October 24, 2010 – 3:57 am

Elvis junkies get high on his studio rarities especially the later, morose recordings.

Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.

Welcome To The Jungle [Venus Productions, 1CD]

Sessions at Gracelands, Memphis, Feb 3 - 4, 1976. Excellent stereo soundboard.

There was a man, a lonely man
Who lost his love through indifference
A heart that cared that went unshared
Until it died within his silence

And Solitaire is the only game in town
And every road that takes him, takes him down
While life goes on around him everywhere
He’s playing Solitaire…

Released in August (?) 2010, Welcome To The Jungle is a disc that captures two days in February, 1976 when Elvis recorded Solitaire and on Feb 4, Moody Blue. These appear to be the entire sessions for the two songs. They confirm Elvis really identified with these bluer than blue songs. It’s not everyone’s life to wallow in self-pity but Elvis was in no mood to be cheered.

By 1976, Elvis had in place an agreement with Colonel Parker that shared the earnings from his tours equally. Hence, the Colonel was in no mood to encourage recording sessions. The money was in the tours. To record Elvis was to bring the mountain to Muhammad. RCA mobilised their team to set up a studio in the King’s living room in Gracelands. It was Elvis’ Jungle Room.

The King, tired from month after month of touring, was now pestered to sing. In Ernst Jorgensen’s book, Elvis Presley: A Life In Music, he quotes two Elvis associates who confirmed Elvis was bored and tired of being Elvis. The backbreaking tour schedules had worn him out.

So his mood was briefly lifted when he learnt that he would not have to travel to record his next album. Nonetheless all the songs picked were sad, bittersweet songs - the only kind that Elvis felt he could properly interpret. Jorgensen described these as “regret-filled”, “maudlin” and “abiding despair”.

Jorgensen also thought Elvis’ entire Feb 3 session spent recording just one song, Solitaire, showed a lack of inspiration. The Neil Sedaka song was not exactly a difficult number. On takes 9-10, Elvis scolds himself for taking so long with a “sonofabitch”.

Presley took as much time to record Moody Blue, the following day. By take 7, you can hear Elvis lose concentration as the take winds down into a mumble and one “mother****er”. It took him 10 takes to nail an acceptable version of Moody Blue. The sessions ended Feb 8.

RCA would prepare the Jungle Room one last time for two days in October, 1976. After that, Elvis never stepped into a studio to record again. By the mid-’70s, Elvis’ album sales had declined substantially. He still had a sizeable chunk of loyal fans buying whatever his record label released but he wasn’t winning new fans anymore. Company policy switched to scraping for leftovers and live tracks to make up new albums and compilations.

The cover art shows the sessions as Feb 4-5  but Jorgensen’s book places the dates as Feb 3-4. We’ll take his word for it. One other note, these raw sessions were later taken to “Young ‘un Sound” Studio in Murfreesboro, Tennessee for strings and other instrumental overdubs. Purists will note that the dubs reduced the intimacy of these sessions and perhaps made them sound “happier”. Nothing could be further.

Jorgensen mentions in his book how the sessions ended in October.

“It was the night before Halloween, and when Elvis and his friends returned later they were dressed in gangster outfits and guns that must have alarmed the newer band members. The costume party effectively put an end to the evening’s work.”

Jerry Hopkins’ Elvis: The Final Years [1980] had a more chaotic description of the sessions: “Elvis’ moods continued to swing wildly. When he first saw the recording setup in his den, he said, ‘Let’s leave it, I like it better this way than with furniture.’ A few days later, he stood in the den facing the huge playback speakers, his eyes glazed, pointing a shotgun. ‘The sound’s no fuckin’ good in those things!’ he croaked. ‘I’m gonna kill the motherfuckers and put ‘em out of my misery.’ He cocked the shotgun and took unsteady aim. Some of the musicians got the gun away from him, and a few minutes later the session was cancelled.”

Tired, lonely, depressed was how Peter Guralnick an authority on Elvis, his music and times described the last months.  “The precondition for any artist, whatever field, whether it’s music, writing, dancing or acting, is self-belief,” says Guralnick. “And, increasingly, at the end of his life, Elvis no longer believed in himself. He was disappointed in his failure to measure up to himself.”

Elvis, the King, was now the Lonely Man.
- Professor Red

NOTE: Readers sensitive to swearing might want to skip Track 14.

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are high quality MP3s - sample rate of 224 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. Please try again later. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files.

Track 01. Solitaire Take 1 (3.9MB)
Track 02. Solitaire Take 2 (3.8MB)
03. Solitaire Take 3 [omitted]
Track 04. Solitaire Takes 6-7 (8.5MB)
Track 05. Solitaire Take 8 (7.4MB)
Track 06. Solitaire Takes 9-10 (1.5MB)
Track 07. Solitaire Take undubbed master (7.4MB)
Track 08. Solitaire Take different mix (7.5MB)
09. Solitaire Master [omitted]

10. Moody Blue Take 3 [omitted]
Track 11. Moody Blue Take 4 (5.6MB)
Track 12. Moody Blue Take 5 (6.4MB)
Track 13. Moody Blue Take 6 (6.7MB)
Track 14. Moody Blue Take 7 (2.5MB)
Track 15. Moody Blue Takes 8-9 (1.5MB)
Track 16. Moody Blue Take undubbed master (6.3MB)
17. Moody Blue Master [omitted]

Track 3 and 10 can be found on Elvis Presley: The Jungle Room Sessions released on Follow That Dream in 2000.

Track 9 can be found on From Elvis Presley Boulevard. Track 17 can be found on Moody Blue.

In 2000, Elvis’ label released The Jungle Room Sessions on their collector imprint, Follow That Dream. It offered alternate takes of all the songs Presley recorded in February and October 1976, his final studio sessions. Click on the link to order the album.

  1. 5 Responses to “THE LONELY MAN”

  2. Deep sad but beautiful !

    the free fall of Elvis at the end of his life is devastating for his fans.

    But you can see him as a symbol of what goes wrong with our material and capitalist world.


    MAKING MONEY AND BUYING THINGS don’t make you happy

    so sad and lonely he (could) died

    rest in peace ELVIS

    By juju on Oct 25, 2010

  3. The sound and the songs are great !

    don’t pass them by

    As joe Cocker put it “ELVIS is the greatest BLUES singer of all the time”

    By juju on Oct 27, 2010

  4. More More jungle room sessions please !

    and thank you for the music BIGO !

    By juju on Oct 28, 2010

  5. Nice to see more Elvis here. Please share more rarities of the King.

    By Matt on Nov 17, 2010

  6. Iknow there are 3 or so more to this series. It would be great to hear them all. Thanks

    By Jay Bartlett on Apr 13, 2011

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