I’m afraid my view on this FTD is not as extensive as Loes’ view on Hits of the 70’s.
The design is the best of the release, also on the original album. They nicely photoshopped Elvis’ waist to more healthy proportions, even long before photoshop became a verb. Without kidding, I loved the cover back in the late 70s, because it fitted my “The King Lives On” poster perfectly. As usual the booklet has a lot of background information and nice additional memorabilia as decoration. To proof my joke is true, they included also the original photo of the one on the front. They do not explain why the words “Recorded Live” were added to the title. I guess it was to emphasize he was still alive.
As I said, I liked the cover years ago, and also the album was played often. I kept it defending to those friends and family members who said he didn’t sound as good as on other records. Partly that was because I thought I had to be loyal to my idol, but for a bigger part it was because it was one of the first regular Elvis albums I bought. Until this one I had “A Portrait in Music”, “Elvis Forever” and some of the Camden albums. I guess it is because of the latter that I didn’t realize Elvis was out of shape.
Over the years as I learned to know other versions of the songs on this album I found that – totally against my earlier experiences – I actually liked them better in most cases. And collecting other Elvis albums underlined even more that the singer on this album isn’t “my man”.
Some call it soul, showing how he felt or whatever. I just call it a combination of bad health, disinterest and bad management.
Of course there are rare glimpses of what the man was able to in earlier years, but they are scarce. Most of the takes of Hurt are still good, For the Heart (although a weak song) gets a relatively enthusiastic treatment and even Bitter They Are, Harder They Fall catches me still because of the lines “She caught me lying, then she caught a train. And I caught a fever walking home in the rain”.
However, hearing Elvis struggle on “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” is straight painful. Even more painful is that it happens in this crystal clear sound quality, so you can hear it very clearly…
I know that the majority will call this a useless review for whatever reason, but that’s no reason for me not to tell it like I hear (and see) it. With Loes I will enjoy the senseless FTD Hits from the 70’s over and over again (and yes, it should have been a Legacy release), but this one will probably never find its way to my player again, unless I have visitors who I want to leave soon.