Deluxe Elvis Country: Legacy Edition Out Jan. 3, 2012
Double-disc package pairs 1971’s Elvis Country and Love Letters From Elvis, includes bonus tracks
Elvis Country: Legacy Edition and contents (below).
The Elvis Presley series of Legacy Edition multi-disc packages continues to document Presley’s RCA Records recording career with the Jan. 3, 2012, release of Elvis Country: Legacy Edition. The double-disc set presents two 1971 albums, Elvis Country and Love Letters From Elvis, each with three bonus tracks.
The former, originally released in January 1971, found the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll getting back in touch with mainstream Nashville country. The latter, recorded several months later, in June 1970, and released in June 1971, saw Presley pulling from the catalogs of artists as varied as Muddy Waters and Tony Bennett.
Disc one of the new Elvis Country: Legacy Edition features the original dozen-song Elvis Country augmented by three bonus tracks from the album’s June-September 1970 recording sessions. Disc two presents the original 11-song Love Letters From Elvis, also with three bonus tracks from the album’s recording sessions.
The liner notes to Elvis Country: Legacy Edition, calls the first of the two albums “a pivotal release” that kept Presley’s momentum going in the wake of the phenomenal late-career successes of Elvis (the December 1968 NBC television special widely hailed as Presley’s “comeback”) and his “long overdue” return to public performance and touring, including the famous Las Vegas residencies that started in 1969.
Indeed, Elvis Country found Presley confidently asserting a musical maturity and remarkable versatility only hinted at on his earlier recordings. Future Presley historian and biographer Peter Guralnick commented at the time in Rolling Stone that Presley had “come out with a record which gives us some of the very finest and most affecting music since he first recorded for Sun almost 17 years ago.”
An inspired effort, Elvis Country was a breath of fresh air for millions of Presley’s fans and signaled a renaissance of his creative energies. Its acclaimed performances include covers of the Gene MacLellan-penned “Snowbird” (Anne Murray’s 1970 debut hit), early rock ‘n’ roll classic “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” Willie Nelson’s “Funny How Time Slips Away” and Eddy Arnold’s “I Really Don’t Want To Know,” among others. For the new release, the three bonus tracks included are “I Was Born About Ten Thousand Years Ago” (which also yielded the album’s paraphrased sub-title, “I’m 10,000 Years Old”), “A Hundred Years From Now” and “Where Did They Go, Lord”.
The songs chosen for Love Letters From Elvis were equally inspired, including a coupling of the rollicking Preston Foster-penned “Got My Mojo Working” (popularized by Muddy Waters) with “Keep Your Hands Off Of It,” 1953 Tony Bennett hit ballad “Rags to Riches” and the inspirational “Only Believe” and “Life.”
All in all, Elvis Country: Legacy Editiontracks a seismic and artistically vital change in Presley’s recording career. He “seemed inspired, singing with a passion and soulfulness that recalled Memphis,” wrote longtime Presley archivist and co-producer Ernst Mikael Jørgensen in Elvis Presley: A Life in Music.
Elvis Country: Legacy Editionis the first of several Presley catalog reissues and compilations planned for 2012.
Elvis Country: Legacy Edition Track list
Disc One: Elvis Country (original album released January 1971)
Tomorrow Never Comes
Little Cabin on the Hill
Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On
Funny How Time Slips Away
I Really Don’t Want to Know
There Goes My Everything
It’s Your Baby, You Rock It
I Washed My Hands in Muddy Water
Make The World Go Away
I Was Born About Ten Thousand Years Ago (bonus)
A Hundred Years From Now (bonus)
Where Did They Go, Lord (bonus)
Disc Two: Love Letters From Elvis (original album released June 1971)
When I’m Over You
If I Were You
Got My Mojo Working/Keep Your Hands Off of It
Heart of Rome
This is Our Dance
I’ll Never Know
It Ain’t No Big Thing (But it’s Growing)
The Sound of Your Cry (bonus)
Rags to Riches (bonus, single)