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...AND THE KING FOR DESSERT (Fort Baxter 2203) (Released 1998)

1. Review by Mark Littlejohn
Lake Tahoe, May 25 1974 DS

See See Rider
I Got A Woman/Amen
Love Me
Trying To Get To You
All Shook Up
Love Me Tender
You Don't Have To Say You Love Me
Hound Dog
Polk Salad Annie
Why Me, Lord
Suspicious Minds
Band introductions
I Can't Stop Loving You
Help Me
American Trilogy (First released on A Profile Vol. 2)
Let Me Be There (incomplete)
Funny How Time Slips Away (incomplete)
Big Boss Man
It's Now Or Never (First released on A Profile Vol. 2)
Can't Help Falling In Love (First released on A Profile Vol. 2)
Bosom Of Abraham/You Better Run (Alexandria, March 29 1977)

Content: 4  Sound: 4+   Artwork: 3+

1. Review by Mark Littlejohn

This is another CD in the Mastertape series (vol. 14) from Ft. Baxter and like the others, it features excellent sound (except for the bass being a tad too loud). This performance contains most of the May 25, 1974 dinner show from the Sahara Tahoe resort in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. The only missing items are 'Also Sprach Zarathustra' (introduction), and complete takes of 'Let Me Be There' and 'Funny How Time Slips Away'.

During the performance itself Elvis sounds as if he just got out of bed, or he's tired. Probably the latter as there was a brief tour prior to this engagement. He misses a few notes here and there and an element of drive seems to be lacking from his vocal. I would be interested to hear a tape from the first few days of this engagement to see if he sounds stronger.

The set consists of what has become almost the standard show from this time period, so I won't bother going over each song. There is very little variety and some songs have been almost ruined by a change of pacing such as 'Polk Salad Annie' (too slow and the ending is way too long). 'Suspicious Minds' seems to be dragging the same anchor. What's really strange is that this is a few weeks after Elvis met Jimmy Page and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin and blew them away in a show at The Forum in L.A. Both were huge Elvis fans and are rumored to have offered for Led Zeppelin to play as a house band any time Elvis needed.

By now Elvis has taken 'Johnny B. Goode' and 'Steamroller Blues' out of his set and this negatively affects the pacing as well. Both are replaced by 'You Don't Have To Say You Love Me', which is a good song, but it's not rock & roll or low down dirty blues. Elvis is also alternating 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' and 'An American Trilogy', when he should have been doing both. In addition he is not performing 'How Great Thou Art'. It seems as if he is stuck again in the big rut just off Sunset Blvd. (his comment about making movies in the 60's). He had such a wealth of material to work with at this point, and it's just a damn shame he didn't make better use of it. 'Big Boss Man' and 'Help M'e are the only new songs performed and while both are good, it would have been even better if Elvis had introduced 'If You Talk In Your Sleep' for this engagement (flip side of 'Help Me').

Perhaps one day Ft. Baxter could give us a show from the 1971 Lake Tahoe engagement. Only time will tell, after all - we only had to wait 30 years for That's The Way It Is (30th).

Performance Rating ***

Sound Quality ****

© Mark Littlejohn, USA - November 2001.

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