ALTERNATE TAKE #12

With Steve Barile  

O CUM ALL YE FAITHFUL

Living in a world where people never mean what they say and never say what they mean, I’ve become quite the skeptic.  The word “faith” for instance, is all too often loosely used or abused and thereby devalued.  To this writer’s mind, having faith in something or someone without being able to apply reason and logic or to provide evidence is merely unwarranted belief.  Hence, my disbelief or absence of faith in Santa, Voo-doo, Astrology and the seemingly endless cacophony of empty promises and false claims emitted by structured societal organizations.  Real faith or warranted belief must be supported by a track record or some form of palpable evidence.  Enter JAT. 

As far back as I can remember, I’ve had a recurring dream.  In the dream, I’d be at my favorite record store called Cousin’s Records in New York, thumbing through the Elvis section of course, finding scores of albums with great covers that I had never seen before!  Excited beyond words, my only concern would be affording them all.  Much too soon, I’d awaken to reality and realize I was only dreaming.  This dream persisted long after Elvis’ death and would eventually evolve to incorporate my passion for photo collecting.  Now in the dream, I’d find hundreds of unseen Elvis photos that would sometimes replace the albums.  Again, awakening to frustration and disappointment only to realize my Elvis fantasies in waking life were made manifest through dreaming.  “If only a myriad of unseen Elvis photos and unreleased music would somehow magically materialize,” I thought... “If only.”   

Photograph courtesy of Steve Barile

Then, one day in what must have been 1990 or ’91, I purchased a photo book called “69 The Return” by a man named Joseph Tunzi.  That was the beginning of my love affair with this man’s now vast body of work.  The ’69 book delivered the photographic goods beyond my dreams!  Some months had passed and when in Memphis that August, I found another of Mr. Tunzi’s books called “Encore Performance.”  I had to pinch myself!  With my eyes wide open, I was dreaming!  The shots here were even greater than the previous book. 

The convention room was crowded.  As I told some friends of these incredible photo books, a man literally bumps into me, says “hello” and introduces himself as Joe Tunzi!  I proceed to tell him of my admiration for his work and as I jokingly refer to him as the “Messiah” of the Elvis world, I begin to sense a friendship in the making.  Ever since, book after book, Joe has literally made my dream come true.  Through the years, he has consistently produced the necessary “evidence” that is required to earn my complete faith in his ability to do so, culminating thus far with his latest and possibly greatest….”Portraits.”  This hard cover, all color (a first for JAT) photo book is stunningly beautiful and easily worth at least twice the asking price.  The concept speaks for itself, as do the photographs, perhaps not for the dissectors of jumpsuits but for the consummate Elvis aficionado.  I particularly find the “record cover” photos especially fun and attractive (orgasmic, if you will).  It is with good reason that I place my faith in JAT and believe in the very real and exciting forthcoming projects they have planned.  Thanks my friend, you stand alone. 

Photograph courtesy of Steve Barile

Also in the business of making dreams come true are the powers that be (The Dream Team) behind the FTD (Follow That Dream) label.  These packages continue to provide vivid images of my recurring dream and the latest is no exception.  It has been and remains my contention that Elvis’ vocal peak of the late 70’s erupted with the truly classic album “That’s The Way It Is.”  Faith in this Dream Team comes exceptionally easy for they have done it again with this definitive edition of said album.  Although we’ve had a good number of the alternates before, these new mixes are exponentially superior!  Elvis is as crisp and clear as can be!  (dare I say, “again…orgasmic”)   Any and all tracks faithfully exude vocal power, versatility and angelic beauty, thereby rendering a wordy review pointless and unnecessary.  I love this shit!   

Listen intently, preferably on a high-end system, pour a favorite sipping beverage and while gazing at “Portraits,” bask in the metaphor of my title.   

Faithfully, 

Steve Barile
 
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