Ernie's Import Lp Corner

Behind Closed Doors

If ever a title were accurate, and if ever the phrase “this is a classic” were true, both would apply to this release.  “Behind Closed Doors” on Audiofon Records AFNS 66072-4 was released in 1979.  To quote “Jailhouse Rock” by Cotton and DeWitt; “This has to be the ultimate bootleg: a boxed set of four LPs which rivals almost any commercial release.”  I could leave my review at that but I guess I should write more.  The cover photo is a fantastic color shot from the late 60’s.  The back photo is from the film “Girl Happy”. 

Here we have 4 LPs of mostly previously unreleased material in fantastic quality.  Though the LPs play with some noise that is easy to forgive!!  Many of these tracks have been released since in yet improved quality, but this was the first release for many of these tracks.  And to have so much in one package…WOW!!  It would take a page to type out the track listing, so I’ll just give an overview. 

On LP #1 side 1 we get outtakes from the November 7-8, 1960 “Wild in the Country” sessions.  “Lonely Man”, “I Slipped, I Stumbled, I Fell”, “Wild in the Country”, “In My Way”, and “Forget Me Never”.  Side 2 includes alternates from the March 22-23, 1961 “Blue Hawaii” sessions.  “Hawaiian Wedding Song”, “Island of Love”, “Steppin’ Out Of Line”, “Almost Always true”, and Moonlight Swim”. 

LP #2 side 1 continues the “Blue Hawaii” session with “I Can’t Help Falling In Love”, “Beach Boy Blues.”  From the October 1961 “Kid Gallahad” soundtrack sessions we get “King of the Whole Wide World”, “This is Livin’” and “Home is Where the Heart Is.”  Side 2 continues with “I Got Lucky” and “A Whistling Tune.”  And from August 2, 1965 “Paradise Hawaiian Style”: “Drums of the Islands” and “This is My Heaven”. 

LP #3 side 1 starts off with unnumbered outtakes from the 1969 film “The Trouble With Girls.”  “Swing Down Sweet Chariot”, “Almost”, “Signs of the Zodiac” is a duet with Marilyn Mason (not Marilyn Manson…though that would be an interesting duet I suppose :>) and finally the smash medley “Wiffenpoof Song/Violet”…yea right!!  Continuing on, a fantastic out take of “Gentle On My Mind” from January 15, 1969 in Memphis.  And from June 6, 1970 we have “Faded Love”.  Side 2 has live cuts: the August 22, 1969 rendition of “I Got A Woman”, February 16, 1970 “Suspicious Minds”, February 17th’s “Don’t Cry Daddy” and both “Kentucky Rain” and “Polk Salad Annie” from February 18.  All four on this side except “Suspicious Minds” first saw release on the previous years release “The Entertainer” on Rooster Records. 

LP #4 side 1 is taken from the June 1970 Nashville Sessions “It’s Your Baby You Rock It” (also first released on “The Entertainer” with the same bad splice), “Tomorrow Never Comes”, “Funny How Time Slips Away”, and “I Washed My Hands in Muddy Water,” which has an extended jam.  And from March 15, 1971 in Nashville “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.”  Though a few of these are precariously edited, (“Tomorrow Never Comes” comes to mind as well…which is unfortunate) they are nice to have.  Though obviously it would be preferable to have had no editing.  Lastly, side 2 contains the infamous complete 10 minute 42 second jam of Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” recorded May 16, 1971 in Nashville.  Too bad Elvis hadn’t known more of the verses because it is rather repetitive.  The LP “Elvis” contained an edited version that clocked in just under three minutes.  The version on the “Our Memories of Elvis” LP was edited down to eight and a half minutes, as well as being mixed differently. 

Nothing in life is perfect, and this set is no exception.  A few drawbacks, the material on this set doesn’t have a lot of humorous studio banter, which is always a highlight when listening to Elvis interact with the band members.  Most of the songs don’t differ much from the official RCA versions, though they are alternate takes just as well.  Also, a few of the tracks are rather lack-luster, and if they had been omitted, a 3 LP set would have been just as grand.  Much of this material has been released in better quality since this set appeared 23 years ago.  This set is collectable, though on copies I have seen for sale, the fold-open top of the “box” has been torn off.  That’s no big deal as long as it is a neat tear, as on my copy the top comes off as if it were designed that way. 

I wouldn’t go shelling out big bucks for this set unless you are a vinyl freak like I am.  However, if while rummaging though boxes or bins of LPs, if one were to run across a decent copy of this set and were able to grab it for $25, or cheaper of course, that would be a good buy in my opinion.  If you were willing to spend more of course that’s your choice; priced at $40+ the set is one any Elvis boot vinyl collector must have in their collection because it is such a high quality product.  As the title says, it certainly does contain Elvis “Behind Closed Doors.”

Ernie Boyes Jr.