Sunday, September 4, 2011

Audio For A King: The Microphone Encyclopedia?

When the 500 page book Fashion For A King was announced in July this summer, I put it on my Christmas wish list. Produced for FTD by Pål Granlund of the Norwegian fan club Flaming Star, it focuses on Elvis' stage suits from 1969 to 1977, and comes with two live CD's from 1974 and 1975. But having read two reviews of the book this week, it's off my wish list.

Both reviewers looked forward to it but ended up equally disappointed. Here's an example of what Bryan Gruzska has to say in his guest blog "Fashion For A King doesn't fit diehard fan" over at The Mystery Train Elvis Blog:
The text was bland and repetitive and followed exactly the same format in each section: Elvis’ tour lasted from this date to this date, he wore XYZ jumpsuits during the tour and he had Y band members with him. While the descriptions of which jumpsuits were worn on what dates were sadly lacking, oddly, the authors saw fit to inject commentary within the descriptions about Elvis’ health, state of mind, girlfriends or spending habits, often in the form of generalizations.
In the latest issue of the Elvis The Man And His Music magazine, reviewer Fr. Conor Stainton-Polland shares the same opinion, pointing out that the book "is weak in detail" and that "the same phraseology is used for each suit description." He's also irritated that the text it full om textual errors, for example that "which" is spelled "witch" throughout the book.

Just as Bryan Gruzska, Fr. Conor Stanton-Polland thinks it's odd that the microphones used on each tour are described in such great detail, in fact in a much more orderly way than the jumpsuits! In his review he gives an example, ironically stating that the mics seemed to be ornamental:
Elvis wore several different types of microphones [...] The microphone used was AKG D-224 E with blue tape (white tape on the microphone on the microphone stand first two songs (page 278).
In the end, the only thing that seems to save Fashion For A King from a complete disaster, are the two accompanying soundboard CD's (July 1, 1974, Omaha Nebraska and December 14, 1975, Las Vegas Hilton). But with a price tag of over $100 US, of course it's not nearly enough. I for one will wait until the two concerts are re-released without the book. After all, that has happened several times before.

Looking back at a summer with three disappointing additions to the FTD catalog (the two others being Stage Rehearsal and Amarillo '77) I'm glad the next couple releases will include He Touched Me and 48 Hours To Memphis.

PS: Thanks for lending me the title to this post, Troy!


JohanD said...

I don't understand all the negativity.
I have the book, and yes, it could/should be better.

But it's mistakes are minor compared to what we get.
A 500 page book, full colour pics, very nice lay out and two new soundboards.
I got it for 64e€, rather cheap for what we get.
And no, i'm not someone who will take anything for granted, but this FTD/book is a beauty, seeing is believing.
For every fan review that breaks it down, there are fans who will love it.
I love it, and i'm a collector for almost 30 years.
Just my own opinion on the matter...

Thomas said...

In all fairness, I've not seen the book myself, but after reading reviews on sites I respect and whose opinions I value, I decided to write the post the way I did. I'm glad that you feel the book is a winner, and maybe I'll change my mind when I see it for myself. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, JohanD, I appreciate it!

Troy Y. said...

I'm looking forward to getting my hands on the book as well, just to see on which side of the fence I land. Can't wait for the CDs either way.