From Down Under

 

Spring Tours 1977

 by Geoffrey Mc Donnell (Australia)

 

It’s just over 25 years since these 1977 four track recordings were made between 26th March and 3rd May 1977(covering the March and April/May  (2nd and 3rd) 1977 tours). At the time of recording Felton Jarvis was hoping to capture some ‘new’ unheard ‘live’ performances that could be released on an Album (faced with a shortfall of studio cuts for a ‘new’ album release). Ultimately ONLY 3 tracks (with overdubs) made it to the 1977 ‘Moody Blue’ Album.One could EASILY be mistaken with these ‘Spring Tours’ tracks into thinking they were ALL selected/recorded as Elvis’s BEST versions of songs in any show that these tracks were recorded, incredibly sometimes one of the poorest performances is the ‘chosen’ track(i.e. HOUND DOG ON 30.4.77) and many other ‘good’ quality performances on that SAME date (i.e. MY WAY ON 30.4.77) are  not released!. Therefore with this in mind it’s sometimes great ‘luck’ if BOTH a ‘good’ AND ‘rare’ song has made it to tape! Well this is basically what This FTD “Spring Tours” CD gives us (formally known as ‘Last Tours CD’) poor AND good performances! But certainly NOT  that bad!. This CD has been released at the end of May 2002. I actually received MY COPY on 6th June (1 week after others had been commenting on it)- the cover features a ‘reasonable’ side profile picture taken by Keith Alverson in Macon on 1.6.77 and NOT from the ‘Spring Tours’ at all but from the 4th May/June 1977 tour. Generally on ANY 1977 tour Elvis lost weight as the tour progressed (which is why he looks ok on 1.6.77!). One more photo features inside and on the back cover of this cd from that SAME 4th tour, this time from a very ill Elvis in Philadelphia on 28th May 77’.The back cover photo is REAL close up and extremely ‘unflattering’ to say the least where as the other one inside shot (above the track listing) shows a bloated Elvis in Philadelphia. Behind the CD is a re-print from the Ann Arbor news from April 25th about the 24.4.77 concert, unfortunately NO photo’s from 24.4.77 newspaper reviews feature (which show Elvis looking ‘pretty good’ in his ‘King of Spades’ Suit.) Before we Even play this CD I quite like the ‘cool’ orange CD cover with 1977 on it-plain but ‘distinctive!’ In trying to review this latest FTD product some comment about the photo’s is needed. 

 

Stein Erik Skarr/Rick Henso © Austin,TX. March 28th 1977

 

One strongly suspects that in using photographer Keith for this project that they didn’t even have any photos from these ‘Spring Tours’ or ACTUAL shows the CD tracks come from to use!? Whilst the front cover shot is definitely a passable picture, the inside and terrible back cover picture do INCALCUABLE damage to Elvis’s already ‘bad’ 1977 image. I have seen some ‘nice’ photos from Austin, Texas in his ‘King of Spades’ suit (even the colour 1.5.77 shot from Tunzi’s Chicago Vol #3 book would have been ‘acceptable!’) or in the Mexican Sundial from Greensboro (21.4.77) or Kalamazoo (26.4.77) during this tour. One would have hoped? That something MORE appropriate could have been used and otherwise one is left pretty much expecting the ‘worst’ before even playing this CD judging by the appalling pictures on this CD artwork!.

  Inside the CD cover 23 tracks are listed (with dates/places) but NO track running time (which is somewhat annoying!) As this total CD plays for all intents and proposes 1 hour (60 minutes) I am constantly wondering? Why? It doesn’t contain 25 tracks? LOVE ME TENDER from Norman 26.3.77 WAS RECORDED as was THE HAWAIIIAN WEDDING SONG in Saginaw on 25.4.77 these are well documented and certainly OK versions/performances we are DENIED hearing them here? Also this CD does NOT attempt to follow the usual 2001 opening sequence nor are their any ‘band introductions’ which is AGAIN a pity as say the band intros in St.Paul on 30th April feature such ‘goodies’ as an instrumental version of ‘DELTA Lady’ By James Burton or in Alexandria on 30th March a FULL version of Elvis singing EARLY MORNING RAIN! There is NO RECORD that these were recorded at all, but we miss out on REAL ‘RARITIES’ here. The contents of this CD DOES give us some REAL 1977 rarities (such as BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER + BIG BOSS MAN recorded in Duluth on 29.4.77) and from as many as around 2 versions of either HELP ME or 6 versions of MY WAY we get just one version of each and in the case of MY WAY it’s the SAME version recorded in Saginaw on 25.4.77 that we had on the ‘Platinum’ BOX set. In fact Ernst commented on ‘duplicate song’ recordings with THIS pre-release comment:-“ On songs like "My Way", "If You Love Me", "Heartbreak Hotel" and "O Sole Mio/It¹s Now Or Never" there were several choices, and we have chosen our cuts from a combination of musical and technical considerations. “The other very Notable things are the ‘undubbed’ versions of UNCHAINED MELODY, LITTLE DARLING and IF YOU LOVE ME (LET ME KNOW) that previously featured on the June 1977 Album – ‘Moody Blue’.

  Before I look at this CONTENTS here I will mention the SOUND, well it’s EXCELLENT, not PERFECT but much, MUCH fuller/balanced than a ‘soundboard’ recording and nice channel separation in other words EXTREMELY ‘good’ sound and inevitably this being the FIRST significant release of a LOT of previously unheard 1977 recordings some comparism with the ‘IN CONCERT’ release must be made. Running through the tracks on this CD I will expand with filling in the touring picture around these shows and what Elvis was generally doing at these times. I don’t feel the recordings here worsen the 1977 ‘image’ of Elvis, but the ‘artwork’ certainly DOES!.

  Before the March tour Elvis had been resting up at Graceland after a HAWAIIAN holiday in early March. He was NOT in ‘good health’ and many close to him really DOUBTED that he was even well enough to make the START of this March tour, a BIG part of this reason was Ginger Alden’s REFUSAL to join him leaving him ‘Alone’ except for the company of Larry Geller, Billy Smith and a few others such as Ed Parker and Charlie Hodge on this tour. This was defiantly NOT the kind of tour situation that brought out the best in Elvis. However the first Date in Tempe, Arizona on the 23rd March was actually a ‘good’ show running (as the press noted “from parody to almost perfect’) Amarillo on 24th was ‘so-so’ as was his FIRST appearance in Norman on 25th March-still the ‘press’ said:-”Elvis delights arena audience”. With hardly any sleep Elvis looked ‘tired’ on stage and the concert was lackluster with the ‘usual’ ‘power ballads’ LIKE ‘Polk Salad Annie’,’ Bridge over Troubled Water’ or ‘Unchained Melody’ ALL missing from shows. ONLY leaving either ‘MY WAY’ or ‘HOW GREAT THOU ART’ as ‘showcase material’.

 

Stein Erik Skarr/Charlotte Spence © Alexandria,LA. March 29th 1977

 

 Also generally performances were SHORT virtually the MINIMUM required say 60 minutes long and usually after the Introductions their were ONLY 3 songs performed HURT, HOUND DOG + CAN’T HELP FALLING IN LOVE. A ‘style’ I have termed the “QUICK CLOSE SYNDROME” Also dialogue and contact with FANS during shows was noticeably ‘subdued’ and ‘brief’. One ‘good’ thing was Elvis playing guitar again at shows and it’s some of this GUITAR work that forms a MAJOR representation in these March recordings. Fortunately the FIRST DATE that documented recordings occur is from the ‘Good’ 2nd show in Norman on 26.3.77(despite Elvis chipping a tooth before this show) the whole show is pretty consistently ‘good’ and well sung. However (apart from the missing LOVE ME TENDER) 4 other recordings made it to the ‘Spring Tours ‘CD, indeed THAT’S ALLRIGHT MAMA, ARE YOU LONESOME TONIGHT + BLUE CHRISTMAS are the first 3 tracks on this CD. After BLUE CHRISTMAS the very FIRST bit of MY WAY can be heard before it cuts out. So the FIRST recording we hear is THAT’S ALLRIGHT is doesn’t contain any intro dialogue (compared to the ‘IN CONCERT’ version) but DOES UNFORTUNATLY contain Elvis’s FIRST comment on this CD that ‘it’s warped’ – something we could WELL have done WITHOUT and this is a good example of some ‘sloppy editing’ on this CD between songs, however here it comes across as a decent version very well received and easily as good as the later version. ARE YOU LONESOME TONIGHT isn’t quite as good as the voice on the Rapid City version but because it only misses a few words part way though as Elvis starts joking with Charlie but doesn’t deteriate like the forgotten words in the latter version. Strangely it is ok, but being neither funny or ‘straight’ version it falls a little short of being as memorable as the later version, nice enough though. BLUE CHRISTMAS is short and sweet version neither very long but NEVER heard before in such QUALITY from 1977 - this is a nice addition to these LIVE recordings.

 

 The 4th track featured on this CD from Norman is BLUE SUEDE SHOES + ALL the dialogue following the previous song (LOVE ME TENDER) This isn’t as good as earlier versions and falls into the ‘fair’ category (as the band is the driving force here) Next on this CD we get two tracks from the BEST SHOW from the March tour! YES! The Abilene 27.3.77 show was 25% LONGER than other shows and altogether a great show!. Therefore it’s a GREAT PLEASURE to hear ‘TRYING TO GET TO YOU’ + ‘LAWDY MISS CLAWDY’ from this date (particularly the ULTRA ‘RARE’ version here of ‘LAWDY!’). Unfortunately during TRYING TO GET TO YOU Elvis’s timing slips up but otherwise its in great voice and a very good version. Why didn’t we get the Chicago 1.5.77 version?. LAWDY MISS CLAWDY was hardly EVER sung AFTER 1974 (sung at the Las Vegas 4.12.76 Midnight Show only) and it is of tremendous ‘rarity’ value here. To me this is probably THE highlight of the ‘Spring Tours CD’ as a request completely unrehearsed it’s a very ‘spur of the moment’ version complete with some amusing word changes at the end. Tony Browns piano playing is a ‘let down’ but then he was caught completely unprepared for this song (and it SHOWS!) overall though as a ‘fun’ attempt on stage in this live context it’s a GREAT version and we are all the happier for hearing it. Certainly there is NO WAY this kind of ‘live’ version should ever be compared to the Original recording! FEVER was recorded ‘frustratingly’ close to EARLY MORNING RAIN from his LAST concert on this March tour. The whole 30.3.77 show is VERY ‘uneven’ (hence the press simply saying: -“Elvis concert termed ‘entertaining”) in performance but ‘lucky’ here we not only get a better version than the ‘Aloha 73’ but it’s a ‘straight’ decent version and definitely a good and careful performance.

Harold J. Newton © Greensboro,NC. April 21st 1977

  After this so-so Alexandria show Elvis was flown to hospital (after canceling the Baton Rouge 31.3.77 show) and added on the missed tour dates to the end of tour #4 in 1977. Recuperating back at Graceland he had a ‘surprise’ bumping into Pricilla and then had arguments with ‘Ginger Alden, so much so that he flew to Las Vegas, then Palm Springs with a different girl called Alicia Kerwin just prior to the April/May tour. However in Palm Springs he received a severe telling off from BOTH his Dad and Colonel Parker for NOT telling them where he had gone. So Elvis returned to Graceland and went on the tour –this time WITH Ginger. Elvis was’ Tired’ at the start of this April tour and the ‘Press’ noted that his Greensboro 21.4.77 show was 75 minutes with ‘fine voice’ but that his energy was ‘lagging’. Next night in Detroit the press said:-‘The show was starting to look ‘stodgy’ because it is so predictable’. In Toledo on 23rd the press said:-‘His voice is not as flexible as it once was, but still creditable’ First great show was the Ann Arbor one where the press said: -‘Elvis still stuns ‘em’, after the 27.4.77 show (press saying here;- ‘Fans of Elvis pay a lot to see little’.) he hurt his back which affected the next 2 nights shows.(especially the 28.4.77 show) In Green Bay on 28.4.77 the press said:-‘his 70 minute performance was not remarkable in itself, but the whole atmosphere was’. In St.Paul on 30.4.77 he had a runny nose and briefly ended his 65-minute concert with a brief ‘Thank-you’ ONLY! And straight into Can’t Help Falling in Love’ leaving a lot of the fans shocked/surprised by his VERY ‘sudden departure!?, mostly the press noted:- ‘Elvis read the lyrics to MY WAY’. First show in Chicago (1.5.77) was very lackluster but 2nd show was good! And final show back in Saginaw on 3.5.77 attempted to be very different before eventually ending up ‘reasonable’ despite more microphone ‘problems’ and attempted starts to songs only.

 Reviewers thought his 2nd show in Saginaw was BETTER than his rather ‘ordinary’ 60 minute appearance on 25.4.77.Generally this 3rd 1977 tour was better than the previous one because of the inclusion of physical performances of POLK SALAD ANNIE - YET QUITE A FEW SHOWS still HAD Elvis leaning heavily on back up singers solo spots to give him a rest, a lot of shows only ran for 60 minutes and closed the SAME way as in march with the ‘Quick Close Syndrome’ However he completed all 13 shows and was in good voice. HEARTBREAK HOTEL from Saginaw makes us ‘jump’ to the NEXT TOUR and it’s a slower, but decent version, once he gets started after ‘killing time’ with some meaningless and goofing around chat’. Personally I don’t care much for it, but plenty of other fans have liked this performance. IF YOU LOVE ME (LET ME KNOW) is VERY ‘surprising’ on THIS ‘Spring Tours’ release! FIRSTLY because for 25 years we THOUGHT this was a recording from Saginaw 25.4.77, when in ACTUAL FACT it’s ALWAYS been a Kalamazoo Recording from 26th April 1977! On ‘Spring Tours’ this ‘undubbed’ version stands up VERY WELL on it’s own (another highlight for me) with a bright, fast drum beat and ‘amazingly’ sounds much, MUCH better than of a ‘soundboard’ from the show! It’s a ‘good’ version and yet is sung in this show after a FALSE START to ‘Fairytale’ is stopped!. Next with the medley O Sole Mio (S.Neilson)/It’s Now or Never (Elvis) we simply have another version to compare with the ‘In Concert’ release, which actually doesn’t seem quite as good and offers NOTHING ‘new’ here. The Kalamazoo Gazette seemed ‘Prophetic’ in it’s review noting:-“ The need to see the legend in the flesh and the nearly morbid need to be able to say, at some future time, I saw Elvis Presley in 1977, I was part of it”.

Track Listing for Elvis’s 26.4.77 Kalamazoo, MI show Wings Stadium


2001 Theme / See See Rider / I Got A Woman - Amen / Love Me / Fairytale (excerpt) / If You Love Me / You Gave Me A Mountain / Jailhouse Rock / O Sole Mio - It's Now Or Never / Big Boss Man / Heartbreak Hotel / Blue Suede Shoes / And I Love You So (fs) / And I Love You So / My Way / intro: Early Morning Rain - What'd I Say - Johnny B. Goode - Tutt solo #2 - Scheff solo - Brown solo - Odgin solo - Hail Hail Rock'n'Roll / Hound Dog /My heavenly Father(Kathy Westmoreland)/Danny Boy/Walk with Me(S.Neilson)  / Can't Help Falling In Love  Running Time 70 minutes

 

Starting from the March 1976 tour Glen D.Hardin was REPLACED and on ’Spring Tours’ a later replacement Tony Brown was the ‘latest pianist’ Often Elvis would ask Tony to either ‘start again’ (during MY WAY on 12.12.76) or (Bridge over on 27.5.77) In St.Petersburgh on 14.2.77 Elvis himself brushed Tony aside to play Blueberry Hill HIMSELF on piano because (typically) Tony (unlike Glen) couldn’t on the spur of the moment play a ‘surprise’ old song that Elvis might suddenly do in a show!. Therefore it’s NO SURPRISE at all that when next up Elvis starts singing the start of ‘BLUE HAWAII’ Tony can’t follow this up(where as Glen D.Hardin MANY times would jump in almost STRAIGHT AWAY! Such as Las Vegas 22.3.75 M/S and ‘YOU’RE THE REASON I’M LIVING’) So that explains the poor solo Tony did on LAWDY MISS CLAWDY on ‘Spring Tours’ CD when asked to play it. Later on when in Jacksonville on 30.5.77 show when Elvis decided to sing a shortened version of ‘I REALLY DON’T WANT TO KNOW’ with Tony playing, it took a few attempts for Tony to get it right. It’s temping to think that as Elvis NEVER ‘rehearsed’ in 1977 Tony’s attitude could well be that if Elvis didn’t bother rehearsing why should he? Often in concerts you see Tony and Charlie Hodge ‘joking’ around and NOT paying full attention to what’s going on. Another ‘new’ band member Bobby Ogden ONLY ever met Elvis ‘ON STAGE’ and yet tried to fit in. Bobby even used to end his solo spot with the end of ‘LOVE LETTERS’ probably hoping Elvis might ask HIM to play it. So VERY often Tony could only play well on the WELL KNOWN songs in 1977, so MY WAY being performed very often meant Tony would know it!. It’s particularly surprising to hear other ‘odd comments’ from Elvis on this CD when preparing to play ‘unchained melody’ HE EVEN ASKS Tony if he knows the chords! (An unlikely and nervous stall for time if ever I heard one!)

Bob Heis © Ann Arbor,MI. April 24th 1977

  So after the quickly aborted BLUE HAWAII we get a decent performance of ‘LITTLE SISTER’ (easily as good as on ‘in concert’), then a very embarrassing medley of TEDDY BEAR /DON’T BE CRUEL where Elvis shouts WHOA too early. this medley is one we could have easily done without and we have a nice version on ‘In Concert’ already. With ‘HELP ME’ next we get a very nicely sung version and it’s another pleasure to hear (in fact it’s difficult to think of a poorly performed version of THIS SONG at all!) as it has a nice echoed ambience and simple Gospel ‘feel’ in this 4-track recording from Ann Arbor. BLUE SUEDE SHOES again next is from Norman and a pity we get dialogue before hand, as Elvis doesn’t exactly sound ‘interested’ hearing ‘Burning Love’ suggested and saying ‘oh forget it’ before announcing/singing BLUE SUEDE SHOES here.

 

Surrounding Elvis’s weekend appearance in St.Paul was a press ‘rumor’ that Elvis and his long time Manager, Col Tom Parker, have severed their relationship. This was reported in the Minnesota Tribune on May 2nd ‘review’ of the 30.4.77 concert by staff writer Michael Anthony. The story goes that Parker is in ill health and in debt, his recent gambling debts in Las Vegas exceeding $1 million. Parker has publicly denied the rumor, as did Elvis’s road Manager, Joe Esposito Saturday night. The singer, as expected was unavailable for comment. The review says that Elvis sang very well, spending less time on Scarf giving out and surprising vocal power on some of his ‘old’ hits!. There were other ‘problems’ facing Elvis at this time however, but the story about Parker seems very plausible and Elvis must have been aware of it.

 

Sean Shaver © St.Paul,MN. April 30th 1977

TRACK LISTING for Saturday 30.4.77 St.Paul, Minnesota Civic Center:  

2001 Theme;I Got a Woman/Amen(2x);Rip it Up(partial);Love Me;If You Love Me;You Gave Me a Mountain;Jailhouse Rock;O Sole Mio/It’s now or never; Little Sister; Teddy Bear/Don’t be Cruel; My Way; Hound Dog; My Heavenly Father (Kathy Westmoreland);Polk Salad Annie;Intros; Early Morning Rain; Delta Lady (James Burton); Drum Solo; Bass Solo; Piano Solo; Electric Piano Solo; Hail, Hail Rock N’Roll; The Wonder of You (2nd verse only); Blue Suede Shoes; The Hawaiian Wedding Song; Can’t Help Falling in Love; Closing Vamp + announcements. Running Time 65 minutes. 

HOUND DOG here in St.Paul  is a typical rushed and ‘bland’ 1977 version with its ONLY point of interest being Ron Tutts EXCELLENT drumming. Why at the end Elvis clearly doesn’t do the ‘shaking’ end he did later during the ‘In Concert’ version. The clipped start to JAILHOUSE ROCK from Austin, Texas on 28.3.77 gives us NOTHING worth hearing since the ‘In Concert’ version – yet soon after Elvis sang his LAST EVER version of ‘STEAMROLLER BLUES’ which would have been of MUCH MORE interest here than just another version of JAILHOUSE ROCK!? The Austin Press liked his show though:-‘Show proves Elvis is still THE KING”.

 

J.A.T. Publishing © Chicago,IL. May 1st 1977

 POLK SALAD ANNIE from Milwaukee shows us a ‘good’ 1977 version (complete with the different sounds and extended leg squat ending) and CONFIRMS that although this show on 27.4.77 contained really the MINIMAL song line up + length from Elvis as least what he DID PERFORM was indeed WELL SUNG. Personally I would have also enjoyed hearing the version on 2.5.77 or 3.5.77 but this certainly isn’t bad at all version!. VERY nice to hear in 4 track! Next we get two ‘rare’ recordings from 1977 where in March they weren’t sung at all and make their appearance HERE in Duluth on 29.4.77.Now Elvis HAD sung ‘BIG BOSS MAN’ 3 days earlier in Kalamazoo but THIS VERSION is in actual fact the BEST 1977 version!-maybe you can’t quite hear the Orchestra as well as in Kalamazoo but more importantly Elvis is better here. BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER isn’t Elvis BEST 1977 version as both the 27.5.77 and 26.6.77 versions are BETTER, however it’s still quite good but suffers from his voice being ‘hidden’ amongst the Orchestra and his clear lack of any rehearsal. Still a nice version to have rather than never hear it though! BIG BOSS MAN is a great ‘ROMP CD ‘highlight’ whilst obviously NOT as great/tight as a 1975 version. ‘ Fun’ through the song by ALL concerned with the band cutting loose and Elvis clearly enjoying himself. The only other comment I’d make about this is that on my ‘audience’ copy of the show BOBBY OGDEN can be heard as well enjoying his ‘electric keyboards’ but on ‘Spring Tours’ you can’t even hear him at all!? Therefore this proves that the sound mix could have been BETTER in Duluth. In Duluth the newspapers said:-“The Elvis Magic was still intact-Elvis seemed subdued, but happy on stage”.

FAIRYTALE from Chicago on 2.5.77 is another ‘highlight’ it’s MUCH better sung than on ‘In Concert’ and it’s only ‘problem was Elvis’s microphone failing him at the very end of this song. Also the sound mix (in Chicago) is most welcome and also Elvis performed much, MUCH better at this 2nd show in Chicago in 1977.MYSTERY TRAIN/TIGER MAN from Saginaw is a ‘rare’ inclusion because it’s the LAST time he ever performed this medley, however the start is ‘clipped’ (Felton obviously recording AFTER the title was announced) and the sound is plain ‘weird’ sounding very odd and VASTLY different from my ‘audience’ version of this same song from this show! – This time I CAN hear Bobby Ogden! It’s quite well performed nevertheless!. UNCHAINED MELODY is definitely a ‘good’ performance but the way it’s presented here on ‘Spring Tours’ with Elvis’s voice ending short at the end with Sherrill coming in sounds DAMM AWFUL and would have been better sounding simply faded out!. I still find versions in May/June 1977 ‘good’ and also Elvis’s after song comment of “I have done it better” was edited out. LITTLE DARLING on the other hand is EXCELLENT ‘FUN’ and sounds ‘fine’ in this ‘undubbed’ form! In fact so much so it’s another highlight for me with only the Lake Charles 4.5.75 Afternoon show version sounding anywhere near as good. MY WAY from the 25.4.77 Saginaw FIRST recordings gives us a MASTERFULL performance (same as on the Platinum box set) and is EXCELLENT finish to an enjoyable CD. In fact I probably enjoy this version MORE than the ‘In Concert’ version in June 1977 (nice piano sound!) and would have preferred this ‘live’ version on the ‘Moody Blue’ album instead of the 1974 repeat of ‘LET ME BE THERE’. The sound mix from Saginaw 25.4.77 seems very, VERY good and I hope to hear a recording of THE HAWAIIAN WEDDING SONG in SUCH QUALITY!? Apparently some of the February 1977 tours were ALSO recorded in this same 4 track way!, if so recordings from that tour would be MOST WELCOME!.

 

Sean Shaver © Chicago,IL. May 2nd 1977

 

  Overall I am 90% ‘happy’ with the whole CD ‘Spring Tours’ package and only take away marks for some sloppy editing, shorter than necessary CD running time and APALLING photo’s (NOT taken from any of the ‘spring tours’) used on the inside and back covers. I have deliberately let MANY non-Elvis friends hear this CD and all seem to find it ‘nice listening’ and pretty enjoyable so I’d recommend this as a great compliment to 1977 in your Elvis collection along with your already purchased ‘In Concert ‘ CD!. It’s a MUST HAVE CD and been WORTH THE 25 YEAR ‘WAIT’!

  Finally I have a few ‘thoughts’ about these listed 4 track recordings!. HOUND DOG from St.Paul hasn’t got a ‘clipped’ intro (unlike JAILHOUSE ROCK on 28.3.77)-yet this is very, VERY unusual to be performed DIRECTLY AFTER ‘My Way’ strongly suggesting we ONLY got this version BECAUSE the tape was already recording!. Also here on Spring Tours we have 2 recordings from Kalamazoo on 26.4.77 when previously NOTHING was ‘known’ to have been recorded on that date. What a lot of these tracks listed look like is a sort of MASTER TRANSFER tape of selections from shows where MORE songs were indeed recorded. Also why on earth wait until the 4th show in each tour to START recording? Why didn’t any recordings occur on the first 3 shows of both tours?  Very ‘odd’? Then even in those 4th shows why WAIT until around half way through the show before starting to record? I mean on 26.3.77 show VERY unusually Elvis sang a fine version of HELP ME as his 5th song! So were these recordings worth hearing in this QUALITY? OF COURSE THEY WERE!, I know of Elvis FANS who have simply died of old age before EVER getting the CHANCE to hear these recordings and there are no dreadful or simply ‘terrible’ performances here NOR anything as sad as the slurred intro to AND I LOVE YOU SO or the intro before HAWAIIAN WEDDING SONG on the already released ‘IN CONCERT’ June 77’ recordings which both make Elvis sound ‘out of it’ and ‘losing it’. I reckon recordings MUST have been held back because they will probably be released LATER in some form either just these 2 tracks or who knows maybe enough left for a Spring Tours #2? My rating?;-

Sound-9/10 (VERY Good!) Content –8/10 (Entertaining) Packaging-6/10(poor !)