‘Elvis Is Back’ is a welcomed release

Elvis Presley
Elvis Is Back
(Legacy Edition)
RCA/Legacy (88697 76233 2)
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By Gillian G. Gaar

This two disc set expands on the 1999 reissue by not only including the 1960 “Elvis Is Back!” album and its accompanying singles, but also the 1961 “Something For Everyone” and its accompanying singles.

Any doubts that Presley’s career wouldn’t be able to pick up where it left off after his army services were laid to rest when his first post-army single, “Stuck On You,” went to #1, followed in short order by “It’s Now Or Never” and “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”

The singles also revealed that Presley’s rockabilly cat days were over, as does “Elvis Is Back!,” one of Presley’s finest albums, with stellar vocal performances on tracks like “Make Me Know It,” “Fever,” “It Feels So Right,” and “Reconsider Baby.” It’s an album of varying musical styles that Presley handles with ease.

“Something For Everybody” is more laid back, and lacks some of the fire of “Elvis Is Back!” (though it actually topped the charts, while Elvis Is Back! only reached #2).

There are still some fine vocal turns on the slinky “Put the Blame on Me,” not to mention the grandiose “There’s Always Me.” But there’s also a sense of settling down, and after 1962’s “Pot Luck,” Presley would devote himself to soundtracks for the next few years.

The non-albums were decidedly stronger than some of the album tracks; this period had such hits as “Surrender,” “Good Luck Charm,” and his best double-sided hit “(Marie’s The Name) His Latest Flame”/“Little Sister.”

There’s nothing previously unreleased, but this is the best way to pick up Presley’s strongest work from the early ‘60s.

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