Re: Elvis - At Your Request

Thu Jul 17, 2008 7:47 pm

Matthew wrote:
Cryogenic wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:There's only one area I was not able to include.


drjohncarpenter wrote:Anyone discern what one aspect of his musical legacy I could not fit?


In my book, this is known as BAITING.


Then why bite if you believe this?


Because I am allowed my opinion, like drjohncarpenter is allowed his.

The difference is that I don't state my opinions as fact or encourage dissent.

I wanted to point out this difference out for anyone who might be interested in such matters. I'm glad you have taken an interest, even if you strangely seem to think I'm as culpable as the instigator. If this is truly your position, then you are damning the innocent from both sides.
Last edited by Cryogenic on Thu Jul 17, 2008 7:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Elvis - At Your Request

Thu Jul 17, 2008 7:50 pm

The live "I Got A Woman" is specifically chosen to a) represent the glory and power of his 1969 stage return, in one song, and b) provide a cross-reference for how much he had grown and changed from 1956, as heard on the classic studio cut on disc 1.

The included live 1970 recordings are superior to "I Just Can't Help Believin'.

Gospel was a difficult area -- as far as non-secular recordings, "Crying In The Chapel" should count, right?


Sorry - missed crying in the chapel, and it's probably the one song, if I had to pick just one, that i'd have picked too. Great choice.

As for your comments re: I Got A Woman, I can see the intent, but would suggest that Elvis never bettered his original RCA recording. If you wanted to show a transformation from an original 50's recording to a live track, to show his growth as an artist, i guess that's the irony. Elvis himself would probably try to demonstrate his growth as an artist with anything but one of the 50's songs, but I know we're going to have to agree to disagree here! :D

As for I Just Can't Help Believing, I feel it's one of the finest interpretations of Elvis career. His singing, the arrangement, everything comes together in a sublime performance, and definitely, for me one of the highlights, if not the hightlight of the originial TTWII movies.

Re: Elvis - At Your Request

Fri Jul 18, 2008 12:52 am

James27 wrote:Personally I would cut "I Got A Woman" (original: nobody beats Ray Charles at his own game), "I Beg Of You", "Is It So Strange", "Crawfish", "Surrender", "Suspicion", "I Got A Woman" (live '69), "Walk A Mile In My Shoes" and "It's Your Baby, You Rock It" from this list and replace them with these nine tracks:

Blue Moon
Treat Me Nice
Baby I Don't Care
Peace In The Valley
Are You Lonesome Tonight
Big Boss Man
How Great Thou Art
Stranger In My Own Home Town
Always On My Mind

Thanks James27.

Unfortunately, none of your alternates are superior to the ones chosen from the same era or genre.

Again, many tunes were shortlisted. Doing this collection really made me appreciate what Ernst does for BMG, save that there was no marketing issues coming into play in my effort -- it was all about the best representation of the music and the art.


Cryogenic wrote:I don't know what this list proves, besides being another drive-by attack on the mid-late 70's Elvis and his fans.

For one thing, you know "Moody Blue" should be there. Also, where is "Viva Las Vegas", "I Need Somebody To Lean On", "Any Day Now", "Just Pretend", "You Gave Me A Mountain", "Steamroller Blues", "What Now My Love" and "An American Trilogy"? I don't consider the likes of "Crawfish" or "Memphis, Tennessee" better than those.

This collection was a personal endeavor, and its posting on the forum was by request. For you to turn it into something negative is incomprehensible.

All your suggestions are worthy, but none measure up to the selections chosen, either by genre or era. Remember, too, one limitation was only two discs allowed, not ten. You will not find 59 better choices in one place, where the art is paramount.

Cryogenic wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:There's only one area I was not able to include.

drjohncarpenter wrote:Anyone discern what one aspect of his musical legacy I could not fit?

In my book, this is known as BAITING.

It is an action commonly committed by those in contempt of a message board -- i.e. its community and its moderators.

You need a new book. That you could respond to a simple, fun query in such fashion is really kind of sad. Note my replies to rockinrebel and his correct observation. Nothing untoward was intended or delivered.


rickeap wrote:The Doc's list is fantastic ... I think Elvis' latter years were under-represented in your list and maybe Hurt or Unchained Melody could be added as representation of Elvis' bombastic final years.

Thanks rickeap. Unfortunately, those "bombastic final years" cannot measure up to the material which precedes it, and thus its exclusion from the collection.


WildStyle wrote:Interesting list. There are thousands of different ways one could compile a set like this relative to personal taste. I'd miss 'Anyway You Want Me' if I was listening to disc 1. I'd probably drop 'Is It So Strange' in it's favour.

Personal taste took a back seat as much as possible. "Any Way You Want Me" might have made the cut but the two used from the July 1956 session were more than enough -- and both, again, are superior to that great ballad.


TJ wrote:Great list. I'd have to include something from the September 1967 sessions though and I'd probably opt for Big Boss Man, which is one of his finest R&B performances.

To represent the '68 special, I'd have gone with one of the incredible versions of One Night from the sit down shows. As good as Elvis' opening performance is, the backing doesn't cut it IMO.

Thanks. Again, September 1967 was a tough call, but as far as R&B, nothing beats "Reconsider Baby."

As for June 1968, you may notice that my selection is almost a mini-version of the show, start to finish. The staggering impact of going from a black screen into Elvis sneering into the camera, singing "If you're looking for trouble, you came to the right place" cannot be overestimated. It riveted potential viewers for the entire hour from the FIRST second. It HAD to be included. And his singing -- of course -- is out of this world.

"One Night" was a tough call -- it's incredible -- but "Tiger Man" is so unique and dynamic it had to be the sit down combo representative. Where else do you get Presley with such fire, drive and even scatting on the outro? And it pulls from his unreleased SUN recording, coming right into the present day as something fresh and new -- no mean feat. Again, tough call!


YDKM wrote:... to represent major achievements and reflection of his years AFTER 1973- which seem ignored(just as Graceland do) basically accepting that artistically Elvis died after Dec 1973 ...

Again, outside the scope of this project. Elvis didn't die after December 1973, some of his work was marvelous indeed, but nothing he did matches what came before, and that's a fact.


minkahed wrote:Doc, c'mon, you know me better than that ! My intentional sarcasm got the best of ya !

If I'm a fool for loving you, then that's just what I will be ...


elvis presley scrapbook wrote:Moody Blue and/or Way Down should be included.

Both are among the best of his 1976 recordings, but neither measure up to the 1970s material included on the collection and, thus, their omission.


rockinrebel wrote:I expect the sound quality of the 1950’s TV appearances would not have been consistent with the rest of the album. Great choices though and a great list overall. Thanks.

Thank YOU! The audio was a slight issue, but it was the only area of regret. Of course RCA did not issue any live recordings from the 1950s until after Elvis passed away, another factor in the selection process.


familyjules wrote:... there's nothing on your list that captures what Elvis could do with a strong power ballad in Summer '70 ...

Both "Suspicious Minds" and "Kentucky Rain" capture this, albeit in studio incarnations. The known live versions in 1970 are excellent, but do not match the American sessions. Again, tough call, as the B.J. Thomas cover is superb. Another factor was that "I Just Can't Help Believin'" was a cover of a song better known as someone else's number. Elvis -- on the other hand -- completely dominates his White and South covers on stage in 1970 -- and as defining moments in his later career they had to be included.


DarrylMac wrote:Sorry - missed crying in the chapel, and it's probably the one song, if I had to pick just one, that i'd have picked too. Great choice.

As for your comments re: I Got A Woman, I can see the intent, but would suggest that Elvis never bettered his original RCA recording. If you wanted to show a transformation from an original 50's recording to a live track, to show his growth as an artist, i guess that's the irony. Elvis himself would probably try to demonstrate his growth as an artist with anything but one of the 50's songs, but I know we're going to have to agree to disagree here! :D

As for I Just Can't Help Believing, I feel it's one of the finest interpretations of Elvis career. His singing, the arrangement, everything comes together in a sublime performance, and definitely, for me one of the highlights, if not the highlight of the original TTWII movies.

Thanks again DarrylMac.

Your thoughts on "Crying In The Chapel" are exactly mine when I was choosing something from that genre. He cut a lot of terrific gospel material, I was grateful to squeeze in one track!

The 1969 shows had Elvis firing on all cylinders, for every song. "I Got A Woman" is a textbook example of how he adapted his youthful vigor for the later years, at least initially. Besides, his comments at the false ending are funny -- "damn tight pants." Also note it is one of the only tracks on the collection still officially unissued! It's a little "bonus" for those who know Presley on a deep level.

As noted, the Thomas number is great -- but the arrangement mirrors B.J's original single. Again, that one was a very tough omission.

Thanks again for the positive comments.

Re: Elvis - At Your Request

Fri Jul 18, 2008 12:58 am

I can completely appreciate how tough it is to distill Elvis's career like this, Doc. Especially to fit on 2 CDs. A while ago I made a set to loan to inquisitive friends to attempt to explain Elvis as an artist to them, because I feel you get such a limited view from the biggest selling studio masters. There are so many B sides, live cuts and home recordings that offer greater insight into Elvis as an artist. I know that in these situations every track is representative of a greater body of work, and compressing them is a difficult task. I had a greater respect for Ernst after this exercise, and all of the flack he gets for leaving off this or that.

On my first disc I actually chose to leave off the studio master of 'That's All Right', the most important recording of Elvis's career for several reasons. 1) I wanted the discs to be chronological, with essentially no repetition of songs, and the Hayride version from October is a fantastic recording in it's own right --and-- 2) I really like the way the alternate Blue Moon of Kentucky juxtaposed with the studio master demonstrates the 'discovery' of Elvis's sound--even if that picture might be technically false, it seems emotionally accurate.

This is a good tracklist, Doc. Especially for 2 CDs. My set wound up being 6 discs!
They are divided by era like this:
Disc 1: 54-56
Disc 2: 57-59
Disc 3: 60-64
Disc 4: 66-69
Disc 5: 70- July 73
Disc 6: December 73- 77
Granted they aren't cram packed, but even with 6 discs I had trouble with deciding what to cut, so I sympathize with you.

And to everyone who wants to second guess Ernst on the next compilation I say : "You've never stood in that man's shoes, or saw things through his eyes..."

Re: Elvis - At Your Request

Fri Jul 18, 2008 1:55 am

Cryogenic wrote:
Matthew wrote:
Cryogenic wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:There's only one area I was not able to include.


drjohncarpenter wrote:Anyone discern what one aspect of his musical legacy I could not fit?


In my book, this is known as BAITING.


Then why bite if you believe this?


Because I am allowed my opinion, like drjohncarpenter is allowed his.

The difference is that I don't state my opinions as fact or encourage dissent.

I wanted to point out this difference out for anyone who might be interested in such matters. I'm glad you have taken an interest, even if you strangely seem to think I'm as culpable as the instigator. If this is truly your position, then you are damning the innocent from both sides.


I was merely asking that if you believe the doc was making a smokescreen put down of the late 70s (which I don't) and was indeed casting out bait (which I don't) then why get caught hook, line, and sinker and give satisfaction to the fisherman? You could have left it alone. Yes you are entitled to your opinion as are we all - its a shame you couldn't just critique the list on its own merits without using it as an excuse to throw daggers.

Re: Elvis - At Your Request

Fri Jul 18, 2008 2:06 am

Matthew wrote:
Cryogenic wrote:
Matthew wrote:
Cryogenic wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:There's only one area I was not able to include.


drjohncarpenter wrote:Anyone discern what one aspect of his musical legacy I could not fit?


In my book, this is known as BAITING.


Then why bite if you believe this?


Because I am allowed my opinion, like drjohncarpenter is allowed his.

The difference is that I don't state my opinions as fact or encourage dissent.

I wanted to point out this difference out for anyone who might be interested in such matters. I'm glad you have taken an interest, even if you strangely seem to think I'm as culpable as the instigator. If this is truly your position, then you are damning the innocent from both sides.


I was merely asking that if you believe the doc was making a smokescreen put down of the late 70s (which I don't) and was indeed casting out bait (which I don't) then why get caught hook, line, and sinker and give satisfaction to the fisherman? You could have left it alone. Yes you are entitled to your opinion as are we all - its a shame you couldn't just critique the list on its own merits without using it as an excuse to throw daggers.

That is too much to ask for when dealing with blindly devoted fan-boys of the 1976/1977 era.

Re: Elvis - At Your Request

Fri Jul 18, 2008 2:15 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:This collection was a personal endeavor, and its posting on the forum was by request. For you to turn it into something negative is incomprehensible.


drjohncarpenter wrote:You need a new book. That you could respond to a simple, fun query in such fashion is really kind of sad. Note my replies to rockinrebel and his correct observation. Nothing untoward was intended or delivered.


Whether your reply to rockinrebel is genuine or not, my suspicions are inflamed by your notorious disdain for the 1974-1977 period, as well as a complete lack of representation after 1973 in your compilation, which is highly conspicuous given the span of the chosen recordings.

drjohncarpenter wrote:All your suggestions are worthy, but none measure up to the selections chosen, either by genre or era.


I beg to differ. What you are offering is merely SUBJECTIVE OPINION.

I've emphasised that adjective-noun pair because it applies to everyone here.

But I maintain that the lack of anything after 1973 is highly suspect. In fact, I think it damages the scope and credibility of the compilation.

To end on "Promised Land" leaves the listener high and dry as to the real Elvis Presley and how and why his life ended.

Of course, picking something for the sake of it to "round out" the compilation would be ill-advised. But I don't believe that this would be the case with "Moody Blue".

It was an extremely popular recording in the aftermath of his death and remains so to this day. Moreover, it is musically erudite, fusing country and pop effortlessly, in a vein that still sounds incredibly modern. The lyrics and vocal performance by EP gell just as pleasingly, serving as a joint celebration and condemnation of an unnamed, untamed lover and the way she has beguiled the singer. It has tremendous relevance for a man who objectified women and was caught in an endless string of strained relationships. The record captures so much of what made and makes Elvis great: it shows he was still creating fresh and dynamic pop records, however sparingly, and that he was still using music to express his innermost hopes and fears.

That aside, I also have a problem with your dismissal of my other suggestions, like "I Need Somebody To Lean On". You can rarely find a late-night jazz sound this good from anyone -- for Elvis, it is totally unique. It even moved Peter Guralnick enough while he was conducting research for "Careless Love" to speak its merit. I think the inclusion of this would open a person's heart and mind to Elvis more than "Crawfish" or "Memphis, Tennessee". It really is demonstrative of his sheer aptitude for music at a broad and fundamental level. Again, it also reveals something of his soul, functioning as a call for someone to bring comfort. The recording drips with a tender sincerity.

Of course, these are two of my own subjective choices. But I really do think there were two or three odd decisions made for this "request" list.

Re: Elvis - At Your Request

Fri Jul 18, 2008 2:21 am

Cryogenic wrote:Of course, picking something for the sake of it to "round out" the compilation would be ill-advised. But I don't believe that this would be the case with "Moody Blue".

It was an extremely popular recording in the aftermath of his death and remains so to this day. Moreover, it is musically erudite, fusing country and pop effortlessly, in a vein that still sounds incredibly modern. The lyrics and vocal performance by EP gell just as pleasingly, serving as a joint celebration and condemnation of an unnamed, untamed lover and the way she has beguiled the singer. It has tremendous relevance for a man who objectified women and was caught in an endless string of strained relationships. The record captures so much of what made and makes Elvis great: it shows he was still creating fresh and dynamic pop records, however sparingly, and that he was still using music to express his innermost hopes and fears.

Moody Blue was one of EP's finest efforts from the '76 sessions, but it is hardly "dynamic" or even "fresh." It is not in the same league as the recordings Dr. Carpenter listed. The agenda of the list was to highlight Elvis' vocal achievements - and Moody Blue's omission isn't a shock.

Cryogenic wrote:To end on "Promised Land" leaves the listener high and dry as to the real Elvis Presley and how and why his life ended.

No it doesn't. How does it leave the listener high and dry? Why does the listener need to know Elvis' life ended with a string of recording sessions that resulted in subpar results? How is that a tribute to Elvis' prime work?

Re: Elvis - At Your Request

Fri Jul 18, 2008 2:24 am

Unchained Melody rates as one of the most watched performances on You Tube.
How many people posting here would have it in their top 10?
I do

Re: Elvis - At Your Request

Fri Jul 18, 2008 2:25 am

rickeap wrote:Unchained Melody rates as one of the most watched performances on You Tube.
How many people posting here would have it in their top 10?
I do

It is a moving performance, particularly in the set of circumstances it is associated with. But a all-time "top ten" performance? Hardly.

Re: Elvis - At Your Request

Fri Jul 18, 2008 2:36 am

Cryogenic wrote:Whether your reply to rockinrebel is genuine or not ...

It's pretty clear to most of us ...

Cryogenic wrote:... my suspicions are inflamed by your notorious disdain for the 1974-1977 period ...

Ask yourself this question: "Suspicion, why torture me?"

And in this topic alone I make several positive comments about the "1974-1977 period."

Cryogenic wrote:What you are offering is merely SUBJECTIVE OPINION.

YES. And a more reasoned, balanced and experienced one will not be found anywhere else.

Cryogenic wrote:But I maintain that the lack of anything after 1973 is highly suspect. In fact, I think it damages the scope and credibility of the compilation.

Not in any way a-tall.

The scope of this collection has been mentioned several times already. Please review and get back to me.

Cryogenic wrote:To end on "Promised Land" leaves the listener high and dry as to the real Elvis Presley ...

Surely, you jest. It is the perfect denouement, on many levels.

Cryogenic wrote:That aside, I also have a problem with your dismissal of my other suggestions, like "I Need Somebody To Lean On".

That is for you to deal with.

For example, "I Need Somebody To Lean On" is an outstanding recording, with more than a few touches of the great Charlie Rich, but, as explained, only a few representatives of his 1960s soundtrack era could make the cut. Both "Can't Helping Falling In Love" and "Return To Sender" are far superior choices. To claim otherwise is folly.

Take another look at my replies and note how many times I said the choices were tough to make. Maybe then you'll appreciate the beauty and appropriateness of my selections.

Re: Elvis - At Your Request

Fri Jul 18, 2008 5:19 am

Dov, I have no issues with those selections. So long as the original "Big Hunk O' Love" is on any Elvis compilation, I'm a happy camper.

I appreciate your efforts.... to compile a worthy "career" list from all the available selections is quite an undertaking.

Re: Elvis - At Your Request

Fri Jul 18, 2008 6:15 am

Difficult stuff, especially when you are looking at an artist as diverse and talented as Elvis Presley with such an extensive and genre-spanning catalogue.

The 1969 Memphis sessions represent a bit of a challenge when you are trying to come up with a compilation such as this. Space would probably only allow 3 or 4 songs, as Doc did. Choosing the best 3 or 4 from these sessions is pretty much a redundant task - they are. for the most part, extraordinary recordings.

For my money, I've always felt "Long Black Limousine" is one of the most powerful cuts of his carreer. The first song of these sessions, it showcases Elvis' vocal range. power and the ability to convey emotion. It is still impressive, decades after I first heard it. It was the first Presley song I heard that made me realise that this guy was a musician, not just a singer.

I would have probably included that in preference to Kentucky Rain, but only if 3 cuts from the Memphis Sessions were going to be included. If 4 were allowed, Kentucky Rain would stay.

Re: Elvis - At Your Request

Fri Jul 18, 2008 7:33 am

yes long black limousine is a much better record than kentucky rain! :roll:

Re: Elvis - At Your Request

Sat Jul 19, 2008 1:22 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:By popular demand, below is an attempt to distill the best of our hero on two listenable discs, from the most up-to-date sources. There's only one area I was not able to include. Enjoy!

-----

AT YOUR REQUEST, VOLUME ONE
Musical highlights from Elvis Presley, in best-ever quality.

01. My Happiness 8.53 / take-home demo, SUN Studios, Memphis
02. That's All Right 7.54 / first single A-side, SUN Studios, Memphis
03. Blue Moon of Kentucky 7.54 / first single B-side, SUN Studios, Memphis
04. Good Rockin' Tonight 9.54 / single A-side, SUN Studios, Memphis
05. Baby, Let's Play House 2.55 / single A-side, SUN Studios, Memphis
06. Mystery Train 7.55 / single B-side, SUN Studios, Memphis
07. I Got A Woman 1.56 / first album, RCA Studios, Nashville
08. Heartbreak Hotel 1.56 / single A-side, RCA Studios, Nashville
09. Hound Dog 7.56 / single B-side, RCA Studios, New York
10. Don't Be Cruel 7.56 / single A-side, RCA Studios, New York
11. Love Me Tender 8.56 / single A-side, 20th Century Fox, Hollywood
12. Love Me 9.56 / second album, Radio Recorders, Los Angeles
13. All Shook Up 1.57 / single A-side, Radio Recorders, Los Angeles
14. I Beg Of You 1.57 / unissued, Radio Recorders, Los Angeles
15. Is It So Strange 1.57 / extended play, Radio Recorders, Los Angeles
16. One Night 2.57 / 1958 single A-side, Radio Recorders, Los Angeles
17. Loving You 2.57 / single A-side, Radio Recorders, Los Angeles
18. When It Rains, It Really Pours 2.57 / unissued, Radio Recorders, Los Angeles
19. Jailhouse Rock 4.57 / single A-side, Radio Recorders, Los Angeles
20. Young and Beautiful 4.57 / extended play, Radio Recorders, Los Angeles
21. Blue Christmas 9.57 / Christmas album, Radio Recorders, Los Angeles
22. Santa Claus Is Back In Town 9.57 / Christmas album, Radio Recorders, Los Angeles
23. Don't 9.57 / 1958 single A-side, Radio Recorders, Los Angeles
24. Crawfish 1.58 / "King Creole" album, Radio Recorders, Los Angeles
25. King Creole 1.58 / single A-side, Radio Recorders, Los Angeles
26. A Big Hunk O' Love 6.58 / 1959 single A-side, unedited, RCA Studio B, Nashville
27. Ain't That Loving You, Baby 6.58 / unissued, RCA Studio B, Nashville
28. I Got Stung 6.58 / single B-side, RCA Studio B, Nashville
29. A Fool Such As I 6.58 / 1959 single A-side, RCA Studio B, Nashville
30. Fame and Fortune 3.60 / single B-side, RCA Studio B, Nashville
31. A Mess Of Blues 3.60 / single B-side, RCA Studio B, Nashville
32. It Feels So Right 3.60 / "Elvis Is Back!" album, RCA Studio B, Nashville


AT YOUR REQUEST, VOLUME TWO
Musical highlights from Elvis Presley, in best-ever quality.

01. Such A Night 4.60 / "Elvis Is Back!" album, RCA Studio B, Nashville
02. Reconsider Baby 4.60 / "Elvis Is Back!" album, RCA Studio B, Nashville
03. Surrender 10.60 / single A-side, RCA Studio B, Nashville
04. Crying In The Chapel 10.60 / 1965 single A-side, RCA Studio B, Nashville
05. Can't Help Falling In Love 3.61 / single A-side, Radio Recorders, Los Angeles
06. His Latest Flame 6.61 / single A-side, RCA Studio B, Nashville
07. Little Sister 6.61 / single B-side, RCA Studio B, Nashville
08. Suspicion 3.62 / "Pot Luck" album, RCA Studio B, Nashville
09. Return To Sender 3.62 / single A-side, Radio Recorders, Los Angeles
10. Memphis, Tennessee 1.64 / 1965 "Elvis For Everyone" album, RCA Studio B, Nashville
11. If I Loved You 66-67 / unissued home demo, Los Angeles
12. Trouble/Guitar Man 6.68 / "TV Special" album, Western Recorders, Los Angeles
13. Tiger Man 6.68 / album track, NBC-TV Studios, Burbank
14. If I Can Dream 6.68 / unissued TV version, NBC-TV Studios, Burbank
15. In The Ghetto 1.69 / single A-side, American Sound, Memphis
16. Suspicious Minds 1.69 / single A-side, American Sound, Memphis
17. Kentucky Rain 2.69 / 1970 single A-side, American Sound, Memphis
18. I Got A Woman 8.69 / unissued, International Hotel, Las Vegas
19. Polk Salad Annie 2.70 / "On Stage" album, International Hotel, Las Vegas
20. Walk A Mile In My Shoes 2.70 / "On Stage" album, International Hotel, Las Vegas
21. It's Your Baby, You Rock It 6.70 / "Elvis Country" album, RCA Studio B, Nashville
22. Merry Christmas Baby 5.71 / unedited single A-side, RCA Studio B, Nashville
23. Burning Love 3.72 / single A-side, RCA Studio C, Los Angeles
24. I've Got A Thing About You Baby 7.73 / 1974 single A-side, Stax Studios, Memphis
25. Promised Land 12.73 / 1974 single A-side, Stax Studios, Memphis


Doc, this is an excellent well thought out list. Clearly time and consideration was spent creating it. My only personal amendments I would make to such a list are as follows - and I will try and back them up with decent explanation:

Firstly I would drop Merry Christmas Baby and I've Got A Thing About You Baby. The first stands out from the sessions that bore it due to its change in direction - but I still feel the performance is not the Elvis we know and love. The second - whilst it could be argued this was the best overall production from those July 1973 sessions, after hearing Tony Joe White's original I rarely listen to Elvis' anymore - this is not the case for Elvis' other White covers, I enjoy them both. I think there are better masters from the period. The arrangement is good, but Elvis' vocal just lacks something for me.

So, to my exchanges:

Just Pretend - two great albums came from the 1970 Nashville session, TTWII and Elvis Country. Both I feel deserve representation and I believe Just Pretend ranks up there with Elvis' best, both stylistically and vocally. Ironically it could easily have found a home on Elvis Country. It's You Baby, You Rock It is not my favourite from the second album but being the only "original" understand its inclusion.

Separate Ways - if room permits another cut from the March 72 session is in order. Always on my Mind is more commonly known and associated with Elvis, but the b-side is better in my book, and the autobiographical nature of the lyric cannot be overlooked. A song that so easily could have been released with the usual overdubbed strings/horns is thankfully left in its natural session state - the piano and acoustic guitars driving the song to its conclusion, the poignant lyric grabbing the listener’s attention.

How Great Thou Art (live) - for me this song represents what Elvis was all about in his soul. Gospel was such a driving force for him that I feel closing such a collection with a performance of such befits the man and his achievements. It also serves to represent other aspects of his persona. It is a live recording - on tour, it is a vocally challenging piece, one that won him an award in its Memphis 1974 version. He was fairly consistent with it, right until his final shows with it often being the highlight. It also serves to bookend his career with a performance from the last years. Now, which version? I was split between the Memphis 74 performance and the Omaha 77 performance - both are different vocal arrangements and both have their merits. After much consideration I swayed to the Omaha 77 performance (hear the shocked gasp of the audience - an EIC recording?!) For me this performance is the single outstanding performance from the whole album - one of the best in my book. Elvis, despite his condition pushes the envelope of his voice, is impassioned and the result is almost haunting. Quite a revelation considering the quality of the surrounding performances from the show.

Re: Elvis - At Your Request

Sat Jul 19, 2008 1:46 am

Matthew wrote:Firstly I would drop Merry Christmas Baby and I've Got A Thing About You Baby. The first stands out from the sessions that bore it due to its change in direction - but I still feel the performance is not the Elvis we know and love. The second - whilst it could be argued this was the best overall production from those July 1973 sessions, after hearing Tony Joe White's original I rarely listen to Elvis' anymore - this is not the case for Elvis' other White covers, I enjoy them both. I think there are better masters from the period. The arrangement is good, but Elvis' vocal just lacks something for me.

Merry Christmas Baby is a total gem from Elvis' '70s output. All the passion, energy and charisma from eras gone are once again evident in that studio workhorse. It is supreme performance and stands alongside Elvis' finest work.

Matthew wrote:Separate Ways - if room permits another cut from the March 72 session is in order. Always on my Mind is more commonly known and associated with Elvis, but the b-side is better in my book, and the autobiographical nature of the lyric cannot be overlooked. A song that so easily could have been released with the usual overdubbed strings/horns is thankfully left in its natural session state - the piano and acoustic guitars driving the song to its conclusion, the poignant lyric grabbing the listener’s attention.

The March '72 session was one of Elvis' finest from the '70s, but the results and impact (and material) are mostly inferior to the rest of the selections on the Doc's compilation.

Re: Elvis - At Your Request

Sat Jul 19, 2008 2:03 am

midnightx wrote:Merry Christmas Baby is a total gem from Elvis' '70s output. All the passion, energy and charisma from eras gone are once again evident in that studio workhorse. It is supreme performance and stands alongside Elvis' finest work.


On this one we disagree - it stands out from its surroundings for sure but it is not Elvis' finest work - in my opinion. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy it, it is a solid performance - but I do not rank it as one of Elvis' very best. I've never liked the dubbed solo either. Part of the appeal of these jams is Elvis' interaction with the band. My first exposure to this recording was in its undubbed form on the CD release of the 1971 Christmas album - the 7.18 long version. Hearing the dubbed version knowing Eddie Hinton isn't there, Elvis calling "dig it James, dig it!" and Eddie's dub come in just sounds so out of place to me.

midnightx wrote:The March '72 session was one of Elvis' finest from the '70s, but the results are mostly inferior to the rest of the selections on the Doc's compilation.


I don't think Separate Ways is inferior to any of the selections from the period this part of the compilation represents - these sessions for example are consistently better than the June 1973 Stax sessions song for song and performance for performance.

Re: Elvis - At Your Request

Sat Jul 19, 2008 2:10 am

midnightx wrote:
rickeap wrote:Unchained Melody rates as one of the most watched performances on You Tube.
How many people posting here would have it in their top 10?
I do
It is a moving performance, particularly in the set of circumstances it is associated with. But a all-time "top ten" performance? Hardly.


I have always felt he never quite 'nailed' this song.

A proper studio version might have helped..................

Re: Elvis - At Your Request

Sat Jul 19, 2008 2:12 am

ColinB wrote:
midnightx wrote:
rickeap wrote:Unchained Melody rates as one of the most watched performances on You Tube.
How many people posting here would have it in their top 10?
I do
It is a moving performance, particularly in the set of circumstances it is associated with. But a all-time "top ten" performance? Hardly.


I have always felt he never quite 'nailed' this song.

A proper studio version might have helped..................

He came pretty close on a handful of occassions. A studio version may have had a more controlled vocal with less breathing, but Jarvis would have destroyed it with his over-production - just listen to the mess he created with the 'live' single in 1977.

Re: Elvis - At Your Request

Sat Jul 19, 2008 2:13 am

as always gotta disagree with Polk Salad... August 12 rocks harder and louder. If you want slow country cookin, enjoy TJW!

Re: Elvis - At Your Request

Sat Jul 19, 2008 2:14 am

Kylan wrote:as always gotta disagree with Polk Salad... August 12 rocks harder and louder.

For most, the February 1970 master is perfection, and I thoroughly agree. The interplay between Elvis and James is almost telepathic.

Re: Elvis - At Your Request

Sat Jul 19, 2008 2:15 am

midnightx wrote:He came pretty close on a handful of occassions.
A studio version may have had a more controlled vocal with less breathing, but Jarvis would have destroyed it with his over-production - just listen to the mess he created with the 'live' single in 1977.


Well, maybe, but we might have got some undubbed outtakes on FTD............................

Re: Elvis - At Your Request

Sat Jul 19, 2008 2:16 am

midnightx wrote:He came pretty close on a handful of occassions. A studio version may have had a more controlled vocal with less breathing, but Jarvis would have destroyed it with his over-production - just listen to the mess he created with the 'live' single in 1977.


The dubbed Rapid City version (single 1978)? Yes indeed. A strange choice to be sure - the post production on the Moody Blue version is far superior. Part of me wishes I still had the ignorance that the final sustained note was Elvis.

Re: Elvis - At Your Request

Sat Jul 19, 2008 2:17 am

ColinB wrote:
midnightx wrote:He came pretty close on a handful of occassions.
A studio version may have had a more controlled vocal with less breathing, but Jarvis would have destroyed it with his over-production - just listen to the mess he created with the 'live' single in 1977.


Well, maybe, but we might have got some undubbed outtakes on FTD............................

Yeah, just imagine a few of those along with some outtakes of "Feelings".....so many "what if" scenerios.

Re: Elvis - At Your Request

Sat Jul 19, 2008 2:19 am

Kylan wrote:as always gotta disagree with Polk Salad... August 12 rocks harder and louder. If you want slow country cookin, enjoy TJW!


The backbone of the Feb 1970 master is superior - it just grooves better. Bob Lanning shines on this one. The August 1970 performances are great (and visually stunning) but audibly the On Stage master is the most satisfying.