By Special Request! From Louisiana To Tennessee
If You Love Me (let me know)
You Gave Me A Mountain
O sole Mio/ It's Now Or Never
Teddy Bear/ Don't Be Cruel
And I Love You So
Love Me Tender
Danny Boy (by Sherill Nielsen)
Walk With Me (by J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet)
Blue Suede Shoes
Can't Help Falling In Love
Trax from Stax
Help Me (undubbed alternate version)
My Boy (undubbed alternate version)
Loving Arms (undubbed alternate version)
It's Midnight (alternate with complete vocal accompaniment)
If You Talk In Your Sleep (undubbed alternate version)
Thinking About You (complete extended version)
Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues (undubbed alternate version)
Talk About The Good Times (extended alternate version)
Girl Of Mine (undubbed with extra track)
This second release on the Rock Legends-label (the first was "Night Fever In Las Vegas" last year) presents us a good portion of a soundboard recorded show of Elvis' 2nd tour in 1977. 80 % of the tour closing show at the Rapides Parish Coliseum in Alexandria / Louisiana from March 30th, 1977 are contained on this new CD release. Unfortunately the concert wasn't recorded in its entirety. The opening two numbers "C.C. Rider" and the medley "I Got A Woman / Amen / I Got A Woman" are missing. Also missing is the introduction-part, where Elvis did short versions of "Early Mornin' Rain", "What'd I Say?", "Johnny B. Goode", and "Love Letters". Also contained are nine so-called „alternate takes" from the Stax recording sessions in July and December 1973.
The sound quality of the live recording is really great, even a little more better than Baxter's "Moody Blue and other great performances", recorded just a month earlier. The first song on the CD (the third in the original concert) is "Love Me", perhaps better than other '77 live versions. A great "If You Love Me" followed, very similar to the edited live version on the RCA-album "Moody Blue". Elvis tried to to continue with "You Gave Me A Mountain" but stopped just after a few seconds but a second attempt after a small discussion with some musicians is complete and really good.
After the "Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel"-medley, which is much more better than the officially released live version from Rapid City on "Elvis In Concert" Elvis remarked, that something is wrong with the microphones.He admonished his sound engineers Bruce Jackson and Felton Jarvis ("....Felton, you too son!...") to listen to his next song, "And I Love You So", where he mentioned the problem while singing "..I guess you understand, how bad the sound is then...life begin again - just kid, just kid....". I know a lot of Elvis concerts from the seventies but I can't remember a show without a feedback. But this concert contains a lot of feedbacks, perhaps the world's feedback record-concert. Elvis obviously didn't like it.
After a fantastic "Hurt" version and a terrible "Hound Dog" Shaun Nielsen did his renditions of "Danny Boy" and "Walk With Me" by special request of Elvis. Elvis ended his concert with "Blue Suede Shoes" (seldom performed in 1977 just like "Love Me Tender" also contained in this show) and the usual "Can't Help Falling In Love" ("wise men know, when it's time, time to go....").
As mentioned above, the second part of the CD contains so-called "alternate takes" from the Stax recording sessions. But there're no alternate takes, only the undubbed master takes. "My Boy" is the RCA master minus the orchestra overdubbings. When released by RCA on „Our Memories Of Elvis" even the choir was removed, although recorded together with Elvis. However, on this release the choir was not removed. There's also a choir-ending on "Loving Arms", not to hear on the overdubbed RCA master. The undubbed master of "If You Talk In Your Sleep" was first released years ago on a CD called "Stax Tracks" (although the bootleggers claimed that this was an alternate take - excuse me, but I don't believe 'cause there are no differences). The version on this new CD was faded off earlier.
"Talk About The Good Times" is the original full length master, released by RCA two years ago on the 5 CD box "Walk A Mile In My Shoes - The Essential 70's Masters". A surprise (the only surprise) is "Thinking About You" which lasts 30 seconds longer (3:56) than the undubbed version on the "Our Memories Of Elvis" album (3:26). The released overdubbed master is only 3:00 in length. The positive thing is the sound quality (with exception of "Loving Arms", it sounds like being copied from an LP!) which is better than the quality of the (undubbed) masters released by RCA.
Thomas D. Weiß, Germany
The sound of this concert from March 30, 1977 is exceptionally good. Unfortunately, the soundengineers did not record the entire show, but they added alternate versions of songs from Stax Studio to make up for the missing concert songs.
Now, to review the quality of this concert from Alexandria, Louisiana. As was the case for many of his later shows, Elvis does sound a little tired, but he is in good spirits and despite the problems with the sound system, he gives a great performance. The CD fades in with Elvis telling his fans "I just can't talk--that's all there is to it." Then he jumps right into "Love Me." This is a mediocre version--nothing really special or different than any other way it has been sung. Then we have an upbeat version of "If You Love Me (let me know)." Superbly done I might add. Next we have one of my personal favorites "You Gave Me A Mountain." This is when Elvis takes one of the two breaks in the concert to check the sound system. He gets through half of the first verse pauses for a brief couple of seconds and then starts the song all over again. No complaints from me! But, another great job singing by Elvis. Next is another upbeat version of "Jailhouse Rock" and then "O Sole Mio/It's Now Or Never." "Jailhouse" sounds like it has a different beat and "It's now or never" is different sounding to me with the horns from the orchestra making it sound like more of a Spanish song then Italian--a definite highlight! "Little Sister" and a medley of "Teddy Bear/Don't Be cruel" follow with nothing really outrageously special in these performances.
"And I Love You So" is next with Elvis taking another break before the song for the sound and substitutes "How lonley life has been" with "How bad this sound has been--Just kidding, Just kidding." A great slower version of "Fever" is next, sung in the style that only Elvis could sing. "Love Me Tender" follows with Elvis doing his thing for most of the women in the arena. An excellent bellowing performance of "Hurt" is next. An obvious way that Elvis was feeling later in his life, "Hurt" gives some insight for his fans. He sings this song with such emotion--he really gives a great performance! His usual version of "Hound Dog" singing the same verse over 4 times with a long pause in between the third and fourth follows--Beautifully done! Elvis says "I need my soul restored" so he calls in Sherill Nielsen to sing "Danny Boy" and "Walk With Me!" Good performances but I am disappointed Elvis didn't sing these himself--but, he did need a little breather. He didn't have the same energy he did in the earlier 70's.
Elvis returns with "Blue Suede Shoes" and then closes with his signature song "Can't Help Falling In Love." Then follow the alternate versions. Due to the fact that I like Elvis' later material, I thoroughly enjoyed this CD. Elvis seems to be in a good mood, which was also hard to find in his '77 touring. This happens to be the last concert of Elvis' final Spring Tour making it essential to any fan's collection.
Reviewed by Pat Suth--South Bend, Indiana (USA)