Kentucky Rain (2/14/70) #16 US, #21 UK, #3 AC, #31 CW. Sales: ½ million. Airplay: 2 million
* bonus track on reissue
Notes: “The spring 2000 remastered edition…[adds] six bonus tracks [see the track listing] cut at the same sessions but only released as singles at the time” (Eder). Everything from this album is also on the box set From Nashville to Memphis: The ‘60s Masters.
From Elvis in Memphis
“Elvis’ 1968 TV comeback restored his priapic glory and mocked his silly movies” (Blender). That special, “although a lot of work, had led him to the realization that he could be as exciting and vital a performer in 1969 as he’d been a dozen years before” (Eder). So, “after a 14-year absence from Memphis, Elvis Presley returned” (Eder) to “a little Memphis studio with no one watching, [and] he let rip” (Blender), cutting “what was certainly his greatest album (or, at least, a tie effort with his RCA debut LP from early 1956)” (Eder). “He sang like a wild animal with a wounded heart – so rough and raw, he made Otis Redding sound calculating” (Blender).
“The fact that From Elvis in Memphis came out as well as it did is something of a surprise, in retrospect – Presley had a backlog of songs he genuinely liked that he wanted to record and had heard some newer soul material that also attracted him, and none of it resembled the material that he’d been cutting since his last non-soundtrack album, six years earlier” (Eder).
“And for what was practically the last time, the singer cut his manager, Tom Parker, out of the equation, turning himself over to producer Chips Moman. The result was one of the greatest white soul albums (and one of the greatest soul albums) ever cut, with brief but considerable forays into country, pop, and blues as well. Presley sounds rejuvenated artistically throughout the dozen cuts off the original album, and he’s supported by the best playing and backup singing of his entire recording history” (Eder). “This disc proves that he not only came back – he was better than he’d ever been as a singer or stylist — and is an essential part of any music collection” (Eder).
Blender Magazine’s 100 Greatest American Albums (10/08)