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
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.