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Let Yourself Go (FTD, 2006) - Review

Sat Nov 11, 2006 7:36 pm

Let Yourself Go
The Making of "Elvis" – The 68 Comeback Special

Review


When Elvis crossed the threshold of the Western Recorders studio in June 1968, he made a wide step out of the lowlands of shallow movie entertainment towards new heights in his career. In the summer of 1968, Elvis was hardly more than a former star, whose brightness had faded away some time ago. His name had become synonymous for silly songs sung to shrimps, dogs, bulls, tax investigators and other creatures, songs that made not ony children fall to sleep. The fame of past years had vanished. When Steve Binder urged the singer for a walk on Sunset Boulevard one late afternoon in June 1968, nobody took notice of Elvis. It seemed, as if no one except the revenue office was any longer interested in the man who had electrified a whole generation just a decade before. But at the end of the year, after the TV Special had been broadcast, all things changed. The cheering reactions of critcis and the public encouraged Elvis to dare into new directions. It wasn’t long before he left the wobbly Hollywood flats to step onto the world-stage again.

At first, however, the TV Special threatened to be crafted into a yet another vehicle that would carry Elvis even deeper into the glutinous deposit of the sweatmeat spheres of Hollywood. The Colonel would have liked to hear his star croon two dozens of Christmas tunes, but Elvis and Binder agreed to ignore those plans and develop a concept of their own. Nevertheless, the show was in danger to get glossed with syrupy tunes such as How would you like to be and Cotton candy land. But, with the help of Binder, Elvis cut himself loose from his Hollywood past and returned to his roots.

The title of the new FTD release, Let Yourself Go! The Making of "Elvis" – The 68 Comeback Special, promises to shed light on this crucial process in Elvis’ career, at least on its musical side.

The first track offers two versions of the dynamic TV Special opener, Trouble/Guitar man, takes 6 and 7 to be exact, both of which were not used in the show. Elvis is in full commitment here. His rough voice perfectly fits into the medley’s arrangement which has been too often and unjustly criticized for my taste. Elvis is striding on new paths. Never before in his studio career did he work together with such a big orchestra. But the unknown circumstances did not frighten him. Quite the contrary: he is full of energy and undertakes some vocal experiments, sometimes rather shouting than singing his lines. Obviously in good spirits, not even a dog – do I get that right? – that seemed to have been present and disturbed the recording, is able to distract him.

The enthusiasm for this fine performance is clouded by the some questions. Why is the medley the first track on this CD? Both songs were recorded towards the end of the forelast day at Western Recorders, thus standing at the end rather than the beginning of the session. And to what exactly do the take number 6 and 7 refer? According to Jorgensen’s A Life in Music (p. 249) both songs were recorded separately and put together afterwards (Trouble made it to 21 takes, Guitar man was spliced from takes 32 and 19). But here they are presented as if delivered in one rush. Maybe the tried to record the medley as one at the beginning of the session, but unfortunately, there is no explanation because of the lack of liner notes.

The fact that the medley formed the opener of the show may explain its prominent position on this release. The chronology of the show, however, does not seem to have been the guideline for the organization of the tracks. The second track is devoted to Nothingville, the song that was taped first at Western Recorders, but which appeared late in the show, namely at the beginning of the road medley. The given takes 5 and 6 differ only marginally from the later master (take 10), so that they do little to elucidate the "making of" the Special, as announced in the CD’s subtitle. Apart from a few words the track is devoid of studio talk.

The title track Let yourself go follows Nothingville. Here, they seem to have followed the order of recordings at Western (a thought which has to be dismissed in sight of track 4). Nevertheless, track 3 explicates the piece-by-piece recording process. It remains a riddle, however, why this procedure was also chosen to compose the CD. After two minutes and a half there’s a fade-out after the musicians have stopped playing (the first instrumental intermezzo was taped together with second part of the song), but the next section (declared to be "part 2, take 2") starts without announcement and thus somewhat unexpectedly for the listener. After another two and a half minutes (roughly) the track is interrupted abrupty (at first, I thought I had a faulty CD). After that and some unintelligible murmur, we hear the second intermezzo and the song’s finale. It would have made more sense to present these segments as different tracks. As it is, the track is confusing, in particular because either Bones Howe makes a mistake or the tracklist on the cover is wrong. Howe announces the false start at the track’s beginning as "section 2, take 5", but the tracklist reads "part 1, take 5". Moreover, there are some differences between the tracks’ names and the information on the fine website Master & Session (which are reliable, usually).

As already mentioned, track 4 destroys the illusion that there is some sort of pattern behind the order of tracks on this CD. According to the chronology of the session, it would have been time for Big boss man, but we have to wait for him until track 8. Instead of him we get takes 4 and 5 of those Guitar man inserts which we hear in the final road medley after Let Yourself go or Nothingville and It hurts me, respectively. Track 4 offers an insight into the studio atmosphere (finally!) when Elvis demonstrates the orchestra in a humorous way that it is playing much too fast. Whether this incident proves the low quality of the orchestra (as has been done elsewhere) is not at stake here, but it shows the overall relaxed feel of the session. Howe's question after the successful taping of take 5 ("Was it fast enough for you, Elvis?") may point to an intimidated orchestra playing takes 3 and 4 too slow, or it shows that Howe and Elvis had some fun together. Would that we had more of such verbal exchanges on this CD!

At the end of track 5 Howe decides to record another one ("One more time, here we go"), but those who expect another take of Guitar man (legitimately so) wiill be disappointed, because the CD goes on with Little Egypt. The CD is either sloppily edited here (that would not be the first time), or Jorgensen (or whoever was in charge) tried to create a pseudo-continuity (that wouldn’t be the first time, either). Anyway, it becomes clear that authenticity is not at stake here. I have the impression, that this FTD release, like so many others before, culls talks and takes out of their original contexts and builds up an arbitrary arrangment of “best-of-sessions”-fragments. What a pity!

Nevertheless does the given take of Litte Egypt full of flamboyance. Once again, not only Elvis has to be praised, but also the orchestration which is responsible for the irresistable charm and the exotic flair of this much too short reminiscence of Elvis’ movie Roustabout. For my taste, this version is much better than the original dating from 1964.

Everyone seemed to do his job on the second Trouble/Guitar man-medley very well, since three full takes (out of three) are known to exist. We get the second here, which is so perfect that one must wonder why another one had to be recorded at all. Someone (is that the voice of Binder?) allows himself a joke, asking: "[If he (Bones Howe)] didn’t mike this, he’ll get electrocuted?" (Unfortunately, the first part of the sentence is missing, and I filled it in. That’s why I put it into square brackets. Thus, other interpretations are not only allowed but also welcome.)

At the start of track 8, Big boss man, the CD is edited uncarefully, since we hear the echoes of a final chord before Elvis imitates the instrumental intro of Trouble and sings “Are you horny tonight” to a melody I know from somewhere else. After a complete take 2 (again, only little difference in comparison to the master), Elvis intones the refrain of Leon Rene’s When the swallows come back to Capistrano, a song he often hummed, since other recordings from the years 1960, 1966 and 1970 have survived. In less than two minutes we are through with the making of Big Boss man and ready (are we?) to jump to the next track.

In January 1964 Elvis had already performed a fine version of It hurts me. In 1968, his rendition is equally convincing, although both interpretations differ widely. The song was recorded in two segments of which we here take 5 and take 3. Between the takes and after the ending of segment two there are some “musical” fragments mouthed by Elvis. They document Elvis’ good spirits but nothing more. This track is symptomatic for the indecision with which the tracks were arranged on this CD. On the one hand, the seamless combination of the given takes would have resulted in the fabrication of a very listenable alternate version, but the interruption and Elvis’ banter are disturbing here. On the other hand the scarce fragments of studio communciation do not convey a sense of session atmosphere. The whole track is neither fish nor fowl, and this counts for the complete CD.

Guitar man has a short assignment before the CD bestows three tracks and thirteen minutes on the gospel medley. In sight of the erratic tracklisting I was sursprised to find Where could I go but to the Lord at the beginning. In about six minutes, filled with a rehearsal and take 1, we hear less from Elvis than from Darlene Love who completes two takes of Sometimes I feel like a motherless child.

Elvis was obviously a bit out of steam and out of breath when he sang take 7 of Up above my head. The final version was performed more dynamically, so that this is the first instance of a song in which we hear a noticeable difference to Elvis’ vocal part of the later master. The end of the song is refined with the first lines of Saved (which take please?), a song, that is not only the highlight of the gospel medley in the show, but on this CD, too.

Take 4 of Saved is a strong rendition. Elvis’ phrasing is not as precise as in the final master (spliced from the two following takes), but the text’s irony is a slightly stronger emphasized here. At the end of the takes, Elvis delivers a short reprise, which is cut abruptly, but if you want to hear it, listen to take 1 on FTD’s Easter Special or the Memories-CD where it was attached to the end of the medley.

If I can dream is a song Elvis put his heart into. It took only five takes before a accomplished version was taped. The song, and its performance by Elvis clad in a two-piece white suit, have reached iconic status within the fandom. When in 1997, take 1 was pressed for the first time (on the Platinum-box), take 4 (here given) had already been released twenty years ago on the posthumously issued gospel album He Walks Beside Me. Anyway, this track is a treasure. Even the false start (take 3) is interesting, because the guitar is slightly off-harmony here, nevertheless adding a charme of its own to the intro which was interrupted after a few seconds.

With Memories we hear the last song recorded at Western. The track offers an alternative vocal part by Elvis, for which no take number exists. There is no wide difference to the known versions, but the variety in Elvis’ voice is fascinating. On the one hand aggressive, throaty, cigarillo-flavored vocals (as heard in the medleys and the stand-up shows), on the other hand the sweet and smooth and polished sounds of Memories.

The last 24 minutes of the CD are reserved for the first of two informal sessions which Elvis hedl together with his companions Scotty Moore, D.J. Fontana, Charlie Hodge, Alan Fortas and his film double Lance LeGault in order to come to terms with his stage fright in sight of his live performances a few days later, the first direct confrontation with an audience after seven years. Both sessions (dating from June 24 and 25) were taped on Elvis’ own private recorder and thus the sound quality is mediocre at best. But hifi is of only secondary importance here. The value of these recordings are of a documentary kind, because we hear Elvis in those very moments where he not only rediscovered his musical roots but also his spontaneous creativity which had been buried under too much regulations in his studio recording sessions the years before.

Ironically, this session sheds more light on the TV Special than those 48 minutes on the first part of the CD. But, although this jam session allows a gaze behind the scenery, it does not elucidate the making of the TV Special, since the recordings at Western were already finished.

The rehearsals (or whatever you want to call them) may reflect the ambiguous first part of the CD’s title, but on the whole FTD is not successful in fulfilling the promise to present a “making of” of the TV Special. Consequently, FTD has failed again in its function as a collector’s label. Instead of offering an authentic insight into the Western Recorders sessions – the existing material would have certainly allowed such an approach – this CD presents little more than some isolated and arbitrarily arranged musical highlights. We hear almost nothing from the communication between als Elvis and the engineers/musicians, although, in sight of the sheer number of participants and Elvis good spirits, one can be sure there was a lot of studio talk. The tracklisting is erratic, because it neither reflects the history of the session nor the chronology of the show and it builds up no dramaturgy of its own. FTD should have used the opportunity to make a courageous step: a double-CD exclusively concentraing on the recording session at Western, compiled with more respect towards our desire for more authenticity (are we supposed to buy such a release in 2008?). The jam session is nice to hear (it already was on at least two bootlegs), but it is superfluous here. All in all, this CD is a smorgasbord, unconvincing as a whole and unable to offer of that kind of listening experience we had expected.

There seems to have existed no concept for packaging, too. First, with two out of three images the cover puts too much visual emphasis on the jam session. Second, the Elvis logo recalls his gospel albums. But, most deplorable of all, is the lack of even the most basic liner notes which might have clarified the many questions aroused by this release. You do not even find the names of the orchestra’s members on the cover, and the credits for the songwriters are not as they should be. Lack of space was not an issue, since we get the tracklisting twice.

Just like with the reissue series, in particular the soundtracks, FTD seems indecisive who ought to buy their product. For the interested fan and collector this relase offers too little, the casual Elvis listener, however, will rather be upset by the fragments and the lack of coherence.

But I do not want to forget to praise FTD for several achievements. 72 minutes of music for $25 is a good bargain. Only three tracks had been released before officially, and the most part of takes is pressed to a disc the first time ever. The sound of the first 48 minutes is great (thanks to Kevan Budd). But all this is quite natural for a collector’s label, at least for one that deserves the name.

In 1968, Elvis brings the best out of himself. In 2006, FTD only brings out what is absolutely necessary.


This review was first published here: http://www.elvisclub.de/forum/index.php?showtopic=19470. Written by Manhattoe and translated from the German by himself.
Last edited by Manhattoe on Tue Nov 14, 2006 5:08 pm, edited 4 times in total.

Tue Nov 14, 2006 11:48 am

Great well written review Manhattoe. I'm sure I'll enjoy the CD but I do agree that the decision to mix and match studio talk makes scholarship that much more confusing. Also, as this CD shows FTD definitely could use some liner notes. Ernst said it would be redundant but your comments here clearly point up that it would not.

Tue Nov 14, 2006 3:22 pm

Thanks for the response.

I started to ask myself whether the review would be read at all.

As for the liner notes there is no session that needs more elucidation than the one covered here on the CD's first part.

Tue Nov 14, 2006 4:06 pm

Manhattoe wrote:Thanks for the response.

I started to ask myself whether the review would be read at all.

As for the liner notes there is no session that needs more elucidation than the one covered here on the CD's first part.


I read it as well, job well done!

Re: Let Yourself Go (FTD, 2006) - Review

Tue Nov 14, 2006 5:04 pm

Thx, Joe.

Manhattoe wrote:Obviously in good spirits, not even a dog – do I get that right? – that seemed to have been present and disturbed the recording, is able to distract him.

Do I get that right? Any native speaker out there able to conform my suggestion or make a proposal of his/her own?

Manhattoe wrote:"[If he (Bones Howe)] didn’t mike this, he’ll get electrocuted?" (Unfortunately, the first part of the sentence is missing, and I filled it in. That’s why I put it into square brackets. Thus, other interpretations are not only allowed but also welcome.)

And what about this one?

CHILL OUT, DUDE!

Wed Nov 15, 2006 1:24 am

Why does this CD even need a poll?

Your review strives to be thoughtful, but focuses too specifically on the tracks as being something more that what they are. In essence, Let Yourself Go is simply material unsuitable for release on record or for taping at NBC-TV.

To shine a bright light on this CD as if we've been handed From Elvis In Memphis, is pointless. And Ernst's track order is meant to please the ear, and flow as an album -- no more, no less.

That said, June of 1968 marks one of Elvis' greatest periods as a recording artist, and his vocals are INCREDIBLE, which makes these outtakes a cut above the rest.

The bonus inclusion of the June 24 jam session is worth the cost of the disc alone -- the unused songs, like "I Got A Woman," would've been wonderful on June 27 -- this is some of the greatest rock and roll ever put to tape.

Many of your observations are factually and aesthetically way off the mark. Please study my comments below to learn how and why.

Manhattoe wrote:In the summer of 1968, Elvis was hardly more than a former star, whose brightness had faded away some time ago ... The fame of past years had vanished.

This is extreme to the point of being untrue.

Manhattoe wrote:Never before in his studio career did he work together with such a big orchestra.

Again, not true! Elvis worked in the same studio with a live orchestra when taping his "Live A Little, Love A Little" soundtrack sessions in March 1968.

Manhattoe wrote:Obviously in good spirits, not even a dog – do I get that right? – that seemed to have been present and disturbed the recording, is able to distract him.

No, this was just a joke -- there was no dog in Western Recorders.

Manhattoe wrote:The CD is either sloppily edited here (that would not be the first time), or Jorgensen (or whoever was in charge) tried to create a pseudo-continuity ...

Unless you have heard ALL the tapes, this observation is not valid.

Manhattoe wrote:Someone (is that the voice of Binder?) allows himself a joke, asking: "[If he (Bones Howe)] didn’t mike this, he’ll get electrocuted?" (Unfortunately, the first part of the sentence is missing, and I filled it in ...

Nothing is missing. Bones Howe says "Did Mike Deasy get electrocuted?" -- a joking reference to the session musician who played guitar on all of the Western recordings, as well as the live band at Burbank on June 29.

Manhattoe wrote:At the start of track 8 ... Elvis imitates the instrumental intro of Trouble and sings “Are you horny tonight” to a melody I know from somewhere else.

That's a playful joke by Elvis on his #1 single from 1960, "Are You Lonesome Tonight?"

Manhattoe wrote:Elvis intones the refrain of Leon Rene’s When the swallows come back to Capistrano, a song he often hummed, since other recordings from the years 1960, 1966 and 1970 have survived.

Elvis knew and loved this song from the version by the Ink Spots.

Manhattoe wrote:I was sursprised to find Where could I go but to the Lord at the beginning. In about six minutes, filled with a rehearsal and take 1, we hear less from Elvis than from Darlene Love who completes two takes of Sometimes I feel like a motherless child.

What ARE you talking about?

First of all, Love's vocals are brilliant, and Elvis is digging her voice-- listen during the rehearsal take when he says "Aw, sock it to me, baby" right after her vocal part. And Darlene's "moment" consumes barely 1:47 of the 5:53 track time. That's over four minutes of Elvis, music or studio chatter.

Manhattoe wrote:If I can dream ... Even the false start (take 3) is interesting, because the guitar is slightly off-harmony here ...

What happens on take three of "If I Can Dream" is that bass player Charles Berghofer comes off the intro progression a bar or two early. He gets it right on take four.

Manhattoe wrote:The last 24 minutes of the CD are reserved for the first of two informal sessions which Elvis hedl ... in order to come to terms with his stage fright in sight of his live performances a few days later ...

No, these jams were taped because Steve Binder thought they might be used in the special somehow. Binder was actually going to run a camera in the dressing room at first, but later decided to use the NBC-TV stage instead.

Elvis didn't get stage fright until just before the first June 27 sit down gig. Thanks to Steve, Elvis made it out there and created the music of his life that night.

Manhattoe wrote:... although this jam session allows a gaze behind the scenery, it does not elucidate the making of the TV Special, since the recordings at Western were already finished.

Most agree the sit down portions of this program are the most important of the broadcast, and some of the greatest in rock and roll history, so the release of this rehearsal is both crucial and enlightening. The jam sessions gave birth to the sit down sessions of June 27, perhaps the finest music of his entire career.

Manhattoe wrote:Consequently, FTD has failed again ... We hear almost nothing from the communication between als Elvis and the engineers/musicians, although ... one can be sure there was a lot of studio talk.

You cannot know this, rendering this comment worthless. And to state that "FTD has failed again" is bullcrap.

Fans and collectors of Elvis Presley have NEVER had it so good with the FTD releases.

Manhattoe wrote:There seems to have existed no concept for packaging, too. First, with two out of three images the cover puts too much visual emphasis on the jam session. Second, the Elvis logo recalls his gospel albums. But, most deplorable of all, is the lack of even the most basic liner notes ...

Since you seem to be a pretty big fan, these words infer a willful ignorance about the stated goals of the FTD label, from packaging to material.

You need to chill out!

Let Yourself Go is one of the most important CDs ever released on Elvis Presley by his collector's label.

Wed Nov 15, 2006 1:50 am

Well, R&R scholar, while some of your observations are really valuable, others reveal that you either did not read my text carefully or that you have no sense for irony (but maybe it's me who does not get yours).

Anyway, I appreciate your detailed commentary.

Obviously, this CD need a poll.

Re: CHILL OUT, DUDE!

Wed Nov 15, 2006 2:51 am

Binder was actually going to run a camera in the dressing room at first, but later decided to use the NBC-TV stage instead.



That's not exactly true,Binder wanted to film the rehearsals but.Parker would not allow that,and the "compromise" was to "re-create" in on the stage at NBC.

Binder is on record stating he wished now that he had smuggled a Camara in there,as what was filmed on stage didn't come close to what he saw in the Dressing Room.

Re: CHILL OUT, DUDE!

Wed Nov 15, 2006 3:04 am

Dan_T wrote:Binder wanted to film the rehearsals but.Parker would not allow that ...

What is your source on this? It is known that Parker put his foot down on was the inclusion of "Blue Christmas" after seeing a rough edit of the special in July. Sadly, that meant the unreal version of "Tiger Man" had to be dropped. Otherwise, that show was all Steve and Elvis.

Wed Nov 15, 2006 3:23 am

Steve Binder himself.

I think it was a Telephone interview by "Doc" on Sirius radio.

But Binder definitely stated he was not allowed Camera's in the Dressing Room.

Wed Nov 15, 2006 3:31 am

Perhaps Parker was concerned about possible improprieties with certain female dancers being caught on videotape ...

Wed Nov 15, 2006 3:39 am

Mmmm..maybe !!! :lol




"Every night after rehearsals and tapings, Binder noticed that Elvis would go to his dressing room and jam away with old friends. They would sing, play and joke.

'I said: 'Wait a minute, this is history. I want to film this', Binder said. 'And Elvis had a great sense of humor; I was determined to get that in there'.

Parker at first said no to taping in the dressing room but later relented on the idea as long as they did it on the studio stage. So the jam-session portion of the show was born."



The above is a quote
from Elvis.com.au interview,but I have heard Binder state this fact on several ocassions.

Re: CHILL OUT, DUDE!

Wed Nov 15, 2006 4:39 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
Dan_T wrote:Binder wanted to film the rehearsals but.Parker would not allow that ...

What is your source on this? It is known that Parker put his foot down on was the inclusion of "Blue Christmas" after seeing a rough edit of the special in July. Sadly, that meant the unreal version of "Tiger Man" had to be dropped. Otherwise, that show was all Steve and Elvis.


Why couldn't the Colonel have just stayed away altogether from the artistic side of his "boy." :roll:

Re: CHILL OUT, DUDE!

Wed Nov 15, 2006 10:35 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:And Ernst's track order is meant to please the ear, and flow as an album -- no more, no less.

Well, it doesn't. That's the problem.

drjohncarpenter wrote:That said, June of 1968 marks one of Elvis' greatest periods as a recording artist, and his vocals are INCREDIBLE, which makes these outtakes a cut above the rest.

I did not say a word against that.

drjohncarpenter wrote:This is extreme to the point of being untrue.

If it is, why then did Elvis' sales drop to bottom in the two years preceding the Special? Why then did nobody care about him when he stepped on Sunset Boulevard? And why then, after the Special had been broadcast, were the reactions of critics and audience full of surprise. And, finally, when then do we talk about the Special as the Comeback Special at all?
Don't tell me, Elvis was big star in 1968, as big as in the pre-army period or shortly after.

Manhattoe wrote:
Never before in his studio career did he work together with such a big orchestra.

drjohncarpenter wrote:Again, not true! Elvis worked in the same studio with a live orchestra when taping his "Live A Little, Love A Little" soundtrack sessions in March 1968.

The orchestra used in March is not as half as big than that playing in the Special (with nearly 60 musicians being involved). Just listen to the horn section and the background singers. Sorry, but my statement is true, again.

Manhattoe wrote:
Obviously in good spirits, not even a dog – do I get that right? – that seemed to have been present and disturbed the recording, is able to distract him.

drjohncarpenter wrote:No, this was just a joke -- there was no dog in Western Recorders.

A joke about what? Can you explain it? Anyway, it would have been strange if they had allowed a dog inside the studio.

Manhattoe wrote:
The CD is either sloppily edited here (that would not be the first time), or Jorgensen (or whoever was in charge) tried to create a pseudo-continuity ...

drjohncarpenter wrote:Unless you have heard ALL the tapes, this observation is not valid.

I did not, but why is this observation not valid? If FTD used multi-tracks for this CD, it would have been easy to remove an echo. If they hadn't, they should have spent a bit more time and diligence on this track.

Manhattoe wrote:
At the start of track 8 ... Elvis imitates the instrumental intro of Trouble and sings “Are you horny tonight” to a melody I know from somewhere else.

drjohncarpenter wrote:That's a playful joke by Elvis on his #1 single from 1960, "Are You Lonesome Tonight?"

Really? You're sure about that? :roll:

Manhattoe wrote:
was sursprised to find Where could I go but to the Lord at the beginning. In about six minutes, filled with a rehearsal and take 1, we hear less from Elvis than from Darlene Love who completes two takes of Sometimes I feel like a motherless child.

drjohncarpenter wrote: ... And Darlene's "moment" consumes barely 1:47 of the 5:53 track time. That's over four minutes of Elvis, music or studio chatter.

Have a look at your watch. Factually, it's less Elvis than Darlene Love. But no need to count peas here.

Manhattoe wrote:
The last 24 minutes of the CD are reserved for the first of two informal sessions which Elvis hedl ... in order to come to terms with his stage fright in sight of his live performances a few days later ...

drjohncarpenter wrote:No, these jams were taped because Steve Binder thought they might be used in the special somehow. Binder was actually going to run a camera in the dressing room at first, but later decided to use the NBC-TV stage instead.

Sure, yes. But please have a look at Jorgensen's A Life in Music (252) anyway.

drjohncarpenter wrote:And to state that "FTD has failed again" is bullcrap.

FTD calls itself a collector's label. It's time they behave like one again.

I agree, that FTD brought many fine albums to us and that our CD shelves would look poorer without their releases.

However, I simply can't consider this release a proper "making of" of the TV Special. There are too many questions which you can't answer, either.

For my taste, the TV Special shows the best Elvis we ever had. Unfortunately, the release does not pay due hommage to this fact. It's kind of sadness about a lost opportunity. How long will it take before we get the next release covering the Special? As I write this, I it crosses my mind it's only 13 months to 2008 ...

Anyway, thanks for bringing life to this thread. :smt023

Re: CHILL OUT, DUDE!

Wed Nov 15, 2006 11:25 am

My comments stand on their own merit, your replies cannot.

A few do demand a reply.

Manhattoe wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:And Ernst's track order is meant to please the ear, and flow as an album -- no more, no less.

Well, it doesn't. That's the problem.

No, it's just YOUR problem.

Manhattoe wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:That said, June of 1968 marks one of Elvis' greatest periods as a recording artist, and his vocals are INCREDIBLE, which makes these outtakes a cut above the rest.

I did not say a word against that.

When you call a project a "failure" that is a condemnation of what is heard on the disc. Not to mention all of your nit-picking prior to that.

Manhattoe wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:This is extreme to the point of being untrue.

If it is, why then did Elvis' sales drop to bottom in the two years preceding the Special? Why then did nobody care about him when he stepped on Sunset Boulevard? And why then, after the Special had been broadcast, were the reactions of critics and audience full of surprise. And, finally, when then do we talk about the Special as the Comeback Special at all?
Don't tell me, Elvis was big star in 1968, as big as in the pre-army period or shortly after.

Taken, in order:

- Sales? Bottom? Nope!

From June 1966 to June 1968 =>
"Love Letters" #19
Paradise, Hawaiian Style OST #15
"Spinout" #40
Spinout OST #18
"Indescribably Blue" #33
How Great Thou Art #18
"Long-Legged Girl (With The Short Dress On)" #63
Double Trouble OST #47
"There's Always Me" #56
"Big Boss Man" #38
Clambake OST #40
"Guitar Man" #43
Elvis Gold Records Vol. 4 #33
"U.S. Male" #28
"You'll Never Walk Alone" #90
"Your Time Hasn't Come Yet, Baby" #71
Speedway OST #82

It's not the top, but it ain't the bottom, either. In fact, the gospel LP would ultimately sell several million copies.

- Nobody cared? It was LA, baby.

- Critics were "surprised" because no one had seen more than 10 minutes of fresh Elvis on TV in eleven years -- and he looked and sounded great!

- We both know the answer to this one, I hope.

- No one said 1968 matched 1956-58 or 1960-61, but your comments made it sound like Elvis was as popular as Erdsel Hickey. In other words, you crafted an extreme, and completely unfounded, perspective.

Manhattoe wrote:The orchestra used in March is not as half as big than that playing in the Special (with nearly 60 musicians being involved). Just listen to the horn section and the background singers. Sorry, but my statement is true, again.

One shouldn't be so arrogant when one is wrong.

As a matter of FACT, in March the Western Recorders orchestra was 31 members strong, while only 26 were used in June.

Besides, your words more importantly implied June was Elvis' first time with a live orchestra, which was, again, erroneous.

Manhattoe wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:That's a playful joke by Elvis on his #1 single from 1960, "Are You Lonesome Tonight?"

Really? You're sure about that?

From reading your review, one with so many gaps in knowledge, it was clear you were not.

Manhattoe wrote:FTD calls itself a collector's label. It's time they behave like one again.

Those two sentences say a LOT about your inability to perceive reality.

Don't mess with the doc, my friend.

Wed Nov 15, 2006 11:40 am

Since I was advised not to mess with the doc, I won't respond to his last mixture of "adapted" facts and personal opinions presented as universal truths.

Fri Nov 17, 2006 3:22 pm

I agree with the Doc. This came across more as a nit picking and a poor second guessing exercise than a review :roll:

Sat Nov 18, 2006 12:53 am

boppin bob wrote:I agree with the Doc. This came across more as a nit picking and a poor second guessing exercise than a review :roll:

Thank you for your kind words.

Sat Nov 18, 2006 1:11 pm

Manhattoe, your review is flawed in many ways, as the Doc has pointed out. I have to agree with the Doc on this, because he is right.

Let Yourself Go! is a pleasant listen, and the jam session at the end is amazing. I do not own any of the bootlegs covering this material, so this CD is a wet dream not only pertaining to that magnificent, revealing jam session but also to the outtakes. I’ve been waiting for this kind of CD a long time. FTD never stopped being a collector’s label. They are doing a great job. I’m sorry this CD was not to your liking, but there are quite a few of us who simply can’t get enough.

Manhattoe wrote:
Quote:
At the start of track 8 ... Elvis imitates the instrumental intro of Trouble and sings “Are you horny tonight” to a melody I know from somewhere else.

drjohncarpenter wrote:
That's a playful joke by Elvis on his #1 single from 1960, "Are You Lonesome Tonight?"

Manhattoe wrote:
Really? You're sure about that? :roll:



How can you roll your eyes when you are so wrong? Please tone it down a bit. You are not doing yourself any favors.

Per

Sat Nov 18, 2006 1:18 pm

a colleague of mine who likes Elvis said to me he had seen GI BLUES which was made while Elvis was in the army and that he dies at the end of it.

Do I dress my fellow colleague down or kindly point out the truth to him?

Sat Nov 18, 2006 4:15 pm

I was quite prepared for negative reactions from some users here, before I wrote the review, but I am struck how little substance they have (except the detailed, though for-whatever-reason haughty counter-postings of the Doc).

You say I am nitpicking? Well, reflect about your own reactions, then you know what nitpicking is. It is obvious, that some of you simply didn't understand the gist of my review and stopped reading/thinking as soon as they came across the first detail that seemed to criticize your idol or detected information that is incompatible with their view on Elvis and/or FTD.

If you miss the harmless irony in my original statement about "Are you horny tonight" and only get it after a while, just ignore it, but please do not use as it a pretense to denounce the whole review in this arrogant manner.

And if you think, #82 is an okay chart position for an Elvis album, that's your thing, but I still maintain it was the bottom for an artist who used to reach the peak of the charts just a few years before. Moreover, it wasn't my intention to write a historical treatise here and I didn't sign this review with blood.

However, what I don't understand is that, on the one hand, you are so keen about the "true" facts, and, on the other hand, you do not seem to care, for example, about the sloppy way in which the cover was put together. After all, it presents information incompatible with Jorgensen's session book. Is it asked too much from a collector's label to get a few explantory notes that would resolve such inconsistencies?

If these are all trifles (or nits) to you, then you would cetainly still be saitisfied with an unlabeled CD-R wrapped in a xerox copy of the tracklist?

After all, we need not discuss about the quality of Elvis' performance in 1968 (most of us will agree that it is great), but should be able to talk about the way these recordings are released without becoming offensive.

Sun Nov 19, 2006 3:13 am

thekingisalive wrote:Manhattoe, your review is flawed in many ways, as the Doc has pointed out. I have to agree with the Doc on this, because he is right.

Another breath of fresh air! Thank you very much indeed.

Sun Nov 19, 2006 10:59 am

You’re welcome, sir. :D

Per

Sun Nov 19, 2006 11:18 am

Manhattoe wrote:However, what I don't understand is that, on the one hand, you are so keen about the "true" facts, and, on the other hand, you do not seem to care, for example, about the sloppy way in which the cover was put together. After all, it presents information incompatible with Jorgensen's session book. Is it asked too much from a collector's label to get a few explantory notes that would resolve such inconsistencies?

I am not surprised that no one responds to this question.

Sun Nov 19, 2006 1:05 pm

thekingisalive wrote:Manhattoe, your review is flawed in many ways, as the Doc has pointed out. I have to agree with the Doc on this, because he is right.
Per


Maybe the Doc is right but was his intention to educate or humiliate.

Someone who shares a common interest with me that is a big part of my life, such as Elvis, is a gift to me. When I treat a gift with disrespect it says more about me than any words can.