We can only say that you have to have it! Even if you have every single take released before, this FTD-release contains 74 minutes of pure listening pleasure.
The ElvisNews Review
Unfortunately we didn't have this CD as fast as we are used to. It has one positive site for us, since we were able to read other reviews first this time. What is very remarkable is that everybody seems to complain about the familiarity of the material. Too much is out on bootleg already and even on BMG releases. We can understand the last, but the first is really, really ridiculous. As if BMG/ Ernst Jorgensen should keep bootlegs that much in mind. We suspect he does anyway, when releasing soundboards. In this special case where we are talking about Elvis' best session ever (maybe second best behind the "Elvis Is Back"-sessions), the fans should be glad to have the material finally in stereo (and overall better) sound.
We are used to it already, the art department for the FTD-label is on low-level budget. So it is no surprise that we have a very simple design (although we have to admit that the background design resamples Memphis perfectly). A bit strange choice to erase the people on picture on the front, but there might be (financial) reasons for that. The track info is pretty complete and with not too many mistakes (Take 10 of "Wearin' That Loved-On Look" is on the "Time Life"-series), although we wonder if we will ever see a flawless list on a release. One might expect that especially Ernst & Co. should be able to do that.
In the 74 minutes of the CD Ernst & Co managed to put a fairly complete overview of these January/February 1969 sessions, and we are very happy with it. It will not make bootlegs like "American Crown Jewels" and "Finding The Way Home" unnecessary, but it is a great addition to the collection, and without any doubt the most valuable in the FTD-series so far, regarding listening pleasure. The sound quality is, of course, good although sometimes it seems to be a bit flat. Since most of the material is indeed known by a lot of the fans, we don't go into every track, but we have to mention a few highlights. The undubbed master of "Stranger In My Own Home Town" is one of them. It's a pity that the organ is a bit too far to the background to replace the "missing violins and brass" in the beginning but later in the song you wonder why they ever did want to do it with the overdubs. "Suspicious Minds" has a marvelous "rehearsing" intro to a known take (6). "Power Of My Love" is so strong, that it is a jewel in any version; the same goes for "True Love Travels" and "Long Black Limousine". The splice of "Hey Jude" is fun to listen to, although it isn't Elvis strongest performance of a song to say it mildly.
We can only say that you have to have it! Even if you have every single take released before, this FTD-release contains 74 minutes of pure listening pleasure. The waiting is now for a box-set, containing "The Complete Memphis Sessions".