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Recordings 1972        ELVIS 6363 SUNSET - BMG 74321 84214 2        Recordings 1975


 1. Review by Oven Egeland
 2. Review by Piers Beagley
 3. Review by Andy Urias
 4. Review by Ahmet Gulen

  There are several errors in the
  sound on this CD reminding of
  the errors on "Too Much Monkey

Clicks are found several places, most noticeable on 'For The Good Times' and 'Shake A Hand'.

An Elvis fans says:
"I received 6363 SUNSET CD a few days ago and however it's interesting and enjoyable music, I am very disappointed of the sound... BMG did NOTHING with the sound, in fact there is NO REMASTERING job on almost all tracks... It takes me 5 seconds to do this job, again 5 seconds, not 5 minutes ! I wonder if BMG have heard about 400 US$ Steinberg DeClicker plug-in from 1998....
I have found some clicks or dropouts in majority of the songs. It's shit-job from Ferrante or Reidel or from someone. In comparison, on Jungle Room Sessions superb remastering job was done..."

"A dog in every village!"

The idea of releasing a CD focusing on Elvis in Hollywood during the 70's has an appeal to me. The combination of Elvis and Hollywood often brings out memories of horrendous movie songs, but that was in the 60's. During the 70’s, the story was somewhat different, and this new release from FTD tends to determine so!

A lot of fans anticipated this specific release, and why shouldn't one do so? After all, some of the most known and successful songs from the 70's-era were actually recorded in Hollywood. 'Burning Love' from 1972 was Elvis' last big selling record, while 'Always On My Mind' - in retrospect at least - are very popular by most fans, and non-fans.

'T-R-O-U-B-L-E' from 1975 could perhaps be called Elvis' last "rocker". They are all on this disc, but this time represented by alternative takes in undubbed shape. So there is definitely nothing wrong with the idea behind this CD!

The outcome then? Well, at least another illusion is washed away! Don't misunderstand, it is not a bad CD, but it isn't breathtaking either! There is something lacking on this CD that for instance "Jungle Room Session" had more of, and not to mentioned Essential Elvis Vol. 4 and Vol. 5; the fly on the wall feeling. The banter between takes, the overall feel that you are listening to something really taking place there and then.

As the content is presented on this CD, it all becomes a bit too incoherent. The main reason for this is the inclusion (or should I say domination) of rehearsal material. Personally, I would stick to the studio sessions from 1972 and 1975 alone. Even though the range of material from both sessions is somewhat sparsely, I think the CD would have been better this way.

'Separate Ways' was not included on this disc; something that actually is a mystery. The master take is number 21, and we have yet to have a pre - 20 take! This was the big chance...:-)

This CD comes with several errors in the sound which reminds me of the production errors on the CD "Too Much Monkey Business"!

The artwork is simple, yet quite appealing.

1. ALWAYS ON MY MIND - Take 3 [Master = Take 1]

  • This is one of those few songs when every take seems to mean a less impressive performance. A good delivery by all means, but certainly not on par with the first take. Actually a bit tedious!
2. BURNING LOVE - Take 2 [Master = Take 6]

  • First of all: This is not the version released on Time Life as stated several places on the net. You need a big set of cloths in your ears not to spot the difference! This is the studio version take 2. (Time Life released take 2 of the rehearsal version two days later...) This version is so bad that Elvis would turn around in his grave if he ever knew... Elvis sung this song in a too high key, and on this take it suffers more from this than any other take I have heard.
3. FOR THE GOOD TIMES - Take 3 [Master = Take 4]

  • This is a new take, but unfortunatley it comes with quite noticeable sound-errors in the right channel!!!
4. WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE - Take 6 [Master = Take 8]

  • This was heavily overdubbed before released on the Elvis Fool album. Nice to have an undubbed version, though sadly it ends abruptly!
5. FOOL - Take 1 [Master = Take 2]

  • Elvis only did two takes of this song. Take 1 is 99% identical to take 2, meaning a good version!
6. IT'S A MATTER OF TIME Take 4 [Master = Take 5]

  • Elvis is off key and out of sync several times during this take! This makes me quite sure we are talking about take 1 (or at least the first complete take), although no take number is listed on the sleeve. There is no way Elvis would have made such errors on a take after the master (take 5), that he does on this take. Almost as bad as Burning Love!

  • This is the same version that has been bootlegged a zillion times. Now it comes in much better sound! I think BMG should have added the ingress before the song, though - Elvis saying; "We open with See See Rider". Although it is quite strange to hear 'See See Rider' in the middle of a CD this is a refreshing moment. Elvis gives almost 100 % on this rehearsal version!

  • Although the sound on this material is much better than on the bootleg releases, sadly enough it is quite hissy! Dropouts are visiting this track too!

  • Hmm! This is actually cooking! Great version! Sound is good and Elvis' dedication is evident! One of this CD's high point!

  • You know what is worse than listening to a 70's version of 'All Shook Up'... a rehearsal version!

  • A pretty standard rehearsal version! Nothing special.

  • By, this take this rehearsal stuff is getting boring... On 'See See Rider' and 'A Big Hunk O'Love' Elvis treat the songs with 100 % respect. Not at this one, but who could blame him?

  • As these rehearsal versions goes, this one is not bad.
14. GREEN, GREEN GRASS OF HOME Take (2) 3 [Master = Take 5]

  • A very good version! Unfortunately BMG has started to master studio tracks so that they appear somewhat unnatural. I think it is due to some kind of "clarity improvements". It clears the sound all right, but in the wake, a lot of other less wanting characteristics occurs. The outtake on the CD "Great Country Songs" was a bit hissy all right, but at least it has some ambience. Now it seems that BMG focus 100 % on removing hiss, and that they in this eager forgets other important qualities that the sound picture needs!
15. SUSAN WHEN SHE TRIED Take (1) 2 [Master = Take 6]

  • This version is quite punchless compared to the master version. Nice to have an alternate, though!
16. AND I LOVE YOU SO Take 1 [Master = Take 5]

  • This is a good version, but I really dislike the BMG mixing of this track!! Elvis sings this song directly to Sheila Ryan, as you can hear Elvis saying so before he starts singing take 1.
17. BRINGING IT BACK - Take (2), 3 [Master = 4]

  • This track is alone worth the CD! 'Bringing It Back' was almost ruined in the overdubbing process before release on the "Elvis Today" album. Now it comes pure as maiden's water, and it is a good performance from Elvis. Without doubt the highlight on the CD!
18. T-R-O-U-B-L-E Take 1 [Master = 4]

  • This take reminds very much of Elvis' early live versions of this song. They are not even close to the released master take.
19. SHAKE A HAND Take 2 [Master = 3]

    Error I have always liked this song, and looked
    forward to an outtake of it. This outtake
    is pretty much like the master version,
    in other words a good version.
    However, this track suffers painfully much
    due to sound problems. The vocal channel
    is leaking through the whole song, and in
    addition, we get two definite "clips".

    It is actually very easy to remove such errors,
    but BMG failed to do so!

    Lousy producing from BMG; nothing more,
    nothing less!

    © , Norway, March 2001

2. Review by Piers Beagley

FTD 8 returns to Elvis' studio material, giving us alternate versions recorded in March 1972 + 1975 at RCA's Studio C in Hollywood. The first 6 tracks are from the 2 nights in 1972 that produced 'Burning Love' and 'Always On My Mind' and the final 6 tracks focus on the session that produced the TODAY album.

For some strange reason, sandwiched in the middle, we get 7 tracks from the "On Tour" concert rehearsal sessions also recorded in Hollywood.

In the seventies Elvis rarely experimented in the studio in the same way as he did earlier in is career and usually the differences between each take was quite minor, So is this a worthy FTD release? Ah, Goddamn it, of course it is!!! (But this time with some reservations).

Another feature of the 70's was for Felton Jarvis to overdub everything Elvis recorded, often burying his vocals and adding un-called for syrupy strings. These luckily are absent on these alternate versions and this is the true bonus of this CD - no orchestra, a cleaner mix and Elvis' voice way up front.

So what do we get?

Always On My Mind (Take 3): I so wish that the CD had started with a few words from "The Man" to set the scene. Oddly enough take 1 ended up being the master (with overdubs) so it would have been great to hear Elvis say something about the band playing tighter or to James Burton about his delightful guitar picking - which is far more prominent in this version than the first 2 takes (take 2 is on Platinum). Yes, it's close to the original but here we have it without the final overdub and also a much better sounding mix of Elvis' with the backing vocals at the end of the song.

Burning Love (Take 2): It is often said that Elvis never particularly liked this song so again it is a shame that we don't get any studio chatter. Not up to the power of the final master (take 6) that was driven by Dennis Linde's (the writer of the song) overdubbed guitar. Here James Burton's wah-wah guitar kick-starts the song. Not a great version but still interesting to hear how the song developed. Emery Gordy's bass guitar drops out of the mix for part of the song but the band keeps playing.

For The Good Times (Take 3): Some reviews have said that this is the same take as on Platinum which was in fact take 2 (but misprinted on the sleeve). This version is a delight even if close to the master (take 4), but here we have no orchestra overdub. Compared to take 2 this is slightly faster plus the addition of some fine solo guitar picking from James Burton.

Where Do I Go From Here? (Take 6): Never a favourite Elvis track of mine but here driven by some great wah-wah guitar and again benefiting from not being overdubbed. Elvis says, "Felton hold that last take" at the end, which shows his own interest in this version.

Fool (Take 1): This again is close to the master, which was take 2, but greatly improved by the lack of syrupy strings that were dubbed onto it. The lack of overdubs makes Elvis sound more fragile, which improves the feel of the song, plus we get the joy of the full 4 minutes rather than the short fade out of the original.

It's A Matter Of Time (Take 1?): Elvis slips out of key suggesting a first take otherwise this is very close to the master with very slightly changed phrasing. Nothing particularly new here.

The next 7 tracks are "On Tour" rehearsals and seem out of place to me. Surely we should be getting these all in the up and coming "On Tour" releases? However the sound quality - compared to previous bootlegs - is fantastic, plus again the joy of no on-stage orchestra.

See See Rider: Kicks ass!

Until It's Time For You To Go: Being a 70's song this does fit nicely into this CD - a charming, delicate, version - Elvis sings "You're not a dream, You're a woman, Lord I Hope so!" which is a nice touch. Put your headphones on and let Elvis sing a ‘concert' song just to you alone- delicious!

A Big Hunk O' Love: Another dynamite song. Throbbing bass work and Elvis lets rip - great stuff!

All Shook Up/Heartbreak Hotel/Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel: All familiar throw away versions - I agree with Oven from the web site "Still Active in Norway" when he says "What is worse than listening to a 70's version of 'All Shook Up' . . .. a rehearsal version!"

Can't Help Falling in Love: Actually does sound better without the orchestra and is, in fact, a fine end to this mini rehearsal. Elvis laughs and sings "Wise men say, only Fat Fools rush in"

March 1975 was Elvis' only studio recordings in the whole of 1974 and 1975 and these tracks close this CD. I was surprised to find that, after a few listens, it was this part that of 6363 that I enjoyed the most. In 1975, as well as overdubbing the TODAY material, Felton Jarvis also added some echo and reverb to all the tracks giving them a "Concert Hall" kind of sound. Here we get them clean, with Elvis singing straight to you with beautiful clarity, compared to the TODAY album where it sounds as if the band is in the bathroom down the corridor!

Green Green Grass Of Home (Take 2, 3): A false start before a delicious take 3. Elvis' vocal is clear and way up front - a real joy compared to the overdubbed original. No sweetening strings, less backing vocals, this version sounds so much lighter in style. When Elvis says, "Then I awake and look around me" he's right there with you. Fabulous!

Susan When She Tried (Takk1, 2): Great to get 2 new takes of this song and Elvis sounds like he's enjoying himself. On take 1 he changes the girl's names on purpose and laughs. No echo or overdubs here - great banjo picking and take 2 runs nearly 3 minutes unlike the original fade at 2:15. Also in 1975 there was definite tension between Elvis and his new Bass player Duke Bardwell, so much so that all his parts were later erased at Elvis' request. Here we have the interesting comment from Elvis "Get it right Duke, Damn!"

And I Love You So (Take 1): Elvis says to then girlfriend, Sheila Ryan, "Step here Sheila and let me sing to you baby". A delicious version - just beautiful! The version on Platinum (take 2) still had the reverb present where Elvis, Sheila and the band sound like they are in the "bathroom"! Elvis is far clearer here, one of the best tracks on this CD.

Bringing It Back (Take 2, 3): "Next piano player" quips Elvis at the start, referring to the fact that Voice's Tony Brown was asked by him to play piano on this track (Elvis had liked his playing on the demo). I have never understood why this fairly pedestrian song was chosen as a single in the USA but here it benefits from the lack of overdubbing that so spoiled the master.

T-R-O-U-B-L-E (Take 1): Elvis has trouble himself with the spelling, which is fun, and this is a good version for a first take - If you listen to the master take 4 you can hear how much more Elvis was going for the song by then, rocking until the end fade out. However the extra overdubbed backing vocals pushed him further down into the mix which was a shame. An undubbed master version should have been included here too.

Shake A Hand (Take 2): The final track and similar to the master but with Elvis' vocal more prominent. On this song the "Gospel choir" overdub actually benefited the final mix giving it a rousing Gospel chorus at the end. This version fades earlier than the final master, which is odd, but ends nicely with Elvis changing the lyrics to "shake a hand, shake a leg"!

So there it is. One hour of Elvis in brilliant quality - overall not my favourite FTD CD so far, but - "Keep 'em coming"! !

My real complaint is that the between song chatting that made "The Jungle Room Sessions" such a delight, is missing here. There you felt that you were privy to something very special happening - a private "fly on the wall" view letting you feel Elvis' mood as well as hear the songs develop and take shape.

Also - in my opinion - apart from 'Until It's Time For You To Go', the mini rehearsal doesn't fit well on this disc. Maybe all that was needed was the old rockers being replaced with rehearsals of newer 70's songs and we know from the "On Tour" bootlegs that 'Funny How Time Slips Away', 'Proud Mary', etc were all potential inclusions.

The CD runs for one hour so maybe there just wasn't enough material, but in that case why are there no versions of the fantastic song 'Separate Ways' here? Elvis recorded 25 takes of the song yet only 2 have been released. And why not more studio discussions?

'I Can Help' is also not represented on the later half of the disc and I would loved to have heard Elvis saying "Billy Swan my Ass" as a prelude to the recorded take!

Also the missing 1975 songs - 'Fairytale', 'Woman Without Love', 'Pieces of My Life' - without their final overdubs would have been a good addition. Like 'Pledging My Love' on the "Jungle Room Sessions" (which played for it's full length and completely changed my opinion of the song. You can hear how much soul Elvis poured into the track compared to the brutally edited single version) these tracks often benefit from playing for their full length rather than the usual shorter master fade outs. 'Fool' being a good example on this CD; so more please!

© Piers Beagley, March 23 2001

3. Review by Andy Urias

Outtakes of Elvis' recordings from the 70's can be boring and fascinating at the same time. 6363 Sunset, this recent FTD release is an example of that. First of all, let's look at the material Elvis was performing in the 70's. There was some quality material on his albums, but the majority of the songs were pretty weak. He saved some of those weak tunes because being one of the great vocalists ever; he was able to make them interesting and/or appealing.

If we spend too much time searching for reasons of why the songs were weak, then we'll run into the argument that Colonel Parker was quite possibly the worst manager the contemporary music business has ever seen. Yes, he was a mastermind at marketing and promotion, but that doesn't mean it was always in good taste and good for his artist's integrity. Wanting Elvis to have a piece of the publishing to the songs that he recorded was a good concept, but it also was a huge reason Elvis ended up recording lack-luster material. Of course, Elvis ended up recording songs that he didn't have a piece of the publishing for, but except for a few gems, none of them are that noteworthy. Another major problem was RCA. Contracting an artist to release 3 or 4 records a year was ridiculous in the 1970's. They tried to promote and market Elvis like he was a contemporary artist. If they really thought he still was, they were insane. Led Zeppelin was now a contemporary artist that released one record every couple of years at best.

The music business had changed, yet they treated his release schedule like he was still the teen-phenomenon that he was in the 50's. They wanted him to be what he had been instead of understanding what he was at that point and more importantly what he could have become. He had a horrible manager and a horrible A&R department at his record label. But the bottom line is that he didn't do much about it. He seemed to let fools destroy his legacy and he continued to self-destruct through an intense drug addiction.

What's always been fascinating about Elvis was his ability to arrange songs. He understood music and what the different genres represented. He was able to see and hear how a song could be interpreted and rearranged. These qualities are some of the characteristics that made him such an amazing artist. I have read time after time how he would influence the arrangement or structure of an unknown or well-known song during a recording session. This ability of his is what should be showcased on a "studio outtake" release. That would be interesting and educational.

Just hearing lackluster versions of average songs really isn't that fascinating. Hearing his input between takes and then hearing him working the song out is what would be impressive. Of course, he didn't necessarily commit to his recording sessions on a consistent basis in the 70's (understandably so), but I'm sure there are enough quality moments that I am referring to, to showcase on a release such as this.

I'm not going to pretend to have extensive knowledge of all his 70's material. Yes, for the most part, I have all of the songs in one form or another, but I don't own multiple bootlegs of outtakes from his 70's output. I can't distinguish little subtle variations in songs such as 'Susan When She Tried' or any of the others. Most importantly, I don't care. The material is weak and due to his deteriorating health, his voice wasn't as full in my opinion. Even by 1972, one can hear that his voice is weaker than it was in 1969 for example. That isn't to say that he wasn't capable of amazing vocal performances, it just seemed that at that point, he wasn't as consistent as he once was. Even when he sang ridiculous songs on some of his movie soundtracks, his voice was never questionable in my opinion. Even though I think his material that he was performing was week, I still enjoy hearing these outtakes because the songs are stripped from all the overdubs that accompanied much of his 70's work.

Hearing the songs in this form is nice and worth it. I may have criticisms of the material and of his voice at that point, he was still a fantastic singer. Elvis could have recorded amazing music in the 70's with his ability to recreate songs and his vocal execution. Great songwriters like Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Willie Nelson, and many more could have written him songs. If those artists had commissioned to do so, they would have jumped at the opportunity. They've done it for many other artists over the years and would have found it an honor to do so for Elvis. Again, that is a job for a manager and A&R department. Elvis was basically without the two and he didn't have the ability to make decisions as at that point, he was too out of it to do so.

I like the idea of rehearsal material for his upcoming tour in 1972. However, BMG failed to deliver on 6363 Sunset. After 'See See Rider' and 'Until Its Time For You To Go', Ernst Jorgensen and crew throw on a bunch of 50's tunes as if this is a greatest hits compilation. Elvis' performance of his 50's songs in the 70's is a joke for the most part. Anyone can hear it in his voice and his delivery. A nice version of 'Polk Salad Annie', 'American Trilogy', 'Proud Mary', 'I'll Remember You', 'Never Been To Spain', etc. would have been nice. Now I'm not positive that he rehearsed those songs, but I'm sure he rehearsed a couple of them and most likely some other tunes that he never performed on stage. BMG just doesn't want to give the fans anything really interesting.

Overall, this CD is worth having, but BMG doesn't really deliver anything earth shattering. The CD is worth having because it is Elvis and it gives the listener an opportunity to hear one of the great vocalists of all time rehearsing and recording. But what it really shows me is an amazing artist deteriorating quickly (and this is considering that a just a few years prior he was at the top of his game). The CD documents a couple of chapters in a sad story. I'll conclude by saying this, BMG please start releasing live concerts on a consistent basis!

© , May 18 2001

  Other reviews of Andy Urias

4. Review by Ahmet Gulen

Elvis was very successful in 1972, but this year was also very hard for his private life. This album includes good material from 1972 and 1975. 'Always On My Mind' and 'Burning Love' are two great songs! 'Where Do I Go From Here' on this album is an excellent version. Many Elvis fans are like this song - it's a dramatic song about Elvis life. The long version of 'Fool' is also good and I think better than the Elvis album (1973) version. 'It's A Matter Of Time' has been released on only a few other Elvis albums. This version is so good for fans.

Rehearsals contain many secrets and surprises for the real Elvis fan. This album includes eight rehearsals from March 31 1972. These songs are in better sound quality than on import albums such as Complete On Tour Sessions Vol. 1-2-3 from Vicky. Elvis used to sing 'See See Rider' as an opening song in his concerts. This rehearsal version is pretty good and many fans like it. 'Until It's Time For You To Go' is a Buffy Saint Marie song, that Elvis recorded in 1971. 'A Big Hunk O'Love' and 'All Shook Up' are very fantastic performances. His first international hit - 'Heartbreak Hotel' - is great. Elvis frequently used the medley 'Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel' in his concert, and this rehearsal version is successful. 'Can't Help Falling In Love' is the highlight on this album in my opinion. Elvis changes the lyrics to "Wise men say, only Fat Fools rush in". It's pure fun!

The third section of this album includes cuts from the 1975 March session at Stax Studio. It was his last professional studio work. Tom Jones' hit song 'Green Green Grass Of Home' is of excellent quality. This song worked very well for "The King". Another country song is 'Susan When She Tried' and the Perry Como song 'And I Love You So'. They are not bad. Elvis performs 'Bringing It Back' very well. Maybe the King's last R' & 'R hit was 'T-R-O-U-B-L-E'. This version is performed more slowly than the original version and this works perfect! 'Shake A Hand' is the closing song on this album. Elvis performs very well and at the end he changes the lyrics to "Shake A Leg".

© Ahmet Gulen, June 30 2001

Relevant bootlegs and official releases:

Bootlegs (1972):
The Complete On Tour Session Vol. 1
The Complete On Tour Session Vol. 2
The Complete On Tour Session Vol. 3
Lost On Tour
Lost On Tour - The Sequel
Camera and Microphone Rehearsal

Official (1972):
Burning Love
Bootlegs (1975):
Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 3

Official (1975):
Elvis Today
Great Country Songs

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