Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A Dixieland delight?


It must have been a fantastic experience to see Elvis live on tour in the summer of 1975. Not only was Elvis himself often in a great mood and looking well, but the audiences also created atmospheres in the auditoriums that were incredible.

Therefore, I was kind of looking forward to FTD's latest release Dixieland Delight, a 2 CD digipack set featuring two 1975 concert performances from Huntsville, Alabama. More specifically, the May 31 afternoon show and the June 1 evening show.

Elvis gave a total of five shows in three days in Huntsville, in the then newly built Von Braun Civic Center. Four of them were made available on bootleg in 2007 and 2008, and before that, in 2006, twelve songs from these four shows found their way to Southern Nights, released by FTD as a kind of "best of the mid 1975" album.

Yesterday, for the first time, I sat down and listened to the two shows featured on Dixieland Delight. And though I enjoyed them both (especially the second which in my opinion is the stronger one) I have to say it was harder to get in the mood without "Also Sprach Zarathustra," "See See Rider" and "I Got A Woman/Amen" (both concerts are incomplete as they start with "Love Me").

Also, to me the concerts didn't take off fully until after the introductions. After all, "Love Me Tender," "All Shook Up" and "Teddy Bear"/"Don't Be Cruel" ain't that exciting. But a rare version of "For The Good Times" (May 31) surely is, and the same goes for a beautiful rendition of "I'll Remember You" and a rocking "I Can't Stop Loving You" (both from June 1).

Other highlight include both versions of "An American Trilogy" (always receiving great response in the southern states) as well as one of my personal favourites, the haunting "I'm Leavin'" (bonus song from May 31 evening show). And let's not forget the "Trouble"/"T-R-O-U-B-L-E" combination! (May 31)

This 2 CD set even comes with a booklet, with concert photos of a fantastic looking Elvis as well as liner notes written by Bud Glass, who is the guy behind the upcoming multi-media box set also titled Dixieland Delight. A strange thing here is that Bud Glass states that the show "that really stands out among those in attendance, was the third." And that one isn't even included. Strange, indeed.

And while I'm at it, I thing FTD should have picked another picture for the cover, as it's exactly the same as the one used on the bootleg Across The Country Vol. 2 (featuring the Huntsville May 31 Evening Show). There are plenty to choose from in the booklet!

And finally, I would once again like to raise the question why FTD didn't release a box set with all the shows instead, or at least with the four that definitely exist? In that way, the label would've come up with something new, and something more than just the re-release of stuff already having been made available by the bootleggers. Is the simple answer that Ernst Jorgensen isn't allowed to make FTD box sets? One wonders.

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