That’s The Way It Is has something magical. It was upon its announcement for the FTD series already in my personal top 5, a friend of mine who skipped the last 10 or 15 FTDs pre-ordered it immediately. Is it hype or is it just?
As we are used to by now the “FTD classics” come in a nice package: the original cover art, CDs representing the two album labels and a nice booklet. The photos in the booklet are mainly from the movie rehearsals, but there are some live shots too. Of course the memorabilia are present too: single covers, newspaper clips and material from the (RCA) archives. In opposition to the “normal” FTD releases the information is really in depth and complete.
The first part will be very familiar to most of you, since it is (of course) the original album. The bonus tracks are not the same as on the 2000 “Special edition” 3CD box. Understandably FTD chose for songs that were on the original album, but from that point of view it is strange that the Little Sister/ Get Back medley and Something pop up. The first “new” thing on the disc is take 8 of Twenty Days and Twenty Nights; a good rendition, but as most of the outtakes it is very close to the master.
More interesting are the takes of Patch It Up. You hear something of “searching” for the right thing: eight minutes of “new listening pleasure”.
The second CD also starts with a song that doesn’t really belong on the set: the Tiger Man
jam that was already on Nashville Marathon
. On the early takes of Twenty Days And Twenty Nights
you clearly hear that Elvis and the band knew exactly what they wanted to achieve. Even the rehearsal is already very close to the master. To prevent myself from repeating over and over again I’ll leave it with this regarding the songs. It is the known pure listening pleasure, completed with some banter and messing up. Only every now and then Elvis was looking for the right phrasing (e.g. The Next Step Is Love
The fact that I was heavily in doubt if I should put it on one or on two in my personal top 5 says it all. For now it is a good second behind Nashville Marathon, but I can imagine it’ll grow to #1 in the coming month. Vocally Elvis was sitting on top of the world and the songs are delivered in a way only Elvis could achieve. All this is brought in the best quality I ever heard it in. Thanks Ernst, for bringing so much joy in such a small package!.
I need to apologize to all my other CDs: there will be no room in my player for them during the next months!