Looking Back At Little Rock --> 1956!

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Re: Looking Back At Little Rock --> 1956!

Post by drjohncarpenter »

MysteryTrain wrote:We as fans are very fortunate to have the recording from Little Rock. I read somewhere that the Little Rock show in May, 1956 was the only May show where Elvis did not sing "Only You." Hopefully, this song is out there somewhere from another May, 1956 show. Great post, Doc? What a magical time the 50s were!

MT
That would be so wonderful. The evidence indicates Elvis added "Only You (And You Alone)" to his live set shortly after signing to RCA in November 1955. It would be a mainstay for about the next six months, with the May 13-27, 1956 tour probably the last time he did it. You can practically hear exactly how Presley sang it, with a bit of a hiccup before heading back into the next verse.

The Platters re-recording (Mercury 70633) became an immediate hit after its release in July 1955.


Image

Billboard - July 9, 1955


Image


..Platters "Only You (And You Alone)" (Mercury 70633, July 2, 1955)
Billboard R&B "Most Played By Jockeys" #1, October 22, 1955

On another side note, note that Elvis "borrowed" the Platters' guitar intro on "Only You (And You Alone)" for his 1959 German home demos of "I'm Beginning to Forget You." Part of the magic was how he effortlessly blended genres, and this little affectation in 1959 is yet another example.

::rocks


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Re: Looking Back At Little Rock --> 1956!

Post by drjohncarpenter »

Mister Moon wrote:Thanks Doc and Rocker.

Incredible stuff. As one may imagine, an unforgettable moment for most of those present.

Among the many interesting bits, I liked the one about the girl who says some of her friends from outside the South were not aware of who Elvis was, even in 1956. That soon would change, of course. But in those few early months of 1956, he was still, in a way, an "underground hero", as Peter Guralnick put it.

I also liked the bit about the management of the auditorium setting speakers outside for the people who had no tickets. Can you imagine that mind-blowing music screaming right in the middle of the street ?

And yes, that Bilko bootleg, of which I have the original vinyl version, was one of the coolest Elvis discoveries of all time. Just incredible. And what about "Hound Dog" ? The earliest version available, about a month and half before the studio cut. And the slow ending : "Remember this one thing - LOW DOWN".

Too cool for words.

Thanks again !
Glad you enjoyed it!

To add even further to the madness, below is the story of how Little Rock DJ Ray Green landed the interview, as told by Ray himself. Were it not for his tenacity, and gutsiness in dealing with Tom Parker, neither the show nor the interview would have been captured that day.
In May 1956 I was a disc jockey for a radio station in Little Rock, Ark. A friend of mine who worked for the local chamber of commerce called and asked if I would be available to interview the headliner for a big concert coming to town the following night. Since that person had a number one hit on the national charts at that time, I figured, "Sure, why not ?" The person coming to town was ELVIS PRESLEY, and the song was "HEARTBREAK HOTEL".

I arrived at Little Rock's Robinson Auditorium around 7:30pm, headed for the dressing room and setup my reel-to-reel tape recorder. About this time a brash, heavy-set, cigar-smoking, aggressive man wandered in and demanded to know what I was doing. "I'm getting ready to interview Elvis tonight for my radio program," I answered.

"No way, man," shot back the pudgy cigar puffer. "Nobody interviews my boy Elvis."

"Really ?" I asked. "And just who are you ?"

"I'm his manager, Colonel Tom Parker," he boasted, "And nobody is going to interview Elvis, and that's that !"

I left the dressing room and wandered around backstage, waiting for Elvis to make his appearance. But by 8pm, there was still no sign of the future king of rock and roll. The crowd was growing restless and impatient, and they were beginning to clap their hands and stomp their feet in eager anticipation.

At this point, a huffing, puffing, concerned manager was tugging at my sleeve. "Hey, are you the guy that wanted the interview with Elvis ?"

"Yes, I am," I screamed above the noise.

"Do you know how to get to the Little Rock Airport ?" he asked. I nodded that I did.

"How about taking me out there to pick up Elvis ?" he asked. "His plane is late and he's just getting in from Memphis." Seeing that I now had some bargaining power, I asked again, "Do I get the interview ?"

"No way, man," came the answer. "Nobody gets to interview him, period !"

"In that case," I told him, "Let him catch a cab !"

"Come on now, I can't have Elvis Presley catching a cab !" he screamed.

"Hey, I've got a job to do too," I answered. "OK, OK, man" he said, "Come on, we've got a show to do."

With that, we both got into Parker's station wagon and headed for the Little Rock Airport. We arrived to find a lonely young man, with slicked dark hair and sideburns, casually leaning against the building, pouring peanuts into a Coke bottle trying to work up a fizz ( a typical habit of that time ).

Elvis jumped into the wagon and we proceeded toward the auditorium ... almost. As we left the terminal and came to a stop sign, the Colonel asked me for directions. "To the left," I pointed, "I'll show you a shortcut !" The 'shortcut' took us all the way around Little Rock, giving me almost an hour to talk with the future star I had just met. We chatted about his music, his favorite type of music, his unique style, his football playing days in high school and many other things.

Later that night, I also recorded the show, and it now turns out that it's the first-ever recording of an entire Elvis concert !

I was finally able, after 43 years, to release the interview on compact disc, without the concert. ( Windows of the Soul )
Now I have something to tell my grand-kids about - the night I kidnapped the 'King," ELVIS !

The Night I Kidnapped ELVIS - Story Behind the Exclusive 1956 Interview with ELVIS
http://www.imetelvis.com/story.html


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Re: Looking Back At Little Rock --> 1956!

Post by Mister Moon »

MysteryTrain wrote:I read somewhere that the Little Rock show in May, 1956 was the only May show where Elvis did not sing "Only You."
If I'm not mistaken, Ernst Jorgensen stated this in an interview for "ETMAHM", not too long ago.

A real shame, but that doesn't detract me from enjoying this priceless recording. Maybe we'll get to hear Elvis doing "Only You" someday.
drjohncarpenter wrote: Ray Green was a DJ for KXLR Radio, 1150 AM, in Little Rock, and both the interview and show were meant for local air on that station only.

Ironically, Green felt the tape wasn't of good enough quality for broadcast, so it never aired. And if it had, it'd be long gone today!
drjohncarpenter wrote: To add even further to the madness, below is the story of how Little Rock DJ Ray Green landed the interview, as told by Ray himself. Were it not for his tenacity, and gutsiness in dealing with Tom Parker, neither the show nor the interview would have been captured that day.
Many thanks, Doc, for these two stories on Ray Green and his recording of the Elvis show. I enjoyed reading them.
drjohncarpenter wrote: Elvis attended the Sun Records show at the Overton Park Shell in Memphis on Friday, June 1. On the bill that night: Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash, along with Warren Smith, Eddie Bond, and Roy Orbison. Wow.
Here's the radio spot for that concert, recorded by Bob Neal at 706 Union ! :

..

The photos taken that night are truly wonderful. Here's another, showing The Perkins Brothers Band at work, and also a corrected view of the one of Perkins with fans, together with the original Sun promo shot he's signing :
560601 - Overton Park Shell.jpg
CarlPerkins-Jun11956OvertonPark.jpg
11703902_1.jpg



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Re: Looking Back At Little Rock --> 1956!

Post by drjohncarpenter »

Thanks for the YouTube link to the May 1956 radio ad. The spot first appeared on the Carl Perkins Sun box, released in the mid-eighties. Note it may have actually been taped at WMC Radio in Memphis, where Bob Neal did DJ work in 1956.

Continuing on even further, this 2003 look at the fabulous Little Rock recording by esteemed critic and historian Greil Marcus is most interesting:

On Today, Tomorrow & Forever, a twenty-one-year-old Elvis Presley takes the stage of the Robinson Memorial Auditorium in Little Rock, Arkansas. It’s May 16, 1956, and local disc jockey Ray Green is on the air for a live broadcast: “He’s winding up his legs, and here he goes with—‘Heartbreak Motel’!” “Here’s a song that’s real hot around the nation and some parts of Africa,” Presley says to introduce the next number. “A song here recorded by a—friend of mine,” he says, bending the last three words with an odd affection, almost twirling them. The friend is Little Richard (“I never met him”), the song is “Long Tall Sally,” and Elvis is instantly ripping it to shreds, rushing far out ahead of his band. Little Richard told a funny story, watching from the alley as Uncle John chased Sally out of her wig and Aunt Mary caught them; Elvis makes it clear that it’s the man singing and no one else who’s got his hands all over Sally, and who’s not letting go.

“We’ve been doing this song for about twenty-five, thirty years, around the country,” Elvis says to introduce “Blue Suede Shoes”—a riff he would use from the beginning of his career to the end (“One of the first records I recorded, back in 1927, I think it was,” he says in 1969 in Las Vegas, “just before the stock market crashed”), as if it signified that the music he was making was nothing new, that it had always been present—or that he had. “You can burn my wife, steal my car, drink my liquor from an old fruit jar,” he laughs in the middle of Carl Perkins’s “Blue Suede Shoes”—and with a momentum that stops you cold: did he just say that? For the Drifters’ “Money Honey”—in the original, as explosive a record as early rock ’n’ roll produced—the shouts that Elvis shoots over the dark guitar chords that start the tune clear the ground, and with a looseness, a confidence, that is so strong it hardly makes sense. It’s a moment that comes from the place Bob Dylan found when he read Peter Guralnick’s Last Train to Memphis: “Elvis as he walks the path between heaven and nature in an America that was wide open, when anything was possible, not the whitewashed golden calf but the incendiary atomic musical firebrand loner who conquered the western world.” “Very good, Elvis,” the disc jockey shouts as Presley leaves the stage.

An aura of unlikeliness comes through the rough performance and the holes in the sound. You hear a young man taking steps that did not have to be taken; you hear him communicating pleasures for which there was no language but his own. You hear the screams from the crowd, and in a certain mood you can hear the person behind each scream, and you wonder: Did she know? Did she understand? Was she changed? Did she change back?

Greil Marcus --> Elvis Again
http://www.elvis-collectors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=25102
http://www.elvis-collectors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=69&t=76370

Last edited by drjohncarpenter on Fri Oct 11, 2013 7:15 am, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Looking Back At Little Rock --> 1956!

Post by Mister Moon »

drjohncarpenter wrote: Continuing on even further, this 2003 look at the fabulous Little Rock recording by esteemed critic and historian Greil Marcus is most interesting.
Thanks for the Greil Marcus review of the Little Rock concert. Never read it before.
drjohncarpenter wrote:Thanks for the YouTube link to the May 1956 radio ad. The spot first appeared on the Carl Perkins Sun box, released in the mid-eighties. Note it may have actually been taped at WMPS Radio in Memphis, where Bob Neal did DJ work.
Charly Records' "Carl Perkins - The Sun Years" 3-LP box-set (Sun Box 101), as released March 1982, marked the first ever issue of, among many other important recordings, the 1956 Stars Incorporated radio spots.

The box-set included two radio spots : one announcing the Sunday, May 27 shows (3:00 pm and 8:00 pm) at the Mosque Theater, in Richmond, Virginia (where Elvis would appear four weeks later, as photographed by Alfred Wertheimer); the other, which I included in my previous post, announcing the Friday, June 1 show (8:00 pm) at the Overton Park Shell, in Memphis.

Both spots are virtually identical except, of course, for the dates and locations. The Richmond spot is interesting because it announces "Warren Smith and his great rock and roll band", whereas the Memphis spot announces just "Warren Smith". Also, the Richmond spot features Roy Orbison's "Ooby Dooby" record poorly cued -- they didn't bother fixing it !

I have searched for the Richmond radio spot online, and this is the only place where I could find it, albeit in incomplete form :

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Promo-Radio-Spot-Richmond/dp/B004XNL3KG

Accompanying the 3 LPs, there was an excellent book, with track-by-track commentary, written by Colin Escott, Martin Hawkins, and Hank Davis. Here's the annotations for these radio spots :

** Richmond :
This is one of a series of radio trailers recorded in Sam's studio probably by Bob Neal since they advertise a Stars Inc. package show. Stars Inc. had been formed by Bob Neal and Sam Phillips, the DJ and the record man, as a booking agency for Memphis recording artists.

Carl's exhausting round of personal appearances in the months following "Shoes" seemed to attract good reviews if not the intense publicity that surrounded Presley. Floy Case, writing a magazine column called "Folk and Country News and Views", reported :

"Carl Perkins, Sun's replacement to Elvis Presley, is playing up a storm on his personals throughout the South and South-West. Accompanying him on many of the dates is Johnny Cash, another contender for the R&B crown".
** Memphis :
Another advert for Carl's early summer sweep of one-niters through the South and South-West. No doubt Bob Neal would have broadcast this many times on his 6 am to 7.30 breakfast show on WMC
Here's some background information on Floy Case : http://www.library.unt.edu/collections/music/floy-case



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Re: Looking Back At Little Rock --> 1956!

Post by 1Sixstring »

Great stuff Doc!
All of it. Plus some of the great adds of info on this thread from other people. Takes you back in time.



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Re: Looking Back At Little Rock --> 1956!

Post by drjohncarpenter »

Mister Moon wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:Continuing on even further, this 2003 look at the fabulous Little Rock recording by esteemed critic and historian Greil Marcus is most interesting.
Thanks for the Greil Marcus review of the Little Rock concert. Never read it before.
drjohncarpenter wrote:Thanks for the YouTube link to the May 1956 radio ad. The spot first appeared on the Carl Perkins Sun box, released in the mid-eighties. Note it may have actually been taped at WMPS Radio in Memphis, where Bob Neal did DJ work.
Charly Records' "Carl Perkins - The Sun Years" 3-LP box-set (Sun Box 101), as released March 1982, marked the first ever issue of, among many other important recordings, the 1956 Stars Incorporated radio spots.

The box-set included two radio spots : one announcing the Sunday, May 27 shows (3:00 pm and 8:00 pm) at the Mosque Theater, in Richmond, Virginia (where Elvis would appear four weeks later, as photographed by Alfred Wertheimer); the other, which I included in my previous post, announcing the Friday, June 1 show (8:00 pm) at the Overton Park Shell, in Memphis.

Both spots are virtually identical except, of course, for the dates and locations. The Richmond spot is interesting because it announces "Warren Smith and his great rock and roll band", whereas the Memphis spot announces just "Warren Smith". Also, the Richmond spot features Roy Orbison's "Ooby Dooby" record poorly cued -- they didn't bother fixing it !

I have searched for the Richmond radio spot online, and this is the only place where I could find it, albeit in incomplete form :

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Promo-Radio-Spot-Richmond/dp/B004XNL3KG

Accompanying the 3 LPs, there was an excellent book, with track-by-track commentary, written by Colin Escott, Martin Hawkins, and Hank Davis. Here's the annotations for these radio spots :

** Richmond :
This is one of a series of radio trailers recorded in Sam's studio probably by Bob Neal since they advertise a Stars Inc. package show. Stars Inc. had been formed by Bob Neal and Sam Phillips, the DJ and the record man, as a booking agency for Memphis recording artists.

Carl's exhausting round of personal appearances in the months following "Shoes" seemed to attract good reviews if not the intense publicity that surrounded Presley. Floy Case, writing a magazine column called "Folk and Country News and Views", reported :

"Carl Perkins, Sun's replacement to Elvis Presley, is playing up a storm on his personals throughout the South and South-West. Accompanying him on many of the dates is Johnny Cash, another contender for the R&B crown".
** Memphis :
Another advert for Carl's early summer sweep of one-niters through the South and South-West. No doubt Bob Neal would have broadcast this many times on his 6 am to 7.30 breakfast show on WMC
Here's some background information on Floy Case : http://www.library.unt.edu/collections/music/floy-case
One imagines the spots for 5-27-1956 and 6-01-1956 ran up to, if not more than, a week prior to the show dates. I forgot that Bob Neal did leave WMPS Radio and take up at WMC Radio at some point between late 1955 and early 1956, so if those Perkins announcements were cut at a radio station, it would be at WMC.

A March 1956 Billboard report I found has Bob at WMC, and still identified as Elvis' "current manager," but a later retrospective from May 1970 is sketchier as to when he worked there, as well as how long and fruitful his partnership was with Sam Phillips. Both are below. Hearing that the DJ voice on the Memphis ad is not Neal's indicates the work may well have been done at WMC.

Billboard Mar 17 1956 p93.JPG
Billboard - March 17, 1956

Billboard Mar 17 1956 p95.JPG
Billboard - March 17, 1956

Billboard May 23 1970 pC6.JPG
Billboard - May 23, 1970
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Re: Looking Back At Little Rock --> 1956!

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I missed this one! Great tribute to a very precious document. It's a bit of a miracle that we all got a chance to hear the show, and the interview is excellent as well.

This thread was amazing because the contextual material really takes you back in time. You can feel the birth pangs of a new world. Fantastic work here! Thank you very much.

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Re: Looking Back At Little Rock --> 1956!

Post by keninlincs »

Thanks John


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Re: Looking Back At Little Rock --> 1956!

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norrie wrote:Great article Doc thanks for finding and posting.Oh to have been a teenager in 1956 one of the most exciting years in rock n roll history.
The cover of the bootleg is one of the coolest I've seen.


norrie
I agree. I was excited before I even played the disc!

The cover, designed by the incomparable Ger Rijff, is a homage to Life magazine, a very popular monthly in America then. The photo was taken backstage in Oakland on Sunday, June 3, 1956, just two days after Elvis saw that Sun stars package show at Overton Park Shell in Memphis.


Image


Image


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Re: Looking Back At Little Rock --> 1956!

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Tim C wrote:You know, reading these articles makes me live through the lives of others the excitement they felt. What an exciting time it must have been watching his star rise. I am envious.

The after show signings kept Elvis in contact with his fans and allowed him to slow down a little and just be himself. What a shame he wasn't able to do the same thing in the 70's.
Elvis did meet fans after shows in the '70s, but usually in Las Vegas, and you had to either be connected (management, celebrity, friends) or lucky.

And I agree, it was a lot different then. For example, if you look at the new topic on TCB band rhythm guitarist John Wilkerson, the very next concert after this Little Rock show was in his hometown, Springfield, MO, on May 17, 1956.

http://www.elvis-collectors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=79534&p=1219454#p1219454

Young John decided he needed to talk to Presley about learning to treat his Martin acoustic with more respect, so the ten year-old hopped on his bike, pedalled down that afternoon to the Shrine Mosque Auditorium, found his way backstage, and located Elvis alone in his dressing room, where they had a memorable conversation.

There is just no way that could have happened twenty years later, like in Springfield on June 17, 1977.


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Re: Looking Back At Little Rock --> 1956!

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MikeFromHolland wrote:Wow, this makes a fantastic read, thanks Doc and Rocker! It's been a while since I listened to the original CD. You inspired me to have a listen again i.o. other versions of this concert. Always liked the Life magazine like cover as well...
So glad you enjoyed it!


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Re: Looking Back At Little Rock --> 1956!

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Julian Grant wrote:Nice post John....

Here is another Little Rock candid.

Image
That's a sweet little candid!

Any idea who the fan is? Did you notice she is wearing a pineapple-patterned skirt?


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Re: Looking Back At Little Rock --> 1956!

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drjohncarpenter wrote:
Image
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Re: Looking Back At Little Rock --> 1956!

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drjohncarpenter wrote:
Julian Grant wrote:Nice post John....

Here is another Little Rock candid.

Image
That's a sweet little candid!

Any idea who the fan is? Did you notice she is wearing a pineapple-patterned skirt?
Actually no I didn't notice the skirt, funny eh? Unfortunately she isn't mentioned in the photograph which is from The Elvis Files Vol 1



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Re: Looking Back At Little Rock --> 1956!

Post by drjohncarpenter »

rjm wrote:I missed this one! Great tribute to a very precious document. It's a bit of a miracle that we all got a chance to hear the show, and the interview is excellent as well.

This thread was amazing because the contextual material really takes you back in time. You can feel the birth pangs of a new world. Fantastic work here! Thank you very much.

rjm
So glad you enjoyed this!


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Stop, look and listen, baby <<--->> that's my philosophy!