This rare box-set is packaged in a DVD sized ecolbook, the width of a normal CD.
Elvis Presley's music in the 1970s is often dismissed as the bombastic, half-hearted hack work of an overweight, pill-addicted, badly dressed has-been. In the liner notes to this five-CD set, Dave Marsh argues that Presley, in fact, created a more impressive body of work in the '70s than almost any other pop act. And the music on this massive anthology backs Marsh up. Stripping away all the garish live recordings and album filler, the package concentrates on a core of 120 songs--the A- and B-sides of every single Presley recorded in the '70s, 46 other studio tracks (including 13 previously unreleased performances), and 27 live tracks (including another 13 unreleased tracks)--that feature a still-magnificent singer collaborating with one of the funkiest bands of its time. This body of work certainly doesn't match Presley's breakthroughs in the '50s, nor does it equal the achievements of Al Green, Neil Young, and Van Morrison in the '70s, but it does stack up well against the work of Bob Dylan and the ex-Beatles in the same decade.
Even in his laziest moments, Presley was a master of intonation and phrasing, delivering his rich baritone with a disarming naturalness. And when he caught a spark from his great T.C.B. Band (anchored by guitarist James Burton and drummer Ron Tutt), Presley could still out-sing anyone in American pop. You can hear it here on inspired versions of Tony Joe White's "Polk Salad Annie," Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right," Muddy Waters' "Got My Mojo Working," Wayne Carson's "Always on My Mind," Chuck Berry's "Promised Land," Paul McCartney's "Lady Madonna," Percy Mayfield's "Stranger in My Own Hometown," Dennis Linde's "Burning Love," and Joe South's "Walk a Mile in My Shoes." --Geoffrey Himes