After Elvis' return to the stage and his album “From Elvis In Memphis” he was “hot” again. While other artist released classic albums in this period like “Let It Be” by The Beatles, “The Man Who Sold The World” by David Bowie, "Déjà vu" by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, “Morrison Hotel” by The Doors and “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon And Garfunkel RCA didn’t release a lot of new material. On Camden “Let’s Be Friends”, “Almost In Love” and “Elvis’ Christmas Album” were released and on the RCA label the 4 L.P. box “World Wide 50 Gold Award Hits Volume 1” was released for the fans who recently (re-)discovered Elvis. Then somebody decided to cleave the double album “From Memphis To Vegas – From Vegas To Memphis” into two separate volumes. From these two volumes, only “Back In Memphis” made the charts peaking at 183.
The artwork for this CD is very strong through the simplicity of it. Two shot’s of Elvis, one on stage and one from the (then) recent “Comeback Special”. With Elvis’ name and the title in bright fonts. Besides that the designers added very little, there’s a track listing and a few lines on the recording session at the American Studio in Memphis. Content
Much has been written on Elvis’ recording sessions at the American Studio’s in Memphis. Some of his most acclaimed work was recorded during the January (13-23) and February (17-22) sessions. Ten songs were released on this album. None of these songs was released as a single. The songs were “leftovers” from these sessions which weren’t used on the “From Elvis in Memphis Album” or on single and they found their place on the studio segment of the “From Vegas To Memphis, From Memphis To Vegas” release.The ten tracks on this album show the bluesy and more country side of Elvis. “You’ll Think Of Me” is a mid-tempo Mort Shuman song which Elvis sings with a lot of sensitivity. A few gospel influences can be heard in “Without Love” while on Ned Miller’s “From A Jack To A king” he goes all the way with his voice in some vocal gymnastics previously used on “I’ll Hold You In My Arms”. The highlight of the album is the strong Percy Mayfield song “Stranger In My Own Home Town” in which Elvis digs in deep into the Blues. Repeating the lyrics over Ed Kollin’s mouth-harp over and over again expressing the emphasizing the bluesy feeling of the song. A song in the same line is "The Fair’s Moving On” but it’s not performed as strong as this one. A minor on this release is the sound quality, you can hear the noise on the background and when a track starts after the few second pause between the songs on the CD you hear it too well. Also a minor is that you actually hear most songs being faded out. Fortunately the great tracks on this release take all your attention away from that really fast.
This album is one you can keep playing again and again. Most of the songs have the same bluesy feel, sad lyrics, with a strong performance by both Elvis and the band. Too bad it wasn’t released as an album in the first place, it could have been a classic with “Stranger In my Own Home Town” as a great single. A good collection of songs from this recording session is the "Suspicious Minds" release which focuses on the two Memphis recording sessions with all the songs and some out-takes.
Source: The Complete Illustrated Record - Carr and Farren.