Friday, August 29, 2008

Elvis Month: The On Tour Sessions Part 3

This is the last installment of the three volume CD compilation of the tapes used during the filming of "Elvis On Tour". Here we get a extraordinary glimpse of what it must have been like to stand in the studio while Elvis and the band rehearsed for upcoming concerts and laid down tracks at a recording session. One last little tidbit about "Elvis On Tour". The film won the 1972 Golden Globe Award for Best Documentary, making it the only Elvis film to win an award of any kind. Reportedly, Elvis was at Graceland the night of the awards show. When he found out he won, he ran around the house shouting "Son Of a Bitch, we've won the Golden Globe". Here is the third and final volume of "The Complete Elvis On Tour Sessions." Enjoy!

Elvis-The Complete On Tour Sessions Volume 3

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Elvis Month: The On Tour Sessions Part 2

More of the rare reel to reel tapes that were used during the filming of the "Elvis On Tour" documentary during the spring of 1972. This one is subtitled "Elvis Gospel Special." It features great Presley gospel performances, with J. D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet, plus three "secular" songs. On this CD we get a rare glimpse of what Elvis and J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet did before each concert performance; Sing gospel songs to warm up vocally or for fun. Singing gospel was one of things that Elvis liked to do the best in the 1970s. Most of Elvis' 1970s concerts had gospel groups for opening acts and his own set contained a number of religious numbers performed alongside his 1950s classics.
The gospel rehearsal/warm up material contained in volume 2 is the only such material to surface on bootlegs and also seems to be the only instance where any such session was ever professionally recorded. Also included in this volume is 11 minutes of Elvis shooting the breeze with the film's director. Elvis reminisces about meeting J. D. Sumner, the Blackwood Brothers, talks about the kind of music he likes, and how he feels about performing in concert. Here is The Complete Elvis On Tour Sessions Volume 2. Enjoy!

Elvis-The Complete On Tour Sessions Volume 2

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Elvis Month: The On Tour Sessions

In 1972, MGM released the thirty-third and final motion picture to star Elvis Presley. The film followed Presley as he embarked on a 15-city tour of the United States in April 1972. The working title of the film was Standing Room Only and a soundtrack album was planned with this title, but never released. That is until the FTD (Follow That Dream) label released one last year entitled, "Elvis On Tour: The Rehearsals." The album was a great glimpse into the rehearsals for the live performances that ended up in the film and was of great quality. But people were still stammering for the actual performances used in the film. Then a series of 3 bootlegs found their way into the world all featuring the recording sessions for the film. Wait a minute, you say, if the performances were live, why were there recording sessions? That's an easy one. Throughout the history of the "live album", performers have always gone into the studio after the performances and doctored up the recordings by redoing certain sections that might not have been recorded very well or may have been played with errors. For the sake of the film, the producers wanted Elvis and the band to be incredibly powerful so they rerecorded a lot of the performances in the studio to attain that gigantic sound they were looking for. Interesting side note; one of the sound engineers on "Elvis On Tour" was a young man by the name of Martin Scorsese. "The Complete On Tour Sessions" consist of edited camera sync reel to reel tapes that were recorded by the documentary's soundman using boom mics in conjunction with the filming of Elvis and his band at RCA's Studio A and C in Hollywood, California and an unknown location during his April tour. The existence of these recordings were necessary because these sound reels were synched to the work film print for the editing process. On certain tracks you can hear synchronization "beeps" and the soundman's notations. The vast majority of these recordings consist of neither soundboards nor studio sessions tapes. Virtually everything on these CDs were recorded with a boom mic during filming, so in a manner of speaking, they are professionally made audience tapes made with professional equipment. One draw back to this unique material is that the recorder only captures the sound that was where the mic was placed at. For example, sometimes you hear Elvis singing right next to the mic and on some tracks he is drowned out by instruments. When the mic is being repositioned during a performance you get both. However, this is just a minor flaw and doesn't detract from the overall listening experience which, at least in my opinion, rocks! Here is the first of the three volumes (as with the American Studio recordings, I will be posting them over the course of the next couple of days) of the On Tour Sessions. Enjoy!

Elvis-The Complete On Tour Sessions Volume 1

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Elvis Month: Elvis Saves The Day

During his last tour in 1977, Elvis and his crew were on their way to Madison, WI. Elvis happened to spot two young kids attacking a gas station attendant. He tells the driver to stop the car and he proceeds to get out and assist the attendant by yelling at the kids, "I'll take you on!" The fight comes to a sudden end, as the two youth were shocked by the fact that Elvis Presley stood in front of them. The whole scene ended with Elvis getting them to shake hands, promise not to fight anymore, and finally a picture taken of all three. Here's teh article that appeared in the local paper the next day:

Monday, August 25, 2008

Elvis Month: It's Like Night and Day

Two posts back we gave this whole schpeial about the sessions for "Moody Blue" and how there were a few bootlegs out there. We posted "The Alternate Moody Blue". Today, we give you more of those alternate takes from the Moody Blue sessions. Here is "Moody and Blue". As with the last "Moody Blue" boot, this one features alternate takes from those sessions as well as alternate live songs. Enjoy!

Elvis-Moody And Blue
Moody and Blue Part 2

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Elvis Month: She's A Complicated Lady

There will always be a place in my heart for Elvis' last released album during his lifetime. I am, of course, talking about "Moody Blue". I remember this record coming out. I remember my dad bringing it home and putting the shiny blue vinyl on the turntable. I remember being in Bradlees with my grandfather and picking up the single to Way Down over and over until he bought it for me. I remember getting the cassette version in my Christmas stocking.I remember that it came out in 1977. (btw, it seems to me that life began in 1977 as so many amazing things came out that year, the least of all being Star Wars!). For some odd reason, no matter how many Elvis records I listen to, I always enjoy listening to this one. Over the years, there have been several bootlegs surrounding the Moody Blue album. There's a good reason why. The album was a mixture of live and studio work, and included tracks from Presley's final studio recording sessions in 1976. Apparently, these last sessions did not yield enough material for a complete album. They blamed this on the fact that most of Elvis' recordings from those sessions were used in the previous album, "From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee." The truth was that RCA just did not think that the sessions were any good. In their defense, Elvis treated these sessions like a child trying to get out of eating broccoli. If and when he bothered to come down to the sessions, he would either joke around and screw up the takes, make lackluster attempts at the songs or gather everyone up and go outside and race go-karts. Both RCA and producer Felton Jarvis had booked a recording studio in Nashville for January 1977 to cut some new tracks for this album. Unfortunately, Elvis never showed up at the session, claiming he was sick and stayed home. Jarvis and RCA had nothing to do then but to fill the album with three live tracks recorded in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on April 24, 1977, including a version of "Unchained Melody" which would be the album's third single, released posthumously. As a result of all of this, there are many "alternate takes" of those few recorded numbers and as you may have guessed, this brings us back to the start of this whole scenario with the many bootlegs concerning this album. Today I present to you just one of these bootlegs, entitled (appropriately enough) "The Alternate Moody Blue". It features alternate takes of all of the studio songs, and various other live recordings of the songs that were originally culled from the Ann Arbor show. Here it is for you now. Enjoy!

Elvis-The Alternate Moody Blue

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Elvis Month: The Class of '55

This is a clip of The Class of '55 (Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Roy Orbison) singing "We Remember The King". It was from a television special that promoted the Class of '55 album back in 1985. The special was never released on video. It's amazing to think that 23 years later, the last man standing from this is Jerry Lee. In all honesty, I never really cared for this album. I own it and can't bring myself to get rid of it but I haven't listened to it in ages. Anyway, here is the Class of '55 recording their tribute to the King and below that is the Class of '55 singing a gospel song in Elvis' honor. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Elvis Month: 31 Years Ago Today

Today is the 31st anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley. It's amazing to me that we still honor it. I'm curious as to how long it will be remembered in the way that it is today. By that I mean, with the whole Elvis week and the candlelight vigil at Graceland and all of that. It is interesting. Here at the World of Wonder, we are remembering the King this day by sharing with you the fifth and final volume of "Elvis: The American Way". This one is entitled "Goin' Home To Memphis" so it only seems fitting that we share it with you today. Enjoy!

Elvis-The American Way Volume 5: Goin' Home To Memphis

Monday, August 11, 2008

Elvis Month: How To Dance Like The King

How to Dance Like Elvis Presley
from eHow Arts & Entertainment

Elvis Presley is one of the most impersonated celebrities, but there's more to it than just curling your lip and saying, "Thank you very much." The King of Rock n' Roll was also well known for his signature, hip-shaking dance moves that offended suburban housewives and made teenage girls scream in the fifties. To dance like Elvis, you'll need to feel the rhythm in your pelvis.

Step 1
Gyrate your hips. Bend your knees slightly and move your hips around in a circular motion. Accentuate your movements with timed thrusts. Elvis' notorious hip movements are his signature moves and at the heart of any Elvis-related dance performance.

Step 2
Move your legs with your hip movements. Spread your feet apart and move your thighs in together and then apart with your hip thrusts. Keep your legs loose so that they move in a flowing motion.

Step 3
Incorporate arm movements into your dance when you feel it's appropriate. Hold your arms up and snap your fingers to the beat of the music, or swing your arms around in time with the music and your hip and leg movements.

Step 4
Maintain your balance. Elvis' unique ability to keep his balance while moving his lower body in different directions is what made him such a good dancer. To dance like Elvis, you'll need to be able to hold balance well.

Step 5
Practice playing the guitar while doing to Elvis dance moves with your hips and legs. Elvis often played the guitar and showed off his signature dance moves simultaneously while performing.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Elvis Month: Sinatra Salutes the King(re-post)

Here's another great Elvis bootleg. This time around its "The Frank Sinatra Show: Welcome Home Elvis". This was the huge television special that Sinatra put together to welcome Elvis Presley back home from his stint in the army. It offers a slick variety hour of Sinatra surrounded by the usual suspects: Sammy Davis Junior, Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop, and his own daughter Nancy.The framing device is a series of skits intended to show Elvis what he'd missed while away. Presley was paid a whopping $125,000 for 10 minutes of air time but before he even comes out, Sinatra, backed by Nelson Riddle and his Orchestra, offers a wonderful version of "Gone with the Wind", from his 1958 classic Frank Sinatra Sings... For Only the Lonely. When Elvis finally arrives, he performs "Fame and Fortune" and "Stuck on You", during which the audience screams predictably and wildly. Then comes the infamous duet between the two stars with Sinatra taking on "Love Me Tender" and Presley grappling with "Witchcraft". This "unofficial release" came from my late father's collection and is in immaculate condition. I believe it was released in the 80s but I'm not positive. It's basically an audio version of the special. Here it is for you now. Enjoy!

Welcome Home Elvis

Friday, August 08, 2008

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Elvis Month: Always On My Mind

This is hands down, my favorite video clip of Elvis. This is also one of my favorite songs by him as well. Enjoy!

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