Page 1 of 5 12345 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 93

Thread: "Love Letters LP discouraging" (RollingStones review 1971)

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    463

    "Love Letters LP discouraging" (RollingStones review 1971)

    Even though this isn't my favorite Elvis album, I can't get over at how these people just wanted to keep Elvis like the way he was in the 50s.
    Elvis even stated in the 50s that he didn't know what kind of music he'd be recording in the future. I sometimes wonder if these people compared Elvis to, The Doors or CCR. Elvis was way beyond Rock n Roll in this stage of his life.




    The first cut is "Love Letters" and it's a beautiful song. Presley's voice is all there and then in comes the schizoid background, half-funk and half muzak. And thus it goes for two sides of Presley's latest. The voice is there, some of the material is OK, James Burton is picking away, the rhythm sounds passable, but oh those strings, horns, background voices, and what not. It's enough to drown a grown man–precisely what it does to Elvis on this album.

    Love Letters is the most discouraging event of the last three years of Presley's career. It was just about that time that he cut his famous television special which, to me, provided that medium with its ultimate justification. Then followed his exciting recordings in Memphis, topped off with his superb single, one of the finest records of his career, "Suspicious Minds." Subsequent Memphis recordings were not as successful so Elvis gradually started shifting recording locations, producers (all of whom are uncredited, possibly the only remaining case in the record business where such is the case) and sidemen. Several live Las Vegas albums and middleaged Tom Jones imitations later he came up for a breath of fresh air on Elvis Country. But with Love Letters he once again takes a dive and his admirers everywhere can only hope that it isn't for the count.

    It is amazing how even in the middle of these incredibly schlocky arrangements Elvis can still burn some fire into "Got My Mojo Workin'" and "Cindy, Cindy." What is even more amazing is how any producer could take that fire and even think to submerge it in the kind of Vegas bar lounge rock context they are given here. The chorus line singing in the background must have surely been paid overtime for this album: they work so hard without getting anywhere.

    It would be pointless to berate the out-and-out muzak of the album's lesser moments, such as "Heart of Rome," "Only Believe," and "This Is Our Dance." The question to ask is, who is this music for? Somehow I expect that even those who have come to Elvis mainly through his nightclub performances expect a little more than they are given on Love Letters From Elvis. And those of us who have loved him from the beginning, and know that he could still be doing it, because every now and then we can still hear him doing it, can only turn away in disgust from this sort of thing.

    One gets the impression that Elvis Presley does what his business advisors think will be most profitable. My advice to them: Put Elvis Presley in the studio with a bunch of good, contemporary rockers, lock the studio up, and tell him he can't come out until he's done made an album that rocks from beginning to end. You'll get the best selling Elvis Presley album of the last ten years, and we'll get Elvis Presley doing what he's supposed to do. Think about it.

    JON LANDAU
    (RS 87 - July 22, 1971)

    (Posted: Jul 22, 1971)

  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    119
    What a great review from Jon Landau and rightfully so ...

    Save for, Got My Mojo Workin', 1971's "Love Letters From Elvis" was a major step backwards, musically and artisically, then and now, and I hope any new listener just discovering Elvis could and would never find this Lp to begin with.

  3. #3
    Angel utmom2008's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    TEXAS
    Posts
    10,021
    Quote Originally Posted by Frankieg View Post
    What a great review from Jon Landau and rightfully so ...

    Save for, Got My Mojo Workin', 1971's "Love Letters From Elvis" was a major step backwards, musically and artisically, then and now, and I hope any new listener just discovering Elvis could and would never find this Lp to begin with.
    Oh gosh....I remember buying it in 1971. I loved the pics on the front...

  4. #4
    Resident SP! Tony Trout's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Brasstown/Murphy, North Carolina (USA)
    Posts
    2,941
    The only song from this CD that I wasn't fond of was, "This Is Our Dance". I liked the other ones, though. I currently only have it on cassette and am looking for a CD copy but they're so dang expensive!

  5. #5
    Heartbreak Hotel, Room 11 Albert's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Assen, Netherlands
    Posts
    6,349
    Quote Originally Posted by Frankieg View Post
    What a great review from Jon Landau and rightfully so ...

    Save for, Got My Mojo Workin', 1971's "Love Letters From Elvis" was a major step backwards, musically and artisically, then and now, and I hope any new listener just discovering Elvis could and would never find this Lp to begin with.
    Yeah, I have the same feeling. It's a very, very mediocre album for someone who returned to live performance just one year ago. One year after he recorded tracks like Suspicous Minds, In The Ghetto, Long Black Limousine and Any Day Now....

    Love Letters to me sound like a compilation of B-sides and fillers. An album that you could expect when Elvis would still be making movies in the 70s. A camden release.

    No, right now, in 2008, I'm happy with all songs Elvis recorded. But Love Letters was -at that time!- a lousy release. Even then RCA didn't understand that not ALL songs Elvis recorded were intended to be released.

    By the way Mojo, love your avatar. That movie was really great
    ‎"A year from now, you'll wish you had started today"

    Follow TCB-World on Twitter for website updates and Elvisnews: http://twitter.com/tcbworldcom






  6. #6
    International Level Suspicious Minds's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Bideford, England.
    Posts
    870
    I liked this album.
    Why did RCA leave out I'm Leavin track on this album?
    Why a 11 track album and not a 12 track album?
    Frank

    Every man has a flaming star

  7. #7
    TCB Mafia KPM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    7,932
    I liked this album in 71 and I like it today. It was a "mellow album" and IMO theres nothing wrong with being mellow now and then. It is not an album you are going to rock the night away to, yet it has some rock in it. When I want to rock I put on "From Elvis in Memphis" or one of the live albums or a greatest hits album.

  8. #8
    International Level my boy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    On a jet to the promised land...
    Posts
    575
    I love the Love Letters from Elvis CD,and can't wait for the FTD Special Edition which will be fantastic.

    "When I'm Over You," "Got My Mojo Working"and "Heart Of Rome"are overlooked – especially "Heart Of Rome." "Cindy Cindy"is very enjoyable too!

    In addition the last song "Life"is very unusual and the whole CD is refreshing because it's not just the same old songs found on Best Of compilations.

    I have a JAP 20 bit version and that sounds superb.I think the FTD version when eventually released will be a real winner!

  9. #9
    TCB Mafia
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    1,039
    I don't agree with Rolling Stone's political slant, but they nailed this review. Even in the '70's, Elvis' best music was his rock and roll.

  10. #10
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    119
    Quote Originally Posted by rocknroll View Post
    I don't agree with Rolling Stone's political slant, but they nailed this review. Even in the '70's, Elvis' best music was his rock and roll.

    Absolutely ...

    Promised Land anyone ?

  11. #11
    Angel utmom2008's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    TEXAS
    Posts
    10,021
    Quote Originally Posted by Frankieg View Post
    Absolutely ...

    Promised Land anyone ?
    Hmmm....I think that's debatable. American Trilogy??

  12. #12
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    119
    Quote Originally Posted by utmom2008 View Post
    Hmmm....I think that's debatable. American Trilogy??
    So, you're actually going to try and debate that "An American Trilogy" is Rock 'N Roll ?

    Very silly, but interesting ...

  13. #13
    International Level rickb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    891
    The review is fair enough - it is one of Elvis' poorer 70s albums and nowhere near nthe class of its immediate full-priced predecessors.
    Rick

  14. #14
    Angel utmom2008's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    TEXAS
    Posts
    10,021
    Quote Originally Posted by Frankieg View Post
    So, you're actually going to try and debate that "An American Trilogy" is Rock 'N Roll ?

    Very silly, but interesting ...
    My answer is in response to the statement(post 11) that his BEST music was rock-n-roll. Promised Land was mentioned....and I said that is debateable.....meaning I don't agree.

  15. #15
    International Level Cliff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Christchurch,New Zealand (Middle Earth)
    Posts
    932
    I was under the impression that Elvis had complete control over what he recorded. I don't know that he any control over what was released tho.
    Pehaps a lot of these songs had personal value to him. Then again someone else could have suggested he sing these.At this stage he may not have cared.I guess we'll never know for sure.

  16. #16
    Cadillac King Trelane P's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Hertfordshire, UK
    Posts
    428
    Blame RCA!

    Elvis would record over a period of a few sessions like Nashville 1970 and RCA would release everything recorded. If RCA just released one album of the 'best' material recorded then Elvis albums would be judged among the cream of the crop.

    Image if these albums were the only four Elvis albums released in the 1970s:

    - The best from 1970 sessions
    - The best from 1971 & 1972 sessions
    - The best of Stax 1973 sessions
    - The best of 1975 & 1976 sessions

    Now they would be some of the best albums of the 70s. In fact RCA should forget reissuing old 70's albums and just push these four albums.
    The Acoustic Rockabilly Channel ♫ for exclusive acoustic rockabilly videos

    Elvis holidays & tours to Memphis & Graceland with Arena Travel

  17. #17
    International Level Suspicious Minds's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Bideford, England.
    Posts
    870
    Quote Originally Posted by Frankieg View Post
    So, you're actually going to try and debate that "An American Trilogy" is Rock 'N Roll ?

    Very silly, but interesting ...

    How can An American Trilogy be Rock 'n' Roll?
    To me it's a ballad type of song.



    I did not say this track is rock 'n' roll.
    I said how can An American Trilogy be rock 'n' roll?
    Last edited by Suspicious Minds; 04-13-2008 at 04:12 AM.
    Frank

    Every man has a flaming star

  18. #18
    TCB Mafia KPM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    7,932
    Quote Originally Posted by Cliff View Post
    I was under the impression that Elvis had complete control over what he recorded. I don't know that he any control over what was released tho.
    Pehaps a lot of these songs had personal value to him. Then again someone else could have suggested he sing these.At this stage he may not have cared.I guess we'll never know for sure.
    He had control over the approved songs brought to the sessions, but a lot of good songs just did not make it to him because of the publishing situation. Parker wanted any song Elvis cut to be something they got a songwriting percentage of-which worked at the start when Elvis was top of the charts on everything till the early 60s. But then songwriters became more independant. (especially if they could sing and record on their own) So after that for a lot of years (when this was fully in effect)-good quality songs just did not get to him.
    IMO 68-69 it began to change some-Elvis took more of a stand on good songs or songs he wanted to record because he liked them.
    Dolly Partons "I Will Always Love You" song is a good example of the negative end of wanting a cut of the song (according to Dolly Parton):
    "I got the word that Elvis was interested in it, and I was so excited," Dolly says. But her bubble burst when Elvis' manager, Colonel Tom Parker, demanded that she sign over half of the publishing royalties to the song.

  19. #19
    Angel utmom2008's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    TEXAS
    Posts
    10,021
    Quote Originally Posted by Suspicious Minds View Post
    How can An American Trilogy be Rock 'n' Roll?
    To me it's a ballad type of song.
    Good heavens!!! No one ever said American Trilogy was rock-n-roll.Some one said that rock-n-roll was his BEST music and used Promised Land as an example. I said that the statement was debateable......meaning I don't agree that rock-n-roll was his best music ever and cited American Trilogy as an example in return. Re-read the entire thread.....

  20. #20
    International Level Erhan's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    istanbul
    Posts
    523
    Quote Originally Posted by MojoElvis View Post
    Even though this isn't my favorite Elvis album, I can't get over at how these people just wanted to keep Elvis like the way he was in the 50s.
    Elvis even stated in the 50s that he didn't know what kind of music he'd be recording in the future. I sometimes wonder if these people compared Elvis to, The Doors or CCR. Elvis was way beyond Rock n Roll in this stage of his life.




    The first cut is "Love Letters" and it's a beautiful song. Presley's voice is all there and then in comes the schizoid background, half-funk and half muzak. And thus it goes for two sides of Presley's latest. The voice is there, some of the material is OK, James Burton is picking away, the rhythm sounds passable, but oh those strings, horns, background voices, and what not. It's enough to drown a grown man–precisely what it does to Elvis on this album.

    Love Letters is the most discouraging event of the last three years of Presley's career. It was just about that time that he cut his famous television special which, to me, provided that medium with its ultimate justification. Then followed his exciting recordings in Memphis, topped off with his superb single, one of the finest records of his career, "Suspicious Minds." Subsequent Memphis recordings were not as successful so Elvis gradually started shifting recording locations, producers (all of whom are uncredited, possibly the only remaining case in the record business where such is the case) and sidemen. Several live Las Vegas albums and middleaged Tom Jones imitations later he came up for a breath of fresh air on Elvis Country. But with Love Letters he once again takes a dive and his admirers everywhere can only hope that it isn't for the count.

    It is amazing how even in the middle of these incredibly schlocky arrangements Elvis can still burn some fire into "Got My Mojo Workin'" and "Cindy, Cindy." What is even more amazing is how any producer could take that fire and even think to submerge it in the kind of Vegas bar lounge rock context they are given here. The chorus line singing in the background must have surely been paid overtime for this album: they work so hard without getting anywhere.

    It would be pointless to berate the out-and-out muzak of the album's lesser moments, such as "Heart of Rome," "Only Believe," and "This Is Our Dance." The question to ask is, who is this music for? Somehow I expect that even those who have come to Elvis mainly through his nightclub performances expect a little more than they are given on Love Letters From Elvis. And those of us who have loved him from the beginning, and know that he could still be doing it, because every now and then we can still hear him doing it, can only turn away in disgust from this sort of thing.

    One gets the impression that Elvis Presley does what his business advisors think will be most profitable. My advice to them: Put Elvis Presley in the studio with a bunch of good, contemporary rockers, lock the studio up, and tell him he can't come out until he's done made an album that rocks from beginning to end. You'll get the best selling Elvis Presley album of the last ten years, and we'll get Elvis Presley doing what he's supposed to do. Think about it.

    JON LANDAU
    (RS 87 - July 22, 1971)

    (Posted: Jul 22, 1971)
    WOOWW I wish Elvis had a chance to read that true review...

Page 1 of 5 12345 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Love Letters From Nevada
    By Sonny in forum Import CD's (information and reviews)
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 05-05-2011, 08:25 AM
  2. love letters?
    By BabiGurl88 in forum Elvis Presley
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 12-26-2007, 09:47 AM
  3. Love Letters question
    By President Presley in forum Elvis Presley
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 06-08-2007, 04:46 AM
  4. Love Letters from Chicago & A Legendary Performer
    By Dovey in forum Elvis Presley
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 04-24-2007, 10:56 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •