Elvis In Concert, Live From Madison, At Dane County Coliseum On New 2-CD Set, RCA Recording Perfection

Finally, I have in my collection a live version of Blue Christmas sung by Elvis Presley. To make the smile a bit richer the recording comes from a concert in Madison at the Dane County Coliseum in 1976. Even better, that concert and the accompanying one from Pine Bluff, Arkansas were recorded by RCA, so the sound quality is nothing short of stunning.

Earlier this year Elvis Presley Enterprises made it known the 2-CD set was to be released this spring. My pre-ordered copy arrived via the mail and the stereo has been rocking as of late.

There are other concerts and recorded material that RCA has in their vaults. While I understand the commercial interests and focused releases of such music to coincide with larger events, such as the new movie in theatres about Elvis, starring Tom Hanks as Colonel Tom Parker, fans worldwide deserve more of these concerts and musical moments to hear and treasure.

You can own your copy of the above by clicking here.

Thank ya very much.

Letter From Home “Guitar Smiles” 4/29/22

It is often said that certain foods can transport a person back to memories of childhood or the first date with the love of a lifetime. Certain scents can bring back memories of mountain flowers, an ocean breeze, or corndogs at the county fair. Music is also perfect at conveying people to a softer place where smiles and laughs replace current woes.

And even the promise of music yet to unfold can bring a smile. Even tears of joy. Such as the case today at our home.

With truly spring-like temperatures finally occurring I put on shorts and started on my list of outdoor projects. First up, mulching a large flower bed. I was well into the effort when my husband, James, came onto the porch and said, “I found a way to get a guitar!”

I tossed off my gloves and walked over to hear what had transpired regarding one of his clients.

James runs his own guardianship business for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia issues. While there are certainly the usual phone contacts with living facilities, calls to doctors, setting up appointments, arranging for court dates, and at times making arrangments with a realtor for the sale of property he also makes sure the personal needs and better yet, wishes of his clients, are met.

One client, an 80-year-old man, was born into a Menominee Indian family in Northern Wisconsin. He, along with his seven siblings was split up as children and sent to live with eight other families in an effort to acclimate them into ‘white culture’. While I have read about this troubling and absurd policy, I have never before known anyone who personally was impacted.

As a boy and teenager, he did not fare well, was not a high school graduate, and soon found himself in the military. After spending much of his life in the South he recently moved back to Wisconsin for the final chapter of his life. The court system asked James if he could help, and the man became a client.

When in his teenage years he started to play and much enjoy a 12-string guitar. With the ups and downs of life that musical joy was not a constant part of his world. About a week ago he mentioned to a person at his facility that it would be nice to again play the guitar and hear the chords from his favorite songs.

James heard of this request and started looking for used guitars in the city, but also took the next step and started to arrange for some local friends who are also musicians to spend time with the man playing and singing.

One of those contacts, a guitar player and performer we have known for years, called back to say a friend had recently offered him a 12-string guitar. He had originally turned it down, but he had checked to see it if was still available. The guitar had belonged to an older woman who had died, and it was agreed the woman would want the chords to again be heard by someone most needing to hear them.

As I heard this news on the back porch tears came to my eyes.

That performer is picking the guitar up this weekend, will spruce it up, put new strings on where needed, and tune it. Then this coming week he will make a surprise visit to a man who likely does not think his desire for musical memories can become reality.

I trust the placement of the fingers and the chords plucked from the strings will transport that man to an inner place of contentment. Knowing the performer, his smile, and his kind personality I am sure there will be several others at the facility who will find themselves being transported back to fond memories through the chords of a guitar.

Maybe it is the headlines of the day that are gut-wrenching from Ukraine juxtaposed with the genuine kindness from a family we have known in the city for many years, who upon being presented with a need, simply said through actions ‘ let’s make this happen’.

Music remains the connector in life and through lives.

And so it goes.

Elvis Concert In Madison: 1976 Show Now Available On CD!

James saw the announcement of the new double CD package this weekend featuring Elvis Presley and his second-to-last Madison concert. After scanning through a local Facebook page, and without letting me know what had been found, he simply stated loudly, “Oh, you will need to have this!”

I am delighted with this recording as I am somewhat certain my respect and admiration for this performer are without parallel in the city. His music set a standard that recording legends decades later would still pay tribute to in word and tone.

His wearing of a pink shirt and sporting a ducktail in his early years, and getting roughed up a time or two as a result, only steeled my determination to walk in my own footsteps. He was in Memphis, I was in rural Waushara County. But his lesson about being authentic struck me as a kid. He was far older than me but what an impact on a life he provided.

The entertaining power he held when walking onto a stage was simply something that required being felt, as no words can completely convey the buildup or intensity within an arena as 2001: Also Sprach Zarathustra pounds from the band, and lights flash across the large stage.

So the news this week is truly grand.

The 1976 Elvis concert in Madison is now available and for fans of all ages, the magic and immediacy of the concert can not be denied.

As part of its ongoing live on tour series, FTD is pleased to announce the release of ELVIS: PINE BLUFF to MADISON ‘76. Released as a 2-CD 5” digi-pak, this set features two shows: Dane County Coliseum, Madison, Wisconsin October 19, 1976 – 8:30 p.m. / Pine Bluff Convention Center, Pine Bluff, Arkansas, September 8, 1976 – 8:30 p.m. 

It would be a year later that Elvis again returned to Madison, but his concert was only one part of the news he made.

While there are many interesting stories to tell I am quite certain that few can equal the imagery that is created by events that unfolded in 1977 when Elvis was on the way to his concert.  Elvis spotted a fight on the east side of the city and had his limousine pull over.  It was then Elvis made Madison history by preventing the beating of a young man

I also find this CD project interesting due to the second show being from Pine Bluff, Arkansas on September 8, 1976. Just 150 miles from where my mom was born in Ozone. As James said when ordering this item via the internet it is too bad that my mom and her sister Evie–who were Elvis fans, too–could not hear this newest release.

Given the volume, it will be played at our home…..I think they just might!

And so it goes.

From the Oct. 19, 1976 concert at the Coliseum.

Something Lighter: Comedy With Piano At White House As A President Plays

The headlines, images, and news articles are tougher to read each day due to Russian aggression in Ukraine. Therefore, I place this post on Caffeinated Politics that is truly funny, historic, and just uplifting…at a time we all need that feeling so very much. The video was recorded on this day in history at the White House.

This made me smile, laugh. Trust you have that same reaction. I know readers need the same uplift today, too.

“Elvis” From Memphis To Vegas And At A Theatre Near You!

Elvis fans are abuzz. Movie lovers are more than curious.

This past week a movie promo for an enormous production was dropped into circulation–it even aired during the Winter Olympic Games. Warner Bros. Pictures’ drama Elvis, stars Austin Butler as the singing legend and Oscar winner Tom Hanks as the controversial Col. Tom Parker. I watched the promo, and since we taped the games hit the rewind button to watch it–let’s just say ‘once more’.

Elvis is scheduled to be released on June 24, 2022. It was previously scheduled to be released on October 1, 2021, before being delayed to November 5, 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tom Hanks became sick with the virus while filming this movie in 2020.

So buckle up, and booster up, so we all can safely attend what promises to be a summer blockbuster.

Thank ya, thank ya very much.

Happy Birthday, Elvis!

Here at Caffeinated Politics, we do not need to recall Elvis Presley because we never forgot.

The music and magic will never end.

Gregory Humphrey’s Tribute To Bill Anderson Makes Top Of Country Legend’s Website

Super pleased to find out tonight that my blog post this weekend on Bill Anderson made top billing on his website.

The country music legend celebrated 60 years on the Grand Ole Opry Saturday night. I wrote how I sang his songs as a boy while using the picnic table as a stage back home. And how my Aunt Evie, who lived next door, smiled about those ‘shows’ decades after the last one was performed.

Over time I have expressed how it felt when this little space on the intent highway has such a moment. Such as when the family of Porter Wagoner commented on my words following his passing, or the same type of interaction following the death of famed WSM announcer Grant Turner. In fact, my words about Turner are linked at the Tennessee Radio Hall Of Fame.

Tonight, I can say the picture below from Bill Anderson’s website tickles me completely and means more than money. After all, this has been a six-decade journey with smiles and memories still being made.

Bill Anderson Celebrates 60 Years On The Grand Ole Opry

It is not all politics here at Caffeinated Politics. This blog has always been home to the wide array of interests that make life delightful. From books, space, radio, and yes, the Grand Ole Opry. As such, it is time to post about Bill Anderson’s 60th anniversary this weekend at the Grand Ole Opry.

The Grand Ole Opry starts at 7 PM Central Time on WSM Radio, and don’t forget to catch Opry Live on Circle TV starting at 8PM Central Time.

Grand Ole Opry veteran Bill Anderson performs on the famed circle of wood at the center of the stage in the Grand Ole Opry House on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2010, in Nashville. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

I am not a fan of contemporary country music.  Too much of it is struggling to be more than just country, while in search of a broader audience.  For me, the classic country sound of many decades ago is where the tire meets the road.  It is one of the musical types I often gravitate to when putting music on the stereo.

As a child, I would impersonate Bill Anderson in the backyard at the family home.   The garden hose would be my microphone, and the picnic table the stage.  Aunt Evie who lived next door smiled about those ‘shows’ decades after the last one was performed. The thing is, as I always told her, I still knew all the words to those old songs.  They are just as fresh in my mind now as when they were played endlessly on my mom’s record player.  The fact is that I have found it easy to sing much like ‘Whispering Bill’ all my life.  In my late 20s and 30s, I had given up the picnic table circuit for karaoke shows, however. But that now, too, is in the rearview mirror.

I have been able to meet and talk with Bill Anderson on several occasions both in Wisconsin and in Nashville.  He is one of the Opry legends who have signed my guitar. And this weekend he gets his night in the limelight at the world famous Grand Ole Opry.

When in the third grade my parents had tickets to see Bill Anderson and his singing partner at the time, Jan Howard, in Waupaca.  As the show date approached I came down with the stomach flu.  My mom said we probably would need to miss the concert.  Somehow, someway the flu was put aside and we all attended.  It was Jan Howard that missed the show that night for being sick!

Many decades from now someone, somewhere will be singing a Bill Anderson song.  His legacy is as much from the words he penned as the performing artist he became.  So on behalf of a grateful nation, Caffeinated Politics wants to congratulate Bill Anderson on 60 years at the World-Famous Grand Ole Opry.

So let’s go back to a time when country music had flavor and spice.  Bill Anderson as a young man in a suit that sparkled, as he sings his standard “Bright Lights And Country Music”.  At the end of each performance at the Grand Ole Opry Anderson leaves the stage with a line from this song.

This weekend will be no different.