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Elvis --> Peepin' and Hidin' in 1968 !

Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:15 am

"Looks like the balloon is goin' up!"

Indeed, it was.

On his legendary 1968 Singer TV Special, Elvis reestablished himself as an absolute master of rock, blues, country, soul, gospel and pop. Performing live with a small combo or alone with an orchestra, or ripping through prerecorded production numbers, this was the real Elvis.

During the production of the special, Elvis relaxed backstage by jamming on favorite rock and r&b tunes, like those by Jimmy Reed. Playing a rough, blues-influenced electric guitar, the singer was riveting. He put the music on his back -- on the two known rehearsal tapes we hear mostly just his guitar and voice on every single song. Director Steve Binder managed to incorporate this thrilling music into the program by taping two small combo concerts.

One of the fine performances left on the cutting room floor may well be Elvis' single greatest live recording -- the extra-long workout of Reed's "Baby What You Want Me To Do." Presley acts as if his life -- and ours -- is at stake.

It is sublime. It is thrilling. It is peak Elvis.


680627_Baby What You Want Me To Do.JPG
Elvis Presley, "Baby What You Want Me To Do" (NBC-TV, June 27, 1968 6pm show, final rendition)



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Ann-Margret, his incomparable "Viva Las Vegas" co-star and paramour, would later recall a sexy, off-the-cuff duet of "Baby What You Want Me To Do" at Elvis' house, when they were shooting the MGM film in the summer of '63:


940209_Ann-Margret My Story_p113.JPG
Ann-Margret: My Story (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, February 9, 1994)
Written with Todd Gold.


In Jerry Hopkins' heralded 1971 biography, he notes Presley plays a nifty tune called "Let It Roll" [sic] at the "Clambake" wrap party in April 1967. Well, guess what? "Let It Roll" is actually ... "Baby What You Want Me To Do"!

And that very summer, the Reed tune was shortlisted for an Elvis session to be produced by Billy Strange, but it got mysteriously cancelled:

A Strange Session --> August 22, 1967
http://www.elvis-collectors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=50204


Presley would include this number in his 1969 set, in a full band version not unlike what it might have sounded like had he been backed by the Band. Listen out in this version from the 8-23-1969 DS for his "whammy bar" fooling around before he starts the song:


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And he would record an intimate, acoustic demo at Sam Thompson's home in Memphis in November 1973:






But where and when did our hero find his abiding love for this song?

Well, Jimmy Reed issued his recording at the end of 1959, and it made the Billboard R&B and Pop charts right about the time Elvis was cutting his first post-army recordings in Nashville. It must have been then that "Baby What You Want Me To Do" found a permanent home in his musical world.

It's a tremendous track, it blew Elvis away, and well worth a listen ... or three!




Jimmy Reed, "Baby What You Want Me To Do" (Vee-Jay 333, November 9, 1959)
Billboard US R&B #10, April 4, 1960, Pop #37, February 29, 1960
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_What_You_Want_Me_to_Do



Billboard Nov 16 1959 p43.JPG
Billboard - November 16, 1959
"R&B Pick" notes that "Reed ... delivers freely in classic, gut-bucket fashion."



Thank you, Jimmy Reed.


591109_Vee-Jay 333_Reed.JPG
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Last edited by drjohncarpenter on Sun Apr 02, 2017 2:43 am, edited 9 times in total.

Re: Elvis --> Peepin' and Hidin' in 1968 !

Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:34 am

Brilliant Thread Ty Doc -Lovn It - keep up ya good work on here -Lov ya posts ::rocks
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Re: Elvis --> Peepin' and Hidin' in 1968 !

Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:48 am

What a great info and topic , Thank you Doc :)

Re: Elvis --> Peepin' and Hidin' in 1968 !

Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:27 am

Lovely post, John, thank you ... his single greatest live recording? Now there's a discussion point!

Either way, it's definitely Reed's version that Elvis pulls from - I wonder what made him pick up the song so obsessively in the mid-sixties?

Here's a Fontella Bass and Bobby McClure B-Side from early 1965 (Checker 1097)


Do you think that this could have rekindled EP's love of the great blues song?

Or maybe this Little Richard take from late 1967:



He sure did love that song, didn't he.

Re: Elvis --> Peepin' and Hidin' in 1968 !

Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:27 am

Doc if you could narrow done all of Elvis filmed performances and pick just one, this is the one i would take. The only plausible explanation for the life Elvis breathes into those few chords is divine intervention.

Re: Elvis --> Peepin' and Hidin' in 1968 !

Fri Mar 01, 2013 3:17 am

The song is one of the many highlights from the '68 special.Thanks for the background info Doc,another top post.

norrie

Re: Elvis --> Peepin' and Hidin' in 1968 !

Fri Mar 01, 2013 7:37 am

Wonder who's playing guitar on Richard's version?

In any event, thanks Doc! :)

rjm

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Re: Elvis --> Peepin' and Hidin' in 1968 !

Fri Mar 01, 2013 7:49 am

It's been some time since I've heard Jimmy Reed's version... I enjoy it very much. With regard to Elvis' 1969 arrangement of the song, I find it somewhat disappointing when compared to the historic performances from June '68. The addition of percussion and background singers destroy the rhythm and blues feel of the song for me... I never have liked those performances... and I just can't get over how great it was seeing him play guitar and sing BWDYWMTD in the Comeback Special.
Great post John... thanks!

Re: Elvis --> Peepin' and Hidin' in 1968 !

Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:08 am

elvis-fan wrote:With regard to Elvis' 1969 arrangement of the song, I find it somewhat disappointing when compared to the historic performances from June '68. The addition of percussion and background singers destroy the rhythm and blues feel of the song for me... I never have liked those performances..!


Good Comment. I fully agree with you. This was one of Elvis' few misfires in 1969.

Great post about one of my favorite moments in Elvis lore. 1968 was a very good year indeed...

Re: Elvis --> Peepin' and Hidin' in 1968 !

Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:18 pm

elvis-fan wrote:It's been some time since I've heard Jimmy Reed's version... I enjoy it very much. With regard to Elvis' 1969 arrangement of the song, I find it somewhat disappointing when compared to the historic performances from June '68. The addition of percussion and background singers destroy the rhythm and blues feel of the song for me... I never have liked those performances... and I just can't get over how great it was seeing him play guitar and sing BWDYWMTD in the Comeback Special.
Great post John... thanks!


I totally agree with that, too. It really started as early as two nights later! He did an informal time-killing jam, and that whole orchestra kicked in! So, he played along a little, handing over the lead, and flirted with a couple girls. While Mike Deasy got all fancy with the lead. So, it was gonna happen once he got that large band and singers and orchestra in Vegas.

It was One Night of miracles. June 27, 1968.

rjm


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Last edited by rjm on Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Elvis --> Peepin' and Hidin' in 1968 !

Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:38 pm

I don't have it to hand, as I'm in work (hence I'm reading FECC :oops: ), but from what I remember, Guralnick recalls a story where Elvis and Ann-Margaret goofed around with the song, around the time of Viva Las Vegas.. Most likely in 'Careless Love'. A nice little anecdote.

I love the song, and I'll echo the thoughts of those who were disappointed when they heard the '69 arrangement. To my ears also, it lost the edge that it had in '68. Having said that though, what was there from the '68 Special, that actually ever sounded as good again when played live. Very little IMO.

Re: Elvis --> Peepin' and Hidin' in 1968 !

Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:42 pm

Briliant. Thank you very much, Doc. I beleive also that Elvis'version of the song is better in 1968 comparing to 1969

Re: Elvis --> Peepin' and Hidin' in 1968 !

Fri Mar 01, 2013 3:44 pm

I agree completely, his 69 arrangement was good, but it was like someone had let some air escape from the fully inflated 68 balloon, it lacked the drive and the punch it had as an almost acoustic unplugged version. But also perhaps it shows us that it was wise from Elvis never to repeat IF I CAN DREAM after 68, can u imagine how disappointing that would have been ? a 76 version ? NOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Re: Elvis --> Peepin' and Hidin' in 1968 !

Fri Mar 01, 2013 5:19 pm

Great post fit for such a great song! Always been a favourite of mine; well the '68 version has as not overly keen on the '69 version (wonder what it sounded like in rehearsal and how they worked it up?).

I also think the ad hoc performance where Elvis starts jamming on this song during the 'stand up' shows is a classic - "someone pass me my guitar ..." It's a shame he didn't bring out the electric on stage more often and keep it out - gives rise to the idea that Elvis wasn't really a musician as he's always pictured without it, just mic in hand.

There is an anecdote in Careless Love about Elvis and Ann Margaret duetting in provate on this number - what a treat that would've been to hear!

Andrew

Re: Elvis --> Peepin' and Hidin' in 1968 !

Fri Mar 01, 2013 6:39 pm

Great Doc!!Thank You

Re: Elvis --> Peepin' and Hidin' in 1968 !

Sat Mar 02, 2013 2:34 am

Ann-Margret's memory of their 1963 "Baby What You Want Me To Do" duet has been added to the original post.

Also added is a great photo of blues musician Jimmy Reed from the time of the single's release on Vee-Jay.

Re: Elvis --> Peepin' and Hidin' in 1968 !

Sat Mar 02, 2013 8:54 pm

Great post Doc. You are the sublime master at putting together these interesting and informative posts, I wouldn't know how to begin to do so.

The Everly Brothers also did a good version of 'Baby What You Want Me to Do' it was released on their 'A Date With The Everly Brithers' album released in October 1960.

Re: Elvis --> Peepin' and Hidin' in 1968 !

Sat Mar 02, 2013 9:52 pm

Indeed true. When I tuned into the 68 TV Special I was expecting an Elvis Presley show and got what I expected. Sad to say I didnt feel quite the same about Aloha. It just wasnt the Elvis I loved anymore, but 68 surely was. The only minor thing I can say about this particluar song is, since Elvis performed it so much and so well , it would have been nice to give a shout out to Jimmy Reed before he sang it and to the r&b genre in general. Maybe some of those racist rumors would have been squashed a bit. Also, check out the Etta James version. Very raunchy.

Re: Elvis --> Peepin' and Hidin' in 1968 !

Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:31 pm

Here's a good mash up:

Re: Elvis --> Peepin' and Hidin' in 1968 !

Sun Mar 03, 2013 3:35 am

Phenomenal post Doc! If the comeback special is the measuring stick, the even Elvis from 69 has a difficult time competing. He was that good in 68! ::rocks

Re: Elvis --> Peepin' and Hidin' in 1968 !

Sun Mar 03, 2013 4:40 am

Very much enjoying the thread. Thank you, Doc -- and all contributing.

I posted a similar topic on another Elvis board a while back. Here is a little of what I posted...

"I seriously think the song was a key element in this massive challenge to Elvis, almost serving as a sort of mantra that gave him confidence and a safe place to re-group.

Writer Greil Marcus has this to say in the notes that accompany the “Elvis: ’68 Comeback Special” Deluxe Edition DVD:

“The Sit Down shows are the little theater to which people will always return. ‘Are we on television?’ Elvis asks Charlie Hodge at one point. ‘No,’ Hodge says, ‘we’re on a train bound for Tulsa.’ When Elvis relaxes into the first of five dives into Jimmy Reed’s Baby, What You Want Me to Do – the deep well of the sessions where every few minutes Elvis returns for a more open rhythm, a harder beat, a knowledge that cannot be put into words -- it’s as if the song itself is a train to ride, or that he is.

“Early in the special, Elvis takes Scotty Moore’s electric guitar for himself; he had never played the instrument in public before, but immediately he locked into the most low-down chords imaginable, into a music that any musician can tell you anyone can make and almost no one can.”

But it doesn't end there....

Moving on to the first Stand-Up Show, OOOPS! -- there's a technical problem. So rather than just awkwardly stand there and lose the audience, where does Elvis go? Baby What You Want Me To Do, of course.

Greil Marcus picks up the story...

“There’s a delay in starting If I Can Dream, but Elvis makes great use of the time by treating the audience to an unplanned guitar jam on Baby, What You Want Me To Do. The off-stage band joins in and the house rocks.”

Here is that KILLER performance. ENJOY."

Re: Elvis --> Peepin' and Hidin' in 1968 !

Sun Mar 03, 2013 4:48 am

Thanks Doc!

Re: Elvis --> Peepin' and Hidin' in 1968 !

Sun Mar 03, 2013 5:46 am

MaryAnn wrote:Very much enjoying the thread. Thank you, Doc -- and all contributing.

I posted a similar topic on another Elvis board a while back. Here is a little of what I posted...

"I seriously think the song was a key element in this massive challenge to Elvis, almost serving as a sort of mantra that gave him confidence and a safe place to re-group.

Writer Greil Marcus has this to say in the notes that accompany the “Elvis: ’68 Comeback Special” Deluxe Edition DVD:

“The Sit Down shows are the little theater to which people will always return. ‘Are we on television?’ Elvis asks Charlie Hodge at one point. ‘No,’ Hodge says, ‘we’re on a train bound for Tulsa.’ When Elvis relaxes into the first of five dives into Jimmy Reed’s Baby, What You Want Me to Do – the deep well of the sessions where every few minutes Elvis returns for a more open rhythm, a harder beat, a knowledge that cannot be put into words -- it’s as if the song itself is a train to ride, or that he is.

“Early in the special, Elvis takes Scotty Moore’s electric guitar for himself; he had never played the instrument in public before, but immediately he locked into the most low-down chords imaginable, into a music that any musician can tell you anyone can make and almost no one can.”

But it doesn't end there....

Moving on to the first Stand-Up Show, OOOPS! -- there's a technical problem. So rather than just awkwardly stand there and lose the audience, where does Elvis go? Baby What You Want Me To Do, of course.

Greil Marcus picks up the story...

“There’s a delay in starting If I Can Dream, but Elvis makes great use of the time by treating the audience to an unplanned guitar jam on Baby, What You Want Me To Do. The off-stage band joins in and the house rocks.”

Here is that KILLER performance. ENJOY."



Love that clip. Thanks!!

Re: Elvis --> Peepin' and Hidin' in 1968 !

Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:22 am

Thanks Doc for another wonderful topic.

Jimmy Reed's version is new to me - great find and info!

Re: Elvis --> Peepin' and Hidin' in 1968 !

Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:06 am

MaryAnn wrote:Very much enjoying the thread. Thank you, Doc -- and all contributing.

I posted a similar topic on another Elvis board a while back. Here is a little of what I posted...

"I seriously think the song was a key element in this massive challenge to Elvis, almost serving as a sort of mantra that gave him confidence and a safe place to re-group.

Writer Greil Marcus has this to say in the notes that accompany the “Elvis: ’68 Comeback Special” Deluxe Edition DVD:

“The Sit Down shows are the little theater to which people will always return. ‘Are we on television?’ Elvis asks Charlie Hodge at one point. ‘No,’ Hodge says, ‘we’re on a train bound for Tulsa.’ When Elvis relaxes into the first of five dives into Jimmy Reed’s Baby, What You Want Me to Do – the deep well of the sessions where every few minutes Elvis returns for a more open rhythm, a harder beat, a knowledge that cannot be put into words -- it’s as if the song itself is a train to ride, or that he is.

“Early in the special, Elvis takes Scotty Moore’s electric guitar for himself; he had never played the instrument in public before, but immediately he locked into the most low-down chords imaginable, into a music that any musician can tell you anyone can make and almost no one can.”

But it doesn't end there....

Moving on to the first Stand-Up Show, OOOPS! -- there's a technical problem. So rather than just awkwardly stand there and lose the audience, where does Elvis go? Baby What You Want Me To Do, of course.

Greil Marcus picks up the story...

“There’s a delay in starting If I Can Dream, but Elvis makes great use of the time by treating the audience to an unplanned guitar jam on Baby, What You Want Me To Do. The off-stage band joins in and the house rocks.”

Here is that KILLER performance. ENJOY."



In red, you'll see what I was talking about above. This was excellent, but he let others take it away, and it was a precursor to what would happen in the future.

Interesting, that on several occasions on June 27, Scotty just backs off, and strums. Or a little bit of mild, quiet finger-picking. But sometimes, just strums. He was the one guy who showed Elvis his trust, and this must have been important to Elvis to do what he did. As if to say "If Scotty thinks I can do this thing, just me, then I CAN do it!" And so he did. I don't think it was a very conscious thought, necessarily, but just a strong sense of that. It's what makes a band, a band: the guys having confidence in one another. And, so I guess they actually were a band.

Now, the 29th had some very awesome music, but it's a different thing than the 27th.

rjm (he HAD played the instrument in public before: on some versions of "One Night" -- there are photographs, but never like this)