Trying To Get To You

 

TRYING TO GET TO YOU

 

This is the tenth release by Straight Arrow and features the show performed in Rochester, New York, on the 25th May 1977. The same show was previously released by another label under the title, Jailhouse Rock Man In Concert, but is re-issued here in far better quality taken from a superior source.

 

It comes with a 16 page booklet, which includes an overview of concerts from the period, together with a generous selection of colour photos from the actual show. The design of the artwork is both striking and different from their previous issues, but attractive nonetheless.

 

The sound quality is much clearer than we have had before, with better definition and improved bass. However, due to the noisy crowd and the echo of the auditorium, the sound can sometimes seem a bit harsh, leaving some of the dialogue hard to make out. That said, the great crowd atmosphere effectively conveys the excitement of the occasion, making it a worthwhile and enjoyable experience.

 

The show starts with the 2001 introduction, where several female fans close to the recorder appear overwhelmed by the excitement of the occasion. See See Rider follows which has some unusual improvised vocalising where Elvis holds one note for four bars and repeats other words for effect. Clearly he was in the mood to perform tonight. Afterwards, he comments on the amazing crowd atmosphere, saying, “A wild bunch on Saturday Night.”

 

I Got A Woman ends with a four verse Amen chorus and two vocal slides from J.D.Sumner during which Elvis remarks, “He hasn’t had the time to get warmed up and neither have I. We’re working off each other….like firecrackers.” Afterwards, the crowd are so excitable that his welcoming address is difficult to hear. Love Me is next, where fans close-by can be heard going mad in their efforts to obtain a scarf. He even calls out, “They’re all nuts,” at one point.

 

If You Love Me is followed by You Gave Me A Mountain, then Jailhouse Rock where he messes up the ending calling out, “C’mon, let’s do it again” awkwardly at the point he would normally finish it. It’s Now Or Never has the usual O Sole Mio prelude sung by Sherrill Neilson, with an edit afterwards, during the dialogue leading up to Little Sister. This is followed by the Teddy Bear / Don’t Be Cruel medley, where he can be heard laughing and changing the lyrics, although it is very difficult to ascertain what he says.

 

Trying To Get To You is introduced as ‘a record he recorded seventeen years ago,’ which leads to a powerful and committed performance. However, the effort obviously tires him as he then asks Sherrill Neilson to sing Danny Boy and a gospel song called Walk With Me. This serves as a cue for fans nearby to start talking amongst themselves, perhaps giving us an indication of how this section was received by those in attendance. Whilst Sherrill does a pretty good job on these songs, it’s obviously a huge disappointment that it wasn’t Elvis singing them.

 

Afterwards, he asks the audience what they want to hear, before selecting One Night as the next song. This turns out to be one of the last live performances of this song and a rare inclusion for shows this year. It has him commenting “Not true,” after the line, ‘I ain’t never did no wrong’ and ends with him calling out, “That’s it, it’s lovely.” My Way follows, which is introduced with the remark, “I don’t know the words, so I have to read this thing every night.” It proves to be a great version regardless, with an impressive reach on the ending.

 

The group introductions are next, where Ed Hill is introduced as ‘Blueberry Hill’ and Ed Enoch is credited with doubling for him in the stage set-up. It features the usual snatches of Early Morning Rain and What I’d say, with a request for James Burton to play the guitar at the back of his head during Johnny B. Goode. Further entertainment is provided by Bobby Ogden, who when asked to play something crazy on his clavinet, obliges with a short burst of syncopated ragtime and the orchestra solo, which has Elvis joining in enthusiastically on the ending.

 

Hurt is introduced as his latest record, which leads to another assured performance, resulting in extended applause and whistles. Hound Dog is next, where he sounds to be enjoying himself, judging by his extra effort in the build-up to the ending. After this, he thanks the audience and without further ado, closes the show with Can’t Help Falling In Love. The closing vamp is followed by the after-show announcements to round off this CD.

 

In conclusion, this is a good show for this period, where Elvis’ health was variable and impacted on his performance. However, on this occasion he is in good spirits and even accepts a request, resulting in a rare performance of One Night. Apart from this surprise inclusion, it is inevitably very similar to all other shows performed during this year, so each collector should judge the merits of this particular release accordingly.

 

 

 

SOUND RATING  **½

 

 

Reviewed by Mike Sanders (UK)