May 04 - Remastered and Remixed CD and DVD Releases?

Due later this month from an unknown label is the 4-CD set 'The Matrix recordings'. This set, limited to 300 copies, contains newly created "Matrix Mixes" combining audience and soundboard recording to create a new listening experience.

CD 1: August 21, 1974 (MS) Las Vegas.

CD 2: March 17, 1976, Johnson City, TN.

CD 3: April 23, 1977 Toledo, OH.

CD 4: April 24, 1977 Ann Arbor, MI. 


Recorded Live At The Fontainebleau DVD?

The Danish Memphis Mansion showed a new DVD entitled 'Elvis Presley' - Recorded Live At The Fontainebleau' on their Facebook Memphis Mansion TV channel. More info when available. 

A teaser of things to come? 

(Source: FECC / Memphis Mansion TV)

May 03 - The Elvis Portraits Released

The book 'Portraits - A Life In Photographs' by Erik Lorenzen and containing Robert van Beek  has been released.  

From the press release: The book is filled with more than 400 beautiful publicity photos spread over approximately 400 pages, taken from 1953 to 1977. The best photo material from the greatest and most famous photographers such as: Alfred Wertheimer, William Speer, Sean Shaver, Virgil Apger etcetera. Elvis up close and in person. The photos are almost all printed full page.

An average book by Lorentzen weighs about 3 kilos and measures 25x30 cm. 

(Source: Facebook)

May 02 - Elvis 25 - Spliced And Meant To Be Played

The CMT import-label announced the release of the CD 'Elvis 25 - Essential Sixties Splices - Volume 1'. This CD is limited to 500 copies. 

From the press release: CMT is proud to present the first in their new series 'Elvis 25', this incredible release includes brandnew, unreleased spliced takes and focusses on 1960. Elvis was 25 when he recorded all these great tracks.

As always, expect some nice surprises, since a lot of the tracks sound very different than what has been released before. Some highlights are the remade opening for 'Stuck on You', an extended version of 'Make Me Know It', 'It's Now Or Never' includes a rare "harmony" part and a breathtaking new approach has been done on 'Are You Lonesome Tonight?' which starts off with the spoken part.

Also the new version of 'Lonely Man' sound very different and includes both the main version and the solo version.

Stuck On You (Spliced Take 2, 1) - Fame And Fortune (Spliced Take 3, 4, 2) - It’s Now Or Never (Spliced Take 3, 2, 4) - A Mess O’ Blues (Spliced Take 2, 4, 3) - Are You Lonesome Tonight? (Alternate Master) - I Gotta Know (Spliced Take 1, 2 ,1 ,2 ,1) - Make Me Know It (Spliced Take 12, 14, 16) - Fever (Spliced Take 2, 3, 4, 1) - The Girl Of My Best Friend (Spliced Take 7, 8, 6, 8)- I Will Be Home Again (Extended Master) - Dirty, Dirty Feeling (Spliced Take 2, 3, 4) - The Thrill Of Your Love (Spliced Take 1, 3) - Soldier Boy (Spliced Take 4, 7, 11) - Such A Night (Alternate Master) - It Feels So Right (Spliced Take 4, 3) - The Girl Next Door Went A’ Walkin’ (Spliced Take 1, 2, 3, 3) - Like A Baby (Spliced Take 1, 2) - Reconsider Baby (Alternate Master) - Wooden Heart (Spliced Take 2, 1) - Flaming Star (Spliced Take 4, 5) - Surrender (Spliced Take 7, 9) - Crying In The Chapel (Spliced Take 2, 1, 3) - Wild In The Country (Spliced Take 6, 8, 11, 13, 13, 13) - Lonely Man (Alternate Master).


Out In Hollywood

The Meant to be Played import label announced the release of volume 4 in their 'Out In Hollywood' series featuring 22 rare hard to find complete takes which are "meant to be played" according to the press release. 

Young Dreams (Take 8 - Thorne Nogar Mix) - Don’t Ask Me Why (Take 12 - Thorne Nogar Mix) -  We’re Gonna Move (Stereo Master) - C’mon Everybody (Take 7) - Riding The Rainbow (Spliced Take 4, 6) - A House That Has Everything (Take 3) - Datin’ (Take 3, 4) - I Slipped, I Stumbled I Fell (Take 11) - Margarita (Take 1) - Golden Coins (Take 8) - Home Is Where The Heart Is (Take 20) - Santa Lucia (Take 5) - A Whistling Tune (Take 7, 8) - Pocketful Of Rainbows) - King Of The Whole Wide World (Take 10) - Spring Fever (Take 4) - Look Out, Broadway (Take 5) - The Meanest Girl In Town (Take 11) - Roustabout (Take 16) - Moonlight Swim (Take 2) - Go East, Young Man (Master) - You Don’t Know Me (Take 13)

(Source: FECC)

May 02 - Review – Welcome Home Elvis – The Acetates

Former Memphis Mansion associate Lars Gjeding recently (re)discovered a set of the original acetates of Frank Sinatra’s “It’s Nice To Go Trav’lin’’ a.k.a. the ‘Welcome Home Elvis’ TV show. These discs once belonged to Sammy Davis Jr., who made an appearance at the show. 

It is a nice time-piece, showing what was “hip and happening” at the time, or was it? One could also say it also was the changing of the guard, where the new generation took over with Elvis moving from Rock and Roll to pop music. 

Let’s step into Frank Sinatra’s time machine and step back to March 26th 1960 and visit Miami’s Fontainebleau Hotel. 


Design

Designer Søren Karstensen went all out on this Deluxe box-set, recreating kind-of a “1960 time-capsule”. The set comes as a LP-sized box resembling the kind of box these acetates were shipped in to Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., the show’s producer Richard Dunlap and of course Elvis Presley. 

Inside meticulously recreations of the show’s acetates on 12-inch vinyl, a 10-inch acetate with interviews of a young Elvis returning from West-Germany setting the scene for this show, including some undocumented and unreleased snippets, an illustrated scrapbook-styled script detailing the liner-notes, 3 big posters, certificate and a set of lobby cards. The producers tried to make everything look authentic. To get the design exactly as they wanted, elements of this box were created and / or mastered in Denmark, Norway and the United Kingdom. 


Content

You have to remember, you are listening to the audio of the famous 1960 Frank Sinatra (and friends and family) TV show which featured a special appearance by Elvis Presley.  So you get a 1960 variety show, build around the return of their special guest after a years of absence, with performances and sketches by Frank – and a young Nancy - Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop, the orchestra and dancers. 

Elvis performs his hits ‘Fame and Fortune’, ‘Stuck On You’ and duets with Frank Sinatra on ‘Witchcraft / Love Me Tender’. He also takes part in the show’s opening tune with all other artists. 

The highlight of the box is the audio-quality. We all know the quality of the previous outings of this show, taken from the kinescope recording and first bootlegged in 1971, but the quality on this set will knock you off your socks! This show never sounded better. Anthony Stuchbury remastered the audio and he did a great job finding a nice balance between cleaning the rumble and noise which is part of these fragile type of discs and the actual audio. Too much cleaning takes away the music, singing and other elements too. Audio-technology gets better and better, but the difference between a pop on the disc or Elvis snapping his fingers on ‘Stuck On You’ still needs judgement from a good human ear.   

Two of the four sets of acetates were auctioned in the past two years, and one set through the Graceland Auctions in 2019. Oddly enough nobody at Graceland thought of getting the set. Either they didn’t know what they were auctioning or they still have Elvis’ set. And if they do, why didn’t they use the great audio from these acetates? They featured music from the show on the ‘This Is Elvis’ soundtrack. A missed opportunity, for them and for the fans. 

Fortunately Lars Gjeding bought a set in 2020 and realized what he had and what to do with it. The end-product really is really something to behold for Elvis (and Sinatra) fans as it nicely illustrates how Sinatra tried to bridge the gap to the youth and Elvis finding the endorsement from a bona fide legend such as Sinatra he needed to re-establish himself after a two years absence and achieving mainstream acceptance, needed for moving to a more pop sound. Elvis’ whole demeanor seemed more mature than before.


Conclusion

The Frank Sinatra Timex Show: Welcome Home Elvis, which brought America’s two most famous singing superstars together in public for the first time. Despite the interaction between the two generations rubbing shoulders looking a tad awkward, but the elicited wild screams from some female fans in the audience confirmed that there was a new kid in town. This show is part of Elvis-history, and this great set documented it in the nicest way possible. 

A Danish newspaper reviewed this set as ‘porn for Elvis fans’, and I can understand that comment as the Memphis Mansion team – Henrik, Søren, Lars, Anthony and Sabine - went all the way on this set. And it shows. 

You could, or should I say should, get this set for any of three reasons: 1. the great audio, these recordings never sounded better, 2. the great vintage design and 3. the completeness of this set featuring the show that welcomed Elvis back home after a two-year stint in West-Germany, serving with the U.S. military.

A big compliment to the team, releasing a box like this in this day-and-age!

The box is available here from the >>> Memphis Mansion webshop

May 01 - Bobby Morris Died

Drummer and conductor Bobby Morris, died. He was 93.

Morris moved to Las Vegas in 1950. He became friends with, and accompanied, some of the Strip’s most famous entertainers, including Elvis Presley. He conducted the Bobby Morris Orchestra when Elvis returned to performing at the International Hotel Las Vegas in 1969. 

Bobby Morris handled the first two seasons at the International, July-August 1969 and January - February 1970. Joe Guercio took over in August 1970.

(Source: Press Las Vegas)

May 01 - Review Elvis Day By Day by Rogier van Luyken

Rogier van Luyken reviewed 'Elvis Day by Day 2020' for the latest It's Elvis Time magazine. 

As he noted: As far as I am concerned, Kees set a new standard with his 'Elvis Day By Day' books when it comes to an Elvis yearbook and reference guide for “everything Elvis Presley” from around the world. I am already looking forward to the 2021 edition and I am also trying to get the 2019 edition. A must!

Thank you Rogier! 

Elvis Day by Day 2020 - A Fantastic Initiative and Reference

In 2019 there suddenly was a new Elvis book: "Elvis Day By Day - 2019", written by Dutch Elvis fan Kees Mouwen. A book which offered an overview of everything Elvis from the year 2019. At first, this edition raised some questions. What exactly does this book bring to what we have not already been able to read during the year 2019 on the internet and in the various Elvis magazines, including your own "It's Elvis Time"? The book looked attractive in terms of design, but I decided to wait a while before purchasing it.

Recently the announcement of "Elvis Day By Day - 2020" came out and it looked very attractive again. It made me to contact the author, Kees Mouwen, who was kind enough to provide a review copy of his latest book. That's how I first came across this "Elvis Day By Day". And I have to say: I am pleasantly surprised and also very enthusiastic about what is presented here.

Not many can say that their book contains a foreword by the well-known, American Elvis biographer Alanna Nash: Kees can, and you will read it in this 2020 edition. This carries weight and shows that this is not just any book. Kees himself is also no stranger to the Elvis world either: he is one of the original founders of the website ElvisNews.com and since 2010 also of the blog: ElvisDayByDay.com.

About the origin of the concept for this book, Kees says in an interview with Nigel Patterson of the Elvis Information Network website: “The idea for an Elvis 'yearbook' is a long-cherished ambition ... a complete overview of that happened in a year… This book is to hold in your hand, read and keep for reference. This is a new concept and fans may have to get used to it. When I announced the book, there were many reactions that all the information is already available for free on the internet. Until people saw what this book really is: a complete and illustrated reference to everything Elvis from the past year, complete with reviews and backgrounds”.

And that is exactly what makes this book so unique: you think you already know everything, but when you start reading and browsing through this book you cannot stop. 

Released by Kees through his own "Popular Tunes Publishing" in cooperation with the Danish 'Memphis Mansion' (Henrik Knudsen), this book makes you realize how much Elvis news and releases there actually are in a year. It is almost impossible to keep track of all of this on the internet, as well as having to buy and collect it all. In this book you can (re)read it all.

A nice design and lay-out with color photos and text. Clearly arranged: first all the news and new releases for each month, followed by a few reviews or articles that go deeper into events or releases of that month. Of course: some releases are also discussed in your own IET and so there may be some overlap in what you read in your own IET-magazine and in this book. The added value of this book is that it covers all books, official, import and public domain releases. There is not enough space in your IET-magazine to cover them all.

And so there are many releases that I did not know existed, or knew the backgrounds or quality of. Also: many articles and reviews have also been written exclusively for this book and therefore cannot be found or read on the internet or other Elvis magazines. Everything Elvis of the past year will appeal to you: news items, birthdays of acquaintances from the Elvis world, book releases, vinyl releases and new Elvis merchandise that has been released ... It is too much to mention. Also current affairs are discussed: on page 45 we find a chapter entitled "Elvis and COVID-19".

I also noticed a few remarkable releases that had completely escaped my attention. Like the one about the booklet "Heli & Elvis". Heli von Westrem turns out to be a lady from Germany who was more than friends and who seems to have been through quite a bit with Elvis during his stay in the army in Germany. She describes life on Goethestrasse 14 as well as an almost kidnapping in Johannisberg, Bad Nauheim. Exciting and I'm going to check that booklet thanks to the tip in this book.

The research of this book is so complete that - as an example - we can also follow the Blu-ray DVD releases of "King Creole" throughout the year - as an example - with a separate review of this new release.

The highlight of this 2020 edition is a 12-page back-to-back review of the FTD "That's The Way It Is" 8-CD / 2-book release versus Erik Lorentzen's books with the same theme. The quality and care of this book is very high. Complete with a clear index and a Top 10 of best releases of the past year.

The book comes in two versions: a paperback edition and a hardcover edition with 24 bonus pages and 8 additional reviews. When the first book by Kees came out - the 2019 edition - there was a review that described the book as' a 2.0 version of the annual 'Elvis Monthly Specials' that appeared between 1963 and 1985. A nice and rightful compliment. And hopefully it gives you an idea of what to expect when purchasing this book.

Kees: “Over the past ten years, many Elvis books from the "Elvis Files" and Follow That Dream teams have been published about certain periods in Elvis's life. All look back on his life back then. But the Elvis world today is more than "alive" and very active and so I thought there is room for a book about Elvis "Today" (to quote a classic Elvis album title)".

As far as I am concerned, Kees set a new standard with his "Elvis Day By Day" books when it comes to an Elvis yearbook and reference guide for “everything Elvis Presley” from around the world for a certain year. I am already looking forward to the 2021 edition and I am also trying to get the 2019 edition. 

It is expected that Kees' books will also be for sale through the new web-shop of your own It’s Elvis Time. A must!

The book is available at:

For European fans at the >>> Memphis Mansion online shop.
If you want an autographed copy, contact Kees Mouwen at >>> elvis @ xs4all.nl.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the Brexit shipping from Europe is expensive. So for a for Elvis fans outside Europe, the book is available through your local Amazon shop. 

Click here for >>> Amazon.com.
Click here for >>> Amazon.co.uk

More information and previews of the book go to the >>> Elvis Day By Day 2020 page. 


For more information on the Dutch It's Elvis Time fan-club and their magazine visit the club's website at >>> It's Elvis Time

May 01 - Review Las Vegas International Presents Elvis - The First Engagements

The follow up to the Memphis Recording Service 3-CD set 'Elvis Summer Festival 1970 - The Rehearsals' moved Elvis back where he belonged, on stage, with three early engagements from 1969 and early 1970.


Design

The design of this second installment is an exact copy of the first volume. A cardboard book / digi-pack with an illustrated 40-page booklet inside. Gordon Minto summarized Elvis’ return to life performing in 1969 ,and triumphant return in January 1970 nicely in the introductory notes. 

I prefer the design of the upcoming LP version over this CD version, the marquee takes away the attention from Elvis. But there is enough eye-candy in side. Browsing through the booklet the (casual) buyer sees Elvis in Vegas in his prime. He did look good in Vegas!


Content

On this 3-CD set we get three concerts, an undated 1969 performance from Elvis’ return to stage (probably mid-August) and two early 1970 shows from his return engagement is Sin City. And for the first time, these mono soundboard recordings were remastered, restored and remixed to “True Stereo” creating a new listening experience, not available before. 

There is some discussion on (the origin of some of) the recordings on this set and legal issues that might play here. Are they taken from the 2020 ‘That’s The Way It Is’ 8-CD box or other previous Follow That Dream releases like ‘Return To Vegas’ and ‘Return Of A Prodigy’, the Fort Baxter CD ‘Walk A Mile In My Shoes’, Backdraft’s ‘Rebooked at the International’ or one of the other outings of these shows? Or did they use on of the “original” DAT-tape sold by Joe Esposito in the nineties? Is it legal to use and release these recordings (it looks like Public Domain legislation allows this in Europe) and should you “tamper” with Elvis recordings?

Like Elvis sings ‘If we spent the day, throwing stones at each-other’ on these topics … I prefer to listen to what’s available. And on these discs the MRS label presents us an enhanced “True Stereo” listening experience. We haven’t had that experience with this material yet. 

The stereo had to be created from original mono recordings. The audio separation was created “with outstanding expertise using the most sophisticated technologies to achieve the best possible sound … and the tracks have not been electronically processed and nothing has been added to make these tracks to true stereo” according to the promo for this set. And although the separation was created artificially it worked pretty well for the most part in my opinion. It must have been quite an effort to separate the various elements on a live recording like this. You can’t compare it to the separation of the more simple fifties recording with a basic band set-up. 

Listening to the music, the musicians take their original place on stage again. Elvis takes center stage, of course! The drums and backing vocals are off center to the right, the bass, guitar and piano off center left. The orchestra is positioned more in the back. Good to hear everyone in different parts of the aural picture. 

As the band is on fire during these performances, the sound is a bit heavy on the 70’s concerts and the drums off-center draw the audio a bit too much on the right for me.

But the stereo experience is really there, so compliments to the producers for realizing this effect. 

The audio-remastering is good too, this is especially audible when you hear Elvis talking, he sounds very clear. There is some distortion every now and then (especially when Elvis and the band go “bombastic”), but this appears to be part of the original live recording that was made too loud. The “train sound” in ‘Mystery Train’ sounds a bit too emphasized, pushing the band aside.

We all know these concerts. I prefer the 69 show over the two 70’s shows as Elvis sounded more raw and less polished and this show features more of his own original material. Also the insecurity of the return to live performing he shares give these recordings an honest touch. The January and February shows contain material from other artists, which would become Elvis standards in years to come. I really liked ‘Polk Salad Annie’ from the February 23rd show, Elvis taking a little break catch his breath but the sweets and band continue. Somehow I never noticed the bongo’s this well before. 

The original stereo bonus songs from February 19th 1970 (some songs from this show were featured on the ‘On Stage’ album) do show that there still is a difference between original and recreated stereo as the separation is as originally recorded. But the new stereo tracks come close. 


Conclusion 

This is another fine release from the MRS label, putting Elvis in his prime, back in the record store. The “True Stereo” is a nice touch with added value that really works. 

I understand the purist viewpoint, but now fans have a real choice, they can get the original mono or a new stereo listening experience. 

May 01 - Charts May 2021 - Week 1

The weekly global Elvis Presley chart update. Elvis dropped off the Billboard Gospel album chart, but made an re-entry in the U.K.. 

Billboard

  • Billboard Top 200 chart: 'The Essential Elvis Presley' dropped from #154 tp #155.
  • Billboard Top Rock Albums chart: 'The Essential Elvis Presley' dropped from #29 tp #31.
  • Billboard Top Country Album  chart: 'The Essential Elvis Presley' remained steady at 17. 

Official U.K. charts:

  • Official Album chart: 'THe 50 Greatest Hits' remained steady at #67. 
  • Official Streaming Album chart: 'THe 50 Greatest Hits' climbed from #55 to #53. 
  • Official Country Compilation chart: 'From Elvis In Nashville' climbed from #7 to #6. 
  • Official Music DVD chart: 'Elvis The Searcher' re-entry at #43.

(Source: UK Mix Forum / Official Charts)

April 30 - Elvis The King of the Rings Released

Paul Belard's latest 250-page photo-journal 'Elvis The King of the Rings Volume 1' has been published.

From the press- release

Elvis liked expensive things: cars, motorcycles, clothes, and jewelry. His jewels befitted a king. He wore sumptuous pendants hung on heavy gold chains; huge and lavish rings set with rubies, sapphires, lapis lazuli, and emeralds; bracelets of gold and precious gems. Like Elvis himself, they were at times dazzlingly tasteful and beautiful, and at other times flashy and ostentatious. Occasionally, he would design the jewels himself, such as the famous TCB - Taking Care of Business - pendant and ring.

He loved to give his possessions away to people close to him, as well as to complete strangers. The value of the item was of no concern to him. An expensive horseshoe ring was designed by Memphis jeweller Lowell Hayes, specifically for Elvis to wear on stage during his televised 'Aloha from Hawaii' performance in 1973. Elvis gave the ring away a few years later. It eventually sold at auction in 2017 for $204,800.

I always wondered why Elvis was giving away so many of his things? Yes, he was rich. He had everything he could want. But plenty of well-to-do people do not give anything away. As a matter of fact, for some enough is never enough. So I remained puzzled. Then I read a book by David Brooks, a journalist and columnist for the New York Times. He offered the thought that happiness that comes from accumulation is fleeting. But but there is another emotion, he calls it joy, that comes from helping others. He writes: "Happiness comes from accomplishments; joy comes from offering gifts. Happiness fades; we get used to the things that used to make us happy. Joy doesn't fade. To live with joy is to live with wonder, gratitude and hope."

The singer Robert Goulet described Elvis' penchant for generosity: "I remember once we sat together backstage for two hours. And he was a charming, delightful man. And at one point I said, "That's a beautiful ring you have there." He said "You like it?" I said, "It's beautiful!" He took it off his hand and put it on mine. He gave me his ring."

The author can be contacted at: >>> pbelard@hotmail.com

(Source: Elvis Information Network / Paul Belard)