KING CREOLE – Elvis’s best movie role – (Part 6)

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Elvis’s best movie role –
(Part 6)

By Mariusz Ogieg?o

Dixieland Rock

Almost all of the songs for the soundtrack of Presley’s fourth film were recorded during two short recording sessions in January 1958. The only exception was a short, one-day session on February 1 of the same year, which I will try to talk more about later in this text.

The first recordings for “King Creole” were made in mid-January. Less than two days after Elvis was accompanied by several (Jerry Hopkins mentions a dozen people in his book) of his trusted associates and family members, including: Lamar Fike, Alan Fortas, Cliff Gleavs and cousins ??Gene and Bobby Smith showed up in Los Angeles*.

While working on the soundtrack, Presley and his entourage stayed on the top floor of the elegant Beverly Wiltshire Hotel. The same one that the singer had rented just a few months earlier while filming his previous film, “Jailhouse Rock.”

In turn, his team members, just like a few months earlier, rented rooms at the Hollywood Knickerbocker Hotel.

This time, Elvis’s entourage did not include George Klein, who was kept in Memphis by other professional commitments. ” Just before he left for California, Elvis asked me again if I would go with him ,” the popular radio disc jockey explained in his book. ” I then told him how much I appreciated his offer, but I also explained that things were starting to go really well at WHEY and I didn’t want to ask Sam Phillips for time off right after he hired me. Elvis understood this and was grateful that I had arranged for him a solid replacement in return (Alan Fortas, author’s note) .

The information about Elvis’s arrival in the city spread quickly both among his fans, who from the very first day stood guard in front of the main entrance to the hotel, and among representatives of the local media, who did not miss any opportunity, even the smallest one, to meet the famous artist and exchange even one sentence with him in order to obtain hot material for their newspapers or radio stations. ” Well, I guess I’m a prisoner of my vocal chords ,” Elvis said during one such meeting with reporters. “ I think my fans expect me to sing no matter what and I would like to be more than just a singer. I’m sure I would have a better future as an actor. I will never stop singing, but there is no reason why I can’t do both. Just like Bing Crosby or Frank Sinatra do. I think that both of them have developed a lot as singers since they started acting .

Apparently, when he said this, Elvis was aware of the changing trends in music and that the fashion for rock’n’roll music that he initiated could fade away as quickly as it began, and that he himself could just as quickly lose his status as an idol and become just a memory of the old crazy times. .

Although it seems that at that time there were no serious reasons for concern.

In 1958, Elvis was at the height of his popularity. CDs with his recordings sold in record numbers, and the films in which he appeared, although heavily criticized, had a solid, well-thought-out plot and attracted crowds of his admirers to cinemas. Similarly to the rest of the songs recorded for them, which were still at the highest level and most of them immediately became international hits.

The soundtrack of his next film, recorded on Wednesday morning, January 15, only confirmed this rule.

The session, like the previous few, was organized at the Radio Recorders studio, which was less than seventeen kilometers away from the Beverly Wiltshire Hotel.

When Elvis arrived at the venue a few minutes after nine in the morning, there were already a lot of people crowded into the building. ” I remember it was very crowded in the studio ,” Mike Stoller recalled in one of his interviews. “ The Colonel was there. Michael Curtiz and Steve Sholes were there too. There were loads of film executives* and of course Thorne Nogar, the great sound engineer .

In addition to the above-mentioned sound engineer, another sound engineer, Wally Kamin, also participated in the recordings. Moreover, in the recording hall, Presley’s band was already waiting for him, consisting of: Scotty Moore on guitar, Bill Black on bass and DJ Fontana on drums, as well as several additional musicians: Ray Siegal (bass), Dudley Brooks (piano), Mahlon Clark (clarinet). ), Teddy Bruckner (trumpet), Justin Gordon (saxophone) and Elmer Schneider (trombone). ” The use of brass in the arrangements was a departure from the standard quartet that Elvis had previously worked with ,” continued Mike Stoller.

Vocal accompaniment was invariably provided by the male quartet The Jordanaires, whose members, Gordon Stoker, Neal Matthews and Hoyt Hawkins (Hugh Jarrett does not appear in the list of musicians. His name appears only in the list of vocalists) also played instrumental roles in some songs, playing, among others: including guitar, bass, bongos and cymbals.

Considering the fact that the presence of any other artists at Presley’s sessions (especially in his later years) was rather rare, the invitation to this session of New Orleans jazz singer Blanche Thomas seems to be worth noting.

Even if the participation of the singer, known for songs such as “You Ain’t So Such A Much” or the later “This Love Of Mine”, was limited to singing just a few lines in the composition “Turtles, Berries, Gombo” by Al Wood and Kathleen G . ‘Kay’ Twomey*. The song that appeared in the film right after the opening credits and in the Radio Recorders studio was recorded first.

Only after recording it did Elvis record the first of eleven songs that officially constitute the soundtrack of his new film.

  • Elvis came to Hollywood on January 13, 1958
  • Producer Walter Scharf was present at the session on behalf of Paramount. Mike Stoller also remembered that Steve Sholes was present during the sessions, although he was mainly associated with the studio in Nashville.
  • According to Keith Flynn on his website, the original title of the song was “Crawfish, Berries, Gumbo” but was changed due to the use of “Crawfish” in the soundtrack.

Article written and provided by Mariusz Ogieg?o, EP Promised Land (Poland)


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