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Great reissue, astounding sound - but not quite 3.5
Phil S. | USA | 08/02/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Those budget Camden albums were cool way back when, and cool today in reissue. Of course, they echoed the Elvis of the movies and Las Vegas, so new fans, unfamiliar with the titles, would hear almost nothing resembling those rockabillies and barrelhouses I'm sure many of them would have enjoyed from that classic era.
On this package, we do have a few things '50s can get behind: that soulful country ballad "Is It So Strange?", never destined for even B-side status, but a classic in its' own right, presumeably recorded as "filler". What a shame Elvis didn't continue singing in this full-voiced ballad style, into the '60s. ("It Hurts Me" is a notable exception).
Of course, he did modify his ballad approach, particularly on the soft love song, and here we have gorgeous presings of two folky ballads from "Wild in the Country", you know their names. Here the more controlled, yet still moody and sensual, style really sells these songs (like "Strange", also not destined for 45rpm status - and by '61, sadly, the E.P. format, at least by RCA for EP, was less and less emphasized). That's Presley on guitar (and I wish I had known that when I first heard these beauties on the under-appreciated "Elvis For Everyone" album).
The soft, genteel mode continues on the excellent Country beat-ballad, "Sentimental Me": another stunning cut showing off Elvis' unbelievably varied vocal color palatte. I wish someone could explain to me why, however, Presley didn't "go for it", on the middle-8 high notes. We go from Darth Vadar to Minnie Mouse in one leap (sorry fans, but that falsetto thing, as difficult as it is to capture, is not Elvis at his most impressive: think of what he did on "One Night", and others).
Talkin' about rock and roll, there isn't any here, and don't tell me that "I Slipped, I Stumbled, I Fell" is R & R, it's not. It's a near throw-away medium *rock and roll style* soundtrack number, trendy and silly, totally lacking impact - Elvis basically croons this number which really hurt the dramatic movie it appeared in.
The title track is the '72 gem, why this one didn't crack the Pop Top 10, who knows? Another astonishing Red West composition, which shows up also in the "Elvis On Tour" film. The reissue engineers here I surmise do what they can with a rough master.
What prevents me from issuing *4* stars is the final track, "Old Shep". Now, let's see, how does it fit the "theme" of this album. Yes, the loss of a friend from the animal kingdom is still a loss, and it can be devastating; Elvis sings well (listen for his nearly inaudible piano on this 1956 track) and fans/historians know he sang this number on the radio in 1945! A big part of Presley lore. But what would have worked sensationally is an outtake of "I'm Comin' Home" (though in '72 that kind of thing was not big) - a soft vocal over a heavy beat, a nice resolution to the occasionally tragic aspects of some of the material herein.
That, plus eliminating "I Slipped..." and using another Red West song "That's Someone You Never Forget". Elvis as co-author."
Pretty good, but could have been better...
A Fan | VA | 06/19/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This was a budget release from 1972. Elvis' management had come up with a way to release several albums a year while minimizing Elvis' studio time: take some of his old songs and package them with a couple of new songs that had recently been released as a single. While it may have been a way to make a fast buck, Elvis' new material deserved better and should have been packaged with other new songs and treated as a major release, rather than a budget release.
That being said, this is actually not a bad album. The new single included here was Separate Ways / Always On My Mind. Separate Ways was a top 20 hit in the US while the flip side, Always On My Mind was the hit overseas. Also included were some nice up-tempo songs from the 1960's, Sentimental Me, What Now, What Next, Where To?, and I Slipped, I Stumbled, I Fell. To show you how far back they would reach for a song, it includes Old Shep which was a minor hit in 1956 and another 1950's song Is It So Strange. By the time this album was released, those songs were showing their age and were out of place on an early 70's release. It is no wonder that the album only managed to climb to 46 on the US album chart, though it would eventually sell more than a million copies and be certified PLATINUM.
While I understand the desire to make use of old Elvis songs on low-budget releases, they should never have mixed the old with the new. Elvis had enough new material at the time to put out a high-quality new album that probably would have done much better on the chart. As it was, they pretty much wasted two really good new songs by putting them on an album with a bunch of dated material."
All elvis music
steven | quincy ma usa | 01/31/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"it is a good cd with a few good song s but it does not matter when you listen to the best voice i will ever here"