Gravel Road joined forces with Fort Baxter for a re-release of this classic(s). The originals were released as two separate CDs, now we have them in one package. Any reason to buy it (again)?
The fold out case is stunning beautiful. It has fitting pictures (of the actual rehearsal). It really is an update to the 21st century, compared to the original covers. Very stylish! There is no booklet, were some were hoping for, but I don’t really care. I can always throw a glance at FTD’s The Way It Was when listening to these CDs ;-).
Well, I looked up what I wrote on the originals after receiving those 10 years ago, and I can say my opinion didn’t change on this material.
"Fort Baxter's new releases The Brightest Star on Sunset Boulevard Volume 1 and 2. What can I say? I'm without any adjectives for these ones. My lower jar is still lying on the ground somewhere, my mouth fell open that far! This really is the best thing that happened to me since American Crown Jewels, and I bet they'll be a concurrent for that release in the Import Top 20 very soon. Of course I knew Elvis was about at his best in 1970, and of course I had a lot of the material on other releases. But this quality, this completeness, this perfection, this fun, this, this... Okay, okay, I'll try to get myself together, but it's hard while Suspicious Minds is coming out my speakers. Let's do them shortly. It's almost impossible to name a highlight, or it must be Volume 2 because it lasts 15 minutes longer. Most of the songs are done pretty seriously and they'll make you wonder why Elvis wanted an orchestra behind him on stage. Just Elvis and his band sound so much better. Polk Salad Annie for instants is a jewel on this one, but then again the other 30 tracks are too. Of course Elvis wouldn't be Elvis if he didn't change some lyrics and the new version of Heart of Rome is already my son's favourite. And indeed the new lyrics could have been made up by an eight years old: I make a piss in every fountain :-). Both CDs get a 10+."
Back to the present: the sound quality is certainly different! The original was way louder. After pumping up the volume (I partly listened to the original first to compare the sound) I noticed indeed more changes. At first I wasn’t sure if I liked it, mainly because the drums during That’s All Right were much more present on the original. After a few minutes I turned around and decided this is indeed the definite release of this rehearsal in my book. The sound is wider, you hear more Elvis and more instruments… it is about perfect as can be.
If you missed the original, this package is surely a must. If you have the originals, it’s completely up to you… but if you have a bit spare cash I would go for it. There is a clear improvement in sound and the package is beautiful.
- That's All Right
- I Got A Woman
- The Wonder Of You
- I've Lost You
- The Next Step Is Love
- Stranger In The Crowd
- You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling
- Don't Cry Daddy #1
- Don't Cry Daddy #2
- You Don't Have To Say You Love Me
- Polk Salad Annie
- Bridge Over Troubled Water
- I Can't Stop Loving You
- Just Pretend / Don't it makes you wanna go home (few lines)
- Sweet Caroline / Love me tender (few lines)
- Suspicious Minds
- I Just Can't Help Believin' #1
- I Just Can't Help Believin' #2
- Tomorrow Never Comes / Running Scared (few lines)
- Mary In The Morning
- Twenty Days And Twenty Nights
- You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling
- I Just Can't Help Believin' #3
- Heart Of Rome (uncensored) & reprise
- Johnny B. Goode
- Make The World Go Away / Delilah (few lines)
- Stranger In My Own Home Town (uncensored)
- I Washed My Hand In Muddy Water