ALTERNATE TAKE #10
With Steve Barile
to Webster’s Dictionary, the word heaven is defined as follows:
or universe as seen from the earth
abode of God
or thing that affords supreme happiness
FTDs waiting to be savored and enjoyed
do not write here of the sky, nor does the level of consciousness of this writer
lend dignity to definition #2 and I must confess, #4 as being defined according
to me. That leaves but one
applicable definition and the thing affording me supreme happiness today is the
latest barrage of CDs from the now beloved Follow That Dream (
FTD ) label. Last year when Raised on
Rock was slated for release, then postponed, I was among the few who were
sadly disappointed. As is usually the
case, I have been in the minority in defense of these stax sessions.
My feeling had been that Elvis sounded “ tinny ” or “ uninspired
” due to the poor original mixes done on the original masters. As an Elvis fan/audiophile, I am quite particular as to how Elvis’
recorded voice is represented. In
disagreement with Elvis himself, I prefer his voice up front and in your face so
to speak. All too often it seems his
voice is buried by horns, a loud intrusive piano or overbearing background
vocals. Background vocals should be mixed
as just that! In the background!
Listen now to the new and superior mixes done here on the “ session
highlights, ” “ rough mixes ” and outtakes portions of this new special
edition Raised on Rock package. The
dynamic duo ( Ernst and Roger ) along with Jean-Marc Juilland have achieved
perfection with these mixes and overall production.
Practically like listening with virgin ears I can think of only one thing
better than hearing Elvis like this! Am
I being overzealous in feeling these tracks now have new life?
Elvis sounds like the fun loving committed musician we’ve come to
expect. Even the often criticized
“ Girl of Mine ” receives a superior treatment on Take 9 and/or Take 6.
Long fade-outs on the title track, ''
Three Corn Patches ''
and '' Just a Little Bit ''
provide a refreshing energy. I can hear
some shrieking and complaining that Elvis is under the influence.
I do think he sounds high at times with slurred speech between takes.
However, I don’t hear any reflection of this suspicion in the music.
Besides, I’m told drugs and rock ‘n roll complement each other! All kidding aside, I am still in a state of shock over these
brilliant mixes and my “ best of ” compilation will be in heavy rotation for
a long time to come. My custom
compilation would omit only the instrumental tracks.
Join me in heavenly bliss and treat yourself to this one.
It will far exceed your expectations as it did mine.
The duration of my stay in “ heaven ” could quite possibly be eternal
with similar treatment given to classic albums such as “ That’s The Way It
Is, ” “ Elvis Country, ” “ Good Times, ” “ He Touched Me ” and “
From Elvis Presley Boulevard. ” It’s
in the hands of this illustrious Elvis
team. Remember guys, it’s all in the
that isn’t enough, I can sing all kinds of praises for the 1971 Nashville
sessions released along with “
Raised. ” We as fans of the music
of Elvis Presley should feel blessed with releases such as this.
Again, the mixing is superb with the exception of “ That’s What You
Get For Lovin Me ” where I feel the background vocals are mixed too loud…a
minor blemish. My compliments to Lene Reidel, possibly his best yet.
Elvis is perhaps the only artist whose session outtakes rival the chosen
masters as exemplified here with “ Early Mornin Rain, ” “ Help Me Make It
Through the Night, ” “ I Will Be True ” and the aforementioned, “ Girl
of Mine. ”
should like now to make honorary mention that we are also treated to more
unreleased music this 30th anniversary of Elvis’ death with the
special edition FTD of “ Easy Come, Easy Go ” which unfortunately, gets lost
in the shuffle of these superior 70’s recordings, a decade in which Elvis’
music has been unjustifiably maligned. To
Ernst, Roger and company, I pledge heartfelt thanks.
I sincerely wish to hear from all the 70’s/
Raised on Rock skeptics now! Listen
Shocked and smiling,