Of the handful of Elvis albums to ever make it to the site this is clearly the critics’ favorite, and one listen will tell you why. This is the album that single-handedly revived Elvis’ fortunes, setting the stage for his record-breaking series of shows in Las Vegas doing pretty much the type of music he had recorded for it. The next year he would go on tour for the first time since 1957 (!).
As you can imagine, this album changed everything for Elvis. I first heard it the way I heard so many albums back in the late ’70s and early ’80s: on the Mobile Fidelity pressing. I was an audiophile record collector in 1981 and if MoFi was impressed enough with the sound and the music to remaster the album and offer it to their dedicated fans, of which I was clearly one, then who was I to say no to music I had never heard? (Soon enough I would learn my lesson about MoFi’s A&R department. The MoFi release of Supersax Plays Bird, a record that had virtually nothing going for it, was the last time I took their advice seriously.)
Turns out, they did a pretty good job on the Elvis album, not that I would have any way to know — back then it would not even have occurred to me to buy a standard RCA pressing and compare it to my half-speed-mastered, pressed-in-Japan, double-the-price-of-a-regular disc LP.
A decade or thereabouts later it would be obvious to me that MoFi had fooled around with the sound and that the right (heavy accent on the word “right”) real RCA pressing would be more correct and more natural (but probably not as quiet of course, but advances in cleaning technology fixed most of that and left MoFi in the dust).
Speakers Corner did the album in 2003 and if memory serves I liked it and recommended it at the time. I rather doubt I could stand it now. I have much less tolerance for the vague imaging, lack of ambience and overall lifeless quality their records suffer from now than I did then.
We have a number of Elvis titles coming to the site soon [not as of 2022, they’re too hard to find], mostly because we’ve lucked into some good sounding pressings that aren’t from the ’50s and early ’60s. His earliest albums are rarely in audiophile playing condition, so finding these later albums with such good sound — so Tubey Magical, rich and smooth despite their reissue labels — has been a bit of a godsend.