Elvis Reconfigured: 1969-1976 (The Edge Of Reality #10/Playlist Recipes #8)

Time sure has slipped away since my last post. In the course of many wonderful blessings currently going on in my life, I have been listening to plenty of Elvis Presley music even if I haven’t been writing.

I enjoy making music playlists, and I created a series of them recently that I call Elvis Reconfigured. The concept for these was, what if The Powers That Be had taken more care when compiling and sequencing albums of Elvis’ non-soundtrack studio work from 1969 to 1976?

I was happy with most of the results, so I thought I’d share the track-listings with you. Incidentally, I attempted something similar for the rest of his master recordings, but it just didn’t work out. So, there won’t be a Part 2 to this post. However, feel free to suggest your own alternates in the comments below!

Blessings,
TY


We’re traveling into an amazing land whose borders are only that of imagination. Look! There’s the station up ahead. Our next stop . . . the edge of reality.

The Edge Of Reality

Through the lens of time, submitted for your consideration are the following albums from the later years of The Memphis Flash.

Back In Memphis (Recorded 1969)
Side A

  1. Stranger In My Own Home Town
  2. Power Of My Love
  3. My Little Friend
  4. I’ll Be There
  5. Any Day Now
  6. Suspicious Minds

Side B

  1. Wearin’ That Loved-On Look
  2. Do You Know Who I Am
  3. After Loving You
  4. Rubberneckin’
  5. In The Ghetto
  6. Hey Jude

Elvis Country: Walking In The Rain (1969)
Side A

  1. Gentle On My Mind
  2. Only The Strong Survive
  3. Kentucky Rain
  4. It Keeps Right On A-Hurtin’
  5. Don’t Cry Daddy
  6. I’m Movin’ On

Side B

  1. Long Black Limousine
  2. You’ll Think Of Me
  3. Inherit The Wind
  4. If I’m A Fool
  5. Mama Liked The Roses
  6. The Fair Is Moving On

Elvis Now: Stranger In The Crowd (1970)
Side A

  1. Stranger In The Crowd
  2. I’ve Lost You
  3. How The Web Was Woven
  4. You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me
  5. Sylvia
  6. The Sound Of Your Cry

Side B

  1. Patch It Up
  2. Twenty Days And Twenty Nights
  3. Just Pretend
  4. The Next Step Is Love
  5. Mary In The Morning
  6. Bridge Over Troubled Water (Heart & Soul mix)

Tomorrow Never Comes: Elvis Country – Volume 2 (1970)
Side A

  1. The Fool
  2. Little Cabin Home On The Hill
  3. Tomorrow Never Comes
  4. Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On
  5. Funny How Time Slips Away
  6. I Really Don’t Want To Know

Side B

  1. It’s Your Baby, You Rock It
  2. Faded Love
  3. Snowbird
  4. There Goes My Everything
  5. I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water
  6. Make The World Go Away

Still Here (1971)
Side A

  1. Early Morning Rain
  2. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
  3. It’s Only Love
  4. Help Me Make It Through The Night
  5. Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right
  6. Until It’s Time For You To Go

Side B

  1. I’m Leavin’
  2. For Lovin’ Me
  3. It’s Still Here
  4. I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen
  5. I Will Be True
  6. We Can Make The Morning

Home On Christmas Day (1971)
Side A

  1. O Come All Ye Faithful
  2. The First Noel
  3. On A Snowy Christmas Night
  4. If I Get Home On Christmas Day
  5. The Wonderful World Of Christmas
  6. It Won’t Seem Like Christmas

Side B

  1. Silver Bells
  2. Holly Leaves And Christmas Trees
  3. Winter Wonderland
  4. Merry Christmas Baby
  5. I’ll Be Home On Christmas Day (Remake)

Amazing Grace (1970-1971)
Side A

  1. I’ve Got Confidence
  2. Seeing Is Believing
  3. He Touched Me
  4. Put Your Hand In The Hand
  5. Lead Me, Guide Me
  6. Bosom Of Abraham

Side B

  1. Only Believe
  2. I, John
  3. Life
  4. Amazing Grace (Take 2)
  5. I Was Born About Ten Thousand Years Ago
  6. An Evening Prayer

Burning Love (1970-1972)
Side A

  1. Burning Love
  2. Separate Ways
  3. Love Me, Love The Life I Lead
  4. Where Do I Go From Here
  5. Got My Mojo Working/Keep Your Hands Off Of It
  6. Rags To Riches

Side B

  1. It’s A Matter Of Time
  2. Heart Of Rome
  3. Where Did They Go, Lord
  4. I’ll Never Know
  5. Fool
  6. Always On My Mind

Promised Land (1973)
Side A

  1. Promised Land
  2. Lovin’ Arms
  3. I’ve Got A Thing About You, Baby
  4. You Asked Me To
  5. If You Talk In Your Sleep
  6. For Ol’ Times Sake

Side B

  1. Thinking About You
  2. It’s Midnight
  3. Help Me
  4. My Boy
  5. Good Time Charlie’s Got The Blues
  6. Your Love’s Been A Long Time Coming

Bringing It Back (1973, 1975)
Side A

  1. T-R-O-U-B-L-E
  2. Love Song Of The Year
  3. There’s A Honky Tonk Angel
  4. Fairytale
  5. Are You Sincere
  6. Bringing It Back

Side B

  1. And I Love You So
  2. Sweet Angeline
  3. Pieces Of My Life
  4. Mr. Songman
  5. Green, Green Grass Of Home
  6. Shake A Hand

Moody Blue: From Elvis At Graceland (1976)
Side A

  1. For The Heart
  2. Solitaire
  3. Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain
  4. She Thinks I Still Care (Take 2B)
  5. Danny Boy
  6. Way Down

Side B

  1. Hurt
  2. Never Again
  3. It’s Easy For You
  4. Moody Blue
  5. He’ll Have To Go
  6. Pledging My Love

The music never ends on . . . the edge of reality.

[With apologies to Serling.]


“Blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”
Jeremiah 17:7-8 NLT

The Elvis Movie Awards (The Edge Of Reality #9)

What if the “Elvis movie” genre had its own awards show? Take a walk down the sepia carpet into. . . the edge of reality.

The Edge Of Reality

Below are the winners of the Elvis Movie Awards. Each winner takes home a prestigious Hal statuette.

Song

“Jailhouse Rock” from Jailhouse Rock — Lyrics by Jerry Leiber; Music by Mike Stoller

Documentary

Elvis—That’s The Way It Is — Herbert F. Solow and Dale Hutchinson, Producers

Writing

King Creole — Herbert Baker, Michael Vincente Gazzo

Actress In A Supporting Role

Dolores Hart in LOVING YOU

Dolores Hart in LOVING YOU

Dolores Hart — Loving You (“Susan Jessup”)

Actor In A Supporting Role

Walter Matthau in KING CREOLE

Walter Matthau in KING CREOLE

Walter Matthau — King Creole (“Maxie Fields”)

Actress

Ann-Margret in VIVA LAS VEGAS

Ann-Margret in VIVA LAS VEGAS

Ann-Margret — Viva Las Vegas (“Rusty Martin”)

Actor

Elvis Presley in CHANGE OF HABIT

Elvis Presley in CHANGE OF HABIT

Elvis Presley — Change of Habit (“Dr. John Carpenter”)

Directing

King Creole — Michael Curtiz

Best Motion Picture

Jailhouse Rock — Pandro S. Berman, Producer


Winners are now on their way to the most exclusive after party of them all, located somewhere deep in the heart of… the edge of reality.

[With apologies to Serling.]

Ghouls, Ghouls, Ghouls: Elvis’ New Halloween Album Scares Up A Review (The Edge Of Reality #8)

You’re journeying into a fantastic realm whose limits are only that of imagination. There’s the station up ahead. Your next stop… the edge of reality.

The Edge Of Reality

The original version of Elvis’ Halloween Album has served us well for years, but RCA recently released a reconfigured version on their Camden budget label. With gas prices soaring to 40 cents a gallon and first-class postage stamps at an unbelievable 8 cents, 1971 is turning out to be a very expensive year for everyone. Elvis fans have it even worse, though, as this “new” record is just the latest in a series of Presley releases this year.

This time out, RCA/Camden has dropped the non-Halloween selections that filled out the original version of Elvis’ Halloween Album and replaced them with a couple of newer chilling tracks – including the weirdest Elvis song ever released.

I’m referring to the leadoff song, “Moonlight Sonata.” While someone plays the Beethoven piece on the piano, Elvis and others accompany with various vocal tones: “Duhhhh duhhhh duhhhhhh….”

It sounds like it was recorded on a personal tape recorder at Elvis’ home, but the lower sound quality actually adds to the haunting effect. Only Elvis could get away with putting this out on record, yet it works!

Another new addition is “Cotton Candy Land,” which was recently featured in Clint Eastwood’s directorial debut, Play ‘Cotton Candy Land’ For Me. I won’t spoil the movie, since it features one of Elvis’ best roles since King Creole, except to say that you know bad things are about to happen whenever a certain character plays this song.

There are still a couple of months left in 1971, and RCA is not finished with us yet. That’s right, even more new Elvis releases are on the way. As for the new version of Elvis’ Halloween Album, I give it an 8 out of 10. Worth picking up if you don’t already have the original or if you want to hear the bizarre “Moonlight Sonata.”
Elvis' Halloween Album (1971 Reissue)

Elvis’ Halloween Album (1971 Edition)

Side A
Moonlight Sonata
Devil In Disguise
Night Rider
Ghost Riders In The Sky
Edge Of Reality

Side B
Dark Moon
Witchcraft
Mystery Train
Blue Moon
Cotton Candy Land

This imaginary album is available only in… the edge of reality.

[With apologies to Serling.]

Guest Blog #6: From Hawaii To The Rest Of The World (The Edge Of Reality #7)

What if the previously unreleased cassette recording of Elvis rehearsing the day before his opening show at the Las Vegas Hilton on January 26, 1973, had been a rehearsal for an upcoming world tour instead? In an alternate universe, a review of the recently released From Hawaii To Las Vegas album from FTD would have sounded a bit different…. You’ve just crossed over into… the edge of reality.

The Edge Of Reality

[Read the full post by Thomas Melin over on Elvis Today Blog.]

Choose Your Elvis Adventure: 600 Seconds (The Edge Of Reality #6)

We’re journeying into an amazing realm whose limits are only that of imagination. Look! There’s the station up ahead. Our next stop… the edge of reality.

The Edge Of Reality

You have discovered a one-of-a-kind audio recorder that captures perfect sound quality.  What sets this device apart from those you can find at your corner electronics store is that it can also travel through time to any moment in the life of one Elvis Presley.

There are two conditions. It can only make one round-trip journey through time, and it can only record for ten minutes.

You hold the audio recorder in your hand now, considering your options. Elvis lived for over 22 million minutes. Which ten do you want to record?

Is it Elvis jamming with the Beatles on August 27, 1965? Is it Elvis singing for the last time at his piano on August 16, 1977? Or maybe some other time in some other place?

Explain what you would record and why in the comments below or by providing a link to a response on your blog or site.

Elvis on the edge of reality

Object known as a recorder, vintage uncertain, origin unknown. This recorder, this one’s unusual, because it happens to be a fact that the recordings that it makes can only be played back on… the edge of reality.

[With apologies to Serling.]

The Audition (The Edge Of Reality #5)

Witness one anxious singer as she enters her final audition, in a place located just north of… the edge of reality.

When was the last time she had truly auditioned for anything? She could not remember. As she sat in the little lobby, waiting her turn, someone continued pounding the piano in a bombastic style in the next room, just beyond a closed door.

Over the piano, she could also hear a male voice. “I need your love,” the captivating voice sang. He sounded so familiar, but she could not place him. “God… speed your love… to… me,” he finished on a high note and added a flourish of piano keys.

No trace of doubt. No trace of strain. Every note perfect.

Was this her competition?

How could she top that?

She hated that she had to ask those questions. At one time, it would not have mattered. Her voice would have carried her well beyond any challenger. But now, things were different.

Dressed in blue, the guard rose and fished through dangling keys on a ring before inserting one into the doorknob. “You can go in,” he said, holding the door open for her.

“You really have this place locked down. You must get a lot of crime here.”

“No, not exactly,” he said, and ushered her inside.

She walked into a large, dim studio. The only thing cutting through the darkness was a single spotlight, shining down on a young man sitting before a grand piano.

“Hello?” her voice squeaked. After hearing the awe-inspiring song from the lobby, she was completely nervous. So much for all the practicing.

“I’m ready when you are,” he said.

She could not even remember what she planned to perform.

As if sensing this, the young man began playing a quiet melody. She knew the song. She had practically grown up singing it.

“Yes, Jesus loves me…” she began singing. She knew immediately. Her voice, her gift, was finally back. Like it was before. Full of joy, she wanted to cry, but she kept going, “…for the Bible tells me so.”

The song seemed to come from within her. The more she sang, the more she realized this was not like before. Even then, she had not been able to sing like this.

She wanted to go on singing forever, but she soon came to the end of the song. She realized she was now within the warmth of the spotlight, too. The young man behind the piano was smiling.

“Have we met? You seem so familiar,” she said.

“Yes, but you were just a little girl back then.”

She laughed. “When I was a little girl? You’re not even half my age, you know.”

“It depends on the day,” he said. “And, by the way, welcome to the show.”

“You mean, I made it? I’m in? No call-backs?”

His blue eyes sparkled in amusement. “You made it as soon as he let you through that door,” he said.

“Then, what was all this?”

“I just wanted to hear you sing. Back then, I had to go, before I ever had the chance. Your voice is so powerful.”

“I know… I don’t know where that came from.” The tears began flowing from her eyes.

“Honey, don’t cry.” His voice was suddenly different, like that of a father. She looked at him again, and he seemed older. She felt younger, like she was six-years-old again.

She recognized him now.

His hands began playing another melody on the keyboard. An old country song. His voice boomed as he sang, “In the twilight glow, I see her…”

He stopped and said, “That new strength in your voice, part of it comes from joy, you see. Your music brings happiness to millions of people, and now you have all of that joy within you. They are sharing it with you.”

She understood now. “But I did so many things wrong,” she said.

“So did I,” he said and shook his head, lost in thought for a moment. “So did all of us.”

“Then, how did we make it here?” she asked.

“Our audience is very forgiving.”

“He’s here with us?”

“He always has been, Whitney. He always has been,” said Elvis.

Two legends, united in destiny and still making music on… the edge of reality.

[With apologies to Serling.]

The Audition


Last Saturday night, I was browsing through some of my favorite sites before I went to bed. I checked The Sheila Variations blog for any new pieces. The top story featured an embedded video of Whitney Houston singing “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

The story had no text, but Sheila’s headline was simple, effective, and haunting: How I Will Always Remember Her.

The words sent a chill through me. Why would she title her post something like that? My heart did not want to know, but my mind understood exactly what it meant.

Still feeling cold, I went to Yahoo News and confirmed the worst. Whitney Houston was dead. As I began to read the story, I queued up “The Greatest Love Of All,” the first Whitney song I’d ever heard. Memories of being a fifth-grader in elementary school came flooding back. My teacher, a gifted educator and vocalist, sang this to us one day and told us all about a young singer named Whitney Houston.

Next up, I played “I Will Always Love You,” a song that Whitney simply owned. No one, not even the songwriter, can sing that one like Whitney did in her prime. Not even close.

I’m not going to pretend I’ve been a huge Whitney Houston fan for all of these years. For a period of time in the early 1990s, though, she was one of my favorite singers. Eventually, I overplayed her albums and moved on to other artists.

I didn’t follow her as closely after that, but I still rooted for her. I was sorry to learn of her struggles, and I was always hoping that, somehow, she would work things out and stage a huge comeback.

“Now, she won’t get her comeback,” is actually one of the first things I thought about when learning she had passed away. In fact, that thought was the beginning of the above short story.

The night Whitney Houston died, I concluded my impromptu tribute by playing the “Star-Spangled Banner.” I remembered watching the live television broadcast of Super Bowl XXV in 1991 when she performed what would soon become the gold standard against which all other versions of the National Anthem are judged.

The song ended, but before I could close iTunes, Whitney’s version of “America The Beautiful” began. I just couldn’t turn it off, so I considered it an encore.

Farewell, Whitney. Thank you for the music.


This post is dedicated with respect to the memory of Whitney Houston, 1963-2012. Her music lives on.

Guest Blog #4: Elvis 1967 – That Wild Presley Beat (The Edge Of Reality #4)

What if the follow-up to the critically-acclaimed and Grammy-nominated Young Man With The Big Beat box set turned out to be something called That Wild Presley Beat, focusing on 1967? You’ve just crossed over into . . . the edge of reality.

 “THAT WILD PRESLEY BEAT” 5-CD Deluxe Set

1967 saw the beginning of Elvis Presley’s return to the charts with songs that were once again artistically significant. But it didn’t happen overnight. The once “young man with the big beat” from Memphis was still tied to the formula of making movies and recording soundtrack albums. By the end of that fateful year, though, he’d shown the world that he was still a force to be reckoned with.

That Wild Presley Beat

That Wild Presley Beat puts the focus on Elvis during 12 months, from February 1967 to January 1968. The package includes his RCA studio master recordings in Nashville; his soundtrack master recordings in Nashville and Hollywood; alternate masters, outtakes; home recordings, and much more. Taking its name from the poster for his movie Clambake, the super deluxe 5-CD, 12 inch square box set (with an amazing 80-page book with timeline) will be available on April 31.

The five CD’s comprise the following, all material originating from February 1967-January 1968:

CD One, Soundtrack Master Recordings
19 tracks recorded in Nashville and Hollywood, starting with nine songs from Clambake, (February 21-23, 1967) followed by 10 songs from Speedway, including the previously unreleased movie version of “Your Time Hasn’t Come Yet Baby” (June 20-21, 1967).

CD Two, Studio and Soundtrack Master Recordings
17 tracks recorded in Nashville, starting with 10 songs from the “Guitar Man sessions,” including the unedited masters of “Guitar Man” (with a fade-out jam on “What’d I Say”) and “High Heel Sneakers” (September 10-11, 1967), followed by three songs from Stay Away, Joe (October 1, 1967) and four more songs from the combined studio sessions/soundtrack recordings for Stay Away, Joe (January 15-16, 1968).

CD Three, The Outtakes I
Four outtakes from the Clambake soundtrack recordings (“The Girl I Never Loved,” “How Can You Lose What You Never Had,” “You Don’t Know Me,” “A House That Has Everything”), segueing into the complete session of October 1, 1967 (19 takes of “Stay Away, Joe,” three takes of “All I Needed Was The Rain” and five takes of “Dominick”).

CD Four, The Outtakes II
Nine outtakes from the “Guitar Man sessions” plus another 15 outtakes from the combined studio sessions/soundtrack recordings for Stay Away, Joe, including all 12 takes of “Too Much Monkey Business.”

CD Five, Home Recordings and Interview
Eight home recorded tracks done in early 1967, including “Suppose” that Elvis submitted to his producer Felton Jarvis for overdubbing (done on March 20, 1967) by musicians and backup vocalists. The other seven tracks are previously unreleased, among them “It’s Now Or Never” (with Charlie Hodge) and “Elvis Practicing Organ.” The CD ends with a newly discovered interview with Elvis on the set of Stay Away, Joe. The interview was done and taped by reporter Joseph Lewis, doing a story for the Cosmopolitan.

That Wild Presley Beat will feature an extraordinary book, where the focal point, spread across its 80 pages, will be a unique, meticulously-researched, day-by-day chronology of Elvis during 1967, including every recording date, film schedule, personal events in his life, and much more. A dazzling photo array of memorabilia will illustrate each day and entry. Movie posters, RCA memoranda, letters from fans, postcards from Elvis to his family, personal photos, magazine covers and articles, trade charts, fan club relics, RCA publicity photos, candid photos, and more will be a feast for the eyes and the imagination as 1967 unfolds.

That Wild Presley Beat will also include five rare 8×10 photographs, three original-size movie poster replicas, and a replica of the “specially autographed” wedding photo originally included as a special bonus inside the Clambake album.

Pre-order customers will also receive an exclusive “Stay Away, Joe” vinyl 7″. Sharing the same striking cover art as the movie poster, the EP features “Stay Away, Joe,” “Goin’ Home,” “All I Needed Was The Rain,” “Stay Away” and “Dominick.”

This imaginary box set is available only in . . . the edge of reality.

/Thomas, Elvis Today


Throughout 2011, The Mystery Train Blog has commemorated the 44th anniversary of 1967. Find out why here. This concludes our coverage.