For some modern fans, enjoying the music of Elvis Presley is a family experience. This has certainly been the case with me.
As I have mentioned before, my Mom became a fan in 1956. She later passed her “Elvis gene” on to both my older brother and me. My two sisters, unfortunately for them, did not receive the dominant form of this gene.
In any case, some of my best memories involve listening to Elvis music with my family. My childhood was fun, but … on occasion … I was known to let my curiosity get the best of me.
In my early years of being his little brother, you see, I had this bad habit of messing up my brother’s stuff. Once, I ripped his Star Trek posters. Then there was that time I jammed his trumpet’s mouthpiece into the instrument’s bell.
Somehow, during those years, he managed to keep my grubby little hands off his Elvis albums. By the time I was in middle school, however, he trusted me enough to allow me to borrow them. I would take albums one at a time from his bedroom and carefully play them.
I heard so many Elvis songs for the first time via those albums. As much as I enjoy listening to CDs and iTunes, there is nothing quite like hearing Elvis on vinyl.
These days, my brother no longer has a turntable. Since he felt they would be in good hands, he recently gave me all of his Elvis albums.
His touching generosity has more than doubled my Elvis record collection. It has also inspired this new series of posts that will examine a variety of Elvis records – starting today with one I received from my brother.Suspicious Minds
Catalog Number: CDS 1206 (Label) / CDSV 1206 (Outer Sleeve)
Recorded: 1956-1969 | Nashville, Hollywood, Memphis
Since the title song is one of my brother’s favorites (mine as well), I have decided to kick off this series with Suspicious Minds, a 1982 compilation album released by the United Kingdom’s Pickwick International on the Camden label.
I remember loving the “in your face” cover of this album when I first played it around 1988.
As far as I have been able to determine, there was not a United States version of this album. This appears to be a German pressing that somehow made its way here to the US.Side 1
- Suspicious Minds (1969)
Though a great choice to open the album, the sound is slightly “muddy.” This is the stereo version, which actually had only been first released a year earlier on Greatest Hits, Volume One. I remember noticing the horns and the double fade-out on this version way back when, as the only studio version I had probably heard to that point was on The Number One Hits and The Top Ten Hits. Rather than use the vintage mono or stereo mixes, those albums used a 1987 mix with an early fade and no horns that was created for The Memphis Record.
- Got A Lot O’Livin’ To Do (1957)
This one sounds great! I cleaned up the record prior to playing it, and I have yet to hear a crackle or static on it at all. Though it was recorded in mono, I suspect this version is electronically processed to simulate stereo. If so, I am surprised to admit that I actually do not mind the effect at all.
- Return To Sender (1962)
Good sound quality continues. Definitely a nice series of opening selections for this album – despite being all over the map in terms of when recorded. That is actually part of the fun of some of these older compilations, though. The only theme here is “Elvis Music,” and that is enough. There seems to be a little edit or something on the sax solo as the song fades that I am not used to hearing.
- A Big Hunk O’ Love (1958)
This one sounds really loud! It also sounds like the treble is turned way up. Welcome to the 1980s, Elvis. Really loving this album, though.
- In The Ghetto (1969)
The pace finally lets up with the beautiful “In The Ghetto.” The treble still sounds high to me, oddly enough.
- One Night (1957)
One of Elvis’ best songs, and it sounds incredible here. What an extraordinary first side to a record.
- Good Luck Charm (1961)
Another hit opens this side of the record, though not nearly as perfect as “Suspicious Minds.” This also marks the first time I have heard any popping noises on this record.
- U.S. Male (1968)
This is a fun song. Sound quality slightly lower here than I am used to, though. It is kind of “tinny.” This might be another instance of the treble being increased. I am pretty sure this record was the first time I had ever heard this song. I remember getting a kick out of it back then, and I still do. “You’re talkin’ to the U.S. male. The American U.S. male,” Elvis says in his best country boy voice.
- Party (1957)
And it is back to 1957 with this rocker from Loving You. This was also “new to me” back when I first played this record. Still sounds great all these years later.
- Fever (1960)
In 1988, I only knew “Fever” from the live Aloha From Hawaii version (1973). I remember not liking the studio version nearly as much, though finding the additional lyrics of interest.
- Old Shep (1956)
This song about a loyal dog has been difficult for me to listen to since our Beagle, Daisy, passed away in 2013. It does exemplify the variety of songs included on Suspicious Minds.
- You’re The Devil In Disguise (1963)
Though it gets repetitive, it is hard not to like “Devil In Disguise.” With it being the time of year that it is, the Halloween season is perfect for this song. It is an odd choice to close this album, though. I was ready for another song!
Thank you to my brother for giving me the Elvis records that inspired this new series of posts. Sorry for ripping your posters.