Monday, March 24, 2008

Too much monkey business?

Not that I was particulary intersted in reading that George Klein have in his possesion a tape with three duets recorded at about the same time as the rest of the Guitar Man sessions from 1980. Nor was I surprised to see that Sony BMG have the tapes also.

Still, it influenced my choice of which Elvis record to play last night. And as I listened to the tracks on the FTD release Too Much Monkey Business I once again was reminded that Felton Jarvis picked the best of these re-recordings for the Guitar Man LP back in 1981.

As you all know, these songs are very controversial among the fans. I for one think some of them are quite good. The titel song "Guitar Man" can surely hold its own as can "Too Much Monkey Business." I also like "Lovin' Arms," with its superb female backing vocals.

But some of the previously unreleased material featured on the FTD CD is donwright awful. "In The Ghetto" is completely ruined and the same goes for "Long Black Limousine." "Blue Suede Shoes" is nothing less than a disaster. "Burning Love" has some potential, though.

I remember hearing the remake of "Guitar Man" on the radio back in the early 80's and wondering if Elvis really sang "What'd I Say" at the end or if it was some kind of mix. It was great hearing the original unedited master in 1994 on the 60's box set and discovering the truth.

Ironically, the problem with the Guitar Man sessions is that the songs sound more dated in their re-recorded form. To me, that's another proof of how timeless Elvis music is and why it's still so popular today.

A final thought on the subject: I've always wondered what the musicians thought of these sessions. Here were people who had recorded with the real Elvis and now they got to play only together with his voice. Must've been a strange experience.

Nearly forgot; you must watch this video featuring "Guitar Man" à la Felton Jarvis together with footage from the '68 Comeback Special. It's really great.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Felton's remixed version of "Clean Up Your Own Backyard" is at least as good as the original, imho.