Gotta Find My Baby!

June 21, 2022

The Ultimate CBS Specials (CD - MadCow, 2013)


Title:
The Ultimate CBS Specials
Label:
MadCow [---]
Format:
Double CD
Number of tracks:
59
Running time:
143:00
Type of album:
Concert
Linked to:
Unofficial discography
Year:
2013
Recorded:
June 19 and 21, 1977
Released:
2013
Singles:
---

The Ultimate CBS Specials 
is a bootleg released by the MadCow label in 2013. It contains the full concerts from June 19 and 21 in Omaha, Nebraska, and Rapid City, South Dakota, respectively, recorded for "Elvis in Concert" and never officially released. The work is currently out of print.


On June 17, 1977, Elvis began what would be his last tour. Over ten days he would perform in 10 different cities, including Omaha and Rapid City, in which he filmed his special, and culminating with the magnificent, for that moment, show on June 26, 1977 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

In total, Elvis would pass an audience of 117,000 and raise over $1.5 million in those few days. In 1977, his 59 shows would earn around $7 million, a low sum compared to previous years.

Of course, Elvis' poor health played a part in why these numbers were low, as younger fans began to see him as a "music dinosaur". Another point was the musical style of the time, which also began to change rapidly towards Punk Rock and Pop, alienating younger audiences. The work of the media, which defamed Elvis whenever it could, also played a part.

But Elvis was Elvis and if there were anything he could count on, it was the millions of fans across the US and the world. His voice, which at that time was beginning to sound like that of tenors, was another thing that never failed him. Even at the worst shows of 1977, and there were many of them, unfortunately, his voice remained intact and sonorous—albeit slurred and tired at times.


Elvis in Omaha, Nebraska;
June 19, 1977 (©Sean Shaver)
Without a doubt, the June 19, 1977 show in Omaha, Nebraska is the most remembered from the beginning of that season. Not only because it is what is recorded on video by CBS-TV and on soundboard by RCA, but because it is, for these same reasons, what most shows how Elvis needed help at that moment.

With so many problems on his mind, such as the arrival of the dreaded Red West book in little more than a month, it was clear that The King needed a break from the stages and the rush; without losing his majesty, Elvis put the fans first, when it came to his personal life or health, which often, as in this period, was detrimental to him.

But Omaha was by far the best show after February 1977. Yes, Elvis was visibly tired and a little lost at first, but his voice again didn't let him down.

See below for a detailed review of the performances.










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- 1. Also Sprach Zarathustra: When the TCBs and Joe Guercio's orchestra start playing the characteristic fanfare at the beginning of the shows, the audience is electrified. The first chords of the intro bring effusive screams and applause. MadCow claims to have done everything possible to restore the audio of the performances contained in this CD and we really notice that the sound is somewhat compressed, but not very different from what you hear on the original tapes.

- 2. See See Rider: The audience stands, screams and applauds as Elvis steps onto the stage. Making a face of "what are you all doing here?", he is in a good mood. The King of Rock walks from one side of the stage to the other, poses for photos and greets all of his colleagues before heading to the microphone. Elvis' voice is strong, but the sound system doesn't help (a problem that will persist throughout the show). At first it is noticed that the mix is wrong, with Elvis' voice low, Charlie Hodge's voice too high (some joke that the show was Charlie's with Elvis singing the harmony) and the band and backing vocals stifled. It is noticeable that The King is not at his best; if he had been, he would have stopped the show and restarted, as he would in Rapid City, at the first sign of error. But his voice is infallible throughout the entire run.

- 3. I Got a Woman / Amen: The cameras in the venue prompt Elvis to a funny comment: "You're all on Candid Camera, you know that, don't you?" Elvis' first "weeeelll..." brings crazed screams, showing that even in the midst of all the problems his power and presence were still great. The song goes well, with Elvis making some bass notes along the way. During his usual dialogue at the end of the song, he explains to the audience that he is wearing make-up and that this is not common at his concerts. A quick "striptease" leads to JD's dive bombs and the end of the rendition. Again, Charlie's voice disturbs the harmony a bit. A fan yells "turn around!" (the concert was held in an arena with audiences on all sides) and Elvis complies, joking: "Is that God calling? Yes sir, son!" (sort of a grim prediction, if you think about it).

- 4. That's All Right: "I'd like to do the very first song that I recorded... That's All Right Mama... And I was a mere baby in arms - still am!" 
A fan screams "Elvis!", to which the King of Rock, showing that he is connected to what is happening around him and thinking fast, responds immediately: "Honey, I told you to wait till after the show." He then continues the song's intro: "And the only things that we had was a bass, and a guitar and another guitar, that's it. So, it went like this... I actually know three chords! We had no drums or nothing." Elvis does his best and luckily Charlie Hodge is not singing because he has to hold the microphone for the singer, but the mix is still wrong and Elvis' guitar is heard way ahead of the other instruments.

- 5. Are You Lonesome Tonight: - Between one song and the next, an electrical noise catches Elvis' attention. "I did a song called 'Are You Lonesome Tonight'." Maybe the noise got in his way during the first verse and he starts the song again. Of course, the "gay couple" scene between Elvis and Charlie during the spoken verse brings laughter from the audience. In general, the rendition is good, but not as good as in Rapid City. More audience dialogue ensues and Elvis asks if the audio is ok at the back of the arena (fan response is mixed).

- 6. Love Me: "Thank you, thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you. I'd like to say that it's a pleasure to be here. How long has it been since we've been here? One year!? Ain't it funny how time slips away?In a television special such as In Concert, the song could not be missing. It was one of the highlights of his performances since 1969 and the first moment when Elvis came into direct contact with the public and handed out scarves. The version is fast (with Charlie's voice getting in the way again) and drives the audience wild. After the rendition, Elvis explains to the audience that they are having technical difficulties with the sound before continuing his performance.

- 7. Fairytale: "This next song is the story of my life, it's called 'Fairytale,'" Elvis introduces. There isn't much dialogue between one song and another, probably because filming was expensive, and the King of Rock seems to be having fun singing a few songs of his own and/or with the idea of returning to a broader medium like TV. The sound of the venue doesn't help, but Elvis manages to hit pretty high notes and outdo himself.

- 8. Little Sister: "I'd like to do a medley of my records, just a little one... Starting with 'Little Sister'." That's enough for that explanation, and Elvis is already into the song with enthusiasm. It's here, 30 minutes into the show, that he begins to try the more elaborate first steps to remind the audience of who he was.

- 9. Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel: The classic medley starts with no intros and is almost glued to the end of the previous song. Elvis enjoys handing out scarves to a farther part of the audience, watching the women go crazy and trying to grab each other to get the souvenir. A fan almost falls off a guardrail and Elvis says "be careful". In the transition between "Teddy Bear" and "Don't Be Cruel" he looks at Charlie and smiles, as if he can't believe his eyes - all the excitement of the fans.

- 10. And I Love You So: "This next song is a song that we did in an 'alblum'... 'Alblum'?! It's called 'And I Love You So'." It's hard not to think that Elvis sent his thoughts back at that moment to March 1975, when he was very well in his relationship with Sheila Ryan and had offered the song to her during the recording. The rendition is perfect for the period and Elvis even includes some low notes in his singing.

- 11. Jailhouse Rock: "My third movie was 'Jailhouse Rock'" is the only introduction. The song draws effusive applause from the audience and encourages Elvis to take bolder steps.

- 12. How Great Thou Art: "I'd like to do a Gospel song that we did - and you've heard us do it before -, but it features The Stamps Quartet. 'How Great Thou Art'." Undoubtedly the best rendition of the night, it is received with respect by the fans. It's amazing to see Elvis come to life through this Gospel song that was one of his favorites. All his troubles seem far away at that moment, his voice, soul and body devoted to religious chanting in unison. Several times Elvis reaches his full vocal range of 3 octaves, mostly at the triple end of the song. Both the audience and the band, orchestra and backing vocals vibrate, with the perfect execution.

- 13. Band introductions: Taking the opportunity to rest his voice for a while, Elvis introduces The Sweet Inspirations, JD Sumner, The Stamps (individually, "'cause tghey get mad if I don't"), Kathy Westmoreland and Sherrill Nielsen.

- 14. Early Morning Rain: John Wilkinson's solo features Elvis singing one of his favorite songs from his 1973 Hawaii special.

- 15. What'd I Say: 
James Burton does his guitar solo with Elvis singing parts of the song.

- 16. Johnny B. Goode: Next, James shows off his skills by playing the guitar placed behind his head. Elvis sings during this one, which is another one of his favorites.

- 17. Drum Solo: The drum solo is greatly celebrated by Elvis, who accompanies it with some bass notes, and by the audience.

- 18. Bass Solo:  Scheff does his classic Blues, also very well received by the singer and accompanied by bass notes.

- 19. Piano Solo: Tony Brown does a little uptempo solo (Elvis again does bass notes).

- 20. I Really Don't Want to Know: Next, Tony accompanies the King of Rock in the song recorded in 1970 for the album "Elvis Country".

- 21. Electric Piano & Clavinet Solo: Elvis introduces the electric piano solo by Ogdin and his faithful sidekick Charlie Hodge.

- 22.Orchestra Solo: Finishing the intros, Elvis introduces Joe Guercio and his orchestra with a short solo.

-23. Hurt: "One of our lattest records is called 'Hurt'", Elvis announces. One of the most moving songs of the period, the audience listens in silence. Elvis was worried at first, commenting that he didn't think he was going to be able to hit the right notes and being encouraged by Charlie and The Sweet Inspirations, but in the end his 3 octaves don't fail him and he seems legitimately surprised.

- 24. Hound Dog:  Elvis' voice starts to sound tired, perhaps from the strain on the previous song, but he still puts on a good show. The audience cheers as The King of Rock does some of his famous pelvic thrusts.

- 25. O Sole Mio / It's Now or Never: "In 1960 we did a song called 'It's Now or Never', and it was taken from the Italian song 'O Sole Mio'. I'd like to ask Sherrill to do the Italian version and then we shall do ' It's Now or Never'. Listen to his voice, ladies and gentlemen." Sherrill Nielsen uses his vocal expertise in his solo with the Italian version, with Elvis calling him "smartalec" as usual. It might seem late for a song that demands a lot of vocals, especially after "Hound Dog" was a little weak, but Elvis' power returns in as magnificent a way as the classic rendition would show.

- 26. Monologue: Elvis thanks all the technicians, musicians and people involved in the production of the show before saying his already famous goodbye: "Till we meet you again, may God bless you. Adiós."

- 27. Can't Help Falling In Love: Elvis hands out a few more scarves during the last song of the show.

 - 28. Closing Vamp  /Announcements: The audience applauds and screams madly during the closing fanfare, wanting to capture at least a nod from Elvis before he departs backstage and uncertainty about when he will return to Omaha takes hold of fans. At the end, we hear Ed Hill say the famous words: "Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building. Thank you and good night."

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Elvis in Rapid City, South Dakota; June 21, 1977
Two days after performing in Omaha, Elvis would do a show in Rapid City for the first time. Unlike Omaha, the King of Rock had not performed there in the 1950s and would be the first artist to use the facilities at the newly built Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. It sold out within hours of ticket sales and 10,000 people watched Elvis perform in the Mexican Sundial jumpsuit.

After the previous night's excellent show in Lincoln, Nebraska, CBS and RCA would not miss the opportunity to record the performance to include on the "Elvis in Concert" LP and TV special.

It was decided that part of the backstage would also be filmed there, with Elvis arriving at the place and receiving awards and commendations, the most significant being the Key to the City, given by the mayor, and a Medallion of Life presented by a little girl of the local tribe of the Sioux. Surrounded by Mafia members, Elvis is helped with his wardrobe behind closed doors and then escorted to the back of the stage, where he would wait for his moment to enter.

See below for a detailed review of the concert.


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- 1. Also Sprach Zarathustra: As always, the audience is electrified as the most awaited moment of the night arrives. The sound is better than in CD 1, but the source remains the same. Fortunately, Charlie Hodge's voice isn't as evident as it is in Omaha.

- 2. See See Rider: It doesn't take long for Elvis to enter the stage and the fans scream and applaud deafeningly. The song starts and we soon realize that the strength of the night before remains. Even more surprising, Elvis was fully aware of what was going on around him and was able to realize that he had gotten the second stanza wrong, stopping the music and starting it again from the same spot. High and low notes are masterfully delivered during the rendition and the ending is flawless.

- 3. I Got a Woman / Amen: Elvis thanks the audience and starts his "well, well, well..." routine while trading some inside jokes with the band and backing vocals. His voice is constant throughout the song and "Amen" is quite inspirational, with the King of Rock doing bass notes. Elvis does his famous "striptease" in a much more dynamic way, followed by JD's dive bombs and a fantastic finish.

- 4. That's All Right: "If you don't know it by now, you're on television, so don't let the lights and cameras throw you; and don't throw the lights and cameras, if you can help it." A small cut leads to the introduction of the song: "I'm gonna actually play the guitar; and I know three chords, believe it or not. But I faked them all for a long time. One of the first songs that I ever recorded." Elvis asks Charlie for some water, and after drinking he accidentally bites his tongue; both the dry mouth and the swollen tongue, which made him slur his words, were side effects of his medications. Since Omaha, Elvis had been decreasing his consumption and his diction had improved considerably during those 72 hours. "That's All Right" had its best rendition of that tour.

- 5. Are You Lonesome Tonight: "And then we did a song called 'Are You Lonesome Tonight'. And I am... I mean, I was...", he introduces sarcastically. After a brief complaint about the quality of the palettes he is using (one broke in his hand), Elvis begins the song. His voice is strong, but his swollen tongue makes him miss the pronunciation during the spoken part of the lyrics, which ends up being an opportunity for him to improvise. Still showing to be in touch with reality and of sound mind, he recalls an episode from 1969 when he laughed uncontrollably during the performance of the same song after he made a pun on the lyrics due to the unusual presence of a man who lets his wig fall in front of the stage.

- 6. Love Me: "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Wayne Newton." Elvis seems to be in a very good mood. "Somebody told me that this was a new building or something, and I was the first person to perform  here. Is it true?" The audience responds positively. Realizing he is sweating, he tells the audience that he is wearing makeup for the sake of filming and not to worry because CBS-TV would take anything wrong and "edit it, cut it, X-rate it." The song runs as usual, with Elvis handing out scarves to the fans.

- 7. If You Love Me (Let Me Know): "This next song was recorded by Olivia Newton-John and it's called 'If You Love Me, Let Me Know'... And if you don't, then move it!" It is noticeable that this is one of the songs that Elvis really liked, because he asks the audience to accompany him and rehearses some shy steps received with enthusiasm by everyone.

- 8. You Gave Me a Mountain: "Thank you, you're a good audience. 'Mountain'." The version is the best of the year, with Elvis making a spectacular ending.

- 9. Jailhouse Rock: "My third movie was 'Jailhouse Rock'" is all Elvis needs to say to freak the audience out. It's clear that the small swelling on the tongue makes the rendition difficult, which requires a quick succession of complicated words, but Elvis does it well.

- 10. O Sole Mio / It's Now or Never: 
"In 1960 we did a song called 'It's Now or Never', and it was taken from the Italian song 'O Sole Mio'. I'd like to ask Sherrill Nielsen to do the Italian version of ' O Sole Mio' and then we'll do ' It's Now or Never'. Listen to his voice, ladies and gentlemen."As Sherrill does his solo in Italian, Elvis makes faces to try to distract him. Elvis' English version would prove to be one of the best on the tour, with a surprising high note at the end.

- 11. Tryin' to Get to You: "This next song is a song that I did, I don't know, I guess about 18 years ago, and my dad likes it and my girlfriend likes it, so... But, you know, my voice was a lot higher back then. You gotta hide the belt in the right place. It's called 'Tryin' to Get to You'... Or 'Tryin' to get to y'all', according to what part of the country you're from. Or 'tryin' too get to yous'..." It's amazing to see that Elvis still had a lot of potential if he stopped excessively self-medicating. His voice plays through the notes and hits its objective effortlessly, creating arguably the best rendition of the year. Coincidentally, this would be the last time this song would be performed.

- 12. Hawaiian Wedding Song: "I did a movie called 'Blue Hawaii' and in it there was a song called 'Hawaiian Wedding Song'. And it was so real that took me two years before I realized it was just a movie, you know, that I wasn't married to this chick. Anyway, I'd like to sing it.". The version is regular, with many better ones, but ends in high style with the King of Rock giving a lei to Kathy Westmoreland and kissing her.

- 13. Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel: The medley goes as expected, with Elvis handing out many scarves to crazed fans at the edge of the stage.

- 14. My Way: "This next song, it was recorded by Frank Sinatra and it's called 'My Way'. I don't know the words to it, so I'll have to read it, if you don't mind." Elvis' rendition is done in a very good way, as it hasn't been for some time. Brilliantly played notes end the song on a very high note.

- 15. Band introductions: Elvis introduces The Sweet Inspirations, JD Sumner, The Stamps Quartet (individually), Kathy Westmoreland and Sherrill Nielsen. He fumbles up during Nielsen's intro, commenting: "I sing, I can't talk."

- 16. Early Mornin' Rain: As CBS-TV cut some solos from the original tape, all we have are a few seconds of this solo.

- 17. What'd I Say: 
Cut.

- 18. Johnny B. Goode: Cut.

- 19. Drum Solo: Cut.

- 20. Bass Solo: Cut.

- 21. Piano Solo: Cut.

-22. I Really Don't Want to Know: Elvis sings the 1970 recording accompanied by Tony Brown's piano.

- 23. Electric Piano & Clavinet Solo: Bobby Ogdin does his solo.

- 24. Orchestra Solo: Elvis introduces Charlie Hodge, Joe Guercio and his orchestra's solo.

- 25. Introduction: Elvis introduces his father (who is taken up the stage and cheered by everyone) and his girlfriend Ginger.

- 26. Hurt: "One of our lattest 'Hurt' was record... Records was 'Hurt'!" The audience is clearly moved by the quite significant rendition at that time. Because it's a recording of a limited-time TV special, Elvis doesn't do the usual repeat of the last stanza. Elvis himself is enthusiastic about his rendition: "Wow! Lord have mercy!"

- 27. Hound Dog: "Thank you very much. Thank you." James Burton's riff at the beginning of the song resounds through the arena and makes the audience vibrate. Elvis is excited from the start and hands out scarves to the audience. In the end, he even tries some elaborate dance steps, already rare at that point.

- 28. Unchained Melody: "This is a song that I just recorded, and it's an old song called 'Unchained Melody'. I'll have to play the piano, so it'll take just a second." Hearing fan requests, Elvis says he will do "Moody Blue" and "Love Me Tender" later, but that unfortunately doesn't happen. Another curiosity is that Elvis announces that he had recorded "Unchained Melody" recently and that it would be released in two weeks; as the album Moody Blue, which has the live version of 04/26/77, only went to stores exactly a month later, it is believed that Elvis was referring to a studio version that would be sold as a single, but if it existed, it was never put on the market and RCA has it in its vaults, destroyed it or lost it. Elvis' rendition is quite good, but not as good as the one cited above.

- 29. Monologue: Elvis thanks the audience, musicians, all the technicians and people involved in the production of the show before saying goodbye.

- 30. Can't Help Falling in Love: Just like the night before, Elvis makes bass notes while performing his most famous song and that leads to the end of the performance.

- 31. Closing Vamp: During the closing fanfare, the audience applauds effusively as Elvis greets his fans and poses for photos before heading backstage and hastily leaving the venue in his car.

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