Thank You Very Much

Fort Baxter (Released 2003)

Baby what you want me to do ('69) / Don't cry Daddy (Jan '70) / I got a woman - Suspicious minds (rehearsals July 24, '70) / Make The World Go Away - Something (January 26, 1971 (opening night) / Polk Salad Annie (Aug 11, '70) / I Can't Stop Loving You (Feb 5, '73) / Trouble (Aug 20, '73) / Steamroller Blues (March 20, '74) / It's Now Or Never (May 25, '74) / Hound Dog (May 27, '74) / When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again - Blue Christmas (June 29, '74) / Good Time Charlie Got The Blues (Aug 19, '74) / It's Midnight (Sept 2,'74) / Blue Christmas (Sept 28, '74) / Big Boss Man (Oct 6, '74) / I'll Be There - You're The Reason I'm Living (March 22, '75) / Jambalaya (May 4, '75) / Just Pretend (Dec 13, '75) / That's All Right (July 5, '76) / Return To Sender (Aug 1, 76) / CC Rider (Dec 28, '76) / Moody Blue (Feb 21, '77) / Hurt (April 23, '77) / My Way (April 24, '77)

This new CD from the famous Fort Baxter label is as the title suggested a “ Greatest Hits “ type of CD. There are two unreleased tracks out of 36 tracks so in terms of “ new material “ we are on the short side although the total playing time is 74:09 minutes. It comes with an eight (8) pages booklet with a text highlighting what Fort Baxter has brought us since their first soundboard release ( Just Pretend in 1991 ) plus some color pictures taken at different locations : Backstage in Boston,MA., 1968, Atlanta,GA. December 30,1976, a reproduction of the lyrics of “ America “ apparently handwritten by Elvis and Cincinnati,OH. of 1977 after he stormed out from his Hotel because it was too hot in his room.

The CD contains mostly live recordings with the exceptions of two tracks recorded at the July 24, 1970 rehearsals. All the years are represented with tracks from 1969 to 1977. The CD opens with “ Baby What You Want Me To Do “ credited as being from August 1, 1969 although we know now that this dinner show released as “ Opening Night 1969 “ was most likely recorded around August 3rd. The second track is “ Don’t Cry Daddy “ from “ Walk A Mile In My Shows “ and wrongly dated as February 1, 1970 since we learned afterward this CD actually contained 2/3 of the January 26, 1970 opening show. The CD continues with two songs recorded at the July 24, 1970 rehearsals ( I Got A Woman and Suspicious Minds ), both respectively released on “ The Brightest Star On Sunset Blvd vol.1 & 2 “.

From there we get to the two unreleased live tracks “ Make The World Go Away “ and “ Something “ ( with reprise ) credited on the back cover as “ Las Vegas, 1971 “ and inside the booklet as January 27, 1971. However the correct date for these two songs is January 26, 1971 opening show. The sound on these two tracks is certainly acceptable but not the best as most shows we’ve got from 1971. The CD “ All Things Are Possible “ ( DAE ) contained three tracks from this concert as bonuses since their January 27, 1971 m/s was incomplete. These two versions aren’t by any means Elvis’ best renditions but nonetheless interesting to have. The best shows from this Vegas Season were done during the last two weeks, but so far no soundboard ever surfaced from the second half of the season.

Overall the songs selected are very good but my biggest reserve would be about “ Steamroller Blues “ from the March 20, 1974 Memphis show. Why ? Simply because the best sounding version is on the BMG box-set “ Platinum “, and for one I would had choose a different track here. Several others had to be included, so it’s not surprising to find on this compilation songs like ; When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again/ Blue Christmas ( June 29, 1974 ), Good Time Charlie’s Got The Blues ( August 19, 1974 ), It’s Midnight ( September 2, 1974 closing show ), I’ll Be There / You’re The Reason I’m Leavin’ ( March 22, 1975 ), Jambalaya ( May 4, 1975 ), Just Pretend ( December 13, 1975 ) and Moody Blue ( February 21, 1977 ) to name just a few.

The booklet states that “ All tracks have been remastered again for even better sound quality ! “ . Quite frankly I didn’t compare at all with the original outings since it would be time consuming. Overall I would say this is the typical “ Baxter sound “, and they most likely went back to their original tapes for obtaining an “ even sound level “ since many of these releases weren’t sounding the same. Is it worth buying ? If you are a hardcore collector and want all the Baxter releases then the answer is yes. If you have a lot of Fort Baxter CDs missing in your collection, and especially the ones with those tracks then the answer is again yes. For other fans who doesn’t fit into both category the answer is most likely no.

sound rate : ****