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I Was The One - revisited...

Sun Dec 02, 2007 5:42 pm

In 1983, we got the album I Was The One.

Officially
, this album featured Scotty Moore, D J Fontana & The Jordanaires re-recording their parts on a number of Elvis tracks to 'improve the sound quality' using up-to-date recording techniques.

I reckon that this was a con !

This is my take on what happened:

In June 1982, Tony Brown & David Briggs were involved in an overdub project to 'update' some Elvis tracks to make them sound better on the radio etc.

But, a couple of years earlier, Felton Jarvis had suffered criticism from fans for updating some Elvis backings on the Guitar Man album.

To avoid getting criticised this time, they put out a cover story that Elvis' original backing musicians & vocalists were replaying their parts.

They reckoned that this wouldn't be seen as 'tampering' with his music, as they weren't changing the content, as such, ,just re-recording the original backings using modern equipment.

I've come to the conclusion that this story is a fake because:

1] They couldn't have removed the original backings from the [mostly] mono tracks.

2] Listening to the results, the backings sound the same, except for some 'beefing up' of the percussion & bass parts.

3] Keith has the recording logs, but oddly, they list only the engineers & no musicians !

4] After the original album in 1983, there have been no reissues*, & no CD release.
Are they now embarrassed by the whole thing ?

It could be, I suppose, that Scotty & the rest were called in to re-record their parts, but their contributions were never used (because of 1 above) !

The sole unreleased track from the project is Good Rockin' Tonight.

In the UK, the 11-track album was padded out with 5 bonus tracks, four of the live tv show songs overdubbed for This Is Elvis & [strangely] Your Cheating Heart. The tracks from the soundtrack were 'stereo' but the 11 songs from the US album were mono in the UK. We also got a better sleeve.

* For reasons unknown, RCA UK did re-release this album in 1984 but without the five bonus tracks & in stereo this time [and with the US 'cartoon' sleeve too] !

Re: I Was The One - revisited...

Tue Dec 04, 2007 1:30 am

I remember when this one came out - I was young, and at the time quite excited about it.

Ultimately though, I was disappointed. Nowhere near as "good" as Guitar Man !!

Always thought the "story" sounded a bit fishy !!

It did get a partial CD release on the weird Elvs Country Sound Value set in the USA, where some tracks from Guitar Man and some from I Was The One were included.
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Re: I Was The One - revisited...

Tue Dec 04, 2007 2:18 am

BIGREDG wrote:I remember when this one came out.

Me too.

BIGREDG wrote:I was young.

Me too.

BIGREDG wrote:and at the time quite excited about it.

Not me.

Re: I Was The One - revisited...

Tue Dec 04, 2007 2:31 am

2 out of 3 aint bad as the great "meat" once said !!!

Re: I Was The One - revisited...

Tue Dec 04, 2007 2:54 am

I actually bought both versions when they came out, I remember taking

the American version to an Elvis disco in Forrest Hill to show Les, the

fella who ran the club at the time ( later it turned into Capital Elvis, Lyn

his Ex-Wife still helped John out with running the club up to her untimely

death) only to be told that he thought it was a Bootleg, he'd never seen

an Elvis record with a pink label before, but then neither had most fans.

8)

Re: I Was The One - revisited...

Tue Dec 04, 2007 3:25 am

Thanks for the responses, guys.

So, is there any support for my 'fake' theory ?

Apart from BIGREDG finding the cover story 'fishy' nobody has commented on that.

Re: I Was The One - revisited...

Wed Dec 05, 2007 9:02 am

I bought the album as well. I don't think any deception was evident. It was the era of the Stray cats and rockabilly was seeing a revival of sorts and RCA wanted to capitalize on it.

As far as the recordings go, they sound different. At least most of them do. They didn't "remove" anything, but to me, they just overdubbed their parts and the engineer mixed their new parts in right over the old parts, basically drowning out the old parts. I haven't heard the album in a long time, but the most startling track was "baby lets play house", which didn't originally have drums, but now did. I thought they did what they set out to do---improve the sound. At least on half the tracks.

If I recall, "little sister" actually sounded worse than the original. And "baby I don't care" was a big echo mess. Like stereo effect versions.

Re: I Was The One - revisited...

Wed Dec 05, 2007 4:06 pm

ekenee wrote:I bought the album as well.
I don't think any deception was evident.
It was the era of the Stray cats and rockabilly was seeing a revival of sorts and RCA wanted to capitalize on it.
As far as the recordings go, they sound different.
At least most of them do.
They didn't "remove" anything, but to me, they just overdubbed their parts and the engineer mixed their new parts in right over the old parts, basically drowning out the old parts.
I haven't heard the album in a long time, but the most startling track was "baby lets play house", which didn't originally have drums, but now did.
I thought they did what they set out to do---improve the sound.
At least on half the tracks.
If I recall, "little sister" actually sounded worse than the original.
And "baby I don't care" was a big echo mess.
Like stereo effect versions.


You could be right !

I haven't listened using top notch equipment, or headphones, just under 'normal' conditions, so maybe I've missed the changes if they were that subtle !

To me, yes, they sound a bit different, but I can't detect the main players parts as anything new !

As for 'Little Sister' - on that 1st release, we got it in mono, even though it had been recorded in stereo !

Some 'improvement' !

Re: I Was The One - revisited...

Thu Dec 06, 2007 3:59 am

There is no evidence that anyone overdubbed new "tracks" for this album in the 'Session Logs' - as no-one is listed apart from the engineers

My guess is that the engineers "Beefed Up" (as Colin put it) the songs themselves, and played around with them. Much like what we call today as a "Remix"

Re: I Was The One - revisited...

Thu Dec 06, 2007 3:31 pm

Keith F wrote:There is no evidence that anyone overdubbed new "tracks" for this album in the 'Session Logs' - as no-one is listed apart from the engineers
My guess is that the engineers "Beefed Up" (as Colin put it) the songs themselves, and played around with them. Much like what we call today as a "Remix"


Thanks, Keith !

I needed a bit of support on this !

I remember back then, someone asked one of the crew [maybe DJ Fontana] how it felt re-playing their parts again for this release, so many years later.

He gave a somewhat vague reply.

Re: I Was The One - revisited...

Thu Dec 06, 2007 8:36 pm

Keith F wrote:There is no evidence that anyone overdubbed new "tracks" for this album in the 'Session Logs' - as no-one is listed apart from the engineers

My guess is that the engineers "Beefed Up" (as Colin put it) the songs themselves, and played around with them. Much like what we call today as a "Remix"

Well that's a poor analogy because "todays remixes" are in fact over dubs.
Are you telling me "a little less conversation" has no overdubs.
I am telling you... some, not all of the songs on "i was the one" have been overdubbed. The evidence: you can hear them.

Re: I Was The One - revisited...

Fri Dec 07, 2007 1:50 am

I could have sworn reading a profile of the making of the album from that time(in Circus magazine) that featured interviews with Scotty and DJ. I agree with Ekenee that the new parts were simply laid over the old parts with the end result sounding something like rechanneled stereo. I thought the whole endeavor was poor when I finally picked up the album years later. (When the album first came out, I figured I had all those songs.) The cover was beyond poor.

Still, RCA semi-believed it and even supported it with a video. The version of "(You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care" that was played for years whenever USA or MTV wanted to show something from Elvis featured the version from this album in the background rather than the original.

It made it about halfway up the US charts to #103. Reviews were mixed, Although Dave Marsh savaged it with a no star rating, some reviewers did give the thumbs up at the time.

This was right before RCA really started getting a clue on how to repackage Elvis. For most of the first several years after Elvis' death, they tried to come up with schemes to help Elvis keep selling like a contemporary artist. Yes these are old recordings but they are really new. When Greg Geller got there some sanity was restored and the label set about placing Elvis' original music on the market with original sound. It would take Ernst to realize the value of alternate takes and release legendary live performances in their entirety.

Re: I Was The One - revisited...

Fri Dec 07, 2007 2:37 am

ekenee wrote:
Keith F wrote:There is no evidence that anyone overdubbed new "tracks" for this album in the 'Session Logs' - as no-one is listed apart from the engineers

My guess is that the engineers "Beefed Up" (as Colin put it) the songs themselves, and played around with them. Much like what we call today as a "Remix"

Well that's a poor analogy because "todays remixes" are in fact over dubs.
Are you telling me "a little less conversation" has no overdubs.
I am telling you... some, not all of the songs on "i was the one" have been overdubbed. The evidence: you can hear them.


My argument wasn't that they hadn't been overdubbed, but that the overdubbing wasn't the parts of the main players.

Just a little 'beefing up' to fill out the sound..................

Re: I Was The One - revisited...

Fri Dec 07, 2007 3:35 am

Ok, so you admit they were overdubbed but we just aren't sure who did it?

As far as "beefing up" goes, I have not a clue what this slang really means.

Re: I Was The One - revisited...

Fri Dec 07, 2007 9:10 am

ColinB wrote:To avoid getting criticised this time, they put out a cover story that Elvis' original backing musicians & vocalists were replaying their parts ... I've come to the conclusion that this story is a fake ...

Since forum member JamesVRoy has a direct connection to Scotty Moore, why don't you get him to run your theory by Scotty? That's certainly more valuable than looking at old session logs.

Re: I Was The One - revisited...

Fri Dec 07, 2007 10:04 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
ColinB wrote:To avoid getting criticised this time, they put out a cover story that Elvis' original backing musicians & vocalists were replaying their parts ... I've come to the conclusion that this story is a fake ...

Since forum member JamesVRoy has a direct connection to Scotty Moore, why don't you get him to run your theory by Scotty? That's certainly more valuable than looking at old session logs.


Well, yes, but I already drew attention to the fact that Scotty and the others may have recorded some overdubs, which weren't then used.

Because of the difficulty in 'merging' them with the original [immovable] ones.

Re: I Was The One - revisited...

Fri Dec 07, 2007 10:13 am

ekenee wrote:Ok, so you admit they were overdubbed but we just aren't sure who did it?

As far as "beefing up" goes, I have not a clue what this slang really means.


Well, the selling point was that Elvis' original sidemen re-recorded their parts !

As for 'beef up' - It's not slang.

Simply means 'to fill out' or 'to make something stronger or larger'.

Here's a thought.

Isn't there an electronic gizmo or whatever that could do an a-b comparison on these tracks to determine what was changed & what wasn't ?

Re: I Was The One - revisited...

Fri Dec 07, 2007 9:31 pm

'Beefing up' in America, means something like putting more meat on your hamburger.

So the question is, who beefed up these recordings? Or who overdubbed them?

Re: I Was The One - revisited...

Fri Dec 07, 2007 9:39 pm

ekenee wrote:'Beefing up' in America, means something like putting more meat on your hamburger.
So the question is, who beefed up these recordings?
Or who overdubbed them?


I said who in my first post.

"In June 1982, Tony Brown & David Briggs were involved in an overdub project to 'update' some Elvis tracks to make them sound better on the radio etc".

Re: I Was The One - revisited...

Sat Dec 08, 2007 12:41 am

Sorry, I missed that part.
I guess the only answer now is that someone contact DJ and Scotty to find out the truth.

Re: I Was The One - revisited...

Sat Dec 08, 2007 1:05 am

ColinB wrote:Well, yes, but I already drew attention to the fact that Scotty and the others may have recorded some overdubs, which weren't then used.

You miss my point.

Scotty can confirm:

a) he taped some overdubs
b) he heard said overdubs when I Was The One was released

Most producers send sessions participants a copy of the final product as a thank you -- both Brown and Briggs were huge Scotty fans, it is doubtful he was overlooked. That said, if Scotty's work wasn't on the album proper, he would certainly have noticed.

As for the overdubs themselves, it would be a very basic process to just have Fontana and Moore reprise their parts onto a fresh tape as the master track played.

Re: I Was The One - revisited...

Thu Dec 13, 2007 2:59 am

It was sh1t then.
And it"s still sh1t now.

Hope that helps Colin.






:wink:

Re: I Was The One - revisited...

Thu Dec 13, 2007 3:00 am

iamhekev wrote:It was sh1t then.
And it"s still sh1t now.

Hope that helps Colin.

Well, we certainly have wrapped up this topic.

Re: I Was The One - revisited...

Tue Jan 29, 2008 9:50 am

Listen closely to the backing of The "Gordonaires" on Don't!

Re: I Was The One - revisited...

Fri Feb 08, 2008 3:58 pm

I remember liking the album when it first came out, But I hadn't listened to it in years. So when I saw this thread I dug the vinyl out and gave it another listen.
Now I wonder why I ever liked it in the first place. It definitely didn't get better with the passage of time. Not for me anyway.