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THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM - BMG 82876 59845 2
Cover

CD

 1. Review by Oven Egeland
 2. Review by Crister Berge
Las Vegas, January 28, 1971 DS

 1: Also Sprach Zarathustra (January 26 OS)
 2: That's All Right (January 26 OS)
 3: You Don't Have To Say You Love Me
 4: Love Me Tender
 5: Sweet Caroline
 6: You've Lost That Loving Feeling
 7: Polk Salad Annie
 8: Introductions
 9: Johnny B. Goode (January 26 OS)
10: Introductions
11: Something
12: Release Me
13: Love Me
14: Blue Suede Shoes
15: Hound Dog
16: It's Now Or Never
17: Suspicious Minds
18: The Impossible Dream
19: Mystery Train/Tiger Man (January 26 OS)
20: There Goes My Everything (January 27 MS)
21: Make The World Go Away (January 27 MS)
22: Love Me (January 27 MS)
23: Only Believe (January 27 MS)
24: How Great Thou Art (January 27 MS)
25: Snowbird (January 29 DS)
26: Can't Help Falling In Love (January 26 OS)

1. Elvis 1971 - In Demand
(Review by Oven Egeland)

Many Elvis fans have asked for a soundboard recording pre-1974 for quite some time. FTD obliges giving us a complete concert (almost) from January 28 1971 adding several bonus tracks from other concerts at the same time. During the years we have had three different bootleg releases covering this era. Fortunately FTD focus on a concert not already available on either All Things Are Possible, Lean, Mean And Kickin' Butt or Snowbird.

This is certainly not my favorite Elvis; he sounds too uninspired and bored thus fooling around and adlibbing too much for my liking. That said "The Impossible Dream" is a good release. First of all, the sound quality is much better than I had even hoped for. It is clearer than on bootlegs, but perhaps lacking the punch found on All Things Are Possible. Still, it is obvious that the tape FTD has used is of better quality than what the bootleggers had to work from.

'That's All Right' is said to be from the opening show on January 26. It is the same version as found on All Things Are Possible, though there said to come from the midnight show the day after. Elvis open the song with wrong lyrics, but does so at the same time as a solid feedback "hits him".

Elvis gives a "full" presentation of 'Love Me Tender', "...my first movie song that I made in 1956." It's a decent version with less fooling around, at least compared to August 1970. That said Elvis focus more on the girls in the audience than he does on the song...

False starts:
'Sweet Caroline' is chosen by Elvis even though Charlie Hodge screams out 'There Goes My Everything'. Elvis stops after only a few seconds seemingly without any reason. "This is the way we do things up here," he says before apologizing to James Burton. What follows is an everyday performance. Just "halfway" in 'You've Lost That Loving Feeling' Elvis announces that he wants to end the song, and then wraps it up after less than 3 minutes.

By now Elvis has raised the tempo on 'Polk Salad Annie' significantly and skipped the talking introduction. A bit later he would literally turbo-charge the same song.

'Johnny B. Goode' comes from the opening night on January 26. You can hear that it is taken from another show as the sound has slightly more zest to it. 'Johnny B. Goode' is a rocking version, indeed! 'Something' on the other hand gives Elvis a good reason to present Kathy Westmoreland as the girl "...with the beautiful high voice". He then suggests 'I Can't Stop Loving You', but chose 'Release Me' instead. Glen Hardin manages to follow him on the piano intro. 'Release Me' is a lazy performance with lots of lyrics change, most likely all with intention. "...to live together is a sin..." is most interesting.

Instead of finishing 'Love Me', Elvis simply start it a couple of times and then just stop, commanding 'Blue Suede Shoes' as a repclacement. A whole lot-ta fun?! What follows in this "oldies" segment of the show is a nice version of 'It's Now Or Never'. Elvis is almost 100 % focused, though certainly some lyric changes appear also here. 'Suspicious Minds' has lost most of its charm already (to listen to, anyway), but it last for 4 long minutes. Elvis ends the show with 'The Impossible Dream'. These 1971-versions are a lot slower then those performed in 1972. Personally I like the version from February 1972 best.

Bonus:
Under the title "Extra songs" we get the bonus tracks. 8 tracks in all. Every one of them already available on different bootlegs. However FTD's source is slightly better than what DAE had to create All Things Are Possible from and way better than what label 2001 used for their Snowbird. I especially like the inclusion of 'Love Me'. Although 'Love Me' in general is not labeled "BONUS", the version found here is really splendid! It was not everyday Elvis treated this goodie with the respect it deserved. Almost disrespectful, however is Elvis' presentation of 'How Great Thou Art'. This is the first time Elvis sings a genuine Gospel tune in Las Vegas, and perhaps he felt a bit uncomfortable doing it? Anyway, the fooling around (almost) ruins the song. I would easily have excluded this version from the bonus segment.

'Mystery Train/Tiger Man' is also the same version as found on All Things Are Impossible. The difference in sound between this song and 'There Goes My Everything' (from January 27 MS) suggests that FTD - and not DAE - are correct when they say that it comes from the opening night show (together with 'That's All Right').

To end the CD with 'Can't Help Falling In Love' is certainly a strange thing to do... yes almost without proper respect! Elvis chose to end his shows with 'The Impossible Dream' during this season. The only reason why he sang 'Can't Help Falling In Love' was because Hal Wallis* was in the audience on the opening show. It is performed quite early in the show, and has nothing to do with closing a show at all. Why FTD even included this song I cannot understand. It is only a fair version, and there are lots of tape errors during it. And without Elvis' presentation of why he sings the song, 'Can't Help Falling In Love' is really misplaced as the last song on a CD exclusively containing Elvis from Las Vegas, January 1971! Bummer!

All that said, I find this to be one of the better soundboard releases from FTD. The CD is released in a nice digi-pack; again FTD scores on the artwork!

* Wallis produced the movie Blue Hawaii (among others)

© , Norway, April 2004



2. "Compiled by Eivind Haug"??
(Review by Crister Berge)

1971 - when the gruelling Vegas schedule started to take its toll.
1971 - when boredom set in.


There are very few soundboards documenting 1971 shows, and the ones that've surfaced have been of poor sound quality. Therefore, I was not too begeistered when FTD announced a one-hour record that comprised of songs from Elvis' fourth Vegas stint. But to my surprise, I was most pleased after listening to it. The majority of the songs featured on this CD were taped January 28, but cuts have also been culled from opening night and the 27th and the 29th ('Snowbird'). Also see footnote at bottom. Elvis seems to be a little tired and several songs are re-started. He is absent-minded. And bored. The sound is not too great, although it has been improved compared to bootleg releases from this time period. Drum sound is excellent, horns and vocal section are prominent, while bass and piano takes a backseat. Sure, there's a little overload here and there, but Burton's guitar is up front, and that is a good thing.

We get to hear songs that were brand new at the time such as: The title track, 'Only Believe,' 'How Great Thou Art' and ultra-rare 'Snowbird.' My favorites from this album are 'Sweet Caroline' (wonderful), 'Polk Salad Annie' (cooking) and 'There Goes My Everything' (magical). And lemme tell you something: No one can play 'Johnny B Goode' like James Burton!

What about the digi-pak? Well, hum, I really like the cover, although the letters "ELVIS" blocks the image. The great photo under the disc was used on the cover of the 1972 LP ELVIS SINGS HITS FROM HIS MOVIES, not BURNING LOVE as Lex Raaphorst (?) claims on elvisnews.com. The rest of the pictures are extremely small, which is annoying. But what does "Fixing the intros of Johnny B Goode and Something" really mean? I would appreciate if Ernst (or perhaps Eivind?) could explain that.

According to the track info, 'Zarathustra' is from opening night. If that's the case, it must've been the first time ever it was played as the opening of an Elvis show? Right from the git-go, all bootleg junkies will recognize 'That's All Right' from ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE. It's a real treat to hear 'Sweet Caroline' with James' guitar so prominent. The first attempt is halted by Elvis, probably because he felt the tempo was too high. 'Polk Salad' is very different from Elvis' previous Vegas visit in August: It is played much faster and there's no recitation. Note that Elvis sings, "Everybody thought it was a shame" instead of "said". Bassist Jerry Scheff is given a five-second "solo". Poor sod. And check out the weird vocal phrases towards the end from The Sweet Inspirations.

Another lyric change comes in 'Release Me' as Elvis sings, "To live together, is a sin...". He also invents a new line that goes, "For I have found a new love dear / And I can't help if Charlie's* queer...". He really struggles to inject life into the song, but it is a lost cause. Personally, I never thought it suited Elvis. After 'Release Me' Elvis says, "One of my first records..." and sings, "Treat me like a fool / Treat me mean and cruel / But love me / Break my faithful... gimme an F" and starts singing 'Blue Suede Shoes.' During Burton's solo in 'Hound Dog' he shouts, "Take the light offa me, I ain't doin' nuthin'!" . He skips the bridge in 'You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin''. The piano intro to 'The Impossible Dream' sounds almost exactly like the intro to 'My Way.' Bass singer Jake Hess of The Imperials gets to sing lead on a few lines. The reaming tracks on THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM are "extra songs".
* Charlie Hodge, Elvis' court jester.

I've always had a thing for 'There Goes My Everything,' and this is a great version, full of vinegar. At the time, it was the b-side of his latest single. It was also featured on Elvis' current album, ELVIS COUNTRY. He also sings 'Make The World Go Away,' another track from that very same LP. 'Love Me' is closer to the original 1956 recording (tempo, phrasing, ending) than we're used to. Right after the final note has rung out, Elvis says, "One Night, " but that song was unfortunately edited (Why?!). 'Only Believe,' recorded June 8, 1970, and released as b-side of the atrocious 'Life' single in April 1971, is a strange choice of song. It's not a very good performance either, as Elvis struggles with the words to it. Referring to 'How Great Thou Art,' Elvis says, "I did a gospel song in 1922." A very bizarre comment, when in fact he'd recorded it a mere 4 years ago! First, Elvis interrupts the song because he's dissatisfied with the stage lights. Then he starts goofin' with the lyrics. Afterwards, he says, "I hope you don't take offense to me kiddin', but we do that up here just to keep ourselves (slight pause) ...in shape. " And finally: For those of you that haven't heard it before, I guarantee 'Snowbird' will make your day!

Don't forget to drop me a line at: jon.burrows@lycos.com.

Footnote:
ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE = January 27
LEAN, MEAN AND KICKIN' BUTT = January 28
SNOWBIRD = January 29

On a scale from 1 to 5, this release is a genuine 4.

© Crister Berge, Stockholm, Sweden 2004 - (E-mail: jon.burrows@lycos.com)

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