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Elvis Presley's Elvis Country | 'He was on a different planet!'


By: Nick Hasted
Source: Uncut Magazine (February 2014 issue)
June 2, 2018
Elvis Reviews, Elvis CD Reviews, FTD, Elvis News

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Elvis Presley's top session men remember the creation of one of his finest works

June 1970. A rejuvenated Elvis Presley arrives at RCA Studio B in Nashville wearing a flamboyant black cape and carrying a lion's head walking stick. His business, though, is to reconnect with the long-lost roots of his music; to create a remarkable album, Elvis Country. 'I was wondering', he says, 'if any of you guys would like to help me make a few phonograph records?…'

James Burton was Elvis' guitarist and right-hand man from 1969 until the singer's death in 1977. Sporting a thin moustache and a black Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame cap and jacket, he trades stories with bassist Norbert Putnam, a founding member of Alabama's iconic Muscle Shoals rhythm section. They met in Nashville, almost 44 years ago. A copy of the first record they played on together, Elvis Country, lies on a table between them - a photograph of the future King Of Rock 'n' Roll, aged two, staring out at them from the front cover.

'I was totally stiff with fright before that first session', laughs Putnam. 'I don't know why, because I'd already had a very successful 10 years in the studio. But something told me, this is bigger than anything that you've ever been a part of. I remember standing in the bathroom, just before I went out there, and I'd look in the mirror and say, 'Dear God, guide my fingers. Don't allow me to be the one to screw up this up'.

When Elvis Presley entered the studio in June 1970, he did so as a man enjoying an unexpected third-act peak. The NBC TV special - the '68 Comeback - his record-breaking live return in Las Vegas, and a batch of sessions at Memphis' American Sound Studio resulting in the acclaimed From Elvis In Memphis album had successfully reinvigorated his career after a decade of artistic and commercial decline. These are remembered now as the final flare of Elvis' majesty, but the Elvis Country sessions tell a different story: of a comeback with some distance left to run. As the surviving musicians who gathered in Nashville's RCA Studio B now testify, they found Elvis energised, determined, ready to pull off whatever he set his mind to. 'He was fearless', confirms Putnam. 'Elvis didn't have any borders'.

Elvis Country is a return to roots. Released in 1971 at the height of country rock, the material - bluegrass, rockabilly, honky tonk, covers of songs by his heroes Eddy Arnold and Ernest Tubb - was deeply personal to Elvis. 'Many of them were hits when he was just a kid', acknowledges the archivist who runs the Follow That Dream (FTD, The Official Collectors Label) Elvis releases, Ernst Mikael Jorgensen. But astonishingly, it's an album that seems to have been created almost by accident, in the middle of recording something else altogether.

Elvis Country FTD Special Edition CD
Elvis Country FTD Special Edition 2 CD Set.

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Prior to the 'Elvis Country' sessions, Elvis had made a successful trip to the American Sound Studios in Memphis, which had yielded 'Suspicious Minds' and the aforementioned 'From Elvis In Memphis', produced by Chips Moman. Moman encouraged Elvis to work with material outside his normal range - including 'In The Ghetto'. 'They'd made a great LP in Memphis, and they should have cut there again', says Elvis' pianist David Briggs, speaking from his Nashville home. 'But I don't think they could get along with Chips Moman. It was politics and business'.

Elvis returned to Nashville, to RCA Studio B - where he'd recorded 18 sessions since 1958 - and his regular producer, Felton Jarvis, very different from the demanding Moman. 'Felton wasn't a musical guy', says Putnam. 'Felton was a pretty good judge of material that normal people would buy, and he was fun. Felton never got in the way'.

'Felton wanted to get it back up here where he could control it', adds Briggs. The success of 'From Elvis In Memphis' had been noted, though, as Putnam recalls: 'Felton said, 'I want you on the next batch of Elvis sessions, 'cos it's got to be more like the American guys, and you guys are Muscle Shoals'.

Elvis Presley walked into RCA Studio B at 8pm on June 4 to be greeted by some familiar faces - James Burton, who'd made his live debut with Elvis the previous year, David Briggs, harmonica player/organist Charlie McCoy and guitarist Chip Young. There were some new ones, too: the rhythm section of Putnam and drummer Jerry Carrigan - both Muscle Shoals alumni. In effect, this was a new band waiting for him.

'I remember seeing him for the first time', says Putnam. 'He comes bursting into the studio, and he's wearing a long black cape, and he's carrying a walking stick with a lion's head with ruby eyes. And he walked in like Prince Leopold, and took his cape off and he tossed it. He stood up and said, 'I was wondering if any of you guys would like to help me make a few phonograph records?' Then he burst out laughing, and he's telling four or five stories, making us all laugh. He reminded me of the kids I knew in high school. He never wore that cape again. Maybe he was dressing up for the new boys. In 1970, he was in great physical condition, he was still working out with his karate every day. I looked at him when he came in, and thought, 'He's the most beautiful man I've ever seen'.

Working with Elvis was a unique experience for the musicians. 'Elvis was on a different planet', Putnam explains. 'In the control room would be all the Memphis Mafia and the publishing guys. And no matter how mediocre the first take was, at the end of it, they would leap into the air. They're saying, 'Gas, King! You're the King! Touchdown!' And we're all going, 'Boy, we could make this a lot better…' But they all worked for him. Every man had a chore assigned. I remember one of them brought in a Halliburton briefcase. And inside was an arsenal of weapons. So he was obviously the security guy'.

Putnam also remembers some of Elvis' more unusual studio practices. 'Studio B was a very traditional, open room. Screens were available, but most nights Elvis sang into this mic with a long cable, and he'd come out and stand in front of us, and he'd be dancing. It was very difficult for the engineer. He wasn't interested in recording technique, whatsoever'.

'It was almost like he was doing a live show for you', says Burton. 'He'd be putting on a show for the musicians'.

According to Peter Guralnick's Elvis biography 'Careless Love', a rack of clothes was available for costume changes. 'He wasn't changing clothes to impress you', Briggs says. 'He was sweating and felt dirty. He was working hard'.

There was little evidence of how good that work would be when the sessions began. Elvis' publishers Freddy Bienstock and Lamar Fike started off by pitching the sort of tame material he'd been singing before Memphis. 'There's every reason to believe the country album wasn't planned', explains Ernst Mikael Jorgensen, who has heard every tape from the sessions. 'I think Felton thought he was going to go in there to record an album of pop songs. They started with two British power ballads - 'I've Lost You' and 'Twenty Days And Twenty Nights'. But then Elvis jumps into 'I Was Born About Ten Thousand Years Ago', in one take'.

Originally a gospel tune, the boisterous version of 'I Was Born…' would weave in and out of 'Elvis Country', an impromptu theme threading the record together. 'After Elvis has finished more demanding, big ballads, including 11 takes of 'The Sound Of Your Cry', it's past midnight', Jorgensen continues. 'And they start to play 'Faded Love' in a country version, and then they jump into '100 Years From Now' and 'Little Cabin On The Hill' - bluegrass songs like he did at Sun, not serious, with Elvis on his own acoustic guitar, very spirited. And Felton panics. This is developing in a way that he never anticipated, and fast, so at the end of the reel he has to turn the tape over and record on the back, there's no time to get a new one. They did nine songs that first night'.

For a typical session, Burton remembers, 'Elvis would only wanna sing a song three, four times at most. And after that, he'd move onto something else. He was the greatest at taking the song and redoing it, putting his thing to it, his arrangement. His voice was so powerful, and we had all the freedom in the world to play what we wanted to play. I loved it when Norbert would break out the stand-up bass…'

'Elvis would let you go', continues Putnam. 'He never said, 'I'd like you to play like this'. He would take the song and start getting in the mood to do it, then the light would come on and we'd play to that emotion. And he loved it, didn't he? I'd say, 'King' or sometimes we called him El. 'El, what do you think of the bass part?'

'I had all the freedom I needed', adds Burton. 'We'd rehearse a song, and after one time, we knew who was going to play the intro, who was going to play the turn-around, and we all picked out the little frills for each one of us…'

Elvis Country - Original Back Cover Art
Elvis Country. The Original Back Cover Art.

Over the next two nights, there was little sign this interlude was significant. But on June 7, the floodgates opened and six country songs poured out of Elvis. Eddy Arnold's 1954 hit 'I Really Don't Want to Know', another version of Bob Wills' 'Faded Love', Ernest Tubb's 'Tomorrow Never Comes', Ray Price's 'Make The World Go Away', Willie Nelson's 'Funny How Time Slips Away' and a riotous take on Charlie Rich's 1965 hit, 'I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water'. 'He puts this blues phrasing on 'I Really Don't Want to Know' that makes it wonderful', Jorgensen says, 'and then the whole spirit is created'.

Elvis had effectively hijacked his own session, using it to pay tribute to many of his favourite songs and formative musical idols. Eddy Arnold - pioneer of the 'Nashville sound' - was 'definitely a hero', Jorgensen explains, and points out that Arnold was there in the photo commemorating Elvis' signing to RCA. Grand Ole Opry patriarch Ernest Tubb was, Jorgensen says, a 'mighty man' to Elvis: 'Tomorrow Never Comes' is a difficult song for Elvis to sing, you can hear him struggling all the way through the takes. But it's an Ernest Tubb song. And Elvis says, 'If I can't sing it all the way through, I'm not going to do it'. Meanwhile, Texan swing king Bob Wills personally also encouraged the young Elvis in 1954. Elsewhere, Charlie Rich, Elvis' near-contemporary at Sun, and Willie Nelson complete the night's cross-section of country songs. 'There's no talking, mostly first takes, one right after another', reveals Jorgensen. 'I wouldn't say the excitement is building that night. What happens is, it flows so naturally. It's more like playing music than recording it'.

'There was some plan', nods Putnam. 'I think he and Felton had considered doing a country LP. But it was a total surprise to us'. At the session, Elvis would try to get the songs in one take, and the band would find ways of stalling him while Putnam or Briggs scrawled down arrangements in pencil. The songs, at least, they knew well: 'A lot of stuff we'd played on the original sessions', laughs Briggs.

'I thought he should have done it a long time before that', says Charlie McCoy. 'It's so natural for him. OK, he grew up doing R'n'B, but his roots are as country as anything else'.

'But', Burton emphasises, 'we didn't treat 'em like country'.

'We didn't go for the normal country arrangement', Putnam confirms. 'We played them in the way that came naturally. Black music had influenced me heavier than anything, after I became a musician. And I needed to make the bassline more interesting than a country bassline. Jerry Carrigan and I had come up from Muscle Shoals, and you'll hear that R'n'B influence in songs like 'Make The World Go Away' - a little more soul on the bass and drums'.

Burton: 'When I got out the dobro, for 'Funny How Time Slips Away', Elvis said, 'Come on, baby. Come on…' You know like on 'Make The World Go Away', Elvis' vocal on that [croons delicately] and then the dobro thing really fit that song, and it was different to what you were expecting. And 'I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water', I had a little mud on my strings to get that scratchy sound. Ooh, and 'Faded Love', that was raunchy. Yeah, man. It's one of my favourite albums ever'.

Elvis Country FTD Special Edition CD - Booklet
Elvis Country FTD Special Edition CD - Booklet.

The last country song they recorded on the June 7 sessions, 'I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water', shows the kind of music they were creating here. A tale of a Tennessee outlaw who can't wash himself clean of his crimes, it's rendered here as exhilarating rock'n'roll, driven by McCoy's blasting harmonica riffs and Briggs' urgent piano vamping, with Elvis himself giving full vent to his vocal abilities. Says Putnam: 'He would dive down here and he'd soar up there, and he'd pant into the mic. Elvis made all the primal sounds that human beings exhibit, from blissful love to a primal scream, in one song'.

The musicians came home in the small hours of June 8, many stunned by what had transpired. 'It was like you'd just played four quarters of football and you won', says Putnam. 'Everyone's gone, and you're sitting alone in your car, and can you get home without hitting a tree? It was exhilarating exhaustion'.

The evening of June 8, they went back to RCA Studio B. It was as if the previous night's session hadn't happened. The five songs they recorded - 'There Goes My Everything', 'If I Were You', 'Only Believe', 'Sylvia' and 'Patch It Up' - were the usual hotch-potch of mid-tempo ballads and love songs. They had completed 35 master-takes in five nights. Elvis left Nashville shortly after. On August 10, he began what Colonel Tom Parker dubbed 'The Elvis Presley Summer Festival': a month-long residency at the International Hotel in Las Vegas, filmed as Elvis: That's The Way It Is, another triumph.

At some point during his tenure in Vegas, the decision was taken to release a country album drawn from the Nashville sessions. On September 22, Elvis returned to RCA Studio B. Four new songs were added to the 35 they'd cut back in June. Only two of those - Anne Murray's recent hit 'Snowbird' and Jerry Lee Lewis' 'Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On' - made the LP. But, as David Briggs recalls, the mood had gone: 'James Burton wasn't on that session, and we got Eddie Hinton, which was my idea as he was a great rock'n'roll player. But when Elvis came in and had all these sorta corny songs like 'Snowbird', it's hard to make them anything that's groovy'.

Elvis lacked enthusiasm for the material. Even before they began 'Whole Lotta Shakin'…' he told his band, 'We've been doing it too long already'. However, David Briggs remembers that their fierce, authoritative take of 'Whole Lotta Shakin'…' would come to mean a great deal to Elvis later: 'This was just before he died, in '77, when we were supposed to be recording an LP with just piano in Graceland. He used to like to listen to that up in his bedroom when I was with him. He played 'Whole Lotta Shakin'…' every day, 'cos he liked what Jerry Carrigan played on the drums. He wore me out, he must have played it 50 times. 'Listen to this, listen to this!' 'I was there! I was there!' We were just playing around on songs like that… we'd just go, 'Jesus Christ!' and start jamming. It was a way of getting away from all that stuff he didn't like, the stack of bad songs that the Colonel had always agreed to do for somebody'.

'Elvis Country' was released on January 2, 1971, with the evocative subtitle, 'I'm 10,000 Years Old'. It reached No 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 - the highest place an Elvis album would reach until his death in 1977. In his review for Rolling Stone, future Elvis biographer Peter Guralnick considered it among Elvis' best 'since he first recorded for Sun almost 17 years ago… music that, while undeniably country, puts him in touch more directly with the soul singer'.

The surfeit of recorded songs would be spread through a further two albums, 'That's The Way It Is' and 'Love Letters From Elvis'. 'Mostly it was just, 'everybody goes wild', remembers David Briggs. 'It was like a big gang-bang there. The engineers were lazy, some of them, and they were too busy dancing in the control room rather than working on the EQ. It's probably 10 per cent of what it could have been. And that's Elvis - that's the part that sounds great'.

Briggs also contends that 1970 was a pivotal year for Elvis, both in the studio and during his ever-expanding Vegas residency. 'A lot of that stuff is when it started going bad. Maybe being so constricted in Memphis, when he did that great album, wore him out. Maybe he just didn't like to cut that way. Whereas before he'd sing softer, more in control and didn't sing hardly any bad notes, that was the start of his going down with his vocals. Singing in Vegas could have been a big part of it - that brassy, hard singing above the orchestra'.

'It was a shared frustration with the band, that it went too fast and they could have done better', counters Ernst Mikael Jorgensen. 'But Elvis never cared for perfection, if the thing had the feel'. Elvis' exhilarated vocal outbursts on Elvis Country set the template for the unchecked soul of his best '70s singing, and the bombast of the worst. 'He was in better shape to pull it off as a vocalist in 1970', Briggs concedes. 'It was more special working with him than anybody else'.

Back in Bonn, James Burton turns over the sleeve of Elvis Country and runs a finger along the tracklisting, before letting it rest on the title, 'I Was Born About Ten Thousand Years Ago'. 'If you go through all the generations of this guy's music in his life', he says, 'he might well have been born 10,000 years ago. It was a natural, exciting thing, playing behind that voice. Playing all the hot licks, all at once'.

Buy 'Elvis Country' Special Edition 2 CD Classic Album Set
Buy 'That's The Way It Is' Special Edition 2 CD Classic Album Set
Buy 'Love Letters From Elvis' pecial Edition 2 CD Classic Album Set

Articles about Elvis Presley Elvis Country : Elvis Presley's Concept Album
Elvis Presley CD, Book and DVD Reviews Review : Elvis Country FTD Special Edition 2 CD Set

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Gene Smith and Elvis Presley 1953
Gene Smith and Elvis Presley 1953.

The Track listing: Additional Track Information / Opinion

Disc 1 - The original album:

1) Snowbird - 2:04 - 22nd Sept. - Elvis sings this pretty straight, neither adding nor deducting much from the Anne Murray original. A song perhaps not entirely suited to his style.

2) Tomorrow Never Comes - 3:53 - 7th June - A dramatic beat ballad, first done by Ernest Tubb in 1949, although Elvis may have been more familiar with the BJ Thomas 1966 cover. A fine performance from Elvis, who tackles this in a style reminiscent of Roy Orbison at full throttle.

3) Little Cabin On The Hill - 1:45 - 4th June - A country 'standard' from 1948, the original by Bill Monroe & The Moon Grass Boys. Elvis gives this an authentic country sound, ably backed by harmonica from Charlie McCoy.

4) Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On - 3:00 - 22nd Sept. - The original was by James Faye 'Roy' Hall in 1954, rapidly covered by Big Maybelle. Elvis gives the Jerry Lee Lewis hit a thorough workout and loses none of the fire. This is pure rock 'n' roll. Great stuff!

5) Funny How Time Slips Away - 4:20 - 7th June - There were versions of this by Billy Walker & Jimmy Elledge in 1961, with the composer, Willie Nelson issuing his in 1962. Then there were covers by Johnny Tillotson (1963), Joe Hinton (1964) and (after Elvis) Dorothy Moore in 1976. Elvis does a fine job on this plaintive country song in which the clever lyric has a guy meeting his 'ex' and apparently wishing her well, but with a sting-in-the-tail. He makes this song his own.

6) I Really Don't Want To Know - 2:45 - 7th June - An Eddy Arnold original from 1954, with covers from Tommy Edwards (1960), Solomon Burke (1961), Little Esther Phillips (1963) & Ronnie Dove (1966). Elvis does another good job on this country favorite, with some solid but sensitive backing, and nice David Briggs piano.

7) There Goes My Everything - 2:55 - 8th June - Although the first chart appearance of this was by Jack Greene in 1966, in the UK, we were more familiar with the 1967 smash hit version from (the very non-country) Engelbert Humperdinck. Elvis does a workmanlike job on this smooth ballad, but no fireworks.

8) It's Your Baby, You Rock It - 2:56 - 5th June - Unusual lyric - addressing the new man of his 'ex' and he is not sympathetic. Excellent vocal from Elvis and the backing girl singers on this lively country rocker.

9) The Fool - 2:26 - 4th June - A Sandford Clark original from 1955 (the 1956 re-issue went top 10 in the US) and Al Casey had an instrumental cover in '56 also (Fool's Blues). Other covers were heard from The Gallahads (1956) & Jamie Coe (1963). Elvis omits an important bit of the lyric here (he nails it on the outtake) but a good version, very close to the original.

10) Faded Love - 3:04 - 7th June - A Bob Willis & His Texas Playboys original from 1950 with covers from Leon McAuliff (1962) & Patsy Cline had a posthumous US hit with it in 1963. Pure country, but done by Elvis as country-rock. Fine backing with some excellent harmonica from Charlie McCoy and some horns have been added in post-production. The master is subject to an early fade (we get the full-length one later).

11) I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water - 3:41 - 7th June - A Stonewall Jackson original from 1965 with covers from Charlie Rich (1965) & Johnny Rivers (1966). In what sounds like an impromptu jam, Elvis doesn't want this to ever stop. The master is faded early (we get a longer rough mix later).

12) Make The World Go Away - 3:34 - 7th June - Both Timi Yuro Ray Price had hits with this in 1963, but the song is most associated with Eddy Arnold's country version from 1965. Elvis does a fine job on it here, with the blend of lead vocal, support vocals & the backing captured perfectly. Great stuff!

Bonus songs:

13) I Was Born About 10,000 Years Ago - 3:11 - 4th June - A traditional song. Heard in snippets as the between-track link on the original album, and then in full on the 1972 album: Elvis Now. Another one sounding like a studio jam and nailed in one take. Given a lively run through by Elvis, this master is faded early (we got a longer version on the 70's box set in 1995).

14) Where Did They Go, Lord - 2:27 - 22nd September - Not really a religious song, more a lament about lost love. Elvis gives a heart-felt performance on this. Used as the flip of the single: Rags To Riches in 1971.

The Country Jam

15) Faded Love (Country version) - 0:36 - 4th June - Really just a short, informal, incomplete try-out. We had this on Essential IV - A Hundred Years From Now in 1996. They did the song properly on the 7th.

16) The Fool Take 1 - 2:20 - 4th June - The point of the song is that the singer finally admits that 'I'm that fool' the one he's been singing about. Elvis omits that confession on the master ! But he sings it here. First on Essential IV - A Hundred Years From Now in 1996.

17) A Hundred Years From Now Takes 1 (1:50) & 2 (1:24) - 4th June - The master that we heard on the 1995 70's box set was a splice of the two takes. This enabled them to edit out some slightly naughty lyrics. We first got the two together (complete) on the 2002 FTD release: Nashville Marathon.

18) Little Cabin Home On The Hill Take 1 - 2:04 - 4th June - Slightly longer than the master take, we first got this on Essential IV - A Hundred Years From Now.

Alternate Masters

19) It's Your Baby, You Rock It Take 3 - 3:09 - 5th June - First heard on the FTD release: Nashville Marathon in 2002. The sleeve here doesn't say the take number, but the booklet does.

20) Faded Love Take 3 - 4:18 - 7th June - They finally settled on the shorter Take 1 as the master (Take 2 was a false start). We first heard this take on Essential IV - A Hundred Years From Now in 1996.

First Takes

21) Tomorrow Never Comes Take 1 - 3:20 - 7th June - Shorter than the master, heard here for the first time.

22) Tomorrow Never Comes - Take 2 - 3:53 - 7th June - First heard on Nashville Marathon in 2002.

23) Snowbird rehearsal (0:48) & Take 1 - 2:05 - First release for the rehearsal (it fades in after the start) but we got the Take 1 on Nashville Marathon in 2002.

24) Where Did They Go, Lord Take 1 - 2:20 - 22nd Sept - From Essential IV - A Hundred Years From Now.

Disc 2

The undubbed June 7th Masters - Rough mixes made by Felton Jarvis immediately after the sessions, before any overdubs were recorded.

1) I Really Don't Want To Know 2:46 First release of this here.

2) Faded Love Take 2 - 0:32 (False start - rehearsal ?) - Take 1 - 4:06 - Later fade than the official master.

3) Tomorrow Never Comes Take 12 - 0:31 (False start) - Take 13 - 3:53 - First official release here.

4) Make The World Go Away - Take 1 - 1:45 (False start) Take 3 - 3:33 - First released on the album Welcome To My World, although the sleeve claimed it was a live track The Take 1 false start makes its first appearance.

5) Funny How Time Slips Away - 4:20 - First appearance with this mix.

6) I Washed My Hands in Muddy Water - 4:23 - First appearance with this mix.

June Outtakes

7) I Didn't Make It On Playing Guitar - 3:40 - 5th - From Essential IV - A Hundred Years From Now (1996) A studio instrumental jam with some delicious Elvis vocal interjections, luckily picked up by the mic on his acoustic guitar. A longer edit of this jam has been available unofficially.

8) Tomorrow Never Comes - 7th - Take 3 - 2:42 - Take 11 - 3:58 - Both here for the first time.

9) There Goes My Everything - Take 1 - 8th - 2:45 - From Great Country Songs in 1996.

September Outtakes All from 22nd.

10) September Warm Up - 1:50 - An instrumental jam - First time here.

11) Snowbird - Take 4 - 0:10 (False start) - Take 5 - Called but nothing gets underway - Take 2 - 2:03 - The take 4 false start is new here, but Take 2 was on the Today, Tomorrow & Forever box set in 2002.

12) Where Did They Go, Lord - Take 2 - Just a couple of extremely short (new) false starts - Take 3 - 2:20 - We had this on Nashville Marathon in 2002.

13) Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On - Rough mix with horns - 4:35 - The infamous 'horn dub' version. Although we got this long version on Essential IV - A Hundred Years From Now in 1996, this the first official release with those horns on. Elvis was right to ask for their removal in my view ! The late fade reveals some deliciously fascinating (and sometimes wordless) Elvis vocalizing that is almost orgasmic !

Bonus Cuts - Undubbed Rough Mixes From 7th June.

14) When I'm Over You - 3:27 - Master, late fade makes for a longer track. First official release.

15) The Next Step Is Love - 3:40 - Master, late fade makes for a longer track. First official release.

16) Love Letters - 2:48 - Master, first official release with this mix.

Overall, an interesting and sometimes fascinating release!

Great to have all these tracks together on 2 CD's.

Elvis was obviously on top form at this time, still heady after the American Sound Studio sessions of '69, but not yet suffering from the boredom that crept in during '71.

File under 'essential'...........................

Recording Session Data

* June 7 recordings. Rough mixes made by Felton Jarvis immediately after the sessions, before any overdubs were recorded. Album produced and art directed by Ernst Mikael Jorgensen & Roger Semon

Mastered by Lene Reidel and Vic Anesini
Original A&R: Felton Jarvis Original Engineer: Al Pachucki
Thanks Claude Braün and Erik Rasmussen

Recorded June 4-8 and September 22, 1970, at RCA's Studio B, Nashville.

Musicians:

Elvis Presley and the band - Studio B, Nashville, June 1970
Elvis Presley and the band : Studio B, Nashville, June 1970.

Top, (left to right): David Brigs, Norbert Putman, Elvis Presley, Al Pachucki, Jerry Carrigan; bottom: Felton Jarvis, Chip Young, Charlie McCoy, James Burton (Early morning hours June 9, 1970)

Guitar: James Burton (June sessions), Eddie Hinton (September sessions), Chip Young, Elvis Presley
Bass: Norbert Putnam
Drums: Jerry Carrigan
Piano: David Briggs
Organ & Harmonica: Charlie McCoy

Overdubbed later:

Guitar: James Burton, Harold Bradley ('Snowbird' only)
Percussion: Jerry Carrigan
Percussion & Vibes: Farrell Morris
Organ: David Briggs
Steel guitar: Weldon Myrick
Banjo: Bobby Thompson ('Little Cabin On The Hill' only)
Fiddle: Buddy Spicher ('Little Cabin On The Hill' only)
Trumpet: Charlie McCoy, George Tidwell, Don Sheffield, Glenn Baxter
Sax: Wayne Butler, Norman Ray
Trombone: Gene Mullins
Flue and Trombone: William Puett
Flute, Sax And Clarinet: Skip Lane
Vocals: The Imperials, The JordanairesMillie Kirkham, Mary (Jeannie) Greene, Mary Holladay, Ginger Holladay, Temple Riser, June Page, Sonja Montgomery, Dolores Edgin

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Tupelo's Own Elvis Presley DVD Video with Sound.

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. + Plus Bonus DVD Audio.

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