On January 13, 2005, I posted the third article in the young life of Elvisblog. It was titled “The Guitar That Rocked The World,” and it told of an upcoming TV special featuring Scotty Moore and a roster of British guitar heroes playing two dozen Elvis’ hits. Well, things didn’t quite work out that way. Here’s a little background.
Certain European music producers were well aware of the high esteem that top-name English guitarists had for Scotty Moore. They were sure these musicians would jump at the chance to record with Scotty, so they conceived a three-day filmed performance at famous Abbey Road Studios in London. The producers then sold Scotty on the idea of a tribute to him titled “The Guitar That Rocked The World.” Naturally, he wanted to do it. Who wouldn’t want to perform with Eric Clapton, Mark Knoffler of Dire Straights, David Gilmore of Pink Floyd, and Bill Wyman and Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones?
Scotty was promised certain financial rewards and artistic controls over the finished product. However, when he arrived at Abbey Road in December 2004, no contract was prepared. Scotty (and his traveling party of three) had two choices: turn around and go home, or go through with the deal on a promise and a handshake. With all the British rockers already there and ready to play, Scotty decided to do the show.
Well, as it turned out, Scotty got taken advantage of. The money and controls didn’t happen. The Abbey Road sessions did not end up as a TV special; they were released as a DVD titled, “A Tribute To The King.” In small print at the bottom of the box it says “By Scotty Moore and Friends.” What started out as a tribute to Scotty was now being marketed as a tribute to Elvis.
I did not write about this earlier because of the deep disappointment it caused Scotty. But time has mostly healed the wounds, and last week he told me it was OK to do a blog story on it. After all, as he said, “It is some wonderful music.” And I agree. I’ve watched the complete DVD (27 songs) three times, and it just keeps getting better.
My favorites are the three songs Scotty does with Eric Clapton: “That’s All Right,” “Mystery Train,” and “Money Honey.” Clapton got to pick the songs, and he went for the early stuff, including two Sun Records rockabilly numbers. He and Scotty are seated and backed by a minimal band, but the sound is just wonderful. For the first time in history, these two guitar immortals played together. What a magic moment.
One other personal favorite was David Gilmore playing “Don’t.” Scotty was not on stage for this one, and Gilmore stayed fairly true to the original Elvis version of the song, until he came to the instrumental bridge. Then he blended the Pink Floyd sound into an Elvis classic, and literally gave me goose bumps the first time I watched it.
My other favorite on the DVD is a group you probably have not heard of: The Grundy-Pritchard Band. Scotty is much revered in England and Europe, so he has been traveling over there to perform since 1992. On every tour, he has played with Liam Grundy and Pete Prichard and various other musicians in their group at the time. Scotty has recorded with them on the CD Western Union. In recent years, Paul Ansell, who has had a two-decade career with his own band Number 9, handled the lead vocals. Scotty also recorded with Ansell on the CD Live At Sun.
On the A Tribute To The King DVD, Scotty and The Grundy Pritchard Band do a superb job on six Elvis rockabilly and blues songs. They cover “Shake, Rattle, and Roll,” “A Mess of the Blues,” “ One Night,” “I Forgot To Remember To Forget,” “Reconsider Baby,” and “Ready Teddy.” The music is tight, Ansell’s vocals are dead-on, and the end result is very impressive.
So, let me suggest two things. If you want to get a great Elvis-related gift for Christmas, tell your spouse to go to Amazon.com and order the video. If you love Elvis music and want to see how it sounds done by several famous British rockers, you will enjoy it thoroughly.
And second, if you are going to Elvis Week 2007, please plan to attend the Scotty Moore tribute concert “The Last Man Standing.” In my October 3 Elvisblog, I wrote about Scotty’s Nashville blues band that will do the first set. After the intermission, Scotty’s English band (as his website calls them), Grundy-Pritchard, will do the second set. This is going to be one outstanding concert.
© 2006 Philip R Arnold All Rights Reserved www.elvisblog.net