Ernie's Import Lp Corner
The '68 Comeback
WOW!!!…is what you have to say when you see the cover of this first LP!! And another "WOW" is no doubt in order for the second LP as well!! "The '68 Comeback" originated in the USA and was released in 1976 on the Memphis King MKS 101 label. In 1978 a follow up LP titled "The '68 Comeback vol. 2" was released on the Amiga MKS 102 label, which also originated in the USA. Since these 2 LPs are so closely linked, they deserve to be reviewed together as I did with the classic Burbank LPs.
Both of these LPs contain production numbers recorded June 28 + 30 1968 at NBC studios in Burbank CA. (The very studios from which Jay Leno broadcasts "The Tonight Show" from five-nights-a-week here in the USA, by the way. :>) Three of the tracks on vol. 1 are instrumentals recorded by the orchestra. The difference between the 2 LPs is that vol. 1 is mainly complete alternate takes, while vol. 2 runs more in the vein of outtakes with mistakes, goof-ups, dialogue, and other bits and pieces. Without going into a track-by-track review, I'll just give an overview.
The packaging on both is fabulous. Vol. 1 has to be the best LP cover photo of any Elvis LP, bootleg or legit!! The cover photo for vol. 2 is by no means shabby either!! The back cover of vol. 1 has the track listing, a blurb regarding the Comeback, and black and white photos. Six of the photos show Elvis in various suits from the production numbers, one in the black leather suit; all the photos are obviously appropriate though not the best quality, but certainly not horrendous. Perhaps they just pale in comparison to the front cover :>) The back cover of vol. 2 has a large color photo of Elvis in the gold jacket used in one of the production numbers next to the track listing. The record label of vol. 1 is a white background with a blue and red triangular "Memphis" label logo and the track listing in blue text. The label on vol. 2 is maroon with text in silver.
As for sound quality, despite the claim of both LPs as being in stereo, all tracks are in mono. Vol. 1 is a somewhat noisy pressing, and having had 2 copies to compare, both were noisy. The source tape material is of such good quality that it is a shame the pressing actually detracts as there is quite a bit of mid/high-mid distortion among the noticeable pops and clicks of the pressing. It is still listen-able, but being the sound quality freak I am, it is very clear the LP pressing could have been better. Vol. 2 is an improvement, mid/high-mid distortion is not as noticeable and the pressing itself is better…not having near the amount of groove noise of the first LP. There were probably at least 2 pressings of both these LPs, but I can't say if the sound quality between originals and any reissues would be any better or worse. All things considered, getting production number outtakes from this infamous point in Elvis' career, even if listening back 20+ years is a little disappointing; to be fair and place these LPs in the context of the mid/late 70's, these LPs blew away the usual fare of audience recording LPs.
If there are only a few boot LPs to have in your collection, these two and the Burbank sets are highly recommended not only for material, but the packaging is just as, if not more professional, than anything RCA has to this day done regarding the Comeback material. If you find these gems while routing through boxes of LPs at a record store, flea market, or record convention for $5-$10 a pop…it is well worth the price of admission to the "68 Comeback"!!