Elvis Presley / Last Train To Memphis 1954 - 1976

 

1954 - 1967

 

1. That's All Right / Single A Side Recorded July 1954

2. Blue Moon Of Kentucky / Recorded Single B Side July 1954

3. Good Rockin' Tonight / Single A Side Recorded September 1954

4. Milkcow Blues Boogie / Single A Side Recorded December 1954

5. Baby Lets Play House / Single A Side Recorded February 1955

6. Mystery Train / Single A Side Recorded July 1955

7. Trying To Get To You / Elvis Presley Recorded July 1955

8. Money Honey / Elvis Presley Recorded January 1956

9. My Baby Left Me / Single B Side Recorded January 1956

10. Lawdy Miss Clawdy / Elvis Presley EP Recorded February 1956

11. Shake Rattle And Roll / Elvis Presley EP Recorded February 1956

12. Don't Be Cruel / Single A Side Recorded July 1956

13. Paralyzed / Elvis Recorded September 1956

14. Crawfish / King Creole Recorded January 1958

15. A Mess Of Blues / Single B Side Recorded March 1960

16. Fever / Elvis Is Back Recorded April 1960

17. Reconsider Baby / Elvis Is Back Recorded April 1960

18. Doin' The Best I Can / GI Blues Recorded April 1960

19. Swing Down Sweet Chariot / His Hand In Mine Recorded 0ctober 1960

20. Put The Blame On Me / Something For Everybody Recorded March 1961

21. Can't Help Falling In Love / Blue Hawaii Recorded March 1961

22. Little Sister / Single B Side Recorded June 1961

23. Memphis Tennessee / Elvis For Everyone Recorded January 1964

24. Tommorow Is A Long Time /  Spin Out Recorded May 1966

25. Down In The Alley / Spin Out Recorded May 1966

26. I'll Remember You / Spin Out Recorded June 1966

27. Guitar Man / Clambake Recorded September 1967

28. Big Boss Man / Single A Side Recorded September 1967

 

1968 - 1976

 

1. Nothingville / Elvis NBC TV Special Recorded June 1968

2. If I Can Dream / Elvis NBC TV Special Recorded June 1968

3. Long Black Limousine / Elvis In Memphis Recorded January 1969

4. Wearin' That Loved On Look /  Elvis In Memphis Recorded January 1969

5. In The Ghetto / Single A Side Recorded January 1969

6. Stranger In My Own Home Town / Back In Memphis Recorded February 1969

7. Only The Strong Survive / Elvis In Memphis Recorded February 1969

8. Polk Salad Annie / On Stage Recorded February 1970

9. Walk A Mile In My Shoes / On Stage Recorded February 1970

10. I Really Don't Want To Know / Elvis Country Recorded June 1970

11. I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water / Elvis Country Recorded June 1970

12. I Just Can't Help Believing / Thats The Way It Is Recorded August 1970

13. I'm Leavin / Single A Side Recorded May 1971

14. Merry Christmas Baby / The Wonderful World Of Christmas Recorded September 1971

15. You Gave Me A Mountain / Unreleased Recorded February 1972

16. American Trilogy / Single A Side Recorded February 1972

17. Burning Love / Single A Side Recorded March 1972

18. Always On My Mind / Single B Side Recorded March 1972

19. I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry / Aloha From Hawaii Recorded January 1973

20. Good Time Charlies Got The Blues / Good Times Recorded December 1973

21. Promised Land / Single A Side Recorded December 1973

22. T R O U B L E / Single A Side Recorded March 1975

23. Way Down / Moody Blue Recorded October 1976


   Everyone has their own vision of Elvis P. To some he will forever be that 50’s hillbilly cat swamped in rockabilly. To others he’s the 1968 leather clad comeback kid or maybe the 70’s Vegasville lump a lard. Whatever the image, Elvis the phenomenon kicked off in July 1954 with the release of his first Sun single, a primal version of ‘That’s All Right’. Those recordings established the basic language of Rock’n’Roll as we now know it. His explosive and sexual stage presence crashed through the doors of respectability. The revolution had begun and there was no going back.

   But Elvis was never a purist. One thing he wanted more than anything was success and the decidedly dodgy, illegal alien Colonel Tom Parker was on hand to guide him, and help himself to a large fortune in the process. The first move was a transfer from Sun to RCA where, despite its continued magnificence, the once raw sound was cleaned up and shifted into the mainstream. Eager to please and manipulated superbly by his mentor, Elvis began a long screen career, interrupted only by his infamous two year rest in the army.

   Apart from the classic Elvis Is Back in 1960, most of his 60’s output was dominated by those soppy film soundtracks, featuring in the main awful filler material. As his artistic credibility declined between 1962 and 1967, Elvis retreated to his large mansion on the hill, protected from the real world by a posse of yes-men. Its amazing how the career of an edgy rockin’ pioneer became so soggy in such a short time. But I guess that only made his comeback all the brighter. The first stirrings of a reawakening were heard in 1967 with the release of ‘Guitar Man’ and ‘Big Boss Man’ but it was in his 1968 NBC TV Special that Elvis completely reinvented himself, this time as an all out black leather rocker keen to revisit his blues and country roots. Reinvigorated he returned to Memphis and the sessions that produced his greatest album, From Elvis In Memphis. It proved once and for all that Elvis was paying attention again.

   He upped his game again in 1969 with a return to live work and a string of dates in Vegas before taking on America. His band centred on the masterful James Burton and some of the finest players in the business. There were many more highlights including the On Stage and Elvis Country albums but in the early 70’s laziness set in again. Elvis became wrapped up in his Graceland cocoon, full of sycophants and the path of excess. On 16th August 1977 he permanently left the building on the shitter, his bowels set in concrete.

   I celebrated what after all was a glorious death as an ignorant punk, painting the immortal words ‘Elvis Is Dead! Ha! Ha!’ on the back of my black leather jacket. Lord forgive my sins, I knew not what I’d done although I did a couple of days later when my head was kicked in by a bunch of outraged, middle aged drunks. That was the first time I’d ever taken any interest in the man but I reacquainted myself with the encouragement of various muso’s of 80’s acquaintance when it was definitely not cool to like the dead bloke. For that I must thank Chris Maund, Denny Mills, Tav Falco and T.Tex Edwards. I wrapped up what rapidly became an obsession recently when, with a pocketful of cash, I went on a loopy, month long Elvis CD spending spree.

   Unfortunately when Elvis died all perspective on his recordings was lost as the world’s media went into frenzy, ridiculing everything from his eating habits, his drug problems, girlfriends and all that went with it. On the flip side was the weird religious devotion of his most ardent fans, blindly rating even his most ridiculous recordings. Elvis as an icon has obscured Elvis the artist, and that’s a shame.

   For the uninitiated this list highlights the lesser known Elvis and some better known hits to complete the story. Never viewed as a major albums artist he still delivered a fistful of class. Most will be alien to your ears but pack away your prejudices and be astonished by the honesty, fragility and pure voice of that poor boy from Tupelo. Sam Phillips once wrote ‘Elvis damn sure had an appreciation for the total spirituality of human existence even if he would never have thought of the term.” Sam hit it right on the button. That boy sure had soul.

 

Summer 2004