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Topic: Stax

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August 6, 2013 at 5:30 AM

‘Elvis At Stax: Deluxe Edition’ gathers hits and misses | New CDs

(RCA/Legacy)

(RCA/Legacy)

Elvis Presley, “Elvis At Stax: Deluxe Edition” (RCA/Legacy)

“Elvis At Stax: Deluxe Edition,” a 3 CD set that contains all the tracks that Elvis Presley recorded at the Memphis-based Stax studio in 1973 (home to soul acts like Otis Redding and Booker T. & the M.G.’s), reveals how ill served Elvis Presley was by his management. He was still tethered to a contract that required him to release two albums and four singles a year, at a time when other artists of his stature were down to releasing just one album in the same time frame — if that.

As a consequence, the need for a constant flow of product meant that instead of culling the best 12 tracks out of these sessions to create one excellent album, the 28 tracks recorded in July and December 1973 were spread over three albums, none of which managed to crack the Top 40.

It’s a shame, because there’s enough good stuff here to create the kind of album that might have ranked up there with the classic “From Elvis in Memphis,” the 1969 album that pulled Presley’s career out its ’60s slump, and featured such hits as “In the Ghetto.” And there was the hope that the Stax sessions might produce the same kind of results.

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