A fellow Elvis fan e-mailed me back in May requesting
that I review a certain LP next. I
responded that I would make it a point to get to it within the next two reviews.
I got the LP out, put it on the turn table, looked over what little info
was listed on the back cover and I realized this was going to take some research. Well, Michael Forney, I apologize that it took me until this
Thanksgiving weekend to have the time to spend basically a full day with CDs
doing track comparisons, but here is the review you requested so long ago!!
But I still do now know when I will get to the Rockin Rebel LP
The Legend Lives On Presley Collection Series
PCS 1001 was released in 1976. It was
most likely produced in the USA, despite that the words Made in Canada
appear on the back cover. At the time,
this was one of the best sounding
Elvis boot LPs to see the light of day. Coupled with the fact that most of the material on this LP was
unreleased ( and some still appears no where else to this day ), you have what
may be considered a legendary record!!
The LP features unreleased live performances from August 1969 (8/21 MS to
be exact) and February 1972, save for one studio track from 1970.
The front cover of the LP is graced by a full color
photo of Elvis on September 15th, 1970 aboard a plane in Mobile, AL en route to
his home in L.A.. The previous night
Elvis wrapped up his Sept 1970 tour there in Mobile.
(Thanks for the info Claude :>) The
back cover has one candid photo circa 1969, three of E on stage in Vegas in
1969, and three from various 1972 shows all in black and white.
At the bottom on both the right and left sides under the photographs we
have track listings and dates for some of the individual titles.
The LP labels are white with track listing in black text and a photo of
Elvis face circa 1956 with his trademark grin. While the LP labels and front cover mention this LP as being
stereo, all of the tracks are from mono sources.
Side 1: Opens
with an incomplete monologue snippet; Elvis is at the point where he mentions
singing Hound Dog to the hound dog on the Steve Allen Show.
Yesterday / Hey Jude was Elvis Beatles medley.
I heard an interview with Paul McCartney on the Howard Stern Show and
part of the conversation revolved around Elvis performing Beatles songs.
In particular Howard seemed to assume that Paul would be horrified at
Elvis singing one of their song. Elvis
had obviously been a big influence on Paul and John, so Pauls response was
very positive as he commented on the fact that Elvis mixed up the verse lines in
Yesterday and put them in no particular order. Yet Paul seemed to be intrigued that the random line combinations (
whether intentional or unintentional ) on Elvis part still allowed the song
to work well. The 3rd track is
the Band Introductions with Elvis singing Happy Birthday to James Burton
who was born on Aug 21, 1939. This track
matches the Band Intro track that was included on the 1991 Collectors Gold
CD #3, correctly dated as the Aug 21, 1969 Midnight Show, which would
correspond to James 30th B-day. The
next track, In the Ghetto interestingly contains laughter and a quip by
Elvis before the lyrics begin: Ill be damned if I sing Happy Birthday to
him again . The final track on
this side, an 8+ minute rendition of Suspicious Minds , wraps up side 1
of the record.
Side 2: Begins
with a rollicking Whatd I Say followed by the show closer Cant
Help Falling In Love . From here
we move two and a half years ahead in Elvis career. His live appearances have continued to sell out in Vegas and across
the country. If only he had fired Col
Parker, taken his show to the world instead of making the fans come to him, and
stuck with his acceptance of Barbara Streisands personal invitation to star
along side her in A Star is Born ( which Kris Kristofferson ended up
landing ), I think those challenges would have kept Elvis from boring himself to
death with pills. On with the tunes:
Its Over is from the Feb 17, 1972 DS; Big Hunk O Love ( listed
as Feb 15 on the back cover ), Its Impossible ( listed correctly )
and The Impossible Dream ( listed correctly ) all date from the Feb 16,
1972 MS. Its Impossible
was released on 1973s Fool LP, and The Impossible Dream was
placed on 1978s He Walks Beside Me LP.
However, both of these tracks as they are on this LP have dialogue that
is not available elsewhere.
Its Over and Big Hunk O Love wouldnt see official release
until 20 years later on 1996s Walk A Mile in My Shoes 70s Masters
box set. These tracks from 1972 appeared
subsequently on 1999s Burning Love and 2001s Live in Las Vegas
box set. The final track is the fully
produced studio master take 8 ( complete with strings, horns, doubled and
backing vocals, and other instrument overdubs ) of Bridge Over Troubled
Water from the June 5, 1970 Nashville session.
This may be from an acetate source so it may be an early alt mix or it
may just be the final mix from an acetate source. We did get take 1 of this song on FTDs Nashville Marathon
For reference, RCA recorded each nights performance
from August 21st to August 26th. All
of the tracks on the In Person at the International Hotel portion of
1969s From Memphis to Vegas set were culled from performances
beginning with the 8/24 MS and ending with the 8/26 DS.
1991s Collectors Gold CD #3 gave us a compilation of previously unused
1969 Las Vegas tracks spanning 8/21 MS to 8/26 MS. 1997s Platinum box set CD #3 brought us Baby What Do You
Want Me To Do , Words and Johnny B. Goode from the 8/24 MS
according to Tunzis Sessions III .
Also according to Sessions III, 2001s Live in Las Vegas
box set CD #1 gave us the complete 8/24 DS.
2002s Today Tomorrow and Forever includes Baby What Do You
Want Me To Do , Funny How Time Slips Away , Runaway , My
Babe and Whatd I Say from the 8/22 MS.
FTDs Elvis at the International , also from 2002, presented us
with the complete 8/23 MS. And the complete 8/26 MS with the legendary laughing version of
Are You Lonesome Tonight , finally heard in the context of the entire nights
concert, was released in 2005 on FTDs All Shook Up .
The sound quality on all of the tracks on this LP is rather clear, well
balanced, though clearly from an unofficial source and surface noise
from the vinyl is evident but not distracting. The
8/21/69 MS tracks are all mastered noticeably too slow, as are the Feb 1972
tracks when compared with the official versions that have since been released.
Quickly I wanted to explain the process I used to
compare tracks to verify dates. I have
always kept my turn table as part of my stereo system so it is easy to alternate
between a CD track and LP track to compare certain portions of a song that may
help to identify a match or not. In my case, my standard to determine a match is to find three
different points during the song that most definitely match.
These include specific lyric phrasing, any extraneous lyrical ad-libbing
that would not be considered a part of the actual song lyrics (ex: oh baby
, etc), or any specific instrumental parts that are easily identifiable as
unique. The would include a drum fill,
guitar riff or solo, or bass line run. For
example, during The Impossible Dream Jerry Scheff misses a note in the
first verse, and Elvis flats a note at the end of the song.
Ernie Boyes Jr.