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Elvis & The Four Amigos.....a perfect music team!.

Sat Apr 05, 2014 1:47 pm

Hi there!! :D :D :D.

Five male vocal groups worked with Elvis on soundtracks recordings during his Hollywood years, they are: The Ken Darby Trio; The Jordanaires; The Mello Men; The Jubilee Four and finally The Four Amigos.

Much has been said & written about the other vocal groups but not much about “The Four Amigos”, which are almost unknown to many Elvis fans, until now………… :).

The Four Amigos vocal group originated in Puerto Rico, was formed in the late 50´s and had a great success around the world in Casinos (Las Vegas & Lake Tahoe), Hotel Resorts (Hawaii), Clubs & TV Shows (Ed Sullivan, Steve Allen) etc.

Image
The Four Amigos (Miguel Alcaide, Jose Vadis, Pedro Beirros & German Vega)

Image

As we all know The Four Amigos Quartet was the support backing vocals for Elvis on two movies: Girl!, Girls!, Girls! (engineered by Thorne Nogar) & Fun In Acapulco (engineered by Dave Weichman).

Image

Girls!, Girls!, Girls! (A Girl in Every Port working title) was released on November 21st, 1962 in USA and 1963 all around the world.

Image

The recording session for Girls! Girls! Girls! took place at Radio Recorders in Hollywood on March 26-30, 1962.

Soundtrack recording session info: The Four Amigos: Miguel Alcaide , Jose Vadiz, Pedro Beirros, and Felix Melendez (German Vega?????).
P.S: It looks like "German Vega" was replaced on this recording session by "Felix Meléndez" as stated on the Elvis recording session website: http://www.elvisrecordings.com/s620326.htm. As no Musician Union papers are provided, after researching I can´t find any prove that Felix Meléndez was ever part of the group, so I take it as German Vega "Salinas" was in this recording session.

The songs that included their main backing vocals were: "Mama" & "We´ll Be Together".

phpBB [video]


We´ll Be Together video.

http://www33.zippyshare.com/v/1399295/file.html
"Mama" complete Let´s be Friends Lp version.

Fun In Acapulco (Vacation in Acapulco working title) was released on November 27, 1963 in USA and 1964 all around the world.

Image

The Fun In Acapulco LP, along with the accompanying film, would be Elvis´ last releases before the arrival of Beatlemania in USA at the beginning of 1964.

phpBB [video]


Beatles arrives in USA February 7, 1964 JFK Airport.

The Recording sessions for Fun In Acapulco took place at Radio Recorders in Hollywood on January 22 and 23 and February 27, 1963.

Soundtrack recording session info: The Four Amigos (Miguel Alcaide “main singer/guitarist/composer”, Jose Vadis, Pedro Beirros & German Vega "Salinas").

They did almost all the vocal accompaniment on this soundtrack but as main vocal support they sang on: Vino, dinero y amor; I Think I´m Gonna Like It Here; The Bullfighter Was A Lady; El Toro; Margarita & Guadalajara.

Some outtakes not released by FTD were taken from old acetates and included in an obscure bootleg cd called "Elvis acetates Vol 1" by Memory Records in 2002.

Image
Elvis Acetates Vol 1 cd.

There was a musical track recorded for Malagueña for possible use in the soundtrack during the recording sessions and is included in this cd.

Image

For many years I though the song mentioned was the famous Spanish song: Malagueña Salerosa.

phpBB [video]


Malagueña Salerosa video.
Wav audio rip of Malagueña Salerosa:
http://www25.zippyshare.com/v/84593807/file.html

But later on I discovered the song was in fact Malagueña which had a version by Connie Francis in the sixties.

phpBB [video]


Malagueña video by Connie Francis.

http://www57.zippyshare.com/v/74966411/file.html
Malagueña take 6 Wav audio rip taken from Elvis acetates Vol 1.

After all my researching I still prefer the song "Malagueña Salerosa" which as mentioned I though was submitted originally for this recording session but it think would have been a tough song for Elvis as he would have needed to use his falsetto voice a lot.

Marguerita written by Don Robertson is one of the great song on the soundtrack and it is even mentioned as one of Ernst Jorgensen favourites in one of his interviews back in the 90´s.

phpBB [video]


Margarita video.

And now a little cool discovery I made recently, back in 1964 during one of their shows at The Hungry “I” in San Francisco, The Four Amigos sang a version of "Margarita". This recording is available on the LP called: The Four Amigos at the Hungry “I”. This is a great sounding LP, I am very surprised for the quality recording.

Image
The Four Amigos at the Hungry "I" LP, San Francisco.

phpBB [video]


Margarita 1964 live version by The Four amigos.

http://www19.zippyshare.com/v/41583900/file.html
Margarita Wav audio rip.

Although Elvis was in great shape vocally & physically during the recording of Girls! Girls! Girls!, I find him more vocally motivated during the recording of Fun in Acapulco & in top shape as well, he sang so beautiful, like a bird :smt020.

Image
Elvis posing for a studio picture session for Fun In Acapulco.

You can even feel the great atmosphere they had there during the recordings, the engineer Dave Weichman was having a great time too and you can clearly hear him humming after some of the outtakes of Bullfighter Was A Lady, he was in awe!. Although no mention is about Miguel Alcaide playing guitar on this two sessions, I firmly think if further research would have made I am quite sure they would found that he took part as a guitar player. He was in fact one of the finest Spanish guitar player at the time and not using his guitar skills makes no sense.

Image

http://www43.zippyshare.com/v/89835333/file.html
Bullfighter Was A Lady Wav audio rip.

Maybe the great emotional environment set during those recordings for Fun In Acapulco had to do with the soon arrival of Priscilla in USA on March 1963. Look at the picture posted on FECC back in February 2009 by our dear FECC member Desert Storm.

Image
Picture of Elvis & Priscilla in March 1963.

Hope this topic is of your interest and your participation is greatly appreciated. Enjoy!. Bye for now :smt006.
Last edited by Mike Windgren on Mon Apr 07, 2014 2:22 am, edited 3 times in total.

Re: Elvis & The Four Amigos.....a perfect music team!.

Sat Apr 05, 2014 2:06 pm

Great article!! :D

Re: Elvis & The Four Amigos.....a perfect music team!.

Sat Apr 05, 2014 2:14 pm

Un tópico muy latino y romamtico. :o

Great post Mike ::rocks

Re: Elvis & The Four Amigos.....a perfect music team!.

Sat Apr 05, 2014 2:34 pm

Great article. Thanks a lot. I never knew this information.

Re: Elvis & The Four Amigos.....a perfect music team!.

Sat Apr 05, 2014 5:22 pm

Wonderful article! Thank you, Mike ::rocks

Too bad Elvis didn't actual film in Acapulco. It is obvious that some of the scenes filmed were actually done in front of a blue screen. Great having Ursula Andrews and Elvis sounding and looking great! But all those location shots lost something for the film.

Image

Image

Re: Elvis & The Four Amigos.....a perfect music team!.

Sat Apr 05, 2014 6:08 pm

La Malagueña -> Mad I like and would recommend it to perform:

phpBB [video]



:wink:

Re: Elvis & The Four Amigos.....a perfect music team!.

Sat Apr 05, 2014 6:55 pm

Nice work, Mike. Fun in Acapulco is a film and soundtrack I never fail to enjoy - and it's the only Elvis film where the kid doesn't become annoying. I do think the Amigos get a little over-excited with their shouting and squealing at times, though. The most annoying thing about the soundtrack is Mexico - I still wonder if the wrong take was issued by mistake. The gaps left for the duet voice just sound very strange, whereas in some other takes Elvis sings the missing lines himself, and it works MUCH better. All in all, though, FIA is great kitsch fun and, it should be said, the first Elvis film to get a totally positive review from the hard to please New York Times. Howard Thompson wrote in the review that "compared to the Beatles, Elvis sounds like Caruso". The newspaper now had a new pet hate!

Re: Elvis & The Four Amigos.....a perfect music team!.

Sat Apr 05, 2014 7:43 pm

poormadpeter wrote:Nice work, Mike. Fun in Acapulco is a film and soundtrack I never fail to enjoy - and it's the only Elvis film where the kid doesn't become annoying. I do think the Amigos get a little over-excited with their shouting and squealing at times, though. The most annoying thing about the soundtrack is Mexico - I still wonder if the wrong take was issued by mistake. The gaps left for the duet voice just sound very strange, whereas in some other takes Elvis sings the missing lines himself, and it works MUCH better. All in all, though, FIA is great kitsch fun and, it should be said, the first Elvis film to get a totally positive review from the hard to please New York Times. Howard Thompson wrote in the review that "compared to the Beatles, Elvis sounds like Caruso". The newspaper now had a new pet hate!


Elvis sounds like Caruso? Maybe that should have been another signal to Elvis that he was going in the wrong direction.

How times have changed since Elvis said, "I don't sound like nobody." And with the arrival of Beatlemania just a short time away, things are really gonna be changing!

Re: Elvis & The Four Amigos.....a perfect music team!.

Sat Apr 05, 2014 8:12 pm

Times were changin' fast but Elvis was stuck in the fomula movies. For him the times were frozen.

Re: Elvis & The Four Amigos.....a perfect music team!.

Sat Apr 05, 2014 8:49 pm

jurasic1968 wrote:Times were changin' fast but Elvis was stuck in the fomula movies. For him the times were frozen.


Kind of. As I mentioned elsewhere in the Western Union thread, Elvis's love of the Latin sound was current for the time, but he spent time recorded rip-offs by in-house writers rather than the real deal. Fun in Acapulco was, at least, an enjoyable, fun album, and holds up well today despite its kitschness.

Re: Elvis & The Four Amigos.....a perfect music team!.

Sat Apr 05, 2014 8:50 pm

Thank you for this fantastic article, torero... ::rocks

Re: Elvis & The Four Amigos.....a perfect music team!.

Sat Apr 05, 2014 9:25 pm

While I don't share your enthusiasm over the material or films I appreciate your post Mike.Great info and well put together.

norrie

Re: Elvis & The Four Amigos.....a perfect music team!.

Sat Apr 05, 2014 9:33 pm

Hi there!! :D :D :D.

djmaciek wrote:La Malagueña -> Mad I like and would recommend it to perform:

phpBB [video]



:wink:


Nice version, thanks!. But this is "Malagueña Salerosa" my friend not "Malagueña" which was the one considered for the movie :wink:. Bye for now :smt006.

Re: Elvis & The Four Amigos.....a perfect music team!.

Sat Apr 05, 2014 9:50 pm

The best thing in Fun in Acapulco was the song Bossa Nova Baby-Elvis last rock and roll Top Ten hit of the 60's. He will have only one in the 70's: Burning Love.

Re: Elvis & The Four Amigos.....a perfect music team!.

Sun Apr 06, 2014 1:09 am

Super, smashing, great!

Have to say that FIA is up there as one of my favourite soundtracks. Give me that over From Elvis Presley Blvd any day of the week.

Re: Elvis & The Four Amigos.....a perfect music team!.

Sun Apr 06, 2014 1:17 am

jurasic1968 wrote:The best thing in Fun in Acapulco was the song Bossa Nova Baby-Elvis last rock and roll Top Ten hit of the 60's. He will have only one in the 70's: Burning Love.

Don't you consider Suspicious Minds a rock performance?

Re: Elvis & The Four Amigos.....a perfect music team!.

Sun Apr 06, 2014 1:34 am

Nice post, Mike, thank you.

Elvis' arrangement of “Guadalajara” is taken from Nat “King” Cole’s “More Cole Espanol” LP.

"Malaguena" comes almost directly from Caterina Valente’s 1956 US debut album “Hi-Fi Nightingale”.

Re: Elvis & The Four Amigos.....a perfect music team!.

Sun Apr 06, 2014 1:48 am

Wonderful topic once again, Mike.

A few thoughts...

Would really like to see the "Malagueña" track [I wonder who/if anyone provided a guide vocal?] released from the 3-track tapes someday, as - per the LP - the musicianship and engineering was absolutely top drawer throughout these sessions.

I'd not heard the Amigos' version of "Margarita" [note the alternate spelling] before, and very authentic it sounds too!
Although, when one compares vocal leads of each version, it does underline what an exceptional singer Elvis was during this period.

Can you upload the Amigos' version of "What'd I Say" from the same LP?
That should be a hoot!

P.S. While you were away, I posted a reworked [and hopefully improved] edit of "Mama" based on the Let's Be Friends album master.
Hope you were able to download the two versions [now expired] here > viewtopic.php?f=1&t=81504
Last edited by elvisalisellers on Sun Apr 06, 2014 1:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Elvis & The Four Amigos.....a perfect music team!.

Sun Apr 06, 2014 2:35 am

That was an outstanding and very interesting post.

Like some here, I am not much for either the film or the soundtrack, and Elvis at the age of 28 should have been making far more appropriate and ambitious music and films, not to mention touring places like Mexico and Acapulco. But it is what is is!

After Elvis died, it was a depressing time, and I still recall enjoying the breezy joy of the outtake of "Guadalajara" which RCA included on Elvis: A Legendary Performer, Volume 3. And in its own peculiar manner, "Bossa Nova Baby" does rock.

By the way, Elvis worked with six male vocal groups during his Hollywood years, the missing one being the Surfers: Pat Sylva, Bernie Ching, Clay Naluai and Al Naluai. They're a part of the "Blue Hawaii" soundtrack sessions.

Elvis Presley Vocal Backup Groups: Hollywood
Jordanaires
Ken Darby Trio
Surfers
Mello Men
Amigos
Jubilee Four


Thanks again for a very thoughtful and well-crafted topic!



Mike Windgren wrote:Five male vocal groups worked with Elvis on soundtracks recordings during his Hollywood years, they are: The Ken Darby Trio; The Jordanaires; The Mello Men; The Jubilee Four and finally The Four Amigos.

Much has been said & written about the other vocal groups but not much about “The Four Amigos”, which are almost unknown to many Elvis fans, until now………… :).

The Four Amigos vocal group originated in Puerto Rico, was formed in the late 50´s and had a great success around the world in Casinos (Las Vegas & Lake Tahoe), Hotel Resorts (Hawaii), Clubs & TV Shows (Ed Sullivan, Steve Allen) etc.

Image
The Four Amigos (Miguel Alcaide, Jose Vadis, Pedro Beirros & German Vega)

Image

As we all know The Four Amigos Quartet was the support backing vocals for Elvis on two movies: Girl!, Girls!, Girls! (engineered by Thorne Nogar) & Fun In Acapulco (engineered by Dave Weichman).

Image

Girls!, Girls!, Girls! (A Girl in Every Port working title) was released on November 21st, 1962 in USA and 1963 all around the world.

Image

The recording session for Girls! Girls! Girls! took place at Radio Recorders in Hollywood on March 26-30, 1962.

Soundtrack recording session info: The Four Amigos: Miguel Alcaide , Jose Vadiz, Pedro Beirros, and Felix Melendez (German Vega?????).
P.S: It looks like "German Vega" was replaced on this recording session by "Felix Meléndez" as stated on the Elvis recording session website: http://www.elvisrecordings.com/s620326.htm. As no Musician Union papers are provided, after researching I can´t find any prove that Felix Meléndez was ever part of the group, so I take it as German Vega "Salinas" was in this recording session.

The songs that included their main backing vocals were: "Mama" & "We´ll Be Together".

phpBB [video]


We´ll Be Together video.

http://www33.zippyshare.com/v/1399295/file.html
"Mama" complete Let´s be Friends Lp version.

Fun In Acapulco (Vacation in Acapulco working title) was released on November 27, 1963 in USA and 1964 all around the world.

Image

The Fun In Acapulco LP, along with the accompanying film, would be Elvis´ last releases before the arrival of Beatlemania in USA at the beginning of 1964.

phpBB [video]


Beatles arrives in USA February 7, 1964 JFK Airport.

The Recording sessions for Fun In Acapulco took place at Radio Recorders in Hollywood on January 22 and 23 and February 27, 1963.

Soundtrack recording session info: The Four Amigos (Miguel Alcaide “main singer/guitarist/composer”, Jose Vadis, Pedro Beirros & German Vega "Salinas").

They did almost all the vocal accompaniment on this soundtrack but as main vocal support they sang on: Vino, dinero y amor; I Think I´m Gonna Like It Here; The Bullfighter Was A Lady; El Toro; Margarita & Guadalajara.

Some outtakes not released by FTD were taken from old acetates and included in an obscure bootleg cd called "Elvis acetates Vol 1" by Memory Records in 2002.

Image
Elvis Acetates Vol 1 cd.

There was a musical track recorded for Malagueña for possible use in the soundtrack during the recording sessions and is included in this cd.

Image

For many years I though the song mentioned was the famous Spanish song: Malagueña Salerosa.

phpBB [video]


Malagueña Salerosa video.
Wav audio rip of Malagueña Salerosa:
http://www25.zippyshare.com/v/84593807/file.html

But later on I discovered the song was in fact Malagueña which had a version by Connie Francis in the sixties.

phpBB [video]


Malagueña video by Connie Francis.

http://www57.zippyshare.com/v/74966411/file.html
Malagueña take 6 Wav audio rip taken from Elvis acetates Vol 1.

After all my researching I still prefer the song "Malagueña Salerosa" which as mentioned I though was submitted originally for this recording session but it think would have been a tough song for Elvis as he would have needed to use his falsetto voice a lot.

Marguerita written by Don Robertson is one of the great song on the soundtrack and it is even mentioned as one of Ernst Jorgensen favourites in one of his interviews back in the 90´s.

phpBB [video]


Margarita video.

And now a little cool discovery I made recently, back in 1964 during one of their shows at The Hungary “I” in San Francisco, The Four Amigos sang a version of "Margarita". This recording is available on the LP called: The Four Amigos at the Hungry “I”. This is a great sounding LP, I am very surprised for the quality recording.

Image
The Four Amigos at the Hungry "I" LP, San Francisco.

phpBB [video]


Margarita 1964 live version by The Four amigos.

http://www19.zippyshare.com/v/41583900/file.html
Margarita Wav audio rip.

Although Elvis was in great shape vocally & physically during the recording of Girls! Girls! Girls!, I find him more vocally motivated during the recording of Fun in Acapulco & in top shape as well, he sang so beautiful, like a bird :smt020.

Image
Elvis posing for a studio picture session for Fun In Acapulco.

You can even feel the great atmosphere they had there during the recordings, the engineer Dave Weichman was having a great time too and you can clearly hear him humming after some of the outtakes of Bullfighter Was A Lady, he was in awe!. Although no mention is about Miguel Alcaide playing guitar on this two sessions, I firmly think if further research would have made I am quite sure they would found that he took part as a guitar player. He was in fact one of the finest Spanish guitar player at the time and not using his guitar skills makes no sense.

Image

http://www43.zippyshare.com/v/89835333/file.html
Bullfighter Was A Lady Wav audio rip.

Maybe the great emotional environment set during those recordings for Fun In Acapulco had to do with the soon arrival of Priscilla in USA on March 1963. Look at the picture posted on FECC back in February 2009 by our dear FECC member Desert Storm.

Image
Picture of Elvis & Priscilla in March 1962.

Hope this topic is of your interest and your participation is greatly appreciated. Enjoy!.

Re: Elvis & The Four Amigos.....a perfect music team!.

Sun Apr 06, 2014 2:49 am

Hi there!! :D :D :D.

Wonderful response from all of you :smt023.

Thank you "compadres" like the recording engineer Dave Weichman said during the recording of The bullfighter was a Lady :wink:.

Will answer to some of you tomorrow as it is too late now and this old man needs some rest :smt005. Bye for now :smt006.

Re: Elvis & The Four Amigos.....a perfect music team!.

Sun Apr 06, 2014 3:37 am

George Smith wrote:Nice post, Mike, thank you.

Elvis' arrangement of “Guadalajara” is taken from Nat “King” Cole’s “More Cole Espanol” LP.

"Malaguena" comes almost directly from Caterina Valente’s 1956 US debut album “Hi-Fi Nightingale”.


That is very interesting information, George Smith. And, of course, you're correct.

Here's Nat's 1962 recording, arranged by Ralph Carmichael:


phpBB [video]


Nat "King" Cole “Guadalajara” More Cole Español (Capitol W 1749, August 4, 1962)


And here's Caterina's beautiful 1956 release:

phpBB [video]


Caterina Valente "Malagueña" The Hi-Fi Nightingale... (Decca DL 8203, January 21, 1956)


How can you not love this place?

::rocks

Re: Elvis & The Four Amigos.....a perfect music team!.

Sun Apr 06, 2014 4:23 am

Great info! Thank you for posting your research of the Four Amigos. Even if you are not a fan of the Fun In Acapulco soundtrack (which I am), you can't help but appreciate the superior fidelity quality of the recordings compared to the majority of other Elvis soundtracks. It is clear to my ears that Elvis was having a good time recording most of the songs.
Also appreciated, is the additional information about Nat King Cole's version of Guadalajara. Nat remains one of my favorite vocalists from any genre.

Re: Elvis & The Four Amigos.....a perfect music team!.

Sun Apr 06, 2014 4:41 am

It's worth saying that Elvis gets his tongue around the Spanish with considerably more ease than Nat King Cole. Cole's pronunciation may well be more correct than Elvis's (I'm no judge of that), but he's so careful with it that he loses the lightness of touch which is essential to the song. It's all a bit laboured, which certainly isn't the case in Presley's performance.

Re: Elvis & The Four Amigos.....a perfect music team!.

Sun Apr 06, 2014 5:30 am

This is a really great post, Mike. Really interesting and refreshingly different. Thank you!

EPA4368 wrote:Too bad Elvis didn't actual film in Acapulco.


I agree. It really mars the appearance, continuity and overall feel of the film for me. I think I read that Elvis was excited to film on location in Acapulco but the Colonel nixed that idea in favor of shooting in front of a blue screen in Hollywood. Another fine decision by the Colonel. What a shame. Otherwise, the film is great fun.

George Smith wrote:Elvis' arrangement of “Guadalajara” is taken from Nat “King” Cole’s “More Cole Espanol” LP.


Very interesting!

poormadpeter wrote:It's worth saying that Elvis gets his tongue around the Spanish with considerably more ease than Nat King Cole.


I agree. Both the language and style suited Elvis well.

Re: Elvis & The Four Amigos.....a perfect music team!.

Sun Apr 06, 2014 6:06 am

poormadpeter wrote:It's worth saying that Elvis gets his tongue around the Spanish with considerably more ease than Nat King Cole. Cole's pronunciation may well be more correct than Elvis's (I'm no judge of that), but he's so careful with it that he loses the lightness of touch which is essential to the song. It's all a bit laboured, which certainly isn't the case in Presley's performance.


InheritTheWind wrote:
George Smith wrote:Elvis' arrangement of “Guadalajara” is taken from Nat “King” Cole’s “More Cole Espanol” LP.


Very interesting!

poormadpeter wrote:It's worth saying that Elvis gets his tongue around the Spanish with considerably more ease than Nat King Cole.


I agree. Both the language and style suited Elvis well.


Isn't it cool someone found and posted the YouTube link of this Cole track, so you boys could simply, click, listen, analyze and enjoy?

::rocks