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== Introduction ==
My parents grew up in the 1940's and 1950's, my dad had an Elvis styled haircut, even when others had outgrown theirs. I was born in the 1970's and grew up in the 80's, although the only musical influences I had around the house were my mum and dads rock 'n' roll collections or my brother Beatles albums. I listened to The Beatles first of all and then when I was 12 I started listening to my parents musical tastes. Chart music during the 80's didn't do anything for me, and people used to say that I was born in the wrong decade, as I have always preferred music from the 50's, 60's and 70's. From the age of 12 to the age of 16, Elvis was king, I didn't really get into any of his output from the latter half of his career, instead I focused mainly on the rock 'n' roll years. I guess sometimes you have to grow up yourself to appreciate Elvis' more grown up music, and it was after watching a countdown to the "Nations Favourite Elvis Song" a couple of weeks ago, that I decided to revisit the king of rock 'n' roll again, only this time I wanted to hear his later recordings like 'In The Ghetto' and 'Suspicious Minds'. I thought I would give this album another go, as I had only listened to it about once or twice when I was in my teenage years and didn't really like it then, would my feelings have changed towards it, as an adult approaching 40?
== Background ==
For the majority of the 1960's Elvis was in a musical wilderness, with the majority of his efforts focused on making rubbish films. In my opinion he hadn't done anything worth a mention between 1961 and 1968 and during that time popular music had gone through various different changes with the emergence of bands such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones dominating the music charts. In 1968 Elvis decided to do a one off television special, which is more popular known as the 1968 comeback special. It was during the recording of the final song of this show 'If I Can Dream', that Elvis made a vow " I'm never going to sing another song I don't believe in. I'm never going to make another picture I don't believe in.". Following on from the success of the television special and its soundtrack album, Elvis headed into the studio again and recorded what is in my opinion, his greatest album, Elvis had grown up and was reaching out to his fans who had grown up with him.
== Track By Track ==
=== Wearin' That Loved On Look ===
The album opens with this soulful gospel styled track, 'Wearin' That Loved On Look'. This song is a great album opener and is a nice mid tempo number, which seems to announce with intent, that Elvis is indeed back with a brand new sound. In the lyric Elvis does say "I had to leave town for a little while, you said you'd be good while I'm gone, but the look in your eye dun told me you told a lie, I know there's been some carryin' on", what a great way to make an entrance!
=== Only the Strong Survive ===
This song was first recorded and released a year earlier in 1968, by Jerry Butler, it reached number 4 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. The Elvis version is basically a carbon copy of the original, albeit with a stronger vocal performance and if I don't mind saying, a vocal performance that seems to fit the song a lot better than Jerry Butler's version. I am not overly keen on this track, I can't put my finger on what it is that I don't like about it, perhaps the repetitive chorus that I can't get out of my head.
=== I'll Hold You in My Heart (Till I Can Hold You in My Arms) ===
After the two mid tempo numbers of the first tracks on this album, we have this crooning number up next. This song is reminiscent of some of the early Elvis standards like 'Peace in the Valley', 'Love Me' and even 'Blue Christmas'. In my opinion this is the weakest track on this album, it does sound a bit like an Elvis impersonator is singing this song in parts. This song was written and originally recorded by Eddy Arnold in 1947 and it does sound a bit dated on this album if I am honest.
=== Long Black Limousine ===
This was originally recorded as a country song that had been recorded by Glen Campbell in 1962, Elvis turns this song into a soulful rhythm and blues standard, and in my opinion it adds a much better dimension to the song. The song starts off really slow, almost like a funeral song, before it really kicks in and picks up the pace and volume. This is another of my favourites on this album, it has a nice chilled out mellow feel to it and Elvis sings the song with such passion.
=== It Keeps Right On A-Hurtin' ===
This is the type of track I can see my dad singing along to, it sounds like something you would hear playing from one of those market stalls that sell all the old cassette tapes. This is the only track I usually skip on this album, it just isn't my cup of tea at all. Another slow number, 'It Keeps Right On A-Hurtin' ' was a number 3 U.S. Chart hit in 1962 by Johnny Tillotson.
=== I'm Movin' On ===
Another slice of country here, an old song with a more modern approach, well modern for 1969 and more upbeat than the original. 'I'm Movin' On' was originally recorded by Hank Snow in 1950 and it reached number one in the U.S. Billboard Country Singles Chart, where it spent a whopping 21 weeks on the top of the chart. This is a stand out track for me and I think the gospel singers do give it a bit more oomph, especially as the sound builds and builds into a crescendo towards the end of the song. It is quite surprising that one of the oldest songs on this album really fits in well with the rest of the songs and doesn't sound out of place at all when played alongside hits such as 'Suspicious Minds' and 'In The Ghetto'.
=== Power of My Love ===
After the country and soul of the previous tracks, we head into blues territory with this gritty number. I like the echo effect on Elvis' vocal, this song reminds me of the song 'Trouble' from the film 'King Creole', it has the same dirty bluesy feel to it. In this song, the singer is telling someone that his love is so strong that it will take a lot to destroy it, no matter how you try. It's not a very long song, with a running time of 2:41, and it seems as if it is over before it really gets going.
=== Gentle on My Mind ===
Prior to this version I had only ever heard Dean Martin singing it, and I have to say, I actually prefer Deans version, to be honest, I don't think this suited Elvis' vocal range at all. While I think this is one of the weaker tracks on this album, it is not weak enough for me to skip it, in its own way it is pleasant to listen to in the background. Aside from Dean Martin, Glen Campbell, Aretha Franklin and Patti Page all had chart success with this song, although Dean Martin had the greatest success, peaking at number 2 on the U.K. Singles Chart.
=== After Loving You ===
This song sounds a bit similar to 'I Can't Stop Loving You' by Jim Reeves, 'Coincidentally, this song was recorded by Jim Reeves six years earlier) it was written by Eddie Miller, who also wrote Englebert Humperdinck's number one single 'Release Me'. This is a cross-over country song, that Elvis does make his own, it sounds like he is really having fun singing it, it's one of those songs that you just find yourself singing along to.
=== True Love Travels on a Gravel Road ===
This is one of the stand out tracks on this album, it is beautifully sung is also lyrically sublime. This is a song about sticking together through thick and thin, it promotes the message that love isn't true love until you know that you can get through any situation, mostly, the bad, with each other. The song was originally recorded by Duane Lee and was a minor hit on the U.S. Country Music Charts and it was also recorded after Elvis, by soul singer Percy Sledge and also by Nick Lowe, having listened to all of the different versions of this song, Elvis version is in my opinion, THE definitive version of this song though.
=== Any Day Now ===
This song sounds similar to some of Elvis' other recordings for the 1968 NBC Television Special, it has a great uplifting feeling to it. This song was written by Burt Bacharach & Bob Hilliard in 1962, and isn't one of the first songs that comes to mind when thinking of Burt Bacharach compositions. I think this is an underrated song and Elvis just really makes it his own. The song was released as the B-Side to the next song on this album, 'In The Ghetto'.
=== In the Ghetto ===
When Elvis first released this single in April 1969, it was the most radical change he had done musically and lyrically thus far. This was a song with a message, sure, he had released 'If I Can Dream' the previous year, but here was Elvis, the "King of Rock 'n' Roll", singing a political song about living on the rough side of town, the America that isn't documented in the guide books. This was a song about the struggles in the slums, about the circle of life (a child is born to a poverty stricken mother, he grows up buys a gun, steals a car, gets shot, as "another little baby child is born in the ghetto"). I think Elvis gets the message across perfectly in this haunting ballad. This was written by Mac Davis, who was also responsible for writing 'A Little Less Conversation', 'Memories' and 'Don't Cry Daddy' for Elvis, 'In The Ghetto' was reached number 3 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and number 2 in the U.K. Singles Chart. This song marked a return to the top ten for the first time in 4 years in the States and the first in 3 years in the U.K.
The next six tracks on this album are from the 1998 reissued version, these songs are compiled of A-Sides, B-Sides and other tracks recorded during the same sessions for this album.
=== The Fair Is Moving On ===
This is another slow number, that could have been written for Engleburt Humperdinck or someone of a similar ilk. This is a song that was written by Guy Fletcher and Doug Flett, for those of you with young children at home, Guy Fletcher is "Mr CBeebies" Justin Fletcher's dad and also Dire Straits keyboardist Guy Fletcher's uncle. The song tells the story from a man who works on the fairs point of view, he is telling a loved one that he'll soon be gone, along with the fair "Yes the fair's movin' on and I'll soon be gone, remember the love that we've known", the song does offer up some reassurance towards the end of the chorus, "Yes the fair's movin' on but I won't leave you long, I'm comin' back so please don't be sad". This was a song that was recorded at the same sessions for this album, but for some reason, it wasn't included on it.
=== Suspicious Minds ===
One of Elvis' best known songs from the latter years and this would be his last U.S. number one single, although he went on to have further number one singles in the U.K. I don't think there's much I need to say about this song, "We're caught in a trap, I can't walk out, because I love you too much baby". I love the way the song builds up and fades out and then back in again towards the ending, this would be how Elvis would perform it at his Las Vegas stage shows of the 70's. Released as a single this song reached number 1 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and number 2 in the U.K. Singles Chart.
=== You'll Think of Me ===
This song was released as the B-Side to 'Suspicious Minds' and is another slow number that in my opinion, is good enough to have been an A-Side. I love Elvis' deep vocal on this track and this is another song that could have been used in the television special of 1968. This song was written by Mort Shuman, who had co-written a number of hits in the 1950's & 1960's, such as 'Viva Las Vegas', 'A Teenager in Love', & 'Save The Last Dance For Me', to name but a few.
=== Don't Cry Daddy ===
My favourite song on this album, and another by Mac Davis, it tells such a sad story of a father, who's wife has left him (either passed away or just left him) with his two children; The unnamed child who sings the chorus to his dad, and Tommy, his brother "Don't cry daddy, daddy please don't cry, Daddy, you've still got me and little Tommy, together we'll find a brand new mommy, Daddy, daddy, please laugh again, Daddy ride us on your back again, Oh, daddy, please don't cry", such beautiful lyrics. The song starts off with Elvis singing as the dad, how he thinks about giving up and then all of a sudden his children give him hope. This song was released as a single and reached number six in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and number 8 in the U.K. Singles Chart
=== Kentucky Rain ===
This was released as a single in the U.S. where it reached number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100, I don't think this should have been released as a single at all, while it is a fantastic album track, it isn't something that I feel makes a great single. The song is a mid tempo number, which starts off quite slow, before building up into the chorus. The song is another which follows the similar themes of losing a loved one, which have been evident throughout this album.
=== Mama Liked the Roses ===
The album ends with this slow ballad, that could be dedicated to anyone's mother. This song was written by John Christopher, who also co-wrote 'Always on My Mind' along with Mark James and Wayne Carson. This was released as the B-Side to Elvis' 1970 U.K. Single 'The Wonder of You', it also appeared on his aptly titled 1970 Christmas album 'Elvis' Christmas Album'.
== Price ==
You can purchase this from www.amazon.co.uk for £8.45. The version they have for sale is 'The Legacy Edition', which includes a second CD and and extra 18 tracks. You can also purchase it from amazon's download store for £8.49, although if you purchase it as a CD, you not only get it 4p cheaper, but you also get a free MP3 version to download at your leisure.
== Verdict ==
Overall I think this is a great album, and as mentioned earlier, in my opinion it is Elvis' best. If you are looking for his rock n' roll years, 'Hound Dog', 'Heartbreak Hotel' etc, then this is not the album for you, but if you are looking to hear a singer who has found his voice again, and has grown up from the hip shaking youthful former self, then this is the album you want to buy. This album is definitely for someone wanting to hear some of Elvis' lesser known tracks, something away from the mainstream, this is an album that really showcases Elvis' vocal talent. I will give this album 5/5, despite the odd weak link here and there, the strength of the good songs on this album more than makes up for it.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Wearin' That Loved On Look
2 Only The Strong Survive
3 I'll Hold You In My Heart (Till I Can Hold You In My Arms)
4 Long Black Limousine
5 It Keeps Right On Hurtin'
6 I'm Movin' On
7 Power Of My Love
8 Gentle On My Mind
9 After Loving You
10 True Love Travels On A Gravel Road
11 Any Day Now
12 In The Ghetto
13 The Fair is Moving On (Bonus Track)
14 Suspicious Minds (Bonus Track)
15 You'll Think Of Me (Bonus Track)
16 Don't Cry Daddy (Bonus Track)
17 Kentucky Rain (Bonus Track)
18 Mama Liked The Roses