Released January 2004 is the 2 CD set “America’s Own” containing Elvis’ afternoon show in the Nassau Coliseum (Uniondale, NY) on July 1st, 1975 and as a bonus a part of Elvis’ evening show of the same day.
As with the previous release from the Ampex label we get a great design. That is an achievement since Elvis never seems to look good in this suit and jewelry. The front has a special layer on it emphasizing the round design.
The liner notes inside the twelve page booklet form a very enthusiastically written review and are illustrated with many pictures from this concert. Especially nice is the photo with Ronnie Tutt and Joe Guercio, people you don’t see very often on photos with Elvis.
The title isn’t an original name, both shows on this CD were released before with the same title “America’s Own” and “Americas Own 2” by the Geneva and Claudia label. On the other hand this choice makes the connection clear, and the buyer knows it is (mainly) released material. Something not all bootleggers do.
The CDs themselves: since both shows were released (nearly) completely before, this re-release should add something extra beside a great booklet.
After a very long intro we get two long versions of the opening standards “CC Rider” and “Big Boss Man”. Unfortunately Elvis'voice is more up-front than the band and the backing vocalists so you don't hear the band that well. But JD’s bass is still lower than Jerry’s.
After some fun with underwear he received, Elvis gets a great reaction from the crowd with “Love Me” which doesn’t sound that special from Elvis, but the backing groups seem to try to hold the longest note. “If You Love Me (Let Me Know)” is a good song, Elvis sings it with ease, but due to the recording it doesn’t sound as warm as we’re used to. The same goes for “Love Me Tender”.
“Don’t Be Cruel” is a nice version with some extra Indian drumming, a clear reference to the suit Elvis was wearing. After a small test to see if the crowd was ready “Hound Dog” flashes along.
With “The Wonder of You” and “Trying To Get To You” we finally we get the more vocal showstoppers. “Burning Love” really rocks, and we can trust James Burton to do the same on “Johnny B Goode”. It even sounds as if Elvis has troubles following JB’s tempo. James also does some great sounding special guitar playing called “Chicken Picking’” on Elvis request. According to Elvis’ introduction James invented this kind of playing. After JB Ronnie Tutt and Jerry show off their capabilities we get “Heartbreak Hotel” and “T-R-O-U-B-L-E”. Then the backing group Voice gets a chance to show their singing with ‘Killing Me Softly”.
“Let Me Be There” isn’t a special version, but the performance of Elvis doing “Bosom of Abraham / You Better Run” with Charlie Hodge on lead is. This is the real treat of this first CD. It isn’t that often we hear Charlie sing lead in stead of harmony.
But with the next song “You Gave Me A Mountain” we know why they didn’t change roles, Elvis has something called “power” in his voice. We can not really appreciate Elvis’ doing Sherrill Nielsen on “Little Darling”, we prefer the lower voice of our man. This is where the first CD ends. A bit strange, since the remaining of the show might have fitted on the first CD too, but maybe the number of tracks or the pressing factory prevented that.
The “Mystery Train / Tiger Man” medley shows the rocker in Elvis is still alive. After “Funny How Time Slips Away” and a reprise of the end we get the standard ending with the Hawaiian theme.
As said the sound of this audience recording is a little cold with Elvis more up-front than the band. There are a few changes in the sound and the change of the tape during the introductions. Still the sound is obviously better than the previous outings of this show, and very “listenable” for an audience recording.
The second CD also contains part of Elvis’ evening performance. It is an incomplete show, you can hear both Elvis and the band more as a whole, but there is an irritating high ringing sound on the recording which ruins the listening pleasure. Combining it with the afternoon show is probably the only way this could be released decently.
It is a pity that the quality isn’t that good, because the performance is. Elvis sounds even stronger and more enthusiastic than a few hours earlier. The “I Got A Woman / Amen” medley and “Big Boss Man” really rock. “Love Me Tender” is partly a capella; unfortunately the crowd reacts very enthusiastically, so we can’t really hear it in all its purity. A nice treat to hear this song being sung this way for a change.
We browse through the remaining tracks, which contain different songs from the afternoon set like “The Wonder Of You”, “Polk Salad Annie” and the gospels “Why Me Lord” and “How Great Thou Art”. They all sound as good versions, and Elvis even tries to shush the audience whistling at JD singing his bass part on the first gospel. But then he tries to get JD laughing (and succeeds, but JD cleverly gives the lead back to Elvis saving himself).
The CD ends with two special songs. On “You’ll never Walk Alone” we get Elvis solo on the piano, a nice and rare treat, and with a live rendition of Elvis’ 1971 single “I’m Leavin’” this CD ends.
The previous, and complete, release of this show on the Claudia label sounds much better and is complete, so there isn’t really any need for this second CD.
This CD set contains recordings of an enthusiastic Elvis with several nice treats like the small gospel set with Charlie Hodge, the partly a capella “Love Me Tender” and his rendition at the piano of “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. These recordings, like every other recording from the summer tour, show Elvis still had it in 1975. A lot of fans probably have the original outings, so there isn’t much new to them. For those that missed the oldies, here is your chance to get some rare live recordings.
01- Also Sprach Zarathustra ; 02- See See Rider ; 03- I Got A Woman / Amen ; 04- Big Boss Man ; 05- Elvis Talks ; 06- Love Me ; 07- If You Love Me ( Let me Know ) ; 08- Love Me Tender ; 09- All Shook Up ; 10- Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel ; 11- Hound Dog ; 12- The Wonder Of You ; 13- Trying To Get To You ; 14- Burning Love ; 15- Introduction of the band #1 ; 16- Johnny B. Goode ( guitar solo by James Burton ) ; 17- Chicken Pickin' ( guitar solo by James Burton ) ; 18- Drums Solo ( by Ron Tutt ) ; 19- Bass Solo ( by Jerry Scheff ) ; 20- Piano Solo ( by Glen D. Hardin ) ; 21- Introduction of the band #2 ; 22- School Day ; 23- T-R-O-U-B-L-E ; 24- Heartbreak Hotel ; 25- Killing Me Softly ( sung by Voice ) ; 26- Let Me Be There ( with reprise ) ; 27- Bosom Of Abraham / You Better Run ; 28- You Gave Me A Mountain ; 29- Little Darlin' .
01- Mystery Train / Tiger Man ; 02- Funny How Time Slips Away ( with reprise ) ; 03- Can't Help Falling In Love ; 04- Closing Vamp ; 05- I Got A Woman / Amen ; 06- Big Boss Man ; 07- Love Me Tender ; 08- The Wonder Of You ; 09- Polk Salad Annie ; 10- T-R-O-U-B-L-E ; 11- Why Me Lord ? ; 12- How Great Thou Art ( with reprise ) ; 13- Let Me Be There ( with reprise ) ; 14- You'll Never Walk Alone ( Elvis playing piano ) ; 15- Little Darlin' ; 16- I'm Leavin' .