Elvis Presley - The Albums and Singles Thread pt3 The Seventies

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

  1. Mylene

    Mylene Forum Resident

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    RCA (Australia) also put out a 20 track compilation of stuff that had come out on Camden albums. The cool stuff is Clean Up Your Own Backyard, Edge of Reality and US Male. The rest was mainly from EP soundtracks that had been deleted years ago. Putting a That's the Way it Is ear cover was a stroke of genius. I remember wanting it but checking the track listing and changing my mind.
     
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  2. When In Rome

    When In Rome It's far from being all over...

    Location:
    UK
    Great cover indeed; crafty record execs think they can sucker us in with a good cover...
    (Sometimes they're right! :hide:)
     
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  3. Mylene

    Mylene Forum Resident

    I'm pretty sure That's the Way it Is was in the cinemas when that album came out here. Because it was a budget album they only sold it at newsagencies and petrol stations.
     
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  4. When In Rome

    When In Rome It's far from being all over...

    Location:
    UK
    Looking back I see I bought 'Boulevard...'album in 1993 from the 'Heanor Records Centre' (anyone remember them?) making this not only one of the last Elvis LP's I purchased before vinyl was almost purged but probably one of the last LP's I bought new by anyone for a very l-o-n-g time. (Who'd have thought LP's would come back?? Anyway I'm off-topic-ing again!!)
    It was expensive for a record back then and could only be mail ordered as it was never in the usual selection of Elvis LP's that had once graced our UK shops.
    I had to have it on vinyl.
    The two songs I most wanted to hear were 'The Last Farewell' as I knew Roger Whittakers version and 'I'll Never Fall in Love Again' I knew Tom Jones' version. I enjoyed the former but was disappointed and saddened by the latter. My hero just couldn't pull it off in 1976, seven years past he would've easily nailed that song but here, he seemed to struggle. The subtle nuance and affectation had been lost to breathlessness and seemingly forced vocalisation. I was crestfallen.
    As for others, I had heard the live version of Hurt from the 'Elvis in Concert' that my Dad had and I had once heard on the radio (and recorded the end of!) 'Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain', which I was really intrigued with as, this was like no other Elvis song I had ever heard before production wise and I loved that reverb effect on the vocals (Sorry @SKATTERBRANE!!) so I was really please to finally hear the full song.
    It would be interesting to hear (or see) some contemporary reviews from people at the time to see what they thought. Were there any clues to the outside world (certainly outside the US) in 1976 that the sands of time were running out...
     
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  5. Mylene

    Mylene Forum Resident

    Radio in Australia gave up on Elvis after My Boy. The next album RCA actually pushed was Moody Blue.
     
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  6. mark winstanley

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

    Blue Eyes Cryin' In The Rain
    Written By :
    Fred Rose

    Recorded :

    Jungle Room, Graceland, Memphis, February 2-9, 1976: February 7, 1976. take 5

    Elvis Presley recorded "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" (having sung it privately with friends and family for years while accompanying himself on piano) in the Jungle Room at Graceland on 7 February 1976. This was the last known song that Elvis Presley sang (at the piano in the rest area of his racquetball court located to the rear of Graceland) before his death on August 16, 1977.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I have to say I like this song too. The overwhelming melancholy is still present, but here we have a country ballad that has been given a great groove with a bit of a swing, and for me it works. It gives me the picture in my head of a guy sitting at a bar with a drink of choice and an R&B band playing in the background .... something along those lines.
    I can't feel that the band particularly thought Elvis wasn't on it, because they sound great. Burton gives us a really nice Tele lead break, and there is some great swingin' keyboard.
    Again, I guess Elvis voice isn't at his sixties peak, but I like the delivery, and don't find anything in the vocal that perturbs me at all.

     
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  7. mark winstanley

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

    Danny Boy
    Written By :
    Frederic E. Weatherly

    Recorded :

    Jungle Room, Graceland, Memphis, February 2-9, 1976: February 5, 1976. take 10


    Recorded in response to a request from his father, Vernon, this is from Elvis' penultimate studio recording session in February 1976, recorded in the Jungle Room of Elvis' home in Graceland.
    --------------------------------------------------------
    This song has a legend all of its own. Sung by so many singers, that a list would only ever be incomprehensive.
    Apparently a request from Vernon, and perhaps that is why Elvis seems to have attacked the song with so much passion.
    Elvis approaches this song with a reflective tenderness that is quite moving. Again I guess he isn't singing at 1960 levels, but I am not really concerened about that. I guess I approach each album/year as its own thing, and I really have no problem with the vocals on this album. A great man, old before his time, putting his heart out on the line again, to have it slapped by a world that acted like it didn't want him anymore, until he wasn't anymore, and then realising what they had lost.

    I think this is excellent, but feels very different from most Elvis ballads to me.

    Is Elvis on the piano?

     
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  8. Keith Flynn's Elvis site says no:
    https://www.keithflynn.com/recording-sessions/760205.html

    (Great site, btw; it's an expansion of Ernst Jorgensen's "A Life In Music" Elvis sessionography and features session details as well as scans of RCA session log documents, sheet music and the occasional tape box photo.)
     
  9. SKATTERBRANE

    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    If I recall, Elvis played around with recording Danny Boy on his personal recorder while in Germany. I like the performance on EPB so much that I sometimes use it to persuade non-believers.
     
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  10. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brookings, Oregon
    According to Ernst Jørgensen in A Life In Music, it is actually famed Nashville guitarist Billy Sanford playing the lead guitar break as James Burton, Jerry Scheff and Glen Hardin had a prior commitment and could not play on Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain. Mr. Sanford was very well know for his economical style of musicianship and probably described it best himself when he played on John Conlee's number one country single, Lady Lay Down, which ironically Tom Jones would record later and have a minor hit with himself:

    "I played two notes on the intro, two notes on the turn-around, and two notes on the outro, and that was it," Sanford told an audience in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum's Ford Theater. "There were standing jokes around town about some musicians playing too much on records. I said, 'Well, I won't be guilty on that one.'"

    Billy Sanford's most iconic electric guitar lick is the one he played on Roy Orbison's Pretty Woman, a lick he had been fooling with for months while on tour with Roy and inspired by the guitar licks he had heard on Little Richard's hit song, Lucille, proving Mr. Sanford could break out when he needed to on the instrument.
     
  11. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brookings, Oregon
    It was always a little confusing to me with the credits on those first Graceland sessions as it says that Glen Hardin was on piano and David Briggs on electric for most of these songs, but once again, according to Ernst in his book, it is David Briggs who has switched over to the piano for Elvis's gorgeous version of Danny Boy:

    A month later, sitting in a small restaurant in Johnson City, Tennessee, the producer (Felton Jarvis) shared his excitement about the recording of "Danny Boy" with this writer. It was beautiful, he reported, and David Briggs playing had been incredible.

     
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  12. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brookings, Oregon
    I have done the exact same thing and just a couple of months. I played Danny Boy for my 26 year old nephew, an Army veteran and a huge Johnny Cash fan, and he was blown away by Elvis's version of that warhorse of a song. He actually has told me that he prefers Elvis's "older voice" over the early stuff, something that actually surprised me a whole lot. One of his favorite songs to play on his phone is Elvis's unedited version of Heart Of Rome. My nephew has a fantastic sense of humor and pretty darn good taste in music.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2019
  13. ClausH

    ClausH Senior Member

    Location:
    Denmark
  14. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brookings, Oregon
    I had only known Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain from Willie Nelson's hit version, which ironically just bored the hell out of me. I later fell in love with much of Willie Nelson's music, but it took me a little while. I really love his early RCA stuff, which hardly anybody ever talks about before he moved on to Columbia.

    Yeah, I was blown away by that electric piano by Buddy Emmons and Billy Sanford's great guitar work. I actually dig the reverb as well, which somehow works on this song. Elvis really re-worked this song and came up with something quite good to my ears.

    Elvis really stunned me with his gorgeous performance and passionate take on Danny Boy. Hearing his naked voice with just the piano and some soft backing vocals just blew me away. I bought the album when it first came out based on how much I loved his iconic version of Hurt, but now I had two vocal highlights from the album that I just fell in love with at the time. I really love this whole album, but these two songs alone would have made the album an essential purchase for me, no matter what you make of the rest of it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2019
  15. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brookings, Oregon
    I really like this sweet informal performance, but this is one time where Elvis's "older voice" beats his younger voice in my opinion. He just needed more living to nail this song for me personally.
     
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  16. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    I hate to be a sourpuss here, but I really do not like what Elvis does with Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain at all. This is a great, great song, a classic country shuffle. The Elvis version slows down the tempo so there is pretty much no swing left at all in the beat, and the result is almost tedious. Elvis sounds like he's sleepwalking through the song, and there is no passion or dynamics in his performance. It almost feels like the band is dragging him along and like he's just reading the lyrics off a sheet. Everyone knows the classic Willie Nelson version (which is the definitive version in my book) but there's lots of great versions of this song. Here's a fine version by Gene Vincent, that illustrates what Elvis might have done with the track if he'd had more energy and interest:


    By contrast, Danny Boy is the other great track (along with Hurt) on this record. Unlike with Blue Eyes, Elvis clearly is invested in this song and seems to be really trying. There is genuine emotion here, and like Hurt this is a case where the deficiencies in his singing work well within the context of the song. This is one of his last great performances, gripping and moving. I think it was Greil Marcus in Mystery Train who drew a comparison between the falsetto he employs at the end of the song and his work on Blue Moon, noting he was coming full circle with almost a callback to one of his earliest recordings.
     
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  17. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    I'm glad you added that second sentence, or we'd have fight on our hands here. ;)
     
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  18. DirkM

    DirkM Forum Resident

    Location:
    MA, USA
    As wonderful as the JR Danny Boy is, I actually prefer the home recording that Claus posted above (it's available on A Golden Celebration). It can't match the despair and raw emotion of the JR take, but the purity of Elvis' voice and his trademark stuttering guitar makes for a stunning combination. It's a shame that we don't have a vocal performance from the Comeback Special rehearsals; it would have been great to hear Elvis' raw vocals against that lovely guitar part.

    Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain really soars when Elvis gets to the "love is like a dying ember" part. The song might not be as intense as it could have been, but that's all right with me. It's particularly effective after the intensity of Hurt/Never Again, giving the only hint of relief on side 1.
     
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  19. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brookings, Oregon
    Ah, that is a great comparison that you mention by Greil Marcus. Elvis had such an extraordinary vocal compass that he did not have to rely on his use of falsetto very often as he often was able to hit his higher notes in full voice, but here he shows he still had the ability to go into his falsetto voice late in the game.
     
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  20. RSteven

    RSteven Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brookings, Oregon
    One of my very best friends, who had one of the funniest and driest sense of humors of anybody I have ever met, use to tell people that he thought Willie Nelson was one of the most remarkable singers in the world, because Willie could actually sing through his nose. He did not mean it as a compliment, I'm afraid. I really think Willie is a truly gifted vocalist, and I have always likened his unique vocal phrasing to Frank Sinatra's (they both were known for sometimes singing just ever so slightly behind the actual beat of a song, which made them be able to twist and turn their phrasing an extra step or two for emphasis). Willie's Stardust album is a masterpiece, but his early RCA stuff is just as compelling as his heyday commercial period in the 70's and 80's in my opinion.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2019
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  21. Revelator

    Revelator Disputatious cartoon animal.

    Location:
    San Francisco
    "Hurt" and "Danny Boy" are Elvis's last great performances in a recording studio. Gurlanick speculates that "Danny Boy" "had its inspiration for Elvis in another over-the-top r&b performance, this one by Jackie Wilson." I confess that I don't hear many similarities. And "over the top" is a parsimonious way of describing Wilson's masterpiece:



    Elvis couldn't have competed with Wilson's pyrotechnics, so he goes to work where Wilson ends--he begins the climax on "And I shall hear, though soft you tread above me," whereas Wilson had ended with the previous line, "And kneel and say an Ave there for me."

    During his first attempts Elvis had asked David Briggs to raise the key, but he was unable to reach the high note on "here" and acknowledged failure: “I can’t make it. I’ve got too much s**t in me, man. I’d like to do it in C. That’s where I’d like to do it better." Guralnick writes that Elvis "hung in through ten takes until he got a version even more heart-rending perhaps than if he had not been brought face-to-face with his own limitations." I have to agree. What's dramatized in the sing is not just the story in the lyrics, but Elvis's sense of mortality, age, and disappointment. The critic Charles Taylor wrote that "Danny Boy" sounded like Elvis saying goodbye to his younger self: The song was his epitaph.
     
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  22. PacificOceanBlue

    PacificOceanBlue Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Southwest
    Elvis’ vocals are a bit wobbly on Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain, layered in reverb, but I really enjoy hearing Elvis take on a quality piece of material, which became more and more of the exception, and the arrangement is quite appealing. Definitely a Jungle Room highlight from my perspective.
     
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  23. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    I'm a casual Nelson fan at best, but I think his version of Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain is definitive so your initial reaction that it was "boring" is what got my attention. Nelson is certainly not a technically proficient singer, but as we all know that often has no bearing on the overall measure of a performer. My knowledge of his RCA stuff is limited, but based on what I've heard I came away with the impression that he was a guy who didn't truly find his voice as a performer until he hit 40. In particular, his remake of "She's Not for You" on the Shotgun Willie album is SO much better than his original 60s version. Okay, end of tangent.
     
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  24. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    I think the fact that Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain is a quality piece of material is a big part of what makes Elvis' sluggish arrangement so disappointing to me. A song that good, he should have been able to turn into something really great, but he failed to step up to the plate.
     
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  25. garyt1957

    garyt1957 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    mi
    Damn, Edge of Reality is a great song. Maybe some of the lyrics aren't the best but the melody and elvis' vocal are top notch. I always thought this could be a James Bond theme song. 007 in "The Edge of Reality" coming soon to a theatre near you. One of my very favorite "unknown" Elvis tracks.
     

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