Sunday, November 10, 2013

Elvis Presley – Elvis At Stax Deluxe Edition CD Review

Written by General Jabbo

The year 1973 was a good one for Elvis Presley. He was riding high from the success of the Aloha From Hawaii Via Satellite TV broadcast and live album; he had signed a new record deal with his label, RCA; and he was the beneficiary of a $5 million buyout of his back catalog from the label. While that buyout ultimately may have been a bad deal for Presley, at the time it gave him the financial freedom to live the way he was accustomed to. In addition, his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, had formed a new publishing company, which freed Presley to choose what he felt was stronger material to record. In short, life was good. This being the world of Elvis Presley, it wasn’t without its complications, however.

Presley’s relentless touring schedule had left him exhausted. He was separated from Priscilla during this time, and his daughter was scheduled to visit him that July. The problem was, RCA decided they needed new material from Presley during that time and he was forced to accommodate him. American Studios, where Presley had so much success with songs such as “Suspicious Minds” just a few years earlier, had closed down, but another hometown label, Stax, was thriving during this period. Presley knew of Stax and its success, and its proximity to Graceland couldn’t be beat, so he scheduled sessions for July and December of that year. A plethora of material was recorded — enough for nearly three complete albums — and RCA, as they were apt to do, spread the material out over multiple releases. Elvis At Stax, a new 3-CD collection of Stax masters and alternate takes, attempts to rectify this, putting all the masters and many notable outtakes in one place and offering a fresh look at these sessions.

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