I’ve been a little behind on Elvis news lately, so I just found out that one of my favorite albums is getting an FTD release in October. From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee, recorded at Graceland in 1976, will now be an expanded, 2-CD edition. This marks yet another exciting release for 2012.
September 20, 2012, Update: Back In Memphis, the lesser of the two resulting albums of his 1969 American Sound Studio sessions, will be the FTD Classic Album release for December. Also to be released by FTD that month is a 2-CD package consisting of a 1972 rehearsal tape and an August 1972 Las Vegas show.
Back In Memphis is usually described as the “lesser” of the 1969 albums but for me it’s Elvis at the top of his game. Much darker, moodier material and the best vocals of his career. Of the two albums from the American sessions, Back In Memphis is by far my favorite. It would have only been better if Suspicious Minds and In The Ghetto were included.
Steven, thanks for commenting and welcome to the Train.
Back In Memphis no doubt has some standout performances but – for me, anyway – it pales as an overall album next to From Elvis In Memphis.
I agree that it definitely would have benefited from “Suspicious Minds” being included (“In The Ghetto” was already on FEIM), but I suspect one of the reasons it was left off was to include the live version on the Elvis In Person half of the From Memphis To Vegas/From Vegas To Memphis set. Considering that it was a 2-record set, I think it would have been okay in this instance to include both versions.
Or perhaps it should have been added as a bonus when Back In Memphis received its solo release (I wonder if Elvis fans complained about “double-dipping” back then?).
“Don’t Cry Daddy”, “Rubberneckin'”, “Kentucky Rain,” and maybe even “My Little Friend” would have also helped to improve the album.
Thanks for your reply! I’m definitely in the minority on this one. Perhaps it’s because I used to listen to my mom’s “Memphis To Vegas/From Vegas To Memphis” album over and over as a child. But I think I also prefer his moodier material. But 1969 is by far my favorite “Elvis” year. His voice during this period is remarkable. Something strange happened between September 1970 and March 1971 because, for me at least, his voice was never the same. Although I think I might be in the minority there, too, because a lot of folks tend to prefer Elvis’ “Tarzan” voice à la “Hurt” or “American Trilogy.”
The thing about Elvis is, there really isn’t a single year that the “majority” agree is his best. For me, my favorite Elvis spans are 1968-1970, 1954-1957, and 1960-1962. I see those as his key years, really. So, of course, the time after those is going to seem like a “decline” — because no one can be at their best all the time.
There’s still tons of stuff I enjoy in most of the other years, though. That’s the awesomeness of Elvis!
As for the “Tarzan” voice, that is not limited to 1971-1977. Take a listen to 1969’s “Without Love,” for instance.
Great comments! Thanks again.
Thanks for putting up with my 1969 tangent! It sounds like your favorite Elvis spans are the same as mine. Lately, I’ve been getting into the 1960-1961 period — especially songs like “That’s Someone You Never Forget” and “I’m Yours.”
I’m probably overly obsessed with his 1968-1969 period because his voice had achieved perfection. (For me, at least.) Listen to any live show from 1969 and compare it to the Aloha show in 1973. (Especially songs like “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” “Hound Dog,” “Johnny B. Goode” and “Suspicious Minds.”) It almost sounds like a different person singing. And yet many consider the Aloha show Elvis at his peak.
But, like you, there are tons of Elvis songs that I love during the 1971-1977 period. Once I get past the “he-isn’t-1969-Elvis” stage I can really appreciate his work. And two of my all-time favorite vocals of his came during the later period: The live version of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from 1975 and the live version of “Rags to Riches” from his great New Year’s show in 1976. Both versions are stunning.
But I’ll always be baffled about his DRASTIC voice change between September 1970 and March 1971. And funny you mention “Without Love” because I used the same argument against someone who said that Elvis couldn’t have possibly sung a song like “American Trilogy” in 1969. I cited “Without Love” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone” as examples of Elvis doing that singing style. I just think that in the later years he relied too much on the “Tarzan” vocal style.
Once again, thanks for indulging me in my 1969 tangent! And going back to the original topic, I still think “Back In Memphis” is one of his best albums! ; )