Good To Be Back

By LexJan 30, 2011
Good To Be Back

Gravel Road Music released another oldie in a new jacket and they promised in a better quality too. Did they succeed with this December 13, 1975 Midnight Show?


The new jacket is a huge improvement compared to the original Fort Baxter-release Just Pretend. The booklet is printed like a souvenir menu from the engagement, with many pictures of the actual show. The liner notes are a good read, pleasantly written, but add nothing really new (but who would expect that?).
I am among the lucky ones that got the “special tour folio photo album”. This little on thick glossy paper is a little jewel on itself and contains some great shots of The King in action.


To me this engagement is the last moment Elvis really sounded great. Of course the December ’76 tour is acceptable too, but here his voice really rules. The sound has really improved. The distortion caused by too loud recording is still present, but less annoying than on the original, probably because everything sounds a bit fuller and richer.

To me the highlights are Tryin’ To Get To You, How Great Thou Art (probably one of the best live versions ever) and Just Pretend, but the whole show is well balanced, good humoured (but not too distracting) and a very enjoyable listen. For those that are not familiar with this show, let Patrick Johansson from Sweden convince you with his review of FB’s Just Pretend:

“This CD is the first that the Fort Baxter label released in their "From the mastertapes"-series, and it's one hell of a start! Needless to be said, it is a soundboard recording and the sound is of excellent quality. Even though the sound is in mono, not stereo, every instrument, the backup-singers and, of course, Elvis is clearly heard and in balance.
The CD contains a complete concert (with the exception of "Also Sprach Zarathustra") from December the 13th, 10.15pm, and it is recorded during Elvis' "pre-holiday jubilee" at the Las Vegas Hilton. Usually, Elvis did play in Vegas twice a year, at the beginning and during the summer. This Vegas-season was however Elvis' third during 1975. The reason for this was that he had to cancel his August-September engagement due to illness after only five shows, so he had to return to Vegas in order to fulfil his contract.

Three months off the road and away from the Hilton showroom must have been just what Elvis needed. When he returned to the stage in December, he was in good spirits and his voice probably stronger and better than ever. This you can hear in the featured concert, and Elvis also got very good reviews in the music magazines for this Vegas-season. The journalists noted that he was a bit thicker around the waist the earlier during the year, but gave him good credits for the shows. "Melody Maker" wrote that it was Elvis' strongest performance for many years and noted that he seemed to care about the shows again. Also "Los Angeles Times" wrote that his shows were now tighter than earlier in the year, and admired his performance of especially "How Great Though Art". Enough about that, what about the show?

From beginning to end Elvis and is band are rocking! They kick off with one of the best versions of "See See Rider" that I have ever heard and even Elvis comments Ronnie Tutts incredible drumming at the ending of the song. After a better than usual "I Got A Woman", Elvis says to the audience "Good evening and welcome! We know who you are… And you think you know who I am!" and, after talking a bit to a woman and giving her a scarf, goes into the ordinary "Love Me", but with an extremely long ending tone where the back-up singers are put to the test. A strong version of "Trying To Get To You" follows and Elvis vocal is nothing but breathtaking! The next song "And I Love You So" is sung with passion and feeling, and because of the good sound quality you can hear the beautiful string arrangements clearly. Then we have "All Shook Up" and "Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel" which sounds the same as always…

Anyway, there's no reason to go through every single song so let's talk about the outstanding ones instead. (There aren't any bad performances or lack-lustres in this show!) Elvis sings, on request from Mr and Mrs Thompson (Elvis' girlfriend Linda Thompson's parents), "Help Me Make It Through The Night" and turns it into one of his strongest live songs ever. Again his strong and deep vocals are impressive. This is also the case in "Just Pretend", which was far too rarely performed live by Elvis, but this fantastic version makes up for that!

"Burning Love" shows that Elvis can still rock the roof of any old showroom. This version is faster and tighter than for example the studio version and the live version from "Aloha From Hawaii". Listen especially to the last verse where The Sweet Inspirations sings a very soul- influenced back-up which adds a new dimension to this already superb song. Rock'n'Roll at it's very best! Before "Burning Love" Elvis gives another astonishing performance. "How Great Though Art" is more or less always the most intense performance of an Elvis' concert, even the ones where he sings bad are seems completely uninterested in the rest of the songs. Here you have Elvis in the best of moods with his voice stronger than ever… The performance of his career of this particular song if you ask me. When Elvis repeats the last verse and goes up with his voice, I get goosepimples!

Apart from the above we also get "America, The Beautiful" another show-topper, which in a way took over from "An American Trilogy" as the patriotic moment of Elvis' shows. It was in this Vegas engagement that Elvis introduced this song. He then sang it frequently during 1976.

Elvis ends the show with an entertaining "Little Darling" and a rocking "Little Sister" and of course, "Can't Help Falling In Love". But first he tells the audience that it has been a pleasure working for them, talks a bit about that he has been away for a while, wishes everyone a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and bids the audience "an affectionate farewell"

Apart from astonishing performances from Elvis and a tight and rocking TCB-band, this CD gives you a bit of a show with Elvis joking with the audience and chatting to the band. This is clearly one of the best CD's on the market with concerts from Elvis' final years, and I recommend it to every Elvis-fan.”


Only the package makes this release worthwhile to those that have the original, for those that haven’t got the original this release is a must, since it’s Elvis’ best performance after the summer of ’75.


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. You Gave Me A Mountain (with false start) 09. Help Me Make It Through The Night 10. Polk Salad Annie 11. Band Introductions 12. Johnny B. Goode (by James Burton) 13. Drum Solo (by Ronnie Tutt) 14. Bass Solo (by Jerry Scheff) 15. Piano Solo (by Glen D. Hardin) 16. School Day 17. School Day Reprise 18. Just Pretend 19. How Great Thou Art (with reprise) 20. Burning Love 21. Hound Dog 22. Welcome To My World (partly) 23. Softly As I Leave You (with Sherril Nielsen) 24. America,The Beautiful 25. Its Now Or Never 26. ‘O Sole Mio (sung in Italian by Elvis) 27. Little Darlin' 28. Little Sister 29. Cant Help Falling In Love 30. Closing Vamp.


Elvis Presley on: eBay, Amazon


katjon (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 10, 2011report abuse
hi guys, im new here and this is my very first post, i wonder if anyone can help, i would love to buy the new elvis cd GOOD TO BE BACK (GRAVEL ROAD) but i do not know where i can buy it can anyone help me, i dont know if there is a web site that would have this. thank you, john, P.S. I LIVE IN THE UK
eric c (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 9, 2011report abuse
One of the all-time best Elvis concert CD's released....the amazing sound and his voice will just knock you out.A beautiful gem all the way around.AWESOME!!!
stefanes (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 20, 2011report abuse
Hi, i like to know if someone have the website musicservice in holland? (sells cds)
Jesse Garon Presley (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 18, 2011report abuse
Orion it's just like you say and i agree a 100 percent over here, so i just got this release yesterday and i listened to the cd twice in a row,that's how much i enjoy this release,and the booklet and photobook are just plain awesome!!
Orion (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 8, 2011report abuse
Now we're talking - this is indeed the way this show should be presented to the 'fans of the man from Tennessee.' The sound is fuller and better mixed than on the original Ft. Baxter release. The booklet and liner notes provide us the visual and narrative piece that was also missing from the original. Therefore, there is nothing to complain about as far as this release goes. Again, Gravel road delivers on the promise they made. Oh, the addition of the photobook make it an even more enjoyable purchase. Bravo and well-done folks ! Can't wait to see what is planned next.
benny scott (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 4, 2011report abuse
Erika : feel really happy for you you got the photobook ! ( so did I !) drjohncarpenter : I second that ! Great release indeed ! Always El.
drjohncarpenter0117 (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 3, 2011report abuse
Erika, very glad you received the photo book as it is a nice addition to this release, Gravel Road have indeed pull out all the stops on this one so congrats to them and look forward to future releases from them.
Erika Freiburger (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 3, 2011report abuse
I'm happy to report that i got the bonus photo book:) This is a great release,much better than what i've expected. Love,Erika
Monster (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 3, 2011report abuse
This is one of my favourite shows Elvis ever gave. A lot of people mention what a good version of HGTA and I have to agree. You really have to take your hat off to Elvis on his vocals here. He may have given good shows after this point but for me (and only for me before anyone jumps down my throat for having the wrong opinion lol!!) most of his shows were compromised in some way after this season. Sometimes his speaking voice was slurred, sometimes there was boredom, sometimes it was a tired sound in his voice and all to rarely the se list was hurried and padded out a little too much by the interminable introductions. Of course there are exceptions to the rule but even listening to the DEcember 76 shows there's a slight manic quality to the performance that doesn't sit well with me. By and large it feels like in December 75 Elvis was more vocally powerful than before, he still had a nice tone, was in control, offered some musical surprises in the set list, he was eager to please and was happy to be there. At least one of those factors was missing frome here on in. Oh! Could we have an option to name our top five concerts somewhere? It's not quite the same as fave imports cos a lot of folks don't like them. :)
patchitup (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 2, 2011report abuse
Great cd & booklet. The sound is great and I loved hearing "Just Pretend", one of my favourite Elvis 70's songs. The photo album has some stunning pictures.
Ciscoking (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 2, 2011report abuse
I listened closely..fantastic version ever of How Great Thou Art..but this isn`t new..
MikeE (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 1, 2011report abuse
Broad tastes in music.....Germany.... try 'The Jackys' Happy Birthday album, available on itunes. The best tracks are 'Break up' (Charlie Rich song, Elvis gets a mention), 'Back home again' (John Denver song), 'Six days on the road' (Dave Dudley), 'Okie from Muskogee' (Merle Haggard) , 'Crying time' (Buck Owens) and 'You're mine' (no idea).
Erika Freiburger (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 1, 2011report abuse
Calm down guys,please. Is the glass half empty or half full? It depends how you see it. There are pros and kontras. There's no new audio but at least the package is nice. Everybody has the right to express his/her opinion,this is the freedom of speech. But don't fight please,we are all Elvis-fans after all and we have to support each others. I'm sure it's a nice release and i can't wait to get it. Love, Erika
Taprik (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 1, 2011report abuse
Tony C (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 1, 2011report abuse
Some of the people who add comments are just wrapped up in jealously and bitterness, seeing everything in a negative way. It is those people whose opinions are pointless and add nothing to the debate, despite what they think. To have an opinion is one thing, but there is no excuse for the rudeness and personal attacks that come from a few individuals. As far as this CD goes, it appears to be a very special release, they really have gone the extra mile with the packaging.
Ciscoking (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 1, 2011report abuse
Thank you all for your support, guys..some fans are ugly..possibly envious ..bored ..or just looking for trouble..this guy obviously comes from Germany..bad I had said this release was C-R-A-P..all would have been fine for forget his nasty`s agenda.. orion..yep.. Greensboro and Boston are oustanding and vibrant....he gave so many great shows..and Tahoe 74 was good, too..
benny scott (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 1, 2011report abuse
Hi Hangloose. 1) I'm not your"old mate". 2) I have a life and a very good one. 3) Don't put words in my mouth I never spoke. I never ever wrote that "At Full Force " "a great release with great sound ". I stated that my copy sounded GOOD, and I still state this. If you ( and seemingly a lot of others ) got a bad copy, well, bad luck ! I don't need any lessons from you about good- or not good -sounding bootlegs, be it Live- or Studio-recordings. I've been a recording artist myself for over more than 20 years, so don't teach me anything about sound, mixing,editing, studio-recorders, recording-studio's and studio-recordings, matrix, pressing, labels, etc.. you name it.(Hope you understand SOME of these words)( Just being a little sarcastic here, without the intention to hurt ) And to conclude : if, in the future, you still should feel the need to point at Ciscoking, please have the brains and politeness NOT to call him "Ciskönig". German -sounding words are not needed on this site (that goes for other languages too !).After all, see The ElvisNews Input Guidelines nr 2 . You could have named him "Cis-King", I consider him as sort of a "king" when it comes to give advice about import CDs of Our Man,and I don't care if you like this or not ! As for me,I'll now follow Jesse Garon's advice : "over and out" ( as far as this specific topic goes. I'll see what the future brings.) In the meantime I'll enjoy Elvis' music and the music of some +/- 100 other male and female singers. I have,Just like Steve V, an open mind for other artists' music too.Always El.
Orion (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 1, 2011report abuse
Cisco: Great choices for shows esp. the August 1970 show. I'm glad that you didn't go for the obvious shows like Aloha or Madison Square. What are your thoughts on the Greensboro or Boston Garden show ? I would have to say that both are pretty solid shows - maybe more so than the January 1970 show you have listed... Then again, just an opinion. As I said, I really enjoy the recent release of "High Sierra". I also find the March of 75 show with Barbra Streisand in the audience to be quite focused and enjoyable as well - although not quite as good as the Dec. 75 show that this release covers.
drjohncarpenter0117 (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 1, 2011report abuse
Steve V, thanks for the grammer lesson.?........boy do i feel stupid,perhaps if you read the comments it's about personal attacks by certain people and not people's relationship with Elvis, i have a varied musical collection that ranges from the old to the new but have a passion for Elvis, for a long time forums like this have been a free for all to slate Elvis and people's comments etc...........sadly like most fans this forum has also lost it's passoin for Elvis and will gradually be a thing of the past.
Still i will go on enjoying what Elvis brings to my life, don't get me wrong my wife,my children,even my grandchildren are the reason to love and live in my life but Elvis does fill a very nice gap also.
Steve V (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 1, 2011report abuse
You cant debate or have a discussion with certain fans about Elvis. You cant when Elvis is a big part of their (notice not there!) life like a family member. I was like this 30 years ago. Time changes people and their (not there!) way of thinking and putting things in perspective. I play Elvis weekly not daily anymore, but now I find I only play the real cream of what he did and leave most of the outtakes, live shows on the shelf. They just bore me. This opened me up to many more artists both living & dead and many more types of music, and may I dare say sometimes I enjoy listening to them as much as Elvis. Elvis will always be my number one singer but as an album artist, he had maybe 6-7 good ones. He was a singles artists mostly (his best work being before the 70's) so really when I want to hear a good album, I usually don't pick Elvis these days.
drjohncarpenter0117 (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 1, 2011report abuse
hangloose, I feel sure you can make your own mind up when a new mport is announced so other people's positives or negatives about any import are only there views and there's only as are your's.

What i am having problem's with are the unwelcomed remark's about certain people in the Elvis world?....even yourelf have come under some strong vocal treament which have nearly always been tic-for-tac between yourself and another party, some fans are always positive about Elvis because it's a way of life and the legend of Elvis presley is a important part in there is in mine, does not mean we think everything that came out of his mouth was the best but it's the over all package that we look at and not alway's certain songs,concerts or movies etc.

Always read all comments and some fans know there stuff and it's them i look for some guidance in the Elvis world.Again why can't we just enjoy the legacy of the greatest enterainer ever..........Elvis Presley
Jesse Garon Presley (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 1, 2011report abuse
You r the one shouldn't react at all do us a favour for crying out loud,i don't even care what your reactions are ,you always attacking someone or think you r the person with the right opinion , and who asked you anyway.
HangLoose (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 1, 2011report abuse
You say ignoring is the best solution. Then why don't you do it? Don't react at all and case is solved. Thank you and good night!
Jesse Garon Presley (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 1, 2011report abuse
Great review lex btw, at least you and so many appreciate this release and so do i and rightfully so.
Jesse Garon Presley (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 1, 2011report abuse
You don't even have this cd so who and what are you to judge about then and about somebody? get a life yourself great and right on the nail drjohncarpenter0117 and benny scott it really smells like jelousy all around you r so right about that,ignoring is the best solution.
HangLoose (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 1, 2011report abuse
Benny,according to you even 'At Full Force' was a great release with great sound. It speaks volumes about your knowledge and this is why i find your naive and biased opinion about bootlegs completely useless. My point is that the truth needs to be told. Even when the producers of various bootleg labels don't like it. According to them,all reissues are sonically improved and better sounding than the previous versions. If you believe all these claims then i feel sorry for you,old mate. Get a life.
drjohncarpenter0117 (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 1, 2011report abuse
Hey,i got my photo-booklet in my cd so that mean i got mine free as well?... NO i had to pay and to be honest most fans were unaware of this until it was memtioned in the review on this website?? come on leave the personal digs well alone and yet again i find myself in Cisco's corner.The guy has spent a lot of time and some of his reviews on all things Elvis are always honest, if there bad then it tells you and have spent many years buying imports old and new on reviews posted by him and various other well known contributors. let's all enjoy this cd when you all have it as it is a show that deserves a listen or two.
benny scott (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 1, 2011report abuse
The wind carries many odours and I smell real jalousy right now. Pityful mentality ! If Cisco gets free copies : so what ! Have no problem at all with it. When will the attacks on this man stop? I'm thankful for his postings now and in the past, they gave me the possibility to decide to buy or not to buy a certain "import". I haven't been disappointed yet ! I ordered GTBB too, and if I obtain the booklet : OK. If I'm not : so be it. I'll enjoy the music in the first place, booklet or not. Always El.
Ciscoking (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 1, 2011report abuse
The photo booklet ia a real collectors`s on solid thick paper ..and doesn`t fall into`s all in color and the shots are really text but the photos say everything..16 pages and the seize of a vinyl single..beautiful.. top show is 12.8.70 MS followed by 26.8.69 MS..26.1.70 OS..and then this 13.12.75 MS..
Lefty (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 1, 2011report abuse
Erika, I paid a higher price too. My dealer said that the photo booklet raises the shipping price. He's a top notch guy, so if the photo booklet isn't included, I'm sure he will refund the difference. And you're absolutely right, every buyer should get the bonus photo booklet. Good luck to us both.
Orion (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 1, 2011report abuse
Cisco - I couldn't agree with you more that this show is superb, and it truly is "One of the best shows our man EVER gave in Las Vegas." I have also played the recent FTD "High Sierra" from May of 1974 nearly a dozen times and find it to be an absolute dynamic show as well. Even though this is a wee bit off topic (ahem), I was curious what you would rate as Elvis' top five concerts (maybe even top 10). I really feel this show and "High Sierra" belong in that list. The set list, the mood of Elvis, the dedication to his craft, audience reaction, etc.. is there on both of these relases. Agree or disagree ? Oh - my copy has yet to arrive, but I ordered it back in early January with the hopes of getting the photobok. Will let you know once it arrives stateside.
snowbird2000 (profilecontact) wrote on Jan 31, 2011report abuse
Ciscoking,did you get the bonus photobook?
Ciscoking (profilecontact) wrote on Jan 31, 2011report abuse
The layout is breathtaking and so is the show..I jsut listened to is a real collectots matter if you already have the show or not..I am really impressed..excellent work !!
Erika Freiburger (profilecontact) wrote on Jan 31, 2011report abuse
Thanks for the useful informations,Henryk. However,my point is that for this kind of money ALL fans should receive the photo-booklet,not only half of them. Love,Erika
Henryk (profilecontact) wrote on Jan 31, 2011report abuse
Erika, it doesn't matter when you ordered the CD (unless you were ordering it directly from the producers). It is important how much in advance did your dealer order his/her copies and if he/she is among the lucky ones the producers decided to offer the bonus material to. Anyway, I hope you'll get the photo booklet.
Erika Freiburger (profilecontact) wrote on Jan 31, 2011report abuse
Thank you, drjohncarpenter0117, i will let you know when it arrives. I ordered it 3 weeks ago so i guess i'm among the first 500 buyers. Time will tell. I've heard about dealers who keep the bonus material and sell it on e-bay separately.
drjohncarpenter0117 (profilecontact) wrote on Jan 31, 2011report abuse
Erika, i hope you do get the 'deluxe version' as 1000 copies were pressed and only 500 will have the folio album, not sure why this has happen this way and of course nothing mentioned on there press release but we have been here before with 'imports' doing different things with booklets etc, i suppose it's the contents and sound on this cd that is important but as you have stated if you pay big money you should get the best value and the full product. Should be with you soon as i have had mine Saturday, so have been released and in the elvis imprt circuit.
Erika Freiburger (profilecontact) wrote on Jan 31, 2011report abuse
Lex wrote: "I am among the lucky ones that got the “special tour folio photo album”." ::::: I don't understand this. I thought ALL fans will get that photo album and it's included in the price. My copy is on the way to me and since i've paid €26 for it (incl. postage) i really hope that i will be among the so called "lucky ones",too. I remember when i ordered "The Final Farrewell" from Rainbow Records,i paid a lot of money for that,my trusted dealer promised me the bonus poster but never got that... And never got one of the cards from Gravel Road with "The Return Of The Prodigy" either. When a label asks about €20 - €25 for a certain release,esp. for a release that contains nothing new audio-wise,then these bonus gifts (though i wouldn't call them gifts as we have paid for them) should go to every fans who ordered that release and not only for the first 100 or 200 ones,or those ones (like Lex) who receive free review copies. I ordered this release in time,in early january,waited about 3 weeks so far and i will let you know if i receive it or not. Love,Erika
Lefty (profilecontact) wrote on Jan 31, 2011report abuse
I own the original un-edited version of this show from Yellow Dog records. It was titled Unsurpassed Masters, Volume 4. And even though I already have this show, I'm glad to get this new release in better sound and with outstanding packaging. Eventually, all Elvis material is re-released, some stuff multiple times. I doesn't bother me at all. And what a show to put out there. As stated by many others, the version of How Great Thou Art is the best ever. Elvis certainly didn't need help from Sherill Nielsen or anyone else in reaching the high notes. He did so flawlessly, and all by himself. The first time I heard it, I had to sit down and listen to it again. I was blown away.
benny scott (profilecontact) wrote on Jan 30, 2011report abuse
Glad I ordered it ! Never had the chance to purchase the Fort Baxter, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. So after all it's not that bad "oldies" are re-released, in spite of the complaints by some members when such things happen. Always El.
Ciscoking (profilecontact) wrote on Jan 30, 2011report abuse
One of the best shows our man EVER gave in Las belongs to my TOP FIVE Vegas concerts.. And this Vegas season ranks at No. 4 of my fave Vegas gigs..1 is 1969....2 is August/sept. 1970....3 Jan./Febr. 1970 The layout of this release is simply s-t-u-n-n-i-n-g

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