Ernie's Import Lp Corner

A Dogs's Life

“ A Dog’s Life ” Audiofon AFNS-67361 was released in 1980. Though it is made to appear as having come from Germany, it was produced in the good ole’ US of A. I’ve always wondered if the German text at the bottom of the back cover is linguistically correct…or would it just translate as gibberish? Regardless, this LP is listed in Cotton / DeWitt’s “ Jailhouse Rock ” reference guide as being the 3rd in the series.  Though there is some confusion as to where the other two LPs actually place, I’ll deal with those in their respective reviews. The LP cover is graced with a circa 1950’s Elvis nibbling on the RCA Dog Nipper’s ear…quite cute given the LP title. The back cover has a color shot ( “Paradise Hawaiian Style” ) of Elvis sitting down with a girl resting her head on his leg with the ocean and a small island in the background flanked with track titles, order and recording information.  The LP label is a darkish blue with silver graphics and text. The LP was mastered in stereo, but only two of the tracks are actually stereo, as noted below.  The pressing is good, minimal surface noise is evident with the overall sound quality being fantastic. There is slight variance in quality between the live tracks sourced from videotape, the acetates, and the studio tracks, but all are of a consistently high grade. Of the three LPs in this series, this has the most studio banter, which certainly makes for more fun. 

Side one kicks off with the LP title track: from the film “ Paradise Hawaiian Style ” we have “ A Dog’s Life ” vocal overdub take 8. While the rhythm track was actually recorded July 27, 1965 as the track is dated, the vocal overdub was recorded on Aug 4. Elvis cracks up at the end of the song because of the silly lyrics.  “ Rock A Hula Baby ”, from the motion picture “ Blue Hawaii ”, consists of takes 1, 2, 3 recorded March 23, 1961. Take 1 is a false start, the master of which was the B-side of the smash single “ Can’t Help Falling In Love ” as released in December of 1961. Take 2 is great as it gets goofed but keeps rolling like a train until the engineer yells “ hold it ” as laughter resounds throughout the studio. Take 3 is complete but a little rough.  “ It’s Over ”, taken from the Jan 12, 1973 Aloha rehearsal show, is one of the most passionate performances from this concert…and perhaps my favorite. This is the first of four songs from this rehearsal show to appear on this LP. The concert was released in 1980 on an Amiga label LP, which was operated by the Audiofon folks. “ There Goes My Everything ” undubbed, recorded June 8 1970 Nashville Sessions, is sourced from a stereo acetate ( this is the only song on this side that is in stereo ).  The source does crackle a bit, but the fidelity is excellent. Take 4 of “ Home is Where the Heart Is ” (incorrectly dated Oct. 8, 1961) was actually recorded Oct 26. It is a short, incomplete take from the “ Kid Gallahad ” soundtrack sessions. And for the last track on this side, we head back to the Aloha rehearsal show for “ My Way ”. 

Side two continues with “ Riding the Rainbow ” takes 3 and 4 ( incorrectly dated Oct. 8, 1961 ) were recorded on Oct. 26 for “ Kid Gallahad ”.  Both takes here are goofed up lyrically as it is clear they are still learning the arrangement and their parts. “If I Were You” from the June 8, 1970 Nashville sessions, comes from a stereo acetate source. Again, this undubbed track has the usual acetate crackle, but excellent fidelity ( and is the only stereo track on this side as well ). “ American Trilogy ”, the great showstopper that it is, again takes us to the Aloha rehearsal. Who would have known 24 years ago that RCA/BMG would actually release the incredible comprehensive DVD set that was given to us last summer!  “ Hawaii USA ” ( which is actually titled “ Paradise Hawaiian Style ”) take 4 vocal overdub is incorrectly dated as Aug 3, 1965 from the film “ Paradise Hawaiian Style ”.  The rhythm track was recorded July 27 and the vocal overdub was recorded on Aug 4. This take is complete although goofed up. As this is a vocal overdub to the completed rhythm track, it was spliced with a portion of take 3 to get the completed master vocal overdub. After the music fades out, the engineer makes mention of the fact that a segment of the track is actually usable.  “ Scratch My Back ”, also from “ Paradise Hawaiian Style ”, is incorrectly dated July 27, 1965. The rhythm track was actually recorded on the 26th and the vocal overdub take 1 we have here was recorded on Aug 3.  The LP closes out with “ Can’t Help Falling In Love ” from the Aloha rehearsal show. 

Thanks to the Master and Session website for recording date verification and corrections. In summary, these Audiofon releases were certainly a revolution in that they rivaled official RCA releases of the day. The quality lead to greater demand and availability. The availability to find these LPs in just about any regular record store inevitably lead, in part, to the eventual crack down by RCA as instigated by the RIAA who in the process of investigating record sales and product availability, ran across releases such as these. I’ll go into more detail on this in one of the upcoming reviews. These Audiofon releases, save for the box-set, were produced in some quantity. Even the box set isn’t terribly difficult to find, but remains pricey because of its aura. Anyone who wishes to dip their foot into the collectible LP field will do well to start with this title. Not that any of these titles are super easy to find, but given that time has seen most, if not all this material released on CD, the original impact of these LPs has been somewhat diminished as music has moved to the digital format. But those in the know, know that these Audiofon releases were the top-guns of their day in terms of overall product quality. Given that, these titles have not become throw-a-ways like many titles that were deemed average or even horrible even in their day. If you find a copy, sit back, relax and give it a spin, after all…it’s “ A Dog’s Life ”!

Ernie Boyes Jr.