An American Trilogy FTD a review by Geoffrey Mc Donnell.
This is the long awaited and asked for FTD release of multi-track recordings from February 1972's Las Vegas season + extra songs from the opening night January 26th 1972 soundboard concert to give us a total of 24 tracks. Most of the 15th Feb 1972 M/S here is unreleased, the title track from 14.2.72 M/S is also unreleased, but tracks 10-14 were previously released. Straight away as I look at the CD cover I'm NOT impressed - they have used 5 pictures of Elvis (out of focus) taken at the summer August 1972 season, not AT ALL representative of the CD contents! So 0/10 for the art-work here!
Inside, the very deep dark blue CD itself is quite 'classy', it runs for 63 minutes and the sound is 'pretty good' but somehow not quite as 'full' as I'd been hoping for, however it is still extremely listenable! Mastered by Lene Reidel.
Listening to the opening 2001 theme, the excitement builds up and we're into a good and enthusiastic version of See See Rider which is quite encouraging! Hey I'm enjoying this now! Proud Mary next has great drumming and also sounds great! Never Been To Spain is also a strong version and again sounds great! You Gave Me A Mountain is the first real CD 'highlight' as it's a tender reading and sincerely performed with some subtle differences here from other versions such as the line here REALLY emphasized "so tired of working for nothing" - an excellent version. Love Me seems to be Teddy Bear/ Don't Be Cruel is also 'throwaway'. Hound Dog has the first words spoken from Elvis on this night as he coughs and says 'pardon me while I die'. We do get though the Ed Sullivan intro and a different version, performed slow/medium TEMPO, but still 'mediocre'.
Little Sister/Get Back rocks - but then here we are getting the already released versions! Next Elvis mentions they are recording tonight and asks the audience to bear with him if he makes a mistake, which he does straight away with It's Impossible. However, this time the long false start is totally unreleased and a 'bonus! Nice version but oh so smooth/polished and Vegasy! It's over I note doesn't seem as good a version as in Aloha January 1973. The Impossible Dream is quite good but sometime I wonder why Elvis tells the audience he has a few more songs to get through whilst they are recording, as if he really doesn't want to do them? A Big Hunk o Love we remember from Writing for the King book but seems a fraction longer here. An American Trilogy is certainly a 'good version' but I don't care much for Elvis joining the Stamps solo part for 1 line (versions sound better without this). It does receive however a very fine ending and is another CD 'highlight'. Can't Help Falling In Love is a pretty ordinary version.
Next we drop a level in sound quality because these next 7 selections (already out on a bootleg CD) represent other often performed material from this Las Vegas season NOT recorded on multi-track. Also not recorded on multi-track were many versions (sadly) of Help Me make It Through The Night (due to copyright issues). First up as track # 18 (which Elvis introduces as his new record) is a very nice version of Until It's Time For You To Go, only spoilt by a deep groan from J.D. Sumner at the very start. Polk Salad Annie is memorable here really only for the very loud Jerry Scheff Bass solo and One Night is passable but that's all. Bridge Over Troubled Water however is another highlight and I'm only regretting it wasn't recorded in multi-track. Lawdy Miss Clawdy is ok, but then this was a 'standard' from 1971 shows too. I'll Remember You is another very nice performance and the version closing the disc of Suspicious Minds lacks in sound severely compared to the dynamite sounding 1969 and 1970 multi-track versions. Well all in all quite honestly I am playing this CD and enjoying it less often than the FTD 'summer festival' (released in 2005) representing his August 1972 Las Vegas season. Whilst 50% of this CD is totally 'new' to me, it completely lacks dialogue (NOT a fault of the recorders here as this season didn't ever feature much, mostly only short, sharp shows). The quality is evident here on many of the newer songs and it's a very worthwhile FTD release that somehow doesn't quite satisfy my listening pleasure completely.
1. Also Sprach Zarathustra (15/Midnight) 1:13; 2. See See Rider (15/Midnight) 2:47; 3. Proud Mary (15/Midnight) 2:34; 4. Never Been To Spain (15/Midnight) 3:29; 5. You Gave Me A Mountain (15/Midnight) 3:11; 6. Love Me (15/Midnight) 1:43; 7. All Shook Up (15/Midnight) 1:01; 8. Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel (15/Midnight) 1:57; 9. Hound Dog (15/Midnight) 1:57; 10. Little Sister / Get Back (14/Midnight)* 1:53; 11. It's Impossible (16/Midnight)* 4:15; 12. It's Over (17/Dinner)* 2:23; 13. The Impossible Dream (16/Midnight)* 2:34; 14. A Big Hunk O' Love (14/Midnight)* 2:06; 15. An American Trilogy (14/Midnight) 4:33; 16. Can't Help Falling In Love (15/Midnight) 1:39; 17. Closing Riff (15/Midnight) 0:25; 18. Until It's Time For You To Go 3:50; 19. Polk Salad Annie 3:02; 20. One Night 1:28; 21. Bridge Over Troubled Water 4:15; 22. Lawdy, Miss Clawdy 2:07; 23. I'll Remember You 2:47; 24. Suspicious Minds 5:31 : *Previously released
Recorded at The Hilton, Las Vegas.
Tracks 1-17: RCA recordings. February 14-17, 1972.
Tracks 18-24: A soundboard recording of the opening show January 26, 1972.