BMG 07863-67677-2 (1998)
Track listing :
I Got A Feeling In My Body (Alternate Take 1)/ Loving Arms (Alternate Take2) /I Got A Thing About You Baby (Alternate Take 14)/ She Wears My Ring (Alternate Take 8)/ You Ask Me To (Alternate Take 2) /There's A Honky Tonk Angel (Alternate Take 1)/ Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues (Alternate Take 8)/ Find Out What's Happening (Alternate Take6) For Ol' Times Sake (Alternate Take 9)/ If You Don't Come Back/(Alternate Take 3) Promised Land (Alternate Take 4)/ Thinking AboutYou (Alternate Take 4)/ Three Corn Patches (Alternate Take 14) Girl Of Mine (Alternate Take 9) /Your Love's Been A Long Time Coming (Alternate Take 4)/ Spanish Eyes (Alternate Take 2)/ Talk About The Good Times (Alternate Take 3)/ If That Isn't Love (Alternate Take 1).
Since last week I read a lot of comments on the latest BMG release, some are extremely positive while others are quite negative. Personally I'm very please with this product and would even say it's one of the best single outing we've got in years, this is not often that we've been given a CD full of alternative track, not a single master, for me this is a real treat.
A lot of comments were directed towards the sound quality and the mixes made on these tracks, well a lot of us are also listening to "import CD's" and no matter how I do enjoy those CD's, a fact remain, a lot of them have a crappy sound and mix when compared to official products, soundboards recordings are nice and sometimes even excellent but this is not the best sound quality around either, in that sense I don't think it's fair to say the sound quality of Essential #5 isn't good, while saying that you've just said that a good part of your CD collection is also crap.
Now on with the contents of Rhythm & Country, like many of the CD's containing alternate takes, this is normal that some are being considered below par when compared to their master counterparts, there are reasons why a master is the master take, still you'll find quite often alternate tracks as good as the master, and in some case that you might find even better, this is also a matter of taste.
Given the above, a lot of tracks on this CD are rather excellent, " I Got A Feeling In My Body " is an excellent choice for track #1, right away you are getting the feel of the whole album, this is followed by the ever beautiful " Loving Arms ", "She Wears My Ring " has never been a song I liked much, this take 8 is excellent and it made me appreciated it more than before. Since 1973 I've heard many times that Elvis sounded like half asleep on " Find Out What's Happening " and " If You Don't Come Back ",well these versions just sound great and Elvis seemed to enjoy himself much more than he was credited for, in fact this is the overall feeling I have while listening to that outing, I know that everything didn't go too well during the July 1973 sessions at Stax and a lot of his anger were related to the numerous technical problems that doomed these sessions, according to that I think that Elvis made the best he could with what he had.
As usual " Promised Land " is still nice to hear and one of the best rock song he recorded after 1970, this is in the same category of " Burning Love " and " T-R-O-U-B-L-E ", the latter being often underrated. " Thinking About You " is excellent as well and this take could had been the master too, you can feel that Elvis really dig the song and his voice is really nice on that one. I know a lot of persons don't like " Three Corn Patches " and a lot of persons would had preferred this track to be left out in favor of something like " It's Midnight ", clearly the latter being a better song altogether, but an alternate of " It's Midnight " was used on the " Platinum " box-set, some could tell me that " Promised Land " was too, this is true but the Essential #5 needed a good balance of country & rhythm, which must explain why " Three Corn Patches " is featured, having said that, I think that the latter song is better than the version used on " Raised On Rock ", and please don't tell me that this piano on " Three Corn Patches " isn't great.
"Girl Of Mine " is a track that I never cared for, and once again I still don't care for it, as far as I'm concern this is the one who should had been left out, and possibly in favor of " I Miss You ", which personally is one of my favorite track from that period, I have always found Elvis' voice on " I Miss You " just simply great and beautiful, yet I still cannot believe it didn't make the " 70s box-set "!!!!?????
" Talk About The Good Times " is one of my favorite on that CD as it was one on " Good Times ", this version is more loose and Elvis always did great with that type of songs, he was also excellent on Spanish flavored song like " Spanish Eyes ",and again he proved it on the second take.
You certainly understood that I really like that CD, I would take CD's like that several times a year and just can't wait for Essential #6, until then I'll get feeling in my body each time I'll be playing this fifth volume of the Essential series. I highly recommend that CD to everyone, as far as I'm concern this is a MUST!!!!!
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