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The Elvis Presley Show - Holding Down The Fort

By ElvisNews.com / KeesOct 24, 2006
The Madison label released “The Elvis Presley Show - Holding Down The Fort” containing the pre-show and main act, Elvis, as recorded on June 3, 1976.

Design

Contrary to previous designs I don’t like this design at first glance, it simply isn’t attractive. But it fits the man he was back then. Fortunately the booklet makes up for it with no less then 35 shots of Elvis and 3 of the Sweet inspiration and the Stamps. The liner notes are a well written review of the show.

Content

The Pre-show is a nice addition to the full concert experience. Never realized that Elvis the POP star presented his audience with an GOSPEL and SOUL pre-show. Listening to The Stamps when I just saw them live a month ago singing the same songs is a nice experience.

The main attraction is of course our man. And I must say, for an 1976 show this one was pretty entertaining and Elvis lives up to what the audience expect from the world greatest entertainer. Contrary to other later performances Elvis doesn’t sound dull, and really interacts with the audience, his band members and even technicians in a humorous way.

Musically “You Gave Me A mountain”, “Help Me”, “Polk Salad Annie” and “Hurt”, which gets a full reprise, are the best performances. In between some song get "messed up" when our man messes around with the audience and the lyrics … “Fever” is a “good” example or when he messed around with JD Sumner rambling my speakers. Somehow the audience takes it, something I can’t see happening during concerts these days, could it be the man really had that "something” on stage?

About five years ago Madison issued portions of this show, unfortunately far from complete and in lesser sound quality. This material was taken from a first generation soundboard recording. Unfortunately this tape was not without any flaws as there are quite a few feedbacks during "C.C. Rider", a tape stretch at the end of side A damaged "Jailhouse Rock," and the recording of "Hound Dog" was stopped early on. These have been replaced by the same tunes done just one month later in the same building. However, the incomplete June performances are included as a bonus for the "soundboard collector" in all of us. Listening to the damaged parts we can only appriciate the alterations, making this release a complete concert experience and a complete release for the collector. The actual concerts sound very good.

Conclusion

O.k. it isn’t their best release design-wise and Elvis is well over his peak but with the presentation of both the pre-show and main attraction in a good mood the Madison label presents a complete and entertaining 1976 show.

Track listing

CD1: The Pre-Show

01 - Guercio Introduction / Theme From S.W.A.T. / Love Me Tender 2:32 ; 02 - Stamps Introduction / Your First Day in Heaven 1:44 ; 03 - You'll Never Walk Alone 2:41 ; 04 - Operator 3:03 ; 05 - When The Saints Go Marching In 2:58 ; 06 - Inspirations Introduction / Philadelphia Freedom 3:42 ; 07 - Lady Marmalade 3:15 ; 08 - Introduction of Musicians 2:25 ; 09 - Stevie Wonder Medley Boogie On Reggae Woman ("Party ... Stevie Is A Wonder") / For Once In My Life / You Got It Bad Girl / Superstition / You Are The Sunshine Of My Life / Livin' For The City / All In Love Is Fair / Higher Ground / Closing Announcement 7:40

Total time = 30:07

Track 1: Joe Guercio and the Hot Hilton Horns ; Tracks 2-5 : J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet ; Tracks 6-10 : The Sweet Inspirations

All tracks previously unreleased

CD2 : The Main Event

01 - Introduction Also Sprach Zarathustra 0:47 ; 02 - C.C. Rider 4:40 ; 03 - I Got A Woman / Amen 7:39 ; 04 - Love Me 2:34 ; 05 - If You Love Me (Let Me Know) 3:22 ; 06 - You Gave Me A Mountain 3:24 ; 07 - All Shook Up 1:05 ; 08 - Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel 1:58 ; 09 - Heartbreak Hotel 1:52 ; 10 - Help Me 2:38 ; 11 - Jailhouse Rock 1:36 ; 12 - Fever 3:11 ; 13 - Polk Salad Annie 3:51 ; 14 - Introductions by Elvis of vocalists, band 3:07 ; 15 - Early Morning Rain (John Wilkinson) 102 ; 16 - What I'd Say? (James Burton) 057 ; 17 - Johnny B. Goode (James Burton) 055 ; 18 - Drum solo (Ronnie Tutt) 1:27 ; 19 - Bass solo (Jerry Scheff) 1:36 ; 20 - Piano solo (Tony Brown) 1:17 ; 21 - Electric piano solo (David Briggs) 1:00 ; 22 - Love Letters 2:43 ; 23 - Introductions by Elvis of vocalists, orchestra 0:25 ; 24 - School Day (Joe Guercio Orchestra) 1:18 ; 25 - "Happy Birthday" to Bruce Jackson 0:26 ; 26 - Hurt 1:53 ; 27 - Hurt (full reprise) 1:57 ; 28 - Hound Dog 2:58 ; 29 - Funny How Time Slips Away 4:36 ; 30 - Can't Help Falling In Love 1:42 ; 31 - Closing vamp and announcements 2:26 ; Bonus tracks : 32 - Jailhouse Rock (incomplete) 0:54 ; 33 - Hound Dog (incomplete) 0:21

Total time = 71:54

Tracks 5-10, 14, 16-21, 23-24 and 32-33 previously unreleased ; Tracks 11 and 28-31 recorded at the same venue, on July 3, 1976.
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Reactions

Greg Nolan (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 25, 2006report abuse
Getting back to the earlier point, I still maintain that it's a mistake to assume that "white" gospel groups are to be dismissed as "conservative" (anymore than Elvis?) while "black" gospel groups are somehow the despitory of "progressive" values, especially while applying modern secularist liberal notions to an authentic music tradition of another time and place. But we'll save that discussion, along with your point on "Steamroller Blues," for FECC or something, right, Rob? <grin> I remain very impressed with the deluxe treatment that Madison afforded this concert. Many might feel otherwise, but I'm so glad they think of it as "The Elvis Presley *Show*" -complete with the opening acts on a separate disc!
Rob Wanders (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 10, 2006report abuse
Greg, I'm very happy with the results of the elections in your country. don't forget, it also influences our life in Europe. Specially when we have a government like ours who walks like a little dog behind Mr Bush. I would never look down on people because they have an other opinion as I have. I know the feelings in the USA between the North and the south. I must say I've been once to Memphis, a few years ago and I met so many wonderful nice and openminded people, from the couple of Texas who invited us to visit their place in Texas, to that wonderful guy who helped us with the trouble we had with our rented car, to the man who showed us where we could find a gaybar. Wonderful city, although I didnot like the peenutbutter with baked babanas that much. Still I would like to know more opinions about the "napalm bomb" - sentence in Steamroller blues; so come on girls and guys, write about it!!!
Greg Nolan (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 9, 2006report abuse
That's fair enough, Rob. I've been active politically for years as well, and I just wanted to make sure I read right. Being here in the states, I've watched liberals for years look down their noses at more conservative folks in the south, and it's why until the other day, we were always losing. The new Congress is full of Democrats of varying degrees of conservative and liberal impulses. I think that's fine. It's a fair point about "Steamroller Blues," actually. But I long ago stopped thinking so hard about it and just enjoyed it as entertainment. But if I was, say, Japanese, would I like that song? I wonder. Anyway, carry on. This is a fun, high-quality release, folks.
Rob Wanders (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 9, 2006report abuse
Hi Greg, but I "am" politic engaged, so to give a politic-loaded comment is nothing new for me. For example, for a long time I want to start a discussion about the song : Steamroller blues. And then especially about the line: " I’m a napalm-bomb, guaranteed to blow your mind". If the song didnot have this line I would like it. But to use an object (for the lyrics of a song) as a symbol of how powerful your love for someone is, that killed thousands and thousands of people is for me só wrong. Anyway I didn't find, so far, a platform for a discussion about this.
Greg Nolan (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 8, 2006report abuse
Glad to know I'm not alone in enjoying this very nice 2-CD package, based on a '76 show, no less. Rob W: you wrote that "The Imperials for me have a too "white" sound, too neatly, decent and dull, (for me the wrong conservative religion-sound)." I know what you mean, but it's such a lpolitically- loaded comment to say that, particularly the latter part. I would just say that they can sound a bit too corny and way too old-fashioned at times.
You Dont Know Me (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 7, 2006report abuse
yes pre-show is 'interesting' Geurcio pieces seem 'unmemorable' but J.D. singing when the saints AND Elvis' come marching in is an experience just to hear thast voice growel out the voice coil in the speakers-amazing!! Sweets troo are great and their nice Elton John, then Stevie Wonder medley-particularily sweet voice on 'You are the Sunshine of my life' funny too that they get introduced by their ZodiC SIGNS! As that formed an integral part of Jackie Kahanes 'joke' act!-guess it was to fit in! pleasant enough to hear gospel, Elton and Stevie flavour before the 'Elvis' part of the show!
Rob Wanders (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 5, 2006report abuse
What I forgot to mention is the frontcover; I love this picture. Such a beautiful profile. One of my favourite photo's.
Ronaldv (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 3, 2006report abuse
i have cajun tornado for years, but holding down the fort is absolutely worthwile to have in addition. madison, keep up the good work. better sound and a nice booklet and the sweets are just great.
Rob Wanders (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 3, 2006report abuse
like this cd. It gives you a pretty good idea of the (almost) complete Elvis show. I'm glad "Jerky Cahoon" is not on it. Hearing JD (and the Stamps) singing makes me always smile; this unbelievable, low and dark voice. I have some cd's from them and I've always preferred them (when they sing solo) above the Imperials, because they sound more "black", like the wonderful black gospel quartets (for example The Golden Gate Quartet). The Imperials for me have a too "white" sound, too neatly, decent and dull, (for me the wrong conservative religion-sound). They function perfectly when they sing with Elvis, but I cannot make myself listen a second time, to their solo double-cd I have from them. It's also great to hear the Sweet Inspirations, singing a wonderful Lady Marmalade (for me only known as: Voulez vous coucher avec moi, ce soir) and a nice Stevie Wonder-medley. I was surprised by that. Then the Maestro himself; enjoyable show, he is in a good spirit, he seems happy. No surprises in the show. For me the highlight: one of the best live-versions I have heared of "Love letters", and an enjoyable "Fever". The soundquality is pretty good, so conclusion: I'm happy with this one.
Greg Nolan (profilecontact) wrote on Oct 29, 2006report abuse
P.S. Regarding sound, according to a "Ray" on FECC, "The Cajun is from a far lower generation tape than Holding Down The Fort, HDTF is from First Generation tape." The notes back this up, saying that the TDK 120 tape is first-generation.
Greg Nolan (profilecontact) wrote on Oct 29, 2006report abuse
I never had "Cajun Tornado" but to my ears, 2006's "Holding Down the Fort" is quite good. As with most other recent Fort Baxter re-issues, they've found a way (or time just permits it, via advances in technology and engineering) to coax more than adequte sound out of the tapes. The booklet alone is very exciting (great notes as always by Sniffy McGillis), packed with great color photos of the show and really making this a true souvenir of "The Elvis Presley Show" circa 1976, as does the clever Disc One (about 30 minutes) of the opening acts. Hearing such contemporary '70s songs (especially the Stevie Wonder medley ) reminds me how late in the game Elvis was still alive, as I remember all those popular songs at the time. The Elvis world, in comparison, seems like more nostalgia-driven then usually acknowledged...but it's still Elvis live on stage and the '76 fans eat that up. I agree that this is a more effective show for '76 as Tony Brown had maintainted, as mentioned in the notes. Not as good as late '76 but definitely reasonably engaged, despite a less than stellar voice in spots. The cover shot has grown on me. I accept that it was no longer 1956 and that's still a great profile our man had in the year of the bicentennial.... Well worth having...!
BillyJack (profilecontact) wrote on Oct 25, 2006report abuse
The sound is good. At least better than Cajun Tornado.
Doug (profilecontact) wrote on Oct 25, 2006report abuse
Yes... what about sound quality? Is it a nice addition to our collection or not? Is it an essential purchase?
asd123 (profilecontact) wrote on Oct 25, 2006report abuse
What about the sound?

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