Originally the second LP of the two-LP 1969 opus FROM MEMPHIS TO VEGAS/FROM VEGAS TO MEMPHIS, BACK IN MEMPHIS, released on its own in November 1970, is the second part of Elvis' hugely successful sojourn to Chips Moman's American Studios that also yielded the classic FROM ELVIS IN MEMPHIS during the summer of 1969.
Often thought of as the lesser companion to the live Vegas album and to the first Memphis project, BACK IN MEMPHIS nevertheless contains more than a few revelatory tracks from the King, all of which, like those on FROM ELVIS IN MEMPHIS, touch on pop ("And The Grass Won't Pay No Mind"); country ("From A Jack To A King") and 1960s R&B ("You'll Think Of Me", the B-side to "Suspicious Minds"). And although this album doesn't include the hits that the expanded FROM ELVIS IN MEMPHIS does, it does have Elvis very much in command with Moman's enthusiastic blessing. Three tracks in particular stand out: the poignant, Bobby Russell-penned ballad "Do You Know Who I Am?"; the Percy Mayfield blues classic "Stranger In My Own Hometown", done with incredible gutsiness by the King; and the R&B/gospel standard "Without Love (There Is Nothing)", which would almost certainly have been a hit for the King had not Tom Jones hit with the same song at the same time.
Sadly, because of some pretty severe conflicts between the Colonel and the equally-headstrong Moman, Elvis never worked with Moman again. It's a true pity, because Moman really encouraged Elvis to unleash himself in ways that the Colonel never did when he was making all those mediocre B-movies during what should have been the King's most productive years in the 1960s. And although Elvis' regular producer Felton Jarvis was no slouch himself, not even Jarvis was able to consistently encourage Elvis during the final eight years the way Moman had been able to do during those '69 Memphis sessions--though it certainly wasn't for lack of trying.
Still, this is an important album from its time--a document of the King at his best, not only in a recording studio, but perhaps the most important recording studio of its era in his own hometown.