As Patty Loveless (sort of said) I think about Elvis quite a lot these days. I blame the last ten years of visits to Tennessee where it’s hard not to let your mind wander a little towards the times when The King was in town.
One of the things to do in Nashville is to go on the RCA Studio B tour to see where Elvis Presley recorded. Apart from that particular studio there really isn’t much other evidence that Elvis was ever in town. However, he really was in Nashville a lot. The only apparent reason for the lack of any physical relics of his recording career there seems to be that his fame was so great his recording schedule was entirely nocturnal and during daylight hours Elvis laid low in his hotel suite. This seems reasonable, though slightly inconclusive for me and my search for Elvis in Music City continues.
On our visit this year I was therefore quite taken by the large billboards bearing his image which trailed the upcoming HBO documentary on his music titled, The Searcher. Produced and directed by Thom Zinny with additional support from Bruce Springsteen’s manager, Jon Landau, The Searcher has still to get a transmission date in the UK. We’ve therefore asked our Nashville correspondent, Bill DeMain to give us the low down having watched the screening last week.
What we do know is this: Popular music journalism declared Elvis unfit for rock ‘n’ roll duty after his return from the army and his enrolment in Hollywood. Purists will declare that nothing is worthwhile in his post-Sun Records recording career. Visit Graceland and the experience (in my sad experience) will do its utmost to divorce Presley from the music he created. In this film the producers have attempted to reverse all of these trends and get us ‘behind the carnival barkers, the headlines and the histories. This is a film that wants us to move in closer.’
Some of us would like to, HBO – but we’ll need to wait and see it first. In the meantime the soundtrack is a joy. A Double CD of Elvis recordings from all parts of his career and a bonus CD of the music which shaped him . If you can look and listen out for The Blackwood Brothers, Little Junior’s Blue Flames, Howling’ Wolf and Bill Monroe. We’ll be thinking and talking Elvis on Tuesday evening.
Bill DeMain will also showcase some records which have crossed his Nashville turntable since his last visit. Meantime we want you to hear The Jellyman’s Daughter, Scott Matthews and Isaac Gracie from this side of the Atlantic and from America we’ll bring you wonderful new records by The Brothers Osborne, Brent Cobb and Little Bandit.
So much to enjoy and only two hours to play everything. Check in early. We’re on air from five past nine this Tuesday on BBC Radio Scotland.