Elvis Sings Memphis, Tennessee

By ElvisNews.com/ LexAug 16, 2008
Elvis Sings Memphis, Tennessee

A strange release is included in the last FTD batch. It looks like it is meant to be a classic album release, but there never was an album Elvis Sings Memphis, Tennessee. The Lost Album (For The Asking in Europe) can hardly be called a classic, since it was more or less a compilation of songs that were released previously.

Design

Being released in this series, the artwork is known. A great 7” fold out cover, but this time not with original cover art. Even more strange is that the early 90’s albums are mentioned, but their covers, neither the European nor the U.S. version are printed in the booklet.

That said, the cover is still nice but not in style of the 60's albums that had mostly a band with the title and extra information, next to the publicity shot. The “made up” back side is in style of those albums, with 4 covers of the “previous” albums and the track listing and a commercial slogan “enjoy…”. The booklet is as usual pretty complete with background information a full track and session list and decorated with memorabilia, publicity shots and covers from the various releases the songs appeared on (but again, not the 90’s albums).

Content

In my book this would have been a real topper, I even think the best studio album in the 60s  (behind the unbeatable Elvis Is Back and From Elvis In Memphis). Catchy up-tempo tunes combined with beautifully sung ballads is the right receipt for an Elvis album, and this one has a great combination of them.

Witchcraft belongs obviously in the first category, as does Please Don’t Drag That String Around. The latter has always been one of my favourite 60's tunes, I like it even more than the huge a-side of the single, Devil In Disguise. Love Me Tonight formed together with Slowly But Surely the most played part of my Fun In Acapulco LP, I’m afraid it is unplayable now because of that. It Hurts Me is one of the most underrated Elvis songs in my opinion, the emotion caught in Elvis voice is from another planet, haunting beautiful. The only weaker song in my book is Echoes Of Love, unfortunately for me this song delivers the most outtakes. Long Lonely Highway rapidly makes up and gets be back in the (overall) happy world of being an Elvis fan. Devil In Disguise is a classic in its own right, and not for nothing. Never Ending deserves the label catchy like no other. It is one of those songs that stays in my head the whole day after hearing it. Ask Me is a beautiful ballad, personally I like the 1963 a bit more because it is a bit more fragile, the 1964 is almost bombastic compared to it. The same goes for Memphis, Tennessee  - well not the bombastic, but I like the drums on the 1963 better. Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers is certainly not a classic, but I happen to like it since it breathes fun. Western Union is a bit too much based on Return To Sender and pales compared to it, still it is not a punishment to hear it. Blue River is one of those songs that developed to me and this time downwards. I used to have a strange French compilation 2LP Le Roi Du Rock’n’ Roll where it was on, and I really used to love it. When it finally came out on CD I could not understand anymore why it used to be one of my favorites on that French album. Those that know the tracks of that album will probably understand neither. Anyway, it’s not that I don’t like it anymore… it’s just not that favorite as it used to be. Funny is that back in those years What Now, What Next, Where To was my favorite on the Separate Ways album too.

The remaining of the first CD, the rejected 1963 masters and the early takes makes me relive the pleasure again. I bet this disc will be in my player pretty often in the future.

Disc 2 is another piece of cake to me, but that is solely because of the before mentioned Echoes Of Love. After a couple of takes the piano really starts to irritate me, so the skip button will be used for this disc several times – or probably I rip the other tracks for my MP3 player. Other than that the disc contains more of the same, since Elvis wasn’t really searching here… most of the outtakes are pretty close to the master. The in between banter and comments are funny to hear and  I can never get enough of songs like It Hurts Me and Memphis, Tennessee.

Conclusion

All together we get 38 outtakes that were previously unreleased (officially) in a majestical sound quality. Even better is that most of the songs are pretty strong and they smoothly fit together on this lost album; or better the album that should have been. A welcome addition to my collection!

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Tracklisting

Related Links

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Reactions

mature_elvis_fan75 (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 23, 2008report abuse
MrB,We want it the best it can be,nothing wrong with asking that from a collectors label!
MrB (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 11, 2008report abuse
Further to my comments below I am very glad to say that the same cannot be said of LOVE LETTERS ( in my opinion ) I did not fiind the same fault as I did on SINGS MEMPHIS ...... & would recommend everyone buy that one too, it's a beautiful set.
MrB (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 11, 2008report abuse
Further to my comments below I am very glad to say that the same cannot be said of LOVE LETTERS ( in my opinion ) I did not fiind the same fault as I did on SINGS MEMPHIS ...... & would recommend everyone buy that one too, it's a beautiful set.
Cher (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 10, 2008report abuse
My copy of this arrived last week and I've been having a blast ever since. I also got Love Letters so lots of new material that I hadn't heard before and putting my collection up over 500 masters. There are at least 8 songs on this album that I added to my "favs" playlist which is getting a bit large and cumbersome. Might have to divide Part 1 and II or something. I love this album and it certainly belongs up there, imho, with Elvis is Back and Elvis in Memphis as referred to by the reviewer who gave a good review too. Made me go out buy it.
Aron (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 6, 2008report abuse
Without going into details (I'm not an expert) I must confirm MrB's findings. It appears to me that the sound on both new releases has a bit to much emphasis on the bass.
MrB (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 4, 2008report abuse
Ok, let it first be said that I am a big fan of Ernst, what he stands for & all the efforts he & his team make to give us, 31 years after Elvis' death, more material than ANY other dead artist's fans get!! I LOVE this material, the set & all about it............BUT, if you put your material into Media Player as I do ( I have all sessions in chronological order, bit anal I know but GREAT when it comes to playing ANY Elvis song you wish to find in seconds ) & I went to replace this material in that list with these new versions & found that on most every master I was going to replace, the Nashville Masters set from the 90s has superior sound! Whilst the bass is clean on this new set, the top end has none of the sparkle that the Nashville 60s box versions have. Ok, it's marginal & only noticeable when you can flick track to track instantly as you can in media player but I find it a little disappointing to be the case. Anyone else found this? I also have just gotten Love Letters ( BEAUTIFUL set Ernst ) & whilst first impressions are great, it'll be interesting to make the comparison with what we already have. This isn't major criticism but I wonder how this happens in the age of digital media because there should be no degradation with over time? That said, this is a great set of material & outtakes that any self respecting fan should purchase.
bajo (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 27, 2008report abuse
Great album which would have rounded off the first half of the 60's in a decent way, back then!
It's really nice to listen to this FTD. Great sound which improves every track on it! Regarding Blue River, that's the way the single was. In the UK I think it reached no 22 in the singles charts then!
Rob Wanders (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 25, 2008report abuse
great album. If it had only be released in 1964 and then as a follow up the album Guitar man with studiorecordings of 1966/1967. Together with the How Great Thou Art album it would have lighten up this period (1963-1967) in the Elvismusicworld; but it's history. Glad I have this album now.
RonBaker (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 19, 2008report abuse
I actually like "Blue River" and have ever since it was released as the b-side to "Tell Me Why". In the UK "Blue River" was an a-side. Don't know if it was a hit or not, but it sure did a lot of turntable time at my house back in the 60s.
SuziB (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 18, 2008report abuse
Hard to sum up as this spans the spectrum from the absolute majestic ('It Hurts Me') to the downright awful ('Blue River'), in-between Elvis' voice and artistry transcends the often very poor material, which in any one else's hands would be dross, into something significantly better than it deserves to be. Many of the tracks represent the poorer output of some of the stock songwriters - the Don Robertson tacks here fall well short of the heights of 'There Alwys Me', 'I Met Her Today or Anything Thats Part of You'. Similarly, 'Slowly But Surely' is worlds away from some of Ben Weisman's classics such as 'Fame and Fortune', but then again of the 57 Weisman songs Elvis recorded only 10 or so amount to very much. 'Long Lonely Highway' is an oddity - this could have become a classic, but as a slower blues, (dreams eh!). 'Echoes of Love'and 'Never Ending' deserve to be much better known, but like most of the tracks, a reflection of the peerless talent of the singer rather than the material.
Natha (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 17, 2008report abuse
Good and useful review. Thank you (also for the comments). A great album, though a little late (it should have been back then). I share the sentiment with some of the takes with Lex. Anyway sitting in the car it is easy for me to skip those. Most of the outtakes are good for a quiet night, not for regular listening. Ripping is nowadays a useful tool to enhance the possibilities for enjoyment of the cds.
ttwiise (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 17, 2008report abuse
Fantastic release. Great songs, superb sound quality. This should have been a smash 60's album but hey we have it now so who cares!
JerryNodak (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 17, 2008report abuse
I like this album a lot. Not more than Pot Luck, but it's a fun listen. I enjoy all the songs. Would have been great to have this album back in the day as a break from the soundtracks (which I enjoyed), but that's ancient history. Really glad to have this extended FTD edition. I would imaagine we got the extended version of "Blue River" with fade because that's the way the original single was. At least here in the U.S. Doesn't bother me.
emjel (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 17, 2008report abuse
More or less agree with everything in this review apart from the put down on Echoes of Love although I can understand the comments regarding the intro - that's not to say there is anything wrong with it - it's a nice piece of piano, but I guess it's like that for any outtake that gets repeated. If I had to choose "a weakest" track, it would be "What Now What Next Where To". It is pleasant, but needs a bit of a boost.
circleG (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 17, 2008report abuse
Haven't got this yet but it looks superb. Who was responsible for putting the tracks on different albums instead of having them all on one? the colonel? they should have been fired. Preferred the 'for the asking' cover but this'll do.
FJE (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 17, 2008report abuse
My only complaint with this album is Blue River. Why was the extended 2:11 version used instead of the original 1:31 one, as featured on "For The Asking"? Actually the extended version wouldn't have
bothered me if it wasn't for the (rather haphazardly) fade-out applied as opposed to the original ending. That said, this would have been one of my favourite 60's albums if released at that time, superior to "Pot Luck" in my opinion.
Steve V (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 16, 2008report abuse
I agree with that review 100%. Every word of it.
Even_B (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 16, 2008report abuse
Nice review! But, I slightly disagree with you on your dismissal of "Echoes of Love". I've always loved this song and I think it was a wonderful ballad along with "Tender Feeling" on the "Kissin' Cousins" album. Except for those ballads and the catchy title tune (ending 'dance' title tune)the "Kissin Cousins" album is weak. "Echoes of Love" has simple lyrics, but a beautiful melody and is, as always, beautifully sung by our man. It's also rather fun to hear the guitarist struggling a bit to get it right on some outtakes. "It Hurts Me" is one of the best ballads Elvis ever recorded, period!

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