John Tefteller discovered the Elvis Presley acetate containing the Don Davis interview which was released on the Follow That Dream Edition of Elvis' debut album "Elvis Presley". This interview, by the webmaster of the Elvis Presley Scrapbook website who kindly allowed us to use it, gives the background on this discovery.
Before we get down to the Don Davis Elvis interview I have to ask, this isn't the first time you have helped with an Elvis release is it?
No it's not, apparently there are some masters missing for some of the Sun releases. What I had at the time and I've since sold them, was a set of five promotional copies of the Elvis Sun 45's which were some of the first ones pressed from the stampers. They had just a bit better sound than anything that BMG had over there as far as sound quality from a third or fourth generation master. They used some of them on the "Elvis At SUN" release.
What did you think of the end result?
It sounded good, they sent me a copy and gave me a credit on it. I just made them CD transfers here off of the 45's that I had and sent them over, I put it in the machine and it sounded really good.
OK, down to business, what can you tell us about the Don Davis acetate and how long have you had this little gem?
I don't really remember, I've had it for a long time, it was sometime in the 80's. I was going around in the late 70's and all the way through the 80's, going all over the USA to different radio stations and buying up as many piles of old records, 45's and 78's mainly, that I could find. I would always, when I was in these stations, look through anything that was unusual whether they were acetates, transcriptions or anything that was different from your normally commercially released records. I went through all of those. This was probably the most unusual thing I found on Elvis because when I got it I mentioned it to a number of people and nobody had ever heard of it, nobody knew anything about it and it wasn't documented anywhere.
Can you describe it to me?
On the label it says TIMEHILL FROLIC, that's the name of the radio show... I have it here wait a second. Ok, what this says is A ROCKHILL RECORDING. Rockhill was a radio transcription company out of New York located at 18 East 50th Street, New York City. They mainly did recordings of live radio programmes for people who wanted them for reference purposes but they would also do pressings of things for syndication. What this says on the label is A ROCKHILL RECORDING, underneath Gruen Watch Company and underneath that it says TIMEHILL FROLIC with Don Davis (the host) and continuing underneath that PROGRAMME 24. That's all that is printed on the label other than the address for the company. What caught my eye when I was going through these at the station was the disc jockey or whoever owned the station had written in pen upside down "ELVIS PRESLEY INTRO AND INTERVIEW". I remember seeing that and thinking what is this, I had never heard of TIMEHILL FROLIC in relation to Elvis Presley?
Which radio station were you at?
I was buying a whole bunch of transcriptions from this station along with some records and there were so many of them (stations visited) that I can't remember, it was somewhere in the South is all I know. I tossed this on the pile without hearing it just thinking maybe it will be something interesting. When I got it home I left it laying around my office for a long time before I actually played it but when I eventually played it I was struck by how interesting it really was. Then I started asking people about it and everyone I asked said no, I've never heard of this, don't know anything about it.
So what happened next?
I didn't really want to keep it because I'm a blues collector, I don't really collect Elvis although I like him but I don't feel the need to keep everything in the world I find so I put it up for sale in 1990 or 1991. I advertised it I believe in GoldmineE at the time and I had a $3000.00 opening bid. I didn't get any bids but I figured if it's that unusual and rare then $3000.00 shouldn't be too much to ask. In the world of rare records, and something on Elvis that no one has heard or ever seen, I just didn't think $3000.00 was an outrageous opening bid but nevertheless I didn't get any bids so I just put the record away in my office and forgot about it.
Then about five or six years ago, maybe a little bit longer than that, I got a call from Jerry Osborne who was doing a book called "Elvis In His Own Words". He called and said, "You know you had this advertisement a few years back with this Elvis Presley interview, would you mind checking and giving me some information on that because I can't find it documented anywhere and maybe it's something I can use for the book I'm working on." I asked if he would like to hear some of it and played a little to him over the phone. He was like, "Wow, this would be great, would you mind transcribing it for use in the book?" I agreed to do it for him and allowed him to print it in the book and then I put it away and forgot about it again.
Then about six or eight months ago Kevan (Budd) calls me and he says, "You know I got this book that was written by Jerry Osborne and it's got this Elvis Presley interview in there and he gives credit to you, do you still have the original recording of that?" and I said I did. He said, "Well can we negotiate something so we can put that out on a CD?" So I negotiated a price with them which they paid and of course now it's on the CD, that's how it all came about. It's been one of those things that has come and gone, and yet the original record is still here.
How do you feel about the release?
I figured once it was re-issued on CD one of two things would happen -- either the original would be de-valued because now people could hear it and it wouldn't be any big deal anymore or maybe there would be more interest in the original record because it is documented that it does exist and it is something of historical importance to the Elvis fans. I took the chance. Maybe it will help me to finally sell the record because what I mainly collect and what I mainly do are the very rare early blues records from the 20's and 30's.
Thanks for the fascinating insight into the story and I appreciate your generosity with your time.
Well you're very kind and thanks for taking the time to talk to me.
The interview is available of the Follow That Dream 2 CD edition of Elvis' classic debut album "Elvis Presley". released July, 2006.