Gotta Find My Baby!

November 09, 2022

Forty Eight Hours to Memphis (CD - FTD, 2011)

Forty Eight Hours to Memphis
FTD [FTD 105] [506020 975029 3]
Number of tracks:
Running time:
Type of album:
Linked to:
FTD discography
March 18, 1974
October 2011

Forty Eight Hours to Memphis was the 105th FTD CD. It covers the full March 18, 1974 concert in RichmondVirginia. The work is currently out of print.

1974 may have gotten off to a slow start on record releases with new material, but there was a sense of change to come in the air. The success of thecompilation "A Legendary Performer, Volume 1", released on January 11, was a great sign of that.

When the first season of the year began in Las Vegas, on the 26th of that month, Elvis was still shaken by his divorce three months earlier and his temper was as strong as the last show the year before. During the season, he would modify the repertoire to songs more to his liking and take the reins of the performances. "Let Me Be There" would gain prominence. Sherrrill Nielsen and his group, Voice, would have even more space by participating in "Spanish Eyes" and the solos in "Killing Me Softly", "Bringin' it Back", "I Can't Live Without You" and "Aubrey".

It was in March 1974 that the best concert season of Elvis' entire career took place. It was also at this point, after living in Memphis for 26 years and 13 years after his last performance there, that the singer finally conquered the city.

From March 1st to March 20th, the singer performed his biggest tour yet, with 24 shows in 20 days, and the whole thing was a bang. These were some of the best performances by the King of Rock since his return to the stage in 1969. Several cities have been blessed with 2, 3, 4 and even 5 concerts. The crowds were incredible and the anticipation excited them. Arenas were sold out in every city for at least a month before Elvis took the stage.

One such case is Richmond's. Elvis knew he was due to record a full concert at his last show of the season in Memphis, so he started practising a few numbers and changed the setlist to his liking. It was a big show and the crowd was wild.

When FTD announced it was releasing the Richmond concert, fans went into a frenzy. It was the first time this show would be officially released and the recording company had announced the source was a never-before heard stereo tape. This led to a huge disappointment when FTD released it in mono without telling the fans that they had forgotten to correct the initial information.

The concert and the audio quality helped excuse FTD a little. It came from a previously unknown multi-track recording, taken from a tape copy of a professional 16-track recorder. It had a few damages, but the concert was complete. Vic Anesini worked on it to fix the damages ans remaster the audio, leaving FTD with a gem in its hand. The 16-page booklet included in the package was a great addition to this magnificent concert.

Below is our review of this CD.

- 1. Also Sprach Zarathustra: The fanfare starts the show. The mix allows us to hear different elements that aren't usualy audible.

- 2. See See Rider: Elvis had done 4 shows in Memphis in the 2 days leading to this concert, and it meant he was more rested than usual as the Mid-South Coliseum was a mere 15-minute ride away from Graceland. There's a happiness in his voice when he starts to sing this already beat up song and it makes it sound really good. Also, keep your ear keen to Ronnie Tutt's blistering druming!

- 3. I Got a Woman / Amen: After a small "well, well, well..." routine, Elvis does his usual medley but it again sounds fresher than ever. The crowd goes wild with every hip thrust. Without the endless shenanigans to recover his breath, this is just amazing. The answer to why it may sound familiar is: it's the March 20th version. The tape was considerably damaged here, so Anesini decided to edit the Memphis performance in.

- 4. Love Me: "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. It's a pleasure to be back here in Hampton Ro- uh, Richmond. Just kidding' just kidding!The song is played straight tonight and Elvis doesn't spend a lot of time interacting to his audience. Even this usual throwaway is deliciously performed.

- 5. Tryin' to Get to You: This Sun classic had just entered the setlist and Elvis obviously has a good time with it, even giggling a little at the start. The high notes are sublime tonight.
- 6. All Shook Up: Duke Bardwell's bass drives the mix, and Elvis is in a very good mood again. He laughs while messing with his backing vocals and really has a good time.

- 7. Steamroller Blues: This is definitely a more funkier version than what we were used to hear and even more enjoyable than the Aloha one. Elvis is really into the song and it shows through his performance and his vocals.

- 8. Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel: The usual "kiss and scarf" throwaway, but very well performed.

- 9. Love Me Tender: "My first movie was 'Love Me Tender' and I'd like to sing a little bit of that for you.The rendition is well executed, albeit average.

- 10. Long Tall Sally / A Whole Lot-ta Shakin' Goin' On / Your Mama Don't Dance / Flip, Flop and Fly / Jailhouse Rock / Hound Dog: Elvis does a medley of his most successful rock records as he was doing since 1973. In a way it was done just to avoid singing all th songs that were already beat up and make the audience happy at the same time, but here it is very well performed and Elvis really rocks.

- 11. Fever: Elvis is very relaxed and the audience obviously loves the music. "Thank you very much. That's a fun song to do."

- 12. Polk Salad Annie: A very funky 1974 version starts. Elvis gives his all to it and the band tries to accompany him. Ronnie Tutt and James Burton outdo themselves and the backing vocals really work hard. This is a breathtaking version - for Elvis and the audience!

- 13. Why Me Lord: "I'd like to ask JD and The Stamps to sing one of my favorite songs." Without Elvis trying to make JD laugh, this is a very spiritual version. The mix is perfect for blending everything in the right place. 

- 14. Suspicious Minds: There's a few issues with the audio throughout this version, but Vic Anesini actually did a good job hiding them. This version isn't the most inspired one and is a lot similar to the one he'd do in Memphis, but still rocks.

- 15. Band Introductions: Elvis introduces his stage buddies. The Sweet Inspirations, JD Sumner e The Stamps (the singer points out that JD has a cold), Kathy Westmoreland, James Burton, John Wilkinson, Ronnie Tutt, Duke Bardwell, Glen Hardin, Charlie Hodge, o grupo Voice, Joe Guercio and his orchestra are presented.

- 16. I Can't Stop Loving You: "You know what I can't do?" Elvis' vocal powers are all shown here. .The version almost derails at a certain point, but Elvis and the band manage to get it right before it goes to waste.

- 17. Help Me: There's a very intimate feeling to this song. The Gospel rhythm really suits Elvis and the mix privileges his voice throughout.

- 18. An American Trilogy: Anesini added a little reverb here and it works wonderfully. The mix was so well distributed and the original recording was so well done that it makes you feel like you were there.

- 19. Let Me Be There: The newest song in the repertoire, added in January 1974, is next. Olivia Newton-John's 1973 hit is a great country ballad and Elvis really enjoys singing it. The mix lets us hear the magnificent guitar pickings by James Burton and also JD's comebacks. As usual, there's a reprise at the end.

- 20. Funny How Time Slips Away: "Now that you've had the chance to see us, I'd like to turn the house lights up and take a look at you, okay?" This is a laid back version that works pretty well. While talking to the audience, Elvis laughs and comments about a "big old ghost in the corner" (probably one of his bodyguards).

- 21. Can't Help Falling in Love: "Until the next time here in Richmond, we bid you an affectionate adiós." Elvis was obviously having fun, but it's time to go and the 1961 hit is performed. The audience goes wild trying to get a last kiss, scarf or even a glimpse of the singer.

- 22. Closing Vamp: The track is just one minute long and ends with the famous line: "Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building. Thank you and good night."


- 23. Sweet Caroline (March 1, 1974): The first CD bonus comes from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Elvis had removed this song from the regular repertoire in February of that year. The version we hear here shows him to be correct, as it runs slower and not as brilliantly as the 1970 versions.

- 24. Johnny B. Goode (March 17, 1974): The last two bonuses come from Memphis. Elvis has fun with the faster rock and the version is excellent, but the soundboard quality is not so good for us to enjoy the full potential of the song.

- 25. That's All Right (March 17, 1974): "It's the first record I ever recorded, I just want to do it right now, okay?Out of the regular repertoire since June 1972, this is a surprise added especially for the Memphis crowd. Elvis likes the song and sings along to James Burton's guitar all the time. Also worth mentioning are the vocal responses of the backing vocals.


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