Fame And Fortune
Songs from March 1960 to March 1961.
The ElvisNews Review
The regular digipack is in "early 60's cover style", which fits the content perfectly. The picture is from a session of which more photos are used on several covers over the years. The information with the tracklist is short as always, but pretty complete. Take numbers, playing time, authors and musicians are all mentioned. Strangely enough some of the song titles are differing from the official/ original titles.
We planned to do a fly-by of the songs, but fortunately we got a very enthusiastic one earlier this week by a Dutch fan, Loes, who shows that there are female fans that are not only interested in the man's looks. Lazy as we are at times, we decided to add her contribution in 'our' review.
"The latest Follow That Dream release is as stunning as the king himself. Although not all the tracks are previously unreleased, the sound quality is one of the finest ever heard. The sound is crystal clear and beyond any doubt better than on most other BMG-releases. Personally I am in great doubt to put this one even above the “Memphis Sessions”, which was my favorite FTD until now.
The picture on the front of the CD is well known and fits perfectly to the style of the songs. The picture on the back, well, let me put it this way... I can't keep my eyes off of it. Once again it proofs what a melancholy and feeling Elvis had in his eyes. The picture itself is not really great quality but the man on it makes it one of the best I have ever seen. The picture inside is a very sexy looking Elvis, who sure will make every woman melt inside. Sorry, boys!
The first song, “Make Me Know It” could also have been the title of this release; make them all know about the strength of the king to lighten your day, you sure can hear the joy in his voice. “Soldier Boy”, a bit sad perhaps, but Elvis’ voice is so beautiful. He sings it with the warm feeling we all know so well. The piano player, Floyd Cramer, is one of the finest and does his very best on this one. “Stuck on You” begins with a false start, but right from the first note Elvis voice strikes me again with his warmth. Real powerful and with dedication, why on earth did Pris leave this wonderful man??????
Then with two false starts “Fame and Fortune” begins and although this is not one of my personal favorites, I must admit the song strikes me with an intensity only Elvis can cause. The way he reaches the high notes is wonderful. The bluesy version of “Like A Baby” makes me decide to look for my “Elvis Sings the Blues” CD, the sax is breathtaking and asks for more.
Again we are treated on some false starts, this time on “It's Now Or Never”, which I personally find a strange song. There are times I can't stand it, while at other times I love it. This time it is right on its place on this CD. And again the easiness of Elvis’ voice is wonderful to hear. A real slow version of the “The Girl Of My Best Friend” is next; it sure makes me want to be this girl.
Right on time “Dirty Dirty Feeling” starts, they were fooling around a bit at first, but there it is.........nice up tempo and it makes your feet want to move. Love it! The piano player starts over and over again while trying to get “Thrill Of Your Love”, a really beautiful version, I assure you. The Jordanaires matches Elvis voice as usual. Ah... “Such A Night”... of course with all the passion Elvis is capable of. “Girl Next Door Went A-Walkin’” starts with fooling around and of course halfway it goes wrong again. It is nice to hear the fun in the studio between the guys, finally they even finish the song completely.
At last the first gospel on this CD starts. Personally I love every gospel Elvis has ever sung, but after hearing these ones I am sure everyone will be in love with them forever. “Milky White Way” is so beautiful, the tempo is perfect and the intensions of Elvis are beyond any doubt; he loved singing this kind of music. “His Hand in Mine”, including false start, is a version with so much love and warmth in it, it will make a cynical man cry. The lower notes make me wonder why Elvis was jealous of JD. His own voice was perfect in my opinion. “He Knows Just What I Need” was all I needed to decide: this FTD is my personal favorite from now on!
There it is right now: “Surrender”. Someone told me this song is technically one of the best Elvis has ever sung. After listening for a few times in a row... I must admit, it is really extraordinary what Elvis could do with his voice. Beautiful!
“In My Fathers House” is sung with the Jordanaires in a very warm way. They are not really functioning as background singers, but as truly great musicians themselves. “Joshua Fit The Battle”, one of my personal favorites, gets my feet moving again. What a song!!!!
“I'm Gonna Walk Dem Golden Stairs” is probably the only song that can follow this one. Up tempo gospel is really a pleasure to hear, even for non-believers. I can't sit still anymore. “Working On The Building” completes the gospel tracks on this release. The way the voices are mixed together must have made Elvis very happy himself. It is sung like a choir would do, and not as an solo song by Elvis.
“I'm Coming Home” is next, with some pain in my heart, the gospels may have gone on forever for me, but then again, that's the strength of Elvis. All music he touched with his voice is beautiful and capable of enjoying our lives. “Gently” is starting, a false one again, but so tenderly sung that it is as if I hear it for the first time. Again, they sure have done a fantastic job on the sound quality, so clear!
“In Your Arms”, high in my own favorite-list, makes me dance a little, but then again I am a sucker for saxes! I’m glad to hear that many on this release. “It's A Sin”, with a beautiful piano again, gives us a very sincerely sounding Elvis. This man should still have been alive and making music. What an artist he was with his voice.
“Starting Today” is sung with love and it makes me almost cry. The lyrics, the music, the tempo, all are just right. “Sentimental Me” follows, a beautiful song, again sounding great on this release. “Judy”, with false start, a regular version, but it fits in the track listing perfectly. And last but not least “Put The Blame On Me”; yes, Elvis, we will put the blame on you for another beautiful FTD-release. The sax is just loud enough to enjoy him, and the false starts are really nice to hear, there is only one thing to do right now: start all over again.
In case of any doubt, this release is an absolute must for all. Not only for fans, but also for friends to make them learn more about our hero. I know I will buy more then one copy!"
We can only conclude with a thank you to Loes for her contribution, and admitting that she is almost completely right. This is the best FTD so far, but together with the "Memphis Sessions".
Playing time: 73'11/ Design 8/ Content 9