Elvis is ... the NIGHT RIDER ! (1962)

Sat Mar 19, 2011 4:27 am

A lot of Elvis' early sixties material is overlooked because of the volume of movie soundtracks he was cranking out, and the fact that the quality of the song submissions for his studio sessions accordingly suffered. Yet, many of the tracks he waxed at RCA Nashville between 1961 and 1963 are superbly played and sung to perfection.

"Night Rider," issued on 1962's Pot Luck with Elvis, is a prime example. Submitted by the hit-making team of Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, they were directly inspired by the many stories of Elvis and his pals riding their Harleys in the hills of Bel Air during the midnight hour. Presley even went to the trouble of trying to create the ideal master for "Night Rider" in two different sessions (October 1961 and March 1962), so he obviously loved their tune.



Image

Elvis on a Harley, "Kid Galahad" location shooting, November 1961



It's interesting that Elvis had soprano Millie Kirkham and the Jordanaires in the studio that night, but made them sit this one out. In the end, take 4 from October 16, 1961 was chosen for the 1962 RCA album. Listen for speedy guitar licks played by Jerry Kennedy, drummer Buddy Harman's gigantic fills, Floyd Cramer's Morse code-like piano notes and Elvis riding over all of it with a great, breezy vocal. And if you want to sing along, the correct lyrics are below.

Elvis was still cool in '62.



Image

Billboard - June 30, 1962




Image

Pot Luck with Elvis (RCA Victor LPM/LSP 2523, June 1962)
Billboard US Pop #4
Image courtesy of this essential site: www.elvisrecords.us | The Elvis Presley Record Research Database



phpBB [video]


Elvis Presley, "Night Rider"
Album master, take 4, recorded at RCA Nashville, Monday, October 16, 1961


Night Rider
Doc Pomus - Mort Shuman
© Cherry River Music, BMI / Chrysalis Songs, BMI

Night rider, night rider
You may think that it's the breeze, whistlin' through the lonely trees
But it's only him a-flying round the bend
As the day comes to an end

Night rider, night rider
He came riding into town, as the sun was going down
Saw my baby and he smiled her heart away
Now what will I do today?

Cautioned my baby to stay at home, not to leave mama's side
She laughed when I told her take care, take care
Or you'll share in his midnight ride

Night rider, night rider
Since he stole her out of sight, I ain't had a peaceful night
Night rider won't you let my baby be?
Come on, send her back to me

Cautioned my baby to stay at home, not to leave mama's side
She laughed when I told her take care, take care
Or you'll share in his midnight ride

Night rider, night rider
Since he stole her out of sight, I ain't had a peaceful night
Night rider won't you let my baby be?
Come on, send her back to me




Musicians:
Guitar: Scotty Moore
Guitar: Jerry Kennedy
Bass: Bob Moore
Drums: Murrey "Buddy" Harman
Drums: D.J. Fontana
Piano: Floyd Cramer
Saxophone: Homer "Boots" Randolph

Unused:
Backup Vocals: Millie Kirkham
Backup Vocals: The Jordanaires (Gordon Stoker, Hoyt Hawkins, Neal Matthews and Ray Walker)




Image

Billboard - June 23, 1962
Last edited by drjohncarpenter on Sun Dec 07, 2014 5:02 am, edited 3 times in total.

Re: Elvis is ... the NIGHT RIDER ! (1962)

Sat Mar 19, 2011 4:51 am

One of my favorites from this album! It's such a great album though. Many of the songs should have been or could have been singles..."Suspicion", "Gonna Get Back Home Somehow" and "Night Rider". Strange that nothing was issued until later.

Re: Elvis is ... the NIGHT RIDER ! (1962)

Sat Mar 19, 2011 5:17 am

Thanks for a great piece on a superb song, Doc. I love that Harley photo.

Re: Elvis is ... the NIGHT RIDER ! (1962)

Sat Mar 19, 2011 5:33 am

elvisrecords.us is an essential site but its a shame they need to place watermarks across the images which spoil otherwise nice, high quality scans. Does it really matter if other people use these scans?

As for the "Put Luck" album, overall it was quite a step-down in quality from "Something for Everybody", the previous LP that actually had a dedicated session to create it. Best tracks are "Easy Question", "Suspicion", "I Feel That I've Known You Forever", "Night Rider", and "That's Someone You Never Forget".

Interestingly "Steppin' Out of Line" is listed in the Billboard review as one of the best tracks. How such a poor vocal recording occured is beyond me but the distortion on Elvis' vocal is so distracting that I find it very difficult to enjoy this one.

But back to "Night Rider" - the vibe of the song fitted the Elvis movie format really so its no surprise that it was pulled in 1965 to be one of the soundtrack songs for "Tickle Me".

Re: Elvis is ... the NIGHT RIDER ! (1962)

Sat Mar 19, 2011 5:52 am

I'm with you Doc on this one. Pot Luck, Kid Galahad, the single She's Not You, all around the time I became a fan. Always have thought Night Rider was great.

Re: Elvis is ... the NIGHT RIDER ! (1962)

Sat Mar 19, 2011 5:54 am

I can't remember the source, but I seem to remember reading some place that "Night Rider" was actually planned for single release, but the Elvis was not satisfied with his results from either session. It is a great song!

I differ from a lot of fans in that I've always prefered "Pot Luck" to "Something For Everybody." Almost every song on "Pot Luck" was deserving of single release and, after the fact, many were chosen for single release.

Those were the days!

MT

Re: Elvis is ... the NIGHT RIDER ! (1962)

Sat Mar 19, 2011 6:37 am

Great read, Doc. Redisovered this track a couple of weeks ago and have been playing it like it was a new single.

Re: Elvis is ... the NIGHT RIDER ! (1962)

Sat Mar 19, 2011 6:45 am

This is one of many classics Elvis recorded between March 1960 and January 1964. The tonality, range, and emotion in Elvis' voice are unparalleled at any time before or after this key era. The Nashville musicians were cooking, RCA's Studio B and Bill Porter's engineering made the songs come alive, and dozens of excellent songs found their way to Elvis.

The albums "Elvis Is Back", "Something For Everybody", and "Pot Luck" form a trilogy that may just represent Elvis' peak as a recording artist.

"Night Rider" would have been a wonderful single in 1962-63 had there not been so many high quality singles recorded at these same sessions and at movie sessions during the same time frame.

This is the one period in his career when Elvis and RCA didn't have to scramble to find something to release as a single. This changed almost overnight in 1964 when Elvis didn't set foot in Studio B for a non-soundtrack session for two years.

Re: Elvis is ... the NIGHT RIDER ! (1962)

Sat Mar 19, 2011 7:22 am

Matthew wrote:elvisrecords.us is an essential site but its a shame they need to place watermarks across the images which spoil otherwise nice, high quality scans.

Does it really matter if other people use these scans?

Absolutely, yes. The material was purchased and scanned at great personal effort and cost, likewise the superbly well-designed website, and prior to the watermarks images were stolen and re-posted throughout the internet without credit or compensation.

Re: Elvis is ... the NIGHT RIDER ! (1962)

Sat Mar 19, 2011 7:40 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
Matthew wrote:elvisrecords.us is an essential site but its a shame they need to place watermarks across the images which spoil otherwise nice, high quality scans.

Does it really matter if other people use these scans?

Absolutely, yes. The material was purchased and scanned at great personal effort and cost, likewise the superbly well-designed website, and prior to the watermarks images were stolen and re-posted throughout the internet without credit or compensation.


So, they should get compensated for posting a picture of an album that was sold on the open market, in which there are hundreds of thousands out there?

Maybe colonel parker should get credit too for designing the album cover or
the photographer who took the shot of Elvis.

Re: Elvis is ... the NIGHT RIDER ! (1962)

Sat Mar 19, 2011 8:59 am

MysteryTrain wrote:I differ from a lot of fans in that I've always prefered "Pot Luck" to "Something For Everybody."

+1
His singing can't be beat here. Fantastic!

Good post, Doc. Thanks for the accompanying materials.

Steve L.

Re: Elvis is ... the NIGHT RIDER ! (1962)

Sat Mar 19, 2011 9:02 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
Matthew wrote:elvisrecords.us is an essential site but its a shame they need to place watermarks across the images which spoil otherwise nice, high quality scans.

Does it really matter if other people use these scans?

Absolutely, yes. The material was purchased and scanned at great personal effort and cost, likewise the superbly well-designed website, and prior to the watermarks images were stolen and re-posted throughout the internet without credit or compensation.

I will have to disagree with you. Yes, it is time consuming to scan and render the images - certainly. However with the watermarks the quality of the reproductions is greatly reduced. It almost undoes a lot of the purpose of the effort creating the images in the first place. And these aren't original works of art, or designs but rather scans of old Elvis albums, EPs and singles. It would be great if they were there as a free resource, much like this forum and other Presley sites like the fantastic elvisoncd.com or elvis45rpm.com - both of which display artwork of Elvis Presley record and CD releases without watermarks.

Unfortunately there will always be people out there who will fail to give credit for work rendered. This will never change. Bootleg labels for example.

Perhaps this forum should make its content viewable to members only. Or become subscription based. Neither options are particularly community friendly.

Re: Elvis is ... the NIGHT RIDER ! (1962)

Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:26 am

DJC: I agree with you about Night Rider.
Mystery Train: I've alwats preferred "Pot Luck" over "Something For Everybody."

Re: Elvis is ... the NIGHT RIDER ! (1962)

Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:28 am

Matthew wrote:Yes, it is time consuming to scan and render the images - certainly. However with the watermarks the quality of the reproductions is greatly reduced.

The site is not just a bunch of scans slapped up under some simple HTML, but a complex destination where there is a tremendous amount of information about the release history, and the many variations, of Elvis Presley's U.S. 45s, EPs and LPs. The presentation uses the latest web technology and is a pleasure to use.

The site is an investment of one fan's time, money, research and due diligence. It's disappointing that your only concern is that you can't have pristine copies of this man's personal archive with the click of a mouse. I can live with the watermarks.

Now, back on topic.

Re: Elvis is ... the NIGHT RIDER ! (1962)

Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:35 am

RonBaker2003 wrote:One of my favorites from this album! It's such a great album though. Many of the songs should have been or could have been singles..."Suspicion", "Gonna Get Back Home Somehow" and "Night Rider". Strange that nothing was issued until later.

Of all the songs, only "Suspicion" as a single release seems to be a sure thing. It should have been an A-side in 1962, and I'll bet it would have made it to #1.


Rtn 2 Sndr wrote:This is one of many classics Elvis recorded between March 1960 and January 1964. The tonality, range, and emotion in Elvis' voice are unparalleled at any time before or after this key era. The Nashville musicians were cooking, RCA's Studio B and Bill Porter's engineering made the songs come alive, and dozens of excellent songs found their way to Elvis.

The albums "Elvis Is Back", "Something For Everybody", and "Pot Luck" form a trilogy that may just represent Elvis' peak as a recording artist.


"Night Rider" would have been a wonderful single in 1962-63 had there not been so many high quality singles recorded at these same sessions and at movie sessions during the same time frame.

This is the one period in his career when Elvis and RCA didn't have to scramble to find something to release as a single. This changed almost overnight in 1964 when Elvis didn't set foot in Studio B for a non-soundtrack session for two years.

Great post, although I don't rank the 1960-62 studio LPs as highly as you.

Of the three, only Elvis Is Back! finds Presley at the peak of his powers. Taken together, the slow decline in the quality of the material is evident.

Re: Elvis is ... the NIGHT RIDER ! (1962)

Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:39 am

I like Night Rider, cool song. Some of the ballads on the album were a let down, Fountain of Love, I'm Yours and Just For Ol times Sake drag a bit for me.

Re: Elvis is ... the NIGHT RIDER ! (1962)

Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:48 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:The site is not just a bunch of scans slapped up under some simple HTML, but a complex destination where there is a tremendous amount of information about the release history, and the many variations, of Elvis Presley's U.S. 45s, EPs and LPs. The presentation uses the latest web technology and is a pleasure to use.

The site is an investment of one fan's time, money, research and due diligence. It's disappointing that your only concern is that you can't have pristine copies of this man's personal archive with the click of a mouse. I can live with the watermarks.

I would have thought it would be positive that my only concern with the site is the watermarks. You'll note I have already praised the website. I'm very happy you can live with the watermarks and am sure you won't lose any sleep from my dissatisfaction with them. They lessen otherwise great work.

The other sites I mentioned also over a tremendous amount of information about the release history, and the many variations, of Elvis Presley music releases, particularly elvisoncd.com, which is certainly its equal in value to Elvis' music fans. It certainly is not slapped together, that is obvious from the vast wealth of information on it.

Re: Elvis is ... the NIGHT RIDER ! (1962)

Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:25 am

I always liked Night Rider, when I bought the album at that time, i remember my cousin who was 15 years or so, and was in love with a boy nextdoor, playing " I'm yours". over and over again at our house. Later on when I listened to the album I always passed on that one but the album is still on of my favorites of the early sixtees.

Re: Elvis is ... the NIGHT RIDER ! (1962)

Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:57 am

Nice article (and well presented), thank you.

I like the song: it's perhaps just a tad too mannered but beautifully played and perfectly recorded.

The most fascinating bit of the recorded history is that 15 second clip of the "Jam" ending that first surfaced on "Studio B Nashville Outtakes" on FTD.

That shows just enough of a rough edge to make me wonder how those first unpolished un-recorded rehearsals sounded.

Re: Elvis is ... the NIGHT RIDER ! (1962)

Sat Mar 19, 2011 12:34 pm

Doc

I command you to write a song by song Elvis book....what a wonderful tome that would be

I'll pre-order it....

Re: Elvis is ... the NIGHT RIDER ! (1962)

Sat Mar 19, 2011 1:51 pm

stevelecher wrote:
MysteryTrain wrote:I differ from a lot of fans in that I've always prefered "Pot Luck" to "Something For Everybody."

+1
His singing can't be beat here. Fantastic!

Good post, Doc. Thanks for the accompanying materials.

Steve L.


You can count me in here too. But it doesn´t match "Is back".

//Björn

Re: Elvis is ... the NIGHT RIDER ! (1962)

Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:05 pm

Great post,Doc. It's good to highlight various tracks, through out his career, like this. It is only too easy for us to become so familiar with his work that we don't re-valuate it enough.

Pot Luck was the first Elvis album that I purchased, my elder siblings had purchased all previous ones, but they now had other commitments (college, marriage) that it was now (1962) down to me to keep the Elvis light burning in our home.

My personnel favourite from Pot Luck is 'Gonna Get Back Home Somehow' followed closely by 'Night Rider'. The early '60's was certainly a great period, its such a shame that it wasn't to last.

Chris.

Re: Elvis is ... the NIGHT RIDER ! (1962)

Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:19 pm

'Something Blue' is one the prettiest ballads Elvis ever recorded. Should be a single, or at least a b-side.

Re: Elvis is ... the NIGHT RIDER ! (1962)

Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:22 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:Absolutely, yes. The material was purchased and scanned at great personal effort and cost, likewise the superbly well-designed website, and prior to the watermarks images were stolen and re-posted throughout the internet without credit or compensation.



But they don't own these covers!!! RCA created them and we all have them in our collections. It's like when you see adverts using pictures of money and they put something thru it; if we wanted to try and forge money, we could use our own notes to do it, not take it off an advertisment!!!

Re: Elvis is ... the NIGHT RIDER ! (1962)

Sat Mar 19, 2011 2:22 pm

Matthew wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:
Matthew wrote:elvisrecords.us is an essential site but its a shame they need to place watermarks across the images which spoil otherwise nice, high quality scans.

Does it really matter if other people use these scans?

Absolutely, yes. The material was purchased and scanned at great personal effort and cost, likewise the superbly well-designed website, and prior to the watermarks images were stolen and re-posted throughout the internet without credit or compensation.

I will have to disagree with you. Yes, it is time consuming to scan and render the images - certainly. However with the watermarks the quality of the reproductions is greatly reduced. It almost undoes a lot of the purpose of the effort creating the images in the first place. And these aren't original works of art, or designs but rather scans of old Elvis albums, EPs and singles. It would be great if they were there as a free resource, much like this forum and other Presley sites like the fantastic elvisoncd.com or elvis45rpm.com - both of which display artwork of Elvis Presley record and CD releases without watermarks.

Unfortunately there will always be people out there who will fail to give credit for work rendered. This will never change. Bootleg labels for example.

Perhaps this forum should make its content viewable to members only. Or become subscription based. Neither options are particularly community friendly.
I hear you. I have taken the "trouble" (years back) to scan and post images cropped by me and find them on other websites watermarked!!! :lol: What can one do but laugh or smile...