The Hidden Tape
Will we ever mesure the weight of our dreams, our desires, our resentments , our affections disorders on the shoulders of our disembodied idols? The lucky ones will die early ; those who remain will have no choice but suffer. And faintly fade into disillusioned ghosts.
It's fair we remember them as they were. As much as predators than preys.
Most of the times, there is a turning point where you can feel the switch.
Sometimes, this delectable moment is even worsipped by true fans in old videos loops... This is always the same sad and fascinating show : in front of a raging crowd, an human being dies at himself and forges the mask he will wear from now on. Concert, contract, TV show , album, old comrade abandoned on the road... Yes. Beyond that point of no return, intimate betrayals sometimes even have a name.
In the case of Elvis Presley, it is Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup, a black bluesman of Forest, Mississippi, author of many great songs - three of which made famous by The King - who died in abject poverty.
We must do justice to Elvis as he attempted to repair by June 1973.
At the end of the year 1972, he is tired. In his body, first, because his first serious health problems linked to his overmedication appear (glaucoma, hypertension ...). And especially in his soul: he hardly accepts his very recent divorce and its spiritual research shows him clearly an Elvis-hamster in his cage, making his custom number. It is also at this time that he adopts this white "jumpsuit" as he calls it. The outfit allows him to keep a distance (tenuous) with the character he has become, in his public appearances.
In the end of 1972, facing the hippies shamble which contaminated the original rock, he wants to restore the honor of the 50's pure talent in rock, country and blues. With, first on his list, Arthur Big Boy Crudup.
He has already talked to the Colonel about the idea, but the old man hastened to remain evasive. Yet the King has already thought about interesting concepts: a TV show with Elvis as the anchorman, followed by an album of duets ... A huge "Americana all stars" tour (The King himself would be at the origin of this name that designates today the roots of the American musical heritage as a whole) ...
One night, after a particularly depressing TV show in which he shared the stage with saggy and mocking haired freaks, Elvis presses again his manager to respond to his request. This is a blunt and definitive NO. The problem is that in the 60s especially, everyone has borrowed songs without paying duties. Also, highlight today the true copyright owners, would lead to pay all arrears...
But it's an excuse. The real reason is that there is not enough profit to embark on such an adventure.
For Elvis, it's not a problem. Money ? They have and always will. It is something else, an ethical issue, and certainly also the need to help the culture from which he's coming from - his perfect America - being at last recognized.
Then begins a breakdown period; all concerts and public appearances are canceled, while Elvis spents his days and nights drinking at Graceland. His paranoïa, after 4 men got on stage in Las Vegas, february 18th, , worsens and isolates it from the rest of the world. He's getting fat. Stops singing. Keeps turning over and over his idea. The refusal of Colonel. Drinks Again. Takes pills. And paradoxically, he keeps on training karate seriously.
And one night, he's having the brilliant idea that will fix everything: not only he will organize a concert with all the artists who influenced him, but he will sing with them and no one will know, not even the Colonel!
Elvis invents that night the first "Elvis Lookalikes Contest"; with his sideburns and sunglasses, he hopes to go unnoticed in the crowd of pretenders.
He handles everything himself not to arouse the suspicions of the Colonel, prowling, sniffing out something, and questioning all members of the King's close people.
Elvis is dreaming of an exceptional event in Memphis, such as the Russwood Park one, 4 July 56, when returning from New York after this humiliating show where he had to sing "Hound Dog" with a basset hound wearing a top, he sweared to the local audience that the people of New York would never change him.
He takes a nickname to contact the artists. Most of the time, they don't have a record label no more, not event a manager and some are almost homeless.
Arthur Big Boy Crudup has returned to the land as a laborer. It is thanks to the Dew-Dropp Inn, Northampton County, where he occasionally sings, that Elvis finds him at last .
A handful of enthusiasts have recently made him touring, in the United Kingdom in 1969, or Australia in 1972, and he enjoyed a lot getting back on stage, Yet, he will be the most difficult to convince. Old bluesman «Father of Rock and Roll » is leery after so many disillusionments in show business. But he will sign the commitment.
And finally, the first "Americana All Stars" show, scheduled on the 9th of june 1973, with its Elvis Lookalikes Contest is attractive (with, in order of appearance): Tex Ritter, The Browns, Billy Lee Riley, Jackie Brenston, Arthur Big Boy Crudup, Dorsey Burnette and Jack Hess and the Statesmen.
Unfortunately, the "Americana All Stars" name draws the Colonel Parker's attention and reminds him his latest argument with the King. Discreetly, he undertakes to discover what lies beneath the event and quickly finds the mark of Elvis. He immediately puts his army of lawyers on it, to cancel the project.
He is smart enough to make it come from the council: they ...
Hey, where's the rest of the story ?
Sorry, folks, its reserved for the happy owners of the « Elvis Presley / Arthur Crudup : the hidden tape » NGI poster !
But there is the good news : you can buy it here, in the posters section!
silkscreen printing in limited edtion 100 copies, signed and numbered by the artist.
-Price posters, number 002 to number 100: 190 euros.
-Price of the poster bearing the No. 001: 390 euros.
Online sales available from January
Format 60 x 80cm. Tirage ultra soigné sur papier velin 300 gr en numérique jet d'encre de qualité supérieure. Impression en France. Édition limitée de 100 exemplaires, numérotés et signés.
http://www.sophielo.com/index.html Sophie Lo is an accomplished French artist living in England. She works in many mediums, including original paintings, photography, record sleeves, commissioned ...
Contes et nouvelles. Éditeur. 2 livres publiés de Nouvelles Légendes Improbables et un troisième opus à venir en 2016. Parolier français/anglais. Musicien. Lead guitar pour le groupe Who ...