Gotta Find My Baby!

August 01, 2022

New Haven '76 (CD - FTD, 2009)

New Haven '76
FTD [FTD 085] [506020 975006 2]
Number of tracks:
Running time:
Type of album:
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FTD discography
July 30, 1976
November 2009

New Haven '76 was the eighty-fifth FTD CD. It covers the July 30, 1976 show in New Haven, Connecticut. The work is currently out of print.

1976 had been a year of more ups than downs and Elvis was happy with how things were going. His desire to record was still low, but the sessions at Graceland's Jungle Room were fun and very productive. He no longer seemed interested in Las Vegas, and Vegas was reciprocal, causing the Colonel to cast him for just one season from December 2-12 at the Hilton; this, as we know today, would be the last season of his career in the city. Rather than the dry air of the Nevada desert, the King of Rock chose to do just one more season in Lake Tahoe—where he had last performed two years earlier—between April 30 and May 9, 1976.

By the middle of that year, it didn't look like Elvis had returned to his old form or that that was possible. His performances were still erratic, and he would be slow and sometimes confused at the start of the concerts, though nothing like the terrible performances of August 1975 in Las Vegas. In fact, the singer would greatly improve his performance starting in June, culminating in the great show of December 31, 1976 in Pittsburgh, but it was clear that he no longer had that flame that burned in his core.

In this work, FTD officially releases the concert of July 30, 1976 in New Haven for the first time, and unfortunately it is somewhat forgettable. Many Elvis fans consider this to be the singer's worst summer tour, as he has been down to performing the absolute minimum of songs in a lackluster fashion. This tour, which kicked off on July 23, came shortly after the firing of his three bodyguards and it seems that this has had a big impact on him. Another thing that hung in the air—and certainly in his thoughts—was the lecture on poor performance the Colonel had given him two days earlier.

Below is our review of this CD.

- 1. Also Sprach Zarathustra: With the beginning cut off, the fanfare announces the start of the show. The audio is crystal clear, indicating that at least the listening experience will be worthwhile.

- 2. See See Rider: Elvis enters the song sounding clearly medicated, looking out of breath and mumbling a few words. Fortunately, here he is aware of where he is and what he needs to do, unlike a few days later. The version is average.

- 3. I Got a Woman / Amen: "Thank you very much. Thank you, ladies - ladies and gentlemen. Thank you.Elvis, acting as stage coordinator, asks the lighting technician to keep a spotlight on Ronnie Tutt. A brief "well, well, well" routine - where his voice fails! - leads to a drawn-out rendition of the Ray Charles classic. After the "striptease" routine, JD's dive bombs take over and Elvis is in good spirits, teasing JD about him being "the world's lowest human." The ending of the song is good.

- 4. Love Me: "Kids, we hope you have a good time this evening. Just enjoy yourselves, we're gonna do a lot of songs - old ones, new ones, some that JD's never heard before. So just relax and... It's a really high stage!" Elvis sounds concerned about the height of the stage at a time when he needs to get closer to the fans. Although he is more dedicated to giving gifts to hysterical women, the version is not all bad.

- 5. If You Love Me (Let Me Know): "Thank you very much. Hey, listen - listen for a second, everybody. All kidding aside, we don't want anybody to fall down and get hurt down here, so really, be careful, you know. We got a long way to go, a lot of scarves..." Apparently, the fans are freaking out tonight. The rendition itself is average, with touches that we would hear in versions of the following years.

- 6. You Gave Me a Mountain: "Thank you very much."This is one of the most requested showstoppers, but it doesn't sound like Elvis is inspired. James Burton's guitar is very clear in the mix, giving this version an air of resemblance to 1977's "Elvis in Concert".

- 7. Help Me: "I'd like to do a song that we didd a couple of years ago, ladies and gentlemen. It's called 'Help Me'.Elvis and Gospel always had a relationship of complicity on stage. When it came to genre songs, the singer seemed indisputably revived. This is one of the best versions of the 1974 single, albeit slower than usual.

- 8. All Shook Up: "Thank you very much. I'd like to do a medley of some of my records for you - whether I can or not that's another story, but I'd sure like to try.The Colonel's scolding is obviously still eating at him. The song doesn't hold up as Elvis turns to his fans and his voice sounds weak.

- 9. Teddy Bear / Don't Be Cruel: Another throwaway, but one that sounds much better than some of the previous ones.

- 10. And I Love You So: Although the audience seems very enthusiastic, it can be noted that Elvis is genuinely uninterested in this version. Perhaps he is dizzy or groggy from his medication and the fear of falling off the stage when being pulled by a fan is the reason he is very cautious and inattentive to the lyrics and the tempo.

- 11. America, the Beautiful: "Ladies and gentlemen, since it's our bicentennial year I'd like to do our version of 'America, the Beautiful' for you." This is one of the best of the night, but certainly not in the top 10 of that year. The replay of the ending is magnificent.

- 12. Jailhouse Rock: This is a short throwaway version, as usual in 1976.

- 13. Funny How Time Slips Away: "I'd like to turn the house lights up so I can take a look at you, because I can't see you from here." When the lights come on, the singer sees the crowd of fans on the edge of the stage and jokes: "No wonder, they're all down here." The rendition of the 1971 classic runs spectacularly for that year, with Elvis in control of the interpretation and making some lyrical puns. JD's part is fantastic.

- 14. Introductions: "Before I do anything else, I'd like to introduce the members of my group.Elvis introduces The Sweet Inspirations, JD Sumner and The Stamps - Ed Enoch and Pat Brown intros were cut - and Sherrill Nielsen.

- 15. Early Morning Rain: "On the rhythm guitar, from Springfield, Missouri, is John Wilkinson." Wilkinson's solo follows the pattern of the time, but the rendition is longer than usual. The guitarist himself seems to end the song abruptly.

- 16. What'd I Say / Johnny B. Goode / Solos: "On the lead guitar, ladies and gentlemen, from Shreveport, Louisiana, is James Burton." James does his job as usual in the two solos he has been assigned. Next up, Ronnie Tutt, Jerry Scheff, Tony Brown and David Briggs do theirs.

- 17. Love Letters: "The first time that David Briggs and I worked together - and I gotta tell you, you know... This guy runs three studios and he runs about 400 musicians crazy - but the first time we worked together we did a song called 'Love Letters', and I'd like to sing  for you now." The version is average, with Elvis mumbling a lot of words.

- 18. School Days: Elvis introduces Charlie Hodge, Joe Guercio and his orchestra. Through carelessness or his health, he forgets to introduce Kathy Westmoreland.

- 19. Hurt: "I have a new record out, I'd like to sing for you now." Relatively new to the setlist, having been included in March 1976, this version is a magnificent performance and very well done by everyone. The audience applauds effusively and Elvis asks: "Wanna hear it again?" With a positive response, the song is repeated in full and sounds even better. "Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. I'm glad you liked it, thank you."

- 20. Hound Dog: Throwaway version, as usual, with Elvis handing out scarves and kisses.

- 21. Hawaiian Wedding Song: After talking to a fan who desperately asked for a scarf, Elvis says: "It's a high stage, and it's hard to see everyone down there." He then introduces the song: "We did a movie called 'Blue Hawaii', and in the movie was the 'Hawaiian Wedding Song', so I'd like to sing that for you a little bit." The version heard here is one of the best from 1976, with the piano sounding spectacular.

- 22. Can't Help Falling in Love: The singer decides to end the performance without the usual "Polk Salad Annie". "I'd like to tell you that you've been a fantastic audience to work to and whenever you want us back here, just let us know and we'll be glad to come back." As always, Elvis attends to fans and sings in parts.

- 23. Closing Vamp: The closing fanfare is complete on this release, ending with the already iconic phrases: "Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building. Thank you and good night!"


- 24. Return to Sender (August 1, 1976 - Hampton Roads, VA): "Please sing 'Return to Sender'? Honey, if we know it..." This is "the" highlight of the performance that marked Elvis' last concert in Hampton RoadsThe only live rendition of this classic from the movie "Girl! Girls! Girls!" is sung at the request of fans of the Return to Sender fan club. And they get a more than good version.

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