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 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.

And all four speakers were blaring Elvis

The latest FTD release, Live In Vegas: August 26, 1969 Dinner Show, arrived at my house yesterday. I resisted the urge to give it a quick listen last night so that I can give it proper attention this weekend. I’ll be reviewing this one soon, and I can’t wait to hear it. I wonder if my neighbors would mind if I blared an Elvis concert at 6:30 in the morning? Of course, it wouldn’t be the first time.

* * *

Came across a nice little Elvis mention courtesy of Google News while web surfing last night. I started to post a link here, but was too sleepy to type coherently. I’m definitely a morning person, you see. Anyway, over on JSOnline, the web site of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, someone wrote the following comment and question to “Mr. Music:”

I know the peak time for quadraphonic albums is around 1975. But the first quad LP I bought was ‘Aloha From Hawaii via Satellite,’ the soundtrack of Elvis Presley’s 1973 Honolulu concert. Since this came out before quad’s heyday, is it the first quad album? I’ll bet it is the top-selling quad release. Also, did anyone ever make quad singles?”- Jeremy Norbert, Milwaukee

Quadraphonic sound was an early consumer version of what we now call surround sound. In stereo sound, the audio is separated into two distinct channels. In quadraphonic sound, the audio was separated into four distinct channels – meaning you would listen with four speakers. Though it was indeed used for Aloha From Hawaii via Satellite, the format did not catch on.

I didn’t even notice this last night, but another perusal of the article just now reveals that “Mr. Music” is none other than renowned record collecting and Elvis expert/author Jerry Osborne. No wonder I was so impressed with his response. I was surprised last night that a “mainstream media” member could give such a knowledgable reply without tossing in snide comments or jokes about Elvis in the 70s. Now it all makes sense.

Check out Osborne’s reply: “Elvis in Hawaii helped take sound to a new level” — JSOnline. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on Osborne’s Mr. Music column in the future.

An updated version of Osborne’s Elvis: Like Any Other Soldier book is available now. You can find out more information about his publications over at Jerry Osborne’s site.

By Any Other Name

A couple of weeks ago, I told you about the forthcoming Follow That Dream Records release White Knight In Vegas. FTD, which is Sony’s collectors label for Elvis fans, announced yesterday that the CD has been retitled to Live In Vegas: August 26, 1969 Dinner Show. Content is the same as previously reported. The February 15 release date is apparently unaffected, though I would not be surprised if there turns out to be a slight delay.

One of the best music blogs around is The Second Disc, which I visit daily. It focuses on catalog releases across a full spectrum of genres. Though I am not likely to create a blog devoted to anyone else, my music tastes go far beyond Elvis, and I always find something of interest there.

The Second Disc also does a good job of covering Elvis’ Sony releases. I was glad to see earlier this week that FTD is now on their radar as well, with a story about the then-titled White Knight In Vegas release.

It’s always good to see Elvis releases covered on sites that are not specifically about him. For other artists, I find out about and purchase many releases I would not otherwise know about due to The Second Disc, and the same may hold true for more casual Elvis listeners who visit that site.

Does every FTD release warrant such exposure? No, but Live In Vegas certainly does, as well as titles in the FTD Classic Album series, which features reissues of original albums with tons of outtakes.

Last month, FTD completed its Classic Album coverage of the November 1957 Jailhouse Rock Extended Play album with the two-disc Jailhouse Rock, Volume 2. Between the two volumes, this means that FTD devoted four CDs to what was originally a five-song EP. Now, that’s what I call a collectors label!

FTD’s next Classic Album entry has not yet been announced, but I’m hoping for coverage of the January 1975 LP album Promised Land (recorded in 1973).

The FTD label began in 1999 and has released nearly 100 titles so far, more albums in eleven years than Elvis released during his entire twenty-three year career. FTD releases are available from and other online Elvis retailers. Since they originate in Denmark and then ship to retailers, there is usually a two or three week delay after the “release date” before the CDs arrive for those of us in the United States – though that delay seems to be less lately. FTD releases are usually worth the wait.