When it was announced that there would be two volumes of Jailhouse Rock in the Classic Album (Movie Soundtrack) series, I wondered how they could make four good CDs out of what was a movie with such few songs. Well after giving both discs of Volume 2 a spin, I can tell you the answer is they sure can.
The soundtrack of Elvis' third movie, Jailhouse Rock, is perhaps one of his very best. Four of the six songs are by legendary songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who also worked closely with Elvis in the studio during the recordings. The sound on these discs is in the binaural or primitive stereo form. While I find some binaural cds annoying, some sound as good as true stereo, and this compilation is just that - superb and clear.
Disc 1 starts off with takes 1-5 of the title track, but with breakdowns it is really only takes 4 and 5, and these are excellent. However it is track 3 that I got a shock, my favourite Treat Me Nice outtakes that were first released (takes 1-3 only) on the CD with the FTD Flashback book in 2004. We have had the audio sample online now since then, all of 7 years. With track 3 we get takes 1 to 3, track 4, takes 4 and 5 and a little further along the disc we get takes 6,7,8 and 9 - pure magic!!!!
And there is more, on disc two we continue with takes 10-13, 14 and 15 and 16-19. These takes are completely different to the master take, and while the eventual master take was the better choice, there is just something so cool listening to these versions. Elvis is in such a great mood and at the top of his vocal ability for the 1950s, not just with these takes, but also on all tracks on both discs.
Staying with disc one, as with disc 2, we have a well-sorted compilation as compared to volume 1, which ran the second disc with take after take of the same song. There will be different opinions as to which is best, but I prefer this as both discs can be played without getting sick of hearing the same song 'too much'.
The other huge highlight for me on disc one is found on the final two tracks, takes 1, 2-4 of (Your So Square) Baby I Don't Care, and again we benefit from the time when Elvis would still experiment with the style of songs.
In between we have multiple good takes of Young And Beautiful, Don't Leave Me Now and I Want To Be Free. Hearing Elvis strive for that perfect take, the listener can truly appreciate the fun and creative atmosphere of these sessions. I Want To Be Free (record version) has Elvis calling out to Mike Stoller on the piano for a Ray Charles introduction. But after several humorous false starts, one band member mentions that they should 'Put this out on an album all these takes'. Fortunately for us, FTD are able to do just that some 53 years later.
Like disc 1, we kick off again with Jailhouse Rock. And we get to see that this was indeed a demanding song vocally. On take six Elvis' voice is breaking down toward the end, 'I don't think I'm gonna make it all way through', he says after take 8. They then concentrate on recording just the ending. All through these sessions we hear Elvis enjoying himself and joking with his band, 'DJ's not in the mood' and 'Sister Black can't get it right'. This shows how comfortable and at ease he was in the studio, an insight to a gifted artist at work.
Track 14 proves that it wasn't all just fun and laughter as Elvis gets rightfully annoyed with somebody talking in the studio during the actual recording of Treat Me Nice (first movie version).
The addition of the ‘Original EP Revisited' at the end of disc 2 is a clever touch, adding in the masters for those that may choose not to purchase volume 1 gives them a complete Jailhouse Rock album.
The cover of this 2CD set features the same photo that appeared on the 'Jailhouse Rock' 45 picture sleeve. And it must be a contender for best FTD album cover, or best Elvis album cover full stop! Together with Jailhouse Rock volume 1, fans can now listen to virtually every take recorded for this classic movie. It is a joy and privilege to hear Elvis at his best, working and perfecting this well renowned number one soundtrack.
FTD 94 (506020-975032) Jailhouse Rock Volume 2
Jailhouse Rock Volume 2 is a 2-Disc Set in the Classic Album Movie Soundtrack series (or EP in this case!) that complements its previous volume. It features all the missing outtakes for 6 great songs. The 7" inch digi-pack format features a 12-page booklet with great photographs and RARE memorabilia.
01) Jailhouse Rock (2001) takes 1,2,3,4
02) Jailhouse Rock (2001) take 5
03) Treat Me Nice (2003) (first movie version) takes 1,2,3
04) Treat Me Nice (2003) (first movie version) takes 4,5
05) Young And Beautiful (2005) (jail version) take 1
06) Young And Beautiful (2005) (jail version) take 2
07) Young And Beautiful (2005) (jail version) take 3
08) Don't Leave Me Now (2016) (unused movie version) take 1
09) Don't Leave Me Now (2017) (hit record version) takes 1,2,3,4,5,6
10) Don't Leave Me Now (2017) (hit record version takes 7,8
11) Treat Me Nice (2003) (first movie version) takes 6,7
12) Treat Me Nice (2003) (first movie version) takes 8,9
13) I Want To Be Free (2010) (record version) takes 1-8
14) I Want To Be Free (2010) (record version) take 9
15) I Want To Be Free (2011) (first ending) takes1,2
16) Young And Beautiful (2006) (Florita club version) take 1
17) Young And Beautiful (2006) (Florita club version) take 2
18) Don't Leave Me Now (2017) (hit record version) takes 9,10
19) (You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care (2015) takes 1,2,3,4
01) Jailhouse Rock (2001) take 6
02) Jailhouse Rock (2001) (takes 7,8)
03) Jailhouse Rock (2002) (ending) takes 1,2
04) Don't Leave Me Now (2016) (unused movie version) take 2
05) Young And Beautiful (2006) (Florita club version) takes 3,4
06) Young And Beautiful (2006) (Florita club version) takes 5,6
07) Treat Me Nice (2003) (first movie version) takes 10,11,12,13
08) Don't Leave Me Now (2017) (hit record version) takes 11,12,13
09) Treat Me Nice (2003) (first movie version) takes 14,15
10) I Want To Be Free (2010) (record version) takes 10,11
11) I Want To Be Free (2012) (second ending) takes 1,2,3,4,5
12) Don't Leave Me Now (2017) (hit record version) takes 14,15,16,17,18
13) Young And Beautiful (2006) (Florita club version) take 7
14) Treat Me Nice (2003) (first movie version) takes,16,17,18,19
15) Don't Leave Me Now (2017) (hit record version) takes 19,20, 21
Original EP - Revisited
16) Jailhouse Rock
17) Young And Beautiful
18) I Want To Be Free
19) Don't Leave Me Now
20) (You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care
21) Treat Me Nice – (record version)
Thanks to Vic Anesini, Sebastian Jeansson, Erik Rasmussen, Claude Braün and Kevan Budd.
Recorded April 30, May 1,3,8, and 9, 1957 at Radio Recorders and M.G.M. Soundstage for the motion picture Jailhouse Rock.
No recordings finalized on May 1, but they worked on 'I Want To Be Free'.
Guitar: Scotty Moore
Guitar: Elvis Presley
Bass: Bill Black
Bass: Elvis Presley (2013)
Piano: Dudley Brooks
Piano: Mike Stoller (2010)
Piano: Elvis Presley (2016 and 2023)
Vocals: The Jordanaires
Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller assisted Elvis with arrangements and production on these recordings.
Original engineer at Radio Recorders: Thorne Nogar.