Last week we announced the release of Coming on Strong, the second release on the new Southern Style label. We were told it would be a CD in very good sound quality. And it is! We can’t think of a soundboard-CD that sounds as clear as this one does, some come close but Coming On Strong is certainly on of the best. Unfortunately this sound quality shows in what kind of shape Elvis was. The artwork of the CD is fine, just as its predecessor it is simple but shows great taste. And the producer managed to find some pictures of this period where Elvis wasn’t looking too bad. The CD carries two incomplete shows, one recorded February 13, 1977 (West Palm Beach, Florida) and the other is dated February 16, 1977 (Montgomery, Alabama). Parts of the last show were already released on "Moody Blue and Other Great Performances" (Fort Baxter). On the first volume of A Profile, A Life in Music, Blueberry Hill was listed to be from the West Palm Beach show, but that is another version.
Especially the first show is weak. Elvis’ voice sounds trembling, week and insecure, even on the shortest notes. Hearing songs like You Gave Me a Mountain and Hurt – which used to be showstoppers with Elvis’ powerful voice – in these versions really hurts. The most interesting thing from the first show is the unusual Blueberry Hill, but only because it’s rare. Elvis closed this show with "Wise men know, when it’s time to go". He shouldn’t have been there in the first place. The second show is slightly better. At least it sounds as if Elvis was enjoying himself. A swinging version of Polk Salad Annie (mainly carried by the band) is enjoyable. While strangely enough a song that probably drove Elvis to the well-known boredom, Teddy Bear, is one of the highlights of the CD. Not because Elvis was doing such a great rendition, but because Tony Brown showed his fingers weren’t locked, as Elvis stated at the false start of the song… at least there was some glance of the old Elvis humour. We know a lot of the fans adore the version of Where No One Stands Alone on this CD. It could have been a remarkable performance, but obviously out of breath he sang a song he wasn’t able to carry anymore. Resuming we can say this CD is "for CD collectors only". It is not advised to show it to new Elvis-fans or even worse "not yet fans". We fully understand why Elvis Presley Enterprises is reserved with releasing later Presley-material. It is clear Elvis should have been in bed instead of on stage.