Only after visiting the Elvis Presley exhibition at London’s 02 Arena had I become a fan of Elvis, since then I have purchased DVDs , CDs and then as soon as I heard about a new album, I didn’t hesitate to pre order my copy.
In this review I will be talking about the If I Can Dream : Elvis Presley with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra album, as the version I own is the collector’s box edition, which feature three extra tracks that are not included in the standard edition of the album.
I’ve listened to a number of different versions of each of the tracks that are featured on the album, whether that be live versions from tours that I own on DVD or via previous albums and compilations that these songs have appeared on so I know how they sound and any slight changes to the original I should be able to tell.
Before I talk about the songs themselves I am going to talk about the Collector’s Box Edition, so what do we have here then, so its a large box which includes 17 track vinyl version and CD version of the album plus a poster and booklet all nicely packaged following the same colour theme and design of the standard CD jewel case but this time in an other sized cardboard box.
The box looks beautiful and has been created in such a way that it just has to be on display and a vocal piece in anyone’s front room just to show it off, yes and it does have a £32.99 (This was how much I purchased it for) price tag slightly more expensive than the standard CD album which is priced at £9.99, but with the Collector’s Box Edition you gain three bonus tracks as well as the additional items mentioned above.
The CD within the box edition is designed and like a 7″ vinyl in a black sleeve which is again different to the standard jewel case, which might be a disappointment for anyone wishing to put the CD with the rest of their collection on CD stands etc as it doesn’t come in a jewel case and would need to remain in the box itself (unless you displayed CD sleeves but that’s something I don’t do).
Again on the back of the box displays the track listings, sadly this is just stuck on as a piece of paper and not printed onto the box, so already after a week of the box being on display the paper track listings on the back has already started to ripple.
Here we go, so this was the main reason why I brought this album, it was how the king’s classic songs sounded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The album starts off with a bang and really makes you hairs stand on end listening to ‘Burning Love’ in a way that doesn’t over power Elvis’ vocals but also showcases what the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra can do to take such a rough and powerful song, and make it smooth and slick. An amazing start to the album and really sets the mood for the songs to come.
The next couple of songs are slower ‘It’s Now or Never’ and ‘Love Me Tender’ but that doesn’t take away the feeling that you have when listening to hear how well this album has been created with the chosen versions of these songs having a more gentle feel makes the sound of the Orchestra even more powerful, plus a great version of ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’
By now you would of had a taste of how the rest of the album is going to pan out and there was another 11 (14 collector’s edition) tracks still to follow, so moving onto one of the duets of the album and the more popular one, even though the song itself ‘Fever’ isn’t normally the first song that comes to mind when you think of an Elvis track but it was quite refreshing to her a duet as many an artist have done and are to this day still having duet singles and albums, I wasn’t surprised that Michael Buble was chosen to sing the vocals with Elvis on this track, as he has unique vocals . I understand other reviews and peoples comments say that there was no need for Michael Buble to be on this album nor to have a duet but for me this is one of the better tracks on the album as you can hear the passion in Buble’s voice as well as slow and sexy (I know) vocals from both Elvis and Buble, and when the two vocals overlap in sections of the song, they do not overpower each over and it works seamlessly. Also have to mention that the Orchestra were amazing on this track and really makes the song ooze with class.
Track to track, each and every song having that big band/Orchestra style really makes the song stand out in its own class, just hearing the opening few chords and vocals to songs like ‘In the Ghetto’ ,’Can’t Help Fallin’ In Love’ and ‘An American Trilogy’ makes everything around you stand still and silent just to listen to what great music used to sound like, now these can be listened to and enjoyed by old fans as well as like me new fans.
With so many tracks selected for the album, if your not an Elvis fan and just enjoy listening to great music, one of the songs which you must listen to is ‘Bridge over Troubled Water’ the vocals of Elvis once again are outstanding but the Orchestra sound adds big band style which I feel Elvis would of loved to have on this number.
I’m so glad that the version of ‘An American Trilogy’ that was chosen gave both the vocals of Elvis and the sounds of the Orchestra just the right amount to work together to not over power each other, if a different version of the song would have been used it wouldn’t in my eyes have had the strong message that the lyrics are trying to put across and hear the beautiful music surrounding it.
I couldn’t talk about the ‘If I Could Dream’ album without talking about the track ‘If I Could Dream’, I feel like I have listened to this song hundreds of times already because this track was able to be listened to prior to the release and promoted the album, but I never get tired of listening to it and will continue to listen to it hundred times more. It still has the same impact that the 68′ comeback special had, making this version more gentle and soft with the orchestra in the background putting the finishing touches to this track and the album.
I can say that this whole album is ‘Truly Breathtaking’ and a ‘Masterpiece’ the amount of times I’ve listened to the whole album from start to finish I have lost count as this album can be listened to after a hard day in the office or before or after a night out as every song will put you in a great place.
Ok so we have a few bonus tracks, so for all of you that have the standard edition these tracks are not included and are only included in the Collector’s Box Edition. Still keeping the fresh and smooth feel of the Orchestra for songs such as ‘Anything That’s Part of You’ and ‘What Now My Love’ but there is something a little different with the ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ track that has been thrown in at the end. The vocals of Elvis are young of course in this one and at first I didn’t really like it as the rest of the songs previous Elvis’ vocals sounded if they were a little older, but the big band style of ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ has grown on me and its something different to finish the Collector’s Edition which I felt was a nice touch.
The songs themselves have not ruined the originals or were too far of a leap to enjoy, everything was just right if not more outstanding, I think the version of ‘Burning Love’ sounds better than the original.
Well packaged set and nice lot of extras for any fan or collector.
Good set list of tracks, but with the amount of songs to choose from there is no wonder why they had to make a collectors edition just to add a couple more, I wouldn’t be surprised if they release anymore versions later on down the line with different tracks that were not included.
Even with the lesser known tracks on the album they’ve been made in a way that they suit the style of the album, giving themselves a right to share the stage with some of the more popular titles. These songs have now become some of my personal favourites mainly ‘And The Grass Won’t Pay No Mind’
The collector’s box should of had printed track listings instead of paper stuck on
A jewel case option for the CD used in the collector’s box
Maybe an intro from the creators or something to say thank you and/or how it was made