On The Elvis Beat: From Elvis In Memphis/A Life In 57 Albums/John Walker Ross

Welcome to the first edition of On The Elvis Beat, a new, continuing series on The Mystery Train Blog. On The Elvis Beat will feature a short roundup of interesting tidbits from around the online Elvis world.


As of late, one of my favorite posts to write was “Blogs! Blogs! Blogs!” where I pointed you to various other Elvis sites. In that spirit, On The Elvis Beat begins.

Thomas Melin over at The Elvis Today Blog continues to post must-read content. After reviewing the new 33 1/3: From Elvis In Memphis book (“From Elvis In Memphis Revisited“), he interviewed the author, Eric Wolfson (“From Elvis In Memphis: The Eric Wolfson Interview [Part 1]“). I enjoyed Thomas’ review so much that I immediately ordered the book. It is now in a very large pile, waiting for me to have time enough at last to read them all.

Howard Jackson is 19 albums deep into a 57 album look at Elvis’ life and times that began back in November with his debut album, Elvis Presley (“Elvis Presley — A Life In 57 Record Albums 1: Elvis Presley“). What I enjoy about Howard’s series is that he intermingles in-depth looks at the albums with personal reflections. The Elvis portion of his site can be found in the Music, Stuff and Elvis section.

Finally, Neal Umphred on his Elvis — A Touch of Gold site provided a worthy tribute to his friend and collaborator John Walker Ross, AKA “Nondisposable Johnny” of The Round Place in the Middle, who passed away last month (“John Walker Ross — Rest in peace, my friend“). While I unfortunately never got to know Nondisposable Johnny personally, I enjoyed reading his blog over the years. He also commented here on The Mystery Train about a dozen times. Back in 2012, I asked readers what Elvis event they would record with an audio time machine. Here is Nondisposable Johnny’s response:

“I want the recorder to be trained on Elvis at the moment when they came and got him out of the theater the night ‘That’s Alright Mama’ was first played on the radio. Love to see his expression at the very first moment when he might have had some inkling that there was a public out there that might actually respond to what was in his head.”

He’ll be missed. I’m praying for his family and friends to have strength and peace.


“My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.”
Psalm 73:26

Shoppin’ Around: Elvis Presley 2011 Christmas Gift Guide

For those of you that know and love an Elvis fan, here are some Christmas gift ideas that suit a wide variety of budgets. Price ranges listed are in US dollars, but most of these items are available around the world.

Under $10

The Elvis Today Blog (book): By relating his personal experiences, author Thomas Melin crafts a unique volume that follows the triumphs and trials of being an Elvis fan in the post-1977 era (Read full review). Available from Blurb.

Treat Me Nice (book, Kindle edition):Treat Me Nice argues that Elvis and the Frankenstein Creature were condemned to self-destruction because they both horrified their creators,” states an intriguing marketing excerpt for this book by Howard Jackson (not yet reviewed). Available from Amazon. Also available in traditional book format.

That’s Alright, Elvis (book, 2011 Kindle edition): Long out-of-print, the autobiography of Scotty Moore is now available on Kindle from Amazon (not yet reviewed).

Under $20

Elvis Is Back! (2-CD set, 2011 Legacy Edition): This release contains 1960’s Elvis Is Back! and 1961’s Elvis For Everyone. Elvis is in top form here, and these recordings have never sounded better. A few bonus tracks are also included on each disc, from the same time period. Recommended for intermediate fans who are just beginning to explore Elvis beyond the typical greatest hits collections. Strong fans will already have this material.

Elvis: The Great Performances (2-DVD set, 2011 reissue): This set covers his life and career. The two volumes (Center Stage and The Man & His Music) are 1990 documentaries that updated 1981’s This Is Elvis. Though much ground is covered, watching the set often feels repetitive. Recommended for casual fans only. A modern documentary of Elvis is sorely needed.

Under $30

Elvis Sings Guitar Man (2011, booklet cover)

Elvis Sings Guitar Man (2-CD set): Strong fans will enjoy this release from the Follow That Dream collectors label. This is a unique album, compiling 1966-1967 masters and alternates to better document an important timeframe in Elvis’ career. A highlight is hearing him in the studio with Jerry Reed (Read full review). Find FTD releases at ShopElvis.com and other online Elvis stores.

Live In Vegas (2011)Live In Vegas: August 26, 1969 Dinner Show (CD): Another FTD release that every strong fan should have, this one showcases Elvis Presley at his best on stage in a sound presentation that is richly mastered and crystal clear.

Forty-Eight Hours To Memphis (2011)Forty-Eight Hours To Memphis: Recorded Live On Stage In Richmond, Virginia – March 18, 1974 (CD): At the Richmond Coliseum, Elvis proves he is still on top in this FTD release. Highlights of this newly discovered professional recording include “Steamroller Blues,” “Polk Salad Annie,” and the “Rock Medley” (Read full review).

Around $100

Young Man With The Big Beat: The Complete 1956 Elvis Presley Masters (5-CD set): For strong fans, the main draw of this beautifully designed, deluxe package from Sony is the first-ever release of Elvis’ final Louisiana Hayride appearance from December 1956. The concert is spectacular. For those fans who do not wish to purchase the entire set for just a few tracks, Sony has also made the tracks available for individual purchase and download. That means you can buy the Hayride show for only $10. No need to go with an unauthorized version on this one. For intermediate fans who do not yet have the other tracks, there is even more to enjoy.

Good luck with your Christmas shopping. Feel free to comment below on any other Elvis goodies you may find along the way.