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Songs and Tours Reviewed



Elvis & The Evolution of POLK SALAD ANNIE
by Geoffrey Mc Donnell (Australia)


Performing Polk Salad Annie for the first time!

With PSA being rehearsed for his 2nd Las Vegas Season we start to see more versions to hear, however it certainly WAS NOT performed at ALL shows during this Season and exactly how many shows didn't have Polk Salad Annie in them is 'unknown' for certain!.

Date Pre-Comment Dialogue R/T (mm+ss) "STOP" Time Final End R/T Comments:-

26.1.70 O/S yes yes 1.00 3.30(5") 4.55 Debut Version,not rushed.
3.2.70 D/S yes yes 1.10 4.10 5.11 Swampy Guitar,Drum end.
17.2.70 D/S or M/S no yes 1.05 3.30 4.29 Diff word'pick a mess of it and tie it around her waist'
18.2.70 M/S yes yes, repeats 1.05 3.35(5") 4.35 "ON STAGE" Version
22.2.70 M/S no yes 1.05 3.30 4.27 Ok,good Gators got Granny
23.2.70 M/S no yes 1.03 3.28 4.30 Lots of audience handclaps

I have chosen the 18th February Midnight Show version of Polk Salad to quote Elvis's lines as this is the most Widely accessible and 'known' version Elvis had released.This I believe is also where Chris Brown in his 1997 book ' the complete lyrics of Elvis Presley' bases his lyrics from. On the 'Premier' 26.1.70 version Elvis performed in a similar style with an opening comment of 'let's go down to Louisiana' before the structure of around 1 minute of opening Dialogue to a background of Throbbing Drums and Bass.The verses are then performed in a sort of relaxed 'loose' style with mostly an Orchestral beat and Guitar Sounds before Elvis introduced his STOP (just like on stage it added Drama in SUSPICIOUS MINDS) at about the 3' 30" mark. Then as would become a Presley trait through the years(such as the marching on the spot end to AMERICA )A physical dramatic build up to an ending.

Often As Elvis would say the line 'claimed he had a bad back' Elvis would shake HIS back then whilst the BRASS instruments keyed in ,the 'Sweets' chained 'chic a boom boom' whilst Elvis shook all over striking a final pose with his Arms and Legs striking out at the climax of the whole song. Very often it would be Ron Tutt's Drum beat that would match Elvis's every move and songs end- Elvis mesmerisingly chanting 'chang, chang a lingS' After his FIRST almost 5' version Elvis says 'getting to be a bit like work here now!'.

On 26.1.70 the song was well received usually performed AFTER SWEET CAROLINE but before the introductions(allowing Elvis a breather!) The song became such a 'hit' in Vegas that a local coffee shop picked up the theme by offering Elvis Polk Salad with Corn Muffins and Honey for $1.95!. With the 3.2.70 D/S version Elvis is starting to 'loosen' up and add lib on the opening Dialogue when he say's 'some of you all never been down South too much,so I'll tell you a little story so that you'll understand what I'm talking about- so I can understand it too!' and later 'Cook it for Supper she was a fool!.' This version has a strong 'chick a boom' style ending. The version from 17th (either D/S OR M/S?) I only heard after listening to the 'Good times never seemed so good' Bootleg CD and reportedly comes from an Acetate?.Certainly the changed Dialogue confirms that it's an entirely different version from the 18th.The ON STAGE 18.2.70 M/S version is characterised by not being rushed and has a fine drum ending with all the Swamp pop licks on Guitar that James Burton can give!

The 22.2.70 M/S version is ok but unremarkable in that it fits into the 'mould' for this season a Throbbing start with 1 drum beat for 'POLK' ,then 2 drum beats for SALAD, excellent Druming all through! The final version I have heard for the Season from the 23.2.70 M/S is good featuring a hand clapping back ground to the Dialogue, chanting of GO,GO,GO,GO as Elvis brings it to the FALSE end, then a 'chic a boom' chant end as Elvis asks J.Burton to 'talk to me James'.At the Season end C.C. RIDER would sometimes be performed instead of POLK SALAD.

Pretty Soon before the end of February 1970 was out Elvis would face the daunting task of Performing at the Houston Astrodome for another action packed 6 performances of POLK SALAD ANNIE!.

Socking it to them at the ASTRODOME!

Here the HUGE audience, the delayed echoed acoustics would create a difficult atmosphere to perform in. However I find the overall affect of Elvis's versions of POLK SALAD ANNIE here even Better than recently in Las Vegas!.

Date Pre-Comment Dialogue R/T "STOP" End R/T Comments

27.2.70 A/S no yes 1.00 3.30 4.35 Good version
27.2.70 E/S no yes 1.03 3.35 4.35 Also good
28.2.70 A/S no yes 1.04 3.30 4.30 Good
28.2.70 E/S no yes 1.05 3.45 4.50 Very echoey
1.3.70 A/S no yes 1.00 3.29 4.35 OK
1.3.70 E/S no yes 1.05 NO 4.25 Slower / No Stop

Well Elvis seemed to perform 'POLK SALAD' very authoritivly to the 'Astrodome ' crowds as he thrashed around in his suits.Most noticeable about the 'Astrodome' versions is the ECHO which is very noticeable and also a time delay factor in the sound.For his first 27.2.70 A/S version Elvis plays it pretty straight with drum beats ONLY on 'polk' and 'salad' , no instrumentals and a good chang,chang ending.Then at the 27.2.70 E/S Elvis performs slightly faster than the A/S but also a pretty good chang,chang ending . At the 28.2.70 A/S Elvis changes some of the words to ;- 'a wretched strangling,straight raising woman' and a chang,chang end. For the 28.2.70 E/S Elvis performs a very echoed, longer but good version-shouting 'mean vicious woman,YEAH!'. On 1st March A/S Elvis again changes the dialogue around as he did on 28.2.70 A/S ,then the usual chang,chang ending. For the 1.3.70 E/S Elvis doesn't rush the excellent drum beat to a good end.

THAT'S THE WAY IT IS WITH POLK SALAD ANNIE-12.8.70 M/S*

This IS THE version featured both in T.T.W.I.I. AND on the current TCB Band WORLD TOUR as seen on the big screen at IN CONCERT!.

Date Pre-Comment Dialogue R/T (mm+ss) "STOP" Time End R/T Comments

24.7.70 no yes 1.00 no 4.00 Gators got your grannie
6.8.70#1 no yes 1.00 no 3.45 Poke a little sock salad
6.8.70#2 no yes 1.00 no 3.30 Missing words/piano end
10.8.70 O/S 'yeah,Lord' yes 1.02 * 3.30 Feels like an old stripper man instead of STOP
12.8.70 M/S* no yes 1.45 4.12 5.09 Army impersonations talk
14.8.70 M/S yes yes 2.53 3.30 6.01 Long version
19.8.70 M/S yes yes 1.45 4.25 5.24 Lots of marching dialogue
20.8.70 D/S yes yes 5.00 -- -- End cut on my tape
20.8.70 M/S no yes 1.25 3.00 3.58 Fast but fun version
21.8.70 D/S yes yes 2.45 4.30 5.32 Incredible excellent drums!
21.8.70 M/S no yes 1.20 3.20 4.48 Long STOP for 32 secs.
23.8.70 M/S yes yes 2.00 3.45 4.58 Different jokey version
24.8.70 D/S yes yes 1.45 3.10 4.05 Jokey high voice start.
1.9.70 m/s no yes 1.30 3.25 4.25 Jones,Humperdink,Glen Campbell impersonations.
4.9.70 d/s no yes 1.12 -- 5.05

Date Dialogue R/T Bass solo @ STOP End R/T Comments

6.9.70 d/s ? edited 0.55? 1'55" 2'55" 3'50" Elvis asks for a Bass solo
7.9.70 m/s curtailed 1'00" 2'05" 3'10" 4'00" Less good version here

Versions of POLK SALAD ANNIE REALLY develop in this Summer 1970 Season and for the first time ever on 12th August version we get to see how Elvis looked whilst performing it.Polk Salad was now usually performed after 'YOU'VE LOST THAT LOVIN'FEELING'.The first actual rehearsal version available is from the 24.7.70 rehearsals and features a very slow spoken dialogue 'polk' receiving 1 drum beat whilst 'salad' receives 2 beats.Elvis also pushes the line 'Gators got your Granny'.The rhythm section have been beating to an end frenzy,but there is no instrumental as such.After a pretty straight version Elvis says next we do a fast song!.

Next available versions come from Elvis 'joking' around in the showroom.Amongst the 'muffled' dialogue here are many,many funny line changes such as ;- 'made the Alligators turn queen','overweight old woman and mama had lost her brain', also Elvis sings 'poke a little sock salad'Then he performs a second version with much more loose jokes ;- 'plant looks like a hawaw?', and 'little biddy pocket knife, man'.It ends after missing out many words with a drum/piano ending.Apparently after the actual FIRST version at the 10.8.70 opening show Elvis said 'I feel like an old stripper'!. The FIRST version we get so far is the 12.8.70 M/S T.T.W.I.I. version this starts with Elvis asking 'what you looking at man' before starting the dialogue and giving out pumping Arm Trusts on 'polk salad'.Elvis mumbles up 2,3,4 as he invents his own version injecting in some of his army marching routine and shaking from head to toe with dance steps to the left and right and more Arm shaking-briefly.Elvis makes a STOP at 4' 12", then ends the song (after checking a note of paper for the last verse) with a chanting 'chick a boom' end.Here Elvis shakes his arms and legs and goes down on one knee at the end.The final Karate Pose is similar to Suspicious Minds.Later on when in 75' Suspicious Minds would get dropped the end would transfer across to polk salad .Following this version Elvis does a difficult greeting of fans in the showroom with Sonny +Joe Orchestration is tight centred around the Dialogue with drum/guitar work, then pretty loose in the middle bit with a big build up to Elvis's frenzy type style of ending.

The 14.8.70 M/S version starts out with him complaining about the sound,then a casual lazy dialogue gradually improves to more drum beat repeats(as he'd do it and say 'six' after Ron Tutt's drum beats to the fans it was if he was saying 'Sex!') and line changes of 'Alligators out of my truck'.At 6 minutes this turns out to be his longest ever version!

On the 19.8.70 M/S version we have a really GREAT VERSION with 6 drum beats,deep bass sounds lot's of army marching and super drum beats.The 20.8.70 D/S version starts with 'take it Jerry' before starting and Elvis deliberately mumbles into the microphone saying the famous line of 'Some of you never been down South too much'-I mean some 'Looks something like an Orange Caper'.The 20.8.70 M/S version has Elvis describing the plant as looking something like a 'Potato Head'.He asks the Sweets to get ready with their 'chick a booms' before ending and asking for a bottle of Gatorade.The favourite version from this season for me has to be the INCREDIBLE DRUMMING on the 21.8.70 D/S version! A throbbing bass start,Elvis kidding around about a western movie,and it's almost a full minute before the dialogue even starts!.

At the 21.8.70 M/S Elvis describes polk salad as looking something like Soy Beans and he sings a ching a ling chanting ending.23.8.70 M/S features a lot of jokey dialogue(which he doesn't quite finish) and even a Glen Campbell impersonation!This is a DIFFERENT version!.The 24.8.70 D/S has heaps and heaps of Drum beats in the intro and Elvis starts with a high pitched voice.Quite a fast 'chick a boom' ending. On 1.9.70 M/S at the start the fans seem to go nuts and here we get what in September 1970 got to be a regular part of Elvis's POLK SALAD ANNIE version i.e. the Glen Campbell,Tom Jones and Englebert Humperdink impersonations around the middle of the song.At the 4.9.70 D/S version it starts throbbing Drum beats,impersinations again ,here Elvis seems to be shortening the Dialogue part.On 6.9.70 D/S Elvis mentions at the start about getting the drum intro right.Unfortunatly on my tape the Dialogue is 'edited' out but for the FIRST TIME HERE Elvis says at 1'.55" 'Play the Bass Jerry' Whilst we get to enjoy a short solo Elvis then gives us his now 'usual' Humperdink,Jones and Campbell impersonations.(including 1 line of RELEASE ME)Maybe Elvis asked for a Bass Solo here as a 'background' to his take off's of famous artists? Either way POLK SALAD ANNIE had changed an awful lot now from the start of this Season at the International.The closing show 7.9.70 M/S if anything is a Disappointment when compared to the middle of August as it's much shorter at R/T 4 minutes with the dialogue only performed up to the drum beats,Jerry Scheff at 2'05" is asked again to play the Bass Solo for 20 seconds then pretty soon it all ends.With only 1 night away from performing it's NO SURPRISE that the 1st 1970 tour has many similar versions at September in Vegas!.

Date Dialogue R/T Bass solo @ STOP End R/T Comments

9.9.70 short 1'00" 2'00" no 3'30" Very poor rushed version
10.9.70 yes 1'25" 2'25" 3'22" 4'06" Campbell, Humperdink & Jones impersonations
11.9.70 yes 1'10" 2'10" 3'30" 4'10" Fast, but Ok
12.9.70 ES yes 1'15" 2'30" 3'45" 4'10" Ok version
13.9.70 ES short 1'00" 1'55" 2'50" 3'32" Very fast version
14.9.70 ES short 1'00" 2'00" 3'10" 4'04" Rushed end,missed lyrics

Opening the tour in Phoenix PSA had all of the intro dialogue missed out after the intro drum beats.I rate the opening tour version compared to Vegas as 'poor'. By 10.9.70 we find that Elvis is continuing using an 'instrumental' to fill in time whilst he's busy doing his Glen Campbell("ok I'm going') Englebert Humperdink(1 line of please release me) and A Tom Jones 'pose' impersonation!.In Miami with the Dialogue Elvis makes reference to the fact that he's 'down south'. The next night in Tampa again he misses out a lot of words , as again for the closing tour show in Mobile,Alabama my only conclusion is that his less good versions performed with extra 'clowning around' at the expense of a 'straight' performance was because after just coming from a whole Vegas season he was actually getting 'bored' with the routine of PSA.

Date Dialogue R/T Bass solo @ STOP End R/T Comments

10.11.70 short 1'33" 2'45" 3'30" 4'07" Impersonations + rushed
11.11.70 yes 1'28" 3'00" 3'30" -- Fast ending,impersonations
12.11.70 yes 1'10" 2'49" 3'33" -- Word changes/Fast end
14.11.70 E/S yes 1'18" 2'45" 3'27" -- Bit rushed/word changes
16.11.70 E/S yes 1'20" 1'50" no 4'15" Jokes and rushed end

By the November 1970 tour PSA was back and generally to the same level of performance missing out dialogue in Oakland,changing the Words in Seattle, Los Angeles and in Oklahoma Elvis would exclaim Iv'e lost my chain at the end of the intro Dialogue. Looking at a Video of the Los Angeles 14.11.70 E/S Elvis performs it with arm jabs on 'polk' and 'salad', then little dance steps on most of the song coming to lots of body and arm shaking before a final end jump and Karate Moves before the STOP.After starting the song again Elvis ends it with arm and body shaking to a jump up Karate end stance.