This release by the Audionics label contains a soundboard recording of the evening show at the Von Braun Civic Center in Huntsville Alabama. It was the last of five shows performed in Huntsville at the start of this tour, which ended in Memphis on the 10th June. Most songs from this show are unreleased with the exception of: Polk Salad Annie, I’ll Remember You and Little Darlin’ (along with the false start to Burning Love) which were previously included in the FTD title: Southern Nights. As See See Rider and I Got A Woman / Amen were not recorded, these songs have been taken from the evening performance in Dayton Ohio on the 6th October the previous year to simulate a complete show.
Once again the presentation is superb, consisting of a sixteen page booklet containing 17 photos of Elvis in the Black Eagle Jumpsuit which was worn for this show, with more photos featured on the artwork and on the disc itself. It also includes an extremely thorough review from a fan called ‘Robin’ who actually attended this show. Suffice to say it’s another quality production which contributes greatly to this show’s appeal.
The sound has been re-mastered from a first generation copy of the original mono recording and is consequently very good. For comparison, I would rate it as very similar to the Huntsville show from the 31st May, released previously under the title Across The Country Vol 2 (by the same label). Although the sound quality of the opening tracks has also been improved, they are still not quite as clear as tracks from the main show which appear to have more depth and a wider ‘sound image.’
The CD fades in on See See Rider from the October Dayton show, where Elvis sounds somewhat breathless and has a tendency to shout some of the lines. At the end of this song, his band has difficulty finishing together, causing him to remark, “We goofed up on the ending—they did I didn’t, I’m not going to take the blame.” He then responds irritably to a fan with the remark, “Honey I’ll turn around just give me a chance, please give me a chance by God.”
Afterwards he complains that the microphone lead has been let out too much, which leads to a delay whilst Charlie Hodge attends to his concerns. I Got A Woman follows without further ado, where his performance is better, but once again the ending of the song is ragged.
All tracks following this are from the Huntsville show, where he appears more relaxed, although his voice is noticeably slurred when he speaks. After welcoming the audience, he sings Love Me to an audibly appreciative and excitable crowd. At the end of this song he allows his backing groups to hold the final note for 10 seconds, remarking, “I’m just checking to see if you guys can hold those notes, that’s all.”
After this, he spends several minutes giving out scarves and calls for Charlie to bring him some stuffed animals to distribute amongst the eager crowd. He then continues with If You Love Me Let Me Know, immediately followed by Love Me Tender and the ‘50’s hits, which are all casually performed whilst he attends to his ringside fans.
The Wonder Of You has a false start causing Elvis to comment, “Old Chinese proverb says: Cannot sing and drink water in mouth. A second attempt results in him calling out, “Wait a minute, I forgot the words to the damn thing,” which leads to further speculation over the correct lyrics before he finally manages a successful version.
Burning Love is introduced as the next song, but after miscuing his introduction and forgetting the words, he aborts it after one line. In desperation, he asks a female fan to recount the lyrics to him, which he carefully repeats before instructing his band to start it again. However he immediately changes his mind saying, “I don’t even want to do it anyway, let’s do Polk Salad Annie.” This results in a great committed version which was the only performance of this song during this tour.
The band introductions are entirely routine this evening, followed by I Can’t Stop Loving You which he ends with a falsetto whoop. T-R-O-U-B-L-E is introduced as his latest single, before I’ll Remember You, which contains a teasing one liner from the song ‘Alfie’ during the piano introduction as he was inclined to do on occasion at this time.
Let Me Be There is performed without a reprise this evening, with Why Me Lord featuring the usual jokes at J.D.’s expense. American Trilogy is next, where he manages a superb vocal reach on the ending. After this the house lights are turned up, leading to some crowd banter where he acknowledges a persistent fan who he rewards with a kiss. He goes on to sing Funny How Time Slips Away as usual, before a ‘tongue in cheek’ version of Little Darlin’ which was a new inclusion in his repertoire this year.
In his closing address he mentions that he has had a fantastic time in Huntsville and gives generous and heartfelt thanks to everybody concerned, adding “A little rough getting in and out of my hotel but that’s alright, I’m used to that…just slip through the kitchen, y’know.” Further proof of his great mood for these shows comes from his closing remark where he says, “If you want us back in Huntsville just let us know and we shall be back—I’m just loving it.”
Can’t Help Falling In Love follows this, where Charlie Hodge can be heard commenting on the limited availability of scarves left this evening calling out “I’ve got four left,” at one point and later, “Two more.” The recording ends during the closing vamp.
In conclusion, this is another quality production, containing an unreleased show from this period. Although the show is inevitably very similar to others from this tour, both the clear sound and attractive artwork ensure this is a worthwhile purchase for all those who appreciate hearing Elvis in the upbeat mood that characterised these shows.
SOUND RATING *****
Reviewed by Mike Sanders (UK)