Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

September 2, 2020

check out ‘Scotty’s Elvis Presley Vinyl Reviews’

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 2:49 pm
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There are a lot of Elvis Presley podcasts and You Tube videos out there, and some of them are not that great, even to the Elvis fan. They are fannish in the bad sense, not that well-informed, dealing with gossip not the music, etc. There are some fine ones, though, and I’d like to introduce you to one that I treasure: Scotty’s Elvis Presley Vinyl Reviews, on You Tube. This  gentleman (and sometimes his brother) has a fine Elvis collection, is very knowledgeable about original pressings/RCA-BMG re-releases/FTD releases, etc., as well as the nuts and bolts of Elvis Presley’s body of work. He is respectful, passionate, and accurate. That’s what we need in the Elvis community!

So let me share the link for this video series. There are 45 episodes:

July 25, 2020

Elvis Presley, Las Vegas Residency 1, July-August 1969 (56 shows)

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ELVIS LIVE 1969

Elvis Presley, Las Vegas Residency 1,  31 July- 28 August 1969 (57 shows)

I’m hoping to eventually discuss here on the KSE blog each of Elvis Presley’s  15 residencies in Las Vegas between 1969 and 1976, adding up to 636 performances, every one sold out. Each residency has a unique identity and flavor, and each is worthy of separate investigation, with references to available recordings from each for those who wish to have your own audience with The King in your home. I have multiple shows from throughout each residency, and I keep them separated so it’s easy for me to listen to multiple shows from the same week, or back-to-back shows from the same evening (he did both a dinner show and a midnight show most of the time).

A good place to start is the review I did for Ugly Things magazine of the 11-CD ELVIS LIVE 1969 box set that RCA issued last year, 11 complete concerts, beautifully and respectfully presented, each show like lightning in a bottle. This review was written for a general audience (ie, not for the Elvis community) and is relatively brief. Future writeups will be in more detail and focus on particular shows within the run. Ladies and gentlemen, ELVIS in Las Vegas, Summer 1969.

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ELVIS PRESLEY—Live 1969 (RCA) 11-CD box

To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Elvis’ 1969 return to Las Vegas (he’d played it with Scotty and Bill back in 1956, but the town wasn’t ready for him, and he wasn’t ready for it), RCA has assembled a box-set of every surviving soundboard recording of a complete show from the Summer 1969 season, 11 shows from the second half of this residency, often with both dinner and midnight shows from the same day. The setlists are 90% the same, and Elvis’ comments to the audience are similar for most shows. Is the box worth $100+? Well, back in the day, fans would save up all year and travel to Vegas, get a cheap room, and see every show for a week straight. This box is the closest thing to that experience today, 50 years later (all we need is a casino buffet and some watery cocktails!).

With hindsight, we can see that in many ways the 1969 Vegas shows were an extension of the exciting “live-in-the-studio” sequences of the 1968 comeback TV special. He wasn’t yet using the 2001 theme as his entrance music, J. D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet hadn’t yet joined the act (so there are none of the “dive-bomber” low vocal tricks that were a staple of Elvis’ 70’s live show), and Kathy Westmoreland had not yet joined the group with her operatic high-voice harmonies, so these 1969 shows don’t sound like the more familiar 70-76 Vegas shows. Elvis includes songs that were highlights of the TV special such as Jimmy Reed’s “Baby What You Want Me To Do” and the Sun blues classic “Tiger Man”, and he provides a comedic version of his career highlights in a monologue in most shows, functioning like the “story” sections of the 68 comeback special

The band blasts out of the box at the start of each show with a blistering version of “Blue Suede Shoes,” and throughout every concert, the guitar of James Burton is upfront and all over. There is a Vegas pit-band behind the core rock and roll group (Burton, John Wilkinson, Jerry Scheff, Ronnie Tutt, and Charlie Hodge—Larry Mahoberac is on keyboards, as former Cricket Glen D. Hardin had not yet joined Elvis) and the Sweet Inspirations vocal group (who stayed with Elvis until the end), but the orchestra stays in the background (or maybe they were lessened in this modern remix), fortunately. Some may need only the 2-LP version, with just one concert, which RCA also released recently, but for those ready for that week-long trip to Vegas with two Elvis shows a day, this box will take you there.

(originally published in 2019 in Ugly Things magazine)

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I wasn’t able to find an official release video from RCA on this box, but I did find one of those record collector-oriented “unboxing” videos, so here that is for your enjoyment.

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If you don’t mind bootleg-quality sound, there is an excellent show from earlier in the run than what’s documented on the 11-cd box set, on the Straight Arrow label’s album STRIKE LIKE LIGHTNING, from the August 8, 1969 Midnight Show, which came out a year or two ago and can still be found from online dealers. However, you can listen to it free below:

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If you prefer soundboard-quality recordings, here is the Dinner Show from August 10:

 

These two shows do not appear on the 1969 LIVE box set.

Stay tuned for future discussions of various Elvis residencies in Las Vegas….will try to have another one up within the next two months.

July 10, 2020

5 Favorite Bob Dylan Covers

As I was listening to Chris Farlowe’s classic 1966 Immediate Records album 14 THINGS TO THINK ABOUT tonight (something I’ve done quite often since scoring an original UK Immediate LP in the early 80’s), I noticed that I always start playing the LP with side two, because side two starts with Farlowe’s phenomenal big-beat showstopping version of Bob Dylan’s “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”, a song that I have played over the decades for many visitors to my home. It’s a stunning re-casting of the Dylan song, and would be included on any “best Dylan covers” album I would compile. Since I’m not compiling one of those right now, alas, the best I can do is to offer you five of my own personal favorite covers of The Master’s compositions (nothing by the Byrds, since you already know that any Dylan cover from any Byrds line-up will be wonderful), each exquisite IMHO, and each really stripping the song to the core and re-assembling it in an original and profound way.

Settle back and enjoy…..(and as always with You Tube, I apologize in advance for the commercials you’ll have to put up with before you get to hear the music)

THE DAILY FLASH, “Queen Jane Approximately” (1966)

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CHRIS FARLOWE, “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” (1966)

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RICK NELSON AND THE STONE CANYON BAND, “She Belongs To Me” (1969)

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ELVIS PRESLEY, “Tomorrow Is A Long Time” (1966)

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THE FLAMIN’ GROOVIES, “Absolutely Sweet Marie” (1979)

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BONUS TRACK

here’s a little something extra for making it this far, for an ever half-dozen Dylan covers

LEROY VAN DYKE, “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” (1965), my father met Leroy Van Dyke once in the early 1970’s (at a shopping mall!) and told me he was a very kind man, very appreciative of his fans

July 3, 2020

Elvis Presley, “Almost In Love” (Camden, originally released in 1970)

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elvis almost

ELVIS PRESLEY

“ALMOST IN LOVE”   Camden Records (RCA’s budget subsidiary), originally issued in 1970

I own a 1985 cassette (pictured above), on the Camden label but licensed to “Special Music Company,” a major player in the 80’s/90’s budget-label world, especially with cassette tapes.

special music

You could find stacks of their releases, usually for $1.99 or so, at gas stations, convenience stores, supermarkets, etc. I picked this one up in the dollar bin at a used record store in Roanoke, Virginia, in the mid-to-late 1980’s. The great thing about the Elvis budget LP’s on Camden is that they often have a wide variety of then-uncommon deep-cuts from Elvis’ large catalogue of songs, an odd mix of movie songs from films that did not have soundtrack LP’s (some actually getting their first release anyplace on these budget albums), B-sides of singles, and oddball combinations of things going back to the Sun era. These albums certainly showed off Elvis’ versatility as an artist, and to isolated fans in the hinterlands (as I was at varying times), they were even more interesting and satisfying than the better-known, mainstream albums. Let’s be honest….some of Elvis’s 1970’s studio and live albums were not great, and with Camden budget albums selling for half of what a full-price new album on RCA would, it’s not hard to see why these albums full of lesser-known material sold so well, often better than the “new” releases.

These Camden budget albums also had incredible staying power. Discogs lists 48 (!!!!) release variations since 1970 on LP/cassette/8-track/CD, and the album has never been out of print. You can still buy it on CD today, RCA keeps it in print, and I have seen that budget CD at gas station convenience stores here in Texas in the last ten years. Prior to the license with Special Music, ALMOST IN LOVE was sub-licensed to Pickwick in the 1970’s, and who knows how many tens of thousands of copies that cassette sold at the K-Marts of the South and Midwest. For you 8-track fans out there, I’ve put a scan of the Canadian Pickwick 8-track release at the bottom of this post (and as often happens with that format, the songs are in a different running order than on any other format’s version of the album).

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The music on ALMOST IN LOVE is an amazing assemblage of what was probably considered throwaway filler at the time, but as the Elvis Information Network has observed, it  “looks far stronger now than it did when it came out.” I can’t imagine anyone with an unbiased set of ears listening to this album and not concluding that, at minimum, Elvis Presley was a versatile artist capable of an amazingly eclectic set of performances…and most of this material came from within a 2-3 year period.

Let’s take a look at what’s on here:

1 Almost In Love, from LIVE A LITTLE, LOVE A LITTLE, Elvis’s oddest feature film, this is a bossa nova ballad, co-composed by Luis Bonfa, and is Elvis at his most lounge-iest ever.

2 Long Legged Girl (With The Short Dress On) , from DOUBLE TROUBLE, is a furious rocker that starts off in high-gear and features a sizzling fuzz-tone guitar dueling it out with Elvis….it’s also one of his shortest-ever singles, clocking in at 1:29. It reached #63 on the charts and sold 250,000+ copies. Yes, it’s a tossed-off throw-together with lyrics like a laundry list, but it rocks, it sizzles, and it’s over before you know it. Most people’s reaction, when the single was over, would be to ask, “what the heck was that?” I saw Double Trouble at a cheapo theater on a triple Elvis bill circa 1969, and I LOVED this song. Its presentation in the film makes it even more surreal.

elvis long legged
3 Edge Of Reality, also from LIVE A LITTLE, LOVE A LITTLE, was Elvis’s only foray into psychedelia (well, lounge-psychedelia), and in the film it actually appears in a freak-out sequence!
4 My Little Friend was the B-side of Elvis’s hit single “Kentucky Rain” and NOT a film song. No less than Julian Cope rhapsodized about the song, so let me turn this over to him: “The country-soul flavoured ‘My Little Friend’ is an overlooked gem from the prolific 1969 Memphis sessions which produced the albums ‘From Elvis In Memphis’ and ‘Back In Memphis’ as well as classic singles such as ‘Suspicious Minds’ and ‘Kentucky Rain’. It appeared on the b-side of the latter, with which it shares a pained vocal style and an incisive arrangement. The piano player and backing singers are content to take a backseat for the most part, giving maximum impact to their strategically-placed contributions. Elvis’s tone of voice is perfectly complemented by the string and horn sections which lurk unnervingly in the left channel, waiting for gaps in the vocal which they fill with bursts of spiky melodicism. It’s a genuinely inspired piece of work which proves that the King didn’t surround himself with mere hacks. And what an amazing opening line: ‘My warped and worried mind resorts to wandering off to ponder things I never talk about.”
5 A Little Less Conversation
6 Rubberneckin’
7 Clean Up Your Own Back Yard
8 U.S. Male  Tracks 5-8 present Elvis at his re-energized country-funk best circa 1968, and getting all these first-rate tracks from obscure 45’s on one album, and a budget album at that, was undoubtedly an exciting experience for the many who bought this album. Of course, tracks 5 & 6 became huge posthumous hits for The King in remixed versions, and may well be among the best-known Elvis songs for those under 30 today. These four tracks are the same Elvis who appeared in the black leather suit in the 1968 comeback TV special, and that period was certainly one of this best-ever periods, when he pulled it all together after too many years in the Hollywood film-soundtrack world.

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9 Charro  The title song from Elvis’s 1968 film, an Americanized faux-Spaghetti Western a la Hang Em High, was the only song in the film. It’s a rich western ballad and started the film off on a good foot. The film Charro has never been a critics’ favorite, though I remember it playing for a year or more on the drive-in circuit, surfacing as a second feature with other National General releases and on Elvis multi-film bills. It was an auteur film for Charles Marquis Warren (originally a protege of F. Scott Fitzgerald, believe it or not, during FSF’s “Pat Hobby” period), who’d done a number of films for Lippert Pictures 15 years earlier. Many Italian Westerns started off with a moody “loner ballad” to set the tone of the film (I can hear about a dozen of them in my head as I’m typing this), and Charro did that very well and was a true prize on this album.

stayaway_47-9465
10 Stay Away  is not the song “Stay Away Joe” (my choice for Elvis’s worst film), although some early pressings of the album DID include that performance. No, this is a rewrite of the melody of “Greensleeves” which appeared as the B-side to U.S. Male. It’s a jaunty song that’s also quite moody and it’s powered along by acoustic guitars and strings and emphatic, fast-paced percussion and later shimmering piano that give it a unique flavor.

elvis 4

One critic, in a book called THE SOUNDTRACK ALBUM: LISTENING TO MEDIA, in a very perceptive section devoted to Elvis’s Camden albums (which I just stumbled across as I was finishing up writing this piece), describes them as “a kind of proto-rarities compilation, a genre of album taken up by labels to head off bootleggers….not unlike the bootleg, the Elvis budget albums present an alternative view of the central image crafted and re-adjusted by RCA and Elvis’s management.”

elvis 5

Of course, the Camden albums got Colonel Parker a 50/50 cut with Elvis from RCA, much higher than his usual cut on RCA royalties, so the Colonel was motivated to create a number of these albums. A quick advance payment of a few hundred-thousand dollars for each album was nothing to sneeze at, and Elvis didn’t have to DO anything he hadn’t already done for one of these albums to enter the marketplace. Also, they appeared at retailers (usually NOT at record stores, but other kind of stores, getting even wider traction than a “normal” release) across the nation at affordable prices ($1.98 or $2.98), so they were essentially keeping the “brand” alive and visible.

It was a win-win situation for artist, manager, label, and the Elvis fans who bought the albums because they were getting wonderful collections of obscure material, most of a high quality and especially a wide variety of music on each one, even though they usually ran 25 minutes or so, containing only 10 tracks. The Camden albums are an important part of Elvis’s recorded legacy, and even though all this material has since been compiled into meaningful compilations with exhaustive liner notes and finally properly contextualized, the randomness of the Camden albums is one of their strengths. It’s like dipping  your ladle into a pot of gumbo, where you have no idea what ingredients its maker put into it, and getting both a big surprise and an amazing and satisfying meal. And of course, as with an 8-track, it’s always better on cassette tape. I’m glad I still own and listen to mine….50 years after the album’s initial release!

elvis almost 8track

 

June 6, 2020

Elvis Presley, “Spliced Takes: Blue Moon” (CMT/Star CD)

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elvis spliced 1

ELVIS PRESLEY, “Spliced Takes: Blue Moon” (CMT/Star, CD, released 2017)

With Elvis boots being issued regularly since the 1970’s, and more still coming out every month, and with RCA’s all-Elvis archival label “Follow That Dream” Records having released 150+ albums (some of them multi-disc sets) of studio outtakes and live shows (not to mention the archival releases on the main RCA label, which started with 1973’s initial volume of A LEGENDARY PERFORMER) in the last few decades, there’s not a lot of new unreleased material available for bootleggers to issue, which has led to repackaging of earlier boots. Yes, there are new tapes of audience recordings of live shows surfacing, being digitally restored, fixed-up, and released on CD, but in terms of studio outtakes, the well is largely dry. When the “Venus” label issued a collection of previously unknown alternates of soundtrack material from some of Elvis’s weakest films on an album called HARD KNOCKS a few years back, it was treated as a revelation in the Elvis community, and indeed, it was.

Beatles fans are familiar with the concepts of “outfakes”—-artificially created “rarities” issued on bootleg albums or distributed online. Some of these have been quite interesting (I have a 2-cd set called MAGICAL MYSTERY EXTRACTIONS, which I play quite often), where individual tracks are isolated from multi-track tapes (or through creative computer editing) and mixed together to create “new” and fresh tracks. Well, fresh to some extent—-if you know the original recordings well enough, you can hear that what you are getting is simply an extracted “part” of a more complete group performance. With so many Beatle recordings from 1965 on being created through layering overdubs on multiple tracks in the studio, the stripping away and recombining in new ways of their studio creations can create an interesting and enjoyable listening experience. However, when we have both the original masters and the alternate takes which are out on bootlegs, it’s debatable whether such “extractions” produce anything “new.” However, unless we are talking about recent McCartney or Starr live shows, there is obviously no “new” Beatles or Lennon or Harrison material to discover, unless it’s in the vaults of their estates or of private collectors. Yet “new” Beatles boots continue to appear, many recently offering “spectral stereo” transformation of the early EMI recordings. Someone must be buying those (I’m not) or they would not be appearing.

With Elvis, the creation of “outfakes” has been a bit different (—-and by the way, I am definitely someone who enjoys Elvis’ 70’s recordings MUCH MORE when the overdubs are stripped away and we get the basic small-group track—-this started with the legitimate OUR MEMORIES OF ELVIS albums on RCA and then the many boots and then FTD albums that offer the “pure” basic tracks). The CMT/Star outfit has created nearly 20  albums called SPLICED TAKES, covering all parts of Elvis’s studio recording career, where someone edits together a Franken-master from different takes of an Elvis performance to create a “new performance” from pieces of different takes, some of which are then given a home-computer remix, echo (where the alternates were “flat”), looping, etc. Clearly, someone had fun doing this, and the results are quite impressive in the sense that the seams don’t show too obviously (perhaps they would show if I played the 3 albums I have—-all I need of this series, to be honest—-on headphones, not on speakers in a room).

I made a point of getting this BLUE MOON volume because it covers the Sun recordings, every take of which I have memorized, and the pre-Army RCA material, which is etched into my consciousness almost as much. Of course, the fatal flaw of an album like this is that Elvis DID NOT want records issued that were stitched together from pieces—-he wanted a recording of a REAL in-studio performance. Yes, there were a few early RCA masters cobbled together from two takes, or with a vocal “patch” overdub, but that tended to be when a satisfactory master was not produced and something  usable had to be salvaged: “I Want You, I Need You, I Love You,” ‘Poor Boy,” and “Playing For Keeps,” for instance. You can see SP next to the master number in the Presley discographies (I’m looking at Tunzi’s ELVIS SESSIONS III to verify this). It was rare, however, until some of the lesser 60’s film soundtracks and then in the period after the 1973 Stax sessions.

Not only is CMT/Star churning out these albums a few times a year, they are also reissuing them four at a time in attractive digi-pak 4-CD longboxes, creating yet another level of product for those who seek out the “collectible.” I don’t plan on buying any more entries in this series, but I am glad to own BLUE MOON and it sounds great blasting in my car.

There are also people out there, especially in Europe with its looser Public Domain laws for vintage recordings, producing “new” versions of 50’s and early 60’s Elvis recordings by doing awful new overdubs, creating new computer-produced “stereo separation” and “mixes,” but life is too short to spend any precious time listening to them, let alone discussing them. My Elvis listening time is much better spent listening to newly surfacing 69-77 live shows. The ELVIS LIVE 1969 box which I reviewed for UGLY THINGS has ELEVEN full shows on it (that should keep you busy for a while), and labels such as FTD and the “import” Straight Arrow regularly offer quality live Presley product.

For the record, here’s what’s on SPLICED TAKES: BLUE MOON:

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That’s All Right – Spliced take 2,3
My Baby’s Gone Spliced take 6,7,6
Ill Never Let You Go – Spliced take
Jailhouse Rock – Spliced take 7,8,7,6/Pick up take 2
Shake, Ratlle and Roll – Alternate Master (long version)
When It Rains It Really Pours – Spliced take 8,5
I Don’t Care if the Sun Don’t Shine – Spliced take 2,3,1
Money Honey – Spliced take 10,5,6
Paralyzed – Spliced take 12,5 *
I’m Counting On You – Spliced take 13,UN,14,13
I Want To Be Free – Spliced take 8,9
Doncha Think It’s Time – Spliced take 39,47,40
Playing for Keeps – Spliced take 7,18 *
Poor Boy – Spliced take 1,3
Lonesome Cowboy – Spliced take 25,20 *
Treat Me Nice (1st movie vs) – Spliced take 12,13
I Was the One – Alternate Master
Don’t Leave Me Now (Record vs) – Spliced take 17,15,18,8
I Love You Because – Spliced take 4,5
Blueberry Hill – Spliced take 6,5,4,7,8
Baby, I Don’t Care – Spliced take 4,1
Lover Doll – Spliced EP/LP/EP Version
Let Me – Spliced take 3,4,3 (reversed master)
Too Much – Spliced take 12/insert take 2 *
I Beg of You – Alternate Master
Rip It Up – Spliced take 18,17,17
Young and Beautiful (record vs) – Spliced take 1,3
As Long As I Have You (movie vs) – Spliced take 6,7
Harbor Lights – Spliced take 6,7
Blue Moon Spliced take 7,8

elvis spliced 2

I’m not seeing this particular volume of SPLICED TAKES on You Tube, but other volumes can be found there—just do a search of ELVIS, SPLICED TAKES if you’d like to sample this phenomenon (you certainly should not have to pay for it!). Since I can’t provide you this album, here’s something you’ll enjoy…..a live version of one of the tracks on the album, PARALYZED (always one of my favorites of the early RCA period), performed at the Louisiana Hayride (in Shreveport) in December 1956, Elvis’s final performance on the Hayride.

 

 

Also, in case you aren’t familiar with the original studio version, here that is:

 

 

April 29, 2020

Elvis Presley, A Dog’s Life (Audifon LP, released circa 1979)

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elvis-presley-a-dogs-life-mya

ELVIS PRESLEY, “A Dog’s Life” (Audifon Records LP, unauthorized, released circa 1979)

Buyers of boot (by the way, in the Elvis community, we don’t use the “B-word”– we call them “imports”) LP’s in the late 70’s and the early 80’s will have fond memories of the Audifon label (which seemed related to Ruthless Rhymes….some albums said Audifon on the cover but the label of the actual LP had the inimitable Ruthless Rhymes “shooting the dog” logo). A lot of their releases were devoted to Elvis (and clearly assembled by people who loved and cared about Elvis’ legacy as an artist), but there were also fantastic Beatles albums (Live At The Sam Houston Coliseum, Youngblood, Watching Rainbows), the legendary THIN WHITE DUKE album from David Bowie, and fine offerings from Hendrix and Cheap Trick.

For the Elvis fan back then, just two years after The King’s passing, an album like A DOG’S LIFE was a revelation and we were excited that such an album even existed, and with an attractive full-cover cover, not a paste-on xerox sheet as might have been the case a few years earlier.

At this time, the only legit archival releases that had come out on RCA were The Legendary Performer series, the first volume of which came out in 1973, after RCA purchased the reissue rights from the Colonel, “on behalf of Elvis,” for the Presley masters in perpetuity for a mere bagatelle. Each successive volume (there were four eventually) had a higher percentage of unreleased material.

However, we wanted and needed more, and an album like A DOG’S LIFE delivered it.

A combination of great-sounding alternate takes of 60’s movie songs (clearly from the master tapes and without overdubs, just Elvis and the rhythm section); alternates/rehearsals of 1970 studio material MINUS ALL THE ANNOYING OVERDUBS, with basically just a small group, live and spontaneous, with Elvis; and some 1973 concert recordings, in sparkling sound quality with none of the awful overdubs and “sweetening” that cluttered and choked the RCA 70’s “live” albums, also mixed so that the orchestra and the backing singers are lower in the mix and it’s essentially Elvis and the rhythm section up front.

Here’s what you get (discographical info from an Elvis boot website):

A1  August 4, 1965: A dog’s life (EOV take 8)
A2  March 23, 1961:
Rock-a-hula baby (TO takes 1, 2 & 3)
A3   It’s over*
A4   June 8, 1970: There goes my everything (undubbed)
A5  October 26, 1961:
Home is where the heart is (M3 take 4)
A6  My way*

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B1  October 26, 1961: Riding the rainbow (M4 takes 3 & 4)
B2   June 8, 1970:
If I were you (undubbed)
B3   An American trilogy*
B4   August 4, 1965: Paradise, Hawaiian style (GOV take 4)
B5   August 3, 1965:
Scratch my back (then I’ll scratch yours) (COV take 1)
B6   Can’t help falling in love*

* from January 12, 1973 20.30 hrs show

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Now that there are 150+ albums of archival Elvis material on RCA’s all-Presley “Follow That Dream” label (you’ve probably read my reviews of some of those in the pages of Ugly Things Magazine), and hundreds and hundreds of “imports” of studio outtakes and live concerts, something like A DOG’S LIFE is no longer necessary—-although it is still an exciting listen. I just listened to it twice tonight while working from home, which is what prompted this tribute to a historic Elvis “import.” It’s impossible to listen to the sparse 1970 outtakes of  “There Goes My Everything” and “If I Were You” with Elvis just backed by 4 minimal but in-the-groove musicians and The King WAY up front, as you might hear on a Julie London record from 50’s, and not come away floored by Elvis’s subtlety and soul as an artist. Hearing him working out the song with the musicians, clearly friends with whom he was comfortable and who were comfortable with him, makes the case for Elvis better than any documentary could.

I’d not be surprised if Elvis fans of that era (people like me) have played this album hundreds of times–I certainly have. In the pre-CD, pre-internet era, it was a revelation. I can still feel that when I listen to it. If you care about Elvis and his work, you might feel the same thing if you hear this LP today. The compilers even ended the album with a beautiful live performance of “Can’t Help Falling In Love,” the song that Elvis ended many of his shows with (and Elvis is way up front in the mix, you can hardly hear the backing singers or the Joe Guercio Orchestra). Clearly, Elvis lovers were at work here, and they did their job masterfully in support of The King’s legacy.

elvis-presley-a-dogs-life-mya

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