A WILD WEEKEND IN HUNTSVILLE VOL 1
This CD contains a soundboard recording of the afternoon show from the 31st May 1975 performed in Huntsville Alabama. Although four songs from this concert were featured on the FTD title: Southern Nights, this is the first time this show has been released unedited. The songs previously released from this performance were: Trouble, T-R-O-U-B-L-E, Blue Suede Shoes and For The Good Times. Although The Hawaiian Wedding Song was also listed on that release as being from this afternoon show, it is actually from the evening performance that day.
It comes with the usual nicely illustrated booklet and seductive artwork, featuring over thirty photos from the actual concert which show Elvis positively radiating health and happiness at this time. All photos are featured in full colour and capture his upbeat mood for this performance which adds another dimension to the appreciation of this show.
The sound quality is very good and appears identical to the evening concert from the same day, (previously released as Across The Country Vol 2 by the Audionics label). Fortunately the mix for all the Huntsville shows is well balanced and the sound proves both fresh and dynamic and free from hiss or extraneous noise.
All shows from this tour are incomplete, so the recording fades in during Love Me where Elvis is found in good voice playing to an enthusiastic crowd. This is immediately followed by an upbeat If You Love Me Let Me Know. Love Me Tender is introduced as a song from the movie he made ‘about five or six years ago,’ with the comment, “That’s all it was…it just seems longer.” As ever, it proves to be the usual distracted affair providing a further opportunity for fan interaction.
All Shook Up is performed next, followed by some comments to a female fan where he remarks, “Honey this matches your dress, y’know that don’t you? Is that what you were waiting for….a present to match your dress? He goes on to tease her further asking, “Is there anything else you want while I’m up here?” This draws predictable deafening and uncontrollable shrieks, causing him to remark, I’ll never ask that question again as long as I live.”
The Teddy Bear / Don’t Be Cruel medley is sung next, followed by The Wonder Of You where he misses his cue with the comment, “It’s very difficult to sing and have water in mouth—old Chinese proverb.” A great version of Burning Love follows this, which benefits from the bass being high in the mix and features an extended final chorus.
The band introductions are next, where he determinedly sings the chorus to What I’d Say during James Burton’s guitar solo, despite the fact it doesn’t quite fit. All the other solos sound inspired this afternoon, especially Ronnie Tutt who performs a different drum solo to normal. Elvis comments ”Yeah, out of sight” to each of them and is so enthusiastic during Glen Hardin’s solo, that he can be heard harmonising throughout, totally losing himself in the rhythm. It’s a nice moment and a clear indication of his great mood for this show.
Afterwards he announces that he has a new record out, adding, “It’s been out a week or two, I don’t know all the lyrics to it, it goes like this.” He then teases his audience with a verse of the song Trouble from King Creole, which finally breaks down with him saying, “I don’t know the rest of it, so we’ll do the next song.” T-R-O-U-B-L-E is then performed without further ado.
The Hawaiian Wedding Song has a false start where he begins singing the first line as, “Dis sure is…no that’s not right,” before continuing with a sincere and committed version. Let Me Be There is performed next, followed by American Trilogy featuring a trumpet solo, which to my mind never seemed as effective as the poignant understated flute solo from the performance of this song in previous years. However, despite this it’s a good version with a strong ending.
After this, the house lights are turned up resulting in screams and some dialogue where Elvis reads aloud the inscription on a gift presented to him, saying, “From Humes and Treadwell….that was our old football row.” He goes on to inquire whether the fan was from Humes and boos when he hears he supports Treadwell, adding, “No I’m only kidding, that’s where I graduated from. Treadwell….we beat ‘em at football every year man.”
During Funny How Time Slips Away, he continues to joke with the crowd with several ad-libs including a reference to ‘Moby Dick,’ which he sometimes called out while pretending to use the microphone stand as a harpoon. Afterwards he decides to sing Blue Suede Shoes on a whim, which was the only time this song was performed on this tour. From his performance, it is obvious he was inspired as it includes some affected phrasing and ad-libs and ends with him calling out “Hey hey” afterwards.
His great mood continues with him saying, “I’ll tell you what we can do, we can do For The Good Times….J.D. likes that.” This song had not been performed regularly since 1972 and receives a tender measured reading. Its next documented inclusion in a live show was not until December the following year, so this is a rare performance indeed.
He then calls out for Little Darlin’, which seems to take his band by surprise as it starts out somewhat hesitantly with a solo piano introduction before the rest of the band join in. It is performed as the usual parody, with Elvis ad-libbing his way through the spoken refrain and laughing at the end.
In his closing address he says, ”It’s a real pleasure to be in Huntsville. We haven’t been here for a long time, but to do five shows is really fantastic and we appreciate it.” Can’t Help Falling In Love follows this, with the recording ending during the closing vamp.
After this there is a snippet from an interview recorded in Memphis during August this same year, where Elvis is heard commenting on his local football team’s performance, stating that he comes to see them play every time they’re in town. The interviewer then surprises him by expressing admiration for his car and imploring him to buy him a Cadillac which Elvis hesitantly sidesteps. How things would change later on where he would purchase cars for all and sundry on a whim!
In conclusion, this is another great show from this engagement in Huntsville. I would personally rate this show as one of the very best from this tour, because apart from his obvious enjoyment at performing, he is genuinely inspired with no trace of the slurred speech evident in later shows. It also contains a couple of rare performances of Trouble and For The Good Times which are unique to this show, making this a worthy contender for any collection.
SOUND RATING *****
Reviewed by Mike Sanders (UK)