ELVIS NOW - BMG 506020 975010
1. Review by Daniel Wilson
2. Review by Per-Kristian Fure
|Released late March / early April 2010, this is the updated -2 CD- version of Elvis Now.
It features original masters and several outtakes. Many of these are previously unreleased. It also includes what must be the almost complete jam of 'Don't Think Twice, It's All Right' (9:18), a more complete version of 'Lady Madonna' (1:48) and actually 'I Shall Be Released' represents what would was to be take 5 of 'It's Only Love'. As for 'It's Only Love' we now have the complete session of this song. The early takes are quite fascinating; Elvis really struggled to find the right "course" of the song. Also 'Help Me Make It Through The Night' is well presented here with a total of 11 takes/versions.
A nice release, where perhaps only an undubbed version of 'We Can Make The Morning' is lacking, although not favorite song. However, those overdubbed girls would be better left off!
In general the sound quality is excellent, and really shines on outtakes of 'Help Me Make It Through The Night', less so on 'It's Only Love'!
It is presented in a 7" deluxe package!
|CD-1: Original release and outtakes
Help Me Make It Through The Night
Miracle Of The Rosary
Put Your Hand In The Hand
Until It's Time For You To Go
We Can Make The Morning
Early Morning Rain
Fools Rush In
I Was Born About Ten Thousand Years Ago
It's Only Love
The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
Don't Think Twice, It's All Right (unedited master)
Help Me Make It Through The Night (8*, 9*, 10*)
Fools Rush In (11*, 12*, 14) [I Sing All Kinds]
Lady Madonna (jam)
Help Me Make It Through The Night (1*, 2*, 3) [Great Country...]
Early Mornin' Rain (1*, 2*, 9*)
Fools Rush In (5*, 6*)
Until It's Time For You To Go (fs*, 5) [Today, Tomorrow...]
I'm Leavin' (1*)
It's Only Love (1*, 2*, 3*, 4*)
I Shall Be Released (jam)
It's Only Love (6*, 7) [I Sing All Kinds]
Help Me Make It Through The Night (6, 7) [I Sing All Kinds]
Fools Rush In (8*, 9) [Today, Tomorrow...]
Put Your Hand In The Hand (1) [I Sing All Kinds]
It's Only Love (8*, 9) [Essential Elvis Vol. 4]
Miracle Of The Rosary (1) [Platinum]
Until It's Time For You To Go (6*, 7*)
Fools Rush In (10*)
Early Morning Rain (11) [I Sing All Kinds]
Help Me Make It Through The Night (14*, 15*)
I'm Leavin' (2*, 3) [I Sing All Kinds]
|1. FTD, Keep It Coming!
(Review by Daniel Wilson)
Elvis Now was originally released in 1971 and received mixed reviews. Now Re-released in 2010 and here is my verdict:
Starting with the packaging, which is a stunning 7inch fold out digipack, with a great early 70's Elvis in great shape and same as the back. When opened we see the discs recreated by FTD to look like the vinyl back in 1971. As usual a good job and another fine picture of E.
A stunning picture on the front in my opinion, which I never have seen before. It could easily have been the front cover for the album.
The CD's have the set list that we are used to from previous releases of this kind. Some great pictures of Elvis in Vegas, which again I have never seen before. They look great! The “behind the scenes” liner notes are just as interesting as ever, but I'll leave that for you to read. Some interesting documents posted in the booklet of LP covers and letters to and from Elvis and various other people. An unusual picture is present; it is Elvis in his blue jumpsuit from Elvis On Tour 1972, which I find unnecessary for this booklet. The following pictures are again new to me. All are good and are shot in 1971. The booklet finishes with “in and outtakes” and another picture of our man.
Conclusion: One of my favourite booklets produced by FTD.
The content really upset many fans back when released, as the album states “Elvis Now” and songs like 'Hey Jude', 'I Was Born About 10,000 Years Ago', were recorded in previous years.
'Help Me Make It Through The Night'. A song written and recorded by Kris Kristofferson. Elvis' version is great and is better than the original in my opinion. The man knew how to put his stamp on songs.
'Miracle Of Rosary'. A Gospel song which Elvis must have chosen because of his love for Gospel music. He puts emotion into the song as he normally did with this kind of music. His stunning voice makes me like the song, it a shame it only lasts 1:54.
'Hey Jude': A cover of the popular Lennon/McCartney song. Elvis recorded his version at American Studio's in 1969 as a jam song and it was never meant to be released. This song gets mixed reactions from Elvis fans out there. My view? I think it is great. Elvis isn't trying to be like The Beatles, he is still Elvis Presley. The key is changed to a point where Paul McCartney probably could never even sing it in. For me it is fresh with the American Studio's band playing with, and the end section of the "Na Na Na Na" has Elvis' voice sounds so raw and fresh when singing "Jude Jude Jude". However it does prove that it was a jam when Elvis indeed laughs at the end.
'Put Your Hand In The Hand'. I think we have hit the first album filler for the album! Elvis sings it pleasant enough, however every time I hear the line "put your hand in" it sounds very much like the song 'I Washed My Hands In Muddy Waters' and the solo even sounds like it. I neither like nor dislike the song.
'Until It's Time For You To Go'. One of the best tracks on the album, and Elvis definitely liked singing it live throughout 1972. He sings it with great emotion and it is a lovely ballad. Nothing more to add about this lovely song!
'We Can Make The Morning'. Possibly one of the best vocals Elvis did in his career, this song just stands up and shouts at me! I think it's a fabulous song; his vocals so powerful and shows us he will always be the King. My favourite song of the entire album. On this new FTD it even has a better mix than I have heard before.
'Early Morning Rain'. The first time I heard the studio version I found it to be a beautiful rendition.
'Sylvia'. An average song, but Elvis Sings it nice.
'Fools Rush In'. The weakest track on the album and to me reminds a little about movie songs from the 60's.
'I Was Born About 10,000 Years Ago'. FTD added this song on the “Elvis Country” album, and to me it belongs there.
'I'm Leavin'. A fantastic song, fantastic singing. Beautiful!
'It's Only Love'. A great pop song, with Elvis' vocal in top form. Always liked it and should have done better in the charts than it eventually did.
'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face'. A song that is hard to do better than the original. And I'm afraid Elvis doesn't do it, but still brings us a really gorgeous version, slightly more upbeat than any other version out there. Again Elvis puts his big fat E stamp on it.
'Don't Think Twice It's Alright'. The long awaited unedited version of the Bob Dylan song. However, I do not think it's unedited as it starts already into the song. But it does run for 9:19 and If you look at it and think “a-ahh 9:19, I can't be bothered to listen to it”, DO NOT THINK THAT! I listened to it and I got carried away, and before I knew it, it was finished..:-) Great to listen to and a song Elvis obviously liked a lot.
We have reached the outtakes, I will keep it short.
'Help Me Make It Through The Night' has takes 1-3, 6-7, 8-10 and 15. To me they all sound at a good standard, it's always nice to have outtakes, but I think FTD over did this song in numbers of outtakes.
'Fools Rush In' is presented with takes 11, 12, 14. Take 11 sounds great, but Elvis stops and start it again.
We all know 'Lady Madonna' was an informal jam, however it's not stated so in the booklet and it runs for 1.48 (booklet says 1.45). It is the longest version we've had so far compared to the 70's masters. We get a little bit more of the beginning then we did before and I kinda like it even though Elvis forgets the words. IT'S A JAM and I think it is cool to have.
I shall not bore you, most of the outtakes on CD-2 sound pretty much like the masters of the album with Elvis either stopping to start again, joking or talking. A few incidents happen where the producers put too much echo on 'Until It's Time For You To Go'. The outtakes are fascinating as it shows how Elvis had it close to perfection from the start, but keeps going and going until it sounds right to him.
A great album with great songs on, which I love and often will listen to.
Booklet 4.5/5 - (minus 0.5 for putting that Elvis 1972 picture in.)
FTD, Keep It Coming!
© Daniel Wilson, England, April 2010
|2. ELVIS NOW (FTD)
(Review by Per-Kristian Fure)
First, I have to say that I was a little bit surprised when FTD announced this release. I had expected Promised Land to be released instead at this point.
Elvis Now was certainly not among Elvis' best 70s releases. However, I think this 2 disc FTD edition is a good one!
The added singles, jam sessions and alternate takes fortunately brings it up to a higher level. The sound is great, and we get quite a few new and complete outtakes.
All in all, good value for the money!
Song by song review:
'Help Me Make It Through The Night' is one of Kris Kristofferson's masterpieces. Elvis didn't seem to get it quite right in the studio, but it's still great. The version/remix released on the Welcome To My World album is the best presentation we have of this song, in my opinion.
'Miracle Of The Rosary' is a "secret" favorite of mine. Recently, there have been quite a few debates on various Elvis Message boards, whether this is a gospel song or not. The Hail Mary and Catholic references in the lyrics, is supposedly the reason why BMG have stopped including this song on their Elvis gospel compilations, due to several complaints from various religious communities in the Southern US.
The only track I can't stand on this CD, is the 'Hey Jude' informal jam. I've never cared for it, and I can't understand why it was included on the original LP in the first place, as it's completely "out of synch" with the rest of the material!
Lack of new studio material was of course a factor back then, but still...
'Put Your Hand In The Hand' is a song I just recently have started to appreciate. Didn't care much for it before, until a friend of mine told me that it was one of her favorite gospel songs. Then I had to check it out more thoroughly, and I've changed my mind about it.
'Until It's Time For You To Go' is an old favorite of mine. When I was a kid, I played this song to pieces! One of the few Elvis ballads I really appreciated when I was growing up, as it was mostly all about the Rock'n Roll Elvis for me back in those days.
The overdubbed master of 'We Can Make The Morning' I've always considered to be an overkill, arrangement wise. Therefore, I was hoping for an alternate take of this song, but since it's not included on this release either, I guess such a thing doesn't exist...?
'Early Morning Rain' is a classic in my book, although I feel Elvis didn't completely nail it in the studio. I have never made up my mind whether or not I prefer the studio master or the Aloha master of this song, but I tend to lean towards this one.
'Sylvia' is another song I've recently started to appreciate. Back in the old days, I always skipped it, but after listening to alternate takes of this song, without the over-the-top arranged orchestra overdub, it's actually a keeper!
'Fools Rush In' is a real feel-good song. On youtube, there's a Ricky Nelson clip from the mid 60s, featuring James Burton, and it's the exact same arrangement and guitar solo as featured on Elvis' version. They're both great recordings!
'I Was Born About Ten Thousand Years Ago' I have a love & hate relationship to. It's a good song (with terrible lyrics), but it almost destroyed the otherwise brilliant Elvis Country album! The fact that it was included on the original Elvis Now album in its complete form, amplifies the impression that RCA was running out of studio material at this point. This was of course to be even more evident, when they released Elvis (The Fool Album)...
The added bonus songs:
'I'm Leavin' is a timeless masterpiece, and one of my all time Elvis favorites! This should have been a major hit for Elvis. Simply genius at work!
'It's Only Love' and 'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face' are not on my top list, but they are what I call "all right" Elvis recordings.
The latter I think is performed way too uptempo by Elvis. Unfortunately, he often seemed to rush songs in the 70s. The hit version by Roberta Flack is much slower, and also much better, in my opinion.
The 'Don't Think Twice, It's All Right' jam is probably the overkill of Elvis' entire studio recording career. The song itself is good, but Elvis and the band should have worked out a proper arrangement of it. Of course, this was just another jam, but it would have been nice to have a proper master take of it. The complete jam is nice to listen to once, but in the long run...
'Lady Madonna' is another could have been for Elvis in the studio. It really annoys me that he didn't go for this one! Great song (one of my personal faves from the Beatles songbook), and sadly a lost opportunity. This version is longer than the version released on the 70s box, though.
Same goes for 'I Shall Be Released'. Wonderful Dylan song, and I believe this could have been a great song for Elvis. Sadly, it ended up another lost opportunity instead. Very short "informal take", but I love the little we get!
Disc 2 is filled with alternate takes, and I had a real good time listening to this disc as well. We get a lot of false/ aborted starts, and listening to the same song(s) over and over again can sometimes be a challenge, but it's also very interesting to hear how these songs evolved during the sessions.
It's not that long time ago we didn't have any alternate takes from these sessions at all.
For me personally, it's a real thrill to listen to outtakes of 'I'm Leavin' and 'Early Morning Rain'.
I guess we won't see a FTD Edition of Elvis (The Fool Album), since 'Don't Think Twice' is included here. We also had 'Where Do I Go From Here', 'Fool' and 'It's Impossible' included on the Standing Room Only FTD release...
Final verdict: Elvis Now FTD Edition is a keeper!
Keep buyin' 'em records!
© Per-Kristian Fure, Norway, April 2010
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