'Love Letters'

FTD Classic Album review



A nice surprise..........I’ve never been a fan of this album. Until now, that is. The overdubs that Felton Jarvis executed in 1970 made some of these tracks sound like they were contributions to the Eurovision song contest. But on this release, they’re gone, gone, gone and it really makes a world of difference. For the first time in my life, I can actually enjoy “It Ain’t No Big Thing”. Heck, I even like ”I’ll Never Know” on this CD! But the Reed / Stephens song writing team really composed mediocre songs.

”We grew up on this mediocre shit, man”.......

Some observations regarding the unedited ”Got My Mojo Working”: it’s a whole lot better than the overdubbed version. But it’s also apparent that the musicians are inattentive to the breaks, especially organist Charlie McCoy is very “slow”. Everyone makes the third break, but not the fourth, where Elvis slips out a “Muthafucker”. James Burton gets to play three guitar solos but he certainly does not impress me. Improvisation wasn’t his thing, I guess?


Elvis yawns before take 2 of ”I’ll Never Know” and gives Lamar and Charlie each a compliment as he says, ”I’ve got a fat guy and a midget beside me!” – Elvis’ sense of humour… It’s Chip Young doing the count-ins? “Life” is Shirl Milete’s horrible “ Darwin song” – how anyone can put that one on a Top Ten list is beyond me. And how on Earth could RCA chose this one for a single release? It doesn’t make any sense. “Heart of Rome ” is a vocally demanding song and the rehearsal w/ the funky synthesizer riff actually sounds better than the finished product. Elvis sings, “I’ll make a wish on ev’ry fountain” and “I’ll take a wish….”.

I like “Love Letters 1970” better than “Love Letters 1966”. Beautiful song. It was a good thing that David Briggs convinced Elvis to re-record it. Listen closely, and you’ll hear that “If I Were You” is very similar to “It Ain’t No Big Thing”. “When I’m Over You” is a real stinker. Why did Elvis waste time on this? He must’ve been doing it as a personal favour to Shirl Milete? I love “The Sound Of Your Cry”, Elvis really loses himself during the first takes. Some biting guitar from J.B. makes “Cindy” bearable, but let’s face the fact: this P-O-S is almost as corny as “Three Corn Patches”. The real treat comes towards the end when Elvis shouts, “Fade this muthaf**ker!”

As usual, there are no photo captions in the booklet. And please note that in the track list there is no first name of the composer on track 3 & 4.

Grading: 4 out of 5 © Crister Berge , Sweden 2008, Dec 2008.

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