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, possibly his best work. He had been exploring his roots on many of his post movie albums and this particular release finds him at his country best.
Snowbird - Tomorrow Never Comes - Little Cabin On The Hill - Whole Lottha Shakin' Goin' On - Funny How Time Slips Away - I Really Don't Want To Know - There Goes My Everything - It's Your Baby, You Rock It - The Fool - Faded Love - I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water - Make The World Go Away - It Ain't No Big Thing - A Hundred Years From Now - If I Were You - Got My Mojo Working / Keep Your Hands Off Of It - Where Did They Go, Lord - I Was Born About Ten Thousand Years Ago
Review - Elvis - That's The Way It Is
Elvis was still healthy in late 1970. His voice was strong and remained one on the best in the music business. At this point in his career he was able to take almost any song and create his own unique version.
The four live tracks are all superb and only serve to make the listener wish more of these live performances would have been included. 'I Just Can’t Help Believin' is a classic pop song that Elvis takes in a country direction. It would become a top ten single in the United Kingdom. 'Patch It Up' had originally been released as a throwaway flip side of a single release in the United States; here we receive a live version of this country penned tune by Eddie Rabbitt. Elvis’ snappy vocal takes this average song and makes it great.
The live version of 'You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me' was released as a single and reached number 11 on the national charts. Elvis takes this simple song's structure and allows his vocal to build upon itself. 'You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin' was also released as a single and reached the American top 40. Elvis is soulful here as he manages to translate this classic duet song into a solo tour de force.
The studio tracks were universally strong as well. 'Just Pretend' is a lost gem. This delicate song of seeking to regain lost love is given a superb interpretation by Elvis. 'Mary In The Morning' is the definitive version of this often recorded song. his subtle vocal and cadence are just right on for this song of love. 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' is one of the most recognizable pop songs in history. I have only heard two versions of this song that come close to equaling the Simon & Garfunkel original. There is the sassy soul interpretation by Aretha Franklin and this wonderful pop presentation by Elvis. He proves that he can still hit every note in this difficult song but more than that it is the perfect tone and texture of his voice that sells this classic.
I bought this album when it was released in 1970. It was the voice of Elvis that sold this album then and it continues to sell it today. That’s The Way It Is remains one of Elvis Presley’s classic 1970’s albums.
- Read our full That’s The Way It Is 2 CD FTD Special Edition in-depth review.
That’s The Way It Is - Tracklist:
I Just Can't Help Believin'
Twenty Days and Twenty Nights
How the Web Was Woven
Patch It Up
Mary in the Morning
You Don't Have to Say You Love Me
You've Lost that Lovin' Feelin'
I've Lost You
Stranger in the Crowd
The Next Step Is Love
Bridge over Troubled Water
Patch It Up (studio)
I've Lost You (studio)
Twenty Days and Twenty Nights (take 8)
Bridge over Troubled Water (live)
Little Sister (live)
Get Back (live)
The Next Step Is Love (undubbed master)
Patch It Up (take 1)
Bridge over Troubled Water (alt. mix)
Tiger Man (jam)
Twenty Days and Twenty Nights (rehearsal takes 1,2,3)
I've Lost You (rehearsal take 1)
Bridge over Troubled Water (take 1)
You Don't Have to Say You Love Me (rehearsal composite)
The Next Step Is Love (rehearsal takes 2,3,6)
How the Web Was Woven (rehearsal take 1)
Stranger in the Crowd (rehearsal takes 1,3,4,5)
Stranger in the Crowd (master take 9 - rough mix)
Mary in the Morning (takes 1,2,3,4)
Patch It Up (takes 2-7)
Patch It Up (take 9, alt. master)
You Don't Have to Say You Love Me (takes 1,2)
Just Pretend (takes 1,2)
The Next Step Is Love (takes 7,8,9,10)
Bridge over Troubled Water (rehearsal takes 2,5)
I've Lost You (takes 4,5,6)
Twenty Days and Twenty Nights (takes 5,6)
Twenty Days and Twenty Nights (take 9 master, rough mix)
Review - Elvis On Stage February 1970
The original 1970 release contained ten songs and none were throwaways. 'See See Rider' is the first song and would be a concert opener for years. 'Release Me' and 'Sweet Caroline' both have vocals that surpass the originals by Engelbert Humperdinck and Neil Diamond. They are deep, mellow and sincere and present the 1970’s pop Elvis at his best. Del Shannon’s 'Runaway' is moved from rock to an up-tempo pop interpretation. The final song on side one of the original LP release was his current worldwide hit, 'The Wonder Of You'. If there was one thing he could do at this point in his career it was sing his pop hits live just like the studio recordings.
Side two starts with 'Polk Salad Annie'. This song was close to Elvis’ roots and while the spoken part may seem a little hokey 38 years later, the vocal is delivered with passion and sincerity. 'Yesterday' is a rare Beatles cover for him. It was a competent delivery but is the weakest vocal on the album and pales next to Paul McCartney’s original. 'Proud Mary' may not rock like the Creedence Clearwater original or have the intense soul of Ike and Tina Turner, but it is the signature pop version of this classic song.
Elvis is smart enough not to try to copy anyone else but just makes the song uniquely his own. 'Walk A Mile In My Shoes' is taken in a country direction. However, on the modern day CD releases, the song is slowed down at the end and morphs into 'In The Ghetto' which was brilliant. He closes with the eternal pop song, 'Let It Be Me', and swings on this song in a manner worthy of Frank Sinatra.
On Stage: February 1970, like most of Elvis’ albums, has been released on CD with bonus tracks. 'Long Tall Sally' really rocks and makes the listener wish he or she could have been in the audience for this performance. 'Kentucky Rain' is just a superb vocal of this country-pop tune.
The production on this album was crystal clear. James Burton had also settled in as Elvis’ lead guitarist and musical leader. His guitar runs are technically outstanding yet sensitive enough not to interfere with the vocals.
On Stage: February 1970 was an excellent live release by Elvis. It presents him at his best and the way he should be remembered.
On Stage 1970 Tracklist:
See See Rider
The Wonder of You
Polk Salad Annie
Walk a Mile in My Shoes
In the Ghetto
Don't Cry Daddy
I Can't Stop Loving You
Long Tall Sally
Let It Be Me