This compilation takes you through Elvis career, from 1953 to 2007 (yes, you’re reading this correctly).
Looking at the country themed wooden design with our man pictured as the rough boy from “Charro” we would have expected a different content; raw performances by our man in the studio and on stage. The image used on the inside and on the picture disc is a not too flattering casual shot, a poor choice in an otherwise original design. The liner notes give a short background on each track and together they paint a nice short view on Elvis catalogue.
This set contains a chronological selection of songs running from Elvis fragile 1953 performance of ”My Happiness” to the artificial duet of "If I Can Dream” with Celine Dion as performed on the 2007 American Idols charity show. When you look at the tracks on this compilation you see it has been “borrowed” from both official and bootleg releases. The only new track is the recent duet of “If I Can Dream”
Opening with “My Happiness” is a brave choice. I enjoy this song because of the fragile performance by our man who knows he has to cut this track correctly and plays it very save. The contrast with his wild and raw SUN debut single “That’s All Right” is a nice choice. How big can the contrast be?
But contrast doesn‘t work everywhere. The difference between “Datin’”, actually funny to hear it once again, especially the messed up out-takes, and the sweaty rocking ”Lawdy Miss Clawdy” as performed during the legendary “Comeback Special” is too big. Chronology is one thing, but compiling a CD creating a complete and matching result is important. With the laughing version of "Are You Lonesome Tonight” as the next track we go back from rockin’ to laughing.
From the seventies we get mostly live performances, starting with showstopper “The Wonder Of You”. But again this is followed by a totally different sounding gospel rehearsal. This performance, “How Great It Is”, is the only distortion. Tracks like “Always On My Mind”, “My Way”, “My Boy” and of course “An American Trilogy” really show Elvis' power as a performer.
From the nineties of the last century we get “Don’t Cry Daddy”, the touching duet Elvis’ daughter performed for the 20th Anniversary of her father’s death. This was previously available on several bootleg albums, never officially. I think it would have been a nice track to use on one of EPE’s Christmas singles. From this century we get the artificially created duet “If I Can Dream” with Celine Dion. Although it looked great from a technical perspective (it even won an Emmy Award for the technical achievement) and it showed Elvis to the millions of viewers of the American Idols series (probably the largest audience Elvis had after he died) I don’t like the duet. The main reason is Celine Dion’s voice; it misses what makes Elvis’voice so special, warmth and emotion.
This compilation showcases the variety of Elvis’ catalogue with brave choices as “My Happiness”, “Old Shep” (although I would have skipped this one), “When The Saints Go Marchin’ In” and “Muss I Denn”. The sound may jump around a bit due to the variety of sources – starting with the 1954 acetate, ending with a television performance -, the kind of performance – studio, live, informal and rehearsals - and song selection I enjoyed it very much. Playing it several times in a row helped me make it through another day at work with a smile.
1. My Happiness (Acetate 1953) 02:33
2. That’s All Right (Sun 1954) 01:57
3. Hound Dog (TV Show 1956) 02:40
4. Old Shep (Elvis 1956) 04:12
5. When The Saints Go Marching In (Million Dollar Quartet 1956) 02:13
6. I'll Take You Home Kathleen (Germany 1959) 01:20
7. Wooden Heart (Muss I Denn) (G.I. Blues 1960) 03:21
8. In My Fathers House (His Hand In Mine 1960) 02:05
9. Datin’ (Paradise Hawaiian Style 1965) 03:16
10. Lawdy, Miss Clawdy (Elvis TV Special 1968) 01:50
11. Are You Lonesome Tonight? (Laughing version 1969) 02:54
12. The Wonder Of You (Live 1970) 02:41
13. Gospel Medley - I John/ Bossom Of Abraham/
14. You Better Run/ Lead Me, Guide Me/
15. Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus/ Nearer My God to Thee (Rehearsal 1972) 11:02
16. Always on My Mind (Studio 1972) 03:42
17. My Way (Aloha From Hawaii 1973) 04:01
18. My Boy (Good Times 1974) 03:22
19. You Gave Me A Mountain (Live 1974) 03:21
20. American Trilogy (Live 1974) 04:00
21. Bitter They Are Harder They Fall (Jungle Room 1976) 05:12
22. Unchained Melody (Live 1977) 03:23
Special Bonus Duets:
23. Don’t Cry Daddy (Duet with Lisa Marie Presley) 03:39
24. If I Can Dream (Duet with Celine Dion) 03:18