Elvis' Gold Records, Vol. 4 [Bonus Tracks]

by: Elvis Presley

The fourth volume of Elvis' Gold Records was the first of his hits compilations to be issued at a point when Elvis Presley wasn't considered a very important rock & roll star anymore (a few months later, he would embark on his network television "comeback"). Indeed, it appeared at a point when it seemed, as Neal Umphred pointed out, "Elvis' gold was drained up and he was reduced to filling up the fourth volume with B-sides." Covering the early '60s through the end of 1967, the original collection had the bad fortune to appear at a point when politics, international affairs, and a generational change in the listening public all combined to render Elvis seemingly irrelevant. A great deal of social and musical change had taken place while Elvis withdrew from concerts and television appearances, made his movies, and scarcely attempted the recording of any non-soundtrack albums. So at the time, the album's arrival, and even its title, might have seemed like a joke to a lot of observers. That having been said, there is some superb music on Gold Records, Vol. 4, including "What'd I Say," "Witchcraft," and "A Mess of Blues," even if not a lot of it seemed near the cutting edge of music circa 1968, and the remastered 18-song version is even better, adding tracks such as "Viva Las Vegas." The additional songs have been chosen with care and even some inspiration, the remastered sound is most impressive, and the notes are reasonably thorough. Pop-culture mavens may want to note the presence of the indirect Ed Wood connection here -- "Rock-a-Hula" was co-written by Dolores Fuller, Wood's companion and collaborator during the period of Glen or Glenda. ~ Bruce Eder

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