Elvis Presley's earliest recordings came directly from his roots and influences - country and blues, and many of his fans came to those genres through him. STAR BLUES last night was pleased to be able to show of those seminal recordings, both from the man himself and in their original guise. There's a month leading up to the 75th anniversary of his birth on 8th January that kicks off with "Elvis:75" a box set of that number of his best known songs. We used the selection for the core of the playlist.
So the fare also gave us an excuse, if one were needed, to showcase Arthur "Big-Boy" Crudup, Junior Parker, Wynonie Harris, Roy Brown, Arthur Gunter with Chuck Berry, Big Joe Turner, Little Richard and Lloyd Price. The narrative touched on the spelling of his middle name (Aron), the truth behind "My Happiness" his first recording several months after his mother's birthday, the roles played by Dewey Phillips and Marion Keister in starting off Elvis' incredible career. I also mentioned the speculation that Elvis went to London with Tommy Steele and the importance of the January 1969 sessions that produced "Suspicious Minds".
That March 1960 stopover caused an on-air gaffe with my mixup over Ayr and Airdrionians in trying to establish why Elvis was keen to see their encounter that Ayr won 1-0 a couple of days after his stopover at Prestwick. To the loyal (and ex-pat) supporters of Ayr, I humbly apologise.
Though nominated for Grammys in Pop, Rock, Country and Gospel categories, the three he won were for the latter genre - the first of those in 1967 for the album "How Great Thou Art". That gave us the track for our weekly Gospel Spot: "Run On" sung with great fervour. During his lifetime I never really appreciated his work, perhaps for purist reasons, but the gospel he did opened my mind to his other work.
Just ahead of the closing festive Elvis piece, I gave out an invitation to an *extra* show I will be hosting on New Years Day from 7pm: "Another Side Of Gary Blue". Over the next few days, I'll post further details on facebook but I hope we can start 2010 with some rare and familiar friends not usually heard on commercial radio. Though the menu won't be blues, I hope you'll want to come along.
This upcoming week I'll have a look at the new nominations for Grammys and give a few pointers on what you can buy blues-wise for Christmas. All that and more at 10 on Sunday from the Home of the 9-5 No-Repeat workday, until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you.