One of the releases in the recent FTD flood is another album in the classics series: Love Letters From Elvis. Some doesn’t regard it as a classic, does this release change that?
As we are get used to by now, the classic album series are way above the normal releases regarding design. The original front and back of the album, CD pressed with the album labels and a nice booklet with a lot of nice pics and information… they are all here again. The only minus on my copy was that the CD-holders are not centered on the label on the cover… so if the CD is fixed to it, you’ll still see a lot of the label behind it.
Let’s start with a review on the original CD ElvisNews published in 2001:
“The eleven songs on this album were recorded in the same recording sessions (June 4 to 8 1970) as the tracks released on Elvis Country and tracks for the That's The Way It Is soundtrack. With this selection of songs Elvis shows his focus on ballads, the kind of material that fitted his voice at the time.
Listening to the songs you can hear him lifting even lesser songs like When I'm Over You and I'll Never Know to an higher level, pure with his performance and the quality of his voice.
Next to the ballads on this album there also are two rockers, the Muddy Waters classic I Got My Mojo Working, in a medley with Keep Your Hands Off Of Her and the up-tempo Cindy Cindy.. The first is one of the most interesting songs on this release. It is an accidentally recorded pulverizing studio jam in which Elvis lays down his version of Muddy Waters veneration of the metaphysical macho-man.
A strange choice on this release is Heart Of Rome, a weaker song of which the best "dirty" version (I take a piss in every fountain) is released on the bootleg Brightest Star on Sunset Boulevard. Besides the hit Love Letters, previously a hit for Kitty Lester, which reached the Top 10 all over the world, the single Life was a strange attempt to set Darwinism to music ... but Elvis got away with it.
With this release Elvis used the remaining songs of a great recording sessions which were used on three albums, Elvis Country, That's The way it Is and this one. We won't say these were the "leftovers", but this album cannot stand in line with the other two albums on which songs from these sessions were used.”
I still think this sums up the original album pretty well. What do we get more on this release? First of course: there are some bonus tracks added: The Sound of Your Cry, Sylvia, Rags to Riches and Something. Especially the last one is a strange addition, since it was also on the recent TTWII-release in this series, and it is the only live song on an album full with studio tracks. Further more we get 33 previously unreleased outtakes of the songs on the album (and bonus songs). Highlights? The full version of Got My Mojo Workin/ Keep Your Hands Off Of It, including the M*F* phrase, which was only available on bootleg so far; the fun Elvis obviously had with Rags to Riches, and every second of Sylvia. I don't know why, but this one has always been one of my favorite 70's tunes.
Even if you call it an album with leftovers, it is still a very enjoyable album. The bonus songs make it only stronger. All together you get a lot of quality time with this FTD-outing, fitting perfectly in this great series.