Elvis returned to the studio in mid June of 1970 and cut 35 tracks. By this time he was literally recording live in the studio with a minimum of backing. Members of his band and assorted support singers would add their tracks after the fact. Elvis and his producer, Felton Jarvis, realized they had a large number of straight country songs on tape and decided to release them together on one album. Elvis Country (I’m 10,000 Years Old) is one of the few albums that sticks to just one type of music. This cohesiveness was appreciated by the buying public and it reached number six on the country charts and number 12 on the pop charts.
Elvis Country (I’m 10,000 Years Old) would be the closest to a concept album of any release from this artist. Each song was connected by short sound bytes from the song, “I Was Born About Ten Thousand Years Ago.” The complete song has been added to the modern day CD releases as a bonus track.
“Tomorrow Never Comes” finds Elvis’ voice just soaring until you think it can’t go any further and then it does. “Make The World Go Away” appears to be made just for him. The sound alternates between loud and soft and he gets the vocal intonations just right. He sounds wistful on the old Willie Nelson tune, “Funny How Time Slips Away.”
He reaches way back into country music history for two songs. Bob Wills wrote “Faded Love” and Patsy Cline made it a hit. Elvis gives this country classic a mellow vocal performance that enhances the passion of the lyrics. He even adds a little bluegrass to the album as he sings the Bill Monroe/Lester Flatt tune, “Little Cabin On The Hill.” While his voice is a long way from the twangy original, he does bring the song to life and gives it a unique treatment. Guitarist James Burton lays down some extraordinary licks on this song.
Elvis goes up-tempo on several songs. He tales the classic rocker “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” for a country ride. “It’s Your Baby You Rock It” is as close to rock as he will get on this album. His rich voice just drives this snappy song along. “I Washed My Hands In The Muddy Water” is close to the Johnny Rivers hit yet his rich voice makes it unique.
Elvis Country (I’m 10,000 Years Old) is a superb country outing for Elvis. He had been exploring his roots on many of his post movie albums and this particular release finds him at his country best.