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"American Crown Jewels" (Bilko)

Fri Jan 20, 2006 5:31 pm

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I found this review by someone named Michael Cheah at BigOMagazine.com. - Greg

Elvis Presley
American Crown Jewels [Bilko CD 1800]

Back in 1969, Elvis made headlines as regularly as Microsoft does today whenever Bill Gates makes more money or dominates some other part of the new economy. Nobody, least of all the cigar-chomping Colonel, gave a hoot about the King of Rock 'n' Roll's real power which was his music.

Over the past years, Elvis had been a prisoner of Hollywood, living it up and earning easy money with sugary pop songs written by rote from his publishing company. He was close to an overdose of crap songs when he met TV producer Steve Binder. Binder "found" the real Elvis and for a brief year in 1969, Elvis was back in the studio determined to prove he still had the "jewels" in his trousers.

So, while the Colonel was setting up his boy for another session to produce an album of songs and some singles and plotting to bring the King to Las Vegas, the musicians in Memphis were attempting a counter-revolution to help the King regain his crown. According to Peter Guralnick in his excellent essay in Suspicious Minds: The Memphis 1969 Anthology, it was a coincidental confluence of events that led to Elvis recording at American studios. Producer Felton Jarvis was itching for a change of scenery from Nashville. Elvis' friends, Marty Lacker, George Klein and Red West all had a connection with Chips Moman, the producer and owner of American studios. Moman was an established hitmaker (delivering hits for The Boxtops, Neil Diamond and Dusty Springfield) and had connections to deliver contemporary songs.

The challenge they all faced in that tiny studio was how to make Elvis relevant again. The only clue was from the final song Elvis sang at the end of his '68 TV special, 'If I Can Dream'. It was a song that connected Elvis to his roots. The young trucker who wanted to prove he could be a singer. 'If I Can Dream' was as personal a message as Elvis could deliver. Now the challenge was the music scene out there. The British invasion had shaped the direction of pop music towards a harder, louder sound. The watchwords were "creative" and "original". Almost every new act wrote its own songs. Music was suddenly personal and confessional. It was also social and purposeful. Elvis belonged to an old-fashioned way of making music, relying on publishing agents to supply the hits. It was impersonal and too crafted. He needed to be re-invented.

Chips Moman was the right man for the job. The songs offered to Elvis can be described as either tuneful pop ballads with an edge or songs that were rooted to Elvis' country, blues and r&b influences. New talents like Mac Davis, Eddie Rabbit and Neil Diamond were approached for songs, as were memorable hits from the forgotten past. Taken together, the Memphis sessions was the sound of an established talent regaining his momentum, not by stooping to copy what's fashionable, but by reviving what made him famous in the first place.
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On American Crown Jewels, the best 19 songs from the 33 are presented in undubbed alternate takes in close to excellent studio quality. The ones that could be labeled personal are 'You'll Think Of Me', 'True Love Travels On A Gravel Road', 'Do You Know Who I Am?', 'Only The Strong Survive', 'Any Day Now' and 'If I'm A Fool'. Much has already been said about the blues songs from these sessions. 'Long Black Limousine' predicted Elvis' own fate. A singer who tried so hard to be famous returns home in a hearse. The social 'In The Ghetto' was attempted in 20+ takes and goes a long way in cementing Elvis to his blues roots, not because it is a blues song but because it was about the underclass at the time closely identified with Negroes. With 'Suspicious Minds', Elvis took the love ballad a couple of rungs up the ladder. It was adult and the theme was real.

While three decades have passed, music fans still come back to this period of Elvis. The songs 'Do You Know Who I Am?' and 'Only The Strong Survive' are like premonitions of a future foretold. Don't we all wish he had the strength to resist the Colonel? If he had gone on recording instead of the punishing schedule of months-long tours, he probably would have built upon this crucial collection of critically acclaimed songs to leave behind a larger body of studio works. Hell, he might even have lived longer. Not even Sinatra, after the peak of his Capitol years, ever won critical acclaim again. Like Elvis, he relied on publishing agents to find the songs but unlike Elvis, he never succeeded in re-inventing himself for a contemporary audience. The less said about Sinatra's Duets album the better.

Elvis scored big in the early '70s with charting singles starting with 'In The Ghetto'. To rattle off a few 'Suspicious Minds', 'Kentucky Rain', 'The Wonder Of You', 'I've Lost You', 'You Don't Have To Say You Love Me', 'Rags To Riches', 'Life', 'I'm Leavin', 'Burning Love' and right up to the end with 'My Way'.

On hindsight, the albums From Elvis In Memphis (June '69) and Back In Memphis (November '69), which contain the American recordings, were like blueprints for Neil Young's "On The Beach" or Bob Dylan's "Blood On The Tracks" which came out in the early '70s. Thematically they all bared their souls and aspired for something beyond sales figures and the rock star charade. Elvis was the elder statesman who again drew the map for future rock stars when they made "adult" albums.

The 14 days that Elvis spent in American produced 30 plus songs, the bulk of which emerged on two albums. Other songs were scattered on budget releases and one even appeared on a Christmas compilation. You can find them all now on BMG's new Suspicious Minds 2CD collection with the bonus of alternate takes. But American Crown Jewels with its fresh "in your face" sound and some off-color remarks and mistakes remains a Holy Grail for all Elvis fans to search out. The pacing and selection of tracks paints a different picture of the man as an artist. Remember him this way. - Michael Cheah


Tracklist:

Long Black Limousine (Take 6)
Wearin' That Loved On Look (10)
You'll Think Of Me (Take 7)
A Little Bit Of Green (Take 1)
In The Ghetto (Take 3)
Rubberneckin' (Take 1)
From A Jack To A King (Take 2) (Or take 3? )
Without Love (Take 3) (or take 4?)
Suspicious Minds (Take 7)
True Love Travels On A Gravel Road (Take 1)
Power Of My Love (Take 1)
After Loving You (Take 3)
And The Grass Won't Pay No Mind (Take 6)
Do You Know Who I Am (Take 1)
Kentucky Rain (Take 8 )
It Keeps Right On A Hurtin' (Take 2)
Only The Strong Survive (Take 3)
Any Day Now (Take 2)
If I'm A Fool (Take 3)


Content: 5+ Sound: 5 Artwork: 5+

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http://www.bigomagazine.com/archive/ARr ... crown.html

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For a related review on "Finding the Way Home" see:http://www.elvis-collectors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=20629&start=0&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=
Last edited by Gregory Nolan Jr. on Mon Jan 23, 2006 11:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Sat Jan 21, 2006 7:19 am

American Crown Jewels is a very good CD to just put on the headphones, kick back and relax to. However, this is my least favorite of three CD's along the same lines.
These two make for a more enjoyable listen.

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Finding The Way Home
Southern Style 6969 (Released 1999)
(Disc 1)
Wearin' that loved on look (7 f.s. & 1 alt. take)
Only the strong survive (4 f.s.)
Long black limousine (take 1,2,4,7,8 & 6)
Only the strong survive (2 f.s.)
You'll think of me (take 1,2,4,7,8 & 6)
From a Jack to a King (take 1 & 2)
Only the strong survive (1 f.s.)
Without love (take 1& 2)
Only the strong survive (1 alt. take)
If I'm a fool (take 1,2,3)
Suspicious minds (take 1,2,3 & 7)
Only the strong survive (take 1, 3 f.s. & 1 alt. take)
In the ghetto (take 2 & 1)
(Disc 2)
Kentucky rain (take 1,4 f.s. & 1 alt. take)
Suspicious minds (take 4,5 & 6)
In the ghetto (take 7,8,9,10,11)
You'll think of me (take 4,5 & 8)
From a jack to a King (2 f.s. & 1 alt. take)
Without love (take 4)
Wearin' that loved on look (3 f.s. & 1 alt. take)
If I'm a fool (take 6,7 & 5)
Only the strong survive (3 f.s. & 1 alt. take)
A little bit of green (take 2 & 1)
Kentucky rain (2 f.s., take 7 & 10)
Poor man's gold (instrumental)


and

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Memphis Sessions

74321 89293-2 BMG/Denmark 2001

Tracklisting: After loving you (take 3) Stranger in my own hometown (undubbeb master) In the ghetto (take 11) Suspicious minds (rehearsel plus take 6) Any day now (take 2) Only the strong survive (take 22) Wearin' that loved on look (takes 3 & 10) Do you know who I am (take 1) And the grass won't pay no mind (undubbeb master - alternate vocal) You'll think of me (take 14) Power of my love (take 6) This is the story (takes 1 & 2) True loves gravels on a gravel road (takes 6 & 7) Long black limousine (take 6) Kentucky rain (take 9) Without love (takes 3 & 4) Hey Jude (splices from takes 5 and 1) If I'm a fool (take 3) From a jack to a king (takes 1, 2 & 3) I'm movin on (takes 1 & 2, undubbeb master)

All songs recorded at American Studios, Memphis Tennessee during January and February of 1969.

Sun Jan 22, 2006 12:46 am

I'm actually more partial to those two, Rob, as well.

But on FECC's countdown, "Jewels" still is very high.

Sun Jan 22, 2006 1:05 am

As it should be. It's a very good CD.

Mon Jan 23, 2006 4:44 am

Personally I much prefer American Crown Jewels to the others, when I want to dig a little deeper into the sessions I will listen to Finding The Way Home. The artwork for the FTD is also horrible they should have used a cover much like what what is featured on ACJ..... anyways they are all good, can't go wrong with '69 session.

JEFF d
Elvis fan

Mon Jan 23, 2006 5:46 am

There is a tiny difference (in favor) of the FTD vs the other two. It is in STEREO! Lol...

Mon Jan 23, 2006 7:49 am

Jeff, I agree that the FTD cover is at least an acquired taste. But I like the digipaks and I like the original pictures used. This is clearly a "real" release from the company that released Elvis' original work.

But it is a bit of a mess. I've grown used to it but don't know why it had to be so rustic. No art director seems to want to take credit.

I believe "ACJ" was released first so it has historic importance. I personally did not get until it after the FTD and "Finding the Way Home." That can color one's opinion, too.

"..Jewels" also is unique in having each alternate run in the order they were recorded.

I agree that the FTD gets the nod because of the stereo. They're all essential, right? Any opinions on the import "The Other Side of Memphis"? (I read they just took some channels out...) Or how about "American Rejects"? Duplication? Different mixes?

P.S. Look for separate review postings on "Finding the Way Home" and others soon from that BigOmagazine.com site.

Mon Jan 23, 2006 9:52 am

Gregory Nolan Jr. wrote:
I agree that the FTD gets the nod because of the stereo. They're all essential, right?
Yes they are.

Mon Jan 23, 2006 2:37 pm

All 3 releases are excellent.....however its too bad that on Finding The Way Home all to often does that takes fade out before they actually end. :cry:

Mon Jan 23, 2006 3:11 pm

JEFF d wrote:...The artwork for the FTD is also horrible they should have used a cover much like what what is featured on ACJ.....

JEFF d
Elvis fan


Come on, Jeff, give them a break...................

Money was tight, it was the school hols and Roger's 7-year-old daughter was visiting the office.

They only wanted Elvis on the cover, so they gave her some crayons and she blanked out the other figures.

And did quite a good job for a child so young.............

Mon Jan 23, 2006 10:43 pm

:lol: :lol:
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Image

Tue Jan 24, 2006 6:23 am

Gregory Nolan Jr. wrote: Or how about "American Rejects"? Duplication?
It was good when it came out. nothing else to compare. Now it is just a cool cover CD with bad sound and pitch problems(too slow).Imo. Only seven songs.

Wed Jan 25, 2006 12:13 pm

ColinB wrote:
JEFF d wrote:...The artwork for the FTD is also horrible they should have used a cover much like what what is featured on ACJ.....

JEFF d
Elvis fan


Come on, Jeff, give them a break...................

Money was tight, it was the school hols and Roger's 7-year-old daughter was visiting the office.

They only wanted Elvis on the cover, so they gave her some crayons and she blanked out the other figures.

And did quite a good job for a child so young.............


OH! You see I didn't know the back story of the artwork ColinB! lolol :lol: :lol: Yes, It is pretty good job for a 7 year old! hehe! I'm just glad she at least didn't erase Elvis' face out when she was going crazy with that eraser!

JEFF d
Elvis fan

Re: "American Crown Jewels" (Bilko)

Tue Aug 08, 2006 7:51 pm

[quote="Gregory Nolan Jr."]Image

I found this review by someone named Michael Cheah at BigOMagazine.com. - Greg

Elvis Presley
American Crown Jewels [Bilko CD 1800]

Back in 1969, Elvis made headlines as regularly as Microsoft does today whenever Bill Gates makes more money or dominates some other part of the new economy. Nobody, least of all the cigar-chomping Colonel, gave a hoot about the King of Rock 'n' Roll's real power which was his music.

Over the past years, Elvis had been a prisoner of Hollywood, living it up and earning easy money with sugary pop songs written by rote from his publishing company. He was close to an overdose of crap songs when he met TV producer Steve Binder. Binder "found" the real Elvis and for a brief year in 1969, Elvis was back in the studio determined to prove he still had the "jewels" in his trousers.

So, while the Colonel was setting up his boy for another session to produce an album of songs and some singles and plotting to bring the King to Las Vegas, the musicians in Memphis were attempting a counter-revolution to help the King regain his crown. According to Peter Guralnick in his excellent essay in Suspicious Minds: The Memphis 1969 Anthology, it was a coincidental confluence of events that led to Elvis recording at American studios. Producer Felton Jarvis was itching for a change of scenery from Nashville. Elvis' friends, Marty Lacker, George Klein and Red West all had a connection with Chips Moman, the producer and owner of American studios. Moman was an established hitmaker (delivering hits for The Boxtops, Neil Diamond and Dusty Springfield) and had connections to deliver contemporary songs.

The challenge they all faced in that tiny studio was how to make Elvis relevant again. The only clue was from the final song Elvis sang at the end of his '68 TV special, 'If I Can Dream'. It was a song that connected Elvis to his roots. The young trucker who wanted to prove he could be a singer. 'If I Can Dream' was as personal a message as Elvis could deliver. Now the challenge was the music scene out there. The British invasion had shaped the direction of pop music towards a harder, louder sound. The watchwords were "creative" and "original". Almost every new act wrote its own songs. Music was suddenly personal and confessional. It was also social and purposeful. Elvis belonged to an old-fashioned way of making music, relying on publishing agents to supply the hits. It was impersonal and too crafted. He needed to be re-invented.

Chips Moman was the right man for the job. The songs offered to Elvis can be described as either tuneful pop ballads with an edge or songs that were rooted to Elvis' country, blues and r&b influences. New talents like Mac Davis, Eddie Rabbit and Neil Diamond were approached for songs, as were memorable hits from the forgotten past. Taken together, the Memphis sessions was the sound of an established talent regaining his momentum, not by stooping to copy what's fashionable, but by reviving what made him famous in the first place.
Image
On American Crown Jewels, the best 19 songs from the 33 are presented in undubbed alternate takes in close to excellent studio quality. The ones that could be labeled personal are 'You'll Think Of Me', 'True Love Travels On A Gravel Road', 'Do You Know Who I Am?', 'Only The Strong Survive', 'Any Day Now' and 'If I'm A Fool'. Much has already been said about the blues songs from these sessions. 'Long Black Limousine' predicted Elvis' own fate. A singer who tried so hard to be famous returns home in a hearse. The social 'In The Ghetto' was attempted in 20+ takes and goes a long way in cementing Elvis to his blues roots, not because it is a blues song but because it was about the underclass at the time closely identified with Negroes. With 'Suspicious Minds', Elvis took the love ballad a couple of rungs up the ladder. It was adult and the theme was real.

While three decades have passed, music fans still come back to this period of Elvis. The songs 'Do You Know Who I Am?' and 'Only The Strong Survive' are like premonitions of a future foretold. Don't we all wish he had the strength to resist the Colonel? If he had gone on recording instead of the punishing schedule of months-long tours, he probably would have built upon this crucial collection of critically acclaimed songs to leave behind a larger body of studio works. Hell, he might even have lived longer. Not even Sinatra, after the peak of his Capitol years, ever won critical acclaim again. Like Elvis, he relied on publishing agents to find the songs but unlike Elvis, he never succeeded in re-inventing himself for a contemporary audience. The less said about Sinatra's Duets album the better.

Elvis scored big in the early '70s with charting singles starting with 'In The Ghetto'. To rattle off a few 'Suspicious Minds', 'Kentucky Rain', 'The Wonder Of You', 'I've Lost You', 'You Don't Have To Say You Love Me', 'Rags To Riches', 'Life', 'I'm Leavin', 'Burning Love' and right up to the end with 'My Way'.

On hindsight, the albums From Elvis In Memphis (June '69) and Back In Memphis (November '69), which contain the American recordings, were like blueprints for Neil Young's "On The Beach" or Bob Dylan's "Blood On The Tracks" which came out in the early '70s. Thematically they all bared their souls and aspired for something beyond sales figures and the rock star charade. Elvis was the elder statesman who again drew the map for future rock stars when they made "adult" albums.

The 14 days that Elvis spent in American produced 30 plus songs, the bulk of which emerged on two albums. Other songs were scattered on budget releases and one even appeared on a Christmas compilation. You can find them all now on BMG's new Suspicious Minds 2CD collection with the bonus of alternate takes. But American Crown Jewels with its fresh "in your face" sound and some off-color remarks and mistakes remains a Holy Grail for all Elvis fans to search out. The pacing and selection of tracks paints a different picture of the man as an artist. Remember him this way. - Michael Cheah


Tracklist:

Long Black Limousine (Take 6)
Wearin' That Loved On Look (10)
You'll Think Of Me (Take 7)
A Little Bit Of Green (Take 1)
In The Ghetto (Take 3)
Rubberneckin' (Take 1)
From A Jack To A King (Take 2) (Or take 3? )
Without Love (Take 3) (or take 4?)
Suspicious Minds (Take 7)
True Love Travels On A Gravel Road (Take 1)
Power Of My Love (Take 1)
After Loving You (Take 3)
And The Grass Won't Pay No Mind (Take 6)
Do You Know Who I Am (Take 1)
Kentucky Rain (Take 8 )
It Keeps Right On A Hurtin' (Take 2)
Only The Strong Survive (Take 3)
Any Day Now (Take 2)
If I'm A Fool (Take 3)


[ A very good review of this cd -



i enjoy listening to these type of songs that Elvis recorded in 1969.-
ill see if i have these in my collection , - if i have not then i will get them for my collection . - :wink:

Thu Aug 10, 2006 1:07 am

An excellent CD, but has the wrong take numbers listed for a few tracks:-

American Crown Jewels - Correct Tracklisting

1. Long black limousine (Take 6 - Faded)
2. Wearin' that loved on look (Take 14 - Faded)
3. You'll think of me (Take 7)
4. A little bit of green (Take 1)
5. In the ghetto (Take 3 - Complete only)
6. Rubberneckin' (Take 2)
7. From a jack to a king (Take 3)
8. Without love (Take 5)
9. Suspicious minds (Take 7)
10. True love travels on a gravel road (Take 3)
11. Power of my love (Take 1)
12. After loving you (Take 3)
13. And the grass won't pay no mind (Take 6)
14. Do you know who I am (Take 1)
15. Kentucky rain (Take 7)
16. It keeps right on a hurtin (Take 2 – Complete only)
17. Only the strong survive (Take 6)
18. Any day now (Take 2)
19. If I'm a fool for loving you (Take 3)

Sat Aug 12, 2006 10:55 pm

Thanks Keith, that's awesome information, I always wondered about those. How about a whole new section under your "Essential Lists" section featuring "Corrected Track Listings"? This could then link to updated track listings of both inofficial and official (e.g. FTD) releases. A central place where people would go to if they ever had any doubts about the accuracy of this information. Thanks for all your hard work!

Sat Aug 12, 2006 11:15 pm

thenexte wrote:Thanks Keith, that's awesome information, I always wondered about those. How about a whole new section under your "Essential Lists" section featuring "Corrected Track Listings"? This could then link to updated track listings of both inofficial and official (e.g. FTD) releases. A central place where people would go to if they ever had any doubts about the accuracy of this information. Thanks for all your hard work!

This is sort of what I'm doing now with my new Recording Sessions section of the site

Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:08 am

JLGB wrote:
Gregory Nolan Jr. wrote: Or how about "American Rejects"? Duplication?
It was good when it came out. nothing else to compare. Now it is just a cool cover CD with bad sound and pitch problems(too slow).Imo. Only seven songs.


Anybody ever figure out what the problem was with "American Rejects" other than the pitch problems and clipped samples? Sound seems to be very bass heavy, and something weird is going on with the frequencies on that one, it just does not feel right...

Wed Sep 06, 2006 3:25 am

thenexte wrote:
JLGB wrote:
Gregory Nolan Jr. wrote: Or how about "American Rejects"? Duplication?
It was good when it came out. nothing else to compare. Now it is just a cool cover CD with bad sound and pitch problems(too slow).Imo. Only seven songs.


Anybody ever figure out what the problem was with "American Rejects" other than the pitch problems and clipped samples? Sound seems to be very bass heavy, and something weird is going on with the frequencies on that one, it just does not feel right...

Well it was from the same people that brought us "The Other Side Of Memphis" by the way (Faked "Unreleased Versions" with channels missing - taken from Quadrophonic LP), so that should tell you why it "just does not feel right"! :cry: