For the 40th anniversary of the NBC TV Special Sony/ BMG released a 4 CD set containing The Complete '68 Comeback Special. Do we really need it?
It’s been a long time, but finally we have a Sony/ BMG product in a top notch presentation. The box contains 4 different sleeves for the CDs. The first has – of course- the original cover art of the soundtrack album. The second carries the famous shot that was also used for Always Elvis – The Dutch Album. A nice memory is on the third: a great black and white shot; the forth has a great color shot of E in the blue shirt.
The thick booklet (32 p) contains enjoyable (and readable!) liner notes by Harvey Kubernik – a rock journalist that was also on the 50th anniversary DVD of Jailhouse Rock. The article is decorated with great shots of The King and nice memorabilia.
The last few weeks once more proved that the special belongs to Elvis’ most critically acclaimed work. Phrases like “It’s an excellent collection and rightly deserves a place on the shelf of any fan of the King.”, “has become one of the major moments in music history” and “Presley roared back into the public consciousness with an hour-long blend of power and intimacy” by unbiased reviewers makes it almost impossible for me to say something usable from a fan’s point of view.
Personally I mostly stick to the original album when listening. To have it with some bonus tracks in this set is more than nice. The sitdown shows are marvelous of course – when watching them – just listening isn’t something I do too often, since I find the tambourine pretty irritating most of the time. For the standup shows it is about the same, I prefer watching over just listening. I’m certainly not gay, but how I love to see this tiger roaming through this cage with invisible bars.
The rehearsals are good to have here, but I’m afraid the quality isn’t much better (if at all) than on previous outings of them. Overall the sound is the same as on previous official outings; at least in my ears.
All together I can only conclude that to me personally it isn’t an essential release. Partly because I got it all several times before, partly because I prefer watching the material. On the other hand the sales seem to prove that it is an essential release, and of course it is a lovely package. So half hearted I agree with the first phrase I quoted; “It’s an excellent collection and rightly deserves a place on the shelf of any fan of the King.” And obviously on other people’s shelves too, otherwise it wouldn’t do so well.