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Good Times

By ElvisNews.com/ Lex, December 17, 2009 | Music

The most recent FTD is what used to be my favourite LP for years in the late 70s, early 80s: the 1974 album Good Times. I even had to buy it twice, since my first copy was totally worn out. Is it as good to me now as it was then?


Like all classic album releases this version of the CD is vision wise a treat. The cover contains the original front and back and some great shots of the same (1971!) show as used for the front of the original, among them the great shot used for the bootleg Lean, Mean And Kicking Butt.


The booklet is complete with session info, background information and memorabilia like the covers of the original single releases on this album.


At the time the original LP had not a single song I really disliked, okay, Take Good Care Of Her was not among the favourites, but bearable. Besides that an album with Loving Arms, Good Time Charlie’s Got The Blues, I’ve Got A Thing About You Baby, My Boy and Talk About The Good Times on it is by definition a good album if the songs are sung like Elvis did.

Over the years the album became less popular, partly for the simple fact I bought better ones which I didn’t know before…but also songs like She Wears My Ring, Spanish Eyes and If That Isn’t Love started to bore me just to prove that taste changes. Still the 5 before mentioned songs are among my favourites, especially the first two.

In other words, this 2CD set is a great X-mas present to me, since the songs I like anyway are heavily present on this FTD release and guess what, the boring songs are less boring in their undubbed versions and the banter in between (or through) the takes adds something too. Besides that both disc are pretty full.

The fact that the second CD has been played several times during the weekend says enough to me, since normally I give a new CD a spin or two (if that much), before returning to my favourite discs.

The sound is very good, LR obviously didn’t touch it and we can thank Jean-Marc Juilland and Vic Anesi for bringing this set in this great quality. It’s crystal clear and sounds like it was recorded yesterday, well in those few cases where they record music nowadays.


It just doesn’t make it to my personal top 5, but got very close. Finally another FTD that will find its way to my player more often!

Buy at OEPFC
Sparky wrote on December 17, 2009
Great review for a great FTD. It's one of my favourite FTD's already. Just listen to Elvis trying to nail She Wears My Ring - it's hilarious! Fantastic. Well done Ernst and Roger!
SnOwMan wrote on December 17, 2009
Well done,Elvis! (plus Jean-Marc and Vic).
Ton Bruins wrote on December 17, 2009
Fantastic release ! Waited for years for the outtakes from My Boy. Some great takes from Loving Arms, Good Times Charlie's Got The Blues and I've Got A Thing About You Baby. She Wears My Ring is not a favourite of mine but take 1-7 is very funny to hear. Elvis is a good mood. I will play this one more often.
Sirbalkan wrote on December 17, 2009
I couldn't agree withj you more Lex... The album is GREAT just because those songs you had mentioned as 5. The others? Yes boring. Elvis should have changed those songs with hmmm like For Old Times' Sake or something like that, maybe lncluded rock songs. But overall, a nice edition and the sound is super!!! I really suggest you to buy it all Elvis fans!
Ciscoking wrote on December 17, 2009
Good review Lex (as almost always).......much appreciated...
You Dont Know Me wrote on December 17, 2009
Scant detail, but a generally Favourable 'review!~
Adams wrote on December 18, 2009
Great release, FTD! I'd like to share some thoughts about it with you. First, I got a feelin in my body. When you listen to all those takes you can hear great artistry of musicians involved in this recording session. What a wonderful search for the best result! This song is probably the best example of artistic mastery of Elvis and his band fellows. Changes in rhythm of drums, bass, different lead guitar lines, different style of Elvis' singing. Really great rendition. Second, Spanish eyes. Nice performance, but it lacks of a second verse. Why Elvis omitted it here, it's unknown and hard to understand. Contrary to this studio cut, live version is a simple beauty, with full lyrics and wonderful middle section with powerful drums and horns. Third, She wears my ring. I guess it's of Mexican origin. I remember that I was quite surprised when I heard its melody in Peckinpah's movie Wild Bunch in which it accompanies wild bunch's leaving Mexican village for their last and mortal gunfight. Great scene and beautiful melody (played in Mexican flavor) fits this scene so well.
Peter @ ElvisMatters wrote on December 22, 2009
My absolute #1 FTD Favorite! It almost sounds like a brand new Elvis album. Congratulations to the FTD Team!
Pietro S wrote on December 23, 2009
Ha ha ha ha! Wondered why little number of comments... This release seems to be great (haven't got my copy yet), so moaners don't have ideas what they should complain about :) Can't wait to get my copy! Merry Christmas everyone!
FLY-TROUBLE! wrote on December 23, 2009
This is an excellent FTD. If only every FTD were like this one.
Steve V wrote on December 23, 2009
Well this is not moaning, but I was not a big fan of this album when it came out. Many must have shared that opinion because it was his lowest chart showing since Speedway. I liked about 50% of it, the songs that Lex mentioned. The others I find very boring. Although it was an improvement over Raised On Rock, it was still light years away from Elvis Country and even Love Letters. Spanish Eyes, She Wears My Ring? Ugh. So I wont be purchasing it. Don't want outtakes of songs I don't care for very much.
Rob Wanders wrote on December 23, 2009
really a great FTD. The soundquality is fabulous. Its great to have new versions of great songs like My boy, Goodtime Charlie, Loving arms, I got a feeeling, Talk about en I've got a thing about you (the last song in a faster tempo and difficulties with the phrasing). What a pity he didnot try record the song "We had it all". Maybe too painful for him. It is a great song though. Spanish eyes remains the weakest song among these songs. far less then his live-versions. But a FTD-top 5 for me.
Jerome-the-third wrote on December 23, 2009
the outtakes of Loving Arms and Good Time Charlie (especially the master) are great and make this release to me worthwile. Not to complain but I wish there was material (somewhere) of Elvis trying We Had It All- probably not because it is not included but it is a great song that suited him..
Dazman wrote on December 25, 2009
Just got my copy. This is definitely my favorite 7" studio album re-issue and could easily upset the FTD top 5 with so much more complete unreleased outtakes plus some unedited masters, something which the 'Country', 'Love Letters' & TTWII' re-issues had too few of. Takes 1 & 5 of disc 1 track 16 & disc 2 track 8 feature the snare drum which picks up the tempo midway through - revelation stuff! Check out also take 1 of disc 1 track 13, you hear JD chiming in throughout the song , Elvis groovin' along during the instrumental parts & an upfront keyboard yet you hear none of these from the 'Rhythm & Country' version, it sounds like you're listening to a different take. Original studio echo & some classic gafs make for even more fun listening. 'Good Times' picks up where 'Raised On Rock' left off only Elvis is in better form here.
Jim says hello wrote on December 26, 2009
Take one of Loving Arms is worth the price of admission on its own. A subtle lilt up the register on the line "dreaming of the arms that held me tight" had me in raptures.
Deano1 wrote on December 26, 2009
I have not yet purchased this new FTD release as I don't always have the money for $40.00 CD's. I am not big into a lot of outtakes, some are fine, especially if the take shows something different (arrangement, word or tempo change or a funny comment or laughter by Elvis) than the standard release of the song. Looking back at the original LP, I would have to agree with Steve V on this one, it has hits and misses. "I've Got A Thing About You, Baby", "My Boy", "Lovin' Arms", and "I Got A Feelin' In My Body" are top notch. "She Wears My Ring" and "Spanish Eyes" are mediocre. The LP peaked at #90 in the US in 1974 (top 10 on the country chart), Elvis' worst pop chart performance of an RCA LP (other than "Having Fun On Stage) in his career, so it wasn't well received when released. The weak content of the two previous LP's ("Elvis" and "Raised On Rock") might have had something to do with the poor sales, but the album just is too inconsistent to be considered one of Elvis' best. It is light years from "TTWII", "Elvis Country" and "Elvis Sings The Wonderful World of Christmas" and in my opinion the best material from this LP should have been combined with the best material from "Promised Land" and you would have had a great LP of 12 songs. Unfortunately, RCA wanted three albums a year and used every last track that was recorded. Hindsight is 20/20, but after the "Aloha" show, why didn't RCA release a 5th edition of the gold records series? They could have shelved the "Elvis" LP (an album of leftovers) which was a horrible follow-up to the "Aloha" show and LP. They could have waited until early 1974 for a new release and taken the best songs that wound up on "ROR", "Good Times" and "Promised Land" and made two very good albums. In 1975, after the "Elvis Today" LP (a better LP than "Good Times"), they could have used some of the better leftovers (Fool", "I Will Be True", "It's Still Here" etc) for a 20th anniversary LP. An LP of forgotten singles, songs and live cuts to celebrate Elvis 20th year with RCA. Why was every track released? Why were LP's released just to have something released? The answer? No one cared about the artist. Today I am grateful for everything Elvis gave us, even the silliest of movie songs, but it is a shame he was not respected as an artist by his label or manager.
Steve V wrote on December 26, 2009
Deano1 - you sure explained it better then I did! I feel the same way about everything you said. To answer your questions on why RCA did this or that, it is mind boggling the way Elvis releases were handled. I can only answer that us fans would have done a better job at issuing LPs and the guys that did it only saw dollar signs and nothing else. Of course this includes the Colonel. But Elvis is not without blame here. An artist should see to it that the best product of his/her work be released & packaged. Elvis to my mind was the only major artist with so little say so on what got released and how it did. I also think he stopped caring about the record scene.
Deano1 wrote on December 26, 2009
Thank you Steve V for the kind words. I agree Elvis has to share the blame, but I can't blame him for losing interest in records. RCA and the Colonel released two of his best albums "TTWII" and "Elvis Country" within two months of each other and both failed to hit the top 10 in part due to this release schedule. In addition, they released budget LP's that wound up hurting the sales of his new albums throughout the first three years of the 1970's. From the beginning of 1970 to the end of 1972, RCA released a staggering 21 LP's in the US. They all sold because it was Elvis, but just think if they had featured one or two big LP's a year? Maybe Elvis would have been more agreeable to doing one recording session a year if his great work was treated with the respect it deserved. "Good Times" was not a bad LP, but just think what it could have been if it was the 12 best songs from the 1973 recording sessions (July and December). An album with "Promised Land", "Lovin' Arms", "My Boy", "It's Midnight", "I've Got A Thing About You Baby", "I Got A Feelin' In My Body", "If You Talk In Your Sleep", "Help Me", "Thinking About You", "Your Loves Been A Long Time Coming", "You Asked Me To" and "For Old Times Sake", properly promoted as the long awaited follow-up to the "Aloha" special would have been a smash. Maybe, just maybe it would have kept Elvis a little more focused, a little happier and a little more respected then and now.
Rob Wanders wrote on December 27, 2009
I fully agree with Deano1 and Steve V. To that one album list I would surely add Talk about the good times; but it's obvious Elvis had lost interest in recording. He makes a very discontented and unhappy impression, in spite of the usual jokes. (compare it with the recordings of 1970; so different). The overall impression of the 2 1973 sessions for me is "discontented". Nevertheless I do like this album for its highlights.
Orion wrote on December 29, 2009
This one is a thing of beauty. It is without a shadow of a doubt entering my all-time top 5 FTD releases. Vocally this is some of Elvis' best 1970 era vocals (OK 1970 was amazing). He's at the top of his game on this one - the mastering on this shows what the man could do when he was focused and enjoying his time in the studio. I agree that a reconfigured line-up of songs would've yielded an album that was in the same league (albeit a COUNTRY album) as his trip to Memphis in '69, but this 1s a helluva album. Please Ernst - give us the rest of these wonderful sessions on a classic release of "Promised Land" in January ! I gonna stop typing, and give Disc 2 another spin. If you don't have this one, you don't know what you're missing. Thanks Ernst and Co - this one is amazing from start to finish.
Sparky wrote on December 29, 2009
I can't get enough of this one and it proves the point of why the FTD label exists. We were always lead to believe how negative the sessions for Stax and in the Jungle Room were - they were unlistenable we were told by the powers that be. Well thank goodness for FTD. The Jungle Room Sessions, Raised On Rock and Good Times prove that Elvis could still be a force to be reckoned with. Okay, he's not as engaged as he was in 1969 or 1970, but we can now listen in and really enjoy these sessions thanks to FTD. Ernst and Roger - this is what FTD does so well. Please keep it up.
Orion wrote on December 29, 2009
Sparky - you are right on the money, brother. I have always heard such negative things about Elvis's trip to Stax, but ROR and now "Good Times" sheds some amazing new light on these sessions. I think Elvis laid down some incredible vocals at these sessions, and I feel that the initial mastering of these songs Was the MAJOR part of the problem. Elvis was lost in the background of overpowering background vocals and too many layers of music, overdubs, etc. Vic and Jean-Marc have really made this package a five star treat. It's been playing non-stop in my house since yesterday when the mailman brought it. I will agree it's not June of 1970 or Memphis '69, but it's not that far behind. I think that when "Promised Land" is released (and I hope it's soon), most will see that "Thinking About You" is equal to "Kentucky Rain" and that "Promised Land" is equal to "Rubberneckin" etc... In other words, Elvis at Stax in 1973 isn't far behind those classic tracks cut in Memphis in 1969 - they just marked a transition of Elvis from the king of R & R to MOR / Country hit maker. Four songs from Stax hit the Country top 40 (3 were top 10) whereas only two from Memphis in '69 were in the top 40 Country charts (none were top 10) - as a side note three from June of 1970 hit the Country top 40 ( one was top 10). One listen to this new set will show you what I mean about the strength of these sessions. Bring on Promised Land, please !!!
boppin bob wrote on December 30, 2009
Havind finaly wrapped my ears around this release all I can say is fantastic. This is Elvis in fine form and in really good spirits as for his voice just amazing. 30 years ago this would have been an album of my dreams and now thanks to ftd it is a reality. Thank you ftd as the mastering is superb.
tcbRoss wrote on December 31, 2009
OK but now anxiously awaiting release of FTD digipacks of Fool album, Promised Land, Now and From EPBlvd + extra bonus songs (hits never on albums, like BLove, It's only love, Matter of time, Sep Ways, Am Trilogy, My way, I'm leavin' and America...Hint FTD Team !
Sparky wrote on December 31, 2009
Hey tcbRoss - check out FTD Standing Room Only for most of your list of titles (Burning Love, Sep Ways, Matter of time and Am Trilogy) and you can get an early take of I'm Leavin' on FTD I Sing All Kinds, although it would be great to have more I'm Leavin' outtakes...
glenntcb wrote on January 04, 2010
I wanted more outtakes Sparky and preferably ADDED onto the upcoming FTD releases of Classic NOW album (hopefully they put on to it as well I've lost you, I'm leavin', You don't have to, Sep Ways a.o.) and also the FOOL album with songs ADDED as Kentucky Rain, BurnLove, Matter of time, My way, Steamroller, America a.o.) And maybe they should 'combine' the Classic albums From EP Blvd and Moddy Blue, together on an FTD digipack (as there are no outtakes for Unch Melody, Little darlin' and If you loveme let me know) and call it "Moody on EP Blvd" !!! Today, early Jan 2010 I'm really looking forward to Ernst's press release re. planned new FTDs for the next months or this 75 Anniv Year !!! Hope for Prom Land, Elvis' 2nd Album & KCreole on F T D !?
old shep wrote on January 05, 2010
An album which I only started listening recently and has become a favourite.Looking forward to buying this one.
Pietro S wrote on January 14, 2010
It's simply wonderful. Brilliant! I can't get enough of it! Mr. Ernst, thanks for this one. And I hope one day I can get expanded version of Promised Land LP done in this way.
eric c wrote on January 31, 2010
I really loved this release.Hope now they can do some releases from the On Tour shows now that there is a dvd release.But back to topic,these classic album releases have all been excellent.This was/is a great album,tho I personally like raised on rock better.Great Job FTD....keepem comin'.
claunath82 wrote on April 30, 2010
Excellent sound, great packaging (the cover color is a little too red compared to the original vinyl), the booklet is very nice with the same jumpsuit pictures as the cover, good job FTD, Thanks!
marco31768 wrote on May 01, 2010
Great job ! A must to have !!!