Gravel Road Music will re-release the classic bootleg Just Pretend as Rejuvenated And Rockin' soon. The CD contains the December 14, 1975 Las Vegas dinner show, previously released by Fort Baxter (1991). Below are the tracklisting and press release.
Oops, this is what happens when you do a quick update before going to bed. I didn't read the press release well enough. This is not Just Pretend, that was redone as Good To Be Back by GRM in 2010. This particular show is one of the two included with Fashion For A King by FTD. It is supposed to be better sound quality than the FTD release and in the same sound as the ealier show by FTD. Mea Culpa!
01. C C Rider 02. I Got A Woman - Amen 03. Love Me 04. Tryin To Get To You 05. And I Love You So 06. All Shook Up 07. (let me BeYour)Teddy Bear - Dont Be Cruel 08. Hound Dog 09. Until It’s Time For You To Go 10. You Gave Me A Mountain 11. Polk Salad Annie 12. Band Introductions 13. Johnny B. Goode (James Burton) 14. Chickin’ Pickin’(James Burton) 15. Bass Solo (Blues, Jerry Scheff) 16. Piano Solo (Glen D. Hardin) 17. Happy Birthday, Charlie 18. School Day #1 19. School Day #2 (featuring Tony on Guitar) 20. Just Pretend 21. How Great Thou Art (with reprise) 22. Burning Love 23. Softly As I Leave You (with Sherril Nielsen) 24. America,The Beautiful 25. Little Sister 26. Heartbreak Hotel 27. Introductions (of Lisa Marie and Vernon Presley) 28. O Sole Mio (Sung by Elvis) - Its Now Or Never 29. Cant Help Falling In Love 30. Closing Vamp.
80 minutes + Plus 28 Pages booklet stuffed with info and photo’s of the show!
If you know Gravelroad Releases and are lucky to have the “GOOD TO BE BACK” album by GRM , you know what you can expect the best !
These days, most people think of Elvis' final years as a steady decline until it all ended on August 16, 1977. Overall, that may well be true, but if you look at those years up-close, you will see that things are not as simple and as black & white as that. That viewpoint leaves out the nuances that make the overall picture so much more interesting. See, there were moments of promise, periods where Elvis got his act back together and where it seemed like he was back again and where the future seemed his. As we know now, he would always fall back into his old ways at some point, essentially because the real issues that he was dealing with at the time were never treated, only the symptoms. Those moments of promise must have made it even more frustrating for those around him to see him relapse time and again, thus affirming that the final path of self-destruction was inevitable.
One such period was December 1975. He'd been plagued by personal problems and health issues since July of that year. There were various troubling personal incidents during the July tour which alarmed insiders. Elvis seemed out of control. In August, he had to break off a Las Vegas engagements due to breathing issues and fatigue. The few concerts that he did manage to perform made it perfectly clear that something was seriously wrong. He seemed tired and pained. For the first time, those around him were seriously concerned about his well-being. Rumours began to appear in the press that he was suffering from a life-threatening illness.
Between August and November, Elvis rested and enjoyed himself, seeing movies with friends, riding around Memphis on his bike, dated various women (and yes, Linda Thompson was still his 'official' girlfriend)... At it paid off, to some extent. Unusually, he returned to Las Vegas for a two-week engagement. Traditionally, December is a quiet time in Vegas, but Elvis had no problems filling the showroom night after night. He still looked a bit bloated, but his performances were consistently strong, and far better than they had been in quite a while. He was in good voice, too, and he used it to great effect on the big dramatic songs that he loved performing. Elvis even added several rather interesting songs to his setlist, including the gorgeous 'Just Pretend' from 1970. His rapport with the audience was good, heartwarming even at times. And there were no incidents. Fans that saw Elvis at these shows were relieved. Whatever demons were troubling him earlier this year appeared to be gone now. And even though he was still a bit overweight, it was clear that he was doing better than last August. Perhaps from now on, things would be different. Maybe Elvis had now gotten the message, and no doubt he would make getting his health back together his # 1 priority. Who knows, maybe he would even change the format of his shows a bit... Things had gotten a bit stale and samey in the past 2 or 3 years. There had been nights where he seemed barely awake on stage. And maybe he would finally record that rhythm & blues album that he'd been talking about in recent years. Yes, 1976 held a lot of promise for our man.
Well, today we all know what happened in '76. To say that things turned bad again somehow feels like an understatement. It was the year where things got really ugly. Even now, after almost 40 years, it's still painful to see photos and hear recordings from that year. The 'unmaking of Elvis Presley', as Peter Guralnick put it, was now painfully clear to even the casual observer. At this point, he was probably beyond saving... An early grave seemed inevitable. His bodyguards even began to make secret plans about what they would do if Elvis would die on the road. Yup.... Presley's unmaking was ugly.
But, listening to the December '75 engagement, we can still dream about how things might have been. The December 14, 1975 show being a good case-in-point. This isn't even the best show from the audience, and indeed Elvis himself makes a reference to feeling a bit tired from last night's shows - which indeed were excellent. However, he exudes great personal warmth, and his interaction with the audience is just lovely ("... One of us has got to get bigger lips!"). The show is a nice record of the great affection that Elvis felt towards his fans. It was not a typical showbizz thing... Elvis truly loved his fans and his kindness towards them on this recording is heartwarming. Just as importantly, he is in good voice, and he sings especially well on songs like 'And I Love You So', 'Trying To Get To You', a rare-for-the-period 'Until It's Time For You To Go', 'You Gave Me A Mountain', 'Just Pretend', 'Burning Love', 'How Great Thou Art', 'America The Beautiful', 'It's Now Or Never'.... That's a lot of strong performances in one show!
The first release of this show was somewhat problematic due to faulty mastering, but you can now enjoy this splendid show in far better audio: the sound was improved noticeably, and we were also able to repair various defects in the sound, thus resulting in a more pleasing listening experience.
"... but, until then, we'll just pretend...."