In their “extended original album”-series FTD just came up with one of, if not the best Elvis albums: Elvis Is Back! Does it fulfill the expectations?
As we are used to by now the artwork is fantastic. The 7” format is a golden concept. The booklet is beautiful, with nice publicity shots and memorabilia. The most remarkable thing is that the CDs do not carry the famous his master’s voice logo, while the print on the cover does. The information is much better than with “common” FTD releases, with extended take information and even the musicians are acknowledged.
The two CDs are filled as follows: the original album, the singles and first takes are on the first CD. The second CD is divided between the March and April sessions. To the collectors this is the most interesting one, since it carries many unreleased takes. The sound is crystal clear – but still the 24 Karat Gold versions sounds better. We have to admit that we are not sure this is really the case, nostalgia might be causing this. In other words, the sound is about perfect. Of course some of the takes were available on bootleg, but they can’t compete with this release.
Surely the songs are all well known and the inspiration Elvis had during these sessions makes nearly every take perfect to our ears. Often we wonder why more takes were needed. The combination of inspiration and the relaxed way Elvis worked makes CD 2 a real gem.
No review does justice to this release, that’s why we kept it this short. You have to buy it and we’re sure you’ll enjoy it from the first to the last second… 157 minutes (!) of pure art. We bet this release will climb up in the FTD Top 20 quickly.
From the Original Album Release:
Make Me Know It / Fever / The Girl Of My Best Friend /I Will Be Home Again / Dirty, Dirty Feeling / The Thrill Of You Love / Soldier Boy / Such A Night / It Feels So Right / Girl Next Door Went A’Walking / Like A Baby / Reconsider Baby /
The Original Singles Released from the Sessions:
Stuck On You / Fame And Fortune / It’s Now Or Never / A Mess Of Blues / Are You Lonesome Tonight? / I Gotta Know (including Take 1*) / Alternate Takes: Make Me Know It (Take 1) / Fever (Take 1) / The Girl Of My Best Friend (Take 3) / Soldier Boy (Take 1) / Such a Night (Take 1) / It Feels So Right (Take 1) / Stuck on You (Take 1) / Fame And Fortune (Take 2) / It’s Now Or Never (Take 1) / Are You Lonesome Tonight (Takes 1,2)
The March Session:
Make Me Know It (Take 3) / Make Me Know It (Takes 9*,10*,11) / Make Me Know It (Takes 17,18) / Soldier Boy (Takes 2*,3*,7) / Soldier Boy (Takes 9*,10) / Stuck On You (Takes 1-FS, 2) / Fame And Fortune (Takes 4*,5) / A Mess Of Blues (Take 1) / A Mess Of Blues (Takes 2*,3*) / It Feels So Right (Take 2) / It Feels So Right (Takes 4*,3) / The April Session: Fever (Takes 2*,3*-“f---” at end taken out) /Like A Baby (Take 1-FS/BD*) / Like A Baby (Take 2) / Like A Baby (Takes 3,4*) / It’s Now Or Never (Take 2) / It’s Now or Never (Takes 3,4*) / Girl Of My Best Friend (Takes 2*,4*,5*,6) / Girl Of My Best Friend (Take 9) / Dirty, Dirty Feeling (Take 1) / Dirty, Dirty Feeling (Takes 2*,3*-sp last chord from 4/m) / Thrill Of Your Love (Takes 1,2*,1-PB) / Such A Night (Takes 2,3,4*/5-sp) / Girl Next Door Went A’Walking (Takes 1,2,3) / Are You Lonesome Tonight (Takes 4*-FS,3*, wp 1/2-sp*)
(An * indicates previously unreleased take).
Elvis Is Back! (FTD 2005)April 25, 2005 | Music
Rusty wrote on April 25, 2005
Elvis is Back is the finest release for years even including Sony/BMG releases I am amazed this was not a full in store release on Sony/BMG I hope this release sells really well and breaks all FTD records as I would like to see 'Something For Everybody' 'His Hand In Mine' and 'Pot Luck' on this format but first we have 'Today' and 'Raised On Rock' to look forward too.
Dan wrote on April 26, 2005
One of the best sounding sessions in Elvis' career, along with the Today sessions. Great spacious stereo with deep bass and crisp highs. This release has even sound thruought. Some of the past FTD's had the master takes sounding much different than the outtakes, with the music sounding "out of focus" with the vocals. Elvis' voice is strong and clear. Man, I wish "Dirty, Dirty feeling" was longer...a great song! Also note: the "F" word at the end of Fever has NOT been taken out. It can clearly be heard!! It did not seem like Ernst to edit the FTD releases, these are for the die-hard fans! Hey, Elvis was human too!! Enjoy, a great release!
Ton Bruins wrote on April 26, 2005
Well, what can I add to that ? Nothing. Great release, great sound. Little comment though: too bad there wasn't a outtake of "Reconsider Baby". I am thrilled about the July 1st. release "Elvis Today" all ready, because I am more of a seventy fan. But that doesn't mean I don't like Elvis Is Back. This is a superb release.
FanofEl wrote on April 26, 2005
This album is without doubt an absolute masterpiece. The recording is clean, open and tight. It begs the question though, why wasn't other work produced as well as this? Happy listening.
Coronel Parker wrote on April 29, 2005
What a disappoint! The sound is bad, Elvis voice sound flat.
bajo wrote on April 30, 2005
Elvis Is Back is simply a dream come true album to me. This is the kind of release I've always dreamed of. Elvis Today has always been a favourite of mine, and I am awating that one also! Keep 'em coming Ernst!
Ton Bruins wrote on April 30, 2005
Coronel Parker, something wrong with the ears ? Elvis voice sounds flat ? ha,ha,ha,ha.....funny.
JerryNodak wrote on April 30, 2005
Colonel Parker: Get your hearing checked out!!
Coronel Parker wrote on April 30, 2005
Sorry, but the cd from 1999 sound better.
elvistruth wrote on April 30, 2005
Hi! Colonel Parker says well. ELvis is back on Presley's voice ftd sound is very flat,miles away from the older cd issue. And worst, outtakes sound's lifeless. Our friend Sebastian work maybe without the great Kevan does not fits well in my humble opinion. My sound system is a expensive one( 6000 euros), maybe they think now more in the cheap computers sound system. The real Elvis fantastic voice is very far from this one. And many more pathetic is the sound on Love,Elvis,please make your own proof: take other cd's with tracks as It´s now or never or Are you lonesome tonight;the older cd's sound 1 million times better. What happened, SONY BMG?? This is really DSD?? Please put it on 24 bit and goes to the analogue original tapes!
josemantry wrote on April 30, 2005
My ears are very well and I can say too I'm agree with colonel parker, what a pity elvis is back ftd sound!
lray wrote on April 30, 2005
I've had the new Elvis Is Back set for a week now. What a shock to read that some believe that it is with poor sound. So to be fair I did my own sound test. The best way to do a test is with my Phillips portable player that can only be heard with the mini headphones. I get great sound with this player, especially when I want to compare different CDs. I used 3 different CDs: Elvis Is Back 1999, Elvis Is Back 24 bit Japan Paper Sleeve, and the new Elvis Is Back package. I listened first to Make Me Know It on each CD, then Fever on each CD. Conclusion? I could not find any difference between the new set and the 1999 version on either track. Possibly the 24 bit version had a small amount of added detail, maybe not. It was pretty close for sure. They all sounded great!! To say that the new Elvis Is Back sounds flat is just plain silly and unfair to those that are considering the purchase. I have read that the 1997 Gold disc version is the best of them all but I have never heard it myself. I should add that the outtakes sound sensational on the new set. If you don't have any version of Elvis Is Back, the new one is the one to get. If you have the old ones, get the new package and you won't have to toss out the others. Five Stars all around!!
elvinpelvin wrote on May 01, 2005
This is the finest release ever from FTD. The ears that hear flat notes are truly tone deaf. How ungrateful some Elvis fans are. I appreciate the alternate takes on cd 2. I love "Fame And Fortune" on cd 1, track#26. Elvis never sounded better. Effortlessly demonstrating his vocal strength and range with deep resonating tones, and his beautiful tenor falsetto. The sound quality is great. Can't compare it with the 24 karat gold version. I don't have it. But the quality on this is better than BMG's version made 6 years ago. Some people just have an obsessive need to be different I guess. My favorite, the very gorgeous "Soldier Boy", FANTASTIC. What an immaculate voice!
elvistruth wrote on May 02, 2005
nobody really can´t make any comment on music with headphones,this is an audiophile basic law(except with very expensive headphones). FTD Elvis is back is only mediocre(sebastian efforts aside),but it´s my opinion. At the same time I think all the Kevan works(elvis, elvis presley and loving you 2005,and elvis at the sun) are excellent ones,and also another ftd items as elvis on tour rehearsal,big boss man, and many more
Renan Augusto wrote on May 02, 2005
No comments. Five stars for this release!
John_Burrows wrote on May 07, 2005
"Elvis is back" never sounded better to me (I hope I am forgiven for using headphones ALL THE TIME). Apart from the warm and spacious sound, the concept of this reissue featuring "Original Album", "The Singles", "First Takes", "March Session", "April Session" is great, too. I`m really looking forward to the "Today"-reissue now.
JerryNodak wrote on May 07, 2005
John Burrows: Whenever I want to to really LISTEN to the music I always use headphones. It's the only way to really hear and appreciate all those subtle little nuances Elvis adds to certain songs. Especially the ballads.
elvistruth wrote on May 10, 2005
Hearing music with headphones,and specially with originally analogic recorded music it´s not the best thing to do. The best audiophile magazines are very clear with it. No question about this, this is the real thing. Please, compare the Elvis is back FTD with another FTD releases for the same periode. With my excellent (6000 euro )basic high tech system the last Elvis Is back FTD sounds very poor. And the last BMG SONY release Love, Elvis really with a dismal sound (remember the 80's flat sound?).But this is only with a good sound system. With bad basic systems maybe it´s another thing but not a serious one for an audiophile and Elvis unique voice fan(lost in the mix).
EPFO wrote on May 14, 2005
Call up Elvis Is Back or Elvis Is Fantastic or Elvis Is the Music or what you want for this CD because these songs, these musiciens, this sound and of course Elvis are full of genius.
loc1035 wrote on May 17, 2005
I am very pleased to see so many posts regarding sound quality. I am rather lucky in that I own a HiFi shop and managed to cue 3 CD players with 1. The 1999 reissue 2. The 1997 gold and 3. The FTD. In my opinion the gold has it followed by the FTD. Just as a comparison I then listened to the original vinyl (U.S original gatefold with sticker) which was the best. However the story does not end there. The Cd players I was using were Arcam Cd73's (UK retail £400)I then used a Linn CD12 now discontinued, but when available cost £12000! Using this and including the vinyl the final listing was: 1. Gold CD 2. Vinyl 3. FTD and 4. 1999 reissue. I then listened to the Japanese 24/96 paper cover issue and had to lie down in a darkened room!! Too Much!! On a serious point though, headphones will tell you about detail, distortion etc. but speakers will tell you about ambience and soundstage. I did not use headphones as speakers will give more of what I want which is soundstage and the feeling of 'being there'. In conclusion, I would recommend the FTD for the packaging, the good sound, and the more FTD sell the more chance we have of getting the other studio albums treated in a similar manner.
elvistruth wrote on May 23, 2005
Hi,at last a great review of the sound image.Thanks,Ioc1035!!!!!
marty wrote on May 24, 2005
Pleased to see many people arguing about the sound quality. That means that we care. Let's hope that the ones responsible for the mastering care even half as much as the serious fans. My opinion is that the "perfect" sound is subject to personal taste as well. I for one like to hear as much stereo separation as possible. That's why I never really liked the mastering done on the 60's tracks on 30#1 hits CD. Regarding the FTD release of Elvis Is Back I give it a thumbs up for both sound quality and design and I am looking forward for the next release...
Sandman wrote on February 01, 2010
The best rock'n'roll LP between the death of Buddy Holly and the rise of The Beatles.