From Elvis in Memphis [Legacy Edition]

by: Elvis Presley

One of the undisputed classic LPs of the rock & roll era, From Elvis in Memphis certainly deserves a deluxe expanded reissue -- and in a sense it received it more than once. Released in June of 1969, the 12-track From Elvis in Memphis received a sequel almost immediately when a full LP of material from the same sessions appeared as half of From Memphis to Vegas/From Vegas to Memphis, a double-LP set released a mere five months after From Elvis, commemorating both the inauguration of Presley's historic four-week stand at the International Hotel in Las Vegas and the success of the album itself. That second album was released individually as Back in Memphis a year later, marking the first recycling of sessions that were repackaged numerous times, most of them enjoyable, two of them quite exceptional: 1987's double-LP The Memphis Record, which collected highlights from the sessions, and 1999's Suspicious Minds, which presented them in full, complete with alternate takes. With all these releases on the market, a deluxe edition wasn't necessarily needed -- all the sessions were available, no bonus tracks seemed to exist -- but when the double-disc, 36-track Legacy Edition appeared on the 40th anniversary of the album's 1969 release, it was welcome. It's a handsomely produced package, graced with very good liner notes by Robert Gordon and Tara McAdams and featuring plenty of photos, but the chief attraction of this Legacy Edition is its sequencing. Of all the reissues of these 1969 sessions, this is the most compulsively listenable, presenting the From Elvis in Memphis album in its entirety on the first disc followed by four bonus tracks (including "I'll Be There" and "Hey Jude"), leaving the second disc devoted to Back in Memphis and the ten singles released from this session -- including "In the Ghetto," "Any Day Now," "Suspicious Minds," "Rubberneckin'," and "Kentucky Rain" -- in their original mono masters. There's nothing new, nothing surprising, just Elvis' arguably best recordings in a definitive reissue, which is reason enough to have this music reissued again. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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