PROMISED LAND - Originally Released in 1975
THE ORIGINAL ALBUM
01. Promised Land
02. There's A Honky Tonk Angel (Who'll Take Me Back In)
03. Help Me
04. Mr. Songman
05. Love Song Of The Year
06. It's Midnight
07. Your Love's Been A Long Time Coming
08. If You Talk In Your Sleep
09. Thinking About You
10. You Asked Me To
SESSION HIGHLIGHTS: THE ALTERNATE ALBUM
11. Promised Land - takes 3 & 4
12. There's A Honky Tonk Angel (Who'll Take Me Back In) - takes 4 & composite of takes 5, 3 & 8
13. Help Me - take 1 (false start + remixed master)
14. Mr. Songman - take 2
15. Love Song Of The Year - take 1
16. It's Midnight - take 7
17. Your Love's Been A Long Time Coming - take 10
18. If You Talk In Your Sleep - take 5
19. Thinking About You - take 4
20. You Asked Me To - take 3A
MORE SESSION HIGHLIGHTS
21. Promised Land - take 5
22. Love Song Of The Year - takes 3, 4 & 6
23. Love Song Of The Year - take 7
24. It's Midnight - take 11
25. You Asked Me To - take 2B
THE SESSIONS: THE MAKING OF
01. It's Midnight - takes 1-4 & 8
02. It's Midnight - take 9
03. Love Song Of The Year - rehearsal
04. Thinking About You - rehearsal + take 2
05. Thinking About You - take 3
06. You Asked Me To - takes 1 & 2A
07. Your Love's Been A Long Time Coming - takes 2 & 3
08. Your Love's Been A Long Time Coming - take 4
09. Promised Land - take 2
10. Mr. Songman - take 1
12. If You Talk In Your Sleep - take 6
13. If You Talk In Your Sleep - takes 9 (undubbed master)
14. It's Midnight - take 10
15. Thinking About You - takes 5 & 6
16. Love Song Of The Year - take 2
17. You Asked Me To - take 3B
18. There's A Honky Tonk Angel (Who'll Take Me Back In) - takes 6 & 7
19. There's A Honky Tonk Angel (Who'll Take Me Back In) - take 8 (rough mix of master)
20. Mr. Songman - takes 3 & 5
21. Promised Land - take 6 (undubbed master)
22. Your Love's Been A Long Time Coming - take 8
23. Your Love's Been A Long Time Coming - take 9 (undubbed master)
Re: Promised Land
Follow That Dreams “Promised Land” completes the STAX trilogy and the 2-CD version is a welcome addition to the growing catalogue of collectors releases. The 1974 released classic album includes: yearning ballads, funk, late night laments – and a burning Chuck Berry cover that could melt speaker grills. Elvis was a huge Chuck Berry fan and the feeling was mutual. There's a great story about Elvis and his entourage walking into the duck walking legends Vegas show around 1972-73, and sitting in a front row booth and calling out to him to play his favourite hits, Chuck duly obliged (Jerry Shilling book).
Elvis takes Chuck Berry's classic 1964 musical travelogue and amps it in a rocking tour-de-force –– and it’s fantastic to hear takes 3, 4, powered by Ronnie Tutt’s powerhouse drumming and James Burton’s driving guitar. Elvis is working towards the master, but with a meticulous ear stops the song mid-intro, it’s a fascinating moment and is a great example of how in control he was...
On the lyric he sings: "there's an uncle who cares a lot about me" which is similar to the Berry classic, "Memphis Tennessee" (also recorded by Elvis) – it's fascinating to hear him get to grips with the lyrics which are almost perfect except for the aforementioned "uncle" lyric.
He then nails it on the stunning high-octane "Promised Land" master (take 6), and a snippet of "Columbus Stockade Blues" is also sung before the intro (CD-2) –– CSB is a traditional country song that dates back to the 1930s, Elvis loved singing it, evident in his short rendition, but what if it had appeared on the Promised Land album proper? It’s another highlight of the FTD release, but there's so much more...
The heartbreaking ballad – "It's Midnight" - take 7 is gorgeous, but it has to be said all the takes offer something a little different, whether it's Elvis joking with his musicians (takes 1-4, 8), and the beautiful reading of the Billy Ed Wheeler's/Jerry Chesnut lyrics - Elvis sings: "Where is all my self control, I'm burning way down in my soul, and needing you," it's stunning, and beautifully written, it’s one of the most overlooked ballads of his entire career; the delicate, emotive phrasing after the chorus: “lord, I miss you” is heartfelt and poignant, with Elvis pouring his heart out in a masterly performance.
The album is a compelling listen with something for everyone. The funky "If You Talk In Your Sleep" take 5, with James Burton's bluesy, infectious guitar riff, is just delicious! But there’s more on CD-2 with take 6 and 9 adding to the funky mix. Furthermore the sound is clear, defined, and detailed with every instrument in harmony. The sound is simply stunning! Hats off to Mr. Anesini especially after the reported sound difficulties.
More standouts: "Love Song Of The Year" (rehearsal) is great fun - Elvis is having a great time on this one, and it's sure to make you smile...likewise “Thinking About You” rehearsal + take 2, and take 3, has it’s moments too. On the “The Making of” (CD-2), Elvis is letting loose and having fun in the moment and it’s a sheer joy to hear.
The new Vic Anesini mixes reveal more detail and add a wonderful freshness to the recordings, all the songs benefit in a new light and one example is “Love Song of The Year” which, love it or loathe it sounds good here. Wonderful lyrics, Elvis sings: “That I let love slip through my fingers like a golden breath of air. If I cared I wouldn’t be singing this love song of the year.” The ‘golden breath’ of air lyric is startling in its imagery – that’s the magic of a great singer interpreting the simple but effecting lyric.
Additionally, “There’s A Honky Tonk Angel’s theme of neglected love and the dimming of the home-fires has never sounded as good on take-1.
The Promised Land album is indeed a classic but by including the alternate album and "the making of" – it’s now widescreen... To sum up, Elvis took us on a trip to the promised land that's one hell of a ride – Kudos to the FTD team for releasing the ultimate edition of a classic album.
Re: Promised Land
Recently, I had the privilege of writing an essay for THE MYSTERY TRAIN BLOG website. The essay that I wrote was on the new PROMISED LAND FTD CD release. Here is my take on the FANTASTIC new release from FTD:
I have been an Elvis Presley fan since the age of 5, and many times I have told friends my story of how I one day discovered my Mom’s record collection at the bottom of the staircase in our home. As I rifled through her collection, I came across the album Elvis Today and was instantly intrigued.
Long story short, not only did that discovery create a new Elvis fan, but for the last 35 years I have always claimed Today as my favorite Elvis album. However, after listening to the recently released Follow That Dream treatment of the Promised Land album, I am now proud to proclaim Promised Land as my all-time favorite Elvis album.
Since the inception of the Classic Albums concept by the FTD Collectors Label, fans have been clamoring for Ernst Jorgensen & company to deliver the Promised Land album to them in this expanded format. I am happy to say that the wait, while long and seemingly endless at times, was well worth it. What FTD has done with not only the original album, but the session outtakes is simply amazing.
Once I received my copy of Promised Land, I immediately noticed that the format presented to us for this album was a little different. As usual the original album kicks off disc one, but then comes the twist. We fans are treated to “Promised Land – The Alternate Album.” This section contains the original album song lineup using outtakes from the recording sessions.
Referred to as “Session Highlights,” these 10 outtakes presumably are what the FTD team felt were the best alternate versions of each song from the album. Personally, I truly enjoyed this change to the Classic Albums format, and I hope that FTD considers continuing this trend on future Classic Albums releases.
Upon concluding the “Alternate Album,” the rest of disc one contains “More Session Highlights.” The entire contents of disc two are referred to as “Sessions – The Making Of.” Basically these are the remaining session outtakes from that historic recording session at the Stax Studios in Memphis during the final month of 1973.
Herein lie the true gems of this 2-disc package. Hearing Elvis rehearse, record and re-record these songs is a true listening experience. When I first listened to these outtakes, I was captivated by Elvis’ true commitment to the material he was recording – something that, to me, had seemingly been missing since his marathon recording sessions of June 1970.
Listening to the outtakes from the Promised Land sessions, you can hear Elvis really trying to create something special. Just hear the passion in his voice during the recording of “It’s Midnight” or the ache in his voice in “There’s A Honky Tonk Angel (Who’ll Take Me Back In).”
These outtakes, at times, can be viewed by fans as windows into the soul of Elvis Presley, perhaps moreso than any other recordings of his career. Even songs like “Mr. Songman,” which may not be at the top of the list as far as being one of his best, take on a whole new freshness and life as they are presented here by the great folks at FTD.
Another guilty pleasure has to be listening to Elvis getting lost in the lyrics of “Your Love’s Been A Long Time Coming.” When we finally arrive at take 9 (the master take), Elvis can’t bring himself to finish the song and, fortunately for us listeners, we are there as FTD brings us the unedited version of this song.
Then, of course, comes the title track. This song, in my opinion, provides indisputable proof that Elvis could still rock with the best of them when given the right material. We are treated to almost every outtake (take 1 is not present) of “Promised Land,” and we can hear Elvis truly having fun as he molds this Chuck Berry composition into an Elvis Presley song!
There are so many highlights to this new version of the Promised Land album, but undoubtedly the star of the album has to be the sound quality of each song. With crystal clear remastering work by Jean-Marc Juilland and Vic Anesini, each of the 48 tracks presented in this collection sound as though Elvis recorded them in 2012, not 1973. As I listened to this album, it was hard for me to believe that these recordings were almost 40 years old.
Of course, accompanying the Promised Land FTD release is the customary 12-page booklet, giving fans the details behind the recording and release of the album, along with some fantastic artifacts from RCA of notes, reviews, memorandums, and other album-related items.
As always, fans are also treated to some great concert shots spread throughout the booklet. Finally, we are treated to an essay from noted Elvis author Sandi Pichon who recalls her experience when attending one of Elvis’ historic Stax recording sessions.
For all of these reasons, and many more which I could spend all day talking about, it is official: Promised Land is now my all-time favorite Elvis album. It has taken almost 35 years to get here, but it was well worth the wait!
I’d like to take a moment to thank Troy for allowing me the opportunity to guest blog for him. May The Mystery Train Blog continue to roll on down the line…
Re: Promised Land
Fantastic review Mike!!!(y)(y)
Originally Posted by Jungleroom76
"Working on a T-bone steak a la carte flying over to the golden state"
Re: Promised Land
Thanks so much for the kind words Dave!! ;)
Originally Posted by my boy
"When the pilot told us in thirteen minutes he would set us at the terminal gate..." :D
Re: Promised Land
"Swing low chariot come down easy taxi to the terminal zone"
It really is a fantastic release –– kudos to FTD.
"Cut your engines and cool your wings and let me make to the telephone"
All the best
Re: Promised Land
"Los Angeles, give me Norfolk, Virginia
Tidewater four ten-o-nine
Tell the folks back home this is the Promised Land calling
And the poor boy is on the line"
Thanks again Dave!! (y) ;)
Re: Promised Land