Friday, March 16, 2012

1972 - Elvis As Recorded At Madison Square Garden. Plus: An Afternoon in The Garden and other rarities.


Everybody gets enough of what they want to get what they need. By Bob Palmer, ROLLING STONE MAG, AUGUST 31 1972

This is a damn fine record, friend, and you're going to like it whether you like it or not. There's Wagnerian bombast, plenty of your favorite songs, some jukebox music and some Las Vegas lounge music. There's even some old fashioned rock 'n' roll. And most of all there's lots of Elvis, doing what he does best, strutting his stuff before adoring fans. There's even historical interest; this was Elvis' first New York stage appearance, and you can bet plenty of folks had been waiting since 1956 for a little of that Elvis magic. Well, they got it, and you can hear them getting it right here, the whole thing, from the opening whisper of "Also Sprach Zarathustra" to the MC announcing that "Elvis has left the building. Thank you and good night." When Elvis became a rock 'n' roll singer he was picking up on a good thing, namely black blues. White Southerners had been recording black blues since the Twenties, but Elvis was the first one to become a star. He had the looks, the dynamism, the appeal of violent, impulsively sexual white trash. He could sing and he had that rhythmic drive. Even when he was starring in some of the worst exploitation movies ever made you knew he was just one step away from stepping out of his jive role and rocking the joint. Since he's started performing in public again he's discovered that his fans range in age from pre-teen to menopausal, and he's done his best to satisfy them all. Madison Square Garden, though, is his rockingest record in a long time, so Elvis fans who like it when he gets down are really going to dic it. Every great rock and roll singer needs a great rock and roll band, and Elvis has got one. James Burton, the guitarist, can pick Sun era rockabilly, country twang, laid-back bluesy fills and sharp, ringing single string leads. Bassist Jerry Schiff and drummer Ronny Tutt are super tight; when they nail down the beat, it stays nailed down. Pianist Glen Hardman knows when to honk and when to tonk. The backup singers are the Sweet Inspirations and J.D. Summer and the Stamps, the one a black gospel group, the other white gospel. Church music of the sanctified, shouting kind has never been far removed from blues and rock & roll, so these two groups are perfect complements to Elvis' gospel-tinged voice. Kathy Westmoraland of the Inspirations sings graceful obbligatos way up high, and Mr. J.D. Sumner is the most authorative bass singer you could imagine, especially when he ends a song with one of his long, perfectly timed slides down from the dominant to the tonic. Of course there's also a flaccid orchestra sawing away in the background, but it's used like the krchestras on some of the classic Phil Spector records, to reverberate around the core of band and singers and occasionally come out with a sweet lead line. Elvis and the band were in excellent form for their Saturday night Madison Square Garden concert. The record spares you the lukewarm opening set by the Sweet Inspirations and the public crucifixion of a sacrificial comic, not to mention the cries of the vendors hawking Elvis souvenir booklets and balloons. As it begins, the orchestra strikes up Zarathustra, which somehow seems more appropriate for Elvis than for Grand Funk, and the King himself comes bounding out, straps on a  guitar, and roars into one of his early Sun hits, Big Boy Crudup's "That's All Right." Elvis doesn't even sound like he's tired of the song, and the band is giving him a lot of push. His voice has deepened and mellowed, but he can give it that old stridency when he wants to, and he matches the band with some pushing of his own, laying right into the beat and building up an overpowering momentum that is over all too soon. James Burton out-Creedences Fogerty on "Proud Mary" and then the band rocks on "Never Been to Spain," with a sinuous vocal from Elvis and soaring treble-string fills from Burton. Not even a string-heavy arrangement can make "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" into a complete anticlimax, and orchestra and band get together to make "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" a memorable cut. "Polk Salad Annie" roars, and Jerry Scheff has a rumbling bass solo that consists of a few notes, perfectly placed, that build up some head of steam. The record keeps on mixing up old favorites like "Teddy Bear" and "Don't Be Cruel" with more recent things like "Suspicious Minds." The latter has a thrashing, Cecil B. DeMille finale highlighted by Tutt's thundering drums. "I Can't Stop Loving You" is a surprise. Here it's a medium rocker with weeping guitar, more kicks from Tutt, and a powerful vocal that manages to find things to do with the song that even Hank Williams and Ray Charles didn't get to. "Hound Dog" includes some humor, Elvis starts it several times and lets it drop. "Now you don't know what I'm going to do yet," he tells the audience. When the tune gets started, it's a funky semi-boogaloo with wah-wah guitar and a deftly rhythmic vocal from Elvis that tenses the releases like a tightly coiled spring. Then the whole band falls right into the rocking tempo of the original, without missing a lick. Even Mickey Newbury's pretentious "American Trilogy" -- which is really just "Dixie," "Battle Hymn of the Republic," and "All My Trials" strung together -- is fun, with Elvis laying some funky inflections on the grandiose orchestral and choral parts. "Can't Help Falling in Love," "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me," and "The Impossible Dream" are pretty Lake Tahoe, but still, you've got to admire Elvis' singing. He brings a touch of home-style raunch to even these saccharine evergreens. So all things considered, just like I said before, this is a damn fine record. Elvis may not generate the polymorphously perverse hysteria the Rolling Stones arouse, he may not move around and jump into the air and wiggle his hips as much as he used to, but he's come through superstardom without forgetting what it means to rock, that's the important thing. So everybody gets enough of what they want to get what they need. - Bob Palmer, Rolling Stone, 8/31/72.


Click: Elvis: Like A Prince From Another Planet. By Collin Escot
"[Elvis] was a major hero of mine. And I was probably stupid enough to believe that having the same birthday as him actually meant something. I came over for a long weekend. I remember coming straight from the airport and walking into Madison Square Garden very late. I was wearing all my clobber from the Ziggy period and had great seats near the front. The whole place just turned to look at me and I felt like a right idiot. I had brilliant red hair, some huge padded space suit and those red boots with big black soles. I wished I'd gone for something quiet, because I must have registered with him. He was well into his set."
David Bowie


"One day I walked into my office on 49th and Broadway. I went up to the 11th floor and my secretary says, "Hey Jer, you got a note that's probably worth a million dollars if you sell it at Sotheby's." I said, "What's that?" She said, "It's a note from E.P." I said, "You're kidding? What does it say?" It said, "Dear Jer, I'm leaving four tickets for tomorrow night's show at the (Madison Square) Garden and I want you to see my show." One of the reasons I never saw my acts in person over all those years was that I was claustrophobic and I couldn't take the crowds. But I went and took my family. "I'm gonna grit my teeth," I thought, "I'm gonna grin and bear it and go to the show. It's Elvis!" I loved the guy and hadn't seen him in a coon's age. We went to Madison Square Garden and we were in this select elegant box seat with a great view of the great E.P. We sat there and watched the show and he looked magnificent to me. He was great and I enjoyed every minute of it. One, it was Elvis Presley. Two, he sang a couple of our songs. Three, I'd NEVER been to a live concert of ANYONE I've ever produced or wrote for. It was incredible. It was like going to see Joe Louis knock out Max Schmeling."
Jerry Leiber 



"...he almost demanded that we kick him in the butt. The music was so intense. It was a kind of punk lounge music. I was playing very busy parts and to this day, I can't listen to any of the albums we did, because everything is so intense feeling. For an example, listen to Elvis Live At Madison Square Garden. My only excuse is, I don't think anyone else was playing bass that way at the time."
Jerry Scheff




Elvis receives the Gold Record for As Recorded At Madison Square Garden album, Aug 1972 
Elvis: As Recorded at Madison Square Garden is a live album recorded by Elvis Presley and released in June 1972 by RCA Records peaking on the charts in July 1972. Recorded at the Madison Square Garden arena in New York City on a Saturday night, June 10, 1972, the concert, and the subsequent album, were promoted as being Presley's first live concerts in the Big Apple since the 1950s. The record was released only a week after the concert itself took place, and reached #11 in the U.S. and #3 in the U.K. early next month. By August 4, 1972 it was certified Gold, 3x Platinum to date. The  afternoon performance was also recorded, but except for a performance of "I Can't Stop Loving You" which appeared in the 1977 compilation: Welcome to My World, it remained unreleased until the 1990s when it was issued as An Afternoon in the Garden. Over the four shows performed by Elvis at the Garden, many celebrities attended ,including George Harrison -who meet Elvis backstage-, John Lennnon -who soon would be playing his own gigs at the Garden in August, paying tribute to Elvis by including Hound Dog in his set list-, also in the audience where Art Garfunkel, Paul Simon, David Bowie -who crossed the Atlantic just to attend Elvis' concerts in N.Y.-, the entire band Ten Years After, the great Jerry Leiber, and Bob Dylan -who have already seen Elvis in Vegas back in '70 and wrote a song about it-. Bruce Springsteen also attended one of the four shows, having signed his first record contract with Columbia Records earlier that week.


So here it is, our new entry in this blog, the long out of print classic Elvis L.P. "As Recorded At Madison Square Garden" southern rock by a funky 70's Elvis and a tight TCB Band behind the man, delivered to an electrified New York audience. As a bonus treat -you know we like it that way- also here it is the An Afternoon in the Garden concert, recorded earlier that day, some current singles of the era, original radio promos and broadcasts from the event, and a fantastic sounding rehearsal from earlier that year, just Elvis and the TCB Band, playing red hot nasty Rock and Roll that will hush anyone who dares to say he King couldn't rock in his latter days.  






Elvis: As Recorded At Madison Square Garden
Original 1972 L.P.

CD1
Also Sprach Zarathustra
That's All Right
Proud Mary
Never Been To Spain
You Don't Have To Say You Love Me
You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling
Polk Salad Annie
Love Me
All Shook Up
Heartbreak Hotel
(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel
Love Me Tender
The Imposible Dream
Introductions by Elvis
Hound Dog
Suspicious Minds
For The Good Times
American Trilogy
Funny How Times Slips Away
I Can't Stop Loving You
Can't Help Falling In Love
Closing Vamp

Bonus:
Original Radio Concert Promo
We Can Make The Morning [Early '72 Single]
Original Radio Newscast: Elvis answers the N.Y. Press
Proud Mary [Rehearsal]
Never Been To Spain [Rehearsal]
Burning Love [Rehearsal]
Funny How Times Slips Away [Rehearsal]
For The Good Times [Rehearsal]


CD2
Elvis: An Afternoon In The Garden

Also Sparch Zarathustra
That's All Right
Proud Mary
Never Been To Spain
Until It's Time For You To Go
You've Lost That Loving Feelin'
Polk Salad Annie
Love Me
All Shook Up
Hearbreak Hotel
(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel
Love Me Tender
Blue Suede Shoes
Reconsider Baby
Hound Dog
I'll Remember You
Suspicious Minds
Introductions By Elvis
For The Good Times
An American Trilogy
Funny How Times Slips Away
I Can't Stop Loving You
Can't Help Falling In Love

Bonus:
Press Conference N.Y. 1972
Until Its Time For You To Go [Early '72 Single]
An Americna Trilogy [Single Version]
Burning Love [Mid '72 Single]
Reconsider Baby [Alternate Rare Mix from the Afternoon Show]










2 comments:

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M said...

CD 2 is actually missing track #5 "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me". It is on both CDs. The version from Disc 2 is 2:06 whereas the version from Disc 1 is 2:02. Otherwise, this is an awesome collection. Thanks for posting!