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Home > Songs & Tours Reviewed > ELVIS: 1970 - I JUST CAN'T HELP BELIEVING THAT'S THE WAY IT IS.
Songs and Tours Reviewed
by Geoffrey Mc Donnell-Australia.
1970 started for Elvis where 1969 had ended at a NEW YEARS EVE party in T. J's nightclub in Memphis (owned by Alan Fortas) Flash and the board of Directors performed, along with special Guests Ronnie Milsap and Mark James! Therefore at the start of 1970 with the tremendous success of his first season at the Internationa1 fully accomplished Elvis could look forward to his 2nd season In Jan/Feb 1970 used to performing in front of a 'live' audience again not having to 'prove' himself as much as 1969 so that he could concentrate on polishing his performance/music and thoroughly enjoy live shows again without the some apprehension that preceded 1969.
Elvis EAGER to perform again enthusiastically soon traveled to firstly LOS ANGELES on 3rd January, then LAS VEGAS itself on 19th to continue his rehearsals for the forthcoming season due to open on January 26th 1970 through to February 23rd 1970. Elvis must hove really been 'excited' playing his first ever WINTER engagement Rehearsing many new current songs as well as old and recent 1969 material as well, this enthusiasm meant that this was to be an even better show and engagement than before as Elvis's repertoire contained the following choices:
All Shook Up - I Got A Woman - Proud Mary - Don't Cry Daddy - Teddy Bear - Don't Be Cruel - Long Tall Sally - Let It Be Me - Walk A Mile In My Shoes - That's All Right Mama - In The Ghetto - Kentucky Rain - Sweet Caroline - Polk Salad Annie - Suspicious Minds - Can't Help Falling In Love - I Can't Stop Loving You - True Love Travels On A Gravel Road - See See Rider - Love Me Tender - Love Me - Hound Dog - The Wonder Of You - Please Release Me - Bad Moon Rising.
Rarer performed were:
Blue Berry Hill - One Night - Lawdy Miss Clawdy - It's Now Or Never - Sweet Inspiration - More - Old Shep - Everybooy Loves Somebody Sometime - Rip It Up And When The Swallows Fly Home To Capistrano!!!.
Quite simply this new line up was JUST BRILLIANT! Exciting, daring, inovative and FRESH to really excite and satisfy Elvis's VEGAS audiences into a frenzy of EXCITEMENT that would spread around the world from LAS VEGAS Elvis looked STUNNING in his 'new' suits and RCA very well 'captured' this Live' show excitement 'ON STAGE' by recording Elvis's shows ( always being sure to record the opening and closing shows from ANY engagement) but specifically here for Album re1ease purposes from 15th-19th February 1970, surprisingly although many songs recorded between these two dates are widely known we are still ALL waiting to hear the 'reported' recording of the Elusive song BAD MOON RISING from 16th February 1970!? The exceptional version of LET IT BE ME is reportedly (as featured on Elvis A Legendary performer Vol. 3) from 15th February although very oddly Elvis is still receiving Valentines Day gifts whilst performing that day. Other highlights we have been treated over the years of course include the 'live' version of KENTUCKY RAIN recorded on 18th February. The release of the 'new' 1999 CD version of 'ON STAGE' WITH additional tracks was MOST WELCOME! And such highlights for me were more versions of In the Ghetto, Suspicious Minds and Kentucky Rain from the 17th Feb this time!. LONG TALL SALLY - 'Blueberry Hill / I can't stop Loving You' from 19th Feb was another highlight!.
However the Album these recordings produced although to be correct should have been titled 'ON STAGE' 80% FEB 1970 / 20%AUG 1969! THESE SONGS stand up as a very good mixture of songs released in June 1970 although All SHOWS from this engagement are 'exciting' some are better than others- especially recommended listening are the opening 1992's 'Walk a mile in my shoes' (1st part of 26.1.70 O/S) and closing shows 'True love travels on a gravel road' (half opening of 23.2.70 M/S + 2nd part of 26.1.70 O/S)( mostly available in great sound courtesy of FORT BAXTER !) Have some fun tonight' (3.2.70 D/S) and the 6.2.70 D/S (incorrectly dated) C.C. RIDER - which so well shows Elvis's humour and enthusiasm for performing again.(however this has been correctly re-released as "Sheik of the Desert" and was in fact Rick Rennies 5.2.70 D/S) or more recently- Memory Records releasing a new CD titled "International Earthquake", containing the same audience recording of the Feb. 5th 1970 dinner show!. For some reason the same problem has occurred to a lesser degree as the summer 1970 engagement with the distribution of wrongly dated shows FORT BAXTER didn't help any by giving the % part 26.1.70 opening show the FALSE date of 1.2.70 D/S and further to this the %6.2.70 M/S IS a copy of the first part of the 23.2.70 M/S -Identified as such by the chanting of GO,GO,GO during POLK SALAD ANNIE in EXACTLY the same way as at the complete closing show, also the 21.2.70 D/S appears to sound word for WORD the SAME as the preceding nights 20.2.70 M/S therefore Collectors beware of these 'compiled' shows!
Traditionally similar to the preceding VEGAS SEASON in summer 69 experimental shows take place at the end of the season as Elvis plays piano on BLUEBERRY HILL and LAWDY MISS CLAWDY much to the audiences delight. Also towards the end of the season Elvis doesn't feature PROUD MARY and starts dropping the medley of WALK A MILE IN MY SHOES/IN THE GHETTO as sometimes CC. RIDER starts getting featured instead of WALK A MILE IN MY SHOES as at the 20.2.70 M/S, or at the hilarious 22.2.70 D/S where IN THE GHETTO is stopped. Interestingly the well known 1 liner of Dean Martin's 'EVERY BODY LOVES SOMEBODY SOMETIME' is featured jokingly MANY TIMES varying from just a word to the whole line performed. This is heard at the opening 26.1.70 show and the 22.2.70 d/s just before Hound Dog, then again just before Hound Dog at the Midnight closing show - therefore it seems more than likely that 'EVERYBODY LOVES SOMEBODY SOMETIME WAS Sung MANY times throughout the engagement ! as is Elvis's 'joke' performance of 'WHEN THE SWALLOWS COME BACK TO CAPISTRANO ' at the 20.2.70 M/S just after I GOT A WOMAN. Later in this Winter engagement Elvis would often swap 'IN THE GHETTO' or 'WALK A MILE IN MY SHOES' for the more fast version of 'C.C. RIDER' - which Elvis would energetically perform in the middle of shows as a 'new' song before eventually preferring it to open show with 2 years later. Although there were 'COVER' versions of famous 'hit' songs by other well known artists again Elvis made his versions stand out as 'individual' performances and the addition of songs such as 'SWEET CAROLINE', 'LET IT BE ME', 'RELEASE ME' and 'POLK SALAD ANNIE' are nothing less than brilliant songs fantastically performed by ELVIS doing justice to the origina1 artists. The discovery and release on "PLATINUM- A LIFE IN MUSIC" in 1997 of "THE WONDER OF YOU, C.C.RIDER + RELEASE ME" from a stage rehearsal recorded between 2+5pm on 18th February is a REAL delight to hear and shows how Elvis could bring in 'new' songs late into an engagement if needed!.Other bootlegs such as 'Good times never seemed so Good' featured other versions of songs recorded for 'ON STAGE' such as the different version of Polk Salad Annie from 17.2.70. Elvis delighted in wearing his 'NEW' jumpsuits based on karate gear with a Macrame belt, ladders and Gold or Emerald embroidery making them an Enhancement of his stage presence and not 'GAUDY' as would appear in summer 1975.
1970 Featured the 'JUMPSUITS' colour's, fancy patterns, fringes, studs and macramé belts. Over 6 types appeared for the JAN/FEB season and a further addition again of another 6 types in August making well over a dozen types this year which although flamboyant were basically of simple design and very appealing and suitable for Elvis Presley the KING of VEGAS! For the Winter engagement, we see PLAIN SUITS similar to 1969 WHITE, BLACK ( possibly very DARK BLUE) as can be seen with in Jim Curtains 'UNSEEN ELVIS' book often with GOLD LARIET TIES, but also white and DARK Matching (As the suit colour is seen.)
1.These one piece suits had thin belts of GOLD and SILVER METAL, much thinner than the later belts. In Mr. Curtins book pockets can be seen on a very dark blue 2 - piece worn early in 1970.
2.WHITE SUITS with PEARL and ROPE strands around the neck.
3. WHITE METAL RING (CONCHAS) on collar, lapel wtth no cuff buttons, also BRIGHT BLUE as seen with fans on 24.8.70
4. WHITE SUITS with THIN EMERALD GREEN arid SILVER TRIM on lapels with a leafy pattern -worn in JAN/FEB and 1ater in Houston at the 27.2.70 E/S & - 1.3.70 E/S,
5. AQUA SUIT worn JAN/FEB with leafy pattern on lapel/chest with WHITE rnacrame belts,
6. Rare LIGHT BLUE SUEDE JUMPSUIT no cuff buttons with white trim & sash and FRINGES worn at the Houston 28.2.70 A/S
The 22nd dinner show is notable for as many as 6 quests being introduced and a very humorous show highly recommended. At the closing show Col. Parker. and Bill Porter are introduced. (did you remember to turn the cassette tape over Bill?) Also noted here is the fact highlighted by fellow 'monthly' writers Norman Duncan and D.G. Hall that the 18th February shows (both dinner and midnight) were VISUALLY recorded as a 'test' to interest the makers of 'THAT'S THE WAY IT IS!. Obviously a further 'exploration' of that Kansas Salt Mine would be MOST welcome to find more 'treasures!'.
With only a couple of days break after this phenomenally successful season Elvis was 'back' amongst the mass audience before 207,494 fans in the next three days at the massive huge HOUSTON ASTRODOME arriving on Wednesday evening 25th February in Kirk Kerkorian's private DC-9 jet (owner of the International). Elvis departed to give the FAMOUS Press conference (right away in the lobby of the Houston air terminal where looking very elegant in white jerkin trousers and a red shirt. Elvis appeared jovial and in great spirits notable Elvis said he didn't consider himself strictly a country singer' and mentioned his Karate interest, Throughout Elvis's lips looks wet and he seems nervous at times, he jokes as sirens are heard outside snd his good natured appeal comes shining through to the fans outside the press room area who were tapping on the windows! Six shows were scheduled as a part of other 'RODEO' events, although the acoustics were very echoey and Elvis was distant from fans at $1 a ticket everyone could afford to see his show. Notable to the matinee and evening shows performed was Elvis travelling around in a Jeep before jumping on stage to perform his show. Record attendance figures were achieved for the Saturday night show 43,614! during which Elvis wore a white suit with brown and silver trim, shows were generally only 42-45 minutes long but PACKED with 'action' and dynamite song performances, as well as the typical white jumpsuits with white sash belts other suits featured at the Astrodome included in order of appearance at the dome: WHITE JUMPSUIT WITH GOLD LARI ET TIES AT THE NECK, A WHITE AND GOLD SASH AND WHITE BOOTS AND SCARF. At the Friday night's show it was A WHITE JUMPSUIT WITH EMERALD GREEN AND SILVER TRIM, AT THE Saturday afternoon show it was A POWDER BLUE JUMPSUIT WITH WHITE TRIM AND SASH, Saturday evening WHITE SUIT WITH BROWN AND SILVER TRIM, Sunday afternoon WHITE SUIT WITH GOLD LARIET TIES and finally for Sunday evening show the WHITE SUIT WITH GREEN EMERALD TRIM again, quite simply Elvis looked STUNNING!. Just before the final show on 1st March 1970 was a brief press conference again with Elvis wearing a two tone Western styled outfit, a waist coat dark patterned paisley scarf and a wide leather studded belt with a 'spokes' design on the buckle. The purpose of this 2nd press conference was to present Elvis with a selection of gifts and gold award discs for his 3 million selling singles: 'IN THE GHETTO', 'SUSPICIOUS MINDS,' and 'DON'T CRY DADDY' also 2 GOLD Albums: 'Elvis in person at the International Hotel in Las Vegas' and 'From Elvis in Memphis'. From the Rodeo officials Elvis received a King Midas Rolex watch worth $2.500 and a Texas Stetson hat! Finally Sheriff Buster Kern presented Elvis and Col. Parker with a highly collectable Gold deputy sheriff's badge.
The Elvis 'phenomenon' at Houston was something else and although Elvis was very nervous he played well and entered the huge Astrodome arriving on a jeep which circled in front of the fans before Elvis entered the central stage, Elvis was a part of the overall RODEO program and for his last show introduced fellow performer who was carrying on at the Astrodome the following Monday night in front, of 20,000 fans by singing 'NOW COMES THE HARDEST PART -LIVING ALONE' which was the 'Sixth line of Charlie Pride's current 'hit' record the Foster & Rice composition 'THE EASY PARTS OVER' , which makes this a 'HARD' one-liner to identify -unless like myself your also a fan of Charlie Pride!. Apart from this 'rare' one liner, it was a similar six shows as in Las Vegas where in the first show Elvis featured 'ONE NIGHT' after 'Love Me Tender' then at the 27.2.70 E/S changed this to his latest record a dramatic soulful reading of 'KENTUCKY RAIN'. At the 28.2.70 A/S Elvis changed his usual 'BLUE SUESE SHOES' to 'LONG TALL SALLY'- then back to 'BLUE SUEDE SHOES' again for the E/S. For the final 1.3.70 E/S Elvis changed back to 'LONG TALL SALLY, once again. The BEST Houston Astrodome show for me is the EXCELLENT 1.3.70 A/S released as "Elvis at the Dome"(King Crown Records 2001).
Track listing as follows:
All Shook Up - I Got A Woman - Blue Suede Shoes - Intro As Fats Domino - Don't Cry Daddy - Heartbreak Hotel - Hound Dog - Love Me Tender - Kentucky Rain - Release Me - Walk A Mile In My Shoes - In The - I Can't Stop Loving You - Polk Salad Annie - Intros - Suspicious Minds - Can't Help Falling In Love
SHOW closes here but afterwards the announcer gives the Evenings program to a hauntingly beautiful instrumental Brass version of 'LOVE ME TENDER'.
In Houston the newspaper reviewers basically LOVED Elvis's performances as glowing reviews show saying 'Triumphant Return of the King', 'Elvis back, better than ever packing the Dome!', or 'Elvis brings down house at the Dome'. Well although Elvis said he didn't like performing for 'HUGE' crowds in football sizes venues, he later performed for a bigger crowd at PONTIAC, MICHIGAN sure we would have welcomed Elvis in the UK wherever ..if he'd played the 6,000 seater Royal Albert Hall or Wembley. Elvis fussing over a suitable venue now seems a poor excuse as clearly after 1970 Elvis would have been welcome anywhere so big was the interest in Elvis generated in 1970 by Col Parkers brilliant publicity moves. Clearly with over 100 'bootlegs' of full and part shows being available by 1995 soon in 2001 came the HOUSTON ASTRODOME 1.3.70 A/S to us and very good it is too (If you remember the sound quality on this 'audience' recording is very lacking!!!), also TAMPA, FLORIDA 13.9.70 E/S must be 'on the cards' as bootleggers seem to be going through the audio tape catalogue and releasing audience recorded shows with acceptable sound. Following the great success at Houston, Elvis flew with Pricilla and friends to Los Angeles, then went onto Palm Springs to their home for a vacation, ln April, Elvis purchased a 6 door 1969 Mercedes Limousine, then as was usual for Elvis they returned to Vegas in May to see Tom Jones show, Kathy Westmoreland later said that Elvis would sometimes rehearse a song he liked for over a year before recording it and leading up to June Elvis was relaxed and keeping his ear out for songs he liked, therefore for the June 1970 recording session in Nashville Elvis had ideas about what he wanted to record and the brilliant 'CONCEPT' of a country music recording session took place giving nearly 40 songs to be recorded( including at least 3 unreleased ones!) and enough to fill the following albums: 'THAT'S THE WAY IT IS', 'ELVIS COUNTRY', 'ELVIS NOW' and 'LOVE LETTERS'. lt was the brilliant musicians James Burton, Chip Young, Charlie Hodge on guitar, Jerry Carrigan on Drums, David Briggs on Piano, Norbert Putman and The EXCELLENT work by Charlie Mc Coy on Harmonica and Organ that helped create such excellent quality recordings. The attention, commitement and studious but fun of recording in 1970 in Nashville is clearly evident in the very high QUALITY of recordings made between June 4th and 8th 1970.
For me the BEST QUALITY work comes from June 7th, followed closely by June 4th & 5th. However WORTHWHILE recording was done on EVERY DAY here. On June 4th Elvis recorded: 'TWENTY DAYS AND TWENTY NIGHTS' the beautiful tender love ballad, 'I'VE LOST YOU'( sung more dramatically / powerfully 'live', but don't forget the take 3 released on CD was an EXCELLENT alternate version with slightly different lyrics!) which is just an excellent choice from Elvis almost as powerful as 'MY BOY'!. 'I WAS BORN ABOUT 10,000 YEARS AGO' is a bit repetitive but very good as another religious song, 'THE SOUND OF YOUR CRY' is very moving a powerful lost love ballad. 'THE FOOL' is a magic country song with Elvis found in semi-blues voice sounding a bit sinister and the addition of Charlie Mc Coy's harmonica work is a great addition, 'A HUNDRED YEARS FROM NOW I WON'T BE CRYING' is a similar song to the Excellent 'LITTLE CABIN ON THE HILL' recorded here AND IS A SHORT BUT OTHERWISE excellent FAST SONG!! The last song recorded on June 4th is a bit disappointing as although it's a RAW rock song it does show Elvis's strained vocal, June 5th gives us Elvis's version of the famous 1970 song 'hit' 'BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER' which he interprets in his unique way giving it different emphasis and meaning. The original sounds heavenly whereas Elvis's version seems spiritual from the soul building to a real work as Elvis gives his fans THE FULL, RICH FRUIT CAKE in his powerful versions whenever he sang it 'live' and in 1970 it was yet. Another highlight of his 'live' shows, 'GOT MY MOJO WORKING/KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF HER' shows Elvis's Muddy Waters influence and the sheer FUN Elvis was having in the studio as between other takes of songs recorded and a brief part version of the Roy Orbinson song 'RUNNING SCARED' IS A 'GREAT' HIGHLIGHT! The 'released' version of 'GOT MY MOJO WORKING' however was edited due to a few swear words slipping in! 'HOW THE WEB WAS WOVEN' Is another delicate and moving love song from Elvis. ,'IT'S YOUR BABY,YOU ROCK IT' is a great rocking song although the 'alternate' take many fans have heard first on the 'Bootleg' Rough cut Diamonds 1+2 (re-released on CD in 1989 containing June 1970 alternates) is much better,' STRANGER IN THE CROWD is well sung and 'I'LL NEVER KNOW' is a good simple ballad -pretty sounding.'MARY IN THE MORNING' shows how well the delicate love song can be created in this 'unique' 1970 Nashville atmosphere conducive to such HIGH QUALITY MASTERS! 'MARY IN THE MORNING' receives a beautiful gentle performance, June 6th found Elvis recording his weakest songs here as performances released sound uninspired tired,lackluster and average, 'IT AIN'T NO BIG THING' and 'LIFE'(another GOSPEL performance) sound BLAND and sung MUCH better 'live' are - -'JUST PRETEND' 'YOU DON'T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME' in 1970 'THIS IS OUR DANCE' and 'HEART OF ROME' are better, but still weak compared to the previous days recordings, Another recording was also made here 'UNRELEASED' called 'FUNKY FlNGERS' Over the years, one of the many rumoured unreleased tracks was a song called 'Funky Fingers'. I can shed some light on its history. FF is a Tony Joe White composition. White was recording tracks for his next Monument album ('Tony Joe')at RCA Studio B in 1970, with Jerry Carrigan, Norbert Putnam & David Briggs. The producer was Billy Swan & the engineer was Al Pachucki. According to White's fan magazine ('Swamp Box' January 1996), he recorded FF as an instrumental, but Monument weren't impressed with it so it never got released. My guess is that FF was recorded during the day on 6 June '70, while Elvis was recording at night. This might explain the 'missing' matrix numbers ZPA4 1611/1612 and the track's link with Elvis. The 'Tony Joe' album credits include a 'special thanks to Mary and Felton Jarvis'. Six of the albums ten tracks were recorded at RCA. The recordings on June 7th are Quite simply ABSOLUTLY ALL BRILLIANT! ,although 'LOVE LETTERS' was recorded before 'WHEN I'M OVER YOU','I REALLY DON'T WAN'T TO KNOW,'FADED LOVE' ,'TOMORROW NEVER COMES' ,'THE NEXT STEP IS LOVE' ,'MAKE THE WORLD GO AWAY','FUNNY HOW TIME SLIPSAWAY','I WASHED MY HANDS IN MUDDY WATER' These RECIEVE TOTAL attention from ALL PRESENT and the resulting recordings show the measure of Elvis's thoughtfulness in preperation,familiararity with the material( many 1st takes here chosen for the MASTER take) and the feeling for the varied mostly 'COUNTRY' material June 7th recordings ALONE make a brilliant album to listen to! - the alternate takes from this date are EXCELLENT TOO!) Listen to the MASTER at work here in the studio in 1970,! indeed It's no surprise that Elvis remembered the QUALITY of songs recorded here as such EXCELLENT COUNTRY MATERIAL that later on throughout the next 7 years he would choose to perform 'live' with great care and JOY -I REALLY DON'T WANT TO KNOW( end May/June 1977)"FADED LOVE'( various times throughout 1973)"MAKE THE WORLD GO AWAY'( 1970-1973 rarely) and 'FUNNY HOW TIME SLIPS AWAY' throughout the years). The final days recordings on June 8th are good and contain some interesting material 'THERE GOES MY EVERYTHING' is a great country performance,' IF I WERE YOU' is compelling listening ( again the alternate takes' are WELL worth seeking out)'SYLVIA' is only an average ballad and 'ONLY BELIEVE' although a religious song is a bit disappointing, Take 8 of 'PATCH IT UP' however is good and 'grows on you' ! One gets the feeling here that Elvis must have left Nashville satisfied and tasteful overdubbing later enhanced the songs even if many fans nowadays think they' should all be re-done.I think only some should be re-done it's a highly subjective topic and clearly an EXPERT should supervise any re-mastering undertaken! Many releases 'official' and otherwise stem from June 1970. In 1995 a 'highly Riske' release 'whole lotta shakin' goin on' made its mark as uncut June and Sept 1970 tracks!. 'Make the world go away' in 1998 was another pretty good release of June 1970 alternates.
In mid-July Elvis was eager and keen to rehearse as he'd successfully signed with M.G.M. to film a movie about himself in 'live' performance called THAT'S THE WAY IT IS.' M.G.M. started filming for this for a WHOLE MONTH from 16th July through to 16th August 1970 intermittently parts of rehearsals, around the M.G.M. lot, Elvis riding his tandem bicycle etc and PARTS INCOMPLETE only of shows performed between 10th and 13th August at the International Hotel. Therefore filming for the documentary started with REHEARSALS on July 16th 1970. For this, Elvis wore the FAMOUS PURPLE paisley shirt, BLACK PANTS and a BLACK STUDDED BELT. Rehearsals consisted of recently recorded material a month ago songs previously performed 'live' in 1969, February 1970 as well as 'old' songs from the 50's or whatever came into Elvis's head at the time including 'COTTON FIELDS' familiar territory for Charlie Pride! Other interesting songs filmed/recorded on 16.7.70 are 'STAGGER LEE', 'IT'S YOUR BABY, YOU ROCK IT', 'GHOST RIDERS IN THE SKY (Interestingly along with FOLSOM PRISON BLUES and I WALK THE LINE Johnny Cash songs ) Elvis also sang 'THE SPANISH SONG', 'STRANGER IN THE CROWD', ' SYLVIA', and on piano 'I'll TAKE YOU HOME AGAlN KATHLEEN'. Fortunately, we have been 'treated' to parts of 'HOW THE WEB WAS WOVEN' again on piano and 'CRYING TIME', 'THE NEXT STEP IS LOVE' and just so many others in the late 90's and the excellent THAT'S THE WAY IT WAS CD!.
Elvis recorded both before 16th July and changed from M.G.M , to RCA and then back to M.G.M, again so no doubt with all this moving around there is PLENTY MORE RECORDED that hasn't yet been documented, indeed possibly separate recording dates were on the same day as some dates seem mixed up. Elvis is wearing the RED FLORAL outfit WHITE SHIRT underneath and BLACK PANTS seen in the rehearsals for M.G.M on 24th July parts appearing of course in T.T.W.I.I. The end of July recordings contain other surprises such as: 'TOMMOROW NEVER COMES', 'HEART OF ROME', 'MEMORIES', 'STRANGER IN MY HOME TOWN', 'I WASHED MY HANDS IN MUDDY WATER','DON'T IT WANNA MAKE YOU GO HOME', 'HARD HEADED WOMAN', 'A FOOL SUCH AS I', 'FROGGY WENT A COURTING', 'SUCH A NIGHT', 'THE LORDS PRAYER'( incomplete 'joke' version), 'MY COUNTRY TIS OF THEE' and 'HAVANA GILA' but to name some of the interesting songs heard on CD these last few years due to THE video release of the last 10 years ELVIS, LOST PERFORMANCES, we can see the 'magic' of 'I WASHED MY HANDS IN MUDDY WATER', 'I WAS THE ONE', 'DON'T', 'M0NEY HONEY", 'THE CATTLE CALL'. I' and of course the T. T.W.I.I. 'magic' such as 'I JUST CAN'T HELP BELIEVING'. In 2000 the 'newly' re-done That's the way it is movie featured many, many unexpected performances and is defiantly a great success! (even if not commercially?). Of course As Elvis spent SO MUCH TIME around California rehearing as brilliant writer Andrew Wood has observed (E.M. #417) there may well be MORE audio tapes from July and August 1970, what an 'exciting' thought!.
Elvis in 1970 seemed to have ENDLESS ENERGY and the fact that he seemed to be able in August to PERFORM 2 DYNAMITE SHOWS greet fans, then entertain 'PARTY' in his suite is incredible, yet in 1970 he just didn't seem too tired with so much nervous energy, sure later on, he slowed right down but at 35, Elvis was arguably at his physical and performing peak ( not quite yet his VOCAL PEAK however). He rehearsed with his band very enthusiastically joking around for the cameras doing whatever song came into his mind off the cuff and really gives the impression of a man who is in TOTAL control of his MUSIC and whilst using these rehearsals for his forthcoming August September season warm up had no end of FUN and got himself familiar with material as he picked out his summer 1970 repertoire which because so much of it was NEW and indeed EXTREMELY 'NEW' i.e., I JUST CAN'T HELP BELIEVING' included especially here Summer 1970 Las Vegas season represents Elvis at his ALL ROUND BEST from the physical GOD LIKE looks right through to a devastatingly brilliant varied current repertoire! As Elvis prepared for Las Vegas I just can't help believing that This is the the way it is!. Many really 'good' bootleg releases cover the July 1970 rehearsals and best are: 'Get down and get with it' featuring material from 15.7.70, 'Brightest star on Sunset Boulevard' a great 2 CD set featuring all of the over 2 hours worth of July 24th 1970, 'Electrifying' featured July 15th +29th, whilst 'There's always me' Vol #4 featured parts again of the July 29th rehearsal. Even more to be found on the boot 'Cream of Culver City' from the July 29th rehearsal.
Elvis traveled to Las Vegas at the beginning of August fresh from the MGM and RCA studios in California where he had ALREADY been rehearsing the material he wanted to perform in his 3rd up-coming Las Vegas engagement. The International Hotel convention rooms had already been booked for the Sweet Inspirations and Imperials Quartet so that at their August 4th rehearsal THEY might become familiar with the arrangements of several of the VERY NEW songs that they hadn't performed with Elvis before. Elvis himself wasn't even scheduled to rehearse here until 6th August! In 1970 however Elvis was VERY fresh and enthusiastic about this engagement, excited with the prospect of having such good hand picked musicians and singers with him, therefore while the blade was 'hot' Elvis unexpectedly showed up to the August 4th rehearsal! What a surprise for his back up singers! They were busy already rehearsing 'new' songs such as 'JUST PRETEND','THERE GOES MY EVERYTHING', 'I'VE LOST YOU', ' and 'YOU DON'T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME', then Elvis appeared in a very smart dark blue and WHITE FLOWERED shirt, black pants and a silver Las Vegas belt.
Then during Elvis's short stay at the convention center they ran through 'WORDS', 'TWENTY DAYS AND TWENTY NIGHTS', 'YOU DON'T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME', 'BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER', ' and 'TWENTY DAYS AND TWENTY NIGHTS' yet again with the groups. After this, Elvis rehearsed with both vocal groups again, plus his rhythm and Joe Guercio Orchestra on 6th and 7th August Elvis apparently showed up yet AGAIN. 'Hang Loose' a very early 1991 boot CD featured some great 'cuts' from Vegas 6/7th rehearsals!. On August 9th Elvis was heard rehearsing both 'WORDS' and 'SOMETHING' again! Obviously as Elvis was 'around' he may have rehearsed more than is known-but only a few dates have been verified!For these rehearsals Elvis wore the black pants and a bright red puff sleeved shirt as seen from 'TTWII' singing 'MARY IN THE MORNING' (OH HAPPY DAY) showing once again that ALL the Elvis 'magic' was growing as Opening night approached!. I.e. all those 'BIG ASS' jokes and goofing around as he rehearsed!, blowing the mike etc.. Quite a lot of the 6th & 7th rehearsals is found on the Bootleg CD 'HANG LOOSE' and additional 'cuts on such CD's as THAT'S THE WAY IT WAS have great sound too! an EXCELLENT one it is too - if you like Elvis's humour, funny line changes and general kidding around then like myself you will just LOVE this CD - it shows how Elvis took rehearsals as a lot of fun as well as a chance to iron out mistakes and check that everything was gelling together musically in songs. If anyone out there hasn't yet got the Elvis 'bug' then after listening to 'HANG LOOSE'/ THAT'S THE WAY IT WAS your sure to get it! Elvis rehearsing is PURE GENIUS! Indeed line changes here are often 'cleverly' done improvising with the lyrics,but still fine renditions of songs such as 'SOMETHING' - also a first known recording of the song by Elvis.
Well known film Director Dennis Sanders was filming 'TTWII' and he wanted to get the FANS as an integral part of the finished film as well as the Elvis CHARISMA on stage, although many shows were recorded in FULL Audio and a few in full one camera filming MOST SHOWS were recorded from 10th-clear through until 13th August D/S in PART ONLY varying from clips here and there to as much as 40 minutes continuos as MANY cameras were filming simultaneously this explains why so many clips (even of the same or previously performed song) remain so interesting as we see DIFFERENT ANGLES!,(i.e. 'HEARTBREAK HOTEL' different camera angle on the 'LOST PERFORMANCES video). Yet again common sense dictates that with filming being expensive sometimes when Elvis might go into a very often performed song the camera men might be ordered to STOP FILMING as too much song duplication (at the time) seemed wasteful, of course now 25 years on I'm sure many fans wouldn't be complaining if ALL 57 SHOWS had been filmed in TOTAL as eventually the costs would have been returned by future video sales sometime in the next century!!!
Judging by the 'LOST PERFORMANCES' a video release of the 90's if ever there was one there was already enough 'material' captured on film for SEVERAL 'TTWII'. The reason why there is such fervid and enthusiastic deep interest in Elvis's 3rd Las Vegas season is that more is known and as well as Elvis including such a dynamic range of material quite simply although the critical eye WILL FIND both 'throwaway' performances such as 'HEARTBREAK HOTEL','ONE NIGHT', 'BLUE SUEDE SHOES' and Elvis in 'poor' voice such as the awful 'flu' strained version from the 20.8.70 D/S and a lot of the dialogue is superfluous (but unlike the 76 waffling around it's FUN, KIDDING AROUND in 1970 with INTERESTING asides) Therefore all these negative points just don't matter at all when you've got the physical presence of Elvis in 1970 who's sheer good looks and magnetic enthusiasm caught the audience in his magic spell in Las Vegas in 1970. Every night was a party with the audience as well as enough brilliant careful performs amongst the casual to win any audience critic over. Indeed as the film suggests that this SEEMS like Elvis's 1st 'live' appearance back yet at his 3rd, Hotel staff say that his forthcoming season will be his best yet and who could argue with them?, Yes the 'old''TTWII' now annoys on repetitive viewing with it's dated camera technique (i.e. that ridiculous zooming in and out of the camera lens that may have looked 'hip' then but turns me off now) and of course the necessary interviews at Elvis conventions and with drooling fans becomes a 'pain' but on FIRST VIEWING still interesting-as we get to see glimpses for the FIRST TIME EVER WE SEE Elvis's FACE Rehearsing with the band before the shows as well as during the shows. The re-edited 'new' 2nd Edition 'TTWII' must stand up as an UNIQUE film bringing us SO CLOSE-yet SO FAR from the GENIUS of Elvis's buckets of 'charisma' that's ELVIS 1970.
Worn 'on stage' whilst the 6 shows were filmed for T.T.W.I.I. Elvis had the Fringe Jumpsuit worn on Aug. 10, 1970 - Opening Night Concha Jumpsuit worn on Aug.11, 1970 - Dinner Show and Aug.12, 1970 - Dinner Show Chain Jumpsuit worn on BOTH August 11th AND August 12th Midnight Shows.Then the Red Ladder Jumpsuit worn on Aug.13, 1970 - Dinner Show.
Until Ernst cleared up the mislabeling of shows recorded from this season with the 2000 release of the Las Vegas 12th August 1970 Midnight Show, there was MUCH confusion as to what Shows were taped/filmed. Hopefully now, it is much clearer understood as to what suit Elvis wore and when. With so much 'new' material from these 6 shows seen on film now and well over 50% available on CD sound, it's now very easy to go through all 6 shows and realize (that for now) we have had THE BEST stuff released with probably the complete release on CD of the 13.8.70 D/S being the most outstanding show yet to be completely released. The most recent release of songs from ALL the shows rehearsals on the T.T.W.I.I. special Book/CD package was the very latest addition to our source of 'new' material from these shows.
The biggest 'loss' from the 'old' version of the film were: "'live' versions of I'VE LOST YOU' + 'I JUST CAN'T HELP BELIEVING'. But the plus side of 'new' material (NOT just new material but say a different version of SUSPICIOUS MINDS for example) is great! Such as in Rehearsals: "LITTLE SISTER/GET BACK,BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER,LOVE ME,TWENTY DAYS AND TWENTY NIGHTS, CATTLE CALL, THE HAPPY YODELLER, SANTA CLAUS IS BACK IN TOWN, WORDS + MARY IN THE MORNING (which is superb because of all the jokes/clowning around going on in the background) "Live". The new show apart from loosing the 2 songs mentioned gains with: 'I GOT A WOMAN, HOUND DOG, I CAN'T STOP LOVING YOU, JUST PRETEND, THE WONDER OF YOU (how come they were silly enough to miss this song out of the original??) IN THE GHETTO, ONE NIGHT, DON'T BE CRUEL, YOU DON'T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME and ARE YOU LONESOME TONIGHT to closing credits (on the movie's 1st showing) and background shots of the after 1st show party.
Perhaps some of the BIGGEST loss with the 'new' DVD of the 2nd edition of T.T.W.I.I. was Graceland WITHDRAWNING the following
material from the DVD release AFTER this list of songs/scenes had been
Don't - Baby Let's Play House - Cattle Call - Eating Burgers - Farther Along - Hey Jude - I Just Can't Help Believing' - I've Lost You - Little Sister* / Get Back - (Alternate Mystery Train/Tiger Man (Alternate) - Oh, Happy Day* - Party Sequence - Poem/Walk a Mile in My Shoes - Something - Stranger in the Crowd - Sweet Caroline - Yesterday - You Don't Have To Say You Love Me (Alternate)
* was available on Graceland website advertising this new addition.
The songs seen marked * are virtually criminal deprivation that after seeing Elvis REALLY getting into an unbelievable performance of 'OH HAPPY DAY' in that red shirt early August rehearsal in Vegas, we get DEPRIVED of that because so much ended up being left off this DVD just maybe we'll eventually get this released but anyone 'lucky' enough to have this clip as a 'download' should treasure it - it's a REAL GEM of a near 2 minute performance! Why even the SOUND QUALITY seems better than on the CD.! Fan Rick Rennie taped 6 of Elvis's shows from 19th-21st August 1970 and now ALL of them have been released! 'Double Dynamite' features the 2 shows Dinner + Midnight from 19th August, then 'A dinner date with Elvis' features the 20th August Dinner Show, 'A Night to remember' features the 20th August 1970 Midnight show, whilst the double release 'from Macon to Vegas' features the Dinner show from 21st August 1970. Last, but NOT least we got in 2001 the excellent release of 'You've lost that Loving Feeling' the 21st August 1970 M/S. Many a 'critical' writer since Elvis's death have pointed out that the 'METAL FATIGUE' on Aircraft Elvis may have already had its fault lines well before 1970 leading to the 1977 crash- but this detracts from the point and depreciates the fact that in 1970 Elvis and the Colonel could do NO WRONG - their EVERY move seems in retrospect JUST BRILLIANT! for his career.