Tuesday, September 19, 2023

DBD 2023 – Review Closing Night 1972

The latest escapes from the U.K. based Memphis Recording Service are a 2-CD / book set and single LP titled ‘Closing Night 1972’. 

The CD features the September 4, 1972 Dinner Show on the first disc and rehearsals for the engagement at the Las Vegas Hilton recorded one month earlier. Both newly mixed from mono to stereo. The LP itself is a single disc, so it only contains the concert.
 
Usually released a few months apart, now the CD and LP arrived together, so we can review them back-to-back. 
 
Design
 
The title of the album is a little strange as it contains a Dinner Show from the ‘Closing Night’ of the 1972 Vegas Summer stint and a recording of the rehearsals for that engagement. 
 
Having said that, the design by Kev Reape is done very tastefully, as we have come to expect from the MRS label. A hardcover digipack with a great cover and a nice booklet inside, containing short but to the point liner notes and many pictures, most of them provided by Elvis fan and author Judy Palmer. The CDs - presented as picture discs this time - are housed in sleeves attached to the cardboard package. 
 
The LP, available on black and on clear vinyl, features a different picture on the cover. I like it better than the one on the CD as Elvis looks more engaged. The LP came in a protective plastic sleeve, now that is what I call service. 
 
Content
 
Elvis seems to be counting down his working hours on this ‘Closing Night’ as he opens the show with fast versions of ‘See See Rider’ and Johnny Be Goode’. The results are sloppy versions. On the latter song he slurs the words a little, fortunately James Burton makes up for that with some fast fingerpicking. 
 
‘Until It’s Time For You To Go’ and ‘You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me’ are better performances, but there is a little distortion audible which originates from the source used. 
 
There is even a little distortion between Elvis and Ronnie Tutt, missing a beat on ‘Polk Salad Annie’; “What are you doing Ronnie… What are you doing fool?“ But they have fun about it finishing the song. Jerry Scheff seizes the opportunity and steals the performance playing some mean southern bass with the Sweets joining in for a wild finale! That’s how you rock!
 
On ‘What Now My Love’ we primarily hear Elvis and the orchestra, with the band and Kathy Westmoreland joining in halfway the performance. This has always been a great song for Elvis as he surely knows how to deliver it! It is one of the better performances from this show.
 
Listening to ‘Fever’ you hear the added value of mixing mono recordings to stereo, extracting the various audio elements and putting them back together again. The snapping fingers, key to this song, stand out very nicely.
 
‘Love Me’ is a mess, due to Elvis making the rounds pleasing the ladies. After that it sounds like he want so make up for lost times as he speeds through all the rockin’ classics before catching his breath again with ‘Love Me Tender’. On this ballad he can’t escape from the ladies either; all they want is for him to be their ‘Teddy Bear’, while he asks them “don’t be cruel to a heart that’s true”, handing out scarves for the ladies to dry their tears; "
you gotta work for it kid". These songs were throw-a-ways too.
 
With ‘Little Sister / Get Back’ he is back on track as this is one of the stronger  performances of the afternoon. The slower performance ‘Hound Dog’ has a long lead-in, as Elvis plays with the audience and his band before he picks up the pace for the finale, but the performance remains tame and without any energy or effort. 
 
On ‘I’ll Remember You’ we hear the performer and showman Elvis can be when he wants to. This is followed by J.D. Sumner and the Stamps, singing the gospel ‘Walk That Lonesome Road’. A segment like this is part of the Elvis show, but an unnecessary intermission in my book as The Stamps make it sound like vocal gymnastics. 

Up next is the classic ‘Suspicious Minds’, but Elvis gives us another sloppy performance, which nevertheless pleases the crowd. 
 
After the introductions of the band and 200 fans from the United Kingdom that made the passage across the Atlantic to see Elvis in concert, he does a good version of Kris Kristofferson’s ‘For The Good Times’. With OK versions of ‘A Big Hunk O’ Love’ and ‘You Gave Me A Mountain’ Elvis closes the show before the closing theme ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’ sets in.
 
The rehearsals, recorded just 6 hours before the opening of the engagement, are fun to listen to, as they learn us how Elvis and the band prepared for the shows. But they remain rehearsals, with everything that comes with those kind of performances like incomplete songs and Memphis Mafia members and others talking in the background.
 
(Possible) Sources
 
The September 4, 1972 show on CD 1 was first released on the Rock Legends bootleg ‘I'll Remember You’ (1998), the Madison bootleg CD ‘A Hilton Double Shot’ (2009) before the Follow That Dream label released it officially and complete on ‘Destination USA’ in 2014. 
 
The rehearsals were first released on the FTD collectors label CD ‘3000 South Paradise Road’ (2012). So this isn’t the first official - at least in Europe - release of this material, but it is the first time they are widely available outside the fan-club circuit. 
 
Audio
 
The overall stereo-picture is good. The engineer who restored, remixed and remastered the audio at Studio D, opened-up the concert but he still placed most elements around the middle with Elvis’ voice is placed upfront and the audience in the back. He probably couldn’t separate all the audio-elements from the original mono source to place them wider apart, mimicking the set-up of the big Hilton Showroom. 
 
The concert sounded better when listening through headphones than it did playing it over a stereo-set. Comparing this new stereo mix to the mono mix on the ‘Destination USA’ CD it did sounded better, especially through headphones. When listening to the concert over a stereo-set the difference was less audible. 
 
Playing the CD back-to-back with the LP, the sound on the latter was more powerful, so that will be my go-to version for a stereo mix. 
 
The rehearsals were recorded on what sounds like a small cassette-recorder. You can compare the result with a good audience-recording, but without the audience and Elvis a little closer than during a concert performance. 

Compared to the original ‘3000 South Paradise Road’ release the rehearsals sounded better and cleaner. It was probably easier to work on these recordings without the big sound of the orchestra melting all the audio together.
 
Conclusion
 
After having listened to the concert and rehearsals I’m left with mixed feelings. The CD-audio sounds better through a headset than through a stereo-set while the vinyl sounds better than the CD on that same set … 
The concert itself is average, Elvis sounds uninspired and the ballads distinguishing themselves just slightly from the other performances. 
 
As stated, the LP sounded better, so if you’re interested in the concert, that’s the one to get. Perhaps it is time to move on to better sources, and with 1973 just around the corner, let’s see what the Memphis Recording Service record label will bring us next. 

The CD and LP are available from the >>> Memphis Recording Service website and Amazon.

September 19 - A 50's Stereo Christmas (Updated)

Due for re-release on November 3, 2023 from the Select-O-Hits record label is the 2022 CD 'Elvis' 1957 'Christmas Album' featuring Elvis' Christmas classics in stereo. 

Tracks: Santa Claus Is Back In Town - White Christmas - Here Comes Santa Claus - I'll Be Home For Christmas - Blue Christmas - Santa Bring My Baby Back (To Me) - Oh Little Town Of Bethlehem - Silent Night - (There'll Be) Peace In The Valley (For Me) - I Believe - Take My Hand, Precious Lord - It Is No Secret (What God Can Do).

Note: this is not the first time Elvis' Christmas album has been released in stereo. 

Vintage Rock

The upcoming Vintage Rock magazine features an article on Elvis' Stax recordings, is it a hit or a miss?

Memphis Recording Reissues

The U.K. based Memphis Recording Service announced the November 24, 2023 re-release of the 3-CD-set 'The Complete 1950's Live Recordings', the 2-CD-set 'Elvis On Television 1956 - 1960' (2 CDs) and the single CD-set 'One Night In Pearl Harbor' on their new alternate label, MRS CAMDEN.

The titles have slight changes in the name and on CD content and come in a Digi-Sleeve pack. Each comes with a small booklet. The releases on this specific new label are scaled-down budget version of the previous, priced for the mainstream market. At the same time however, some of the CD’s include newly sourced audio upgrades. 

The original titles were released as:  
'Such A Night In Pearl Harbor' in 2012 with an 100-page booklet.
'Elvis On Television 1956- 1960' in 2016 with an 172-page hardcover book.
'The Complete 1950's Live Recordings' in 2016 with an 100-page booklet. 

Publicity for 
The Complete 1950's Live Recordings' 
statedThe 3CD set represents the complete archival live concert recordings by Elvis Presley in the 1950’s. All 82 tracks have been remastered and restored and the accompanying booklet chronologically follows Elvis from the very first, to the last shows performed.

Please note, a newly remastered version of the live track I' Forgot to Remember to Forget’ has been upgraded for this release.

CD1 - 16th October 1955 - Louisiana Hayride
Hayride Begins Jingle - Introduction / That's All Right - Blue Moon Of Kentucky

15th January 1955- Louisiana Hayride
Hearts Of Stone - That’s All Right - Tweedle Dee

22nd January 1955 - Louisiana Hayride
Money Honey - Blue Moon Of Kentucky - I Don’t Care If The Sun Don’t Shine - That’s All Right - Radio Spot Commercial For Performance 23.02.1955 In Pine Bluff, AR - Radio Spot Commercial for Performance February 23rd 1955 in Pine Bluff AR

5th March 1955 - Louisiana Hayride
Tweedle Dee - Money Honey - Hearts Of Stone - Shake, Rattle And Roll - Little Mama - You’re A Heartbreaker

19th March 1955 – Eagles Hall, Houston, Texas
Good Rockin’ Tonight - Baby Let’s Play House - Blue Moon Of Kentucky - I Got A Woman - That’s All Right

Apr 30th 1955 - Glatewater, Texas:
Tweedle Dee 

May 26th 1955 -  Jimmie Rodgers Memorial Festival:
That's All Right

July 16th 1955
I’m Left You’re Right She’s Gone

July 29th 1955, Jacksonville, Florida 
Mae Axton Interviews Elvis

August 10th 1955 Louisiana Hayride:
Radio Spot Commercial for Performance in Gladewater Texas 

20th August 1955 - Louisiana Hayride
Jimmie Rodgers Memorial Festival:

August 31st 1955 Memphis TN:
Bob Neal Interviews Elvis, Scotty and Bill.

October 1955 - Louisiana Hayride
32. I' Forgot to Remember to Forget (2023 Remaster) 
33: Hayride End Jingle 

CD2 - 6th May 1956 - New Frontier, Las Vegas
Heartbreak Hotel - Long Tall Sally - Blue Suede Shoes - Money Honey
 
16 May 1956 Little Rock, Arkansas:
Interview At Little Rock Arkansas - Heartbreak Hotel - Long Tall Sally - I Was The One - Money Honey - I Got A Woman - Blue Suede Shoes - Hound Dog

3rd June 1956:
Radio Spot for Elvis Concert in Oakland, CA
 
26 September 1956 Tupelo, Afternoon Performance:
Heartbreak Hotel - Long Tall Sally - Presentation Key To The City - I Was The One - I Want You, I Need You, I Love You - I Got A Woman - Don’t Be Cruel - Ready Teddy - Love Me Tender - Hound Dog

Sep 26th 1956:
WTUP Interviews Elvis Presley

CD3 - 26 September 1956 Tupelo, Evening Performance
WTUP Interviews Elvis’ Parents, Vernon And Gladys - Love Me Tender - I Was The One - I Got A Woman - Don’t Be Cruel - Blue Suede Shoes - Baby Let’s Play House - Hound Dog - Announcement
 
15th December 1956, Louisiana Hayride
Heartbreak Hotel - Long Tall Sally - I Was The One - Love Me Tender - Don’t Be Cruel - Love Me - I Got A Woman - When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again - Paralyzed - Hound Dog - Elvis Has Left The Building
 
April and August 1957 - Canadian Fragments 1957
Heartbreak Hotel (Toronto Radio Broadcast Fragment - 02.04.1957) - Hound Dog (Ottawa Fragment - 03.04.1957)

Heartbreak Hotel - I Was The One - I Got A Woman - Thats When Your Heartaches Begin

02 September 1957:
Interview At Portland Oregon

27th September 1957:
WELO Interviews Elvis Tupelo, Mississippi

Publicity for 'Elvis on Television' stated
The 2CD’s contain the complete archival sound recordings of Elvis Presley’s television appearances from 1956-60 remastered and restored. They include interviews as well as the live performances from the Dorsey Brothers “Stage Show,” Milton Berle, Steve Allen and the Ed Sullivan shows. 

For the first time on this MRS release, unlike the previous version, is a newly sourced, recently discovered acetate of Elvis' appearance on the 'Frank Sinatra Timex' show in 1960. MRS took the operation to completely remaster the tracks direct from the original transfer files with the best of results. 

CD 1 - The Dorsey Brothers – Stage Show (CBS)  
28th Jan 1956
Introduction & Bill Randle Introduces Elvis Presley - Shake Rattle And Roll / Flip Flop And Fly - I Got A Woman

4th Feb 1956
Introduction - Baby Let's Play House - Tutti Frutti

11th Feb 1956
Introduction - Blue Suede Shoes - Heartbreak Hotel (With Orchestra)

18th Feb 1956 Stage Show 
Introduction - Tutti Frutti - I Was The One

17th March 1956
Introduction - Blue Suede Shoes - Heartbreak Hotel

24th March 1956
Introduction - Money Honey - Heartbreak Hotel

The Milton Berle Show (NBC) - 3rd April 1956
Introduction & Shake Rattle And Roll (In Part) - Milton Berle Introduces Elvis Presley - Heartbreak Hotel - Blue Suede Shoes - Milton Berle & Elvis Presley Comedy Sketch - Blue Suede Shoes (Reprise)

NBC Studio – Hollywood, California - 5th June 1956
Introduction - Hound Dog - Milton Berle & Elvis Presley & Debra Paget Comedy Sketch - Milton Berle Introduces Elvis Presley - I Want You I Need You I Love You - Milton Berle Presents Elvis Billboard Award

Wink Martindal - Top Ten Dance Party (WHBQ TV) - Local TV Network -  16th June 1956
Wink Martindale Interviews Elvis Presley & Dewey Phillips Singing Money Honey

CD 2 - The Steve Allen Show (NBC) - 1st July 1956
Introduction / Dialogue With Steve Allen - I Want You I Need You I Love You - Hound Dog - Yippee Yi Yo Yippee Yi Yay (Comedy Routine With Steve Allen, Elvis Presley, Imogene Coca & Andy Griffith)

Hy Gardner (NBC) - 1st July 1956
5. Calling Elvis – Interview

The Ed Sullivan Show (CBS)
9th September 1956
Introduction And Charles Laughton Introduces Elvis - Don't Be Cruel - Love Me Tender - Ready Teddy - Hound Dog

28th October 1956
Introduction Ed Sullivan - Don't Be Cruel - Introduction Ed Sullivan - Love Me Tender - Introduction Ed Sullivan - Love Me - Hound Dog - Elvis Talks Farewell

6th January 1957
Ed Sullivan Introduction - Hound Dog - Love Me Tender - Heartbreak Hotel - Don't Be Cruel - Too Much - Elvis Talks - When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again - Ed Sullivan Speaks - (There'll Be) Peace In The Valley - Ed Sullivan Farewells Elvis

The Frank Sinatra Show (ABC) – 2023 Remaster
It's Very Nice to Travelling (With Frank & Nancy Sinatra, Joey Bishop & Sammy Davis Jr.) - Fame And Fortune - Stuck On You - Frank Sinatra And Joey Bishop Talk To Elvis - Witchcraft / Love Me Tender (With Frank Sinatra) - Love Me Tender (Reprise With Frank Sinatra) - Frank Sinatra And Nancy Sinatra Farewells Elvis

Publicity for 'One Night in Pearl Harbor' stated
On March 25, 1961, Elvis Presley performed what would become his final live concert for eight years! This benefit charity show, in aid of the USS Arizona Memorial fund at Pearl Harbor has been remastered and restored and includes 25-minute press conference taken just before the show. 

Please note that the ‘Elvis Salutes the USS Arizona’ that was on the original MRS release ‘Such a Night in Pearl Harbor’ is not included on this release. However, the 25-minute press conference taken just before the show is now included for the first time on CD with MRS.    

Introduction - Heartbreak Hotel - All Shook Up - (Now And Then There’s) A Fool Such As I - I Got A Woman - Love Me - Introductions - Such A Night - Reconsider Baby - I Need Your Love Tonight - That’s All Right - Don’t Be Cruel - One Night - Are You Lonesome Tonight - It’s Now Or Never - Swing Down Sweet Chariot - Hound Dog

Bonus: Hawaiian Press Conference and Awards Ceremony - March 25th 1961.


Double Trouble

Warner Bros. announced the October 31, 2023 Blu-ray release of the 1967 movie 'Double Trouble' featuring a new 2022 1080p HD Master from 4K scan of the original camera negative. 


Synopsis: When crooner Guy Lambert wraps his London show and travels to Brussels, two beauties secretly follow. One (Annette Day) is a lovestruck heiress, the other (Yvonne Romain) an enigmatic temptress. And they could be two too much for the attached Guy. 


Comedy, mystery and mayhem combine when Elvis Presley plays Guy in Double Trouble, a romp involving stolen gems, trenchcoated defectives - that is, detectives! - and more. Through it all, a guy’s gotta do what a guy’s gotta do. That means performing a tune array that include the title tune 'City By Night', 'Could I Fall in Love?', 'Long-Legged Girl' and 'There’s So Much World to See'. 


Trouble was never this cool and this much fun.


Technical specs:
Run Time: 91 Minutes
Subtitles: English SDH
Audio Specs: DTS HD-MA 2.0 Mono
Aspect Ratio 16x9 2.35:1 Letterbox
Product color: Color
Disc Configuration-BD 50
Special Features: Chuck Jones Tom and Jerry Cartoons: 'Rock 'N Rodent' (HD) and 'Surf-Bored Cat' (HD); Original Theatrical Trailer
Cast: Elvis Presley, Annette Day, John Williams.

(Source: Elvis Club Berlin / Amazon Japan + Spain / Plastic Head / Pascal Matteo)

Monday, September 18, 2023

September 18 - Golden Boy Elvis

The fall issue of the German Golden Boy Elvis magazine was published. 

This new edition - with a smashing cover - is another entertaining and insightful read with insightful reviews of many of the last Follow That Dream and Legacy releases. Added to that are articles on Ann-Margret, who is still going strong with a new release, P.J. Proby, B.J. Thomas and Ricky Shayne. Interesting to read these background stories to Elvis music. 

With 3 In Memoriam articles makes m realize once more that the Elvis world isn't getting any younger. Besides these articles the full color glossy magazine features several other long-reads on Elvis' songs, 45 RPM singles, Elvis' clothing style and more. 

For more information, or to order your copy, visit the >>> Golden Boy Elvis website. 

Saturday, September 16, 2023

September 16 - Charts September 2023 - Week 2 (Updated)

 The weekly global Elvis Presley chart update. 

There is not too much movement on the charts around the world for Elvis. In the United States his albums climb slightly on the Billboard charts. In the United Kingdom Elvis' releases climb, drop Off) or remain steady on the charts. 

In Ireland Elvis' releases did  both and in Greek he climbed one spot. 

Additional charts will be added when they become available over the weekend. 

U.S. Billboard charts:

  • Billboard Top 200 Album chart: 'ELV1S 30 #1 Hits' climbed from #197 to #181.  
  • Billboard Top Country Album chart: 'ELV1S 30 #1 Hits' climbed from #32 to #29. 
  • Billboard Top Rock and Alternative Albums chart: 'ELV1S 30 #1 Hits' climbed from #44 to #43.  

Official U.K. charts:
  • Official Album chart: 'ELV1S 30 #1 Hits' climbed from #51 to #47. 
  • Official Streaming Album chart: 'ELV1S 30 #1 Hits' remained steady at #37. 
  • Official Film chart: 'ELVIS' dropped from #17 to #35.
  • Official DVD chart: 'ELVIS' dropped from #27 to #29.
  • Official Blu-ray chart: 'ELVIS' dropped from #60 to #80. 
  • Official Video Chart Top 100: 'ELVIS' dropped from #33 to #43. 
  • Official Films On Disc chart: 'ELVIS' dropped from #28 to #33. 

Irish IRMA charts:
  • Official Irish Album chart: 'ELV1S 30#1 Hits' climbed from #80 to #75. 
  • Official Irish Video chart: 'ELVIS' dropped from #16 to #39. 

Greek IPFI charts:
  • Greek IPFI Album Top 75 chart: 'ELV1S 30 #1 Hits' dropped from #15 to #16.
(Source: Official Chart Company / IRMA / UK Mix Forum / IPFI)

Friday, September 15, 2023

September 15 - His Changing Digitale Style (Updated)

Released in the U.S. in the 'Pop Icon' series is the 98-page magazine 'Elvis His Changing Style- A Scrapbook of His Looks').


SynopsisFrom oversized blazers and simple white shirts to all-leather get-ups and rhinestone-studded jumpsuits, Elvis Presley defined what it was not only to be a rock god but to look like one.

Sure, he was destined to be a pop-music idol based on his versatile, beautiful voice alone, but the combination of his onstage swagger with his cooler-than-cool wardrobe meant he would be a trendsetter for generations to come. In this special issue filled with gorgeous photos, we trace the origins of Elvis' sartorial tastes and the evolution of his style through decades of concerts, movies and appearances


Live In Las Vegas

The Expensive Woodland Recordings record label announced the October 20, 2023 release of the LP 'Live In Las Vegas' featuring a live performance recorded on 5th February 1973 at the Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas. 

A Fantastic Las Vegas recording from the King of Rock 'n' Roll with the classic hits: 'Blue Suede Shoes', 'Hound Dog', 'Suspicious Minds', 'Steamroller Blues' and 'Fever'.

Tracks: Op 20 Side A: 2001 A Ruimte Odyssee / C. C. Ruiter - Ik Heb Een Vrouw / Amen - Tot Het Tijd Voor Jou Is Om Te Gaan - Je Hoeft Niet Te Zeggen Dat Je Van Me Houdt - Steamroller Blues - Je Gaf Me Een Berg - Koorts - Hou Van Me - Blauwe Su├Ęde Schoenen - Hou Van

Side B: Johnny B. Goode - Jachthond - Wat Nu Mijn Liefde - Suspicious Minds - Introductie van de Band - I'll Remember You - I Can't Stop Loving You - Een Amerikaanse Trilogie - Can't Help Falling In Love

Note: Who is that on the cover? He has been identified as ETA Donny Edwards.

Based on the tracklist the LP may be wrongly dated. It probably contains the February 3rd, 1973 Dinner Show, previously released as 'Vegas Rhythm' (correctly dated) or 'It's A Matter Of Time' mistakenly which was incorrectly dated as the February 5, 1973 Dinner Show.


Beyond Digital

The digital book 'Elvis UK Beyond RCA The Ultimate Guide To Elvis Presley's British Non-RCA LPs 1974-1997' by John Townson and Gordon Minto has been re-issued as a physical 377-page paperback edition. 

This second edition has been updated and slightly revised. However, those who bought the digital version will also receive the updated version which will be despatched to them - free of charge - soon. And the digital copy will still be available to buy for those who prefer that medium. 

Click here to read the review I wrote with Nigel Patterson and Piers Beagley of the >>> digital edition

The print edition can only be obtained through >>> Now Dig This and Elvis The Man And His Music. 

(Source: Pascal Matteo / Amazon / Elvis Club Berlin/ Gordon Minto)