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CD: Elvis Presley: From Elvis In Memphis: Legacy Edition

Invigorated by a 1968 TV special and the notion of returning to a Memphis studio for the first time since leaving Sun Records for RCA in 1955, Elvis Presley decided to pull out all the stops for his first non-soundtrack album in six years. The songs were well selected (“Suspicious Minds,” “Only the Strong Survive,” “Gentle on My Mind,” “True Love Travels On a Gravel Road,” “Kentucky Rain”), the production stripped-down, and the musicians Memphis-funky.

The 36 tracks cut at Chips Moman’s American Studios (the same place Dusty Springfield laid down “Dusty in Memphis”) in 1969 wound up being released on two albums: “From Elvis in Memphis” and “Back In Memphis,” and as a handful of singles. Through the years, RCA has packaged these tracks together as “The Memphis Record” (1987) and “Suspicious Minds” (1999) but for the latest “Legacy Edition” release, the songs are sequenced to reflect the original albums, and the 10 singles appear in rarely heard mono mixes.

Elvis Presley, circa 1969, when he made these seminal recordings in Memphis.

Elvis Presley, circa 1969, when he made these seminal recordings in Memphis.

Finally given songs of substance, Presley dug deep, managing to reinvigorate numbers already identified with other artists. Listen to the way he imbues Percy Mayfield’s “Long Black Limousine” and Chuck Jackson’s “Any Day Now” with a churchy soulfulness. Only on Hank Snow’s “I’m Movin’ On” does the King fail to live up to his crown.

CNN and other news outlets have done a great job reminding us that 1969 was the year of Woodstock, the Manson Murders, and the first moonwalk. It was also the year Elvis proved that, despite scores of cheesy movie roles and going-through-the-motion concerts, he was capable of timeless perfection.

Release date: 7/28/09

Official Site: www.elvisthemusic.com

 

Photos courtesy Sony Legacy Records.

[Amy Longsdorf’s entertainment coverage has appeared in Blender, People, the Chicago Tribune, the Toronto Star and Newsday. She doesn’t want to imagine a world without Preston Sturges movies, Stax singles and the music of Bob Marley.]

About Jenny Peters (168 Articles)
Jet Set Jen is the brainchild of Jenny Peters, a longtime freelance journalist whose career has spanned everything considered "Lifestyle" reporting, from movies and celebrities to fashion and fast cars, with plenty of food, wine and travel thrown in too. She currently contributes regularly to USA Today's 10Best.com, AARP.org, New York Magazine, Coast Magazine, Bask Magazine and numerous other newspapers, magazines and websites worldwide. She is a founding and voting member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (www.criticschoice.com), which annually honors the year's top films with the Critics' Choice Awards. Jenny and her crack cadre of reporters at Jet Set Jen offer up opinions, suggestions and insider scoops on the best that the world has to offer, to keep you on the cutting edge of that ever elusive pursuit of life, liberty, happiness – and fun, fun, fun.

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