"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)






The Continuing Story of Memory Records

Memory Records is the official outlet of the Czech Elvis Fan Club. When created in 1999 they began a superlative job of gathering together some of Elvis’ best bootlegged recordings into a commendable semblance of order.

Their earlier studio CDs such as ‘Soldier Boy Is Back’ (soon to be replicated with FTD’s ‘Elvis Is Back’ special edition!) and ‘Something For Everybody/Pot Luck – Best of the alternates’ were important releases and also legal within the Czech legislation. Unfortunately their laws changed in 2001 and since then they have been focussing on audience recordings instead.

The accompanying booklet explains their history and also mentions all their releases so far, which is an astounding number! Now there is no doubt that some audience recordings are essential listening, ie. FTD’s New Year’s Eve 1976 or Elvis’ Final Concert. These, and others, are very important since they add to our knowledge of Elvis’ legacy and capture a special moment of his life.

But in general, audience recordings are often redundant since we have better versions of the very same songs professionally recorded or at least direct from soundboards.

The Continuing Story of Memory Records is a packed 78 minutes which features the best 27 tracks compiled from their live releases over the last 5 years, plus 2 new Bonus Tracks. While I love listening to, and exploring, any "new" Elvis concert searching for that special piece of history or Elvis magic, a compile of audience recordings somehow seems to defeat this purpose.

These tracks are obviously the ‘best’ of their releases but listening to an audience recording of ‘Steamroller Blues’ or ‘In The Ghetto’ seems totally superfluous since we have far superior versions recorded professionally and from the same season. Without the songs being placed in the true context of the complete concert they also add little to our understanding of Elvis.

There is also the real irritation of fans talking or coughing nearby that can spoil an otherwise fascinating moment. Having said this there is no doubt that the Czech team do have a great reputation for improving the audio quality to the best available and luckily four of the tracks do come from actual soundboards.

There are some delights like hearing a 1973 ‘I’m Leaving’ but this is then followed by what seems a complete waste with ‘T.R.O.U.B L.E’ in poor audio quality from 1975 which we already have multiple times over. Hearing first live versions of ‘Let Me Be There’ & ‘Help Me’ is appealing but then you must wonder why a run-of-the-mill September 1972 ‘A Big Hunk O’ Love’ is worth including.

Notable tracks are the very brief ‘Turn Around Look At Me’ (15 seconds!) and an improved version of excellent ‘Sweet Inspiration’ from Vegas August 1970. ‘It’s Now Or Never’ from their recent December 1976 Vegas release of the same name is also an excellent version that only makes you wish it had been professionally recorded.

The 2 new bonus tracks are ‘Faded Love’ from Las Vegas 1973 but quality-wise this isn’t a patch on the soundboard version from the 1973 FTD ‘Takin’ Tahoe Live.’

Saving the best for last, the July 1975 ‘Pieces Of My Life’ is a definite improvement on the previously available bootleg versions & this time without the tape stretch. This was Elvis’ only live performance of his final studio recording, a moving song that so reflected on his life at the time. You only hope that the Asheville audience understood the sincerity & appreciated the importance of the lyrics.

Verdict – There is no doubt that Czech Memory Records have been providing Elvis fans with some brilliant releases over the past 5 years and certainly help stimulate a rather moribund import market. However while there are a few interesting tracks featured on this CD (which only whet one’s appetite for more genuine FTD soundboard releases) this compilation is definitely focussed at true fans of audience recordings.

If you are a fan check out the Czech website for details http://www.geocities.com/elviscz/start.html


1. C. C. Rider (Vegas 05.02.1970 D/S)

2. In The Ghetto (Vegas 05.02.1970 D/S)

3. Long Tall Sally (Vegas 03.02.1970 D/S)

4. Kentucky Rain (Vegas 03.02.1970 D/S)

5. What Now My Love (Vegas 26.08.1973 M/S)

6. Let Me Be There (Vegas 26.01.1974 O/S)

7. Help Me (Vegas 26.01.1974 O/S)

8. Steamroller Blues (Vegas 10.2.1973 M/S)

9. A Big Hunk O' Love (Vegas 03.09.1972 M/S)

10. Turn Around, Look At Me / Tryin' To Get To You (Milwaukee 28.06.1974)

11. Big Boss Man (Milwaukee 28.06.1974)

12. And I Love You So (Vegas 27.03.1975 M/S)

13. Fairytale (Vegas 27.03.1975 M/S)

14. If You Love Me Let Me Know (Lake Tahoe 30.04.1976 M/S)

15. Love Letters (Charleston 24.07.1976 E/S)

16. Hurt (Charleston 24.07.1976 E/S)

17. America The Beautiful (Portland 26.11.1976)

18. I've Lost You (Vegas 20.08.1970 D/S)

19. Memphis Tennessee / One Night (Vegas 20.08.1970 D/S)

20. Sweet Inspiration (Vegas 20.08.1970 M/S)

21. More / Bridge Over Troubled Water (Vegas 20.08.1970 M/S)

22. Sweet Caroline (Portland 11.11.1970)

23. Blueberry Hill / How Great Thou Art (Portland 11.11.1970)

24. Little Sister / Get Back (Portland 27.04.1973)

25. I'm Leavin' (Portland 27.04.1973)

26. T.R.O.U.B.L.E. (Vegas 18.08.1975 O/S)

27. It's Now Or Never (Vegas 03.12.1976 D/S)

Bonus tracks:

28. Faded Love (Vegas 07.08.1973 M/S)

29. Pieces Of My Life (Asheville 24.07.1975 - for the first time at the correct speed)

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