Elvis Presley - Elvis Is Back! - Review
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critics' view

Elvis arrived back from his Army stint in Germany on March 2, 1960, and was honourably discharged with the rank of sergeant on March 5. Just 2 weeks later he was back in the recording studio working on his next LP. It was released just 3 weeks later!

The album energetically opens with “Make Me Know It”, a pop n roll fizzer. The cover of “Fever” sees Elvis get jazzy with it; interesting if not vital. Elvis and the Jordanaires rescue “The Girl of My Best Friend” from the obscurity of its appearance as a Charlie Blackwell 1959 b-side. Not for the first time, Presley takes ownership of a title. Whilst in Germany, Elvis had been working on his vocal styles and had been delving into repertoires of expressive harmony singers; his bluesified version of The Golden Gate Quartet’s 1945 crooner “I Will Be Home Again” possibly shines a light into his mind-set whilst in Germany, in more ways than one. Most especially on this song, musicians, lead singer and backing vocalists are as one throughout – it’s a key feature of “Elvis Is Back”. “The Thrill of Your Love”, a fine Rock n Roll ballad, finishes side 1 soulfully.

The feeling that we’re onto a good thing is maintained with “Soldier Boy”, which seamlessly maintains that classic 50s prom ballad feeling, with the topical lyrics almost connecting as a love letter straight to his adoring female fan base. The cover of “Such A Night” is another in the vintage Elvis style, as he raised and lowers that trademark smouldering voice of his, so loved and imitated over the years. “It Feels So Right” immediately follows – a real treat for those, like me, who love it when Elvis gets down and dirty with the raunchier side of his pop blues sensibilities. He’s really got you eating out of the palm of his hands by this stage. The teasing, bluesy, sax-loving “Like A Baby” sets the tone for the album’s glorious finale – the sensational cover of Lowell Fulson’s “Reconsider Baby”. The whole band are sensational – Boots Randolph's sax lines are sublime.

With this driven ensemble, Elvis is at the peak of his mighty frontman powers. He had been tinkering with this one since ’56 – the 4 years gestation period was worth every millisecond. Elvis was most definitely back.

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