(Gravel Road - GR CD 7002-2) (Released 2008)


 1. Review Michael Sander
Undubbed acetate recordings 1970

01. Twenty Days And Twenty Nights (unedited master) [Acetate]
02. I've Lost You (unedited master) [Acetate]
03. I Was Born About 10.000 Years Ago (unedited master)
04. The Sound Of Your Cry (unedited master) [Acetate]
05. The Fool (1)
06. Little Cabin On The Hill (undubbed master)
07. Cindy, Cindy (1 - unedited)
08. Bridge Over Troubled Water (unedited maser w/o vocal repair)
09. Got My Mojo Working (unedited Master, overdubbed brass & horns)
10. How The Web Was Woven (undubbed master w/back-up vocals) [prev. unreleased]
11. It's Your Baby, You Rock It (unedited master) [Acetate]
12. Stranger In The Crowd (undubbed master w/guide strings & backing vocals) [prev. unreleased]
13. I'll Never Know (unedited master) [Acetate]
14. Mary In The Morning (unedited master) [Acetate]
15. It Ain't No Big Thing (master W/overdubbed strings) [prev. unreleased]
16. You Don't Have To Say You Love Me (alt. master w/overdubbed strings) [prev. unreleased]
17. Just pretend (unedited master) [Acetate]
18. This Is Our Dance (unedited master) [Acetate]
19. Life (unedited master) [Acetate]
20. Heart of Rome (3)
21. Bridge Over Troubled Water (vo harmony - stereo) [Acetate] (prev. unreleased)
22. There Goes My Everything (unedited master) [Acetate]

Content: 3  Sound: 4+  Artwork: 6

1. Pure Diamonds – or not?
(Review by Michael Sander)

Nowadays everyone can manipulate previous releases by computer programs, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. This release was awaited with so many expectations, we might take a closer look.

Many 1970 acetates have been released on bootleg so far. And that's, where most of the tracks on this CD come from. Let's concentrate on the best releases so far. It started with Vinyl. First of all the Rough Cut Diamonds Vol. 1+2 LPs ('Mary In The Morning', 'Just Pretend', 'This Is Our Dance', 'Life'). Then the Audifön LP releases Behind Closed Doors, Plantation Rock, Leavin' It Up To You and A Dog's Life ('There Goes My Everything'). The sound on LP was much better than on this CD.
They were followed by CD releases like The Other Side Of Memphis, Make The World Go Away, Bilko's Gold Cuts and A Legendary Performer Vol. 8, that contained extraordinary 70 undubbed versions, none of them included here, but I bet, they will have some of them on Vol.2.

The maybe most underestimated release was Pure Diamonds Vol. 4 by Flashback, which included ten acetate 70 stereo masters. Five of them (Track 1, 2, 4, 6, 8) are included here, but with some small differences. Track 1 includes the count-in, and has, as well as Track 2, 6 and 8, improved quite a bit about the sound. Track 4 sounds rather worse, compared to the freshy sound on Pure Diamonds Vol. 4. Anyway they all come from the same source, it’s only a question of how to restore them. The Fool was taken from the same source as the CIRCLE-label release There's A Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On, also Track 3, 7 and 9, that runs here 5 seconds longer and includes the studio excitement after that take. The sound has improved a little bit on these tracks, as well.

Track 10, 12, 13, 15, 16 sound like manipulated RCA masters. Interesting sound on the loudspeaker, but terrible, if you listen to it on your headphones. I updated this review, since some fans complained to me, that I called these tracks a fake. Well, even if they are real, they still are quite useless! But you can decide by yourself, let's not get too serious here.

Only three versions seem to be new, but Track 11 and 20 have been already released on bootleg in much better mono sound, anyway it's their first stereo appearance here. But since we just got a powerful 'Heart of Rome' undubbed version on the FTD Love Letters release, and who knows, what will follow in the future "Elvis Country" release, they not deserve too much attention. Track 21 is a welcomed bonus version, it has been out before, but definitely not in this quality.

So I have mixed feelings about this release. Maybe it's interesting for some new Elvis fan, but for the "older" ones, there's not too much new material. The concept is, to present the already released 70 acetates in a better sound quality, but especially the vinyl releases have sounded much better before...

© Michael Sander, Germany August 2008

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