17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
'ELVIS COUNTRY'? SUPERB. BUT 'LOVE LETTERS FROM ELVIS' IS A DIFFERENT STORY...,
Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Elvis Country (Legacy Edition) (Audio CD)Widely hailed as Elvis Presley's finest album of the 1970s, ELVIS COUNTRY ticks all the boxes. From the way The King tackles the lilting melody of the Anne Murray hit 'Snowbird' to the way that he sings his heart out across 'Funny How Time Slips Away', 'There Goes My Everything' and the closing 'Make The World Go Away', it's clear that Elvis Presley's 1970 sessions in Nashville were by and large fulfilling and immensely productive for the singer, who was then riding high on his comeback wave. The closest Presley came to making a "concept" album (never his original intention with the record), ELVIS COUNTRY doesn't restrict itself entirely to a country music repertoire though, as the bruising interpretations of 'I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water' and Jerry Lee Lewis' 'Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On' will attest; they are surely two of the hardest, driving rockers The King ever recorded. Along with the album being wrapped in a sleeve of infinitely greater imagination than most of Presley's other albums put together, ELVIS COUNTRY represented a peak in the relationship between Presley and his longtime producer Felton Jarvis.
Really, ELVIS COUNTRY is easily a five-star album; unfortunately, it has been let down in this Legacy Edition version by being coupled with the barrel-scraping LOVE LETTERS FROM ELVIS. Released in May 1971 apparently without Presley's approval (according to the book THE ROUGH GUIDE TO ELVIS), LOVE LETTERS FROM ELVIS was a mopping-up exercise from the Nashville sessions, spearheaded by the oddball single 'Life', a shoe-horning of evolutionary theory into a three-minute pop song. In contrast with ELVIS COUNTRY, the album is merely pleasant as opposed to unforgettable listening. The inclusion of Presley's somewhat heavy-handed re-recording of his classy 1966 single 'Love Letters' lacks much of the charm present in the artist's original rendition, and it offers more than a hint of the knocked-off nature of much of this album's content, where the dramatic 'Heart Of Rome' and the furious medley of 'Got My Mojo Workin'/'Keep Your Hands Off Of It' provide the LOVE LETTERS album with its only really above average interludes.
The addition of both sides of the 'Rags To Riches'/'Where Did They Go, Lord?' single and the non-album 'The Sound Of Your Cry' 45 as bonus tracks is nice to see, although this Legacy Edition of ELVIS COUNTRY would have perhaps been better served by including the studio tracks which made up the soundtrack album THAT'S THE WAY IT IS (also recorded during the summer '70 Nashville stint) and stunning single cuts of the period such as 'I've Lost You' and the underrated 'I'm Leavin''.
Overall, ELVIS COUNTRY more than deserves Sony's Legacy Edition treatment. It's a shame that, unlike its companion releases in this series, this package doesn't quite represent Elvis Presley at the dawn of the 1970s as well as the already released compilations appraise their respective eras of the great man's career.