Gotta Find My Baby!

December 26, 2022

Off-Duty With Private Presley (Book + CD - MRS, 2009)

Off-Duty With Private Presley
MRS [MRS30065859]
Book + CD
Number of tracks:
Running time:
Type of album:
Studio / Home recording
Linked to:
Unofficial discography
May 17, 1958 - April 1959
January 22, 2009

Off-Duty With Private Presley is a compilation of some of the amateur tapes recorded by the King of Rock in 1958 and 1959 in Texas and at his home in Bad Nauheim, while serving in the US Army in Germany.

When he was finally called up to serve in the US Army on March 24, 1958, Elvis had some uncertainties about the future of his career. His meteoric rise since signing his contract with RCA in November 1955 could very well have been interrupted by those two years of media absence, but he also had some confidence in Parker, who had pulled his strings so the singer could record plenty of material in advance and not leave the market empty in the period in which he would serve.

Taken to Waco, Texas, to begin his training, Elvis was stationed at Fort Hood and received all the necessary instructions to become an exemplary soldier. He was soon given permission to rent a house at 2807 Lasker Avenue, right next to the home of broadcaster Eddie Fadal, with whom he had formed a solid friendship while performing at Waco in 1956. There, he had the presence of his parents, grandmother Minnie Mae, his girlfriend Anita Wood and friends who often accompanied him to Fadal's house for moments of leisure.

In one of these meetings, in the last days of his stay in Texas, shortly before returning to Memphis to then go to Nashville to record new songs, Elvis took Anita to a birthday party at Fadal's house. Eddie then turned on his tape recorder and recorded one of the greatest moments in the history of Elvis' amateur recording in his time in the Army. In it, Elvis can be heard singing and playing the piano with his friends in more than 40 minutes of non-stop music. Such a gem would be hidden from the world for a long time until it was released by the bootleg label Memphis Flash on LP in 1978 under the title "Forever Young, Forever Beautiful".

Between June 10 and 11, 1958, the singer went to RCA Studio B in Nashville, at the request of Parker and RCA, to record some more backup songs. The Masters from that session would be released in the course of the following year and would become known as some of his greatest hits.

On August 9, Gladys was hospitalized and Elvis became severely depressed after her death on the 14th. For this reason and his upcoming departure to Germany, Elvis would not enter the studio for almost two years, but even then his fame would remain intact.
The rock legend would spend less than 18 months in Germany, but his presence has left an indelible mark since October 1, 1958, when he docked in the port of Bremerhaven and from there traveled by train to the American base in Friedberg. Presley was an exemplary soldier and enjoyed the advantage of living outside the barracks at the Grunewald Hotel in the nearby town of Bad Nauheim, where he was surrounded by relatives, friends and bodyguards.

When his battalion got Christmas leave, Elvis wanted to celebrate. He and his friends sat in the living room with a guitar in hand and Charlie Hodge turned on his personal recorder to capture them playing and singing the songs that came to their minds that could be recorded for RCA. Another Hodge tape would record Elvis playing the piano.

In April 1959, already living at 14 Goethestrasse in Bad Nauheim, Elvis recorded a few more tapes at the request of RCA, which again worried about the possible lack of material until his return to the US in 1960 and pressured the Colonel to ask new recordings to his protege.

In mid-2008, Memphis Recording Service (MRS) got their hands on some complete tapes from that moment. For the most part, the recordings were damaged and could not be recovered, but they still had great sales potential, as excerpts from another source had been made available on the legendary 1999 CD "The Home Recordings". One of it brought the audio of the occasion at Eddie Fadal's house and the others had the material recorded in April 1959.

Unable to recover some parts with the technology of the time, MRS chose to release a book entitled "Off-Duty With Private Presley", which told details about what Elvis did on his days off while in the Army and the situations around him, and make a CD available as a bonus. The work included the June 1958 Masters, with the exception of "Ain't That Loving You Baby", the recording at Eddie Fadal's house in May of that year and some excerpts from the April 1959 tapes in Germany.

The CD contains the following tracks:

1. A Big Hunk O' Love
2. I Need Your Love Tonight
3. (Now and Then There's) A Fool Such As I
4. I Got Stung 
5. Sail Along Silvery Moon / I Understand Just How I Feel
6. Happy, Happy Birthday Baby
7. Dialogue
8. I Can't Help it
9. Dialogue
10. Who's Sorry Now
11. Who's Sorry Now (Reprise)
12. Happy, Happy Birthday Baby (Reprise)
13. Happy, Happy Birthday Baby (Reprise 2)
14. Happy, Happy Birthday Baby (Reprise 3)
15. Happy, Happy Birthday Baby (Reprise 4)
16. Happy, Happy Birthday Baby (Reprise 5)
17. Dialogue
18. Tumblin' Tumbleweeds / Blue Moon / Don't You Know I Love You?
19. Tomorrow Night 
20. Tomorrow Night (Reprise)
21. Little Darlin'
22. Monologue
23. Just a Closer Walk With Thee
24 Elvis Arrival in Germany - Ray Barracks, Friedberg, 2nd October, 1958 
25. At the Hop
26. I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen 
27. Que Sera, Sera / Hound Dog
28. I Asked the Lord
29. I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen (Fast Unedited Version)
30. Apron Strings (Unedited version)
31. The Titles Will Tell 
32. At the Hop (Reprise) / Give Me Oil in My Lamp
33. Que Sera, Sera (Reprise)/ Hound Dog (Reprise)
34. Piano Solo
35. Send Me Some Lovin'


May 17, June 10 and 11, 1958; april 1959

Eddie Fadal's Residence
RCA Studio B
Hotel Grunewald, Bad Nauheim

Waco, Texas
Nashville, Tennessee
Friedburg, Germany

May 17, 1958
Voice: Elvis Presley, Anita Wood, Eddie Fadal
Piano: Elvis Presley

June 10 / 11, 1958
Voice: Elvis Presley
Guitar: Elvis Presley
Electric guitar: Hank Garland, Chet Atkins
Bass: Bob Moore
Drums: DJ Fontana, Murray "Buddy" Harman
Piano: Floyd Cramer
Bongos: Murray "Buddy" Harman
Backing Vocals: The Jordanaires
Sound engineer / Recording engineer:
Steve Sholes / Bob Farris

April 1959
Voice: Elvis Presley
Guitar: Elvis Presley, Charlie Hodge
Piano: Elvis Presley
Backing Vocals: Charlie Hodge, Lamar Fike, Al Fortas

MAY 17, 1958
                            Sail Along Silvery Moon / I Understand Just How I Feel
                            Happy, Happy Birthday Baby
                            I Can't Help it
                            Who's Sorry Now
                            Who's Sorry Now (Reprise)
                            Happy, Happy Birthday Baby (Reprise)
                            Happy, Happy Birthday Baby (Reprise 2)
                            Happy, Happy Birthday Baby (Reprise 3)
                            Happy, Happy Birthday Baby (Reprise 4)
                            Happy, Happy Birthday Baby (Reprise 5)
                            Tumblin' Tumbleweeds / Blue Moon / Don't You Know I Love You?
                            Tomorrow Night 
                            Tomorrow Night (Reprise)
                            Little Darlin'
                            Just a Closer Walk With Thee

JUNE 10 / 11, 1958
                            I Need Your Love Tonight J2WB 3253-18
                            A Big Hunk O' Love J2WB 3254-SP
                            Ain't That Loving You Baby J2WB 3255-04
                            Ain't That Loving You Baby (fast version) PPA5 2672-SP
                            (Now And Then There's) A Fool Such As I J2WB 3256-09
                            I Got Stung J2WB 3257-24

APRIL 1959
                            I Asked the Lord #1
                            I Asked the Lord #2
                            Apron Strings #1
                            Soldier Boy #1
                            Such a Night (few lines)
                            Soldier Boy #2
                            I Asked the Lord #3 (incomplete)
                            I Asked the Lord #4
                            I Asked the Lord (rehearsal of the ending)
                            I Asked the Lord #5
                            I Asked the Lord (rehearsal of the ending)
                            Piano Solo – Jingle Bells
                            Earth Angel #1
                            Earth Angel (rehearsal of the ending)
                            I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen #1 (fast)
                            Que Será, Será / Hound Dog
                            At the Hop
                            I'll Take You Home Kathleen #2 (slow)
                            Apron Strings #2
                            It's Been So Long, Darling
                            Earth Angel (intro) / I Will Be True
                            There's No Tomorrow
                            I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen (slow #2)
                            Que Será Será / Hound Dog
                            I Asked the Lord #6 (+ ending reprise)
                            I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen (fast #2)
                            Apron Strings #3
                            The Titles Will Tell
                            At the Hop / Give Me My Oil Lamp
                            Que Será Será / Hound Dog / Piano Solo
                            Send Me Some Lovin' #1
                            Send Me Some Lovin' #2



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