The webmaster of Elvis Sessions recorded the interview from Sirius Radio with Ernst Jorgensen and shared it through the FECC message board. We made a short transcript.
The interviewer and Ernst talk briefly about a number of subjects like the latest FTD release “Summer Festival”, various era’s of Elvis recording career and the available material, the upcoming FTD releases and a little on his work for SONY/BMG in general.
First of all he answers the important question on his health; he is recovering and doing well.
On the "Summer Festival" August 1972 tour they had the choice between 5 shows, they chose for this concert because of the quality of the show and it hadn't been bootlegged. They added some of the song Elvis sung on the other four shows from the August 1972 season like "Little Sister / Get Back" and "It's Over" for the excitement. Elvis is on his peak according to Ernst and he performs a lot of great typical Elvis songs.
In total there are about two hundred soundboard recordings from the 1969 - 1977 concert era available. BMG will not release all soundboards, because many shows are the same (set list). The main goal is to cover all Las Vegas, Tahoe and seventies concert tours on one CD per concert tour. If an tour contains enough interesting material available (like August 1974 when Elvis completely rearranged his repertoire before turning it back three days later) they may release more CD's from that season.
As for the 1969 International concerts. From Thursday to Wednesday two shows per night were recorded on eight track tapes. There is enough material for several releases, but Ernst has to make a choice between a "best of" from the remaining material, or a complete concert. Fans will probably argue about it forever (and that is a good thing).
On the release of fifties live shows on the FTD label Ernst respond that live recordings weren't a regular thing, what's available is from personal initiative from local DJ's and radio stations. So there is not a lot available. Ernst is looking for shows that present Elvis as the King Of Rock and Roll. He has located one show from 1956 and he tries to make a deal for a possible 1956 package. He is desperately looking for anything 1957 concert and earlier work from the SUN era. He is also looking for a longer (Hayride) show than the usual 7 songs like the Little Rock concert that has been released.
He also has to deal with rumors like the one that Elvis performed "Fools Hall Of Fame" in 1957, a song he never recorded, but finding that is a main target. The same goes for the Platter's cover "Only You" which fans say Elvis sung very beautifully. Elvis performed the song over a period of six months, but not at the Little Rock concert.
The New Follow That Dream Releases
On the question what future Follow That Dream releases will be he jokingly says "that’s why I keeps the message boards alive". The main thing is that basically the definitive choice for a release is usually made two months before the actual release. But they also committed to re-release all of Elvis original albums in the seven inch packages with extra tracks and information. But the well for studio outtakes will eventually run dry (not from soundboards). The standard January release has not yet been decided yet. They can choose from soundboards, RCA live recordings, television specials and studio sessions.
The FTD label is working on a 2 CD release of "Loving You", they recently found a handful of top quality unreleased alternate versions of the songs from “Loving You”. They are also working on the re-issue of "Something For Everybody" as a follow up to the very successful "Elvis Is Back" release.
Ernst On His Work
Currently they are working on a bunch of RCA things so Roger Semon and Ernst have to squeeze in time for the FTD releases which is a hobby like side business. Ernst didn't commend on the question on coming SONY / BMG releases.
Ernst and Roger approach their work with the Elvis catalogue, FTD and BMG releases as a team. Together with Joe Dimuro and a small team in New York they do all the work together. Ernst's responsibility is arrange the audio elements, audio related information and historical information, Roger is mainly into the artwork and photo work. It really is a combined team effort. There are no big staff’s anymore at the record companies, the Follow that Dream releases are sometimes done in the spare time or weekend. "I’m not complaining it’s just a description of how we don’t sit around for weeks & weeks planning the next FTD release because we don’t have that much time".