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Country Side of Elvis [2001] [2 CD]

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Elvis Presley 11/6/2001

Review

This classy, 51-track reissue featuring Elvis' country-styled tunes through his entire career starts promisingly enough with the early Sun sides from 1954, including his version of Bill Monroe's "Blue Moon of Kentucky." But like the artist himself, it dissipates disappointingly as the years progress. Elvis' almost universal appeal was grounded in how effectively he mixed blues, gospel, and classic vocal pop along with his country & western influences to produce, well, rock & roll, along with his own unique hybrid of styles. Hence his country recordings even as early as 1956's "Old Shep" and 1958's version of Hank Williams' "Your Cheatin' Heart" are often marred by sappy backing singers and a commercial slickness that was a harbinger of his Vegas years. Additionally, much of these selections are only vaguely country-sounding, at least in Elvis' hands. "There's Always Me" from 1961 is a pop ballad that is about as far from Hank Williams as Hank Williams, Jr.'s rowdy redneck rock. Far better is Presley's version of Hank Snow's "I'm Movin' On," which starts out with stark accompaniment but adds horns and backing singers as the tune progresses. The best songs here, like the powerful "Kentucky Rain," add drama and pomp to basic country themes of loss, loneliness, and heartache, all emotions that ran rampant in Elvis' own tumultuous life. Colin Escott's liner notes are excellent, but the track documentation -- which omits which album the songs originally appeared on, where the live performances are from, and any personnel -- is frustratingly sketchy. The graphics and book are adequate, but not up to the standard of other post-early-'90s Elvis collections on RCA. From his first primitive Sun tracks to the last song he commercially recorded, a version of Joe Allison's "He'll Have to Go," Elvis was always at least partially a country singer, and country radio was traditionally his most dedicated outlet. This generous compilation is an indication of how he slotted the Nashville sound into his own larger-than-life palette. Weighed down by its schlocky numbers -- and there are a lot of them -- The Country Side of Elvis is still a fascinating look at one of the many sides of this legendary American artist. Even at his most facile, Elvis sounded inspired when singing this traditionally Southern music, and it's that emotional grip that keeps this collection listenable even through its many rough spots. ~ Hal Horowitz
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 It Wouldn't Be the Same Without You Elvis Presley 2:1
  3. 2 Blue Moon of Kentucky Elvis Presley 2:2
  4. 3 I Love You Because Elvis Presley 2:42
  5. 4 Just Because Elvis Presley 2:33
  6. 5 I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone Elvis Presley 2:36
  7. 6 I Forgot to Remember to Forget Elvis Presley 2:28
  8. 7 I'm Counting on You Elvis Presley 2:24
  9. 8 How Do You Think I Feel Elvis Presley 2:10
  10. 9 How's the World Treating You Elvis Presley 2:24
  11. 10 Old Shep Elvis Presley 4:9
  12. 11 Your Cheatin' Heart Elvis Presley 2:23
  13. 12 (Now and Then There's) A Fool Such as I Elvis Presley 2:36
  14. 13 There's Always Me Elvis Presley 2:16
  15. 14 It's a Sin Elvis Presley 2:40
  16. 15 Guitar Man Elvis Presley 2:14
  17. 16 Just Call Me Lonesome Elvis Presley 2:5
  18. 17 You Don't Know Me Elvis Presley 2:28
  19. 18 After Loving You Elvis Presley 3:5
  20. 19 Long Black Limousine Elvis Presley 3:38
  21. 20 I'm Movin' On Elvis Presley 2:51
  22. 21 I'll Hold You in My Heart (Till I Can Hold You in My Arms) Elvis Presley 4:31
  23. 22 From a Jack to a King Elvis Presley 2:23
  24. 23 Kentucky Rain Elvis Presley 3:13
  25. 24 It Keeps Right on A-Hurtin' Elvis Presley 2:36
  26. 25 If I'm a Fool (For Loving You) Elvis Presley 2:42
  27. 26 Release Me Elvis Presley 2:58
  28. 27 Funny How Time Slips Away Elvis Presley 4:19
  29. 1 Little Cabin on the Hill The Million Dollar Quartet 1:47
  30. 2 There Goes My Everything Elvis Presley 2:57
  31. 3 I Really Don't Want to Know Elvis Presley 2:45
  32. 4 Tomorrow Never Comes Elvis Presley 3:54
  33. 5 Faded Love Elvis Presley 4:6
  34. 6 Make the World Go Away Elvis Presley 3:34
  35. 7 Help Me Make It Through the Night Elvis Presley 2:46
  36. 8 For the Good Times Elvis Presley 3:11
  37. 9 Always on My Mind Elvis Presley 3:37
  38. 10 You Gave Me a Mountain Elvis Presley 3:14
  39. 11 I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry Elvis Presley 2:12
  40. 12 Welcome to My World Elvis Presley 1:52
  41. 13 Take Good Care of Her Elvis Presley 2:50
  42. 14 It's Midnight Elvis Presley 3:20
  43. 15 You Asked Me To Elvis Presley 2:50
  44. 16 Loving Arms Elvis Presley 2:50
  45. 17 Talk About the Good Times Elvis Presley 2:36
  46. 18 There's a Honky Tonk Angel (Who Will Take Me Back In) Elvis Presley 3:3
  47. 19 Fairytale Elvis Presley 2:44
  48. 20 Green, Green Grass of Home Elvis Presley 3:35
  49. 21 Susan When She Tried Elvis Presley 2:16
  50. 22 T-R-O-U-B-L-E Elvis Presley 3:2
  51. 23 She Thinks I Still Care Elvis Presley 3:48
  52. 24 He'll Have to Go Elvis Presley 4:30

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