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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Format: Vinyl|Change
Price:£27.84+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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This is an excellent 3 disc box set of Elvis' 1973 visits to Stax recording studio. The music ranges from R&B, Country to more Pop orientated tracks. There are some mighty fine tender ballads - that are heart-breaking to say the very least. Elvis is in fine form, buoyed by the success of the tv show `Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii via satellite' watched by 1.5 Billion earlier on in the year.

Cd 1. (59.23mins). There are 17 outtakes in all, a mix of groovy R&B tracks, Country to beautiful ballads mixed in with a bit of studio banter. The quality is so high (and these are outtakes) but he set the bar extremely high didn't he. There are so many highlights but standouts for me - `Promised Land' (Take 4), `For ol' time sake' (take 4) and `It's midnight' (Take 7). 9/10.

Cd 2. (61.48mins). Consists of 10 outtakes that again breathe something different into each one of these tracks. `Take good care of her' is outstanding as is the unfinished rehearsal of `It's diff'rent now' - there are so many beautiful lyrics in this song which he pours his heart out on (nice to hear a different version than on the 70's Masters Box Set). There are also 10 master tracks from the first session recorded in July, many of which are sublime - especially `Sweet Angeline'. 10/10

Cd 3. (53.17mins). 18 master tracks from the December session, including `My boy', `Loving arms', `Good time Charlie...' and `You asked me to'. All fantastic tracks. 10/10.

The package also comes with a really nice 44 page colour booklet that has some great photo's in it. Overall the sound quality is great. A couple of niggles, the size of the set is an odd 8x8 inches but its beautifully done with a die cut front cover. The discs are a little difficult to get out of there slip pockets but this is a minor niggle of a great package. Really glad I brought the 3 disc version and not the single disc as the outtakes are worth the extra money. Highly recommended. 10/10.
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on 9 August 2013
Take a trip to the PROMISED LAND - Elvis At Stax 2-LP is a fantastic melting pot of swaggering R&B and some of the greatest ballads ever recorded - all in fabulous sound - I'm playing it on a REGA RP6 and the sound is smooth and warm sounding; a prime Elvis vinyl audiophile release! There's nothing better for a discerning vinyl fan than dropping the needle on a red-hot wax release - this FANTASTIC Elvis vinyl is no exception - the sound is - simply SENSATIONAL!! It's an excellent Elvis@Stax overview: a sweet black candy heavyweight vinyl 180gram with vintage orange RCA labels (with cool RCA/Legacy mini logos ).
Sadly there's no gatefold sleeve or booklet, but with music this good, does it matter? Standouts: The infectious R&B grooves of, "Find Out What's Happening" --" Raised On Rock's" pumping bass and lyrical story -- a pool of tender, sweet, heartfelt ballads - add some gospel and funky horns -- and a Chuck Berry cover that melts speaker grills. Rock, soul, pop, country & R&B - it's all here on Elvis' 1973 STAX recordings extravaganza!!
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on 5 August 2013
Elvis at Stax the deluxe edition is a must for any Presley fan as they capture Elvis' last great recording sessions finally placed in their proper context. While it is fair to say that the July sessions haven't got the sheer power and energy of the December ones it is also crucial to note that ; "Find out what's happening"; and "I've got a thing about you baby" are truly outstanding.
It is however the December sessions that really hit the mark and finally being able to listen to them in one continuous play is a sheer joy. The first disc of R&B and Country outtakes is really something as Elvis warms up before each track and then unleashes his awesome talent backed up by the stunning guitar of James Burton, listening to him play with Elvis you really ask yourself is this the finest guitarist of them all. He reflects and compliments the spirit of Elvis' style. I sometimes feel he is to Elvis what Lester Young is to Billie Holiday.
The booklet that comes with the deluxe edition is beautifully illustrated and while the CD's can be hard to squeeze out at first this is a minor problem. Also be aware anyone new to these recordings and expecting the soulful sound of Otis Reading or Booker T and the MG's, Stax is present in name only. These recordings took place in the legendary studio location but the band is Elvis' own creation.
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on 10 August 2013
This is fantastic and worth every penny. On the outakes Elvis sounds like he is having a ball and the band excel at funking up his sound. I had no idea how productive the Stax sessions were, and I can't recommend these recordings highly enough.
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This is a superb collection of music that Elvis recorded during two sessions at Stax Studios in July and December 1973. It's a delicious melting pot of soulful country, R'n'B, ballads and pop. Elvis is (unsurprisingly) in fine voice and he highlights that nobody before or since sings a ballad quite like him. His band are, as usual, faultless and during the outtakes you get a sense of just how much fun Elvis had recording these tracks. The sound quality is crystal clear and it's just an out and out joy to listen to.
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on 28 August 2013
Elvis was still at the top of his game in 1973 and this is a great CD set to show off his range. It's a shame that by the end of that year he would then be plagued with illness on and off for the next four years but still be able to give so much musically to the world
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on 10 April 2016
I’m giving this a 5 star as a personal rating – but I’m not sure it’s for everyone and if you’re concerned by other reviews (as to what the tracks may sound like) listen to the previews before you buy. First of all I’ll get some negatives out of the way.

The packaging looks good but, as other have mentioned, the discs are a devil to get out. I’ve ripped them to mp3 – but I’m sure when I ordered this autorip option wasn’t on Amazon or I would have used it. I only mention this because disc 1 tracks are COMPLETELY mislabelled when you rip them. So had to rename all the files and Properties to make them appear correctly in my player. Also the die cut part of the outer sleeve requires you to put the book in pages opening side first, which means you have to be really careful (would be better to go in spine first).

Then the text….I spy Priscilla’s fingerprints all over this (she gets a credit in the booklet) as there’s a lot of sugar coating of the facts. Example - page 9 “the Colonel was figuring out the best way for him and Elvis to shuck…to give Elvis more control over the songs he’d record and also to keep more of the publishing money in their own organisation, Col. Parker created a new publishing company”…. Well, yeah, but it was the dog catcher that had gotten him into such a rubbish deal many years before. If he hadn’t been so greedy about publishing rights the best song writers would have been throwing songs at Elvis.

Then on page 10 it enthuses about Elvis’ catalog being sold for $5.4m – “the Colonel was taking this huge payment…which would give both him and Elvis a solid and deep cushion, allowing them to continue to live their lifestyles without monetary concerns”.
Solid and deep cushion? Elvis had to hand 50% to the carny and then his recalculated divorce settlement was the best part of $800k – and then I presume he had to pay taxes. For someone so generous with money what would have been left is not what I would call even adequate and a Judge later found the deal was “unethical and poorly handled”.

I’m also puzzled about a description of the My Boy take on page 32. It quotes an Ernst Jorgenson book as saying he was told by Felton Jarvis “you can hear his voice cracking with emotion on the first take” . Now I’m a big fan of Ernst (have his book A Life in Music on my Kindle) but I’ve listened to the end of this track several times and I would say the sound at 3min 18 is a bark of laughter – followed by full crack up on 3.28 as it fades out. Is it only me that thinks he’s laughing? I know Felton was there (and I wasn’t) but it really, really sounds like laughter.

But enough about the packaging.

On first listen I was disappointed and it’s only after 5-6 repeats that disc 1 in particular has grown on me. In fact I’d pay this amount just for disc 1 (just for clarity though – I might have been less happy if I had already bought Rhythm and Country beforehand).

In particular take 1 of “There’s a Honky Tonk Angel (Who Will Take Me Back In)” is one I’ve had on repeat. In fact I prefer this take to the master – which I find too echo-y and I’m not keen on the keyboard (it’s very distracting).

Overall I’m not overly keen on the Stax studio sound (I know, sacrilege - but there's no accounting for taste). Normally when you buy albums with Elvis outtakes you can hear the banter between him and the producer/musicians. For the most part (on here) you can hear Elvis – but everyone else is virtually inaudible. And there are some tracks that sound like he’s in a restaurant as you can hear indistinct background noise of singers rehearsing a completely different track and chattering and musicians doing their own thing – warming up. I find that quite odd.

Other reviewers have suggested Elvis’ voice is not what it was. I’d say it’s certainly different – but it’s still wonderful. It’s hard to describe but it has a hard edge to it and even his laugh sounds different. But, for the most part, there are some great vocals on here.

The booklet makes much of issues with not enough recording tracks to play with and Elvis’ microphone going missing but, in addition to that, I’m not sure whether some of it isn’t either the choice of take – or the remix. Taking the example of “If You Talk In Your Sleep” – I prefer the sound of the version on “Walk a Mile In My Shoes” – but they both seem to be described as the master and be a similar length – so what changed here? Why does this Stax version sound tinnier and have a more prominent horn?

Overall, though, I’m very happy with it and some of the tracks will end up in my favourites playlist. Still wish he'd got a proper manager....
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on 26 October 2013
For many years in Memphis (And I know the city well) the fact that Elvis had two recording sessions at Stax was only known to his many fans. There was a Stax exhibition just off Beale a while ago & I noticed there was no mention of Elvis being there. I mentioned this politely to the man in charge & I could tell he did not believe me.. "Stax was for Black artists & Elvis recorded at Sun" etc. I ventured that American Sound also had Elvis recording there, but he did not know that either! Incidentally, Stax is now realising the pulling power of Elvis to get visitors into their new building, although there is still precious little recognition of Elvis being there. (Actually in a way they are right, because the building Elvis recorded in, the old cinema, was pulled down a least a decade ago & the new building has no connection with Elvis) As Elvis fan I would definitely pass on this tour if you don't want to be frustrated. But this album is very good. The 2nd sessions there produced some amazingly good tracks, not one bad song, with Promised Land being a standout. Buy the album, but if you ever get to Memphis avoid the tour!
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on 12 February 2016
I agree with everything good that has been said about the songs but find the packaging of the CDs very impractical -- it is difficult to remove.
The excellent booklet is well laid out with lots of photos, album artwork and copies of letters etc but the detailed text makes you believe that Elvis was on top form and that the sale of recording royalties to RCA by Parker was a stroke of business genius ! -- it reads too much like a PR exercise.
Read what Peter Guralnick says in his book " Careless Love" for a completely opposite, and rather sad, view. Who is right ?
Perhaps best to just enjoy the music.
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on 30 December 2015
Interesting recordings of the master himself. Good well defined audio quality. It was interesting to hear Elvis's different takes of certain tracks. Reasonable price so happy with this all round. I wish Elvis's estate would wake up and get round to releasing more of his output - especially his last concert in restored HD. It'd sell like hot cakes and make them a mint.
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