Review - Elvis Is Back! CD

By: David Bowling
Source: BC Music
July 4, 2008

Elvis Is Back! - Elvis Presley FTD CDElvis Presley was discharged from the army on March 5, 1960 and all was right with the musical world again. Elvis immediately returned to the studio for a series of sessions and quickly released his comeback album in April of 1960.

Elvis Is Back may have been the most important album of his career. There had been several releases while he was in the service, but he had been out of the public eye. His young fans were now a couple of years older. Things change quickly within the music world and fame can be fleeting. Did Elvis still have it? The answer was a resounding yes. Elvis brought a new maturity to this album both vocally and in regard to his changing musical vision. Elvis Is Back is comprised of songs from many disciplines but what they have in common are that Elvis would take most of them in a pop direction. His musical future would ultimately be this fusion of polished pop and his rock roots.

Elvis Is Back is a tremendously satisfying album made interesting by the varied song selection. What is amazing are the songs that were left off the record. The series of sessions that produced this album also produced three number one singles. 'Stuck On You', 'Are You Lonesome Tonight', and 'It's Now or Never' could have made this album one of the great releases of all time, but instead served the purpose as single releases to keep Elvis in the limelight for almost a year through continual radio airplay and millions of 45 rpm records sold. While predominantly pop oriented, there are a few non-pop songs that are interesting. The old standard 'Reconsider Baby' and 'It Feels So Right' are both given a gritty blues performance by Elvis. 'Such A Night' is a cover of the old rhythm & blues standard originally released by the Drifters among others. This song, about a one night stand, is given a smooth vocal by Elvis which was far different from the well known Clyde McPhatter effort.

Many of the pop songs show the direction in which Elvis was moving. 'Make Me Know It' was written by Otis Blackwell and is presented as an up-tempo classic pop song. 'Fever' is sung in Peggy Lee style; Elvis does a good job here but Lee's version remains definitive. 'Dirty Dirty Feeling' by Leiber and Stoller is another nice up-tempo outing for Elvis. Elvis even manages to give a competent performance of 'Soldier Boy'. History has shown that Elvis was very pleased with this album. It appears to be a relaxed effort consisting of many songs that Elvis enjoyed singing. While it did not sell as well as his film soundtracks of the time period, it did serve to re-establish Elvis as a commercial force. Elvis Is Back remains an interesting listen nearly forty years later.

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Elvis Is Back! - Tracklist:

Make Me Know It
The Girl of My Best Friend
I Will Be Home Again
Dirty, Dirty Feeling
Thrill of Your Love
Soldier Boy
Such a Night
It Feels So Right
Girl Next Door Went A'walking
Like a Baby
Reconsider Baby
Stuck on You
Fame and Fortune
It's Now or Never
A Mess of Blues
Are You Lonesome Tonight?
I Gotta Know (including take 1)
Make Me Know It (take 1)
Fever (take 1)
The Girl of My Best Friend (take 3)
Soldier Boy (take 1)
Such a Night (take 1)
It Feels So Right (take 1)
Stuck on You (take 1)
Fame and Fortune (take 2)
It's Now or Never (take 1)
Are You Lonesome Tonight? (takes 1, 2)
Make Me Know It (take 3)
Make Me Know It (takes 9, 10, 11)
Make Me Know It (takes 17, 18)
Soldier Boy (takes 2, 3, 7)
Soldier Boy (takes 9, 10)
Stuck on You (takes 1-fs, 2)
Fame and Fortune (takes 4, 5)
A Mess of Blues (take 1)
A Mess of Blues (takes 2, 3)
It Feels So Right (take 2)
It Feels So Right (takes 4, 3)
Fever (takes 2, 3)
Like a Baby (take 1-fs/bd)
Like a Baby (take 2)
Like a Baby (takes 3, 4)
It's Now or Never (take 2)
It's Now or Never (takes 3, 4)
The Girl of My Best Friend (takes 2, 4, 5, 6)
The Girl of My Best Friend (take 9)
Dirty, Dirty Feeling (take 1)
Dirty, Dirty Feeling (takes 2, 3-sp, last chord from 4/m)
Thrill of Your Love (takes 1, 2, 1-pb)
Such a Night (takes 2, 3, 4/5-sp)
Girl Next Door Went A'walking (takes 1, 2, 3)
Are You Lonesome Tonight? (takes 4-fs, 3, wp 1/2-sp)

Buy Elvis Is Back CD
Buy G.I. Blues CD
Buy Elvis' Movies on DVD

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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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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.

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