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  • Elvis - racist and plain or The King

    As the record reorganisation continues Mrs Expury and I revived a long running discussion:
    Elvis, was he crap?
    Mr E agrees with Public Enemy and thinks that Elvis is rubbish and that he robbed his best songs from black sources
    I'm more of a tradionalist and think that he was earth-shattering until about the Elvis is Back LP and then declined - no one in their right mind can justify the Harum Scarum soundtrack
    I'm guessing that Elvis doesn't feature too prominently in most VGers collections but if he does what do you think? And what do you like of his later output - I have a strange attraction to his later live recordings partly to see how bad they can be
    "Record collecting is no mere hobby, no innocuous leisurely diversion. It is a feverish passion bordering on dementia, driving those under the influence to irrational, compulsive, fanatical extremes."

    Night of the Living Vinyl

  • #2
    I gave a hmv pressing of 'rock n roll' away*, I hate him that much.

    Nah, he did some alright recordings but the HUGE myth vastly overshadows the music, even more so than with The Beatles, and that's saying something!

























    *admittedly it wasn't in the best of shape and had an invisible sleeve
    "Not only that but the WHOLE COVER is UNCREASED with only 2 or 3 TINY creaselines near the opening edge about half way down!!!! In the same place (about half way down the opening edge), there is an absolutely TINY and PERFECTLY repaired split" (xxxrecords)

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    • #3
      Elvis rocks and only a deaf man can disagree.
      The Sun Sessions still sounds fresh to me after all these years.

      The whole argument about theft is just bullshit.
      The fact that it took a sexy young white boy to break certain songs to a mainstream audience is indicative of a deep racial tension in the States - and here - that continues to this day, with white vanilla versions of black music getting the hype and popularity, but (a) the racial divisions become complicated by class - grow up poor and white and you're much closer to black music culture than you are to middle-class white America and (b) everyhting is theft anyway and (c) it's not exactly plain or pure ol' theft when you add new ingredients to the pot, and Elvis just happened to come along with the right blend of country and hillbilly intermingled with the gutbucket R'n'B to create something rather unusual.

      What's the point of debunking the 'legend' or 'myth'?
      Elvis wasn't as good as some people think?
      Charlie Feathers rocked harder?
      The Beatles are maybe slightly overrated too?
      Pah!!!

      You just haven't listened to Mystery Train or Blue Moon enough lately.

      Where's Billybuck when you need him?
      To infinity - and beyond!

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      • #4
        It's not about debunking legend, but speaking for myself, I get de-sensitized to artistes...if they are ubiquitous, their appeal becomes less obvious to me. Like when you hear a pop track on the radio for the first time, and think- hey, that's alright, but after being brainwashed with it for three months, you start switching off.

        I still hear the odd Elvis track every now and again that I think - hey, that's alright! about- mostly the seventies country funk era things, but I can't see myself trawling through all those albums on rca international trying to find them!
        "Not only that but the WHOLE COVER is UNCREASED with only 2 or 3 TINY creaselines near the opening edge about half way down!!!! In the same place (about half way down the opening edge), there is an absolutely TINY and PERFECTLY repaired split" (xxxrecords)

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        • #5
          Ah, the bi-monthly VG+ "If it's popular, why bother?" argument erupts again in new clothes!

          You've admitted as much yourself, Joe, but depsite Elvis' ubiquity as an icon and cultural figure, there are loads and loads of recordings he made that are actually very rarely heard - and are often great. And if they were by someone else and you heard them, you'd think them the business and herald some obscure gem!

          You sound like you need to nab Elvis Country (I'm 10,000 years old) next boot fair you're at, mind!
          To infinity - and beyond!

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          • #6
            *runs for the hills*
            "Not only that but the WHOLE COVER is UNCREASED with only 2 or 3 TINY creaselines near the opening edge about half way down!!!! In the same place (about half way down the opening edge), there is an absolutely TINY and PERFECTLY repaired split" (xxxrecords)

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Expury70 View Post
              I'm guessing that Elvis doesn't feature too prominently in most VGers collections but if he does what do you think? And what do you like of his later output - I have a strange attraction to his later live recordings partly to see how bad they can be
              He features quite a bit in my collection.

              The Complete 50s Masters is very comprehensive and mostly quality. See it second hand a good bit. Sun Sessions are amazing.

              Things dipped in the early 1960s - too many crap movies but the 1968 comeback stuff is great.

              1970s Elvis is my favourite.

              Elvis: Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis - super.
              Live In Las Vegas box
              That's The Way It Is soundtrack
              Elvis Country LP
              Walk A Mile In My Shoes: Essential 70s Masters box.
              New Year's Eve 31 December 1975
              Tuscon '76
              The Jungle Room Sessions 1976 - last work in the studio
              Spring Tours 1977

              Follow That Dream put out quality Elvis live stuff.
              YouTube

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              • #8
                Elvis may have suffered from Barnumesque management at the hands of Parker, but he was a great performer and probably had the greatest impact on US teenagers culturally until the advent of the pil. I tend to take his music for granted and look towards other things but I'm always transfixed by watching his early performances and do have a few of his early 45's.
                Did he appropriate his sound from black music? Sure but I think he did manage to forge a sound of his own. Is he overrated in comparison to other Gods? I really don't know but I do think he deserves adulation for his input into rock & Roll
                https://www.facebook.com/AudioGrailGarrard301

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                • #9
                  Yep, love Elvis. To my mind, the argument about him "stealing" black music is a bit misguided for a number of reasons:

                  1) a lot of the "black" music he stole was written (Leiber & Stoller) and recorded (Sam Phillips) by white blokes - Hound Dog, Mystery Train etc etc
                  2) he "stole" from white sources equally successfully - early on he reflected a huge variety of music from the Southern US and beyond.
                  3) until we all give up on buying UK jazz, r'n'b and freakbeat, European and Bollywood funk etc etc etc, we can't exactly worry too much about it. Tracing the influence of black music across the continents is very close to what most of us actually do.
                  4) some of his versions of "black" music are actually better than the originals.

                  For me, Sun Sessions and those early singles are unmissable - Mystery Train is up there with my favourite songs ever. Elsewhere, Rubberneckin', Little Less Conversation, Clean Up your Own Backyard etc are definite VV/VG+ classics. Look here on the old main site.
                  Mixes, compilations and the like

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                  • #10
                    elvis is memphis is an incredible record / and as hugh said listen to the sun sessions - truly amazing and also historically pretty damn important - racist ?

                    no way - just an above average kind of guy who loved music [ and peanut butter ]
                    Rockwell
                    Banned (DJ Anchovy)

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                    • #11
                      A great programme I saw last week ('White Gospel, BBC4) explained the tradition of US white gospel as something very different from black gospel. I hadn't really differentiated the two forms, but the white version originated from British early hymn sources, and the 'Sacred Harp' movement - which created an energetic four-part harmony singing at churches in the southern states. Song sheet publisher's then toured around 4-man singing groups who taught congregations the new songs - this then developed into recordings and some very successful gospel harmony groups. These are what influenced Elvis, perhaps even more than 'Rock 'n' Roll... After the 1968 comeback the consistent presence of a 4-part white gospel group as central to his backing band is very evident - and Elvis was often brought to tears listening to them - he'd ask them to sing for him before (and during) his live shows and was clearly moved by the music..... Really interesting show.

                      I love the Sun sessions, the first couple of albums and the late 60s / 70s stuff. That 68 comeback concert is so goddamn sexy!!
                      "Ridicule is nothing to be scared of"

                      www.myspace.com/illustratedlondonnoise*********illustratedlondonnoise.blogspot.com

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                      • #12
                        Elvis as a cultural phenomenom is a fascinating subject.

                        At some point in time a "white" person was going to cross the boundaries and make "black" music and all it's power, energy, rawness and downright sexiness accessable (and profitable ) to 'white' society.

                        White, 1950's, teenage generation America was a repressed place, something had to give...

                        Elvis was the person with the voice, circumstance, timing, charisma, innocence, sexiness and undeniable talent to make it happen... he kicked the doors to the future wide open.

                        He pushed peoples perceptions inside out and made it acceptable for "white's" to buy and dig that "sort" of music, and wave it in the face of their parents.

                        Because of this he has been worshipped and hated in equal measure. The legend / myth will grow (and grow) forever.

                        Name some other people who have made a similar impact on a society and it won't be long before Jesus is mentioned. I just think Elvis was crucified loooooooong before he died.
                        In ((( VISUAL ))) Stereo

                        Eclectic Mud


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                        • #13
                          Been a convert since I first saw this, some 15-20 years ago..



                          For me, this is where he peaked and, as a performer, was rivaled only by James Brown..
                          The aural history of the sex life of a cosmic corn popper

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Joe M'geek View Post
                            I get de-sensitized to artistes...if they are ubiquitous, their appeal becomes less obvious to me.
                            I have to say the opposite is true for me... there's nothing I love more than playing some b-side of a flop single and someone going "who's that" only to be told... "Lulu", "Tom Jones", "Shirley Bassey", "Siouxsie & the Banshees" or... "Elvis".

                            Last single I got by him was "Let Yourself Go" (off Speedway soundtrack?) and if you haven't checked "Hey Hey Hey" off "Clambake" go and get it sorted...

                            And aimed at the original posting - was Elvis racist? Or are you talking about "record label safe packaging of white versions of black music"? Shit, it's still all around us - my girlfriend was telling me that ESTELLE is having trouble with her record label because they "don't know how to market her..." despite the fact she's already sold shitloads of records - DUFFY, ADELE - no problem, white girls who try and sound like they're black. Black singer who sounds black? "Err, no thanks, we've already got Beverly Knight..."*

                            *I have no idea what any of these artistes sounds like, but do enjoy a good rant...
                            Club stuff: www.facebook.com/DivineGlasgow

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                            • #15
                              http://www.vinylvulture.co.uk/pages/elvis.htm
                              Laminated with Clarifoilâ„¢

                              also see : davidhopkinson.org

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