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Best track on "Elvis now" LP 1972

Poll ended at Sat Jun 28, 2008 4:40 pm

Help Me Make It Through The Night
6
16%
Miracle Of The Rosary
0
No votes
Hey Jude
0
No votes
Put Your Hand In The Hand
1
3%
Until It's Time For You To Go
2
5%
We Can Make The Morning
6
16%
Early Mornin' Rain
15
39%
Sylvia
6
16%
Fools Rush In
0
No votes
I Was Born About Ten Thousand Years Ago
2
5%
 
Total votes : 38

Re: Best track on "Elvis now" LP 1972

Tue Jul 22, 2008 6:09 am

No relation don't blame me.lol

Re: Best track on "Elvis now" LP 1972

Sun Oct 19, 2008 7:38 am

Another mixed bag LP from the '70s, Son Of 'Elvis For Everyone.' Of all the LPs released during this period, this is the least deserving of its title (I guess Elvis' Leftovers wasn't approved by the PR department). Like Elvis ('Fool') and Raised On Rock in 1973, the album includes some very good songs and a few weaker ones and is, overall as a cohesive whole (that, really, it most definitely is not), lackluster in comparison with other releases from this period. Sure, Elvis was not primarily an 'album' artist for most of his career -- and that certainly wasn't the norm back when he started -- so this is more or less just a random (very) assortment of odds and ends that Felton, Joan Deary, or somebody scraped up to fulfill Elvis' unrealistic contracted album release schedule.

This is actually an LP I don't own, the only prime '70s album that I don't have a copy of. Elvis Now didn't seem to be available new when I was filling in the gaps in my collection and I didn't happen across this one in a (used record) store until many years after my collection of the basics was fairly complete. By that time, I already had quite a few vinyl bootlegs and oodles of audience-recorded audio and video, and had almost all the songs from this LP (all except "Put Your Hand In The Hand," that I later got on Amazing Grace, and "Early Morning Rain," that I enjoyed as an MP3 for a while before I got into eBay and found a 2-CD bootleg that carried all the '70s songs left off the Walk A Mile In My Shoes box set, a set that this brilliant song should have been on).

"Help Me Make It Through The Night" is a song I've always liked since I first heard it on the great Australia-New Zealand Elvis in the '70s double album (1975). It's a very appealing song to me and was a highlight of concerts in which it appeared, predominantly in August of 1973. Has kind of a laid-back beauty to it, and is deceptively simple but rich in many ways -- good song, anyway, no matter who recorded it, but Elvis nails it, in my opinion. Of the songs on this album, I think I'd have tended to open with an uptempo number -- "I Was Born About Ten Thousand Years Ago" would have been perfect if it was not so identified with the Elvis Country LP, so that pretty much leaves "Put Your Hand In The Hand" -- and maybe closed with this more intimate song.

"Miracle Of The Rosary" was another song I didn't have for a while (wasn't it on the He Walks Beside Me LP?), actually, but I forgot to list it above. Indeed, it IS somewhat forgettable, and my ex-wife absolutely despised it (and "Mama Liked The Roses"). I don't have quite her depth of animosity toward this song but it IS pretty dire, to me, even if I can appreciate his motive in recording it, that redeems the song more than the actual recording (no matter that the dude who wrote the song, for whom Elvis did this considerable favor, seems to be a slimebucket). And - no offense intended to Catholics among us -- I swear I can't help but hear "blessed are thy Fruit of the Looms," so it's probably just as well I wasn't given the song to record (on the other hand, I'd pay big money to hear Elvis singing this on an outtake). Anyway, whatever momentum the album might have attained during the first song is brought to a crashing halt by this song, and kept there by the next...

"Hey Jude" should never have been released. We know that -- it's not just my opinion -- because there it sat in a shelved tape box marked in big letters "DO NOT USE," or words to that effect. This was a fairly unequivocal statement. So what do they do? They release it, three years after its recording as, most likely, a tentative studio jam (yes, I know he recorded two or whatever number of takes, but the thing was obviously more a tryout than a full-blown recording and it was not deemed suitable for release). Again, this is a song we'd love to have heard years later, as one of those rare unissued songs that pops up now and then, but it had no place on any mainstream album back then. I haven't heard it in years -- I didn't have the released version until the '70s box set but had the undubbed master on some vinyl bootleg, I think Memphis Memories -- but I recall it being not a total loss in terms of Elvis' voice (though very unusual and seemingly strained) but just kind of odd, obviously not rehearsed or possessing the full lyrics, and not exactly a threat to the Beatles' original. It's probably the latter consideration that makes this song seem worse than it really is: "Hey Jude" became an anthem and if you're going to cover it you'd best do so very well, not that Elvis had any intent of releasing a version of it. At least the "Hey Jude" coda tagged on "Yesterday" in his 1969 concerts was kinda cool...

"Put Your Hand In The Hand" is a song I've always liked the sound of, since I was a kid and somewhere along the way heard the 1971 Ocean version, and when I heard Elvis' version I was kind of surprised at how close it was to what I'd imagined, in terms of inflections and even instrumentation. Not to say that it's predictable, but it's not an incredibly adventurous arrangement, though I still like the song. It fits fairly well alongside "Seeing Is Believing" and "I've Got Confidence" as gospel-themed rock songs that are certainly not near the pinnacle of Elvis' brilliant gospel recordings but are solid, interesting, and catchy enough efforts.

"Until It's Time For You To Go" is a very well-written song (Buffy Ste Marie did some good stuff and had a very interesting journey) but I always felt that Elvis kept it a bit too ponderous and overdid the vibrato. At one time I had a favorite of the two versions he recorded -- I think I favored the original over the remake, actually, or maybe it was the other way around and RCA favored the original -- but either are not likely to make my list of favorite songs. Having said that, if you really listen to the song it's very beautiful and touching, and it's one that I think I've come to appreciate more. In concert it was usually done a little too fast and less heartfelt, but it was still usually a nice change of the show's pace and I love some of the ad-libs (my favorite being, I think from either the 3AM show on September 3, 1972 or, more likely, the closing show the day after, "though I'll never in my life play here again..."). I think I had this one first on the Reader's Digest box set of the late '70s, though later I had the undubbed master that I think I liked better.

"We Can Make The Morning" is another I first had on the Elvis in the '70s set. That was a fairly early purchase for me and I listened to it over and over, so perhaps that partly explains why I have always liked this song. It's not a firm favorite, but I do very much like it (again, I think I liked even more the undubbed version when I heard it on one of the Pure Diamonds LPs). Nice lyrics, a strong vocal, and a kind of unusual structure -- good stuff. Not great, but good enough.

"Early Morning Rain" is my pick for best of the album. I'd always liked the versions I was familiar with, starting with Elvis In Concert and continuing to other '75-'77 performances on audience-recorded tapes and then the Aloha version, but the original studio version is the best of all. I absolutely love this song. I've often related strongly to the lyrics, having spent a lot of time in my life far away from loved ones (an ongoing situation even now), but the melody, instrumentation, and Elvis' vocal are perfect in every respect. I wish Elvis had been able to continue with that March, 1971 session and produce an excellent folk-dominated LP. When I finally heard Gordon Lightfoot's original release I was surprised at how different Elvis' was...apparently Gordon loves Elvis' version, showing that he has inordinate good taste. Elvis seems to have loved it, too, and it seemed to be one of those songs -- like "Blue Christmas" and "When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold" -- that he was always up for. Brilliant. Also, for Elvis, very subtle...I bet many people would be surprised by it, in fact, it being so uncharacteristically mellow, especially in relation to much of his '70s output.

"Sylvia" is another song I forgot to list among those I didn't have until years after my collection was not only complete but I was plumbing the depths of bootlegged and otherwise unreleased recordings. Again, it's not a song I've listened to much or even have much of a memory of. It's not bad, it's just not that great, at least to me (though 50 million Brazilians can't be wrong!). It seems more the domain of Tom or Engelbert, with even a touch of Manilow about it. I like a lot of Elvis' more atypical '70s songs, but this one isn't among that number. I don't dislike it; it's more like it doesn't really register that much at all with me.

"Fools Rush In" is more like it. I like this song (another I got to know courtesy of Elvis in the '70s) even if it doesn't add much to Ricky Nelson's version, and if it came about basically because Elvis wanted to record with James playing basically the same guitar work as on that hit. The results are very nice, I think, if not world-beating and worthy of lofty accolades. Sometimes that's good enough.

"I Was Born About Ten Thousand Years Ago" is a song I had complete on the Elvis 100 Super Rocks 7-LP boxed set many years before I got the Elvis Country LP. It's always been a favorite, and is my runner-up for best of the LP even if it's more strongly associated with the earlier country album. Excellent stuff, as one might expect from most June, 1970 tracks.

In summary, Elvis Now was a really uneven album but it did include some worthy material. Overall, though, it could have been a vastly stronger outing if compiled with a little thought and discrimination. Ultimately, the real problem was that Elvis was being expected to deliver more product than was reasonable, a situation that could only deteriorate as Elvis shied away from the studio more and more. That Elvis produced some songs that were rather weak, especially in terms of what his standards should have been, is not the real issue -- that's not uncommon, but not every performer has had their dregs released on a mainline, full-priced LP. On the bright side, at least they didn't start off the From Elvis In Memphis LP with "Hey Jude."

Re: Best track on "Elvis now" LP 1972

Mon Oct 20, 2008 6:02 am

In order:
Early Mornin' Rain
Help Me Make It Through The Night
Until It's Time For You To Go
We Can Make The Morning

Beyond that, it really doesn't matter.

Re: Best track on "Elvis now" LP 1972

Mon Oct 20, 2008 7:17 am

i like we can make the morning which gets my vote,also early morning rain and sylvia are great tracks too

Re: Best track on "Elvis now" LP 1972

Mon Feb 23, 2009 12:57 pm

Probably should not have been releases as an album.
10,000 Years Ago, Early Morning Rain, Put Your Hand (although out of place) and We can Make the Morning are my favorites