December 04 - Charts December 2021 - Week 1

The weekly global Elvis Presley chart update. After 141 weeks 'The 50 Greatest Hits' compilation dropped off the Official U.K. Album Top 100 chart. In Ireland Elvis still rules on the IRMA Music DVD chart. On the U.S. Billboard charts Elvis Presley's holiday songs make their yearly return to the charts.

U.S. Billboard charts:

  • Billboard Top Country Albums chart: 'The Classic Christmas Album' re-entry at #19.
  • Billboard Top Country Albums chart: 'ELV1S 30 #1 Hits'' re-entry at #39.
  • Billboard Top Rock Albums chart: 'The Classic Christmas Album' re-entry at #25.
  • Billboard Top Christian Albums chart: 'Elvis Back In Nashville' dropped from #10 to #48.
  • Billboard Holiday 100 Song chart: 'Blue Christmas' dropped from #24 to #35. 
  • Billboard Holiday 100 Song chart: 'Here Comes Santa Clause (Right Down Santa Clause Lane' dropped from #58 to #67.
  • Billboard Holiday Airplay Top 100 Song chart: 'Blue Christmas' dropped from #27 to #34. 
  • Billboard Holiday Digital Song Sales chart: 'Blue Christmas' re-entry #47.
  • Billboard Top Holiday Albums chart: 'The Classic Christmas Album' climbed from #20 to #18. 
  • Billboard Holiday Streaming Songs chart: 'Blue Christmas' dropped from #26 to #46. 


Official U.K. charts:

  • Official Streaming Album Top 100 chart: 'The 50 Greatest Hits' dropped from #60 to #67.
  • Official Americana Album chart: 'Elvis: Back In Nashville' dropped from #8 to #9. 
  • Official Country Compilations chart: 'From Elvis In Nashville' remained steady at #6. 


Official Irish IRMA charts:

  • IRMA Music DVD charts: 'The Elvis Collection' remained steady at #1. 

(Source: Official Chart Company / UK Mix Forum)


December 02 - Christmas In The Promised Land

Following the August 2021 re-release of the 'Promised Land' LP on white marbled vinyl, the Music on Vinyl record label announced the January 21, 2022 re-release of this album on black vinyl.
 

Description: 'Promised Land' is the twenty-first studio album by world famous American singer and musician Elvis Presley, originally released on January 8, 1975, Elvis' 40th birthday. It reached number 47 on the Billboard Top 200 and number one on the Billboard Top Country Chart. The album spawned two hit singles: “If You Talk in Your Sleep” and title track “Promised Land”, the latter of which was also used for the 1997 sci-fi comedy film Men in Black. Promised Land remains a timeless classic by the King of Rock and Roll.

Side A: Promised Land - There's A Honky Tonk Angel (Who Will Take Me Back In) - Help Me - Mr. Songman - Love Song Of The Year.


Side B: It's Midnight - Your Love's Been A Long Time Coming - If You Talk In Your Sleep - Thinking About You - You Asked Me To.


Christmas Vinyl


The Memphis Mansion record label released the LP 'Santa Bring My Baby Back To Me - The Christmas Sessions' on red, white, green and black colored vinyl editions and the 'Million Dollar Quartet' EP on back vinyl.


Available at the >>> Memphis Mansion webshop. 


(Source: Elvis Club Berlin / Dorthe Bach Richter Larsen)

December 01 - And Then There Was Elvis

Next to 'The Airplanes and The King', Erik Lorentzen's KJ Consulting will publish 'And Then There Was Elvis', a 400-page hardcover book containing the richly illustrated memoirs of superfan Virginia Coons. 

From the press-release: Virginia Coons was a super-fan. Her interest in Elvis Presley started with his breakthrough in the mid-fifties, and continued up to her very last day. Over the years she met up with Elvis many times. 

Coons served as a direct link between fans in America, England and the rest of Europe, making sure that the latest LP and single releases found their way overseas. Not only did she have contact with Elvis, but also with everyone close to him including Priscilla, Colonel Parker's office and RCA. 

Virginia Coon's memories were curated by her daughter, Elaine Christan, into this 400-page hardback book. Anyone who reads The Elvis Files magazine will be familiar with Virginia Coons. And now, all her personal memories and stories, illustrated with many high resolution photos and candid pictures from Erik Lorentzen's collection came together in this memoir by Elaine Christan and Virginia Coons, 'And Then There Was Elvis - A Superfan's Adventures in the Elvis World'. It hold so many fun-to-read stories, its incredible.


Previews, click on the pictures to enlarge.

















































(Source: Robert van Beek / Elvis Files Team)

December 01 - Review Mono To Stereo - Complete RCA Studio Master '56

2021 seems to mark the definitive breakthrough of the Digitally Extracted Stereo technique with material from the fifties up to the seventies receiving a mono-to-stereo treatment.   

Experimenting with mono and stereo versions is nothing new, RCA Victor were already experimenting with stereo versions of Elvis' work in the late fifties. Now, seventy years later, the engineers are still experimenting. 

Following the good sounding stereo-releases with seventies material, the Memphis Recording Service released their first fifties stereo CD ''Mono to Stereo - The Complete RCA Studio Masters 1956' containing Elvis' '56 masters in both mono and stereo. Reason enough to give this new CD set a spin. 

  

Design 

The set comes in the standard MRS hardcover digi-pack format with a pink color-scheme. Inside are two pages explaining Elvis place in the rise of Rock and Roll and the evolution from “Electronically Reprocessed Stereo” to “Digitally Extracted Stereo” (DES). All illustrated with some great shots of our man in the recording studio and memorabilia, a complete package. 

  

Content 

Playing the CD over your stereo-set, the audio sounds fresh, with most of the music placed in the center and some of the instruments placed a bit more to the left and right in the mix, creating is a stereo experience. 

The mono versions are the same as on the 2017 MRS release ‘Elvis Studio Sessions ’56 - The Complete Recordings, this review covers the new stereo mixes. 

All tracks have been cleaned up thoroughly. The audio sounds very clean, a bit too clean for my liking as I'm used to the 60+ years old originals. The squeak in 'So Glad You're Mine' is gone too while most Elvis fans will "expect" to hear. You can pretty much hear every instrument, which wasn't always that audible in the original mix, as they blended in a bit more. During ‘Love Me’ you can actually hear someone cough in the background (at 00:25), something I hadn't noticed before. 

But when you listen through a good headphone, there are a few issues. The first one is that the separation between the left and right channel isn't 100 percent, and the placement of the instruments isn't steady. Some of the instruments move from the left and right channels to the center. Just listen to the guitar on 'Shake Rattle and Roll' filling in the licks from the left, but the solo is placed in the middle. The opposite goes for the drum, that sometimes moves from the right side to the center. 

The second issue is that the extracted instruments are cleaned and as a result some sound less complete. Listening to some of the guitars licks or backing vocalists adding their doo-wops, these elements simply sound a bit too short so they kind-off and then cut in hard like sound-effects. And sometimes the sound is a bit too "empty / hollow". Just listen to 'Heartbreak Hotel', it sounds too clean for lonely lovers walking down a lonely street, trying to find a room at the Heartbreak Hotel to cry there in their gloom. 

The last issue is that there is too little low in the mix. Perhaps the DES-technique used works better on the high frequency elements on these old recordings. The result is a mix with Elvis‘ voice, the cymbals and guitars prominently audible, including the typical "hiss" in the upper frequencies. Admittedly, this also is a matter of taste. 

In an interview with the Elvis - The Man And His Music magazine (issues 131 and 132) Scotty Moore said: “…. When you’ve got a symphony orchestra and things like that you get the ‘spread’ you need from stereo … But with smaller combos, if you put one instrument on one side and another on the other side… it just gets disjointed to me”. 

Perhaps I may add, you cannot add anything new that was not originally there … yet. 

  

Conclusion 

After listening to the label's seventies material I had hope that the label found a way to make more Elvis recordings sound good in stereo. For now the conclusion is that this DES-technique isn't as mature as I had hoped, or simply doesn't work on all kinds of audio. 

Remember, DES-technology separates frequencies, not (yet) instruments. So the overlap in the frequencies of the voices and instruments may be the reason that the instruments wander back into the middle at certain points. Adding some filters or reverb to correct this doesn't always work, unfortunately. 

Listening to these new stereo versions leaves a mixed conclusion. Simply playing these songs on your audio-set, they sound fine, but if you're listening concentrated through your headphones, you will notice some errors. So for a mainstream release this set gives the casual buyer a fresh sounding stereo Elvis CD, but the audio-experts among the Elvis fans may be disappointed.   

If you take apart the engine of an old car, clean-up all the parts and put them all back together again, you may end up with a shiny engine, but this shiny engine don't make the same smooth sound the greased original had, and for me it is the same with these recordings. 

Back in the late fifties RCA Victor experimented with stereo versions of Elvis' early work, and now, sixty years later, the engineers are still experimenting. Perhaps one day they will get it completely right.

November 29 - Not Sold Out Yet

The Pyramid import label isn't sold out yet, the label announced the December release of volume 11 in their 'Sold Out!' series.

Synopsis: Relive the magic of The King in concert with this incredible 3 hour collection of rare and unreleased private footage, now available for the first time. Lovingly restored from HQ transfers… And bound to become a true collectors item.

From the press releaseThe spring of ’75 was a good period for Elvis. He was performing with renewed energy and vigor, and his joy for performing made these shows very memorable. His voice was strong and robust, the setlists were great, and his interactions with the fans were a delight. He was truly back again, and Sold Out volume 11 takes you back to those dynamite shows. This is some of the most fun & enjoyable 8mm performance footage we have of Elvis on stage in the 70s. Girlfriend Mindi Miller was there with him on that tour, and exclusively for Pyramid, she wrote a detailed account about the day-to-day life on the road with Elvis, with many fresh details. 

As always, we’ve also included plenty of unreleased film from other significant tours. There’s the raw sexuality of the November ’71 tour, the professionalism of the spring ’73 tours (lovely close-ups of EP in his Red Flower suit), the power and energy of the June ’74 shows, and at the other end of the spectrum, a man in trouble during the October ’74 tour. 

We’ve also included plenty of private footage of Elvis arriving at hotels, venues, etc. What you are getting on this release is the REAL Elvis Presley. Whether it is the rough energy of “I Got A Woman” from the November ’71 tour, or the majesty of “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, with Elvis at the piano in July ’75, singing as if his life depends on it. And there’s plenty of rare moments too, such as him improvising “Good Time Charlie’s Got The Blues”. You can see him rocking in his Peacock suit during a sensational “Polk Salad Annie”, and there’s equally spectacular footage of Elvis in his Eagle and Indian Feather suits. And again, there’s plenty of heartwarming and delightful moments, such as Elvis teasing J.D. Sumner during “Why Me Lord”, or the band surprising Elvis with an impromptu “Jingle Bells”. 

We all know that 8mm footage is not perfect, but it’s what we have from these shows, and let’s just be grateful that someone had the foresight to film these precious moments. Carefully restored and beautifully presented, “Sold Out volume 11” is a must for the true collector. Don’t miss out on these wonderful Elvis moments – almost three hours of them. Each release is quickly becoming a collectors’ item, with some of them already fetching high prices on E-bay and elsewhere. A copy of volume 5 was recently offered on E-bay for €399. While we don’t condone of such high prices, it once again underlines the collectability of these fantastic releases. Order your copy today from your favorite dealer, and have it in your home before Christmas!


Elvis Unlimited

Volume 3 of the Elvis Unlimited magazine features articles on Bill Black's upcoming biography by Paul Belard, Sandi Miller and more. 

The magazine also contains a flex-disk featuring the complete version of 'The Truth About Me', including the part missing on recent Sony / FTD releases. More details in the magazine.

(Source: Facebook)

November 28 - "Das Verr├╝ckte Leben" of Colonel Parker

James L. Dickerson's 2001 book 'Colonel Tom Parker: The Curious Life of Elvis Presley's Eccentric Manager' will be re-issued in Germany as 'Colonel Tom Parker: Das verr├╝ckte Leben des exzentrischen Managers von Elvis Presley' on April 14, 2022. The translation was made by Waltraud Eckersberger. 

This is the book Warner Bros. purchased for Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming Elvis movie starring Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker. 

Based on unprecedented, original research and interviews with insiders, this authoritative biography of Colonel Tom Parker (1909-1997), Elvis Presley’s lifelong manager, includes new revelations and insights into the music industry’s most notorious and mysterious manager. Investigative journalist and music writer James L. Dickerson looks at topics such as Parker’s illegal entry into the United States, his work as a carny with Royal American Shows, and his management of country singer Eddy Arnold, his partnership with Hank Snow, and how he manipulated Elvis Presley and his family to seize control of the singer’s career.

The book examines Parker’s greed, his indebtedness to behind-the-scenes players in Las Vegas, his gambling addiction, and his fear of deportation played a role in ruining Elvis’s career. Because Colonel Parker was always there with Elvis, gazing ominously over his shoulder, the book presents behind-the-scenes glimpses of the entertainer’s career that you will read nowhere else, thanks in part to the author’s personal and professional relationship with Elvis’s first guitarist, Scotty Moore, with whom the author wrote two revealing books.

(Source: Amazon)