Elvis‘ Dschungelcamp zum Reinhören

Navigation » Startseite » 1970er » Aufnahmesessions 1970er

Eigentlich sollte heute mein nächster längerer Beitrag online gehen. Aber mich hat die Grippe erwischt. Daher gibt es jetzt einfach etwas zum entspannten Reinhören, und zwar Elvis ganz individuelle Interpretation eines „Dschungelcamps“, veröffentlicht vor wenigen Monaten auf CD 2 von Way Down In The Jungle Room (RCA/Sony Legacy,2016).

Weitere Infos zu diesen Aufnahmen siehe mein Interview mit Toningenieur Matt Ross-Spang, der die Outtakes von Elvis Jungle Room-Sessions (1976), im letzten Jahr in Memphis neu abgemischt hat. Zu hören ist darauf ein gut gelaunter Elvis, der offensichtlich viel Spaß mit seinen Musikern bei sich zu Hause in seinem zum Aufnahmestudio umfunktionierten 2. Wohnzimmer, nämlich Gracelands Jungle Room, hat.

Und hier kommen sie, die 17 Outtakes aus Way Down In The Jungle Room. Viel Spaß mit dem etwas anderen Dschungelcamp.

Bitter They Are, Harder They Fall – Take 1

She Thinks I Still Care – Take 10

The Last Farewell – Take 2

Solitaire – Take 7


Way Down in the Jungle Room: Interview with Matt Ross-Spang

Navigation » Startseite » 1970er » Aufnahmesessions 1970er

I’ve always liked Elvis‘ last studio recordings – those 16 songs that he recorded in February and October 1976 in the Jungle Room of his beloved home Graceland. Most of these songs that were first released on the albums From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee (1976) and Moody Blue (1977) are of a contemplative nature. They are highly emotional expressions of deep loss. In that sense quite a few of them belong to Elvis Presleys finest interpretations for me.

Elvis posing for a Memphis police badge photo at his home Graceland in February 1976

A serious looking Elvis posing for a Memphis police badge photo at his home Graceland in February 1976

Knowing that the Jungle Room recordings are Elvis‘ last studio recordings ever, many people are naturally drawn to listen to them simply as the final farewell of a sick and unhappy superstar who knows that his end is near. For a reason that I could never pinpoint myself I always found this retrospective viewpoint debatable, although it definitely reflects the mood of the songs. For me the Jungle Room recordings felt more like Elvis trying to refer to the beginnings of his career in the early 1950s at Sam Phillips‘ Sun Studio in Memphis. But as I said, I could never really explain why.

When RCA/Sony announced earlier this year that a new set with 2 discs called Way Down In The Jungle Room (Legacy Edition) is in the making with the support of a very successful young engineer called Matt Ross-Spang, I became curious. I found out that Matt had worked for years at the still existing Sun Studio in Memphis, before he changed location to the Sam Phillips Recording Service operated by the Phillips family.

Cover of Way Down In The Jungle Room - RCA/Sony Legacy 2016

Cover of Way Down In The Jungle Room – RCA/Sony Legacy 2016


Back cover of Way Down in The Jungle Room with the new mix of Matt Ross-Spang on CD 2 - RCA/Sony Legacy

Back cover of Way Down in The Jungle Room with the new mix of Matt Ross-Spang on disc 2 – RCA/Sony Legacy 2016

Matt Ross-Spang’s credits in the studio include names like Jerry Lee Lewis, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Jakob Dylan, Justin Townes Earle, JD McPherson, and Chris Isaak. Just to name a few. Earlier this year Matt won a well deserved Grammy for engineering and mixing Jason Isabell’s Something More Than Free. Besides, he was responsible for engineering, mixing, and co-producing Margo Price’s debut record Midwestern Farmer’s Daughter.

Legendary Elvis – Sam Phillips – Sun Studio – Matt Ross Spang – Jungle Room sessions 1976? Was I right after all with my feelings about Elvis‘ last „studio“ recordings at Graceland? I decided to find out more about the new mix on Way Down In The Jungle Room (2016) and the engineer behind it by asking the man himself what all of this is really about. Matt Ross-Spang turned out to be a very nice guy.

Matt Ross-Spang entering Sam Phillips Recording Service in Memphis - Photo: Ross-Spang

Matt Ross-Spang entering Sam Phillips Recording Service in Memphis – Photo: Ross-Spang


The Memphis Flash: Matt, you’re from Memphis where it all started for Elvis in 1954 in Sam Phillips’ now world-famous Sun Studio. The studio and the Phillips family play a major role in your successful career as well. How come?

Matt Ross-Spang: Sure! I was born and raised in Memphis! I played guitar in bands and I got 2 hours of studio time at Sun Studio for my 14th birthday from my wonderful parents. When I recorded there I was mesmerized by the studio and the process of recording and mixing. The engineer there James Lott was a great patient man who made the whole process fun and answered all of my annoying questions! My cousin John was the President at Sun and offered me a job when I was 16 and could drive, so I started working there then as a tour guide and an intern in the studio.

Hound Dog-Parodist Sam Phillips in seinem berühmten Aufnahmestudio in der Union Avenue

Matt’s hero Sam Phillips at Sun Studio in Memphis

I soon worked my way up to Operations Manager and Chief Engineer. I spent 11 years at Sun and spent most of that time installing and using the same period equipment Sam Phillips used back in Sun’s heyday. While working at Sun I met and became friend with the Phillips‘. Sam and his two sons Knox and Jerry I consider to be heroes of mine (and many others). Obviously being from Memphis you are born an Elvis fan! But especially for me the history and the music that was recorded in Memphis really consumed me. Elvis is a big part of that!

The Memphis Flash: How did you get the assignment for a new mix of the outtakes and alternate versions on the new release Way Down in the Jungle Room?

Matt Ross-Spang: A friend of mine Sharon Corbitt-House recommended me to Sony’s Rob Santos and Ernst Jorgensen who are the Producers of the Elvis record. After a few phone calls we worked out scheduling and we decided to do it at Phillips. I am a freelance engineer but Phillips is a magical studio and Rob always wanted to do a project there so it was a perfect fit.


She Wears My Ring oder Good Times mit Elvis im Stax Studio 1973

Navigation » Startseite » 1970er » Aufnahmesessions 1970er

Weit verbreitet ist die Ansicht, dass Elvis Presley in den 1970ern schlicht nicht mehr viel zu lachen hatte. Meistens depressiv und einsam soll er nach der Scheidung von seiner Ehefrau Priscilla im Oktober 1973  bis zu seinem frühen Tod 1977 gewesen sein. Dass es ganz so schlimm wohl nicht gewesen ist, davon kann sich mittlerweile jeder selbst ein Bild machen, etwa beim Reinhören in Aufnahmen, die im Stax-Studio im Dezember 1973 gemacht wurden.

Wer Spaß an Elvis‘ Lachversion von Are You Lonesome Tonight hat, der kommt hier auf seine Kosten. Das Elvis-Sammlerlabel Follow That Dream (FTD) macht’s möglich.

Ein gut gelaunter Elvis im Dezember 1973

Ein gut gelaunter Elvis im Dezember 1973

Elvis at Stax

Der 16. Dezember 1973 war ein Sonntag. Ein Sonntag, an dem Elvis Presley arbeitete, und zwar im berühmten Stax Studio in Memphis, nur wenige Autominuten von Graceland entfernt. Dieser 16./17. Dezember markiert den Schlusspunkt einer produktiven Serie an Sessiontagen, die am Montag zuvor mit der Aufnahme von I Got A Feeling In My Body (→ Boxset Elvis At Stax) begann und mit She Wears My Ring endete.

Volle 18 Songs sang Nachteule Elvis in den späten Abendstunden und Nächten dieser einen Woche ein. She Wears My Ring ist darunter sicher nicht die bekannteste Aufnahme – der Titel dürfte an den Hit → Promised Land gehen -, aber wie kaum eine andere bringt sie die gute Atmosphäre der Sessions im Dezember 1973 auf den Punkt. Die ausgelassene Stimmung während der Dezember-Session haben gleich eine ganze Reihe der Musiker, die damals mit von der Partie waren, beschrieben: