Friday, January 8, 2010
Funky Friday - King Size
I saw him live once. I say live, it was actually Elvis's James Burton era band gigging to festival sized footage of him (in fact it's back this year). But like any soundstage size show (this was Docklands arena), after a few songs the moving dots on stage blend away and it's all eyes on screen. Build in some song introductions, jokes and band intro's from El' himself and we were captured by the Presley spell, forgetting he hadn't, at any point, actually arrived in the building.
It's become overlooked/forgotten/rewritten, but if you grew up during the seventies, Elvis was literally everywhere. Resuscitated and resurrected by the 68 Special he ascended from cultural icon to omnipresent overlord: new hits in the charts, old hits in the parents record cabinet, poster magazines, pocket money priced (50p) tribute albums and films on TV,.
By 1970 The Beatles were a bitter, bearded broken band, and a roots level Rock 'n' roll revival started in the late sixties had set in (inspiring McLaren and Westwood to open their first shop Let It Rock). Elvis was 'now'. In widescreen. With his 2001 intro and space-age stage-wear, he towered like a white giant telegraphing his style and substance to low-level pretenders and high-end contenders: Freddie Starr, Alvin Stardust, Les Gray, The Osmonds, Evel Knievel even Bowie's early glam banging was Elvis influenced.
I was at my aunt's hairdressers in Salisbury, when the news broke that he'd died . It hit me like a blow to the solar plexus. Elvis had seemed untouchable and eternal.
So forget the silly sightings, the tackery and tribute acts, the Burger King with a cheesy film portfolio - the clunkers in the catalogue are easy targets. Instead, remember the essence of Elvis for his 75th Birthday...
One Night of Sin
Not my favourite 50s track, but worth cataloguing for it's original deviant lyrics and rarity value..
Stranger In My Own Home Town
Energised by his 68 comeback the Elvis in Memphis albums are rootsy rock 'n' roll meets Memphis soul - although for my money the 90s remixes beat the original releases
It's Only Love Alternate - Take 9
From The Essential Elvis, Vol. 4 is a selection of undubbed masters from the the early seventies. The 90 second intro eavesdrops on studio banter*, vocal harmony try outs and riff rehearsal before this live take
A King size selection of Elvis treats can be grabbed here..
Watch for the improv vamped up ending at 1:04 Pure magic.
Recommended reading - of course the Guralnick biogs should be ticked off at some point. But well worth tracking down are
Elvis Aaron Presley: Revelations from the Memphis Mafia
Elvis: The Secret Files
*'Jarv' Elvis is referring to in the 'Watch out Jarv, he'll jive you' line is Felton Jarvis, the producer of Elvis sessions