Elvis Presley

Too Much Monkey Business

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In 1980, three years after the death of Elvis Presley, his producer Felton Jarvis and RCA believed that, in order for Elvis' legacy to continue, they needed to update his sound to reach that year's ever-growing country market. Jarvis assembled a modern studio band to record new musical tracks for some of Elvis' lesser hits and obscure album tracks, and used Elvis' original vocals to create a set of "new recordings." The cream of these tracks was released in early 1981 as the ten-track album Guitar Man. The critics and fans alike turned up their noses at the release, though it did sell reasonably well. It would be 20 years later that Follow That Dream (BMG's official "Elvis collectors' label") went back and remastered the original ten tracks, added an additional ten from the same "sessions," and changed the artwork and title. What now remains is an interesting set of recordings that are not entirely successful, but are not a complete failure either. It's interesting to hear a 1969 Elvis vocal rub shoulders with a 1975 recording (proving that he never really lost his emotive vocal power while mentally and physically deteriorating during the later years of his life). Taken in small doses, this is a real kick to listen to. Over the course of 20 tracks, though, the updated sound begins to irritate the listener. Interesting? Yes. A "must-have" purchase? For Elvis purists only. (Note: Follow That Dream was established to beat the bootleggers by making outtakes and live recordings available to Elvis fans. Each release is a limited edition and only available through the label or through various websites devoted to the "King of Rock & Roll.")

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