Review : Sessions III Book

By: Geoffrey Mc Donnell
Source: Elvis Australia
October 1, 2004


Session III Elvis Presley Book
Session III Elvis Presley Book
The long awaited Elvis Sessions III has finally arrived, about 2 years later than expected. It is around 632 pages (Joe recently said 656 pages!) and of telephone directory thickness, but well worth the wait.

Upon my first impressions of delight were the FULL details on the multi-track Las Vegas 1969/70/72 show recordings. A previous rehearsal list has been trimmed down significantly to time/place/date and just a few 'known' songs. Some nice 'rare' pics - page 120 on stage with 'Boots' Randolph on 25.3.61, page 195 with blues singer Junior Parker and super 'rare' on page 387 of Elvis, Imperials, Linda, Red West, Marty Allen and 'Mama' Cass Elliot upstairs in his Vegas Suite Feb 73'. I also like the alternate one from 31/12/75 on page 426 - different from the newspaper review I have a copy of. Page 429 has an interesting one dated from 3.2.76. However as a whole, pictures are fairly 'minimal' in this book.

Soundboard lists have been up-dated and give REAL hope for Ernst actually being able to represent each tour/season like actual listing of 1972 (all 3 tours) AND both 1973 tours! Hope eh? Also hope that last two 77' tours were all recorded too! Oh and finally (before you HAVE to buy this book) several shows unheard by us yet from July 75! And ALL 1970's tours recorded! I can assure you that having contributed (a tiny bit) in the background to these lists I have no doubt that they should be taken as TRUE!

Up-to date details include Aloha and Comeback Special DVD's, Double Trouble + Closing Night FTD cd's as well as all the wealth of previous released albums, cd's, movies and so on. Essential 'bootlegs' (updated) and also an interesting different 'highlights' section as yet unheard.

Yet for a book that has been so delayed there are MORE than the expected numbers of obvious mistakes! Reading the 'highlights' list of the 11 songs recorded during August 1971 is ok - until you find NO August 1971 Soundboards listed at all in the soundboards section! Also an August 1971 version of How Great Thou Art is listed here - which I didn't think was performed at all that season? Then the Alexandria 30.3.77 live recordings are listed under 29.3.77! Big Boss Man listed as performed on 25.4.77? Tumbling Tumbleweeds (only a 1 liner!) listed as sung in 1958! and Ron Tutt (instead of Larry Londin) listed as present during the 26.6.77 performance. The 'boot' CD 'A Bright Midnight in Vegas' is listed as 29th August instead of being the 20.8.70 M/S! Surely a simple proof reading would have eliminated such mistakes (despite what Joe has said in a recent posting!) These things annoy every time you read them. Personally I still think edits were made to the songs from the 10.6.72 E/S - if not then it's the first 'live' show to be released unedited!

I won't worry about any photo mistakes (page 174 for example), but comment that for an easy to read and open book, half pages on page 242, 560, 563 and 591 surely could have been utilized with a photo or something instead of left blank? Memphis Tennessee is listed as from a Soundboard dated 10.6.75, when in actual fact he just means the whole Memphis Tennessee show from that date. Having all the cashbox chart positions is 'nice' and almost makes one feel you are reading several different books added together. Certainly the methodical presentation of T.T.W.I.I and 'On Tour' films is clear - yet 'On Tour' seems somewhat lacking many new details? Something I found made searching the book difficult was that the 'Songs and Songwriters index' at the back (unlike Sessions II) does NOT reference back to page numbers making looking up any song hard.

Overall this book is worth getting because it represents the most accurate details known TODAY. Some information has changed since 1996, which shows when you see the obvious differences in lists since Sessions II, you'll keep on returning to this book. However I don't think Joe's font/format used is the best yet? Also just released is the 10 track CD A Cold Night In Nashville featuring the 6 selected tracks for the aborted Nashville 20-24.1.77 sessions. Listening to that certainly brought life to the list on page 442 and clearly showed how much better an album full of new studio track would have sounded in the summer of 1977. So I thoroughly recommend this book to Elvis scholars even with these mistakes.

Buy Sessions III

-- CD Review A Cold Night In Nashville

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Never before have we seen an Elvis Presley concert from the 1950's with sound. Until Now! The DVD Contains recently discovered unreleased film of Elvis performing 6 songs, including Heartbreak Hotel and Don't Be Cruel, live in Tupelo Mississippi 1956. Included we see a live performance of the elusive Long Tall Sally seen here for the first time ever. + Plus Bonus DVD Audio.

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