Since 1986, every August and January we have brought Austin an evening of Elvis goodness, my goodness! Starting as hoot-night with Teddy & The Tall Tops, soon evolving into a 13 rockin’ show band experience that has thrilled Austin audiences for over 30 years. Top notch Austin roots rock talent combining with a 6 piece horn section and two soulful background vocalists, recreate the Elvis 1970’s Vegas comeback era. From See See Rider to Suspicious Minds and beyond. Viva E!
01-08-22 show is on the calendar – stay tuned for updates.
Much as early Christians divined redemption from Jesus’ darkest moments and serious Woody Allen fans find merit in “Another Woman,” Ted Roddy seeks, year after year, to celebrate Elvis Presley’s oft-denigrated Vegas period. At a packed Continental Club Friday night — the first of four shows over two days –Roddy’s King Conjure Orchestra insisted on treating this music not as rhinestone-laden kitsch for the large-hair set, but as music.Roddy avoids any trappings of fat-Elvis mockery: no comic-book jumpsuit, no fake mutton chops, no accent when he’s not singing. It’s like watching Chevy Chase imitate Gerald Ford; it doesn’t matter that the artist doesn’t look like the character, so long as he nails his persona — or, in Roddy’s case, The Voice. Roddy has Elvis’s singing style down cold, and his 10-piece band moves fluidly and energetically from rockabilly (“Return to Sender,” “Don’t Be Cruel”) to the near-showtunes (“My Way,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water”) that sullied Presley’s later work. And yes, they opened the 100-minute set by segueing “Thus Spake Zarathustra” into “See See Rider,” just as Elvis did back in the ’70s. But the set is not costumed tribute or a mockery. Roddy is in love with Presley’s work from the late ’60s, when the singer, then in his 30s, cut the Memphis-driven R&B he should have making all along. It took a few songs for Roddy (and the audience) to warm up; “Burnin’ Love” and “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” were fine, but the band lit up when it hit the good stuff. Roddy is a fan of Mac Davis’ work for Elvis, giving the sappy “Don’t Cry Daddy” and “In the Ghetto” power and dignity. Later in the evening, a blistering, funky run at Davis’ “A Little Less Conversation,” got two waitresses to dance on the bar — one had already turned the crowd on, Ann-Margret style, during “Viva Las Vegas” — which in turn got the crowd moving. By the time Roddy closed with the one-two punch of “Suspicious Minds” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” the historical record had been fully revised.Happy birthday, E.
Joe Gross-2004 AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN
Twice annually since 1986, on the anniversaries of Elvis Presley’s birth (Jan. 8, 1935) and death (Aug. 16, 1977), local roots rock hero Ted Roddy pays homage to the King at the Continental Club for two sets: Fifties rock hip-shakers with the New Blue Moon Boys, then Seventies Vegas-style love burners with the King Conjure Orchestra. A sincere presentation/celebration done respectfully – all to Roddy’s credit. – Tim Stegall AUSTIN CHRONICLE
So you hate Elvis. So what? In a society haplessly addicted to the exploitation of fallen martyrs, hating Elvis is like being a junkie who hates heroin. When Elvis Death Day rolls around each year, it just doesn’t matter that the King’s ascendancy to the throne had as much to do with racism as talent and hard work did. Like the agnostic who begrudgingly takes part in Christmas festivities just to score presents, you might as well gather ’round the corpse each August 16 to peruse the kitschy accouterments of Elvis-dom. If nothing else, it’s great ammunition. But all these pop sociological notions go right out the window when you see Ted Roddy saunter up to the Continental Club stage and deliver a one-two punch of “C.C. Rider” and “Burning Love.” Roddy’s Graceland Revue is a perfect demonstration why we love the Vegas Elvis in spite of ourselves: It’s a spectacular show. Dolled up in a hybrid of lounge singer and strip-club hawker, Roddy didn’t even need the rhinestone jumpsuit. By leaving glitter to the Ice Capades, the Graceland Revue illuminated the outstanding backup work of T.C.B. Band staples such as James Burton (played here by Brent Wilson) and Ronnie Tutt (Mas Palermo). Any consortium that can manage to make Elvis look coherent in the midst of a fried peanut butter and Percodan stupor can count on my vote. The Revue captured virtually every nuance of the Fat Elvis experience, from subtleties like the triangle part on “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” right down to obvious targets like Presley’s frequent bungling of lyrics and shouting at the band to play faster or slower in the middle of a song. Retched cheese like “American Trilogy” came off with all the faux patriotic muster it deserved, and the five-piece horn section (who had to stand still in a crowded quarter of the stage) did arranger Joe Guercio proud. As for Roddy, his renditions were as solid as any professional Elvis imitator and his gait was that of a celebrated prodigy who’d stopped giving a rat’s patoot years ago, but won screaming accolades in spite of himself. Which is to say he was a very convincing King indeed. – Greg Beets AUSTIN CHRONICLE
For 30 years, Ted Roddy & the King Conjure Orchestra have marked the birthday of the King (Jan. 8, as if you didn’t know) with a spectacular show at the Continental Club. Roger Wallace & the New Blue Moon Boys open with covers of the early-Elvis catalog, then Roddy and crew bring it home with a hunka, hunka burnin’ late-Elvis love. AUSTIN CHRONICLE