Thanks to a wrong postcode it took a couple of days extra, but I have it, at last!
As with all Southern Comfort releases the design is fabultastic. Interesting notes by Philip Samm are decorated with great candid shots, memorabilia and live shots. I especially love the “At last the lion is set loose!”- header together with its picture, how fitting! As promised the alternate cover is indeed the back of the booklet, so the ones that loved that one better… can turn the booklet around. Also there is still a “glimmer of hope” in me, since it announces volume 6 (but I heard other sounds by now, unfortunately).
Technically we didn’t need the takes of “Without Love”, since we got them recently in stereo. On the other hand… this series wouldn’t be complete without it. Anyway, I can’t get enough of this song. Tom Jones did a marvelous job on it, and Elvis added some extra emotion (although Tom Jones fans never agree with me here ;-)).
After these takes it’s time for rough mixes! “Gentle on My Mind” is almost a different song with the organ and harmonica upfront; it has a very relaxed atmosphere. The undubbed master of Neil Diamond’s “A Little Bit of Green” shows that dubbing can do something good to a song. “Wearin’ That Loved-On Look” and “Suspicious Minds” are both welcome in any version, two of the best songs of the session (and Elvis’ complete repertoire) in my book. I know “I’ll Be There” isn’t counted as one of the best by most, but somehow I always dug the song a lot. In this rough mix there is (a bit too much) echo in Elvis’ voice. “Hey Jude” has something in common with “I’ll Be There”: it’s not one of the strongest songs of the session, and this time I fully agree. Miraculously the heavy piano - and later on bass – in this mix makes it a lot more interesting to me. The last three songs in the rough mixes section are a firm fundament for a great CD too, I can hear “You’ll Think of Me”, “Inherit the Wind” and “This Is the Story” any place and any time.
Next up is a live section, a strange duck in the bite, as we say in Holland ;-). Obviously the source is better than the known “True Love Travels on a Gravel Road” releases of the last century. From the opening show on January 26, 1970 five tracks are present on this disc. Sammy Shore underlines why I don’t like this type of stand up comedian (I’d rather listen to George Bush) before we get the Opening Riff, “All Shook Up”, “Don’t Cry Daddy”, “Walk a Mile in My Shoes/ In the Ghetto” and “True Love Travels”. So you can see there is a clear link with the American Way series (next to the appearance on this disc).
I don’t know what mix of pills Elvis used before he started to record “Goin’ Home”, but the result is a funny mess of takes. The language he uses is not allowed on this site, so I can’t use it myself either (as promised!). Unfortunately recordings like this are funny to listen to every now and then… but not too often, especially since the acetate source wasn’t too good. More “Goin’ Home” from later takes are in better quality.
Well, it was worth the extra waiting! I have to state that it is certainly not the strongest volume in the series, but especially the first half demands playing time more than once. And that is something I can’t say too often with most recent bootleg releases. I really hope the Southern Comfort crew takes a long well deserved vacation and will return safely and freshly, with inspiration for more.
"WITHOUT LOVE" SESSION:
01. Without Love - takes 1, 2, 3 (complete take + 2 x false start)
02. Without Love - take 4 (complete take)
03. Without Love - take 5 (complete master take)
All tracks mono.
"ROUGH MIX TAPE":
04. Gentle On My Mind (vocal overdub, master take - number unknown)
05. Just A Little Bit Of Green (undubbed master take 3)
06. Wearin' That Loved On Look (partially overdubbed master take 15)
07. Suspicious Minds (vocal overdub, master take 8)
08. I'll Be There - takes 5, 6 (false start + complete take with vocal echo)
09. Hey Jude (longer running undubbed master)
10. You'll Think Of Me (vocal overdub, master take 23)
11. Inherit The Wind (partially overdubbed master take 4)
12. This Is The Story - takes 1, 2 (false start + complete master take vocal overdub)
All tracks mono.
"LAS VEGAS 26.01.1970 OPENING SHOW"***:
13. Sammy Shore's end of sketch / Opening Riff
14. All Shook Up
15. Don't Cry Daddy
16. Walk A Mile In My Shoes / In The Ghetto (medley)
17. True Love Travels On A Gravel Road (with false start, the only known live version)
All tracks mono.
"GOIN' HOME" SESSION (PART 1 - ACETATE SOURCE):
18. Goin' Home - takes 3, 4 (studio chat + 2 x false start)
19. Goin' Home - take 5 (complete take)
20. Goin' Home - exact take numbers unknown (3 x false start)
21. Goin' Home - takes 12, 13, 14 (2 x false start + long false start + take 15 announcement only)
All tracks mono.
"GOIN' HOME" SESSION (PART 2)***:
22. Goin' Home - takes 16, 17, 18 (long false start + 5 x false start)
23. Goin' Home - takes 19, 20, 22 (long false start + 2 x false start)
24. Goin' Home - takes 23, 24 (complete take with cut + "I Got A Woman" excerpt + false start including "Heartbreak Hotel" excerpt)
25. Goin' Home - takes 25, 26, 27, 28 (false start + complete take with cut + 2 x false start)
All tracks stereo.