An alternate take
by Steve Barile

Since most of you out there in Elvis land have not heard my name before, I'd like to introduce myself - my name is Steve Barile, and I've been a fan of the music of Elvis Presley since I was old enough to talk (I'm 43). I don't use the term "fan" lightly. Too many, I find, do. Those who are stuck in the 50's are not Elvis fans. they are merely infatuated with an era. You know who you are. an Elvis fan who possesses a musical ear should be able to appreciate his artistic genius whether it's the 1950's or 1977! Yes, my tone deaf friends - 1977! However, it is the 50's era enthusiast that inspired me to address the review of the "Spring Tours '77" CD as it appears in issue #56 of "the Man and His Music" magazine.

It seems to me that Elvis would sooner "spin over in his grave" over some things that have escaped onto the "25th Anniversary" Boxed Set (Today, Tomorrow and Forever) such as home recordings of "The Fool," acetates like "Dontcha Think It's Time" and poorly mixed "rehearsals" like "A thing Called Love," but let's focus on "Spring Tours." To say that "virtually all the performances are garbage and Godamn awful" suggests to me that the reviewer was guessing and spent no time at all listening to Elvis sing.

"That's All Right Mama" is a high spirited performance and "Blue Christmas" exhibits beauty and smoothness in his voice exuding his classic style as does "Fever" and "Little Sister." the reviewer goes on to say that Elvis loses his timing on "Tryin To Get To You." Clearly, he has never witnessed the magic of Elvis in Concert. To have been there for this performance, the reviewer would most certainly have lost control of this bowels! If "Balls" is what you look for in a recording, listen to "Fairytale." Then again, if you can't hear "balls" in "Big Boss Man,"...forgetaboutit! (It was the band that screwed up the ending or perhaps a miscue from Elvis).

The comment about Elvis "overstretching" himself on "Lawdy, Miss Clawdy" is laughable. What exactly is meant by "overstretching" anyway? If vocal limitation is what is meant here, may I remind y'all that Elvis' voice was virtually limitless by 1977. Clearly, Elvis is having fun singing "Lawdy" and is in rich voice even ad-libbing a befitting line at the ending which complements tony Brown's improvisational "Jerry Lee" solo, rendering the end result refreshing and authentic.

In further praise of "Spring Tours '77," I defy anyone to produce better versions (studio or live) of "Help Me" or "Fairytale." the ending of "Fairytale" is a technical problem, to no fault of Elvis whose artistry shines through powerfully and profoundly.

The reviewer further exposes himself as being fixated with an era by admitting that in his mind this material has tarnished Elvis' musical reputation and should never have been released at all. It deeply saddens me when someone limits their appreciation for vocal/musical genius and in this case, we're talking about the editor of a magazine devoted to Elvis' music. As an avid appreciator of the music of Elvis Presely, I question the degree of attention paid by the reviewer to this most interesting release. So, play it again, Sam, keeping in mind that there are none so deaf as those who refuse to listen.