The newest classic album (sounds a bit like a contradiction, doesn’t it?) on the Follow That Dream label has arrived!
For a starter I like to say that this will not be an unbiased review, since my earliest days as an Elvis fan this gospel session has been my favorite, since it is in my ears the most joyful one and “lighter” than the others.
As we are used to by now, FTD delivers a pretty good job with this series of re-releases. A fold out 7” cover with the original album art – even including the wrong title for “He Knows Just What I Need” – reveals the 2 CDs that are printed with the original album labels. The booklet brings background information, memorabilia and great shots of EP.
As said before I loved this session and the original album has been replaced at least twice before the CD era started. No, smart people, not because I made stains on the cover (Elvis never physically attracted me), but because they became unplayable. Yes youngsters, LPs wore off when you played them very often. Normally I have an uncontrollable urge to switch CDs after one has played once, but yesterday I played disc 2 several times in a row and at this very moment CD 1 is playing five hours in a row now. The only reason I will turn it off is to watch the news in half an hour.
I think that says it all... these songs never fail to enjoy me and what’s more important never bore me. For some reason this session has not a single song that I don’t like, while my other favorite sessions have at least one. Like “Soldier Boy” in the “Elvis Is Back”-sessions retains me from playing that one over and over again.
The only negative on this release is that Elvis was too motivated. He knew exactly what he wanted and how he wanted it. This results in hardly any evolution in the takes. Especially my favorites, the traditional up tempo gospels “Joshua Fit The Battle” and “Swing Down Sweet Chariot” had very few takes… With the latter you wonder until the very end why they even did a second try, since in my ears it was even better than the master. I love the extra accent the bass singer had in take one.
I had to adjust my votes for the FTD Top 40 after listening to this release. The set made some bootlegs unneeded since the quality is superior and therefore is a real bootleg killer. It will spend many more hours in my player.