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Music Review: Elvis Presley – From Elvis In Memphis

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Elvis Presley’s 1968 NBC special had been well received and critically acclaimed and the resulting soundtrack had sold a million copies. Elvis quickly returned to the studio and recorded one of the better albums of his career.

Elvis decided to stay close to home and record at Chip Moman’s American Studios in Memphis. Moman would share producing credits with Elvis’ personal producer, Felton Jarvis. The resulting album, From Elvis In Memphis,was a mix of country, rhythm & blues and rock ‘n’ roll songs. The album, released June 17, 1969, would be a huge pop hit and also reach number 2 on the national country charts.

One of Elvis’ late career signature songs graces this album. “In The Ghetto” was a significant hit and showed, at age 34, a mature Elvis who was now far from his film career of just a year ago. Released several months before From Elvis In Memphis, this socially conscious song provided the musical foundation and interest for the album which followed.  

“Wearin’ That Loved On Look” is the first track on the album and is an energy filled romp. Elvis’ voice is in fine form as he roars through this song written by Dallas Frazier especially for this album. The old Eddy Arnold country song, “I’ll Hold You In My Heart,” is given a fine blues interpretation. The Hank Snow classic, “I’m Movin’ On,” is a combination of classic country with a pop vocal. “Gentle On My Mind” and “Any Day Now” have vocal performances that are smooth like butter. The Johnny Tillotson pop tune, “It Keeps Right On A Hurtin,” is interpreted as an effective country song.

The Memphis sessions also produced a number of outstanding tracks that were left off the album and were issued as stand alone single releases. They have been added as bonus tracks to most modern day CD releases of this album. These tracks only serve to make a very good album better. The beautiful and tender ballad “Don’t Cry Daddy,” the mellow “Kentucky Rain” and the number one hit “Suspicious Minds” were all products of these recording sessions and would keep Elvis in the public eve and on the radio for almost a year. In addition two underrated Elvis performances, “Mama Liked The Roses” and “The Fair Is Moving On” were also recorded at this time. 

From Elvis In Memphis proved to be a highlight in the recording career of Elvis Presley. Oddly he would never work with Chips Moman again which was a regrettable decision given the quality of their work together. This album, both the original release and the lengthened CD issues, are essential listening for any Elvis fan.  

  

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About David Bowling

  • http://irelandtoo.blogspot.com Maurice Colgan

    Thanks David.

    “I’ll Hold You in my Heart”, is a classic! Elvis CD Collectors should seek it out.

    One of these days we will all be flying into the, “Elvis Presley International Airport, Memphis”! :-)

  • Steve Burstein

    Legend has it that bad Col. Parker came between Elvis and Moman, but Moman wasn’t Presley’s favorite producer, Felton Jarvis was.

  • PD

    “Legend?” WHAT legend? Elvis did not dislike Chips Moman. Elvis was energized by the American Studios sessions, and rose to the challenges set by Chips. Chips wasn’t a Presley sycophant. It was because of his work that Elvis experienced a career revival, and made music that once again put him on top of the charts after a decade of making movie soundtrack fluff.

    And, Marty Lacker deserves the credit for urging Elvis to go to American Studios to work with Chips. It was because of Col. Parker’s manipulation that they never worked together again. That was unfortunate, because no one else had ever energized Elvis in the studio like Moman. It was due to politics and the Col. Parker machine that there were not subsequent American Studios sessions. Elvis reverted back to his previous habits in the studio afterwards, even bringing in a television set to watch a ballgame while recording at Stax. Elvis lost his focus and never again cared about recording after the January-February 1969 sessions with Chips & The Memphis Boys.

    Don’t spread rumors & speculation. Are you familiar with all of Chips Moman’s accomplishments?

  • Steve Burstein

    I’m not saying that Elvis disliked Moman.I’m saying that however he liked Moman, he loved Felton Jarvis.Felton also deserves some credit for the second Gospel album and tracks like “Down in the Alley”, the best recordings he’d done in years. And didn’t Elvis also make some good records with Jarvis after the American sessions? Didn’t Elvis also hire Jarvis away from RCA to be his personal producer? Didn’t American studios go out of business anyway?I mean, he LOVED this guy.Why let Moman come between him and “Feltone, my man”?

  • Cicci

    ELVIS IS A LEGEND! ELVIS LIVES! From a 25 year old California girl!