From Memphis To Vegas / From Vegas To Memphis

By Blogcritics/ David BowlingJul 17, 2008
From Memphis To Vegas / From Vegas To Memphis

From Memphis To Vegas / From Vegas To Memphis was a double album by Elvis Presley released in November of 1969. It was a huge pop hit and also reached number 5 on the country charts. It was also an odd album.

The first disc is Elvis’ performance at the International Hotel in Las Vegas. The second disc consisted of material recorded during the sessions at American studios in Memphis but not used on his last album, From Elvis In Memphis.

I remember receiving this album as a Christmas present and I am assuming it was in 1969. I have always considered the live disc to be the superior of the two halves. In addition to being his initial live album, it was also a chronicle of his first live performance in 8 years. When I think of Elvis’ post movie comeback, there may have been a television special and studio albums, but it was his return to performing in front of his fans that was the true comeback. It should also be noted that this performance marked the debut of guitarist extraordinaire, James Burton, who would remain with Elvis until his death.

Elvis looked good on the cover. He was smiling and dressed in a leather jacket. The album also retained the feel of an actual concert. His patter with the audience seems sincere and showed that he was a little nervous.

The song selection is safe. “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Johnny B. Goode,” and “All Shook Up” kick the concert in gear and give it some energy. Elvis quickly proves that his voice is in fine form as the crowd becomes engaged which allows him to relax. “Are You Lonesome Tonight” and “I Can’t Stop Loving You” form an intimacy with the audience. He gives an excellent presentation of “My Babe.” It is a heartfelt vocal that allows a little strutting on the part of Elvis. The only miss in the first half of the concert is “Hound Dog” which is basically a pop throwaway but does satisfy his fans.

The second half of the concert leads off with the rocking medley of “Mystery Train/Tiger Man.” This is about as hard as Elvis can rock at this point in his career. The rest of the performance would foreshadow the live shows of the 1970’s. I could do without his interpretation of the Bee Gees “Words.” I would have preferred something from his vast catalogue. “In The Ghetto” and “Suspicious Minds” are performed just like the single releases. Elvis closes with the usual “Can’t Help Falling In Love.”

This live performance was not only an excellent outing; it also allowed millions of fans to share this historic event as Elvis proved he was really back.

The studio half of this release is fine but not spectacular. That was as expected as these were the tracks that were not used on his last album. My favorites were “From A Jack To A King” which Elvis takes in a country direction and the subtle but superb vocal of “The Fair Is Moving On.” He manages to acquit himself well with a smooth vocal on Neil Diamond’s “And The Grass Won’t Pay No Mind.” The rest of the album comes across as average. Songs such as "Stranger In My Home Town," "A Little Bit Of Green" and "Do You Know Who I Am" have disappeared from the Elvis catalogue.

All in all, From Memphis To Vegas/From Vegas To Memphis is a satifying album. The live part is essential and the studio half is average.


Related Links

Elvis Presley on: eBay, Amazon


Sandman (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 1, 2010report abuse
The studio set is disappointing, but the Vegas disc is essential.
sitdown68 (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 18, 2008report abuse
If I am not absolutely wrong I once read on internet a report about Ernst Joergensen as he unearthed the original opening night tape from July 31
vegaselvisfan (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 18, 2008report abuse
my mom got this for me for christmas 1969. one of my early LPs. (i started in '69 with the 68 special and from elvis in memphis) i was so excited and i screamed with happiness! i played it a lot and i still love both albums. and those promo photos inside! yeah! i loved 'inherit the wind' and other such ballads. i still have my set! when some of the songs play, even now, a thrill runs thru me. what days those were as an elvis fan... the only CD version i have that comes close is Suspicious Minds. and i have the vegas show on a separate cd. i don't think the double lp was issued as a double cd. but separately?
Mielvis (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 18, 2008report abuse
This is the album that got me hooked on Elvis in Jan. 1970. I bought with money earned as a paperboy. The single Suspicious Minds piqued my interest earlier but after playing this is was the start of a lifelong fasination with the king. Including the great treat of seeing him in concert 6 different times. I still have this original record in my collection.
Mofoca22 (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 18, 2008report abuse
is back in memphis even on cd? i have it on cassette but its not the same no more cuz its been played 100 times like the concert part of it. i love that concert but i have that on cd along with many of his 69 performances i wish opening night was out there even closing night
Mofoca22 (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 18, 2008report abuse
i wish i had this original. it stink sthat rca did away with it
Natha (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 17, 2008report abuse
I vividly remember me being in the shop buying this double LP. Reaching home and listening to the first (the live version) gave me tears in my eyes and made me have a realy rockin' night. My parents were less pleased as they heard it many times. I immediately taped it and made my own head phone from old small speakers not to upset my parent. But only to realise how wonderful the LP was. The next day I was stunned again by the studio album. Yes, Elvis was back and knocked all others of the turning table. Fabulous album. Don't miss this one!
JerryNodak (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 17, 2008report abuse
I remember buying this double album on vinyl when it came out in '69. Probably played the "Live" portion the most (especially Suspicious Minds), but really liked the studio portion as well. I certainly consider the studio songs well above "average." It's no surprise that Elvis took "From A Jack To A King" in a country direction. It had been a major country hit for composer Ned Miller in 1962. I'm sure Elvis was familiar with it. Even so, Elvis giave the song his own treatment. I don't diskike it, but it's not one of my favorite tracks.
JLpResLey (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 17, 2008report abuse
Brilliant, absolutely briliant. It was a pity that the very first show wasn´t taped, but it´s great anyway. My Babe is to me the best song, even if All Shook Up comes close.
Steve V (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 17, 2008report abuse
Elvis 3rd great album release in a row that started with the TV Special LP. Gone were the crappy soundtracks, now the songs meant something and ELvis delivered each with a great performance. Not a bad song in the bunch with the standout being Stranger In My Hometown, an R&B workout and underrated classic. There were to be more good LP releases to come but in my opinion he never recaptured the creatvity and commitment he had in these Memphis sessions.
sitdown68 (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 17, 2008report abuse
With the distance of the years I wonder, why they left out "Baby What You Want Me To Do" and "What'd I Say" on the original album. Especially "Baby..." would have been a completley new song to Presley fans after a first glimps at it given during the TV-Special in '68. I would like to know, how much it was missed by those who attended his historical first live season in almost 9 years, when the record was out. Anybody out there who witnessed these concerts?
circleG (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 17, 2008report abuse
Fantastic album(s) that cemented the fact that Elvis was back and meant business with talent that was just expanding with easch passing year but why were these albums never upgraded on Cd ? Memphis to Vegas could have been released with a complete show from '69 and VTM with outtakes. Personally I love the way the live portion was mixed with drums in one channel and vocals in another and Elvis and the bass through both. I wish some latest FTD releases were mixed the same way.

CD review: 10 most recent articles


Recently Added Shop Items