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LEAN, MEAN AND KICKIN' BUTT - (Fort Baxter 2201) (Released 1996)

1. Review by Morgan Sjögren
Las Vegas, January 28 1971 M.S.

Also Sprach Zarathustra
That's All Right
I Got A Woman
Love Me Tender
You Don't Have To Say You Love Me
Sweet Caroline
You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'
Polk Salad Annie
Johnny B. Goode
Band introductions
The Wonder Of You
Heartbreak Hotel
Blue Suede Shoes
Hound Dog
One Night
Teddy Bear
Suspicious Minds
The Impossible Dream

Content: 4  Sound: 4+  Artwork: 5

1. Review by Morgan Sjöberg

Our friends at Fort Baxter has obviously listened to some of us who has been somewhat critical of the rather cheap and shoddy covers they use on their albums. The albums often sounds great, but the packaging often leaves something to be desired. This album is an exception to the rule. It comes in a beautiful foldout cover filled with pictures that, for the most part, looks new to me. Those of You who have purchased Bilko's great "There's Always Me" and "G.I Blues" series knows what kind of artwork I'm talking about.

Unfortunately the recording itself dosen't quite live up to what the cover and the title indicates. The sound is ok, but not quite up to the usual high standard of Fort Baxter, and Elvis himself sounds rather uninspired in this very short show. With the exception of the closing track, 'The Impossible Dream', there is nothing that Elvis hasn't done before in far better versions. Just compare this recording with any of the Vegas shows from 1969 and 1970 and you'll get my meaning. It's not a bad show, of course. Elvis was still in rather good shape 1971, but the sense of fun on the part of the performer himself seems to be missing, something that you can't say about earlier visits to Las Vegas. Elvis was obviously tired of Las Vegas by 1971 and he is sort of going through the motions on this album. The other album from this Vegas engagement, DAE's All Thing Are Possible features marginally better performances from the two nights before this show, but still sort of proves my point. If I should sum up Elvis' live work in Vegas in January 1971 in one word I can't think of anything better than lukewarm.

This shouldn't stop the diehard Elvis from investing, though. It's still a good show, as I have stated above, Elvis seems to be in pretty fine fettle vocally, the sound is quite good and the artwork is very nice, indeed. Also, there are not too many shows from 1971 available. Most of the live albums from 1971 features audience recordings in awful sound quality, so the fact that we get a complete show with reasonably good sound should serve as recommendation enough.

All in all, "Lean, Mean And Kickin' Butt" comes across as a fine album, well worthy of inclusion in the private archives of any serious Elvis-collector.

Performance: ***+
Sound Quality: ****-
Art Work: ****+

© Morgan Sjöberg, Sweden 2002

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