Friday, 8 May 2015

I Just Can't Help Believing - 11 August Dinner Show

I've seen TTWII and I've seen and heard this song a million times so why should I watch this post I hear you say!  Well for one, the sound is different as the original audio has been replaced by the magnificent audio from Disc #3 of Sony's TTWII Deluxe Edition which contains this song and the complete concert from which it was performed but more of that later in the post.

If Elvis had decided to make a studio recording of this song, in Nashville during June 1970 for example, would it have been any better than this performance which became the RCA master? I personally have my doubts since this is beyond perfection and as such I must nail my colours to the mast and admit that this is my all time favourite Elvis recording.

To create a musical masterpiece within the studio environment, eg Suspicious Minds, is one thing when you have a top rate producer (Chips Moman) a single minded determined artist (Elvis) and the best possible material and tools (the song and band) where you can take as many takes as neccessary. To make a classic like this in one take in a live environment is something most singers can only aspire to.
If there is one line to sum up this song (and Bridge Over Troubled Water from the same show) and Elvis Presley in August 1970 in particular it is this - Many can sing but only few can perform!!
Released by B.J. Thomas earlier the same year this version shows Elvis at his very, very best as the vocal is relaxed yet powerful, both band and orchestra are virtually flawless. Elvis' singing of the word 'girl' at the end of the first verse is almost unbelievable!
This version, from 11 August Dinner Show, was selected both for the movie and to open the original TTWII 1970 album and due to public demand was released as a single in the UK reaching #6.

In August 2014 Sony Legacy released a new 8CD/2DVD box set of TWIII. This contained the original album (plus bonus tracks), the six shows used for TWIII and an eighth CD (all remastered) of rehearsals plus 2 DVD's containg the original 1970 movie and the 2001 re-edit.
Of the six concerts four had already been released. The opening show was FTD - One NIght In Vegas, the third show was Disc 2 from the box set Live In Las Vegas, Show 5 was Disc 2 of TTWII (Special Edition) and Show 6 was FTD - The Wonder of You.
This however presented a problem to Sony because all four were remastered differently and didn't even sound as if they were recorded at the same venue never mind on consecutive nights!!! Sony's solution was to put head engineer Vic Anesini in charge of the remastering project as he had done an amazing job on the Complete Masters set. Now it is almost impossible to distinguish one show from another sound wise!

Why talk about that here? Well if you listen to I Just Can't Help Believing from the original album and then to this (remembering that they are both the same recording) then some subtle differences make them sound almost completely different and for the better. There are two main differences which really stand out. Firstly, Charlie Hodge's harmony vocal is erased on this version in order to give complete attention to Elvis' wonderful vocal performance and secondly during the instrumental break the Trombones are moved back and the strings moved forward which make it sound more like the movie and improves it considerably!!!!

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