"Elvis Presley is the greatest cultural force in the 20th century."

(Leonard Bernstein)


"If you're an Elvis fan, no explanation is necessary; If you're not an Elvis fan, no explanation is possible."

(George Klein)


"For a dead man, Elvis Presley is awfully noisy."

(Professor Gilbert B. Rodman)


"History has him as this good old country boy, Elvis is about as country as Bono!"

(Jerry Schilling)


"Absolute id crashed into absolute superego...as the uptightset man in America shook hands with just about the loosest."

(Mark Feeney on the 'Elvis meets Nixon' meeting)


"Elvis is everywhere"

(Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper)


"...especially in the South, they talk about Elvis and Jesus in the same breath"

(Michael Ventura, LA Weekly)


"The image is one thing and the human being is another...it's very hard to live up to an image"


(Elvis Presley, Madison Square Garden press conference, 1972)


Ernst Jorgensen talks about the FTD 'Southern Nights'

from Sirius Radio, January 20th 2006

Ernst Jorgensen, the respected keeper of Elvis’ musical legacy, was again interviewed by Doc Walker on Sirius Elvis Radio last weekend.

Ernst answered questions about the great new FTD release 'Southern Nights' and also made some interesting comments about Bootleggers & also the FTD label.

EIN would like to thank ElvisSessions website master for posting the interview.

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!
But now we’re here on the phone I’d want to talk to you about ‘Southern Nights’, a 1975 collection of soundboard recording. What made you choose this particular period of Elvis & these particular versions of these songs?

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.

And they don’t come in any particular order really, it’s a question of availability on tape and (laughing) certainly some kind of pressure from the fans on what they like to do. I’ve always been a little tickled to put out that short somewhat goofy, but still very charming, version of ‘Jambalaya’ that he did on that tour. Because you know he basically didn’t sing ‘Jambalaya’, and I don’t think he rehearsed it, but since he was in Louisiana he sang it. And there were other songs from that tour that weren’t covered on ‘Dixieland Rocks’. Please don’t ask me exactly which ones but there is like 15 songs on ‘Southern Nights’ which are not on Dixieland rocks! But it just shows you how many songs Elvis & the band knew and were able to swing into whenever they wanted.


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.

Click here for EIN's in-depth review of 'Southern Nights'

Note -
EIN would like to thank ElvisSessions for posting the interview.

Click here to Sirius Elvis Radio

Go here for Doc Walker's interview with Ernst about the 'Easter Special' FTD

Go here for Doc Walker's interview with Ernst about the 'Summer Festival' FTD

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.

Click to comment on this interview


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