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Title: Moody Blue And Other Great Performances (released in 1995)

Label: Fort Baxter

Date: Tracks 1 - 14 recorded live in Charlotte, N.C. February 21, 1977; tracks 15 - 18 recorded live in Montgomery, Ala., February 16, 1977; track 19 recorded in 1971

Sound Quality: * * * * * - / * * * * * + (shows)

Sound Quality: * / * * * * * + (bonus conversation)

Concert Rating (Charlotte): * * * - - / * * * * * +

Concert Rating (Montgomery): * * * * - - - / * * * * * +

Tracks: 1.Are You Lonesome Tonight (false start) / Are You Lonesome Tonight 2.Reconsider Baby 3.Love Me 4.Moody Blue 5.You Gave Me A Mountain 6.Jailhouse Rock 7.O Sole Mio / It's Now Or Never 8. Little Sister 9.Teddy Bear 10.Don't Be Cruel 11. My Way 12.Release Me 13.Hurt 14.Why Me Lord 15.Polk Salad Annie 16.Where No One Stands Alone 17.Unchained Melody 18.Can't Help Falling In Love / Closing Vamp 19.Elvis telephone conversation

Elvis: He is very tired and nothing is left from the energy he had some 2 months before. The magic is gone but the worst is still to come.

Highlights: Moody Blue can't match the studio version but it's great to have the only live version of it in such a good quality. My Way is very emotional as always, while Where No One Stands Alone is the greatest highlight and is worth buying the CD.

Review: Along such bootlegs as Burning in Birmingham and A Hot Winter Night in Dallas, this CD shows us that there were some good moments in the last years of Elvis' career.

The concerts themselves are not as great as the above mentioned concerts, from December 1976, but still they are far better than the well known BMG release Elvis in Concert - in both sound and concert quality. Sometimes Elvis' voice is weak but he is in good spirits in both concerts.

Mostly to the listener's displeasure, we don't have the beginning of the concert, and it starts from the beginning of Are You Lonesome Tonight? Elvis sings "Do the chairs in your..." instead of "Does you memory stray..." and Elvis stops everyone. Somebody from the audience begins shouting "Does your memory stray?" to what Elvis replies: "Does yours?" to which the shouter says: "No, that's yours that did!"; "Cute!" El answers. The song is not done seriously - as almost always there is a lotta fooling around during the spoken lines. Elvis introduces Reconsider Baby as "a song I did about 1 month and a half ago" (maybe he is referring to the New Year's concert?). James Burton is not as great as 5 years ago at the famous Madison Square Garden, but El sings and plays his guitar pretty good. After the song Elvis introduces his first record - That's All Right Mama - but his guitar is unturned, and as he says: "I don't have time to fool with it". What he does instead is Love Me, which - in his words - "People want to hear". It is as long as almost never. Elvis is weak and does this song just to give his scarves to the fans - nothing special at all. The next in line is Moody Blue, which is well received. He doesn't know the words, so he sings it by paper. The studio master is much better - Elvis' voice is weak here, he hardly hits the high notes of this song, but still, this is the only complete live version of this beautiful song, and also one of the highlights of the bootleg. You Gave Me A Mountain is as great as always, though Elvis sounds tired in some places, it is still a beauty. Elvis changes the words - instead of singing "You gave me a Mountain this time" he sings "You gave me a guitar this time". Jailhouse Rock doesn't rock at all - the intro is longer, Elvis hits the wrong notes during the first few lines. I would say that it is terrible - one of the worst moments of the whole concert. Before doing the medley of some of Elvis' records he asks Shole Neilson to sing O Sole Mio, as always, it is here where we understand, why Elvis took him to the band. Elvis can't resist - he laughs at him. It's Now or Never is really well done, very carefully. Little Sister is the next. A poor attempt at this great song. He almost doesn't hit the high notes. Another bad part of this CD is the medley of Teddy Bear and Don't be Cruel - a very weak version. The next one is My Way, which is sung by paper as always. He hardly sings it, sometimes he is off key, but it is always sung from somewhere deep in his heart, this version is not an exception. Before the song he says "I don't know this either". Release Me is another highlight- it was rarely performed at this period of Elvis career, but to my surprise I found something special in this version - it sounds great. Another funny moment - the intro, played by Tony Brown differs very much from the one played by Glen D. Hardin, so Elvis laughs at him. Hurt is another highlight - Elvis hits all the notes rightly and mostly sounds strong, though there are some weak moments. After the song Elvis asks The Stamps and J.D. Sumner to sing Why Me Lord? J.D. almost looses himself, when he finds that Tony Brown once plays the song in a wrong key - one more mistake by Tony. After the refrain Elvis even says: "Hey Fellows, this is a wrong key!" and laughs when Tony plays the right one - that's why he didn't sing refrain for the first time and did on the second. As always, Elvis jokes with J.D.

Polk Salad Annie is from February 16, and is even a stereo recording. A nice version, it inherited all the power of the concerts from late December. Another highlight of the show is Where No One Stands Alone, - "a song I never done on stage and we never rehearsed it and never done" and J.B. begins playing the intro of Moody Blue, if you listen closely. The song is a beauty. No one knows it, in one part Ronnie Tutt begins playing, but after a couple of beats, he stops, to our unhappiness. It would be nice if the whole group begun to play it. Oh, yeah, El is on the piano while singing. Elvis names Unchained Melody as a "favorite of mine". He plays it and it is both "The Beauty and the Beast" - he breaths right into the microphone, and you feel how tired he is, by the same time he sings great! He still misses the Eb chord, when he plays it for the firs time, but on the second he makes everything right. Nice!

The show is coming to an end and as always we hear Can't Help Falling In Love - one more version of this beauty, but as almost always in the late years, with no feeling inside, which this song deserves.

But it is an end for the present at the concert - not for us. In addition we receive a 7 minute telephone conversation of Elvis with a policeman from Denver, from 1971. It looks like it is recorded in Nashville, while recording the HE TOUCHED ME and ELVIS SINGS THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF CHRISTMAS. Elvis talks about his fans, family, Las Vegas engagement, Lisa taking swimming lessons, glaucoma, being promoted to the 4-th degree black belt in karate and much more.

This CD is a very important document, showcasing Elvis in the early 1977, yet not as weak as in May and some June shows, but already not as great as in late 1976. The CD is attractive in a very strange way and this CD finds it's way into my CD player very often.

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