Monday, February 22, 2010

From Gothenburg To London


"I'm so excited I could just ... Oh, I can't wait." That fan comment from the 1977 television special Elvis In Concert came to mind today as I realized it's only five days to go before I'm sitting in the Wembley Arena in London watching Elvis Presley In Concert.

Having read reports from both Elvis Unlimited and ElvisMatters it looks like I'm in for a good time. The opening is different from the one I experienced in 1999 and 2000, featuring the alternate 2001 theme known from Elvis On Tour while on the big screen the audience is transported "Google Earth style" to the arena. Then the real 2001 kicks in as Elvis walks towards the stage and the curtain falls away.

However great this will be, at the same time I can't help feeling a bit envious of those lucky enough to have experienced the real thing. Of course I'm looking forward to see "Elvis live on screen" but I'm not smiling from ear to ear like the lady does in Elvis In Concert while, looking to be in heaven, she exclaims, "I'm so excited I could just ... Oh, I can't wait."

On the other hand, Elvis Presley In Concert is the next best thing. More than 30 years after Elvis passed away I'm going to share an incredible experience with thousands of other fans in that arena in London, listening to Elvis' music at full blast. I guess I'm starting to feel a bit excited, after all.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Elvis Now And Then

Turned out I was wrong. The next release from FTD isn't going to be Promised Land or Jailhouse Rock Vol. 2. Nope, the next one to get the classic album treatment is Elvis Now. I think my brother sums it up well on ElvisNews.com:

Elvis Now looks OK, although I had hoped for a "fake" 1971 album with all 1971 pop songs. (Standing Room Only was a good way to collect all new tracks from 1972, although it was an album that never came out). It's strange that Don't Think Twice is here, but not the "Elvis at the piano" selections from the same "Elvis (Fool)" album. I also miss the duet version of The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, released on the Rough Cut Diamonds bootleg in the mid 80's. And I would have preferred the religious song as bonus songs on a He Touched Me FTD CD ... Anyhow, I will definitely buy it.

I couldn't help smiling when I noticed that the press release called the original album "great" while Ernst Jorgensen in his Recording Sessions book wrote: "Elvis Now must definitely rank as one of the most misleading titles ever to grace an Elvis album cover ... the album overall represented another major step backward."

One thing is for sure, though. Elvis Now would've been a stronger album had it included "I'm Leavin'," "It's Only Love" and "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" and omitted "Hey Jude."

Speaking of "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," I too miss the duet version, and find it hard to believe that the reason for its omission might be a legal one. On the other hand, I suspect the budget FTD has to play with isn't that big, so maybe it's the real answer after all.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Any Day Now

Some periods are certainly slower Elvis wise than others. They are to me, anyway. And right now I'm right in the middle of one of them.

For starters, no exciting news has been announced in about a month, not since Elvis Presley Enterprises told us Elvis On Tour is coming to DVD. FTD promised more information about future releases by the end of January, but not very surprisingly, not a word has been heard from that direction.

More seriously is I'm having problems with my steroe equipment. One moment, the sound is so low I can hardly hear what song is playing. The next, without me touching the volume control, it's so high I'm afraid my ears will be permanently damaged.

But who am I to complain? Last year FTD brought the fans no less than 11 new releases (10 if you don't count the re-release of Rockin' Across Texas without the book). And if you're into bootleggs there was a steady stream of them as well (The Final Homecoming being one of the highlights).

And any day now I'll bet Ernst Jorgerensen will announce that the next classic albums will be Promised Land and Jailhouse Rock Vol. 2. Guess it's time to rush to the store to buy a new stereo.

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Minnesota Moment In A Minute


Last year, FTD's 2 CD set Dixieland Delight was supposed to be released in cooperation with a multi-media box set with the same title by Praytome Publishing & Bud Glass Productions (including 2 books and a DVD). In fact, the box set was announced inside the cover of the CD album, but to this day there has been no trace of it.

I was reminded of this when MRS announced a book called In A Minnesota Minute, to be released on exactly the same date as the upcoming FTD soundboard A Minnesota Moment, on February 15. Not only that, but the book contains photographs from the same concert as the one included on the CD, from October 17, 1976.

Also, the photographs featured in the book are the work of Tim Healy, as is the photo gracing the cover on the CD set. And the layout of the book is very similiar to the one used on the CD set. But neither MRS nor FTD has said anything about this being done "in cooperation" as was the case with Dixieland Delight.

So will this end just like Dixieland Delight, with only the FTD album becoming a reality? That doesn't seem to be the case, as sample images from the book are available. My guess is Ernst Jorgensen somehow got in touch with Tim Healy, offering to buy some photos he could use for the cover of A Minnesota Moment. Maybe Tim Healy then put forward the idea of doing a combo book/CD, like Live In L.A.

When Ernst Jorgensen then told him, for whatever reason, that no plans for future combined FTD books and CD releases exist, Tim Healy looked elsewhere. Somehow he got in contact with the people running MRS, offering them the pictures, the result of that approach being In A Minnesota Minute. Other theories, anyone?