Tuesday, 24 January 2023

Elvis Songs With Spoken Segments

In the 1950s, talking over the music was big, especially on slow songs. 

The question is, what qualifies as a spoken segment in a song? The answer is a good poetry or dramatic reading, or some idle chatter and everyday speech. As the spoken segment is part of the song, shout outs and cheering instructions to the crowd or band do not qualify. 

The goal of the spoken part in a song is to give the singer a chance to take a step back and offer a type of director's commentary on proceedings. 

Quite a few Elvis songs feature spoken segments. Obvious ones are That's When Your Heartaches Begin, Are You Lonesome Tonight and I'm Yours

Let's have a closer look at some more Elvis songs that contain a spoken segment:

1. U.S. MALE

In 1965 Elvis recorded movie songs ONLY. In my opinion his "comeback" already started when he recorded a Grammy Award-winning gospel album the next year. All through 1966-1968 it seems like Elvis experimented different ways to go musically, but no one (especially not the charts) took notice. One of these "comeback" songs was U.S. Male, a talking blues. I bet Elvis was eager to cut his teeth on this one.


On 31 July 1969 Elvis returned to live performances in Vegas. Mama Liked The Roses was recorded earlier the same year at the American Studio in Memphis. According to accounts, Elvis LOVED this song but had laryngitis, so a backing track was laid down and Elvis overdubbed his vocal at a later stage. 


This song was also recorded at the American Studio sessions. One time during the recording they had to stop as the engineer heard a strange buzzing sound on the tape. Turns out it was a car idling outside! It seems Elvis found Only The Strong Survived difficult to sing as he reprimanded himself throughout, but he did not give up and eventually did 29 takes of which the last one was seemingly used.


This song, which Elvis only recorded live on stage, is about the lifestyle of a poor girl and her family. It seems "polk salad" is a tall plant of which the leaves are eaten, after having been cooked several times, and goes well with ham. Elvis introduced this showstopper at his second Vegas season in Jan/Feb 1970. 


Elvis' July 1973 Stax Studio recording session had sound problems. One evening after noticing that his mic was gone, Elvis left and the band laid down four tracks to be later overdubbed at Elvis' home in Palm Springs via RCA mobile truck. Also present at the dubbing session was VOICE, Elvis' new personal backing group. Elvis was excited to get them on record and allocated most of his recording time to their demos. As a result Elvis overdubbed only one of his required backing tracks, in stead recording two VOICE suggested songs of which Are You Sincere was one. Parker was furious and ordered these tracks to be released as is, with no strings and horns overdubs.

Tuesday, 1 November 2022

Who Was Elvis?

Little People, BIG DREAMS is a best-selling series of children's books that explore the lives of outstanding people. All of them achieved incredible things, yet each began life as a child with a dream. In one of the new releases you can now discover Elvis.

This book might be just in time, because it seems as if we have reached a point in time where journalists have to explain to the younger generation who Elvis was. Hopefully they now know!  

The synopsis for Little People, BIG DREAMS: 

Elvis was born into poverty in North Mississippi, a place where opportunities were a rare thing to see. Still, he felt that someday, somehow, something amazing would happen. When he sang in a school talent show, he realized that singing was all he wanted to do with his life. 

He had just finished high school when he plucked up the courage and walked through the doors of Sun Studios, ready to record his first song. After this came hit after hit, and he popularized a new genre of music that mixed all kinds of different styles. That genre was Rock 'n' Roll, and it would take the world by storm!

All the great artists that came after him still look up to little Elvis, the King of Rock 'n' Roll, the unique and irreplaceable artist who changed the course of music history. 

Tuesday, 27 September 2022

From Dick to Roy

Dick Guyton has been the executive director of the Elvis Presley Memorial Foundation that has overseen the Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum in Tupelo for the last 20 years. At 82 he has decided it is time to slow down.  He started working at the Birthplace in 2002 (when the EPFCA started to meet up.)     

The Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau several years ago did a study on people coming into the city and it was estimated that the taxes that Elvis brings in is roundabout R18 million each year in revenue for Tupelo. More than a million guests have visited the Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum since Guy came on board.

The new executive director is Tupelo's Roy Turner, an avid Elvis fan and key to the writing of the excellent book Elvis and Gladys by Elaine Dundy, who dedicated the book to Roy for his exceptional work.  

In an interview Guyton said: 

I have enjoyed every minute of every day. It has been fun and it's been a great ride, a real pleasure to serve the community as well as all the international visitors that we've had. Our board of directors have been looking to continue to improve the place but at the same time to keep it to how the fans want it to be, because that's what we're all about.  

Tuesday, 6 September 2022

The Making of Jailhouse Rock

This FTD CD/Book package is the ultimate background story into how the MGM movie Jailhouse Rock was created.  


- 2 x Hardback coffee style deluxe books about the making of the movie and the music. Inside are lots of newly discovered photos and details about the script, shooting schedule, memos, contracts and session information, and memories from the cast and crew.

- 3 x Compact Discs of the complete recording sessions. For the FIRST time ALL tracks from the original binaural 2-track tapes are mixed into mono, sequenced in recording order.  

Released for the first time are the COMPLETE takes of the instrumental version of Baby I Don't Care, featuring Elvis on bass (after Bill Black failed to lay down the opening riff of the song.) 

This marvellous FTD escape has flown from the shelves of fan club shops but is still available at elvisthemusic.com for R4,313.00 (S&H not included) at the moment. 

Lucas Maree, I could do with a million, too! 

Thursday, 1 September 2022

Elvis on Forbes

Last time Elvis was #7 on the Forbes List of highest paid deceased celebrities to the amount of $30 million.  

Due to Parker having arranged for Elvis' 1954-1972 catalogue to be sold to RCA, Elvis doesn't earn any monies from that.  

In the meantime, Graceland has landed new partnerships. These include the new Elvis Presley Channel which debuted this year, and in the spring Netflix will premiere the animation series, Agent King  

Let's see how things are at the end of 2022.