The third in a series of special releases from the French My Happiness fan club on authors who wrote many hits for Elvis. This time they focused on the two most successful composers chart wise; Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.
As with the previous editions this release is a beautiful four panel digi pack. Inside we find the track listing, covers of Leiber and Stoller hits and two picture discs with publicity shots. The booklet is in French and English and details all the hits on this compilation with information on the song, Elvis recording it and chart results. These liner notes are illustrated by old covers and movie posters, unfortunately in black and white only. On the back of the booklet Leiber and Stoller stand in the White House beside Bill Clinton reviewing the Leiber and Stoller Elvis songbook, a nice touch, even (ex) world leaders enjoy these songs.
Of course we know every song by heart, from the first to the last one, unfortunately this goes for the out-takes on this release too. But that has to be one of the very few negative points we can come up with next to the fact that there is some variation in the volume of the songs, probably due to the use of songs from various sources (in both mono and – binaural –stereo).
Several out-takes were not included on the request of BMG, probably because they were released on recent FTD compilations and box sets, live versions were skipped too, with the exception of a very short live version of “Loving You” which Elvis has some trouble on “hold on, I know this song”, but that is a funny introduction to the next out-take. But this leaves plenty of other beauties to listen to.
This release obviously aims to document the Leiber and Stoller catalogue Elvis recorded, totaling 24 songs. We all know how important their songs were for Elvis career, especially the beginning, so these two gentlemen deserve a special fan release (besides the official BMG release with only masters). Besides the official BMG catalogue releases it is great fun collect special editions in special packages just like the Follow That Dream soundtrack and deleted albums releases.
Unlike most out-take releases which focus on a certain session this release focuses on the composers which means there is a lot more variation in the music, although we must say, there is a lot of ‘Loving You”, eleven versions, on this release. Not too many releases feature the duet with Ann Margaret “You’re The Boss” and the chemistry between those two oozes out of the speakers, great material. Just like the Leiber and Stoller compositions Elvis recorded for the “Comeback Special” in the sixties and for his “Raised On Rock” album in the seventies.
Somehow we always associate these two composers with the fifties. But with his more mature voice Elvis can lay down strong versions of these songs, with a completely different sound than his fifties recordings which were “wilder” as these seventies recordings were more mature. The rendition of “Little Egypt / Trouble” from the Comeback Special is very good, you hear the band, Elvis and the “trouble”.
Some of the edits are not very good, especially the fade out on “Trouble” and the intro of ‘Saved”, although we must say the last one really rocks. Going to put the new Comeback DVD on when this review is finished.
The CD ends with three songs (“Hound Dog”, “Love Me” and “Bossa Nova Baby”) by other artists, which probably inspired Elvis, fun to listen to, because it could be what our man listened to and inspired him to do his version.
This release is a suiting tribute to two very important in Elvis’ life. He recorded their songs in fifties, sixties and seventies so you can say these gentlemen were there from (nearly) the start to (almost) the end. Their contributions include some of Elvis greatest hits, were part of some of his most appreciated films, used in the legendary 1968 Comeback special and featured on one of Elvis best albums of the seventies, "Raised On Rock".
A great addition to any collection, not only for the quality of the music, the quality of the package but also for the out-takes and different versions of many well known songs.
Hound Dog/Love Me/Hot Dog/Loving You/Jailhouse Rock/I Want To Be Free/Baby I Don't Care/Treat Me Nice/Don't/Santa Claus Is Back In Town/Trouble/King Creole/Steadfast, Loyal And True/Dirty, Dirty Feeling/Just Tell Her Jim Said Hello/She's Not You/Girls! Girls! Girls!/Bossa Nova Baby/You're The Boss/Little Egypt/Fools Fall In Love/Saved/If You Don't Come Back/Three Corn Patches/Jailhouse Rock (Stereo master)/I Want To Be Free (Master)/Steadfast, Loyal And True (Undubbed version)/Loving You (Main version - take 1)/Loving You (Farm version - take 1)/Treat Me Nice (First movie version - take 19)/Treat Me Nice (Takes 10, 13)/I Want To Be Free (Movie version - take 12)/Loving You (Main version - take 3)/Loving You (Farm version - take 6)/King Creole (Take 8 - instrumental)
Loving You (Main version - takes 5, 8)/Loving You (Farm version - take 10)/Jailhouse Rock (Takes 5, 6)/Treat Me Nice (Takes 6, 13)/I Want To Be Free (Takes 3, 4, 10, 12, 13)/Baby I Don't Care (Take 1)/Loving You (Main version - takes 13, 15)/Loving You (Farm version - take 12)/King Creole (Takes 3, 18)/Steadfast, Loyal And True (Take 6)/Just Tell Her Jim Said Hello (Takes 1, 4)/She's Not You (Take 2)/Girls! Girls! Girls! (Take 15)/Bossa Nova Baby (Take 2)/You're The Boss (Takes 3, 16)/Little Egypt (Take 21)/If You Don't Come Back (Take 3)/Three Corn Patches (Take 14)/Loving You (Main version - takes 20, 21)/Little Egypt (Take unknown)/Trouble (Take unknown and 21)/Saved (Take 6)/Hound Dog (Freddie Bell And The Bellboys)/Love Me (Willy And Ruth)/Bossa Nova Baby (Tippie And The Clovers)