Ernie's Import Lp Corner

Play It Hot & Elvis Rocks and the Girls Roll

Once again I've come across 2 LPs that deserve to be reviewed together. "Play It Hot" Laurel LPM 3002 and "Elvis Rocks and the Girls Roll" Pink and Black LPM 1510. These two LPs are related in that they both contain the 1968 Dressing Room Rehearsals. "Play It Hot" was the first outing, and though I have not been able to discover a definite year of release, I am guessing approx 1984/5 due to the fact that the LP is not listed in the "Jailhouse Rock" book, which covers up until 1983. "Play It Hot" features a fantastic cover photo of Elvis during the '68 Comeback period. Elvis is sitting holding an acoustic guitar wearing a blue felt-like shirt, there is a wide black-leather-looking wrist band on his wrist; and the microphone in the fore gives the impression that it is the same setting as the sit-down shows. The back cover photo is a fantastic color shot of the Tupelo 1957 show, Elvis wearing the Black Velvet shirt his Momma made him. In the corners of the back photo the track listings for the LPs is printed in white text.

This LP had been counterfeited at least once. I was fortunate to run across a second copy, which have differing factors. First off, the front and rear cover photos are clearly "blown up" from the original release. On the front cover, the Laurel "logo" in the bottom left corner is actually cut off at the bottom and the "mono" script in the upper right corner is right on the edge of the cover; while on the original LP cover there is a healthy gap between the above mentioned. Also, the rear cover photo on the counterfeit is "blown up", putting the text on the back closer to the edges than the original. The original cover has a laminated glossy film on the front, while the back is of semi gloss stock. The counterfeit is printed on glossy stock front and back. The inside of the sleeve is gray on the original, white on the counterfeit. The labels on both are the same, yellow with black text and don't seem to vary at all. The matrix #'s do differ: the original is hand written "LPM 3002-A1" for the A side, the counterfeit is hand written "LAUREL 3002 - 2 - A -" for side A. Considering this was the first outing for the Dressing Room Rehearsal material, several issues of the original wouldn't surprise me, and neither does a counterfeit issue.


Side A is made up of familiar Hayride material: "Maybelline", "That's All Right", "Baby Let's Play House", Tweedle Dee", "Houng Dog" from the Hayride in '56, the Million $$ Quartet tune "You Belong to My Heart", and the alternate "Old Shep" take which escaped on a rare US pressing of the November 1956 "Elvis" LP. Side 2 contains the Dressing Room Rehearsals. It is quite fantastic that this material made it out on boot LP, and in very good quality. The pressing is very good, no extraneous noise, a very well pressed LP on high quality vinyl. The counterfeit version is still of good sound quality as well, though of slightly less fidelity and containing some hiss. The conclusion being that the counterfeit pressing was mastered from a copy of the original LP, resulting in the expected degradation.


"Elvis Rocks and the Girls Roll" also has a fantastic cover photo. Elvis posed playing electric guitar during the '68 Comeback production numbers; two levels of "Elvi" outlined in red in the background. The back cover shows a photo of Elvis sitting on a stage in a nightclub scene, credited as being during a break in the filming "Girls, Girls, Girls". A tape legend is reproduced, as is the label for a Radio Recorders acetate, the contents of which makes up the majority of the second side of this LP; the Dressing Room Rehearsal material is featured on the first side. A write up on the back cover credits the "Play It Hot" LP as being the first release of the Dressing Room Rehearsals several years prior, (some quick math would lead me to believe the LP was released between 1986-88), however the producers claim "a much better (and slightly longer-running) tape was found", justifying the re-release of the material.

A quick comparative spin on the old turntable points out two things. "Elvis Rocks" was mastered at a higher level so the sound is louder. Speculatively, this might have required the use of some compression to even out any loud sections so as to avoid distortion, though there is some inherent in the source tape to begin with. The second factor is EQ; high and mid seem to have been added to give the sound some "sparkle", but because of this some signal hiss is also evident. Without having the time to directly compare the LP sides to see if in deed "Elvis Rocks" contains a "slightly longer-running" tape as it claims, the source most likely is not different than the one used on "Play it Hot", though I'm not saying it isn't. "Play it Hot" seems to feature the sound as it is naturally on the source tape, "Elvis Rocks" would be the "sonically improved" version. Side 2 of "Elvis Rocks" contains previously unreleased acetate material, "Mama", "Earth Boy", "I Don't Wanna Be Tied", "Dainty Little Moonbeams", "Girls, Girls, Girls #2", "True Love Travels On A Gravel Road" from Memphis '69, "Night Life", and the Elvis/Ann duet of "You're the Boss", with which we are all familiar.


The Dressing Room Rehearsal track listing is basically the same on both LPs: "I Got A Woman", "Blue Moon/Young Love/Happy Day", "When It Rains It Really Pours", "Blue Christmas", "Are You Lonesome Tonight/That's My Desire", "That's When You're Heartaches Begin", "Baby What's Wrong/Peter Gunn", "Love Me", "When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again", "Blue Christmas/Santa Claus is Back in Town".


In conclusion, these 2 LPs are fun to have. Good material, well done artwork, and even though they are released on different labels, they both prove "Elvis Rocks as he Plays It Hot!!"