“ Softly As I Leave You ” was
released on the Musique Records 1.4.85 label in the USA in 1985 per the back
cover of this LP set. This 2 LP set
contains the complete December 12, 1976 Las Vegas Hilton show which runs
approximately 90 minutes. This is
the last show Elvis ever did in Vegas. The
two LPs are contained in one LP sleeve with a very nice period color photo
adorning the cover. The back cover
has three photos credited as being from the summer tour of that year with the
track listing and a write-up on this last Vegas gig.
I have two pressings of this LP.
The first, which I believe to be the original, has a glossy front cover
and the photos on the rear of the cover are right up against the top of the LP
cover. On the other issue I have
the front cover photo is not glossy and the photographs on the rear cover have a
3/8-inch gap between them and the top of the LP cover.
The photos are a little grainier, the colors slightly muted when directly
comparing the two, and the orange border on the front cover is a little more
yellow. These points lead me to
believe this is the second pressing/reissue.
The LP’s have only slight
differences and are credited very strangely!!
LP # 1 is credited as “ Cocaine Sam One ” CS 1801 and LP #2 as “
Cocaine Sam Two ” CS 10512. Both
LPs have black labels with white text and do not differ in layout when directly
compared. The sides are noted as “ Seite 1 ” and “ Seite 2 ”
which looks German to me but I can’t say for sure.
The matrix numbers are hand written but vary slightly between the two
sets. This may not be a difference
in handwriting but simply a visual difference in the fact that on some sides the
matrix is very clear but on other sides pressed rather faintly. One strange thing is that on the original of the first LP, the
trail off wax area is larger. On the
reissue the actual playing grooves run closer to the center so there is a
smaller trail off wax area. In
comparing the second LPs, both have the same trail off area, though the reissue
of the second LP is on very thick ( almost rigid ) vinyl.
I spent a little time sampling the
sets and the LPs that came in the flat cover don’t sound quite as good as the
LPs in the glossy cover. However,
let me say that really this LP set has very good sound quality!! The front cover says “ stereo ” and that is true!!
This show was recorded in live stereo from the audience and through
headphones one can close his/her eyes and feel as if they are sitting in the
audience!! Both pressings are on
good quality, quiet vinyl. The only difference I would say is that the LPs in
the glossy cover have more clarity while the LPs in the flat cover are a slight
bit noisier. This may not be an
issue of pressing however if this LP set received frequent playings or perhaps
had a bad needle go over it once or twice, either of these could be the cause
for the slight sound degradation; but I cannot say for sure obviously.
In either case, original or reissue, the sound quality on this set is
clear and dynamic for the boot LP format…and true stereo to boot...no pun
Ernie Boyes Jr.