Elvis Presley’s “Gold Records, Vol. 4” Reviewed
Elvis’ 1968 31st album by the numbers Gold Records, Vol 4: “Five Top 40 A-sides along with seven b-sides, five of which also made the Top 40. Three songs had not been written expressly for Presley: “Love Letters” came from the 1945 film of the same name; “Witchcraft” had been a 1956 hit record for The Spiders; and “What’d I Say” was the Ray Charles classic from 1959.[ Three b-sides, “Lonely Man”, “A Mess of Blues”, and “Just Tell Her Jim Said Hello” were old enough to have been included on Elvis’ Golden Records Volume 3, and another b-side, “Ain’t That Loving You Baby”, came from RCA’s furlough session of June 10, 1958, set up to augment their stock of Presley product while their star was in the United States Army.”
It would be the final Gold Record compilation in Elvis’ life time, and the least of the four, but even so, a first rate recording, worth your time if only for Elvis second ray Charles cover in as many albums, as well as one of his finest country songs, “Just Tell Her Jim Says Hello”. Add to that mix a pop piece of super finesse, “(You’re The) Devil In Disguise”, the glorious pop ballad (with the best name of a song in living memory) “Indescribably Blue”, the blues “A Mess Of Blues”, classic “Ain’t That Loving You”, and more. The disappointments are far and few between, and the years between tracks (five to be precise) effects the quality not at all.
The problem for Elvis and the Gold Records series is that the standard can not be any higher, the three previous albums stand among the greatest albums of all time, each one a gem and number three quite beyond that and #4 is a great album, but it isn’t in the same category of awesomeness. None of it is lousy, Presley is great in the whole lot, even “Love Letters” works and “Witchcraft” (not that one) is a triumph where there should be none.
Only Elvis could disappoint with this: