ELVIS COUNTRY
The King re-discovers his roots on this essential Elvis-In-The-'70s disc.
MOJO The Music Magazines, Disc Of The Day (January 2010)
Discussion at MOJO HQ recently turned to the vast, labyrinthine world of Elvis releases. It's been
33 years since Mr Hips left the building for the very last time and yet his songs are still re-ordered,
re-packaged and re-issued several times a year (here's the first of 2010).

So, how do you buy Elvis Presley? Greatest Hits/Best Ofs... are all very well, but, as a MOJO
reader, you know there's nothing better than going straight to the source.

Not only is Elvis Country his most consistent album of the 1970s, it's also a record that taps into
every facet of a man who, after 15 years of superstardom, was still desperate to find satisfying
material to record.

Read any account of Elvis in the studio, and you'll be presented with a man who just loved to sing
the southern spirituals that coloured his childhood. From his early days at Sun, the songs he sang
with his mother and father equipped him with the feel and the atmosphere he needed to tackle the
session ahead.

On this album, Willie Nelson's
Funny How Time Slips Away, Ray Price's Make The World Go
Away
and Stonewall Jackson's I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water are driven by vocals that
come straight from that lagoon of spiritual solace that, by the turn of the '60s, Elvis was finding it
harder to tap into.

He'd already re-captured an impassioned authority on 1969's From Elvis In Memphis, but Elvis
Country is a better record because we hear a soul torn between the glory and the darkness: on
one side, the lean, 'aw-shucks' rock 'n' roll rebel; on the other, the pale, lethargic schlub of the Las
Vegas lounges. What's amazing is Elvis seems aware of this. In fact, he thrives on it.

His majestic take on Ernest Tubb's
Tomorrow Never Comes - a slow-burning march that he
would later re-work for live favourite An American Trilogy - is the best of the bunch. Looking down
the barrel of a gun, he is at his most free and soulful. As are the Muscle Shoals players who help
define the record's late night jam spirit, not least soon-to-be regular Elvis guitar man James Burton,
whose licks chime perfectly with that Tupelo twang (check out the heavy, one-take storm of
Whole
Lotta Shakin' Goin On
for proof).

How do you buy Elvis Presley?
We'll be answering that conundrum in a future issue of the magazine, but for now, look for the
album with a picture of Elvis as a kid on the cover. He's the one with the curled lip.
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