Many thanks Brian, a christmas present for myself i think.
'VIVA ELVIS' - THE ALBUM - REVIEW
by Brian Quinn
I have just listened to 'Viva Elvis' - The Album which was very kindly sent to my by SONY(UK) and I am not afraid to say I am in tears. It is PHENOMENAL and the sound AMAZING. Truly a listening and emotional experience and genuinely revolutionary in concept which should give it an excellent chance for a Grammy Award next year. This is truly Elvis for the 21st Century.
The whole album is built around a biographical theme with comments from Elvis, Ed Sullivan, Bill Black, Milton Berle etc. and snippets of other Elvis songs apart from those listed on the album cover. This is one album that I will be playing a lot and not just once or twice. Yes, we would have liked more tracks but the ones on the album are longer than usual apart from 'Memories' and 'You'll Never Walk Alone' which are linking themes as shown below. I would also have liked to have had the names of the individual female singers featured on the duets.
The album cover is very colorful, contemporary, and features a booklet containing many scenes from the 'Viva Elvis' show with details of the cast etc. Now on to my review:
The album opens with the strains of what is commonly known by Elvis fans as 'The 2001 Theme' together with females screaming and chanting "We Want Elvis". Great drums featured in the background. Elvis himself comments 'If You're Looking For Trouble'. There are also historical comments from Ed Sullivan and track 1 commences a countdown into track 2. A fitting start to the album.
2. Blue Suede Shoes
Heavy version with drums and harmonica up front. Has a distinct Bo Diddley feel to it and again comments from Ed Sullivan and Milton Berle. Lots of sound wizardry here.
3. That's All Right
Has a great feel to it and commences with a similar opening to 'I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine' with comments by Horace Logan and Bill Black. Screaming girls add to the atmosphere. Also snatches of 'When It Rains It Really Pours'.
4. Heartbreak Hotel
This track has a great powerful Blues feel to it and starts out with Elvis doing his famous 'Well, Well Well' routine. A really heavy version follows which quite literally bounces along with great Harmonica/Sax/Brass/Drums and Piano. Snippets of 'Stranger In My Own Home Town' (informal rehearsal) as featured on 'The Essential 70's Masters Box Set. 'Polk Salad Annie' even gets a mention.
5. Love Me Tender
A beautiful duet with a really great female singer and a very contemporary arrangement with acoustic guitar adds up to a real winner. Elvis closes the duet by singing a snippet of 'In My Way' from the movie 'Wild In The Country'. In my opinion this would make a great single release.
6. King Creole
This track commences in a similar fashion to the opening of the film of the same name with strains of 'Crawfish'/'Gumbo'. Slower than the original version with the cast singing along. Elvis also sings a snippet of 'Hard Headed Woman'. The track ends in the same fashion as the beginning with 'Gumbo'. 'Elvis also sings a snippet of 'New Orleans'.
7. Bossa Nova Baby
Commences with Elvis making comments in the recording studio to Hal Wallis. We are then treated to an excellent version of this well known track featuring drums/sax/piano/bass and organ. During the song a part of the arrangement is reminiscent of 'Barbara Ann' by The Beach Boys. Elvis comments "It's Hot In Here". Ends with a great Boots Randolph style sax. A contemporary version without losing the original feel. This would be a great track for the programme 'Dancing With The Stars'.
8. Burning Love
Commences with the famous comment made by Elvis (on the 'Elvis sails' EP) to the Press Corps on joining the U.S. Army. On being asked "What's your idea of the ideal girl?" Elvis answers with much laughing '"Female Sir". A heavy version follows with guitar/drums and guitar to the fore. There is also a piece of dialogue included from the movie 'Jailhouse Rock' where Elvis has just kissed Judy Tyler (Peggy Van Alden) and she turns to him in disgust and states "How dare you think that such cheap tactics would work with me?" and Elvis replies "That ain't tactics honey, its just the beast in me".
A short orchestral piece of 'Memories' which is really a means of segueing into
10. Can't Help Falling In Love
This is a really fine contemporary version of this classic track and sung as a duet with a great female singer similar in style to Mariah Carey. Elvis opens the track accompanied by acoustic guitar. Very melodious. Interestingly the track fades out with Elvis repeating part of the song 'Love Me'.
11. You'll Never Walk Alone (Piano Interlude)
A beautiful short piano solo played as if it were Elvis himself and segues into the final track.
12. Suspicious Minds
Great up tempo closer for the album which is heavy on drums/piano/bass and guitar. Similar type female backing group as the Sweet Inspirations. A very melodious version with Elvis urging everyone on near the end shouting "C'mon, C'mon, C'mon".
Finally, I would like to make this important point. To fully appreciate this album one needs to treat it as a whole and not just a conglomeration of unrelated tracks. As stated earlier it is truly a unique 'listening experience' and and one that is linked biographically to cover all Elvis eras from 'That's All Right' to 'Suspicious Minds' taking in the 50's, the Movies, the Army, the 68 TV Special and Vegas. Special thanks go out to Erich van Tourneau and his team for this innovative concept in recorded music and to EPE and Sony Music Entertainment for their support for the project.
This album will whet the appetite of fans worldwide to go and see the show 'Viva Elvis' when it eventually goes on tour and bring back fond memories for those who have already seen it. I personally cannot wait.
Last edited by Brian Quinn; 11-14-2010 at 09:13 AM.
Many thanks Brian, a christmas present for myself i think.
I think this cd will be a must-have for people that have seen the show. I'm not sure if it works just as well the other way around. I've only listened to samples so far. Have to wait for a local cd store to sell it before i can listen to the whole album
thanks for the review
I guess will see how important this music is, and if it sells well-thats great, as long as people end up "exploring the original" if they do not...... it was just another gimmick which exploited the original and money was made IMO
Work in Progress!
Ah back to the good old days of the 70s when RCA would rip off the fans with 10 tracks an album . I couldnt believe it when i picked up the album to see only 12 tracks and wnen you take into account Memories + You,ll Never Walk Alone are only short musical bridges to the next track that leaves 10 tracks . Well their is more than 10 tracks in the show surely . What an insult and blatant rip off of the fans . As for the contents apart from The Opening , Blue Suede Shoes And Suspicious Minds i think its a very poor album . The remixes sound amature , rushed and jerky . Burning Love perticularly is terrible . Now these numbers are probably shaped to fit the moves of the dancers and performers in the show but on CD they dont work . Their are far better remixes out there like Viva Las Vegas , Burning Love , Baby Lets Play House ext . I was so looking foward to this album , what a dissapointment and what a rip off
The more I listen to these "new" tracks the more I`m amazed at how great the originals are. Maybe if they had released a little 12 track cd of the original tracks with it people could really go "Wow...I like that.?
Do you think only putting half the material from the show on the cd is good value to the fans . When i think of the Beatles Love album from the cirque de solie show , the packeging , the whole show was on the cd nearly 30 songs . What do we get 10 . I dont think half the effort was put in by Sony that was put in by EMI . It was also advertised so well , on every tv channel , newspaper , magazine and hoarding . It shows the difference of being on a label that respects the artist or artists
Just had my first full listen and sorry I can't share Brian's enthusiasm.
my first listening experiences to this album was based on samples only, and I was not impressed. By far...
But today I bought the album through iTunes (just 10 bucks) and was pleasantly surprised. The albums sounds fresh, storyline driven and a really pleasant listening experience. There's one big downside: 10 songs (I don't count the interludes) with about 40 minutes of playing time isn't justifiable nowadays. It may be a tribute to the 60s and 70s where record companies used to release 10 song / 35 minutes LP's, but I don't like it.
It should have been 12 songs + the interludes.
There are 2CD versions available here and there with on the 2nd CD the original versions.
More bad news for fans of this CD.
I just played it to my dance music loving 20 year old daughter. She thought it was terrible.
My son, 18, and a fan of Status Quo, Led Zepplin, Nirvana, Beatles, Primus...and Elvis, found some bits he liked.
I like a couple but mostly it is overblown and over produced.
Bought a copy yesterday. It is awesome.
Highlights are Blue Suede Shoes (brilliant harmonica playing) and Heartbreak Hotel which is my favourite. They used one of my favourite Elvis clips half way through, the slow blues short jam from a Clambake outtake. Brilliant and that cool groove during the middle is fantasic.
Bossa Nova Baby is great and I do like Suspicious Minds. Blue Hawaii is lovely. That girls voice is amazing especially on the 'like a river flows' part. Burning Love is OK but could have rocked harder. Love Me tender and That's Alright I'm already skippping although at the end of Love Me Tender Elvis sings a line from In My Way and you realise that it is a superior melody to Love Me Tender and I wish they used more of it.
This album will get alot of further plays. The sound is so punchy, I nearly blew my car spaekers on the way home from work yesterday.
I am a big fan of remixes as it keeps things fresh. Don't get me wrong, the original's rule but I personally don't think Elvis would have the profile that he does today if his legacy had not continued to evolve since 1977 and that includes things like remixes, impersonators whatever you think of them.
I look forward to the duets album next year. Well done all involved!
I've just listened to some clips. Sorry...Elvis gets lost in the additions.
This Album minus a few tracks ROCKS!,damm this realy is a creative and please remember its in context with the show itself,man o man why wasnt 'got a lot of livin too do' there.overall the tracks with the duets no thanks.
yeah am getin this one as an early x mas present saw the advert for it on t.v the other day and it sounded amazin good to hear elvis back on the box not a big fan of remixes but its something different
Bossa Nova Baby could be a sleeper hit, really digging that song. The beginning really sets an awesome and fun tone!
I had to listen to mine several times before rendering an honest review. The more I listened, the more it grew on me. If you have the mindset, that the music is a tribute to Elvis' music used during the show, it's much easier to listen to. I really enjoyed, Love Me Tender, Can't Help Falling in Love, King Creole and Suspicious Minds is growing on me. Still not to crazy over Burnin Love. In all, the sound quality is pretty good, glad I purchased it.
If your an Elvis fan, no explanation is necessary....
If your not, no explanation is possible!
To be honest, I'm not so interested to have it!Yes, it can be great for someone who has seen the show but I've listenede to few tracks (Suspicious Minds, King Creole, Bossa Nova Baby...)and I think they are are "so and so".
I've been an Elvis fans from ages and I sure prefer his originals songs
This is my personal point of view,of course