The disc runs for only 19 minutes, but costs about $20.00 in US money. The
cover has several shots of Jimmy Velvet standing next to Elvis (Aug'56,
Apr'57 and Oct'60 to be precise), but each one has text laid over it in a
most unappealing fashion. Nowhere on the outside of the CD are the song
titles listed; one has to open the single page insert to find them.
Nowhere is it indicated that Linda sings on several cuts. Given the
limitations of the tape, a much nicer job could've been made of this
project, if someone involved really gave a damn. The ghost of "Colonel"
Parker must haunt Outwest Records!
As for the music, it's familiar territory to those who acquired 'Songs To
Sing' and yet different. It features mostly Elvis and an acoustic guitar,
singing in a gentle, relaxed mood. This tape, or the third of an hour one
gets here, seems to be unedited; for example, 'Songs' very skillfully cuts
"That's All Right, Mama" and "C.C. Rider" into a understated medley while
'A Private Moment' houses two separate, rough run throughs. "Baby, What
You Want Me To Do" is done Jimmy Reed style, slow and moody (slower than
even the '68 Special sit-down blues version), while Hank Williams' "I'm So
Lonesome I Could Cry" is both superb and revelatory. Here Presley sings a
verse not heard on the "Aloha" special rendition and fully captures the
sadness at the heart of the number. Does any other song sum up Elvis'
state of mind in the mid-to-late seventies better than this?
Linda and Elvis do a lovely duet on "Your Life Has Just Begun" (talk about
being at home, a phone rings in the middle of the performance!) and then
they playfully sing school songs and laugh about Jimmy Dean. Elvis asks if
anyone's heard "the little poem" he's written about a robin on his
windowsill, then cracks up the group when reciting it. "Spanish Eyes" is
sung (after a quick, uncredited stab at the instrumental "Rocky Top")
twice: once in a straight rendition, as previously heard on 'Songs To
Sing,' and then with a falsetto voice, a la Slim Whitman!
Besides the music, there's some interesting verite conversation about
guitarist James Burton ("you should see Burton's calluses") and home
cooking versus hospital food ("that home cookin' really broke the monotony
... it's kind of bland"). Elvis nearly died a month prior from what is now
known to have been an overdose; he spent October 15 to November 1 drying
out at Baptist Memorial, his longest hospital stay since getting a broken
finger exactly 13 years earlier. Ricky Stanley recalls Linda asking "how
long will it take you, Rick, to get to the hospital to the house and back?"
(the answer was "20 minutes") and Elvis mentions that Ricky would bring the
food to the hospital "every night." The disc ends with talk about karate
tournaments and recording sessions, the latter undoubtedly referring to his
upcoming December date at Stax Studios in Memphis.
'A Private Moment With The King' is really a CD for the hard-core
collector; the price, brevity and poor packaging are a real drawback;
however, for some, the definitive version of "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry"
and the casual ease of "just hanging out" with Elvis are enough reason to
take the plunge.