Ask Ernst

We received hundreds of questions for Mr. Jorgensen and hopefully in time all of them will be answered. However we'd like to point out a few things related to this. Indeed several of the questions aren't really related to BMG/FTD products but moreover related to MGM, EPE or other corporations dealing with Elvis products. Mr.Jorgensen cannot really answered openly something like "Do you consider releasing "Lost Performances" on DVD?", it's not BMG who owns that material but MGM/UA, same remark is valid when asking if FTD would release the "Elvis In Concert '77 Special" on DVD as EPE owns this. One related question was asked and answered because it specified a possible arrangement between FTD and another corporation for making it possible. Keep your questions coming but try to be innovative and even challenging, critical comments are welcome too but remain polite, there's no reasons for non constructive and insulted remarks as seen on our message board from time to time. If you don't agree with something...then let us know, but remember that plain nasty remarks will remain unanswered.
1- Since 1998 we've received a number of CD's with even more "new" tracks like outtakes and never before released stuff like Burbank '68. My question is: I miss a lot of matrix numbers that goes along with them. I have been collecting information about his sessions ever since. So now we have the FTD series there's been a lot of information missing. Oke when you have a list of matrix numbers, which I have then you can guess a few of them. Still there's lots more. So Ernst please reveal the missing ones.
(From Ronald Blom)

+++ Matrix numbers were originally given ONLY for recordings chosen for release. This is not without exceptions - just the main idea. In general RCA do not give matrix numbers anymore, although I still do for RCA releases. However, We/I do not give numbers for soundboard materials. In relation to BURBANK 68, some performances historically used the same matrix number.

2- Whatever happened to the FTD release that was going to have "Faded Love" on it ? And is there any soundboard recordings from 1971 Tahoe or Vegas. I love the FTD releases. I've purchased them all and wait for each one to see the light. Hats off to you and BMG for great job.
(From Scott Teceno,USA)

+++ The show with FADED LOVE will be released, however we don't know exactly when, as we only plan a few months in order to be flexible with RCA's demands. In general we have VERY few soundboards from 69-73, and a lot from 74 -77, although many are still missing from this period as well.

3- I would like to know what the plans are for the Elvis On Tour Boxed Set, the follow up to the TTWII set? Will we get a full concert from 72? Or what should we count on?
(From Cory)

+++ We are waiting to hear from TURNER about their plans, and would ideally want to tie in with their activities, mainly to achieve maximum publicity effect. TURNER are still considering how they want to treat ELVIS-ON TOUR. Eventually we will release something from the movie.

4- Referring to the August 12/70 MS show on the 30th Anniversary 3CD Set issued in 2000. The version of "Polk Salad Annie" from this show was used in the original and special edition edits of the film. As Jerry Scheff's intro pounds away in the film Elvis says, "what you lookin' at!" But it is not heard on the CD release. Was this removed? If so, why? Or, are we mistaken as to what show's performance was used in the film?
(From Anthony Britch,Canada)

+++ Well spotted. RCA's tape of the show was missing the intro to POLK SALAD, due to tape change. We had to get the opening bars from another show. A little bit of cheating, I will agree, but better than releasing it without the intro.

5- According to "A life in music", the master of "Make the world go away"(ZPA4-1620) is a splice of take 3 and work part take 1 of the ending. It's also described in the appendix that alternate take 2 of this song can be found on the album "Welcome to my world". How can it be an alternate take if it has all the overdubs on it?
(From Wolfgang Pesch)

+++ Wow. After running around trying to find a copy of WELCOME TO MY WORLD (haven't played it in years), and starting to a-b versus other takes, two things becomes clear:
1) I was wrong (nothing new)
2) The solving of this creates another mystery.
The version on WELCOME TO MY WORLD is actually a remixed version of the master take (take 3). However the engineer who mixed this forgot that a new ending was recorded (Work Part 1), and replaced the take 3 ending on the original record master. When examining the session take the following turned up:
1) Take 1 - incomplete
2) Take 2 - not on the reel. Only the slate and the words "good James" left. Something was taken out.
3) Take 3 - not on the reel. Only the slate and Felton applauding the take. This is only natural since take 3(the master) and the work part ending is on the reel with all the masters. The sum of this is that we have corrected a mistake here, and created another question. What happened to take 2 of MAKE THE WORLD GO AWAY. That's what I consider a bloody brilliant question. This web-site will be the first to know if we find the solution.

6- Will the FTD label consider doing a CD/book on the cbs 77 concert? it's obvious that the general public probably wouldn't support this release, but I'm definitely speaking for the un silent majority! I know, that the hard core fan base craves this from either EPE or RCA for a legit release. would this be a consideration?
(From Frank Greco)

+++ We work closely together with EPE, and since they have decided NOT to have ELVIS IN CONCERT in the market, we have gone along with that. I agree that FTD could be an option for a release here, but we don't have photos from the two shows, and I don't know if EPE does.

7- Thanks for taking the time with us fans. Here´s a little question of mine, when will BMG produce DVD-Audio or SACD´s with Elvis material? I´m dying to hear his music in HIGH resolution.
PS: Live In Las Vegas was surely a winner, great mix on the February ´70-songs.
(From Pontus, Sweden)

+++ Decisions like this are taken way above my head. It's a question of company policies that are taken at corporate level. The problem here could be that improved technical standards may reveal more flaws and and noise than it may actually improve the sound - remember that Elvis tapes were recorded in accordance with the technical standards of the time, not in the digital domain.

8- Because the FTD-series has been successful up to now, could it be possible for FTD (with Turner/EPE) to release unseen footage of Elvis on DVD/video in the future for us fans?
(From Edwin van den Hof, Holland)

+++ It's possible, but financially it may be very difficult, as working with visuals are much more costly than just working with audio.

9- Is there anything you can say about upcoming The 25th anniversary box set that will be released next summer?
(From Magnus Peterrson)

+++ Nothing is decided yet. RCA is still discussing the strategy for 2002, and the releases to go with this event.

10- Regarding Elvis's movie soundtrack songs. Would you consider, at some point in the future, a release on the collector's label, containing the full versions of some of his movie soundtrack songs such as 'I've got to find my baby', the different arrangement on 'The bullfighter was a Lady' & the slower version of 'King of the whole wide world' etc.. We all know that his movie songs are not considered in any way near his best work , but all the same, there must be enough material even from his better movie soundtracks, to merit an interesting & collectable release. Keep up the good work.
(From Carl, England)

+++ Absolutely. Some stuff will already be released in november on SILVER SCREEN STEREO.

11- First off thanks for all your great work over the years on elvis releases, anyway questions,as were always being told that Elvis' recording sessions were warmed up by singing gospels etc.. or broke down into jams, were some of these taped by the studios even if it was just to get sound levels etc...? It seems to make sense to me and would make a great FTD release.
(From Leigh)

+++ We don't have anything unreleased like that. Whatever we have had, has been released.

12- Will we ever get to hear the full length, stereo master of "Memories" that we hear at the end of the "On Tour" film? So far the only releases of this song on CD are terribly shortened (This Is Elvis, Great Performances), or have nasty overdubbed applause on a mono track (Memories, '68 TV special).
(From Greg,Ohio)

+++ The tape was removed from RCA many years ago. I think I may have found it, but I will not know until a month from now.

13- I have been a Elvis fan for over 25 yrs. Before I ask my question to Ernst, I would like to compliment him on a fantastic job on these FTD labels CD's, I love them all. I have each and every one them. Ernst keep them coming congratulations. Which leads me to my Question. Dear Mr Jorgenson when it comes time to release a new FTD Label, I know every fan wants a different type of release, my question, as delicate matter. How do you decide on what material to release on every new FTD Label. When you have various options ranging from soundboard material to studio outtakes and rehearsal sessions. What initiates or determines your decision on this delicate matter.
(From Robert Farina,Canada)

+++ We try to cover as many different subjects as possible. Sometimes we hold back on a certain release, because we are hopeful that we will be able to find more material. We mix the releases, so that most fans will get what they want within a certain year, although of course that means that some of the releases will have less appeal to some fans.

14- Regarding the infamous 1959 tape destroying saga, is it possible that the only thing that was destroyed were the tape box's, and the expensive tapes were re-used? it may be possible that these tapes were not "wiped" but just recorded over, and perhaps a half used tape may still contain some precious Elvis out takes.(?)Could it be worth while to check all the tapes that were recorded during 1959, perhaps checking the "obscure" artists tapes first, as major recording artists would probably warrant brand new tapes? its just a thought. Sorry the question is so long.
(From Dan Taylor,England)

+++ Brilliant thinking - this of course the story behind the surviving outtakes of the Jan 10-11 and April sessions in 1956. However, in 1959 tape costs were not a big problem. Additionally the tapes were out in Indianapolis where there was no studio, and even worse, I know a man who worked there, who confirms that the tapes were actually destroyed. A very sad story - but not an uncommon one.

15- RCA celebrates his 100th anniversary with a serie of CD's. One is dedicated to Elvis, and another to Ann Margaret. On this last CD, we can find two versions of the duets with Elvis and Ann. The version of "The Lady Loves Me" has the indication "Take 9" (we know that the master take is 10). But, there is no indication for the song " You're the boss", and it is an alternate version. I would like to know what is the take number and why the takes are so clean and sound so good.
(From Germain Tremblay)

+++ I haven't heard the CD. The producer must have gotten back to the session reels, and without permission, just used the outtakes. The reason they sound so good, is that I recently acquired the original 3 track tapes of the two songs, and I'm very annoyed of this abuse. These should have come out on an Elvis CD, and not be used to force collectors into buying an Ann Margret CD they may not want. More information to follow.

16- What, in your opinion, is the reason that so many Elvis fans throughout the world more and more dislike what you are doing with the Elvis legacy? I'm referring to the latest reviews on the FTD and regular BMG releases like the latest "escape"...ah...release "Live in Las Vegas".
(From Markus Kollmann,Germany)

+++ I think Elvis fans have come to expect more and more as the years have passed. Remember how we were all terrible excited when LEGENDARY PERFORMER VOL. 1 came out. A few outtakes - the rest masters -and we were in heaven. I question the term "so many" as at least the FTD releases keep selling in spite of angry letters and sometimes poor reviews. We will definitely close the FTD level if it turns out that people don't like the material, the idea or the way we deal with it. However - just now - it's the opposite picture. In general I believe people who are dissatisfied are quick to write complaints. Happy people just listen to the music and enjoy it. I've studied the criticism and fully understand some of it. However you will find - and definitely on the message board of this website -criticism that is so stupid that it's not even worth responding to.

17- When are they changing the artwork from the FTD releases? I mean to say that the artwork is average concerning the material on the releases. Please do something about the artwork. And I think there are more people who think like least these releases are especially for the fans. So let see that they're for the fans.
(From Geert Hof,Holland)

+++ FTD is locked into the digi pack solution we have used from the start. This was chosen so as to distinguish FTD product from normal RCA releases. We try our best to make varied artwork, but it's hard to please everybody. You are not very specific about what it is that you don't like, but if your criticism has to do with "not enough pages", we have to say that it's both a financial consideration, but also a question of time available.

18- Why are we not open about what RCA has in their vaults.

+++ Many of you may remember that it wasn't always so. However, after we had talked freely about what tapes were missing, we started getting calls from a small group of fans who "knew" where various tapes had gone. We spent a LOT of time discussing with these people, checking the information through endless expensive phone calls and sometimes travel. It never led to anything other than just an enormous waste of time. One fan kept calling me about the lost ELVIS IS BACK outtakes, claiming he knew where they were, but just couldn't tell me now. He kept returning to the subject for more than year. Sometime during that period I actually found these tapes and acquired them for RCA. I didn't tell that particular well informed fan about my find, and he just kept going on about where they were even after we had them in our vault. Some of you may remember stories about SUN tapes, or outtakes of Hound Dog, or Hal Wallis vault finds - what happened? Only one thing - some people created these stories based on a supposed knowledge of what RCA had - and basically tried to fool all of us. The irony multiplies, when you see some of these fans praised for what they do for the Elvis world on your own message board.

19- Why do some mixes sound poor?

+++ First of all. The people who start complaining about the poor mixes on the soundboards have lost the plot entirely. You cannot mix the soundboards as they are either 1 track(mono) or 2 track (stereo). It's true you can remove hiss, but the more hiss you remove the more of the original recording disappears as well. There is no miracle machine here, but if you are good you can definitely improve the material (as on the LIVE IN LAS VEGAS box). However I've been reading stuff where fans have applauded bootlegs that has had so much hiss reduction that they come out totally flat and lifeless - that's poor engineering. A specific example. Why so much hiss on UNTIL IT'S TIME FOR YOU TO GO on 6363 SUNSET. As this was not really a recording session, things weren't done with the same care and skill as normal. The problem here is that all of the hiss is on Elvis' vocal track - basically because his vocal was recorded at a much too low level. If you remove the hiss, Elvis' voice will be totally lifeless. I will admit that if we had had a large budget, we could possibly have improved this more than we already did - however such budgets are not available for FTD. Some fans have stated that we are no good at mixing. I find that quite rude, since none of these individuals have ever heard the original tape, and therefore basically talk without any knowledge on the subject matter. Additionally the quality of Elvis' recordings changed from 1969 and onwards, as the producer didn't have to create the finished music on the spot, but could repair, overdub and change things. For instance, in 1971 in Nashville, Elvis rushed the recording sessions, with the consequence that the engineer had very little time to adjust anything, and often had to make corrections on the individual instruments as the takes kept rolling.

20 - Why are there no extensive notes on the FTD artwork

+++ As stated earlier, economics play a role here. However that's not the only issue. THE FTD label is aimed at serious collectors who we expect to basically have all of Elvis normal RCA CD's. You don't have to own Joe Tunzi's or my Recording Sessions books to have the proper information -you will find that on many RCA releases. Our focus is the music, and we want to only add what you don't know already (mainly take numbers)

21 - Why are FTD's so expensive.

+++ I don't know why people think so. They cost the same as any other new CD - we charge the fan clubs the same as the record companies charges their dealers.

A final note.
Neither Roger Semon nor I run RCA Records or BMG for that matter. We don't decide everything on Elvis, and neither does anybody else. If there are certain releases you don't like - don't buy them. How difficult is that? We try to please everybody - but not at the same time.
We asked Ernst if he wanted to pick out the best question, for this person would get a free FTD CD from us. He replied with the following:
I would like to say that question number 5 is the most important, simply because it provoked me into checking some stuff and eventually spotted a mistake in the tape analysis.

Congratulations Wolfgang Pesch, send us an e-mail!!

On this section of the "For Elvis CD Collectors Only" website you can ask your questions to BMG's Ernst Jorgensen, and all fans will be invited to participate in sending questions you'd like to be asked. We will publish every month the best questions. We'd like to thank Ernst Jorgensen for his kindness and appreciated his cooperativeness with the For Elvis CD Collectors website. We are inviting the fans to send us a question for Ernst Jorgensen.

We will send a free FTD CD each month for the best question. Think about a good question...get to your keyboard and participate for making this new section a success!!!!!