Rave Review From Rolling Stone For Elvis Is Back
Source: Rolling Stone
February 20, 2011 - 5:13:57 PM
Elvis Reviews, Elvis CD Reviews
Elvis Presley began recording 'Elvis Is Back!' in Nashville on March 20th, 1960 after returning from his two-year stint in the military. A half-century later, 'Elvis Is Back' is now coupled with 1961's 'Something For Everybody'. Along with one dozen hit single sides recorded and charted over roughly the same period of time.
Recorded when Presley, was 25, fresh off a. two-year military stint and musically fit. to burst, Elvis Is Back! might be the King's greatest non-compilation LP: wildly varied material, revelatory singing, impeccable stereo sound. This reissue includes other period singles and the follow-up album, Something For Everybody ...
Elvis Is Back! - 2 CD Legacy Edition Elvis Is Back! + Something For Everybody
Two words exploded worldwide on December 19, 1957 - 'Elvis Drafted!' - but three words resounded across the universe even more explosively on March 3, 1960: 'Elvis Is Back!' The album that Elvis Presley began recording in Nashville on March 20th, and finished in the legendary overnight session of April 3-4th, is widely regarded as possibly the best album he ever made. A half-century later, Elvis Is Back is now coupled with 1961's Something For Everybody, an album he recorded back in Nashville one year later.
Sony Music will release Elvis Is Back!: Legacy Edition (2-CD) on March 1st. This is an odd but interesting release as it combines both Elvis' classic album, Elvis Is Back with his second, non movie, secular album released after he returned from the army, Something For Everybody. This upgraded CD features the original LP tracks as well as the 12 songs chosen for singles for each respective album, and every track is sublime. Both CDs highlight how the addition of the single releases (It's Now Or Never, A Mess Of Blues, Are You Lonesome Tonight? and His Latest Flame, Little Sister, Good Luck Charm) of the time would have benefited each album if some or all had been added. It was customary to not include singles on albums.
Right up until the point where cars were being parked and instruments unpacked', 'the assembled musicians were under the impression they'd been booked to record with Jim Reeves. This was a half-hearted attempt to thwart the fans gathered outside who knew full well who was coming in.
Joining Elvis for his sessions at RCA's Studio B in Nashville were his long-time guitarist Scotty Moore, drummer D.J. Fontana, Floyd Cramer on piano, guitarist Hank Garland (also on bass), bassist Bob Moore, and drummer Buddy Harman, plus the Jordanaires on harmony vocals. Among the six masters they cut that night were Elvis' first post-Army #1 million-selling single 'Stuck On You', and three tracks that would be chosen for the new album. They reconvened two Sunday nights later on April 3rd (adding saxophonist Boots Randolph to the lineup) and finished an astounding 12 tracks. The unprecedented results included Elvis' next two #1 million-selling singles, 'It's Now Or Never' and 'Are You Lonesome Tonight?' plus the nine tunes needed to complete the LP. Elvis Is Back! was rush-released days later on April 8th. Any concerns about Elvis' ability in the studio after more than two years away were set aside forever.
'Elvis Is Back! was a triumph on every level', wrote Ernst Jorgensen in his essential research guide, Elvis Presley: A Life In Music (St. Martin's Press, 1998). 'Elvis had never been heard like this before, except perhaps by himself in his own head. There was new depth to his voice; his interpretations were increasingly sophisticated; the group was probably the best studio band in the business; the song selection was imaginative and varied, the technical quality excellent. Most surprisingly of all, the new album pointed in no one musical direction ... It was as if Elvis had invented his own brand of music, broken down the barriers of genre and prejudice to express everything he heard in all the kinds of music he loved'.
After spending the rest of 1960 in Hollywood filming and recording the soundtracks for G.I. Blues, Flaming Star, and Wild In the Country, Elvis returned to Studio B on Sunday night, March 12, 1961. With the exception of 'I Slipped, I Stumbled, I Fell' (imported from the Wild In the Country tapes), the other 11 tracks on Something For Everybody were all finished on that equally legendary overnight session. Among them were Elvis' takes on 'I Feel So Bad' (from Chuck Willis) and 'I'm Comin' Home' (from Charlie Rich). Elvis' next batch of hit singles were recorded at Studio B in June ('(Marie's The Name) His Latest Flame' b/w 'Little Sister', both sides penned by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman); and October ('Good Luck Charm' b/w 'Anything That's Part Of You').
Something For Everybody and its accompanying singles hit the market at a time when Elvis Presley was right at the top of his game. The man could do no wrong in the eyes of the public and he was rightly thought of across the globe as the arbiter of popular music. He was most definitely the right man for the job.
Currently available are the two albums in the FTD Classic Album series, for the serious fan they contain not only the album tracks and singles but also many out-takes (usually referred to as alternate takes) as Elvis went through the recording process. These offer a glimpse into how Elvis recorded, and indeed produced his albums and songs, it is often a delight to listen to Elvis talk or joke between takes and often you can find an alternate take that you really love that is just special to listen to. These are for the real fans out there!
Pre-order this Sony legacy Edition now, or buy the two Special Edition albums as below ....
Disc 1: Elvis Is Back (1960)
Make Me Know It
The Girl Of My Best Friend
I Will Be Home Again
Dirty, Dirty Feeling
Thrill Of Your Love
Such A Night
It Feels So Right
The Girl Next Door Went A'Walking
Like A Baby
Stuck On You
Fame And Fortune
It's Now Or Never
A Mess Of Blues
Are You Lonesome Tonight?
I Gotta Know
Disc 2: Something For Everybody (1961)
There's Always Me
Give Me The Right
It's A Sin
I'm Coming Home
In Your Arms
Put The Blame On Me
I Want You With Me
I Slipped, I Stumbled, I Fell
I Feel So Bad
(Marie's The Name Of) His Latest Flame
Good Luck Charm
Anything That's Part Of You
Elvis Is Back - A Must have album
Elvis Is Back! ..... Elvis returned to Nashville's Studio B on March 20th 1960, just 15 days after coming home from his army stint for Uncle Sam. Elvis had been away from the music scene for nearly 2 years and the charts were no longer full of the excitement of fifties Rock 'n' Roll but had given way to a smoother sixties sound. Elvis knew too well that just one year out of the music business can kill your career and, although he had made some home recordings while in Germany, Elvis hadn't recorded in a Studio since June 1958!
While 1968 is named as Elvis' 'Comeback' nothing could have been more important than this 1960 session & no one could have been more concerned than Elvis himself. Would he still be as important to his teenage fans now that he was 25 years old? Could he still select suitable hit material in this new decade?
Would his new sound even be relevant?
Of course, Elvis always rose to a challenge and tended to produce his best work under pressure. When the session finished there could be no doubt that from his explosive first recording 'Make Me Know It' to the very last moment, as dawn was breaking, 'Reconsider Baby' this might be the best music that Elvis would ever produce. In an amazing two nights work Elvis recorded eighteen classic tracks including seven Gold records! When the LP was originally released surprisingly it did not sell as well as expected, and GI Blues would sadly do better. However, had it included the mega-selling Hit singles recorded at the same session (Stuck On You, It's Now or Never, Are You Lonesome Tonight) there is no doubt that it would have sold multi-millions.
Now, at last, this upgraded CD features the original LP tracks as well as the 12 songs (Stuck On You, Fame And Fortune, It's Now Or Never, A Mess Of Blues, Are You Lonesome Tonight?, I Gotta Know, Surrender and I Feel So Bad, (Marie's The Name Of) His Latest Flame, Little Sister, Good Luck Charm, Anything That's Part Of You) chosen for singles for each respective album, and every track is sublime.
From the exciting feel of Elvis blasting away that Army despondency on his first recording 'Make Me Know It', to the beautiful pop of 'Girl of My Best Friend' & 'A Mess Of Blues', the pure musical genius of the blues of 'Like a Baby' & 'It Feels So Right' along with the emotion in the ballad 'Soldier Boy' - Elvis covered every musical style.
While the Gold singles are well-known, two LP tracks also stand out as some of Elvis' most important recordings of all-time. 'Reconsider Baby', recorded in one magnificent live-take, captures Elvis as he is consumed in the passion of the music and working with such a great band. The wailing sax of Boots Randolph combined with Elvis' intense vocal is hard to beat. Similarly Elvis' growling moan of 'Such A Night' pushed this lightweight Drifters' song into another league all together. Here the new idea of using dual drummers (Buddy Harman & DJ Fontana) never would be bettered, helping urge Elvis an awe-inspiring performance. While Elvis was never recognised as a song-writer, his all-important contribution as an arranger/producer is perfectly demonstrated here. Elvis' whoop of joy at the end really says it all!
This was a very different sound to the Elvis of the fifties, smoother, more mature and with a new beauty and strength to his voice. This was a powerful statement that no one could deny – 'Elvis Is Back!'
There are three Elvis albums that every fan should own. 'Elvis Presley' his essential first LP, 'From Elvis In Memphis' the 1969 comeback LP, and 'Elvis Is Back'. The importance of these 3 LPs cannot be overstated.
Elvis Is Back! 2 CD Legacy Edition
Tupelo's Own Elvis Presley DVD + 16 page booklet.
Never before have we seen an Elvis Presley concert from the 1950's with sound. Until Now! The DVD Contains recently discovered unreleased film of Elvis performing 6 songs, including Heartbreak Hotel and Don't Be Cruel, live in Tupelo Mississippi 1956. Included we see a live performance of the elusive Long Tall Sally seen here for the first time ever.
This is an excellent release no fan should be without it.
The 'parade' footage is good to see as it puts you in the right context with color and b&w footage. The interviews of Elvis' Parents are well worth hearing too. The afternoon show footage is wonderful and electrifying : Here is Elvis in his prime rocking and rolling in front of 11.000 people. Highly recommended.