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This two-CD set is essential for the collection of any Elvis Presley fan, with a lot of material not available on the original 1974 recording.

Music Review: Elvis Presley – ‘Elvis Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis’ [Legacy Edition]

This Legacy Edition marks the 40th anniversary of the original release of Elvis Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis . It features the completely remastered original recording. There are also extra tracks that were left off the original because of the space limitations of vinyl records, so you get the complete concert. It also includes a second disc which captures a different concert with a slightly different set list which took place at the Richmond Coliseum in Virginia on March 18, 1974, two days before the March 20 Memphis concert. The second disc also includes five songs from a rehearsal at RCA Studios on August 16,1974.

elvis1Elvis Presley is obviously having a lot of fun onstage in his hometown. He jokes with his large group of musicians and backup singers and makes fun of himself and his audience (in a loving way). He sounds absolutely wonderful, demonstrating his versatility and the showmanship which has led many people to still consider him the King among entertainers. This was before he sank into the maudlin, melodramatic material that often plagued his later career and before his spiral into ill health and poor physical condition. Listeners get to hear him at his best with this album.

Legacy has done a fine job on the remastering, although it is still difficult to hear J.D. Sumner’s very low bass notes on the beginning of “Why Me Lord” on my car stereo. The addition of the songs cut from the original allows us to hear Presley sing “Steamroller Blues,””Funny How Time Slips Away,” “Polk Salad Annie,” and a thrilling version of “Fever,” all songs that many fans have not heard him perform too often. Then there are numerous old favorites here that were also not included on the original: a medley of “Teddy Bear” and “Don’t Be Cruel,” “All Shook Up,” “Love Me Tender,” and “Suspicious Minds.” A version of Lloyd Price’s “Lawdy, Miss Clawdy” and the medley of “Long Tall Sally,” “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “Your Mama Don’t Dance,” “Flip, Flop and Fly,” “Jailhouse Rock,” and “Hound Dog” are the most exciting things on the album for those who, like me, prefer rockabilly Elvis.

The second disc is most notable for the five rehearsal songs: “Softly As I Leave You,” “Down in the Alley,” “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” “The Twelfth of Never” and an excellent version of “Good Time Charlie’s Got the Blues.” This is a chance to hear Presley as close to his natural, unmixed sound as a fan can get and he sounds great. It proves what an extraordinary voice the man really did have.

Altogether there are 52 tracks on this two-CD set and while they include many numbers duplicated between the two concerts, even those hold interest for the listener as you get to hear the different stage banter.

Legacy has done a great job of bringing us a classic Elvis Presley album with a lot of bonus material, making this a bargain and a new experience even for those who have the original 1974 recording. It should be mentioned that the expanded Elvis Recorded Live On Stage in Memphis was originally released by Follow That Dream. The Richmond concert was previously released separately as Forty-Eight Hours to Memphis by the same collectors label. The Legacy Edition is the first time they have been available together.

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About Rhetta Akamatsu

I am an author of non-fiction books and an online journalist. My books include Haunted Marietta, The Irish Slaves, T'ain't Nobody's Business If I Do: Blues Women Past and Present, Southern Crossroads: Georgia Bluesand Sex Sells: Women in Photography and Film.

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One comment

  1. Dr Joseph S Maresca

    The Elvis Presley albums are timeless.Even the current generation is inspired by them 50 or more years after the original release.Elvis had a considerable ability to sing, play the guitar, perform pantomime and dance-all done with ease.