I always had much more of an affinity for the live versions as well, for the reasons that you stated. I am not adamantly opposed to the fiddle but just don't think it works on this song. It sounds like it doesn't belong, seems artificial.
The version heard on the FTD Dixieland Rocks is an excellent version. Vocally Elvis was in top form. The FTD Spring Tours '77 version is also very strong aside from a microphone problem at the end.