Go to main content

Christmas Duets - (P)review

By ElvisNews.com/ Kees, December 26, 2008 | Music

The World Wide Web is faster than SONY / BMG; the new "Christmas Duets" CD is already available for download if you know where to look. From that download I wrote this preview and since it was available in a high audio quality (320 KBS) it will probably be very close to the sound of the actual CD when it will be released next week; if only for the complete duets.

Updated December 26, 2008:
What better time than Christmas’ day to give this compilation another spin. When I first reviewed this album early October it was based on a download of the tracks before the album was released officially. Now I hold two copies in my hand, the Deluxe and the Canadian editions. A reader from Finland send us the Finnish duet with Hanna Pakarine so I can finally review all duets and releases.



The download didn't come with a nicely designed package, the physical releases do. By now the count of different versions sum up to five; the standard jewel case, the deluxe red cut-out digipack, the white cut-out digipack from the UK, the Canadian version done in the same style as the "ELV1S 30 #1 Hits" package and the slipcase edition from India. 

Repacking a release can be dangerous for the designers; the liner notes for the Canadian edition credit Alfred Wertheimer for the cover photo, but there isn't a cover photo on the booklet, just the modern type-font which isn't very Christmas like.

Besides this error the booklets are fine with quotes from the duet partners and all (re)recording data.



The overall sound of the tracks is very bright and full, that takes a bit getting used to as the original versions sounded softer. Elvis recorded this material decades ago, today's techniques - both technically, vocally and singing style - are different, and you can hear that. The same goes for the new instrumental and vocal backing to Elvis' voice; all songs sound modern which does take a bit getting used to too. During the first few songs I could not help but thinking it sounded a bit too plastic and overproduced for an Elvis recording. But after a few spins I got used to the new sound

You can listen to a few snippets through the YouTube link.

Blue Christmas (Duet with Martina McBride)

This song is the second best Elvis Christmas recording in my book - after "Merry Christmas Baby" and shouldn't be messed with (too much). After a few spins I started to enjoy it as Martina McBrides's voice has the raw sound this song needs. It still sounds a bit strange, Elvis in duet.

I'll Be Home for Christmas (Duet with Carrie Underwood)

Carrie Underwood's voice sounds a bit too high next to Elvis' voice which has a much lower and warmer sound. When you hear both voice together she is too much in the lead.

Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane) (Duet with LeAnn Rimes)

LeAnn Rhymes has a clear voice that fits nicely next to Elvis' voice, Elvis is still in the lead. making this an enjoyable duet

Santa Claus Is Back in Town (Duet with Wynonna Judd)

Wynonna Judd recorded "Burning Love" a few years back and that version really rocked. So pairing her with our man in this song is a smart move as her raw voice fits the song. But the new backing to the voices is too much. The voices need to be in front of the music. A missed chance.

Silent Night (Duet with Sara Evans)

This song is a real classic, but I never really liked it as it sounds too sacred to me. But I must admit that Sara Evans and Elvis deliver a solid version although she plays a bit too much with the melody loosing Elvis in the process.

White Christmas (Duet with Amy Grant)

The Bing Crosby classic. It got a mid-tempo treatment which makes the song sound a bit more cheerful than Bing Crosby's original. Amy Grant just slips into the song leaving Elvis in the lead. She plays a bit with our man ("come on big boy") in a funny way. I like this one although the use of an Hammond organ is a little minor.

Merry Christmas Baby (Duet with Gretchen Wilson)

Gretchen Wilson delivers a nice and raw performance and Elvis enthusiastically calls out to his musicians but they shouldn't have touched this one, period. It was one of Elvis best performances ever and I can play this Christmas song when it is 40 degrees Celsius outside. Elvis shouting out to his band-members if it was a live jam sounds really superficial. The song lost the raw sound of the original. 

O' Little Town Of Bethlehem (Duet with Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman of Little Big Town)

The Hammond organ is back on this Christmas carol, not my favorite instrument. I don't know any song by Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman but will get a CD from these girls, they really have nice voices (like Norah Jones). But for this duet it didn't work; the voices didn't match with Elvis' voice.

Silver Bells (Duet with Anne Murray)

Anne Murray is a name from the past. I think my father has some of her work. Her and Elvis' voice don't match as her voice is way to low for a bright song as this one. She reminds me of Willy Nelson, he sounds like he sings through his nose too.

O' Come, All Ye Faithful (Duet with Olivia Newton-John)

This is a real bombastic song and this version is really bombastic too. You hear Olivia Newton-John's voice has aged, it is much lower than when she sung her biggest hits with John Travolta or the Electric Light Orchestra. She too slips in very silently but takes over the song to the end. The voices match nicely though, so a good choice for a duet. There is even a link between the two artists, Elvis recorded several "Olivia Newton-John originals".

The remaining three songs aren't duets, they only added new backing to Elvis' voice. "The First Noel" lost the fragile sound the original had as the sound is too massive. The fragments with just a piano and Elvis' voice sound nicely though.

They completely destroyed "If I Get Home on Christmas Day" as the new backing is too modern and playful for this song and the lyrics. The worst track on the album. The CD closes with "Winter Wonderland", a very playful song. This version still has that sound, but not like the original did.So another missed opportunity for those who have the original in their head.

Winter Wonderland (duet with Hanna Pakarine)

Hanna Pakarine is the winner of the 2004 Finnish edition of Idols. Kind of strange that Priscilla Presley approved this duet with the young new singer and dismissed the duet with Cliff Richard (as rumors would make us believe, but this duet was mentioned by BMG Australia in a leaflet). It could have been a nice novelty hit or these two old men as Sir Cliff has a tradition of releasing a Christmas single almost every year. But with CXK behind EPE links between the various "product lines" were to be expected, so there are

Johnny wrote on October 05, 2008
So Kees, will you be buying this anyway now that you have downloaded it?? ;0)
JerryNodak wrote on October 05, 2008
I'm a diehard (age 58) who won't have a problem getting used to these new versions. Now that promised remix album that might show up in 2009 will be another matter. I hope Sony keeps that stuff on that side of "the pond." Bring on "Christmas Duets" Vol.2 for Christmas 2009. Kees: Never cared for "Silent Night" because it sounded too sacred? Huh? Flash! It IS sacred. What approach would have you preferred on the original? Best damn track on the original album. The only reason I still dig out the original album each Christmas.
Dan wrote on October 06, 2008
New "duets" have never been my thing. The ones with the younger singers give Elvis' voice a very dated sound, since their singing style is so different. The more mature singers like "Olivia Newton-John and Anne Murray seem as if they are singing "off-key" to match Elvis' key??!!The best tracks on the disc are the three "re-mixes" at the end. The "first Noel" is fantastic! Overall, A disc for the curiosity seekers in the old fans, and maybe some newer younger country music fans. Dissapointing :(
Shaky wrote on October 06, 2008
No matter how much they enhance or re-make the backing you can rest assured it can't be as bad as the new Spankox re:versions - I'm still in therapy!
ElvisDayByDay wrote on October 06, 2008
Jerry; I know it is "sacred" ... I just don't like the "sacred sound", the same goes for a lot of gospel recordings, I prefer the up-beat spirituals over the "sacred" songs. And yes Johnny, I will of course ... the Walmart edition with free download :-)
sitdown68 wrote on October 06, 2008
intresting review though. I stay with my earlier statement: best christmas release this fall. I like all the new voices around the man. It matches what he said himself in '68: I like all the new groups, you know the beatles, the byrds an' whoever...And I guess he would teamed up with some of these younger ladies to duet with them, had he lived. Just look at the final recordings by the great Ray Charles. Norah Jones' voice doen't harmonize too much either with the r&b legend, but who cares. So it is with this output. Congrats Jerry. I am only 44 at the time, but I am looking forward to maintain such a youthful spirit as yours! Well, merry christmas then. And do not let us miss the essential reason for that: There is Joy To The World because of what happened in that Little Town of Bethlehem. So, God bless ya'll.
Johnny wrote on October 06, 2008
Ok Kees, good review BTW
Steve V wrote on October 06, 2008
Speaking of Norah Jones - she should have been included here instead of some of the others. She has covered Elvis songs before and always does a great job.
sitdown68 wrote on October 06, 2008
good point, steve v.
NONE000000 wrote on October 06, 2008
Steve V and sitdown68---yes, Norah Jones would have been a nice inclusion, but she is not a country singer, she is a real singer, so she doesn't fit the bill. I'd certainly have been more interested in hearing Elvis with some really talented artists. Maybe next time....
EspenK wrote on October 06, 2008
I am by no means a country music lover, quite the opposite. And as sad as it is true, Elvis' sound was very close to country music. Therefore it was probably a very clever idea to make this duet album with other country artists - it makes the sound of the production sound more "natural". I downloaded this album yesterday despite the fact that I never had any high hopes for it, and I must admit that the result is quite good. The biggest annoyances are of technical, not artistical, nature. The poor sound quality of Elvis' voice compared to the modern recordings are simply too apparent to be ignored. The first track this became an annoying fact was on track 3 ("Here Comes Santa Claus") - here you hear too clearly that this is an old, old recording dubbed with a new recording. On some of the tracks it becomes too apparent that he's been dead for too many decades. On several tracks this difference in quality are tried disguised by mixing his voice deeper into the sound, sadly it only makes the difference more obvious: This is a dead artist being dubbed with a living artist, it's not really a "duet" in the true sense of the word. That being said, this is a release that should not be ignored by Elvis fans, as it adds something truly new into the collection. And no matter how old and "stubborn" you are, this production will not offend anyone. And isnt that how we want our christmas albums?
ElvisBR wrote on October 06, 2008
I hope this one open doors to something like a country duet album. Imagine what Patty Loveless and "elvis" can do with "Make the world go away".
sitdown68 wrote on October 06, 2008
EspenK: Intresting point. I never heard the duet of Natalie Cole with her late father. Neither have the songtitle present. Would be intresting to research, how notable the difference is soundwise on her release. Anyone around knowing about that? And, unfortunately one depends on the sources that exist...Another technical question then: Wasn't "Christmas Duets" given the same treatment as they gave to E1vis and Second to none inrelation to the 50's tapes. That's allright on that one sounds so clear and crisp as never heard before...
ElvisDJ wrote on October 06, 2008
Fantastic! Just downloaded it and listened to it all...I was wary of Merry Christmas Baby, but I loved it - the slight shifting of Elvis' vocal bits to new places gave it punch, and the less of Gretchen Wilson the better - this should be the song getting airplay IMO. It shows just how great Elvis' verison of this song is. Overall, I liked all the songs, particularly The First Noel - it actually made me cry listening to it. The arrangment is very fresh, and IMO it really showcases Elvis' fragile interpretation of it. It sounded very modern to me. I also really liked Silent night, which is one of my least favorite Elvis Christmas tunes - I was never a fan of the arrangement. Really, the only place where Elvis' voice doesn't really blend IMO is on Here Comes Santa Claus. I was impressed with the quality achieved, particularly since the session tapes for the 50's songs are long gone. I was also impressed with songs that I thought I would not like. Ironically, the showcased song on the set, Blue Chirstmas, sounded to me much like what I expected the entire set to sound like - one part Elvis, one part new singer just mashed together...it's rather straightforward and unremarkable, IMO. Thankfully the other tracks make up for it. Basically, I'm more a fan of Elvis' 70's Christmas output, and songs like Oh Little Town of Bethlehem and Silent Night never did much for me, but their treatment here will definitely warrant repeated listenings, and if they can have that effect on a jaded Elvis fan, then I think they're pretty wel done in my book! My only complaint is that the marketing strategy for this release seems (from what I've read) to be a push in November through Christmas, which is fine as it's a Christmas release, but I really would have liked to have seen this go to number 1 in the US. I doubt that will happen now, given the lag between the release date and the marketing push. Still, though, if it gets new people listening to Elvis I'm for it. I'd take this over a re-re-re-re-re-release of the same Christmas package each year.
Natha wrote on October 07, 2008
I don´t have anything with christmas. But I like the special rock-mas songs of the fifties. So probably I buy this release just for those duets and give them some spin in the future.
Lex wrote on October 07, 2008
Well, I gave it a try (against better knowing :-))... and my expectations were fully met. What a load of sh*t is this... only Santa Claus Is Back In Town is acceptable, the other tracks are like Jespen described... it sounds too much like "different layers". Okay, Merry Christmas can survive too (although it suffers from the layer sound too), but only because the original is so strong they couldn't completely destroy it. I'll stick to the originals.... why fix something that is not broken?
JerryNodak wrote on October 07, 2008
I love it! One for me and many as gifts for my Elvis friends. Pile of Sh!t? Nah. Most commercial main label release in a long time. Lots of people are going to buy this (Well. In the U.S. anyway). More than bought that bloated, uneccessary "68 special box set. You Europeans can revel in the promised 2009 remix album. Now, that WILL be a pile of Sh!t. Please keep that over there.
circleG wrote on October 08, 2008
I think this will do well on both sides of the pond to be honest. The extracts we're hearing now are starting to grow on me so I'll probably buy it but it is a seasonal product so wether it will do well after 26th December remains to be seen. For the rest of the year an EOT project needs to get started with FTD issuing the complete '72 concerts officially and an Anthology set. These would sell well all year round !
Lefty wrote on October 08, 2008
Duets and remixes aren't my thing, so I'll pass this one by. Nevertheless, if this is what EPE/BMG wants to do to keep the Elvis market alive, then more power to them. I'd rather see Elvis "music" promoted over the key chains, bobble head figurines, Halloween jumpsuits, and the plethora of crap we're constantly subjected to. If you want to see a real load of sh*t, just pick up a copy of the Graceland catalog! It wouldn't surprise me to find out that some fans of the "product" have no idea that Elvis actually sang for a living.
NONE000000 wrote on October 08, 2008
lefty, you are right about fans of the "product". I have known many people who tell me they are Elvis fans and then it turns out they might own one greatest hits collection and say "oh I watch his movies whenever they are on tv!" Still, gotta love 'em. They are a lot better than the people who are so negative towards Elvis and think of him as a joke. I think this collection is perfect for those really casual Elvis 'fans'. Judging by the artists involved this is the perfect cd to pop in on your way to or from the monster truck show or wrestling match back home to the trailer park with a case of Milwalkee's Best to decorate the tree. Yee-Haw!
JerryNodak wrote on October 08, 2008
King Kreole: I don't attend monster truck shows or wrestling matches. Nor do I live in the trailer park or drink Milwaukee's Best. This is I guess your view of the typical, causal, Elvis country music fan. It's laughably stereotypical and condesending. Not to mention insulting.
Natha wrote on October 08, 2008
I also meet Elvis fans who are so by the fact they have a certain amount of CDs. Some have limited knowledge of his whole repertoire. They like his movies (I also enjoy them from time to time!). They are indeed better than the ones who mock. And yes - they ARE fans. And Jerry you are so right about that unjust stereotype (in a way it sounds a little like how some people talk negative about Elvis!).
NONE000000 wrote on October 09, 2008
I'm sorry! I just can't seem to stop myself. And Natha, it is exactly the same as the negative stereotype people have of Elvis, but the reason for it is because many of the fans are that way--they have a painting of Elvis on velvet and go to see wrestling and monster truck shows, etc. It is an insulting stereotype and it is very much wrapped up with country music, which is why I like there to be as much distance between Elvis and that stereotype. So you can see why I have been such a jerk regarding this duets cd. It's funny because I loved the Guitar Man album back in the 80s. I was all for it and still find myself listening to some of it (Faded Love and the title track mostly). I know I will get deleted if I say anything political, but I think in the last 8 years country music seems more tied to something I consider negative than it used to be. That is, it went more in the direction of Toby Keith than the Dixie Chicks. I think that is a big part of my problem. But also, in all honesty, I don't think this collection sounds very good, though I love The First Noel...
Natha wrote on October 09, 2008
Well. KingKreole, that may be so. I understand your underlying anxiety about the image. Well as Elvis said 'The image is one thing ...' Yet I feel it is better to avoid than joining in. I would rather (and I do regularly) work on giving a more accurate image of Elvis and his true legacy. Slowly but surely my environment has got a different view as I confronted them with the all-round Elvis. Being a Rocker myself I have nothing with gospels, though I have to admit that listening to Elvis' voice in gospels (without taking these so-called sacred words into account) is always soothing. I am interested in the Rock-mas songs though just for the fun of it. Reading the comments here I am not sure whether to buy the cd or not. Well I guess not.
Ton Bruins wrote on October 09, 2008
I will not even try this one...I'll stick to the originals, nothing wrong with them !
EspenK wrote on October 09, 2008
Nothing wrong with something new either now and then is it, Tony? I imagine it would make a difference to you if these duets were made when he was alive? But if so, why? Cause it it just as well could, nothing modern over the sound of this production - other than the sound quality, that is. Sitdown68: I don't know what source they've used for this, but restoring an old recording to make it sound better differ a lot from making a new recording today. If you could compare the Elv1s/2nd to none sound to a *new* recording of the same band with the same vocalist(!) today, it would strike you just how bad those 50s recordings are, techincally. But our ears gradually get used to poor sound, "filling out the gaps" mentally. And speaking of that, some years ago I wanted to show a friend how good the sound on "an afternoon in the garden" was (yeah this is not long after that release) so I played this one back-to-back with Bee Gees "One Night Only" live release from 1998, and goddamn what a turnoff. Compard to other *Elvis* concerts I had back then An afternoon sounded terrific. I should never have compared it to a live recording almost 25 years later, though... An Afternoon never sounded the same again!
Natha wrote on October 09, 2008
Espenk, there is a vast difference between this type of duets or if Elvis had recorded it when alive. If he would have recorded duets there would be a mental as well as a singing interaction. The first one is missing. One cannot just take one recording and add another one (the latter being in the advantage of interacting). Occasionally that is nice, like in Don't Cry Daddy, as it has a special emotion to it. I would have definitely bought the duets without any hesitation as I would love to hear how the King interacts. Like the Mount Everest and the rest of the Himalayas. You are right about the different recording qualities. Yet, the fifties are just wonderful as they are. The pureness of that feeling is there. Big Hunk O Love Aloha style is of course great, but It would be a great loss if he had not recorded this in the early days. Same holds for all the other RnR.
mature_elvis_fan75 wrote on October 09, 2008
I agree about the country stereotype,and haveing gretchen wilson(miss red neck woman) doesnt help matters.they couldnt have a classy projects could they,to me it tell me yet again they havnt a clue about how to promote Elvis,new have and never will!
mature_elvis_fan75 wrote on October 09, 2008
By the way insuliting others doesnt help you any with trying to make a point,i myself dont live in a tralier park,i live in a tree house,what you got a joke for that too? In other words play nice!
EspenK wrote on October 10, 2008
Natha, I do of course not mean that they should not have recorded anything back then - quite the contrary. My personal music library contains almost 80.000 tracks covering most genres and ages, from jazz to death metal and classical symphonies to minimalistic techno. I find great pleasures listening to recordings dating way back into the 1920s or even earlier and wish there was more really old recordings available. They are all historic documents and amazing time travels, no less! But when speaking of audio quality from an objective perspective, there are no doubt that the music business has gone through quite an enormous development regarding sound recording/reproduction but also artistic diversity. And the most amazing thing is that none is lost in this process, only gained! There are *still* musicians singing opera, playing old school jazz, rockabilly, eighties pop, seventies glam rock, nineties rave and so on even today. Just like all of todays genres will continue to excist in the future, with new sounds and ideas added along the way. Quite amazing to follow!
Natha wrote on October 10, 2008
Dear EspenK, yes there is the difference in quality. But personally I do not agree with the 'filling out the gaps' idea. Sound is a physical vibration. Nothing more nothing less. It is the performance as a whole that counts. The personal touch so to speak. These extras 'add to the mere sound'. Pity that An Afternoon does not sound the same for you anymore.
EspenK wrote on October 10, 2008
Of course I agree, this is why we all love music in the first place! But what you're describing is the quality of an artistic performance, a quality we find (or miss) in music from all ages, right up until today. It's a different topic and one that can't be discussed ("One Man's Rubbish Is Another Man's Gold"). I am not in any way indicating that I think Elvis' performance during the 50s was of low quality! Regarding "filling out the gaps" what I meant was that after listening to lesser quality recordings for a while one's mind tend to "adjust" the audio quality. We hear a sound with more punch than what's really there, and even mentally remove hiss and noise. It's the exact same effect as when we with a poor audio equipment after a while think it sounds pretty good. It's really quite extraordinary how this can affect our judgement. Even a small oldfashioned mono portable radio may sound quite awsome once you get used to it - until you hear a better audio system.
Miguel28 wrote on October 13, 2008
I just think the CD is fantastic. Elvis would have loved it. period
Josh&Jody wrote on October 14, 2008
We will N O T buy those fabricated Xmas-DUETS songs!! No way...NO artist (with few exceptions) would be good enough to sing a duet with our King ! We'll buy the FTD digi double CD releases of B HAWAII, GI BLUES, KING CREOLE, ROUST & of course KISSIN COUSINS !!! Invite you all to think "creatively" ... why not release an FTD (not for general public) CD with all those bloopers, funny false starts, etc (Datin', Ito Eats, Beach shack, GI stuff also from F&J, HScar, etc andcall it "THE SILLY HOUR" by Elvis (as he said it himself). They'd sell two hundred thousand copies of this one, for sure. CAn anyone share some more info re. those missing FTD releases (incl. AMERICAN STUDIOS), also on track listing of IN PERSON? ?if they plan to release B HAW in Feb 2009, then when will we get GI B and KingCreole ??? Sorry BMG: we don't encourage anyone to buy the Xmas duets...they are a blow under the belt!
Steve V wrote on October 14, 2008
Josh&Jody - Increase the prozac. 200,000 copies of a CD that contains Ito Eats, Datin & Beach Shack huh? Comments like no one was good enough to sing with our king shows the world how narrow-minded Elvis fans are and why we get made fun of. Perhaps if he was allowed to be creative and do things like this when he was alive he'd still be with us today. Now go back & watch Kissin Cousins for the umpteenth time, a movie my kids even thought was silly and awful.
mature_elvis_fan75 wrote on October 14, 2008
What you dont like kissin cousins Im so glad our Elvis made that masterpiece,anyone who doesnt like that movie is not a true Elvis fan(wink)and i never knew Elvis fans were made fun of,you know they say some of those fans dress up like clowns,and try to talk and walk like him,that isnt so is it? As for this cd,i would have been interested if it had artists such as norah jones etc,i guess they didnt wont to class up this project!
ranskal wrote on October 15, 2008
I just picked up the disc today and I am pleasantly surprised! I heard Merry Christmas Baby today on Sirius 13 and wasn't impressed, but Here Comes Santa Claus, Santa Claus Is Back In Town, Silver Bells, and the remix of If I Get Home On Christmas Day are great. I haven't heard the whole disc yet, but I am hoping the others are done as well. It would be interesting to hear these with male voices.
CharlieRogers wrote on October 15, 2008
Well I'm listening to it now...God it's weird hearing Christmas songs in October...we haven't even had Hallowe’en yet!! Here’s my quick track-by-track guide: Blue Christmas was always one of my faves and it sounds great here with a nice extra reprieve of the last 8 bars. Their vocals aren't exactly synchronised at all times but it doesn't detract from things. I’ll Be Home is again nicely done and at 3:36 a lot longer than the original with a really nice instrumental added. I think Elvis’s voice is slightly swamped on Here Comes Santa Claus but not bad. Santa Claus IBIT is a great song and Wynonna does seem to add something which seems to make it sound even more exciting! Silent Night for me is a little messy as Sara does do some odd alternate tune stuff but still good. White Christmas to me sounds fab with some really nice harmonies & a rather amusing sort of ad-libbed “Come on now big boy” towards the end! I love Merry Christmas Baby and Gretchen’s ad-libs are great. What’s even better is that it now lasts 8:06! It now has an even better-sounding backing to me. OLT Of Bethlehem is a very pretty version with a much more contemporary backing track with a punchy bass (not just the organ as before). Karen and Kimberley add some lovely harmonies between them and it now has much more light and shade which I have to say I prefer to Elvis’s original! Silver Bells now sounds good to me! I always found Elvis’s vocal on the original annoying; laboured, slightly slurry and he sounded completely uninterested in the song. They have done some very good work on this and seem to have very subtly changed the vocal track and allowed Anne to sing parts where his voice was particularly weak or shaky; the result is he now sounds pleased to be singing it! I love the Olivia NJ version of O Come AYF. They’ve added a few extra beats here and there and it now flows much better. I appreciate the crescendo at the end which I love as it now sounds more like an Elvis song ending! The First Noel now has a tasteful string quartet and piano which sounds much better than what was previously just an organ plodding on! Again it is amazing what they have managed to do with Elvis’s vocal on this track as they turned what I felt was a lack-lustre warbly effort into a great performance!! If IGHOChristmas Day on the face of it sounds very similar until you play them both at the same time and flip between the two versions. Again I don’t know exactly what they’ve done but the vocal is now greatly improved! I challenge anyone to listen to the original and then play this “remastered” version and not be blown away! Listen closely in particular where his vocal comes in at the 12 second point until about the 35 second point and then play the “remastered” version straight away; it really is amazing what can now be done with a dodgy vocal and it makes the original sound like it’s been slowed down! The whole song is now a lot fuller and richer. Winter Wonderland sounds great with the organ and backing vocals subtly added but some of the original’s clarity has been lost; however, when you play it after the “remastered” version is does sound a little bare! All in all I am very pleased with what they have done and I think it bodes very well for the future! I will definitely buy it when it is finally released here on the 8th November.
mature_elvis_fan75 wrote on October 15, 2008
No offence but couldnt read past the gretchen(red neck woman)wilson comment,i really wish they would try to make a classy project,but if you like it,then so be it!
You Dont Know Me wrote on October 15, 2008
Well Charlie Rodgers YOU certainly liked this release! I ordered this CD yesterday and look forward to it. At least it offers something mostly 'new' sounding. and (as i predicted) i'm certain this will be a 'hit'!
Josh&Jody wrote on October 19, 2008
Agree with Ton, we'll also stick to originals ! and will NOT buy this album ! Want to DISAGREE with Lex & Lefty: if BMG wants to convince young/new EP fans, then they should NOT use those Dixie gals ... besides, those girls are NOT known anywhere else than in Dixie (NOT worldwide, although some have been on Larry's TV show...)It is another wrong marketing strategy...they should fire those incompetent so-called managers who handle Elvis product and don't know how much they insult those 50 million EP fans worldwide, we can tell you. The very ONLY ONE that should or could have made a difference is Lisa Marie (if she would have been willing to sing those duets with her Dad...but we also would have discouraged her in doing so, if we could). You were right there Steve; although you have clearly misunderstood our suggestion to release an FTD "outtakes" CD with those silly but funny/hilareous outtakes of those movie songs like Ito, Beach shack dum dum , Datin', Longlegged jerk with the dress on, etc ONLY FAN FANS...perhaps an idea for Wal Mart as a FREE COPY of such a SILL HOUR CD when "trying to sell" the upcoming very expensive box of 30 CDs at an absorbitantly high price of US$1,000....BMG will in our opinion NOT sell those 10,000 copies they plan to produce...so in low-sales Feb/March period of the year, Wal Mart and ALL other MUSIC stories in the world will have to DISCOUNT HEAVILY this Box ! Agree with Mature Pal that we do not intend to INSULT anyone here...just plain talk...not everything is fine or great. Circle G and we also still await from Jorgensen&Roger info re the next planned releases such as FTDdigis of GI B, BlueH, KCreole, Roust, KCousins, Speedway and again the long awaited Box 72 Tours!! as well as the PLAND, GTIMES, EPBLVD together with MBUE, NOW, FOOL and American Studios sessions (BMG should buy back master tapes with all those fab outtakes from bootleggers in DK) without FORGETTING the missing GuitarM, Monkey Buzz sessions and Down Alley, ComeWmay, etc etc from 67-68. ANY COMMENTS FROM YOU GUYS ??
theoldscudder wrote on October 19, 2008
I finally listened to the Duets cd. I can see this has potential to be a fairly decent seller. I wouldn't buy it because I remember these songs as they were & perfer to hear the originals. I was dissapointed with the Anne Murray cut. Thought her voice didn't go well with Elvis. Someone said no artist ( with few excepions )would be good enough to sing with our king ). What a childish way of putting it (our king). Remember Elvis was a great singer not a god or diety. No wonder Elvis fans are seen as bufoons by a large segment of the population.
EspenK wrote on October 20, 2008
Josh, have you even bothered listening to this release before labelling it as crap? My personal taste of music is faaaar from dixie and country as a whole, and my thoughts about this album were the same as yours prior to listening to it. However I waited with posting any opinions about until I actually heard it. Luckily - cause the album isnt as bad as I feared it would be, not at all. Like it or not but Elvis' voice is very close to country music so duets with country artists doesnt sound that bad at all.
CharlieRogers wrote on October 20, 2008
EspenK you are so right when you say one cannot pass judgement on an album until you have heard it in full! Let's not forget that three of the songs on here ARE NOT duets but are "re-mastered" and as I have said I LOVE what they have done with them! Josh&Jody I'm afraid I cannot take your comments seriously; as has been said "fans" with your extreme views are the kind of fanatics that get all Elvis fans a really bad name. You strike me as the kind of fan that listens almost exclusively to Elvis and nothing else and you probably believe that listening to another artist is heresy; you need to get some perspective in your life, and please don’t feel that you speak for all Elvis fans when you make worrying comments like “NO artist (with few exceptions) would be good enough to sing a duet with our King”. Why do you feel Lisa-Marie is the only one “that should or could have made a difference” with this duets project? She would have immediately been accused of cashing-in on Elvis’s name and using his back-catalogue for her own gain. I have to say personally I don’t particularly like her voice so I’m glad she wasn’t involved!!
theoldscudder wrote on October 21, 2008
Way to go Charlie. Couldn't agree more.
NONE000000 wrote on October 21, 2008
My overall opinion is pretty well documented on this with my many postings, but I need to add: This entire CD is worth the price, to me, based on the new version of The First Noel! They did such a beautiful job on this! A tasteful string section with Elvis' voice is perfect!!! I loved when they added strings to Always On My Mind too, for that matter! I wish I didn't hate all the duets so very very much, but I do. The First Noel still makes this set essential for me
sitdown68 wrote on October 22, 2008
Steve_V: I consider you as a soulmate. I wish Elvis would have been allowed to be creative, and I stongly believe doing so he had not passed at this young age. I am 44 this year and I feel very alive for the grace of God.
Josh&Jody wrote on October 25, 2008
YES we listened to this and HATE THIS ALBUM...Sorry EspenK...Agree with Ton, we'll also stick to originals ! and will NOT buy this album ! Want to DISAGREE with Lex & Lefty: if BMG wants to convince young/new EP fans, then they should NOT use those Dixie gals ... besides, those girls are NOT known anywhere else than in Dixie (NOT worldwide, although some have been on Larry's TV show...)It is another wrong marketing strategy...they should fire those incompetent so-called managers who handle Elvis product and don't know how much they insult those 50 million EP fans worldwide, we can tell you. The very ONLY ONE that should or could have made a difference is Lisa Marie (if she would have been willing to sing those duets with herDad...although we probably wouldn't have bought such an Lisa/Elvis Xmas album either...)
Steve V wrote on October 26, 2008
Josh & Jody - Although many fans, even I agree with some of what you say, you are dead wrong on the BMG strategy. This CD is already a hit and Elvis' highest chart entry in years, so they know what they are doing. Also, your dixie chicks comment is somewhat biased. These are well known country artists and talented I may add, and I dont think BMG gives a hoot if they sell overseas or not, they sell in America and they sell big! As for your Lisa Marie comment , she couldnt carry a tune in a bucket compared to these artists. A duet with her would be more of a novelty than anything artistic.
Devon wrote on October 29, 2008
I own every recording Elvis ever did, so i think i know alittle about his music. I just bought this new C.D. and i find it very differnt but also very good. It has brought Elvis into the limelight of 2008, would Elvis had done anything like this had he still been with us, hard to say maybe maybe not. If you are a true Elvis fan you will enjoy this new sound for what it is. If your not take the time to listen you wont be sorry u did!!!
DeLorean wrote on December 26, 2008
Please spare us the "if you're a true fan you will like this" etc etc. I shudder to think what other monstrosities are being created in BMG's Frankenstein lab. I can't wait for the Elvis and Kanye West duet.
JerryNodak wrote on December 26, 2008
It doesn't bother me that you don't like it. That's your opinion and you're entitled. I do like it. Are YOU okay with that? I'm looking forward to "Christmas Duets 2" next Christmas.
Coronel Parker wrote on December 26, 2008
Great cd !!!
Steve V wrote on December 26, 2008
Now that Christmas is over I must say I heard more songs from this CD on the radio than any other artist so I'm grateful it was made as it gave the DJs something different to play from Elvis (as well as the originals) for the season. As for what BMG is cooking up in their Frankenstein lab, what do you expect them to do? Keep reissuing the hits countless more times, force people to buy classic FTD releases (which they wont) at astronomical prices? If you dont like what they will 'cook up' dont buy it. I will judge each release on its own. The best songs on the Duets CD were the non-duets! If BMG were to do that with other Elvis songs, they would sound great and spark new life into some hidden gems for radio airplay.
JerryNodak wrote on December 27, 2008
Yeah, Steve. But you know as well as I that if Sony were to do that, and in so doing picked a "wrong" song to redo (wrong of course being in the eye of the beholder) the FAN(atics) would be calling for corporate heads. Might be better to leave well enough alone. No matter what they do or how they do it, it won't be right. Damned if they do. Damned if they don't.
circleG wrote on December 27, 2008
If I didn't know any better I would have thought it was the same female artist on each track (apart from Olivia), shame the guys were left out. it would have been great to have heard Bono, Bruce Springsteen doing a duet and one with Paul McBeatle would have been awesome! Like SteveV I loved the 'enhanced' tracks and would have liked to see more done in this area.
Natha wrote on December 30, 2008
Since I won the CD I listened to it several times, just to give it an honest and fair chance. Unfortunately for the CD I was not impresed. Especially on the first songs I found the female voices too dominantly (sharply) present. The only duet I appreciated was White Christmas. The best were (indeed Steve V) the last ones (originals). Happy though, that the CD seems to put Elvis back where he belongs on the charts.
hollandarevagen wrote on December 31, 2008
Dont mess with Elvis music if yor only in it for the money. Let Ernst do the job. There are lots of good singers and musicans that would love to work with Elvis, Bruce, Mcartney among others. And why not include the duet with Celine Dion?
JAG wrote on January 02, 2009
Elvis' voice is to powerful. The female singers sound weak in comparison. It's an ok CD.
I am Buffalo-Horn! wrote on January 04, 2009
What "White cut-out digipack from the UK"? The white sleeve version comes in a standard jewel case, with grey artwork on the back, & is not a cut-out. In the UK we also got the deluxe red sleeve cut-out version, altho HMV are actually selling this cheaper than the standard white sleeve version! (Unless of course there are 3 versions over here?!)
circleG wrote on January 05, 2009
I live in the Uk and got the cut-out version from Play. would've preferred the jewel case though ( why is it called a jewel case? its clear plastic!)
ImmerElvis wrote on January 20, 2009
This CD that I refuse to buy is only geared towards the younger generation of ,usic lovers who grew up with Madonna and Jackson; a huge market from which BMG can indeed suck up money but to us loyal and sincere true Elvis fans for ages, we can only shake our head in disbelief. If it aired more than other Xmas CDs, so be it....and good for Xmas sales for BMG but ...we don't care do we...they don't listen nor bring what we wanna buy, so...Hopefully the profits they will get from that Duet CD can be used wisely to further support the FTD project giving us a s a p the remaining or missing outtakes and more 5significant and super) shows or concerts, no junk like Amlerica, Remember you or Private moments
Steve V wrote on January 24, 2009
Why? Because most people outside of France dont know who those artists are, plus they are way passed their prime. The Duets album was aimed at the country music market which is huge in the USA does extend beyond the USA contrary to popular belief. I see you re-registered again ImmerElvis!
JerryNodak wrote on January 26, 2009
Steve V: It seems to me that this board has spawned a whole nursery of Josh & Jody clones.
JerryNodak wrote on January 26, 2009
I enjoyed this CD so much I may play it in July. "Christmas In July?" Now, there's an idea! We can roast hot dogs and wash them down with beer instead of sipping hot chocolate.
Steve V wrote on January 26, 2009
Jerry - I like this CD also, it was holiday fun, nothing more. But am I bit confused by your not wanting a Elvis Duets CD of non-Christmas songs to be released, but this you really enjoy. Whats the difference? Same concept, different songs.