The latest release from FTD, the Nashville Marathon, is in my opinion a gem. This is the kind of stuff that dreams are made of. The first thing I can say is that this should have been retitled ‘Essential Elvis - A Hundred Years From Now Part.2’ , for I have not heard a release that matched that awesome CD ... until now!
Let's look at the songs from that ‘marathon’ session that yielded some of Elvis most beautiful songs of the 70's. The studio side of ‘Elvis -That's The Way It Is’ which has such great love songs as ‘Twenty Days And Twenty Nights’, ‘The Next Step Is Love’, ‘How The Web Was Woven’ and my personal all time favorite ‘Mary In The Morning’. Around 15 years ago, my mother used my car to run an errand, and in the cassette player was the soundtrack to ‘That's The Way It Is’. After coming back, my mother said to me ‘I didn't know Elvis sang such pretty songs’? They are touching, have so much feeling and come from deep within the soul. The alternate takes are even better here, without the overdubs. They take on a quieter, softer approach and seem more intimate. Now, that does not mean that there is no fast action on this CD on the contrary, just listen to ‘A Hundred Years From Now’, but first ‘fasten your seat belts’ for you are in for one helluva ride! Now, be careful, for there is some strong language here, but thanks to Ernst's honest approach at bringing us the entire creative process of these sessions, it is almost essential to leave this banter in. We could have done without the takes of ‘Life’ and ‘It Ain't No Big Thing’, but for history, it's all here.
Sure, you can tell on some of the takes why they were not used. Elvis' voice crackles and pops on some of the more challenging takes like ‘Rags To Riches’ and he is unsure of how high he can take a song such as ‘Tommorow Never Comes’ and ‘Where Did They Go, Lord’, but they are fun to listen to! All in all, this is what those who loved the ‘Hundred Years From Now’ release from a few years back, have been waiting for. The session falls together well and is represented perfectly. This will be one of the better FTD's, just like ‘Jungle Room Sessions’, it gives us a great insight as to the creative, and personal side of the man from Tennessee. It's been twenty five years, but the legend is stronger than ever, and we are the luckiest ones of all, for even though Elvis may be gone, we have all gotten closer to him than we could ever imagine.......for that I am grateful, but that's just my opinion!