RCA/Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music Entertainment, will release Elvis: Back In Nashville, a 2 LP Record set from of Elvis Presley's May-June 1971 Nashville studio sessions (his last in Nashville), on November 12.
Like its predecessor, From Elvis In Nashville (released November 2020), Elvis: Back In Nashville is designed to showcase Elvis Presley and his core band as they sounded during the actual sessions without orchestral overdubs and vocal accompaniment. A key difference between Elvis' 1970 and 1971 Nashville sessions is that many of the 1971 recordings included backing singers; therefore, Elvis: Back In Nashville offers a variety of song performances both with and without vocal augmentation.
Given the prolific output of great recordings created by Elvis and his musicians during the fabled 1970 marathon sessions that may be heard on From Elvis In Nashville, RCA and the Elvis camp decided to stick with the winning combination of tight band, seasoned studio, well-chosen repertoire and relaxed spontaneous Elvis behind the microphone and, once again, record as much material as possible over a short period of time. With Elvis' upcoming concert activities increasing, future studio time would be limited and so the goal of these sessions was to generate perhaps a year's worth of new songs. RCA and the Colonel let Elvis know they'd like a new Christmas album, a gospel album, a pop album, and 'several new singles for summer and fall releases' and so, Elvis' music coordinator/producer Felton Jarvis booked a whole week of all-night sessions starting March 15, 1971 and brought on the same band he'd used the year before.
Elvis Presley's return in 1970 to recording in Nashville had been revelatory. Those sessions, on the heels of his Memphis recordings and a return to the stage, had done more than simply sustain a comeback. They also introduced Elvis to a great new rhythm section and gifted Elvis with a great new sound. Bassist Norbert Putnam, drummer Jerry Carrigan, and pianist David Briggs had helped transform country music rhythms in the sixties after they transplanted their R&B-indebted style from F. A. M. E. studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, to Nashville session work. When producer Felton Jarvis teamed Elvis with the Muscle Shoals boys, along with session guitarist Chip Young, jack of all musical trades Charlie McCoy, and Presley's bandleader James Burton, they together created the belatedly acclaimed Elvis Country - in the process providing Elvis with a country-soul template he'd trace often in the last years of his life.
Music critic Dave Marsh once wrote that, even with his acclaim, 'Elvis Presley was probably the most underrated singer of all'. Overdubs removed, what's revealed on Elvis: Back In Nashville is some of the most compelling singing of Presley's career.
PACKAGING: 2LP, black vinyl, standard gatefold packaging, extensive liner notes
1. I'm Leavin'
2. It's Only Love
3. We Can Make the Morning
4. Love Me, Love The Life I Lead
5. My Way
1. Help Me Make It Through The Night
2. Early Mornin' Rain
3. Until It's Time For You To Go
4. Lady Madonna
5. (That's What You Get) For Lovin' Me
6. I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen
1. Seeing Is Believing
2. An Evening Prayer
3. I've Got Confidence
1. Put Your Hand In the Hand
2. He Touched Me
3. Bosom of Abraham
4. If I Get Home On Christmas Day
5. I'll Be Home On Christmas Day
6. Holly Leaves and Christmas Trees
7. Merry Christmas Baby
What turned out to be Elvis Presley's final Nashville session brought music that was originally overlooked. The original recordings found their way on the holiday themed Elvis Sings the Wonderful World of Christmas (1971), the gospel He Touched Me (1972), Elvis Now (1972) and Elvis (1973). Yet, to hear this music, a half century after it was recorded – now wiped of overdubs – reveals some of the most compelling singing of Presley's career. There may not be a better set of tracks in his catalogue that benefits more from un-dubbing the masters. No longer weighted down, Elvis shines.