A Squirrel Loose at the Big, Freaky International Hotel (Part 1)

“Welcome to the big, freaky International Hotel, with these little, weirdo dolls on the walls and these little funky angels on the ceiling. You ain’t seen nothing until you’ve seen a funky angel, boy. I tell you for sure.”
–Elvis Presley, 1969, on the ornate design of the hotel’s concert showroom

Sony Legacy last year released Elvis Live 1969, a boxed set containing all 11 concerts RCA recorded during Elvis Presley’s August 1969 engagement at the International Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The concert series, which spanned 57 shows from July 31 to August 28, represented the singer’s first appearance on a public stage in nearly 9 years – though he had performed 4 shows in front of small audiences at NBC’s studio in Burbank, California, as part of taping his ELVIS television special the previous summer.

RCA cherry-picked 12 of the strongest performances from 3 of the 1969 shows to form the Elvis In Person portion of the From Memphis To Vegas/From Vegas To Memphis double album, released in November 1969. A year later, RCA re-released Elvis In Person as a stand-alone album with the same content.

As for the rest of the performances, they amazingly remained in the vault until after Elvis’ death. While RCA released several individual songs over the years, including a compilation disc on 1991’s Collectors Gold boxed set, a complete 1969 show did not officially surface until 2001’s Live In Las Vegas boxed set.

By the time of Elvis Live 1969 last year, however, 7 of the 11 shows had already been released in their entireties on CD, with a good portion of songs from 3 of the 4 remaining shows having been released as well – many of them on Sony’s Follow That Dream (FTD) collectors label for Elvis fans.

Elvis Live 1969 stands out among the previous releases because it gathers all of the recordings in one place for the first time, with homogeneous sound quality. The recordings capture the August 21-26 portion of the engagement.

Sony Legacy’s ELVIS LIVE 1969 boxed set (2019, from Tygrrius’ collection)

Mixed by Matt Ross-Spang in what was apparently a marathon session, Elvis Live 1969 features a “slapback” echo effect mimicking the sound of Elvis’ first recordings in 1954 & 1955 at Sun Studio in Memphis. Ross-Spang had applied the same effect to alternate takes on 2016’s Way Down in the Jungle Room, an overview of Elvis’ last formal recordings in 1976 at Graceland.

As it was not representative of the original intent in 1976 or 1969, some fans have been quite critical of Ross-Spang’s slapback effect. As for me, I don’t mind it at all. It breathed some life into the 1976 studio recordings and brought Elvis’ music full-circle, in a sense, with an homage to the Sun sound. Though less effective on the 1969 live recordings, it’s not too distracting. On a few songs, such as “Mystery Train,” which of course originated in the Sun era anyway, the effect can actually be phenomenal.

Where I differ from Ross-Spang on Elvis Live 1969 is on some of his mixing choices, especially as far as which instruments are prominent. For instance, horns overwhelm a portion of James Burton’s lead guitar solo in the middle of the “Blue Suede Shoes” opener on all 11 shows. The horns weren’t even audible at all during Burton’s solo on the original Elvis In Person album and most of the subsequent revisits of this material.

The horns distracting from the lead guitar vaguely reminds me of Elvis’ February 11, 1956, appearance on Stage Show (CBS), the Jackie Gleason-produced television series hosted by Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey. In his third of six appearances on the program, Elvis debuts “Heartbreak Hotel” for the national TV audience. At the point where Scotty Moore would normally rip into his now classic electric guitar solo, a trumpeter improvises a jazz-inspired solo instead. While I enjoy jazz, it did not work in the context of this rock ‘n’ roll song. Fortunately, Moore is able to let loose in performances of “Heartbreak Hotel” on two subsequent shows. The 1969 “Blue Suede Shoes” is thankfully not affected to nearly this extent, though, for Burton is at least playing his solo!

Another example is that Larry Muhoberac’s piano is mixed far too loudly on certain shows, especially the August 26 Midnight Show, the last 1969 concert captured. Was Ross-Spang running out of time or is this truly how he felt the show should sound? “Mystery Train/Tiger Man,” which should be a showcase for the guitar and drums, suffers greatly from the distracting and overbearing piano in this particular show.

The August 25 Dinner Show and August 26 Dinner Show versions of “Mystery Train/Tiger Man” are similarly impacted by too much piano in the mix. Five of the remaining shows that include this medley fortunately keep the piano at low or moderate volumes, while the August 25 Midnight Show version, which was the performance used as the master on Elvis In Person, actually strikes a great balance – having the piano quite present but at an appropriate level.

Of course, it is all a matter of taste. For an Elvis live show, I want the lead guitar (Burton), Elvis guitar (when applicable), drums (Ronnie Tutt), and bass (Jerry Scheff) prominent in the mix among the instruments, generally in that order of priority, but certainly varying to some extent per song.

The rock ‘n’ roll numbers, at least, should heavily feature guitar, drums, and bass. That is the core of rock ‘n’ roll, Elvis style. The piano, other guitars, and orchestra should be present as needed, but not so much as to overwhelm that core. The piano is far less annoying on a slow song like “Love Me Tender,” for instance, where it better suits being prominent in the mix.

To be clear, the mixing on the majority of these shows is great. For example, “Mystery Train/Tiger Man” is mixed to perfection on the August 22 Midnight Show and is of course buoyed by a committed and powerful vocal performance by Elvis, as with many of the songs in this boxed set. This version of “Mystery Train” I can’t help but crank up every single time it comes on, much as I do with the 1955 Sun studio master.

Ross-Spang also tends to favor the Sweet Inspirations over the Imperials, as far as the background vocalists – an approach I heartily support. Millie Kirkham notwithstanding, Elvis sounds better with female voices behind him instead of males, and I love the Gospel-infused quality of the Sweet Inspirations. I should note that I intend no disrespect to any of the musicians and singers involved, all of whom are very talented. I am just talking about how I best feel the music when it comes to Elvis.

Before I get too far off track here, I think that covers it for the technical aspects of the set. I actually wasn’t even intending for this to become a review per se, but I just go where the writing leads me.

Next week, we’ll continue our look at Elvis Live 1969 and, possibly, get to the actual reason I started this post.

Blessings,
TY

[Read Part 2]


“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.”
Proverb 31:8-9

That’s All Right: July 5, 1954

Above is a SUN 209 reproduction from my collection. I hope someday to own the real thing!

Above is a SUN 209 reproduction from my collection. I hope someday to own the real thing!

Sixty years ago today, on July 5, 1954, the whole world changed for 19-year-old Elvis Presley as he recorded his first record for Sam Phillips at SUN Records, “That’s All Right.” Soon thereafter, Elvis would change the whole world.

What I love about the SUN version of this song is that you can hear the joy in Elvis’s voice as he sings the blues number. Backed only by Scotty Moore on electric guitar, Bill Black on the upright bass, and his own strumming on acoustic guitar, Elvis poured his all into the song and produced something that transcended its individual parts.

Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup wrote and recorded “That’s All Right” in 1946 for the RCA Bluebird label. Both recordings are essential in the history of American music.

Though “That’s All Right” essentially became a regional hit for Elvis, in less than two years he would become an international superstar.

Recommended reading to learn more at some of my favorite sites:

REVIEW: Elvis – The Complete Masters Collection (Part 6)

This is Part 6 of an occasional series reviewing Elvis: The Complete Masters Collection. Read Part 5.


CD Vol. 8: Country Roots

This volume of The Franklin Mint‘s 36-disc Elvis: The Complete Masters Collection (mastered by Vic Anesini) presents songs that the booklet describes as follows:

“Elvis’ renditions of some of the biggest country songs ever. His tribute to country music and the legends who created it: Hank Williams, Red Foley, and many others.”

This sounds like a potential winner to me, but let’s see how it plays out.

Elvis: The Complete Masters Collection - Volume 8

Elvis: The Complete Masters Collection – Volume 8

01. I Love You Because: Of the 21 songs that make up this CD, the compiler could not have made a choice worse than “I Love You Because” to use as the lead-off track. When Elvis Presley made this recording at SUN Records in 1954, owner and producer Sam Phillips wisely rejected it. Shortly thereafter, Elvis, bassist Bill Black, and guitarist Scotty Moore “stumbled upon” the rock ‘n’ roll sound when horsing around with “That’s All Right.” Unfortunately, RCA Records – beginning a trend that would last for the rest of Elvis’ life – dug “I Love You Because” out of the rejects pile and issued a spliced version in 1956 not only on the Elvis Presley LP but as the A-Side of a single! The single failed to chart, and this recording is of interest only as a historical curiosity. (Recorded: 1954)

02. Blue Moon Of Kentucky: “Blue Moon Of Kentucky,” on the other hand, is a perfect representation of “Elvis Country.” A rhytym & blues-infused take on a country/bluegrass song, “Blue Moon Of Kentucky” served well as the B-Side of “That’s All Right” (a country-infused take on a rhythm & blues number). In some markets, “Blue Moon Of Kentucky” was more popular than the A-Side – likely because the song was a little more conventional for those audiences than the comparatively wild “That’s All Right.” (Recorded: 1954)

03. I’ll Never Let You Go: “I’ll Never Let You Go” is another 1954 SUN reject that RCA issued in 1956 on the Elvis Presley LP and as an A-Side single. While not stellar, this one is far more listenable than “I Love You Because.” This one features a slow start before eventually speeding up – a precursor of what Elvis would do not only on “Milkcow Blues Boogie” later that year, but also on live versions of “Hound Dog” years later in 1972. (Recorded: 1954)

04. How’s The World Treating You: “How’s The World Treating You” is a decent recording by Elvis. This one is slow and sleepy, as with the beginning of “I’ll Never Let You Go.” Unlike that track, however, this one stays slow and sleepy. (Recorded: 1956)

05. Old Shep: Elvis had been singing Red Foley’s “Old Shep” since childhood before he formally recorded it in September 1956. As a dog-lover, I find this melodramatic yet effective song hard to listen to at certain points in my life – depending on how my dog is doing at the time. I take these things to heart. A great, classic Elvis recording. (Recorded: 1956)

06. Your Cheatin’ Heart: I love Elvis’ take on Hank Williams’ “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” though I slightly prefer a more enthusiastic alternate take over this master. It would be years before Elvis made such an overtly country recording again. (Recorded: 1958)

07. A Fool Such As I: There is very little country left in Elvis’ iconic version of “A Fool Such As I,” a song that had been previously recorded by Hank Snow. (Recorded: 1958)

08. It’s A Sin: “It’s A Sin” was first recorded by Eddy Arnold in 1947. Elvis’ version is pretty, but a little lethargic for my tastes. (Recorded: 1961)

09. Just Call Me Lonesome: In addition to the How Great Thou Art sessions, another early sign of the comeback was Elvis returning to country music. “Just Call Me Lonesome” is a great representative of that return. What I love about “Elvis Country” is that instead of whining sounds sometimes associated with the genre, Elvis usually provides velvet vocals. (Recorded: 1967)

10. You Don’t Know Me: Elvis’ moving rendition of Eddy Arnold’s “You Don’t Know Me” was unfortunately buried on the Clambake soundtrack album. The first version I ever heard of “You Don’t Know Me” was actually by Ray Charles. The first time I heard it, in the original theatrical cut of Groundhog Day, I remember wishing that Elvis had recorded it. I was pleasantly surprised a few years later when the unknown-to-me Elvis recording surfaced on From Nashville To Memphis: The Complete 60s Masters I. Incidentally, Elvis also recorded a different version of “You Don’t Know Me” for the Clambake movie, but it is far inferior to this re-recording and was not released until after his death (other than in the actual movie). (Recorded: 1967)

11. I’m Movin’ On: Next up are some songs recorded at American Sound Studios in Memphis in early 1969, not long after the successful airing of the ELVIS television special. At first, “I’m Movin’ On” sounds a little too country, but then Elvis rocks into it to produce a spectacular version. (Recorded: 1969)

12. I’ll Hold You In My Heart (Till I Can Hold You In My Arms): “I’ll Hold You In My Heart” is an appealing little song that Elvis sings into the ground, ultimately going nowhere. (Recorded: 1969)

13. After Loving You: One of the huge highlights of the American sessions, “After Loving You” features the “new” Elvis at his best. Elvis had been playing around with this song at home for years, even taking a stab at piano on an earlier take at this session before giving up the keys. One of the best recordings of his career. (Recorded: 1969)

14. It Keeps Right On A-Hurtin’: “It Keeps Right On A-Hurtin'” is another pretty song that really does little to stand out among Elvis’ stellar 1969 recordings. (Recorded: 1969)

15. Little Cabin On The Hill: Versions of the next five songs were featured on the 1971 album I’m 10,000 Years Old: Elvis Country, often considered one of his finest. However, these mixes and edits are actually from the 1995 Walk A Mile In My Shoes boxed set. They do not match the original masters from Elvis Country. Here, Elvis launches into a Bill Monroe impersonation he had been fooling around with since at least 1956, as evidenced by the Million Dollar Quartet jam session. Good stuff. (Recorded: 1970)

16. I Really Don’t Want To Know: Elvis owns “I Really Don’t Want To Know,” one of the best on Elvis Country or any of his other albums. I love the piano work on this one by David Briggs. (Recorded: 1970)

17. Faded Love: I much prefer the shorter edit of “Faded Love” as released during Elvis’ lifetime than this overly long 1995 version. Anyway, Elvis does a fine, if forgettable, job on the Bob Wills classic. (Recorded: 1970)

18. Tomorrow Never Comes: Elvis delivers one of his most powerful performances on “Tomorrow Never Comes.” The song starts softly and slowly builds into a breathtaking, accusatory crescendo that Elvis actually had to re-record as an insert. Again, one of the very best songs of his career. (Recorded: 1970)

19. Make The World Go Away: I love hearing Elvis’ version of well-known songs, and “Make The World Go Away” is no exception. That voice. You gotta listen to James Burton on guitar on this one, too. Burton helped define the sound of Elvis’ final decade, and it is no wonder Elvis was reluctant to take the stage without him. (Recorded: 1970)

20. Green, Green Grass Of Home: I first heard Elvis’ version of “Green, Green Grass Of Home” on an RCA cassette tape I had in the 1980s called Elvis Country, one of two tapes by that name I owned – both of which had completely different lineups from each other as well as his 1971 album of the same name. Though recorded five years later for the Today sessions, this song would have fit in well on the real Elvis Country album as well. As with the much-maligned “My Boy,” this is the kind of dramatic song that often spoke to Elvis and that I, for one, enjoy hearing him sing. (Recorded: 1975)

21. Are You Sincere: Coming right after “Green, Green Grass Of Home,” Elvis’ voice sounds comparatively weaker on “Are You Sincere.” This goes against conventional Elvis wisdom, as this one was recorded two years earlier. They were recorded in different studios with different equipment, so any number of factors could be involved. Still, “Are You Sincere” is a worthy performance, first released on his 1973 album Raised On Rock. (Recorded: 1973)

While it contains a number of terrific country songs, the individual parts of this CD do not add up to a high-quality whole. Whether due to kicking off with the lackluster “I Love You Because” or the uneveness of the remaining selections, Country Roots never takes off as a compilation. Instead, it feels more random than anything else.

[Read Part 7.]


Elvis Live Wire: Ernst Jorgensen acquires “I Forgot To Remember To Forget”

Silvertone wire recording of Elvis Presley

Silvertone wire recording of Elvis singing “I Forgot To Remember To Forget”

One of the feel-good Elvis stories of 2012 will have an encore after all. Audio collector amberola1b, who discovered a 1955 live recording of Elvis singing “I Forgot To Remember To Forget” on the Louisiana Hayride radio program, recently remarked that he has sold the recording to Ernst Jorgensen. Jorgensen heads up Sony Music’s Elvis team and helms their Follow That Dream collectors label. This means, at some point, there will undoubtedly be an official release of this incredible find.

Last July, amberola1b caused a sensation among Elvis fans when he briefly posted the recording on YouTube, without being aware that it was so unique. Sourced from a Silvertone wire recording, the performance had never been heard by the public since the original broadcast.

Elvis appeared on the Hayride about fifty times from 1954 to 1956. Though similar to Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry, the show was more receptive to new talent – including Elvis’ groundbreaking style. Compared to most of the other Hayride recordings released in the past, the audio quality on “I Forgot To Remember To Forget” was stunning.

The discovery made headlines on the eve of the release of the Elvis masterpiece A Boy From Tupelo: The Complete 1953-1955 Recordings, Ernst Jorgensen’s book and music project covering the SUN years. A Boy From Tupelo included several other recordings from the Louisiana Hayride, but “I Forgot To Remember To Forget” was found too late for consideration. “Wow – it’s unbelievably beautiful. I’m still trying to recover from the shock,” Jorgensen said at the time.

Audio grabs of amberola1b’s YouTube video have appeared on a couple of “gray market” releases, but a professional transfer from the wire, properly mastered, should yield much more impressive sound quality.

On January 12, amberola1b posted the following comments on YouTube about his interaction with Jorgensen:

“I did sell the rights to him but the way it went was that I didn’t even know Ernst and was directed to him thru other utubers that were Elvis fans. I didn’t even know there was a big anniversary album or book being put together about The King, I just merely decided at that moment in time to do the utube video, and just happen to post it during the summer. If luck had been on my side and I had known about what was being planned […] I would have made the video months before, and it would have been included in the album that was included in the book ‘A Boy From Tupelo’. But as it turned out he sent me a copy of the book and it just blew my mind to see all the wonderful pictures that had been compiled of Elvis and the stories written about him.”

[Thank you to Greg1995 on the For Elvis CD Collectors Forum, who first posted about amberola1b’s recent confirmation of the sale.]


I only listened to the live “I Forgot To Remember To Forget” once. It was so incredible, I knew I wanted to wait for an official release. Out of respect for amberola1b, I also never posted links to the multiple copies of this video that showed up after his original post (I made an exception for the copied version in the story linked above, since that is where he chose to post his comments).

I’m thrilled that Jorgensen has acquired this fantastic discovery. So, to amberola1b: Thank you for making a deal that will allow Elvis fans to hear this recording in the best sound quality possible for generations to come.

So, the question is, what should Jorgensen do with this recording now that he has it?

Ideally, this would be a terrific opportunity for Sony to release a mainstream version of A Boy From Tupelo, which was a limited run on the FTD collectors label. Every Elvis and rock ‘n’ roll fan should have the opportunity to own A Boy From Tupelo – one of the most important Elvis releases since his death in 1977. Scooting the two interviews over to the end of Disc 2 would free up enough space for “I Forgot To Remember To Forget” to join the other Hayride performances on Disc 3.

If a full-blown re-release of A Boy From Tupelo is not possible for some reason, I think 2013 or 2014 would be the perfect time for a 2-CD set on the main Sony label covering 1953-1955. After all, 2013 marks the 60th anniversary of Elvis paying to record his first demo (“My Happiness” b/w “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin”), while 2014 marks the 60th anniversary of his first professional release (“That’s All Right” b/w “Blue Moon Of Kentucky”).

For fun, here’s how I would approach such a 2-CD set.

Elvis Begins: The 1953-1955 Recordings

Disc 1

  1. That’s All Right (45 RPM SUN single version)
  2. Blue Moon Of Kentucky (45 RPM SUN single version)
  3. Good Rockin’ Tonight
  4. I Don’t Care If The Sun Don’t Shine
  5. Milkcow Blues Boogie (78 RPM SUN single version)
  6. You’re A Heartbreaker (78 RPM SUN single version)
  7. Baby, Let’s Play House
  8. I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone
  9. I Forgot To Remember To Forget
  10. Mystery Train
  11. Harbor Lights
  12. I Love You Because
  13. Blue Moon
  14. I’ll Never Let You Go
  15. Just Because
  16. Tryin’ To Get To You
  17. My Happiness (Demo)
  18. That’s When Your Heartaches Begin (Demo)
  19. I’ll Never Stand In Your Way (Demo)
  20. It Wouldn’t Be The Same Without You (Demo)
  21. Harbor Lights (Take 7)
  22. I Love You Because (Take 3)
  23. I Love You Because (Take 5)
  24. That’s All Right (Takes 1, 2)
  25. That’s All Right (Take 3)
  26. Blue Moon Of Kentucky (Take 3)
  27. Blue Moon (Take 4)
  28. Blue Moon (Take 5)
  29. Blue Moon (Take 8)
  30. Tomorrow Night (Undubbed/unedited version)
  31. That’s All Right (Live-Shreveport, LA-October 16, 1954)
  32. Blue Moon Of Kentucky (Live-Shreveport, LA-October 16, 1954)

Disc 2

  1. I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone (Slow version, Take 1)
  2. I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone (Slow version, Take 2)
  3. I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone (Slow version, Take 3)
  4. I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone (Slow version, Take 5)
  5. I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone (Slow version, Take 6)
  6. Shake, Rattle & Roll (Demo-Lubbock, TX-January 6, 1955)
  7. Fool, Fool, Fool (Demo-Lubbock, TX-January 6, 1955)
  8. Hearts Of Stone (Live-Shreveport, LA-January 15, 1955)
  9. That’s All Right (Live-Shreveport, LA-January 15, 1955)
  10. Tweedlee Dee (Live-Shreveport, LA-January 15, 1955)
  11. Money Honey (Live-Shreveport, LA-January 22, 1955)
  12. Blue Moon Of Kentucky (Live-Shreveport, LA-January 22, 1955)
  13. I Don’t Care If The Sun Don’t Shine (Live-Shreveport, LA-January 22, 1955)
  14. That’s All Right (Live-Shreveport, LA-January 22, 1955)
  15. Tweedlee Dee (Live-Shreveport, LA-March 5, 1955)
  16. Money Honey (Live-Shreveport, LA-March 5, 1955)
  17. Hearts Of Stone (Live-Shreveport, LA-March 5, 1955)
  18. Shake, Rattle & Roll (Live-Shreveport, LA-March 5, 1955)
  19. Little Mama (Live-Shreveport, LA-March 5, 1955)
  20. You’re A Heartbreaker (Live-Shreveport, LA-March 5, 1955)
  21. Good Rockin’ Tonight (Live-Houston, TX-March 19, 1955)
  22. Baby, Let’s Play House (Live-Houston, TX-March 19, 1955)
  23. Blue Moon Of Kentucky (Live-Houston, TX-March 19, 1955)
  24. I Got A Woman (Live-Houston, TX-March 19, 1955)
  25. That’s All Right (Live-Houston, TX-March 19, 1955)
  26. How Do You Think I Feel (1955 version, Take 1)
  27. Tweedlee Dee (Live-Gladewater, TX-April 30, 1955)
  28. That’s All Right (Live-Meridian, MS-May 26, 1955)
  29. I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone (Live-Shreveport, LA-July 2, 1955)
  30. Baby, Let’s Play House (Live-Shreveport, LA-August 20, 1955)
  31. Maybellene (Live-Shreveport, LA-August 20, 1955)
  32. That’s All Right (Live-Shreveport, LA-August 20, 1955)
  33. I Forgot To Remember To Forget (Live-Shreveport, LA-October 1, 1955)
  34. When It Rains, It Really Pours (1955 version, Take 5)
  35. When It Rains, It Really Pours (1955 version, Take 8)

It’s Here

A Big Monster (A Boy From Tupelo)

I included the standard CD in the picture to give you an idea of the scale. A Boy From Tupelo is a big monster, weighing every bit of the promised 11 pounds.

Needless to say, this is the last time I’ll be posting for awhile. I’ve got a lot of reading and listening to do!

Check out A Boy From Tupelo track listing

A Boy From Tupelo (concept cover art)

This has been another fantastic week of Elvis release news. Today, Follow That Dream Records revealed the track listing for the long-awaited A Boy From Tupelo: The Complete 1953-55 Recordings, FTD’s SUN boxed set that includes a 512-page book and three CDs. FTD, Sony’s collectors label for Elvis fans, will release the set next month.

It appears that Elvis Matters was the first site to break the track listing news, though I first read about it over on a For Elvis CD Collectors Forum thread started by Greg1995. On that thread, FECC member Good Time Charlie took the time to reformat the track listing to make it more palatable. I’ve used his version for the below, with a few very minor tweaks of my own. A big thank you to Charlie for allowing me to use his work.

Elvis Presley: A Boy From Tupelo – The Complete 1953-55 Recordings

Disc 1: MRS Acetates, The SUN Masters & The RCA Masters

01) My Happiness 2:33
02) That’s When Your Heartaches Begin 2:52
03) I’ll Never Stand In Your Way 2:04
04) It Wouldn’t Be The Same (Without You) 2:09
05) Harbor Lights 2:38
06) I Love You Because 2:43
07) That’s All Right [45 RPM SUN Master] 2:00
08) Blue Moon Of Kentucky [45 RPM SUN Master] 2:07
09) Blue Moon 2:44
10) Tomorrow Night 3:01
11) I’ll Never Let You Go (Little Darlin’) 2:27
12) I Don’t Care If The Sun Don’t Shine 2:32
13) Just Because 2:34
14) Good Rockin’ Tonight 2:15
15) Milkcow Blues Boogie [78 RPM SUN Master] 2:39
16) You’re A Heartbreaker [78 RPM SUN Master] 2:13
17) I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone [Slow version] 2:43
18) Baby Let’s Play House 2:19
19) I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone 2:38
20) I Forgot To Remember To Forget 2:31
21) Mystery Train 2:30
22) Tryin’ To Get To You 2:36
23) When It Rains It Pours 2:06
24) That’s All Right 1:59 [RCA single version]
25) Blue Moon Of Kentucky 2:05 [78 RPM SUN Master]
26) I Love You Because 2:45 [RCA LP version – spliced from takes 3 & 5]
27) Tomorrow Night 2:56 [RCA LP version – overdubbed and slowed down]

Tracks 1-2: Self-financed demo recorded July, 1953 at SUN Studio, Memphis.
Source for tracks 1-2: Digital transfer of acetate.

Tracks 3-4: Self-financed demo recorded January 4, 1954 at SUN Studio, Memphis.
Source for tracks 3-4: Digital transfer of acetate in very poor condition.

Track 5 possibly recorded July 5, 1954.
Tracks 6-7 recorded July 5, 1954 at SUN Studio, Memphis.
Sources for tracks 5-6: Original SUN tapes.
Source for track 7: 45 rpm SUN single (plastic).

Track 8: Recorded July 7, 1954 at SUN Studio, Memphis.
Source for track 8: 45 rpm SUN single (plastic).

Track 9: Likely recorded between August 15 and 19, 1954 at SUN Studio, Memphis.
Source for track 9: Original SUN tape.

Tracks 10-14 likely recorded between September 12-16, 1954 at SUN Studio, Memphis.
Sources for tracks 10, 11, 13 and 14: RCA reference tapes (30 ips).
Source for track 12: Digital transfer of SUN tape, with repairs from a digital transfer of a tape copy.

Tracks 15-16 recorded either mid-November or mid-December 1954 at SUN Studio, Memphis.
Sources for tracks 15-16: 78 rpm SUN single (shellac).

Track 17 Recorded between mid-November 1954 and mid-April 1955 at SUN Studio, Memphis.
The reel has March 5 written on it, but Elvis was at the Louisiana Hayride that day.
Source for track 17: Original SUN tape.

Track 18 likely recorded between January 30 and February 4, 1955 at SUN Studio, Memphis.
“I Got a Woman” and “Tryin’ to Get to You” were also recorded, but have been lost.
Source for track 18: RCA reference tape (30 ips).

Track 19 likely recorded mid-April 1955 at SUN Studio, Memphis.
Source for track 19: RCA reference tape (30 ips), with first part of ending from RCA tape copy (15 ips) and last part of ending from digital transfer of the RCA EPA-965 production master tape.

Tracks 20-22 recorded mid-July, 1955 at SUN Studio, Memphis.
Source for track 20: SUN tape copy.
Source for track 21: SUN tape copy, with ending from digital transfer of 78 rpm RCA single.
Source for track 22: RCA reference tape (30 ips).

Track 23 recorded November 1-4, 1955 at SUN Studio, Memphis.
Source for track 23: Original SUN (vocal channel) slapback tape.
Elvis’ 1957 re-recording of the song was released under the title “When It Rains, It Really Pours.”

Source for track 24: RCA reference tape (30 ips).

Source for track 25: Elvis at SUN master, derived from digital transfer of 78 RPM SUN single (shellac).

Track 26: Steve Sholes’ original notes have these takes as 2 & 4.
Source for track 26: RCA master tape.

Source for track 27: 1965 RCA work part tape for the Elvis for Everyone LPM-3450 production master tape.

Disc 2: The SUN Studio Sessions

01) Harbor Lights (takes 1-2, level adjustments) 0:33
02) Harbor Lights (take 3/M) 2:53
03) Harbor Lights (take 4) 2:38
04) Harbor Lights (takes 5-6) 1:23
05) Harbor Lights (take 7) 2:25
06) Harbor Lights (take 8) 0:26
07) I Love You Because (take 1) 0:23
08) I Love You Because (take 2) 3:28
09) I Love You Because (take 3) 3:36
10) I Love You Because (take 4) 0:40
11) I Love You Because (take 5) 3:28
12) That’s All Right (takes 1-2) 0:20
13) That’s All Right (take 3) 1:58
14) Dialogue 0:20
15) Blue Moon Of Kentucky [slow tempo outtake] 1:08
16) Blue Moon (takes 1-3) 0:38
17) Blue Moon (take 4) 2:59
18) Blue Moon (take 5) 3:25
19) Blue Moon (takes 6-7) 0:53
20) Blue Moon (take 8) 3:01
21) Blue Moon (take 9/M) 2:44
22) Dialogue fragment [before “Tomorrow Night”] 0:11
23) I’ll Never Let You Go (Little Darlin’) [incomplete take] 0:49
24) Good Rockin’ Tonight [fragment from vocal slapback tape] 0:10
25) I Don’t Care If The Sun Don’t Shine (takes 1-2) 1:13
26) I Don’t Care If The Sun Don’t Shine (take 3/M) 2:35
27) I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone (slow version, take 1) 3:00
28) I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone (slow version, take 2) 2:51
29) I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone (slow version, take 3) 2:51
30) I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone (slow version, take 4) 0:10
31) I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone (slow version, take 5/M) 2:40
32) I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone (slow version, take 6) 2:40
33) I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone (slow version, take 7) 1:35
34) How Do You Think I Feel (guitar slapback tape, rehearsal + take 1) 3:17
35) How Do You Think I Feel (guitar slapback tape, rehearsals) 1:14
36) When It Rains It Pours (vocal slapback tape, take 1) 1:37
37) When It Rains It Pours (vocal slapback tape, take 2 – rehearsal) 2:12
38) When It Rains It Pours (vocal slapback tape, takes 3-4) 2:14
39) When It Rains It Pours (vocal slapback tape, take 5/M) 2:02
40) When It Rains It Pours (vocal slapback tape, take 6-7) 1:40
41) When It Rains It Pours (vocal slapback tape, take 8) 1:40

Tracks 1-6 possibly recorded July 5, 1954 at SUN Studio, Memphis.
Source for tracks 1-6: Original SUN tape.

Tracks 7-13 recorded July 5, 1954 at SUN Studio, Memphis.
Source for tracks 7-13: Original SUN tape.

Tracks 14-15 likely recorded July 7, 1954 at SUN Studio, Memphis.
Source for tracks 14-15: Digital transfer of SUN tape.

Tracks 16-21 likely recorded between August 15 and 19, 1954 at SUN Studio, Memphis.
Source for tracks 16-21: Original SUN tape.

Tracks 22-26 likely recorded between September 12 and 16, 1954 at SUN Studio, Memphis.
Source for track 22: RCA reference tape (30 ips) for “Tomorrow Night”.
Sources for tracks 23-26: Digital transfers of SUN tapes (also see source note for Disc 1, track 12).

Tracks 27-33 recorded between mid-November 1954 and mid-April 1955 at SUN Studio, Memphis.
The reel has March 5 written on it, but Elvis was at the Louisiana Hayride that day.
Source for tracks 27-33: Original SUN tape.

Tracks 34-35 recorded between mid-November 1954 and mid-April 1955 at SUN Studio, Memphis.
Source for tracks 34-35: Digital transfer of SUN (guitar channel) slapback tape.

Tracks 36-41 recorded between November 1-4, 1955 at SUN Studio, Memphis.
Source for tracks 36-41: Original SUN (vocal channel) slapback tape.

Disc 3: Live & Radio Performances

01) That’s All Right 2:52
02) Blue Moon Of Kentucky 2:23
03) Shake, Rattle And Roll 2:24
04) Fool, Fool, Fool 1:59
05) Hearts Of Stone 2:02
06) That’s All Right 1:52
07) Tweedlee Dee 2:51
08) Shake, Rattle And Roll 2:23
09) KSIJ Radio commercial with DJ Tom Perryman 0:16
10) Money Honey 2:43
11) Blue Moon Of Kentucky 2:04
12) I Don’t Care If The Sun Don’t Shine 2:33
13) That’s All Right 1:54
14) Tweedlee Dee 2:15
15) Money Honey 2:17
16) Hearts Of Stone 1:37
17) Shake, Rattle And Roll 1:39
18) Little Mama 2:03
19) You’re A Heartbreaker 2:06
20) Good Rockin’ Tonight 2:36
21) Baby Let’s Play House 2:22
22) Blue Moon Of Kentucky 1:47
23) I Got A Woman 3:03
24) That’s All Right 2:17
25) Tweedlee Dee 2:47
26) Interview with Mae Boren Axton 3:19
27) That’s All Right 2:37
28) I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone 3:16
29) Baby Let’s Play House 3:19
30) Maybellene 3:09
31) That’s All Right 2:49
32) Interview with Bob Neal 5:31

Tracks 1-2 recorded at Louisiana Hayride debut, Shreveport, Louisiana, October 16, 1954.
Source for tracks 1-2: RCA reference tape copy.

Tracks 3-4 recorded at KDAV Radio, Lubbock, Texas, January 6, 1955.
Source for tracks 3-4: Digital transfer of acetate.

Tracks 5-7 likely recorded at the Louisiana Hayride, Shreveport, Louisiana, January 15, 1955.
Source for tracks 5-7: Digital transfer of acetate in very poor condition.
Some parts duplicated and edited to create near-complete performances.

Track 8 recorded at WJOI Radio, Florence, Alabama January 19, 1955.
Source for track 8: Digital transfer of acetate in poor condition.

Track 9 recorded at KSIJ Radio, Gladewater, Texas, 1955.
Source for track 9: Digital transfer.

Tracks 10-13 likely recorded at the Louisiana Hayride, Shreveport, Louisiana, January 22, 1955.
Source for tracks 10-13: Digital transfer of acetate in very poor condition. Some parts duplicated and edited to create near-complete performances.

Tracks 14-19 likely recorded at the Louisiana Hayride, Shreveport, Louisiana, March 5, 1955.
Source for tracks 14-19: Digital transfer of fragments of acetate in very poor condition (which was destroyed in the process). Some parts duplicated and edited to create near-complete performances.

Tracks 20-24 likely recorded at the Eagles’ Hall, Houston, Texas, March 19, 1955. Track 21 could be from a different performance the same week.
Source for tracks 20-24: RCA reference tape copy.

Track 25 recorded at Gladewater High School, Gladewater, Texas, April 30, 1955.
Source for tracks 25: RCA reference tape copy.

Track 26 recorded at motel in Jacksonville, Florida on either May 12 or July 28, 1955.
Source for track 26: Digital transfer of 1981 BBC broadcast tape copy.

Track 27 recorded at the Jimmie Rodgers Memorial Festival, Meridian, Mississippi, May 26, 1955.
Source for track 27: Broadcast tape.

Track 28 recorded at the Louisiana Hayride, Shreveport, Louisiana, July 2, 1955.
Source for track 28: Digital transfer of acetate in very poor condition. Some parts duplicated and edited to create near-complete performance.

Tracks 29-31 recorded at the Louisiana Hayride, Shreveport, Louisiana, August 20, 1955.
Source for tracks 29-31: RCA reference tape copies.

Track 32 recorded at WMPS Radio, Memphis Tennessee, between August 29-31, 1955.
Source for track 32: Digital transfer.

* * *

A Boy From Tupelo looks like it will indeed be the definitive SUN set. I’m most looking forward to hearing the original SUN 45 RPM version of “That’s All Right.” I’ve only heard the RCA version, which has added echo.

In Other News…

One of the many reasons I finally pounced on Elvis: The Complete Masters Collection was to obtain the Vic Anesini mastering of Elvis As Recorded At Madison Square Garden, which has been in dire need of an audio upgrade since its original CD release in the early 1990s. As soon as I placed the order, I thought, “Now everyone will have to thank me for finally buying it, as this will guarantee a Sony Legacy Edition release of Madison Square Garden in the near future.” This kind of thing happens to me all the time, you see.

Sure enough, Sony recently announced a Legacy Edition release of As Recorded At Madison Square Garden. So, you’re welcome!

The Legacy Edition, due in October for the US, will contain a remastered version (presumably, Anesini’s) of the original album using the vintage mix of the June 10, 1972, Evening Show. Sony will couple it with the June 10, 1972, Afternoon Show, previously released as An Afternoon In The Garden, to make a nice two-disc set. Since I already have the upgraded As Recorded At Madison Square Garden on The Complete Masters Collection, I’ll be skipping this Legacy Edition.

However, Sony is releasing another Madison Square Garden set at the same time. Prince From Another Planet: As Recorded At Madison Square Garden is a three-disc set consisting of two CDs and one DVD. The CDs will contain new mixes of both of the June 10 shows by Michael Brauer (i.e., this is not the vintage As Recorded At Madison Square Garden mix that will be on the Legacy Edition).

Since the historic mix has been properly preserved, this is a chance to do something different. I’m excited to hear what Brauer has come up with for these shows.

The 40-minute DVD will contain portions of Elvis’ Madison Square Garden press conference (a favorite of mine) and live performance material from the show. To date, no video footage of the Madison Square Garden shows has been officially released, so that alone makes Prince From Another Planet a must-have for fellow fans of this Elvis era.

So, something funny happened when I was Googling for more information on Prince From Another Planet. I found out that I named it!

Well, not really. However, I came across my own comment from July 3, 2011, on this very blog in the search results:

“[C]an you imagine… a 5 CD set, the 1972 equivalent of ‘Young Man With The Big Beat,’ containing the 3 CDs I mentioned above [the remaining April 1972 ‘Elvis On Tour’ shows], plus the two Garden shows to round out the other 2 CDs? Call it ‘A Prince From Another Planet.’ Then, the Garden shows could be a Legacy Edition as a separate release as well (much like the ‘Elvis Presley’ Legacy Edition is to the 1956 boxed set).”

I had forgotten all about this and was literally shocked to read my own words. I’m sure it’s a total coincidence, of course.

(In case it’s not a coincidence, though, and Sony is really reading this little blog – just give me a call, because I have plenty more Elvis ideas. I’ll be waiting by the phone.)

Live 1955: Hear a newly discovered Elvis recording on YouTube [UPDATE: Gone!]

I’m still working on a gigantic post for next week, so I wasn’t planning on posting this morning. However, huge news rocked the Elvis world yesterday.

Just last week, I asked riders to describe the moment in Elvis’ life they would capture if they had a time-traveling audio recorder. There were some terrific responses but, in some ways, this fantasy is no longer just on the edge of reality.

Jorgensen: “I’m still trying to recover from the shock”

On Tuesday, audio collector amberola1b quietly posted on YouTube a clip of Elvis Presley singing “I Forgot To Remember To Forget” live on the Louisiana Hayride radio show in 1955. Sourced from a Silvertone wire recording, the performance has never been heard by the public since the original broadcast. Compared to most of the other Hayride recordings released in the past, the audio quality is stunning. The Elvis portion begins at 3:45.

“I Forgot To Remember To Forget” (Live-1955) — Elvis Presley
[Source: amberola1b — YouTube]

By Friday, Elvis fans began taking notice. On the excellent For Elvis CD Collectors forum, member AVSP posted a link to the clip and the thread ignited in positive reactions. Within only twelve hours, six pages of comments had come in. As of now, it is up to seven and counting.

Research by Mike C and drjohncarpenter has tentatively dated this fantastic recording as occurring on Saturday, October 1, 1955.

Of course, the first question on everyone’s mind is will this appear on A Boy From Tupelo: The Complete 1953-55 Recordings, FTD’s SUN boxed set that includes a 512-page book and 3 CDs.

With the 11-pound set only weeks from release, the answer appears unfortunately to be no. It turns out that Sony’s Elvis chief Ernst Jorgensen was just as surprised as anyone else by the recording. “Wow – it’s unbelievably beautiful. I’m still trying to recover from the shock,” he said in an email to willem k.

Around the Elvis web, the story has inspired headlines:

Here’s hoping that Jorgensen can work out an arrangement with the recording’s owner. Even if it cannot make the SUN set, it deserves an official release on a Sony or FTD product.

* * *

UPDATE: I hope you had a chance to play it, folks, because amberola1b has now removed the song from YouTube. Only about three hours before this, willemk posted on FECC that Ernst Jorgensen was “now in contact with the owner.” With that in mind, the removal from YouTube may in fact be a really good sign. Let’s keep our fingers crossed, everyone, that we will get to hear the live version of “I Forgot To Remember To Forget” on a Sony or FTD release soon.