14 November 2007

Elvis and Kathy, 1987.

Kathy Westmoreland (with William G. Quinn.) ELVIS AND KATHY. Glendale House (USA) 1987. ISBN: 0961862203

Current Selling Prices
$450-$800 /£220-£400

Uncommon and expensive memoir of life on the road with Elvis. In 1970 after being in the Sandpipers and singing on their deathless hit 'Guantanamero' she was hired to sing backup vocals for Elvis Presley, both in the studio and on stage. He would introduce her as "the little girl with the beautiful high voice." She continued to perform with Presley until his death in 1977, sung a tribute single, “You Were the Music” and sang at Elvis funeral, her chosen song was “My Father Watches Over Me” She is on record as having been a lover of Elvis-- he even bought her a few cars including a Lincoln Continental. A reader at Amazon reports:
"...a unique insight in to the man's life. Whilst Priscilla wrote about 'her' life with Elvis, focusing on how neglected she felt etc etc, Kathy writes about her experience of sharing and witnessing Elvis' life for a time. She was on stage with him all those years, knew what he was like before and after performing...She gives insight in to the man behind the image without tarnishing his character. She was a virgin when she met Elvis but that was to change... This book is a collector's item and very expensive to get a hold of but I am told that Kathy is in the middle of re-releasing this book (updated version) which will be affordable for everyone... must be read by the public for a clear view of Elvis the man, entertainer, prankster and KING!
Interesting to note that it might be reprinted as this will soften the price, but the true Elvis collector will always desire the first edition. A copy at about $500 is descibed thus: 'Hardcover. Small tears in dust jacket. Binding is tight. Moderate cover wear. Some pages show wear. No writing inside pages.' Sounds slightly nasty, especially alarming is the phrase ' some pages show wear' which could be pretty bad as the word 'wear' is not qualified - as in "slight wear' or 'mild wear'. Caveat Emptor.

VALUE? In 2006 some madmen had a poor copy at $2K. In October 2005 it made $207 on ebay, there are copies currently at ABE at $500 to $900. A rarer and possibly more valuable Elvis book is 'Memories Beyond Graceland Gates' by Mary Jenkins (cook and housekeeper to Elvis known at Graceland as Mary Langston, her married name) published in USA by Eastland in 1989.( ISBN 0962375608 110 pages, illustrated -pic left.) Only one copy online at £600, this with a relister who probably does not possess it. One to look out for at the flea market and possibly worth more than Kathy's book, but surely not $12 a page.

In this food orientated book Mary writes that Elvis returned from a concert tour in 1972 and told her about a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich he had eaten while on the road. Mary said it took her three tries to get the sandwich to the King's satisfaction, and then she cooked them for him the rest of his life. One for the food book collection to put next to the Elizabeth David and the Careme.

Some astonishing Elvis trivia. 1. His favourite Monty Python sketch was the the Knights who say Ni! The King would occasionally do his version of the sketch for his friends. Elvis as noted above was a prankster and as evidenced by out takes from his recordings he liked jokes and playing jokes on people. 2. I read somewhere that in his late teens his hair was blonde. 3. In the mid 1970s I was in a Russian cafe on Sunset Boulevard in L.A. Elvis had eaten there and there was a polaroid of him on the wall with a waitress. Even in this simple photo he looked astonishingly handsome. 4. In the mid 1990s I went to a 'gathering' in Northern California, where there was a lot of drumming, the party was thrown by a striking Amazonian ex hippy soixante huiter who was said to have numbered Elvis among her old lovers. He was, apparently, 'very hot.' 4. Sometimes when being driven through small towns he would have his chauffeur stop at a Cadillac or Lincoln showroom. There he would buy one and present it as a gift for someone ogling the gleaming autos through the window. Maybe apocryphal or a one off. 5. His poshest fan is one of the Mitford Sisters - Debo, Duchess of Devonshire. She has a collection of Elvis memorabilia including an Elvis telephone. Favourite song 'His Latest Flame.'

Elvis appears to have requested Kathy Westmoreland to sing at his funeral, which suggests that he had some idea that he wouldn't make old bones. “My Father Watches Over Me” is a religious song, by the way, and Elvis sung it on one of his more churchy albums. Pic of funeral procession below. Long live the King!

STOP PRESS First posted April this year. A few more copies of this have shown up but none less than $200 and a couple at $1000. The Beyond Graceland Gates cook book has become more plentiful, none below $400 but about 4 for sale and 2 beneath $500. These are books to find, not to blow hard won C notes on, however.

1 comment:

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