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YET ANOTHER FIRST FOR ELVIS!
on 5 May 2013
This has to be the strangest release by anyone - ever! As the front cover suggests, there is nothing but on-stage talking, joking, with lots of laughter and audience noise and screams. A strange release for the most popular singer of all time!
Through it all, you pick up Elvis' sense of humour and how he interacted with his audience. You won't hear a single tune, though you frequently expect him to break into song. Still, this album was a welcome revelation for fans back in 1974. The concept was the first of its kind, and hasn't been done by anyone else since. Only Elvis could get away with this!
So what was the idea behind the original release you ask? It's worth realising that Elvis Presley's larger than life image in the '70s made him so beyond reach that fans bought anything that had his name on it. They quivered at the mere sight of a recent picture of him in a magazine. And back in 1974, his record label RCA were desperate for studio albums from Elvis but they just couldn't get him into a studio.
And that is where Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis' so-called manager, stepped in - to make money from as little effort and expense as possible. Snippets of dialogue from various concerts were spliced together in average sound quality to simulate an evening with The King! Even the album front cover's six pictures of Elvis were printed in black & white, no doubt to reduce costs and maximise profit. Sticking my neck out here, I suggest Elvis wasn't even aware of this project until the record was released! He was reportedly furious when he later saw and heard the album - an understandable reaction.
Realising no one could force Elvis into a studio, Parker put this deal together - but under his own Boxcar label. And under the Boxcar arrangement, Elvis got the minimum percentage of the profits after expenses and fees were paid while Parker took the biggest share!! After taxes, Elvis virtually got small change out of the entire deal. Well that and 100% of the critical ridicule that followed the release. Perhaps that crooked manager was using this method to teach Elvis a lesson? It must have worked, because Elvis was back to recording in March 1975. Well that's just an opinion.
This new release is the extended version with a booklet included - but comes in a simple cardboard CD jacket with mat finishing, which is disappointing for a limited edition release!
Should you buy? Well ONLY if you are a big fan and want to add this limited edition to your Elvis collection. As a side note, another four unofficial volumes were released in the last few years! And all were sold out in no time!
Such is the power of Elvis Presley.