Review | Elvis At American Sound Studio 2-CD Set

By: Elvis Australia
May 1, 2021


Follow That Dream's 'Elvis At American Sound Studio' 2-CD opens a door to the remarkable 1969 Memphis recording sessions. As a stand-alone release, it includes the remaining songs not originally available on the landmark FTD albums', Back In Memphis' & 'From Elvis In Memphis' ---> plus an additional thirty unreleased nuggets. Akin to admiring two beautiful paintings, and discovering a third--> a clever compile results in a pleasing listen which augments the stellar Memphis 1969 recording sessions trilogy with aplomb.

Standouts: Ballad 101 - 'Kentucky Rain', --> and the huge worldwide hit 'Don't Cry Daddy/Rubberneckin', a #6 hit on Billboard's Hot 100 - mix with the sentimental gospel-tinged 'Mama Liked The Roses'. In addition, there's fabulous bluesy Floyd Cramer piano on an unreleased, 'If I'm A Fool (For Loving You', take 2). R'n'B pop sensibilities on 'Rubberneckin', an addictive sitar workout on 'You'll Think Of Me' takes - 7 - and hinting at what might have been - > two interesting unreleased R&B soaked instrumentals to boot.

Elvis At American Sound Studio 2 CD Set.
Elvis At American Sound Studio 2 CD Set.

Backed by the head of American Sound Studio, Chips Moman and his crack studio session band. Who backed: Neil Diamond, Dusty Springfield, Wilson Picket, and a roster of further artists on countless hits from the sixties and early seventies...

The Memphis 1969 Jan / Feb sessions provided some of Elvis' biggest hits - tough soul, pop, country, R'n'B, and ballads all feature on a remarkable run of hit singles. Elvis asked Chips Moman: We've done some hits, haven't we Chips? Maybe some of your biggest'. Chips replied.

Various selections have appeared on previous releases: 'Suspicious Minds': The Memphis 1969 Anthology 2- CD (the instrumental - vocal intro only of 'Poor Man's Gold').

Besides, there's a pool of selections from the Memphis Sessions FTD - and From Nashville To Memphis: The Essential 60s Masters Box.

However, every song shines with a wonderful new sonic sheen mastered by Sebastian Jeansson and Vic Anesini, resulting in an enhanced listening experience.

Disc One:

A worldwide smash reaching #16 on Billboard's Hot 100 - 'Kentucky Rain / My Little Friend' thrills with piano fills that leap from the speakers.

More highlights: Adding poignancy the ringing church bells and the gospel-flavored spoken passage during 'Mama Liked The Roses' sounds wonderful here. Elvis says: 'You know, I kept the family Bible, with a rose she saved inside. It's pressed between the pages like it found a place to hide'. A tenderhearted song that was the B side of 'The Wonder Of You' (1970).

Bonus Track:

The aforementioned instrumentals indicate what might have been: 'One, two, three, four', and 'Memory Revival' sparks into life - on drums session ace Gene Chrisman's drives the song with the watchdog of Hades snapping at his heels - @5 secs in, Elvis' shouts: 'Alright!'

Bobby Emmons organ and a solid bass add to a lively instrumental track. Penned by Frazier and Owens (R&B stomper - > 'Wearing That Loved On Look' & the revered', True Love Travels On Gravel Road'), sadly Elvis didn't cut the vocal.

Note: 'Memory Revival' Lyrics- Dallas Frazier, Arthur Leo Owens. ©1968 Acuff-Rose Music, BMI / Unichappell Music, BMI.

The hour has come for all of them to wake up from slumber Every one of them will soon be crawling through the tunnels of my mind The memories of yesterday will soon speak louder than the thunder And then a wall of heartaches will separate the sun from the shine

Somebody came and told me that she was back in town They said that she's already talking about dragging me down lookout heart, we're about to have a memory revival

She's gonna dig up everything that I've tried to hide It ain't gonna do me no good, the run from survival She's gonna uncover every feeling that I've got inside I don't want to cry, but she's gonna break up my mind

All at once the feelings I thought that I'd forgotten are ignited All at once the things I hoped would stay asleep are starting to yawn Heartaches and teardrops are crashing through my doors uninvited Forgetting fights a battle with remembering, but memory's much too strong

Somebody came and told me that she was back in town They said that she's already talking about dragging me down Look out heart, we're about to have a memory revival

She's gonna dig up everything that I've tried to hide It ain't gonna do me no good, the run from survival She's gonna uncover every feeling that I've got inside I don't want to cry, but she's gonna break up my mind.

January Outtakes:

Furthermore, R&B chops abound on the Mike Millius and Don Thomas penned 'Come Out, Come Out (Wherever You Are?)' --> The song could have been an interesting addition (Elvis heard a fire engine in the background and left the studios in a fit of laughter without adding a vocal). We can only envisage what might have been significant additions to the acclaimed Memphis recordings...

First Takes:

Standouts: Unreleased outtakes on a work-in-progress 'Kentucky Rain' - takes 1,2,3, stripped back with drums in particular to the fore. More: 'I'll Be There's' intro with Elvis asking guitarist, Reggie Young to play the intro riff. And although subtle - two superb organ solos over the first two unreleased versions. More Highlights: The delicious, bluesy piano on 'If I'm A Fool (For Loving You'. Tommy Cogbill's gutbucket bass, and Reggie Young's lead guitar intro on 'Rubberneckin' 'take 1,2/M - 'stop! Look and listen baby that's my philosophy' - > play loud!

January Outtakes:

Felton Jarvis or Chips asks: 'Reggie, in some of the verses' you were playing some fills - jump in here fool!' Reggie Young works out the sitar intro with subtle guitar licks and a teasing flash of the whammy bar before leading the band through a delicious take 7 of', You'll Think Of Me', complete with additional sitar licks. Moreover, there's melancholia on 'Poor Man's Gold' - an abandoned vocal with reflective instrumental passages - and it's such a shame Elvis didn't finish this beautiful sounding track (No doubt Lisa Marie was in his thoughts when he sang the opening lines: 'It's the feeling I get, looking down at my brand new baby…')

The January Outtakes feature 'Mama Liked The Roses' (vocal overdub). A solid 'In The Ghetto' take 19; Sloppy Elvis vocals on a loose 'Hey Jude', and more 'I'll be There' takes to conclude.

Disc Two: February Outtakes

'It's My Way' / 'This Time' / 'I Can't Stop Loving You' - Jam - Elvis says: 'I'll just jump in whenever I get a chance' - the tune eventually becomes a loose jam of 'I Can't Stop Loving You' complete with additional organ, piano fills and Elvis' bluesy, swaggering delivery. 'How many girls choose cotton dressed worlds, when they could have satins and lace?' - the lyrical magic of the Frazier / Owens song - 'True Love Travels On A Gravel Road' and it includes insightful interaction between Elvis and the producer. A beautiful take 3,5 of', Do You Know Who I Am?' - his clear sounding voice on a sparse arrangement before discipline slips to finish take 5...

More: Failing to hit the bullseye on soulful takes 'Only The Strong Survive' - 'Any Day Now', and 'Long Black Limousine' --> his frustration evident on the former with his 'son-of-a-bitch' comment.

Additional cuts include more studio dialogue and a piano-heavy stripped back version of 'Mama Liked The roses'.

Note: Although not included on Elvis Is Back and 'From Elvis In Memphis', the home for the aforementioned hit recordings eventually became the budget 1970s RCA Camden albums: 'Let's Be Friends' ('I'll Be There' - 'If I'm A Fool (For Loving You') - Regular RCA release - 'Worldwide 50 Gold Award Hits. Vol. 1' - ('Suspicious Minds' - 'Don't Cry Daddy' - and 'Kentucky Rain'). 'Almost In Love' ('Rubberneckin' - 'My Little Friend'). 'Elvis Christmas Album' ('Mama Liked The Roses'). The gospel-tinged 'Who am I' featured on - 'You'll Never Walk Alone'. Finally 'Hey Jude', an inclusion on the regular RCA, 'Elvis Now' studio album. (Nevertheless, in spite of their budget standing the albums are fan favorites).

The Classic Album & Booklet:

There are wonderful photos of Elvis from the era: in particular, a striking cover shot and a stunning '1968 Comeback Special' photo (gospel segment) on the back cover of the album. Inside the booklet, we get an insightful essay explaining the album concept and more interesting rare photos. The Center spread features the 1970 BILLBOARD HOT 100 chart positions with Elvis in good company: Brook Benton, Led Zeppelin, Dionne Warwick, The Jackson 5, and Peter Paul and Mary for starters. In addition, there are various captivating Elvis 45RPM single covers. A beautiful presentation in every respect.

All things considered --->with fresh 'in-the-studio' sound - Follow That Dream's in-depth treatment of the additional Memphis Studio material completes an expanded musical compendium---> 'Elvis At Memphis 'Sound Studio' FTD adds additional beef to the exceptional Memphis 1969 recordings --> and completes a period of innate productivity that Elvis would struggle to match in the subsequent jumpsuit years. Totally essential!

Buy Elvis At American Sound Studio FTD Classic Album 2 CD Set
Buy Back In Memphis FTD Classic Album 2 CD Set
Buy From Elvis In Memphis FTD Classic Album 2 CD Set

Elvis At American Sound Studio FTD 2 CD

Track listing

Disc 1

  1. Kentucky Rain (3:17)
  2. I'll Be There (2:26)
  3. Mama Liked The Roses (2:41)
  4. If I'm A Fool (For Loving You) (2:46)
  5. Don't Cry Daddy (2:51)
  6. Rubberneckin' (2:15)
  7. Hey Jude (4:31)
  8. My Little Friend (2:53)
  9. Who Am I? (3:25)

    Bonus Track

  10. Memory Revival - instrumental (4:05)

    First Takes

  11. Kentucky Rain - takes 1, 2, 3 (7:15)
  12. I'll Be There - takes 1, 2, 3/M (4:40)
  13. If I'm A Fool (For Loving You) - takes 1, 2, 3 (5:56)
  14. Rubberneckin' - takes 1, 2/M (2:51)

    January Outtakes

  15. Come Out, Come Out (Wherever You Are) - instrumental take 2/M (2:47)
  16. You'll Think Of Me - take 7 (4:51)
  17. Poor Man's Gold - take 12/M with abandoned vocal overdub (3:38)
  18. Mama Liked The Roses - track with alternate vocal overdub (2:30)
  19. In The Ghetto - take 19 (3:08)
  20. Hey Jude - take 1 (4:45)
  21. I'll Be There - takes 4, 5, 6 (3:15)

Disc 2

February Outtakes

  1. It's My Way / This Time / I Can't Stop Loving You - jam (3:52)
  2. True Love Travels On A Gravel Road - take 5 (3:01)
  3. Do You Know Who I Am? - takes 3, 5 (6:59)
  4. Kentucky Rain - takes 5, 6, 7 (6:06)
  5. Kentucky Rain - take 8 (3:57)
  6. Kentucky Rain - take 9 (3:58)
  7. Only The Strong Survive - takes 8, 11, 12 (5:55)
  8. Any Day Now - takes 5, 6/M (5:46)

    Unfinished Masters

  9. Long Black Limousine - take 9/M with vocal repairs (4:42)
  10. Don't Cry Daddy- take 3/M with vocal overdub (3:04)
  11. Mama Liked The Roses - track with vocal overdub (3:22)
  12. My Little Friend - track with vocal overdub (3:11)
  13. Hey Jude - takes 3, 5, 6, 7/M (6:27)
  14. I'll Hold You In My Heart (Till I Can Hold You In My Arms) - take 1/M (4:37)
  15. Kentucky Rain - take 10/M (4:19)
  16. If I'm A Fool (For Loving You) - takes 6, 7, 8, 9/M (6:47)
  17. Who Am I? - undubbed master (3:27)


Mixed and mastered by Sebastain Jeansson and Vic Annesini.

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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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