February 29 - James D. Ausborn Died

James D. Ausborn passed away, he was 87. James D. Ausborn was a best friend to Elvis Presley. They grew up together in Tupelo and James was the person who introduced Elvis to Mississippi Slim; who taught him three cords on the guitar and introduced him to radio. 

(Source: Phoenix Elvis Forum)

February 29 - Charts February 2020 - Week 4

The weekly global chart update. Elvis Presley climbing a little this week with a re-entry on the Billboard Catalog album chart. 

US Billboard charts:
  • Billboard Top 200 Album chart: “The Essential Elvis Presley: climbed from #161 to #148. 
  • Billboard Catalog Albums chart: “The Essential Elvis Presley” re-entry #45. 
  • Billboard Top Christian Album chart: “Elvis: Ultimate Gospel” climbed from #47 to #42.
  • Billboard Top Rock Albums chart: “The Essential Elvis Presley” climbed from #24 to #22. 
  • Billboard Top Country Albums chart: “The Essential Elvis Presley” remained steady at #14. 
Official UK charts:
  • Official UK Album chart: “The 50 Greatest Hits” remained steady #97.
  • Official UK Streaming Album chart: "The 50 Greatest Hits" dropped from #62 to #73.
  • Official UK Music DVD chart: "Elvis The Searcher" dropped from #40 to #41.
(Source: Official Charts / Billboard / UK Mix)

February 28 - Elvis In The Movies

G2 Entertainment re-issued the 176-page book “Elvis In The Movies” by Timothy Knight. 

Synopsis:
Although he starred in 31 films and was ranked a top-10 box office draw for six consecutive years, Elvis Presley has never gotten his full due from film critics and historians, who often dismiss him as a singer, moonlighting on the silver screen, rather than a bona fide movie star. Yet the Tupelo, Mississippi, native known as "The King" enjoyed far greater success on-screen than any rock and roll star who followed his lead to Hollywood. 

Perhaps if he had ignored the Svengali-esque counsel of his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, and continued starring in dramatic, commercially risky films, instead of formulaic musical comedies, Presley might have become as electrifying an actor as he was a performer. 

But for most of his 13-year film career, Presley starred in light-hearted escapist fare that left many critics cold. That said, the best of these musical comedies -- Blue Hawaii(1961), Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962) and Viva Las Vegas (1964) -- are infectiously entertaining popcorn films, brimming with catchy songs and exuberant energy. 

Only the most hardened curmudgeon can resist Presley's sizzling duet with Ann- Margret in Viva Las Vegas. Or his easygoing rapport with Shelley Fabares in Clambake (1967), one of three films he made with the actress he called his favorite leading lady.

(Source: Amazon)

February 27 - A Preview From Elvis Presley Boulevard Memphis Tennessee

Here is a preview of the upcoming "From Elvis Presley Boulevard Memphis Tennessee" re-issue from the Friday Music label. This limited anniversary edition comes as a limited edition on 180 Gram audiophile burgundy red viny housed on a gatefold cover. The expected ship date is March 20, 2020.

From the press-release:
Throughout the 1970’s, Elvis Presley would release many fantastic hit albums, smash singles and movies. Ever proving that he was indeed on top of his game, The King of Rock & Roll delivered to his fans one of his finest albums yet “From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee.”

Featuring a treasure trove of his most familiar hit singles like his huge worldwide smash hit “Hurt” and the great Neil Sedaka composition “Solitaire”, “From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee” went on to achieve gold status and beyond, while becoming one of his last studio albums that he would record before his untimely passing. It also went #1 in the country charts, and achieved numerous chart placings in the various Top 40, Adult Contemporary and Country charts… plus a ton of airplay!

Stellar balladry abounds as well with his classic rendition of his good friend Tom Jones’ hit “ I’ll Never Fall In Love Again” and the beautiful Roger Whitaker standard “The Last Farewell.” The 1976 album was truly a continuing story of success for The King proving once again that his career was unlike any other in music history.

Side A: Hurt / Never Again / Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain / Danny Boy / The Last Farewell
Side B: For The Heart / Bitter They Are, Harder They Fall / Solitaire / Love Coming Down / I'll Never Fall In Love Again.

(Source: Friday Music)

February 26 - Win A Copy of Day By Day 2019

On the Elvis Information Network website you can win a signed copy of my "Elvis Day By Day 2019" book. 
To enter to win simply visit the >>> E.I.N. website and click on the link to tell them what you think was the most important Elvis news of 2019.


If you don't want to take a chance, you can also order the book from me directly :-) contact me at elvis @ xs4all.nl.

Elvis Week 2020 Details Announced

Graceland / EPE announced the first details of Elvis Week 2020. 


From the press release:
Join us this August for Elvis Week! The schedule is available on ElvisWeek.com, and includes the Nashville Marathon Sessions 50th Anniversary concert, an enhanced screening of "Elvis: That's the Way It Is," Fan Celebration Event, the Candlelight Vigil and much more!

Special guests include members of the TCB Band, James Burton and Ronnie Tutt, musicians David Briggs and Norbert Putnam, Elvis' bodyguard Sam Thompson, former members of J.D. Sumner and The Stamps Quartet - Donnie Sumner, Ed Hill and Larry Strickland, Terry Blackwood and The Imperials, Andy Childs, Terry Mike Jeffrey, and Elvis co-stars Mother Dolores Hart, Larry Domasin and Robin & Gavin Koon - among many others!

The Elvis Week 2020 line-up also includes

  • Nashville Marathon Sessions 50th Anniversary Concert celebrating the 50th anniversary of Elvis’ Nashville Marathon Sessions at RCA’s Studio B with musicians James Burton, Norbert Putnam and David Briggs;
  • Elvis: That’s The Way It Is 50th Anniversary Enhanced Screening celebrating Elvis’ 1970 documentary with appearances by members of the TCB Band and Elvis’ Imperials;
  • The Graceland Elite Auction featuring 30 to 40 of some of the most sought-after Elvis collectibles. Included in this auction will be 10 unforgettable Graceland and Elvis Experiences, benefitting the Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation.
  • Conversations On Elvis with special guests Mother Dolores Hart, who co-starred with Elvis in “King Creole” and “Loving You”; Sam Thompson, Elvis’ bodyguard; Charles Stone, who worked closely with the Colonel on Elvis' tours and career; and former member of JD Sumner and the Stamps Quartet Larry Strickland;
  • Elvis Gospel Homecoming featuring gospel groups with special Elvis connections, including former members of J.D. Sumner and The Stamps, Donnie Sumner, Ed Hill and Larry Strickland & Terry Blackwood and The Imperials;
  • Elvis In 1970 Panel which will celebrate Elvis’ Nashville Marathon Sessions and “Elvis: That’s The Way It Is” documentary through stories and memories from those who were there.

Elvis Week 2020 tickets will go on sale on the following dates: 
The Founders Pre-sale starts Tuesday, March 3
Graceland Insiders Pre-sale starts Thursday, March 5
General On-sale starts Friday, March 6

(Source: Graceland)

February 25 - The Elvis Machine

Clash Books announced the release of the 196-page book "The Elvis Machine" by Kim Vodicka on June 2, 2020. It appears to be a very unusual (and we suspect potentially challenging) Elvis themed release. Described as a book of poems inspired by living, loving, and hate-f*****g in Memphis, Tennessee — a city still kissed with the 1950s.

Forged in a dumpster fire of toxic Elvises, these poems are pornographic bad romances, psychedelic love dirges, and threnodies for sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll. They’ll make you laugh off the pain as much as you'll cry, cringe, and feel exposed in this 'No Boys Allowed' clubhouse of feminine rage and healing.

(Source: Elvis Information Network / Amazon)

February 24 - Bieber beats Elvis' US Chart Record

Justin Bieber scored his seventh No. 1 album on the U.S. Billboard Top 200 album chart with his album "Changes", beating a record set by Elvis Presley 59 years ago. The Canadian singer is now the youngest solo artist to achieve seven number one albums, at the age of 25 years. Elvis was 26 when he scored his seventh chart-topper, with Blue Hawaii in 1961. Elvis Presley managed seven Number One Billboard albums within 5 years. This record is still unbroken.

Billboard, which compiles the US chart, confirmed that Bieber had beaten Elvis's chart record - but added that, if groups were taken into account, all four members of The Beatles were younger than Bieber when they scored their seventh number one.

Justin Bieber received quite the honor after breaking Elvis Presley's Billboard chart record, a tweet directly from the King's official account congratulating him on the accomplishment. And now Justin has replied thanking his family for the kind words.

"Yesterday, music history was made. What does the King of Rock n Roll have in common with the 21st century King of Pop? Congratulations on setting a new record @justinbieber" the message read. This coming from directly from Elvis Presley's Twitter account.

Justin Bieber's album "Changes" climbed to #1 on the Billboard 200 this week, and it's the 7th time in his career he has sat in that position. The outstanding accomplishment puts him ahead of Elvis Presley on the list of most #1 albums on Billboard.

JB must have been super pumped to received a message directly from Presley's account, presumably run by his family, and he thanked them for their kind words and the support.


"Thank you King and to the entire Presley family," Justin tweeted.

Yola to play sister Rosetta Tharpe 

British musician Yola will play singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe — dubbed the Godmother of rock and roll — in Baz Luhrmann’s musical drama "Elvis". 

Tharpe was a rock and roll pioneer who gained popularity in the 1930s and ’40s through her experimental gospel recordings. She was an early influence on Presley’s career. 

Yola released her critically acclaimed, genre-bending debut album “Walk Through Fire” in February 2019. Nine months later, she received four Grammy Award nominations, including best new artist. 

(Source: BBC / Billboard / Variety / Elvis Information Network)

February 23 - Elvis: Roots, Image, Comeback, Phenomenon and Cover

Equinox Publishing shared the cover of the upcoming book "Elvis: Roots, Image, Comeback, Phenomenon" by Mark Duffett in their "Icons of Pop Music" series. The 280-page paperback is due March 31, 2020. 

Synopsis:
Elvis Presley remains the single most important figure in twentieth century popular music. To many commentators, however, he has simply embodied the benefits and problems of uncritically embracing capitalism. 

By 2005 the 'Memphis Flash' sold over a billion records worldwide, yet his cultural significance cannot be measured by these extraordinary sales figures alone. He cannot quite be reduced to a placeholder for the contradictions of commerce. As the most prominent performer of the Rock ’N' Roll era, then as a charismatic global superstar, Elvis fundamentally challenged the established relationship between White and Black culture, drew attention to the social needs of women and young people, and promoted the value of Southern creativity. He functioned as a bridge figure between folk roots and high modernity, and in the process became a controversial symbol of American unity. 

Elvis interprets the image and music of Elvis Presley to reveal how they have evolved to construct a particularly appealing and powerful myth. Following broad contours of Presley's rollercoaster career, the book uses a range of analytical frames to challenge established perspectives on an icon. Its shows that the controversy around Elvis has effectively tested how far a concern for social equality could be articulated through the marketplace, and ultimately challenged how popular music itself should be assessed.

(Source: Amazon)

   

February 22 - Corrected Cover

Here is the correct(ed) cover for the Follow That Dream Collector label release "Elvis In California" double CD. The first print omitted the second letter "R" in "Bernardino". 

This release features Elvis touring during May 1974 featuring concerts from Selland Arena, Fresno (May 12) and Swing Auditorium, San Bernardino (May 10 and 13).

(Source: UEPS)

February 22 - Charts February 2020 - Week 3

The weekly global chart update. Elvis Presley remains steady this week with the usual releases on the usual charts and one re-entry in the United Kingdom. 

The Australian ARIA charts company stopped the Music DVD chart which had the "'68 Comeback Special (50th Anniversary Edition)" as a steady entry”.

US Billboard charts:
  • Billboard Top 200 Album chart: “The Essential Elvis Presley: climbed from #169 to #161. 
  • Billboard Top Christian Album chart: “Elvis: Ultimate Gospel” dropped from #41 to #47.
  • Billboard Top Country Albums chart: “The Essential Elvis Presley” climbed from #15 to #14. 
  • Billboard Top Rock Albums chart: “The Essential Elvis Presley” climbed from #25 to #24. 
Official UK charts:
  • Official UK Album Top 100 chart: “The 50 Greatest Hits” re-entry #97.
  • Official UK Streaming Album Top 100 chart: “The 50 Greatest Hits” remains steady at #69. 
  • Official UK Music DVD chart: "Elvis The Searcher" re-entry #40.
(Source: UK Mix / Billboard / Official Charts / ARIA)

February 21 - Review Work In Progress

November 2019 Juan Luis Gonzalez Brugal shared a ‘work-in-progress’ versions of songs Felton Jarvis was re-working for the 1981 “Guitar Man” album. Two months later the first bootleg CD entitled "Work In Progress - The Guitar Man Album Sessions Volume 1with this material was (rush) released. 

This kind of material and this kind of behavior, you hate it / them or you love it. Felton Jarvis, who sadly passed away before the album was released, said in an interview that he was convinced Elvis Presley would have loved it. Personally I can enjoy these re-recordings as the updated sound adds some punch to the original versions. 

Design

The package is a simple three-panel digi-pack holding two silver discs, in line with the original “Guitar Man” album the theme is ‘country’. Besides the recordings on this set even the title was ‘taken’ from a posting of Juan Luis Gonzalez Brugal.

The design is simple, five pictures of our man, two images of the original tapes the music was sourced from, one of Chip Young’s ‘Young’un Sound’ studio and one of the original “Guitar Man” album and part of RCA’s administration. The liner notes consist of just two sentences on the work by Felton Jarvis and Chip Young and a short mention on the two albums on which the 1981 re-recordings were released. Here the label follows the Follow That Dream release of this material, that one lacked liner notes too. 

Content


The content of this set will always be a topic of discussion among Elvis fans. As said, you hate it or you love it. At least this set offers ‘new material’ (although that is probably food for discussion for a group of fans) and that is scarce these days. 

In 1980 Felton Jarvis, Elvis' record producer for the last decade came to the remarkable idea to freshen up some of Elvis' recordings. The idea was to add totally new backing tracks to Elvis' voice to try and make Elvis' classic originals sound more "contemporary" with a new 80's feel. This resulted in the 1981 LP "Guitar Man". 

The ‘new’ recording on this compilation were sourced from cassette / consumer reel to reel tapes that Felton Jarvis took home to listen.


The original album contained ten songs (all featured in ‘remastered form’ on this set), but Felton worked on more songs for this project. This set contains many of those unreleased versions - and newly created duets with Jerry Reed, Tony Joe White and the Gatlin Brothers - that never made it to the record. The set also holds some unreleased unfinished versions of tracks that did make it to the final album. These versions were originally  shared on-line by Juan Luis Gonzalez Brugal November 2019. 

The first CD opens with the original album, a good opener, but not the reason to get this set. From track eleven it gets more interesting, the first seven work in progress versions of “Guitar Man”, “Too Much Monkey Business”, “Lovin’ Arms”, Lovin’ Arms”, “You Asked Me To”, “She Thinks I Still Care” and “I’m Movin’ On”. Although not completely finished these versions show the work in progress and are pretty close The differences can mainly be found in the still present count-in or overdubs, backing vocals and sound-effects, that have not yet been added. You hear more differences in the ‘work parts’ of these songs. 

The three duets on the first disc are a mixed bag. The "Guitar Man" title track, written and first performed by Jerry Reed, is a no brainer on this album as Jerry Reed was part of the original 1967 recording by Elvis and here we get Jerry Reed on guitar as well as vocally. Felton finished this track most likely for his own pleasure or for Jerry Reed and it is one of the many highlights of this set. A nice and fun version (that was already leaked on-line earlier 2019). 

The other two duets don’t work for me. Although the idea to have Tony Joe White duet with Elvis Presley on the original 1973 song “For Ol’ Time Sake” is great, the duet itself is not, unfortunately. Tony sounds like Elvis but with the tape running to slow and a bit wobbly, it takes the energy out of the performance. “Help Me” is performed with the Gatlin Brothers. Elvis solo, duetting with the (high pitched) backing group does not sound right to me. I prefer the(se) backing vocalists in the back. Fortunately it is a short song. Sometimes the idea is better than the result.

The duets are followed by three teasers for the second disc. A strange way to market this material. Why not simple combine the various versions of the songs so you can hear the mix evolve to the master version. 

“Hey Jude” is a nice unedited version and kind of shows a rock side of Elvis. The second duet version of the title track isn’t all that different from the first mix, but is sounds like a jam version, I like it. The CD ends abruptly with a work-part for “She Thinks I Still Care”. The producers should have placed this ‘take’ closer to other versions of this song. 


The second disc opens with nineteen ‘masters’ that didn’t make it to the original album. These were taken from the Follow That Dream release “Too Much Monkey Business” (probably a rightful title for part of the  Elvis Presley fanbase). Again, the idea of adding an original artist, or should I say original rocker in the person of Carl Perkins on guitar on his own classic “Blue Suede Shoes” is a nice idea. But mixing it with a drumbeat that appears to be taken from “Greased Lightning” clearly shows that you should not fool around with the King’s legacy too much. But these tracks have been reviewed enough when the FTD album came out. 

The remaining six songs are the reason to listen to this set. “Hey Jude” is the worst sounding track audio wise, I can’t really hear the echo that’s left off in this different mix. “In The Ghetto” is featured without the backing vocals and that does not work. Elvis’ voice is too much in the back and the song sounds empty without the voices of the Holladay sisters, Jeannie Greene and Donna Thatcher. “Susan When She Tried” is a nice country pop version, but again, Elvis Presley a bit too much in the back. The ‘dry vocal mix’ that follows later on this compilation sound better in that regard. The music on “If You Talk In Your Sleep” sounds a bit too modern for the song, and again the music is too prominent in the mix. The song loses its original feeling. The set closes with “Kentucky Rain”, one of my personal favorites, but not in this version. Again the music has the overhand, the emotion from the original is gone. 

Audio Quality

Although the press release claims that the tracks have been remastered they are probably only normalized. You can still hear that the songs were sourced from different releases and the internet. The ‘No Echo’ mix of “Hey Jude” really sounds bad. 

The original album has evidently been sourced from the 1989 Australian CD master that was uploaded freely - after some light restoration work -  to the For Elvis CD Collectors only forum by Elvisalisellers last year. It comes devoid of the mastering error heard on the intro of "Lovin' Arms" as well as the layer of reverb applied to the album tracks heard on the "Too Much Monkey Business" release from the FTD label.


The 'work part' snippet of "She Thinks I Still Care" is a mono mix-down (minus the backing vocals - plus some live EQ'ing / volume adjusting) of the regular uptempo take 2b version from 1976. So no 1980 overdubs in this track.

Overall Conclusion

This release is a mixed bag in various ways. It contains a mix of (re)mixed Elvis Presley (re)recordings, from mixed sources (even the experts are confused which - original - bits and pieces were used by Felton in which mix) in mixed audio quality and thereby with mixed results. 

The main reason to get this set are the ‘new’ work-in-progress mixes. Although they were kindly shared -line for free I prefer to have them on a silver disc. Although it is good to have all the available re-recordings on one set the ‘new’ tracks would have fitted nicely on one disc. 

As this release is entitled "volume 1"Some of the tracks get a different and updated feel. Different, not (always) better. I do wonder what the producers plan to use on volume 2 as they pretty much used all the material available. The other question that remains why Ernst Jorgensen and Roger Semon didn’t release this material on a “Too Much Monkey Business” volume 2 as this is the kind of material that fits nicely on an FTD release. 

Let me end with a sincere ‘thank you’ for Juan Luis Gonzalez Brugal for sharing these files, as a fan and collector I appreciate his kind gesture very much. 

February 21 - 3 Billion and Counting

Elvis Presley passed the 3 billion streams mark on Spotify. He has almost 11 million listeners each month and 3,9 million followers. 

Elvis Presley’s most-streamed songs on Spotify:

Can’t Help Falling in Love 287,863,153
Jailhouse Rock 173,722,059
Suspicious Minds 165,975,282
Blue Christmas 153,400,293
Hound Dog 106,377,024
Burning Love 90,207,126
A little Less Conversation 89,210,015
In The Getto 70,796,408
Heartbreak Hotel 60,289,870
Don`t Be Cruel 54,796,408

(Source: Spotify / Phoenix Elvis Forum)

February 20 - The Essential Albums

The Waxtime label announced the release of the 3 LP "The Essential Albums" with March 27, 2020 as the release date. The set contains the complete Elvis Presley albums "Elvis Presley" and the "King Creole" and "Blue Hawaii" soundtrack. 

LP 1 - Elvis Presley 
Side A: Blue Suede Shoes - I’m Counting On You - I Got A Woman - One Sided Love Affair - I Love You Because - Just Because
Side B: Tutti Frutti - Trying To Get To You - I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry Over You - I’ll Never Let You Go (Little Darlin) - Blue Moon - Money Honey

LP 2 - King Creole
Side C: King Creole - As Long As I Have You - Hard Headed Woman - Trouble - Dixieland Rock
Side D: Don't Ask Me Why - Lover Doll - Crawfish - Young Dreams - Steadfast, Loyal And True - New Orleans

LP 3 - Blue Hawaii
Side E: Blue Hawaii - Almost Always True - Aloha Oe - No More - Can´t Help Falling In Love - Rock-A-Hula Baby - Moonlight Swim
Side F: Ku-U-I-Po - Ito Eats - Slicin´ Sand - Hawaiian Sunset - Beach Boy Blues - Island Of Love - Hawaiian Wedding Song



Elvis Presley Enterprises Loses Another Court Battle with Grizzlies

Elvis Presley Enterprises lost in the Tennessee Court of Appeals this week, again. In December, the company that owns Graceland lost its appeal of a lawsuit against the Memphis Grizzlies, which it had accused of interfering with its efforts to secure incentives for a small arena at Graceland. And, on Tuesday, that same appeals court declined to rehear the case. 

"After a careful review of Appellant's arguments and Appellee's responses, the petition for rehearing is respectfully denied," the appeals court wrote. 

EPE has been stymied in its pursuit of public tax incentives for its arena. However, there is nothing stopping it from building such an arena with private funds. It continues to host concerts at the Graceland Soundstage. 

(Source: Amazon / In-Akustik / Commercial Appeal)

Elvis Garden Party 2020 - 3 days of Elvis Extravaganza

From August 28 to 30 the Memphis Mansion organizes the Elvis Garden Party 2020. Three days of Elvis Extravaganza celebrating Elvis, the 30th Anniversary of the Danish Elvis Fan club, the 50th Anniversary of “That's The Way It Is” and the 70th Anniversary of Sun Studio, Memphis.

Here is a few names from the guest list:

Sandi Miller, super fan and friend of Elvis.
Phil Gelormine, from Elvis Word Magazine
Tish Henley, Elvis' private nurse
Ron Strauss, one of Elvis pilots
Maarten Jansen, friend of the house and regular guest at the Garden Party
Paul Ansell, Rockabilly, Country, Rock'n'Roll and giant Elvis fan
The Imperials, with original member Terry Blackwood

And yours truly, hope to see you there! For more inform action and tickets, visit the >>> Memphis Mansion Website.


February 19 -That's The Way It Is Cinema Re-release

Trafalgar Releasing has set a re-release for the concert documentary “Elvis: That’s the Way It Is” for April 22, 2020 in 14 countries. The event will mark the 50th anniversary of the film’s original release by MGM. Most of the remastered footage was shot at the International Hotel in Las Vegas with songs including “Love Me Tender,” “Sweet Caroline,” “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Suspicious Minds.” 

The 1970 concerts in the film were part of Presley’s first tour in more than a decade. The film was directed by Denis Sanders. 


Marc Allenby, CEO of Trafalgar Releasing, said, “It’s been 50 years since this career changing documentary about The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll was released, yet the lasting legacy of Elvis Presley and his music can be seen more clearly than ever in film, music and culture.” “Elvis: That’s The Way It Is” will be released in the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Australia and New Zealand. 


(Source: Variety)

February 18 - Stranger in the Crowd

Another new collection entitled "Stranger In The Crowd - The Definitive 70's Ballads" has been announced. According to the press release it contains "very hard to find outtakes, overdub versions, live recordings, masters and more.

Tracks: Hurt - take 5 / Sylvia - Master / There's A Honky Tonk Angel - Rough Master / Mary in the Morning - Master / How the Web Was Woven - Undubbed Master / Love Letters - Undubbed Master / It's Impossible - Live, February 1972 / I'll Never Know - take 3 / Let It be Me - With the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra / If You Love Me Let Me Know - Live, April 1977 / What Now My Love  - With the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra / Stranger in the Crowd - Undubbed Master / For Ole Time's Sake - Duet with Tony Joe White - Bringing It Back - take 4 / Pieces of My Life - Master / Just Pretend - Master / The Sound of Your Cry - Extended Master (Stereo) / Always On My Mind - Master / Pledging My Love - Master
Where Do I Go From Here - Master / Your Love's Been A Long Time Coming - Master / The Next Step is Love - Undubbed Master.

(Source: Elvis Information Network)

February 16 - Fun in Acapulco

The CMT import-label, in cooperation with the STAR import-label announced the release of the "Fun in Acapulco" in their "Spliced Takes" series. This album is limited to 500 copies. 

From the press release:
"I Think I'm Gonna Like this release..." Last years "Viva Las Vegas" release was a real winner and included lots of new and fresh sounding tracks with cool edits.

This release is no different and will surprise you with a great new soundtrack which includes 13 (!!) new and unreleased spliced takes. Almost all tracks have a longer running time due to clever use of different takes. The title track has been re-edited and sounds like a complete new take! The same goes for "Rhumba in a Sports Car" which has also been extended. "Bossa Nova Baby" rocks like never before due to the use of 5 different takes! "I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here" and "Bullfighter" include record and movie version, both unreleased in this format! "No one's in a hurry.." Well... you should be since this one is limited to 500 copies it will be sold out soon!

Tracks: Fun In Acapulco (Alternate Re-Edited Master) - Vino, Dinero Y Amor (Spliced Take 1, 3) - Mexico (Spliced Take 3, 4, 6) - El Toro (Spliced Take 1, 2) - Marguerita (Spliced Take 7, 3, 5, 6) - The Bullfighter Was A Lady (Spliced Take 2, 3) - No Room To Rhumba In A Sports Car (Extended Version) - I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here (Spliced Take 8, 9, 10) - Bossa Nova Baby (Spliced Take 7, 8, 10, 6, 9, 8) - You Can't Say No In Acapulco (Spliced Take 1, 2, 3, 4) - Guadalajara (Alternate Master) - I Think I'm Gonna Like It Here (Spliced Take 14, 15) - The Bullfighter Was A Lady (Spliced Take 12, 14) - Malaguena (Take 1)

(Source: FECC)

February 15 - Renewed Vigour for Lonesome August Nights

The Straight Arrow import-label announced their first 2020 release "With Renewed Vigour" featuring the March 20, 1976, Afternoon Show as recorded in Charlotte.

From the press-release:
Our first release in 2020 is titled “With Renewed Vigour”. It was the 1st tour of 1976 and some of Elvis' key musicians were replaced for financial issues. Unexpectedly, the result was a surprisingly fresh sound, with keyboards and drums prominent. During this rather short tour, Elvis performed 8 solid and entertaining shows in 4 cities. 

The Charlotte, March 20th, 1976, 2:30pm show was previously released from an incomplete and inferior source by the J.R. Productions label in 1994 as "Steamrollin' Charlotte". The sound was hissy, distant and badly muffled on few opening tracks. We have found a completely new source; the original tape was recorded by a well-known American fan, using back then an excellent quality Sony TC-55 cassette recorder. For the first time we present this great concert in complete form and in its best possible sound quality! 

As usual, this release is presented in a deluxe 6-panel digi-pack with a collection of photos taken in Charlotte, March 20th, 1976 2:30 PM and with great liner notes written by the fan who taped the show! If you have enjoyed our previous March'76 release "Rippin' It In Cincinnati", we bet you will love this one too. The sound is even better, fresher and ambient. 

Tracks: Introduction: Also Sprach Zarathustra / C. C. Rider / I Got A Woman - Amen / Love Me / Let Me Be There / You Gave Me A Mountain / Steamroller Blues / Until It's Time for You to Go (the last time Elvis performed this song live) / All Shook Up / Polk Salad Annie / Introductions of singers, musicians, orchestra / What'd I Say / Drum Solo (Larry Londin) / Bass Solo (Jerry Scheff) / Piano Solo (Shane Keister) / Electric Piano Solo (David Briggs) / School Days / And I Love You So / Hurt / Burning Love (with 2 false starts) / America (The Beautiful) / Funny How Time Slips Away / How Great Thou Art / Hawaiian Wedding Song / Can't Help Falling In Love / Closing Vamp / Announcements.

Lonesome August Nights

The SR Records import-label released several editions of their “Lonesome August Nights” double LP / CD featuring the previously unreleased  audience-recordings of the  August 18, 1972 Dinner and Midnight show performances as recorded at the Hotel Hilton, Las Vegas NV. The label released a wide range of editions, ‘something for everybody’. 

Standard Edition: this edition comes in four variations of 100 copies on black, white, red and blue marble colored vinyl, housed in a glossy cover with a sticker, double CD and glossy double sided 30 x 30 cm art-card.

Limited Edition Box: this edition comes in two variations of 30 copies on red and white marble colored vinyl, housed in a box with a different sticker, T-shirt (black and blue), large pin and 30 x 60 cm double sides poster.


Double CD Edition: this edition comes in two variations of 50 copies in a long-box digi-pack with a four-page foldout booklet, a glossy 50 x 26 cm poster and glossy 25 x 13 cm art-card. 

Test Pressing Edition: this edition comes in a box and is limited to 10 copies. It includes a test-pressing of the LP, the CDs, a large sticker, art-card, CD info card and a T-shirt (white).

Tracks LP Recorded Live At Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas NV August 18th 1972 DS Previously Unreleased (Running time 54 minutes) 

Side A: 01. 2001 Theme 02. See See Rider 03. Johnny B. Good 04. Until It’s Time For You To Go 05. You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me 06. You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling 07. Polk Salad Annie 08. What Now My Love 09. Fever 10. Love Me 11. Blue Suede Shoes 12. One Night.

Side B: 13. All Shook Up 14. Little Sister/Get Back 15. Heartbreak Hotel 16. Hound Dog 17. Love Me Tender 18. Suspicious minds 19. My Way 20. I’ll Remember You 21. A Big Hunk O’ Love 22. How Great Thou Art 23. Can’t Falling Love.

CD 1: Recorded Live At Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas NV August 18, 1972 DS (Running time 59.00 minutes).

01. 2001 Theme 02. See See Rider 03. Johnny B Goode 04.Until It’s Time For You To Go 05.You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me 06. You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling 07. Polk Salad Annie 08. What Now My Love 09. Fever 10. Love Me 11. Blue Suede Shoes 12. One Night 13. All Shook Up 14. Little Sister / Get Back 15. Heartbreak Hotel 16. Hound Dog 17. Love Me Tender 18. Suspicious Minds 19. Band Introductions 20. My Way 21. I’ll Remember You 22. A Big Hunk Of Love 23. How Great Thou Art 24. Can’t Help Falling In Love / Closing Vamp 

CD 2: Recorded Live At Hilton Hotel , Las Vegas NV August 18, 1972 MS (Running time 58.00 minutes)

01.2001 Theme 02.See See Rider 03. Johnny B Goode 04. Never Been To Spain 05.Until It’s Time For You To Go 06. You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me 07. You Gave Me A Mountain 08. You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling 09. Polk Salad Annie 10. What Now My Love 11. Fever 12.Love Me 13. Blue Suede Shoes 14.Heartbreak Hotel 15.All Shook Up 16. Hound Dog 17. I’ll Remember You 18. Suspicious Minds 19. Band Introductions 20.My Way 21. A Big Hunk Of Love 22. An American Trilogy 23. Can’t Help Falling In Love

(Source: FECC / Various)

February 15 - Charts February - Week 2

The weekly global chart Elvis Presley chart update. Little movement this week, but Elvis Presley is surpassed by Lil Wayne for the number of Billboard Top 40 Hot 100 hits (for what it is worth in today's music business). 

US Billboard charts:
  • Billboard Top 200 Album chart: “The Essential Elvis Presley” dropped from #152 to #169.
  • Billboard Top Christian Album chart: “Elvis: Ultimate Gospel” dropped from #40 to #41.
  • Billboard Top Rock Album chart: “The Essential Elvis Presley” dropped from #18 to #25.
  • Billboard Top Country Album chart: “The Essential Elvis Presley” climbed from #16 to #15.
  • Billboard Catalog Album chart: “The Essential Elvis” dropped off the chart from last week's #48 spot.
Billboard announced that Lil Wayne now has more top 40 hits than Elvis Presley. The track "I Do It" earned him his 82nd career Top 40 Hot 100 hit, pushing him past Elvis Presley for the second-most in the chart's history. Notably, the Hot 100 began in 1958, two years after Presley's commercial breakthrough. 

Elvis Presley's golden era which changed the history of popular music were, of course, in the years 1956 and 1957 previous to these collated statistics.   

In reality he has 115 Billboard Top 40 hits, the last one being the "Blue Christmas" single re-entry, Christmas 2018.

Most Top 40 Hot 100 Hits: Drake: 100, Lil Wayne: 82, Elvis Presley 81, Taylor Swift: 63, Elvis John: 57.

Official UK charts:
  • Official UK Streaming Album chart: “The 50 Greatest Hits” climbed from #70 to #69. 
  • Official UK Music DVD chart: "'68 Comeback Special" re-entry #33.
Australian ARIA charts:
  • ARIA Music DVD chart: “'68 Comeback Special (50th Anniversary Edition)” dropped from #9 to #14.
(Source: UK Mix / Billboard / Official Chart Company / ARIA / Elvis Information Network)

February 15 - Review Elvis Sings ...

Released in the “Elvis Sings” series from the Spanish El Toro Records are three new vinyl EPs: "Elvis Sings Stan Kesler" “Elvis Sings Don Robertson” and “Elvis Sings Pomus & Shuman”. These three volumes were released to commemorate the King's 85th anniversary. The series now consists of eleven EPs. 

Design

The design of these three volumes follows the previous eight releases in this series: a sturdy carboard sleeve with a pen drawing of Elvis and the composers of the songs of the discs. Although taken from well-known images, the combination is done nicely, creating a new picture. On the back a couple of lines on the composer and their link to Elvis Presley. 

The discs itself come on clear, red and yellow vinyl. Personally I would have used the yellow vinyl for the Don Robinson EP and the red vinyl for the Stan Kesler EP to keep the colors matched. But this is the only minor I could find. 

Content

Stan Kesler is an American retired musician, record producer and songwriter, whose career began at the Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee. Elvis Presley, who recorded "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone" in 1954, and "I Forgot to Remember to Forget" the following year. Elvis' recording of "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone" was released as a single by Sun Records - one of his five SUN singles - and reached #5 on the country chart. Presley’s version of "I Forgot to Remember to Forget reached #1 on the country chart in early 1956. 

This EP clearly shows Elvis local Memphis roots on the A-side, working with local composers and musicians. A nice compilation of the original SUN sound. This B-side shows Elvis starting out at RCA. I prefer the A-side as it still has that jumpy SUN sound, the RCA tracks are more polished. 

The only Stan Kesler recording missing from this EP is "I'm a Fool (For Loving You)", first released in 1969. It would have been nice if this song had been included to complete the Stan Kesler’s “Elvis catalogue”. 

From SUN we move to Elvis Presley’s 1956 debut album with “I'm Counting On You” by Don Robertson, an American songwriter and pianist, working mostly in the country and popular music genres.  A few years later, Elvis invited Don to come to Radio Recorders in Hollywood to meet with him. They met and talked and hit it off. This resulted in get-togethers jamming together. Elvis not only admired Don as a songwriter, but also as a pianist. He is one of the few composers who really talked, jammed and worked with Elvis musically. In an interview he once said: “The more I listened to Elvis, the more I tended to write the songs and sing the demos in his style. It was a fortunate coincidence that we both had about the same comfortable vocal range (his was greater), and we understood each other's phrasing. He also liked my accompaniments, whether just piano, or with small or large orchestras.” The last song on this EP, “There’s Always Me” nicely illustrates this. It is my favorite track on this EP.

If you listen to the Robinson songs Elvis recorded you can hear this. This EP contains four early tracks, recorded at in the late fifties and very early sixties. In total Elvis recorded 14 of his songs, six of which are in Presley movies.

To save the last for best, the “Pomus & Shuman” EP with one of my all-time favorite songs “His Latest Flame”, a catchy tune that always makes me turn up the volume when it comes by. Although the composers never met Elvis Presley he did call Mort Shuman in the middle of the night of June 25, 1961. He was calling for advice when he was recording “(Marie's The Name of) His Latest Flame” because they couldn't quite get the piano line down as Mr. Shuman had written it. 

This EP also features “A Mess of Blues”, which was released as the B-side of the single “It's Now or Never” in July 1960. A great bluesy tune with a nice flow you automatically sing along in your head. “Little Sister” can almost be called a rock song, especially performed live. The last of the four songs on the EP is the diamond-in-the-rough "Gonna Get Back Home Somehow" from the “Pot Luck” album. A song with a lot of variation for Elvis, the backing vocalists and band. But I always thought Elvis sings it a bit too relaxed. If he had sung it a bit more bluesy - like he did on “Little Sister” - the track would be stronger in my opinion. 

Elvis recorded 25 songs (co)written by the members of this duo, this EP show the variety in their composing skills. 

Conclusion

Combined these three singles (which are sold separately) make a nice package. The set illustrates the variation in Elvis recorded work, even when the songs are written by the same composers. Perhaps there will be new volumes compiling the work of these composers for Elvis Presley as there are enough tracks left. 

      

February 14 - Elvis Day by Day 2019 Review

Joan Gansky reviewed the book for the Elvis Information Network website. 

Thank you for the nice 'valentine gift' Joan!

Read the summary:

What an amazing book this is! This book is not only a daily diary of all Elvis news for 2019, it contains precise and detailed facts on every album, CD, book etc. released, including European issues and "bootlegs" as well as FTD releases… they are all here!

Older Elvis fans will probably remember the "Elvis Special" annuals put together by Albert Hand in the UK when Elvis was alive. 

The real impact of this compendium is to discover that something "ELVIS" was published or announced, or featured in the media, almost every day last year. And that's without including the regular UK tabloid rubbish!

The day-by-day information is laid out in three-columns and is easy to read. With plenty of full-page images of Elvis, for a self-produced book, it is beautifully designed.

Along with the daily news there are detailed articles pertinent to these happenings of 2019, written by Elvis experts in their field.

I must also comment on the great quality of the photos included throughout the book, that definitely enhance the overall appeal and the carefully researched and detailed written information.

Of course almost all of this can be found if you want to search the internet - the acknowledgements indicate just how many sources the author uses - however the book puts it all together in a much more accessible way. And what a delight to find a detailed Index at the back.

Having this book handy to refer to when a thought or question regarding Elvis pops into conversation (or your own head!) - will prove invaluable… especially the size being so compact!  I find my heavy, over-sized "deluxe" Elvis books get "used" less and less these days.

I do try to keep up with all things "Elvis" but was pleasantly surprised to read something new to me on nearly every page! It kept me engrossed throughout - as I learned details and facts that were either new to me, or I had, sadly, forgotten. I thoroughly recommend this book - if you are reading this, then you are an Elvis fan, and I am sure you will enjoy and appreciate it too!

>>> Read the complete review on >>> Elvis Information Network.

About Joan Gansky: she first met Elvis on August 18, 1967. She was lucky because not only was she in the audience for Elvis' TV musical renaissance of the '68 NBC Special but she also saw Elvis at his most dynamic - first at his August 22nd 1969 Midnight Show and then the following night at his August 23rd Dinner Show.

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