Moody Blue

By Blogcritics/ David BowlingAug 1, 2008
Moody Blue

Moody Blue was released June 19, 1977. Less than two months later Elvis Presley was dead of a massive heart attack probably caused by a combination of prescription drugs and excessive weight gain. Moody Blue would become a huge hit album reaching number three on the pop charts and remaining number one on the country charts for ten weeks. It would go on to sell three million copies in the United States.

Felton Jarvis pieced Moody Blue together from left over studio tracks plus three live performances from a Michigan concert. The album was initially released on traditional black vinyl but it was quickly changed to blue vinyl. Today it is the original black vinyl release that is very collectible.

The title track, “Moody Blue,” was recorded in early 1977. While it reached number one on the country singles charts it was a more pop presentation. The song was written by Mark James who also wrote such Elvis songs as “Suspicious Minds” and “Raised On Rock.” I can only imagine how much residual money Mark James has accumulated from Elvis’ album sales.

“Way Down” is the strongest track on the album. It was released as a single after Elvis’s death and became a top twenty hit in the United States in addition to a number one country hit. It was also a number one hit in the United Kingdom. This up-tempo pop/rocker featured a fine smooth vocal by Elvis and maintains energy throughout.

“Unchained Melody” has probably been recorded a thousand times. Elvis gives it a pure pop performance although it would oddly be a country hit. Elvis gives an inspired performance and is able to show his extensive vocal range on this very difficult song. Elvis performs an enjoyable version of the old Johnny Ace tune, “Pledging My Love.” He speeds it up a little and moves it from rhythm and blues to pure pop.

Orignal cover Moody Blue albumThe two Olivia Newton-John hit songs, “If You Love Me” and “Let Me Be There,” are average at best. “Little Darlin” may have been one of the worst songs that Elvis ever recorded and is the ultimate throwaway. “It’s Easy For You” is another song that feels uninspired.

Two pure country songs find Elvis giving strong vocal performances. “She Thinks I Still Care” finds Elvis invested as he vocally polishes George Jones’ rough original. “He’ll Have To Go,” originally sung by Jim Reeves, is probably the last song ever recorded by Elvis Presley in the studio. Elvis’ vocal tone is similar to Reeves and he performs a nice deep vocal that brings this song to life.

All in all, Moody Blue is an album with some very good tracks but is kept from being an excellent album by a few less than stellar performances. It remains an essential Elvis Presley release due to the fact that it was the last album released during his lifetime


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sugartummy (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 23, 2013report abuse
The tracklisting above is for 2 albums, moody blue & from elvis presley boulevard. So, 2 for the price of 1; not a bad deal at all.
Sandman (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 1, 2010report abuse
A small shake-up. "Pledging My Love", b-side of his last single, is absolutely fantastic!
Rob Wanders (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 13, 2008report abuse
Good album. For years "its easy for you" was my favourite Elvissong inspite of the very poor mixing. It sounds like Elvis sung through a telephone. Now we have the splendid version on "jungle room sessions" and it's again high in my toplist. And i do like "little darlin" . its a fun song. And the studiowork after recording "unchained melody" live, did a wonderful job to this version. Beautiful.
NONE000000 (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 7, 2008report abuse
"Less than two months later Elvis Presley was dead of a massive heart attack probably caused by a combination of prescription drugs and excessive weight gain." This is an idiotic statement. Elvis clearly was overweight, and I guess by defination that makes it "excessive", but the guy was certainly not obese to the point of death! That's just a dumb comment and the sort of total misinformation about Elvis that I HATE. I think the album, what there is of it, is good. It is indeed a hodge-podge, but songs like "It's Easy For You", "She Thinks I Still Care", "Way Down", "Moody Blue" and "He'll Have To Go" make it all worthwhile.
dressingroomrehearsa (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 3, 2008report abuse
I guess, the aim was to do a complete studio work, but as those plans failed with the recording sessions cancelled in Nashville Felton Jarvis had to work the recording machine while having Elvis on stage...Silly what if situation, but imagine the Nashville Session completed with this material. Way Down with the distance of the years seems to be the direction to go, a modern, synth uptempo song...mixed with Rainy Night and all the others...WOW. He should have left the limousine as they brouhgt him to the Hazelden Rehab centre, as Eric Clapton told in his autobiography...
theoldscudder (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 2, 2008report abuse
This LP was a big seller. Had Elvis not died I really feel it may have the ignamious distinction of being his poorest selling Elvis Lp to date. The singing is fine but it's just something that was thrown together because RCA needed product & Elvis was disinterested in recording due to his personal problems. He went from making records in the studio, to recording solely at Graceland. The next step in this dowmward progression was not to record at all.
ttwiise (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 2, 2008report abuse
I agree with most of you guys, It's easy for you, uninspired!, I'll have none of that, it is a standout. All in all apart from little darlin, if you love me and the Let me be there, that had been issued before, it is the best release since Aloha. If only Hurt, For the heart and blue eyes could have made it to the album and boulevard been shelved Elvis's catalogue would appear much healthier.
Gan (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 2, 2008report abuse
I bought the Moody Blue album in early August 1977 before our King left us and it was a blue vinyl with a sticker, so I believe it was the 1st release.
Lex (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 2, 2008report abuse
Well, there it is :-)
circleG (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 2, 2008report abuse
I prefer the old album cover too - it suited the 'mood' of the album.
circleG (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 2, 2008report abuse
Sounds weird but most people have a point here. I agree with Steve V that Felton had a tough time putting this album together as he was running out of songs (eg pulling a track already released on 74 live memphis album' ) but then I agree with Aaron P that its still a good album and personally one of my favourites too. The jungle room sessions produced some great songs (and strange stories) and credit to Felton Jarvis for pulling a rabbit out of a hat!
Mofoca22 (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 2, 2008report abuse
i like the moody blue album and the from elvis presley boulevard album. its a shame they still aint separate anymore. no matter what anyone says i think his best stuff of the 70's that is came from the jungle room sessions. leave nashville 70 and 71 out of it cuz that was elvis in his prime and he was cocky and ontop of the owrld the 76 memphis elvis was depressed and he reflected it in his music in ther most human way anyone could do it in.
GEORGE (GK) (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 2, 2008report abuse
In America, "WAY DOWN"/"Pledging my Love" (1977) was the second single from the "Moody Blue-album".. (June 1977) following, the first single.. which was "Moody Blue" / "She Thinks I still care"..(1976). The "Moody Blue" album, wasn't released until June 1977 !! RCA, did, a different marketing plan, on this album. 2 singles, released first, and then the "new album" !! Usuallly the formula was, the "single".. and then, the "album" and then followed by.. " a second single" from the album". (if it was a "strong album"). I remember, "CASHBOX" magazine.. raving about the single, "WAY DOWN". They wrote that, this was the song, to watch, go big !!!! and "Highlighted" it with a "Bullet" !! Unfortunately the song, didn't go as "big" as it should have, on its first run and was still lingering on the charts, in August, only to "rebound"when Elvis' passed.. oin August 16th, 1977. "WAY DOWN"- then, climbed into the Top 20 .. reaching number 18. And, All of Elvis albums, especially "Moody Blue" (June 1977) his latest album, "bounced up the charts !!! RCA worked day and night to "Press new vinyl copies" of the Elvis records, to meet the demand, for anything Elvis..
Jesse Garon Presley (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 2, 2008report abuse
that goes for you too BusBoy. a newspaper doesn't always tell the truth.. some people can say everything, and we should keep our mouth shut? eeehh.. thats not how it works...
Monster (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 1, 2008report abuse
I gotta say, this album always makes me smile for some reason. It was the first original Elvis album I ever owned so until I got this I only knew the hits. But what I heard on this album made me want to know more and I that means the album did what it was supposed to. It drew me into the Elvis world and here I am twenty years later contributing to elvisnews!! He may not have been at his peak but when I listened to songs like Unchained Melody, It's Easy For You and STISC I heard "The King" and got an idea of just what he could do. I'm not crazy about He'll Have To Go but somebody else will have heard something in it that I didn't and that's what's so good about Elvis. That's why there's so much disagreement on this site sometimes. Elvis pleased himself with his music and recorded a huge variety of material hoping that his fans would get a kick out of what he sang. Maybe not every time. But more times than any other singer I know. Fab.
busboy (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 1, 2008report abuse
Have to say Steve you've summed up how i feel, i don't like to come on here and be negative which is why i've not said anything about the last few albums reviewed on here. Would be nice if we could all express our views without certain individuals telling you that you're wrong and they are right. Anything after Elvis Country for me has little merit and listening to Elvis singing Jim Reeves, perry Como, Andy Williams and ONJ COVERS is not for me. Doesn't mean you who like them are wrong and i'm right it's just an opinion. Certain people should remember that.
schemies (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 1, 2008report abuse
Hi there, Lex is right: the original cover is much better ! Hopefully shown on this site soon.
Steve V (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 1, 2008report abuse
I never said I wanted everyone to agree with me. Now that would be boring. Of course this being an Elvis site I would expect most of you like this album & never be negative(or honest) about anything Elvis did in any way. In fact some of few users who used to be honest about bad recordings or whatever, I no longer see so they probably gave up trying to express their views. I found a review of this album I kept from 1977 which called this album an emergency product. I think that sums it up pretty well. And yes it became historic because it was his last. No argument there.
Jesse Garon Presley (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 1, 2008report abuse
Jim Hoff well said! i totally agree with u. i love reading your reaction. you r so right. i couldn't have said it better myself
Jesse Garon Presley (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 1, 2008report abuse
but i doesn't mean steve that all the things u say is how it is, because I KNOW a lot of people like this album,just look at the other reactions..just to see i'm right.. again not everyone has to agree with u..that's life
Jim Hoff (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 1, 2008report abuse
Of course this album always will be a classic in the Elvis World - just like "Elvis Presley" (his first album) simply due to the facy it was The King's last album. Doesn't have enything to do with quality, bad songs or good songs, RCA panicking og The Colonel ditto. BUT... considering Elvis' health problems, private problems a.s.o - and knowing the story about Elvis' last 'studio recordings from The Jungle Room, you have to give the man some credit for even being able to walk down the stairs from his upstairs bedroom to fullfil his contact with RCA. Don't think our man was driven by musical motivation cutting these tracks. Well, I don't know - do your own math, anyway your conclusion about quality likings/dislikings.... the 'Moody Blue' - album IS a historic album, just not for the same reasons as 'From Elvis In Memphis'.
Steve V (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 1, 2008report abuse
People bought Elvis records in droves after his death. This being the very last album just weeks before his death naturally produced big sales as did his golden records packages. I think many people bought it out of curiousity like 'Whats Elvis up to these days'? I know many people who did that and never played the damn thing again. And many people also bought it for the blue vinyl thinking it would be worth a fortune one day! I am like Lex here. Bought it in June 1977, thought it was ok, played it a lot after his death, but hardly in the years since simply because there is so much better ones to play. I never liked live & studio tracks together on the same LP anyway. Just my preference but it never flows for me. Yes, nice cover, the best one in a while.
JLpResLey (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 1, 2008report abuse
Busboy- Sure, I agree. That it is the last album recorded by Elvis Presley did have an influence. It´s what the album is known for. But as I said, there is something else too. Why would people buy the jungle room sessions (ftd), if they already had the original album. Because they liked it, and wanted more, like alternate takes and all that kind of stuff.
Lex (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 1, 2008report abuse
SteveV, Amen! I used to like the album when I just bought it, mainly because I didn't know he could be so much better. Now that I do know what he could do if he was inspired... but I still love the ORIGINAL cover, not this fussy re-release cover.
Jesse Garon Presley (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 1, 2008report abuse
this is a great and legendary album. elvis forever!! and everyone THNX for sharing my opinion especially JlprResLey THNX
Jesse Garon Presley (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 1, 2008report abuse
no steve... i didn't call U ridiculous, but YOUR reaction. but as you can see that some people agree with me about my reaction..that's it. you and i don't always share an opinion and because of my serious illness ( after a car accident) i cannot always deal with negativity, but nothing personal against you.. no way
busboy (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 1, 2008report abuse
JLp - agree it's not the only reason but i was talking more about it's status years after his death not actually at the time of release. Like the Jungle room sessions FTD, that is one of the top sellers but you can't tell me that's down to the material on there, it's more to do with these recordings being the last Elvis made. I don't think anyone can pretend that the buying public at large would have been excited by this album upon it's release.
JLpResLey (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 1, 2008report abuse
Elvis´ death is not the reason this album did well. Not the only reason. It wasn´t like this album was the only avalaible album at the time. And the people that bought records at the time of his death wasn´t elvis fans, cause they already had the most of his records. The people who bought records as a result of his death was curious about him. They wouldn´t prefer such album as "Moody Blue". They would go for the hit records.
busboy (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 1, 2008report abuse
I think this album has reached the status it has due to it being the last album. Taken on it's own it has little merit save for the title track and Way Down. If this had been released any other time i'm not sure the reaction would have been so favourable. I'm not having a go at Elvis's performance but again i think the song choices are on the whole really poor as were the majority of songs on the 70's albums.
Steve V (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 1, 2008report abuse
Aaron P - You did it again. Called me ridiculous because you dont share my opinion on this album. Chill man! Listen, its a known fact RCA just threw this album together to get product out. We already had the singles, so I was basically reviewing what was left. So, OK the singles, two good A sides. The B sides? Johnny Ace aced Pledging My Love and I much prefer John Fogerty's version of She Thinks I Still Care. OK the rest of the album. Jim Reeves way better on He'll Have To Go. Elvis' version drags. Little Darlin - a joke. OJN songs - yeah right. Why did Elvis cover her? Unchained Melody good but there are better vesrions by Elvis & others. So that leaves Its Easy For You which to me was the best song on the album not counting the A sides. Sorry bro, but this LP would not have been the smash hit it was if Elvis didnt die. A hit maybe but the not the monster hit it was. Just compare it to Rumors which was # at the time. So please dont call me ridiculous for stating an opinion. Of course Elvis fans like yourself will think this is the greatest. I guess Im more a music fan these days , and review these albums from a musical view more than an Elvis fan view, so just an OK album. You couldnt stack this up against his LPs from 69-71.
benny scott (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 1, 2008report abuse
Sorry Jerry, just found out that your remark was in connection with the review by David Bowling !
My apologies ! Always El.
benny scott (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 1, 2008report abuse
Hi Jerry, I think you misread RonBaker's comment. The guy wrote " sounds PLENTY INSPIRED TO me ". Always El.
JLpResLey (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 1, 2008report abuse
I agree with you, Aaron Presley. I totally love this album. His voice was not bad at all. Actually a stronger album than the most seventies albums. I saw some people said that the album was only a success because of his death. Yes, of course people would buy it when Elvis had died. But to this day, there´s a lot of fans that still listen to it. And really, why would people enjoy it, it was recorded during his last time, he was in a bad, bad shape, the songs could have been much better. If you think about it, fans should have dismissed it. But they don´t. It isn´t treated the same way as Elvis in concert for example. That speaks for itself. The album is GREAT
ElvisDayByDay (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 1, 2008report abuse
One of my favorite albums, mainly through the title track which kind of says it all ... almost too much of a coincidence that this would become Elvis' last release during his lifetime.
My boy, my boy (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 1, 2008report abuse
Who the hell is this David Bowling to say that "Little darling'' is a throwaway version ?...Hellooooo?
This is rather a fantastic live version Elvis gave us here !!!..."It's easy for you" uninspired ?...David, planet earth is calling, do you copy ?!...I agree with Ruthie, thank God we can come to our own conclusions !
Jesse Garon Presley (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 1, 2008report abuse
steve now this time i don't agree with you at all. the way you talk about this album is ridiculous. this was Elvis 's last album, and it's a good one, not for nothing it scored high in the charts. Moody Blue is great song and is not uninspired in any way. you can feel elvis enjoy singin it. and that goes for the other songs as well u are using Elvis's death for the succes of this album. so by other words, if elvis didn't die the album would not have been a succes. u r dead wrong there buddy. Elvis's voice never failed him. you can hear that on this album. this album was and is an outstanding piece of work. a real tribute to elvis. i love to play it..
Ruthie (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 1, 2008report abuse
I really like this album over all. "Less than stellar", "uninspired", "hodge podge" - no critical acclaim or disclaimer. Only opinions. Thankfully, I come to my own conclusions.
Lefty (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 1, 2008report abuse
Moody Blue is still one of my very favorites. I listen to it more often than any other release in my collection. JerryNodak is absolutely correct about "It's Easy For You." Elvis certainly gave a heart felt performance on that tune. "Little Darlin'" is purposefully goofy. I enjoy it, and Elvis seemed to get a chuckle out of it when he sang the song. There are worse tunes out there to be sure.
JerryNodak (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 1, 2008report abuse
I like this album a lot. Always have. "It's Easy For You" uninspired? Who is this guy? He hasn't got a clue. Thank goodness they didn't add "My Way" (studio version). Compared to the best live versions, the studio version leaves a lot to be desired. All in all an enjoyable album for me. I wore out more than one vinyl copy back in the day.
Steve V (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 31, 2008report abuse
Moody Blue was thrown together by RCA (and it shows) simply to get product out and thats a fact. They didnt have enough good studio material so they threw in some live cuts not to mention the single cuts we already had. Truly a hodge podge affair that didnt flow at all & was only such a major hit because of his death. It's Easy For You was a good song with a good melody/lyric & performance. Best song on the album but the mix was so bad.
RonBaker (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 31, 2008report abuse
"Way Down" is listed as being released on June 6, 1977. This is actually a fairly good 70s album from Elvis. The ONJ cuts and "Little Darlin'" are ones I skip. Hate to disagree with you, but "It's Easy for You" sounds plenty inspired to me. Wish they'd dug around a little bit and added the studio version of "My Way" to the album and the jam session version of "Tiger Man", but it is what it is. At least it's still listenable.

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