Elvis Presley - The Albums and Singles Thread pt3 The Seventies

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by mark winstanley, May 26, 2019.

  1. DirkM

    DirkM Forum Resident

    Location:
    MA, USA
    They're also on the Dark End Of The Street comp that @RSteven mentioned earlier. Unfortunately, used copies seem to be going at premium rates, but if you can snag a copy at a reasonable price, definitely pick one up. The American Sound recordings are the highlight of the CD, but there are other goodies scattered throughout. The Panic Is On is one of my favourite obscurities to play for people:

     
  2. minkahed

    minkahed Forum Resident

    The 70's Elvis Presley box set is Kick-Ass.

    In my honest opinion, Disc 5 could have been re-sequenced a little bit better, but overall, I think Ernst did a wonderful job and Dennis Ferrante's mixes and mix reconstructions we're pretty good. my only gripe is that they left off the 1973 funky, "If You Don't Come Back" off.
     
  3. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

    Help Me
    Written By :
    Larry Gatlin

    Recorded :

    Stax Studios, Memphis, December 10-16, 1973 : December 12, 1973. take 1

    I really like this track too. This is country gospel and it is executed perfectly. The band again are just totally in tune with the song, and Elvis is committed to the lyric. I believe Elvis was living in the zone this lyric occupies, and he absolutely nails the whole feel and emotion here.

     
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  4. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

    Mr Songman

    Written By :
    Donnie Sumner

    Recorded :

    Stax Studios, Memphis, December 10-16, 1973 : December 12, 1973. take 6

    I know many don't like this song, and I suppose I understand that, but I have no problem with this song, it is one of the weaker songs on here to some degree, but still pretty good.
    This is seventies country, and it is executed well.

     
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  5. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brookings, Oregon
    I absolutely love Elvis's version of Help Me from the Promised Land album, but for some reason I find the live cut from Live On Stage In Memphis superior to my ears. I think his voice stands out better as there is no harmony vocal on the first verse like in the studio version, and Elvis really nails that ending on the song where his voice climbs up a notch. It just might be I am a little more partial to that live version because my Los Angeles country radio station always played the live version of Help Me instead of the studio version. For many years, I wrongly thought the live version was the single version.

    Written by one of his back-up singers IIRC, and although it is kind of a lightweight ditty, I never seem to want to skip it when I play the album. Not a bad tune really, just nothing special, almost like one of his movie soundtrack songs from the later 60's, but with more of a country feel to it.
     
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  6. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    Help Me is kind of a quintessential 70s country song... if you listened to country radio during that time, you heard dozens of songs with this style/feel. I think it's a pretty good song that receives a really nice performance from Elvis.

    Mr. Songman was (as Steve said) pitched by a member of Voice, and Elvis agreed to do it. It's a mediocre song on a very cliched theme (there's dozens of country songs about jukeboxes). Elvis does a decent performance, but it's one of those deals where you think "Elvis at this point is recording an average of about 10 songs a year, should he be wasting his time with something this average?" Maybe he should have just covered "Please Mister Please" instead if he wanted to do a jukebox song.
     
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  7. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

    Elvis forever doing people favours, often to his detriment
     
  8. PacificOceanBlue

    PacificOceanBlue Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Southwest
    Agreed. It is a low-grade piece of material and one presumes if Elvis was in a better state of mind and not in such an uninspired state with respect to his recording career, he never would have considered recording it.
     
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  9. MRamble

    MRamble Forum Resident

    A bloated arrangement for a very small song. It might have worked in another arrangement. Either way, Sumner should have kept it for himself and Voice.
     
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  10. DirkM

    DirkM Forum Resident

    Location:
    MA, USA
    I like Mr. Songman...it's nothing great, sure, but it's fun to hear. I will concede that the overdubs spoil the master somewhat. By contrast, take 2 works much better for me (it sounds particularly great on Elvis At Stax).
     
  11. Dave112

    Dave112 Forum Resident

    As I've already said, I like this one. Elvis does a fine job singing about the honky tonk life although it wasn't his lifestyle at all. Songs like this and Pieces Of My Life tends to make me think Elvis was being evasive when it came to the songs hitting too close to home. When Charlie Rich sings a song like Pieces Of My Life, it sounds like he's giving a firsthand account. When Elvis dropped the "pills to kill the pain" line in Goodtime Charlie's Got The Blues but sings about drinking without reservation in other songs, it shows his reluctance to face the truth. He has no problem singing about marriage problems but this gives an insight into just how badly addiction had hold of him. Alcohol addiction in the lyrics was a proxy for the pills IMO. Elvis was not known to drink to excess (that I've heard of). When he nails some of these sad songs centered on alcohol, the listener can swap out alcohol for drugs and see where the connection to the lyrics were.
     
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  12. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

    On a side note, this morning when i looked at that song, I thought it said Donna Summer ... and I was scratching my head thinking I had never heard her sing country, but she writes country? :)
     
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  13. Dave112

    Dave112 Forum Resident

    It could have been a possibility. The Pointer Sisters wrote and performed country songs which is pretty cool.
     
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  14. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brookings, Oregon
    Yes indeed, and of course Anita and Bonnie Pointer wrote and first recorded Fairytale from Elvis's splendid Today album, which we should be getting to shortly on this fine thread..
     
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  15. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    Yep. If this song had been sitting in a pile of demos Elvis never would have selected it. But pitched directly by a member of Voice, he was too nice to say no.
    Now I'm imagining Elvis singing "Hot Stuff." That might actually have worked...
     
  16. DirkM

    DirkM Forum Resident

    Location:
    MA, USA
    I know it was written/recorded long after he was gone, but I think Elvis could have done a great version of Donna's In Another Place & Time, using a Separate Ways/Always On My Mind type of arrangement.
     
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  17. Dave112

    Dave112 Forum Resident

    I learn something new every day. I googled Donnie Sumner and see that he was JD's nephew and member of Voice. Although it's not a stellar song, it would be a feather in anyone's hat to say that Elvis recorded a song that they had written.
     
  18. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

    Love Song Of The Year
    Written By :
    Chris Christian

    Recorded :

    Stax Studios, Memphis, December 10-16, 1973 : December 12, 1973. take 8

    This isn't a bad song, again, like Mr Songman, it is a lesser song, but it is still an enjoyable enough seventies love song. Certainly less country and more an MOR ballad. The instrumentation is apt, and for me the main selling point here is Elvis' involvement in the song. I get the impression that a lot of what is happening with Elvis in some of these songs is he is singing out his blues/melancholy/depression, and a lot of these lyrics are reflections, or mild variations of how he was actually feeling.
    In spite of the fact that he had been playing the field with the ladies, and he had lost Priscilla, It seems like there is an inherent feeling of loss inside him that comes out in a lot of these songs. When someone is so successful in one aspect of their life, it can have a extreme effect when other aspects of their lives are a complete failure, and no matter how many ladies he shared the company of, it will never counteract the feeling of failure in some of the more standard aspects of life.... all that and also his obviously failing health build and create a despondency, and to me, that comes through in the songs.

     
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  19. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

    It Midnight
    Written By :
    Billy Edd Wheeler & Jerry Chesnut

    Recorded :

    Stax Studios, Memphis, December 10-16, 1973 : December 10, 1973. take 19

    Here we have Elvis again in that despondent melancholy of lost love, failure to succeed in the land of love. I really like this song. I find it to be a moving, heartfelt expression that calls on the singer to fully inhabit the song, and in my opinion, Elvis does.
    This works well for me.

     
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  20. Dwight Fry

    Dwight Fry Forum Resident

    Location:
    Gulfport, Florida
    This has always been one of my all-time favorite Presley tracks, period. Possibly my single favorite 70's cut. Not merely because of Presley's performance, but also the moody atmosphere of the backing band. My only quibble is that FTD has never released the undubbed master take--the backing vocals don't necessarily bother me here, but they're generally an unnecessary audio frill, and I'd like to to have a version without them at some point.

    I like how Presley can effortlessly sell a line like "burning way down in my soul." Songs like "It's Midnight" illustrate exactly how great he could be at this stage of his life, and how he did continue to grow as an artist in spite of his other bad habits--I don't see him pulling off a performance with quite this much authenticity when he was in his twenties.
     
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  21. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Pick up a fast car, burn my name in the road Thread Starter

    yea, nice statement ... I can totally get with that. He was a better singer in his younger years, but his application of experience, and the aged and hurt soul singing here, is more believable and intimate
     
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  22. Dave112

    Dave112 Forum Resident

    As much as l really like Promised Land(one of his best), It's Midnight is the star of the single and highlight of the album. I have played this for a few very casual younger Elvis fans that haven't heard this before and they were surprised at how much they liked it along with Promised Land.
     
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  23. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brookings, Oregon
    I am in total agreement with you on the unheralded greatness of It's Midnight. Yes indeed, I love your wording about "the moody atmosphere of the backing band." I can even sympathize with those who do like the very prominent role of the backing vocals and the bombastic nature of the strings on the top ten country hit single and yet despite all the heavy handiness of the production, the fantastic rhythm section cannot be overlooked, led by Bobby Wood's subtle electric piano work and Ronnie Tutt's kick ass drumming. Elvis also delivers one of his most passionate vocals ever.

    What a great point you make here as well. I have wondered the same thing about some of Elvis's best 70's vocal performances. Could Elvis have delivered a vocal as passionate and heartbreaking earlier in his career as he delivers on songs like Hurt, Danny Boy or Unchained Melody in the 70's? You make a very astute observation here that has rarely been brought up by my fellow Elvis experts on this thread, including myself for that matter.
     
  24. PacificOceanBlue

    PacificOceanBlue Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Southwest
    The arrangement and production are nauseating. The live versions are excessive schmaltzy bombast. Not one of Elvis’ finer moments.
     
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  25. Spencer R

    Spencer R Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pontotoc, MS
    Given that Elvis recorded Bizarro World material ranging from Life to Song of the Shrimp, who’s to say what he would or wouldn’t have sung?

    I imagine the Colonel wasn’t happy about Voice or anyone else pitching songs though.
     
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