The album Elvis Country
was released on January the 2nd, 1971 and it reached number 12 on the Billboard charts, spending 21 weeks there and selling more than 500.000 copies, thus qualifying for a gold record.
In the UK charts, it peaked at number 6 during its 9-week chart run.
A CD re-issue appeared in 2000.
On Decenber 8th, 1970 a single containing "I Really Don't Want To Know"
and "There Goes My Everything"
was released, reaching number 21 on the Hot Billboard charts. On the international market, the A side chosen for the single was "There Goes My Everything"
(UK charts no. 9). That song reached #9 too on the US Country Billboard charts.Ernst Jorgensen
would later write: "This album of country material is well received and offers a puzzling 'album concept' as snippets of the Golden Gate Quartet's 'I Was Born About 10,000 Years Ago' are interspersed between the cuts - but neither critical acceptance nor theme nor performance pushes the record beyond the customary half-million copies"
So, perhaps he considered it more of a critical
success than a commercial
one at the time, although this album has gained recognition, over the years, as one his finest efforts.
In 2008, we got the FTD 'Classic Album' 2-CD release in a 7 inch sleeve.
This had the original album tracks [complete with the snippets linking them] together with some bonus songs, country jams, alternate masters, first takes, undubbed masters and outtakes !
The original album consisted of 12 tracks [13 with the snippets] that Elvis recorded at his 'marathon' sessions in June & September, 1970, which produced many tracks with a country music flavour.
Many consider this was his first, perhaps only, true 'concept' album.Disc 1The original album:
- 2:04 - 22nd Sept. - Elvis
sings this pretty straight, neither adding nor deducting much from the Anne Murray
A song perhaps not entirely suited to his style. Chet Atkins
did an instrumental version in 1971.
2] Tomorrow Never Comes
- 3:53 - 7th June - A dramatic beat ballad, first done by Ernest Tubb
in 1944, although Elvis
may have been more familiar with the 'bolero-style' covers by Glen Campbell
, B J Thomas
 or even Slim Whitman
A fine performance from Elvis
, who tackles this in a style reminiscent of Roy Orbison
at full throttle !
3] Little Cabin On The Hill
- 1:45 - 4th June - A country 'standard' from 1947, [aka Little Cabin Home On The Hill]
the original by Bill Monroe
& The Moon Grass Boys.
[The composer was Lester Flatt
who released his own solo version in 1971].
Elvis gives this an authentic country sound, ably backed by some fine harmonica from Charlie McCoy
4] Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On
- 3:00 - 22nd Sept. - First recorded by Big Maybelle
in March 1955 & Roy Hall
covered it in September 1955. Elvis
gives the Jerry Lee Lewis
hit a blistering workout and loses none of the fire.
This is pure rock 'n' roll & Elvis gives it his all ! Great stuff !
5] Funny How Time Slips Away
- 4:20 - 7th June - There were versions of this by Billy Walker
& Jimmy Elledge
in 1961, with the composer, Willie Nelson
issuing his in 1962. Then there were covers by Johnny Tillotson
, Joe Hinton
 and [after Elvis] Dorothy Moore
Elvis does a fine job on this plaintive country song in which the clever lyric has a guy meeting his 'ex' and apparently wishing her well, but with a sting-in-the-tail !
Although he draws from the Elledge
version, he makes this song his own !
6] I Really Don't Want To Know
- 2:45 - 7th June - An Eddy Arnold
original from 1954, with covers, that year, from The Flamingoes
, Billy Ward & The Dominoes
, & Les Paul & Mary Ford
followed by Tommy Edwards
, Solomon Burke
, Little Esther Phillips
, Ronnie Dove
 & Carl Smith
[released 1968 but was recorded much earlier].
Elvis does another good job on this country favourite, and captures the same languid feel of the Les Paul & Mary Ford
single, with some solid but sensitive backing, including some nice David Briggs
7] There Goes My Everything
- 2:55 - 8th June - Recorded by Ferlin Husky
in 1965, although the first chart appearance was Jack Greene
in 1966, and in the UK, we were more familiar with the 1967 smash hit version from [the very non-country] Engelbert Humperdink
Elvis does a workmanlike job on this smooth ballad, following Jack Greene's
version, but no fireworks.
8] It's Your Baby, You Rock It
- 2:56 - 5th June - Unusual lyric - the singer is addressing the new man of his 'ex' - and he is not sympathetic !
Excellent vocal from Elvis
and the backing girl singers on this lively country rocker.
The fade on the master stops us hearing Elvis'
lyric change right at the end !
9] The Fool
- 2:26 - 4th June - A Sandford Clark
original from 1955 [the 1956 re-issue went top 10 in the US]. Al Casey
had an instrumental cover in '56 also [Fool's Blues
Other covers were heard from The Gallahads
 & Jamie Coe
similarly titled The Return of the Fool
in 1969 may have reminded Elvis
of this song.Elvis
omits an important bit of the lyric here [he nails it on the outtake] but a good version, very close to the original.
10] Faded Love
- 3:04 - 7th June - A Bob Wills
& His Texas Playboys original from 1946 [as an instrumental & later in 1950 with lyrics] with covers from Leon McAuliff
 & Patsy Cline
had a posthumous US hit with it in 1963.
Pure country, but done by Elvis
as country-rock. Fine backing with some excellent harmonica from Charlie McCoy
and some horns have been added in post-production.
The master is subject to an early fade [we get the full-length one later].
11] I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water
- 3:41 - 7th June - A Stonewall Jackson
original from 1965 with covers from Charlie Rich
, Johnny Rivers
 & Canadian Ted Daigle
[date unknown]. In what sounds like an impromptu jam, Elvis
doesn't want this to ever stop ! The master is faded early [we get a longer rough mix later]. More fine harmonica and piano backing.
12] Make The World Go Away
- 3:34 - 7th June - Both Ray Price
& Timi Yuro
[in that order] had hits with this in 1963, but the song is most associated with Eddy Arnold's
country version from 1965. Elvis does a fine job on it here, with influences from both the Arnold
versions present, and the blend of lead vocal, support vocals & the backing is captured perfectly. Great stuff !
13] I Was Born About 10,000 Years Ago
- 3:11 - 4th June - A traditional song, first recording is by Kelly Harrel
Heard in snippets as the between-track link on the original album, and then in full on the 1972 album: Elvis Now
Another one sounding like a studio jam and nailed in one take.
Given a lively run through by Elvis
, this master is faded early [we got a longer version on the 70's box set in 1995].
14] Where Did They Go, Lord
- 2:27 - 22nd September - Not really a religious song, more a lament about lost love !
Elvis gives a heart-felt performance on this. Used as the flip of the single: Rags To Riches
in 1971.The Country Jam
15] Faded Love
[Country version] - 0:36 - 4th June - Really just a short, informal, incomplete try-out.
We had this on Essential IV - A Hundred Years From Now
They did the song properly on the 7th.
16] The Fool
Take 1 - 2:20 - 4th June - The point of the song is that the singer finally admits that "I'm that fool"
the one he's been singing about !Elvis
omits that confession on the master ! But he sings it here. First on Essential IV - A Hundred Years From Now
17] A Hundred Years From Now
Takes 1 [1:50] & 2 [1:24] - 4th June - Original by Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs
master that we heard on the 1995 70's box set
was a splice of the two takes.
This enabled them to edit out some slightly naughty lyrics !
We first got the two together [complete] on the 2002 FTD release: Nashville Marathon.
18] Little Cabin Home On The Hill
Take 1 - 2:04 - 4th June - Slightly longer than the master take, we first got this on Essential IV - A Hundred Years From Now
in 1996.Alternate Masters
19] It's Your Baby, You Rock It
Take 3 - 3:09 - 5th June - First heard on the FTD release: Nashville Marathon
The sleeve here doesn't say the take number, but the booklet does.
20] Faded Love
Take 3 - 4:18 - 7th June - They finally settled on the shorter Take 1 as the master [Take 2 was a false start].
We first heard this take on Essential IV - A Hundred Years From Now
in 1996.First Takes
21] Tomorrow Never Comes
Take 1 - 3:20 - 7th June - Shorter than the master, heard here for the first time.
22] Tomorrow Never Comes
- Take 2 - 3:53 - 7th June - As long as the master now ! First heard on Nashville Marathon
rehearsal [0:48] & Take 1 - 2:05 - First release for the rehearsal [it fades in after the start] but we got the Take 1 on Nashville Marathon
24] Where Did They Go, Lord
Take 1 - 2:20 - 22nd Sept - From Essential IV - A Hundred Years From Now
in 1996.Disc 2The undubbed June 7th Masters - Rough mixes made by Felton Jarvis immediately after the sessions, before any overdubs were recorded.
1] I Really Don't Want To Know
Master but unknown take number - 2:46 - First release of this here with this mix.
2] Faded Love
Take 2 - 0:32 [False start - rehearsal ?] - Take 1 Master - 4:06 - Later fade than the official master.
From 70's Box Set in 1995.
3] Tomorrow Never Comes
Take 12 - 0:31 [False start] - Take 13 - 3:53 - First official release here.
[Master was a splice of take 13 & work part take 1].
4] Make The World Go Away
- Take 1 - 1:45 [False start] Take 3 - 3:33 - This first surfaced on the 1977 album Welcome To My World
, although the sleeve claimed it was a live track !
The Take 1 false start makes its first appearance here.
Master was a splice of take 3 and work part take 1 [ending].
5] Funny How Time Slips Away
- 4:20 - Master - Take 1 - First appearance with this mix.
6] I Washed My Hands in Muddy Water
- 4:23 - Master - Take 1.
First appearance with this mix - and the later fade makes a longer version than the master, although we got an even longer version [4:47] on Essential IV - A Hundred Years From Now
in 1996, and there has been a 5:11 version released unofficially.June Outtakes
7] I Didn't Make It On Playing Guitar
- 3:40 - 5th - From Essential IV - A Hundred Years From Now
A studio instrumental jam with some delicious Elvis
vocal interjections, luckily picked up by the mic on his acoustic guitar !
A longer edit of this jam has been available unofficially.
8] Tomorrow Never Comes
- 7th - Take 3 - 2:42 - [Long false start] - Take 11 - 3:58 - Both here for the first time.
9] There Goes My Everything
- Take 1 - 8th - 2:45 - From Great Country Songs
All from 22nd.
10] September Warm Up
- 1:50 - An instrumental jam - hard to know what part Elvis played in it !
First time here.
- Take 4 - 0:10 [False start] - Take 5 is called but nothing gets underway - Take 2 - 2:03 - The take 4 false start is new here, but Take 2 was on the Today, Tomorrow & Forever
box set in 2002.
12] Where Did They Go, Lord
- Take 2 - Just a couple of extremely short [new] false starts - Take 3 - 2:20 - We had this on Nashville Marathon
13] Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On
- Rough mix with horns - 4:35 - The infamous 'horn dub' version !
Although we got this long version on Essential IV - A Hundred Years From Now
in 1996, this the first official release with those horns on !Elvis
was right to ask for their removal in my view ! The late fade reveals some deliciously fascinating [and sometimes wordless] Elvis
vocalising that is almost orgasmic ! Bonus Cuts - Undubbed Rough Mixes
From 7th June.
14] When I'm Over You
- 3:27 - Master - Take unknown - late fade makes for a longer track. First official release.
15] The Next Step Is Love
- 3:40 - Master - Take 11 - late fade makes for a longer track. First official release.
16] Love Letters
- 2:48 - Master - Take 5 - first official release with this mix.
Overall, an interesting and sometimes fascinating release !
Great to have all these tracks together on 2 CD's.
Elvis was obviously on top form at this time, still heady after the American Sound Studio
sessions of '69, but not yet suffering from the boredom that crept in during '71.
A tad disappointing that so many of the outtakes have been released already, some on previous FTD releases !
But that may a symptom of the times; we must be getting nearer the bottom of that barrel with every release !
File under 'essential'...........................My thanks to all who have given encouragement & come up with extra info !
.Timings: These are my own - I time from when the song starts properly to the dying note - no between-takes chat or count-ins.
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Last edited by ColinB on Fri Mar 06, 2009 2:27 am, edited 45 times in total.