The American Way, Volume 4 - Sound Of The City

By LexJun 7, 2007
The American Way, Volume 4 - Sound Of The City
While it’s not even finished, this series is already legendary. Does this volume follow the expectations? Design Normally I’m one of those who require that the cover art meets the content. The producers already expected such complains and explained the link between the front cover and the content in their press release: “The photo, taken by famous Memphian Robert "Bob" Williams, shows Elvis, Red West and cousin Junior Smith cruisin' on Main Street on a summer night in 1956. It was on Main and Beale that the teenage/ young adult Elvis Presley absorbed and soaked up the musical sounds of the City of Memphis. These influences shine through in some of his best ever studio recordings laid down in his hometown. Sun, American Sound, Stax...those recordings echo the sound of the City of Memphis.” A nice explanation, but I don’t really care this time… the cover art is so stunning that you won’t hear me complain about it. It’s a fact that there aren’t too many pictures of the actual sessions. Of course candids of the same time fit better, but in this case the whole is, well, perfect is the only word I can come up with. We already showed some of it when we got the preview and this time I’ll add some more of it. Content We all know (most of) the content by heart now. I for one can’t get enough of it, especially not if a CD starts with two songs that always have been in my personal top 10. “True Love Travels On A Gravel Road” is one of those songs that drag you in to it. Elvis may technically not be the best singer ever, but he sure is the one that puts the most emotion in the lyrics. “True Love” is one of the best examples in my ears. Unfortunately Elvis needed only 11 takes to nail it, gladly we have 10 of them! From desperation to aggression isn’t necessarily a big step… certainly not on this CD. The evolution of “Power Of My Love” from the slower early takes to the finally released (slightly) faster version is well to follow. “Dear Georgie” is addressed several times, also during these takes. Again… he needed too few of them. “Do You Know Who I Am” already saw the light in a more or less complete session on “There’s Always Me, Volume 2”. Still the total running time on this CD is over three minutes more. That means less fades and more chatter! The takes are numbered differently this time, which is a neat correction for the perfectionists (I presume ;-)). Anyway, they all sound good enough for release to me. The CD is completed with an undubbed “My Little Friend” – the only mono track on the disc. It is crystal clear and sounds almost like a different song. Last but not least is the attempt to do the vocals for “Poor Man’s Gold”. This one’s also cleaned up a lot, but has too little Elvis… Conclusion I can only conclude that this CD lives up to the image of the series. A deep bow for the producers, the one who mastered the whole thing (oh, how I wish he or she worked for FTD) and of course the designers! On a scale from one to ten… at least a twelve! Track listing: 01. True Love Travels On A Gravel Road - takes 2, 3 (ending only of take 2 + complete take) 02. True Love Travels On A Gravel Road - take 5 (complete take + rehearsal) 03. True Love Travels On A Gravel Road - takes 6, 7 (2 x false start + complete take) 04. True Love Travels On A Gravel Road - take 8 - 10 (false start + long false start + 3 x false start) 05. True Love Travels On A Gravel Road - take 11 (master) All tracks stereo. "Power Of My Love" session: 06. Power Of My Love - take 1 (rehearsal + false start + complete take) 07. Power Of My Love - takes 2, 3 (false start + complete take) 08. Power Of My Love - take 4 (4 x false start + rehearsal + "Are You Waiting Just for Me" one line) 09. Power Of My Love - takes 5, 6 (long false start + false start) 10. Power Of My Love - take 7 A (long false start + complete take) 11. Power Of My Love - take 7 (complete master take) All tracks stereo "Do You Know Who I Am" session: 12. Do You Know Who I Am - take 1 (complete take + rehearsal) 13. Do You Know Who I Am - take 2 (3 x false start + complete take) 14. Do You Know Who I Am - take 3 (long false start + rehearsal) 15. Do You Know Who I Am - take 4 (3 x false start + complete take) 16. Do You Know Who I Am - take 5 (6 x false start + complete take) 17. Do You Know Who I Am - take 6 (long false start) 18. Do You Know Who I Am - take 6 (complete master take) All tracks stereo. "My Little Friend": 19. My Little Friend (undubbed acetate) Mono "Poor Man's Gold": 20. Poor Man's Gold (vocal overdub attempt) Stereo
Elvis Presley on: eBay, Amazon


Greg Nolan (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 4, 2007report abuse
A release like this one, given the producers, the legendary content and even the snippet of artwork above all spells: a "beyond criticism" masterpiece. Line this baby up along with the previous volumes as sort of a boxset on your shelf and you may just start drooling...!While you may have to be in the mood to hear these songs in succession, the reality is that you're offered a rare chance to hear our hero at work at his craft, in a premium package. Run, don't walk....!
pasa-ryu (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 27, 2007report abuse
i just recieved my copy of american way 4 and i am glad to say i was very impressed and loved all the extra banter from elvis and really found the xrated cursing from elvis very funny indeed!(the amount of times he says "dear gorgdie" i dont know)what makes this cd even more enjoyable was the fact that the outtakes are mostley in stereo-unlike the previous volumes..i would go far as to say this cd is the BEST one out of the series so far all in all,a serpurb cd and so enjoyable to listen to..cannot wait for volume 5 to be released.
Joe Carr (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 27, 2007report abuse
This series has been classic!
baggypants (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 24, 2007report abuse
maybe just rumours, but Ive heard both record companies share a multimillion penthouse in Manhattan... Bizniz must be rocking! And not a rumour: American Way will have a volume 5, later this summer.
sal05 (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 24, 2007report abuse
Just like the previous issues of this anthology, vol 4 is impeccable. If you ever wanted to experience the same fly on the wall sensation similar to Jungle Room Sessions, this is awesome. Southern Comfort delivers the best material with with chrystal clear sounds. The amazing thing about this release is that you can really follow the songs from raw shape at take one to becoming the great masters these sessions produced. You can hear Elvis talking, laughing, cursing at times..Chip Moman directing from the control room and the whole nine yards. If Pure Diamonds had a little more of this interaction they could have called it Pure 18 carat diamonds. Can't wait for volume 5 if there will be one. Does anyone know where Madison and Southern Comfort are based? Are these guys in Europe? Enjoy this one if you get a copy.
baggypants (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 24, 2007report abuse
priceless? From the right dealer you can get one for less than 20 euro.
2kisses&3scarfs (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 23, 2007report abuse
I agree, this is a priceless CD! I've listened to it already 6 times, and still haven't had enough. You feel like you're right their with Elvis in the studio. I absolutely love this stuff.
Scott Walker (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 18, 2007report abuse
Damn right! I've got my copy now, and it's another great one. Go get it, friends. This series is a classic already, ain't no doubt about it.
boris (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 16, 2007report abuse
This series is from far the best I've ever listened to... Not that I don't like FTD's releases but this one is on top of the world. Maybe they should work together :-)
baggypants (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 9, 2007report abuse
To answer your comment on the rip-off title Hot Night in Vegas, Mature ( see elsewhere): The producers of the original Baxter, Bilko and 2001 labels are the ones producing the American Way series...So they are still quite active in producing fine Elvis product for the collectors.
Scott Walker (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 8, 2007report abuse
Nice review! Can't wait to get my copy! If it's anywhere near the quality of the other three volumes, I'll be more than happy. The preview of the artwork looks fabulous. No surprise there! :)

CD review: 10 most recent articles


Recently Added Shop Items