A Cold Night In Nashville ( JAT Records )

Normally we don’t review CD that doesn’t contain Elvis’ vocal but we’re making an exception here for various reasons. First we thought the concept behind this CD is a great idea, and second there is definitely some curiosity to hear some of the songs Elvis wanted to record in January 1977. 

The CD '' A Cold Night In Nashville '' comes in nicely designed cardboard sleeve with some explicative notes on the front, and photographs of the Creative Workshop Studio in Nashville and most of the songwriters / performers featured on this project.

When the October ’76 session ended Elvis didn’t have enough songs for his next album ( Moody Blue ). Elvis wanted to record ‘’ There’s a Fire Down Below ‘’ written by Jerry Scheff. The rhythm track was recorded but unfortunately Elvis never overdubbed his vocal on it. In January ’77 Elvis flew to Nashville to finish his album at Creative Workshop Studios. At least six songs were positively chosen but Elvis cancelled and none of them were recorded. This new CD by JAT Records contains the original demos that Elvis actually heard and selected to record in January 1977. ( you can read an interview we just did with Alan Rush concerning those selected tracks : Interview With Alan Rush )

The CD kicks off with ‘’ By Day By Day ‘’ written and sung by Dennis Linde who wrote ‘’ Burning Love ‘’. This is an up tempo song just perfect for Elvis, and could had been a hit record for him back then. This is followed by a very nice version of ‘’ Rainy Night In Georgia ‘’ sung by Brook Benton. It was a perfect song for Elvis too and you can almost hear how our man would had sounded if he had recorded this track. The latter song was written by Tony Joe White ( Polk Salad Annie ) and a live version recorded in Europe by Tony Joe White is also featured on this  CD. His version is equally very nice. 

Next is ‘’ Energy ‘’ written by Bob Morrison and sung by Tommy Roe. This is another up tempo song and although not my favourite on this CD, Elvis could had done a very good job on this with his unique style, and perhaps would had surprised me as well. I wouldn’t consider this track as a  ‘’ potential single ‘’ but definitely a good cut for an album. There’s another version of ‘’ Energy ‘’ sung by Bob Morrison and actually preferred this one over Tommy Roe’s rendition. 

Another up tempo song written and performed by Bob Morrison is ‘’ That’s What You Do To Me ‘’. This track sounds like it was written for Elvis and would had been GREAT for him, a ‘’ potential hit ‘’ for sure. 

‘’ Let Me On ‘’ sung and written by Layng Martine, Jr. ( Way Down ) is again an up tempo cut that has a Jerry Lee Lewis ‘50s style that would had suits Elvis' style well. ‘’ Yes I Do ‘’ written and sung by Alan Rush is one of my favourite on this CD. This one has an upbeat country pop style and Elvis would had been just marvelous on a song like that. 

‘’ A Cold Night In Nashville ‘’ also contains the original demos of ‘’ Way Down ‘’ by Layng Martine, Jr. and ‘’ I Got A Feeling In My Body ‘’ by Dennis Linde. Elvis stayed quite close to the originals but made them his with the unique vocal signature and style he had. 

The more I listen to ‘’ A Cold Night In Nashville ‘’ the more I can almost hear Elvis doing these songs. This is such a shame and sad than none were recorded by the best singer and performer the world has ever seen. Furthermore disappointing since the ‘’ Moody Blue ‘’ album would had been much better with some of the above aforementioned tracks, instead of the live songs added by Felton Jarvis for wrapping up the LP back then. It also shows that Elvis was fairly decided to cut much more up tempo tracks and possibly heading into a new direction. Of course we will never know for sure but since those six tracks were selected, why not having fun and speculate a bit on how it would had been ? 

If you are curious to hear how it could had been then we strongly recommend this CD. Anyway the CD  ‘’ A Cold Night In Nashville ‘’ contains good music and that's all that matters in the end. 

You can find extra informations and details for ordering this CD at www.jatpublishing.com

[Crazy Canuck- August 2004]