Rolling Stone misses the point in review of The Complete Elvis Presley Masters (Conductor’s Reflections #5)

Rolling Stone magazine stopped being relevant a long time ago, but I do occasionally find their music reviews interesting – when the publication bothers to cover music, that is. Their October 26 online review of Sony’s The Complete Elvis Presley Masters is an interesting study in absurdity. The point of this release, as indicated by the title, is to collect all of Elvis’ masters into one collection. Here’s what reviewer Anthony DeCurtis had to say:

[T]he later tracks in particular could use some cherry-picking: You shouldn’t have to hear his deeply moving gospel recordings and hits like 1969’s ‘Suspicious Minds’ in the context of his long, dispiriting downward spiral.”

Besides the all-too-typical jab at his later years, this is just about the most idiotic statement I’ve ever read in a professional review. DeCurtis would prefer a Complete Elvis Presley Masters collection that is incomplete in order to satisfy his warped image of who Elvis really was? He should stick with compilations like Elv1s 30 #1 Hits, then, and leave the deep catalog diving to people who actually want to study and understand the real Elvis.

Of course, idiotic statements are unfortunately not confined to Rolling Stone. I’ve also read fan reviews in more than one place lately that criticize the top-notch Viva Elvis: The Album release for having an overblown Vegas sound. That release is the soundtrack to a Las Vegas show – what exactly did they expect? Elvis unplugged?

1971 Boston Concert among Upcoming FTD Releases

Elvis performed exactly one time in Boston, on November 10, 1971. “By the time he finished you knew that underneath the control and the lightness of most of the evening’s music there stood a man with more natural ability, talent, and soul than I expect to see on the stage at any rock concert,” said Jon Landau in Rolling Stone of the show.

According to Elvis Matters, Sony’s Follow That Dream Records, a collectors label for Elvis fans, will release a soundboard recording of the Boston show on CD September 14. This one has apparently appeared in bootleg format before, but as someone who sticks to official releases, I can’t wait to hear this concert.

Also set for release in September is the Classic Album version of 1973’s Elvis (“Fool”), a two-CD set that will contain the original album and alternate takes.

Here is the tentative FTD schedule for the rest of the year. Note that the US releases of these albums tend to be a few weeks behind. Italicized descriptions are quoted from Elvis Matters.

August 8, 2010

King Creole: The Music (book & CD)

KING CREOLE-THE MUSIC is a 200-page book with images exclusively designed to complement the music from the film. It consists of two main sections; the recording sessions on January 16, 1958 and song scenes from the filming of the movie (including behind-the scenes shots). The images are classic and well-known shots with the majority being previous unpublished and taken by the original still photographers on the set (no freeze-frames).

The accompanying CD consists of the masters and the well-known alternative masters (no unreleased session reels have been found). As always, the music has been re-mastered.

Good Times: The Outtakes (2 vinyl LPs)

Following on from the previous strictly Limited Edition series, FTD is pleased to announce the release of a special 2-disc 180-gram vinyl set of GOOD TIMES – THE OUTTAKES. Supplied in a deluxe gatefold sleeve, it features the superb original draft artwork design that was superseded prior to release. UNIQUE!

September 14, 2010

Boston Garden (CD, no official title yet)

FTD will release the soundboard of the November 10, 1971, BOSTON GARDEN Show (previously released on bootleg) as this is the only available show from the early tours of the seventies. We believe that this is of such historical importance, that it should be available to everyone. This will be a 5” digipack with a photo booklet.

Elvis (“Fool”) (2 CDs)

On the same date, a 2-CD set of ELVIS (FOOL) in the CLASSIC ALBUM series. This will feature a 7” digi-pack with an 8-page booklet.

September 2010

  • Soundboard CD – Concert not yet announced

November 2010

  • Classic Album 2-CD – Content not yet announced
  • Vinyl 2-LP – Content not yet announced

FTD releases are available from and other online Elvis retailers.

[7/11/2010 Update: has a posted a longer version of the comments from the FTD team:

Recently, we’ve had several frustrated e-mails from some customers about information getting out about our releases, prior to circulation of the official FTD announcement. Ideally, it shouldn’t be like that, but at the same time with so many people helping us in advance with our product origination, there is a good chance that word will spread before exact release plans can be chosen due to manufacturing and distribution issues. The nature of being involved in the ‘Elvis‘ industry dictates that the sharing of new information is a thrill to most people, so leaks will occur.

In an effort to improve the situation, we will try to announce our schedule further up front. The downside to this is that there will be times when unforeseen production problems cause releases to slip”

I think this is a huge step in the right direction for FTD. Maybe it’s time for them to finally get a small but informative website up and running?]

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