In 1979, RCA Records producer Joan Deary had an idea for a unique concept album.
The idea was to release an album featuring Elvis’ recordings stripped down to basics … the ‘Pure Elvis Sound’. Many fans had commented that Elvis’ later recordings suffered from too much overdubbing or ‘sweetening’, often causing Elvis’ vocal performances to be buried beneath lavish, often over-the-top orchestral productions. With these over-dubbed recordings in hand, Joan went back into the recording studio and the result … ” our memories of elvis” was born. Unfortunately, the ‘Our Memories Of Elvis’ series has been long out of print. But now, thanks to the good folks at FTD, Elvis’ fans can stroll down memory lane once again with their release, ‘Our Memories Of Elvis’: Volumes 1, 2 & 3.
The latest double-disc set from FTD contains the original pair of ‘Our Memories Of Elvis’ albums from 1979, along with the previously unreleased but planned third instalment in the series and remaining leftover tracks. Listening to these CD’s was like a trip back in time, reminding me why I became an Elvis fan in the first place. It was the VOICE … the way Elvis could take a song and make the listener feel like he could see right into Elvis’ very soul. It’s that amazing voice that is the true showcase on ‘Our Memories Of Elvis’.
When these albums were originally released, most fans truly felt that they were listening to the original, undubbed recordings. Since then, it has been discovered that what Joan Deary had done was actually take the master recordings and remix them in such a way as to remove many of the overdubbed vocals and instruments, thus creating the illusion of undubbed recordings. Now over 30 years later, fans can once again listen to these tracks as they were presented on the ‘Our Memories Of Elvis’ albums.
Disc One of the new FTD set contains both Volumes of the original ‘Our Memories Of Elvis’ albums. What’s interesting to note while listening to Disc One is that with the evolution of technology from 1979 through today, listeners can now more easily pick up on the remixing that was done from the original recordings. Songs like Way Down, For The Heart and I Can Help contain spots where it is clear that remixing has been done to create the ‘undubbed’ sound. Way Down is probably the most obvious of these songs … just listen where J.D.Sumners vocals have been removed) Other songs, like Are You Sincere, Solitaire, Never Again and There’s A Honky Tonk Angel (Who’ll Take Me Back In) sound much cleaner and better remixed. In either case, FTD has stayed true to the original vinyl albums, releasing them on Disc One exactly as they were first released.
While Disc One is fairly familiar to most Elvis fans, Disc Two contains an additional 17 remixed recordings providing fans with more of the ‘Pure Elvis Sound’. Tracks 1-10 on Disc Two were songs that were prepared for ‘Our Memories Of Elvis’, Volume 3 which was planned, but ultimately shelved.
Songs like Moody Blue, Woman Without Love, Hurt and Promised Land were planned for the aborted Volume 3 and again, the overall results of these recordings are mixed. The final 7 tracks on Disc Two are more ‘undubbed’ songs which were remixed by Joan Deary. Plans for these songs, such as Raised On Rock, Fool and The Last Farewell are not exactly known but they are included here in this FTD package for fans to enjoy.
The packaging for FTD’s ‘Our Memories Of Elvis’ set is nicely done, with Ernst Jørgensen choosing to use the cover art from the original Volume 2 vinyl album as the front cover for the FTD package. Inside the tri-fold cover is the cover art for the original Volume 1 vinyl release. Contained under the CD trays are replicas of the album labels for the UK version of the original Volume 1 album. The original back cover artwork for the Volume 2 vinyl album is also featured on the inner panels of the tri-fold cover. The back cover of FTD’s new release is a simple black background with the song titles in white, along with a small photo of Elvis from his ‘Aloha’ special. Also included with the new FTD release is a 12-page booklet containing some concert photos of Elvis, along with some RCA memorabilia relating to the ‘Our Memories Of Elvis’ albums … a nice little extra to enjoy while you’re listening to the CD’s. The CD’s themselves are basic black discs which resemble the album labels from the U.S. version of the Volume 1 vinyl release. All in all, a simple, yet well done overall design for FTD’s latest release.
Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with original producer Joan Deary’s philosophy and vision for the ‘Our Memories Of Elvis’ project, for many fans listening to the new ‘Our Memories Of Elvis’ Volumes 1, 2 & 3 release from FTD Records is a nice trip down memory lane … just as it was for me.
Our Memories Of Elvis 2 CD
01) Are You Sincere 2:00
02) It’s Midnight 3:19
03) My Boy 2:54
04) Girl Of Mine 3:36
05) Take Good Care Of Her 2:51
06) I’ll Never Fall In Love Again 3:41
07) Your Love’s Been A Long Time Coming 2:48
08) Spanish Eyes 2:22
09) Never Again 2:49
10) She Thinks I Still Care 3:49
11) Solitaire 4:39
01) I Got A Feelin’ In My Body 3:34
02) Green, Green Grass Of Home 3:33
03) For The Heart 3:28
04) She Wears My Ring 3:21
05) I Can Help 4:02
06) Way Down 2:33
07) There’s A Honky Tonk Angel (Who Will Take Me Back In) 3:04
08) Find Out What’s Happening 2:39
09) Thinking About You 3:27
10) Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right : long version 8:36
Volume 3 : Previously unreleased
01) Woman Without Love 3:33
02) Moody Blue 3:56
03) When I’m Over You 3:04
04) It’s A Matter Of Time 3:03
05) Sweet Angeline 3:01
06) Hurt 2:06
07) Shake A Hand 3:47
08) Promised Land 2:50
09) Heart Of Rome 2:51
10) If You Don’t Come Back 2:41
Volume 3 Bonus material : Previously unreleased
11) Mr. Songman 2:08
12) For Ol’ Time Sake 3:36
13) Love Coming Down 3:06
14) Pledging My Love 5:09
15) Raised On Rock 2:52
16) The Last Farewell 4:01
17) Fool 2:34