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 Post subject: The REAL Elvis (a mixtape)
PostPosted: Tue June 24, 2014 11:48 pm 
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A few of you expressed interest in a curated collection of lesser-known Elvis tunes. These are not the big hits (which you’ve undoubtedly heard) but are often far more satisfying to my ears. I find Elvis to be a frustratingly misunderstood and woefully marketed artist, one of the greatest singers of all time.

By all accounts Elvis loved nothing more than to sing and seems to have spent a good portion of his free time doing just that, sitting around a piano, harmonizing and singing for hours. This was pretty much what he did his entire life. The guy just loved to sing. And what a voice! From his first recordings (at age 18) to his last (he died at only 42), what stands out is that voice, which blended an incredibly wide range of influences, including the obvious (rock, R&B, country) and the less obvious (he was a huge opera fan and loved crooners like Dean Martin). A good deal of Elvis’ songs feature backing vocal groups harmonizing, and his live shows always featured one or even two sets of backup singers. He really loved the sound of a bunch of voices singing together.

Elvis also recorded a ton of music, about 800 officially released studio tracks and about 1200 concerts. Add in the alternate takes, unreleased tunes, rehearsals and things like that and you’re talking about a massive collection. A surprising amount of it is excellent, so it’s puzzling to me that the same 20 or so songs are all most people ever get to hear. Many of Elvis’ big hits are great, but there is so much good stuff that rarely sees the light of day. I hope this sampler offers a taste of that.

Elvis’ career can be divided into a number of stages. The first is the legendary (and much lauded) pre-fame material recorded at Sun Records when he was 18-20 years old. Quite simply, this is some of the best rock music ever committed to tape. It was performed live, with two mics (one on the band, one on Elvis’ voice). Every song is a winner. And truly these guys were inventing something new, taking old country songs and playing them at near punk speeds, inventing or pioneering (at least to some degree) a sound that would become early rock n roll. The only famous song from these sessions is “That’s All Right Mama.” I included some of my other favorites. If you like these, get the rest.

The second stage of Elvis’ career is from 1956-1958, when he signed with RCA Records. This is when he recorded the bulk of his most famous songs: Heartbreak Hotel, Love Me Tender, Hound Dog, All Shook Up, etc. You’ve heard a lot of this material, but there are plenty of unheralded gems from this period, too. Elvis was drafted in 1958 and spent two years in the Army, living in Germany. There are lots of home recordings and things like that from this period. He never stopped singing, no matter what.

Stage three is from 1960-1967, when Elvis returned from the Army. His first recordings from this period are awesome, but he got locked into doing a lot of soundtrack work, where he was given a batch of songs to record with no real choice in the matter. There is a surprising amount of good material from those movies and some real stinkers. I included a couple of standouts. No matter how bad the song, Elvis always tried to make it work. Even the worst of them usually have some redeeming qualities.

In 1968, Elvis basically took back his career and insisted on 1) getting better songs to record and 2) stopping with the shitty movies and going back to live performing. This marked a new stage in his career. The famed “68 Comeback” was allegedly the catalyst for this. The “unplugged” set from that comeback (it was a TV show) is phenomenal. I included a couple of songs from it here (“Tiger Man,” “Trying to Get to You,’ where Elvis sings his f-ing ass off).



The recordings he did immediately following the special yielded his best material since the Sun days. Backed by a crack band and loaded with great tunes, Elvis killed it. The best known material from these sessions are songs like “Suspicious Minds,” “In the Ghetto” and “Don’t Cry Daddy.” But there are so many great tunes from these sessions that are never heard, a profound oversight. I included a bunch of them here.

The final stage of Elvis’ career were the years from 1969-1977, when he spent a lot of time performing live, both in Vegas and on tour. In part, he needed the money. As I explained earlier, this was a period with some extreme highs and lows. His divorce was really the beginning of the end. While his concerts were loaded with lots of big hits from the 1950s, he had little interest in this material. In the studio, he often selected maudlin ballads that showcased his voice. Nearly all of this material is forgotten, which is a travesty because he never sang better than he did during this time. The second half of this collection features material from this final stage. You probably won’t tap your feet and snap your fingers to much of it, but if you’re interested in hearing a man sing from the depths of his soul, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better example. Reflective of the era, some of the songs are awash in strings and other heavy production touches, but that voice always shines through.

This is really just scratching the surface. There is so much great material in Elvis’ catalog. If you like what you hear, I suggest digging deeper. There’s plenty of gold worth mining in there. Happy listening.

FLAC https://mega.co.nz/#F!8ct0xCBB!IKzqkHpjCz5zqJzTTrYimw

320 mp3 https://mega.co.nz/#F!pVVw0ajQ!A7oNoUAW85UXt3oBBnYSEA

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Last edited by PryTo on Wed June 25, 2014 3:33 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The REAL Elvis (a mixtape)
PostPosted: Tue June 24, 2014 11:58 pm 
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Wow. Thanks! I'm looking forward to it.

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 Post subject: Re: The REAL Elvis (a mixtape)
PostPosted: Wed June 25, 2014 12:06 am 
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Do The Clam 4 Life


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 Post subject: Re: The REAL Elvis (a mixtape)
PostPosted: Wed June 25, 2014 2:23 am 
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Awesome - downloading now. Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: The REAL Elvis (a mixtape)
PostPosted: Wed June 25, 2014 2:37 am 
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PryTo has become one of my very favorite posters on RM over the past month or so.

Can't wait to play this.

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 Post subject: Re: The REAL Elvis (a mixtape)
PostPosted: Wed June 25, 2014 3:34 am 
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Aw, thanks. Hope you guys enjoy it!

Lament, I still owe you a Joe Strummer story. Tis forthcoming.


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 Post subject: Re: The REAL Elvis (a mixtape)
PostPosted: Wed June 25, 2014 3:04 pm 
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That's a good list, sir. Milk Cow Blues Boogie, Wearin' That Loved On Look.

Even now, a person can listen back to Blue Moon of Kentucky and just hear that moment about 20 seconds into the song when American music begins taking its first serious baby steps towards being the biggest and most important part of a huge populist youth culture. The whole song just starts out as a jittery, bouncing take on a then-familiar adult standard...but not really feeling all that different from what people like Hank Snow or Red Foley were doing with similar pieces...

...and then, quite suddenly, it's like watching a plane just take right the fuck off.

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 Post subject: Re: The REAL Elvis (a mixtape)
PostPosted: Wed June 25, 2014 6:10 pm 
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Maybe I shouldn't admit this, but I'm a big fan of Elvis' music from his movies.

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 Post subject: Re: The REAL Elvis (a mixtape)
PostPosted: Wed June 25, 2014 9:00 pm 
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Anyone else feel weird when McP doesn't shit all over something? Its as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.


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 Post subject: Re: The REAL Elvis (a mixtape)
PostPosted: Wed June 25, 2014 9:09 pm 
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I thought we lost McP in a troll hunting accident. I assumed all of the posts since then have been from his kids.

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 Post subject: Re: The REAL Elvis (a mixtape)
PostPosted: Wed June 25, 2014 11:51 pm 
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Great mix, had it blasting at work yesterday and those fuckers are gonna cop another run through today. "Walk a Mile in My Shoes" is stellar (as is much of it tbh).

Thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: The REAL Elvis (a mixtape)
PostPosted: Thu June 26, 2014 1:28 am 
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Thanks, man. Glad you're enjoying the tunes. Play on!


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 Post subject: Re: The REAL Elvis (a mixtape)
PostPosted: Thu June 26, 2014 2:53 am 
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Thanks PryTo. :nice:

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 Post subject: Re: The REAL Elvis (a mixtape)
PostPosted: Thu June 26, 2014 5:09 am 
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Awesome man. Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: The REAL Elvis (a mixtape)
PostPosted: Thu June 26, 2014 2:57 pm 
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McParadigm wrote:
Even now, a person can listen back to Blue Moon of Kentucky and just hear that moment about 20 seconds into the song when American music begins taking its first serious baby steps towards being the biggest and most important part of a huge populist youth culture. The whole song just starts out as a jittery, bouncing take on a then-familiar adult standard...but not really feeling all that different from what people like Hank Snow or Red Foley were doing with similar pieces...

...and then, quite suddenly, it's like watching a plane just take right the fuck off.


Well stated, as always. The Sun sessions would likely be my desert island pick if I could only choose one. I was a big Beatles fan when I was a kid, and through reading about them kept hearing about Elvis. So one day I bought a random Elvis 8 track (!), which was probably titled "the best of" or "golden hits" or something. Turned out to be the Sun sessions, but I didn't know any of the history. I loved it and played it to death, assuming these were his biggest and best known songs. They became cemented in my brain. Later, of course, I discovered the rest of the catalog (although I still find the occasional surprise track here and there). But those Sun tracks remain a huge part of my musical vocabulary, my understanding of what rock music is and should be: raw, energetic, youthful, optimistic, innovative, live, and free of overdubs. To some degree, it is the standard by which I judge all rock music, whether that's fair or not.

Two random facts: Keith Richards has said something along the lines of "Baby Let's Play House" is the greatest guitar track of all time. John Lennon copped a line from the same song in writing "Run For Your Life."



You barely even notice it because these guys play so rhythmically, but there NO DRUMS on the early Sun sessions!


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 Post subject: Re: The REAL Elvis (a mixtape)
PostPosted: Thu June 26, 2014 3:44 pm 
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I've got to go write a book review this afternoon. I may put this on as background music.

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 Post subject: Re: The REAL Elvis (a mixtape)
PostPosted: Thu June 26, 2014 3:57 pm 
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will I get in trouble for admitting that the first time I ever heard Little Sister was when Pearl Jam covered it (great cover, though)?

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 Post subject: Re: The REAL Elvis (a mixtape)
PostPosted: Thu June 26, 2014 4:00 pm 
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how is tomorrow night elvis? I'd be guessing a long long time before I attached that to him

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 Post subject: Re: The REAL Elvis (a mixtape)
PostPosted: Thu June 26, 2014 11:05 pm 
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stip wrote:
will I get in trouble for admitting that the first time I ever heard Little Sister was when Pearl Jam covered it (great cover, though)?


yes! thats a great song (wasnt that one of his songs that got stuck at #2 on the charts behind something really lame? he had a few of those, something got stuck behind a Chipmunks Christmas song, Burning Love got stuck behind CHuck Berrys My Ding-a-Ling (which just as oddly is Chucks only number 1)

I got a 4 disc "Best of Elvis live 69-77" mix that I put together awhile ago I'd be willing to share on here if people are interested but it might be awhile before I have time to rip it to the pc / up it somewhere.


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 Post subject: Re: The REAL Elvis (a mixtape)
PostPosted: Sun November 04, 2018 11:02 pm 
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I have to check this out. Very interesting. Thank you.


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