After a six week delay due to a faulty pressing we get the follow up to the highly acclaimed Legendary Performer Volume 5. Madison continued the series started by the late Joan Deary in style.
Do we really need to describe it, the Madison label should be the standard for Elvis releases. The guys from this import label have enough feathers stuck in that one place it must tickle a lot ... RCA, Follow That Dream, pay attention (we're sure you have a copy of this release).
It is great to hear the great enthusiasm on "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" and the cough at the end (who has been trying to keep it in?). From the same session on February 3, 1956 comes "Shake Rattle And Roll" in an undubbed version. This is rock and roll, no reason to diss the backing groups Elvis used, but a few instruments jamming around the microphone is as pure as you can get it. Almost a year later Elvis tries to impersonate Fats Domino on his version of "Blueberry Hill", but we prefer the version on which he uses his own voice. Fortunately he can keep "Fat's voice" only for the first verse.
After the farm version of "Loving You" sounding more delicate and pure than the standard version we all know, we get a live report of Elvis April 2, 1957 in Canada. Although told in a very dry style, you can feel the excitement and the public’s reaction on Elvis’ performance (which is nearly audible in the back).
"Riding the Rainbow" is a song that’s not among our favourites, but it is still a pleasant listen. "Fountain Of Love" is a better song and sung in a delicate way by Elvis, but is perhaps a bit too high for him. "Kissin' Cousins 2" is a nice upbeat change on the CD, unfortunately is slightly lesser audio quality than the tracks we heard so far. Then it is time to hit skip for "Smokey Mountain Boy", well, we didn’t really, but it is fit for it. "Tender Feeling" is a slightly better song, but again the audio quality is mediocre.
One step up in quality is the "So Close Yet So Far (From paradise)", but it is a bit bombastic. Time for an upbeat song again, "The Love Machine" take 12 is sung a bit slow, perhaps Elvis should have given this song either a more bluesy or more upbeat treatment, this way it keeps hanging somewhere in between. A personal favorite due to the catchy tune is "Stay Away" of which we get the takes 5 and 10. After the underrated "If I'm a Fool (For Loving You)" we get we get three takes of the great "Wearin' That Loved On Look", a more adult Elvis with a stronger voice and a dirty sounding band deliver this song as low and dirty as it should.
A bit sudden we go on stage. With a soundboard of "What'd I Say" from 1969 with all the fireworks of a man who wants to prove himself again and has to work to keep up with the band and the song. Too bad he couldn't keep this sound going during the next eight years of live performances, so raw! Together with the two opening tracks this is the highlight of the CD.
Time for a small step back (or as we hear Elvis say "oh Lord have mercy") for "True Love Love Travels on a Gravel Road". Our man a bit up front, and taking his own path, away from the music, but always a pleasant song to listen to. Unfortunately recorded a bit too loud on the soundboard, but we already knew that from the CD with that title.
The live show continues with "Kentucky Rain", Heartbreak Hotel" and "One Night" from February 1970, a pleasure to listen to as always. Up next are a few rehearsals. "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me" and a joking Elvis on "Don't Cry Daddy". Too much joking to deliver a good version, but funny to listen to.
We enter 1972 with a soundboard of "Bridge" which brings the shivers down our spine, very delicate with Elvis and the piano (unfortunately joking a bit too much, the song doesn't need this).
Something you don't hear too often, Elvis getting two Gold Record Awards, but somehow Elvis doesn't sound too enthusiastically, or was he expecting these being the performer he is?
A strong "Steamroller Blues" from 1973 brings it back on stage again. Elvis continues this performance on "It's Midnight", a very underestimated ballad. Not one of Elvis favorites, but one of ours is "Burning Love". This 1976 recording sound funny, we miss the bass in this recording. With "Hurt" from the same date, March 20, 1976, we get one of Elvis' favorite songs, and it shows in his late live performances as this is the song he tries to deliver as he should.
The CD ends musically with a live version of "Love Letters", but we prefer a piano over a keyboard anytime on a tender ballad like this. The last track of the album is a commercial for the "Elvis Aron Presley" box set. The famous "laughing version" of "Are You Lonesome Tonight” is used to sell the box. We don't know if a laughing reaction from Elvis on the spoken text in the advertisement is a real seller, but it does sound funny and is a nice piece of history.
As with volume 5, another great compilation showcasing the legendary performer Elvis was. It also showcases that there still is some great material left (and to look forward to) between already known material. Follow That Dream pay attention, you can do this too, or should we say, should do this too!
Track listing :
01- Lawdy, Miss Clawdy (tk. 9) Feb. 3, 1956 2:09 / 02- Shake, Rattle And Roll (tk. 13 - master take without backing vocal overdub) Feb. 3, 1956 2:22 / Blueberry Hill (Binaural tk. 8) Jan. 19, 1957 2:35 / 04- Loving You (farm version 3) (Tk. 6) Feb. 14, 1957 2:01 / 05- Elvis Shakes His Pelvis In Canada (previously unreleased radio broadcast) April 2, 1957 2:07 / 06- Riding The Rainbow (Tk. 6 , second version) 148 / 07- Fountain Of Love (Tk. 8, 6) March 18, 1962 2:42 / 08- Kissin' Cousins (Number 2) (Take 4, previously unreleased master without backing vocal overdub) Oct. 10, 1963 1:14 / 09- Smokey Mountain Boy (Tk. 3, previously unreleased master without banjo overdub) Oct. 10, 1963 2:34 / 10- Tender Feeling (Tk. 1, previously unreleased master without backing vocals) Oct. 10, 1963 2:30 / 11- So Close Yet So Far (From Paradise) (Tk. 2*, 3) (* previously unreleased) Feb. 25, 1965 3:17 / 12- The Love Machine (Tk. 12, master) Sept. 29, 1966 2:53 / 13- Stay Away (Tk. 5, 10, guitar overdub Tk. 1) (previously unreleased) Jan. 17, 1968 2:59 / 14- If I'm A Fool (For Loving You) (Tk. 5,4) (previously unreleased) Feb. 21, 1969 1:23 / 15- Wearin' That Loved On Look (Tk. 1*, 9*, 11) (* previously unreleased) Jan. 13, 1969 3:38 / 16- What I'd Say ? (Las Vegas, NV. August 21, 1969 midnight show) 3:57 / 17- True Love Travels On A Gravel Road (Las Vegas, NV January 26, 1970 opening night) 2:51 / 18- Kentucky Rain (Las Vegas, NV January 26, 1970 opening night) 3:12 / 19- Heartbreak Hotel (Las Vegas, NV February 23, 1970 closing night) 1:35 / 20- One Night (Elvis on electric guitar) (Las Vegas, NV February 23, 1970 closing night) 2:33 / 21- You Don't Have To Say You Love Me (with reprise) July 29, 1970 rehearsal 3:29 / 22- Don't Cry Daddy (August 4, 1970 rehearsal) (previously unreleased) 2:31 / 23- Bridge Over Troubled Water (Richmond, VA April 10, 1972) 4:00 / 24- Gold Record Award presentation to Elvis (Las Vegas, NV. August 1972) (previously unreleased) 0:35 / 25- Steamroller Blues (Las Vegas, NV Jan. 29, 1973 dinner show) 2:47 / 26- It's Midnight (Las Vegas, NV August 30, 1974 midnight show) 3:13 / 27- Burning Love (Charlotte, NC March 20, 1976 evening show) (previously unreleased binaural) 2:46 / 28- Hurt (Charlotte, NC March 20, 1976 evening show) (previously unreleased binaural) 2:13 / 29- Love Letters (Birmingham, AL Dec. 29, 1976) (previously unreleased binaural) 2:44 / 30- Radio Ad for Elvis Aron Presley LP box-set (1980) (previously unreleased) 1:03.