DIXIELAND ROCKS - BMG 74321 86138 2
1. Review by Oven Egeland
2. Review by Andy Urias
3. Review by Armond Joseph
|Murfreesboro, May 6 and 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. You Don't Have To Say You Love Me
7. All Shook Up
8. Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel
9. The Wonder Of You
10. Polk Salad Annie
- Johnny B. Goode
- School Days
12. My Boy
14. I'll Remember You
15. Why Me Lord
16. Let Me Be There
17. American Trilogy
19. Little Darlin'
20. Funny How Time Slips Away
21. Can't Help Falling In Love
22. Closing Vamp
23. Bridge Over Troubled Water
24. Love Me Tender
Recorded on May 7, Murfreesboro.
* Previously released on Elvis Aron Presley
Content: 4+ Sound: 5- Artwork: 3
|1. Review by Oven Egeland
Dixieland Rocks features two concerts from Murfreesboro in early May 1975. It is said to mainly focus on May 6 concerts, and that some tracks from May 7 is added at the end of the disc.
While listening to the CD, one can not help but feel that the story is somewhat more complicated than this. Actually I find it more likely that it is the opposite of what FTD says - in other words that we hear the May 7 concert first and then portions of the May 6 show?
The sound quality on this CD is quite good. Elvis is upfront, and so is Jerry Scheff. Jerry is one helluva bass player, but on this CD he is too much in focus.
'See See Rider' and 'I Got A Woman' from this show was released on the Silver Box back in 1980. They come in much better sound on this CD however!
In general this is a typical 1975 concert from Elvis. The mood is good, the tempo is relatively high and the overall atmosphere is relaxed. The set list is similar to the June concerts one month later, but 'You Don't Have To Say You Love Me' is still in there. The same goes for 'Polk Salad Annie', 'My Boy' and 'I'll Remember You'.
It is difficult to find any real highlights on this show, but this does not mean that it is a mediocre show. One can also say that the overall quality is good and that no song stands above the rest.
'Fairytale' is perhaps the first live version with Jerry Scheff (?). It certainly sounds much better in June 1975 than on this show!
Production wise this CD is a mess. Listen after 'Let Me Be There' and you will hear that BMG actually reprise the audience reaction! One explanation can be that FTD has used a cassette version of the soundboard, and that this moment represents the ending of side one and beginning of side two. Anyway, amateurish!
The idea of adding two live songs after 'Closing Vamp' is really stupid! As long as this CD focus on two live shows from Murfreesboro it would make much more sense to also add 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' and 'Love Me Tender' within the show. It is an artificial show anyway.
This CD would have benefited highly from a dedicated production, but stands as an indication of indifference?
, Norway, November 2001
|2. Review by Andy Urias
When it comes to material from 1974-1977, I never get my hopes up or have too high of expectations. There is no question that Elvis had some brilliant moments vocally during his last few years on stage, but there were also a lot of very poor performances during this time as well. When FTD announced that they were releasing a live soundboard from 1975, I had mixed feelings. A show from 1969 or 1972 would have been great or a show from 1977 could have been more fascinating. However, I figured that a live concert from Elvis is worth checking out regardless of my initial lack of enthusiasm or concerns over the strength of certain material and performances. What a great concert Dixieland Rocks turns out to be.
Although every bit of essential and desirable information about the CD is absent (it would be at least nice to have the band credits), the artwork is quite nice. Some of the mock-up cover-art that was floating around the Internet prior to the release of the actual CD artwork was very nice, but what was eventually used on this CD is still attractive.
Compared to the last soundboard released by BMG - Tucson '76, Dixieland Rocks immediately is off to a better start with the inclusion of 'Also Sprach Zarathustra'. The sound is much better on this disc than the Tucson show as well (ignoring that fact that the bass seems to be way up in the mix). In addition to the sound, Elvis is in much better form. Aside from throwing away his 50's hits ('Love Me', 'All Shook Up' and 'Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel'), Elvis seems pretty focused throughout this concert.
Although I'm not a huge fan of 'If You Love Me', the version on this CD is as strong as I've heard. 'You Don't Have To Say You Love Me', 'The Wonder Of You', 'My Boy', 'I'll Remember You',
'T-R-O-U-B-L-E' and 'American Trilogy' are also well performed. The highlight of the show is a powerful version of 'Polk Salad Annie' that has some great lead guitar and bass interplay. And for once, I can honestly say that the band intros segment is enjoyable. The segment of 'Johnny B. Goode' really rocks, even though Elvis isn't completely comfortable with the lyrics, and none of the solos are too excessive except for maybe the bass solo, which Elvis even jokingly notes by saying it was 5 minutes too long...
I don't have a big problem with the inclusion of the material from May 7. BMG had to finish off the concert as the last few numbers were missing and fortunately they had a soundboard in the same sound quality from the next night and were able to insert the original song titles into their proper sequencing within this show. It may have made more sense for them to just insert the final 2 tracks of the CD ('Bridge Over Troubled Water' and 'Love Me Tender') into the actual show before the usual 'Can't Help Falling In Love' closer if adding tracks to this CD was so important. At the same time, there are a few bootlegs out in the market where additional bonus material is added to the CD after the end of a show.
And since FTD is essentially BMG's bootleg label its not like they are completely out of line for doing this.
'Bridge Over Troubled Water' is well performed while 'Love Me Tender' has careless execution, but shows some playful interaction between Elvis and the audience. Editing and tampering with the sequencing of recorded concerts is a delicate matter, but since a lot of Elvis' shows that are recorded on soundboards are slightly incomplete, it is understandable why BMG needs to add material. However, there is always the possibility that Ernst Jorgensen has done even more edits to the content of Dixieland Rocks, so hopefully a great song hasn't been cut from the original set list of the concert.
FTD is off to a solid, but slow start in regards to releasing live shows. Tucson '76, One Night In Vegas and Dixieland Rocks are the first 3 concert CD's in hopefully a long list. Tucson '76 was essentially released to showcase a one time only performance of 'Danny Boy' and One Night In Vegas is a display of Elvis truly in his prime. Dixieland Rocks is an above average concert, if not a strong concert from 1975. This concert isn't a groundbreaking event or a highlight of his career. But it clearly shows that on this particular night, Elvis was enjoying himself and more importantly, his voice was strong. To fully gauge the spectrum of Elvis' live career, it is an important addition to any catalogue.
© Andy Urias, July 17 2001
Other reviews of Andy Urias
|3. "We haven't even had a chance to say hello..."
(Review by Armond Joseph)
A little background. When Dixieland Rocks first came out, I didn't want to buy it. I already have the concert from the Elvis Aron Presley (Silver Box) set, and the awesome yet unofficial Let Me Take You Home CD. Why add another show from 1975 to my list? Then Dinner At Eight was announced, and I was excited about buying that CD because of the significance of the December 13th shows. When I read that 'Also Sprach Zarathustra' was dropped as well as 'My Heavenly Father,' I decided instead to purchase Dixieland Rocks, which has the feel of a complete show, and I'm glad I did.
From the start, I noticed that the sound quality of this CD is far superior to the sound quality on the Silver Box concert. You can hear all of the band members clearly; even the tambourine is audible. You can also hear the applause of the audience when Elvis walk out on stage, which I think is a big plus. The sound would only have been better if FTD added the "stadium echo" that you hear on soundboards released by DAE. That echo adds a stereo feel to mono recordings. Anyway, the sound is great! You'll notice that the bass is way out there at times, but cool nonetheless. Scheff is awesome!
The show has some pretty neat surprises. I thought 'You Don't Have To Say You Love Me' died in 1972, but Elvis does a good performance of it here. Elvis opens 'Polk Salad Annie' with some unusual vocalizing and a growl that reminds me of Roy Orbison. Plus, Scheff really kicks on bass (though a bit loudly)! It's one of my favorite versions of this song. Elvis sings 'My Boy' with a lot of feeling. It sounds almost exactly like the version on the Live In Las Vegas box set, except the sound is ten thousand times better here! 'I'll Remember You' is an unexpected surprise, and Elvis tells the audience that it is from the Aloha Special. 'Fairytale' is a little too slow for my tastes, and you can tell that neither Elvis nor the band were as yet comfortable with this song. Later versions are better. Overall, the songs are done well, and Elvis throws out his typical 1975 humor. In terms of the song list, 'How Great Thou Art' is conspicuously absent. Maybe Elvis just didn't sing it, or maybe FTD edited it out? Who knows? One thing I do know is that Murfreesboro could be the belt buckle of the Bible belt, and the song would've been a great "show stopper." Too bad it didn't make it onto this CD. 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' is a good substitute, even if it is added as the caboose.
The artwork on this CD is too plain. I'd really like to see future FTD releases with a booklet, liner notes, and some more photos. I don't care much for digi-packs, but if FTD is going to continue to use them, it would be nice to have a bi-fold cover like the DAE releases. At least then they could give us some more photos. Anyway, that's a minor complaint for an otherwise great album.
© Armond Joseph, Union, Missouri USA - January 2003
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