Sunday, 2 June 2019

Elvis Presley - Back In Memphis (1969)

Stranger in my own home town....


Released November 1969

This quickfire follow-up to the critically-acclaimed From Elvis In Memphis has often suffered, somewhat unfairly, in comparison to it illustrious forbear. While neither of them are fully the "soul albums" many critics claim them to be (the first one was very country in places), they both still feature some soulful songs, backed by an excellent Memphis soul band. Indeed, for me, there is possibly more soul on this one than on From Elvis. This one needs checking out, there is some good stuff on it.


1. Inherit The Wind
2. This Is The Story
3. Stranger In My Own Home Town
4. A Little Bit Of Green
5. And The Grass Won't Pay No Mind
6. Do You Know Who I Am
7. From A Jack To A King
8. The Fair's Moving On
9. You'll Think Of Me
10. Without Love (There Is Nothing)              

Inherit The Wind is a deep, soulful ballad with one of those lovely bass lines that so enhanced From Elvis In Memphis. It is an excellent track that would have sat well on its predecessor. This Is The Story is a grand, orchestrated ballad with a soul feeling to it, some church organ backing but the strings take it a bit away from soul to easy listening. Stranger In My Home Town has an infectious rumbling bass and funky drum intro and a swamp rock feel to it. Its bluesy vocal helps to make it one of the album's best tracks. A proper credible number that would stand up in its own right against any blues or soul song. This is Elvis at his best, forget all that cheese he did. He should have done more stuff like this. It is a real hidden gem in the Elvis songbook. Check out those horns and Temptations-style strings.

A Little Bit Of Green has a catchy rhythm and a bit of an easy listening vocal. I can't help but like it though, largely because of the bassy backing. Neil Diamond's And The Grass Won't Pay No Mind is delivered beautifully. Diamond's songs are invariably good ones anyway. This one is perfectly suited to Presley's voice. Do You Know Who I Am is a slowed-down, typical Presley ballad.

From A Jack To A King is very reminiscent of Presley's earlier sixties material. The top notch backing here renders it more appealing than it might have been. The Fair's Moving On is the sort of song that is straight out of an Elvis movie soundtrack. Elvis always got away with gushing heartbreakers such as this, somehow. I guess because of the sheer emotional strength of his delivery. You'll Think Of Me has a Stax-ish guitar backing to it and a bit of an upbeat Motown feel to its beat. This is another of my favourites. Without Love (There Is Nothing) is a slowed-down gospel-ish ballad that breaks out into a bass, drum and backing vocal slice of glory on the uplifting chorus.

This album, as I said at the beginning, matches up well with its more popular sibling. Recommended.


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