Book Review: "Elvis Rock 'n' Nassau"

Elvis Rock ‘n’ Nassau’, Russ Howe & Tom Salva, Text by Jim Donohue, JAT Publishing, Canada, 2003, 96 pages, Illustrated, ISBN: 1888464-11-9

Can you remember what you were doing in the summer of ’73? Well, I can tell you what Elvis was doing!

He was cutting them up live on stage, and one of his sell-out concerts was in front of 16,000 screaming fans at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island, New York. And if the new photo-book from Joseph Tunzi Publishing is any guide, the tour was indeed a great one.

The photos are black and white and they are a fitting visual record of The King before his live performance slide.

His striking good looks are well displayed, marred only slightly by some weight gain and a developing double chin.

Surprisingly, most of the quality photographs dominating ‘Elvis Rock ‘n’ Nassau’ were not taken by a professional photographer. They were snapped by a fan, Carole Mason. Ms Mason is to be congratulated for a job well done, and one that a professional photographer would have been proud of. Sure, there are a few blurry shots, but overall it is a great visual archive.

The text is minimalist but nevertheless expressive. In describing the thrill of seeing Elvis live on stage, Jim Donohue adopts metaphorical prose: “Sunshine on the most beautiful day God could plan The picture perfect swing of Mickey Mantle Your first kiss…”

However, above all, the photos are the focal point and they tell the story. A playful smile, a poignant look, Elvis with arms flailing, knees bent, body cocked! The King is ‘in the groove’, enjoying himself, and so are 16,000 ecstatic fans. ‘Elvis Rock ‘n’ Nassau’ also includes reproductions of both reviews of the concert and concert tickets.

JAT Publishing is renowned for releasing quality photo-books. ‘Elvis Rock ‘n’ Nassau’ reinforces that reputation.

Reviewed by Nigel Patterson, EIN, 2004