Top positive review
13 people found this helpful
Simply stunning and the reason you should buy is.....
on 14 March 2012
Being of a certain age I recall this album having been released and re-released a few times and can still recall the first time I heard it on vinyl then CD back in the early 90's. At the time I did'nt care much for the segue of Born about 10,000 years ago between tracks but now I appreciate it as something that Elvis wanted and I guess the spirit of the jam fits with the artwork/cover and with his own selection of country classic tunes that he truly believed in and understood well. So it is own "concept" album I guess but some may still prefer the tracks without the segue. However many of the musicians present had played on the tracks by the original artists (e.g Willie Nelson / Funny How Time Slips Away during his RCA tenure)and many good country artists were on the same label. It is Elvis's command and strength of his vocal in 1970 that really impresses and along with the soundtrack to Thats The Way It is, recorded around the same time he never sounded so confident and with such warm and rich tones to his voice. He was also obviously enjoying himself and this comes across on Washed My Hands in Muddy Water and Little Cabin On The Hill (you can actually hear Elvis chuckle at one point)Shakin Goin On is wild and individual and the fun continues on Faded Love. Outakes from the sessions on other CD's and the filmed rehearsals for Thats the Way It is show a slim and happy Elvis at the top of his game really enjoying his new found liberty off the back of his comeback that had started with the How Great Thou Art sessions/the 68 Comeback and subsequent return to live shows. But probably more than anything the tracks here all fall and fit together well and sound "right" together in a way that some of his later albums struggled with. The big ballads like Make The World Go Away and Tomorrow Never Comes are simply stunning and the former makes you forget any other version you might have heard. That is probably true of most of the tracks here and they are all given an extra dynamic by an interested and committed Elvis vocal. If you like "The Wonder of You" / "I Just Can't Help Believin" era of vocals Elvis had at the time you will love this cd
I don't agree with some of the other reviews though ref the accompanying Love Letters album. Leftovers they may be but I'll Never Know and Aint No Big Thing are strong and would and could have fitted onto the Country Album. Heart of Rome is strong euro pop that could have been a single hit at the time (as could This is Our Dance)being in the vein of tracks that were hits for Tony Christie / Englebert and Tom Jones in the early 70's. Love Letters for me has always been a more romantic mix of tracks but to me is still a good collection and also features a mad jam of Got My Mojo Working / Hands Off which rocks along nicely and even the horn overdubs work in my opinion sounding similar to CC Rider a live favourite throughout the 70's. Life and Only Believe are good vocal performaces but fit less well being quasi gospel and maybe could have been kept back. Nevertheless he did perform Only Believe on stage in Vegas during 71 so he obviously liked it as a song.
Overall I'd rank this album / coupling as essential listening and for me they do rank up there in the top 10 of Elvis albums that should be heard and they offer a different dimension to his career that really is overlooked. Elvis in good, strong vocal peak singing good quality songs and lyrics. Whats not to like?!!!...and at this price with accompanying bumf / booklet its good value for anyone not familiar. Don't hesitate.......