'ELVIS - Murfreesboro '74'
- In-depth FTD review by Geoffrey McDonnell / Piers Beagley -
A double-CD focusing on Elvis' two Murfreesboro shows from the March 1974 tour.
FTD have already released four concerts from this tour, the Tulsa March 1 Opening Show, the Memphis March 17 Evening show, the Richmond March 18 concert plus the RCA recorded 'Live In Memphis' March 20 Closing Night.
So do we really need yet another two 1974 soundboards from this tour? Well, well, well.. the answer is a definite YES!
Elvis soundboard super-collector Geoffrey McDonnell & EIN's Piers Beagley check out this new FTD double-pack .....
In 1974 Elvis focused on a hard touring schedule and never once went into a recording studio.
March 1974 was Elvis' ninth tour of the USA and twenty-five performances in under 3 weeks. Freed from the constraints of the Las Vegas Hilton casino crowd, Elvis was in fine form and putting on great shows getting fabulous on-stage feedback from his enthusiastic audiences from the Southern states.
Every concert sold out in a few hours and extra concerts - Murfreesboro had two shows in the same week - were added to meet the demand.
In 1974 Elvis added the new songs 'Help Me', 'Let Me Be There' and ‘Why Me Lord’ to his regular set-list and the old SUN classic ‘Trying To Get To You’ would also become a regular feature. Not only that but Elvis started working on that old 'Polk Salad' again having left it off the set-list for the whole of 1973!
FTD contributor Robert Frieser noted that these are two of Elvis' best performances from 1974. The two Murfreesboro shows from March 14th and especially March 19 can be seen as the highlight of the March tour.
.. These shows can be seen as a prelude to the famous record recording of March 20 in Memphis, the recording of which Elvis received a grammy award for his rendition of How Great Thou Art, counts as one of the best shows of 1974.
The Tour had highlights such as the Tulsa Shows, Houston Astrodome shows but also the Roanoke and Richmond shows were top notch.
The tour was actually a 15 day tour but because of the speed with which the tickets were sold out, more shows were booked.
Elvis who had not toured since July 1973 had first completed a fully booked season in Las Vegas in January & February of 1974. At those shows in Las Vegas there was quite some criticism in the media, but that criticism faded with the shows he did in March. The shows were highly professional and alternating his voice and show attitude was good.
The show of March 14th is a very cool show, vocally Elvis is in top form.
The sound of the show is of a good audio quality. So we have something to enjoy, Elvis is in good shape and gives people value for their money.
The following show in Murfreesboro on March 19 is even better, this is because it's the end of the tour and maybe the looking forward of the Memphis concert recording, that Elvis keeps getting better and better.
In this show Elvis has even more fun and Elvis is even more loose and vocally even better. I believe that this show was the best show of the tour. A professional show with Elvis very much at ease.
'ELVIS: MURFREESBORO '74' FTD review by Geoffrey McDonnell & Piers Beagley
FTD March 2018 release as a standard size 5" three-sided double digi-pack.
Murfreesboro is a relatively small city only 34 miles from Nashville. Elvis played the 12 thousand seater venue in Murfreesboro twice in 1974 and three times in spring 1975 with strong performances at every concert. Perhaps this was due to the enthusiasm of the Tennessee audience – no doubt quite a number coming down from Nashville – or possible due to its proximity to Elvis’ hometown. Elvis always seemed happy and packed full of energy at each of the shows perhaps helped by spending the previous night at home in Graceland.
Elvis’ May 6 1975 Murfreesboro concert was notable as being FTD’s second soundboard release and now 17 years later we get both of Elvis’ march 1974 Murfreesboro performances and damn fine they are too.
Elvis’ March 1974 tour was his best of the year. In 1974 Elvis focused on a hard touring schedule and never once went into a recording studio. March 1974 was Elvis' ninth tour of the USA and twenty-five performances in under 3 weeks and was his first tour since July 1973.
Elvis would play 154 concerts in 1974 and the excitement would be building as he headed towards the March 20th Closing Show that would be officially recorded for release by RCA. Elvis’ March 18 Richmond show was released on the excellent ’48 Hours to Memphis’ and while you could imagine Elvis taking-it-easy the night before the main concert in Memphis this is certainly not the case. And although the set-lists have to be similar to other tour shows Elvis was in a great mood, full of energy and having fun. All these March 1974 concerts are well-worth having in your collection.
Of the March 14 concert the Murfreesboro Daily News reported..
“Elvis opened with a rock-a-billy number See See Rider and closed with his classic Can't Help Falling in Love. Everything in between was fantastic. Personally, the high point was a moving, well-orchestrated version of Kris Kristofferson's Why Me Lord which featured the super bass of J.D. Sumner.
Another "high point" was Suspicious Minds. The amount of musical drive achieved during this number was incredible. Increasing the effect was the power of the musical arrangements, handled very capably by Elvis' backup band. ‘American Trilogy’ was also enough to make one feel patriotic which is amazing when you consider the nation's current disenchantment. Perhaps this feeling points to the reason for Elvis' success. He offers his fans a musical world that's quite an improvement over their daily, often disenchanting grind. I want to see Elvis again.”
There is no doubt that if you had attended either of these Murfreesboro performances you would have been more than satisfied. In 1974 most Elvis fans would have seen his ‘Aloha’ performance but the above noted ‘Trying To Get To You’, 'Polk Salad Annie', 'Help Me' and ‘Why Me Lord’ would have all been surprises while ‘Steamroller Blues’ was at its funkiest and you also got the added joys of some classic oldies such as ‘Johnny B. Goode’ and possibly ‘Mystery Train’ as well as all the regulars! Even ‘Funny How Time Slips Away’ was making a return having been basically dropped since June 1972.
The fold out pack has 8 photos of Elvis from various March shows the 8th, 11th, 14th, 18th and 19th all capturing him looking fit and on good form. The front cover - actually a shot from Richmond the previous day - captures Elvis looking stunning and ready to rock. So the presentation is fine- even though there is no nice booklet.
As there are no ‘bad or poor' shows this entire tour and both shows are ‘unheard’ in any form I expected a real treat… and indeed these are so good that I could handle this entire solid tour via FTD as the soundboards are all of great sounding QUALITY!
Both these Murfreesboro concerts are from cassette soundboard recordings but are of very good quality and with an excellent mix of Elvis, the musicians, orchestra and more importantly the crowd reactions.
So while they are not the same reel-to-reel quality of other FTD releases from this 1974 tour they are still excellent listening.
Keen collectors have also mentioned that these two shows run a little slow. Once pointed out this is noticeable, (sometimes the orchestra sounds a little off key), however this doesn't really affect one's enjoyment of these great performances as Elvis was so up-for-it and full of energy.
If you compare these Murfreesboro to the Richmond reel-to-reel tape they are definitely a little slow.
The Memphis March 17 show - also mastered by Jan Eliasson - however also sounds a little slow compared to the great Richmond performance.
Disc 1 - March 14, 1974 - 59 minutes
Also Sprach Zarathustra starts sounding very good indeed with ‘See See Rider’ as a strong version – Elvis is obviously ready to rock from the very start and there’s no need for him to “wake-up” tonight. At 02.00 Elvis sings,”Oh See Lord, Lord what you have done” and you can feel his commitment. There’ll be no slurred rambles tonight.
Afterwards Elvis notes, “Thank you very much. You sound like you’re in a good mood this evening” before having more than the usual fun with his, “Well, well, wells”
‘I Got A Woman / Amen’ has a real energy to it, Elvis sings “Oh Yeah” and really means it! The finale gets the J.D. double-ending but its short & sweet and very enjoyable. In fact Mike West of the Murfreesboro Daily News reckoned J.D. Sumner stole the whole show!
Elvis comments “Good evening ladies and gentlemen. We hope you have a good time this afternoon, uh, this evening. Man, it has been a long tour, I really don't know if it's daylight or dark?” but unlike some later concerts you know he is teasing.
‘Love Me’ is a kiss-and tell throwaway and not the best – but there is no doubting the crowd is loving every moment.
‘Trying To Get To You’ outstandingly good. Elvis jokes at the start “I’ve been travelling all day” but after jokingly adding “C’mon, c’mon help me” Elvis then grabs the SUN oldie and gives it all he’s got. A true highlight.
‘All Shook Up’ is the usual crowd-pleaser and very fast indeed.
‘Steamroller Blues’ is another highlight, it REALLY rocks and Elvis sounds so strong! A “churning urn of burning funk” indeed with Elvis really digging the guitar solo throwing in a falsetto and a “Help me out, Bill”! One of the very best, fabulous.
A regular throw-away ‘Teddy Bear / Don’t Be Cruel’ follows, while ‘Love Me Tender’ “Are we in Hawaii?” is a very solid version.
‘Johnny B. Goode’ although fairly routine does include some cutting James Burton guitar and is a cool bonus.
‘Hound Dog’ is the expected throwaway while ‘Fever’ is a fine version even though Duke Bardwell’s playing doesn’t match Jerry Scheff’s here. Elvis throws in the interesting ending, “Chung, Chung, Chung - smile” and there’s no doubt that the audience loves it.
(Right under DISC 1 - Elvis in Murfreesboro March 14.)
‘Polk Salad Annie’ (dropped in 1973) is back on the list and a fine 1974 version. Elvis laughs his way in parts but gets serious towards the end. The crowd explodes afterwards.
Changing the pace ‘Why Me Lord’ is very moving and sincere and truly showcases Both J. D’s and Elvis’ serious commitment - even Kathy Westmoreland’s voice is perfectly placed - one of the best versions ever. Not surprisingly it gets the reprise it deserves with Elvis noting “Outta sight man, I like that” and “J.D. and The Stamps, fantastic!”
‘Suspicious Minds’ rocks at a fast pace and unusually ends with the strange one-liner of ‘Take These Chains From My Heart And Set Me Free’ before the “hit it” ending.
Elvis afterwards explains the odd comment noting, “I practised that a long time, getting my chain hung on my ear like that.”
The ‘Introductions’ are thankfully are brief. For some reason Elvis notes, “On the drums is Ronald Ellis Tutt!”
A powerful ‘I Can’t Stop Loving You’ follows with Elvis changing the line to “To live in Tennessee”.
‘Help Me’ new in 1974 is delightful and very sincere. This is no doubt due to the fact that Charlie Hodge’s family was in the audience. Elvis notes, “This next song is a song we just recorded ladies and gentlemen. And doing harmony with me is - and the reason I didn't introduce him earlier is because his mother and father are in the audience tonight and I was kinda’ saving it - my friend Charlie Hodge. This song is called “Help Me”.
Note that Sherrill Neilson left this tour after the 4th show and didn’t return until May 1974, due to conflicts within the group VOICE.
‘American Trilogy’ is a very fine version if you can ignore the usual 1974 ‘joke’ reference to Disneyland. The crowd explodes in response. “Thank you Very Much, Very Much -yeah” Elvis notes.
(At this point the high frequency audio of the tape starts fluttering which is a shame)
‘Let Me Be There’ is a real powerhouse version plus a fine reprise, finishing with J.D. showing off those bass notes once again.
Elvis is in an obviously fine mood joking, “Now that I've been in the spotlight for a little while, I'd like to put the spotlight on you. You know take a look at you, a-ha! That’s our little psychedelic lights we got for tonight, folks!”
‘Funny How Time Slips Away’ is routine but with some fine James Burton chicken-picken!
Elvis then thanks the audience saying “You're a fantastic audience really and until the next time back in Murfreesboro we bid you an affectionate Adios!”
Which in itself is a little funny as he would be back there in only 5 days time.
‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’ - “Somethings you know, Pete!” is the usual ending.
I’d rate this performance 9/10 simply for the strong and clear vocals from Elvis, a very fine set-list and a real knockout show with hardly any low points.
Disc 2 - March 19, 1974 - 61 minutes
Only a few days later Elvis would be back in Murfreesboro for another show and the fascination this time is that it is the penultimate concert before Elvis’ ‘Live In Memphis’ performance. Would he hold back or would he go for it? The photo under DISC 2 is actually from Elvis' Monroe concert on March 8.
The tape has a great build-up before ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra’ kicks in and again the sound is excellent and balanced with a wonderful mix of audience appreciation.
Elvis bursts on stage, the crowd explodes, and ‘See See Rider’ shows that Elvis in not holding back. This could be ‘Elvis Live In Memphis’.
There’s a cute joke when Elvis comments, “Thank you very much, thank you. Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen. Well.. I ain’t done nothing, I mean I haven't done anything yet!” Elvis is obviously on form and happy to be on stage. Although it is odd that Elvis doesn’t joke about the place “looking familiar” as he had been there only a few days before.
‘I Got A Woman / Amen’ is a very fine version “ohh, yeahh”. The ending is a little drawn out with the J.D dive-bomber repeat because “He goofed it up on purpose so he could do it again” - “See I told ya’!” jokes Elvis.
Elvis then takes the gift of a hat from a fan, but it doesn’t fit. “Big headed son-of-a-gun” he jokes about himself!
‘Love Me’ continues the fine interplay with his audience as a loving fan falls over the barrier. Elvis notes mid-song, “Whoops! You ‘Ok’ honey? - She flipped out, she flipped out!” Afterwards adding, “Is that little girl okay that fell over the rail? – Oh, she's a member of the gymnast team, I see.”
‘Trying To Get To You’ is very nearly as good as the week’s earlier version but not quite as knockout throughout.
‘All Shook Up’ is taken more seriously and is ok and no doubt if you were there on the night it would sure be a crowd pleaser.
‘Steamroller Blues’ again is a very fine version if not quite as strong as the previous week’s.
‘Teddy Bear / Don’t Be Cruel’ is however sung with more sincerity this time.
‘Love Me Tender’ showcases the great sound mix and is again well sung for the regular throwaway oldie it had often become.
Elvis included the ‘Rock’n’Roll Medley’ into his set-list at the beginning of the year but would rarely use it in this March 1974 season.
The previous night in Richmond it was another highlight with Elvis putting in more energy than usual while tonight it would be a little more low-key.
Elvis changes a line to “J.D. chasing bald headed Sally” and while I tend to dislike weaker medley performances this isn’t too bad.
‘Fever’ is better with Elvis noting, “Hang in there Duke” and the crowd going wild.
A very fine ‘Polk Salad Annie’ follows – listen out for the oddity of “Sock a little Volkswagen to me”! Great piano playing and “Sneak up on it Ronnie” plus lots of energy.
‘Why Me Lord’ is again a real highlight, Elvis cheers on JD, “Yeah, sing it” and afterwards says “I like that. Thank you very much” and again kicks it into a reprise – a true concert highlight.
Keeping the crowd pumped ‘Suspicious Minds’ is quite fine for 1974.
The ‘Introductions’ is fun. The Sweets, J.D. Sumner, Stamps, Kathy Westmoreland, James Burton, and then “Looking for ice cubes it’s John Wilkinson!” This is truly funny as all I have read in many Elvis biographies that after a show John would fill up a pitcher with ice-cubes and then retreat to his hotel room!
Pete Hallin from VOICE “They’ve been with me for five months” also gets a special mention.
A powerful ‘I Can’t Stop Loving You’ with a bit of an extended ending, “Oh Lord I dread it” jokes Elvis, follows.
A beautiful ‘Help Me’ follows “a new song we just recorded”. The song wasn’t even released until May 1974 and is a fine version. Afterwards Elvis notes that the singer/songwriter Larry Gatlin is in the audience “a very fine singer” and “thank you for the song”. It is a truly nice touch and a moment I NEVER thought I’d be hearing on soundboard.
Presumably it would have been amazing for the composer to be acknowledged as such as the song wasn’t even released at the time.
‘An American Trilogy’ is fine after a very unnecessary start where Elvis says, “Old times are not forgotten Kathy!” (which if I’d been in the band would have upset me quite a bit to be mentioned out of context and in a serious song in this way) and then the Disneyland ‘joke’. Then Elvis asks the group to “sing it straight” but after HE had been goofing it up which doesn’t seem funny at all. However the rest of the song it is a truly lovely performance – and gets the applause it deserves.
‘Let Me Be There’ is again another powerhouse workout with reprise with a slight line change of “Whether you still wander in your life”. It’s one of the best and there’s no sign that Elvis was holding back for the next night’s recording.
Then Elvis adds, “You’re a fantastic audience. So I'd like to turn up the houselights and take a look at you but we don't have house lights so were gonna’ use spotlights OK? That's our psychedelic effect for this afternoon. Well, at least I can see you!''
‘Funny How Time Slips Away’ is ok – with lots of screaming fans - and again featuring a lot of J.D. Elvis sings, “Never know when I’ll be back in town - whenever you want, baby” which is funny knowing he’d been there a few days before.
‘Mystery Train’ sounds fine but is sadly incomplete and a real shame as the 60 minute cassette tape must have run out here. This is a real rarity for 1974 as the only other known performance for was the medley ‘Mystery Train/Tiger Man’ at the Richmond 12th March 74’ show – officially not released.
As for all these March 1974 performances it is another great show which I’d mark an 8/10 show - only because of a couple of annoying and unnecessary comments from Elvis - but still it’s still a very good show.
Overall Verdict: This 1974 March tour captures Elvis in great form before the emotional roller-coaster of the Las Vegas summer season. So thanks FTD for bringing us two great and previously unheard shows and in superb sound. To be honest I could take a couple more from this tour such as 11th & 12th March also!
No one hears ‘soundboards’ unless they are released – so play these loud and enjoy Elvis feeling inspired and performing a great set-list. Thanks to FTD for deciding to bring these to us and give us a ‘break’ from the ‘over-represented’ 1976 soundboards. At two-fer-the-price-of-one these Murfreesboro performances are thoroughly recommended listening for ALL Elvis collectors.
Now we have all these great March 1974 concerts released by FTD - all totally enjoyable and worthy of being in your collection.
- Tulsa March 1 Opening Show
- Murfreesboro March 14
- Memphis March 17 Evening show
- Richmond March 18 concert
- Murfreesboro March 19
- RCA recorded 'Live In Memphis' March 20 Closing Night.
For more review details see below.
Review by Geoffrey McDonnell / Piers Beagley.
-Copyright EIN April 2018
EIN Website content © Copyright the Elvis Information Network.
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|'ELVIS MURFREESBORO '74' - FTD March 2018 release
FTD CD Credits: Album and Art produced by Ernst Jorgensen & Roger Semon - Mastered by Jan Eliasson
|Disc 1 - March 14, 1974 at Middle Tennessee State University.
01 Also Sprach Zarathustra 02 See See Rider 3:36 03 I Got A Woman / Amen 4:13 04 Love Me 1:41 05 Trying To Get To You 2:09 06 All Shook Up 1:01 07 Steamroller Blues 3:01 08 (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear / Don’t Be Cruel 2:06 09 Love Me Tender 1:53 10 Johnny B. Goode 1:40 11 Hound Dog 1:11 12 Fever 3:06 13 Polk Salad Annie 3:38 14 Why Me Lord 3:58 15 Suspicious Minds 3:55 16 Introductions 1:58 17 I Can’t Stop Loving You 2:41 18 Help Me 2:44 19 American Trilogy 4:04 20 Let Me Be There 3:59 21 Funny How Time Slips Away 2:42 22 Can’t Help Falling In Love 1:41) 23 Closing Vamp 1:00
Disc 2 March 19, 1974 at Middle Tennessee State University.
01 Also Sprach Zarathustra 1:15 02 See See Rider 3:37 03 I Got A Woman / Amen 5:56 04 Love Me 1:46 05 Trying To Get To You 2:12 06 All Shook Up 1:02 07 Steamroller Blues 2:56 08 (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear / Don’t Be Cruel 1:58 09 Love Me Tender 1:55 10 Medley: Long Tall Sally / Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On/Mama Don’t Dance / Flip, Flop and Fly / Jailhouse Rock / Hound Dog 3:37 11 Fever 3:08 12 Polk Salad Annie 3:39 13 Why Me Lord 4:00 14 Suspicious Minds 3:51 15 Introductions 2:37 16 I Can’t Stop Loving You 2:32 17 Help Me 3:11 18 American Trilogy 4:00 19 Let Me Be There 4:15 20 Funny How Time Slips Away 2:32 21 Mystery Train 0:45 (incomplete)
'SOLD OUT' FTD CD Review: This FTD release features two previously unknown reel-to-reel recordings of Elvis on tour in 1974.
March 1974 was Elvis' ninth tour of the USA and was his first tour since July 1973. Freed from the constraints of the Las Vegas Hilton casino crowd, Elvis was in fine form and putting on great shows getting fabulous on-stage feedback from his enthusiastic audiences from the Southern states. Every concert sold out in a few hours and extra concerts had to be added to meet the demand.
Elvis would play 154 concerts in 1974 and Tulsa March 1st would be his first outside the Las Vegas casino crowd, Cleveland June 21st would also be a great performance to an enthusiastic crowd.
Go here as EIN's Piers Beagley along with David Tinson provide an in-depth review of this fabulous new FTD release....
(FTD Reviews, Source;ElvisInformationNetwork)
|'The Hometown Shows' FTD In-depth Review: FTD's new release 'ELVIS: The Hometown Shows' is another double-CD this time focusing on Elvis' Memphis performance from 1974 / 75. It features two legendary shows from the Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis, the March 17, 1974 (Evening show) and June 10, 1975 performance.
The March 17, 1974 ES soundboard is a brand new unreleased show, while June 10 1975 is one of Elvis' best mid-seventies concerts which has been previously out on bootleg. Both are excellent shows and in GREAT sound.
This 1975 concert provided us with the great Ed Bonja cover photo for the 'From EP Boulevard' album so you know Elvis was up for a good time!
Go here as Elvis soundboard super-collector Geoffrey McDonnell & EIN's Piers Beagley check out this new FTD Memphis double-pack and discover both the good and the disappointing facts about this new FTD release
(FTD Reviews, Source;GM/PB/ElvisInformationNetwork)
'48 Hours To Memphis' FTD CD Review: Elvis' Richmond show, March 18 1974 on this FTD features a previously unknown multi-track recording. March 1974 was Elvis' ninth tour of the USA and twenty-five performances in under 3 weeks. Freed from the constraints of the Las Vegas Hilton casino crowd, Elvis was in fine form and putting on great shows getting fabulous on-stage feedback from his enthusiastic audiences from the Southern states. Every concert sold out in a few hours and extra concerts had to be added to meet the demand.
This recording was made 2 days before 'Recorded live on stage in Memphis'. It’s a fabulous discovery with the recording coming from a newly discovered, unmarked tape. The concert also gets a deluxe 7" packaging plus 16-page booklet.
Click here to EIN's in-depth review of this new FTD release..
(FTD Reviews, Source;ElvisInformationNetwork)
'Live In Memphis': In 1974 Elvis focussed on a hard touring schedule and never once went into a recording studio. The 'Live On Stage In Memphis' LP first released in July '74 captured this but was virtually ignored at the time since it followed a little too closely to the #1 album 'Aloha'. Strangely it was one of the few LPs in the seventies not to have a cover picture of Elvis performing Live and the cover photo of Graceland hardly brought on the excitement & fever of an Elvis concert!
EIN takes an in-depth look at one of Elvis' best concerts of 1974, now released with a fabulous new sound mix that puts you right in the center of the Mid-South Coliseum.
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