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Re: I actually found schlocky Vegas---it wasn't Elvis!

Sun Nov 18, 2012 9:15 pm

likethebike wrote:I see it as Nashville informed by the radio as opposed to Vegas. And I think both Elvis' studio and road band were pretty unimpeachable.

It's also important to remember that in 1970 Elvis was 35 years old, no longer the angry young man or the wild young buck just discovering the world. This is something I think many fans have trouble dealing with. He was more interested in songs that expressed disappointment or dismay or domestic values or even vague social comments than youthful exuberance. It was a natural evolution. He was also, since he returned from the army interested in more elaborate musical settings and more melodic pieces. He wanted to show he was a singer above all and pieces like "Bridge Over Troubled Water" allowed him to do that.

In fact, Elvis' rock audience should be at least at some peace with the work Elvis did in his final decade because it expresses very much the aesthetic they espouse of "Doing your own thing." Or is that only for the Beatles and a select few hipster acts whom the rock "cognoscenti" worshiped?



+1

Re: I actually found schlocky Vegas---it wasn't Elvis!

Sun Nov 18, 2012 9:19 pm

ep2 wrote:
ML4EP wrote:No, Elvis was very good that day...but it wasn't the best show I ever saw. That would be Tom Jones in Clearwater, Florida 1984. Phenomenal show that year, Memory (Cats), Islands in The Stream, Heart of Rock and Roll, Old Time Rock and Roll, What a Feeling, Purple Rain and a few others I can't remember. His version of Memory was incredible...standing ovation, and Purple Rain was very good too, much different than Prince. I liked a lot of Prince's songs, but that wasn't one of them.

Tom's show was about 75 minutes long, he performed in the round---pretty brave of him because this was a Friday nite, the audience was chock full of women who had got off work, had a nice dinner and more than one drink, and were really in the mood. He was in tremendous shape as it was quite obvious he had a strict exercise regimen. He was wearing tuxedo pants, white wing tipped formal shirt, and a short-copper/bronze colored jacket. The best thing about Tom was he knew the difference between doing an arena show and working Vegas. He would do five or six songs in a row with no screwing with the lyrics or messing with the audience, then he'd take a break for a couple of minutes and fuss with the ladies, then back to work. It seemed as if he was trying to entertain everybody in the building and not just the folks ringside, and the man worked his ass off the whole time he was on stage.

On the other end of the spectrum the worst concert I have ever seen is Whitney Houston...one continuous vowel movement. People were leaving before she finished her last song, she left the stage at which point the rest of the audience got up to leave--then she came back for an encore and the building staff locked the doors so the audience couldn't leave...almost 10,000 people stuck in the aisles, mad as hell...and they still wouldn't let us leave until after her band left the stage!


so the magic what everybody always are saying....that when you have seen elvis you have seen the real magic and the best you will never forget........or was it just like all other concerts???


It was still "ELVIS"...but it was 1975, not 70-72. His show had changed so much, more of a country act for lack of a better term. He was not doing the big production numbers anymore except for Bridge and How Great on occaision, and Trilogy was becoming very lame. If I had been able to see him in Jacksonville in 1972 I would more likely say best show I ever saw. He had a wealth of recent very good material that he should have been performing on a regular basis such as Steamroller, Promised Land, I'm Leaving, Burning Love, If You Talk In Your Sleep, etc paired with his very best oldies such as Big Hunk, Mystery Train-Tiger Man, Lawdy Miss Clawdy, Little Sister, etc. Plussed up with big ballads he owned like What Now, My Love, You've Lost That Loving Feeling, etc. I'd have loved to see him take a crack at The First Cut is The Deepest, the Christmas song Baby, Please Come Home. I think he could have easily nailed them both.

Re: I actually found schlocky Vegas---it wasn't Elvis!

Sun Nov 18, 2012 9:23 pm

HoneyTalkNelson wrote:Could you tell me what "rock clubs" were large enough to handle the crowds for Elvis at that time?


I think rjm was referring to the Whiskey Go-Go and The Troubadour.

The Doors and several other acts played there when they were starting out.

Re: I actually found schlocky Vegas---it wasn't Elvis!

Sun Nov 18, 2012 9:35 pm

Greybeard wrote:In all fairness to the two artists above...I believe these clips are from their respective 1970's ABC TV NetworkShows. They wouldn't really be representative of eithers actual act. They are, however, very indicative of the production numbers that were a part of such shows at the time.
It does give you a good feeling that Elvis did NOT do such a show. Sure we would have clips of him galore...but how many would be clips like we see above.


Your right in that both of those are from tv shows, but they would still use the same overblown arrangement for live shows. There are numerous clips from a tv show that Engelburt did in 1981 or 82 from the Las Vegas Hilton that are very corny, he was not that way at all when I saw him in Florida. He was focused, sang extremely well--even one ballad a cappella without a microphone. My whole point with this thread and the other was that critics make statements about Elvis' arrangement and performance of some songs and they don't even know what the cliche'd Vegas sound is in the first place.

Re: I actually found schlocky Vegas---it wasn't Elvis!

Sun Nov 18, 2012 9:52 pm

I'll give some examples of Elvis' recordings being influenced by Vegas.

See See Rider live
Big boss man live
That's alright mama live
I got my mojo working (studio)

The Nashville 1970 studio sessions don't sound like they were influenced by Vegas at all.

Re: I actually found schlocky Vegas---it wasn't Elvis!

Sun Nov 18, 2012 10:02 pm

brian wrote:I'll give some examples of Elvis' recordings being influenced by Vegas.

See See Rider live
Big boss man live
That's alright mama live
I got my mojo working (studio)

The Nashville 1970 studio sessions don't sound like they were influenced by Vegas at all.

The arrangements in the stage act, starting especially in January 1970, are influenced by playing to a Las Vegas audience. The constant "hold" used to end many songs (a simpleton cue, "the song is ending, folks, please begin to applaud") is but one stylistic example. And this mindset remained through to June 26, 1977.

As for the 1970 sessions, the many middle-of-the-road selections taped are most definitely influenced by Vegas. Ten examples:

The Sound of Your Cry
This Is Our Dance
Life
Heart of Rome
When I'm Over You
Make the World Go Away
Love Letters
There Goes My Everything
If I Were You
Sylvia

Re: I actually found schlocky Vegas---it wasn't Elvis!

Sun Nov 18, 2012 10:13 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:
brian wrote:I'll give some examples of Elvis' recordings being influenced by Vegas.

See See Rider live
Big boss man live
That's alright mama live
I got my mojo working (studio)

The Nashville 1970 studio sessions don't sound like they were influenced by Vegas at all.

The arrangements in the stage act, starting especially in January 1970, are influenced by playing to a Las Vegas audience. The constant "hold" used to end many songs (a simpleton cue, "the song is ending, folks, please begin to applaud") is but one stylistic example. And this mindset remained through to June 26, 1977.

As for the 1970 sessions, the many middle-of-the-road selections taped are most definitely influenced by Vegas. Ten examples:

The Sound of Your Cry
This Is Our Dance
Life
Heart of Rome
When I'm Over You
Make the World Go Away
Love Letters
There Goes My Everything
If I Were You
Sylvia


Are you sure those aren't just bad songs.

Re: I actually found schlocky Vegas---it wasn't Elvis!

Sun Nov 18, 2012 10:32 pm

brian wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:
brian wrote:I'll give some examples of Elvis' recordings being influenced by Vegas.

See See Rider live
Big boss man live
That's alright mama live
I got my mojo working (studio)

The Nashville 1970 studio sessions don't sound like they were influenced by Vegas at all.

The arrangements in the stage act, starting especially in January 1970, are influenced by playing to a Las Vegas audience. The constant "hold" used to end many songs (a simpleton cue, "the song is ending, folks, please begin to applaud") is but one stylistic example. And this mindset remained through to June 26, 1977.

As for the 1970 sessions, the many middle-of-the-road selections taped are most definitely influenced by Vegas. Ten examples:

The Sound of Your Cry
This Is Our Dance
Life
Heart of Rome
When I'm Over You
Make the World Go Away
Love Letters
There Goes My Everything
If I Were You
Sylvia


Are you sure those aren't just bad songs.

That's a question, right?

Yes, I'm sure. Some are very good ("Make the World Go Away," "Love Letters"), but all are middle-of-the-road selections not befitting a vital, 35 year-old singer who has recaptured his artistry. They are a by-product of playing over a hundred Las Vegas shows in the previous ten months.

Re: I actually found schlocky Vegas---it wasn't Elvis!

Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:27 am

HoneyTalkNelson wrote:Could you tell me what "rock clubs" were large enough to handle the crowds for Elvis at that time?


That's a good point Honeytalk. There's kind of misconception that takes shape sometimes that Elvis was a Robert Johnson or a Velvet Underground, a kind of cult hero. Elvis was a superstar, a superstar's superstar really. The reason he played Vegas and large arenas was because his audience was so vast. Playing clubs was not really an option. If you book Elvis in a club that seats 500 people, what are you going to do with the other 20,000 people that want to see the show?

On whether a 35-year-old man should be singing adult material, I remember something Billy Vera once said something I think is important in understanding at least what Elvis was trying to do. He said that although the 1950s stars represented youth and were often kids themselves, they wanted to grow up. The 1960s stars did not. And that's what you see in the illogical antipathy towards Vegas, the illusion of eternal, perpetual adolescence flying out the window. (For the record, Vera is a pre-1958 Elvis fan but his comment I think hits the pocket on this particular issue.)

Re: I actually found schlocky Vegas---it wasn't Elvis!

Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:55 am

likethebike wrote:
HoneyTalkNelson wrote:Could you tell me what "rock clubs" were large enough to handle the crowds for Elvis at that time?


That's a good point Honeytalk. There's kind of misconception that takes shape sometimes that Elvis was a Robert Johnson or a Velvet Underground, a kind of cult hero. Elvis was a superstar, a superstar's superstar really. The reason he played Vegas and large arenas was because his audience was so vast. Playing clubs was not really an option. If you book Elvis in a club that seats 500 people, what are you going to do with the other 20,000 people that want to see the show?


you just wouldn't let them in.

They would have to catch Elvis when he would play a bigger venue.

Re: I actually found schlocky Vegas---it wasn't Elvis!

Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:58 am

likethebike wrote:And that's what you see in the illogical antipathy towards Vegas, the illusion of eternal, perpetual adolescence flying out the window.

Always an apologist argument from you about anything regarding Elvis that is critical. It is really odd.

Antipathy towards Las Vegas is justified, not "illogical," especially for someone as restlessly creative and massively talented as Elvis Presley. The man we speak of is not Wayne Newton, Jerry Vale or John Davidson, whose career dreams were well-defined from the start.

Playing Las Vegas as a matter of routine is not about moving away from one's "eternal, perpetual adolescence" but taking one's talent and flushing it down the toilet. It is an artistic dead-end, and you get there very fast playing nearly 650 shows there in just over 7 years, as Elvis did. Period.

Re: I actually found schlocky Vegas---it wasn't Elvis!

Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:39 am

There were a great variety of contemporary music clubs at the time, a number of them catering to R&B acts. Where Elvis would catch Jackie, for instance. He knew these places. But there were more, too. The Fillmore (West or East) - big operation, great variety of music. And there were others. (It's just that that particular one had a very good promoter.) Just anywhere where there was interaction. In Vegas, musicians and others came to pay homage. To meet The King. It didn't encourage a fruitful exchange at all.

And as for size, well, he sure played to a VERY intimate crowd in June, 1968! And it worked out quite well. Anyone who didn't get in, didn't get in. If you want to know what he might have sounded like in a more intimate musical venue, you already know. Sure, there was more demand later, but he could have played smaller clubs and then arenas and large stadiums, too. Mixed it up. And maybe take some time to do a couple more films!

In any event, the Colonel knew that the cyclical environment he created for Elvis isolated him very well indeed. And the isolation killed him.

Yeah, Elvis was 34 in 1969. How old do you think that is, exactly? Now, *I* am middle aged. (Now. :( ) Frank Sinatra, in that same year, was middle-aged. Elvis was ready for something new. Sure, his material took on depth, the best of it, and that's a good thing. There was no dearth of significant, thoughtful material in that particular time. He did sing a few Kristofferson songs. But he did not interact with Kris Kristofferson. Cash did, and he was older. (And he had a . . . close relationship with Janis Joplin for a bit.) Kris is 76 years old today. And performing. Performing well. Elvis has been dead a long time.

He never got old enough to sing "It Was A Very Good Year": Frank was a few months from 50 when that was released. And it was a song really intended for someone even a bit older than that. Say, mid-fifties. That would be two decades older than Elvis was in 1969. Sinatra was 53 until December of that year. He was middle-aged, and looking back. But, happily for him, looking forward, too.

Somehow, we tend to look at Elvis differently than other people. 34-35 year old people are still embarking on the journey of life. And in the case of an artist, art. Robert Redford was just breaking out as an actor at around that age. Elvis was calling it quits.

Look, I know: what happened, has happened. Can't be changed. I just think it's okay to speculate as to how things could have worked differently, particularly at the outset of the Comeback. And certainly to his personal and artistic advantage. He was so isolated, so alone. He was surely bound to die soon, but his art could not flourish, either. It's just not possible.

That said, we're very lucky for what we have. That he even made it to 42 was very lucky - literally lucky, because he almost didn't. But, really, as Bruce Springsteen has said, Elvis got "cheated" in the end. Cheated. Not just out of years, but out of the vibrancy of those years, and even the years he did get. Elvis did elevate Vegas a bit, but it also deflated him some, too. Because some things "are for when you're 60, and play Las Vegas."

rjm
Last edited by rjm on Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:49 am, edited 2 times in total.

Re: I actually found schlocky Vegas---it wasn't Elvis!

Mon Nov 19, 2012 2:24 am

likethebike wrote:I see it as Nashville informed by the radio as opposed to Vegas. And I think both Elvis' studio and road band were pretty unimpeachable.

It's also important to remember that in 1970 Elvis was 35 years old, no longer the angry young man or the wild young buck just discovering the world. This is something I think many fans have trouble dealing with. He was more interested in songs that expressed disappointment or dismay or domestic values or even vague social comments than youthful exuberance. It was a natural evolution. He was also, since he returned from the army interested in more elaborate musical settings and more melodic pieces. He wanted to show he was a singer above all and pieces like "Bridge Over Troubled Water" allowed him to do that.

In fact, Elvis' rock audience should be at least at some peace with the work Elvis did in his final decade because it expresses very much the aesthetic they espouse of "Doing your own thing." Or is that only for the Beatles and a select few hipster acts whom the rock "cognoscenti" worshiped?


I agree...Elvis is the King of Rock 'n Roll...but he was much more than that. In the beginning, he frequented Sun Studio as a ballad singer and ended his career as such.

There is more to Elvis Presley than Hound Dog and Jailhouse Rock.

Re: I actually found schlocky Vegas---it wasn't Elvis!

Mon Nov 19, 2012 2:33 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
brian wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:
brian wrote:I'll give some examples of Elvis' recordings being influenced by Vegas.

See See Rider live
Big boss man live
That's alright mama live
I got my mojo working (studio)

The Nashville 1970 studio sessions don't sound like they were influenced by Vegas at all.

The arrangements in the stage act, starting especially in January 1970, are influenced by playing to a Las Vegas audience. The constant "hold" used to end many songs (a simpleton cue, "the song is ending, folks, please begin to applaud") is but one stylistic example. And this mindset remained through to June 26, 1977.

As for the 1970 sessions, the many middle-of-the-road selections taped are most definitely influenced by Vegas. Ten examples:

The Sound of Your Cry
This Is Our Dance
Life
Heart of Rome
When I'm Over You
Make the World Go Away
Love Letters
There Goes My Everything
If I Were You
Sylvia


Are you sure those aren't just bad songs.

That's a question, right?

Yes, I'm sure. Some are very good ("Make the World Go Away," "Love Letters"), but all are middle-of-the-road selections not befitting a vital, 35 year-old singer who has recaptured his artistry. They are a by-product of playing over a hundred Las Vegas shows in the previous ten months.


And here we have it again. Two songs are "very good" but because they are middle-of-the-road they are not appropriate. What rubbish.

Re: I actually found schlocky Vegas---it wasn't Elvis!

Mon Nov 19, 2012 5:58 am

How could be calling it quits in a year where his stage show was at a peak and he recorded two very fine LPs and one truly great one? David Browne wrote a recent book about 1970 and its music, and while Elvis isn't a subject of the book, he mentions the emotional depth and musical depth of Elvis' material in that year especially his live Vegas shows.

I think there's a tendency to play a little too much pop psychology, particularly in this regard. Elvis wasn't ready to call it quits, his addiction was spiraling though partly because of an unsustainable lifestyle, an unhappy marriage and overall boredom. Elvis loved Vegas those early seasons. He just stayed too long. He grew bored of everything after awhile. It had nothing to do with Vegas and Vegas culture. He was not a person to repeat things. That's what missing in this argument. Felton Jarvis, the same way, capable producer energized Elvis initially, stayed too long. The movies Blue Hawaii, Viva Las Vegas and a few others reasonable enough entertainment, went on too long.


When you're 35 you're not old. But you're an adult. You're no longer a teenager. It seems befitting to change some of your ways of doing things when you hit such age. And Elvis did that, and it had little to do with playing Vegas.

Country music which was a huge part of Elvis' roots was founded on many songs of maturity, loss and regret.

Re: I actually found schlocky Vegas---it wasn't Elvis!

Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:08 am

Well, the whole TTWII album, pretty much, consisted of the "slick ones" from the sessions, and I think it's a darn good thing that he sang some old bluegrass and country type things, because otherwise it would have been very disappointing, in comparison to the '69 recordings. He'd spent several years, from '66 on, trying to do quality stuff, rootsier stuff, and now he was was making this ultra-slick album to be "the soundtrack" to the film. If the setting didn't influence this shift, particularly in the arrangements and approach, what did? He was working so hard, prior to this, at showing people that he wasn't the guy in those films, a "goody-goody blank-blanking mechanic," and now he was being a different kind of "goody-goody."

These were generally not the "ballads" he started out with. Sure, there were sentimental clunkers early on, but how can anyone compare some of those songs, with their lush orchestrations and arrangements to, say, his genius re-imagining of "Blue Moon"? Or his "Tomorrow Night"? Or "Love Me"? Or . . . so many. Or almost ANY of the stunning ballads from 1969! Clearly, something had changed, changed fast, and I'm not sure he was happy with it. It mostly just work, and those old bluegrassy type tunes, and the country songs he did were a "break" he took from the real work. It was really accidental, I'm pretty sure, that Elvis Country even came to exist.

There's no tension on that album (let alone the follow-up album of mostly left-overs). There IS a wonderful jamming sound on Elvis Country, and that's because he was enjoying himself. But there's not a lot of tension there either.

You can blame the problems after that on production, on his personal problems, etc. But that summer, he was there to prepare for a feature film on his Vegas gig. That was the main order of business.

This is the tracklisting of "the soundtrack."

1. 8/11/70 I Just Can't Help Believin' Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann 4:34
2. 6/4/70 Twenty Days and Twenty Nights Scott Weisman and Clive Westlake 3:15
3. 6/5/70 How the Web Was Woven David Most and Clive Westlake 3:25
4. 8/12/70 Patch It Up Eddie Rabbitt and Rory Bourke 4:03
5. 6/5/70 Mary in the Morning Johnny Cymbal and Michael Rashkow 4:11
6. 6/6/70 You Don't Have to Say You Love Me Vicki Wickham, Simon Napier-Bell, Pino Donaggio, Vito Pallavicini 2:30
Side two

1. 8/12/70 You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Phil Spector 4:23
2. 8/11/70 I've Lost You Alan Blaikley and Ken Howard 3:43
3. 6/6/70 Just Pretend Guy Fletcher (songwriter) and Doug Flett 4:02
4. 6/5/70 Stranger in the Crowd Winfield Scott 3:47
5. 6/7/70 The Next Step Is Love Paul Evans and Paul Parnes 3:31
6. 6/5/70 Bridge Over Troubled Water Paul Simon


Even the good songs here are swimming in schmaltz. And there's just a general lack of intensity. An intensity to which he never returned. (There were good recordings after this, here and there. A few very good. But there was no incentive to do anything other than that which was predictable.)

Where is the "shocked indignation" that Guralnick hears on "Long Black Limousine"?

Peter Guralnick, reviewing From Elvis In Memphis wrote:The accompaniment is ornamented with bells, horns, and female choir, but it is Elvis’ voice upon which the words depend for their dramatic effect. In a departure quite uncharacteristic of country music, there is a fierce, almost shocked indignation and passionate intensity in his voice, transforming a fairly ordinary song into a vehicle for savage social protest.


Would we ever hear anything like this again?

The main point is that this is both the result, and also the cause of the isolation that would kill him.

rjm
P.S. -- I love that David Browne book about 1970, by the way! And no matter what he says, however briefly, about Elvis, the point of the book is right in line with what happened to Elvis during that year. A retreat. A looking-inward. That was the nature of the trauma of the year: it was easier to pull back from it all and just wash your hands of the world if you could. Not everyone did, but it was a choice. Elvis chose to retreat. And it didn't help that he was isolated. (Regarding that book, I think "Where Did They Go, Lord?" sums up the feeling of the times just perfectly. "I cried out my questions, but the answer did not come . . ." Played on a mix tape {personal CD-R} soon after "If I Can Dream" - which is a question - a big question, it makes perfect sense. Musicians and artists spent the late sixties crying out questions, but the answers, the answers they sought, did not come.)

Oh, you got me started! Ok. the year went from this:

KentState.jpg


to this:

ElvisandDick.jpg
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Re: I actually found schlocky Vegas---it wasn't Elvis!

Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:28 am

I think you're hard on the album. It's not any worse than some of the songs and albums you mention, it is simply different. Presley's performances throughout the twelve songs are top-notch and, has been mentioned here already, Elvis bored easily. He had been working at the rootsier material for a few years, and the soul-influenced sound of the Memphis sessions had also been done. Now he wanted to try something else. And he wanted to have a go at the slick, adult contemporary pop that these songs leaned towards. The overtones of the 68 comeback and the Memphis sessions were gone and had been replaced by a more powerful, stronger sound that Elvis quite clearly wanted to explore and, in this first bite of the cherry, he succeeded remarkably well. Cutting edge? No. But a damn fine piece of work.

The idea of Elvis getting bored easily is something that can be found the following year. Whereas the June 1970 sessions were dominated by big beefy ballads and contemporary adult pop, the intentions for the 1971 sessions were to leave those behind and concentrate on a folk album. That the first session was halted is a great shame, as he then went back to heavy-handedly attack big ballads again, but this time without the creativity, command, voice and commitment that he had the previous year when he was tackling Bridge, Just Can't Help Believin' and How The Web Was Woven. Once again he had "been there, done that".

Re: I actually found schlocky Vegas---it wasn't Elvis!

Mon Nov 19, 2012 7:40 am

This is the essence of the problem that we have in our Elvis' debates, if you don't like it it's very hard to make a point about a work. Everyone's entitled to their opinion but when you don't share the opinion there's going to be a divide. I happen to think 1970 was one of the very finest years in Elvis' career ranking just below the Sun Years, 1956-1957, 1960 and 1968-1969, just below. See I love those recordings or most of them.

For me, That's the Way It is flaws in material and all is swimming with tension. His voice was never more real, never more human sounding than he is on parts of "You've Lost That Loving Feeling." Songs like "Just Pretend," "Twenty Days and Twenty Nights" and "Just Can't Help Believin'" (a song approved by Saint Chips when he recorded it with BJ Thomas) are extensions of the type of songs he sang in Memphis. They're adult songs, about adults who've made mistakes who have real problems. Given a choice of Elvis reprising a dumb novelty about '50s courtship rituals like "Wear My Ring Around Your Neck" and a heart rending song like "Just Pretend" which the adult Elvis can pour his heart into, I'll pick "Just Pretend" any day of the week. And on something like "Just Pretend" Elvis is singing in a way that only he can; he's not Tom Jones, or Engelbert or even Sinatra or Bennett. (Not that many other singers could have made "Wear My Ring Around Your Neck" a near classic either.) There's a deep dark gospel based passion here that is nowhere near the rest the crooners as great as many of them may have been and certainly were.

When Browne reviewed the SE of TTWII in Entertainment Weekly and gave it an "A" he saved special praise for the "pop arias" Elvis was doing in the studio.

But, of course, you can't take That's the Way it is and isolate it. It was a part of a greater whole. You had the swamp rock and booming ballads of On Stage. You had the undefinable, super hard rocking country of Elvis Country and you had the more meditative ballads on TTWII a not perfect but very good album. That was all Elvis 1970 and big Vegas balladeering had always been in his heart as had the blues, country and R&B and later even folk. He was all these things and he didn't like to be pinned down to any of them.

Peter's point about 1971 is a good one. The difference between 1970 and 1971 is that in the studio, save for a folk album, there was no immediate challenge. It wasn't Vegas, it was the fact that it may have been too soon to come back to a recording studio. In 1968, he had to prove that he was relevant again on the TV show. In 1969 with Moman, he had to prove he could once again make hit records. In 1970, he had to prove that he could succeed without Moman, without Binder, with his own band. In 1971, there's no new mountain to climb.

You can see this from day one in his career. Day one. As long as there's a challenge, something new to do, then the results are great. If there's not, he had a harder time. One of the reasons the '50s was so successful is that Elvis' map was continually changing. In 1954-1955 he had to prove himself on Sun, he had to make recordings for the first time and then prove that success was no fluke. In 1956, then came the challenge of proving himself nationally. After that came the challenge of making movies and Leiber and Stoller entered the picture. By 1958, some of his sessions were getting comparatively stale but again fate struck in "King Creole" and the army. In 1960, he had to show he could come back. Then he had to prove that he really could sing. Then Don Roberston came in the picture for awhile. He made two colossal movie hits and the slump started when everyone decided to repeat that formula. In 1966, whether you like him or not, Felton helped resurrect Elvis artistically largely because Elvis had tired of the old Nashville scene and Felton was a new face. The following year Felton introduced him to Jerry Reed which spurred excellent results. And then the TV show. New and novel was always the key.
Last edited by likethebike on Mon Nov 19, 2012 7:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: I actually found schlocky Vegas---it wasn't Elvis!

Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:04 am

"New and novel." That was my point, actually! Once he got into this routine, and it was inevitable considering where it was, "new and novel" wasn't going to happen much.

Anyway, some people are going to like some music, and others are going to prefer other music. That's just, uh, the way it is. But in the studio in Nashville, it did seem rather relaxed to me, by comparison. I suppose that's okay, IF he's doing those jams that I really like. I don't hate the music he made in the studio by any means, but it is a letdown, and I always figured that it must have been even more of letdown to people who were older, and were really digging his comeback records.

One little thing.
As for the lyrical concerns, "Wear My Ring Around Your Neck" is pretty much the exception that proves the rule of Elvis's earliest records. He was one rock and roller who didn't seem to care at all for that "high school hop" type stuff. There's sex, and drama, and violence, and sin, and death in the early records! Pretty, pretty Peggy Sue might have gotten hurt in some of those songs! And part of it is that Elvis listened to hard core blues and R&B, and liked it. And part of it is that since he was the littlest kid, he did have "real" problems. As real as it gets. His whole life was not easy, but the first 19 years were very hard, very hard. Poverty sucks. Big time. How many other rock stars, going back in time, and to this day, can say their fathers were dragged off to a chain gang because they got cheated by the landlord who owned both their little shack and where their dad worked? Name one. And oh, that was just the beginning! Elvis lived a hard 19 years, and that's probably why his songs were tough things, about real life, not the "Leave It To Beaver" world of many of '50s fantasy. (Pick your sitcom; it really doesn't matter which one.)

"Wear My Ring" was something of an aberration; it was cut at a time when he was in something of a rush. Elvis always had real things to sing about, and he always did. With exceptions here and there. But this is part of why his "new album" is on the charts right now, Christmas Season, 2012. He may have been a "prince from another planet," but it must have been one of those Earth twins they're finding, because his work was generally down-to-earth. I think there's general agreement as to that.

rjm

Re: I actually found schlocky Vegas---it wasn't Elvis!

Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:17 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
brian wrote:I'll give some examples of Elvis' recordings being influenced by Vegas.

See See Rider live
Big boss man live
That's alright mama live
I got my mojo working (studio)

The Nashville 1970 studio sessions don't sound like they were influenced by Vegas at all.

The arrangements in the stage act, starting especially in January 1970, are influenced by playing to a Las Vegas audience. The constant "hold" used to end many songs (a simpleton cue, "the song is ending, folks, please begin to applaud") is but one stylistic example. And this mindset remained through to June 26, 1977.

As for the 1970 sessions, the many middle-of-the-road selections taped are most definitely influenced by Vegas. Ten examples:

The Sound of Your Cry
This Is Our Dance
Life
Heart of Rome
When I'm Over You
Make the World Go Away
Love Letters
There Goes My Everything
If I Were You
Sylvia



Sadly, i would have to agree with the doc..... For the raw Elvis we have to go back to 1969. Now there is a man doing his own thing, singing songs he liked, telling stories and jokes Vegas had not heard before.the only giveaway to vegas may have been the ending of the songs.

Re: I actually found schlocky Vegas---it wasn't Elvis!

Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:07 am

epf wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:
brian wrote:I'll give some examples of Elvis' recordings being influenced by Vegas.

See See Rider live
Big boss man live
That's alright mama live
I got my mojo working (studio)

The Nashville 1970 studio sessions don't sound like they were influenced by Vegas at all.

The arrangements in the stage act, starting especially in January 1970, are influenced by playing to a Las Vegas audience. The constant "hold" used to end many songs (a simpleton cue, "the song is ending, folks, please begin to applaud") is but one stylistic example. And this mindset remained through to June 26, 1977.

As for the 1970 sessions, the many middle-of-the-road selections taped are most definitely influenced by Vegas. Ten examples:

The Sound of Your Cry
This Is Our Dance
Life
Heart of Rome
When I'm Over You
Make the World Go Away
Love Letters
There Goes My Everything
If I Were You
Sylvia



Sadly, i would have to agree with the doc..... For the raw Elvis we have to go back to 1969. Now there is a man doing his own thing, singing songs he liked, telling stories and jokes Vegas had not heard before.the only giveaway to vegas may have been the ending of the songs.


And according to some, when RCA was recording the album of the first gig, they were not at all amused at the things he said on-stage. And Kerkorian complained to the Colonel, who sent Elvis a memo. The memo told Elvis not to undo "all the good" they'd done up to that point. And at the dinner shows, children might be present, so watch yourself! Elvis was not amused. I don't think he caved at all in 1969. But that first live album was all cut up into pieces on that account. What could have been a great live album, an all-time classic, became a good live album. It would have been nice to really hear HIM, just ripping into the songs after letting his hair down. We have those albums now, but it's not the same as if it were released then. Vegas could not contain him, then.

Children present? At an Elvis Presley show? Didn't it start out that way, with Elvis shakin' his loins . . . AT CHILDREN? The Colonel had no problems with it early on, it seems to me.

Just that alone showed the problem there. Because he did tone it down. (Well, we're not talking about the Desert Storm stuff. That's a different issue entirely.) It seems clear that the rock critics who saw the opening really enjoyed hearing what he had to say, and they also really dug the manner in which he said it! One said "he really must be stoned." And that was a high compliment. (Pun intended.) But you can see who appreciated Elvis raw, and who did not.

Certainly, he had all different sides to him, especially musically. But for his own manager not to support him that way, well, that was a problem. Because Elvis was going to cave, sooner rather than later.

Here some Elvis, uncooked:

phpBB [video]



rjm

Re: I actually found schlocky Vegas---it wasn't Elvis!

Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:41 am

poormadpeter wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:
brian wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:
brian wrote:I'll give some examples of Elvis' recordings being influenced by Vegas.

See See Rider live
Big boss man live
That's alright mama live
I got my mojo working (studio)

The Nashville 1970 studio sessions don't sound like they were influenced by Vegas at all.

The arrangements in the stage act, starting especially in January 1970, are influenced by playing to a Las Vegas audience. The constant "hold" used to end many songs (a simpleton cue, "the song is ending, folks, please begin to applaud") is but one stylistic example. And this mindset remained through to June 26, 1977.

As for the 1970 sessions, the many middle-of-the-road selections taped are most definitely influenced by Vegas. Ten examples:

The Sound of Your Cry
This Is Our Dance
Life
Heart of Rome
When I'm Over You
Make the World Go Away
Love Letters
There Goes My Everything
If I Were You
Sylvia


Are you sure those aren't just bad songs.

That's a question, right?

Yes, I'm sure. Some are very good ("Make the World Go Away," "Love Letters"), but all are middle-of-the-road selections not befitting a vital, 35 year-old singer who has recaptured his artistry. They are a by-product of playing over a hundred Las Vegas shows in the previous ten months.


And here we have it again. Two songs are "very good" but because they are middle-of-the-road they are not appropriate. What rubbish.

You so often completely miss the point, make a superficial comment or two, and then top it off with a meaningless put-down. Such grace. Such style. And you promote yourself on this forum as a published author. Bravo!

Re: I actually found schlocky Vegas---it wasn't Elvis!

Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:47 am

Johnny Mild wrote:Presley was doing MOR material long before Vegas had ever heard of an Elvis jumpsuit. The fact that he also recorded MOR stuff in 1970 proves nothing. It's simply a coincidence which fits the agenda.

Hello, "new" member. Your insight will fail to sway anyone with any knowledge of Elvis' career.

In other words, the difference between Jun 1970 (Nashville) and Jan-Feb 1969 (American Sound) -- 114 shows in Vegas versus 0 shows in Vegas -- is like the difference between your posts ... and mine. ;-)

Re: I actually found schlocky Vegas---it wasn't Elvis!

Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:05 am

What was your old log-in name, I mean, before you were kicked off this forum?

Just curious. :-)

Re: I actually found schlocky Vegas---it wasn't Elvis!

Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:18 am

Johnny Mild wrote:Well, that hardly needs dignified by a response , but if we're into revealing secrets, why don't you reveal your real name? :smt002 It's not really drjohncarpenter, is it? :D

I'm curious too!

I'm not asking for real names, just which login names you used the last two or three times you registered as a member -- you know, before you were kicked out each time for being a nuisance.

You must really miss this place, to keep coming back when you have a moderator's boot print tattooed on your butt.

::rocks
Last edited by drjohncarpenter on Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:19 am, edited 1 time in total.