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1971 Vocals

Mon Aug 30, 2010 2:39 am

Elvis' vocals on I Shall Be Released and I'll Be Home On Christmas Day are a different approach for him. I've always thought he was not in great voice for these session, but these vocals are clearly an attempt by him for a different sound. Is it a folk sound?

I like the "Released" bit, but it is not a fully realized record. Does "I'll Be Home" work and do you think Elvis achieved what he wanted? They kept trying on the song so he must not have been fully satisfied. It is this sound he seems to go for on I'm Leavin' and the piano songs too. Was it the folk phase people say he was into?

Steve Lecher

Re: 1971 Vocals

Mon Aug 30, 2010 2:47 am

He had planned on recording a folk album during that time but apparently lost interest.

He recorded a few folk tracks that were subsequently scattered out over several releases.

That said i don't think ''I'm leavin'' or ''I'll be home on Christmas day'' have a folk sound to them.

Re: 1971 Vocals

Mon Aug 30, 2010 3:08 am

brian wrote:He had planned on recording a folk album during that time but apparently lost interest.

He recorded a few folk tracks that were subsequently scattered out over several releases.

That said i don't think ''I'm leavin'' or ''I'll be home on Christmas day'' have a folk sound to them.



It would've been one heck of a folk album. I reckon he would've recorded a couple of Kris Kristofferson songs like "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down" & "Me & Bobby McGee". What a missed opportunity. :(

Re: 1971 Vocals

Mon Aug 30, 2010 3:47 am

Brian:

I don't think thoses songs sound like folk either. I'm talking about his vocal style on all these songs. He's going for a different sound on them. That shaky, nasal thing. He's doing it purposefully. What is that about?

Steve L.

Re: 1971 Vocals

Mon Aug 30, 2010 4:42 am

stevelecher wrote:Elvis' vocals on I Shall Be Released and I'll Be Home On Christmas Day are a different approach for him. I've always thought he was not in great voice for these session, but these vocals are clearly an attempt by him for a different sound. Is it a folk sound?

I like the "Released" bit, but it is not a fully realized record. Does "I'll Be Home" work and do you think Elvis achieved what he wanted? They kept trying on the song so he must not have been fully satisfied. It is this sound he seems to go for on I'm Leavin' and the piano songs too. Was it the folk phase people say he was into?

Steve Lecher

I think it had something to do with his medicated state. His vocal approach for the most part is very sleepy and faint. He doesn't seem like he has it in him to do much more. I very much enjoy some of the performances, but clearly, something is wrong.

Re: 1971 Vocals

Mon Aug 30, 2010 11:07 am

My personal take on this is that his vocal approach is a result of an attempt to try to expand his versatily to a different direction vocally (even musically and on material); an attempt that was short, didn't really succeeded.
Maybe the result was not what Elvis wanted, or he didn't like the way he sounded there.

Re: 1971 Vocals

Mon Aug 30, 2010 11:48 am

I think it had something to do with his medicated state. His vocal approach for the most part is very sleepy and faint. He doesn't seem like he has it in him to do much more. I very much enjoy some of the performances, but clearly, something is wrong.


I agree 100%. I really treasure some of his '71-recordings but was disappointed with most of them in the first place because of Elvis' performance.

Elvis' 1971 Vocals

Mon Aug 30, 2010 1:22 pm

Something def. happened to Elvis voice starting in 1971... it didn't sound as powerful as the year before... it became more nasal, more unstable (shaky and sometimes, flat, off-key...)
From then on, his voice was never the same again, althought there were some highlights (March 1972 sessions, December 1973 sessions, Memphis 1974 Concert and the "Today" Session) but, IMO, never again as good as before...
But I think that weak voice sometimes worked perfectly on songs like "I'll Be Home On Christmas Day" (the version featured on "Platinum" is my favorite...)
Maybe he forced his vocal chords too much reaching that "rough" sound as heard on the 1968 NBC-TV Special "Elvis" and his 1969-70 studio/Vegas shows..?

Re: 1971 Vocals

Mon Aug 30, 2010 1:35 pm

I think that motivation is the name of the game here. I can´t imagine that our man was happy with the order to record one spiritual album, one christmas album, a pop album and some singles The march recordings of 1971 sounds generally ok. The may/june sessions are more shaky. The november 1971 tour showed that he was vocally back in business again, perhaps because it was the first tour for a year. This doesn´t exclude some of the other theories here, like medication etc.

Kind regards

Björn

Re: 1971 Vocals

Mon Aug 30, 2010 1:41 pm

dreambear wrote:I think that motivation is the name of the game here. I can´t imagine that our man was happy with the order to record one spiritual album, one christmas album, a pop album and some singles The march recordings of 1971 sounds generally ok. The may/june sessions are more shaky. The november 1971 tour showed that he was vocally back in business again, perhaps because it was the first tour for a year. This doesn´t exclude some of the other theories here, like medication etc.

Kind regards

Björn


I agree with you Dreambear!

Lennart

Re: Elvis' 1971 Vocals

Mon Aug 30, 2010 7:51 pm

JimmyCool wrote:Something def. happened to Elvis voice starting in 1971... it didn't sound as powerful as the year before... it became more nasal, more unstable (shaky and sometimes, flat, off-key...)
From then on, his voice was never the same again, althought there were some highlights (March 1972 sessions, December 1973 sessions, Memphis 1974 Concert and the "Today" Session) but, IMO, never again as good as before...
But I think that weak voice sometimes worked perfectly on songs like "I'll Be Home On Christmas Day" (the version featured on "Platinum" is my favorite...)
Maybe he forced his vocal chords too much reaching that "rough" sound as heard on the 1968 NBC-TV Special "Elvis" and his 1969-70 studio/Vegas shows..?


Spot on. And all down to health issues. One only has to hear his '71 rundown of "My Way" and realise something is seriously wrong. There's no way you would have ever heard a vocal like that in 1970. The Elvis On Tour rehearsals are a bit of a drag to listen to for me because of the same reason, I just can't dig that weak, tired, slurry voice. It recovered after his Hospital Admission in late '73, and he sounded great for the December Stax sessions, the Memphis concert. Then he sounded great again for the Today album and for the most part of '75 after yet another detox in early '75.

Re: Elvis' 1971 Vocals

Mon Aug 30, 2010 8:24 pm

the full sp wrote:
JimmyCool wrote:Something def. happened to Elvis voice starting in 1971... it didn't sound as powerful as the year before... it became more nasal, more unstable (shaky and sometimes, flat, off-key...)
From then on, his voice was never the same again, althought there were some highlights (March 1972 sessions, December 1973 sessions, Memphis 1974 Concert and the "Today" Session) but, IMO, never again as good as before...
But I think that weak voice sometimes worked perfectly on songs like "I'll Be Home On Christmas Day" (the version featured on "Platinum" is my favorite...)
Maybe he forced his vocal chords too much reaching that "rough" sound as heard on the 1968 NBC-TV Special "Elvis" and his 1969-70 studio/Vegas shows..?


Spot on. And all down to health issues. One only has to hear his '71 rundown of "My Way" and realise something is seriously wrong. There's no way you would have ever heard a vocal like that in 1970. The Elvis On Tour rehearsals are a bit of a drag to listen to for me because of the same reason, I just can't dig that weak, tired, slurry voice. It recovered after his Hospital Admission in late '73, and he sounded great for the December Stax sessions, the Memphis concert. Then he sounded great again for the Today album and for the most part of '75 after yet another detox in early '75.



Well 'sp: You've got all the clues you need in that statement.

Best wishes

Geoff

Re: 1971 Vocals

Mon Aug 30, 2010 8:54 pm

Lennart wrote:
dreambear wrote:I think that motivation is the name of the game here. I can´t imagine that our man was happy with the order to record one spiritual album, one christmas album, a pop album and some singles The march recordings of 1971 sounds generally ok. The may/june sessions are more shaky. The november 1971 tour showed that he was vocally back in business again, perhaps because it was the first tour for a year. This doesn´t exclude some of the other theories here, like medication etc.

Kind regards

Björn


I agree with you Dreambear!

Lennart


I can always count on you, Lennart! :)

//Björn

Re: 1971 Vocals

Mon Aug 30, 2010 11:11 pm

dreambear wrote:
Lennart wrote:
dreambear wrote:I think that motivation is the name of the game here. I can´t imagine that our man was happy with the order to record one spiritual album, one christmas album, a pop album and some singles The march recordings of 1971 sounds generally ok. The may/june sessions are more shaky. The november 1971 tour showed that he was vocally back in business again, perhaps because it was the first tour for a year. This doesn´t exclude some of the other theories here, like medication etc.

Kind regards

Björn


I agree with you Dreambear!

Lennart


I can always count on you, Lennart! :)

//Björn


You bet :wink:

Re: 1971 Vocals

Tue Aug 31, 2010 7:45 am

I like his voice in 1971 overall. It was more powerful or clear in some ways in 1970 but I don't mind the more laid back vibe. I guess the only songs where I hear real boredom are on about half of the Christmas songs. There he does not sound commited on the vocals.

Re: Elvis' 1971 Vocals

Sun Jun 16, 2013 8:32 am

JimmyCool wrote:Something def. happened to Elvis voice starting in 1971... it didn't sound as powerful as the year before... it became more nasal, more unstable (shaky and sometimes, flat, off-key...)
From then on, his voice was never the same again, althought there were some highlights (March 1972 sessions, December 1973 sessions, Memphis 1974 Concert and the "Today" Session) but, IMO, never again as good as before...
But I think that weak voice sometimes worked perfectly on songs like "I'll Be Home On Christmas Day" (the version featured on "Platinum" is my favorite...)
Maybe he forced his vocal chords too much reaching that "rough" sound as heard on the 1968 NBC-TV Special "Elvis" and his 1969-70 studio/Vegas shows..?

I agree 100%.

Re: 1971 Vocals

Sun Jun 16, 2013 1:28 pm

I've never known a singer display so many noticeable changes in his vocals from year to year.

It's possible to put a year to any song within seconds.

1968 was the turning point where his voice changed from the velvet Nashville pop voice to the ballsy voice needed for dramatic live performance.

Comparisons of things like "It Hurts Me" are astonishingly different in tone and substance.

In my opinion, 69/70 were his vocal peaks. 68 is almost there, but he does strain on the high notes. It works well on things like "If I Can Dream" etc but I doubt he could have carried of "Just Pretend" in 68.

His vocal range is fabulous on the 69 and 70 recordings, just check out "Rags To Riches" and tell me he couldn't have done a much better version of "Hurt" during this era.

He slides from note to note with ease and even his spoken tones have a confidence I've never heard in Elvis during any other period.

1971 was a real down year vocally. He still can hit the notes but his breath control isn't anywhere near as polished as the previous two years. He also has a slight wobble in his voice. Something of a weakness. He did use it to great effect on tracks like "Help Me Make It Through The Night" and "I'm Leavin'" where lazy vocals are what are required. However, things like "He Touched Me" etc are very flimsy attempts.

1972 saw his vocals strengthening again. The edge was gone, but a more smooth style was setting in and his vocal range seemed to average in a lower key. Had he done "mountain" for example in 1970, I feel he would have done it in the key of D rather than C. 1972 displays more control on lower notes than before.

1973 was quite a weak year. A vast decline vocally from 1972. Comparing Madison Square Garden album with Aloha points this out. Also, it must be said that his most dynamic shows were from mid 72.

I always leave the MSG album feeling exhausted. Elvis, and the band, were super charged and full of energy.

Aloha is ploddy. Burning Love in Aloha is weak vocally and even instrumentally it's more pedestrian than the 1972 versions from April (if more polished).

He also started doing weird "quiet" versions of "I Got A Woman" in early 73. Check out the IT'S A MATTER OF TIME CD on FORT BAXTER to see what I mean.

1974, Elvis had a meatier, more masculine tone in his voice. And this is his singing AND speaking voice! It's bizarre. The '74 Memphis album is a classic example. Versions of "Bridge" etc are no where near as smooth as early attempts, but they are louder. His vocals seemed to be getting louder but less controlled.

It smoothed out in 75 and became less "masculine" again. The power increased however and Elvis seemed at his best when yelling out "How Great Thou Art" and at an all time low on things like "C C Rider".

In 1976 things got worse and worse. The year started in a similar-to-75 voice for the March tour, but by the summer, he was very weak, lacking any real control and a poor imitation of himself.

Check out live versions of things like "mountain" and "Steamroller" and compare them with older versions. Not in the same league.

1977 saw an improvement over the previous year and in fact what sounds very similar to his June 1975 voice again. The most notable trait was a breathiness in '77. This is evident on every recording. His endings to Unchained Melody are pretty poor generally without the overdubbed help of Sherrill Nielson, and had he cut this in 1970/72 he'd have done something more impressive. It's an anti-climax of cataclismic dimentions!

It has to be said that his "live" voice was less controlled than the studio recordings, from 1975 onwards.

Anyway, that's just my observations. You can listen to Tom Jones in 1964 and 1984 and he sounds the same. Same goes for Paul McCartney, Cliffy and several others. Elvis just seemed to change his vocal range more than he changed his "Stamps" line-ups!!!

Re: 1971 Vocals

Sun Jun 16, 2013 1:29 pm

I think it was a matter of medication and motivation. Elvis started having real problems from september 1970 and that is probably the major reason. Hos voice was very different in 1971 compared to his 1970-session where his voice was very powerful. Some of the songs in 1971 were also cut in a key that was a little too high for Elvis.

Re: 1971 Vocals

Sun Jun 16, 2013 11:05 pm

I agree that medication played a huge role in this, i love the 1970 voice, but I feel like by '72 it was a perfect place for him singing wise. The Deep smooth tones he could substain, lovely!

Re: 1971 Vocals

Sun Jun 16, 2013 11:20 pm

1970 was Elvis' vocal peak if we forget about 1954 - 1964. :D

Re: 1971 Vocals

Sun Jun 16, 2013 11:30 pm

stevelecher wrote:1970 was Elvis' vocal peak if we forget about 1954 - 1964. :D

Ummm... let's say July 1954 up to March 1964... :smt002

Re: 1971 Vocals

Sun Jun 16, 2013 11:40 pm

One of his finest recordings from the 1971 sessions... beautiful performance by Elvis... I'm sure Red was quite proud.
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Re: 1971 Vocals

Mon Jun 17, 2013 1:28 am

I agree: this is a maginificent song! The more masculine, deeper voice with more power could be due to testosterone injections. Not saying that it was, just that it could be. I think the difference between his voice during the Madison Square Garden shows and either the 3 years before or anything that followed, is remarkable. The power he has over his voice during those shows is amazing, he sings one song after the other, in very different syles, hardly without breathing (or sounding out-of-breath) and does it almost faultlessly. The famous male singers in the audience must have felt like choir boys compared to that man on stage. :wink:

Re: 1971 Vocals

Mon Jun 17, 2013 3:05 am

Really, James? The 69 shows, the Feb and August 1970 shows, all feature singing as powerful or more so than MSG. The November 1971 shows and the February and April 1972 shows are at least equal. MSG is great but that was more the norm than the exception at this time.

Re: 1971 Vocals

Mon Jun 17, 2013 5:04 am

James27 wrote:The more masculine, deeper voice with more power could be due to testosterone injections.

That's a first for me... I was not aware that Elvis Presley was getting testosterone injections...