Review - Frankie And Johnny FTD CD

By: Johnny Savage
Source: For CD Collectors Only
February 28, 2008

Frankie And Johnny FTD CD
Frankie And Johnny FTD CD
This release of the Frankie And Johnny movie soundtrack by FTD in their Special Edition Movie Soundtrack series features improved re-mastering of both the original LP and the bonus alternate takes.

The CD itself contains both previously released and previously unreleased outtakes. It is a standard CD but housed in a deluxe 7" (17.5 cm) (like a single or EP) triple-fold-out package. It includes a 12 page booklet with information, including photos and images of related memorabilia and 'Behind the Scenes' facts, 'In And Outtake' and 'Off Camera' pages. You can view samples of these from the Girl Happy release here.

'Frankie And Johnny', backed with the albums standout track, 'Please Don't Stop Loving Me' was released as the single in March 1966 making #25 in the charts. While the LP made it to No. 20 on the Billboard albums chart.

With a great deal of moxie, BMG's Roger Semon and Ernst Jorgensen continue their expansion of the Follow That Dream release schedule to include deluxe reissues of more deleted soundtrack recordings. Although this music can no longer be justified as viable product at normal retail outlets, through Follow That Dream anyone can obtain the material on CD.

Housed in handsome, double fold out, 7' sleeves with full color information booklets, a 'retro' design and more than a dozen outtakes each, these gorgeous packages are a real treat for the hardcore Elvis fanatic. The fidelity throughout is also remarkably clean. There's an old song about finding 'where the sands turnin' into gold' - and that is exactly what these 'bonus' Follow That Dream soundtrack discs achieve.

'Frankie And Johnny' sports a mixed bag of Dixieland-influenced tracks for Elvis' twentieth motion picture, a remake of a film from the late 1930s. However, after the debacle that was his previous effort, 'Harum Scarum', his second 1965 project is almost worthy of attention. Almost. None of the songs completely embarrass the man, but nor do they add a thing to his legacy as a great American artist.

This is Elvis' second studio session of the year, held May 12 to 19.Sadly, every such visit is exclusively for the Hollywood factory. Presley is firmly on the assembly line, with no evident interest in applying his talent to the quality of songs blasting out of pop radio that month, like the Four Tops 'I Can't Help Myself', Back In My Arms Again' by the Supremes, or 'Ticket To Ride' from the Beatles. The pop landscape has changed, and submissions for 'Frankie And Johnny' are miles away from rock and roll.

Frankie And Johnny FTD CD

That spring Elvis began checking out the Self-Realization Fellowship in Pacific Palisades, and its spiritual leader Daya Mata. Hollywood isn't the answer, and discussions Elvis has with her, she reminds him of his mother, offer a serenity he's not before experienced. This new outlook carries over to the filming of 'Frankie And Johnny', as Elvis has an intellectual affair with co-star Donna Douglas, exchanging ideas and opinions about the Self-Realization fellowship and religion instead of dating. It may well explain his lack of engagement with the music. As is a habit in the past year or so, Elvis skips out on some of the scheduled recording dates, forcing the musicians to cut instrumental versions of several songs. When in the studio, either live with the band or on vocal overdubs, Elvis gives a solid effort on songs even as wretched as 'Petunia The Gardener's Daughter'. Elvis cuts a medley of 'Down By The Riverside' and 'When The Saints Go Marching In', oddly credited to Giant, Baum and Kaye, which he first sang at Sun Studios as part of the famed 'Million Dollar Quartet' session. With a single example, one can track the path from passion and verve to stock emotion in less than a decade. In the end, only Joy Byers' pretty ballad 'Please Don't Stop Loving Me' is worthy of additional attention, although the great team of Pomus and Shuman nearly come up with a winner in 'What Every Woman Lives For'.

Most all of the soundtrack session outtakes have snuck out on 'imports', and those here depict the same dull, workmanlike effort on everyone's part. Of the bunch, the 'Movie version' of the title track, sourced from a previously-unknown mono acetate, is a surprise. Across seven minutes, the acetate captures the true flavor of an authentic Hollywood musical, something the official album fails to do. Another feather in FTD co-producer/art director Roger Semon's cap is the discovery of the unretouched cover shot of the original LP. Used for the deluxe booklet here, someone -- likely the 'colonel' -- found Presley's face looking too chubby and opted to paste a head shot from 1964's 'Girl Happy' on top of it! And poor Donna Douglas got airbrushed out as well. No amount of cover-up can mask the fact that Elvis got worse before he found his way home again, but 'Frankie And Johnny' should never have been an assignment for the man from Tennessee. Shout it out!

Elvis Presley Lyrics Frankie And Johnny
Elvis Presley Lyrics Come Along
Elvis Presley Lyrics Petunia, The Gardeners Daughter
Elvis Presley Lyrics Chesay
Elvis Presley Lyrics What Every Woman Lives For
Elvis Presley Lyrics Look Out, Broadway
Elvis Presley Lyrics Beginner's Luck
Elvis Presley Lyrics Down By The Riverside / When The Saints Go Marching In
Elvis Presley Lyrics Shout It Out
Elvis Presley Lyrics Hard Luck
Elvis Presley Lyrics Please Don't Stop Loving Me
Elvis Presley Lyrics Everybody Come Aboard

Plus the alternate takes

13) Frankie And Johnny – take 1 2:55 (Gottlieb/Karger/Weisman) 14) Please don't Stop Loving Me –take 10 2:13 (Joy Byers) 15) Everybody Come Aboard takes 1 & 2 2:42 (Giant/Baum/Kaye) 16) Chesay - take 1 1:58 (Karger/Weisman/Wayne) 17) Petunia, The Gardeners Daughter- take 2 2:53 (Tepper/Bennett) 18) Look Out, Broadway takes 3-4-5 2:22 (Wise/Starr) 19) Please don't Stop Loving Me –takes 1,2,3 3:00 (Joy Byers) 20) Shout It Out - takes 1,2,3 3:31 (Giant/Baum/Kaye) 21) Everybody Come Aboard - takes 9,10 2:09 (Giant/Baum/Kaye) 22) Chesay - takes 3 & 6 3:16 (Karger/Weisman/Wayne) 23) Look Out, Broadway - takes 6,7,8 2:13 (Wise/Starr) 24) Petunia, The Gardeners Daughter - take 5 3:23 (Tepper/Bennett) 25) Please don't Stop Loving Me – take 7 2:10 (Joy Byers) 26) Frankie And Johnny – takes 3&4 - Record version 2:45 (Gottlieb/Karger/Weisman) 27) Frankie And Johnny – Movie version 7:01 (Gottlieb/Karger/Weisman)

Recorded at: Radio Recorders Studios, 7000, Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood. May 1965.

Buy Frankie And Johnny FTD CD

Elvis Presley Photos In And Outtakes Page - From the Girl Happy Booklet
Elvis Presley Photos Off Camera Page - From the Girl Happy Booklet

Elvis Presley CD, Book and DVD Reviews Follow That Dream CD and Book Reviews

Check out our other reviews of ...

Elvis Presley CD, Book and DVD Reviews Viva Las Vegas
Elvis Presley CD, Book and DVD Reviews Harum Scarum
Elvis Presley CD, Book and DVD Reviews Fun In Acapulco
Elvis Presley CD, Book and DVD Reviews It Happened At The World's Fair
Elvis Presley CD, Book and DVD Reviews Girl Happy
Elvis Presley CD, Book and DVD Reviews Girls! Girls! Girls!
Elvis Presley CD, Book and DVD Reviews Loving You

Elvis Presleys Movies From the movie Frankie And Johnny

Elvis Shop > Elvis Presley CD's > Elvis Presley FTD CD's > Elvis Movie Soundtrack Albums

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Never before have we seen an Elvis Presley concert from the 1950's with sound. Until Now! The DVD Contains recently discovered unreleased film of Elvis performing 6 songs, including Heartbreak Hotel and Don't Be Cruel, live in Tupelo Mississippi 1956. Included we see a live performance of the elusive Long Tall Sally seen here for the first time ever. + Plus Bonus DVD Audio.

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