I must have spent the whole evening playing those two records over and over, and looking at all the small photos from the movie printed inside the gatefold. Some of the songs I recognized, but a lot of them were new to me. Like “That's All Right,” that both me and my brother thought sounded a bit funny back then.
Digging out my copy of the soundtrack today, I couldn't help notice how worn the cover was, and how scratchy the two LP's looked. I must have played them many, many times through the years, although it has been a while now. Therefore I decided to give this faithful old servant yet another spin, and it was nice to get reacquainted with it.
I've always liked the tracks on the album and the order they are placed in. For example, I find the inclusion of “Army Swearing In” (that ends with the words “Private Presley, you'll be in charge of the group”) followed by “G.I. Blues” to be highly effective. Another example of this is the “Excerpt From JCs Award To Elvis” that segues into “Promised Land” (containing Elvis' harmony vocal overdub).
Also, it hit me how much of the material was unreleased at the time of the album's release. Like the four great TV appearances from 1956 and 1957, one of them Elvis' performance of “Hound Dog” from the Milton Berle Show, that caused an uproar in the press the very next day.
When I first heard this soundtrack in 1981, “Blue Suede Shoes” from the 1968 TV Special quickly became a favorite. It took years before I learned that this track was a spliced version from the June 27, 6 PM sit-down show and the June 29, 6 PM stand-up show. At the time I didn't know that “Merry Christmas Baby,” “Too Much Monkey Business,” “I Got A Thing About You Baby” and “Promised Land” were edited as well.
Now, 31 years later, I have a far better grasp of the Elvis Presley catalog. But This Is Elvis was one of those albums that pointed me in the right direction, and it remains special. Hopefully, it will be available on the FTD label someday. Ernst Jorgensen, it would make for a great birthday gift!
- This Is Elvis - Now And Then (posted January 25, 2008)