(Reviewed by David Wilson)
Fans have called for this release ever since Vol. 4 in the 80’s it’s just a shame we had to wait this long and that the Importers had to release it. In the tradition of the previous volumes we are given a host of recordings from Elvis’ career, ranging from overdubbed tracks to the raw studio masters and unreleased live recordings.
First of all the 16-page booklet that accompanies this release is worthy of the price of the CD alone it is truly a work of art and like on so many occasions puts the official releases to shame in the art-work. Full colour photographs of tape legends, various pieces of memorabilia and of course photographs of Elvis himself, the sleeve notes take you through the contents of this CD track by track, for the most part in some detail. The CD it’s self is well put together with various recordings, spanning 1956 through to 1976, most will be new to fans, some tracks have been out already on other titles, but here we get them in either the raw state or with improved quality, and of course there are a number of unreleased takes too, all in keeping with the original idea behind this wonderful series of releases.
Highlights include “Yellow Rose Of Texas/The Eyes Of Texas” a full 33 seconds more than the original RCA release, it seems to just go on and on, “I’ve Lost You” from August 7th 1970 unfortunately we only get 51 seconds of this classic, there could be a few reasons for this, one is that’s all they have, or it’s just a teaser of what’s to come, only time will tell I suppose on this one. “I’ve Got Confidence – take 1” listening to this you can hear Elvis was enjoying himself, and one more take and he had a master, this is followed by the undubbed master of “It’s A Matter Of Time” listening to this if makes you think what the hell were RCA thinking when they released those supposedly “Pure Elvis” albums after Elvis’ death – “Our Memories Of Elvis Vol. 1 & 2” these supposedly undubbed masters were the overdubbed masters with the backing removed badly, and it showed they were very dull in sound, but here we hear the real pure Elvis!, this has the feel of the “FTD - Jungle Room Sessions” to the recording.
The CD comes to an end with some unreleased soundboard recordings from Elvis’ March ’75 Vegas stint, but these are undated at the moment but over the coming weeks we’ll no doubt get the date/dates, as most of this Vegas engagement is available on audience recordings, and someone will match them up for us. Finally to round off we get a binaural recording from March 21st 1976 in Cincinnati, Ohio. This is a real bummer, why now, why not back when the show was first released on CD.
So is this a CD full of odds and sods or a preview of what’s to come in the future, if it is just a CD of odds and sods, well it’s a pretty good one and will get a fair number of turns on my CD player, if it is a preview of things to come, we will be spoiled, I for one would love to see an album full of undubbed masters from these acetates and master tapes if these are anything to go by. In my opinion 77 minutes and 6 seconds well spent.