Post here all reviews related to Offical RCA/BMG/FTD releases

Sun Mar 11, 2007 2:28 am

Great review of a great show , thanks!!

Sun Mar 11, 2007 9:40 am

Excellent review Shane! I remember playing this album till I wore it out as a 15 year old in 1974, it's fantastic!

Re: Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis - Revisited

Sun Mar 11, 2007 12:34 pm

shanebrown wrote:By the time that Can't Help falling In Love begins, one feels that they have been listening to something very special - Presley giving one of his best performances since 1974

I'm assuming you mean in 1974 and not "since."

It is the humble opinion of this fan that the Memphis show on March 20, 1974 was the absolute best of that year.

Sun Mar 11, 2007 1:00 pm

Great review Shane .
this is one of my fav . live shows that Elvis did .
many thanx again . :wink:

Sun Mar 11, 2007 10:58 pm

Again, a great review, Shane! I agree with you completely - the original album is so much better than the travesty / tragedy that was the FTD release... They ruined a great album with that strange mix. The only Elvis live LPs that sound better (than the original LP) are In Person and On Stage.
But unlike you, I find the audience overdubs to be a bit too much... Apart from that, it is a great sounding and exciting record... And as for the songs they left on the cutting room floor... well, they were right, for once, the N.Y. versions of Polk Salad and Suspicious Minds were better, and Fever was really bad. They could have included Steamroller I guess, but they probably decided against it since it had been both on the Aloha LP and a single release fairly recently. I even like the cover! But it's really ironic that while all the studio LP:s from the period featured live shots, this live LP didn't!

Mon Mar 12, 2007 2:59 pm

Hav-A-Tampa wrote:Again, a great review, Shane! I agree with you completely - the original album is so much better than the travesty / tragedy that was the FTD release... They ruined a great album with that strange mix. The only Elvis live LPs that sound better (than the original LP) are In Person and On Stage.
But unlike you, I find the audience overdubs to be a bit too much... Apart from that, it is a great sounding and exciting record... And as for the songs they left on the cutting room floor... well, they were right, for once, the N.Y. versions of Polk Salad and Suspicious Minds were better, and Fever was really bad. They could have included Steamroller I guess, but they probably decided against it since it had been both on the Aloha LP and a single release fairly recently. I even like the cover! But it's really ironic that while all the studio LP:s from the period featured live shots, this live LP didn't!


For once I have do disagree. I prefer the 1974 version of Suspicious minds (not over the studio version of course). Not so much because of Elvis, but beacuse of Ronnie Tutt. Amazing!

Otherwise! Yes, it´s my favourite live album (official) together with the 1961 gig i Hawaii.

//Björn

Mon Mar 12, 2007 3:15 pm

Hav-A-Tampa wrote:I agree with you completely - the original album is so much better than the travesty / tragedy that was the FTD release... They ruined a great album with that strange mix.

One can always listen to Fort Baxter's "Steamroller Blues" to get the edited songs if they don't like the FTD.

I do prefer the FTD of the show. The first time I ever heard it through headphones, it gave me the feel of being inside the Mid-South Coliseum and flashbacks of the sound inside Louisville Gardens that same year.

I may be the minority (which I have no problem with), but I love the sound of the FTD.

Tue Mar 13, 2007 12:17 pm

Rob wrote:
Hav-A-Tampa wrote:I agree with you completely - the original album is so much better than the travesty / tragedy that was the FTD release... They ruined a great album with that strange mix.

One can always listen to Fort Baxter's "Steamroller Blues" to get the edited songs if they don't like the FTD.

I do prefer the FTD of the show. The first time I ever heard it through headphones, it gave me the feel of being inside the Mid-South Coliseum and flashbacks of the sound inside Louisville Gardens that same year.

I may be the minority (which I have no problem with), but I love the sound of the FTD.


Agree! I like the sound. The only thing is that Duke doesn´t swing like Jerry. Not FDT´s fault... :wink:

//Björn

Wed Mar 14, 2007 5:21 pm

I do prefer the Baxter disc to the FTD release... And I know there are a lot of people who like the FTD mix of the concert, but I just think it is a shame that they changed the sound so much, where the original album was one of the best sounding live records we had, they make it sound more like a soundboard recording (although a very good one).

I understand what you mean, Rob, about getting the feeling of being inside the Mid-South Coliseum, and I certainly imagine the sound on the FTD is closer to the actual concert sound.

But that doesn't necessarily make it a better listening experience at home; the vinyl from 74 sounds damn good on the stereo in my living room, the FTD does not. I think we can agree to disagree on this one!

Wed Mar 14, 2007 7:28 pm

Hav-A-Tampa wrote: I understand what you mean, Rob, about getting the feeling of being inside the Mid-South Coliseum, and I certainly imagine the sound on the FTD is closer to the actual concert sound. I think we can agree to disagree on this one!

Not a problem. It's all a matter of personal preference.

Re: Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis - Revisited

Mon Sep 12, 2011 5:10 am

This was written about 6 or 7 years ago for a different website. I found it on an old hard drive this evening, along with some other reviews I did.

*

In 1978 Robert Matthew-Walker wrote a book called A life In Music that, finally, examined Presley's music. It was a revolutionary idea in 1978 but poorly executed. He states in that book that Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis is one of Presley's most unimportant albums as all of the songs had been released before in one form or another, and in better versions. How wrong he was. No less than twelve songs were new to a Presley live album at the time of release (if we don't include the 68 Special soundtrack) - and five of those dozen tracks had not been recorded by Elvis before in any form.

There has been much debate about the album - partly because the concert was so heavily edited, and partly because of the overdubbed applause. I wil hold my hands up here and say I like it far more in its original form than its unedited, remixed FTD release. For once, RCA did well. By editing the concert down to forty minutes or so, they managed to create an album that had a completely different feel to MSG or Aloha. Here, the emphasis is on rock n roll or, at least, upbeat material. What's more, Presley is in better voice and mood than on either Aloha or MSG. The unedited version includes numbers we have heard so often before and brings the pace of the album down considerably. Having said that, why Steamroller wasn't included on the original release is a mystery. As for the overdubbed audience - I like it. So often, Presley's audiences were just that bit too polite for my liking. Even if their excitement is fake, it is catching and, for the first time on an Elvis live album, the listener does actually get the feeling that he is at a rock concert.

The debates about the editing and overdubs will rage on, but what about the music? The album starts with Ronnie Tutt's opening riff before See See Rider (no Also Sprach Zarathustra here) and this makes the listener believe that the emphasis this time is on the music, not the spectacle. See See Rider is far more convincing that at Aloha. It is obvious from the outset that Elvis is in great form - his voice has none of the nasally quality so obvious a year before.

Sensibly, some of the playfullness with the audience is left in the edit of the concert - another change from Aloha and MSG where he hardly says anything. This dialogue inbetween songs hardly displays the finest wit in the audience, but it does show Elvis in good spirits (and is a good comparison to his different speaking voice in the August/September shows from later in the year). Elvis eventually launches into I Got A Woman, thankfully with some verses of Amen edited out. This was the first release of the song on a live album, although it had appeared in Elvis On Tour. Elvis is in full control and the support from the band and singers is amazing. Again, the drums are up front in the mix and it all sounds great.

Love Me would have brought the 1974 listeners to more familiar territory as the song had already been on the two previous live albums. Despite this, Elvis does play around with the melody and this version is, arguably, stronger than the previous two outings.

Trying To Get To You is magical. Again, this was the first live appearance on record. The singing isn't exactly subtle, but who could resist using that soaring power if they had it? The performance works brilliantly and the first four tracks seem to slowly and steadily build up the excitement towards the rock n roll medley which is almost the point of no return. Presley and the band are as tight as a drum and the sheer energy of the performance, performer and listener spills over during the ad lib section of Hound Dog like some form of musical orgasm.

The pace could not continue and it is turned down beautifully by the first of the song (outside of those in the rock n roll medley) that would have been completely new to a 1974 listener. Again, Presley delivers probably the finest version of this that he ever performed, and thankfully without the jokes that would mar later versions). How Great Thou Art is even more powerful than the 1966 studio version and far less over the top than the In Concert version from 1977. Elvis is completely focussed and shows himself to be in his best form since 1970. The performance, of course, went on to win a Grammy award and deservedly so. No matter what your religion (or lack of) this is still a stirring rendition and the encore adds even more the intensity.

I Can't Stop Loving You would be, along with Love Me, the most redundant song on the album if it wasn't for the verse of Blueberry Hill that is tagged on to the beginning, which is a great touch. Yes, Presley is joking around here but it doesn't really distract from the performance and the version of I Can't Stop Loving You may be more bombastic than the 1969 version but is still utterly compelling and one almost gets the impression during this (and other songs) that Elvis is almost saying to his home crowd "they say I'm down and out? Just look what I can do!" - much the same sentiment as his comments before "That's All Right" from "Goodbye Memphis" two years later.

In an unusal move, this live version of Help Me was released before the studio version. It's not my favourite song in either form but the change of pace is welcome, the song is well sung and it is a pleasant enough number, even if the ending seems a little ragged.

An American Trilogy is different to previous versions - it is slightly faster and the phrasing is often different. It may be different, but it certainly doesn't detract from the performance and the slight alterations are a welcome change from other version. The band and the orchestra sound like magic, Presley is totally committed and in great voice and the result is is magnificent.

Many dislike Let me Be There, thinking it is bland, but Elvis clearly loved the song. This is, without doubt, the finest performance of it we have on record - although the March 76 versions are also very fine. Even if the song itself is nothing special, the performance rises above the material and the pure upbeat country feel of it is a welcome diversion from the pure rock n roll material that dominates the show. The encore (like that of How Great Thou Art) is pure dynamite and it was great that it was retained on the album despite it being an edited show.

My Baby Left Me is another surprise. Rarely performed in concert, it is here given a great performance - far removed from that of 1956 but, like the other rock n roll songs here, so great to hear it given the reverence it is due with a full and mostly serious performance. Lawdy Miss Clawdy continues this theme and, as with A Big Hunk O Love, completely reworked from the studio version for the live concerts. For me, this arrangement is brilliant. The use of the backing singers throughout almost adds a gospel feel to this rhythm n blues classic. The use of brass is pure Vegas but the fun is infectious and so who cares?

Can't Help falling In Love brings the show to an end, but even this has a more committed feel to normal. The show finds Elvis giving one of his most enjoyable performances and, in hindsight, we can view this performance as almost his last hurrah. Yes, there would still be good performances to come but I have yet to hear one after this March 1974 tour that is so committed and with Elvis in such good voice, spirits and health.

As I have said earlier, there are many who don't like the album and it certainly is the forgotten live album outside of the Elvis world. But I don't care. From where I see it, this is probably the Elvis album I enjoy most. Yes there are greater studio performances from throughout Presley's career and I relish them as much as anybody else. BUT I know that, no matter what has happened during my day and no matter what mood I am in, I can put this CD in the player, press play and know that I am going to have a bloody good time for the next forty minutes or so. And who can ask more than that of any album?

Re: Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis - Revisited

Tue Sep 13, 2011 4:45 am

Very nice thoughts about this show and the various releases. I too, played the heck out of this album when it was originally released in 1974. Elvis version of I Can't Stop Loving You is pure magic, IMHO. I think it is only topped by the MSG performances. I like how he used a bit of Blueberry Hill in the beginning.