In the early 60s, Elvis got into a regular routine. He made movies, and a soundtrack album was released for each. In addition, he went to Nashville every spring to record at RCA’s famed Studio B.
These annual sessions in Nashville produced a cache of songs to be released as singles. Each year after the spring Nashville sessions in ’60, ’61, and ’62, Elvis released a new non-soundtrack album. Col. Parker decided they would not include any hits. He was correct in believing the fans would still buy the albums anyway, and then later all the hits could be included in one of many Elvis “Best Of” compilations.
So, the cycle for albums following the spring Nashville sessions was this:
1960 – Elvis Is Back
1961 – Something for Everybody
1962 – “Pot Luck.”
Things went differently after the recording sessions at Studio B on May 26-27, 1963. As usual, a new 45 release followed within a month. “Devil In Disguise” was the A-side, and it went to #3 on the charts. The B-side was “Don’t Drag That String Around,” written by Otis Blackwell (“Don’t Be Cruel”). Another good song, “Witchcraft,” was the B-side to “Bossa Nova Baby,” released in October that year.
However, in 1963, no regular non-soundtrack album was released. Pretty strange, considering that they had 13 brand new songs in the vault. It’s an interesting story.
Actually, RCA had scheduled an album using these recordings to come out that fall, but then they decided they had enough new hits to make Elvis Golden Records, Vol 3, so they issued it instead.
Why bother with untested studio material when a greatest-hits record is a sure thing?
Next up was the Fun In Acapulco soundtrack release in November ’63, but two extra songs were needed for filler. “Love Me Tonight” and “Slowly But Surely” were pulled from the remaining unused spring ’63 Studio B recordings.
By April 1964, it was time for the Kissin’ Cousins soundtrack album. This movie was also short of enough songs for a full album, so again two songs from the May ’63 Nashville sessions were used: “Long Lonely Highway” and “Echoes of Love.”
That was the death knell for the concept of an album of all the May ’63 Studio B recordings .Two more songs made it into the standard album Elvis for Everyone in 1965. Four of the remaining songs were used in the soundtrack albums for Double Trouble in 1967 and Speedway in 1968.
At that point, all thirteen songs from the planned 1963 Nashville sessions album had been released in one way or another.
Finally, in 1991, twenty-eight years after the songs were recorded, RCA decided to right a wrong and released a CD of the May ’63 sessions. It is appropriately titled The Lost Album, and I would rather own it than a lot of the Elvis CDs containing “Previously Unreleased Recordings.”
Elvis was just 28 in 1963, and he was still rocking pretty good. The session featured three guitar players (led by Scotty Moore) playing on each song, and it had a double drum kit: DJ Fontana and Buddy Harman. Elvis also had Floyd Cramer on piano, Boots Randolph on sax, Bob Moore on bass, and the Jordanaires and Millie Kirkham on vocals, truly bringing the group assembled there up to all-star status.
For my money, I think the best song on The Lost Album is “Memphis,” written and first recorded by Chuck Berry. I also like “Devil In Disguise,” “Witchcraft,” and “Slowly But Surely.” The rest of the songs are well described by Earnst Jorgenson in Elvis Presley, A Life in Music. He said they.
“were all passable, and their flawless, pleasant sound make them records Elvis fans could enjoy.”
In 2007, RCA rereleased it with a new title and much more appealing cover art:
By either title, this really qualifies as a long-lost Elvis album.
So, if the concept of an unreleased Elvis album from 1963 interests you, check out either The Lost Album or For The Asking. You’ll be in for a treat.
© 2021 Philip R Arnold All Rights Reserved www.elvisblog.net
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