Tag Archives: If I Can Dream

Ramblings of a Lifelong Elvis Fan – Part 65 – Elvis Refurbished with the Philharmonic Orchestra

(Sorry I missed last week. The past few weeks have been insane. It’s the first week I’ve missed in the more than a year since I started this weekly blog. I didn’t even do a re-post :()

A new Elvis album is releasing October 30th with several of his recordings reworked to include the Philharmonic Orchestra. I have mixed feelings about this, but for the most part, I don’t enjoy it. I was going to blog on another Elvis related topic, but when I got into my car this morning and turned on Elvis Radio, Priscilla was a guest DJ and they were playing tracks from the soon to be released ‘If I can Dream.’

Before I knew that’s what the program was about, the first thing I heard was the last part of ‘In the Ghetto,’ except something was a little off. It didn’t hit my ear right. For one, the song ended with female back up singers singing several repetitions of the words in the ghetto. I didn’t care for it, and I knew that wasn’t they original version. Then, I understood when I heard Priscilla and the regular DJ, Argo, explain that it was a track from this new release.

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Don’t get me wrong, some of the songs are great, although I can’t say they’re an improvement, not by any means. As I’ve mentioned before, Elvis had a knack, an ear for arrangements and he knew how to make his music the best it can be. The Philharmonic Orchestra is phenomenal, no doubt about it, but Elvis music is ALREADY the best it can be. They just aren’t needed. Elvis loved the Joe Guercio orchestra, and he hired them to play for him. If they were good enough for him, they are good enough for me.

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I would have liked to listen to the entire show, but was unable to. I think it’s repeating at 9 p.m. this evening, but not sure if I’ll be able to hear it then. I will have to say, I did enjoy Priscilla’s comments when she introduced ‘Steamroller Blues.’ She said Elvis’ performance of the song was sexy, sex appeal, sexy, sexy. She said he was ‘naughty’ all the way through. (I paraphrase, but that was the gist). She sounded almost giddy. 🙂 See, he has that kind of impact, even over his ex-wife after all these years. 

December 1969, Beverly Hills, California, USA --- American rock legend Elvis Presley with his wife Priscilla. --- Image by © Frank Carroll/Sygma/Corbis

Here are a few samplings from the album. In this one, ‘What Now, My Love,’ to me the orchestra drowns out his voice:

This is ‘You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling’ and here, they are not as intrusive as they are on some. Just look at that sexy performance, though. I love the way it starts out with Elvis’ back to the audience…

Here is a complete list of the tracks:

Disc: 1
1. Burning Love
2. It s Now Or Never
3. Love Me Tender
4. Fever (Duet With Michael Buble)
5. Bridge Over Troubled Water
6. And The Grass Won’t Pay No Mind
7. You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling
Disc: 2
1. There’s Always Me
2. Can’t Help Falling In Love
3. In the Ghetto
4. How Great Thou Art
5. Steamroller Blues
6. An American Trilogy
7. If I Can Dream

All in all, while I love that the world is keeping Elvis’ music alive and going strong, although actually, the music itself could do that, I wish they would remaster his original versions simply by using whatever new technology they have for sharper, clearer sounds, but leave them unaltered. After all, why try to improve on perfection?

What do you think? Am I over-protective and way off base, or do you agree? 🙂

 

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EOLS Charity

Elvis was known for his giving heart and charitable work during his lifetime. Lisa Marie and Elvis Presley Enterprises have continued that tradition with their involvement in various charities. In 1984, The Elvis Charitable Foundation was formed. The EPCF created a scholarship fund for students majoring in the arts. The charity also contributes to one of Elvis’ favorite charities, Goodwill Homes, a Memphis facility that provides counseling and services for abused children and their families. The EPCF also assists numerous other charities, especially focusing on arts, education and children’s programs.

Learn more here, including how to donate:

http://www.graceland.com/epcf/

END OF LONELY STREET – Now Only 99 Cents!

On Elvis’ birthday this year, I released a Vintage Romance short story set in 1957, and of course, my heroine is an Elvis fan. 🙂 As a tribute to Elvis’ generosity, and in order to assist with this worthy cause, 10% of my proceeds for End of Lonely Street will go to the EPCF.

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All Toby Lawson wants is to go to college to become a teacher and to be free of her alcoholic mother and some painful memories. But when her mother nearly burns the house down, Toby must put her dreams on hold and return home to care for her. The only time she isn’t lonely and miserable is when she’s listening to her heartthrob, Elvis Presley. His music takes her away and helps her escape from everything wrong in her life.

Noah Rivers has always loved Toby, but no matter what he says, she can‘t get past the fact that her drunken mother once kissed him. He soon realizes the true problem lies in Toby’s belief she’s not good enough for him and in her fear she will be just like her mother.

What will it take to prove to her that she deserves to be happy, and that he would give anything to be the man to make her dreams come true?

Click Here for Kindle

Click Here for Nook

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Ramblings of a Lifelong Fan – Part 30 – Elvis’ ‘68 Comeback Special…OMG

After Elvis came home from the army, he once more began making movies and stopped touring. I can’t imagine how that must have felt to fans, waiting so anxiously for his return, then being unable to see him live in concert. Although, seeing him on the big screen was definitely a treat as well. 🙂

When the concept of a special featuring Elvis first came about, Colonel Parker originally had the idea of Elvis singing Christmas carols. But director Steve Binder wanted something more. After noticing how relaxed and natural Elvis was in rehearsals, and how he and the other musicians played off one another, joked around and impulsively performed old blues and rock and roll songs, he decided to run with that theme and he and his crew did everything they could to recreate that situation and help Elvis relax. Elvis was reluctant to perform live, he was sure people would laugh at him, but Binder brought in Scotty Moore and Bill Black, the musicians Elvis started with, to put him at ease. (Unfortunately, the other member of the group, DJ Fontana, had passed away in 1965.) Although Elvis was terrified, not long after taking the stage, he managed to set it aside, or at least to appear to. According to Binder: “If you look closely at the opening seconds of the show, there’s a close-up of Elvis singing. You can see his hand on the mike – and it’s visibly shaking. Then he sang 8 or 9 strains, and he was back.”

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What developed was a phenomenal, ground breaking show, a mixture of big number performances with extravagant settings, such as the sequence with gospel songs and the musical ‘skit’ featuring Guitar Man and Big Boss Man. The ending number was a spectacular performance of Elvis, looking incredibly handsome in a white suit, singing ‘If I Can Dream’ a song written especially for the show, based on Elvis’ feelings about some of the issues going on in the world, including the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy. Watch here:

 

The most memorable and impactful segment of the show had to be the ‘in the round’ jam session. Elvis in black leather, sitting around, joking and belting out some of his finer songs with his buddies surrounding him. Although I know Elvis was nervous, it certainly doesn’t show. He looks relaxed, sexy, confident as he smiles, jokes, and projects the famous Elvis swagger and charisma. Here is a little taste:

 

 

The show aired December 3, 1968, but I’ll be honest. I don’t recall seeing it at that time. I don’t know if my parents just didn’t allow us to watch it, or didn’t think about it (I was seven years old). My first memory of seeing the special was the following year in August, 1969 when my family traveled from Oklahoma to California, making stops in various states, including to visit my half-brother in Colorado. (They piled 5 kids in a station wagon Mom earned from selling Tupperware, and we embarked on the well over a thousand miles journey…what were they thinking???)  I’m guessing the special was re-broadcast, or my memory is totally skewed, but I have this recollection of being at my half-brother’s house, and the 68 Special playing on his television. I was enthralled, captivated, couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. I’d already loved Elvis for as long as I could remember (and at 8 years old, that wasn’t all that long :)), but it was my first time to actually see him perform, other than in his movies, to see his amazing stage presence and the way he interacted with an audience and held them under his spell. Fortunately for all of us lucky enough to have seen Elvis in concert (for me, 3 times), this was the beginning of Elvis’ return to live performances.

The 68 Special was a smashing success. It was viewed by 42% of the audience and was the number one show that year, receiving critical acclaim and rave reviews. Elvis was indeed back.

What about you? Have you seen the special? What did you think?

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