Review | Calling Elvis CD

By: Mark Schraven
Source: Elvis Australia
September 21, 2015


Calling Elvis CD.
Calling Elvis CD.
There you go! The title of this CD pretty much says it all; Calling Elvis is a talking album containing all ten known to date telephone conversations of Elvis Presley. The CD also has a few musical surprises, but I'll get to that later. Let me start off by saying that the packaging of this product is outstanding. It is well designed and oozes quality. The overall sound is very good considering the source. In fact, most previously released conversations sound slightly better here! What makes the content of this interview CD strikingly different from other interview CD's, is that Elvis Presley is much more personal during the telephone interviews than most of the known face-to-face ones. Without trying to be too psychological about this (I shan't be that ambitious!), it is obvious that Elvis is much more comfortable talking about private stuff with strangers on the phone - not having to see the interviewer's reaction to his comments - than face-to-face. However, the problem with some of these telephone interviews is the opening and the closing of the conversation ('How are you' 'I'm fine, how are you?' and 'It's been a pleasure talking to you' 'Bye, bye'). With the shorter interviews, this takes up a lot of time without going into anything interesting. It basically is just 'small talk'.

Listen as Elvis Receives 'The Sun Sessions' LP From A Fan on December 13th 1975 (Dinner Show). The 'Sun Sessions' CD release is now available to order from The audio is from the CD, 'Calling Elvis'. (The title of this CD pretty much says it all; Calling Elvis is a talking album containing all ten known to date telephone conversations of Elvis Presley.).

Besides eight telephone interviews, two non-interview telephone conversations are included. They are private calls, taped without Elvis knowing about it. The first one is with a 'Memphis Mafia' groupie, called Arlene Cogan. She is totally in awe with Presley, but he doesn't seem to have much interest in talking to her as he is polite but (extremely) short with his answers. Here we get to hear the 'how are you' -talk twice, ouch!

The 1971 conversation between Elvis and the Denver police officer Ron Petrafeso would be an extreme violation of Elvis' privacy if he were still alive. But since he isn't, I guess one could call it 'historical documentation'. Still I feel a little uncomfortable listening to this, as he talks about his glaucoma.

The disc also contains four bonus tracks. The first one is a previously unreleased Canadian radio broadcast from April 1957. It has reporter Bill Beaty describing Elvis' concerts at the Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. It includes a tiny fragment of Hound Dog! If you listen closely - and you have to because of all the screaming - you can hear Elvis sing 'you ain't never caught a rabbit and you ain't no friend of mine'. Cool stuff!

There's also the recently discovered 1975 Harold Johnson-interview, which has Elvis talking about an American Football game. Next is an on-stage conversation between Elvis and the audience, recently released on FTD's 'Dinner At Eight', but this time you actually get to hear the people in the audience. A nice find, but not really all that interesting. Closing the CD is an 18+ minute recording of a tour end-party from July 1976. It has producer Felton Jarvis imitating Elvis while being 'interviewed' by comedian Jackie Kahane. Very funny, but be careful though: this one has a lot of strong language.

Now don't turn off the CD-player yet, as there is more to come. After a couple of seconds of silence you get to hear two tracks recorded at the American Sound Studios in January of 1969. The first track is Poor Man's Gold, including the 9 seconds of lead vocals that Elvis put on tape. The second track is a short but sweet instrumental blues jam, which was sort of a warm-up for the band before starting the session. Listen to that wonderful lead guitar by Reggie Young and the jazzy organ by Bobby Emmons!

Concluding: to me the snippet of Hound Dog and the blues jam alone would have been worth the money. But if you're a fan of talking albums, this one is definitely for you!

It seems that the telephone medium made Elvis 'open up' more than in regular interview situations. Just compare the Hy Gardner interview - which can be heard in its entirety for the first time on this CD (Longer and in better quality than on the Elvis - Word For Word 5 CD-set - with any other interview from that landmark year, and listen to how he openly talks about being homesick in the five telephone conversations recorded during his tour of duty in Germany. Included among these five calls are all three conversations with Dick Clark ('American Bandstand'), including the very rare third call from January 8, 1960, as well as the ultra-rare interview with Hawaiian disc jockey Tom Moffet from January 9, 1959 (neither of which are available on 'Word for Word' or any other CD's). Moffet got to talk to Elvis again two years later, on March 19, 1961, where Elvis talked about his love for Hawaii in some detail, and that interview is included too. The private telephone conversations with Arlene Cogan and Ron Pietrafeso from respectively 1970 and '71 were recorded without Elvis' knowledge, and both offer us fascinating glimpses into the private life of the King of Rock 'n' Roll.

Track listing

1 - Elvis Presley With Hy Gardner 'HY Gardner Calling' WBCA -TV New York July 1st 1956 - The Complete Telephone Interview!

2 - Elvis Presley With Unknown Artist Telephone Interview Between Elvis And 'Buddy' Late '56

3 - Elvis Presley With Tom Moffet Hawaiian DJ Tom Moffet Calls Elvis In Bad Nauheim, Germany January 5th 1959

4 - Elvis Presley With Dick Clark American Bandstand's Dick Clark Calls Elvis In Friedberg, Germany March '59

5 - Elvis Presley With Don Owens WARL's Don Owens From Arlington, Tx Calls Elvis In bad Nauheim, Germany July 1959

6 - Elvis Presley With Dick Clark Dick Clark's Second Call To Elvis August 1959

7 - Elvis Presley With Dick Clark Dick Clark's Third And Final Call To Elvis January 8th 1960

8 - Elvis Presley With Tom Moffet Tom Moffet Calls Elvis And They Talk About Hawaii For A Special Broadcast For The U.S.S Arizona Benefit Concert March 19th 1961

9 - Elvis Presley With Arlene Cogan Arlene Cogan Calling Elvis, Early 1970 - Cogan Was One Of The Regular Elvis Mafia Groupies And Judging By This Telephone Conversation Elvis Was Not Particularly Interested In Talking To Her

10 - Elvis Presley With Ron Pietraleso Denver Police Officer Ron Pietraleso Calls Elvis, Early April 1971. Elvis Had Always Admired Police Officers And he Was Particularly Friendly With Pietraleso, Who Would Receive A Brand New Cadillac From The King In January 76.

Bonus Tracks

11 - Elvis Presley With Bill Beaty CBC Radio Broadcast About Elvis' First Concerts In Canada - Toronto April 2, 1957. A Report By CBC Radio Reporter Bill Beaty

12 - Elvis Presley With Harold Johnson (9) Sports Commentator Harold Johnson And Elvis Talk On Radio About The Football Game At The Liberty Bowl Stadium August 9th 1975

13 - Elvis Presley Elvis Receives 'The Sun Sessions' LP From A Fan - December 13th 1975 (Dinner Show)

14 - Felton Jarvis With Jackie Kahane Producer Felton Jarvis Imitates Elvis At A Tour End Party In July '76, And Is Interviewed By Comedian Jackie Kahane

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Elvis Presley Video Tupelo's Own Elvis Presley DVD

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.

This is an excellent release no fan should be without it.

The 'parade' footage is good to see as it puts you in the right context with color and b&w footage. The interviews of Elvis' Parents are well worth hearing too. The afternoon show footage is wonderful and electrifying : Here is Elvis in his prime rocking and rolling in front of 11.000 people. Highly recommended.

Tupelo's Own Elvis Presley DVD Video with Sound.