Following Aloha From Hawaii, Elvis sold the rights to his back catalog part and parcel to RCA and got cracking on new material. He would start driving one of his big white Cadillacs in the dead of the night from Graceland over to Stax Studios -home of Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Rufus Thomas, and Isaac Hayes- and throw down some serious jams until the early morning hours. From these sessions would come the scorching cover of Chuck Berry’s Promised Land, as well as lesser known but equally potent tunes like the jaunty I Got A Thing About You Baby and the sultry and somewhat menacing menacing If You Talk In Your Sleep. Perhaps the absolute high point of the sessions was I Got A Feelin’ In My Body, a religious number that’s as bass driven and funky as anything James Brown ever laid down.
I only just heard that last one for the first time recently, on the just released Elvis At Stax: Legacy Edition. Every year around this time, RCA and EPE like to put out something to capitalize on the anniversary. In times past it would be some kind of compilation or other repackaging of the familiar material, but in the last few years there seems to be a conscious effort to highlight some of the more un-rightfully obscured aspects of Elvis’ career. Last year it was Prince From Another Planet, a thorough exploration of the Madison Square Garden concert. The powers that be are to be commended for their attempt to keep the material that made Elvis relevent in the first place in the public eye, even if that just means recycling old material in clever ways.