Released on the MfX import label is the “American Glory” CD containing Elvis’ 10 PM performance from December 11, 1975. The date on the cover is not the correct one, a sign of trouble for this release?
Like most import packages the basic color of the design is black. That’s probably for easy designing with the dark live images of our man. The twelve pages booklet features some nice shots of Elvis; the best one with Elvis testing the stretching of the fabric of his suit is used inside and on the picture disc. I would have opted for that great shot for the cover.
Inside the booklet we get the tracks, liner notes, some original previews and several shots of our man. Contrary to the text, I don’t see any rare ones, but then again, all those live shots kind of look the same to me at one point.
There was some confusion when news of the release of this CD was made public; the tracklisting and date did not match. The experts were right, the actual time and date of this concert are December 11, 10 PM show. But it was probably too late to correct the printing when the producers found out … The concert is unreleased on CD, but was available on CDR with the title “The Concert Years Vol.102”.
Reading the two original reviews in the booklet we get two very different opinions. One negative and one positive review on the actual concert and performance, but both positive of the voice and charisma of Elvis. I guess this is exactly the basis for the everlasting discussion among fans when it comes to concert-releases like this one; Elvis’ performance, the recording date, audio-quality and design of the package are great input for discussions among fans.
Like no other Elvis was the “King of Entertainment”, perhaps more so than he was the “King Of Rock And Roll”. In or out of shape his presence on stage drove the crowd wild. I can’t remember many negative reactions from the crowd listening to one of the many concerts in my collection. Of course there were exclamations from – mainly guys – when he was talking too much or taking too much time with his female fans, but no concert comes to mind where the crowd booed him off-stage. Not even during the famous “strung out” dialogue or the performance he gave at Park College as released on the Straight Arrow label as "Chaos In The Park".
From the review of the latter CD on the FECC site: "According to reports from several band members, this was one of Elvis’ worst performances … leading into a painfully weak and breathless See See Rider, which is accompanied by overexcited screams from an enthusiastic crowd. He also struggles with the tempo in parts ... clinging onto the microphone for support … Afterwards, breathless and in slurred speech Elvis addresses the audience, asking them if the band are too loud. This is greeted with an overwhelmingly positive response.” If only the crowd had booed him offstage once, that could have been a marker for him.
Back to “American Glory”; I gave this CD several spins last week for this review and that says something.
Audio-wise the sound is o.k. enough for an audience recording. The producers filled in the missing pieces in their early copy of the tape with fragments from a later copy. Although the concert is more complete that way the listening experience is not, the sound difference is so big that the additional fragments actually interrupt the concert. I prefer a clean break if the sound differs so much. For the completists the missing track could be added as a bonus track at the end of the CD. The concert is not complete according to several completists.
The show is entertaining enough for a second spin. Elvis is in good mood, interacts with the crowd, especially the very young fans with almost the same age as his daughter at the time.
“Just Pretend”, “How Great Thou Art”, “Burning Love” and even “It’s Now Or Never” are performed very well by Elvis but the band deserves all the credits for a really rocking version of “Polk Salad Annie”. It remains a pity that rocking’ “Johnny B Goode” and easy listening track “Early Morning Rain” were just part of the introductions, two great songs which could have been show stoppers in any concert when given the right spot; especially with a band like the TCB Band backing the performer.
The patriot in Elvis delivers a nice ‘America The Beautiful”. And although I’m not a big fan of Sherill Nielsen’s “squeaking’” sound” I’m enjoying “Softly As I Leave You” more and more recently as it is such a touching song. From the bonus tracks (recorded December 2, 1975 P.M. ) “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” and “My Boy” really stand out; Elvis could really live those kind of songs.
This CD is okay when played as background music, but if I actually want to listen to an concert, I still prefer better sounding releases over these kind of audience-recordings. This release fills another spot in the concert collection, although I must pay attention putting it back correctly in the timeline of my archive :-)
01.2001 Theme; 1:08 02.C. C Rider; 3:25 03.I Got A Woman/Amen; 7:02 04. Love Me; 3:45 05. Fairytale; 4:41 06. And I Love You So; 4:09 07.All Shook Up; 1:00 08. Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel; 2:15 09. Hound Dog; 2:07 10. Happy Birthday; 0:37 11.Polk Salad Annie; 4:44 12. Introductions; 1:08 13.Johnny B. Good; 0:56 14.Drums Solo; 1:27 15.Bass Solo; 1:14 16. Piano Solo; 1:41 17. Hail, Hail Rock 'n' Roll; 1:02 18. Just Pretend; 3:57 19.How Great Thou Art; 3:02 20. Burning Love; 2:44 21.Softly As I Leave You; 2:44 22. America the Beautiful; 2:26 23. It's Now or Never; 3:07 24.Can't Help Falling in Love; 1:57
December 02, 1975 Opening Show:
25. Big Boss Man; 2:52 26.It's Midnight; 3:23 27. Early Morning Rain; 2:52 28.You've Lost the Loving Feeling; 4:17 29: My Boy; 3:56