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506020 975005 (re-issue)

Recording By Elvis 1974 Recording By Elvis 1976

Rocking Across Texas

CD # 1, Amarillo CD # 2, Ft. Worth

 1. Review by Ken Jensen
Amarillo, June 19 1974

 1: See See Rider
 2: I Got A Woman/Amen
 3: Love Me
 4: Trying To Get To You
 5: All Shook Up
 6: Love Me Tender
 7: Hound Dog
 8: Fever
 9: Polk Salad Annie
10: Why Me, Lord
11: Suspicious Minds
12: Introductions
13: I Can't Stop Loving You
14: Help Me
15: American Trilogy
16: Let Me Be There
17: Heartbreak Hotel
18: Funny How Time Slips Away
19: Big Boss Man
20: Can't Help Falling In Love
21: Interview, Odessa, TX 1960
Ft. Worth, July 3 1976

 1: See See Rider
 2: I Got A Woman/Amen
 3: Love Me
 4: If You Love Me
 5: You Gave Me A Mountain
 6: All Shook Up
 7: Teddy Bear
 8: Don't Be Cruel
 9: And I Love You So
10: Jailhouse Rock
11: Fever
12: America
13: Polk Salad Annie
14: Introductions
   Early Morning Rain
   What'd I Say
   Johnny B. Goode

15: Introductions
16: Introductions
   Love Letters
   School Days

17: Hurt (ww/ reprise)
18: Hound Dog
19: Funny How Time Slips Away
20: Can't Help Falling In Love

(Review by Ken Jensen)

This is the third audiovisual book from FTD. Unlike the other two, The Way It Was and Flashback, this one is not merely a picture book. Stanley Oberst has written a travel extravaganza from Elvis’s live performances in Texas, told through the people who witnessed the future King in action, both on and off stage. We follow the young hillbilly cat toward his rise to fame, starting out at different clubs and baseball fields throughout Texas in the ’50s and ending up in a watery grave in Memphis a couple of decades later.

The first 225 pages deal with Elvis in the ’50s, the next two with Elvis in the '60s, and the last 39 with Elvis in the '70s. Unfortunately, only two of those pages contain text, because Stanley Oberst couldn't locate anyone who had met Elvis when touring Texas in the '70s. Security was tight, so there really was no way for people to get in touch with Elvis the way they used to before he rose to superstardom. Therefore, this last decade had to be represented with a lot of pictures from various Texas shows plus two soundboards.

The entire book is full of amazing pictures and fantastic stories. If you like the '50s, you’ll love Rockin' across Texas. I kid you not, this is one of the best releases on FTD thus far. Don’t miss it.

Need further convincing? Let's look at the concerts, shall we?

First out is Elvis's show from Amarillo on June 19, 1974. The King is in excellent voice and sings several new songs, such as his recent single ”Help Me”, ”Why Me, Lord?”, ”Let Me Be There”, ”Big Boss Man”, and ”Trying to Get to You”; the last two, although recorded earlier, were added to the live repertoire on a regular basis from 1974. Highlights include ”Help Me”, ”An American Trilogy”, and ”Big Boss Man”. Good as this show is, I can't shake the feeling that Elvis is bored. He doesn't put on his full power. Nevertheless, even a subdued Elvis is at least twice as good as the next man. A newly discovered interview with Elvis and the Colonel from 1960 rounds off the CD, and it’s a nice addition, especially because Elvis talks about his tours in the Lone Star State.

The second show was recorded in Fort Worth on July 3, 1976 and is a killer. Elvis is a bit drowsy during the first couple of songs but wakes up during ”Amen”, interacting warmly with the audience. There are no surprises in the set list, but Elvis proves that he still knows how to rock. Highlights are a strong ”Jailhouse Rock” with a lot of piano, a kick-ass ”Polk Salad Annie”, a powerful ”America the Beautiful”, and possibly the best 1976 version of ”You Gave Me a Mountain”, which was terrible more often than not due to Elvis’s bad case of ”old man’s voice” this year. Those of you who own the Pontiac New Year's Eve show will get an extra kick out of ”Polk Salad Annie”, because Elvis talks about how he ripped his suit during that show. Also worth mentioning is the enormous applause that follows ”America the Beautiful”, surprising even the King himself.

CD 1: sound: 4-/5; show: 4/5.
CD 2: sound: 5/5; show: 4/5.

© Ken Jensen, Norway, May 2005

  Other reviews by Ken Jensen

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