Backstage With Elvis
The latest release on the Czech "Memory" is a "talking" album focusing on "Elvis on Tour".
The cover art is pretty nice. A lot of great pictures from "On Tour" are decorating the artwork. The liner notes thoroughly give note of the situations, dates and other relevant information of the tracks.
Let's start with saying that we prefer Elvis singing anyway. In opposition to a lot of "Interview CD's" that have some cohesion most of the time, this CD contains merely a pile of fragments.
The CD kicks off with a quick burst of "A Big Hunk o' Love" setting the scene for this look at Elvis backstage during his "On Tour" recordings. There's a lot of fun and interaction between Elvis and his usual gang. There are no actual complete songs on this release since Memory records can no longer include actual songs to go along with the conversations, there are one liners such as "Over The Rainbow", "El Paso" and discussions regarding "Hawaiian Wedding Song". The part with JD Sumner and the Stamps is pretty irritating, since you hear the opening notes of a song, a click (sometimes) and the closing notes, because of some in between chat.
This way we get a small insight into Elvis' life on the road in 1972. You get to feel the pre-show tension and also Elvis' concerns about when the crowd stormed the stage in Macon, Georgia, plus how hard it is for him to play to the whole crowd when completely surrounded by an audience.
As with most "talking only" releases we don't think this CD will make it to the player again than for looking something up. In another packed CD of 77 minutes there's also lots of laughter + playing around with the 'Memphis Mafia' (maybe too much!) as they hang around backstage. These kind of releases capture the mood of "life on the road" but not much more. The majority of these discussions are set down in Jerry Osborne's excellent book "Elvis Word for Word" but even if you do own the book then this CD nicely sets the atmosphere to the words - and also fills in lots of missing gaps. But for the collectors it is a nice addition anyway for the personal "Elvis Conversation Collection".
Review inspired by Piers Beagley's review on E.I.N.