
vinyl equivalents however the tracks where overdubbing was
used (Could I Fall In Love, City By Night etc) still have
the inevitable, dreadful tape hiss. FTD have however decided
to keep the extremely odd echo/reverb that was applied to
the musicians on the original LP to “enhance?” the rock tracks.
This fake echo was removed on the earlier Double Features
issue which do make the Masters there sound somewhat better.
sleeve and booklet contain the usual mix of photos & memorabilia.
Of interest is the statement that “the recording sessions
for Double Trouble were difficult” and that Elvis positively
refused to participate in the band recording of ‘Old MacDonald’.
What a shame that he also didn’t refuse the vocal overdub
& film version too!
Bonus songs ‘Never Ending’ & ‘What Now, What Next, Where To’
are featured with their original echo that was sensibly missing
from the 60’s Box-set remastered versions. A nice bonus here
though is at last getting the ‘looped’ long version of ‘Blue
River’ on CD. Elvis only did one substantial take of this
song, which ran just 1½ minutes. The short original (surprisingly
with the added echo) is featured on the 60s box-set.
can ignore the fact that this LP was competing in 1967’s record
market it sounds less disappointing. In fact the 3 ‘bonus
songs’ recorded in 1963 have the same feel as the movie songs!
Looking closer at the outtakes.
‘Double Trouble’ – Without the added reverb to the band
the outtakes are an improvement. Take 1 is at a slower tempo
with a different brass arrangement and ending (The original
always had a strangely edited finish.) Elvis jokes, “Let me
listen to that one”. Take 3 is closer to the Master but with
Floyd Cramer’s piano work (that was buried in the Master)
higher in the mix. Elvis misses the lyrics and it ends in
a cute mess. As Elvis rightly notes, “Lord have mercy. Help!”
If You’ll Give Me All Your Love’ – Take 2 is again at a slightly
slower tempo and doesn’t sound so rushed. Although mono, the
mix is much stronger here. Without the LP echo and with a
better clarity to the band this take sounds more raw & rockin’,
definitely the best version. Take 3 falls apart with Elvis
missing the lyric. Take 4 is closer to the Master but doesn’t
have as good an ending.
Love Only One Girl’ – A real ‘movie song’ with Take 2 as the
Master. The first take is very similar.
‘It Wont’ Be Long’ – Recorded for the film but not used in the movie. Take 1
which fails after just 20 seconds has a great guitar sound
that was disappointingly dropped by Take 2. Interestingly
Take 3 was chosen for the Master whereas Elvis actually continued
until take 5. Take 5 is a slower tempo than the released version
and with a different piano arrangement but Elvis’ vocal sounds
very unconvincing. The final Master had such an appalling
thin & echoey mix that Take 2 is the better version.
the 2nd (single) version, Take 1 is fun as Elvis loses his way
while The Jordanaires keep going. Take 2 although mono again
has a punchier mix with Floyd Cramer’s piano higher and the
brass section (which dominated the single) almost absent. Between
these takes is a snatch of the ‘Old MacDonald’ backing track
recorded beforehand that they were obviously recording over.
Legged Girl (with the short dress on)’ – Elvis attempted
this on different days.
1st version (also on the Today,
Tomorrow & Forever box-set) is a real gem. At a cooler
tempo than the single, with the bass & piano nice and
high in the mix, it has a delightful rough & ready feel.
It sounds much better in this context too.
I Fall In Love’ – For some reason Elvis decided to add a harmony
vocal to the Master take. (In the movie Elvis does actually
sing along to his own recording). The resultant audio hiss
& muffled sound spoilt one of the best songs of the session.
This undubbed Master is truly delightful, one of this CD’s
real treats. Elvis harmony vocal makes an intriguing final
track as you can hear him try & harmonise to his own vocal.
Is So Much Of The World To See’ – Take 10 – Already on ‘Silver
Screen Stereo’ and a gem. While Elvis drifts slightly off-mike
this definitely has a great feel. There is a cool swing to
Buddy Harman’s drums and the band seems to be enjoying themselves.
Even Elvis is having fun, listen out for his “all right” @
1.24. The final release however was a real mess. The added
echo removed any impression of the band and the unnecessary
orchestral strings overdub buried the sound even more. Not
only that, but the piano intro was edited out along with Elvis
leaving out the second verse (“Trains in the night”). This
version is another highlight.
By Night’ – A hidden Elvis classic. Unfortunately this alternate
is a vocal overdub (Tk 10) which makes the audio quality disappointing
again. The outtake oddly runs at a much faster speed than
the Master (- was the tape deliberately slowed since it sure
sounds like it?). The musical tracks are also swapped left<>right
compared to the original. Interestingly the final Master was
a vocal splice of earlier takes. Elvis doesn’t quite get the
right feel on his vocal, but it’s a nice addition just the
Verdict – Sadly Double Trouble could never be a classic soundtrack
CD and the audio quality has to be disappointing. Elvis was
unhappy with the material and finished most songs in a couple
of rushed takes. This means that there is almost no eavesdropping
on the band at work, that so often make these soundtrack sessions
so interesting. Not an essential soundtrack to own but four
songs with strong outtakes at least help to enrich this compilation.
this drop in quality the next FTD Soundtrack need to be something
stunning like some 1961 movie sessions, which is exactly what
they are. And Kid Galahad is one of my all-time favourites,
I can’t wait.
to comment on this review
out EIN's previous reviews of:
Happened At The World’s Fair