Hey, what else is left to say: Elvis's best recording sessions ever!!!!! ........Ok so there is more to say. If you don't have almost all the following songs, you are depriving your self of some of the very best tracks of Elvis's entire career
Lets go back to 1969, Elvis was at the beginning of one of the greatest comebacks of all time. After 7 years of not making a live appearance, and making a majority of 20 largely forgettable movies, Elvis came back with a vengeance to Memphis in January, his first recordings there in over 13 years. The tracks are'nt set in order of their recording time, but the first song of this CD was the first song of Elvis's critically acclaimed comeback album for 'From Elvis In Memphis', possibly his best of his career. We kick off with 'Wearing that loved on look', a song Elvis lost himself in many takes about a man's woman cheating on him. Even with a cold and a gritty voice, he puts on a great performance greatly backed up by the fantastic backing singers and band. Fantastic way to start off the album
'Only the strong survive' was probably offered as a tribute to his late mother. Elvis did'nt agree with how he handled the song (His own quote: She said 'boy, thats one of the worst jobs of singing i've heard in my natural life'), theres no denying the passion and self identification with him in the song. Then another stellar performance. Done in ONE take, Elvis gets lost in an extraordinary moment caught on record in 'I'll hold you in my heart'. Elvis goes on with this song for 4 and a half minute, returning to the bridge over and over, rephrasing the lyrics and re-invigorating the song more and more each time.
Almost the whole CD is flawless, with another special mention to this song. 'Long black limousine' was the song about a girl who went to Hollywood to become a star, saying she'd come back in a long black limousine for all the town to see. She did, but she was dead, and the limousine was carrying her in her casket. Elvis sings with such emotion as if the girl was some one he really did love. Elvis has an AMAZING ability to put him self inside the song, and make you believe it. Amazing performance
All though a little less than the other unbelieveable tracks, 'Its keeps right on a hurting' is still a good sounding track, with Elvis sounding sincere and his voice comfortably suited to the song. Then we get country based with 'I'm moving on', which is about the same level as 'IKROAH', but a rocking chorus repeat is very inspired. Then Elvis is about to get dirty with the sizzler 'Power of my love', this song is an instrument for seduction. Elvis works his way along this song with real rocking passion, and a 'sure fire' rocker, to which Elvis was always naturally suited, helped along by the female back up singers dirty orgasmic calls.
Then a great, great cover of Glen Cambells 'Gentle on my mind', handled vocally very well. Then another fine track, Elvis's version of Eddy Arnold's 'After loving you', to which he puts in 100% once again. Then one of Elvis's most beautifully delivered ballads' 'True love travels on a gravel road', with a sincere vocal performance by our man, one of his finest. 'Any day now', although recorded 7 months prior to his Las Vegas comeback, it is a very 'Vegas-ised' song, with heavy strings and orchestra, and a very delicate and desperate vocal performance by Elvis.
What more has to be said about Elvis's number 1 hit 'In the ghetto'? Although a song people would'nt associate with Elvis's rebel rocker style, Elvis makes the song his own as if he's been singing it all his life. A sad song,with an amazingly gentle and beautful vocal performance. 'Mama like the roses' was another tribute to his mother and her death, and with how much Elvis puts in to every song he cares for, don't expect any less from him here.
'Suspicious minds' has been associated with Elvis's Vegas years, and as a number 1, it is one of Elvis's best performances. Just listen to the line 'Oh let our loooooooooove survive!', and thats more than what needs to be said about Elvis, the committment shown to this song is classic, but sadly, as his concert career wore on, Elvis only treated it as an excuse for fancy movements. 'You'll think of me' is a country based song that was the B side of 'Suspicious minds', although it is'nt as good as his best session work from 1969, its undeniable that Elvis is making an effort
'Don't cry Daddy' was released as a single, and rightfully so. Another tribute to the death of his mother, Elvis sings his own story, as a comfort to his dad. It went 'gold in sales, deservedly so. It is a gold performance. 'The fair is moving on', while the lyrics may at times be a little questionable in the song's emotion, when Elvis gets to the chorus, the way he sings the situation is what i'd like to call 'heartbreakingly tear jerking'
Kentucky rain, was also released as a single, and is very similar to the sound of 'Suspicious minds' and 'Don't cry Daddy', it is considered one of his finest. The song still displays Elvis's emotional talent in each song he is committed to. Then, we finally get back to rock n roll, with a personal side. One of my personal favourites is 'Stranger in my own hometown', a song that Elvis runs up to for 4 and a half minutes. He keeps replaying the lyrics with equal committment each time, and even with a heay over dub of strings, you still can't deny how much fun Elvis is having. If you love that, you got to listen to the undubbed version!!
Finally, to close out the first disc of the American sessions anthology, Tom Jones's song, 'Without love'. I consider this better than Tom's version, a very soul based arrangement, with great work from the female back up group. Another passionate performance by THE KING
Review to be continued..........