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CAJUN TORNADO (Madison CWP 005) (Released 2001)

1.  Review by Sergio Biston
Mainly Lake Charles, May 4 1975 A.S. (CD-1)
and St. Petersburg, Feb. 14 1977 (CD-2)

CD-1: Love Me - If You Love Me - Love Me Tender - All Shook Up - Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel - Help Me - Why Me, Lord? - Polk Salad Annie - Intros of the band - What I'd Say? - Drum solo - Bass solo - Piano solo - Intros of the band - School Days - The Wonder Of You - T-R-O-U-B-L-E - I'll Remember You - Let Me Be There (with reprise) - American Trilogy - Hound Dog - Funny How Time Slips Away - Little Darlin' - Can't Help Falling In Love - Closing Vamp - Elvis Talks/Jambalaya (May 4 E.S.) - Early Morning Rain - Love Letters - Fever - Polk Salad Annie - Happy Birthday (to Bruce Jackson) - Hurt - Hurt (reprise)

CD-2: Also Sprach Zarathustra - See See Rider - I Got A Woman/Amen - Love Me - If You Love Me (incomplete) - You Gave Me A Mountain - O Sole Mio/It's Now Or Never - All Shook Up - Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel - And I Love You So - Fever - My Way - Blueberry Hill - Love Letters - School Days - Hurt - Hound Dog - Can't Help Falling In Love - Closing Vamp - Reconsider Baby - Moody Blue - Release Me - Can't Help Falling In Love - Closing Vamp

      - Lake Charles, May 4 1975 (Content: 4  Sound: 3+)
      - St. Petersburg, Feb. 14 1977  (Content: 4-  Sound: 5-)
      - Forth Worth, June 3 1976  (Content: 4-  Sound: 5-)
      - Charlotte, Feb. 21 1977
  (Content: 5  Sound: 5+)

1. Review by Sergio Luiz Fiša Biston

Pieces of My life

What strikes you first with this release is the beautiful artwork, a tradition for the Madison label. This double package comes with a four pages booklet with many rare candid- and on stage pictures, and interesting liner notes.

Madison already gave us many rare and fantastic moments as for example Houston '74, Vegas '73 and now a compilation from the last 3 years of Elvis on stage and they succeed in showing the last years of Elvis in an honest view. The first show is from Lake Charles, Louisiana and the last one is from Charlotte, North Caroline and as Johnny Savage say on the booklet, "Elvis feels pretty dammed good from Louisiana to Florida, whirling across the country like a real Cajun Tornado", and that says it all, as Elvis is on good form in all the shows.

Well, let's talk about the sound. Although I'm not Bruce "Goose" Jackson, I can tell it is not top quality in the first CD, especially on the Lake Charlie part. On the Louisiana show the quality is very muffled and with a subtle hiss. Only Elvis and some musicians of the band can be heard in most of the time. The quality is less than, for example, the evening performance of Lake Charles of the same date that is on the Fort Baxter's A Profile Vol 1. The quality improves on the Forth Worth segment and goes to terrific on CD 2, specially on the last part, the Charlotte segment.

Although the first part is not very good in terms of sound quality, both shows can be very well appreciated. Elvis is in very good mood, especially in Lake Charles.

As for the shows, as said before, all are of good quality and with Elvis having a good time on stage and in very good form. I have only two complains about Cajun: First, there's no complete concert here, only parts (this explains the title of the review). The most complete is the Lake Charles performance, only missing 'See See Rider' and 'I Got A Woman'. The second is the Forth Worth, Texas concert. It is my biggest disappointment! Tony Brown said so much about this concert, how terrific Elvis was on that particular night, and what a great concert it was, but as I listened to it, I could not find any of that. The show (well, what is recorded anyway) is really good, but is just a good show from 76, nothing more, nothing less, perhaps a little above average from the concerts of that year. But I think that this disappointment is caused by my too high expectations (I was expecting something like Pittsburgh or Dallas 76...Hey, that's Tony Brown fault not mine! He gushed so much praise about the show...)

The set contains 57 tracks, so Ill not go track to track, but I like to point some highlights; First off all is the Love Letters version from Forth Worth, it is very interesting. It shows that Elvis never lost his voice, he just choose to not display it sometimes. Why? Because it starts somehow weak, and then Elvis pick it up again with a very strong and passionate voice, stronger than the remake he done in the 70┤s, what a sight. Love Letters appears again on CD 2, and this version may be the last time Elvis performed the song on stage. Also, In Lake Charles we have a very good rendition of 'The Wonder of You'.

On the 2nd CD we have concerts from the last year of Elvis, and they are all good performances especially for 77 standard. The most interesting tracks on this CD are the ones recorded in Charlotte, NC in February 77 featuring the ultra rare Moody Blue and other rarities like 'Reconsider Baby' and 'Release Me' (they can be also find in other import titles like Moody Blue and Other Great Performances). These particular tracks are for me the most interesting ones in this package. The performances of 'Moody Blue' and 'Reconsider Baby' are very good performances, specially 'Reconsider Baby' as one said before, Elvis voice is a bit tired and this gives a rough sound to the song and this fits the song perfectly! The 'Moody Blue' performance on this set, is the best of the two versions Elvis performed on stage, and although he mess with the lyrics a little at the middle of the song, he manages to put it on the right way. Nice performance.

Overall, Cajun Tornado is a nice outputting from a great label and as with all other Madison releases these one should be a nice addition to the live collection of the Elvis Presley fan. Find it!

Sound CD 1: 3/5
Sound CD 2: 5/5

Lake Charles 75: 4,5/5
Fort Worth 76: 3/5
St- Petersburg 77: 3,5/5
Charlotte 77: 3,5/5

© Sergio Luiz Fiša Biston, December 2001.

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