Rock Around The World October 1977   29



by Little Walter

Last month there were a few paragraphs deleted from this column. They dealt with Elvis’ new album Moody Blue. We mentioned the strong requests my radio program was getting, specifically for the cuts, “Little Darlin’ ” and “Pledging My Love” and how it seemed probable that Elvis would record an album of Fifties material sometime in the future. That bright prospect of the future has been taken away from us and instead we have posters, newspapers and magazines that read, “Elvis Presley 1935 – 1977.”

I doubt if there is anything that I could add to all that has been written in the last couple of months except my own feelings. The sorrow and disbelief is too deep to put into words. The commercialism of his death is enough to make me sick; the commercialism of the man has always been there and would have continued. Therefore it doesn’t bother me.

As far as the Wests’ book, they have admitted that some of it was exaggerated, and there is no doubt but that it was ill-timed. I’m convinced that it would not have been published a week later. For years, all I’ve heard about Elvis is that he never had any kind of fun, could never go out, and lived the boring life of a recluse. In a way, I hope some of the stuff in the book is true. I’m happy to hear that, when he wanted it, his life could be one big party. Granted, some of it might have gotten out of hand, but I’d like to believe he had the power to create situations whereby he could enjoy any moment of his short life to the fullest.

About the music, I hope that in my lifetime I get to hear everything he ever put down on tape. I mean everything … tune ups, out takes, conversations, live per- formances … EVERYTHING! Last month, in Art Fein’s beautifully written story, he mentions the important 1976 re-issues from the RCA vaults and “elsewhere.” I’ve heard stories and rumors of the existance of the “Louisiana Hayride” tapes (circa 1955, live recordings). Rumor has it, RCA has been offered these tapes and has turned them down. These, along with other “live,” “location” and “studio” tapes should have been offered us in record form years ago … now, they must!

Another thing, I’ve noticed that a lot of people, younger than myself, did double-takes when they saw some of the Sullivan show clips that have been recently shown. It’s hard for me to believe, but college age guys and gals had never seen them, they only heard his records. And this brings up another question. I know that kinescopes exist of Elvis’ appearances on the Sullivan and Steve Allen shows, but how about

those incredible performances on the Dorsey Brothers shows, and what of a local TV performance on the Louisiana Hayride? Their existance and preservation is essential. There is so little to see of those early days and what inevitibley turned into the legend. I hope 200 years from__now, they don’t just have Viva Las Vegas.


I understand that Gusto/King records is planning a mammoth release this month. including multiple albums on the Dominoes and Ink Spots with single 1ps on Earl Bostic, Hank Ballard and the Midnighters and Bill Doggett. As of this writing, I haven’t seen them, but I hear nice things about them.

A new “oldies” label has popped up. It’s called TRU-GEMS Records. Their first release is called Music Gems From The Royal Teens. While I don’t consider all of them “music gems,” many of them are certainly memory and nostalgia gems. It didn’t take them long to click either.

Bob Gaudio (later of the Four Seasons), Tom Austin, Billy Dolton and Billy Crandall formed the Royal Teens in 1957 and

within months recorded and released a novelty tune called “Short Shorts” for Power records. A few weeks later, ABC Paramount records bought it and by January of 1958, it was on the charts. It ended up in everybody’s top five and stayed there for months.

Later in 1958, they added Joey Villa (formerly of the 3 Friends) and replaced Bill Dalton with Al Kooper (later with everybody). Switching record labels to Capitol, they hit again with. “Believe Me,” a Dion & the Belmonts type spaghetti DOO WOP,

Both are included in the album along with some of their rarest tracks including a few totally unreleased tunes.

Obviously, you’re not going to find the album in many of your record supermarkets, but if you remember (or are curious) send five bucks to TRU GEMS records, P.O.. Box 5392, Santa Monica, California 90405, and they will be glad to send you a copy by post.

The US Mail is cleaning up on us oldies freaks. It seems as though the only way to remember is through the mail.

Well, radio calls! Don’t forget, in Boston, The Time Machine. Saturday nights at midnight on WBCN-FM 104.1. Rock and most important ROLL!!

Keep those cards and letters comin’.

Little Walter gets his mail c/o WBCN-FM, 5005 Prudential Towers. Boston, MA 02199 -ed.

The Royal Teens