Post here all reviews related to Offical RCA/BMG/FTD releases

Re: Good Times - Revisited

Sun Mar 11, 2007 9:49 pm

Nice review, shane.

This is one of those albums I don't know very well, having not listened to every last track (believe it or not). I am still to complete my journey through all of Elvis' masters, though I am familiar with the vast body of his work. There is only one first time for everything, see.

I just want to add a couple of things:

shanebrown wrote:I have already discussed Spanish Eyes, but special mention should be made of the brilliant guitar work that is beautifully done.


It's funny how lighter songs in EP's catalogue have incredible guitar work. As well as "Spanish Eyes", there's also "Memories" (1968) and "Fountain Of Love" (1961).

shanebrown wrote:Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues shows Elvis recording a track that would have sounded great on the radio in 1974 and would have sat nicely alongside artists such as Eagles. A missed opportunity perhaps. The performance is brilliantly and subtly arranged and Elvis is relaxed and yet totally committed.


It it is significant to note that Elvis removed the following verse:

I got my pills to ease the pain
Can't find a thing to ease the rain
I'd love to try and settle down
But everybody's leavin' town


(Perhaps an implicit acknowledgement that EP knew he was up to no-good, even if he didn't comprehend the full magnitude of what he was doing to himself.)

Re: Good Times - Revisited

Sun Mar 11, 2007 10:19 pm

shanebrown wrote:Considering what was left in the can from Stax when this was issued, the choice of songs used is somewhat bizarre. Perhaps it would have been better to issue one funkier album and one more country-orientated record. This would have meant pulling If You Talk In Your Sleep, Promised Land and Thinking About You on to Good times and moving She Wear My Ring, Spanish Eyes and Take Good Care Of Her to Promised Land. But this wasn't to be. Promised Land will forever stand as the strongest of the three Stax albums from the 1973 sessions but, like Raised On Rock, Good Times does at least have some great moments.


Nice review, Shane! It really seems RCA just cobbled together the albums without much thought in the 70's... Why did they save many of the best Stax cuts until January 75, almost a year after the Good Times release? Imagine a 12 track album with this line up in 1974:

Promised Land
I Got A Feeling In My Body
Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues
You Asked Me To
There's A Honky Tonk Angel
My Boy
If You Talk In Your Sleep
I've Got A Thing About You Baby
Help Me
Your Love's Been A Long Time Coming
Thinking About You
Talk About The Good Times

Then they could have used tracks like Spanish Eyes and Love Song Of The Year for B-sides, and Take Good Care Of Her was already out as a single... well, it makes more sense to me...
8)

Mon Mar 12, 2007 12:17 am

shanebrown wrote:Fountains Of Love also has that slight latin feet to it as well.

Wasn't there only one fountain?

Good review though.

Mon Mar 12, 2007 12:35 am

Rob wrote:
shanebrown wrote:Fountains Of Love also has that slight latin feet to it as well.

Wasn't there only one fountain?


And I'm not sure they have Latin feet.

Mon Mar 12, 2007 12:39 am

I'll bet there have been Latin feet in the fountain at one time or another.

Mon Mar 12, 2007 1:40 am

Rob wrote:I'll bet there have been Latin feet in the fountain at one time or another.


Fountains.

Mon Mar 12, 2007 10:17 am

Good review Shane. I can't believe you like Tony Joe's "Polk Salad" better than Elvis'. His vocal is way too stiff and mannered for me. Even though appropriates some of his asides, they come off so much more natural coming out of his mouth. Elvis' version has that great live extended ending and James' killer guitar riff. Tony Joe's may be weirder but Elvis' sounds like the more exciting record to me. Elvis is so much a better singer, it isn't funny. I think if Elvis hadn't covered it you would never even hear White's record today or it would only pop up on novelty hits collections or forgotten oldies hours. To each his own though.

I also disagree on "I Got a Feeling in My Body". I don't like the arranegement too much of its period.

I definitely agree on "If That Isn't Love" and "She Wears My Ring".

I also agree that "Loving Arms" should have been a US single release. Although it's something of a standard no one has ever gone Top 40 with it. I think it would have blown those useless perfectionists in the Eagles out of the water.

My problem with "My Boy" is that Elvis did many better songs covering the same territory with more taste and equal power.

The album is as you point out a victim of RCA's bizarre decision making pattern. They had enough for one terrific release and maybe a stand alone single and they put out two albums.

Mon Mar 12, 2007 2:43 pm

shanebrown wrote:Great to watch in TTWII and EOT but with just the audio the ending (especially of post 1970 versions) gets me yelling at the hi-fi!


But yelling what ?

"Great stuff, Elvis !"

or

"What a load of rubbish !"

I think we should be told !

Re: Good Times - Revisited

Mon Mar 12, 2007 3:58 pm

Hav-A-Tampa wrote:
shanebrown wrote:Considering what was left in the can from Stax when this was issued, the choice of songs used is somewhat bizarre. Perhaps it would have been better to issue one funkier album and one more country-orientated record. This would have meant pulling If You Talk In Your Sleep, Promised Land and Thinking About You on to Good times and moving She Wear My Ring, Spanish Eyes and Take Good Care Of Her to Promised Land. But this wasn't to be. Promised Land will forever stand as the strongest of the three Stax albums from the 1973 sessions but, like Raised On Rock, Good Times does at least have some great moments.


Nice review, Shane! It really seems RCA just cobbled together the albums without much thought in the 70's... Why did they save many of the best Stax cuts until January 75, almost a year after the Good Times release? Imagine a 12 track album with this line up in 1974:

Promised Land
I Got A Feeling In My Body
Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues
You Asked Me To
There's A Honky Tonk Angel
My Boy
If You Talk In Your Sleep
I've Got A Thing About You Baby
Help Me
Your Love's Been A Long Time Coming
Thinking About You
Talk About The Good Times

Then they could have used tracks like Spanish Eyes and Love Song Of The Year for B-sides, and Take Good Care Of Her was already out as a single... well, it makes more sense to me...
8)

Wishful thinking. A tvelwe track album was out of the question in 1974. A ten track quality album for me would have included:

1) Promised land
2) Loving arms
3) I´ve got a feeling in my body
4) It´s midnight
5) Yoú asked me to
6) Talk about he good times
7) Ì´ve got a thing about you baby
8) If you talk in your sleep
9) Thinking about you
10) Good time Charlie´s got the blues

"Honky tonk angel" and "You´re love´s been..." are close to make it.

//björn

Fri Mar 16, 2007 3:11 pm

(Perhaps an implicit acknowledgement that EP knew he was up to no-good, even if he didn't comprehend the full magnitude of what he was doing to himself.)


Cryo, given the fact he'd just nearly killed himself, before a hospital stay in which it was pointed out to him how close he'd come, and the damage he was doing, I think he knew the magnitude, but was unable to stop himself.

Great post Shane - I always liked this album, as it took me ages to hunt it down after a neighbour gave me one of her old singles, which was My Boy / Lovin Arms. She Wears My Ring and Spanish Eyes are two songs I wish Elvis had never recorded, and as others have said, the material in the can was very strong, and a truly great album could have resulted. I think RCA by that time knew they weren't going to get Elvis in a studio as often, so planned for two average albums, rather than one strong one. For me, something like:

Promised Land
I've Got A Thing About You Baby
My Boy
Lovin Arms
Talk About The Good Times
It's Midnight
Thinking About You
If You Talk In Your Sleep
Good Time Charlie
I've Got A Feelin In My Body

That would have made for a great, possibly critically aclaimed, current sounding album IMO.

Sun Apr 15, 2007 10:20 pm

A great collection of some stellar music on this original Lp, just poorly arranged.

If Elvis had only had some fresh hands on his musical vision and artistic expression in the 70's, just think how much difference it would have made ...

Mon Apr 16, 2007 4:07 am

Your review is closer to my feeling about Good Times -- save the bathetic mess that is "My Boy" -- than what Roy Carr and Mick Farren wrote in Elvis - The Illustrated Record (Harmony Books, New York, 1982):

A most inappropriate album title if ever there was one. To paraphrase The Kinks' Ray Davies, more like 'Where Have All the Good Times Gone?' Like so many artists before and since, Elvis Presley had fallen victim to a genuinely pathetic fallacy, that of his own artistic invincibility. The American Studio and RCA marathons (1969 and 1970 respectively) may have produced a preponderance of excellent finished masters, but Elvis was now under the grand delusion that quantity and quality were the same.

Whatever usable material had emanated from the July and December '73 Stax sessions had already been spread far too thinly over both Raised On Rock and The Promised Land [sic] and an exhumation order on the remains failed to produce anything of genuine merit.

Despite some problems of chronology, they make a good point about sessions done in bulk, to the detriment of overall quality and final result.

And their implication about the album's appearance in 1974 reflects the disenchantment so many Elvis fans felt at the time, given how high the bar had been in 1969-70.

Mon Apr 16, 2007 4:44 am

Cryogenic: It it is significant to note that Elvis removed the following verse:

I got my pills to ease the pain
Can't find a thing to ease the rain
I'd love to try and settle down
But everybody's leavin' town

(Perhaps an implicit acknowledgement that EP knew he was up to no-good, even if he didn't comprehend the full magnitude of what he was doing to himself.)

***********************************

This has been written about before as some kind of sign. On the surface one would think so, but with Elvis it could just be coincidence. He left out verses all the time. Example: if this was true then why would he include these words to "way down" when he was in much deeper trouble by that time?

the medicine within me no doctor could prescribe

Mon Apr 16, 2007 5:13 am

It is certainly interesting to reflect on these original albums from a current perspective where we can review these sessions merits as a whole. Indeed the quantity vs quality was problematic at many of Elvis' sessions including the fabled Memphis '69 sessions and the Marathon works completed in 1970.

Elvis rarely worked to record a specific album save for his Gospel albums where he selected the music with that intent. Where Memphis '69 and June/September '70 work is that the majority of the recorded material is of a good to high standard. 1969 in particular benefits from a producer who really worked Elvis rather than just let him do what he wanted to do.

Based on this train of thought it could be argued the overall success of the December '73 Stax sessions would have been higher if more material had been recorded. If this had been a marathon session such as that of 1970 a few more choice cuts may have been laid down and 2 good albums could have been the result rather than 2 lackluster ones. Indeed as it stands there is really one good album's worth or material from these sessions that had Elvis been under a different album schedule may have indeed seen the light of day.

What is fascinating is that the two albums to come out of these sessions are on a fairly even keel quality wise, both have some great cuts and both are propped up by filler. Previous sessions had seen great albums first with the leftovers to come later. Indeed it could be that this was ultimately the better decision on RCA's part. Knowing what they had to work with and the struggle they had getting Elvis to record in 1973 they couldn't be certain when his next recording sessions to take place would be and thus rather than put out all the best material on one album with the hope of a follow up session they designed “Good Times” and “Promised Land”. It is likely Promised Land would have come out later in 1974 rather than in 1975 if not for the contractual filler album “Live On Stage In Memphis” the Colonel managed to sell RCA on. Of course this is all speculative but would seem to follow a fairly logical course of thinking.

Ultimately we as fans have the advantage of being able to reflect on Elvis' recording sessions with the view to "producing" our own albums. Indeed I have taken great enjoyment in doing this.

Mon Apr 16, 2007 6:54 am

ekenee wrote:He left out verses all the time. Example: if this was true then why would he include these words to "way down" when he was in much deeper trouble by that time?

the medicine within me no doctor could prescribe

Probably because there's no connection to drug abuse in the lyric.

If you regard the entire verse, the "medicine" is a metaphor for his love -- or lust -- for the woman in the song.

Way Down (Layng Martine, Jr.)

Babe, you're getting closer
The lights are goin' dim
The sound of your breathin'
Has made the mood I'm in

All of my resistance
Is lying on the floor
Taking me to places
I've never been before

Ooh, and I can feel it
Feel it, feel it, feel it

Way down where the music plays
Way down like a tidal wave
Way down where the fires blaze
Way down, down, way, way on down

Ooh, my head is spinnin'
You got me in your spell
A hundred magic fingers
On a whirling carousel

The medicine within me
No doctor could prescribe
Your love is doing something
That I just can't describe


Ooh, and I can feel it
Feel it, feel it, feel it

Way down where the music plays
Way down like a tidal wave
Way down where the fires blaze
Way down, down, way, way on down

Hold me again, as tight as you can
I need you so, so baby, let's go

Way down where it feels so good
Way down where I hoped it would
Way down where I never could
Way down, down, way, way on down

-----

You are correct, though, that Elvis frequently dropped -- or disregarded -- lyrics in a good number of the songs he recorded or performed on stage.