Elvis has re-entered the building again. The Elvis releases just keep coming as many of his albums have reached the 40 and 50 year mark and are being reissued with all sorts of bonus tracks. The latest album to be resurrected for its 40th anniversary is Elvis Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis.
Elvis was back on top of the music world in 1974. His 1973 Stax sessions had been well received and his Hawaiian television concert had been viewed by close to one billion people and the subsequent album Aloha From Hawaii Via Satellite had topped the American music charts.
Elvis wanted to record a live album in his hometown of Memphis. Elvis Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis was released on vinyl July 7, 1974. The original album was somewhat disjointed as the concert was edited down to basics and clocked in at a meager 41 minutes. The concert is now complete as the missing ten songs have been returned to their rightful places. “Steamroller Blues,” “Suspicious Minds,” “Teddy Bear/Don’t Be Cruel” Medley,” “Polk Salad Annie,” and “Funnny How Time Slips Away” are the best of the missing songs and help to flesh out the performance and make the concert experience complete.
Elvis is in fine voice and the sound has been scrubbed crystal clear. The 24 page booklet with some rare photographs gives a nice history of the tour and homecoming concert. His performance of “How Great Thou Art” would win the Grammy Award for Best Gospel Performance.
As with most of Elvis’ reissues there is a bonus disc. In this case it is what is called The Richmond Test Run Concert recorded March 18; two days before the Memphis performance. While there may only be subtle differences, the complete concert is intact.
The album concludes with five tracks recorded at the Hollywood RCA Studios on August 16. They are referred to as reference recordings for an upcoming Las Vegas engagement. “Down In The Alley,” “Good Time Charlie’s Got The Blues,” “Softly As I Leave You,” “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” and “The Twelfth Of Never” provide an interesting look at Elvis in the studio.
Recorded Live On Stage In Memphis is sometimes underrated in the pantheon of live Elvis albums. The release will certainly appeal to Elvis’ large fan base but if you are a casual fan there are better places to start when exploring his catalogue of music. If you are so inclined, however, this is a very good and interesting release as it fills in some missing elements in his legacy.