'Something For Everybody'
FTD Deluxe CD Review
In just one Sunday night, March 12th 1961, Elvis recorded the 12 tracks for his new studio album 'Something For Everybody' in under 11 hours!
By including the 4 classic 1961 single sides, FTD releases a very fine exploration of these 16 brilliant pop songs. In fact the inclusion of the Little Sister/Latest Flame/Good Luck Charm singles really strengthen the overall feel of this fine package.
Of course the vast majority of these tracks have been previously released but that’s not the point here. With 57 tracks (including some hard to find obscure takes for the official "EP Collection") at last all these great takes are assembled in the same place & in context plus we have the added bonus of 19 new takes or false starts.
The first CD (31 tracks) combines the LP plus singles, along with 14 ‘Early Complete Takes’.
The first 17 tracks feature the original LP plus the five extra single Masters. Audio engineer Sebastian Jeansson (‘Elvis Is Back’ FTD) has again worked his magic bringing these 45 year-old recordings back to life & making them shine like new. Compared to the ‘60’s box-set’ there is a beautiful openness & sparkle to these versions. Listening on headphones you can really hear the ambience of the band working in Nashville’s Studio B. I love the clarity of ‘I Feel So Bad’ (Elvis’ vocal is pushed a little higher) and ‘Little Sister’ sounds sensational - even compared to the highly engineered ‘Second To None’ version.
Every little nuance of this recording session seems to stand out now. When the band stops during ‘Sentimental Me’ you can really feel the echo & ambience of the room. During ‘Starting Today’ listen out for Elvis wetting his lips @00:20, or have you noticed that weird mistaken guitar-chord @1:05 in Boot’s sax solo during ‘In Your Arms’? ‘I Want You With Me’ really rocks with its explosive dual-drummer ending never sounding better!
Of course the beautiful quality of the ‘Studio B’ recorded material only emphasises the inferiority of the final Radio Recorder’s Bonus track, ‘I Slipped, I Stumbled, I Fell’
Following the LP & Singles comes a selection of First Takes, which have always been a fascination of mine (See EIN's 'First Cut Is The Deepest' spotlight). These rougher versions often have a better creative edge over the later smoother, more professional takes that the session might produce as the final Master. And the 14 ‘Early Complete Takes’ are again one of the real attractions of this deluxe CD set.
The second CD collates the remaining outtakes and gives more insight into the recording session and how Elvis & the band worked towards creating these classics. There’s more eavesdropping, more false starts (many of them newly released) and much more fun! Even better, fans that have never come across the 1982 UK release "The E.P collection Vol.2" will revel in all thirteen tracks that are taken from it - & now in glorious audio quality too.
In fact these outtakes along with ones previously released on ‘Collector’s Gold’ or even the more recent ‘Such A Night - Essential Elvis Vol.6’ (ie ‘Give Me The Right’ Tk.1 or ‘I’m Coming Home Tk.2) must be from better generation tapes as they sound so different & pristine.
While some people will feel that three almost identical versions of the same track in a row on the CD 2 is too much, you will also find that some of the very best versions of the songs are on the second CD.
Many of these takes have been released previously on BMG box-sets or earlier FTDs, however all the studio banter has been included here which make these outtakes even more interesting. For instance on the classic ‘Judy’ Take 1 we get 20 seconds more studio rehearsals than was featured on the ‘Fame & Fortune’ FTD. Also between takes on ‘Put The Blame On Me’ here Elvis says, after his voice cracks, "That’s not it at all, Since I’ve had it.. let’s face it. Ok, let’s try one more..", For some reason this was also edited out from the same takes on ‘Fame & Fortune’.
The cover is one of FTD's best designs. The deluxe gatefold sleeve comes with a 16-page attractive booklet of memorabilia and rare photos. It is interesting to note that this time the art design is credited to Ernst & Roger Semon themselves.
|Included are Ellis Auditorium February Charity show photos (photo right), as well as references to the Pearl Harbour charity concert along with tape sleeves, studio notes and newspaper cuttings.
The ‘Behind The Scenes’ section makes some interesting points, for instance Elvis’ struggle against The Colonel to have ‘I Feel So Bad’ as a single as opposed to ‘I Slipped, I Stumbled, I Fell’! The ‘Intakes & Outakes’ list all the recordings, while for the collector we also get a selection of worldwide record labels.
(Note that a couple of labels indicate that they are from 45rpms when they are obviously albums!)
Left: Elvis at the USS Arizona benefit.
If you like the smoother pop of Elvis’ second Post-Army studio LP then you can’t go wrong with this fabulous deluxe edition.
Digging deeper. . while it would be impossible to write about every track, here’s ..
EIN’s Something For Everybody - TOP TEN.
‘There’s Always Me’ Tk.4 – Elvis was so right when, before the take, he sings in a funny voice, "Yes Sir, There’s Always Me, This is my song.." (This pre-take comment was tacked onto Take 9 when it was released on ‘Essential Vol.6’). This take was previously on Collector’s Gold but in inferior audio & almost mono in comparison. Listen to this on your headphones as the beautiful spacial stereo here puts you right into the ambience of Studio B. You can hear Elvis’ every breath and observe how he also joins in with the very final note, which he doesn’t on the Master.
Note – The later unreleased multiple false starts are also fascinating since they let us eavesdrop on the recording process. By now it would have been into the early hours of the morning and Elvis is interrupted when the Memphis Mafia walk into the Studio by mistake. Elvis sounds slightly annoyed saying, "What the hell are you all doing? Hey G! We’re in the middle of a take fellas!"
‘Give Me The Right’ Tk.1 – An absolute sensation. This has also been out before on Collector’s Gold but with much poorer audio. Check out the beautiful teasing blues guitar & wailing Boots Randolph sax. The Jordanaires seem to appear out of nowhere @ 01:14 as if their mics are suddenly faded up, & they mess-up their vocals later on! Just as the band stops @ 2:27 Elvis keeps on going, with the band jumping back on for the ride. Elvis’ begging along with the sleazy grinding guitar gives this version a very different feel to the Master. We sure know what Elvis is talking about - "Why make me plead for something you need?" Delicious, rough & bluesy.
Note – The chat at the beginning of the ‘new’ Take 3 false start (very cute but short!) was again previously edited onto the start of Take 2 on ‘Essential Vol.6’. It is nice to have all of Elvis’ comments referring to the take that he was genuinely talking about.
‘I’m Coming Home’ Tk.1&3 - The first recording of the session which nicely sets the scene. After only 15 seconds Elvis messes up & tells the band to "Hold it" while he rehearses the words to himself. Elvis says to A&R man Steve Sholes, "I need a couple of lines Mr. Sholes. Hold it just a second". Take 3 follows and, although it was previously on the ‘Platinum’ box-set, this is from a new generation tape. Before it sounded almost mono & flat but the audio quality here gives it a real edge - and the band & the overall mood sound fantastic. It’s a great start.
Note - ‘New’ Take 5 is another highlight with Elvis messing up the lyric towards the end as he laughs delightfully, "Oh hell man, hold it". The band stops while Boots Randolph throws in a fun sax break. This shows the great humour of the session and is a great new addition.
‘Judy’ Tk. 6&7- Of course Take 1 is the classic, but all these earlier versions feature Elvis playing guitar and obviously enjoying it. Both Takes 6&7 are new and are another great addition. On Take 6 you can hear the chuckle sneaking into Elvis’ voice by the second verse and it soon falls apart with him laughing .. "Bullshit"! Still in good humour he remarks, "I’ve never played (guitar) & had that much trouble over a song. Shit!" The complete Take 7 is complete & delightful as Floyd Cramer messes up the piano solo with Elvis coming back in 2 beats late.
‘I Want You With Me’ Tk.1 – Released earlier on ‘Collector’s Gold’ this seemed a little weak compared to the sensational Master. However this version features a excellent audio improvement & also includes a little pre-take studio laughter to set the scene. Of course the explosive ending and tighter drum arrangement of the Master hasn’t been worked out as yet, but this is a lovely upgrade which continues right to the complete end with Elvis saying, "Let’s just hear that much back".
‘Little Sister’ Takes 1,2,3,5,6 - When I first heard these outtakes on the ‘EP Collection Vol.2’ I was blown away! This was what I wanted more than any unreleased ‘Britches’ (on A Legendary Vol.2) or Movie Outtakes on the Silver Box-Set. Hearing them again in this quality & context is magnificent. Nothing can beat the, "We’ve got a classic in here" early takes (recently on FTD ‘Studio B 61-64’) as they progress towards the Master. ‘First Take’ #3 (plus false start) "I can hardly hear you" is rough & ready with timings messed up (@01.50) and some sloppy lead guitar - but it is damn funky. Sensational.
Note: The combination of unreleased Takes 7&8/9 provide more eavesdropping. On final Take 9 Hank Garland’s guitar falters a little at times, with Elvis then realising that earlier Take 4 was the best version.
‘His Latest Flame’ Tk. 1,2,5,6 – It’s extraordinary to hear this progress from the very basic Bo Diddley rhythm version to the final single. Take 2 is all rhythm with just Elvis’ vocal providing the melody and the piano only creeping in at points. As Elvis’ says, "It’s a good song, I like it. If it takes 32 hours..." Once again the ‘EP Collection’ Takes 5,6 (with several false starts) are these essential additions for anyone’s collection & in fabulous audio quality. There’s a great feeling as the band work out the tune, "Just don’t get it too fast" Elvis explains to D.J who is not sure of the drum pattern. Elvis then messes the lyric up himself!
‘Good Luck Charm’ Take.1 – Compared to the hard work over ‘Little Sister’/‘His Latest Flame’ this classic number 1 was easy work. Lots of fans who missed out on the ‘EP Collection’ have been waiting a long time for the re-release of this take. With Elvis stating, "If we goof up, just keep going" this is 3 minutes of studio magic. Halfway through the lead guitar slips off melody & mid-song Elvis notes, "Somebody goofed!" - but they do keep going. If you don’t own this, it is sensational.
Note: Unreleased Take 3 is interesting for being too fast and missing that effortless cool-swing of the Master. It breaks down after 1 ½ minutes with a lovely "You’ll be sorry" from bass singer Ray Walker.
‘Anything That’s Part Of You’ Take.1 – Mistakenly released on 1988’s ‘Elvis In Nashville’ this is a beautiful first take. Interestingly the strummed guitar arrangement is very different and was dropped by the second take. For once the arrangement got less complicated as they headed for the Master, with the final blueprint basically set on Take 2. This is a track where you can feel the openness of the studio along with Elvis’ heartache and every intake of breath. Further takes are only messed up by chair squeaks or slightly missed timing by the band, but this certainly proves how Elvis strived for perfection.
‘Gently’/‘Put The Blame On Me’ – These both deserve a credit as ‘Gently’ captures Elvis’ most delicate vocal work, while at the end of the session his throat would be rasping & raw as they rock through ‘Put The Blame On Me’.
The early takes of ‘Gently’ are in a lower key & a slightly slower tempo. It is unlike any song that Elvis had recorded before and was a touch of Folk music that would become so important in the mid-sixties. This was definitely an album track but recorded with such graceful guitar-picking by Hank Garland playing beautifully against Scotty Moore’s similar picking they both match Elvis exceedingly delicate vocal.
The raw early takes of ‘Put The Blame On Me’ are the opposite with Elvis’ voice worn-out which only adds a nice bluesy desperation to the final song of the session.
Of course the sad fact is that ‘Something For Everybody’ like ‘Elvis Is Back’ would sell in minimal numbers compared to ‘Blue Hawaii’ or ‘G.I Blues’ and, with his hand firmly on his wallet, The Colonel would choose financial benefit over artist merit.
Verdict – Another success for FTD & their Deluxe album repackages. Although the collection cannot hold that many new surprises to hard-core collectors, CD 1 is a sublime 78 minutes of perfect pop while CD 2 has a lot of hidden treasures that will satisfy any fan. The real strength of this collection is the inclusion of the major 1961 singles and the newly upgraded flawless sound. A deluxe double CD at a bargain price, every Elvis fan should buy a copy.
Review by Piers Beagley for EIN, July 2006.
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- The Album
1: There's Always Me
2: Give Me The Right
3: It's A Sin
4: Sentimental Me
5: Starting Today
7: I'm Coming Home
8: In Your Arms
9: Put the Blame On Me
11: I Want You With Me
12: I Slipped, I Stumbled, I fell
- The Singles
13: I Feel So Bad
14: Little Sister
15: His Latest Flame
16: Good Luck Charm
17: Anything That's Part Of You
- Early Complete Takes
18: There's Always Me (1*)
19: Give Me The Right (1)
20: It's A Sin (1*, 2)
21: Sentimental Me (1)
22: Starting Today (1)
23: Gently (1, 2)
24: I'm Coming Home (2)
25: In Your Arms (1)
26: Put The Blame On Me (1, 2)
27: Judy (1)
28: I Want You With Me (1)
29: Little Sister (3)
30: His Latest Flame (2)
31: Anything That's Part of You (1)
- Album Sessions Outtakes
1: I'm Coming Home (1*, 3)
2: I'm Coming Home (5*, 4)
3: Gently (3)
4: Gently (4*)
5: Give Me The Right (3*, 2)
6: I Feel So Bad (1)
7: There's Always Me (2)
8: There's Always Me (4)
9: Starting Today (2)
10: Judy (2*, 3)
11: Judy (4)
- Singles Sessions outtakes
12: His Latest Flame (1)
13: His Latest Flame (3, 4)
14: His Latest Flame (5, 6)
15: Little Sister (1, 2, 4, 5)
16: Little Sister (6)
17: Good Luck Charm (1)
18: Good Luck Charm (2*, 3*)
19: Anything That's Part Of You (2)
20: Anything That's Part Of You (4, 5)
21: Anything That's Part Of You (8)
- Last Takes (Before Master)
22: There's Always Me (5*, 6*, 7*, 8*, 9)
23: Judy (5, 6*, 7*)
24: His Latest Flame (10*, 11*, 12)
25: Little Sister (7*, 8*, 9)
26: Anything That's Part Of You (9)
* = Previously unreleased