Wednesday, August 16, 2017

King Harvest Has Surely Come

Hello again and welcome to my first post in ten days, commemorating the death of an icon -- perhaps the icon -- of American culture 40 years ago today.
There's no need to explain to anyone who Elvis Presley was, or how his advent in the 1950s completely altered the DNA of the culture of the Earth.
Obviously his decline and demise are the stuff of legend, and he didn't make it close to 50 years old. What most people don't realize is that he toured up until the very end of his life in 1977, and that his voice never left him, even as his shape and his senses did.
Just look at that blue rhinestone ensemble! It almost seems like he has an angelic halo around him. Is it a Quaalude haze the camera is picking up? Or is he truly an higher dude? I mean, Public Enemy told me he was simple and plain, and I respect their opinion. We may never know the truth.
It matters not; 40 years after he OD'd on the toilet in Graceland, he's still considered one of the formative figures of the music of our age. If you had a dime just for every 1950s English teenager that started playing guitar because of him, you could buy the next British Invasion.
Did I mention he could rock a cape? It might have been an extra large cape, but a cape it was. At the start of the 1970s he followed a decade of inactivity and self-imposed irrelevance with a three-year series of comeback tours, where he performed at what many feel was the peak of his powers.
Today's share dates from the last of those tours, and supplies the never-issued soundtrack of the Elvis On Tour documentary from 1972 which turned out to be his last big movie. It's basically an unreleased live record, recorded by a mobile truck and sourced from a nicely-remastered bootleg CD.
Elvis Presley
"Blue Owl In Greensboro"
Greensboro Coliseum  
Greensboro, North Carolina 
01 "Also sprach Zarathustra" intro
02 C. C. Rider
03 Proud Mary
04 Never Been to Spain
05 You Gave Me a Mountain
06 Until It's Time for You to Go
07 Polk Salad Annie
08 Love Me
09 All Shook Up
10 Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel
11 Hound Dog
12 Heartbreak Hotel
13 A Big Hunk O' Love
14 Bridge Over Troubled Water
15 Suspicious Minds
16 Love Me Tender
17 band introductions
18 For the Good Times
19 American Trilogy
20 Burning Love
21 Release Me
22 Funny How Time Slips Away
23 Can't Help Falling In Love
24 C. C. Rider
25 Proud Mary
26 Can't Help Falling In Love
27 Never Been to Spain
28 Lawdy Miss Clawdy

Total time: 1:17:07
Tracks 24-28 are bonus rehearsal tracks from March of 1972

Elvis Presley - vocals & guitar
Glenn Hardin - piano
Charlie Hodge - guitar and vocals
Jerry Scheff - bass guitar
Ronnie Tutt - drums
James Burton - lead guitar
John Wilkerson - rhythm guitar
The Sweet Inspirations - backing vocals
Kathy Westmoreland - backing vocals
JD Sumner & the Stamps - backing vocals
orchestra conducted by Joe Guercio

bootleg soundboard sourced & remastered silver CD, "Blue Owl In Greensboro" on the Inferno label
This is a truly smokin' show, with ace guitar deity James Burton in particularly stratospheric form and a whole building full of soaring background choir vocalists. The horns are burning too, and several of the songs -- holy Swamp Fox, the cover of Tony Joe White's Polk Salad Annie comes to mind -- aren't shy about funkin' hard, it being 1972 and all.
Anyway this one ain't lost a step in its 45 years, and has it really been four decades since I came home from PS 188 and plopped down at the kitchen table to watch Match Game '77, only to see the news flash about what happened to him? Pull it down and let it be your teddy bear today, and as you do, take a moment to remember rock-n-roll's once and future King, who left the building for good on this day in 1977!--J.
1.8.1935 - 8.16.1977