We waited anxiously for it the last couple of weeks, and finally it dropped into our mailbox last week. Of course we are talking about the new book "Elvis Shot By Ed Bonja" that is released by Elvis Unlimited. Now we can ask ourselves the question, was it worth to be tense with expectancy?
In the interview we had with Ed Bonja a couple of weeks ago, he already mentioned it was mainly a photobook with only small text. That's not too bad, because the text available has quite some misprints, e.g. three different ways to spell the word 'charisma' (yes, one of them was right). The pictures themselves are a little pale most of the time; some of them are available elsewhere in better quality (e.g. The Concert Years). Probably this has to do with finding the balance in price and quality.
There is no special order in the pictures, first it looks like they are chronological, but soon that turns out to be coincidental. This might be a disadvantage when you are looking for a particular one.
The strength of this book is that there are a lot of 'new' pictures. Not all of them are as sharp as we might want them, but of course the best are used before and that's why Bonja is one of the famous 'Elvis people'. Many, many fans can't get enough live-shots of The King, and they still will have some real good ones in this book. Especially a series of pictures from the 1972 November-tour (Long Beach and Hawaii) are really breathtaking. Also some marvellous shots from Vegas, January 1973, must be mentioned, several shows are covered, among them - of course - quite some pictures with the 'Today'-suit (Egyptian suit). The coverpicture of that album gave the suit its name, and is dated from these shows.
With the first 1000 books comes a CD, containing an interview with Ed Bonja. There are two tracks on the CD, one introduction of "Ed Bonja" by Elvis and the other track contains the interview. He tells his personal story about meeting Elvis and working for him. It's nice to hear some background information on Elvis, memories, working backstage at the concerts, and all the stuff that was going on around the tours and shows from somebody who was there at the time. He is very positive about The Colonel, how he ran things and why he made certain choices. We expected to hear some stories about his photo-work for Elvis to accompany the book, but that "story" wasn't told.
It's time to get back to our question about tense… to be honest it looks like our expectations were a little too high. Not that we are really disappointed, and we do realize that our expectations did run high. But what you may want to know… is it worth to buy this book? Reading back the above part we have mixed feelings. It is the observation we made, but it sounds too clinical. Running through the book once again we see so many great pictures that we think, "Why bother with the negative? It's just great to have another 70 or 80 'new' pictures of E in action." We built up a name of being critical, and we think we must give an honest view, so we'll keep our remarks, but sometimes the view and feelings just don't match exactly. We are really glad to have it in our collection, and are looking forward to the next issue in this series.
So, we have to say, this book is surely worth buying. The die-hard collectors simply must buy it to keep up, while for the 'newbies' it is a nice book with a relatively nice price to start collecting Elvis-picturebooks. The relatively nice price is a good reason for the huge group of 'average fans' too; we think it fits nice in anyone's collection.