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KEEP THE FIRE BURNING - (Audionics 2005-03-2) (Released 2005)

1.  Review by Oven Egeland

2.  Booklet notes by Audionics
Murfreesboro, May 7 1975

 1. Also Sprach Zarathustra
 2. See See Rider
 3. I Got A Woman/Amen
 4. Love Me
 5. If You Love Me
 6. Love Me Tender *
 7. All Shook Up
 8. Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel
 9. The Wonder Of You
10. Burning Love
11. Band Introductions
12. Johnny B. Goode
13. Drum solo
14. Bass solo
15. Piano solo
16. School Days
17. Bridge Over Troubled Water *
18. T-R-O-U-B-L-E
19. I'll Remember You
20. Let Me Be There
21. American Trilogy
22. Funny How Time Slips Away *
23. Hound Dog
24. Elvis thanks *
25. Little Darlin' *
26. Can't Help Falling In Love
27. Closing Vamp

* Previously released on Dixieland Rocks

Content: 4  Sound: 4-  Artwork: 5

Review by Oven Egeland

Audionics' third release contain a complete soundboard recording from Murfreesboro, May 7 1975. This is the second soundboard released by Audionics, and also the second complete sounboard. Let's hope it continues this way... Notice that Audionics has released soundboards of shows close to shows released by BMG on their Follow That Dream label. FTD released an incomplete soundboard recording from June 1 1976 on their Tucson '76, while audionics released the complete recording from June 2 on their El Goes El Paso. Some years ago FTD released an incomplete soundboard from May 6, 1975 on Dixieland Rocks and now Audionics release the complete recording from the same venue the day after... Probably not intentionally, but still a nice scalp.

It is natural to compare this new release with the above mentioned Dixieland Rocks. It is virtually the same show and it is in the same building. Fortunately we can now tell for sure the correct dates for all the tracks on FTD CD. Except for 'Can't Help Falling In Love' and 'Closing Vamp' (from May 6) you can trust on the information given on the Dixieland CD.

While Dixieland Rocks was taken from a prime soundboard recording and therefore has very good sound, Keep The Fire Burning is taken from a lower generation copy. The sound quality on the latter is still good, but not comparable with Dixieland Rocks. It is more distant and not so fresh. I would place it in between for instance the better Macon recording found on From Vegas To Macon and the poorer recording from Lake Charles found on A Profile Vol. 1.

Having said that it is virtually the same show as featured on Dixieland Rocks, there is of course not much to add regarding the content on Keep The Fire Burning. It features Elvis in very good mood and very good vocal shape. 'Love Me Tender' displays in many ways the overall atmosphere in the building this night. 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' is a very strong delivery and stand out as the real hightlight. Luckily there are no poor performances, even though several of the older songs get only a fair treatment.

Audionics has made it a standard to deliver their CD's with a nice booklet. The booklet contains several nice pictures and an adequat story to back up both the photos and the CD. In my point of view the picture used for the cover is one of the least flattering pictures I have seen of Elvis from 1975. Man does he look "harry" on this picture, almost like one of the thousands impersonaters nowadays. I would have chosen a different picture, but that is of course a matter of taste.

With only some months since their last product, Audionics looks like a label that can bring us even more quality releases in the future. We will just have to wait and see.. and hope!

© , Norway, April 2005

Booklet notes:

The Hunchback Of Murfreesboro
In the late summer of 1974, Elvis started losing his usual self-control. His stage speeches during several of his Las Vegas shows were becoming increasingly uncontrolled; sometimes they were merely strange, while at other times they were very embarrassing, addressing various subjects that seemingly just popped up in his head. On September 27th, he started another long and exhausting tour in Maryland, and according to many fans and music critics some of these shows were the worst in his present career. Not only did Elvis look pale, but he was also strangely bloated, clearly overmedicated and bored. His singing voice was ragged too, and he treated even his favourite songs with disrespect, changing the lyrics and the phrasing. It was no wonder that Elvis took five months off after the tour concluded in Lake Tahoe. During that time, he celebrated his 40th birthday and shortly after that was hospitalized at Baptist Memorial hospital in Memphis. His stay certainly did him a lot of good; he looked better, his psyche seemed more stable and he appeared to be in better health too. Fresh from the hospital, he was able to cut several solid tracks during his only recording session of the year, at RCA Hollywood. These tracks were released on his new LP titled "ELVIS TODAY", one of his better studio efforts in recent years. On March 18th, a new Las Vegas season began with Elvis in excellent mood and in strong voice. He was still a bit overweight, but he looked fairly trim in his new colourful two-piece outfits. His live repertoire consisted mainly of recent songs from his latest three albums, while the oldies had to take a backseat this time. The first tour of the year started in Macon, Georgia on April 24th, and Elvis continued in very much the same vein as in Vegas. The only major change was the return of Jerry Scheff on the fender bass, replacing Duke Bardwell. Elvis promoted his current single T.R.O.U.B.L.E. extensively by singing this tongue-twisting rocker during every show. This successful string of shows concluded in Murfreesboro, Tennessee where Elvis also played earlier on the tour, on April 29th. The tour closing show was not the longest one on the tour, but it was certainly as least as good and entertaining as any of the others. Elvis was at the top of his game right from the start of the show; singing, talking, joking, kissing women… simply entertaining his audience as only he could do it. After the opening song, Elvis also noticed a woman with a baby near the sound system and said with some concern: "hey honey you know what… that little baby is too close to the sound system and it can damage his ears, all kidding aside…". At the beginning of "Love Me Tender", he sang the first line of Tom T. Hall's country song "I Love", "I love little baby ducks…". During the song he was on his knees at the edge of the stage, kissing women and accepting gifts. After the song’s conclusion he jokingly added: "She made me the hunchback of Murfreesboro!". His 1970 live single "The Wonder Of You" is among the finest moments of this concert, with great vocal accompaniment by soprano Kathy Westmoreland, while his 1972 rocker "Burning Love" was sung with much gusto. The band introductions and -solos were still fairly entertaining at this point, and not just time-killing performances like they would become just a few months later. Elvis asked the band for "Bridge Over Troubled Water" - yet another highlight - followed by his "…new record that came out this past week, called T.R.O.U.B.L.E.". The first line of the Hal David/Burt Bacharach song "Alfie" preceded "I'll Remember You", announced as a song "that we did in the Aloha From Hawaii special". Just before the show finale, Elvis took the opportunity to thank his audience for coming to see three different shows in Murfreesboro and he also thanked everyone on stage: "I'll see you again, see you in three weeks, okay, kids? You did a real good job." The show concluded with a fun "Little Darling" and the perennial closer "Can't Help Falling In Love"… Well done, Mr. P.!

© Audionics label 2005-03-2

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