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HOLDING DOWN THE FORTH (Madison CWP 015) (Released 2006)

1.  Review by Oven Egeland
Ft. Worth, June 3 1976

CD-1: Warm up acts, including 'When The Saints Go Marching In' and 'You'll Never Walk Alone' by the Stamps and the Sweet Inspirations singing 'Philadelphia Freedom', 'Lady Marmalade' and a medley of Stevie Wonder hits.

CD-2: Also Sprach Zarathustra - See See Rider - I Got A Woman/Amen - Love Me - If You Love Me (*) - You Gave Me A Mountain (*) - All Shook Up (*) - Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel (*) - Heartbreak Hotel (*) - Help Me (*) - Jailhouse Rock [July 3, 1976] - Fever - Polk Salad Annie - Introductions - Early Morning Rain - What'd I Say (*) - Johnny B. Goode (*) - Drum solo (*) - Bass solo (*) - Piano solo (*) - Keyboard solo (*) - Love Letters - School Days (*) - Happy Birthday - Hurt - Hurt (#2) - Hound Dog [July 3, 1976] - Funny How Times Slips Away [July 3, 1976] - Can't Help Falling In Love [July 3, 1976] - Closing Vamp/Announcements [July 3, 1976] - Jailhouse Rock [incomplete 0:54] (*) - Hound Dog [incomplete 0:21] (*)

- Main part found on another Madison release, Cajun Tornado.
- Tracks from July 3, 1976 are taken from Rockin' Across Texas by FTD.
- (*) Previously unreleased

Content: 4+  Sound: 5-   Artwork: 5+

Focus on Elvis in Summer 1976

Sloppy, but fun!
(Review by Oven Egeland)

Another release from Madison. Their tempo is high and this time we are offered a double CD containing large parts of what happened in Tarrant County Convention at the evening of June 3 1976.

CD-1 contains half an hour of pre-show warm up acts from J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet and The Sweet Inspirations. This material is quite nice to have, though listen to it one or two times and then shelf it for good. It works as documentation more than entertainment. Sorry to say it is hardly worth the price of an extra CD, but there were no way around. A normal CD can hold only 80 minutes...

The main event, the Elvis part of the show, is found on CD-2. A large part of this show has already been out on another Madison CD, namely Cajun Tornado. It has better sound on this new release, fortunately! Still, it is pretty strange that the same label release the same show twice, just some years in between the first and the second time.

This very Ft. Worth show has been labeled by Tony Brown as one of the best shows he ever attended. He started to play for Elvis in April 1976, but attended several shows earlier as piano player for Voice from 1974 on. There is two ways to deal with this statement. Either simply saying that you disagree with Tony Brown, or assuming that Browns memory must be failing him. In other words; this is not a GREAT show! Personally I find it plausible that Tony Brown has a mixed up memory on this topic. As a side mark - since we are talking about Tony Brown - Elvis first presents him as Shane Keister. If you check out the FTD release of the Ft Worth show one month later, Elvis there says that Tony Brown did not attend the show last time they were in Ft. Worth (June 3). Some presentation of Brown by Elvis of Browns favorite concert..:-) [Click here for intro on June 3, then July 3]

Even though this is not one of those remarkable shows, it sure is a pleasant listen! Elvis is in a very good, infectious mood. 'See See Rider' is a steady version, even with severe feedback problems during the first part. Elvis later asks Bill Porter if he wants to eat the microphone. The tempo and good spirit continue with 'I Got A Woman/Amen'. 'Love Me' is lazy as always! Elvis then announce 'Let Me Be There', before he realizes that he mixed up this with another Newton-John song 'If You Love Me'. Again Elvis delivers. He slightly phrase the song a bit different that normal, not perfect, but somehow it works.

'You Gave Me A Mountain' is a normal good version, Elvis rarely failed on this one. Then it is time for the tedious run-through of throw-aways. First out is 'All Shook Up', then 'Teddy Bear/Don't Be Cruel'. However a very good version of 'Heartbreak Hotel' - including some ad-libbing - has Elvis breaking out of the boring routine. 'Help Me' is just so-so, but certainly better than most of the later versions of this song. 'Jailhouse Rock' is taken from the official release of the Ft. Worth concert exactly one month later. The original version is tagged onto the end of this CD; unfortunately the tape is damaged on this spot in the show. 'Fever' is a song I very often skip; also here...however one listen just for the sake of this review proves it to be, eh "skip-able".

I never jump over 'Polk Salad Annie', however. This song worked perfectly in 1970 to 1972 and 1976 to 1977. In later years mostly because of the bands achievement, but Elvis tags along to the very end. After such an effort it is surely time to catch his breath and introduce the band. A short version of 'Early Morning Rain', a brief 'What'd I Say' and a behind the head version of 'Johnny B. Goode' is followed by the ever tiresome drum solo. Elvis immediately approves the licks from Jerry Scheff on his fender bass. He then shows lighthearted mood when he realizes that he just introduced Tony Brown as Shane Keister. Three months ago, it would have been a hit as Shane Keister worked with Elvis during the short March tour in 1976. Continuing in the same lane, Elvis introduces David Briggs as Floyd Kramer, but this time the mix up was deliberate!

'Love Letters' runs too slow, just like it often did! A pity, because otherwise it is a perfect rendition. After band introductions Elvis sings 'Happy Birthday' to Bruce Jackson, before two "mike overload" versions of 'Hurt' continues. On the second version Elvis takes the song a step higher up, almost loosing his breath.

The last tracks are again taken from the official release of the July 3rd show. A snippet of the original version of 'Hound Dog' can be found as the last track on this CD, lasting only a few seconds before the tape recorder was switched off.

Overall this is a nice concert in good sound. The soundboard is not top-notch as it is slightly hissy all over. But the sound is dynamic and overall well-balanced. Accompanied with a nice booklet, you can't go terrible wrong buying "Holding Down The Forth"!

© , Norway, November 2006

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