Where was Elvis artistically in his last year? What did he want to sing? The answer is found in “Elvis Spring Tours 77”.
By this time, singer Elvis Presley had refused to record for RCA because he was still angry about selling off his back catalog. (Another one of Col. Tom Parker’s make-a-fast-buck schemes.) Thus, RCA was forced to record him any way they could to finish off his forthcoming album “Moody Blue”. Three live versions of songs from “Spring Tours” made it on to his last “studio” LP: “If You Love Me Let Me Know”, “Little Darlin'” and “Unchained Melody”. Unknowingly, RCA would be recording some of the last of Elvis and this compilation is a rare and unique remembrance of the most popular singer of the 2oth Century.
“Elvis Spring Tours 77” is a welcome relief from his last recording “Elvis in Concert”. While his final TV special contains a few outstanding songs, (“My Way”, “How Great Thou Art”), it also reveals a sad, last look at a broken man. His swan song so to speak.
“Spring Tours” is more upbeat, reportedly because Elvis believed he had a future with his new girlfriend Ginger Alden. Unfortunately, Ms. Alden couldn’t or wouldn’t live up to his expectations. As their relationship progressed (or regressed), Elvis complained to his inner circle: “Why doesn’t she want to spend more time with me?” Elvis wanted a 24/7 full-time companion and that she didn’t want. Elvis tried to mold her, to dress in more feminine clothes, but times were changing and she basically didn’t give a shit. That didn’t keep her from asking for things.
While Elvis had hopes for a Christmas wedding, deep down I think he knew it wasn’t meant to be. Consequently, this is the difference between his last two live albums. The first is where he believes he has a future. The second is where he doesn’t.
Highlights from “Spring Tours” are a rousing rendition of “Polk Salad Annie”, a soulful gospel tune “Help Me”, an amusing version of “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” (sung to Charlie Hodge), a heartfelt “Blue Christmas” and “Fairy Tale” with the prophetic verse: “You used me, you deceived me, and you never seemed to need me, but I’ll bet you won’t forget me when I go.”
Text © 2023 – EricReports