Tuesday, September 22, 2009

From Elvis Back In Memphis

I finally got around to ordering the 40th Anniversary Legacy Edition of From Elvis In Memphis. It arrived with the mail a couple of days ago and since then I've been playing it a lot.

Maybe a bit ironically this release got me reacquainted with the companion LP Back In Memphis, included on disc two. Granted, this album isn't as strong as From Elvis In Memphis, but it features some great tracks, nevertheless. The bluesy Stranger In My Own Home Town is one of them, the beautiful You'll Think Of Me another.

That being said, From Elvis In Memphis is by far the superior of the two. Not only because the songs are better. It also has something to do with how they complement each other, how the fast numbers (like "Wearin' That Loved On Look" and "I'm Movin' On) balance the slower ones (such as "Gentle On My Mind" and "True Love Travels On A Gravel Road") and helps create a certain theme. It's hard to explain, but listening to Back In Memphis followed by From Elvis In Memphis, you just feel that there's something more to the latter.

Also, I was pleasantly surprised by the original mono single masters included on disc two, as well. As stated in the excellent review of the album on the Elvis Information Network, "these mono singles were produced so that the sound would jump off the 45rpm single or really punch out of the radio systems. In general they had a more prominent mix to Elvis' vocal, as well as more bass end and with a lot of audio compression. But there are also plenty of genuine differences in the mixes."

This is right on the money! There really is more "punch" in the mono masters, and they do sound different from the stereo versions. Even "My Little Friend" sounds better, with the acoustic guitar more prominent, and on "Mama Liked The Roses" you can hear Elvis humming along with the bells at the start of the song.

Incidentally, "Mama Liked The Roses" was dropped from the original LP and replaced by "Power Of My Love," according to a type written track list pictured in the accompanying booklet. A wise choice. It's also interesting to note that the single "In The Ghetto"/"Any Day Now," released only two months earlier, was included on From Elvis In Memphis when it hit the record stores in June, 1969.

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