A new year is approaching, and the time has come for a summary of this year’s CD releases by Elvis. In my lists I have presented over 190 (!) new CD-unveilings in 2012 - a substantial number, considering that we actually
commemorated the 35th anniversary of Elvis' death earlier this year. It is well beyond any doubt that the musical legacy of our man is alive and kicking.
This year's winners;
As always, the market has been flooded with cheap PD-releases (Public Domain - material recorded before 1961), and import/bootlegs of audience recordings, but it is among the official releases we find this year’s sole
After many years of rumors, Ernst Jorgensen’s prestigious project finally surfaced in August, A Boy From Tupelo. This ambitious work, which as well must be characterized as a book,
contains (almost) all existing recordings with Elvis until 1956. This is a release that sets the standard for quality and I certify this release as this year's winner! Everyone that is more than just a little interested in Elvis, should own this release from
the Follow That Dream label (unless it is already too late, since it was released in a limited edition, and it will according to rumors, not be printed in a new edition).
It has been a very productive year for the
Follow That Dream label, and among several quality releases, I would specifically highlight On Stage (an amazing sonic pleasure, with several previously unreleased recordings), From Hawaii to Las Vegas
(newfound rehearsal recording, including several songs Elvis actually never performed live in concerts), Back In Memphis (finally released in FTD’s series of classic albums) and 3000 South Paradise Road
(rehearsal and concert recordings with a man in high spirits, from august 1972).
Overall, a very good year for FTD. Keep up the good work, Ernst and co!
Its mother-company (Sony/BMG)
also had a few excellent releases in their outline this year. First, a new release of the wonderful CD box The Complete 50's Masters, in a budget edition (originally published in 1992). For those who could not afford to buy the original
box, it is now time to buy this masterpiece. In November Sony/BMG released another quality product; Prince From Another Planet - an entire compulsory purchase.
Among the import/bootleg
releases I would like to choose a company as the winner of this year’s poll; Straight Arrow. They should be proud of their 10 outstanding publications with audience recordings. The packaging has been consistently stunning, and the quality of
the recordings has been surprisingly good; Before Darkness Falls (January), Watching Dreams Turn Into Ashes (March), Labor Day Madness! (May), Lonesome Summer Breeze
(July) Christmas Lights On A Friday Night (August), Amore Elvis (August), Wednesday Night Roll Over! (November), With A Humble Heart (November), Left
A Good Job In The City (December), Chicago Double-Strike (December).
Time will tell if they still hide more aces up their sleeves, but at least they have raised my expectations for
2013 to new heights. Well done Straight Arrow!
In addition, it’s worth mentioning Such A Night (In Pearl Harbour) from the Memphis Recording Service label. After several
good releases during previous years, they followed up with another smashing release this spring. Unfortunately it now seems that MRS has run out of ideas, since the following releases this year has been substandard (see further below for more details).
The new label VV released a combination of Vinyl/CD in October containing a previously unreleased audience recording from February 1972; Stronger Than Pride. The Las Vegas show included in
this release is among the better of its kind (everyone should listen to Elvis' interpretation of "An American Trilogy" during this show – flawless!).
This year's losers;
When we determine a winner, we must also determine a loser.
Most of the PD releases must be categorized as unnecessary. As vultures obscure record labels exploit on Elvis’ musical catalogue
with context-poor and meaningless releases, which ultimately only destroys the legacy of an amazing artist who once created these musical gems. Shame on you!
Sadly the mother-company also "shit where they eat", and have
chosen to release waste such as Setlist: The Very Best Of Elvis Presley Live 1950s and The King – releases that represents the absolute low point in poor judgment. Regarding the first mentioned, the
use of a "Very Best of" title on sonically poor live recordings, is an obvious attempt of trickery of the general public. We, the fans, who have dived deep into the Elvis catalogue has of course enjoyed these recordings, but the general listener will probably
not find any joy in hearing well-known hits like this. When it comes to The King, the company has chosen to release a 3CD box-set with material that easily could have been included on two CDs, and filled it up with 36 songs from the
period 1956-1960. What in the world were they thinking?
Memphis Recording Service has several great releases on their CV, but I find that 2012 has not been a good year for this label. They end the year with the
release Greatest Live Hits Of The 50's, with a pure "rip-off" from the A Boy From Tupelo box (though they include the newly discovered I Forgot to Remember to Forget, which was not included in the
Tupelo box) and serves the market a lie that the disc contains 9 previously unreleased tracks. MRS, please stop this nonsense!
What’s in the pipeline for 2013?
There have been rumors that Sony/BMG will release an Aloha From Hawaii-record, in the same vein as Prince From Another Planet, sometime next year. If these rumors turn out to have any substance,
this is a release I warmly welcome. What we know though, is that there will be released a 2CD Legacy Edition of Aloha From Hawaii in March 2013.
It is also likely that Sony/BMG will continue
to release the classic CD-boxes in budget editions. Until now, we have got the 50s -, 60s - and 70s box-sets. In addition, we got the ’68 Comeback Special in the same series a year ago. One of these may be relevant in 2013:
Elvis Up Close, Platinum, Today Tomorrow & Forever and Live in Las Vegas.
We know that Follow That Dream,
has several previously unreleased rehearsal recordings up its sleeve, and I guess that we will get some of those released during the next year. Part two of G.I.Blues will be released for sure. I also firmly believe that From
Elvis In Memphis finally materializes in their series of classic albums – probably in two volumes, since so much of this material is yet to be released.
We will probably be flooded with PD-releases of
songs from the Pot-Luck period.
All in all, 2012 was a good year for all Elvis fans!
Happy New Year!
Havard (ELVIS and his MUSIC)