Ask Ernst Part 3

1- How come you release Tucson ´76 when you have material from June 21st 1977, which is as good as Tucson, but with the exception that the sound is so much better? I think that concert deserves to be put out as a FTD album, without the annoying editing and the overdubs. I know it's not one of Elvis's best concerts ;.) (though it's better than some people say), but Tucson certainly isn't either.
(From Marten Melin)

+++ Tucson was released to show how Elvis was doing in the summer 76. At some stage we will look at the IN CONCERT material.

Also, will a real unedited version of Don't Think Twice, It's All Right ever see the light of day?

+++ Possibly, but it doesn't get better because it's longer

And finally, why wasn't Early Morning Rain on the 70's box set, nor on the Great Country Songs album? Is it you Ernst that doesn't like this Presley classic? Just curious...

+++ No I think it's very nice, and a live(unfortunately not complete) version is on the next FTD release. It's not really a country song, is it?? I think of it as "folk".

2-We've heard rumors that BMG have purchased upwards of 70 tapes for the upcoming anniversary in 2002. Is this true and if so can you give us an idea of what to expect on the anniversary set?
(From Peter)

+++ We have purchased even more than that in the past 10 years. Some will be used on the anniversary package, but we have already used quite a lot on other releases.

3- What is the likelihood that fans will ever hear a 1957 Elvis Presley concert? Can you substantiate or dismiss some of the rumors going around about the "rarities" box set supposedly being planned for mid-2002? There are claims of unissued 1950s outtakes or live performances, 1967/68 home demos and more.
(From Johnny in California)

+++ The rumor mill work overtime. Sometimes I wonder who starts all these false stories.

4 - Why wasn't the Feb 16th, '70 version of Suspicious Minds used on On Stage (the version I'm referring to was "released" on the LP bootleg box-set "Behind Closed Doors")? MANY fans consider this version the best version EVER of this song (myself included) and I was very disappointed not to see this version show up on On Stage or Live In Las Vegas. Is the version from Feb 16th lost? Perhaps you are saving it for the 25th anniversary box set (I sure hope so!)? Oh yeah, I was also wondering if the Aug 13th, '70 Dinner show will be released sometime? From the tracks I've heard, that sounded like a great show...
(From Chad Reid,USA)

+++ Both are possible, although I think we have had enough August 70 for the time being!

5- In case THAT'S THE WAY IT IS SPECIAL EDITION doesn't make enough of a profit to ensure a re-edit and cd release of ELVIS ON TOUR, is there much of a chance that the recorded material from the concerts and rehearsals of ON TOUR will be released on the FTD Collector's label?
(From Rob Collett)

+++ Absolutely.

6- After the success of The Beatles using a home recording of John Lennon's and constructing a "new recording", I was wondering why RCA did not taken this step when releasing Twelfth of Never a few years back or indeed on a number of other home recordings/incomplete tracks specifically, where you could have marketed this material more commercially. Is it a question of pleasing the purists or financial restrictions?
(From Andrew Rollason)

+++ I don't think it's about purists, but both RCA and EPE are very cautious not to tamper with Elvis' musical heritage. Maybe One day!

7-- On the 60's boxset and all subsequent releases, the ending of the song "You don't know me" (September 1967 version) sounds different than it did on the original record. The bells are now very (too) loud and followed by quickly faded vibes which seem to play a full 4-note phrase (C - E - A - G).
On the original version, the bells are less prominent on the ending and the vibes play only two notes (C + long E with full natural resonance). Was the original ending spliced from a later take (or some workpart) ?
(From Jean-Marc,Switzerland)

+++ I'm sorry that I don't have time to check this. We used the 3 track master for the 60's boxset and that's not spliced at all. I will look into this when I get a minute.

8- Despite the recent excellent BMG and FTD releases containing live recordings, 1971 remains as the only year of the 1969-1977 period of Elvis' life and career not represented by a BMG/FTD concert release. While I'm sure there are many variables that need to be considered when deciding on a new release, I'm wondering how highly the need to have every year of the 1969-1977 period represented with a live recording is in the BMG/FTD decision process and as such should it be expected that a 1971 concert will be released in the near future?
From Peter Lambourn, Australia

+++ We have VERY little from 1971, but I agree that 1972 needs to be documented.

Press releases announcing the two 'soundboard' CD's (Tucson '76 and Dixieland Rocks) released by FTD thus far have both highlighted the high sound quality of these informal recordings. Therefore, due to the my understanding that no professional multi-track concert recordings were made of Elvis in 1971, does the assumed poorer sound quality of informal 'soundboard' recordings from 1971 concerts hinder their release by BMG and particularly FTD?
From Peter Lambourn, Australia

+++ NO -

9- On "Revelation From The Memphis Mafia" book, Marty Laker state that Elvis did play bass on "Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain". I ask Joe Tunzi and he said he think Elvis did play instruments at Graceland Sessions, but he thinks he did play piano. I've tried to ask Marty Laker, via AEK newsgroup, but he remain silent... Can you put some light?
(From Sebastanio Cecere,Italy)

+++ From the paperwork I've seen, and from listening to the outtakes, there is no evidence of Elvis playing anything - but I wasn't there.

10- I would like know your opinion of the rumors about more Chuck Berry material than "Promised Land" being recorded at STAX in December of 1973. Was there any warm up or jam session where, for example Berry-songs like "Brown Eyed Handsome Man" was recorded? Also, in the liner notes of the re-release of the Promised Land CD (or was it Rhythm & Country), it states that Elvis worked hard on W. Jennings' "We Had It All" - is any of this on tape, and if it is why is it not released?
(From Patrick Johansson)

+++ I think it /almost) goes without saying, that had any material like this been put on tape, we would have released it long ago. I'm sorry. We know exactly when they worked on WE HAD IT ALL, and nothing is on the tapes (we have 3 sets of tapes from these sessions).

11- I remember often reading, that there were all kinds of technical problems (monitoring, microphones leaking etc.) in the Stax studio and in the Jungle room sessions at Graceland as well. However, listening to the upgraded Promised Land CD and the FTD Jungle Room Sessions, they sound really fantastic - better than for example He Touched Me sessions material on the Peace In the Valley gospel set. So, after all the sound on the technically problematic recordings leave Nashville stuff far behind. Can you explain?
(From Joni Huopana, Finland)

+++ The 1971 Nashville stuff was a somewhat "flat" sound to them. If we can find commercial justification, we should try and re-mix some of that material.

Somehow I get the feeling that there was less effort put to improve the sound quality on the gospel set than eg. Promised Land upgrade. What I´m saying is, that if a recording made with inferior equipment can sound so fantastic, the Nashville recordings (with no such problems reported) should sound even better.
(From Joni Huopana, Finland)

+++ I don't think that the PROMISED LAND material is inferior. The recordings are brilliant. The Stax recordings that were suffering were those from July (RAISED ON ROCK).

12- I´d like to know what happened to the piano part on Let´s Forget About The Stars on the "Double Feature" release? It sounds sort of muffled when compared to the "Let´s Be Friends"-LP.
(From Hakan Norin, Sweden)

+++ I have no time to check this. Iassumee that it's because there is more treble on the LP version. We don't have a multitrack tape, so we can't remix this song properly.

13-First of all, I want to thank you for taking the time to answer "THE FANS" questions on this website. And to thank you for doing such a great job with the Elvis catalog and with Follow That Dream. In my opinion it's a great time for the Elvis fan.. Anyway, on to the question. I have many but I'll start with this:
Why does the soundtrack for Viva Las Vegas sound so poor? These couldn't have come from the Master tapes. Were they? "Night Life", "Yellow Rose of Texas", and "Do The Vega" sound they were recorded in a tin room with lots of echo. When you compare the Master of "I Need Somebody To Lean On" from "Double Features" to Take 8 from "Out In Hollywood" it's like night and day. If these aren't the 1st Generation tapes, are they available? And I would think that would be a great release for the "General Public". Throw a couple of unreleased tunes on there and everyone is happy. Any chance?
(From Rob Stafford,USA)

+++ Let's know what you think of the stuff on SILVER SCREEN STEREO.

14- According to the information I've read, Elvis tried to record the song Guitar Man without Jerry Reed and he wasn't satisfied with the guitar sound. He wanted that "Reed" sound and asked Felton Jarvis to contact Jerry Reed. I wonder if any of these pre-Reed takes exist and if they have been (or will) released. Thank you.
(From Alvaro,Spain)

+++ I don't believe this story. But more importantly, nothing was recorded before Reed came in.

15- The master take of Anything that´s Part of You is 10. Take 1 was released on "Elvis in Nashville" and take 2 on "Long Lonely Highway". Could it be that take 8 wasaccidentallyy released on "Worldwide Gold Award Hits vol.2", although it is not mentioned in your book?
From Chris Ameri

+++ On the vinyl album or t´he CD? Doesn't sound very likely.

In the same vein, could an unknown andun notifiedd alternate take of Easy Question (I think it must be take 4)exist on the "Reader´s Digest" Box Set?
From Chris Ameri

+++ It could. Readers Digest had access to original tapes, as they worked in the BMG studios.

16- Ernst, My question concerns the latest FTD release CD included in the book That The Way It Was, Is the rehearsal version of Mary in the Morning from August 7th a spliced version? In the movie, Elvis laughs during the opening lines as he throws water on the members of the Memphis Mafia. However, on the Cd, Elvis sings it straight, yet some of the dialogueprecedingg it matches what is in the movie. Just something I noticed while listening to it. Otherwise the Cd and book are great - love the sessionography. Keep up the good work.
(From Michael Cavino)

+++ Yes - it's edited

Click here for Ask Ernst Part 1& Part 2

The sad news is that Ernst can not continue to answer all the questions anymore. Ernst told me the following:
This is going to be the last time I can do this. From now on I will only make public statements whenever RCA decides that I need to. A restructuring at RCA means that I will have to spent considerably more time on other issues, and commúnicating with individual clus-magazines-websites is no longer possible. Eventually we will find another way of communicating with the fans.