Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by mark winstanley, May 26, 2019.
I ended up getting it after the album box. I have been listening to the albums though
I'll be with you on all of them, there isn't one i dont like in some way
I don’t have much time for some of the Camden albums such as Separate Ways, but Elvis was still recording great material through the Star sessions and Today. The Jungle Room sessions are their own weird thing, but there are flashes of brilliance even there.
I have also spent more time listening to Elvis's 70's work than perhaps any other period, besides the American Sound recordings from 1969. For me personally, the peak period for Elvis is from 1968 to about 1973. I do find the early 60's Elvis voice to be perhaps the most beautiful singing voice on the earth as William F. Buckley once said, but I like the world weariness and rich vibrato that came later as well. Elvis was a man of many voices as one voice expert once said, and I love all of them to varying degrees.
I will be following this thread with great interest. 70’s Elvis has always been my favorite Elvis period. I just think his voice matured in an incredible way.
I’m not the Elvis expert many of you are so I won’t be posting much but I’ll be reading and following every word!
Oh, please weigh in as much as you feel like. We get a little jaded around here sometimes, and I think all of us would appreciate the perspective of a fresh set of ears listening to this material and giving us their own unique perspective on it, besides as @mark winstanley said previously, those of us who like this 70's period are going to need all the help we can get.
About the Decade Boxsets:
I loved the first one dedicated to the 50's since day one back in 1992: outstanding music, some awsome outtakes (I BEG OF YOU) / demos (FOOL, FOOL, FOOL) / infirmal jams (RECONSIDER BABY) / live stuff. The booklet was also very nice and what a cover! I expected then something less interesting for the 60's - and somehow i was right - but, still, there was plenty of good music in the second decade box, with some really amazing surprises like the WHAT'D I SAY coda after GUITAR MAN or that wonderful rockabilly version / outtake of HIS LATEST FLAME. Good stuff. Again, lavish presentations and a very informative text by Guralnick.
Then what about the last decade big box? Well, there is of course some good music but the whole package seemed to me a little bit odd: the first 2 CDs focused on Elvis' "extremely well chosen A/B single material" said (more or less) the liner notes. I don't agree. There were some nice singles (and the inclusion of the studio versions of I'VE LOST YOU and PATCH IT UP are good examples) but what about LIFE, WE CAN MAKE THE MORNING or BRINGING IT BACK: no stellar material here but a lot of fillers instead. The third and fourth CDs are the most interesting and, in my opinion, that should have been the way to present the whole set: focusing on studio sessions, highlighting the best outputs. For example, the "Elvis Country" material without the snipets from the original album really shines through. On the other side, why did they include informal stuff there instead of keeping it all for CD5 like in the previous boxes? Well, because that fifth CD was the worst to come: "The Elvis Presley Show"... Because, say the liner notes, Elvis' concerts were such a big part of his 70's legacy. Yes, and so were the 68 special and his first season in Vegas a year later. Still, none of those appeared in the 60's set and that box still worked awesomely well. They changed the formula for the 70's and got something pretty disappointing with it. At least for me. There is no flow in that 5th CD and with the exception of STRANGER IN MY OWN HOME TOWN, the chosen material to represent the informal/rehearsal stuff is terrible.
At the end:
Complete 50's Masters (1992)
CD 1 ... 10/10
CD 2 ... 9/10
CD 3 ... 9/10
CD 4 ... 10/10
CD 5 ... 10/10
Book + Cover art ... 9/10
Average score: 9,5/10
Essential 60's Masters (1993)
CD 1 ... 10/10
CD 2 ... 9/10
CD 3 ... 8/10
CD 4 ... 9/10
CD 5 ... 10/10
Book + Cover art ... 8/10
Average score: 9/10
Essential 70's Masters (1995)
CD 1 ... 7/10
CD 2 ... 6/10
CD 3 ... 8/10
CD 4 ... 7/10
CD 5 ... 3/10
Book + Cover art ... 8/10
Average score: 6,5/10
Elvis Today is one of my favorite Presley albums. His last great release
I agree. The 70s box should have been exclusively his secular (and non-Christmas) studio material in chronological order like the 60s box with some rarity/outtake tracks as well. But the mixes used for the studio material on the 70s box is preferred over the original mixes by me. His voice is more upfront on many tracks.
Kentucky Rain **
My Little Friend *
(US) RCA 47-9791
Released: January 29, 1970
* Recorded: American Studios, Memphis, January 21, 1969
** Recorded: American Studios, Memphis, February 19, 1969
Written By :
Dick Heard & Eddie Rabbitt
American Studios, Memphis, February 17-22, 1969 : February 19, 1969. take 10
The intro to this track is great The gentle strings with the little arpeggio playing against it, then we slide into the song.
This is a really well written track, I personally don't see anything sinister in the lyrics. The instrumentation is great and the way the piano slams us into the chorus is very effective.
I'm not finding too much to say this morning (I'm a bit hungover) but again the quality of this song, in all aspects, is very high.
A splendid way to start of the new decade. Strange that it missed the Top Ten, since I feel it's superior to "Don't Cry Daddy"
My Little Friend
Written By :
American Studios, Memphis, January 13-16 and 20-23, 1969: January 21, 1969. take 8
This is a great song also. One of the leftover American Sound tracks, that finds its way onto the excellent Almost In Love later in 1970.
We get a nice guitar intro that has been bolstered by strings and horns, and again the arrangement is great. The song trots along in a country two beat and personally, I find the strings and horns on here to be great. Elvis is reminiscing about his childhood sweetheart ... It is a little sad and a little beautiful.
Love "My Little Friend" as well. Unique arrangement and lyrics
When it came to the 70's box set release, I think Ernst Jorgensen wanted to use it as a vehicle to rehabilitate Elvis' reputation from that period, to debunk the misguided "fat Elvis in a gaudy jumpsuit" perception. As such, he focused on singles, choice masters, off the radar studio highlights, rarities, and live material to present a diverse picture of a what remained a truly talented artist. I don't think it was a perfect collection (the live disc leaves a lot to be desired), and with five discs, the producers were somewhat restricted. Still, many fans consider Nashville 1970 to be the highlight of Elvis' 1970's era studio work, and the Studio Highlights 1970-1971 disc, particularly with the Elvis Country masters sans the 100 Years snippets, was a welcomed addition (the disc essentially highlighted 1970 because 20 of the 23 tracks were from 1970). And while I don't agree with every selection from the Studio Highlights 1971-1976 disc, overall, I think it is well-compiled and presents a respectable sampling of Elvis' work from his final years of recording.
With respect to the Christmas and gospel material, it represents some of his best vocal work from the decade, and therefore I think some of those recordings were justified in being there. Yet, there was only one Christmas song and one gospel song, so it isn't as if that material was abundant -- if anything, some additional vocal highlights such as Holly Leaves And Christmas Trees and I, John should have been considered for inclusion.
I also think it was very important to include a concert disc because Elvis' touring was a major part of his final years of work -- it partially defined him as an artist, and clearly was associated with some of his biggest projects and selling albums from that period. I think the live disc could have been compiled and sequenced more effectively, but I agree that in principle, it was an important disc.
For the most part, I do think Ernst succeeded in presenting a package that made people reevaluate Elvis' final period of work. From a firsthand account, I remember meeting a young, alternative rocker working at a record store in L.A. circa 1997 when he saw me surveying the Elvis section. He started raving about the 70's box set, telling me he couldn't believe how amazing it was and that he never knew how great Elvis was during the 1970's until he checked out the box set.
I found the Essential 70’s Masters set an absolute joy to listen to. I bought it primarily for the Elvis Country tracks without the segues. Even though I have better sounding versions of most (all?) of the tracks, the way the box set is sequenced is fantastic. It really drove home to me, as a fairly new Elvis fan, how great he was at times during the 70s, and how even his “off” years had some gems here and there.
Kentucky Rain is a country-pop masterpiece and easily makes my top ten favorite singles ever by Elvis. We have a very well written lyric by future country superstar Eddie Rabbit and Dick Heard and a complicated melody that lends itself to one of Elvis's very finest production efforts ever by Chips Moman. I have already recounted Ronnie Milsap's story about Elvis urging Ronnie on at the piano with, "I want to hear more thunder on that piano, Milsap," but it bears repeating here for those who might have missed it. For me personally, Kentucky Rain is every bit the match of Suspicious Minds and how it did not "thunder" into the top ten of the country and pop charts is still a mystery to me, but it did eventually earn gold status.
Elvis's phrasing and modulation on Kentucky Rain are often overlooked as he takes you through his mysterious and wet ride on his search for his missing love. I can sing the verses well enough, but the chorus is a mother to get through as the range and sustained notes on "In the cold Kentucky Ra---in" are difficult to reach and maintain.
My Little Friend does feature a rather unique string and horn arrangement, and once again this song proves that even the lesser tracks on the American Sound recordings were of a pretty decent quality and superior to much of his middle 60's soundtrack songs.
Ok, but then do something bolder: what about "creating" a show using the best recordings from the second and third season only? The whole thing would have sounded more coherent. That could have been something, with a much bigger impact as Elvis was still at the top. Instead they used tracks from 1970 to 1977, including Aloha's SUSPICIOUS MINDS - worst version ever -. It doesn't make much sense to me. There were better options IMO.
I was just a little kid in the 1970's when I became an Elvis fan. I'd only heard a couple of his 50's records and almost nothing of his 60s records. Just a few old singles that my mom had and material in the Camden albums. I wanted to hear the radio turned up every time they played an Elvis song (they never played anything older than Suspicious Minds before he died as I recall). My first few Elvis albums were the Camden releases (I loved them). My first live album was Elvis In Concert (I loved it and you can imagine how each live album got better as I worked in reverse acquiring them). It may seem backwards but the 1970's is where Elvis music starts for me instead of the Sun records era. It was like discovering the lost city of Atlantis when I first heard those Sun recordings.
I absolutely loved this song and still do. I've said this before but as I grew older, I was perplexed by the lyrics. By the time I was in my 20's what used to sound so romantic started to seem a little shady. Why did she leave? It was clear that she wanted to leave without saying a word and doesn't want to be found. If the guy was a loser, I think I get why she left. If the guy was a decent loving partner, she did him a favor by leaving and now he can find someone worth putting the effort into a relationship with. I guess I look too hard into song lyrics. Today, I suspend critical analysis and just play along to enjoy the song (Elvis does such a wonderful job).
My Little Friend is ok (a little much using the brass and strings section on it though). A perfect B side song.
I can relate to the lyrics of Kentucky Rain.
My first wife said she loved me more than anything in the world and then within five days (after eighteen years together) she said she never wanted to see me again, and she didn't. It was quite distressing and weird, and I never was told or figured out a reason for it.
What a great way to start the 70's with such a beautiful release. Here is one case where the overdubs are essential so the song can breath life through them. It's one of those very few Elvis Presley records where the instruments have their own role inside Eddie Rabbit's plot: the percussion (just before the "bridge") sounds like the thunder before the storm and the tambourine could really well be the rain itself. And, of course, Elvis' voice is just one more instrument. It's truely an awesome recording, well produced and beautifully layered.
Then why did it stall at #16? Maybe because it was another ballad and people wanted to listen to the rocking Elvis too. Plus I do not think that MY LITTLE FRIEND added anything more to the single (like ANY DAY NOW, YOU'LL THINK OF ME or RUBBERNECKIN' had done earlier.)
They should've done a similar thing like they did with the 60s box, do 2 releases:
1-All the studio recordings (including Jungle Room), but leave off the gospel/Christmas tracks. Plus a disc worth of unreleased tracks, key outtakes, etc.
2-An "essential 70s volume 2" which could be a 2 or 3 disc set with key live tracks and rehearsals.
Kentucky Rain is a masterpiece with a wall of sound production reminiscent of Phil Spector that gives Elvis a platform on top of which to shine. I’m baffled that this didn’t go to number one: perhaps, as @czeskleba noted at the end of the 60s thread, there was simply too much Elvis product being released too fast for the market to bear.
The atmosphere of Kentucky Rain is astounding; you can see the old man on the bench, you can hear the preacher asking the narrator where he's going, and - most importantly - you can hear and feel the rain. It's a masterful production job, possibly the best I've heard on any song (not just Elvis). Of course, it also features one of Elvis' best, most dramatic vocals. I still think that it would have made for a stunning album closer.
Even though it lacks the evocative atmosphere of the studio master, I love the version on the 1999 On Stage even more. It crackles with energy, and I love those extra vocal flourishes that Elvis adds in ("Searching for you, oh, oh..."). Sadly, it's never been released in better sound quality, and the other versions that we have are either spoiled by Elvis joking/laughing during the performance, or just don't have the perfect intensity of that particular performance.
Here is mono mix.
The mono mix is longer than the common stereo mix even though the first stereo mix released on Elvis' Gold Records Vol. 5 in 1984 matches the lenght of the mono.
The mono mix is available on Legacy Edition of From Elvis In Memphis but it sounds like they used the source from the 50 Worldwide Hits box set which soinds quite muffled. It sounds better on the U.K. comp Hits of the 70s which is very easy to find, especially in Europe.
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