CRAZY - THE FUNNY SIDE OF ELVIS PRESLEY - (RL 1266) (Released 2003)
1. Review by Oven Egeland
2. Review by Crister Berge
"Crazy" - The Funny Side Of Elvis Presley features 78 minutes of Elvis talking, mostly from the stage. This release adds to the already large bunch of such releases.
|1. Another talking album...
(Review by Oven Egeland)
Over the years, and especially during the last few years, several so-called "talking albums" have emerged from different sources. Elvis Unlimited has produced quite a few, see especially The Complete Word For Word and The Complete Press Conferences Vol. 1 and Vol. 2. We also have the infamous Having Fun With Elvis On Stage series, 4 of them up till now. Even Memory Records from the Czech Republic released a talking only album some years ago.
It is fair to assume that one of the reason why so many such albums have been released, is due to the fact that they are legitimate. More this than need and interest for the material. Unlike music and song vocal, rigid law does not protect plain words.
It is also obvious - in my point of view - that potential money income must be a motivation for the producers of such talk-only CD's. Several albums covers the same material, only in different context and running order.
I'm not sure if Rock Legend was motivated by this when they decided to create "Crazy - The Funny Side Of Elvis Presley" some months ago. However, it seems that at least some efforts was laid down on the "mixing table". Since "Crazy" contains audio from so many different sources, it can best be compared with the mentioned Having Fun With Elvis On Stage series. But where these contain approx. 40 minutes of straight talking - an orgy of words, with no careful editing or thoughts behind them - Crazy tries to bring a system to the madness. The producer has divided the content into several tracks and each track has a theme.
Track 4 to 6 deals with Elvis' body and his body functions. They are titled "Elvis talks about his liver biopsy" (track 4), "...and his little finger" (track 5) and finally "Even Kings do it" (track 6). Later tracks focus on Elvis' presentation of his band members, like "Joking with J. D. Sumner" and "Foolin' around with Kathy Westmoreland", while one is simply titled "Sound bites". If not a brilliant presentation, so at least a systematic one. In my point of view this is the only passable way to deal with this material.
Elvis fans are always interested to know if a new CD contain anything of interest, anything that has not already been released before. Actually this CD does. Nothing that will chill you, but at least portions of it has some interest. For the first time we get to hear the rather over focused false start to 'Help Me' from Elvis' concert in Memphis on March 20 1974. This was edited out of the released LP. And since the bootleg called Steamroller Blues from Fort Baxter contained the same show from both the original source and the LP, not even this one contained this "magic" false start. A find! And there are even more unreleased talking from this very concert. It has been taken from a stereo source, most likely the same source as used for the officially unreleased song on the bootleg mentioned above.
Of interest are also some snippets from Charleston, July 24 1976. This show was one of the first soundboards to be released on a CD (called Hurt). The source used back then was very bad. "Crazy" proves that a much better source is available! Bring it out once more.
To my ears, even the few seconds of Elvis talking before he sings 'Way Down' sounds better than on Songs To Sing.
The CD is presented in a rather neat digi-pack (w/fold-out). Here you will find 10-15 pictures from the book Caught In A Trap, another Elvis product produced by It's Elvis Time. I don't fancy the fonts used on the cover, but that is a matter of taste, not science.
This is not a product most fans will talk highly of; due to it's content. However, dealing only with words from Elvis, it most likely is one of the better CD's out there.
© Oven Egeland, April 2003
|2. Don't let the artwork fool you!
(Review by Crister Berge)
This CD is supposed to display the humor and wit of The King. Problem with this intention is that quite a few of the tracks are not funny. Where's the humor in the opening track? And how can nonsense from one of Elvis' worst concerts ever (College Park, September 28, 1974) be used here? There's nothing funny about that concert, it's tragic. Furthermore, audio on several tracks is awful. Lots of excerpts from DESERT STORM, the infamous closing show in Vegas, September 2, 1974; who finds it amusing to hear Elvis talk about his liver biopsy?
Track # 9 has been given a date, but not the year (1970). Track 20 is the Hawaiian press conference from 1972. Elvis' answers are almost inaudible and there's lots of noise (spooling film cameras?). A film clip from this occasion can be seen in THIS IS ELVIS; Elvis, wearing a white suit, is in a terrible condition.
Playing time is 77:45, but so what? We've heard it all before. They've tried to cover up the shortcomings of this disc with some really fancy artwork. Promoting the book Caught In A Trap.
Don't waste your money. Steer away from this one.
On a scale from 1 to 5, I give it a 1.
© Crister Berge 2003. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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