Back on the Track: The Mystery Train Runs Again

Elvis Presley plays electric guitar for fans during taping of 1968’s ELVIS special (NBC)

Greetings Elvis fans & other travelers,

Welcome to The Mystery Train Blog. Please find your seats quickly and secure all loose articles.

When I parked The Mystery Train Blog six years ago and walked away, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever return. While I remained a fan of Elvis Presley, I was burned out on writing about him. Other things affected me as well.

Since then, just about every facet of my life has changed. Most notably I accepted Jesus Christ, and life began again for me. In many ways, I became a new creation. I had heard such stories, but never really believed them.

One of the few constants through the ongoing changes has been Elvis headlining the soundtrack of my life. I have discovered a lot of new (to me) music to love by other artists, but Elvis remains in that grand mix, continuing to lead the pack with his incredible gift.

After much prayer, I was recently led to write more and fire up The Mystery Train Blog again. The primary focus will be on Elvis as an entertainer, meaning his music (including television appearances) and his movies. I will offer my thoughts and opinions on related topics, old and new, often with a personal perspective. It will be interesting to see how my new outlook on life affects my views. As before, I’ll definitely be looking for you to chime in as well. While there’ll be an occasional bonus post, my goal is to maintain a weekly cadence this time around.

I have been an Elvis fan for as long as I can remember. I am a second generation fan, and Elvis passed away before I could experience him live in concert. His death when I was 2-years-old is actually one of my earliest memories.

I can find something to enjoy in most aspects of his career, though my favorite span is 1966-1970 if pinned down. There is no doubt that his influential peak was 1954-1958, and those years represent some of his finest work as well. I play almost all of it, though, and I love much of it. There is a stretch from 1964 to 1965 that I find tough to slog through. I also tend to avoid his 1976 concerts. Though I will call things as I see them, I generally prefer to bring a positive approach, as there is certainly enough negativity already in this world.

Speaking of the world, it has almost completely changed as well since The Mystery Train Blog last came ’round the bend. The most stunning of those changes have occurred this year, with the COVID-19 crisis that continues to disrupt everything and everyone. When will we return to normal, and what will “normal” look like once we get there?

Dramatic social movements are also underway here in the United States. Will the current generation finally be the ones to solve the systemic problems that have plagued this nation since its very inception?

Friends, I pray for your health and well-being during this time and going forward. May we all be the change that is needed.

All aboard! This train is leaving the railway station once more. Please keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times. Hold on tight, and enjoy your ride.

Your conductor,

“Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”
from 2 Corinthians 5:17

Take It Home: The Last Stop

Elvis Presley in 1968

Elvis Presley in 1968


I’ve been blogging in various forms for over a decade now, including nearly five years on The Mystery Train. After much consideration, I’ve decided to take some time off.

I’m not yet certain whether I will return to The Mystery Train Blog after that time. Due to Sony’s unparalleled That’s The Way It Is: Deluxe Edition set, 2014 has been the greatest Elvis year ever for me. I’m not sure what else I have left to add.

Thank you for reading and taking part in my little hobby. Keep the music cranked up!


“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.” –Frank Herbert

In The Station/The Season Of Light

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times….”

The Mystery Train Blog is currently on hiatus while I am busy in the offline world. I hope to return in 2014 with some occasional posts.

Until that time, here’s hoping you have a Wonderful Christmas and a Merry New Year!

Elvis rehearsing in 1970

Elvis rehearsing in 1970

A year’s worth of thanks for 2012

As yet another year winds down, I’d like to take a moment to thank some of the people who helped keep The Mystery Train Blog on the tracks in 2012.

Elvis Montage - TMTElvisBlog

Thank you to Mike Hermenet, Thomas Melin, and Kees for contributing guest blogs.

Thanks to all who took the time to comment on a post, especially the most frequent commenters – including:

Thank you to those who participated in Elvis Trivialities. One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to create some questions that stump the seemingly unbeatable Thomas.

Thanks to Sheila O’Malley for changing the world’s perception of Elvis one reader at a time. Her Elvis Essays are both informative and inspiring.

Thank you to everyone who has linked to The Mystery Train Blog from their sites, blogs, emails, message board comments, etc.

Thanks to Ernst Jorgensen, Roger Semon, and the rest of the Elvis gang at Sony Music and Follow That Dream Records for yet another year of high-quality Elvis releases. What other fan base gets A Boy From Tupelo and Prince From Another Planet in the same year? Not to mention all of the other terrific releases.

Thank you to all readers of The Mystery Train Blog.

Have an incredible 2013!

A year’s worth of thanks for 2011

2011 Year In ReviewWith a brand new year on the horizon, I want to take a moment to thank some of the people who helped keep The Mystery Train rolling in 2011.

First of all, thank you to all of those who contributed guest blogs:

I hope to feature more guest posts in 2012.

I’d also like to thank Elvis Today Blog‘s Thomas Melin again, this time for his part in our joint review of Forty-Eight Hours To Memphis: Recorded Live On Stage In Richmond, Virginia – March 18, 1974. Six hours ahead of me in time zones, he stayed up until the wee hours of the morning for two nights in a row to complete our review.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to comment on a post, especially the most frequent commenters – including:

  • Fred Wolfe
  • George Millar
  • Howard Jackson
  • Ian Fraser
  • Joe R.
  • Joe S.
  • Mike Hermenet
  • Random Ntrygg
  • Ray Faithfull
  • Thomas Melin
  • Welsy

I love reading everyone’s thoughts, and sometimes the comments even give me ideas for future posts.

Thank you to all of those who participated in Elvis Trivialities. I had a lot of fun with it, so look for that feature to continue in 2012 as well. You’re a tough bunch to stump.

Thanks to everyone who has linked to The Mystery Train Blog from their sites, blogs, emails, message board comments, etc.

Thank you to Ernst Jorgensen, Roger Semon, and the rest of the Elvis gang at Sony Music and Follow That Dream Records for continuing to release high-quality Elvis material. This is a wonderful time to be an Elvis fan due to their efforts.

Finally, last, but not least, thank you to all of the readers of The Mystery Train Blog. I hope to see you around the tracks next year. Without you, I’m just talking to myself.

Have a happy and prosperous 2012!

1969: Year In ReviewThe “2011: Year In Review” image at the beginning of this post was inspired by the cover of the 1987 album The Memphis Record (left), a release that shaped my Elvis fandom. The Memphis Record was art directed by Ria Lewerke and designed by Pietro Alfieri. It remains today one of the most creative Elvis album covers ever.

And now, a very special announcement….

Elvis Presley Enterprise’s big tourism push this year for Graceland is centered around the 55th anniversary of Elvis’ many accomplishments in 1956 (“2011 Graceland Tourism Campaign Commemorates 55th Anniversary of Groundbreaking Year” —

“55th” seems to me like a rather arbitrarily chosen “major anniversary” year, though. Any excuse to keep the focus on 1956, right? The beauty of it is that EPE can pull all of this stuff back out in five years and change the text to say “60th anniversary.”

There have been some rumors lately, however, that Elvis Presley’s career actually extended beyond the years 1954 to 1958. In fact, I’ve looked into them and discovered the rumors to be true. In honor of these historical findings, I’ve decided to choose my own arbitrary Elvis year to focus on in 2011.

And now, a very special announcement….

The Mystery Train will honor the 44th anniversary of 1967 with special features on that Elvis year all throughout 2011.

Introducing a new page: Elvis Presley Master Recordings

I’ve added a new reference page to The Mystery Train Elvis Blog, Elvis Presley Master Recordings. Inspired by the two recent complete Elvis masters releases, it lists and explains what I consider the 710 Elvis master recordings released during his lifetime.

View The Mystery Train Elvis Blog’s Elvis Presley Master Recordings page. You can also access it using the tab at the top of the page.