The Complete On Tour Sessions, Volume 3
Don't Be Cruel
Love Me/ All Shook Up
Teddy Bear/ Don't Be Cruel
Lawdy, Miss Clawdy
For The Good Times (#9)
See See Rider
Never Been To Spain/ Help Me Make It Through The Night/ The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
For The Good Times (#1)
For The Good Times (#3,5,6)
For The Good Times (#7)
Vernon Presley interview
(Recorded April 1972 & March 30, 31 1972)
This is the last installment of the three volume CD compilation of the rare mono camera sync reel to reel tapes that were used during the filming of the "Elvis On Tour" documentary during the spring of 1972 at RCA's Studio A and C in Hollywood, California. Here we get a extraordinary glimpse of what it must have been like to stand in the studio while Elvis and the band rehearsed for upcoming concerts and laid down tracks at a recording session.
As with the other two volumes in this series most of the material contained in this CD is not in proper chronological order. Vicky's source material, as well as the similar MGM studio session master tapes, were edited and reassembled out of order for unknown reasons.
At the end of this review I have attempted to put some of these tracks in their correct chronological order so someone who has all three discs can make a tape that would give a good idea of what these sessions were really like.
This review covers the quality of each song's recorded quality, notes by the documentary's soundman, and, lastly, session information that is provided in the "Elvis Sessions II" book by Joe Tunzi.
Don't Be Cruel (instrumental) (Blackwell/Presley)...rec'd March 3, 1972 The track listing on the CD says that this was recorded on March 31. However, it was most likely taped on March 3. According to Joe Tunzi's "Elvis Sessions II" the instrumentals recorded on that day were done to overdub the "On Tour" documentary in specific areas. Elvis did not attend these sessions. The recorded quality is excellent which leads me to believe that the source material for this must have been a studio session tape rather than a film sync reel to reel. The first few seconds or this is missing.
Love Me (Leiber/Stoller)...rec'd March 31, 1972
All Shook Up (Blackwell/Presley)...rec'd March 31, 1972
Heartbreak Hotel (Axton/Durden/Presley)...rec'd March 31, 1972
Teddy Bear (Mann/Loewe)...rec'd March 31, 1972
Don't Be Cruel (Blackwell/Presley)...rec'd March 31, 1972
Hound Dog (Leiber/Stoller)...rec'd March 31, 1972
Elvis' and the back up singers voices are very distant in these performances. Although, the band dominates the tracks and you can't hear much of Elvis, it is still interesting to listen to a rehearsal for these songs. All six of the above tracks are in their proper chronological order. The soundman says "Thomas is rolling.," during "Don't Be Cruel" and "Mike Brown cut.," during "Hound Dog."
Lawdy Miss Clawdy (Price)...rec'd March 31, 1972 Again all of the vocals are distant and the band dominates, but not as much as the six pervious tracks. A pretty good, laid back rendition. The soundman indicates that "Bob Thomas is rolling.," and "Bob Able is rolling."
Burning Love (Linde)...rec'd March 30, 1972 At the beginning of this track Elvis asks one of the engineers "Can we have it on the ear phones." The March 30 session was strictly a recording session, not a rehearsal as what took place the following day. The performance here is more serious and tighter than the casual rehearsal from the next day included on "Complete On Tour Sessions" volume 1. The problem with this track is that it was not recorded well but it sounds better than the previous ones on this disc. It would be great to include footage from this session in a volume 2 "Lost Performances" video.
For The Good Times "take 9"(Kristofferson)...rec'd March 30, 1972 Finally, a song with Presley's voice upfront and not obscured by the instruments. An excellent performance but this is an incomplete take. It makes me wonder why Vicky decided to put this, the ninth take, on the disc before all of the earlier takes.
See See Rider (trad.)...rec'd March 31, 1972 The first part of the song is missing but it is still a good track. Elvis' voice is prominent throughout the song. A great rehearsal.
Never Been To Spain (Axton) (incomplete)...rec'd March 31, 1972 Help Me Make It Through The Night (Kristofferson) (incomplete)...rec'd March 31, 1972 The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face (McColl) (incomplete)...rec'd March 31, 1972 All of the above were recorded the same as most of the previous tracks; Elvis and the other vocalists are too far away from the soundman's boom microphone, however, "Help Me Make It Through The Night," is not that bad. All three of these recordings are incomplete, altogether lasting only 4 min. 15 sec.
For The Good Times "takes 1, 3, 5, 6,7" (Kristofferson)... rec'd March 30, 1972 These are the best recorded and most enjoyable songs on the whole CD. Elvis' and Charley Hodge's vocals are clear and upfront for most of these takes. Elvis and the band sound as if they were having fun at this session. Before take 5 Elvis jokes that he would like to hear more of Charley Hodge's vocals. The session engineer asks "A little more Charley?" and Elvis answers back "Yea, very little." These outtakes are the best thing about this CD.
interview; "Vernon Presley Interview" Vernon Presley talks to the director about Elvis' early days, moving into Graceland, record sales, and about when Elvis told him that he wanted to go into showbusiness. Great stuff here, too.
Over all this CD is a little bit disappointing. The fidelity of the recordings is very good and Elvis' performances are laid back but for most of the songs he is drowned out by instruments due either to the soundman's boom microphone placement and / or Presley didn't use a microphone.
The repeated playability of this CD, with the exception for the Vernon Presley interview and the "For The Good Times" outtakes, is limited due to the recorded quality of some of the tracks. Sure, the rehearsals of Elvis' 50s material is interesting but because of it's being poorly recorded it is reduced to being little more than a curiosity. Hopefully, BMG will release this material in the future.
One of the main faults that bothers me about "Complete On Tour Sessions" volume 3 is that the length of the CD. It is only 43:55 min. long, almost half of the capacity of a full compact disk. Shame on Vicky! Surely there is more "On Tour" material out there that could have been used to pad the CD out. Vicky should have at least had added highlights of some those already bootlegged April, 1972 concerts that were recorded for the film to, for no other reason, fill the rest of the CD. Bootlegs are very expensive for those who do not live in the country where they were released so, in my opinion, ANY $25 to $30 US dollar import CD that runs less than 60 min. is not worth the money (Unless it really good or it is an obscure disc with unique material.).
Reviewed by Darren Nemeth