Elvis Presley – From Elvis In Memphis (1969)
Last week marked the 40th anniversary of From Elvis in Memphis, which along with Elvis’s 1968 Comeback special re-established Elvis Presley as a musical force to be reckoned with and a reminder of why we all refer to him as “The King”.
The aforementioned television special which aired in late 1968 seemed to spark Elvis’s interest in taking his career in a new direction after sleepwalking through the sixties with a string of lackluster albums while turning out about three movies a year. Elvis decided to record it in Memphis, were he hadn’t recorded any music since he left Sun Records thirteen years earlier. By then, Memphis had become a thriving center for soul music, and this album shows Elvis infusing his music with more of a Blue-eyed Soul sound.
There’s certainly a nice blend of The King’s trademark musical styles on From Elvis in Memphis, as there’s a number of country songs such as “It Keeps Right On A Hurtin'” and “I’ll Hold You In My Heart” while giving them a bit of R&B feel. The album’s laced with soulful ballads as well as rockers like “Wearin’ That Loved On Look” and “Power Of My Love”, and they all show Elvis’s giving it his all with his unmistakably brilliant vocal delivery. Elvis’s backing band also helps revitalize The King’s while there’s also a good amount of strings and horns that certainly give the album a somewhat polished sound, but never make it seem over-produced.
From Elvis in Memphis still stands as one of Elvis’s best albums, although I’d recommend his self-titled debut or his work at Sun Records as a good introduction to his signature rockabilly sound. Along with Elvis’s Comeback Special, this album probably marked rock n’ roll’s first legitamite comeback for an artist by breathing new life into what was an already groundbreaking career.
Favorite Tracks: “Wearin’ That Loved On Look”, “Any Day Now”, “True Love Travels On A Gravel Road”