This CD was released earlier this month, but I couldn’t really set myself to play it. Was I wrong?
The Audionics and Fort Baxter import labels put out another remastered oldie; Fort Baxter’s “Goodbye Memphis” CD from 1997 featuring the last concert Elvis Presley ever performed in his hometown, Memphis, on the fifth of July 1976.
The design is in-line with the 21st. century standard set by the top import labels; a bit dark due to the use of black as the main colors, but that probably made the editing of the many dark photos more easy. The liner notes a pretty complete and place this concert in it’s historical perspective with information on the concert, reviews and some events in Elvis live.
The 16 pages booklet is almost too big; I damage it when I take it out and put it back in the jewel case. I hate it when that happens.
As said this concert laid around my desk for a month; I played it twice but couldn’t really get excited. I had to make an effort to write these words. Reading the good reviews and positive fan reaction is the booklet and rave review on the FECC site I could not match those with this concert. Elvis is upbeat and certainly isn’t bad, but the level does not rate above elevator music; it makes easy listening background music. O.k. not as annoying as real elevator music but I simply couldn’t get enthusiastic. Some of the best performances from this concert were "Fairytale", "And I Love You So", and "Polk Salad Annie". And for some reason I always liked “Softly As I Leave You”.
The track listing is varied; he played "Softly As I Leave You" - the only performance during this tour – but to perform "Blue Christmas" in June? I always thought what if this song would have had other lyrics than the Christmas lyrics we all know. It could have been a great blues hit.
During the introductions of the musicians Elvis sang a complete version (all four verses) of "Early Morning Rain", but for some unexplainable reason the engineer only recorded one fourth of it. Elvis says "keep it going, keep it going", but that's all we get and we misses a beautiful performance.
The original release was a soundboard so could it be upgraded? The Audionics engineers blew some fans away with the new sound on this release; “It`s fresh, deep and natural” and “the sound is very good indeed. there's no noise-reduction noise“. Now if only Elvis Performance would have matched that ….
You will have to make your own mind up for this one; I probably won’t play it again but reading other reviews and reactions it could simply be me. It may be one of the or even the best performance in a bad year, but that does not make it essential listening material for me. But if you missed the original, this is a nice package to get; if only because it was Elvis final concert in Memphis.
01. Introduction: Also Sprach Zarathustra - 02. C. C. Rider - 03. I Got A Woman / Amen - 04. Love Me - 05. Fairytale - 06. You Gave Me A Mountain - 07. All Shook Up - 08. Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel - 09. And I Love You So - 10. Jailhouse Rock - 11. Fever - 12. America The Beautiful - 13. One Night - 14. That's All Right - 15. Blue Christmas - 16. Introductions by Elvis of vocalists, band - 17. Early Morning Rain (John Wilkinson).
01. What'd I Say (James Burton) - 02. Johnny B. Goode (James Burton) - 03. Drum solo (Ronnie Tutt) - 04. Bass solo (Jerry Scheff) - 05. Piano solo (Tony Brown) - 06. Electric Piano and Clavinet solo (David Briggs) - 07. Love Letters - 08. School Day (Joe Guercio Orchestra) - 09. Hurt - 10. Hurt (full reprise) - 11. Hound Dog - 12. Funny How Times Slip Away (with reprise) - 13. Help Me - 14. How Great Thou Art - 15. Softly As I Leave You - 16. Introductions by Elvis of Vernon Presley - 17. Polk Salad Annie - 18. Jambalaya (partial) - 19. It's Now Or Never - 20. Can't Help Falling In Love - 21. Closing Vamp and announcements.