ELVIS RADIO 24h – LOVING YOU- let's have a party – (part 6)

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Elvis Presley - Loving You 1957

Throughout the day, Elvis was accompanied by members of his band – Scotty Moore, Bill Black and DJ. Fontana, which was also a big departure from the way the soundtrack to the movie “Love Me Tender” was recorded only half a year earlier. It is worth recalling that at that time, the heads of the film studio did not agree to their participation in the work on the songs included in the soundtrack, because, as they officially argued, they were inappropriate for this type of music.

This time, however, it was different.

Bill, DJ and I were hired to record the soundtrack and play members of his (Elvis, author’s) band in the film, ” he recalled in the pages of the book “Scotty & Elvis. Aboard The Mystery Train by Scotty Moore. ” Paramount was paying us $285 a week for it .”

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In addition to the strictly musical scenes mentioned by Moore, in which the members of the group appeared on the screen alongside Elvis, Bill Black and DJ. Fontana also received their own episodic roles, including speaking short lines – as in the case of the first of the mentioned musicians or … taking down a poster promoting the performance of the main character (in this role, attentive viewers could recognize DJ Fontana).

The next day, the band in the same line-up, supported as several hours earlier by the vocal quartet The Jordanaires, returned to the studio where for the next seven hours they worked on new material.

The result turned out to be more than promising and the recorded songs were solid, varied and interesting.

The best proof of this was the first, recorded just after entering the studio, “Mean Women Blues” – a rock’n’roll composition by a black songwriter, Claude Demetrius, written especially for the upcoming film, whose name had already appeared in Presley’s signature song “I Was The One“. Ballads, which in January 1956 RCA Victor included on a single alongside the groundbreaking “Heartbreak Hotel“.

The aforementioned song was also one of the first that Demetrius wrote (in collaboration with Aaron Schroeder, Bill Peppers and Hal Blair) for Gladys Music Inc. The company that at the time was the only company that owned the exclusive rights to Presley’s music.

Earlier, i.e. before 1956, the author wrote for such artists as Louis Armstrong (“Please Stop Playing Those Blues, Boy”) or Louis Jordan (“Sure Had A Wonderful Time” or “Ain’t That Just Like A Woman” (They’ll Do It Every Time), which he co-composed with his wife, Fleecie Moore).

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It took several dozen minutes to record “Mean Women Blues“. After playing fourteen takes, the last of which was considered the best and described as a master, Elvis suggested changing the repertoire and returning to work on material for a gospel hymn album.

The title, which he proposed to record after a short break, “(There’ll Be) Peace In The Valley (For Me)“, accompanied him for many years on various occasions. He reached for it both during family meetings, spontaneous jam sessions with friendly musicians (one of the first documented performances of this piece by Elvis dates back to December 1956 and was recorded in SUN Studio during the famous jam session known as the Million Dollar Quartet) as well as during appearances on popular TV shows (he had performed it just a few days earlier during his final appearance on the Ed Sullivan show).

It was the kind of song Elvis liked ,” wrote one of the singer’s biographers of a nine-take composition by former black bluesman and now successful gospel music composer and preacher Thomas A. Dorsey.

Peace In The Valley” was not the only composition by this author that Elvis reached for during the described session. The next one was the poignant song “Take My Hand Precious Lord“, which Dorsey himself said in later interviews that it was his favorite of all that he wrote.

The piece to which Elvis devoted the last minutes of the session and which he treated with due respect was composed in 1932, not long after the death of Dorsey’s first wife and daughter. In the words of the song, the author poured out all his pain after losing his loved ones: ” Lead me, let me get up. I’m weak. I’m tired. I’m lonely .”

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The January recordings at Radio Recorders were complemented by “I Beg Of You” by Rose Marie McCoy and Kelly Owens and the ballad “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin“, which Elvis had included on his first demo recorded in Sam Phillips’ studio less than four years earlier.

As a curiosity, it is worth adding that each of the above songs was recorded in the binaural stereo system.

Information provided by EP Promised Land (Poland), Marius Ogieglo


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