February 20 - The Essential Albums

The Wartime 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. 

(Source: Amazon / In-Akustik)

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 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 - 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.