Is Fort Baxter shaking up the great archives with this reissue of material previously released on the Profile Box set and “Memories From Kalamazoo”?
As we have become to expect from the Fort Baxter reissues the design is top notch. It is a very modern design in which even a casual picture of our man leaving the building looks attractive. The liner notes are a good review of the shows on this release, so if you want a track by track review, placed in the proper historical context, read the liner notes.
This compilation contains incomplete soundboard recordings of performances from Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo recorded on April 24 and 26 1977.
On this reissue of the Ann Arbor show the omission of “Love Me” has been corrected, the band introductions were deleted. Also corrected is the sound, it is more powerful, but here still is some hiss in the background. As for the show, Elvis delivers an o.k. version of “Trying To Get To You” with some good action from the horn section. He scares the band almost going along with a request from the audience for "Blue Hawaii" but pianist Tony Brown doesn't know it. We hear Elvis say "Do somethin' Tony ... right or wrong, it don't matter!". The highlights are “My Way" and “Polk Salad Annie” which gets him a standing ovation. “Unchained Melody” isn’t as strong as the Righteous Brothers’ original, but with the images from the CBS Special in mind you see Elvis at the piano singing his heart (and lungs for that matter) out. "Unchained Melody" and "Little Darlin'" end up on his "Moody Blue" album. The closing theme in the middle of a “concert” is a strange experience.
For the second half of this release we get most songs again. But there are a few changes in the set, making this second half a little different. We were not too positive on our original review of the show from Kalamazoo, this reissue with improved sound don’t change that. We enjoyed the rendition of "Big Boss Man" and “My Way”, a song that should have been an Elvis signature song, more than Sinatra’s theme. For the complete review see the review of the original release of this show.
A nice upgrade on design and sound of two earlier releases but mainly for the completists, fans who enjoy Elvis in his last days and fans of the Fort Baxter label only because it these upgrades don’t improve the show itself.
Track listing :
01- Love Me * 1:35 ; 02- If You Love Me, Let Me Know 2:54 ; 03- You Gave Me A Mountain 3:36 ; 04-Trying To Get To You 2:25 ; 05 - O Sole Mio / It's Now Or Never 4:09 ; 06- Little Sister 1:52 ; 07 -Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel 2:10 ; 08- Help Me 2:42 ; 09- My Way 4:02 ; 10- Polk Salad Annie 4:08 ; 11- Hurt ( with reprise ) 2:50 ; 12- Hound Dog * 2:02 ; 13- Unchained Melody 2:36 ; 14- Little Darlin' 1:52 ; 15- Can't Help Falling In Love / Closing vamp 1:58 ;
16- Love Me 2:41 ; 17- Fairytale ( false start ) 0:31 ; 18- If You Love Me, Let Me Know 2:54 ; 19-You Gave Me A Mountain 3:44 ; 20- Jailhouse Rock 1:58 ; 21- O Sole Mio / It's Now Or Never 3:34 ; 22- Big Boss Man 2:53 ; 23- Heartbreak Hotel 1:55 ; 24- Blue Suede Shoes 1:12 ; 25- And I Love You So (with false start ) 4:08 ; 26- My Way 4:13 ; 27- Hound Dog* 1:53 ; 28- Can't Help Falling In Love* / Closing vamp * 2:17
* previously unreleased
Tracks 01-15 recorded on April 24th, 1977 Ann Arbor, MI
Tracks 16-28 recorded on April 26th, 1977 Kalamazoo, MI