We don't know whether the front of the cover is supposed to be art, or if it is just a bad picture. Since the print work on the other pictures is fine, we're afraid that it is intended as art.
Anyway it's not the cover that counts with a CD, but the content. We saw already some complaints about that too by people who complained about the availability on other releases. Of course BMG certainly can't keep bootlegs in mind, so we are not going to compare this release with those, except for the remark that this release beats any bootleg regarding quality. But that's easy and we could have said that before listening. Content
The 6363 Sunset CD can roughly be divided in three parts. The first part contains 6 tracks taken from the first studio session(s) with the TCB-band late March 1972. The next 7 tracks were recorded only a couple of days later, when the band was rehearsing for "Elvis On Tour", so it's a kind of concert without audience, representing a great atmosphere. The third part, again from March, but this time from 1975, contains 6 tracks from the "Today"-sessions.
The CD starts with take 3 of "Always of Mind", a good start of course since any version of this song by Elvis is a delight. This one follows that rule and especially the balance between the backing vocals and Elvis in the final part of the song is great. Take 2 of "Burning Love" is very refreshing. It's fun listening to Elvis searching his way in a song that he disliked, according to some people. The final result became Elvis' last real big hit and like this early take it doesn't really give the impression Elvis hated his job, which shows the real professional.
Kris Kristofferson's "For the Good Times" gets the usual treatment, resulting in another convincing take (3). "Where Do I Go From Here" is one of those Elvis' songs that seem to be disliked by as many people that like it, and take 6 doesn't differ very much from the master take, but there seems to be some hesitation sometimes and it ends pretty abrupt, like "Burning Love" did too. More hesitation in the first take of "Fool", certainly not Elvis' strongest song, but nevertheless we did enjoy this track. The in our opinion underrated "It's a Matter of Time" (no take number on the cover), called uninspiring by Ernst Jorgensen in "A Life in Music", gets some different phrasing.
The "mini-show", consisting of "See See Rider", "Until It's Time for You to Go", "A Big Hunk O'Love" (take 2), "All Shook Up", "Heartbreak Hotel", "Teddy Bear/ Don't Be Cruel" and "Can't Help Falling in Love", sounds of course pretty familiar, since it's all regular live material. The only conclusion one can have that Elvis and the TCB-band certainly didn't need a big orchestra behind them, in opposite… without it the material sounds much fresher.Not so long ago we took a closer look on an oldie, "Today", one of the conclusions was that it is probably one of the better produced sessions during the 70's. This Follow That Dream-release proves that again. Very clear sound, great balance and Elvis who seems to be really involved give us some great sounding tracks. Takes 2-3 of "Green, Green Grass of Home" is as most of the others close to the master. An irritated throat is the most remarkable thing.
On "Susan When She Tried" (take 1-2) Elvis has some fun by changing names, be it on purpose or not. "And I Love You So" gets a beautiful deliverance, especially for Sheila Ryan, one of Elvis' girlfriends at the time. "Bringing It Back" (take 2-3) is just bringing it back, one of the weaker songs of the session. The first take of "T-R-O-U-B-L-E" is a little slower than the final one and the piano is even more prominent, great! Elvis had some spelling T-R-O-U-B-L-E, all in all a great impression of the development of this song. The CD closes with "Shake a Hand" of which the take number (2) is probably the biggest difference with the master.
Overall the soundquality is great, but the rehearsal tracks are a little less, that's why we gave a varying score for soundquality.
Concluding we can only say that this is a neat new release on the FTD-label, keep them coming!