"Gee, it's great to be in that 50th state!"
Reviewed by Jungleroom76
Whether or not you are a fan of Elvis' movies, it is an undeniable fact that a large part of the Elvis Presley legacy centers around the 33 motion pictures that Elvis made -- from his first starring role in the 1956 film "Love Me Tender" until his final motion picture, the 1972 Golden Globe Award winning documentary "Elvis On Tour". Love 'em or hate 'em, they are an unmistakable part of the Elvis legend! To help keep this portion of the Elvis Presley legend alive, the good folks at "Follow That Dream" (FTD) Records have decided to supplement their wide assortment of quarterly releases with the occassional re-release of Elvis' movie soundtracks -- and the latest one to hit the shelves of Elvis fans is "Paradise, Hawaiian Style".
Released on July 1st, 2004, "Paradise, Hawaiian Style" is the 8th movie soundtrack to be released in the FTD Records special "Classic Albums Series". Originally released in June, 1966, "Paradise, Hawaiian Style" finds Elvis back in the breathtaking beauty of the 50th state, trying to capture the success of Elvis' blockbuster 1961 film "Blue Hawaii". While "Paradise, Hawaiian Style" was not as successful as its predecessor, either at the box office or in the record stores, the soundtrack did reach a respectable #15 on the music charts. While certainly not one of the strongest of the Elvis soundtracks, "Paradise, Hawaiian Style" did contain some great numbers including the title cut, along with "Drums Of The Islands" and "This Is My Heaven". Of course, the soundtrack also included some more lighthearted fare such as "Datin'", "Scratch My Back (Then I'll Scratch Yours)", and "A Dog's Life".
On the 2004 FTD Records re-release of "Paradise, Hawaiian Style", fans are treated to a total of 24 tracks -- 10 from the original 1966 album, as well as 14 "new bonus tracks"! The new version of "Paradise, Hawaiian Style" starts with the 10 original songs from the soundtrack, all presented in their original form and in their original sequence. Of the 14 "new bonus tracks", fans are treated to 10 previously unreleased performances, including an amusing outtake (Take 8) of "A Dog's Life" as well as beautiful alternate versions of "Sand Castles" (Take 1), "Drums Of The Islands" (Takes 4 & 5) and "This Is My Heaven" (Takes 1, 2 & 3). Previously released alternate performances of "Datin'" (Takes 6, 7, 8, 11 & 12) and "A Dog's Life" (Takes 4, 5 & 6) add some humor and lighthearted fun to this latest re-issue from FTD Records.
While the sound quality of the original 1966 soundtrack of "Paradise, Hawaiian Style" was simply adequate, I have to say that I found the sound quality on this new reissue to be quite stunning! As I listened to the CD, I was amazed at how crisp and clean these 38 year-old recordings sounded!
The folks at FTD Records have done a remarkable job remastering the sound on this release, and it definitely added to my enjoyment of the CD. Just listen to how much better "Drums Of The Islands" sounds, with the drums featured much more prominently here than on the original 1966 album, or on the "Double Features" release from RCA Records a few years ago! Even the outtakes sound refreshingly crisp, which is an added bonus in my opinion!! (I have to admit that this is one of my favorite movie soundtracks, and I was so pleased to see that FTD took the time to enhance the overall quality of the sound...a very pleasant surprise!!)
The packaging for "Paradise, Hawaiian Style" is top notch, as once again, the FTD staff has released this soundtrack in their special deluxe 7-inch EP-style, triple fold-out cover! The front cover of the new CD faithfully reproduces the original 1966 soundtrack front cover, while the left inside panel of the new CD contains the graphics of the back cover of the original album. A very nice photo still of Elvis in a purple shirt set against a purple background graces the right inside CD panel. On the flip side of the photo still, fans are treated to a reproduction of the movie poster for the film, along with some production and cast notes for "Paradise, Hawaiian Style". Of course, the back cover of the CD contains the track listing for this newly released CD.
The graphics throughout the cover are very bright, colorful, and eye-catching to be sure! Also included with the CD, which looks quite similiar to the original album label, is a nicely-done 10-page booklet, containing information on the soundtrack recordings as well as photos and a synopsis of the movie itself. (A couple of photos containing stills from the movie of scenes which were cut from the film add a nice touch to the booklet!) Once again, the good folks at FTD Records have gone all-out with the packaging for "Paradise, Hawaiian Style"! (Although it does make me wonder....if they can do such a nice job on the packaging for these "Classic Albums Series" CD's, why aren't ALL of the FTD releases done in this style, instead of the usual "digi-pack" style that we have grown accustomed to for the regular FTD releases?)
In closing, I have to say that I am very impressed with the re-release of "Paradise, Hawaiian Style" from FTD Records! The packaging is very attractive, the soundtrack (in my opinion) is above average, and perhaps the most impressive aspect of this CD is the much-improved sound quality! Whether or not you are a fan of Elvis' movies, I highly recommend giving "Paradise, Hawaiian Style" a listen! "Gee, it's great to be in that 50th state!"
I hope everyone enjoys my review!!