68 of 68 people found the following review helpful
on 1 August 2009
This two-disc version of `From Elvis In Memphis' collects together the `From Elvis In Memphis' and `Back In Memphis' albums, both of which were derived from Elvis's celebrated 1969 recording sessions in Memphis. Leftovers and singles taped at those sessions are also included. I won't appraise the musical merits of these songs because they have been eulogised already by many people. Instead, I'll address if it's worth upgrading the previous inclusive Memphis 1969 compilation, the double CD set `Suspicious Minds'. Despite my misgivings when this latest project was first announced, it is phenomenally good. The sound is very classy, yet the rawness and emotionality that underpinned the greatness of the original album are somehow enhanced. The overall timbre is crystal clear yet full of warmth. But what tingles the spine the most is the detail now plainly audible in Elvis' voice - I've never before heard him sounding so evocative, so nuanced and so engaged on these recordings. State-of-the-art audio software is of little or no value unless the engineers operating it are musically literate. The technicians who prepared this new set have truly picked up on the honesty, humanity and simplicity in the music, and have brilliantly brought those key elements to the fore. Closing the final disc with the singles means that the set ends on a run of mostly good songs. Some of the mono single mixes are very distinctive particularly `Kentucky Rain', its ending shorn of overdubbed strings - I'd not heard it in this form since dispensing with the old UK vinyl compilation `Hits of the 70s' half a lifetime ago. The FEIM Legacy Edition doesn't contain the out-takes found on the `Suspicious Minds' set nor its informal fragments. But this is easily one of the most intelligent and tasteful remastering jobs I have ever heard, the enormity of Elvis's talent is plain for anyone to hear, and I would urge all his fans to check it out for themselves.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 24 October 2004
A classic Elvis Presley album, and indeed one of his all-time greatest, "From Elvis in Memphis" presents the harvest of two recording marathons in early 1969 at Chips Moman's American Studios in Memphis. Following hot on the heels of the '68 Comeback Special, the Memphis sessions produced a string of hits and sterling cuts, which helped to reestablish Elvis as one of the leading figures in rock culture. Even now, some 35 years after date, there isn't a weak number on this disc, with Elvis returning to his roots of blues, rhythm 'n' blues, country and gospel, and blending it all into his charateristically eclectic mix, as only he could, yet with a force and conviction which hadn't been heard for years. The way he turns the old Eddy Arnold country hit-tune "I'll Hold You In My Heart" into a powerful blues cut which doesn't let go, is just one example. The opening "Wearin' That Loved on Look", "Long Black Limousine", "Power Of My Love", and "Any Day Now" are all magificent achievements.
For the current CD release six more songs from the Memphis sessions (the hits "Suspicious Minds", "Kentucky Rain", "Don't Cry Daddy", among others) were added.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 5 March 2010
I bought this CD with trepidation, I was wondering that is can't be any better than his previous songs. I am just totally blown away by this double disc CD. For the casual Elvis fan, this CD sees Elvis in another unique musical dimension. The tracks 'wearin that loved on look', 'Power of my love' and Black Limousine are totally mind blowing and are worth the whole album alone. I wished Elvis had sung these songs at his live shows ! I would go far and say, some of his B sides and lesser known songs are even better than his famous songs !
I was surprised that he had such a diverse his musical and vocal range. He sings R&B, soul and pop at his most sensual and sexiest, and country at his heartbreaking mold. This man is a genius, he deserved much better at the time of the original release.
This double CD is a 'must have' in any Elvis collection. Also, the booklet has fantastic photos of the King and good history of how the memphis sessions came about. Its great value for money ! You will not regret it !
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 15 January 2006
One of the greatest albums of all time, an album which cannot be classified into a genre of music, this album has everything from Rock N Roll to early R&B, Country, and pop.
and for only £6.99 is amazing.
In 1969 this album ranked 2nd in the 'Best Album 1969' award behind The Beatles 'Abbey Road'.
Elvis spent January/February 1969 recording 32 songs in the Memphis studio in downtown memphis, meanwhile over in London the Beatles were recording their last album tracks for 'Let It Be'.
17 of the tracks Elvis recorded during those sessions are released here, they are considered to be the best of the 32 songs recorded, the next album 'Back In Memphis' which contains 10 more songs from these sessions is arguably as good.
The bonus tracks are singles released during 1969/1970, all gaining good chart positions, the greatest being 'Suspicious Minds' reaching #1 in the US and peaking at #2 in the UK (behind the dreadful 'two little boys' by rolf harris). 'Don't Cry Daddy' peaked at #6, while 'in The Ghetto' Peaked at #3, 'Kentucky Rain' peaked at #16, 'Mama Liked The Roses' was the B-side to 'The Wonder Of You'.
The Album is full of non-stop classics including 'In The Ghetto' and the relativley unknown stunner 'Any Day Now' which easily matches Suspicious Minds.
My conclusion is go out and buy this album if you haven't already got it, its absolutley fantastic all the way through and like I already said, it was voted in the best album awards with The Beatles 'Abbey Road' as the best albums of 1969, but they are still fantastic.
38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on 18 May 2002
This new-digtally remastered version of Elvis' best album, actually tops the original because of the half-dozen bonus tracks.
Actually, "From Elvis in Memphis" is in my opinion, the best album ever made. Nothing can top the flawless rock, blues and country songs magnificently performed by the King.
The legendary tracks, such as "Suspicious Minds", "In The Ghetto", "Kentucky Rain" and "Don't Cry Daddy" are all here; but it's the flawless mastery of a man who genuinely could do it all, that makes this album essential.
What makes this better than "Sgt Pepper", "Revolver" or "Pet Sounds"? I hear you ask.........well, Elvis flawless performances, without the need to experiment with sounds, tinker with effects or create psychadelic lyrics. Lennon or McCartney could'nt perform blues or country, whilst Dylan could'nt sing rock or Jagger not a ballad singer; none of them could sing gospel; whilst Elvis Presley easily could do it all, effortlessly from his first to last recordings.
The likes of "Suspicious Minds" and "The Ghetto" speak for themselves; whilst "Stranger in My Own Home Town" is a blues masterpiece straight out of the Mississippi delta and "Wearin' That Loved On Look" is a lesson in how to sing a rock song.
But there's country and gospel laded R 'n' B such as a blistering version of "I'm Movin On" or "Without Love."
I cannot recommend this album enough; it was #1 in 1969 and a re-release this good, of such a stunning, stunning album is essential for any collection of casual music fans of avid fanatics.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 3 August 2009
Elvis Presley's 1969 triumph - FROM ELVIS IN MEMPHIS 2-CD gets the SONY LEGACY treatment culminating in a total smorgasboard of treats for the listener -- from the R&B clout of "Wearin' That Loved On Look" with gorgeous gospel piano, to the majestic, gospel soul of "Long Black Limousine" the quality never drops on this superb release sounding all the better for its stunning audio upgrade.
More standouts are the blues power of "Power Of My Love," side two's bluesy romp - "Stranger In My Hometown" and "From A Jack To A King's" obvious sing-a-long charm. Additionally there's wonderful sitar on "You'll Think Of Me."
The CD finishes with 10 classic Presley singles all recorded in mono: "Suspicious Minds," "Kentucky Rain," "Rubberneckin" and "Don't Cry Daddy" - there's to many highlights to mention here but definitely something for everyone in a classic 2-CD package.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Considered by many to be his best album and they may well have a point. Coming off the successful "1968 Comeback Special" and itching to lay down some tracks of somewhat greater significance than the vacuous soundtrack material that he'd been lumbered with for much of the decade, Presley would appear to have been given his head for much of the time on these sessions. He was assigned a sympathetic producer in Chips Moman who was well versed in soul, blues and country and most points in between. Moman's own CV even included a solid dose of old-fashioned rock'n'roll having done a stint in the road bands of both Johnny Burnette and Gene Vincent.
The songs on "From Elvis in Memphis" reflect just that musical pedigree. Plenty of soul in Jerry Butler's "Only the Strong Survive", Chuck Jackson's "Any Day Now" plus the storming opener, "You're wearing that Loved-on look" written by Dallas Frazier, a man more known for country material but also not averse to penning something in a southern soul vein like this one. Frazier also contributes "True Love travels on a gravel road" which is okay-ish but less distinctive. There's also C&W here in Johnny Tillotson's pop/country "It keeps right on a'hurtin`" plus the more up to date "Gentle on my Mind". Not forgetting the up tempo near rock'n'roll of Hank Snow's "I'm Movin' On". Opening with some guitar picking and a train whistle before the gospel choir start upping the heat - I wonder if someone had listened to the Ray Charles cut where the Raelettes performed a similar function - no matter this one rolls along very nicely.
That leaves us with blues and "Power of Love" covers that genre rather nicely. Opening with an aggressive guitar riff from someone who might just have heard of (or even played alongside) Steve Cropper, Elvis is in more forceful mode than at any time since recording songs like "Hound Dog" and "Jailhouse Rock".
There are four tracks I haven't mentioned. These are the tracks that really make this album a monster. "In the Ghetto" is the by far the most well known of these and it's rightly been lauded by many. This is Elvis about as far out of his comfort zone as he gets. The performance is both intimate and dramatic though for me there's a level of artifice present which sometimes leaves me slightly uncomfortable. There's no doubt that as Presley had developed, he'd changed from an artist who performed on instinct - and in the early days those instincts were invariably right - to one who was very self-aware. The development of this self-awareness was gradual during the pre-army RCA days but his first post-army album showed a changed performer. The old devil may care approach was present in only a few of the songs like the heavy blues, "Reconsider Baby".
But the old Presley is back with us totally on "After Loving You" which has the feel of a tossed off live take. It's the sort of performance that no one but Presley ever gave but only gave, increasingly infrequently. There are elements of blues, gospel and country all intertwined with an Elvis who's completely immersed in the song. It's at the opposite end of his performing spectrum to "the Ghetto" but both are great tracks for different reasons. The backing is restrained putting all the focus on Elvis.
"Old Black Limousine" does the really difficult thing and combines both approaches. It's rather stagey like "The Ghetto" but after the slow intro it moves more into more of a white soul belter. Often described as a country song, it's not, but its lyrics certainly come from the western tradition. Elvis smoulders his way though it and really puts his all into the closing stages.
And that leaves me with "I'll hold you in my arms till I can hold you in my heart". This one is a country song but delivered unlike any other country song you`ve heard. Take all the words I said about "After Loving You" and double them at least. That's the intensity you get here. Once again simple support, piano, organ and guitar but above it all Elvis is in his own world, almost speaking in tongues at times. Each time you expect it to end he soars into another middle eight. At four minutes and thirty seconds it's too short. Good as other tracks are on the album they pale beside this one.
And unfortunately pale is the term to describe much of Disc 2 which is the studio portion of the "From Memphis to Vegas / From Vegas to Memphis" album. These are the tracks which were left on the cutting room floor after the "From Elvis in Memphis" album was assembled. They're all very competently put together but few of the songs managed to spark Elvis into the larger than life performances which we got with the initial album. One of the better tracks is "Stranger in my Hometown" which was originally written and performed by the slightly obscure blues artist, Percy Mayfield. Both Elvis and the band give the song a forceful performance and the lyrics seem rather apt, what with Elvis returning to Memphis to record. Elsewhere he gives us a very playful rendition of Ned Miller's country crossover hit "From a Jack to a King". I can only describe this one as delightful - Elvis is having such fun with the song. Most of the rest of the tracks are ballads of which, "Without Love" is the standout. Predictably dramatic but great performance nevertheless.
The extras we get are mainly singles and B sides which were also recorded during the same Memphis sessions. Head and shoulders above the rest of them is "Suspicious Minds" about which I'll say no more because you'll probably already have heard it several million times already (though I do have rather dim memories of a certain karoake session!).
In terms of rating, "From Elvis in Memphis" on its own must be worth ten stars. The second disc would get a lot less from me but unfortunately the songs on that second album seemed to set the mould for Elvis in the '70's apart from the concert material.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 23 March 2008
Elvis' best album and my own personal favourite. After wasting the best part of the 1960's on drivel, the King came back strong with a set of songs that paid tribute to the wide range of musical styles that influenced him: Gospel, Country, Blues, Soul and everything else in between. Why this album doesn't have the same prestige of a Sgt. Pepper's or a Pet Sounds I'll never know. Any greatest hits compilation might give you more famous Elvis songs, but 'From Elvis in Memphis' gives you a rarity: a coherent, thought-out album performed with enormous power and passion. The producer, Chips Moman, the musicians and accompanying vocalists also deserve their due in making this album a classic. This album came at a time when the King was back, and although the mood of the songs vary in mood from upbeat to tragedy, especially the standout track "In the Ghetto", there is a very optimistic feel to the whole album. The sessions also produced two other all-time greatest tracks, 'Suspicious Minds' and 'Kentucky Rain' that were originally only released on singles. For those of you who have only listened to the greatest hits, get this album. It will be a revelation!
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 15 February 2002
From Elvis In Memphis is an amazingly good album, full of excellent performances by Elvis Presley at his very best.
It is the best album ever made, God knows why it's not 10 or 15 times platinum.
Of course the songs are outstanding, plus bonus tracks from Elvis other 1969 album 'Back in Memphis' and 'Suspicious Minds' which was never on an original album?
But this is just such a great album, thoughourly deserving a push at the charts or being more prominently sold/placed in shops.
The likes of 'Gentle On My Mind' far eclipses Dean Martin and Glen Campbells versions as does a superior performance of 'Without Love' again much much better than the excellent Platters version and Tom Jones's.
But the lesser known 'Wearin' That Loved On Look' is stuuning rock music with a tinge of rythm and blues; 'Stranger In My Own Home Town' is blues; blues the equivelant of his 1960 'Reconsider Baby' and of course from one of the greatest blues performers that ever lived.
I can't fault this CD, one reviewer said that this is the Casablanca of music; son, thats an understatement, this is Elvis f*~#><ng Presley the King of Rock 'n' Roll!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
The career of Elvis Presley had its ups and downs but most people (apart from the minority who insist that he never did anything worthwhile after the fifties) agree that the late sixties yielded some of his finest recordings. The album was originally released in the summer of 1969, made up of twelve tracks. This re-issue is even more impressive as it includes six bonus tracks, all of which were recorded at the same sessions. These extra tracks mostly appeared on singles, either as A or B-sides.
Including all the extra tracks, this set includes four major international hits - In the ghetto, Suspicious minds, Don't cry Daddy and Kentucky rain. During this run of hits, Clean up your own back yard became a UK number two hit and also made the American top forty but is not included because it wasn't recorded at these sessions although its B-side (The fair is moving on, a beautiful but rarely-heard ballad) is here.
The remaining tracks are also impressive, especially True love travels on a gravel road, an original song co-written by Dallas Frazier, a prolific country songwriter. Only the strong survive (an American hit for Jerry Butler) is a Gamble-Huff song - these two went on to major songwriting success with Philadelphia International. Other fine covers include I'll hold you in my arms, I'm moving on, It keeps right on a-hurting, Gentle on my mind and Long black limousine.
This is certainly one of Elvis Presley's finest albums, with or without the bonus tracks, although it is worth noting that all the tracks can be found in the boxed set, From Nashville to Memphis, which contains all Elvis' studio recordings of the sixties except his soundtrack and gospel recordings.
If you are an Elvis fan but don't want (or can't afford) the boxed set, you should definitely add this to your collection.