Ernie's Import Lp Corner

 Eternal Elvis volume 2

“ Eternal Elvis ” vol. 2 was released in 1979 on Eagle Records LPS 685. The record was most likely produced in the US though the faux address on the back cover attempts to give the impression that the LP was produced in the Republic of South Africa. The good moments on this LP are good, but the lows are low. The interview portions hold the most interest, however they seem to have been taken from some type of radio show. 

The LP cover is printed on very nicely textured stock board. The graphics leave a little to be desired, the front cover presents a slightly bewildered looking Elvis circa 1962-1966…in the midst of the movie years, the look of disinterest is understandable.  The back cover simply lists the LPs tracks along with its fake office address. The LP label is simple black ink on white paper, though the producers actually went through the trouble of listing each sides’ individual tracks. 

Side 1: opens with fake audience noise which continues throughout the first track.  “ And I love You So ” is a dreadful listen due to the fact that Elvis and Shirley Bassey’s versions are at different tempos. But more painful is the fact that these versions are in completely different keys. Don’t waste the wear on your needle!!  Next up is a nice little snipped of Sam Phillips, via phone interview, telling the story of Elvis, Scotty and Bill inventing Rockabilly on that day in July 1954 when Elvis starting goofing around with “ That’s All Right Mamma ”. The next track is also a nice little snippet.  Another phone interview this time with Chet Atkins giving a little background on Elvis’ first RCA track “ Hearbreak Hotel ”.  The third little snippet is a phone interview with Hal Wallis explaining why Elvis was signed for a 7 year film contract; extended with a clip from a 1956 press conference of Elvis himself talking about the movie contract.

Incorrectly listed as a “ studio rehearsal ”, “ Heartbreak Hotel ” is taken from one of the “ in the round ” 1968 Comeback Special jam sessions. “ The Impossible Dream ” is a very good version from 1972 ( Cotten and Dewitt state it as being from the RCA “ Madison Square Garden ” LP in their book “ Jailhouse Rock ” ). Next up is a short interview clip of Elvis speaking about his love for cars. Elvis ( probably from a 1969 or 1970 Vegas clip ) is heard talking about the 1956 Steve Allen Show appearance in which he sang to a basset hound. The actual audio from the TV performance is included in its entirety. Side 1 comes to a close as Elvis introduces Sherrill Neilsen singing “ O Sole Mio ” leading into “ It’s Now or Never ” ( dated as the New Years Eve 1976 Pittsburgh, PA by Cotten and Dewitt in “ Jailhouse Rock ” ). 

Side 2: open just as side 1 opened, with fake crowd noise and a fake duet. Elvis and Lloyd Prices’ versions of “ Lawdy Miss Clawdy ” are overlaid to attempt the duet illusion. Again it doesn’t come close to working. This time at least the 2 songs are in the same key, but Elvis’ version is much faster than Lloyd’s, so at no time do the two tracks line up. The second track doesn’t give us a breather.  “ Don’t Be Cruel ” is nothing less than cruel as Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis’ versions are played simultaneously. Again, the key is the same, but Jerry Lee’s version is at a faster tempo…and that annoying crowd noise only makes the track that more annoying. The third track on this side is listed as “ unreleased studio out take 1 ”; though it is slated as take 9.  “ If You Think I Don’t Need You ” take 9 is goofed on the lyrics. Take 10 is called for and again the track is incomplete as Elvis goofs the lyrics. 

“Lonely Man” solo acoustic version take 1 is up next. This is a very nice song. “ I Slipped, I Stumbled, I Fell ” takes 14, 15 and 16, are incorrectly listed as takes 1, 2, and 3. Solo acoustic takes of “ Forget Me Never ” are actually correctly listed as takes 1 and 2.  “ Gonna Get Back Home Somehow ” is listed as an alternate take, it is called out as take 24. I get the feeling that this take # comes from another session cause it sounds very unnatural and the track sounds like a master take.  “ Tomorrow Night ” is the 1965 overdubbed version with the added instrumentation. I personally enjoy this version, though the intimacy of the original Sun version is lost. Side 2 closes out with a short interview from the 1950’s with Elvis speaking about defending himself when physically attacked, as had happened on occasion in the early days. 

The pressing of the LP is decent with only a fair amount of surface noise. However the tracks differ in quality based on their source. The studio out take tracks are a nice listen, but were taken from the “ Behind Closed Doors ” and “ Viva Las Vegas ” LPs. 

There is an interesting parallel in the fact that also in the same year, 1979 ( or there abouts ), Eagle Records released a title called “ The Greatest Show in Earth ” Eagle Records Corp. LP 1932. Who ever put that album together must have no musical sense whatsoever; or more likely greed drove someone to spend the time assembling 12 fake duets and actually release it as an LP. I had a copy of it, or maybe I still have it, I don’t remember and I don’t really much care to look for.  The version I had/have was pressed on translucent green vinyl and the cover was printed on similarly nice textured stock board. Other than that…that LP is a total waste of turn table revolutions. Only Oscar the Grouch of Sesame Street would find pleasure in that LP, and in the three badly contrived duet-tracks we are forced to skip on this LP. 

In closing, this LP while it has a few nice little treats, is too void of good material to have been titled as such. There is nothing here that adds to Elvis’ status.  Simply put, there really is no need for “ Eternal Elvis vol. 2 ”.

Ernie Boyes Jr.