Another must have. The content is absolutely A1+. Disc one you have Elvis at 21, just starting out, in his failure engagement in Las Vegas. But he is obviously playing his heart out, some stellar performances that set America on fire. He also shows some humour too
Then you have possibly the most in depth interview Elvis ever gave. I mean it, he bares his soul on tape, talking about the death of his mother, his desire to be a serious actor, and the effects of fame. It is extrememly sincere and touching, the real Elvis is revealed here
Then the last concert Elvis gave for 7 years, the Hawaiian Pearl Harbour benefit concert. The fans go beserk!! The sound on this is not extremely pleasureable, Elvis's vocals are sometimes distorted, the audience drowns him out, or the sound just fades in and out at different times, but for historical significance it is a must! Elvis is on fire in this concert, giving an almost one hour show that shown he still was the King, and that his army time had only strengthened the fan's reception
Then disc 2, a mix of unreleased soundtrack outtakes and various concert performance that are available in other compilations. The first track is beautiful, Elvis's first take of 'They remind me too much of you', possibly his most saddest and most beautiful sound track performance. It all ready sounds close to the master, and Elvis knows he's done a good job as he says 'I'd like to hear it and see what we got'.
Forward to track 5 if you want a laugh. Elvis is recording one of his most ridiculous soundtrack songs. Elvis goes through about 3 takes just laughing as he keeps up stuffing lyrics or just not keeping himself together for 'Datin''. It will make you laugh too, his laughter is infectious. There is further laughter in 'A dog's life', but i feel sorry for what he had to go through doing this mediocre soundtrack sh*t
But then fast forward to the concert performances, with Elvis taking vengeance in 'Jailhouse rock' for the infamous 68 comeback special.
But for special mention, listen to Elvis's 1977 version of 'Trying to get to you'. Being filmed for CBS televison, Elvis must've felt under pressure to deliver something good. The video performance never made it to the special, which is a total wonder, because Elvis SOARS in this song. Despite his health problems and how ill he looked, Elvis's voice is INCREDIBLE, spine chilling. Compare this version to the original version from 1955 at Sun records, and you'll hear how good Elvis really has become. The rest of the live tracks are great to listen to.
Disc 3 is a mix of alternate live performances and lost singles and rare studio perfomances. Polk Salad Annie sounds brilliant when you crank it up on 5.1, Elvis joking and doing army impersonations. The band is cooking hot, especially Ronnie Tutt on drums, which inspired Elvis to move wildly and holler having a good time. The next 2 tracks are rehearsals for the 3rd Las Vegas engagement in August 1970, 'You've lost that loving feeling' is great! Then we have a mix of Vegas engagements from 1969- 1970, and then 1972, all alternate take performances.
Are you lonesome tonight is the infamous 'laughing version', and if this does'nt make you even crack a smile, then nothing will. American trilogy is a very moving performance in great sound, and Little sister/Get back, with Elvis on electric guitar, really rocks along, you have to groove to the beat
Then we have some beautiful singles. 'I'm leaving', sadly, never got the attention it so well deserved, don't know why. Elvis does a beautiful, and very different performance. His cover of 'The first time ever i saw your face' is beautiful, and very much inspired. Great guitar work must be mentioned. 'High heel sneakers' really rocks, one of Elvis's most overlooked rock'nroll singles
And then, possibly the most outstanding track on the CD. Another performance from the 1977 CBS special, but was never recorded, and not shown till 1990. Although a little breathless, Elvis brings an indescribable touch to 'Unchained melody'. His voice borders on the opera like, and he sings with such depth that it could put a chill up your spine or bring a tear to your eye. Crank it up on 5.1, it is the ultimate experience of this song.
'Fool' is overdubbed with strings, which does'nt really help in my opinion, but the emotion can't be masked. 'Rags to riches' is a good performance, with the King on piano, his voice strong and all ready getting the opera strength that would match 'Unchained melody 7 years later. 'Its only love', i have always thought, was an under rated rocknroll love song for Elvis. It was never done live either! Maybe a little strained, but a great vocal performance for this song by our man
The piano songs from 1971 are real highlights. No takes were done of this song, it was just Elvis at the piano, pouring his heart out to the songs he sang. We capture him in a private moment, It's still here, runs for 4 minutes, and with each repeat of the bridge, he gets more and more in to the song. A stellar performance
Then on to the 1975 concert compilation on Disc 4. Elvis opens with energetic performances of 'See see rider', and 'I got a woman/Amen'. Of special note is the dialogue put together with these perfomances, which really puts you at ease, as Elvis laughs and teases the crowd. The whole Cd of the performances is great to listen to, 'How great thou art' especially, although only soundboard quality, a good addition to this boxset
Bottom line: This boxset, with all the comments i ahve made, is a total MUST HAVE. It has remained one of my fave collections since i got it. It is rare to find, but if you get the chance to find it, you would be a fool to miss it. Get it!!!!!!!