KING CREOLE – Elvis’ best movie role – (Part 7)

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– Elvis’ best movie role –
(Part 7)

By Mariusz Ogieg?o

The word “officially” seems to be crucial in this case because today we know about at least two songs intended for the described production, which were never (or at least not at that time) sung or recorded by Presley.

We are talking about the composition “Stop Me” by Charles O’Curran and “Dirty, Dirty Feeling” by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. ” Another reason we came back to Los Angeles was Elvis ,” Mike Stoller explained in an interview. “ He wanted us to write songs for his new film, ‘King Creole’. […] We submitted four songs – ‘King Creole’, ‘Trouble’, ‘Steadfast, Loyal And True’ and ‘Dirty, Dirty Feeling’. Elvis liked all four songs, but ‘Dirty, Dirty Feeling’ was removed from the film. But when Elvis got out of the army two years later, he remembered the melody and recorded it.” The song was released in 1960 on the excellent LP, “Elvis Is Back!”

The January session opened with the twelve-bar blues “Hard Headed Women” written by Claude DeMetrius, which after ten subsequent takes Elvis transformed into an energetic and energetic rock’n’roll seasoned with a hint of the New Orleans sound.

Several other songs recorded during those days underwent a similar transformation. The compositions included on the demo discs needed to be arranged in such a way that their new sound would fit into the atmosphere of the New Orleans music clubs where the hero created by Presley performed.

It was no different with “Trouble”, the first of three songs by Leiber and Stoller recorded for “King Creole”. ” We’ve written songs like this before ,” Mike Stoller said in an interview with Ken Sharp. “ It was kind of blues like ‘Riot In The Cell Block #9’ or ‘Framed’. We knew Elvis could do things like that. There was less happy Elvis in this recording and much more menacing sexual undertones and danger .

The song turned out to be so dangerous that the creators of the Hays Code (responsible for what would appear on the screen and in what form) even ordered its original title to be changed from “I’m Evil” to “Trouble”.

The recording uses one of the most popular blues riffs (heard, among others, in the performances of such stars of this genre as Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley and Willie Dixon), the so-called stop-time, which consists in briefly stopping the music in the first part of the composition. I’m talking about the part of the song where Elvis says into the microphone: ” If you’re looking for trouble, you’ve come to the right place. If you’re looking for trouble, look me straight in the eye. I am a born rebel and I speak out . These words are followed by the short break mentioned above, after which the singer forcefully blurts out the next lines: ” My dad is a green-eyed guy who knows the mountains like the back of his hand and I’m angry. My middle name is unlucky. Well, I’m bad so don’t mess with me .

Stop-time, however, is used not only in blues. This procedure is also often used in New Orleans jazz. In this case, however, such a musical pause usually precedes the instrumental solo.

Recorded on the fifth attempt, “Trouble” soon became Presley’s next big hit and, as numerous reviewers wrote, ” one of the best moments ” in his entire new film. ” I liked ‘Trouble’ the most ,” commented Mike Stoller, who, along with Jerry Leiber, as in the case of “Jailhouse Rock”, served as an informal producer during the sessions. ” In giving such a menacing performance, Elvis once again seems completely blind to the parodic intentions of the duo (Leiber and Stoller, author’s note) ,” Collin Escott would write years later. ” ‘Trouble’ almost became a metaphor for Elvis and the whole rock ‘n’ roll revolution .”

Like Mike Stoller, quoted earlier, Roy C.Bennett also considered his own composition recorded that day (one of nearly thirty performed by Presley over the years) to be his favorite. ” My favorite Elvis recording is ‘New Orleans’ ,” he emphasized in one of the interviews.

Recorded moments after recording “Trouble”, the song was completed after five takes and a marathon of the title recording began almost immediately. ” The only title song we wrote for Elvis was ‘King Creole,’ ” Mike Stoller explained in an interview for bluerailroad. ” It’s worth clarifying because it was said that we had already written songs for ‘Jailhouse Rock’ .” In fact, however, as Jerry Leiber clearly emphasized in the same conversation (and as I mentioned in my earlier text), ” We wrote songs for a movie that was renamed ‘Jailhouse Rock’ .”

“King Creole”, or rather its first version, was recorded only in the eighteenth attempt. Paradoxically, however, due to the fact that little (or in fact, no) material has survived from the January session described in this text, determining its actual course, as well as the course of work on individual pieces, is quite difficult today.

Of all the nearly twenty attempts, only two survived – the third one, much more similar to the version from the demo album, and the eighteenth one, almost identical to the one that appeared on the soundtrack album a few weeks later. The lack of other approaches leaves, of course, a certain dissatisfaction, especially since these two recordings, officially released only a few years after Elvis’ death, show how Presley tackled this composition in the studio and how much of a transformation it underwent during these dozen or so attempts.

Additionally, it is also known from several sources that during the recording of the song ” the band had difficulty maintaining the proper rhythm “, as a result of which the version recorded on that day was considered not good enough and it was decided to return to the song during the next session.

The first stage of work on the soundtrack to “King Creole” was spent with the sounds of “Crawfish” by Fred Wise and Ben Weisman, which Elvis sang in a duet with jazz singer Kitty White (actually Kitty Jean Bilbrew).

Information provided by EP Promised Land Poland, Mariusz Ogieg?o


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