Famous Groove FG 2331
CD-1:Smorgasbord (tk 1-7),Stop, Look And Listen (tk 1-7),Am I Ready (tk 1-7),Beach Shack (tk 1-4),Adam And Evil (tk 1-13).CD-2: Adam And Evil (tk 14-20),Never Say Yes (tk 1-6),Spinout (tk 1-5),All That I Am (tk 1-6),I'll Be Back (tk 1).Bonus tracks: Down In The Alley (screaming girl version) ,I'll Remember You (overdub, tk 1-3),Speedway (tk 4, extended jam) ,Suppose (undubbed piano version), I'll Be Back (movie version, from soundtrack).
In January 1956 Elvis recorded "Heartbreak Hotel"
at the RCA studios in Nashville. This recording started an international career
unprecedented in the history of recorded music and pop culture.
In February 1966 Elvis recorded "Beach Shack" at the Radio Recorders studio in Hollywood. This recording symbolises the shambles that Elvis' musical integrity had become.
Fortunately for Elvis and the rest of the world he would work hard over the next two years at regaining his stature in the music business, but that's another part of the story.
This soundtrack session took place February 16 - 17, 1966 and really was the end of a long succession of soundtrack recordings that had lasted a little over two years. In that time span Elvis had recorded nothing but soundtrack material for mediocre, assembly line made films.
He was still 5 months away from recording new, secular, material. But, at least some of the songs at this session, for the film 'Spinout', resembled something like rock and roll.
I was a bit daunted at the prospect of reviewing this 2 CD set, The Complete Spinout Sessions, - I mean did I really want to sit through 20 takes of "Adam and Evil"? Well I succumbed to the task and put my earphones on and started to listen to the music that Elvis made on those two evenings.
As I listened I realised that Elvis seemed to be having a good time, joking a bit, singing snippets of other songs between takes (When The Swallows Come Back To Capistrano) and I thought maybe I would have a good time to. But, like Elvis must have felt, boredom set in when going thru endless takes of "Smorgasboard", "All That I Am", "Am I Ready" and "Adam and Evil".
The only decent tracks laid down at this session are "Spinout", "I'll Be Back" and "Stop, Look and Listen" - and by no coincidence these are the best performances. Quite a contrast by the boredom of "Am I Ready", All That I Am", "Never Say Yes" and "Smorgasboard".
I wonder what was going thru Elvis' mind as he poured his now deeper baritone over the inane lyrics, was he thinking of what had past by in the 10 years since "Heartbreak Hotel"? Or, was he just thinking "If I can just get thru this crap I can go home?" - alas we will never know.
You'll have to judge for yourself, if you pick up this CD set.
There are only two things that I can recommend about this release, number one is the fact that it sounds great, if you get past the material.
Number two is the bonus tracks of "I'll Remember You"(one of my favourite Elvis recordings), "Speedway", "Suppose", "I'll Be Back" (Movie Version) and "Down In the Alley" (screaming girls version -really just a professional sounding overdub)
If you're still unsure about this release then a better bet would be the condensed version, SPIN IN ... SPIN OUT. This is really for the die-hard completest, like me. But I guarantee you that SPIN IN... SPIN OUT will find its way thru my earphones more than this disk.
John Carpenter September 27, 1998
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