'ELVIS - NBC TV Special'
FTD Classic Album
- Review by Piers Beagley -
"ELVIS - Original Soundtrack Recording From His NBC TV Special" is finally released as an FTD "Classic Album".
The first disc includes the original album plus the expected Bonus tracks. While Disc 2 contains a full 80 minutes of Elvis' studio sessions of June 21-23 with LA session band 'The Wrecking Crew'.
The vast majority of the session outtakes have been previously released, so can this FTD Classic Album really offer anything new?
EIN's Piers Beagley investigates and discovers that it is one of FTD's best releases of all time!
Two questions here.
1. How many times do RCA/SONY/ FTD expect serious Elvis fans to purchase new compilations of the NBC TV Special all over again?
Of course we all bought the original, the extended version, Memories, Tiger Man, FTD’s Burbank ’68 and Let Yourself Go as well as 2008’s box-set The Complete Comeback Special - plus all those DVD releases.
2. Elvis’ NBC TV Special was such a high point in his career - his musical renaissance and the sound of him kicking open the door to his prison cell of movie contracts and dreadful scripts - that can there really ever be enough compilations to satisfy us all?
The obvious answer is that for fans of the Comeback Special there can never really be enough compilations – and joy, oh joy, what a true delight this new Classic Album version is.
To be honest Elvis' NBC TV Special was really where it all began for me as an Elvis fan. As a young kid at school this was the very first Elvis LP I ever bought. Looking back I can't imagine how I ever could have afforded to buy an album - it certainly wasn't a present from my parents - although I did start helping out on a newspaper delivery round as soon as I was allowed.
The packaging is fabulous. How terrific to have the original album presented in this stylish 7-inch classic album format. It feels close to picking up the original vinyl version but with a stylish 16-page booklet to go with it.
There is a nice selection of memorabilia, several full-page stunning photos, plus a cool selection of images taken from the TV special. Nice also to have four good photographs from the recording session itself.
Elvis’ backing band for the studio recordings were the LA session band nicknamed ‘The Wrecking Crew' (Phil Spector, The Beach Boys, Simon and Garfunkel etc etc). The booklet features a nice explanation of who they were and their importance to this NBC session.
The two pages of ‘Behind The Scenes’ explain the lengthy timeline from the October 1967 first discussions with NBC, through the recording process and to the final TV broadcasts 14 months later.
The high resolution photo of Elvis standing the NBC studio looking straight at the camera with his blue eyes is a stunner (see below), as is the alternate shot on the front of the booklet where you can see Elvis standing at his “X marks the spot” on the studio floor.
One oddity I spotted was that the booklet states that Steve Binder talked to composer W. Earl Brown about writing a specific closing song for Elvis and that Earl Brown wrote it overnight during the session.
While a lovely, moving story this perhaps gives more credit to Steve Binder and conflicts with what the composer actually said in his interview with Ken Sharp in the FTD book, ‘Writing For The King’…
W. Earl Brown - “Two books have told how the song ‘If I Can Dream’ was written and both of them have gotten it wrong. They said things like, “so and so told me to go home and write it”. That never happened. I wrote it on my own thinking it might never be recorded by Elvis. I had this thing bursting inside of me that I thought the song should say, that kind of hopeful song like ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’. I thought that if Elvis doesn’t record it. I’ll give it to Aretha Franklin.”
Disc One – 76 minutes.
The first packed CD of course features the original album plus twelve additional Bonus Cuts.
These are the extra songs from the TV special that were released on various other RCA albums predominantly the “A Legendary Performer” LP series.
How easy it is to forget that the classic tracks ‘It Hurts Me’ and ‘Let Yourself Go’ were not included on the original album, nor for that matter the funky ‘Baby, What You Want Me To Do’.
These are all featured here along with six other key song from the Leather-Suit Sit-Down shows plus the fabulous two stereo Masters of the singles ‘Memories’ and ‘If I Can Dream’.
From the dynamite coupling of ‘Trouble / Guitar Man’ through to the passionate plea of ‘If I Can Dream’, is there any better Elvis album to feature both his old and the new songs so powerfully performed?
In the Beatles/Byrds era of the time Elvis was taking a real chance using some of his old "soundtrack" songs like 'Little Egypt', 'Let Yourself Go' and 'Love Me Tender' which could have so easily sounded way out-of-date.
But the new Billy Goldenburg arrangements and the power of Elvis' vocal push these and every song into something full of soul and passion. It's a real revitalisation, a new breath of life. Did his vocal for Love Me Tender or Can't Help Falling In Love ever sound better?
The Audio Quality
More importantly for keen Elvis collectors is that this is the best audio re-master we have ever had of the original album. The album master tape has always been of lesser audio quality - probably due to the multiple generations and original editing but Sebastian Jeansson has worked wonders here. It is a definite improvement over the previous Vic Anesini re-master and sounds fantastic.
There is no possibility that they have found a better generation album original master so Jeansson must have put in a lot of hours to improve the sound yet again for this release. As an example listen to the end of ‘Memories’ and you immediately notice the previously noticeable hum and tape flutter have been fixed.
As a compilation of the best material from Elvis’ NBC TV special this first disc is the finest that has been released so far. It perfectly encapsulates the emotion, power and energy of Elvis’ amazing musical renaissance. This will be the version I will always play from now on.
Disc Two. – 79+ Minutes.
Back in 2006 FTD released their look into the making of the NBC TV Special, 'Let Yourself Go'. It featured a 48 minute exploration of the United Western Recorder studio sessions and has now been expanded and upgraded into a packed 80 minute selection of the best of The Wrecking Crew Sessions.
Listening to this (play loud through big speakers and imagine yourself there) you wonder that had Elvis not been forced to do all those dreadful movies, would he have needed to come up with this anger and power that makes the 68 Special such a turning point?
It is also interesting to hear Elvis recording with a full orchestra which seems to spur him on to even greater vocal power.
Note: Elvis did record with an orchestra at Western Recorders back in May of the same year, but can hardly have had as much enthusiasm being for his 28th movie soundtrack. (See our 'Live A Little, Love A Little' FTD Review)
Unlike the “Making of” Let Yourself Go FTD, this version features the sessions in chronological order - and what a wonderful ride it is, packed full of sheer delight.
The second disc features 9 unreleased outtakes including several delightful “First takes”. The CD also combines the best session outtakes mainly from ‘Let Yourself Go’ but also ‘Memories’ and other releases.
The audio here is remastered in beautiful quality and sound very different to the same tracks previously released on ‘Let Yourself Go’ and ‘Memories’.
Collectors need to be aware that the outtakes here have been remixed from the original session tapes by Vic Anesini and Sebastian Jeansson and are very different sounding versions to the ones you may already have.
‘Nothingville’ for instance now features Elvis’ vocal more predominant with Hal Blaine’s percussion pulled much further back. On ‘Let Yourself Go’ the drums were mixed loud and in the centre, whereas on the original album they were placed towards the right channel which is what has been replicated on these new mixes.
Buy this CD, you don’t need to know any more.
However if you are interested in exactly what we get read on…
Road Medley Outtakes
'Nothingville' kicked off the session and fans get their first delight in previously unreleased Take 1. “Is this too close, Bones?” Elvis asks engineer Bones Howe with the first attempt showing the band and orchestra playing spot on with sweet harmonica from Tommy Morgan but with Elvis stumbling over his timing.
Takes 5 /6 follow but again Elvis mucks up the timing, "Goddamn it, hold it" before a near perfect Take 6. It would be another four attempts before Elvis got to the master that included Guitar Man, the studio master of which follows.
The mighty 'Let Yourself Go' follows with two takes of both Part 1 and the end section. This song really showed how Elvis could transform his material if he believed in what he was doing. You can hear the easy going nature of the session as Elvis jokes with the producer.
Interestingly the ‘Legendary Performer Vol 3’ edit - a real favourite when first released - was compiled of early attempts, Part 1 Take 1 and Part 2 Take 2. Here we get later takes, as well as the Take 7 masters that were used for the TV studio playback.
Elvis throws in some enthusiastic growls and off-sides, "Oh yeah, baby". And Elvis singing, "Take a real deep breath and put your warm red lips on mine" carries an unbelievable sexual interpretation here that the movie soundtrack original never did! Sensational.
'Guitar Man' (Escape 1 – fast) Takes 1, 2, 5 sound more like rehearsals as Elvis immediately realises the band is playing too fast. Elvis sings along playfully but laughs as he explains, "Wait a minute, they're too fast man". The treat is that Elvis then keeps going a capella after the band stops, clapping his hands to demonstrate the tempo he wants. With plenty of fun and laughter Elvis is surprised when engineer Bones Howe jokingly announces "That's a take" Elvis obviously thought it was a rehearsal too.
'Guitar Man' - Remake Take 6, 7 was from the following day, taken at a slower tempo and sounding much better. Between takes Elvis throws in a line of, ‘When Irish Eyes Are Smiling’. He never sounded this happy at the Clambake sessions!
'Big Boss Man' Take 1 is previously unreleased - “It’s a message song” jokes Elvis but on this first run-through the brass section noticeably lags behind the beat even if Elvis’ vocal is angry and on top form. Take 2 was close to the final Master. Elvis throws in some one-liners, "Are you horny Tonight?" as well as "When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano" an old favourite of Elvis'.
'It Hurts Me' Part 1 Take 1 is previously unreleased and a great addition to anyone's collection. Elvis sings with passion, the strings play perfectly against the beat. Listen out for Elvis’ wonderful “Aaarrghh, He never loved you” @1.35 that was not repeated on future takes. Again early takes were used for a fabulous edit of song that was originally issued on a 'Legendary Performer Vol 3' (on CD 1 here) but Takes 5 and Take 3 feature a fabulous depth to Elvis' vocal. While never a final Master, with Elvis' empowered ending, "yes darling, oh darling.." it is a wonderful attempt. The dramatic finish is also totally different from the spliced string ending of the released version.
Once again Elvis chose a relative B-side chart failure (# 29) to prove that everyone was wrong. Did The Colonel really think 'Kissin' Cousins' was what mattered?
'Little Egypt' - another previously unreleased version Take 6. “The dancers hold it down please” jokes Elvis. This is an excellent outtake with a more menacing minor key piano background at the beginning. Sounding so much more powerful compared to the original movie version, “Hot damn” Elvis rightly exclaims, off mike, right towards the start. This take also has a quieter “gong” on the ending.
Take 8 has Elvis' vocal is full throttle, “What about it, Bones?” Elvis asks at the end, as well as joking "This is an Arthur Rank production" to the sound of the huge gong. Yet another lightweight sixties’ movie song that Elvis managed to reinvent.
'Trouble / Guitar Man (after karate) Take 2 ends the first section. This was the last "road" song recorded before the team moved onto the Gospel segment. A powerful take, close to the Master, Elvis’ comments “Take it home… Oh, shit” @2:27. I guess they would need another take!
'Motherless Child / Where Do I Go But To The Lord' - Starting with a rehearsal this - and Take 1 - are sensational. Elvis' soulful adlib on the rehearsal "Oh, sock it to me baby" sets the scene. Very light and laid-back, Elvis' misses the first word so it could never be a take, but even better then to hear Elvis and the band continuing for a complete rough run-through. At points the horns are out of key and Elvis is reticent on the lyrics. At 05.00 he misses a line, "God Damn It!" It is just fine though as the gospel soul shines through and the band continues with Elvis apologising at the end laughing, "I'm sorry about that." Another session outtake highlight.
Take 4 follows and features the marvellous solo vocal from Darlene Love that would be used in the TV show. You can hear Elvis snapping his fingers in enjoyment, but his vocal is not as assured as on the final master.
'Up Above My Head/I Found That Light' was the next section required and Take 4 here is another unreleased version and more like a rehearsal. Elvis seems unsure with the lyrics and the tempo drags a bit with it halting after a minute. Before Take 7 Elvis says, "All right. Let's get it on" and being in a Gospel mood sings the first line of The Lord’s Prayer. Elvis is still somewhat reticent with the lyrics and at this point very late in the evening they would stop, continuing the following day where they would nail it in two takes.
'Saved' Take 1 was initially on the FTD 'Easter Special' but sounding more powerful here. This gospel track shows off Elvis' rough, throaty, soulful voice to the very best. Take 2 is a short previously unreleased false start where Elvis jokes, “I used to drink, I used to … start all over”. On Take 4 the band and Elvis mess up with the tempo mid-song and seems out of breath as he throws in too many adlibs - listen out for his "Wooo" @03.16. At the end Elvis starts to go into the 'blues' ending but the band doesn't follow.
On Take 6 and 5 Elvis finally includes the extended "blues ending". This is a rough mix of the final edit that would be included in the album and sounds very different. Here the backing-vocals are only just audible as is the orchestra, this leaves Elvis' vocal high in the mix with mainly the rhythm section.
This would be the final song required for this section.
Outtakes - June 23.
'Trouble/Guitar Man' - Opening, Take 1. How odd that it was so near the end of the session that the band gets to record the show's opener. On Take 1, is a fine first run-though man, Elvis throws in some adlibs and the band try out the extended “guitar scratch” ending.
Take 6 breaks down mid-section when drummer Hal Blaine misses the beat, with some real hilarity following as a band member imitates the sound of a dog. Elvis’ laughter and "Get that damn dog out of the studio!" is incredibly reminiscent of the same fun as "Shoot that damn dog" on the Jungle Room Sessions eight years later. Take 7 is all the more enjoyable because Elvis knows that it is only a rehearsal, when the band's timing messes up at the start, but Elvis keeps on going. . Listen out for Elvis' enthusiasm @ 04.19 as he urges the band along. It’s a sensational outtake.
The final Master was a splice of the much later takes 19/21/32.
'If I Can Dream'. This FTD Classic Album release at last presents the whole session including previously unreleased False Start Take 2.
While the first take was sensational for a first attempt and complete, it could be seen as a rehearsal as extraneous noise at the start meant it never could be a master. First released on Platinum but sounding much better here thanks to the new Vic Anesini / Jeansson mix re-master. Elvis is very measured with the lyrics and notably holds back at times but for a “rehearsal” it is an amazingly powerful recording.
Previously unreleased False Start Take 2 sadly never gets to the first line, “A little feedback crept in there”. Take 3 similarly last only 40 seconds and stops at Elvis’ first line.
Complete Take 4 sounds nearly perfect, even if he sings “why can’t my dream come true?” instead of “why can’t my dream come appear?” Interestingly Elvis seems to drift slightly off key and changes melody at the end. It is still a fascinating and powerful version. “Let me do one more” Elvis notes afterwards.
The next Take 5 would be the Master we all know which Elvis lip-synced his black-leather Stand-Up performances to.
'Memories' Takes 3 and 4 Vocal Overdub. The treat on these sessions is hearing the incredible musicians the made up the wrecking crew at work. On unreleased Take 3 false start you can hear Tommy Tedesco’s beautiful guitar picking. “Tommy, if you remember what you did, do it again” says Steve Binder. Tedesco would play on several of Elvis' mid-60s movie soundtracks, including the original recording of ‘Let Yourself Go’.
The following alternate take (#2?) has a delicious rich vocal with a different ending with Elvis quietly intoning “Memories, Memories”.
The CD ends with the alternate unreleased ‘Let Yourself Go’ ending instrumental which doesn’t feature such a loud brass explosive ending as one used in the special.
The main Wrecking Crew musicians are as listed below. One of the joys is being able to appreciate their fine playing and individual inputs to the sound, whether it be Hal Blaine’s driving drums, Tommy Tedesco’s fine guitar picking, Don Randi’s piano or Charles Berghofer’s funky bass-lines.
(Hal Blaine would in fact start playing for Elvis’ sessions back in 1961 on Blue Hawaii soundtrack)
Guitar: Tommy Tedesco, Mike Deasy, Al Casey
Bass & Keyboards: Larry Knechtal
Bass: Charles Berghofer
Piano: Don Randi
Drums: Hal Blaine
Percussion: John Cyr, Elliot Franks
Bongos: Frank DeVito
Harmonica: Tommy Morgan
Vocal: The Blossoms: Darlene Love; Jean King; Fanita James plus extra male & female vocalists
Conductor: Billy Goldenberg
Looking back fans have to consider that if The Colonel had actually supplied good scripts and better movie ideas as Elvis wanted, then it is possible that the musical revelation of the '68 Comeback Special would not have happened. This time we can all be thankful that The Colonel was so out-of-touch.
Overall Verdict: It is hard to believe that Elvis’ NBC 68 special could be re-packaged in an even better way than it has been before – but this FTD classic album version is absolutely sensational.
Disc one features all the highlights of the original main RCA releases with the original album and the additional key extras while disc two provides us the ultimate 80 minutes of The Wrecking Crew Sessions.
With the 16-page booklet and beautifully remastered audio this is one of the very best Classic Albums that FTD have ever released.
Buy it with confidence, you won’t be disappointed.
Review by Piers Beagley.
-Copyright EIN July 2016
EIN Website content © Copyright the Elvis Information Network.
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|DISC 1 - ORIGINAL ALBUM
01 Trouble / Guitar Man (3:28) - June 22 & 30, 1968
02 Lawdy, Miss Clawdy (14:45) - June 27, 1968. 8 PM show
Baby, What You Want Me To Do - June 27, 1968. 6 PM show
Dialogue; Medley: Heartbreak Hotel / Hound Dog / All Shook Up - June 29, 1968. 6 PM show
Can’t Help Falling In Love - June 29, 1968. 6 PM show
Jailhouse Rock - June 29, 1968. 8 PM show
Dialogue; Love Me Tender - June 29, 1968. 8 PM show
03 Dialogue; Where Could I Go But To The Lord / Up Above My Head / Saved (7:35) - June 21 & 22, 1968
04 Dialogue; Blue Christmas (5:34) - June 27, 1968. 8 PM show
Dialogue; One Night - June 27, 1968. 6 PM show
05 Memories (3:20) - June 23, 1968
06 Medley: Nothingville / Dialogue; Big Boss Man / Guitar Man / Little Egypt / Trouble / Guitar Man (6:44) - June 20, 21 & 30, 1968
07 If I Can Dream (3:26) - June 23, 1968
08 It Hurts Me (splice/edit of part 1 – take 7, part 2 – take 7 & part 1 – take 6) (2:33) - June 20 & 21, 1968
09 Let Yourself Go (splice/edit of part 1 – take 1 & part 2 – take 2) (2:38) - June 20, 1968
10 Memories (stereo master) (3:09) - June 23, 1968
11 If I Can Dream (stereo master) (3:13) - June 23, 1968
12 That’s All Right (3:10) - June 27, 1968. 8 PM show
13 Love Me (2:38) - June 27, 1968. 8 PM show
14 Baby, What You Want Me To Do (1:48) - June 27, 1968. 6 PM show
15 Are You Lonesome Tonight? (3:38) - June 27, 1968. 8 PM show
16 Blue Suede Shoes (1:45) - June 27, 1968. 8 PM show
17 Trying To Get To You (3:00) - June 27, 1968. 8 PM show
18 Tiger Man (2:44) - June 27, 1968. 8 PM show
19 Let Yourself Go (closing instrumental) (1:09) - June 23, 1968
THE WRECKING CREW SESSIONS
ROAD MEDLEY OUTTAKES – June 20-21, 1968:
01 Nothingville (Guitar Man's Evil #1) - take 1* (1:16)
02 Nothingville (Guitar Man's Evil #1) - takes 5 & 6 (2:15)
03 Guitar Man (Guitar Man's Evil #1) - take 10/M (1:02)
04 Let Yourself Go, part 1 (Guitar Man's Evil #2) - takes 5 & 6 (2:40)
05 Let Yourself Go, part 1 (Guitar Man's Evil #2) - take 7/M (2:17)
06 Let Yourself Go, part 2 (Guitar Man's Evil #3) - take 6 (1:32)
07 Let Yourself Go, part 2 (Guitar Man's Evil #3) - take 7/M (1:35)
08 Guitar Man (Escape #1, fast) - takes 1, 2 & 5 (2:48)
09 Guitar Man (Escape #1, remake) - takes 6 & 7/M (1:27)
10 Big Boss Man (Escape #3) - take 1* (1:17)
11 Big Boss Man (Escape #3) - take 2 (1:40)
12 It Hurts Me, part 1 (Escape #4) - take 1* (1:48)
13 It Hurts Me, part 1 (Escape #4) - take 5 (1:58)
14 It Hurts Me, part 2 (After Karate #1) - take 3 (1:08)
15 Guitar Man (After Karate #2) - take 1 (0:51)
16 Little Egypt (After Karate #2) - take 6* (1:25)
17 Little Egypt (After Karate #2) - take 8 (1:28)
18 Trouble / Guitar Man (After Karate #3) - take 2 (3:02)
GOSPEL MEDLEY OUTTAKES – June 21-22, 1968:
19 Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child / Where Could I Go But To The Lord (Gospel #1) - rehearsal & take 1 (5:24)
20 Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child / Where Could I Go But To The Lord (Gospel #1) - take 4 (3:25)
21 Up Above My Head / I Found That Light / Saved (Gospel #2) - takes 4* & 7 (3:39)
22 Saved (Gospel #3) - take 1 (4:26)
23 Saved (Gospel #3) - takes 2* & 4 (4:34)
24 Saved - splice of takes 6 & 5/M (rough mix) (4:22)
OUTTAKES – June 23, 1968:
25 Trouble / Guitar Man (Opening) - take 1 (3:54)
26 Trouble / Guitar Man (Opening) - takes 6 & 7 (5:31)
27 If I Can Dream - take 1 (3:14)
28 If I Can Dream - takes 2*, 3 & 4 (4:24)
29 Memories - takes 3* & 4/v.o. #1 (3:46)
30 Let Yourself Go (closing instrumental) - take 1* (1:13)
"ELVIS - Original Soundtrack Recording From His NBC TV Special"
FTD June 2016 release #506020-975094
Album produced and art directed by Ernst Mikael Jørgensen & Roger Semon.
Outtakes mixed by Vic Anesini and Sebastian Jeansson.
Mastered by Sebastian Jeansson.
'Let Yourself Go' FTD CD review: 'Let Yourself Go' is a glimpse into the making of Elvis' sensational 1968 'Comeback' TV Special. While it does feel like a 'work under construction' this is the sound of Elvis kicking open the door to his prison cell of movie contracts and dreadful scripts. With Studio outtakes plus a rehearsal jam, isn't this what the FTD "Collectors" label is all about? (FTD Reviews; Source: EIN, Jan 2007)
|'The Complete '68 Comeback Special' CD Review: For the 40th Anniversary BMG/SONY release a 4CD "Complete '68 Comeback Special" to the general public. Hard-core Elvis fans have been overly dismissive, pointing out that we have all bought the same product previously. But is this true? Here we not only get the ORIGINAL Album version (The 'Memories' set was a very different compilation) but also something refreshing about the way this new set has been compiled. The second CD itself cleverly leads us from Elvis jamming with the boys on his very first release 'That's All Right' through a fabulous revitalisation of his classic songs all the way to the stunning 'If I Can Dream' which would be his newest single. EIN's Piers Beagley spends a while with Elvis in his gorgeous leather suit. Click here for the in-depth review. (CD Reviews, Source;EIN)
'Elvis-The King Of The Jungle' In-Depth Book Review: Featuring 546 pages the book includes a detailed look at everything that took place at the historic taping and recording sessions of Elvis' "Comeback Special". It also includes eye-witness reports from lucky fans that were present at the legendary NBC performances.
EIN's Piers Beagley checks out this gorgeous new book about one of the most important weeks of Elvis career.....
.... My expectations were high for this wonderful new production - but I am still absolutely stunned by its massive size and the impact. Yes, there are other candids and photos of Elvis in 1968 within the book but it is basically about ONE WEEK in Elvis' life presented over 500 pages - What a week! If you love Elvis in the 'Singer Presents Elvis' TV special then you will spend hours luxuriating in these glorious photos. Did I mention Elvis looked gorgeous in 1968!"...
Go HERE for the full-indepth review and plenty of magnificent photos. Now with added images, comments & purchase details.
(Book Reviews, Source;ElvisInfoNet)
The '68 Special - 40th Anniversary Celebration: How lucky in life would you be to get to the recording of Elvis' 68 TV Special and also make it to the recent 40th Anniversary screening in L.A? EIN's correspondent Joan Gansky is one of those few very fortunate fans. Joan Gansky not only met Elvis multiple times - but being at the original NBC recording of the 68 Special truly changed her life! Here are her unique recollections of attending the recent 40th Anniversary celebration - as well as her thoughts on being there back in June 1968. This EIN exclusive features comments by Steve Binder, Priscilla, Bones Howe as well as great close-up photos by Paul Gansky.
Click here for the full article.
The Night Elvis Reclaimed His Crown: In summer 1968, Elvis Presley taped a television special to be broadcast that Christmas. Fifteen years earlier, he had walked into Sun Studios in Memphis to make a record as a present for his mother, or so the story goes, and changed history.The special begins in darkness, to the sound of a whomping, Muddy Waters-ish blues riff, and then a famous face fades in, turning toward the camera, filling the screen, meaning business.... "Singer Presents Elvis" is a great moment in music, in television, and in the narrative of his own life -- a moment of change, when what was lost is found again. He regains his voice -- and in so doing becomes at once who he was and who he'll become. His singing has the lilt of youth but with a mature edge. He is 33 years old, lean and chiselled and -- what he had not seemed in years -- a little dangerous. . . . . . (Spotlight, Source;LATimes)
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