“ Plantation Rock ” was released in 1979 as
Audiofon AFNS-67360. As we know by now,
the German text is a clever attempt to make the LP look as though it comes from
Europe when the fact is that it was pressed in the United States.
This is most likely the first in the series of separate single LP titles,
though I don’t know if “ Behind Closed Doors ” came before or after as it
was also released in 1979. What makes this LP so exciting is the fact that a completely,
totally, previously unreleased Elvis song made its premier debut on this LP…hence
the “ title track ”. As the story
goes, supposedly in 1979 the producers met with Bill Giant of the song writing
team Giant/Baum/McKay. In going through
the collection of demos ( the writers version of a song that Elvis and the band
would listen to to learn the song and its arrangement ) an acetate of “
Plantation Rock ”, which Elvis had recorded in March of 1962 for the “
Girls, Girls, Girls ” soundtrack but was never released, came to light.
The producers struck a deal to purchase the acetate, and low and behold,
it is here featured as the title track of this LP.
For whatever reason, this catchy, rhythmic pop tune ended up getting
shelved after the session. In its first
official release on 1983’s Legendary Performer vol. 4 LP the song was
incorrectly edited together. The track is
composed mainly of take 17, which is a long false start, and completed with an
unknown take. The version on the “
Double Features ” CD corrects this to reflect the original lacquer edit. Interesting to note is that there seem to be no other takes,
or partial takes of this song…though the vaults may hold such things that we
fans do not know about and aren’t being told.
But I think this would be a fun song to hear outtakes from because with
its interesting rhythm and timing, I would assume that it took Elvis and the
band a while to get the song into a record-able form.
The LP cover itself has a color photo of Elvis circa
the mid 1960’s looking with no real intensity…perhaps at his career at that
point in time. The back cover is a
photo of the same era but with a genuine smirk on his face, perhaps the fire of
the “ How Great Thou Art ” sessions is evident here…we’ll probably never
know. The back cover also lists the
tracks on each side of the photo, in the same format as the other Audiofon
releases…if you’ve got a format that works…go with it!!
The LP label is the standard dark blue with silver text and graphics.
The LP is a good pressing with only slight surface noise, which is to be
Side 1 kicks off with the title track “ Plantation
Rock ”. The source has an evident
amount of noise but it is not distracting. The one thing that is evident is that the track has been edited,
apparently to extend the tracks length, as it is a short song.
I don’t suppose it appeared as such on the acetate source because if
the recording studio had done it it would be much smoother.
So, the culprit must then be the producers of this LP…attempting to
stretch their prize title track out as long as possible.
“ I’ll Remember You ” from the Aloha rehearsal follows up, and it
is a very nice song, though the sound quality is a little flat.
The rest of the tracks from this side come from the Blue Hawaii Sessions.
“ Hawiian Sunset ” from March 21, 1961 is unannounced, but is listed
as take 2, and the sound quality is fantastic. “
No More ” March 21 1961 is listed as take one, but is called out as take 2,
which is a long false start and followed up with complete take 7.
This is one of my favorite Elvis songs, it is a great melody and the
instrumentation is excellent…and great sound quality, though it seems to run a
little fast. “ Ku-u-i-po ”,
also from March 21, 1961, is correctly listed and called as take 1 in great
sound quality, again playing a little fast. Listed
( and correctly called ) as takes 7, 8, 9… “ Can’t Help Falling in Love
” is still in the movie version stage. Takes
7 and 8 are long false starts, with 8 being longer than 7 leading into take 9
which is a complete version. There is
some distortion from mastering or source on this selection, and again the speed
seems a little fast. None of the
tracks on this side are actually stereo.
Side 2 kicks off with one of my favorite Nashville 1970
tunes from June 8, “ Sylvia ”. This
is the undubbed acetate master, in real stereo with the expected acetate pop/crackle.
This song gets a bad rap for whatever reason; regardless I like it…great
melody and Elvis sings it with passion and his voice is fantastic…which
can’t be said for most of his later career.
Hank Williams Sr.’s “ I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry ” certainly
made an impression on a young Elvis when he heard this country legends ballad of
loneliness considering it is a song that Elvis performs it with a consistency
few songs received. Again the sound
quality is stuffy on this Aloha rehearsal version.
“ Slicing Sand ” March 21, 1961 returns us to the Blue Hawaii
Sessions, listed as take 1 is called as take 15…what the?…
Anyway, the track plays a little fast and the sound quality is great.
“ Only Believe ” is another undubbed master from June 8, 1970 in
Nashville. This a fine gospel tune; and
again the acetate source is noticeable but not distracting…and again in true
stereo. Elvis sings it with
passion, which is about all anyone can ask!!
“ Steppin Out of Line ” March 22, 1961 returns us to the Blue Hawaii
Sessions for the last time on this LP. Listed
as takes 4, 5, and 15…they got takes 4 and 5 right for once!!
There is no call for the last take, which is complete.
There is some nice studio dialogue between false start takes 4 and 5
discussing the intro length. There
is some distortion on this track, seems like the level was mastered too high.
But over all, again playing too fast, it is still enjoyable.
This side closes with one of George Harrison’s best contributions to
the Beatles; “ Something ” is certainly an intense song.
This Aloha rehearsal version, again sounding stuffy, is still a fine
Ernie Boyes Jr.