Friday Morning Music Club is a weekly column in which I review new, old, classic and/or shitty albums.

Elvis Presley
The Memphis Record
1987

In 1969 Elvis released what was arguably his finest album: From Elvis in Memphis. For the first time in his career Elvis went into the studio and recorded songs of his own choosing, songs he liked, songs he wanted to record (not songs Col. Tom Parker owned a publishing interest in.) What resulted was a performance of a man who was singing like it was the first time he really enjoyed it in a very long time. The album contained a bevy of great songs: “Wearin’ That Loved On Look”, “Only the Strong Survive”, “Any Day Now”, “In the Ghetto”.

Skip ahead 18 years and RCA repackaged the original twelve tracks with an eleven additional recorded during the same period and released them as The Memphis Record. The inclusion of tracks like “Mama Liked The Roses” and “Stranger In My Own Hometown” flesh out the brilliance that is From Elvis in Memphis. It’s a dangerous move, one that might sink the original album, as “bonus tracks” are wont to do, but fortunately, here, it works. Even the ridiculous “Rubberneckin'” from the epically ridiculous opening scene of the equally ridiculous film Change of Habit is so goddamned fun it’s easy to forget it’s perhaps one of the daftest songs ever written.

And of course, there is “Suspicious Minds,” one of Elvis’ most enduring songs, perhaps his most popular. Never actually part of an album, the one-off single from 1969 is included here too, and it perfectly captures the spirit of those sessions, in all its white-boy-Memphis-soul glory.

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