Thursday, May 11, 2023

Review Come What May

What if … Elvis had released more contemporary albums during the mid-sixties, showing he took his recording career seriously? Unfortunately he didn’t, with the exception of his award winning gospel albums. The REEL-Trax import label stepped in, and filled a void in the Elvis catalog with this compilation. 
Let’s pretend we’re listening to an original album.  


The design of this set is top notch, with a smashing picture from ‘Spinout’ in great quality. It can compete with some of Jimmy Carpenter’s Follow That Dream LP designs e.g. the ‘Roustabout’ and ‘Spinout’ albums. And look at that hair! But he gets away with it, even sixty years later. The booklet mentions a vinyl release of this set, I’m sure this cover will look even better on a 12-inch sized LP. 

Inside the six-panel digipack, the liner notes detail the “what if RCA had released a contemporary album in between all the soundtrack albums” theory, giving this album a theme. Added to that are the covers of several hits and advertisements.


The double set contains a selection of Alternate Takes. On the first disc we get 27 tracks, presented as an album. On the second disc 21 songs by our man, presented with some studio banter. Added to that are 4 demo’s, sung by Red West. 

The latter learns us two things, firstly that Elvis follows the lead-vocal presented on the demo’s pretty close, and secondly, that Elvis is a better singer than Red, even if he is singing his own compositions. 

According to the booklet, the first 12 tracks are taken from the forthcoming vinyl edition of 'Come What May'. And I must say that tracks like the titles song ‘Come What May’, ‘Tomorrow Is A Long Time’, ‘Love Letters’, ‘Fools Fall In Love’ and ‘Tell Me Why ‘ (an unreleased Stereo Master), ‘God's Gonna Cut 'Em Down’ (aka ‘Run On’), ‘Indescribably Blue’, ‘Joshua Fit The Battle’ and several others make a nice compilation album from today's perspective. 'Ill Remember You' is a bit of an odd choice, compared to the other songs, but was perhaps chosen since Hawaiian music was popular in the mid-sixties. The question remains if this selection would have been a success when this selection of songs had been released in 1966.  

‘If Every Day Was Like Christmas’ in the middle does not work for me, nice as it is, it should have been placed at the end. But overall, this LP could have been a ‘Something for Everybody’ Volume 2. The other songs selected for this compilation were released outside the U.S. and U.K. in countries like India and the Philippines (on the RCA record label). Funny to see those songs being released as singles and charting in various countries worldwide. It shows we all love different parts of the wide Elvis catalog.  

The second disc features pretty much the same titles, but as different (spliced) takes with some additional chatter, just like we know from the Follow That Dream label. Playing the discs in a row, you get a different listening experience. 

It opens with a new splice of ‘God's Gonna Cut 'Em Down’ (Takes 1 and 6). It is presented as an unreleased version, but that goes for every newly created splice. Again, an entertaining presentation where the movie songs find their place in between the gospel, pop and country style songs. There is a bit much ‘Hawaiian-themed’ music on this set, but that music was popular at the time, so a logical choice by the producers. 

The audio was remastered for this release and it sounds solid, with the exception of the demo’s - especially ‘Sleepless Nights Endless Days’ - but that is kind-off to be expected with material like that. 

The recent release 'Presley Style - Lost Elvis Songwriter Demos 1961-1963' by P.J. Proby "suffers" from the same problem. Interesting to hear none the less. 


The album is well-designed and entertaining. Sixties fans will certainly enjoy this compilation.  

Listening to the variety of music and the quality of his vocals, it is a pity most that Elvis wasted his talents on mediocre material. Fortunately this ‘Something for Everybody” type album shows it wasn’t all bad. 

Had compilations like this been released by RCA during those “wasted years”, we probably would have thought differently of Elvis’ musical legacy as the soundtrack albums could have been separated from the real album releases for what they really are.