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Pot Luck With Elvis

By Elvis Today / Thomas Melin, November 30, 2007 | Music

I’ve always liked the album Pot Luck more than its predecessor Something For Everybody. I think this is because Something For Everybody always felt to me like kind of an inferior version of Elvis Is Back, while Pot Luck is something different. And after spending practically a whole afternoon listening to the new FTD release of this classic album (158 minutes of playing time compared to the 29 minutes of the original album), I think I more clearly understand what that difference is all about.

For starters, I’ve never realised so many of the songs have a latin feel, like “Fountain of Love” with a Spanish-sounding strumming guitar and Elvis in total control. The most obvious example of a latin arrangement is the dramatic “You’ll Be Gone” that for some strange reason wasn’t used on the album. (Maybe Elvis, for once a co-writer of a song, was nervous about the quality of the performance.) Also, Elvis takes his ballad singing one step further on Pot Luck.

On songs like “I’m Yours” and “I Feel Like I’ve Known You Forever” he sings smoothly and effortlessly despite the vocal challenges, and the end result is beautiful and haunting at the same time. And last but not the least, it’s like Ernst Jorgensen writes in his Elvis Presley – A Life In Music: “Elvis’s voice never sounder better.” That is indeed true, he sings superbly. But nothing or no one is perfect.

The inclusion of the song “Steppin Out Of Line” from Blue Hawaii is a mysterious one that, unlike “I Slipped, I Stumbled, I Fell” on Something For Everybody, isn’t presented as a soundtrack recording. In addition, the bonustrack “For The Millionth And The Last Time” lacks real spirit and its companion “I Met Her Today” isn’t a strong song, in my opinion. When it comes to the outtakes, nearly all of the material has been spread out over the years on other records from FTD and BMG.

Only four of the 44 complete outtakes are unreleased (there are a few false starts as well), the most interesting which is the first take of Suspicion that differs some from the released version. In other words, there are few surprises on the FTD release Pot Luck, but it’s a joy hearing the songs in crystal clear sound together with the singles and bonus songs that weren’t used on the album. (I guess that rules out a FTD release of Elvis For Everyone, but no big loss there!) And it’s nice to finally have all of the outtakes collected in one place.

The cover is true to the original and the booklet is what to be expected with In and Outtakes and Behind the Scenes information (I didn’t know there were early plans for including “Just For Old Times Sake” in Change Of Habit). We also get some more publicity shots of Elvis with the same incredible hairstyle as on the cover of Pot Luck (from Follow That Dream). How on earth did he manage do style it that way?

Speaking of the cover, the only real complaint I have is a more general one that has been bothering me on the last couple of FTD releases. The cover always seems to come buckled in places, especially on the spine. I think this have to do with the protective plastic being wrapped too tight, but I’ve grown tired of returning my records and getting a new one with the same problem. Anyway, I’m now hoping for a FTD version of The Lost Album that was intended to be the follow up studio album to Pot Luck. It deserves the attention.

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JerryNodak wrote on November 30, 2007
I was in full agrement with your review until your comments about "I Met Her Today." Not a strong song? Clean out your ears and listen again. As far as "Steppin' Out Of Line" not being presented as a soundtrack song is concerned: The label on my original vinyl copy of "Pot Luck" clearly states from "Blue Hawaii." You're right though that it doesn't state that on the back album liner. I never saw that as any big deal. Also, "For The Millionth"... has plenty of spirit for me. For me this is a great album. Elvis at his (mostly) ballad best. I've always prefered Elvis the balladeer over the rocker.
old shep wrote on November 30, 2007
A great Elvis album and for me one of his best ever.Two of my all time favourites are there too, Fountain of Love, I love that mandolin! And Suspicion, why this song was overlooked as a single for so long was unbelievable
Steve V wrote on November 30, 2007
A nice album because Elvis was at his vocal peak, but a step down from 1961's Something For Everyboday and a ladder down from Elvis Is Back, thus making this his least satisfying non-gospel studio album of the 60's. Suspicion was the stand-out track and should have been a # 1 single. Can u beleive there was only one more studio LP and that was the brilliant From Elvis In Memphis.
ThomasM wrote on November 30, 2007
Hi Jerry. I agree with you that this is a great album, and I hope that came across in my review. Still, I think language like "clean out your ears" is rather sad, I think everyone are entitled to their opinions and don't have to take comments put like that. But to clarify my point, I think Elvis singing makes a song like "I Met Her Today" better than it is. The song in itself isn't very strong, but Elvis saves it with his singing. That's what I meant, and no cleaning out of any ears can ever change how I feel about that.
JerryNodak wrote on December 01, 2007
Yes, everyone is entitled to their opinion, and I maintain it's a strong song. Another marvelous Don Robertson ballad. Too bad he didn't write a whole album for Elvis. I guess our ears will have to agree to disagree in some respects.
Lex wrote on December 01, 2007
Thomas, that's the downside of fame :-). A lot of people love to attack other people's opinions, but never take the time (or guts) to write down their own opinion first...
Cruiser621 wrote on December 01, 2007
I agree completely with the poor condition some FTD releases I bought are delivered to me with aka the crease in the spline. It is probably the shrink wrap being too tight. In any event, this is one FTD release I'll fore go. Too many outtake releases spread all over the place and guess what? I have them already. It is a good album though, no ifs, ands or buts. Stepping Out Of Line? I would have gladly settled for I Met Her Today or For The Millionth and The Last Time any day over that song. Just my opinion.
PaulFromFrance wrote on December 02, 2007
I order my FTD releases in Holland (even with the postage it's less expensive than here) for years now and NEVER got a problem. The packaging is very good and I always receive the stuff in perfect condition. It's true that the shrink wrap is tight, but it's always the case, not for the FTDs releases only. I open it as soon as I receive the records, because it becomes tighter in getting older.
John4126 wrote on December 02, 2007
Elvis' singing is very impressive and a joy to behold. He had no equal in the early 60's. However the material is not as strong as it should have been for the biggest selling artist at that time. But as was the way, he was able to take average songs and make them into something a little special. A mark of a great.
mature_elvis_fan75 wrote on December 03, 2007
So why are there creases on brand new releases? it seems too many times theres a crease on the front on the inside on the spine etc so why is this? or is this something yet again we should just overlook? i love Ftd oh how i love you!
emjel wrote on December 03, 2007
Jerry - I'm with you on "I Met Her Today". Brilliant recording - Elvis' voice on this is incredible. Why it never came out on the original album is a mystery. Steppin Out Of Line should have been left in the can for relegation to the Elvis For Everyone album.