Thursday, 4 June 2015

Kentucky Rain - 26 January 1970 Opening Show

After the band introductions on 26 January 1970, the opening night show of Elvis' second Las Vegas engagement Elvis would perform the last of the ten new songs introduced during this show.

Just for the record the other nine first time perfromances in the order which they were performed, (and I've posted them all on my YouTube channel) were - Proud Mary, Don't Cry Daddy, Teddy Bear (in a medley with Don't Be Cruel), Long Tall Sally, Let It Be Me, Walk a Mile In My Shoes, True Love Travels On A Gravel Road, Sweet Caroline and Polk Salad Annie.

The tenth and final was 'Kentucky Rain' which had been recorded in the studio amost exactly year earlier on 19 January 1969 in American Sound Studios, Memphis, Tennessee.

Whilst most versions of 'Kentucky Rain' during this engagement would include some humorous comments or lyric changes this first live version is one of very few played absolutely straight. This version is also very close to the original studio master but one very subtle lyric change would take place. This version and the original studio master has in the chorus ....'and here's another town that I'll GO walking through....' however later live versions would be sung as '.....'and here's another town that I'll BE walking through....'. The ending would also change with percussion becoming far more prominent in the song's climax.

The definitive live version of this song, and the very first version to be released officially was that from 16 February Dinner Show which was made available on the silver 1980 box set 'Elvis Aaron Presley' and is a version which is also played absolutely straight.
This version was released on the 2013 FTD release of 'The On Stage Season - February 1970' which contained both the opening and closing shows of this engagement. Several other live versions from this engagement have also been made available on FTD's 2004 album 'Polk Salad Annie' which featured the 15 February Dinner Show and on both the FTD and Legacy editions of 'On Stage'.

After this song Elvis would sing an excellent version of 'Suspicious MInds' before closing the show with the traditional closer 'Can't Help Falling In Love' completing and opening show with over half of the songs featured performed for the very first time.

As far as this song being sung live is concerned it would be performed at all six shows during the engagement at the Houston Astrodome immediately following this Las Vegas season but the final Houston show, the evening show on 1 March was the final time Elvis would sing 'Kentucky Rain' live.

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