Elvis Is Back (Legacy Edition)

Elvis Presley

RCA Legacy, 2011


REVIEW BY: David Bowling


The music world came to a complete stop on December 20, 1958 when Elvis Presley received his draft notice. While he would have ten hit single releases during his time in the United States Army and his albums would sell millions of copies, it wasn’t the same for his huge fan base. All was right with the world again on March 5, 1960 when he received his honorable discharge.

Elvis would quickly return to the recording studio after his release to record a new album and some singles. This was during the period when Elvis’ singles were not included on his studio albums. They had a life of their own and the only way to own the music at the time was to purchase those little 7” 45’s. During the next 12 months, Elvis would record 80 songs.

RCA Legacy has now issued a two CD set, which covers this period of time. It combines 1960’s Elvis Is Back and 1961’s Something my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 For Everybody with 12 of his single releases. While his material has been released in just about every way and format possible, this release is an excellent document of his early post army career. The sound is pristine and the accompanying booklet and essay is an excellent chronicle of the era and his music.

Disc one begins with his Elvis Is Back album. It catches Elvis at an early crossroads of his career. Before his stint in the army, he had been an all-out rock ‘n’ roller, but now he was moving in a more pop/rock direction, which would dominate the rest of his career. His voice was a bit lower and had matured, which fit his new style well.

The album combines such pop covers, “Fever” and “Soldier Boy” with some classic Elvis performances including “Such A Night,” “It Feels So Right,” and “Reconsider Baby.” It is an album that hangs together well as the sum is better than its very good parts.

The first disc ends with seven singles from the era, led by four number ones; the rocking “Stuck On You,” the eternal ballad “Are You Lonesome Tonight,” one of his best pop creations, “It’s Now Or Never,” and the underrated “Surrender.”

Disc two begins with his 1961, number one album, Something For Everybody. While the quality may be a little below its predecessor, there is still a lot to like here. “I Slipped, I Stumbled, I Fell,” “Jody,” “There’s Always Me,” and “Sentimental Me” are all fine performances.

Five more of his singles are added at the end. The highlights are “(Marie’s The Name) His Latest Flame,” “Little Sister,”and “Good Luck Charm,” which remain memorable parts of his vast catalogue.

Elvis Is Back is a well thought out release that contains a lot of good music. While the material is readily available elsewhere, the approach here helps one to understand its context within Elvis’ career. An essential release for fans of the king.

Rating: A-

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© 2011 David Bowling and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of RCA Legacy, and is used for informational purposes only.