January 18 - Reggie Young Passed Away

Less than a week before the 50th anniversary of his most iconic recording "Suspicious Minds" being waxed at the American Sound Studio with producer Chips Moman, Reggie Young passed away. 

Pianist Bobby Wood, bassist Mike Leech, bassist-producer Tommy Cogbill, drummer Gene Chrisman, Elvis Presley, organist Bobby Emmons, guitarist Reggie Young, American Sound engineer and harmonica player Ed Kollis, and songwriter Dan Penn pose together on January 13, 1969, inside the funky American Sound Studio during the historic sessions that yielded Presley’s “In the Ghetto,” “Suspicious Minds,” “Don’t Cry, Daddy,” and “Kentucky Rain.” 

Maybe it's apropos that Memphis Boys guitarist Reggie Young's daughter-in-law Frances Young announced his death late this evening on Facebook. Photos taken over the past year showed that Reggie's health was slipping. He lived to see his 82nd birthday last December 12. 

The Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum on Facebook has also released a statement along with Chris Janson of "Buy Me a Boat" bro-country fame and the Wrecking Crew's Louie Shelton (there will be many others over the coming days). Memphis Boys Bobby Wood (piano) and Gene Chrisman (drums) survive him. 

Frances Young: My family is saddened to announce the passing of Reggie Young, my friend and former father-in-law as well as my children’s beloved Grandpops. Everyone knew Reggie whether they realized it or not. He was the most recorded guitarist in music history and held the record for many years for playing on more #1 songs than any other musician. 'Drift Away’s' signature riff was his calling card, but my favorite song of his when I was a girl was Elvis’ 'In the Ghetto. The guitar mesmerized me while the lyrics told their haunting tale. Little did I know how special the man playing those notes would be in my life. Reggie was my friend, my family, and a father-figure who showed me how gentle and caring a dad could be. May you know joy and peace beyond the Veil, Reggie. Loved ya always, no matter what."

Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum Founder Joe Chambers remembers Reggie Young. It’s hard to know where to start. I don’t really even know how long I’ve known Reggie personally. Musically, for me was the American Studio Recordings probably spun on radio stations WCLS and WDAK AM in Columbus Georgia back in the ’60s and ’70s before moving to Nashville. So many iconic guitar riffs that were and are burned in all of our musical soundtracks. Most of you know already about Reggie so I won’t go deep into his career but for those of you who don’t know, Reggie was the studio guitarist in the band at American Studio in Memphis known as The 827 Thomas Street Band. B.J Thomas, Dusty Springfield, The Box Tops, Neil Diamond and Elvis, to name a few got most of, if not all, of their biggest records with this group at this studio. Later when some of the band moved to Nashville they became known as the “Memphis Boys” continuing their magic in the studio. 

After moving to Nashville, Reggie’s intro to “Drift Away” alone would be enough for most musicians to hang their professional hat on for a lifetime not to mention Reggie’s drawer full of other incredible riffs or just being a member of the Highwaymen band or being on Eric Clapton’s list of favorite guitarists. Like so many other great musicians who have passed, Reggie is still with us every time we hear his guitar on the radio which is, thankfully, all the time. Reggie and Jenny were as perfect a couple as I’ve ever seen and they both deserved each other. Reggie was among the first group of musicians inducted into The Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum as a member of The Memphis Boys in 2007. I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again, the most talented musicians I’ve ever met are usually also the nicest and Reggie was positively both of those.

Made in Germany - The Complete Private Recordings

The details for the upcomming Memphis Recording Service release "Made in Germany - The Complete Private Recordings".

From the press-release:

Memphis Recording Service will release a 4CD/152-page book entitled "Made in Germany - The Complete Private Recordings" on 8 March 2019. 

The CD set contains more than 3 hours of all the private recordings Elvis made while off duty in Germany when he was serving as a soldier in the US army during the 1958 -1960 period and,includes rare tracks from a recently discovered tape comprising over an hour of unheard personal recordings. 

Although the original tapes were damaged with noise, hiss and distortion, for the first time ever, all of Elvis’ recordings made in Germany, have now all been painstakingly cleaned, repaired, and restored, using the most sophisticated technology.  This means that, finally, these truly historical recordings now provide for a complete and enjoyable listening experience. Over the coming weeks, prior to the release date, MRS will be releasing previews of our high restoration techniques through the various collectors forums and channels, providing audio comparisons with all the previous poorly mastered versions - including those included on the recent FTD release which contains some of the tracks also contained in this set. 

The 152-page hardback book contains rare unpublished photographs and documents, complemented by a comprehensive text provided by Gordon Minto, which discusses each of Elvis’ RCA studio (non-film) recording sessions held during 1957-58, before focusing on the private recordings he made in Germany. The bonus CD included features the essential RCA studio masters from the 1957-’58 period (also lovingly restored and remastered by MRS) and includes - together for the first time - studio banter as well as the count-ins on ‘All Shook Up’, ‘Don’t Leave Me Now’ and ‘White Christmas’.

The Made in Germany CD set is available for preorder from your local Elvis dealer now. Also, watch out for the announcement in the coming weeks for the Limited Edition 180-gram 2LP/24-page gatefold version, containing the best of the home recordings Elvis made in Germany!

CD 1 - September 1958 Interviews
01 Press Interview (Brooklyn Army Terminal)
02 Elvis Presley Newsreel Interview (1958)
03 Pat Hernon Interviews Elvis In the U.S.S. Randall

Guitar Reel 1
04 I'm Beginning to Forget You
05 I Can’t Help It (End Only)/Mona Lisa
06 I Can’t Help It/Guitar
07 Danny Boy/Danny Boy (Incomplete)
08 Loving You
09 Guitar/ I'm Beginning to Forget You
10 Dialogue/ I'm Beginning to Forget You
11 Dialogue /Santa Claus Is Back in Town/ Dialogue /Loving You/Dialogue
12 Dialogue /Loving You (One Line)/Dialogue
13 I'm Beginning to Forget You (Reprise)
14 I'm Beginning to Forget You (Elvis Reprise)

CD 2 - Guitar Reel 2
01. He Knows Just What I Need/Working on The Building
02. He Knows Just What I Need (LFS x 2)
03. He Knows Just What I Need (complete 1)
04. He Knows Just What I Need (complete 2)
05. He Knows Just What I Need (rehearsing/LFS x2)
06. He Knows Just What I Need (complete3)
07. He Knows Just What I Need (LFS/Rehearsal)
08. He Knows Just What I Need (FS/Complete)
09. Cool Water                                  
10. Like A Baby                  
11. His Hand in Mine (complete/ending)
12. Young Love (Red West singing)                                         
13. Her Hand in Mine
14. Return to Me/Her Hand in Mine (rehearsing ending)
15. Her Hand in Mine (complete 2)                                             
16. Her Hand in Mine (complete 3/cut)
17. Just A Closer Walk with Thee/If I Didn't Care/Are You Sincere 
18. Are You Lonesome Tonight? / Once Upon A Time
19. Stand by Me (Damaged Sections)
20. Just A Closer Walk with Thee/Take My Hand, Precious Lord               
21. Oh Lonesome Me                                                     

CD 3 - Piano Reel
01. I Asked the Lord
02. Apron Strings
03. Soldier Boy/Such A Night (One Line)/Soldier Boy
04 I Asked the Lord (Reprise)
05. Piano/Earth Angel
06. I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen (Fast)
07. Que Sera/Hound Dog/Piano/At the Hop
08. I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen (Slow)
09. Apron Strings (Reprise)
10. It’s Been So Long Darling
11. Earth Angel (Intro)/I Will Be True
12. There’s No Tomorrow
13 I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen (Slow 2)/Que Sera/Hound Dog
14. I Asked the Lord (Reprise 2)
15. I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen (Fast Reprise)
16. Apron Strings (Reprise 2)
17. The Titles Will Tell
18. At the Hop/Give Me My Oil Lamp/Que Sera/Hound Dog/Piano
19. Send Me Some Lovin'
20. The Fool (Take 1)
21. The Fool (Take 2FS, 3FS, 4)

CD 4 – Bonus disc - The Essential RCA Studio Masters 1957
01 All Shook Up (with Studio Chat & Count in)
02 (There'll Be) Peace in The Valley (For Me)
03 That's When Your Heartaches Begin
04 I Believe
05 Take My Hand Precious Lord
06 It Is No Secret (What God Can Do)
07 Blueberry Hill
08 Have I Told You Lately That I Love You
09 Is It So Strange
10 Don't Leave Me Now (with Studio Chat & Count in)
11 I Beg of You
12 One Night (With You)
13 True Love
14 I Need You So
15 Blue Christmas
16 My Wish Came True
17 White Christmas (with Studio Chat & Count in)
18 Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)
19 Silent Night
20 Don’t’
21 Oh Little Town of Bethlehem
22 Santa Bring My Baby Back (To Me)
23 Santa Claus Is Back in Town
24 I'll Be Home for Christmas

The Essential RCA Studio Masters 1958
25 Doncha' Think It's Time [Single master]
26 Wear My Ring Around Your Neck
27 I Need Your Love Tonight
28 A Big Hunk O' Love
29 (Now and Then There’s) A Fool Such As I
30 I Got Stung
31 Doncha' Think It's Time [LP master]
32 Wear My Ring Around Your Neck (Undubbed Version)

(Source: FECC / Facebook / Elvis Club Berlin / Memphis Recording Service)

January 17 - Release-dates

The Follow That Dream collectors label announced that it will split the release of the January 2019 titles in two batches. The CD "St. Paul to Wichita" and the LP "Kissin’ Cousins" will be available at the end of January while the "Through The Lens Of Phillip Harrington" book should be available at the end of February together with a yet to announced CD. 

The Memphis Recording Service box-set "Made in Germany - the Complete Private Recordings" was previously announced with no additional information. Amazon Germany has March 8, 2019 as the release-date for this 4 CD set. 

(Source: UEPS / Roger Semon / Amazon)

January 16 - All-Star Elvis Tribute Gets International Distributor

NBC’s upcoming Elvis Presley tribute special, which will see Ed Sheeran, Shawn Mendes and others pay tribute to the rock ‘n’ roll legend, will be taken out internationally by Alfred Haber Television.

The distributor has landed the rights to the one-off show, which goes out on the U.S. network on Feb. 17. The special celebrates the 50th anniversary of the 1968 NBC special that helped Presley climb back up to the top of the charts.

Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, Josh Groban, Carrie Underwood and Blake Shelton will all be in the new show. The modern-day stars will perform Elvis classics including “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Hound Dog,” “All Shook Up” and  “Blue Suede Shoes.”

There will also be outtakes from the 1960s special and interviews from those involved in that original broadcast. Veteran music producer Ken Ehrlich will produce the new show.

“We all know Elvis Presley as the king of Rock ‘n’ Roll, but it was his ’68 comeback special on NBC that truly secured his reign,” said Alfred Haber. “Now, 50 years later, the ‘Elvis All-Star Tribute’ is the fitting salute to the man, his music, and the night he reclaimed his crown.”

Alfred Haber handles international sales for a raft of U.S.-produced music shows and events, including the coverage of the Grammy Awards.

(Source: Variety)

January 15 - Chart Update, Elvis #1!

The weekly chart wrap-up for the upcoming week. The first charts available are  the US Billboard charts for the week ending January 19, 2019:
  • US Billboard Album Top 200: “The Essential Elvis” re-entry at #158.
  • US Billboard Country Album chart: “The Essential Elvis” re-entry at #15.
  • US Billboard Top Christian Album chart: “Elvis: Ultimate Gospel” remained steady at #12.
  • US Billboard Top Christian Album chart: “He Touched Me: The Gospel Music of Elvis Presley” re-entry at #43.
  • US Billboard Music DVD Sales Chart: "He Touched Me / The Gospel Music of Elvis Presley" is a re-entry at #1!
(Source: FECC / Billboard)

January 14 - Vinyl Now

Due for release from the Friday Music label on March 23, 2019 is the classic "Elvis Now" album. The album comes in two limited edition anniversary editions on 180 Gram audiophile translucent gold and red swirl vinyl and blue and black swirl vinyl. Both packed in a gatefold cover and poster. 

Side A: Help Me Make It Through The Night - Miracle Of The Rosary - Hey Jude - Put Your Hand In The Hand - Until It's Time For You To Go

Side B: Sylvia - We Can Make The Morning - Early Mornin' Rain - Fools Rush In - I Was Born About Ten Thousand Years Ago

(Source: Elvis Club Berlin / Friday Music)