Monday, April 16, 2012

Unedited Masters – Stax 1973

When I reviewed Promised Land in FTD's classic album series last December, one of my minor complaints was that the unedited master of “Thinking About You” was missing. The edited master used on the original album was faded out before Elvis started to sing the chorus, something that became apparent when a longer edit was released on Our Memories Of Elvis Volume 2 in 1979 (as can be heard on FTD's recent Our Memories Of Elvis package).

As it turns out, the unedited master was made available on the bootleg CD Unedited Masters – Stax 1973 in 2011 by the Venus label, although in it's original overdubbed form. Running one and a half minutes longer than the version on Our Memories of Elvis Volume 2, it reveals yet another guitar solo after Elvis singing the chorus, and then Elvis having a go at the chorus once again before the song ends.

I actually like the idea to present unedited masters this way, as a lot of them were edited prior to their original release. Another example of this is “Love Song Of The Year,” which was shortened by about 30 seconds for release, the longer version available on Unedited Masters – Stax 1973 as well. (but not on on the Promised Land FTD version).

All in all 14 unedited masters from Elvis' 1973 December sessions at Stax are included (together with 11 bonus tracks from Elvis' “Post-Concert Insert Songs Session” after the Aloha From Hawaii Concert), most of them the original overdubbed masters in unedited form. As far as I know it's the first time “Your' Love's Been A Long Time Coming” as well as “Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues” and “Talk About The Good Times” are released with their overdubs without being shortened (the unedited undubbed masters were released on FTD's Promised Land and Good Times, respectively).

But it's the first two tracks (together with “Thinking About You”) that are the real highlights to me. Finally, we get to hear the complete unedited master take of “Promised Land” (take 6) with harmony vocal overdub by Elvis (an edited version was used in the movie This Is Elvis). And the undubbed master of “It's Midnight,” (take 19) is another treat, including some entertaining dialog:

That's a gas, Elvis,” Felton says after the dramatic ending, Elvis replying, “I don't believe you.” “No listen,” Felton protests, Elvis answering, “Alright, I'll listen.” (I guess Felton refers to listening to the recording together.)

Another interesting listening experience is the overdubbed version of “My Boy” without the spliced ending, as well as “If You Talk In Your Sleep” with only the backing vocal overdub (the fully overdubbed version with strings and brass is included as well).

One of the tracks reveals that Felton Jarvis at times actually dropped some of his overdubs. Evidently “Loving Arms” (originally released on the the album Good Times) had backing vocals overdubbed, but listening to the unedited master I'm thankful they were removed.


Roberto said...

Thanks for a great post!
Ciao da Roma!

Mårtenbrother said...

It's a shame that the FTD classic albums always have to be only two cd's. Seems that a third Promised Land or Good Times CD would have been justified.