Here are the main points of his interview.
Sirius Radio DJ, 'Doc Walker' – And on my telephone from Copenhagen it’s Ernst Jorgensen. Hey, how are you doing buddy?
Ernst - I’m doing great, I was just down visiting you last week and got a chance to talk to all the Fan Club presidents and whoever else was around. It was just so nice to meet all these people who were happy to see me feeling well again. Then we went on a research trip and so I had a blast of a time.
Doc - Excellent. I’m sorry because everytime I came into a room they said ‘uh, you just missed him!’ (laughing) So we ended up missing each other the whole w/end!
E.J. - Well first of all I mean the idea of releasing soundboards on Follow That Dream is to fully document the career from 1969 though to 77. So basically covering, where ever possible, every Las Vegas engagement and every major tour. And in some situations 1 CD will suffice on a certain tour or Las Vegas engagement the repertoire remained basically the same and you know that was part of the concept for that particular tour or engagement. But we realised that after putting out ‘Dixieland Rocks’, first of all that it was a very successful CD for us and secondly that on those tours in the Spring of 1975 Elvis’ repertoire was about 40 songs. So whatever we covered on the original ‘Dixieland Rock’ show we felt that there were all these other great little bits and fabulous versions & new songs. So we needed a sequel (here) to fully document what that tour was all about.
Doc - Yes, I mean he does ‘That’s All Right’ on this particular CD & it’s not on ‘Dixieland Rocks’ & there’s 19 different tracks on ‘Southern Nights’ from the concert not on ‘Dixieland Rocks’. And there’s about 25 tracks on each one.
E.J. - I mean its’ cool for me at least to go in and put a CD together where you get versions of ‘Trying To Get To You’ and ‘Big Boss Man’ and some of the cuts that some fans think are cool and not necessarily very Las Vegas type and that to us was important in this context. I’m not sure that we’re going to release another soundboard from those particular spring tours. But one of the observations I made is that when Elvis is feeling really good about himself and having fun, that’s when he changes the repertoire a lot because he’s playful, he wants to do different songs and he’s very motivated. And I think that ‘Southern Nights’ with its actually very nice cover I would say, we shouldn’t pat ourselves on the back it’s certainly Keith Alverson's photo that makes it. And shame on us for somehow dropping his traded line on the package but unfortunately things like that happen.
Doc - That is a great cover, it’s very nice. Well, go ahead and say his name 3 times really quick now (to give him credit).
E.J. - Keith Alverson, Keith Alverson, Keith Alverson! And he’s a great guy and he’s got the most fantastic photos of Elvis from a lot of shows in the 70’s.
Doc - Well everyone’s gonna love this concert because it has versions that we didn’t have on ‘Dixieland Rocks’ like ‘I’m Leaving’. We didn’t have both version of ‘Trouble’, (‘You looking for Trouble’) and ‘T.R.O.U.B.L.E’. And we’ve got a version of ‘Promised Land’ and as you said we’ve got ‘Jambalaya’ and we’ve got ‘Big Boss Man’. There’s a lot of differences and I think everybody is going to love this, it makes a great companion piece with ‘Dixieland Rocks’.
E.J - And you know it is important - and you know sometimes some people will disagree with certain releases we do - but I think we all know today, with no doubt in our hearts, that Elvis was the greatest living performer ever. And you know we can even show when sometimes things are not necessarily as good as they were 4 weeks earlier. What is important to a lot of fans is to have proper documentation for his entire career without having to buy funny tapes through Fan Clubs or bootleg records, that this is official, that this is legit to buy.
Doc - Well I encourage everybody to support the Follow That Dream record label and quit supporting the bootleggers because when you buy those bootlegs the songwriters receives no money. For instance you buy a bootleg with ‘Polk Salad Annie’ Tony Joe White’ receives no money for it, but if you buy ‘Southern Nights’ Tony Joe gets money.
E.J. - That is true. In reality, obviously trying to be a little political about it but at the same time it was obviously from the sub-culture of the bootleggers that we learnt that there was market for this and this was something that we needed to do instead of them. And I think most people have come round to that way of thinking today, and it’s great to see that the Fan Clubs have cleaned shop and are fully supporting Follow That Dream. And you know it’s something that is unique I think only a handful of other artists have collectors labels like we do. Originally Grateful Dead had one and they were probably the first artist that ever presented a collectors label.
We just get so much acclaim for releasing these CDs…. . . (laughing) Obviously we also get a lot of criticism because everybody else wants another show, there’s always that! But I think that’s part of the enjoyment of doing this, is that people have opinions and that we have something to talk about when Elvis is not here with us anymore.
This transcript copyright EIN 2006. Thanks to 'C&W' Rose for his invaluable assistance.
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Go here to read Ernst & Roger Semon's 2002 frank discussion about the FTD label and their releases. An EIN exclusive.
Go here to see Elvissessions marvellous recordings spreadsheet that provides a detailed, sortable, searchable database of officially released Elvis Presley recordings. A fabulously useful database that EIN thoroughly recommends.
Thanks to the FECC website as always.