The sound quality of the live recording is really great, even a little more better than Baxter's "Moody Blue and other great performances", recorded just a month earlier. The first song on the CD (the third in the original concert) is "Love Me", perhaps better than other '77 live versions. A great "If You Love Me" followed, very similar to the edited live version on the RCA-album "Moody Blue". Elvis tried to to continue with "You Gave Me A Mountain" but stopped just after a few seconds but a second attempt after a small discussion with some musicians is complete and really good.
After the "Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel"-medley, which is much more better than the officially released live version from Rapid City on "Elvis In Concert" Elvis remarked, that something is wrong with the microphones.He admonished his sound engineers Bruce Jackson and Felton Jarvis ("....Felton, you too son!...") to listen to his next song, "And I Love You So", where he mentioned the problem while singing "..I guess you understand, how bad the sound is then...life begin again - just kid, just kid....". I know a lot of Elvis concerts from the seventies but I can't remember a show without a feedback. But this concert contains a lot of feedbacks, perhaps the world's feedback record-concert. Elvis obviously didn't like it.
After a fantastic "Hurt" version and a terrible "Hound Dog" Shaun Nielsen did his renditions of "Danny Boy" and "Walk With Me" by special request of Elvis. Elvis ended his concert with "Blue Suede Shoes" (seldom performed in 1977 just like "Love Me Tender" also contained in this show) and the usual "Can't Help Falling In Love" ("wise men know, when it's time, time to go....").
As mentioned above, the second part of the CD contains so-called "alternate takes" from the Stax recording sessions. But there're no alternate takes, only the undubbed master takes. "My Boy" is the RCA master minus the orchestra overdubbings. When released by RCA on „Our Memories Of Elvis" even the choir was removed, although recorded together with Elvis. However, on this release the choir was not removed. There's also a choir-ending on "Loving Arms", not to hear on the overdubbed RCA master. The undubbed master of "If You Talk In Your Sleep" was first released years ago on a CD called "Stax Tracks" (although the bootleggers claimed that this was an alternate take - excuse me, but I don't believe 'cause there are no differences). The version on this new CD was faded off earlier.
"Talk About The Good Times" is the original full length master, released by RCA two years ago on the 5 CD box "Walk A Mile In My Shoes - The Essential 70's Masters". A surprise (the only surprise) is "Thinking About You" which lasts 30 seconds longer (3:56) than the undubbed version on the "Our Memories Of Elvis" album (3:26). The released overdubbed master is only 3:00 in length. The positive thing is the sound quality (with exception of "Loving Arms", it sounds like being copied from an LP!) which is better than the quality of the (undubbed) masters released by RCA.
Thomas D. Weiß, Germany
Now, to review the quality of this concert from Alexandria, Louisiana. As
was the case for many of his later shows, Elvis does sound a little tired,
but he is in good spirits and despite the problems with the sound system, he
gives a great performance. The CD fades in with Elvis telling his fans "I
just can't talk--that's all there is to it." Then he jumps right into "Love
Me." This is a mediocre version--nothing really special or different than
any other way it has been sung. Then we have an upbeat version of "If You
Love Me (let me know)." Superbly done I might add. Next we have one of my
personal favorites "You Gave Me A Mountain." This is when Elvis takes one of
the two breaks in the concert to check the sound system. He gets through
half of the first verse pauses for a brief couple of seconds and then starts
the song all over again. No complaints from me! But, another great job
singing by Elvis. Next is another upbeat version of "Jailhouse Rock" and
then "O Sole Mio/It's Now Or Never." "Jailhouse" sounds like it has a
different beat and "It's now or never" is different sounding to me with the
horns from the orchestra making it sound like more of a Spanish song then
Italian--a definite highlight! "Little Sister" and a medley of "Teddy
Bear/Don't Be cruel" follow with nothing really outrageously special in these
"And I Love You So" is next with Elvis taking another break
before the song for the sound and substitutes "How lonley life has been" with
"How bad this sound has been--Just kidding, Just kidding." A great slower
version of "Fever" is next, sung in the style that only Elvis could sing.
"Love Me Tender" follows with Elvis doing his thing for most of the women in
the arena. An excellent bellowing performance of "Hurt" is next. An obvious
way that Elvis was feeling later in his life, "Hurt" gives some insight for
his fans. He sings this song with such emotion--he really gives a great
performance! His usual version of "Hound Dog" singing the same verse over 4
times with a long pause in between the third and fourth follows--Beautifully
done! Elvis says "I need my soul restored" so he calls in Sherill Nielsen to
sing "Danny Boy" and "Walk With Me!" Good performances but I am disappointed
Elvis didn't sing these himself--but, he did need a little breather. He
didn't have the same energy he did in the earlier 70's.
Elvis returns with
"Blue Suede Shoes" and then closes with his signature song "Can't Help
Falling In Love." Then follow the alternate versions.
Due to the fact that I like Elvis' later material, I thoroughly enjoyed this
CD. Elvis seems to be in a good mood, which was also hard to find in his '77
touring. This happens to be the last concert of Elvis' final Spring Tour
making it essential to any fan's collection.
Reviewed by Pat Suth--South Bend, Indiana (USA)
Sound rate ****