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January 3, 2012 / jhsaeger

Tuesday’s Best: Elvis Country (I’m 10,000 Years Old): Legacy Edition

   One of several classic rock releases to find its way into stores over the last few weeks, Elvis Country (I’m 10,000 Years Old): Legacy Edition is a two-disc set marking the 40th Anniversary of the albums Elvis Country and Love Letters from Elvis.  The set contains both albums, a booklet with several unreleased photographs, and six extra tracks. 
     The doubling of Elvis Country and Love Letters from Elvis emanated from the 1970 session that accidentally produced both albums.  While recording Love Letters from Elvis, Presley and producer Felton Jarvis realized they had accumulated enough material to warrant a second album, which became Elvis Country. While neither album yielded the top-ten singles which Elvis had become accustomed to in the earlier part of his career, Elvis Country would represent his last top-20 album until his final effort, 1977’s Moody Blue.  While Love Letters is an unspectacular album by Presley’s standards, Country is one of his last memorable records. A highlight of Country is a cover of Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Whole Lot-ta Shakin’ Goin’ On.”  As good as Elvis’ take was, however, it’s impossible to replicate the energetic Lewis. 
    Of the bonus tracks to find their way onto Legacy Edition, “Rags to Riches” and “Sylvia” stand out as the best.  A very contrasting take of Tony Bennett’s 1953 song, “Rags to Riches” had only been released as a single in 1971.  “Sylvia” serves as a reminder of The King’s tremendous vocal range; as the ballad slowly crescendos, Elvis belts out some of the final notes in glass-breaking fashion. 
    While it is unusual for record companies to package special editions for albums together, Elvis Country: Legacy Edition is a bargain for fans interested in his later career.  Priced at $14.99, the 29-track compilation captures Elvis in the middle of his Comeback Era, the last period of his career to see outstanding commercial success. 
Other cool stuff that hits this week: Chris Isaak: Live (DVD), Ringo Starr, Ringo Starr and the Roundheads (DVD), Cage the Elephant: Live From the Vic In Chicago (DVD)

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