Nearly 15 years after the first attempt FTD comes with a second release for the Viva Las Vegas soundtrack.
The design is funny, representing a tape box as they were archived by RCA. The CD 'holder' is a 3 panel fold out, with sleeves for the CDs, which makes them hard to catch. The booklet is like usual filled with information, two nice essays, one by the late Stuart Colman, and a lot of promo pictures, candids and memorabilia.
As said in 2003, this is - certainly for a 1960's soundtrack - a pretty bearable collection of songs. Personally I don't like Santa Lucia (beautifully sung, but I just don't like it), the Texas tunes really ruins the release a bit and the rush version of What'd I Say sounded muffled on LP, on the Double Features, on the first FTD outing and it does now. About the remaining songs you won't hear me complain. The title track is a real monument by now and C'mon Everybody always makes me happy, no matter what mood I'm in. The jazzy feel of I Need Somebody To Lean On is something different, while Today, Tomorrow and Forever is just something beautiful (the solo version). The two (other) duets are just fun, Ann-Margret's voice fits those perfectly. Personally I am not fond of her two other contributions, but they last shorter than the Texas outtakes.
The sound is great, but CD 2 starts with some messy background noices that could have been left out in my opinion.
There is enough new material to give this set a reason to exist. Unfortunately most of it is very close to the final versions, except the slower first takes of Viva Las Vegas, but we knew that one. It is fun though to hear that Elvis has problems with the timing and phrasing on 'I Need Somebody', even on the higher takes. I was hoping for a bit more interaction between Elvis and Ann-Margret in between takes of the duets, but they seem to have been eager to get it done.
I know some do not agree with me, but I am happy with Ernst' choice to split up the sessions and spread them over the CDs. I think it makes each CD pleasant to listen to. Nineteen takes of 'I Need Somebody' in a row would be boring in my opinion.
A nice twist is the end of CD 3, it gives a kind of old fashioned 'Looney Tunes'-feeling.
A worthy addition to the FTD collection, beautifully presented and well taken care of. If you want it be quick, since there will be no repressings.