Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by mark winstanley, May 26, 2019.
I reckon a couple of Don's songs would have been great for Elvis
I would loved to have heard Elvis take a crack at American Pie or Vincent (Starry Starry Night).
Yeah Sony could do two more Album Collection boxes. The ERS Album Collection which would include the 9 1950s albums, Elvis For Everyone (much of the stereo LP was ERS) and Elvis Gold Records Volume 4 just for Ain't That Loving You Baby. So 11 albums.
Then, if my count is correct, 23 albums for the Mono Album Collection. EIB through Speedway.
But, I would buy a box set combining WWGAH V1 and V2. And hey Sony let's get the album version of Doncha Think It's Time (which SHOULD have been on The Album Collection) because that was the version mistakenly and actually used on the original WWGAH V2. It is a hard version to find these days and not currently available on in print CDs as far as I know. The original single version is used exclusively for many years now.
Bonus song suggestion: Don't Leave Me Now (Jailhouse Rock version).
That's a great description of the Today album Mark. It's a good album but I find that I tend to listen to either the Promised Land album or Boulevard more than this one. The highlights for me are T-R-O-U-B-L-E, Pieces Of My Life, And I Love You So, Fairytale, and I Can Help. Again on the cover is the now familiar 3D "Elvis" logo.
Outside Christmas and Gospel albums, there have been few sessions where Elvis went for the sole purpose of recording a single LP. This is one of them. Others have been Elvis, Something For Everybody. Other albums were comprised of more than one session (including Elvis Is Back) or, in the case of the Moman sessions and the two Nashville marathons, several albums and/or singles were produced from the material.
Both Something For Everybody and Today have a cohesive sound that a single session all on one album would provide. This one sounds pretty good too. Though, as per usual when it comes to post 1970 albums, about 1/2 of the material is on par.
It's not that bad, is it?
Your honor, exhibit A for the prosecution:
Actually Pelvis Ressley's post would have been enough for the prosecution to rest its case.
Elvis Today for me completes the trilogy of pretty good mid-70s Elvis albums (between the slump of 1973 and the decline that's coming). As all the regulars here know, I prefer listening to Elvis by session, so one of the things I do like about this record is that (as others have noted) the session and the album are pretty much the same thing, aside from sequencing. He went in, did a ten-song session, and that's the album. So it does have a cohesive feel that's often absent from his albums.
One thing that stands out about this album is that it's really loaded with covers. I haven't gone back and checked, but I'm pretty sure there's no Elvis record with less original material than this one. Eight of the ten tracks had been previously released as singles by other artists, and a ninth (Bringin' it Back) became a hit for Brenda Lee shortly after Elvis released his album, making it seem like it was a cover too even though it technically wasn't. And what's striking is that so many of the covers had been *recent* country singles for other artists. Here's a list of the likely sources:
And I Love You So: Perry Como- #1 Easy Listening, #29 Pop 1973
Susan When She Tried: Statler Brothers- #15 Country 1974
Woman Without Love: Johnny Darrell- #20 Country 1969
Shake a Hand: Faye Adams- #1 R&B 1953
Pieces of My Life: single release by Johnny Darrell- February or early March 1975, did not chart
Fairytale: Pointer Sisters- #13 Pop, #37 Country 1974
I Can Help: Billy Swan- #1 Country, #1 Pop 1974
Bringin' it Back: Elvis was the first to release the song, but Brenda Lee's version hit #23 Country a couple months after Elvis released it.
Green Green Grass of Home: Elvis was inspired by Tom Jones' 1966 version (#11 Pop) but Johnny Darrell was the first to record it in 1965. His version did not chart.
As I noted, what's interesting is that Elvis chose to cover so many recent songs... four of the songs he did had been released as country singles in the previous year, and three of them had been hits. And there could have ended up being more. During the sessions Elvis briefly expressed interest in recording "Country Bumpkin" (which was a #1 Country hit for Cal Smith in 1974) and he even did some rehearsal of the song. But when Jarvis presented him with the lyrics the following day Elvis did a 180 and said "I'm no f%%kin' country bumpkin," and the idea was abruptly dropped.
Also, if Dolly Parton is accurate about Elvis wanting to record her song "I Will Always Love You" (there are inconsistencies in her story that make it uncertain) then this presumably would have been the session where it would have happened. Dolly's song also was a #1 country hit in 1974. So we could have ended up with an album in which Elvis covered five 1974 country hits by other artists. They might just as well have called the album "Elvis Sings The Country Hits of 1974." It seems pretty clear that at this point when Elvis was listening to the radio, it must have been country stations most of the time.
My introduction to Elvis was the Dutch compilation 20 Fantastic Hits from 1975. All the 50s hits were re-channeled. It sounded terrible but I loved it, so that video brings back memories.
That's the biggest issue with this album; it really has no other artistic identity than Elvis covering mostly contemporary recordings made famous by others. It is fine for what it is, but Elvis circa 1975 was largely uninspired and mailing in an album of hit recordings by others was not exactly the sort of project he should have been striving for.
"Today" was Elvis' last proper studio album, in a professional setting. After that, it would be pajamas sessions at home in the Jungle Room. Let's focus first on the positive side: there is one nice original, the Country Rocker T-R-O-U-B-L-E although to my ears he sounds more like Jerry Lee Lewis than Elvis. Still a decent way to open the album. Two other highlights, two different covers: Swan's 1974 I CAN HELP recorded here with a nice groove but some terrible vegasy overdubs, plus an oldie-but-goodie take on the R&B classic SHAKE A HAND (with a nice Gospel touch and all.) What about the rest: a lot of C&W and some MOR. Does the album sound consistent? Yep, because it was a session solely dedicated to it. Does that make a good LP? In my opinion, no. Those extra long sessions with 30+ masters to chose from to get a nice LP were long gone. There were 10 tracks (some good, some terrible) and that was it. The final result: mediocre.
1) T-R-O-U-B-L-E ... 7/10
2) AND I LOVE YOU SO ... 5/10
3) SUSAN WHEN SHE TRIED ... 6/10
4) WOMEN WITHOUT LOVE ... 1/10
5) SHAKE A HAND ... 9/10
1) PIECES OF MY LIFE ... 5/10
2) FAIRYTALE ... 2/10
3) I CAN HELP ... 8/10
4) BRINGIN' IT BACK ... 6/10
5) GREEN GREEN GRASS OF HOME ... 5/10
Here is how I would personally rate Elvis's top ten 70's studio albums from best to least favorite:
1) Elvis That's The Way It Is
2) Elvis Country
3) He Touched Me
4) From Elvis Presley Boulevard
4) Promised Land
5) Moody Blue
6) Almost In Love
8) Elvis Wonderful World Of Christmas
9) Elvis (Fool)
10) Good Times
I reckon there would be minor reshuffles in the top seven, but that is pretty near where I would be looking.
Where's Raised On Rock? I think The Fool is better than it's position suggests.
It was a process of elimination, but I do agree that Elvis's Fool album could easily be moved up a notch or two on my list. It is a strange mix of songs to be sure, but I really dig a lot of the material on its own individual merits.
Almost In Love? Those are all 60’s recordings.
True enough, but it did not even get released until November of 1970 and any album that has both Edge Of Reality and A Little Less Conversation on it is pretty cool in my opinion.
Yep and because it is so, I would rank it #3 on that list and swap Elvis Country for TTWII. The others are of no consequence to me.
Oops, based on the above criteria, I guess I would have to rank the 70s LPs like this:
The Sun Sessions
Almost In Love.
10) Fool Album
9) Good times
8) A lengendary performer
7) Elvis sings the Wonderful World of Christmas
6) That's the Way it is
5) Worldwide Gold Award Hits volume 2
4) He touched me
3) Worldwide Gold Award Hits volume 1
2) Elvis Country
1) The Sun Sessions
Well I'll give this a go, but i really need to go through the next two studio albums proper to be sure ... Very roughly
That's The Way It Is
Almost in Love
He Touched Me
From Elvis Presley Blvd
That's Probably my top ten roughly. From 1 - 10. I'm not counting Sun Sessions, due to it being an archival collection. I know Almost in Love is a compile, but the songs on it are essentially recent songs compiled, like most of his seventies albums. Like I say though that is very rough, and I am not as familiar with the albums as you guys.
T R O U B L E
Written By :
RCA's Studio C, Hollywood, March 10-13, 1975 : March 12, 1975. take 4
from the album Today
B-side "Mr. Songman"
Released April 22, 1975
Format 45 rpm
Recorded March 11, 1975
Genre Rock and roll
Label RCA Victor
Songwriter(s) Jerry Chesnut
Producer(s) Felton Jarvis
For the record I messed up on the single post. The band listed was actually the band on the Travis Tritt version. Apologies I was really tired and missed the change over.
We kick in with a really nice descending piano run, and then we get a pretty steady tempo rock and roll song. Of course the pumping beat is really helped along by Ronnie Tutt and that banging piano. Elvis nails the vocal side of things, and although the lyrics area spelling style, it works in the context of this song.
The way the guitars are arranged works really well with a standard rhythm guitar and then the other guitars that play more minimal parts that really add to rhythmic flow.
This is a great way to start the album, and I would have thought that most Elvis fans would have been pretty happy with this when it came out.
And I Love You So
Written By :
RCA's Studio C, Hollywood, March 10-13, 1975 : March 11, 1975. take 5
Don Mclean suffered from American Pie being such an enormous song. He certainly didn't fail to follow it up, but the overwhelming effect of that song seemed to have him pigeonholed as the American Pie guy. It isn't even my favourite song on that album. This song is obviously a beautiful song, but he had so many and several of them I could really see Elvis doing a great job of, when engaged. Castles In The Air, Chain Lightening (although only released in 1978), Vincent, Empty Chairs ... but anyway
This is a nice arrangement.
We start off with a more sparse arrangement with the piano and guitar holding the front line, then the strings come in, and I don't mind them, but I don't think they were necessary. Then we get the backing vocals, and again I don't mind them. There was a particular style that Felton,and Elvis? were going for with these recordings, and I don't mind them at all, but sometimes wonder if the lush arrangements were always necessary. This would work either way for me. The basic arrangement is very good, the vocal is good, and the extras although they fit, aren't really necessary to sell the song. The other thing is I guess by this stage with Elvis having a hundred or so people on stage (yea I know, but it's a huge band lol) perhaps there was a feeling that it had to be arranged in such a way as to easily translate into a live track. I don't know.
I think this is very good, but may have been slightly better with less in the mix.
I noticed that, and it was really funny and then I noticed Reggie Young's name at the bottom; the same guitarist from Elvis' 1969 Memphis sessions. What an unexpected Elvis link.
Separate names with a comma.