"Great show and a very fine release from the FTD-team"
Reviewed by: Hans / Elvisbay
This is the second soundboard-release on the Follow That Dream label, and it is a very fine one indeed. Elvis started this first tour of 1975 a little frightened because of the many press reports about his weight problems, but he must have lost all his worries during this tour. Murfreesboro was only scheduled for one show, but instead he gave 3 sold out performances.
Elvis starts very energetic with See See Rider and I Got A Woman. Love Me gets the usual treatment, and it seems Elvis does have a lot of fun. If You Love Me and You Don't have to Say You Love Me are solid performances. All Shook Up and the Teddy Bear-Don't Be Cruel medley could have been done sleeping, while The Wonder Of You just isn't the wellknown 1970 version, although well performed. Polk Salad Annie really rocks displaying both Jerry Scheff's and James Burton's skills in the instrumental parts.
Time for some chat with the audience and the band introductions, followed by a beautifull My Boy. Elvis really gets into this song.! T.R.O.U.B.L.E. is a rocking version and I'll Remember You is also a beautiful performance. Elvis is trying to make JD Sumner laugh while singing in deep voice. Let Me Be There and An American Trilogy are brought inspired, while fairytale seems a little bit too slow, although Elvis keep on asking 'one more time' for the last verse, taking the song over 5 minutes.! Little Darling is a fun song, and the show ends with Funny How Time Slips Away and Can't help Falling In Love.
Bridge Over Troubled Water does have Elvis' attention and is a strong version, while Love Me Tender is used by Elvis to interact with the audience. The disc displays an overall inspired Elvis who's having lots of fun on stage and really delivers. The voice is strong and the band tight.
Conclusion: Don't expect a perfectly balanced disc just because it comes from the BMG-vaults; this is just another soundboard recording, nothing more or less although it is a very good one. Just don't expect a multi-track recording like Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis or the Madison Square Garden shows, and be glad with this one, for you can not change the way it was recorded in 1975. There ain't too many Polk Salad Annie's from the 1975 tours, and I believe that the Follow That Dream team gives a lot of attention to the material chosen to be released.
"We haven't even had a chance to say hello..."
Review by Armond Joseph
A little background. When Dixieland Rocks first came out, I didn't want to buy it. I already have the concert from the Elvis Aron Presley (Silver Box) set, and the awesome yet unofficial Let Me Take You Home CD. Why add another show from 1975 to my list? Then Dinner At Eight was announced, and I was excited about buying that CD because of the significance of the December 13th shows. When I read that 'Also Sprach Zarathustra' was dropped as well as 'My Heavenly Father,' I decided instead to purchase Dixieland Rocks, which has the feel of a complete show, and I'm glad I did.
From the start, I noticed that the sound quality of this CD is far superior to the sound quality on the Silver Box concert. You can hear all of the band members clearly; even the tambourine is audible. You can also hear the applause of the audience when Elvis walk out on stage, which I think is a big plus. The sound would only have been better if FTD added the "stadium echo" that you hear on soundboards released by DAE. That echo adds a stereo feel to mono recordings. Anyway, the sound is great! You'll notice that the bass is way out there at times, but cool nonetheless. Scheff is awesome!
The show has some pretty neat surprises. I thought 'You Don't Have To Say You Love Me' died in 1972, but Elvis does a good performance of it here. Elvis opens 'Polk Salad Annie' with some unusual vocalizing and a growl that reminds me of Roy Orbison. Plus, Scheff really kicks on bass (though a bit loudly)! It's one of my favorite versions of this song. Elvis sings 'My Boy' with a lot of feeling. It sounds almost exactly like the version on the Live In Las Vegas box set, except the sound is ten thousand times better here! 'I'll Remember You' is an unexpected surprise, and Elvis tells the audience that it is from the Aloha Special. 'Fairytale' is a little too slow for my tastes, and you can tell that neither Elvis nor the band were as yet comfortable with this song. Later versions are better. Overall, the songs are done well, and Elvis throws out his typical 1975 humor. In terms of the song list, 'How Great Thou Art' is conspicuously absent. Maybe Elvis just didn't sing it, or maybe FTD edited it out? Who knows? One thing I do know is that Murfreesboro could be the belt buckle of the Bible belt, and the song would've been a great "show stopper." Too bad it didn't make it onto this CD. 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' is a good substitute, even if it is added as the caboose.
The artwork on this CD is too plain. I'd really like to see future FTD releases with a booklet, liner notes, and some more photos. I don't care much for digi-packs, but if FTD is going to continue to use them, it would be nice to have a bi-fold cover like the DAE releases. At least then they could give us some more photos. Anyway, that's a minor complaint for an otherwise great album.
? Armond Joseph, Union, Missouri USA - January 2003