|Elvis Sings For Children And Grownups too!! Volume 2....
(Review by Oven Egeland)
And we are about to review one of the saddest releases from BMG in a long long time...
First off all I would like to say something about the idea behind this release. It is good. If it had been done right, this would be a great release for all those who attend the Concert, those who couldn't attend the Concert, and finally, great for all Elvis fans in general. The Elvis In Concert is like most of you already are aware of, a concert where Elvis' voice is extracted from the source. And the source is video-footage from 1968 to 1973. On this concert you will hear well-known Elvis vocal, but the music, the backup singers, the strings and everything is done live. If this double cd had released the original source, with the original music, backup-singer, strings and everything, than you would have a great comparison to the actual concert done in 1999.
And we Elvis fan would have some new tracks, never before release on CD!
But this release stops with an otherwise good idea, and turns out to be a tasteless release, where the tour seems to be more an alibi for commercialism than anything else.
It starts out well. The first tracks on this double album comes from Aloha From Hawaii. This is the same source that is being used in the concert, ergo correct.
Then we get Polk Salad Annie. This is the original version from February 1970. It has nothing to do with the Elvis The Concert, where they use a version from August 1970. Well, it is the same song, but that's it. You've Lost That Loving Feeling is the correct version. But then Proud Mary, again the original version from Feb 1970. It has absolutely nothing to do with the Concert, where they use Proud Mary from April 1972. The versions can't even be compared since Elvis by 1972 had changed this song in to something completely different than the original 1970 version!!
And this goes on. Never Been To Spain is from the matinee concert in Madison Square Garden (Should have used a version from April 1972). After this it is getting even worse. Suddenly Just Pretend, the studio version appears, together with amateurish overdubbed applause (applause in the beginning of the song, then suddenly no more). The same story goes for Make The World Go Away. Both these version used in the Concert origins from The Last Performances (the video) and are from August 1970.
Then it is time for a new release. In The Ghetto. They have used a version from February 1970. In the Concert they use a version from August 1970 performed as a "medley" with Don't Cry Daddy. After this it jumps into How Great Thou Art from Memphis 1974. This time correct, but a little remixing of this song would have been appropriate!
Disc 1 ends with the studio version of Bridge Over Troubled Water (!!!??). Why in the holy mother... In the concert they use a version from August 1970. BMG has released this before, and they should have included this instead. More over, the version here is in fact the "OLD" master, with low recording level and overdubbed applause. A pain...
Disc 2 start out well, just like disc one. We get Trouble/Guitar Man from 1968, the same version that they use in the Concert. And when the CD should feature Hound Dog, Teddy Bear...and more from August 1970, we get in fact some completely different versions - from Madison Square Garden 1972! Some from the original release (with bad mixing) and some from the matinee concert released on An Afternoon In The Garden.
One Night is from August 1970 (the same as on Essential 70's masters), but not the same as on the Concert. No major fault, however. Love Me Tender is from the evening concert in Madison Square Garden.
The Wonder Of You that they use in the Concert is from August 1970. What we get here is the original version from February 1970, but this time the clean version, not the overdubbed (another new one...). Lawdy, Miss Clawdy misses with two years, as they have used the Memphis version from 1974, instead of the April 1972 version, together with the bad mixing and everything.
Suspicious Minds has never before been released. Again it is from February 1970. Nice to have this, but what a clumsy mixing. It sounds like you have mud in your ears. Also in some parts it sounds like this version has been spliced, as Elvis both sing, talk and laugh at the same time at one place...?
The ending of the CD is from Aloha From Hawaii, and BMG has again managed to get into the right track.
Haste! Misprints! Misinformation?
This release is compiled by Stig Edgen and Todd Morgan. Digital "engineer" is Lene Reide. Imagine the great opportunity these person had, getting the chance to make a double album for BMG...What came out of it? I have described the content over, and also said some words about the awful mixing of the two new tracks from February 1970, In The Ghetto and Suspicious Minds. Along with this there are lots of misprints and misinformation. Did you know that Elvis recorded Proud Mary in 1960. He was first in many field this fellow, but he didn't record Proud Mary before John Fogerty wrote "the damn song" (as Elvis would say). Obviously misprint, but there are so many of this kind that you can't excuse them. In the same line; The Wonder Of You is said to be recorded February 28 1970 (Elvis didn't even perform this day), and also the design is made by Elvis Presleya Enterprises.
I have a feeling that BMG is close to follow the same pace that RCA did in the late 70's and early 80's. Print out "new releases" with old well known cuts and no heart that follows. The most extreme case could be "Elvis Sings For Children And Grownups Too!". Elvis - The Concert feels like a follow up to this one, a Volume 2 so to speak.
What makes this release tasteless, is the fact that they have released material that is not right in the historical sense. Instead of using the original versions of the versions being used to extract Elvis' vocal, BMG has released material that recently already has been released or even re-released. This double album contains over 1/3 of the Aloha From Hawaii, and several tracks from An Afternoon In The Garden.
And here comes the question of money. If this release should have been correct and perfect, it would have cost BMG more money. It would mean 15 versions never before released. And this cost extra money, as musicians, songwriter etc. will have to get their share too. Sweet Sweet Spirit, used in the Concert, is not released in the album at all. It displays a shocking policy at BMG. This policy has an alarming dose of greed and disrespect to Elvis fans.
The total running time is 90 minutes, making it necessary with a double disc.
To end in a lighter mood. The artwork is beautiful. (Peacock)