Johnny Cash - The Essential Johnny Cash
Issued in commemoration of Cash's 70th birthday, this double CD is a good survey of 1955-1993 career highlights (and a different release than the similarly titled three-CD The Essential Johnny Cash 1955-1983). Is it a good place to start? That depends on what you have or don't have already, considering that so many greatest-hits compilations containing some or much of this material appeared prior to this, yet another repackage. All of his very biggest hits are here, and it leans very heavily on his first 15 years of recordings, with just eight of the 36 tracks postdating 1970 (and only one of them, his 1993 U2 collaboration "The Wanderer," postdating 1986). For that reason some may complain that it doesn't give some phases of his career proper weight, and certainly not evenly distributed weight. But let's be cold about this: Cash's best records were between 1955 and 1970, and focusing on his early work, as this compilation does, means higher overall quality. It's too bad nothing is included from his acclaimed, unadorned 1994 album, American Recordings, but otherwise this will serve as a quite satisfactory best-of for those who want both the familiar hits and a few good, not-so-overplayed ones, like his versions of "It Ain't Me Babe," "Jackson," and "If I Were a Carpenter." ~ Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide
You can find the two disc set new at Wherehouse.com for $12.69 or used for $10.99, standard shipping is only $1.00. They also have the track listing for you to sample. The album is also available at iTunes for $10.97 with a more limited track list.
Elvis Presley - Aloha from Hawaii Via Satellite (this includes a bonus video track)
Aloha From Hawaii Via Satellite is a double-album set that captures Elvis' celebrated live television concert from 1973. Arguably, it also captures the peak of Presley's live extravaganzas of the '70s. Spanning two albums and 30 songs, the record finds Elvis pulling out all the stops, running through a set that favors covers and new material at the expense of classics. That's hardly a complaint, since the whole point of his concerts in the '70s was a sensory onslaught, where a bluesy (albeit over-the-top) version of "C.C. Rider" could sit next to a schmaltzy show-stopper like "American Trilogy." And the key to the whole thing is that Elvis actually sounds more committed to "American Trilogy" than to "C.C. Rider." That passion and energy is carried over to each song, and that's what makes the entire enterprise so entertaining. It's also why the record was a massive hit upon its release and why so many fans have fond memories of Aloha From Hawaii decades after the actual concert. [The video edition contains bonus tracks.] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide
You can get a brand new copy of the CD at Deep Discount for $8.97 and there is no shipping charge or tax. They also have the samples you can listen to before you buy. If you want to download it, the iTunes store has it available for $9.99.
I hope everyone is having a great weekend!