Gravel Road Music just released a 3CD box focusing on Elvis in 1969, both in the studio as on stage.
As usual the package is top notch, a bit tight in the box, but after I managed to get it out my lower jar was somewhere on my chest. The fold out sleeve is decorated with pictures from the NBC special (Elvis in black, from Guitar Man/ Trouble) and Vegas 1969 (Elvis in white).
The 32 page booklet is full with more great pictures and background information. As an extra there is a photo album with both promotional and live shots.
CD one contains basically the two studio albums coming from the American Sound Studio sessions. The main difference with those albums is that these are the repaired masters. I saw a lot of comments that we have all that already on the FTD versions of these albums. That’s more or less true, but those contain mostly the unrepaired masters. In any case I can only say I love the disc and already played it half a dozen of times and ripped it for in the car and on my phone.
The second CD is a compilation of all multi-tracks available from the August 24 Midnight Show. Unfortunately not all songs were released so it is completed with some songs from the Dinner Show of the same date. It is a very pleasant listen, but still… it is not the complete show. I wonder how they managed to make it sound “as a whole”, looking at all different sources they have used.
The 3rd CD contains a complete version of the show, but it is “only” the soundboard. DAE released it before on Here I Go Again. GRM decided not to add all the effects that DAE used to add. I am very happy with that, since I never really liked those reverb, echo or whatever effects. Unfortunately something went wrong with the transfer, or my CD is damaged, since there is a little jump at the end of James’ solo in Johnny B. Also the finish of the recording is a bit abrupt, but it’s all they got I guess.
The last 22 minutes are for the musicians in the American Sound Studio… rehearsing and first attempt of recording Come Out, Come Out. It is not exactly my piece of cake, but it is just an extra.
A beautiful package with a great studio CD that will get many spins over here. The second CD is a good listen and until Sony decides to release the full show (if they have it completely) this is the closest we get to it in this quality. I regard the 3rd disc as a bonus, but it won’t end up in my player very often.