Review Summary: Who exactly was having fun?
Of Elvis' huge discography, the most pathetic corresponds to the syrupy soundtracks of the 50 oligophrenic films that he filmed during the 1960's, and that could only entertain 15 year old girls of the time. But that's not all: in 1974, Having Fun with Elvis on Stage
was released as a ploy by Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker, to self-release an Elvis album through his own label, Boxcar Records; a company that he formed to manage Presley's commercial rights, so that he could profit directly from it. However, since Presley was signed to RCA Records, any recordings made would legally belong to RCA. To circumvent this restriction, Parker compiled audio of Presley talking; material over which RCA could not claim rights.
As for the audio content, this laughably bad record contains only jokes and idiosyncrasies that happened live on stage during Elvis shows between 1969-72. For the most part Elvis talks and he seems to be having fun on stage as expected, and his band and the audience seem to be having fun too. However, I had no fun listening to this. The reason is its lack of context, Elvis stand-up act is just there and that's it. For example, at 15:17, Elvis says "You shouldn't laugh at the handicapped folks.
", then everybody laughs. Of course, something was going on on stage, but I, the listener, have a huge difficult to understand the logic behind it. This goes on for 40 minutes, and on some parts of the record, it's clear that Presley's pill abuse was severely affecting his onstage performance. Furthermore, he hums or sings "well, well, well, well" numerous times throughout the record, only to cut to the next bit of verbal whatever it is poor Elvis is saying while he mops his brow and catches his breath before breaking into the next song we'll never get to hear.
All in all, Having Fun with Elvis on Stage
is simply a clip after clip of Elvis gabbing on stage. There is no there here, and it just makes you want to punch a hole in the wall every time he tells some sort of meandering anecdote or something about his early life and his career aspirations before becoming a singer. Sure, there are a few funny moments, but its incoherence makes this record extremely boring and unlistenable. However, one can't say its marketing is entirely dishonest, its cover has a clear "A Talking Album Only" warning. This imbecile idea only came to live to make money and the record even peaked at number 130 on the main Billboard 200 chart. Eventually, Elvis himself, credited as the album's executive producer, tried to cease its existence, but bootlegs of the album ended up being quite popular.