Long Black Limousine

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MikeFromHolland
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Long Black Limousine

Post by MikeFromHolland »

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William Vernon "Vern" Stovall (October 3, 1928 - December 21, 2012) and Robert "Bobby" George (?) wrote several songs together, even with third parties, and one of them was Long Black Limousine.

It was first released in May 1961 on Crest 45-1080, performed by Vern Stovall himself.
CREST 1088.jpg
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It was recorded earlier, in 1958, by Wynn Stewart. But this version was released for the first time some thirty years later, in 1988, on Bear Records BFD 15261. And again in 1995 on Wynn Stewart ‎– California Country - The Best Of The Challenge Masters (AVI CD 5013). No idea why this recording wasn't released earlier. It may have something to do with publishing rights.
Wynn Stewart - Bear Records.jpg
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Other versions prior to Elvis' recording:
Gordon Terry (February 1962)
Glen Campbell (October 15, 1962)
The Green River Boys & Glen Campbell (November 12, 1962)
Rose Maddox (September 1963)
Bobby Bare (September 1964)
George Hamilton IV (January 1966)
Merle Haggard and The Strangers (August 28, 1967)
Jody Miller (October 1968)
Jeannie Seely (December 1968)
O.C. Smith (1968)

Jody Miller's version was the only version reaching Billboards Hot 100. On November 16, 1968 it peaked at #73.

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And while all versions sounded Country like, there was only one of them that sounded very soulful. It was the version by O.C. Smith, on which Elvis would build his wonderful recording. Smith released Long Black Limousine as B-side to Little Green Apples (Columbia ‎– 4-44616). This single became a hit on Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at #2 on October 26, 1968. The B-side to this smasher:

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It also turned up on the O.C. Smith 1968 album Hickory Holler Revisited (Columbia ‎– CS 9680).

Elvis recorded Long Black Limousine on January 13, 1969 at American Sound and according to Keith Flynn's site, Elvis rehearsed Little Green Apples between July 24-29 1969.

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More background info on this song and a review by Paul Simpson: http://www.elvisinfonet.com/spotlight_elvis-Long-Black-Limousine-Paul-Simpson.html


BONUS
Co-writer Bobby George was a singer as well. One of the most remarkable recordings I discovered while doing my research on this topic was a promo single, titled "Bobby George ‎– Just Because We Care / Old Shep: The Dog Side Of It on Capitol Records ‎– PRO-6048 (1970). As written by Bobby George, based on the Red Foley classic.
Old Shep - The Dog Side Of It - A Dog And His Boy.jpg



sources
https://davidneale.eu/elvis/originals/list6.html
https://secondhandsongs.com/artist/19652/works#nav-entity
https://www.discogs.com/Vern-Stovall-Long-Black-Limousine-Loving-On-Borrowed-Time/release/7833718
https://www.discogs.com/Wynn-Stewart-Wishful-Thinking-The-Challenge-Years-1958-1963/release/4596350
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Black_Limousine
https://www.billboard.com/music/jody-miller/chart-history/country-songs/3
https://www.billboard.com/music/oc-smith
https://www.keithflynn.com/recording-sessions/690113.html#01
https://www.keithflynn.com/essential_lists/rehearsals-1969.html
https://www.discogs.com/Bobby-George-Just-Becouse-We-Care-Old-Shep-The-Dog-Side-Of-It/release/7047635
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Mike

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musiclover1979
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Re: Long Black Limousine

Post by musiclover1979 »

Great post, Mike!
Many recordings new to me.

You didn't include this great version by Connie Smith, recorded on 24 June 1969:

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Re: Long Black Limousine

Post by Chucky99 »

Elvis recording of the song is just great and very passionate, you can feel his soul



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Re: Long Black Limousine

Post by luckyjackson1 »

The 2nd version of the song I ever heard is the one from Gordon Terry. After that I realized even more that Elvis' emotional tour de force is (to me) simply unbeatable. Wow, what a song!

musiclover1979, I love your avatar! :D :smt055


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Re: Long Black Limousine

Post by ptr1986 »

I dont know, those other takes seems a way "too happy" to me considering the lyrics. Elvis made it more heartfelt than all others combined. EP´s take is the only one which seems to be connected with what was sung.



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Re: Long Black Limousine

Post by londonflash »

You could make a case for this being in Presley's top 20 recordings. The first track cut at the American Sound sessions, it's such a powerful recording, with the singer sounding so desolately passionate in the final verse. Love the orchestral and vocal overdubs. One of those tracks I'd play to someone who doesn't get Elvis and say "That's why".


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Re: Long Black Limousine

Post by Rob »

The bells ringing at the beginning of this song are eerie.

Makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.


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Re: Long Black Limousine

Post by ptr1986 »

IMO - very interesting fact is, that compared to other 68-69 versions which are shared here, Elvis´s ones sounds like recorded yesterday. It sounds like if he sang in your living room…. other sounds like listening through radio….



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Re: Long Black Limousine

Post by jeanno »

Soulful, Brilliant, Passionate.
Long Black Limousine diserves to be part of Elvis Top 5 amazing recordings:

5- Trying to get to you
4- Long black limousine
3- Trouble
2- Such a night
1- Mystery train



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Re: Long Black Limousine

Post by MikeFromHolland »

musiclover1979 on Mon Apr 22, 2019 11:03 am wrote:Great post, Mike!
Many recordings new to me.

You didn't include this great version by Connie Smith, recorded on 24 June 1969:

..

Thanks! I only listed recordings prior to Elvis'.


After Elvis:
Dottie West December 1969
Luke the Drifter, Jr. July 1970
Sydney Devine 1974
J.D. Crowe and The New South 1981
Rattlesnake Annie 1982
Johnny Gray 1986
Boxcar Willie 1991
Orion [US1] 1999
Jim Stringer & The Austin Music Band 1999
Ginny Hawker 2001
Ray Knighton & Wanelle Collins July 21, 2004
Barb Jungr March 7, 2005
Powell & Violet Williams 2006
The American Sound Studio Band featuring "The King" James Brown August 16, 2007
King Sleaze with Batmobile 2007
She Is The King 2007
Beartracks 2009
Jim Ford 2011
Travers Chandler & Avery County 2012

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musiclover1979
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Re: Long Black Limousine

Post by musiclover1979 »

Connie's performance is very emotional.

No one beats Elvis, that's agreed.
His version builds up and then totally tears it apart in a good way.

The Dottie West recording (September 1969) is also very emotional.



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Re: Long Black Limousine

Post by MikeFromHolland »

musiclover1979 on Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:10 pm wrote:(..)
The Dottie West recording (September 1969) is also very emotional.

Indeed...

..

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