Friday, November 04, 2022

Review - Blowin’ In The Wind

In their press release the producers of the Reel-Trax import-release promised us “twenty-one really great tracks that will blow you away! Remasters, remixes, new edits plus a selection of original recordings that will offer you a totally new listening experience” on their ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’ compilation CD. Let’s put that to the test. 


The design is modern with an authentic touch, the front of the CD shows us what an Elvis Presley cover might have looked like in the mid-sixties. An original front-cover picture with matching pictures on the back. The color promo pictures don’t fit in my opinion, especially after reading the liner-notes, there should be a picture of our man from Sinatra’s Timex show.  


The album showcases Elvis wide taste in music. Many of his favorites not being the upbeat rock-and-rollers that made him the King of Rock and Roll. According to his own words, his favorites are ‘Padre’ by Tony Arden and the stage and film musical song ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’. Both make an appearance here.

It is a nice variation to hear Elvis sing along with the music from Nelson Riddle's instrumental versions of  'Fools Rush In' and 'It's A Sin To Tell a Lie', the music that inspired him. Taken from home-recordings these new versions were carefully melted together. I don't consider them to be new Elvis versions, as the music doesn't really fit the Elvis sound we're accustomed to, but we do get “new musical” versions of these home-recorded performances. The needle-drop is a nice touch.

The New Version of '500 Miles' really sounds great, it doesn't sound like a home-recording anymore, as Elvis, the vocalists and the guitar, sound really fresh.  

'Beyond The Reef' is presented here as an Overdubbed Version of the Rejected Single Master. I for one was glad they rejected this as a single, even if it turned up on various B-sides, I never liked the wailing sound of this song. Sorry.

Take 3 of 'Almost' sounds very pure, listening to Elvis and the jazzy musical accompaniment. But you hear it isn't really his style, Ol' Blue Eyes would have done this much better. With the "Goddamn Motherfucker" at the end Elvis confirms this himself. 

The cleaned-up and Mastered Edit of Dylan's classic 'Blowin' In The Wind' really sounds like a sing-a-long as Elvis drops in every now and then. The vinyl sounds nicely supports this. The remastered home-recording of 'What Now My Love' is the opposite, the almost acapela version - there is only a piano supporting the singers - of Elvis and the boys shows they were having fun doing what they do best, singing.

The Home-recording of 'Suppose' with Elvis with just a piano, sounds great. What if Elvis had recorded an album singing some of his hits totally stripped? Opposite to this is the remixed version of 'Tennessee Waltz' which actually sounds like a complete song with all the parts where Elvis breaks up in the original taken out, and a new piano track backing him. This remix makes a nice listen. 

The 1970 Nashville / Vegas Mash-up of 'See See Rider' took some getting used too. It features the instrumental from the ‘Nashville’ box (listed as ‘Mystery Train’) with Elvis’ voice added in the right places. The 2019 Remix Overdub of 'Don't Cry Daddy' and the 2022 Remix Overdub of 'In The Ghetto' feature completely new backing, but these tracks stay close to the original and sound more natural to these ears. 

Back to a home-recording with 'I Can't Help It (If I'm Still In Love With You)'. This really is a home-recording but was cleaned up nicely, so easier on the ears. The home-recording of 'If I Loved You' gives us Elvis really singing the song, but it's not really a performance I enjoyed as you also hear that Elvis really has to work on delivering the song.  

'Love Song Of The Year' is an Overdub by Elvis' backing band Voice. It is a strange mix with most of the music (especially the strings) and the band on the left and Elvis in the middle. In the end the drums come up in your right ear, audio-wise this is messy and out-of-tone with the quality of the other mixes on this album.

Just as for the 'Tennessee Waltz' the producers created a complete song without break-ups for the home recorded 'Tumbling´ Tumbleweeds'. Nice to hear it like this.

The original 1967 mix of 'We Call On Him' is a great experience, you hear the difference of Elvis singing at home or in the studio. The band is mainly on the left, this sounds too heavy for my liking. 

'After Loving You' is another remixed home-recording. A good mix, but the sound of these home-recordings is not how I prefer to listen to Elvis, especially as the studio versions sound so great. 

The August 7, 1970 Overdubbed Rehearsal of 'Mary In The Morning' suffers from some distortion in Elvis' voice at the beginning and too much echo half way through the song. Besides that, Elvis and his new backing sound entertaining and Elvis really knew how to deliver these kind of songs. 

The "Remixed Live Version" of 'Where No One Stands Alone' is almost sung acapela by Elvis and the Stamps, with just a piano to accompany them. The audience comes in at the end, applauding the performers. Nice!

The producers really saved the best for last, the Extended Master of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone'. A stand-out performance that got some repeats from me before changing discs again. The take was originally released by FTD on ‘His Songs of Praise’. When we think of big show stoppers we almost automatically think of 'Hurt' or 'Bridge Over Trouble Water' but Elvis really nails this one! 

The comment by Elvis - taken from the ‘Elvis Sails’ EP - saying this is one of his favorite songs added before the opening is a nice touch, but it gets a bit annoying after hitting the repeat several times. Hearing Elvis sigh at the end of the performance, having given it his all, tops it off nicely!


The producers delivered what they promised; “an entirely new listening experience“. But the album is also a mixed bag of music that includes good mixes, audio improvements and "audio experiments". Some worked, some didn’t (for me). So once again, “Something For Everybody” (and nothing for a few purists who cast every experiment aside). 

Personally I would have put the songs with the same sound - like the home-recordings or the seventies tracks - together, this would have made the album more a whole, and improved the overall listening experience.