Last Friday this release by a new label, Venus Productions, was stuffed in my mailbox. Can it give me a Christmas feeling Today, in May?
The design is good. The booklet can be read from two sides: From the back for info about the Today-sessions and from the front for the 1971 Christmas-session. Both are decorated tastefully and the liner notes give an interesting read (I love the quote about Brian Wilson). CD red contains the Christmas stuff, and CD blue the Today material. All together it is a tasteful, well designed package.
If there’s one thing I don’t like it’s that Christmas feeling. Why fight and argue 360 plus days and be nice and friendly those two days in December? A bit hypocrite… So it wouldn’t be hard to please me, since I’m nice and friendly the whole year… Still it’s that other thing I don’t like about Christmas: green decorations (green is absolutely not my favourite colour) and bells… way too much bells. Therefore I don’t like Christmas music in general (thankfully the CD is red!). So to be short: I gave the CD a spin, enjoyed I’ll Be Home On Christmas Day (mainly the bluesy version), gave Merry Christmas Baby an extra spin (a song I can enjoy every day) and hummed along with the throwaway Winter Wonderland. In other words: this CD is not exactly my piece of cake. I have to admit that the sound is very good. The songs taken from acetate are a little less, they sound a bit compressed. Still they are that good that I will take this version of Merry Christmas Baby to put on my mobile and another favourites CD for use in the car.
A completely different story is the blue CD. The original Today album was among my favourite 70s albums (if not THE favourite). The only song I didn’t like was Bringin’ It Back, since it was too smooth. Obviously the overdubs were the cause of that, since the undubbed version on this disc sounds way, way better in my ears. Not only the before mentioned song suffers from the dubs. Fairytale for instance sounds fresher than the wall of sound (which I did like anyway) on the original album. I enjoyed this disc from the first to the last minute and the fact that it kept Caro Emerald from my player for more than two days says enough… This version of Today was a great accompaniment for the finishing touch of the ElvisNews-redesign.
Although I was in doubt whether to order it or not after I heard about this release – being afraid for more of the same – I am glad I did after all! The Christmas CD is not exactly my piece of cake (but I knew that beforehand), but my bet on the second CD turned out to be a winner. It was a pretty long time ago since I changed my personal top 5 for the Import Top 40…
Tracklist CD red
1-I'll Be Home On Christmas Day Take 6 4:03 ; 2- Holly Leaves And Christmas Trees Take 3 2:30 ; 3- On A Snowy Christmas Night undubbed master * 2:27 ; 4- The Wonderful World Of Christmas undubbed master * 1:59 ; 5- Silver Bells Take 1 3:05 ; 6- I'll Be Home On Christmas Day Takes 1-2 2:37 ; 7- The Lord's Prayer 2:36 ; 8- Holly Leaves And Christmas Trees Takes 1-2 3:04 ; 9- The First Noel undubbed master * 2:12 ; 10- Winter Wonderland Take 7 2:33 ; 11- I'll Be Home On Christmas Day Takes 5,7,3 6:56 ; 12- Merry Christmas Baby Fs, undubbed master * 7:55 ; 13- If I Get Home On Christmas Day undubbed master * 2:52 ; 14- Silver Bells undubbed master * 2:28 ; 15- Holly Leaves And Christmas Trees Takes 5,6,7,4 3:53 ; 16- Winter Wonderland undubbed master * 2:19 ; 17- It Won't Seem Like Christmas Without You undubbed master * 2:40 ; 18- I'll Be Home On Christmas Day undubbed master * 3:48 ; 19-Holly Leaves And Christmas Trees undubbed master * 2:21 ; 20- O Come, All Ye Faithful undubbed master * 2:58 ; 21- I'll Be Home On Christmas Day Take 4 5:06 ; 22- Silver Bells Fs,Tk2 (original session recording),Tk3 (Fs) 5:07 * from acetate
Tracklist CD Blue
1 - T-R-O-U-B-LE Take 4 3:10 ; 2- Green Green Grass Of Home Fs, Take 1 4:21 ; 3- Fairytale Take 3 3:37 ; 4- Bringing It Back Takes 2,3 3:28; 5- Susan When She Tried Take 6 2:55 ; 6- I Can Help Fs, Take 2 5:11 ; 7- And I Love You So Take 5 3:51 ; 8- Green Green Grass Of Home Takes 2,3 4:23 ; 9- Woman Without Love Take 1 3:44 ; 10- Tiger Man session jam 3:15 ; 11- Bringing It Back Take 4 3:08 ; 12- And I Love You So Take 1 3:56 ; 13- Shake A Hand Take 3 4:00 ; 14- Green Green Grass Of Home Takes 4,5 4:15 ; 15- Pieces Of My Life Takes 4 3:57 ; 16- Bringing It Back Take 1 3:18
....till a respective FTD release surfaces..this one is a must have..!!
Glad you liked it Lex i hope to be enjoying this very soon and will enjoy it for the tiny bits of extra dialogue alone!~
although I find it a strange combination- a Christmas?Today release, I am suprised as well. Like it a lot!..
Well it being the time of the year that it is i was a little surprised to spent the weekend listening to this set when it popped through the door. Agree with the review and liked the set very much,not sure why 'Venus' choose this format and not the book/cd combo from there last 2 releases but having said that still a purchase i am happy to have.
It's time for an FTD release of the two Elvis' Christmas albums !
FTD already released the Today-material. and most of the Christmas material is available elsewhere. The remaining will be released by FTD when time comes. That's why it's a pity that people buy these releases instead of waiting for the FTD releases. The fans have been wanting an FTD label for years, and praised the first releases. Now some fans are being unpatient cause FTD don't release stuff in the order they want to. Back in the 80's and partly 90's I understood that frustrazion. But now that we have FTD there's no reason to buy these releases. I remember when the bootleg "Whole lotta shakin goin on" was released prior to the "Essential Elvis vol 3" from BMG back in the 90's. Material was almost 100 % identical. That's what I call stealing, and it ruins a lot of the BMG/FTD-releases that are made for the fans. Sure, lots of the BMG-stuff is not for us fans - it's for the general public, and that is frustrating for the fans who wants something that is not from the ordinary catalog. But we have FTD, and they do their job well. No, they don't please everyone, but neither did Elvis!! Read the comments in "song of the day", you can't please everyone all the time! A release that some fans love will be hated by other fans. That's life. Therefore, please don't buy bootlegs of this kind, give FTD a chance to do their job. PS: No, I don't work for FTD/SONY BMG, I'm a 38 year old fan from Norway who used to buy a lot of bootlegs in the 80's and early 90's, and stopped after FTD started.
I disagree COMPLETELY I bought 'a whole litta shaking going on ' bootleg AND christmas TODAY + all the FTD's, but the sound QUALITY on Christmas Today makes it worthwhile alone + the extra dialogue, tunning times of tracks, rehearsals/ comments make Christmas Today an essential purchse for any true Elvis fan. one of the BEST bootlegs this year for certain!~
Finally, tracked this one down. It is the proof I've needed for my argument that FTD really needs to look at the product they presented for the TODAY release. The sound on this CD really shows how great Elvis sounded in 1975. He actually sounds better on these tracks than on the '71 Christmas songs. I really wish that Ernst would've let Vic or Sebastian get ahold of these tapes to produce a classic release worthy of these sessions. The sound on the second disc is worth the price of the CD. FTD re-released "Girl Happy" in better sound, why not TODAY. Take a listen Ernst and I'm sure you'll agree what you gave us doesn't really get the job done. Thanks to this release - I've now heard how good these songs can sound.
Yes, I agree that the masters sound bad on "Today" (FTD). Lene Reidel should be kicked to the curb and "Today" redone.
FTD will get around to doing something about the Christmas albums sooner or later. I can wait.
I thought I'd wait, too, given what an expensive habit this can be, Jerry.But then I started to notice what raves this got on the forums and I realized this was, by my estimate, getting the best reviews of just about any import in the last year, or even last several. Considerable buzz, anyway, probably because it's studio material for a change. In that sense, I think some of the hype is perhaps pent-up concert / soundboard fatigue, and this set reminds us of when boots were actually poking around for new stuff in the can, when there was new stuff.
So I got it and do think it's a peach. The FTD needs a do-over, no doubt. But I'm happy to get this boot as its quality all around, although one or two tracks on "Today" sound better elsewhere, as I recall. As for the Yule tracks, it's still only July. I've tucked that CD away until at least November! (I'll flip around the cover then. If you're going to get it, folks, my sense is that it's probably getting harder to find already.