Review : New York RCA Studio 1: The Complete Sessions CD / DVD / Book
First off the packaging is top notch and very much what we have come to expect from the MRS, it's well designed, good looking, well printed and presented and more than up to the usual high standard graphically.
It stretches to 63 pages if you don't count the ads in the back and it does hold a couple of interesting shots (not too many) that are new to my eyes but this is only to be expected ... after all where haven't you seen an Alfred Wertheimer Elvis picture before...?
You can find them in many a book and magazine including the latest and greatest Elvis At 21.
There is more to the book than just the photos though, look closely at the detail within and you will see some interesting RCA log sheets from 1956 that were re-issued in 1965 when the tracks appeared on the re-issued albums back in 65. Nice to see (to me) for the first time too.
The text is written by a couple of folks listed as MMC and RM and covers the session ground accordingly and is pretty good reading. It's also good to see those other well known names tied in with this project too: co-produced by Joe Tunzi and additional research by John Michael Heath, Keith Flynn and Jamie Aaron Kelley, by fans for the fans.
The book has a harder glossy cover than the previous MRS release Tupelo's Own and this is a good thing in my opinion, it feels more substantial.
Chapters in the book are as follows:
Elvis RCA NY
The First Meeting & Publicity Photographs
RCA Studio 1 NY
The First Recording Session - 30/31st January 1956
RCA Studio 1 NY
The Second Recording Session - 3rd February 1956
RCA Studio 1 NY
The Final Recording Session - 2nd July 1956
Primarily I was looking forward to the book more than the audio but boy, was I to be more than pleasantly surprised.
In my opinion the work Kevan Budd did on the 56 tracks is awesome but he wanted to get back to a less compressed sound and to what Elvis himself heard live in the studio and he mastered that 110% on his FTD Elvis Presley release.
If I want to rock n roll loud and proud then I would play the New York sessions CD first every time as it jumps out at you and hits you hard...very punchy and up front to my ears but it's all a matter of what you (and no one else) prefer.
The CD is remastered and restored by Real Bouwman and the DVD audio engineer is Mick Ritchie.
As an example 'One Sided Love Affair' (it has the count in too) sounds the best to me than on any other release I own and I've compared it to the following.
- Original RCD CD release of Elvis Presley
- The Teen-age Rage import
- Gold US CD release of Elvis Presley
- The 50's Masters box set
- Re-issued BMG release of Elvis Presley
- Elvis 56
- Elvis 56 DSD re-master
- Re-issued Sony/BMG release of Elvis Presley with extra tracks (Budd version)
- FTD release of Elvis Presley
I have to say that the audio is very crisp and clear and sounds like it's on fire! The CD sounds great (better than any other MRS release) but I have yet to savor the DVD Audio disc on a 5.1 audio system.
The DVD has a selection of Elvis shots on screen for each track along with the song title and is nicely done again. The images are from the New York sessions and an Elvis photo shoot at the New York studios on the 1st Dec 1955. Being honest I'm not one for 5.1 from mono but if the added ambience is not overdone it can be a pleasant listening experience nonetheless.
In finishing I have to say I still love my Elvis Presley FTD release with the work done by Kevan Budd but I love this too (in a different way) and there's nothing wrong with that.
You pay your money and take your choice but to be honest I would say you need The New York Sessions, too, please don't deprive yourself.
Tracklisting - Full Details
CD contains 39 newly restored and remastered classic recordings including: Blue Suede Shoes, Hound Dog, My Baby Left Me, Session recordings, Interview, Previously Unreleased Material and 3 Bonus tracks.
Bonus Disc: DVD-AUDIO 5.1/Dolby Digital - The DVD-A version is remastered in high quality 24 bit 96 kHz sound. Experience these recordings in high quality sound for the first time ever. All tracks are accompanied by rare photographs.
Bonus Book contains full written notes on the all the NY sessions and is accompanied by many photographs including a stunning collection of rare and unpublished shots by Alfred Wertheimer.
01. Blue Suede Shoes
02. My Baby Left Me
03. One Sided Love Affair
04. So Glad You're Mine
05. I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry (over You)
06. Tutti Frutti
07. Lawdy, Miss Clawdy
08. Shake Rattle And Roll
09. Hound Dog
10. Don't Be Cruel
11. Anyway You Want Me (that's How I Will Be)
12. Don Davis Interviews Elvis
Lawdy, Miss Clawdy
13. take 1 & incomplete take 2 2.40
14. take 3 2.19
15. take 4 2.18
16. take 5 2.20
17. take 6 2.20
18. take 7 1.51
19. take 8 0.59
20. take 9 2.15
21. take 10 2.29
22. take 11 0.12
23. take 12 2.20
Shake Rattle And Roll
24. take 1 0.37
25. take 2 2.35
26. take 3 0.19
27. take 5 0.47 (take 4, not called)
28. take 6 0.34
29. take 7 2.38
30. take 8 2.36
31. take 9 0.21
32. take 10 0.11
33. take 11 0.14
34. take 12 1.41
35. take 12 2.34 (Unedited Undubbed Master)
36. take 12 2.26 (Edit Undubbed Master) * Previously Unreleased
Bonus Tracks (on CD Only) Previous Artist Versions.
37. My Baby Left Me - Performed By Arthur 'big Boy' Crudup
38. Hound Dog - Performed By Freddie Bell And The Bell Boys
39. So Glad You're Mine - Performed By Arthur 'big Boy' Crudup
Experience and notice the difference in sound quality on these famous recordings for the first time ever!
Also curently available are;
+ Tupelo's Own Elvis Presley Music Video DVD which include's a Never before seen Elvis concert from the 50's with sound.
Tupelo's Own Elvis Presley DVD Video with Sound.
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.
This is an excellent release no fan should be without it.
The 'parade' footage is good to see as it puts you in the right context with color and b&w footage. The interviews of Elvis' Parents are well worth hearing too. The afternoon show footage is wonderful and electrifying : Here is Elvis in his prime rocking and rolling in front of 11.000 people. Highly recommended.