Dave James

For Diehard Elvis Fans

155 posts in this topic

If there are any fanatical Elvis completists out there in Organissimo-land, it may be time to start planning how you'll finance this new box set.

From the LA Times:

Expectations at RCA Records couldn't have been much lower 20 years ago when a Danish record executive suggested putting together a box set exclusively of 1950s recordings by one of the label's artists who had been dead for more than a decade.

Even though the artist in question happened to be Elvis Presley, there was little hope that a significant number of people would have much interest in a set encompassing five hours of music and 140 songs — only a small percentage of which had been hits — from just the first seven years of Presley's recording career.

RCA officials cautiously issued the "Elvis Presley: The King of Rock 'n' Roll" package, carrying a list price of $80, hoping it might sell as many as 10,000 copies.

more here

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My ten-year-old daughter (already a hard-core Beatles fan) recently discovered Elvis Presley. She's literally gone NUTS for his music, particularly the music from the fifties. She's been liberally sampling from my collection (I have the three boxes - 50s, 60s, and 70s - as well as the best of the movie soundtracks, the gospel recordings, and the "Million Dollar Quartet"), but I decided that she really needed something more compact. I gave her the two-disc "Essential" collection for X-Mas (which she loves). Interestingly, she gave ME the '68 Comeback Special on DVD. Very thoughtful kid!

So, yeah, she's still a few years from this set. Interesting that she's gotten into him, though!

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Elvis? Still? Really?

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Elvis? Still? Really?

Jimi? Still? Really? There is something to be said about the relationship between the early death of an artist and their continuing popuarity.

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Elvis was a hero to most, etc.

Elvis + Elton John = Why Certain White People Playing Rock Music should all be killed before they are born. The key word there being Certain.

A freak talent (of sorts) who became a "star" for all the wrong reasons, and who became a legend so all the wrong reasons could continue to exist.

Granted, rock would not be the same without Elvis, but I do feel confident in saying that it would have been better.

That people "of a certain age" are genuinely affected by this guy is understandable enough, but to expose one's child to it crosses the line into blatant child abuse and emotional cruelty.

CPS should be notified immediately.

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Elvis @ Sun = more-brilliant-than-you-are-apparently-capable-of-understanding

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I would suggest that anyone hesitant about Elvis should: (though not necessarily in this order)

1) watch the film (and I'm drawing a blank on the title) that was made of one of his later Vegas shows, an amazing communion of performer and audience, basically, as I recall thinking, a religious service. Amazing stuff, Elvis at his later best - great blues singing, btw

2) order the 2 CD set the Memphis Sessions -

3) read Peter Guralnick's 2 volume bio, which certainly helps put him in context, needed or not -

4) listen to the Sun sessions (not a surprise, but a necessary reminder to those who might not have heard 'em)

5) listen to the recordings made of the original Louisiana Hayride Tour (maybe 1955; bootlegged many times; if you can find the good-sound version, jump on it, as it's been butchered sonically more than once, even by BMG, sadly enough) -

6) read Charles Wolf excellent essay on the white gospel quartet tradition and Elvis' connection to it. Clarifies some stylistic questions -

7) listen to Elvis' Sun version of Rogers and Hart's Blue Moon - a work of near-accidental genius (which I covered on a a CD called The American Song Project on which I also, btw, did the first secular version of Blind Willie Johnson's Dark was the Night, Cold was the Ground)

Edited by AllenLowe

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Or not.

Have you actually listened to that crap stuff rather than being "awed" by it retroactively? There is no time, no pocket, no groove, and Elvis, for all his flaunted multiplicity of "influences" sounds like nothing more than a redneck momma's boy with an above-average gift for barely average mimicing.

Don't believe the hype.

Elvis as "sociology", ok, legit. See the beginnings of the "Southern Strategy" unfold before your very eyes, ears, heaving stomach, etc.

Elvis as actual "music of significance"?

Only in a world where people need "something like that" to be significant.

Not my world, now, then, and hopefully never.

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yes, I have listened. Closely and regularly for about 20 years. Refer to my last post. And if nothing else, the guy actually invented rock and roll (see: That's All Right Mama).

not rhythm and blues, but actual, true, rock and roll.

Elvis is to r&b what Jelly Roll Morton is to ragtime.

Edited by AllenLowe

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Oh please...that's a lie and a crock of shit.

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there was nothing like it before, and EVERYBODY afterward had to do it like Elvis. That's the reality. The problem is that rock and roll has had so many amorphous definitions. I see it in more concrete terms, as a very specific, and white, mediation of black forms. And Elvis started it, focused it, put it into real musical terms.

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What did Elvis do to "invent" rock-and-roll?

Let's see...

Be a white guy who "sang like a black guy"? No he didn't. Not even close. Any why was/is this such an urgent "need" for white people anyway?

Sing country with a "bluesy" touch? Again, no, he didn't. And that touch was already in there, and had been for a loooong time (relative to the recording industry, anyway).

Incorporate a Dean Martin influence into redneck music? Sorry, there was only one Dean Martin, and I'm not sure that his influence needed incorporating anywhere. It was fine as/where it was.

Give Southern Rednecks a sense of empowerment on the "national stage"? Yeah, absolutely. but that's sociology, not music. Besides, I "love" it how so many people who have absolutely no use for Southern Rednecks - or the result of their empowerment - fall all over themselves to praise Elvis. Y'all stupid, or what?

As far as Southern Gospel goes - please. I had the hellacious blessing/curse of hearing this stuff regularly for too many years, all of them formative. Those who did it well did it significantly better than Elvis, and those most of those who who did it worse still convey a greater sense of meaning it.

Elvis was a pawn, a narcissistic pussy, a not full nor real man. A mamma's boy who took the easy road the first time it came to him in every way.

Put it this way - my life is on the line, and I have the choice between a drunk George Jones with a .22 & Elvis driving a tank. 101%, I'm heading towards Possum.

Elvis is The Chump's Choice.

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there was nothing like it before, and EVERYBODY afterward had to do it like Elvis. That's the reality.

To the extent that this is the reality (and historically it is), it is as much an industry-fed reality as it is is anything.

And there were better outcomes to be had, musically, socially, every way, not the least being the shit actually swinging, which none of the "legendary" sun sides come even remotely close to doing in any way - black, hillbilly, Dean Martin, any way. That shit is disjointed, disconnected and without the Sun slapback would be damn near incoherent time-wise.

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nope. see my previous post. we don't need to hear your socio-history, and you shouldn't take it out on Elvis. Spare us the real-man stuff.There is a world of music in every Elvis utterance.

Edited by AllenLowe

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Poor Elvis!

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There is a world of music in every Elvis utterance.

There's also a world of aromas in every defecation, but I've got better things to do that cruise the world's sewer systems...

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Elvis needs you far more than you need him, whatever you may have convinced yourself to the contrary.

Then again, maybe not. But I shudder to think that there is that much tragedy in the world, real or imagined.

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I would suggest that anyone hesitant about Elvis should: (though not necessarily in this order)

1) watch the film (and I'm drawing a blank on the title) that was made of one of his later Vegas shows, an amazing communion of performer and audience, basically, as I recall thinking, a religious service. Amazing stuff, Elvis at his later best - great blues singing, btw

2) order the 2 CD set the Memphis Sessions -

3) read Peter Guralnick's 2 volume bio, which certainly helps put him in context, needed or not -

4) listen to the Sun sessions (not a surprise, but a necessary reminder to those who might not have heard 'em)

5) listen to the recordings made of the original Louisiana Hayride Tour (maybe 1955; bootlegged many times; if you can find the good-sound version, jump on it, as it's been butchered sonically more than once, even by BMG, sadly enough) -

6) read Charles Wolf excellent essay on the white gospel quartet tradition and Elvis' connection to it. Clarifies some stylistic questions -

7) listen to Elvis' Sun version of Rogers and Hart's Blue Moon - a work of near-accidental genius (which I covered on a a CD called The American Song Project on which I also, btw, did the first secular version of Blind Willie Johnson's Dark was the Night, Cold was the Ground)

I think the film you are thinking of is "Elvis: That's The Way It Is." Great movie.

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Why is Elvis still significant to the point where a ten year old girl would seek HIM out? I didn't inflict Elvis on Sammie. My collection is far too large for me to play any one thing for very long at a time. One night, maybe a month or a month and a half ago, Sammie came downstairs and asked if we had "Heartbreak Hotel" and "Blue Suede Shoes" (and yes, before you say anything, I HAVE exposed her to Carl Perkins. Remember that she's a Beatles fan, and I have EMPHASIZED Perkins' influence on the Beatles and pointed out how many of his songs they covered). I said that I did and got out the '50s box. She took the disc to her room and rocked out to Sun and early RCA Elvis for the rest of the night. I don't know what brought it on. I don't know exactly what sparked the interest, but I do know that when she got an iPod Touch for Christmas, she had me load it up with Beatles and Elvis recordings. How many ten-year-old girls would ask for THAT?

There is SOMETHING in Elvis' voice. I responded to it in the early '90s when I got the boxes as they were released. Sammie is responding to it now. There's clearly no socio-cultural context here. It's just good music and she likes it.

To me, the ultimate expression of Elvis is that little "hmmmmmmmmm" he gives in "Don't Be Cruel." He says more that little moan than most people do in a whole song. Hell, in a whole LP.

What did Elvis do to "invent" rock-and-roll?

Let's see...

Be a white guy who "sang like a black guy"? No he didn't. Not even close. Any why was/is this such an urgent "need" for white people anyway?

Sing country with a "bluesy" touch? Again, no, he didn't. And that touch was already in there, and had been for a loooong time (relative to the recording industry, anyway).

Incorporate a Dean Martin influence into redneck music? Sorry, there was only one Dean Martin, and I'm not sure that his influence needed incorporating anywhere. It was fine as/where it was.

Give Southern Rednecks a sense of empowerment on the "national stage"? Yeah, absolutely. but that's sociology, not music. Besides, I "love" it how so many people who have absolutely no use for Southern Rednecks - or the result of their empowerment - fall all over themselves to praise Elvis. Y'all stupid, or what?

As far as Southern Gospel goes - please. I had the hellacious blessing/curse of hearing this stuff regularly for too many years, all of them formative. Those who did it well did it significantly better than Elvis, and those most of those who who did it worse still convey a greater sense of meaning it.

Elvis was a pawn, a narcissistic pussy, a not full nor real man. A mamma's boy who took the easy road the first time it came to him in every way.

Put it this way - my life is on the line, and I have the choice between a drunk George Jones with a .22 & Elvis driving a tank. 101%, I'm heading towards Possum.

Elvis is The Chump's Choice.

It doesn't matter if Elvis really "invented" rock n' roll (my money's on Chuck Berry, personally). The point is that he was LISTENING to blues and R&B recordings. He listened to them, he incorporated them into his style to the point that they were no longer JUST blues or R&B, and he made them into something that was a unique expression. You don't have to like it. But obviously a lot of people do...

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Why is Elvis still significant to the point where a ten year old girl would seek HIM out? I didn't inflict Elvis on Sammie. My collection is far too large for me to play any one thing for very long at a time. One night, maybe a month or a month and a half ago, Sammie came downstairs and asked if we had "Heartbreak Hotel" and "Blue Suede Shoes" (and yes, before you say anything, I HAVE exposed her to Carl Perkins. Remember that she's a Beatles fan, and I have EMPHASIZED Perkins' influence on the Beatles and pointed out how many of his songs they covered). I said that I did and got out the '50s box. She took the disc to her room and rocked out to Sun and early RCA Elvis for the rest of the night. I don't know what brought it on. I don't know exactly what sparked the interest, but I do know that when she got an iPod Touch for Christmas, she had me load it up with Beatles and Elvis recordings. How many ten-year-old girls would ask for THAT?

There is SOMETHING in Elvis' voice. I responded to it in the early '90s when I got the boxes as they were released. Sammie is responding to it now. There's clearly no socio-cultural context here. It's just good music and she likes it.

To me, the ultimate expression of Elvis is that little "hmmmmmmmmm" he gives in "Don't Be Cruel." He says more that little moan than most people do in a whole song. Hell, in a whole LP.

What did Elvis do to "invent" rock-and-roll?

Let's see...

Be a white guy who "sang like a black guy"? No he didn't. Not even close. Any why was/is this such an urgent "need" for white people anyway?

Sing country with a "bluesy" touch? Again, no, he didn't. And that touch was already in there, and had been for a loooong time (relative to the recording industry, anyway).

Incorporate a Dean Martin influence into redneck music? Sorry, there was only one Dean Martin, and I'm not sure that his influence needed incorporating anywhere. It was fine as/where it was.

Give Southern Rednecks a sense of empowerment on the "national stage"? Yeah, absolutely. but that's sociology, not music. Besides, I "love" it how so many people who have absolutely no use for Southern Rednecks - or the result of their empowerment - fall all over themselves to praise Elvis. Y'all stupid, or what?

As far as Southern Gospel goes - please. I had the hellacious blessing/curse of hearing this stuff regularly for too many years, all of them formative. Those who did it well did it significantly better than Elvis, and those most of those who who did it worse still convey a greater sense of meaning it.

Elvis was a pawn, a narcissistic pussy, a not full nor real man. A mamma's boy who took the easy road the first time it came to him in every way.

Put it this way - my life is on the line, and I have the choice between a drunk George Jones with a .22 & Elvis driving a tank. 101%, I'm heading towards Possum.

Elvis is The Chump's Choice.

It doesn't matter if Elvis really "invented" rock n' roll (my money's on Chuck Berry, personally). The point is that he was LISTENING to blues and R&B recordings. He listened to them, he incorporated them into his style to the point that they were no longer JUST blues or R&B, and he made them into something that was a unique expression. You don't have to like it. But obviously a lot of people do...

The fact that you choose not to believe in a god due to lack of evidence is a rational enough choice.

The fact that anybody believes in Elvis, even, no, especially, with the evidence, calls into question their basic ability to claim rationality in any aspect of life, especially the important ones.

...they were no longer JUST blues or R&B, and he made them into something that was a unique expression.

And that, Dear Friends, is the White Mentality towards Black Music in a nutshell.

50,000,000 Elvis fans can't be wrong, but a damn good many of them can be.

And are.

Edited by JSngry

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What did Elvis do to "invent" rock-and-roll?

Let's see...

Be a white guy who "sang like a black guy"? No he didn't. Not even close. Any why was/is this such an urgent "need" for white people anyway?

Sing country with a "bluesy" touch? Again, no, he didn't. And that touch was already in there, and had been for a loooong time (relative to the recording industry, anyway).

Incorporate a Dean Martin influence into redneck music? Sorry, there was only one Dean Martin, and I'm not sure that his influence needed incorporating anywhere. It was fine as/where it was.

Give Southern Rednecks a sense of empowerment on the "national stage"? Yeah, absolutely. but that's sociology, not music. Besides, I "love" it how so many people who have absolutely no use for Southern Rednecks - or the result of their empowerment - fall all over themselves to praise Elvis. Y'all stupid, or what?

As far as Southern Gospel goes - please. I had the hellacious blessing/curse of hearing this stuff regularly for too many years, all of them formative. Those who did it well did it significantly better than Elvis, and those most of those who who did it worse still convey a greater sense of meaning it.

Elvis was a pawn, a narcissistic pussy, a not full nor real man. A mamma's boy who took the easy road the first time it came to him in every way.

Put it this way - my life is on the line, and I have the choice between a drunk George Jones with a .22 & Elvis driving a tank. 101%, I'm heading towards Possum.

Elvis is The Chump's Choice.

The only "need" being filled here is your need to feel better than People Who Like Elvis, kinda pitiful and it don't say nothin' 'bout the music at all. By the way I don't think Charlie C or Bix B were 'real full men' either but I don't let it stop me from enjoying their music.

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it don't say nothin' 'bout the music at all.

Ok, let me say it again - the bands on Elvis's Sun & early RCA records sucked. They had no groove. Period. Find a pocket, a mutual agreement as to where the beat is. I dare you.

And Elvis himself...no faults with his voice per se, but...all of his "influences" did what they did far better than he did. The Sun Sessions are some of the most overrated "landmark" recordings of the 20th century. Aimless meandering by the band, narcissistic directionless ramblings by the singer.

"Different"? sure. But "musically significant" (as opposed to sociologically important)? I bought the 197? RCA issue of them desperately hoping to find some Deep Secret Meaning Of Elvis that had evaded me since...1962 or so and...nope. Not there. Not even slightly.

Then again, everybody likes something, and a lot of people like this.

But so what? They liked Reagan and Freddie Martin too.

Edited by JSngry

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it's Boxing Day, the 2nd day of Christmas, so I'm gonna take the high road as much as I can manage - everyone has their blind spot and this apparently is yours, I certainly have mine - I'm going to go play one of my C-melodeys and listen to Elvis at Sun and consider what you've said 'bout "no pocket", hope you'll do the same for me one day. maybe you were looking too hard...it happens.

Edited by danasgoodstuff

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