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Elvis Double Features Viva Las Vegas / Roustabout
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(1993/RCA) 23 tracks. Rare US release in a longbox! 2 complete soundtracks on 1 CD, digitally remastered from the original RCA Victor master tapes, includes sessionography and historical movie data! MM/Bear Family Records
Viva Las Vegas (from VIVA LAS VEGAS)
If You Think I Don't Need You (from VIVA LAS VEGAS)
I Need Somebody To Lean On (from VIVA LAS VEGAS)
You're The Boss (& Ann-Margret)(from VIVA LAS VEGAS)
What'd I Say (from VIVA LAS VEGAS)
Do The Vega (from VIVA LAS VEGAS)
C'mon Everybody (from VIVA LAS VEGAS)
The Lady Loves Me (& Ann-Margret)(from VIVA LAS VEGAS)
Night Life (from VIVA LAS VEGAS)
Today, Tomorrow And Forever (from VIVA LAS VEGAS)
The Yellow Rose Of Texas/The Eyes Of Texas (from VIVA LAS VEGAS)
Santa Lucia (from VIVA LAS VEGAS)
Roustabout (from ROUSTABOUT)
Little Egypt (from ROUSTABOUT)
Poison Ivy League (from ROUSTABOUT)
Hard Knocks (from ROUSTABOUT)
It's A Wonderful World (from ROUSTABOUT)
Big Love, Big Heartache (from ROUSTABOUT)
One Track Heart (from ROUSTABOUT)
It's Carnival Time (from ROUSTABOUT)
Carny Town (from ROUSTABOUT)
There's A Brand New Day On the Horizon (from ROUSTABOUT)
Wheels On My Heels (from ROUSTABOUT)
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Star songwriters, Leiber & Stoller, Doc Pomus & Mort Shuman, and Ray Charles are some of the contributors here. Elvis, still in fine voice hits the notes and delivers true performances. I haven't taken the disk out of the player in the past week!
Downside--The disk is discontinued so you are looking at buying used or from an outside seller. It figures they would discontinue the best of the double packs. (Side note--it is almost criminal what they have done with Elvis' material in marketing) It is well worth purchase though. Ann Margaret turns in 2 enjoyable duets also. The material on Roustabout is not equal to Viva Las Vegas, but is still head and shoulders above most of the other soundtracks.
I am giving it 5 stars. While you can argue that it just misses and deserves 4, I remind you that these are soundtracks, not pure Elvis performances. Compared to other soundtracks they are easily 5 star products, and as a set they belong in every Elvis collection.
No matter your age, you should enjoy this.
On the "Viva Las Vegas" end, Presley is given a few decent tunes for once and turns in what would have been one of the period's most interesting albums,if this had been released as an album. You would never guess it from the film's camp reputation but Presley tries new things here. "Viva Las Vegas", which contains some of his most dramatic singing, is as good a mixture of swing and rock and roll as anything Bobby Darin ever did. That it's often dismissed as just another goofy movie song is unforgiveable. For Doc Pomus' lyrics, alone that capture the essence of the city, the song is a classic. The best ever remake of "What'd I Say" features the largest arrangement Presley had ever used up to that time. Driven by furious drumming from Hal Blaine who pounds his tom toms in a high speed endless roll and an ecstatic vocal by Presley, this is the only version that even comes close to Ray Charles. "I Need Someone to Lean On" is an intimate Frank Sinatra style saloon tune, also new territory for Presley. In more familiar areas "C'mon Everybody" and "If You Think I Don't Need You" are first-rate dance numbers and the duet with Ann Margaret on "You're the Boss" is thrillingly raunchy(you can feel their chemistry), far better than the original by Jimmy Ricks and Laven Baker. Much of the rest is standard movie fare but delivered with Presley's usual aplomb.
Roustabout is a bit of a different story. The material is weak, some of Presley's vocals seem a little rushed and it sounds like it was recorded in a canyon. Still, even here there are moments including a first-rate pop rock number in "One Track Heart" and a fine but very close to the original remake of the Coasters' "Little Egypt". Plus "Hard Knocks" and "Big Big Love Heartache" are better than passable.
Making all of the material a little more acceptable is the packaging which contains photos from the films (though not many) and session information. It's intelligent but not all it could be. The sound throughout features a little too much echo. (On Roustabout this can be attributed to the original recording conditions.) Also more detail in the liner notes would have been appreciated. Finally, it wouldn't have killed BMG to stuff a few hooks in here for collectors. Except for the previously released duets there are no rarities. Given the brief length of the album (53 minutes) there was plenty room for an alternate take or two especially the terrific movie version of "C'mon Everybody" which is still unreleased.
Overall though this is a must for fans, while the casual listener will be challenged but also rewarded.
Most recent customer reviews
Viva Las Vegas is one of the best Elvis soundtracks of the '60s.RoustaboutRead more