Released by the Golden Archives label is the CD “Elvis And Friends Unplugged”. Should it be part of your archive?
When the cover art of this release hit the world wide web the reactions were positive. A vague unclear picture of Elvis, but somehow catching. The back on the one page booklet contains a picture from the 1968 Comeback and details on the various tracks.
This release contains what the title says it does. “Unplugged recordings of Elvis and friends. On this disc we get seven sections with various “unplugged sessions” both at home, abroad, in the studio, in the dressing room and near a stage.
For starters we get a session recorded at the Thompson home, November 1973; plain fun among friends. Especially the “Baby, What You Want Me To Do” is a nice version, this slow approach emphasizes the theme of the song, so does the same approach of ‘I’m So Lonely I Could Cry”. With just Elvis on guitar on “See See Rider” and “That’s All Right” we’re back twenty years in time when it all began.
Then five years back in time to a dressing room on the NBC lot rehearsing for what became known as the “Comeback Special”. We all know these recordings. Another five years back takes us to the home of another former girlfriend of Elvis, Anita Wood for “Just A Closer Walk With Thee”, as always, great to hear Elvis sing the music he loves best. The same goes for the one track recorded abroad in Germany “”I’m Beginning To Forget You” on which you can hear Elvis trying out a song and recording himself.
Back to Graceland for two tracks; “Mona Lisa” is a standard classic from the Bing Crosby songbook, a bit sweet, but Elvis had a liking for this kind of music. Unfortunately ‘Send Me Some Lovin’” is a really bad recording, it is a very nice song.
The CD closes with a second version of “Spanish Eyes” on which Elvis jams in the studio with the group Voice, Sherrill Nielsen and several others (1974). Unfortunately messed up by Elvis trying to be funny with the lyrics… Fortunately he is far more serious on the last “unplugged” session on this release, a gospel session from 1972 as recorded for “On Tour”, a great closing session for this release.
A nice collection of unplugged recordings, one can only wish to have been there as a silent bystander watching this man singing spontaneously. There is nothing new on this CD, but the variety of songs and recordings makes it worth getting.