Saturday, September 6, 2008

The 1961 Memphis charity shows

They say you learn something new every day. Well, I certainly do when I read the excellent Elvis magazine The Man And His Music, and the latest issue is no exception.

Not only do I get to know what fans thought of Elvis' evening performance in Philadelphia on June 23, 1974, after just having witnessed it. I also become acquainted with multi-instrumentalist Charlie McCoy and receive a thorough round-up on what's new on the CD front.

But, best of all, I'm told a lot about the two 1961 Memphis charity shows Elvis gave on February 25 that year. Not much have been documented about these shows, but The Man And His Music gives me 13 pages worth of interviews, pictures, newspapers reviews and repertoire.

It's an interesting read, especially the interviews with electric bass player Brad Suggs and Bob Alexius on double bass, both of whom replaced Bill Black. Turned out there wasn't much of a rehearsal, but that didn't worry them too much as the material was "pretty simple stuff".

It's a little bit funny that they don't remember being on stage together, I guess it was just another gig for them back then. But as Bob Alexius puts it, "I look back at those shows with regret because I didn't understand what I was part of at the time. I wish I'd paid more attention to it... I wish I had realized that it really was a piece of musical history".

With regards to the repertoire, I wasn't aware that Elvis performed "Doin' The Best I Can" from his film G.I. Blues. But that's what I like about The Man And His Music. You always learn something new.

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