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What exactly are the problems with the RCA Memphis 74 show?

Mon May 05, 2003 7:46 pm

Just pulled this out and am listening now, sounds great to me but wanted to get this finally straight. I know this has been discussed ad nauseum but what exactly are the problems with the RCA tape? Needs to be remixed? and it is heavily edited? with overdubbed applause? is the rca coming from one single performance? and if it is, is it the March 20th afternoon show or evening show? its definitely not complete! right? also one last question, isnt there an import out there that represents this material better? Thanks in advance for any info!

Mon May 05, 2003 7:53 pm

The import"Steamroller blues"(fort baxter) has the complete show in very good soundquality.

Mon May 05, 2003 7:59 pm

RCA released the March 20, 1974 performance, but the following songs were edited:

All Shook Up
Steamroller Blues
Teddy Bear/Don’t Be Cruel
Love Me Tender
Polk Salad Annie
Suspicious Minds
Funny How Time Slips Away

I think most fans would favour a remix if the show were to be re-issued due to overdubbed applause, which is faded in and out over the top of all the performances.

Mon May 05, 2003 8:14 pm

Why would they do that?? lol screw around with the applause? boggles my mind!!

Mon May 05, 2003 8:20 pm

Hey Kylan,

To change the subject a minute,I sent you a PM to see if you wanted me to e-mail you the undubbed "Rubberneckin'" did you get it?

Mon May 05, 2003 8:20 pm

More genius overdubbs from Felton Jarvis. Just listen to the original FEP Blvd, and you will se what I mean. By 1974 Elvis definatly needed new management and a new producer.

Mon May 05, 2003 8:24 pm

and Ive always liked Felton and stood up for him against the Felton bashers. hmmm maybe I need to re-think my strategy! lol

Mon May 05, 2003 8:24 pm

I don’t know why they did it. Perhaps they were trying to create the impression that a Memphis crowd would be more enthusiastic than the audiences Elvis performed to in other states. Neither Ernst’s or Joe Tunzi’s respective sessions books make any reference to the overdubbed crowd noise, but listening to the recording, it’s quite obvious that it is there. Maybe the question could be put to Ernst next time he does an online interview.

Mon May 05, 2003 9:23 pm

Another problem with the 20 March 1974 show is that Elvis' performance -- both spirited and sloppy -- pales in comparison to the live material previously released between 1968-1973.

Felton Jarvis' hysterical audience "enhancements" were likely intended to mask this inadequacy.

Mon May 05, 2003 9:43 pm


Do you believe then,that Elvis was vocally better on the Aloha release than the Memphis album?In my opinion I think he was better vocally in Memphis '74 than Hawaii '73.

Just a Thought.

Mon May 05, 2003 10:03 pm

Hey Doc, when and if you ever become famous and have done something worthwhile to make people a little happier, lets hope the arrogant big heads on the internet messageboards aren't as critical towards you when you start declining.. altho im still waiting for those revalatory years for your best work.. good luck!

somehow i have a feeling he wont touch this with a 10 ft pole!

Overdubbed Applause?

Mon May 05, 2003 10:07 pm

Is the applause on the Memphis 1974 show overdubbed? I just figured they put the customary microphones at the front of the stage to record the crowd reaction, and they adjusted the level of this particular track during the mixing to give some atmosphere to this recording. That's not overdubbing, but in this case it could be bad mixing because the crowd noise gets too loud too quick and sounds artificial, but it might not be dubbed. I think they overdid this kind of thing a bit on the Alternate Aloha thing as well. If you want to hear the worst example of this, listen to I Want You To Want Me from Cheap Trick's Live at Budokan. They did some crazy things to the audience track on that one.....


Mon May 05, 2003 10:07 pm


What are you saying! :shock:
Clean your ears...

Mon May 05, 2003 11:05 pm

Greg´s on to something here. The fact is that they didn´t overdubb the audience reaction, although one might get the impression that the reaction seems to be the same everytime you hear it, it has to do with the way they mixed the tracks of the recording. Somehow they felt it necessary to sort of boost up the reaction from the audience to give the listener a picture of how it may have been to be present. Remember they did the same thing on the "An Afternoon In The Garden" release. Also this is the March 20th. show. Elvis only performed once on that date and this was the tour closer. It is a good and ballanced performance in my point of view, but they may have done better had they decided to record several of the earlier shows on this tour. Elvis had probably used most of his energy earlier in the tour, so it´s really a pitty they didn´t have that in mind. Still, this concert deserves to be released in complete form, what else is the point in releaseing a concert recording??

Sincerely MB280E

Mon May 05, 2003 11:33 pm

what is funny they didn't have to do this on the 50's live recordings or the 1961 hawaii show. the crowd was LOUD!

Tue May 06, 2003 12:00 am

I'm really pro-RCA version of this Memphis show. One thing that the bootleg soundboards lack are live-ambience. Most of the sounboards seems to be recorded in front of 100 people, instead of a full arena. The audience isn't overdubbed, it's just better implemented to the overall sound. I'd wish that every sounboard had this full sound...

Tue May 06, 2003 12:16 am

Albert -

Soundboards are made from the mixing desk feed & don't have any specific 'audience' mics; some audience sounds were picked up through the performers' mics, but usually sound rather 'muted'.

When recording a show 'professionally', RCA would have mics trained on the audience to capture their reactions.

Depending on the mixing, these reactions can be loud or quiet.

Audience recordings, of course, usually have the reactions louder than the performance !

Colin B

Tue May 06, 2003 12:21 am

I wonder what would happen if you had an audience tape and a soundboard tape of the same show, and laid the auidience recording (turned down, of course) over the soundboard... that might be interesting..

Tue May 06, 2003 12:31 am

Mike -

What, get the best of both worlds you mean ?

Good idea !

Ernst isn't above that sort of thing, he did something similar [albeit not on a live cut] by 'combining' two versions [one virtually instrumental, one mostly vocal] of 'Ghost Riders In The Sky' to produce the 'better' version on 'The Way It Was'.

I guess you could do similar things with your 'Cool Edit' - if only you had the source material !

Colin B


Tue May 06, 2003 12:47 am

Since when was a live recording by any artist not overdubbed, re-mixed and "tampered" with????
Does the vocal performance of Elvis recorded and released on this album suffer for not beeing "good"? IMO Elvis' recorded voice on the march '74 album actually was a surprise to me! I hold that record second to ON STAGE FEBRUARY 1970, as a live album!

Tue May 06, 2003 1:14 am

I agree bajo. This Memphis 1974 show was one of a very limited amount of complete professionally recorded performances from 1969-1977.
This alone would be good enough reason to release it. Other pro's:

*Great potential to become a superb sounding album when properly remixed, remastered and of course presented un-edited and in its enirety.

*Elvis' good spirits, warm humour, rich voice (WOW!), great song selection.

*Closing show in his hometown with emotional Elvis speech at the end of the perfomance ("They say a person...")

Tue May 06, 2003 1:17 am

Other than the overdubbed applause it is a great live recording a great show and he was in great voice. It is a better show than Aloha and better than the original MSG show.

Tue May 06, 2003 1:28 am


I agree that Elvis was in great voice, probably the best time during the 70's for him,
but to say that the Memphis show is better than Aloha and MSG is a little beyond reasonable.

Although, I do understand that may be your opinion.

Tue May 06, 2003 2:02 am

:) I agree that Memphis 74 should be re-released and COMPLETE but i disagree about his voice.on some tracks he sounds strained at the very end of a LONG TOUR and i find it somewhat 'surprising' that his strained version of HOW GREAT THOU ART won him an award!? still once this IS fully released(and with photo's from the show etc) it will be out their and done! :roll:

Tue May 06, 2003 2:24 am

Strained voice?
On "How Great Thou Art"???
What are you listening to?

Elvis' voice during this time period is far from strained!

Take a listen to any of his 1976 live performances. Now that is strained.

But in March 1974, Elvis' voice was top notch.
During that spring tour Elvis was in total control of his vocal range, tone and strength.
The quality of his performance may not have been his best, but his voice was excellent.
The only other periods during his career that his voice was comparable was 1961 and 1968/69.