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I'm 10,000 Years Old Import
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Digitally remastered and expanded two CD edition of this 1971 album from Elvis, who was at the peak of his popularity following his '68 comeback and return to live performances. Elvis Country was originally released in January 1971 and received press accolades with hits such as "I Really Don't Want To Know", "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On", "There Goes My Everything", and more. But it's the singing, the passion and engagement most of all which mark this album as something truly exceptional. All the familiar virtues are there. The intensity. That peculiar combination of hypertension and soul. In short - he had never sung better. This Legacy Edition of Elvis Country is coupled with Elvis' follow-up studio album from June 1971, Love Letters From Elvis which contains songs recorded at the Elvis Country sessions including; "The Sound Of Your Cry" and "Life" (Billboard #53).
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Recorded in RCA's famed Studio B with Presley regulars James Burton, Charlie McCoy and Chip Young; the newly assembled studio hands included several players from the Muscle Shoals powerhouse, and the sessions were produced by Felton Jarvis. The arrangements ranged from loose, down home country jams to Vegas-styled orchestrations, and hearing the variety back-to-back, one quickly realizes how easily Elvis transcended the musical boundaries between his `50s roots and his glitzy `70s stage shows. Much like the 1969 American Studio sessions in Memphis, Elvis' enthusiasm and musicality directs the assembled players and provokes top-notch performances; he leads the crew through a rocking workout of Jerry Lee Lewis' "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" and brings "Tomorrow Never Comes" to a volcanic climax.
The original album tracks are knit together with snippets of "I Was Born About Ten Thousand Years Ago," a gimmick that some listeners find irritating, and which wreaks havoc on shuffle play; the complete take is included in the bonuses. An earlier CD reissue expanded the track count from twelve to eighteen, and this double-CD pushes the total to twenty-nine, including all six earlier bonuses. Disc two opens with the third-helping of the Nashville sessions, previously released as Love Letters from Elvis, and adds three more session bonuses: the singles "The Sound of Your Cry" and "Rags to Riches," and the album track "Sylvia." The broad range of material on Love Letters doesn't always connect with Elvis' legacy as tightly as that on Elvis Country, but Elvis is in fine voice on each track, and the assembled players are sharp.
Everything here's been issued before, but pulling together session material previously spread across singles, albums, box sets and latter-day compilations has created a superb recounting of the last chapter of Elvis' incredible comeback. Not included are the eight Nashville tracks released as part of That's the Way It Is. A third-disc with banded versions of Elvis Country (minus the musical segues, that is) would have been a great addition, but even without it, this is an excellent expansion upon previous standalone reissues, and a terrific complement to the Legacy editions of From Elvis in Memphis and On Stage. The remastered discs (by Vic Anesini) are housed in a tri-fold digipack with a booklet that includes liner notes by Stuart Colman and terrific photos. [©2012 hyperbolium dot com]
As of late, RCA has gone out of its way to shine the light on a most productive period of the King's life, that being the period between 1969 and 1972, when, emboldened by his 1968 NBC-TV special, he had regained his footing as perhaps the greatest singer in 20th century American popular music. Back in 2009, they had released FROM ELVIS IN MEMPHIS and BACK IN MEMPHIS together in a Legacy Edition that bought together everything the King did with Chips Moman in his hometown of Memphis in early 1969. In 2010, they came out with another Legacy Edition, one that combined the 1970 album ON STAGE with the first LP of the 2-LP 1969 FROM MEMPHIS TO VEGAS/FROM VEGAS TO MEMPHIS; both of those albums touched on Elvis' first two engagements in Las Vegas, in August 1969 and February 1970. And here, they have come up with another Legacy Edition. This time, it is combining two albums of Elvis' from 1971--ELVIS COUNTRY; and LOVE LETTERS FROM ELVIS.
Both albums came about from sessions that the King did with his usual backing band and producer Felton Jarvis in Nashville during the summer of 1970. As can be indicated by the title ELVIS COUNTRY, Elvis was venturing back to his more rustic country roots, much as FROM ELVIS IN MEMPHIS was a largely R&B/pop enterprise. Even so, and even with "I Was Born 10,000 Years Ago" still being inserted in-between songs, the King didn't think in simplistic and narrow terms, as can be gauged by the Memphis R&B-style brass put on his version of the Eddy Arnold classic "I Really Don't Want To Know", an amped-up version of Sanford Clark's rockabilly classic "The Fool", and a version of "Whole Lotta Shakin'" that comes very close to the version that Elvis' contemporary Jerry Lee Lewis made so famous in 1957. Occasionally there's a bit more orchestral bombast than there needs to be (like on the Ernest Tubb classic "Tomorrow Never Comes"), something that would overwhelm later albums; but all in all, it isn't hard to see why ELVIS COUNTRY, in its original context, was a big hit album, climbing to #12 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart (and #6 on the magazine's Country Album Chart), and becoming yet another million-seller in the King's collection upon its release in January 1971. "I Really Don't Want To Know" managed to do fairly well as a single as well, reaching #21 on the Hot 100.
The second CD in this Legacy Edition is actually the album that followed ELVIS COUNTRY, namely LOVE LETERS FROM ELVIS, which got up to a respectable #33 upon its release in June 1971 but was shockingly panned by critics, who were noticing the King starting to slip into what they saw (perhaps rightly) as a penchant for morose ballads and MOR bombast. This really isn't the case just quite yet, if the King's scintillating take on "Got My Mojo Working" is any indication. The title track is really a reworking of the 1962 Ketty Lester hit "Love Letters" that Elvis had originally recorded back in 1966 and got to #19 on the singles chart; while the gospel-style "Only Believe" and the poignant, almost New Age ballad "Life" see Elvis poised between the sacred and the secular. This album was cobbled from the same sessions that yielded ELVIS COUNTRY; and while it is considered an inferior album to what he had done dating to the Chips Moman sessions of 1969, it's nowhere near as bad as the critics said it was.
It really wasn't until after the 1973 ALOHA FROM HAWAII special that Elvis' personal and pharmaceutical issues overwhelmed him; but once they did, even with the bursts of hits still yet to be, it was a sad and horrible slide to the bitter end. But in the final analysis, Elvis should be remembered for the staggering amount of music and memories he bought to the table, and not as a joke or a comedian's punch line. His legacy endures, and this incredible collection is sold-gold proof of it.
The Album is truely one of Elvis' greatest efforts and often neglected to be mentioned as one of his best work and maybe one of country music best albums ever......
What the previous reviewers fail to understand is this is a legacy re-issue - not a collection, and as such should be as close as possible in any aspect to the original album release in 1971 ( for better or for worse ).
So if you are looking for the complete versions without the connecting segments - buy the "Walk A mile In Shoes" box - All songs are there ( Not only 10 as mentioned ) , this box also packs together for the first time all of the 34 songs recorded on the Nashville legendary 04/70 sessions.
As A legacy re-issue RCA has done a great job - it's like buying the original album all over again with all the missing singles recorded with the album but not included eventually upon it's release ( Where Did They Go Lord should have been included )