Forward a few months, and the King returns to Stax and delivers some of the performances of his life.
The Stax sessions strongly rate along side the Memphis 69 and Nashville 71 sessions as Elvis best work of the late 60s and 70s.
Tracks like Promised Land and If You Talk In Your Sleep are breathtakingly good. The entire CD is outstanding, especially for those who enjoy country tinged music, although there is rock, soul and funk here also; this cd will not fail to please.
The songs are a mix of covers (drawn from pop, country and gospel sources) and originals. Among the covers are Promised land (Chuck Berry), Loving arms (first recorded by Dobie Gray), Help me (Larry Gatlin), Talk about the good times (Jerry Reed), Good time Charlie's got the blues (Danny O'Keefe), If that isn't love (Dottie Rambo), Spanish eyes (Al Martino), She wears my ring (Ray Price), There's a honky tonk angel (Conway Twitty) and You asked me to (Waylon Jennings).
However, the cover with the most interesting history is My boy, which was originally co-written and first recorded by French singer Claude Francois in 1969 as Parce que je t' aime mon enfant. Translated into English in 1970, Richard Harris recorded the song and it is this version that Elvis covered. You've never heard of Claude Francois? He also co-wrote and first recorded Comme d' Habitude, a song that later became My way (and which Elvis also recorded, but not in 1973).
The original songs are mostly of a very high quality, especially It's midnight, I got a feeling in my body, Your love has been a long time coming.
If you are interested in Elvis Presley's seventies music, this is definitely for you. If you enjoy his late sixties music but remain to be convinced that he did anything worthwhile thereafter. Give this a listen.
None of these albums sold great, although Promised Land topped the Billboard Country charts plus the singles If You Talk In Your Sleep Promised Land and My Boy all Billboard top 20 with the latter 2 top 10 in the UK: My Boy was a huge hit in 1975.
This is brilliant music making, and as varied as anything he ever done before.
The title track is the Chuck Berry classic, but Elvis reveals more in the lyrics and performance that is twice as fast as Berry's.
If You Talk In Your Sleep is funky soul, and is one of the finest Elvis songs. I Got A Feeling In My Body is engrossing, the repetitions of I Gotta, I Gotta is riveting.
The country songs and ballads are exceptional, Loving Arms is amazing as Elvis hits the high notes 'singin somewhere in the lonely night!'
Classic country songs such as Larry Gatlin's Help Me and Waylon Jennings You Asked Me To are pure Presley. My favourite track is Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues...its a bluesy song with regretful lyrics and some fine phrasing by the man.
The only weak song is a cover of Solomon King's She Wears My Ring, it is beatifully sung, but the song is poor.
Promised Land deserves a promotional push, its that good and deserves top 10 status.
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