Elvis Presley - The Albums and Singles Thread pt3 The Seventies

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


    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident

    Tucson, AZ
    RCA had a big vault cleanout in 1959 or so where some Sun tapes and the binaural tapes were dumped. The Binaural tapes were sometimes just considered "safety" tapes and had no practical purpose once they were used to mix down to make the mono master tapes. The "safety" tape came in when they simultaneously made a binaural and a mono tape.

    RCA never got ALL he tapes from Sun, a few of the Sun sides had to be mastered from 78s or 45s such as Milkcow Blues Boogie, You're A Heartbreaker, and lost the tape for Baby Let's Play House. RCA did make a master reel of the Sun material with added compression and reverb that was the basis for just about ALL he RCA Sun releases whether separately or in compilations until Elvis At Sun came along. LP and EP or Single masters often times varied with the Sun material and other material. Typically the LP version had even more compression and reverb that was added while the tapes were mastered to lacquers.
  2. Dave112

    Dave112 Forum Resident

    I'm no expert either but these guys and gals are the bomb when it comes to Elvis history! There have been several places from the 50s thread until now where it was mentioned that some masters went missing but the great crime was when they purposely destroyed master tapes like some of the unreleased Sun tapes. Why couldn't more pack rats have worked for RCA in the 1950s and 60s? Those missing Sun tapes would be worth a fortune if they were in a closet somewhere. Even just a copy of those tapes would be gold.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2019
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  3. mark winstanley

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

    Way Down *
    Pledging My Love *

    (US) RCA PB 10998
    Released: June 6, 1977
    Recorded: Graceland, Memphis, October 29, 1976


    B-side "Pledging My Love"
    Released June 6, 1977
    Format 7" single
    Recorded October 29, 1976, Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee
    Genre Rock and roll
    Length 2:39
    Label RCA
    Songwriter(s) Layng Martine, Jr.
    Producer(s) Felton Jarvis

    "Way Down" is a song recorded by Elvis Presley. Recorded in October 1976, it was his last single released before his death on August 16, 1977. The song was written by Layng Martine, Jr. and was later covered by Status Quo and Cliffhanger. Presley recorded the song at his home studio in Graceland on 29 October 1976.

    Released as a single (with "Pledging My Love" on the B-side) on June 6, 1977, it was his single at the time of his death. It initially peaked at No. 31 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart dated August 6, 1977 and had fallen to No. 53 on the chart for the week ending August 27, 1977. Thereafter, it reversed direction and reached an even higher peak at No. 18 on 24 September – 1 October 1977. "Way Down" reached No. 1 on the American Country chart the week he died.[1] Overseas, the song hit the number one in the UK Singles Chart week ending 3 September for five weeks, [2] just over seven years after his previous 16th UK number one single, "The Wonder of You", in August 1970. His previous single, "Moody Blue", had been a number one hit on the US Country Charts earlier in 1977. "Way Down" was reissued in April 2005 and reached No. 2 on the UK Singles Chart.[3]

    The recording also featured J.D. Sumner singing the words "way on down" at the end of each chorus down to the note low C (C2). At the end of the song, this phrase is octaved, reaching a double low C (C1, three octaves below middle C).[4]This note was first accomplished by Sumner in a 1966 recording of the hymn "Blessed Assurance."
    So the last single released in Elvis' lifetime, and for me it is a great song. I have liked it since I was a little pup. I was released when I was 8 turning 9, and I have no idea on the charts, but it certainly got played on the radio in Australia, because at that age, that was the only way I was going to hear something mum and dad didn't have.
    This track was number one on the US and Canadian country charts, and number one in the UK and Ireland ... it is interesting to me that Elvis seventies career was more accepted in the UK, where country music wasn't really very big at all, yet we consider, generally, most of Elvis seventies work as country .... which it probably is.
    It often feels to me like there was some form of backlash against Elvis' in the seventies, in fact to a degree during the sixties, because from a quick perusal at least Elvis seems to have done better overseas from somewhere in the sixties up until the present day......

    Anyway, we will look at these two songs as we go through the album .. but there are just some interesting things that strike me about all the stuff going on.
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  4. ClausH

    ClausH Senior Member

  5. mark winstanley

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

    (US) RCA AFL1 2428
    Released: July 1977


    Released July 19, 1977
    Recorded February 2 and 4, 1976; October 29 and 31, 1976; April 24 and 26, 1977
    Genre Soft rock, country rock, doo-wop
    Length 31:35
    Label RCA Records
    Producer Felton Jarvis

    Moody Blue is the twenty-fourth and final studio album by American singer and musician Elvis Presley, released by RCA Records in July 1977, four weeks before his death. The album was a mixture of live and studio work, and included the four tracks from Presley's final studio recording sessions in October 1976 and two tracks left over from the previous Graceland session in February 1976. "Moody Blue" was a previously published hit song recorded at the earlier Graceland session and held over for this album. Also recorded at the February session was "She Thinks I Still Care". "Way Down" became a hit after Presley's death less than one month after this album's release. The album was certified Gold and Platinum on September 12, 1977 and 2x Platinum on March 27, 1992 by the RIAA.

    • Elvis Presley – vocals, piano on "Unchained Melody", executive producer
    • The Sweet Inspirations – background vocals
    • Sherrill Nielson – background vocals
    • Kathy Westmoreland – background vocals
    • J.D. Sumner & The Stamps – background vocals
    • Myrna Smith – background vocals
    • James Burton – lead guitar
    • John Wilkinson – rhythm guitar
    • Jerry Scheff – bass guitar
    • Tony Brown - piano except "Moody Blue" and "She Thinks I Still Care"
    • Glen D. Hardin - piano on "Moody Blue" and "She Thinks I Still Care"
    • David Briggs – piano, Fender Rhodes
    • Ron Tutt – drums
    • Bergen White - string and horn arrangements
    • Don Wardell – executive producer, producer
    • Chick Crumpacker – producer
    • Dick Baxter – engineer
    • Glenn Meadows - Original Mastering
    • Vic Anesini - Digital Remastering
    Side A
    1. "Unchained Melody" (recorded on tour) Alex North, Hy Zaret April 24, 1977 2:32
    2. "If You Love Me (Let Me Know)" (recorded on tour) John Rostill April 26, 1977 2:57
    3. "Little Darlin'" (recorded on tour) Maurice Williams April 24, 1977 1:52
    4. "He'll Have to Go" (recorded at Graceland) Joe Allison, Audrey Allison October 31, 1976 4:28
    5. "Let Me Be There" (from the album, Elvis Recorded Live on Stage in Memphis) John Rostill March 20, 1974 3:26
    Side B
    1. "Way Down" (recorded at Graceland) Layng Martine, Jr. October 29, 1976 2:37
    2. "Pledging My Love" (recorded at Graceland) Don Robey, Ferdinand Washington October 29, 1976 2:50
    3. "Moody Blue" (recorded at Graceland) Mark James February 4, 1976 2:49
    4. "She Thinks I Still Care" (recorded at Graceland) Dickey Lee, Steve Duffy February 2, 1976 3:49
    5. "It's Easy for You" (recorded at Graceland) Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice October 29, 1976 3:26
    I was never successful, and that's cool, but it is a sad indictment on the recording industry that its brightest light and biggest star just didn't want to record any more, and only toured for monetary reasons. Sure I know he had some addiction issues, but it was much more than that. The recording industry is a back biting cesspool, whereby its functionality is virtually if not directly anti-music. Whenever money becomes the focus of anything the product, whatever the product is, is compromised ... nowhere is that more apparent that the music industry. When the whole idea is just get your donkey where it needs to be for maximum return, it creates resentment. There have certainly been some fantastic musicians and entertainers over the years that have managed to hold their ground, in terms of not letting the circus destroy their show, but that is not a majority thing. I think that is why so many people have so many opinions on so many people in the music business, because it is hard to hold your lip, when you are in amongst all the BS .... anyway i wander like a cowboy on the wrong trail.

    I like this album. I don't think there is anything I particularly dislike, and there are certainly some songs that I very much like. It is a crying shame that Elvis didn't want to record, and perhaps to some degree, with the benefit of hindsight we can see/hear that he wasn't fully engaged, but I do wonder sometimes how much of that is media effected, because back when I was a kid, and sure I didn't have the experience I do now, but I never once thought there was anything whatsoever wrong with the two radio songs I was familiar with.... It is very interesting how media has the ability to manipulate our thoughts about things ... but anyway.

    I certainly don't think this is the best album in Elvis' catalog, but I think that it is definitely a reasonably strong album to have to go out with, and should certainly cause nobody any discomfort from a fan perspective that it is the end, from a musical perspective.

    So what do we all think about this one here?
    What were your thoughts on this before Elvis died? If you can clearly remember
    What were your thoughts on this after Elvis died?
    What are your thoughts on this now?

    Please give us your hearts and minds on this album. Perhaps from a perspective that knows nothing about the whole circus surrounding this, and a perspective from being very aware of the whole circus around this.

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  6. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    I've always enjoyed this album and it's one I've known for as long as I can remember, so we must have had it in the house. When considering the post 'Elvis Country' studio albums, this is one of the better ones, and I like that it's a bit more upbeat than FEPB.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2019
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  7. Libertine

    Libertine Forum Resident

    This was a birthday present for me on the 9th August 1977. I was 13 that day, but had been an avid fan of pop and rock for about 9 years. I wasn’t disappointed at all although I noticed how deep his voice seemed. In England his singles regularly chatted and we were really not aware of his problems health wise. I remember one of my school friends who was into punk really liking “Way down”!

    it’s interesting how the narrative of Elvis not wanting to record anymore is viewed as a final decision by him based on what happened on August 16th 1977. I like to think that the 76/77 period was only a relatively short period of time in the big scheme of things (where bands tidy take 5 years to follow up
    Their last release) and maybe had he lived he may well of been inspired to record great music again. Just a thought.

    I do remember that even at 13 I did not like mixing live and studio tracks together. This wasn’t a “Thats the way it is” type album.
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  8. mark winstanley

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

    I actually have no doubt about this. I think the draw to make music is too strong and it will draw you back no matter what.... I have barely done anything in eight years, but I still have the itch, and given the circumstances I know I would jump at the opportunity.
    I reckon given a more realistic modern contract, where it wasn't required to release 3 albums a year, Elvis would almost certainly have recorded again, and been inspired again .... I would even say that given a return to physical and mental health, I am sure he would have blown some minds again.
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  9. mark winstanley

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

    For the record the vote as to the best place to finish was a dead heat, a tie ....
    I lean towards finishing the thread with the concert and the single, so I hope it isn't going to annoy anyone, but that's where I am going to go with it.
    Then we will start a posthumous thread that will cover material up to 1998.
    I will need all your help in covering the most important posthumous albums, but I will be going roughly by the list I posted earlier, and leaving out the Time Life stuff as per @SKATTERBRANE 's suggestion. We will probably touch on the Time/Life stuff in a post that covers them all.
    Also @ClausH , if you are able to have a quick look at the list I put up, and give me some recommendations on stuff I missed that would be cool.

    If anyone has any posthumous albums they feel we need to cover that aren't on there, please Copy and paste them in order to the list I did Elvis Presley - The Albums and Singles Thread pt3 The Seventies

    If you inbox me with this stuff it will save filling the thread with our speculation and organising :righton:
  10. Pelvis Ressley

    Pelvis Ressley Down in the Jungle Room

    Capac, Michigan
    I was very young when I got this album. I don't remember anything about when Elvis passed away. I remember playing the blue LP on the record player in my bedroom, I always started it on side "B" because my favorite tracks were "Way Down", "Pledging My Love", and "Moody Blue". They still are.

    I still have that beat up old blue vinyl copy, along with a sealed one (those seem to be pretty common) and a black vinyl AFL1-2428 (not common).
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  11. DirkM

    DirkM Forum Resident

    MA, USA
    For being such a hodgepodge, Moody Blue holds together quite well. I enjoy listening to it more than FEPB, even though I think that FEPB is the superior album. There's a lot of dark music here, but there's a lot music that's simply fun as well, and that makes all the difference. Some truly devastating tracks notwithstanding, the overall feel is that of a somewhat breezy pop/country/retro-rock album.

    FEPB is an rewarding yet exhausting album. Moody Blue is rewarding yet ultimately entertaining.
  12. Pelvis Ressley

    Pelvis Ressley Down in the Jungle Room

    Capac, Michigan
    In contrast to Felton Jarvis's schmaltzy, MOR post-production work on past albums, "Unchained Melody" goes from rough concert performance to a decent master. The quick switch between Elvis and Sherrill Nielsen at the end is undetectable to the casual fan.
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  13. I look at Moody Blue as an album that 'coulda been' better had only Elvis recorded a few more studio tracks so as to avoid including live cuts as filler (as even I thought they were back in '77). But it is what it is in that regard. Still, there's some terrific music here and it's rare I skip any tracks. As @DirkM says so perfectly it's an entertaining listen, and livens up the somber mood set by its predecessor.

    Moody Blue was certainly the first color vinyl I ever had and thought it was pretty cool back then. I have a black vinyl version in the collection too, but I reach for the blue vinyl when I want to give it a spin.

    It's mentioned in Wikipedia that there were limited color Moody Blue singles - as far as I'm aware, these were only pressed at the 'experimental' stage (and possibly even unauthorized) and none were pressed for the public. Several years back, Rockaway Records (an awesome record store in Los Angeles) had something like 5 color variations for sale.

    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident

    Tucson, AZ
    The Moody Blue LP also had several different colors pressed under "experimental" and are VERY collectable-Gold, White, Red Green. Even the black vinyl version is very collectable. After the initial run of blue, they reverted to black. But when he died they went back to blue. Only the black ones with the original catalog number (AFL) is collectable, as when they reissued it under a new catalog number (AQL) they were black as well, and aren't worth much.

    The gold color was eventually used on Canadian Tribute. The Green on the reissue of Christmas Album (original). I am not aware that red or white was ever used on a US Elvis LP, but may well have been.
  15. Red was used on the 1980's LP A Valentine Gift For You:

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  16. Good to know! The prevailing wisdom is that the blue ones were the common and the black were the rare.
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    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident

    Tucson, AZ
    I bought this album before he died. I got a what was INTENDED to be the limited Blue vinyl copy. (If I had waited a few weeks I may have gotten the rare black vinyl, which I never was able to acquire). I was entertained by the album. I did NOT like the Olivia Newton John songs. I did not know that Let Me Be There was from the Live In Memphis album because I had not bought the albums between Elvis Now and EP Boulevard yet. I thought Little Darlin' was an amusing novelty. (that only needed two or three listens before it became annoying). I quite liked both Moody Blue and Way Down. It is truly a mixed bag.

    But I prefer the 6/21 performance of Unchained as heard on The Great Performances, WITHOUT the all the overdubs used on the single.

    I would rather hear Elvis' flaws than have them buried by Failtone with the "cagey" overdubs. And I HATE the Sherril Nelson fake endings. It reminds me of Richard Harris' MacCarthur Park ending.

    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident

    Tucson, AZ
    The prevailing wisdom is right, the Black AFL ones ARE rare. The black AQL ones are numerous.
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    SKATTERBRANE Forum Resident

    Tucson, AZ
    Of course! How could I have forgotten! Thank you.
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  20. Pelvis Ressley

    Pelvis Ressley Down in the Jungle Room

    Capac, Michigan
    Correct. The AQL1-2428 "best buy" reissue from 1980 still sold very well. I see copies on a regular basis listed as "RARE BLACK VINYL COPY".
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  21. JLGB

    JLGB Forum Resident

    The single overdubs of the song are different from the overdubs used on the album. I never liked the single version. The album version was well done, in my opinion. And Elvis's voice was not buried. It just wasn't there.
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  22. Neil Anderson

    Neil Anderson Forum Resident

    Portland, Oregon
    always thought the cover of Moody Blue was odd.
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  23. arriano

    arriano The California Kid

    San Diego
    I bought the "Way Down" single new as a 12 year old, and recorded it on cassette along with a few other songs and took that with me on a trip to Tacoma, Wash., to visit cousins over the summer. I made my cousins fans of the song. One day after going swimming at a nearby lake, we were all in the car going back to my cousins' house when they announced on the radio that Elvis had died. I remember we all looked at each other in disbelief. And then the DJ played "Way Down."
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  24. JLGB

    JLGB Forum Resident

    I noticed "Way Down" was big when I heard the music as background on a Benny Hill sketch in 1977! LOL...
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  25. PepiJean

    PepiJean Forum Resident

    For Elvis' last single in his lifetime, I believe that the single WAY DOWN / PLEDGING MY LOVE was a worthy farewell. The album, not that much.
    WAY DOWN is a good rocker with a nice boogie-woogie feel and a fine job from both the Sweets and J.D. Moreover, it does not fall in the C&W fields for a change. Which is nice. The B-Side was a surprise: Elvis singing Johnny Ace's final 1954 hit. It was like if our man was doing full circle by finishing with a song recorded at the same time he started it all at Sun. The whole record flows quite well; I would even say that this is probably his best single since YOU DON'T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME / PATCH IT UP, ages earlier. Good stuff.
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