From Elvis in Memphis: Legacy Edition

By Blog Critics/ General JabboJul 30, 2009
From Elvis in Memphis: Legacy Edition

While it may be difficult to believe now, Elvis Presley’s career in the late 1960s prior to his triumphant ’68 Comeback Special was on the skids. Presley had been starring in increasingly bland “Elvis Movies” with increasingly bland soundtrack albums. The hits were drying up and the music world was passing him by. Even the Comeback Special wasn’t a sure thing at first — the Colonel originally wanted it to be a Christmas special, which the show’s producers Bones Howe and Steve Binder fought against and won. They saw the show as an opportunity for Presley to regain his throne as King and he agreed. The rest, as they say, is history as Presley electrified the world as he had done in the 1950s.

 

The next step was to cash in on this momentum. With Presley’s renewed interest in his recording career, he decided to return to Memphis to record for the first time since he had left Sun Records. He chose Chips Moman’s American Studios and from January to February 1969 recorded some of the most vital music of his career. These sessions are collected on the two-disc From Elvis in Memphis: Legacy Edition.

Like he had done so often in the early days, Presley blended rock, rhythm and blues, and country into a mix uniquely his. Gone were songs such as “Do the Clam,” replaced instead by ace singles including “Suspicious Minds” (Presley’s last U.S. number-one single), “Kentucky Rain,” and “In the Ghetto.” He was relevant and vital again.

Album cuts such as “Any Day Now” and “Long Black Limousine” showed an urgency missing from so much of Presley’s mid-1960s work while “Only the Strong Survive” and “I’m Movin’ On” sounded of the times. One wonders how many more albums like this he could have released had he decided to retake his career sooner.

The sessions were so productive, they yielded material for two complete albums (plus some songs that made it onto future releases). After a successful return to live performances in Las Vegas, Presley released From Memphis to Vegas/From Vegas to Memphis, a two-record set that was half live, half studio. The studio cuts are collected here and the material is arguably as strong as From Elvis in Memphis, with standout cuts including the bluesy “Stranger in My Hometown,” “You’ll Think of Me” and the yearning “Without Love (There is Nothing).

As good as this material is, it has never received the proper treatment on CD. That is all changed on this Legacy Edition. In addition, ten mono singles are included as bonus tracks. While there was room on the discs for the stereo versions of some of these singles, they have been released numerous times on other CDs and the mono tracks are something of a rarity in this digital age. With great packaging, great sound and great songs, From Elvis in Memphis: Legacy Edition is a powerful reminder of why Elvis Presley was the King.

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Tracklisting

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Reactions

JerryNodak (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 2, 2009report abuse
Very glad to have the original mono single sides. Prefer them to their stereo counterparts.
Elvis Rimes (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 28, 2009report abuse
I spent £9.99 on this today and I have to say that the presentation is gorgeous. Just could not resist! Budget FTD!!!
Greg Nolan (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 16, 2009report abuse
Oh come on....!
theoldscudder (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 8, 2009report abuse
The Japanese papersleeve collection released years ago has better sound. I see no need for this release as I have it & in better sound.
Greg Nolan (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 6, 2009report abuse
Right on, Roy. I'm pleasantly beside myself how much better this release is than I expected. It's like a mainstream FTD --or Madison or Audionics--of the original 2 albums! There's a whole counter (audiophile) argument for mono sides (see other sites) but I won't repeat here because it's boring to re-trace beyond the fact that Elvis originally wanted the distinctive "radio-radio" sound of mono at the time and if nothing else, these are historic versions previously not on CD.

For a lousy 13 bucks on Amazon, you can have the beautiful set (with the best-ever sound thanks to Vic Aneseni).The packaging alone is RCA's (and yes, it is "RCA / Legacy") best ever. It's a no-brainer. I like it so much I'm buying extra copies for friends and my brother. This is the 2009 "go-to" set. So sure, I"m keeping my rarities but this is by and large the "master" set that real fans will turn to for now on. Bravo, Ernst, et al. We've craved this for years! Now onto other Elvis "Legacy" albums for the mainstream (what's left of it) "Elvis Is Back" etc.
roytcbintheuk (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 6, 2009report abuse
I own finding the way home,American crown jewels,American way 5cd series,69 anthology and have these tracks on countless other compilations and do i still think that this 40th anniversary edition is an essential purchase,absolutely these masters deserve to be celebrated and you not only get great packaging and a booklet full of photographs and liner notes but two albums Elvis in Memphis,Back in Memphis and bonus tracks completing all masters from the January and February sessions.sounds great as well. All this for a snip of less than £10 at HMV (in store only) go on and support your kings legacy and buy this set you wont be dissapointed.
John4126 (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 4, 2009report abuse
The mono mixes should have been kept for FTD. Not a mainstream release like this.
ivag (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 3, 2009report abuse
Mono mixes and duplicates of several songs makes this a less essential buy than prefferred. Why on earth???? This is his best moments for crying out loud! Sure, Elvis loved mono over stereo during his lifetime because the compressed sound had more punch on the radio. Also the stereo mixing on Elvis releases during his lifetime were far from great. Too little attention was put into the process. RCA didn't care, Elvis would sell anyway...so why bother??? Now most people have good hiFi equipment, Sereo wins hands down over mono mixes. Oh why oh why????
benny scott (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 2, 2009report abuse
I can live with your point of view in accordance to younger fans, think you have a point there.Granted ! Have to agree with Sparky's statement too concerning older fans ! So : everybody happy in the end . Ain't that nice ? Always El.
Sparky (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 2, 2009report abuse
Steve - I agree with your views re new fans, but because older fans have bought this album so many times over the years, it's nice to have other tracks, in a different format, as an extra incentive to buy.
Steve V (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 2, 2009report abuse
Benny - I can understand why it is ok with you and a lot of fans on this site. But here is my point. This release is getting some publicity (for a change!) Now we have a 30 year old person who hears about it and reads its one of Elvis' finest moments in the studio. So they buy it. Why in the world would this person care about how these songs sounded on a 45 or on the radio 40 years ago? It just doesn't make sense for the mass public which is obviously whom this released is aimed at. I will go so far as to say the person who approved this decision should be fired. That's how wrong I think it is.
benny scott (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 2, 2009report abuse
Steve- like I wrote before : it's OK with me, but to each his own. Nevertheless I must agree with you releasing the 10 songs in both mono/stereo would have been better. In any case, the mono-part will not spoil my personal listening pleasure. Regards from Belgium. Always El.
Steve V (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 2, 2009report abuse
Benny - you are comparing apples to oranges. Those older albums were recorded in mono so of course I dont listen to those albums in 'reprocessed stereo'. The songs were recorded in mono and thats the way I want to hear him. This decision of the mono songs on this release I just dont care for, thats all. I can recall the first time I heard Suspicious Minds in stereo. It blew me away to hear an organ so clearly in the mix. Or Kentucky Rain. It sounded fabulous too. So I dont get those in stereo on this release? Thats not right. They included 3 songs here in both mono/stereo. They may have well done them all that way to be fair to us stereo lovers.
benny scott (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 2, 2009report abuse
Those singles were originally released in mono, and it's not because we are no more in the sixties one has to see released everything in stereo. See my previous post ( by the way : I meant "reprocessed " stereo, typo). If you swear by stereo only, that's OK with me but I enjoy hearing the original (mono) sound of some releases. Always El.
benny scott (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 2, 2009report abuse
Sparky : a very good comparison with The Beatles' forthcoming stereo and mono release !
To all those who find it a pity about the mono singles : I respect your opinion, but what about the albums ( be it vinyl or CD ) Elvis Presley, Elvis, For LP Fans Only, A date With Elvis ? Do you skip those CDs and turn to your vinyls ( Hi Steve) because they're in original mono, or would you prefer them in , let's say, "reprossed stereo", because we are in 2009 ? That would be odd, woulnd't it ?Always El.
Sparky (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 2, 2009report abuse
Bought this CD yesterday and haven't stopped palying it, particularly the Back In Memphis songs which sound incredible. The From Elvis In Memphis tracks don't sound quite as 'full' (to these ears) as the Japanese 24 bit remasters, but are head and shoulders above any previous releases available for ten quid at HMV! I think the addition of the mono mixes really makes this release so special. Think about it. On 9th September a small Liverpudlian combo known as The Beatles will be rereleasing their entire catalogue, with a box set of mono mixes also available. There is always differences in how things sound and I love hearing how these songs would have sounded to Elvis, who always preferred mono to stereo. Just listen to My little friend - it almost sounds good now! A great release, good reviews in the papers/music mags, all great for Elvis. By the way - great news about Elvisnews.com!
MJB63 (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 2, 2009report abuse
From Elvis in Memphis:Legacy Edition...wasn't planning on buying it but at $13 i couldn't resist.I'm glad i did.Great pictures,notes and sound.As far as the mono mixes...it is what it is. A good release for the general public...5 Stars.
GEORGE (GK) (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 2, 2009report abuse
I bought this.. The "Back in Memphis" songs (on CD 2) never sounded better. My complaint, the "singles" are represented in mono mixes !! Who wants mono mixes in 2009 ? Again RCA makes a mistake on a good attempt.
Steve V (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 1, 2009report abuse
I have to agree about the mono songs (and so many!). It baffles me as well. If I want to hear them in mono, I'll break out my 45s or tune into one of the AM oldie stations. I dont want an ultimate 2009 legacy release to include arguably the best songs from these sessions in mono. Amazing decision by the label which makes the whole effort seem fruitless in my opinion. It doesnt even flow right to hear crisp stereo followed by all these songs in mono. Darn, will they ever get it right when it comes to Elvis? Oh wait, they want you to buy the FTD release someday. Ok now I get it.
benny scott (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 1, 2009report abuse
Well, I'm an older fan too and I'm glad the mono singles are on that CD. Yes the songs were recorded in stereo but, at the time, released in mono. Gives me the chance to hear on CD how the songs sounded when they were orignally relased on vinyl. To each his own, OK ? Always El.
ijustcanhelpbelievin (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 1, 2009report abuse
Dgirl, i agree with you...how can anyone possibly want 10 great singles in mono sound in this day, and age...i'll pass...i'll wait for ftd to release this is i live that long...lol..lol....
dgirl (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 1, 2009report abuse
I dont get the songs in mono. Please tell me why this idea was received postively. It is 2009. If the songs were recorded in stereo (and we know they were) , release them in stereo. This is a nice release and at a good price (an FTD classic version would be over 40.00!) , but the mono songs baffle me. Also the sound is only slightly better on a regular CD player. I've read you need a blu-ray player to really hear the difference. For these reasons, I cannot call this essential, espcially for us older fans.
djm (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 31, 2009report abuse
essential it truly is. head and shoulders above the memphis anthology. the packaging is fantastic. despite hearing it so many times over the years ive been playing this since i bought it. looking forward to the FTD versions one day. i wish they would present `elvis at sun` this way too, as well as the first two albums and elvis is back and elvis counrtry as mainstream releases. 10/10 to ernst and roger.
andrew1 (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 30, 2009report abuse
Only one word: Essential!!!
ttwiise (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 30, 2009report abuse
I wholeheartedly agree. Whilst I was disappointed with the omission of the stereo masters of 7 songs only in mono on this release I have to say it is a wonderful package and the sound is glorious especially on I'll hold you in my heart, which was never dubbed, and the mono masters of my little friend and rubberneckin' have more bite to them than the stereo masters on the 60's set. 10/10 good sound, packaging and price (£9.99 in HMV)

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