Last week Sony commemorated the 50th anniversary of Elvis’ 1970 recordings in Nashville with a 4CD and a 2LP set, both entitled ‘From Elvis In Nashville’.
The design itself is the same as the last few packages. Neat, but not super. My box for instance was squashed in the mail. I understand that the costs are an important thing, especially for a bigger audience, but the cardbox is really cheap.
The way the CDs are packed have a pro and a con. The pro is that they won’t get easily damaged, because they will not fall out of the containing sleeve. The con is that they might get damaged because it is nearly impossible to get them out without violence. There are cases that tight is good, even great, but not here.
Anyway the package is not the main thing.
The booklet has all the info needed and gives a nice read while listening to the audio. The text is decorated with candids, live shots from That’s The Way It is and memorabilia.
Matt Ross-Span showed with last year’s 1969-Vegas box set that he knows how to make a super mix and I can start with a spoiler: he showed it again.
Most frequent visitors know I’m not a fan of remixes and overdubs, especially not when DJ’s or orchestras are involved. It is for a reason that the Our Memories of Elvis volumes were among my favourite LPs in the 1970s, just like the Rough Cut Diamond (bootleg) series in the 1980s and Event #8 is among my favourite live shows… because it is just Elvis and the band.
Of course I had my fair share over the years with all outtakes released by FTD (or on bootleg), but finally I got a real treat on the main label. In my ears and to my taste this is maybe even the best Sony (or its predecessors) released since the (complete) master box sets in the 1990s. It is amazing how much more you hear of Elvis and the main musicians when the ‘sugar coating’, like Ernst Jorgensen calls it, is removed.
You clearly hear how motivated Elvis was and how much fun the people in the studio experienced. The instruments jump out of your speakers, the ‘dobro songs’ sound better than ever, the harmonica stands out and the organ on e.g. The Next Step Is Love is something new to me.
Even though it might not be Elvis’ best sessions material-wise, this collection is a treat to listen to, even the weaker songs. And the fact that the repairs (Rags to Riches) were left out doesn’t spoil the fun at all. Some might be bothered by the language though, but I couldn't care less.
The LP version sounds even better, the only complaint I have there is that I would have preferred a 5 or 6 LP set with at least all masters and the best outtakes.
I am a VERY HAPPY boy! Thank you Ernst & co, especially Matt!