Ernie's Import Lp Corner

 Café Europa Sessions

The Café Europa Sessions was first released on Tulsa Records TML 01-4 in September 1996 as a four CD / single 12” LP set.  The LP is a compilation of the best alternate takes of the sessions.  This original release, apparently from France, came in a deluxe gatefold cover the size of a 12” LP cover and was limited to 500 copies. 

Soon there after a re-release version from Germany came packaged as a five CD set in a fold-open cardboard box that opens up to show all five CDs.  Each flap shows a picture of Elvis in uniform and gives the track listing of each CD.  The address of the record label of this German re-release is given as the residence Elvis lived at while he was stationed in Germany:  Goethestr. 14, D-61231 Bad-Nauheim, Germany. 

On my first trip to Memphis in August of 2000, my friend and I were scouring the large Ramada Inn conference room the afternoon of August 15th for any treasures among convention vendors.  Due to the activities of the “ import police ”, no one had any import releases out on their tables.  I got to talking to a vendor who happened to be from France and I mentioned that I was looking for any import releases.  He cautiously glanced around, stepped to the back of his area and pulled out this four CD / one LP set and asked if I was interested.  My jaw pretty much hit the floor as I thought I would never find this set…let alone have to worry about what someone would be asking for it.  If I remember correctly I think his asking price was $115 or $120…I asked if he would take $100.  He paused momentarily then accepted my offer.  I guess he figured it was worth selling at that price rather than risk it being “ confiscated ” by the “ import police ” should they find it. 

The gatefold cover of this original release opens up to reveal ten black and white photos on the left ( most of which are candid shots ), and four CD pouches which contain the four session CDs on the right side.  The LP is in the sleeve pocket just like any regular LP release.  A track listing sheet included with the LP gives the breakdown of the tracks on each CD and the LP, and a listing of the musicians and recording session dates.  This set is perhaps one of, if not the best, import packages to have escaped into the Elvis collector’s world, and it is the only CD / LP combination release that I am aware of. 

Portions of the April sessions were released on volumes 1 and 2 of Bilko’s G.I. Blues Anniversary Edition CDs ( from 1995 and 1996 respectively ) in lesser, more compressed sound quality. The sound quality of these CDs is excellent (comparable to RCA/BMG quality…and stereo) and the LP is a quality pressing with minimal surface noise. 

CD #1

Shoppin' Around (instrumental AO takes 1, 2, + 4 – there is no track 3)

Shoppin' Around (BO takes 1 - 11)

Didja’ Ever (CO take 1)

Doin' The Best I Can (DO takes 1 – 13)

G.I. Blues (EO takes 1 – 7 + pick up insert takes 8 - 10)

Tonight Is So Right For Love (FO takes 1 - 6)


CD #2

Tonight Is So Right For Love (FO takes 7 - 11)

What's She Really Like (GO takes 1 – 19 + insert takes 20 - 22)

Frankfurt Special (HO takes 1 - 13)

Tonight Is So Right For Love (KO music chorus takes 1 - 4)

Big Boots (slow tempo MO takes 1 - 4)


CD #3

Whistling Blues (instrumental JO take 1)

Big Boots (fast tempo M10 takes 2 - 7)

Pocketful of Rainbows (NO takes 1 - 28)

Blue Suede Shoes (PO take 1)

Wooden Heart (QO takes 1 - 4)

CD #4

Big Boots (medium tempo M10X takes 1 - 4)

Shoppin' Around (BOX takes 1 - 7)

Pocketful of Rainbows (NOX takes 1 - 3)

Frankfurt Special (HOX takes 1 - 10)

Tonight's All Right For Love (R10 takes 1 – 17 + R20 takes 1 + 2)

Big Boots (slow tempo MOX takes 1 – 6 + insert M20X takes 1 - 4)

Tonight's All Right For Love (music/chorus R0 takes 1 - 5)


The bonus LP (CD) contains the following tracks:  approx : 40 min running time

Side 1

Shoppin' Around (instrumental AO take 4)

Doin' The Best I Can (DO take 9)

G.I. Blues (EO take 5)

Tonight Is So Right For Love (FO take 2)

What's She Really Like (GO take 13)

Frankfurt Special (HO take 13)

Big Boots (slow tempo MO take 3)


Side 2

Whistling Blues (instrumental JO take 1)

Big Boots (fast tempo M10 take 7)

Pocketful of Rainbows (NO take 3)

Wooden Heart (QO take 1)

Big Boots (medium tempo M10X take 1)

Shoppin' Around (BOX take 5)

Pocketful of Rainbows (NOX take 3)

Frankfurt Special (HOX take 5)

Tonight's All Right For Love (R10 take 12) 

This set is rather rare and while it is basically a CD release with an LP as a “ bonus ”, I felt it worthy of inclusion in my LP review section.  I currently have no idea what the possibility of finding this set is or what it may cost.  But for anyone interested in owning the entire sessions mostly complete (some instrumental tracks and other song takes are not included) in a beautifully presented format, it is worth the price of admission to the Café Europa Sessions!! 

Ernie Boyes Jr.