I first read one of David Stanley’s books, then I read Dee Stanley’s book then Billy Stanley’s book and now I have read Ricky Stanley’s first book. (I still have another of Ricky’s to read and another of David’s). Billy, Ricky and David Stanley were of course Elvis’ stepbrothers when his father Vernon married their mother Dee in 1960. I still don’t know what to make of the Stanley Brothers, but I will keep reading.
Rick Stanley’s Caught in a Trap – Elvis Presley’s Tragic Lifelong Search for Love had nothing to do with what the title suggests. It is 150 pages of large print then almost 50 pages of questions and answers. It wasn’t really a memoir of Rick’s life with Elvis, but more of a history of Elvis with Rick’s take on Elvis’ life. When I want to learn about Elvis’ life, I read biographies. I read memoirs to learn about someone’s unique story with Elvis – this book was not that. But it is a first edition signed copy.
Unfortunately, the second sentence of Rick Stanley’s book is incorrect. Rick writes Elvis recorded “That’s Alright Mama” at Sun Studio on July 6, 1954 – rather than July 5th when Elvis actually recorded it. That is kind of an important fact to get wrong. Also, Rick’s dates of when Priscilla visited Graceland for the first time and when she moved to Graceland were wrong. His account of Anita’s breakup with Elvis contradicts everything I have ever read about it, including Anita’s own account in her book. One other thing Rick got wrong was when he wrote “the long line with Elvis in the lead of limousines would take off from Graceland.” That never happened. Elvis and the guys did not travel in limousines around Memphis.
Rick wrote about some things I have never heard before, but don’t know if they are correct or not. He wrote the Presleys had to leave Tupelo because Vernon was making and distributing moonshine. I always read they left to find work in Memphis. Rick wrote Bill Black’s mother, who also lived in Lauderdale Courts, said she heard Elvis, Scotty and Bill practicing long before they recorded at Sun and it was actually Bill who encouraged Elvis to go into Sun. I have never heard that before. I read it was Sam Phillips who put Elvis with Scotty and Bill and Elvis did not know Bill before then. Rick writes about the Elviswagen, his BMW in Germany, which I had never heard of before.
When I am at Graceland, I always imagine Elvis’ coffin in the music room because that is where it was for the funeral. I never thought about how it must have been in the foyer under the chandelier for the public viewing, like Rick writes about. Just another reason why I adore standing in the foyer and feel Elvis there.