i remember the day i got this boxset, it had been my birthday the previos month, i'd been an Elvis fan for close to a year, and i decided that the 70s was my fave decade, so i bought this boxset. the day i got it i'd just got back from rehearsing my school musical production called 'jungle fantasy'(i really regret it now
), and i felt so good having this boxset and opening the plastic top off, to find there was a nice booklet, with very rare and interesting photographs, and informative liner notes, plus the recording data of all of Elvis's RCA recordings. i still flick that booklet out today for a good read and look
the first cd i put on was the 2nd cd of the singles from the 70s, and what a breath of fresh air it was, such excellent material. still one of my fave cds today. but i'll start my review in the order it follows in the boxset. i won't be able to review the whole boxset at once, so i'll do it in 5 parts
DISC 1-THE SINGLES
when you put on the cd, the trumpets hit you in the face with the first song, which is the number 1 classic ballard THE WONDER OF YOU. the sound quality is terrific, and Elvis voice is in one word: masterful! i dunno if he did that last high note for 'YOU', but anywayz, its an awesome way to start the 'journey', and belive me, this boxset really is that, a 'journey'l
then the 2nd song is I'VE LOST YOU, this is the studio version, and it is a little different than the live version, with evry 2nd chorus with a different lyric OH I'VE LOST YOU, YES I'VE LOST YOU, THOUGH YOU WON'T ADMIT IT SO, I'VE LOST YOU ON THE JOURNEY, BUT I CAN'T REMEBER WHEN OR WHERE OH NO', then after the 2nd verse and the first chorus, before the 2nd chorus, Elvis's voice fades in and out in a hauntingly emotional way. this song does not rhyme in lyrics, but the feelings make you forget, as Elvis sings it with a kind of desperation no one else could do
I never took to THE NEXT STEP IS LOVE and its kooky lyrics like 'FUN FUN LOOK AT US RUN, GOING NO WHERE SPECIAL REALLY FAST,/BUT WE'VE YET TO TASTE THE ICING ON THE CAKE THAT WE'VE BEEN BAKING WITH THE PAST', eww! but again, the one thing that distracts you from the lyrics is the FEELING that Elvis put in to the song.
YOU DON'T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME was always one of Elvis's best ballards, dripping with the heartache of a mans love that he lost, although it was sung by Dusty Springfield.
PATCH IT UP, here we have the studio version, the live verson as we know, was a lot better, but this one makes good listening. the band is in fine form, and the guitar licks at the end remind me of some songs from KISS, the one thing that makes this version better than the live version are the awesome growls and narls Elvis does at the end as only ELVIS can.
I REALLY DON'T WANT TO KNOW was sung by Elvis in 1977 live, and that was the version i knew first, but this one is just terrific! the studio version has lyrics not included in the live one, and this whole song is dripping with passion, just listen to the line 'OH NOW DARLIN, AH DON'T YOU, DON'T CONFE-E-ESSSSSS
THERE GOES MY EVERYTHING was always one of Elvis best country ballards, and again, the thing that wins you over is the feeling Elvis puts in to the song. it is brought to a kind of loss that many other singers have tried, but did not succeed. Elvis sings the song, but he also tells it as a story, his own, which sadly he would relate to 2 years later.
then a personal fave of Elvis's, RAGS TO RICHES, Elvis sang this song in the army, also to Priscilla i think. Elvis plays the piano in this, and again puts feeling in to it like no other, not as good as the only live version he would do on new years eve 1976, but more polished, and already has the strong bellowing voice that Elvis would have later on, but also a hoarseness that adds to the passion
then a song i had not heard in any form when i got it, WHERE DID THEY GO LORD, the song starts slowly, but then EXPLODES in to a screaming of emotion, Elvis cries out the lyrics as if the song was his life story, the only flaws are that you can clearly here a mike pop on 'Passion', but that also brings it to a nakedness that bears Elvis's feelings as it climbs to a desperate climax. great stuff!
LIFE, not the best song for Elvis, although it does relate a gospel feel, about the beginning of the world, and heaven and hell, and when Jesus Christ was born and died, but from what i remmber, Elvis was in abad mood for this song, but he only completed it because it was Lamars first publishing cut. i'm not too sure, but dunno why the hell this song was released as a single
well finally, we are relieved of that embarrasin song with the beautiful I'M LEAVIN, not only beautiful, but underrated, Elvis's vocals in harmony with the imperials? is a terrific mix. the song never was recognised on the charts, but Elvis's vocal performance makes this very tender and beautiful listening, as if we found a new Elvis when he sings 'la la la la'etc.
HEART OF ROME is, like 'where did they go lord', an emotional ballard, about a man who is left alone when his love goes away. you'd think that Elvis was crying while singing the softer parts, listen to the lyric SUDDENLY THE TEARS ARE FALLING, AS THE DREADED WHIST-LE BLOOOOOWS, then Elvis reaches a different key for the 2nd repeat of the chorus, as if he were straining to reach the note, while the same time unleashing his emotions. pity bout the bad harmony with Charlie, but overall awesome listening!
ITS ONLY LOVE, i have a record called Elvis in the 70s that i played very frequently, and for some reason the remastered recording of ITS ONLY LOVE is definitely more clearer, but it takes away a kind of comfort, i dunno why. but anywayz, this song was another underrated beauty, Elvis expresses the lyrics with his vocals very well, and doe an excellent job with the song.
THE SOUND OF YOUR CRY, yet again another ballard, though this one seems a little overblown from the extra orchestration and the soprano vocals that sort of covers Elvis emotions a bit. the repeats of the chorus are probaably the highlights of the song, but all of the song is another great ballard of heartache and regret of a man who has said goodbye to his wife while she was asleep. Elvis always excelled at these songs, and he does'nt fall behind here
I JUST CAN'T HELP BELIEVING, one of Elvis best ballards, and a terrific Vegas staple. the lyrics are just beautiful, and the arrangement flawless, but that damn over dubbed applause at the beginning! i'd rather real applause than fake, but overall this song is just beautiful, and Elvis spoken parts of the song to the Sweets like 'SING THE SONG BABY' , do not make it parody, but to me, just make the song that much better. one of my fave songs
HOW THE WEB WAS WOVEN, what a pity Elvis never performed this live, this song is dripping with a mans love for his woman, and its just such a beautiful song. and he sings of the web not as a spiders trap for its victims, but as a loving gift he wrapped himself around to be with his love.
UNTIL ITS TIME FOR YOU TO GO, although not one of my fave song, and not one of Elvis's best songs, but still good to listen to. i can't say theres much to talk of that i've already talked about in the previous ballard of this disc.
WE CAN MAKE THE MORNING was always a song i liked, Elvis sings this as a kind of encouragement to everyone. and the lyrics of the song are so tender I FEEL LIKE A LITTLE BOY DENYING THAT HE FEARS THE NIGHT COZ HE CAN'T SEE. then Elvis cries out the chorus at the end in akind of desperation. by now, for some reason, Elvis's voice has softened and has become a little flat, but that does'nt stop him from putting out a great performance.
AMERICAN TRILOGY,well, what can i say about this song that probabaly has'nt already been said, this is a staple of Elvis live act and is also one of his most well known song. this gospel flavoured arrangement is just made so much better with the powerful orchestra, and its this song you TRULY appreciate them, with the many climaxes and also the moments when Elvis voice becomes almost a whisper as he sings the 'all my trials' part, this ong is MONUMENTAL. Elvis voice echoes in the backing groups voices and the drums and orchestra, at this point, its as if he's been taken to another world, as if he is being taken by God, and as he shout sings the ONNNNNN! bit at the end, ist as if God has taken him when the song ends.
then another ballad, the beautiful THE FIRST TIME EVER I SAW YOUR FACE, where the song drips with love in its lyrics, and a mans celebration song of his love for his woman. this was just one of the most beautiful songs Elvis ever recorded, and he MASTERS it.
BURNING LOVE, a number 1 hit for Elvis, the last one he would see in his lifetime, Elvis had to be persuaded to move away from the ballards he'd recorded to do this song, and although he was'nt enthusistically in to it, with only 6 takes, the result was a groovy rocker that forever became a classic, especially that last part 'I'M JUST A HUNK O HUNKA BURNING LOVE', where the backing singers chant with Elvis in an ending that is as memorable as the drum beats in houn dog. good stuff!
then back to the ballards, ITS A MATTER OF TIME, not vocally demanding, but not boring either. a good delivery from our man
then to close out the disc, Elvis autobiographic song written for him by his buddy Red West. Elvis had to be near tears for this song, and he certainly does sing it as if you could imagine tears quietly running down his face
well, that is the first disc of the cd, i will get around to the 2nd sooner or later, but it will all be on this one thread. sorry it was so long, but i hope you enjoyed it. this is the longest review i've posted, and also my longest post evr, my eye are hurting now