From Nashville To Memphis: The Essential 60s Masters

Elvis Presley

RCA, 1993

http://www.elvis.com

REVIEW BY: David Bowling

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/11/2007

Elvis Presley dominated the music scene from 1956-1962 and became a part of American pop culture. All that changed in 1963 as the Beatles and the rest of the British Invasion artists arrived in the United States.

Before the end of the decade Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin and many other artists would take rock & roll in directions that Elvis could not have imagined in 1962. While Elvis remained popular, he was no longer the most popular or the best.

The Elvis Presley of the 1960s produced a lot of good and a lot of bad. From Nashville To Memphis: The Essential 60’s Mastersnbtc__dv_250 reflects both. Mercifully, the soundtrack material to his miserable movies is not included. On the negative side, Elvis’ gospel material is also not included. One constant in the recording career was the quality of his gospel and sacred material. Their absence from this set reduces its overall quality.

First the good. The first two discs are given over to Elvis’s music from 1960-1962. This music is on a par with his best 50s material. Such songs as “Are You Lonesome Tonight,” “His Latest Flame,” Stuck On You,” “Good Luck Charm,” “(You’re The) Devil In Disguise” and “(Such An) Easy Question” has been taken from the original masters, and RCA has done a good job cleaning the material so that it sounds pristine.

The real foundation of this large box set are Elvis’ single releases. While the LPs became more and more spotty as the 1960s progressed, the single releases were consistently top notch. From the great “U.S. Male” to “In The Ghetto” to “Kentucky Rain” to “Suspicious Minds” and everything in between, the singles are terrific.

Now the bad. Elvis’ LP’s releases as the decade progressed in general were put together quickly and, for the most part, with diminishing effort. Songs such as “Hey Jude,” “Memphis, Tennessee” and “From A Jack To A King” reflect the song selection and quality of the releases and are only adequate at best. The unreleased material is mainly unfinished songs that Elvis was fooling around with during his recording sessions and happened to be picked up on tape.

As with the great 50s box set that precedes it, From Nashville To Memphis is a huge five-CD set. It comes with a booklet that covers each recording session and a personal history of Elvis. Ultimately, From Nashville To Memphis: The Essential 60’s Masters is an uneven set, as was Elvis during this decade. However, for most of the time, the music reflects an artist at the top of his game -- when there were few better.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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