Best track on "Moody blue" LP 1977

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Best track on Moody blue" LP

Poll ended at Sun Aug 16, 2009 4:00 pm

Unchained melody
6
22%
If you love me (let me know)
1
4%
Little darlin´
0
No votes
He´ll have to go
1
4%
Let me be there
2
7%
Way down
5
19%
Pledging my love
3
11%
Moody blue
1
4%
She thinks I still care
1
4%
It´s easy for you
7
26%
 
Total votes: 27


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Best track on "Moody blue" LP 1977

Post by dreambear »

At least, we have reached the last "New" LP released during Elvis´ lifetime and this one is hard to review because of all memories around it. I was 9 years old in 1977 and was already a Elvis fans. I owned a compilation (Elvis forever) and had just got "Welcome to my world" as a birthday present. A few weeks later, my sister gave med Moody blue on a cassette tape (with ABBA`s album "Arrival" on the other side). Shortly after, we all know what happened.

Afterwards, it´s easy to see that it wasn´t a perfect album, but it holds together surprisingly well. It gave the impression that Elvis´ musical vision was there still at the end, as the album mixed ballads, rock, pop, country and r & b. You can argue that it was a disaster to include a track already released in 1974, but the general public, including myself, had no idea, because the Memphis album wasn´t that big seller, at least not in Sweden. You can also argue that 4 titles were available on singles, which left the album with only 5 unheard tracks. But that didn´t bother me. I liked the album better than "Welcome to my world".

One thing that makes the album better than it really is, is the brilliant running order. The album starts off with a truly great track, Unchained melody. People must have been stunned by hearing this mighty track. Next up is "If you love me (let me know)". Not a popular track here on the board, but it works as track two here, because it feels "uptempo" compared to "Unchained melody". Personally don´t dislike the song. Feels like normal soft country music (of course it would have been better if Elvis had recorded some good original songs instead of Olivia Newton John-covers). But if it had been track two on the second side of the LP (after Way down), it would have been a disaster.

"Little darlin´" has recently been discussed. Perhaps I´m nostalgic, but this was the perfect song for a 9 year old boy in 1977, and I still like it for what it is...a bit of fun, which certainly was missed in some of his other 70´s albums. The falsetto at the ending is brilliantly sung (and No Sherrill Nielsen in sight).

The slow "He´ll have to go" is a grower, but is perhaps a bit overlong. After that we have the 1974 recording "Let me be there" and ít´s not sensational at all, but it fits in after the slow "He´ll have to go" and gives side one a kind of happy ending.

Way down starts of with distorted guitar and Moog syntheziser. Nice to hear that Elvis was open to more modern sounds. This rocker is fun to play to my pals who isn´t Elvis fans, just because it doesn´t sound Elvis (a bit Abba-Waterloo mixed with something else). J.D Sumner also makes this recording unique.

"Pledging my love" is a simple song and Elvis pour his heart out on this song. By the way, listen to "The late great Johnny Ace" by Paul Simon when you have a couple of minutes left. Good song.

Moody blue must be one of the catchiest tunes Elvis did in his later years. Someone else wrote something like this "I´m not particular fond of tha track, but I can see why other likes it. A huge hit in Sweden, popular even before Elvis died.

"She thinks I still care" is probably my favourite track from the february 1976 sessions. Like some other tracks from that session, Elvis sounds fragile, but most important: He sounds like he tries hard to get the right feeling into the song.

"It´s easy for you" closes the album and in a nice way. I´m so glad that this track was recorded in october and not in februari. He was in better voice in october.

This album doesn´t compare with "Elvis Country". It doesn´t compare to "Promised land" either, but I listen more often to this album than "Today" and most of the other 70´s studio album.

Memories, nostalgia, the running order of the tracks, nice overdubs (not as heavy as on the album before) and verry good musicians, makes this album a dear one for me.

Please vote and have a nice summer!

Kind regards

Björn




Rob

Re: Best track on "Moody blue" LP 1977

Post by Rob »

I remember how I loved that pretty blue vinyl. I love this album because it features the best of both worlds. It has both Olivia Newton-John covers.

Despite featuring probably Elvis' best version of "Unchained Melody" and the nicely done "Pledging My Love," my vote goes to "It's Easy For You." It has always been near and dear to my heart from the moment I first heard it. I loved it then and I love it now.

...and now you tell me, you dare to tell me, I should go back to them. What do you think, what on earth do you think I should say?



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Re: Best track on "Moody blue" LP 1977

Post by midnightx »

Pledging My Love



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Re: Best track on "Moody blue" LP 1977

Post by kuenzer »

It's Easy For You


Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan duetting on Unchained Melody - when will it happen?

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Re: Best track on "Moody blue" LP 1977

Post by drjohncarpenter »

midnightx wrote:Pledging My Love
You missed the second entry.


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Re: Best track on "Moody blue" LP 1977

Post by Denman »

It´s easy for you


"If this suit weren't too tight."

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Re: Best track on "Moody blue" LP 1977

Post by Mike Eder »

It's a solid album. It holds together well and has some of the most varied material Elvis did in his later years. FEPB suffers from being stuck in one mood, but it's a more thought out album project. Moody Blue is a bit more of a hodge podge but the tracks are stronger and it's more fun and versatile.


One thing that gets overlooked is that Elvis wanted to do a half live half studio for several years so it's not like he didn't approve of the concept. In fact Felton gave an interview about how he went to Graceland to play Elvis all the final mixes before it came out.

Not Elvis' best album but it's a respectable finale. I picked Way Down but Unchained was very close. The production on here is better then it had been in some time. Tracks like He'll Have To Go really create a mood.


Mike Eder

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Re: Best track on "Moody blue" LP 1977

Post by drjohncarpenter »

Mike Eder wrote:It's a solid album.
Solid? it was a hodgepodge release because Elvis blew off his January 1977 Nashville session.

Now, since it was in the stores when he died, there is a certain nostalgia that no other LP can have, but even that doesn't explain the anomaly of 1974's "Let Me Be There."


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Re: Best track on "Moody blue" LP 1977

Post by brian »

Mike Eder wrote: One thing that gets overlooked is that Elvis wanted to do a half live half studio for several years so it's not like he didn't approve of the concept. In fact Felton gave an interview about how he went to Graceland to play Elvis all the final mixes before it came out.
I think the Moody Blue album would've been better had he went to Nashville in January 1977 to record those tracks.




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Re: Best track on "Moody blue" LP 1977

Post by Inigo Montoya »

I always liked this album, probably partly because of inevitable nostalgia endemic to people of my age and older but also because it's got some nice material within. Yes, it's a kind of semi-random assortment but the idea of an album composed of live and studio tracks was hardly a new one and the studio tracks in October tended to be stronger than those from February. I got this on black vinyl long before I got the blue version, but the thing that appealed most to me about the visuals was the cool cover shot of Elvis in blue with that spot above him. They used the standard later-'70s ELVIS font but the cover was quite nicely put together and the photo on the back was also cool even if neither -- as with the singles, the photos used dated from 1972 -- had much to do with the material.

The version of "Unchained Melody" herein, with overdubs galore, is the one with which many of us were first familiar. I've come to prefer the original concert recordings of the song but, still, this much more heavily produced version does stand alone nicely even now and the overdubs do help provide a strong sense of the song's drama (on the other hand, Elvis' minimalist live treatments of the song provide a mire intimate power and show off his voice to full effect; even when his voice was not at its very best the emotion it carried was tremendous). I wonder if, had Elvis lived past 1977, subsequent versions of this song would more closely follow the album arrangement or if he'd stick to keeping it as basically an Elvis-at-piano song.

"If You Love Me" seems to get a hard time here and, though it's far from my favorite -- in his later tours he alternated it with "Fairytale" and I definitely preferred him doing the latter -- it's still a nice song for Elvis. It suits his voice well, allows him some room for inflection and improvisation, and the bottom line is that Elvis himself, before premiering the song live, characterized this country-pop song as "such a happy song." Shoot, I'm not about to disparage the man for finding happiness where he could. Try it out in one of your shower-stall jams and maybe you'll see what he means; it's the kind of song that feels good to sing or even hum along with. Was it the kind of material Elvis should have been focusing his efforts on? Well, maybe not in the sense that it's no "My Boy," but there's nothing wrong with the song or in Elvis adding it to his setlists.

"Little Darlin'" was never meant to be anything but fun (here I should emphasize that I refer to the song, not the person who posts here under that name!) and if you can't appreciate it for what it is, well, you'll never really 'get' some of who Elvis was. It's a throwaway bit of fluff, a spoof of the '50s, that just tickled Elvis' fancy and, as is often the case, that's kind of an infectious thing.

"He'll Have to Go" is brilliant, far more brilliant than it perhaps seems at first blush. It's also long, and of plodding pace, so although it's not one I too often seek out I do fully appreciate what is within it. To my mind this, the last complete track Elvis recorded, sums up much of what he and his music were about just as "that's All Right" acts as a mission statement regarding what was to come. As in 1954, in 1976 Elvis was still throwing blues, pop, country, gospel and more into a mix and seeing what comes out. "He'll Have To Go" is not just Elvis covering an oldie, though he undeniably was, but is a sort of musical microcosm in itself.

"Let Me Be There" was written by the same dude who wrote "If You Love Me" and it's not unlike that other song; of the two I way prefer this one, and Elvis seemed to like it a lot (when he did it during one of his January 27, 1974 shows, a day after premiering it, he did it twice and seemed to enjoy every moment of it). This track was a revelation to me because, at the time, I had no live albums of Elvis and hadn't even heard any live material, that I recall. I think the Memphis LP was deleted at the time Moody Blue came out, which may explain why they used it as padding (the question being why they didn't use older studio tracks, like "For The Good Times," instead). Regardless, this one moves along nicely and I always thought it was a good concert song for Elvis, even more so when he started to do some pretty wild vocal embellishments around the August 31, 1974 shows and thereafter.

"Way Down" will probably always be my favorite track off this album, and might well be even if I did not have such a strong association of the song with the events of 1977. It's an unusual song for Elvis and he nails it, as does the band. Excellent stuff. Could have been a truly great concert song, done right.

"Pledging My Love" probably comes in right behind "Way Down" in my affections. Elvis also nails this song, perfectly. Good single!

"Moody Blue" has become kind of an iconic song and is even more an unusual choice for Elvis -- near disco, too, as near as he ever got -- than "Way Down." I like it a lot, but nowhere near as much as the previous two songs.

"She Thinks I Still Care" is the kind of song that Elvis excelled at singing to perfection. This is another great performance, with a powerful gospel-tinged vocal elevating a country song to be yet another of Elvis' patented genre-bent classics. Some very nice outtakes of this one, too, quite different than the master (much as that nice "Amazing Grace" outtake on the '70s box set proved to be in relation to the master we knew for so long).

"It's Easy for You" always struck me as another supremely odd song for Elvis and it used to probably be my least favorite of the album, despite some degree of hauntingly evocative vocalizing, because -- as it turned out -- of the original mix. It sounded like Elvis was not in the actual Jungle Room at the time but was perhaps a block or two away, driving in his Stutz, and phoning it in. The FTD release, especially, revealed a whole different song -- much better. A very affecting song...still a long way from my favorite, but well done and it works (just not in that 1977 mix!).



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Re: Best track on "Moody blue" LP 1977

Post by Lennart »

Voted for "Unchained melody"
I have always loved "Way down" and would probably have voted for that song back in 1977 but
today "UM" gets my vote.

To Dreambear:
Nice to read your thoughts and memories of this album and the summer of 77.
I got the LP in september 1977, it was sold out for weeks so it took me a while to get it.

Lennart



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Re: Best track on "Moody blue" LP 1977

Post by midnightx »

Who seriously voted for If You Love Me (Let Me Know)? This wasn't Elvis' finest album, but there were some solid studio recordings included. How in the world could anyone seriously consider the above referenced track the best track from the album?




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Re: Best track on "Moody blue" LP 1977

Post by brian »

midnightx wrote:Who seriously voted for If You Love Me (Let Me Know)? This wasn't Elvis' finest album, but there were some solid studio recordings included. How in the world could anyone seriously consider the above referenced track the best track from the album?
I think Moody Blue was the best song on the album but some people prefer the Olivia Newton John cover.

Some people just like the song real well it's a matter of opinion.
Last edited by brian on Sat Jul 18, 2009 11:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.




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Re: Best track on "Moody blue" LP 1977

Post by Petri »

It's easy for you was my vote.
I'm a musician and i like well played/produced songs, and Moody Blue is one of them, no matter how/when/where it's songs are recorded. Elvis live, was far better that the most artist (at the time) were in studio. That is my opinion.

For the record, in Finland the first Elvis album that sold gold was (truely) -76, Reader's Digest's 6 album boxset. So...we still do not know nothing about Elvis, but we are learning.... :D (that boxset was my first Elvis' album.....got it 1978)


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Re: Best track on "Moody blue" LP 1977

Post by midnightx »

brian wrote:
midnightx wrote:Who seriously voted for If You Love Me (Let Me Know)? This wasn't Elvis' finest album, but there were some solid studio recordings included. How in the world could anyone seriously consider the above referenced track the best track from the album?
I think Moody Blue was the best song on the album but some people prefer the Olivia Newton John cover.

Some people just like the song real well it's a matter of opinion.
Of course some people like the Newton-John cover, but that doesn't mean an objective, informed review of the album would conclude that the Newton-John piece of crap is the best track on the album.




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Re: Best track on "Moody blue" LP 1977

Post by brian »

midnightx wrote:
brian wrote:
midnightx wrote:Who seriously voted for If You Love Me (Let Me Know)? This wasn't Elvis' finest album, but there were some solid studio recordings included. How in the world could anyone seriously consider the above referenced track the best track from the album?
I think Moody Blue was the best song on the album but some people prefer the Olivia Newton John cover.

Some people just like the song real well it's a matter of opinion.
Of course some people like the Newton-John cover, but that doesn't mean an objective, informed review of the album would conclude that the Newton-John piece of crap is the best track on the album.
Well that would depend on who's reviewing the album

I will say that I think Elvis version of If you love me is better that it's Easy for you.
so to me it isn't the worst song on the album.




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Re: Best track on "Moody blue" LP 1977

Post by Deleted User 1099 »

"Let Me Be There" is an anomaly on this album, considering it was recorded and released in 1974. Wouldn’t it have been better to cut this song and round off the album with "My Way"? First "It’s Easy for You", then "My Way"? We saw the song on the Aloha album, but the 1977 version is very different to the 1973 version.



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Re: Best track on "Moody blue" LP 1977

Post by BigredG »

midnightx wrote: Of course some people like the Newton-John cover.
:shock: who are these mother.....s?
midnightx wrote: but that doesn't mean an objective, informed review of the album would conclude that the Newton-John piece of crap is the best track on the album.
Speaking of objective!! :smt002

I'd have it at 7 or 8.

But look, some total joker has voted for Let Me Be There!! I would put that at number 10 on principle.

It's Easy For You got my vote, but probably on the strength of the much "better" outtake. I say "better" but I would have to hear the master in undubbed form to definitively say it is better. On the album cut, Elvis is well and truly buried in the mix/overdubs, much to the detriment of this lovely, and specifically for Elvis, song.




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Re: Best track on "Moody blue" LP 1977

Post by Pete Dube »

Way Down for me. Not a classic, but a solid track that's a nice, contemporary update of the old-school rock&roll style. A few more efforts in this vein could've put Elvis back in the top 15/20 of the pop charts had he lived.



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Re: Best track on "Moody blue" LP 1977

Post by jeanno »

WAY DOWN for me.

Strange that they used LET ME BE THERE when there were other better live choices: YOU´RE THE REASON I´M LIVIN´, for example.



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Re: Best track on "Moody blue" LP 1977

Post by dreambear »

Lennart wrote:Voted for "Unchained melody"
I have always loved "Way down" and would probably have voted for that song back in 1977 but
today "UM" gets my vote.

To Dreambear:
Nice to read your thoughts and memories of this album and the summer of 77.
I got the LP in september 1977, it was sold out for weeks so it took me a while to get it.

Lennart
´

Yes! Lots of memories. 1977 and 1978 I lost my two biggest heroes at the time. My dad came home from work and said: "Haven´t you heard the news: Elvis Presley is dead!" And in late 1978, I watched the Monza F1 race on the telly, and Ronnie Peterson crashed in front of us all, and died the day after. Hard times!

By the way, I like surprises and one surprise is seeing "It´s easy for you" at the top. Keep voting!

//Björn



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Re: Best track on "Moody blue" LP 1977

Post by dreambear »

jeanno wrote:WAY DOWN for me.

Strange that they used LET ME BE THERE when there were other better live choices: YOU´RE THE REASON I´M LIVIN´, for example.
The song would have fit in well´here. But, even if the had recorded overdubs, I´m not sure that the sound quality of the vocals was good enough for a brand new LP at the time. If I had been Felton, and fully aware of what were in the vaults, I had chosen the studio master of "For the good times". But FTGT was included on "Welcome to my world", so that wasn´t really good either.

//Björn



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Re: Best track on "Moody blue" LP 1977

Post by jeanno »

If I had been Felton, and fully aware of what were in the vaults, I had chosen the studio master of "For the good times". But FTGT was included on "Welcome to my world", so that wasn´t really good either.
And FTGT was from 1972!... but it would have still been better than LMBT.



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Re: Best track on "Moody blue" LP 1977

Post by midnightx »

jeanno wrote:
If I had been Felton, and fully aware of what were in the vaults, I had chosen the studio master of "For the good times". But FTGT was included on "Welcome to my world", so that wasn´t really good either.
And FTGT was from 1972!... but it would have still been better than LMBT.
No doubt about it. The LMBT inclusion is completely bizarre.

Not that Fire Down Below is some masterpiece, but the backing track was completed. RCA should have demanded Elvis lay down a vocal so they could complete the album. There were recording studios across the country, so even while he was on the road he could have laid down a few vocal takes. It showed huge incompetence on the part of RCA, Tom Parker and Felton Jarvis.



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Re: Best track on "Moody blue" LP 1977

Post by midnightx »

Lonely Summer wrote:
midnightx wrote:
jeanno wrote:
If I had been Felton, and fully aware of what were in the vaults, I had chosen the studio master of "For the good times". But FTGT was included on "Welcome to my world", so that wasn´t really good either.
And FTGT was from 1972!... but it would have still been better than LMBT.
No doubt about it. The LMBT inclusion is completely bizarre.

Not that Fire Down Below is some masterpiece, but the backing track was completed. RCA should have demanded Elvis lay down a vocal so they could complete the album. There were recording studios across the country, so even while he was on the road he could have laid down a few vocal takes. It showed huge incompetence on the part of RCA, Tom Parker and Felton Jarvis.
Maybe Elvis just didn't care that much for Fire Down Below. I think Elvis needed a long break from recording, like some other artists had done. John Lennon was away from the recording studio for five full years, 1975 to 1980. Bob Dylan had some years pass without any proper studio album release (1971 - just a couple singles, and a few new tracks for "Greatest Hits, Vol. 2"; nothing in 1972; nothing in 1977). I can't think of anyone with the type of release schedule Elvis had. Why did RCA feel they had to saturate the market with Elvis albums? It would have been wiser to keep it to just a couple albums a year, and maximize the sales of each, instead of replacing it in the racks every few months with a new compilation, live album, Camden product, etc.
It isn't known if Elvis was into Fire Down Below or not. He lost interest in the Graceland sessions before any vocal work could be done. As already mentioned, FDB is not some dazzling track, but the instrumental master was complete sans Elvis' vocal. Clearly Elvis' yearly album requirements were a serious problem, but he was under contract nevertheless. It was the job of his manager/label/producer to get him to deliver the necessary tracks to properly complete an album. The fact that Jarvis tossed in LMBT from the live Memphis album to complete the Moody Blue album shows all parties involved failed at their jobs.