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Walk a Mile in My Shoes: The Essential 70's Masters
Elvis Presley
Walk a Mile in My Shoes: The Essential 70's Masters
Genres: Country, Pop, Rock
  •  Track Listings (23) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (24) - Disc #2
  •  Track Listings (23) - Disc #3
  •  Track Listings (23) - Disc #4
  •  Track Listings (27) - Disc #5

Elvis Presley's music in the 1970s is often dismissed as the bombastic, half-hearted hack work of an overweight, pill-addicted, badly dressed has-been. In the liner notes to this five-CD set, Dave Marsh argues that Presley...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Elvis Presley
Title: Walk a Mile in My Shoes: The Essential 70's Masters
Members Wishing: 6
Total Copies: 0
Label: RCA
Release Date: 11/1/1995
Genres: Country, Pop, Rock
Styles: Outlaw Country, Classic Country, Oldies, Vocal Pop, Oldies & Retro
Number of Discs: 5
SwapaCD Credits: 5
UPCs: 078636667027, 743213033129

Elvis Presley's music in the 1970s is often dismissed as the bombastic, half-hearted hack work of an overweight, pill-addicted, badly dressed has-been. In the liner notes to this five-CD set, Dave Marsh argues that Presley, in fact, created a more impressive body of work in the '70s than almost any other pop act. And the music on this massive anthology backs Marsh up. Stripping away all the garish live recordings and album filler, the package concentrates on a core of 120 songs--the A- and B-sides of every single Presley recorded in the '70s, 46 other studio tracks (including 13 previously unreleased performances), and 27 live tracks (including another 13 unreleased tracks)--that feature a still-magnificent singer collaborating with one of the funkiest bands of its time. This body of work certainly doesn't match Presley's breakthroughs in the '50s, nor does it equal the achievements of Al Green, Neil Young, and Van Morrison in the '70s, but it does stack up well against the work of Bob Dylan and the ex-Beatles in the same decade. Even in his laziest moments, Presley was a master of intonation and phrasing, delivering his rich baritone with a disarming naturalness. And when he caught a spark from his great T.C.B. Band (anchored by guitarist James Burton and drummer Ron Tutt), Presley could still out-sing anyone in American pop. You can hear it here on inspired versions of Tony Joe White's "Polk Salad Annie," Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right," Muddy Waters' "Got My Mojo Working," Wayne Carson's "Always on My Mind," Chuck Berry's "Promised Land," Paul McCartney's "Lady Madonna," Percy Mayfield's "Stranger in My Own Hometown," Dennis Linde's "Burning Love," and Joe South's "Walk a Mile in My Shoes." --Geoffrey Himes

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Member CD Reviews

David R. (bears06) from NEW HOLSTEIN, WI
Reviewed on 6/4/2011...
I have been looking for this for some time, was worth the wait
David R. (bears06) from NEW HOLSTEIN, WI
Reviewed on 6/4/2011...
I have been looking for this for some time, was worth the wait

CD Reviews

Crabby Apple Mick Lee | INDIANAPOLIS, IN USA | 04/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"When I was born Elvis Presley was just another fresh high school graduate driving a truck. So this whole "Elvis thing" passed me by. I do remember liking "Return To Sender" as a child in the early 1960's and I liked his movies in a goofy sort of way. But even watching his "comeback" special on NBC during its premiere broadcast in 1968, I still couldn't see what all the fuss was about. As the 1970's progressed reactions to Elvis generally fell into two groups: there were those who adored him and there were those who laughed at him. Images of an increasingly corpulent and sweating Elvis provided living evidence to those who believed Elvis ceased to matter long ago. As John Lennon remarked, as far as he was concerned Elvis died when he entered the army.

Indeed, there is one school of thought that holds that the true mother lode of Elvis' greatness is to be found on his early Sun recordings. Many hold to this stance so strongly that they view Elvis' signing to RCA as a commercial sellout that ruined his genius. They do not deny that Elvis had several great singles; but on balance they see him as a cheap, used up failure after 1956.

Needless to say, this is an extreme view that I believe is unfairly harsh. (Playing by the same rules, one could just as easily say that John Lennon "died" when he left the Beatles.) Still, with the advent of the British invasion in 1964 and the explosion of new musical directions, Elvis no longer set the tone of American music. Instead, much of the tone was set for him.

It is easy to think of several important singles Elvis released in the 1960's: "Stuck On You", "It's Now Or Never", "Can't Help Falling In Love", "Viva Las Vegas", "Guitar Man", "U.S. Male" and my personal favorite "Suspicious Minds". Yet with the single exception of "Burning Love", it is difficult to remember much of 1970's Elvis. One is more inclined to think that by this time Elvis had been reduced to Vegas appearances and concert shows in modest markets. Thus you are tempted to think a box set devoted to this period would be an exercise in over kill. But time changes everything.

It has been nearly thirty years since Presley's death and since that time a lot of dust has settled to where we can begin to get some perspective. I will never meet Elvis. I will never see him in concert. It is unlikely I will ever meet anyone who knew him personally. I am not interested in going to Memphis to visit Graceland. I will not stand among the faithful on the anniversary of his death to pass by his grave. But I have come to recognize what a breathtaking singer Elvis was. Elvis has been a presence throughout my life and I have just realized in the past few years the truth that was right in front of me.

And this is the delight of this box set. Even in his last years (when he died he was only 42!), Elvis' voice was still rich and strong. Contrary to popular perception, Elvis maintained an aggressive recording schedule throughout the 1970's up until the day of his death. Twenty-seven singles and twenty albums (minus various re-issues and greatest hits packages) were released.

As the liner notes makes clear, at this point Elvis had nothing to prove to anyone. He could do what he wanted, go where he wanted and sing whatever song he cared to sing. Thus the wide library of material found on these five discs. At once blues, then country, rock, pop, and then gospel. There is rarely a jarring note to jolt the listener away from the sense that Presley had succeeded in making all these different styles and songs his own. Presley had the gift to make you believe that each song came from a real place in his soul.

This gets to an interesting paradox about Elvis. Elvis was not a "confessional" singer of the kind popular in the 1970's. The songs of John Lennon or Joni Mitchell (just to name two) served as a kind of diary of their personal lives often times chronicling the comings and goings of real identifiable lovers. Parading the details of his personal life out on the open stage would have been unthinkable to Presley. Yet at the same time, who can listen to "Suspicious Minds", "Kentucky Rain" and "You Gave Me A Mountain" and not sense that Elvis was really singing about his divorce from Priscilla and the loss of his only daughter, Lisa Marie. Sure, the details may not match; but the emotion underneath does.

Elvis sang and when he sang he gave a small glimce of himself to whoever cared to listen. That he could unerringly somehow tap into that one place in his soul that it came out so beautiful will remain one of the mysteries for the ages. All of the his singles and their B-sides are collected here along with a generous selection of album and concert cuts-plus a number of unreleased tracks. As one who has been fairly immune to the "Elvis Cult" all his life, I have to say I was stunned at how much I enjoyed these CDs.

Elvis was a complex man and one can only wonder what he really made of all the adulation that came his way. It is tragic that there were no Betty Ford Centers for celebrities like Elvis in 1977. If there had been, maybe he would still be with us today. Unfortunately, it took the deaths of people of Elvis' magnitude for such centers to be established. The shame and sordidness of Presley's passing also obscured his real accomplishments and made him the subject of bad jokes and tabloid fodder for years. Perhaps it is only now his gift can be appreciated for what it was.

As this box set proves, Presley's voice was a joy.
A comprehensive, die-hard look at the King's last decade
MilesAndTrane | Chicago, Il USA | 02/25/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"By the 1970's, the psychedelia of the decade before had written Elvis out of pop culture, and he was now operating outside of rock 'n' roll instead of helping to shape it. Nonetheless, the King re-dedicated himself to his craft. Elvis was working hard, but no longer felt the need to prove his worth to a world that now looked past him; he just made music to please himself. There were the vices & forces that were both lifting him up and dragging him down (the Colonel, drugs, Priscilla, food, Vegas, money, the Memphis Mafia), and it was reflected in his music: sometimes his singing was inspired, and other times he sounded exhausted. RCA has managed to assemble his best accomplishments from that era for this box set. Throughout the dozens of songs here, he sounds relaxed yet in command. The uptempo songs are outweighed by the ballads, but Elvis seems comfortable and sounds natural at all times.Discs 1 & 2 contain all his singles and B-sides; this is where his most recognizable material appears ("Always On My Mind", "Burning Love"). Discs 3 & 4 collect "studio highlights" that display the King both in sharp focus at and mischevious play. Disc 5 is a concert disc where Elvis makes his already-familiar material sound fresh for the audience, even if he occasionally sounds a bit tired. His version of "Never Been To Spain" is a great concert highlight (I've enjoyed disc 5 more than other reviewers). What is most amazing is how easily Elvis navigates himself through so many styles. Song after song we hear him simmering down into varied grooves. Old-school blues with "Steamroller Blues", glossy rockabilly on "Promised Land", easy folk with "I'm Leavin'", slow-burning drama on "Make the World Go Away", and even some funk(!) with "If You Could Talk In Your Sleep." Who else can take a common country standard like "Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues" and turn it into his own soulful meditation on aging? "Moody Blue" could only be described as country-disco, and yet the song works! Even when adapting known classics (Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright," the Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" and two Beatles tunes), he gives the song the energy and respect it deserves.

Lastly, people seldom give Elvis credit for his ability and desire to serve as his own producer. Elvis tailored & arranged every song he recorded to his own liking (whereas Sinatra deferred to his conductors). An ironic element is that every song here has Elvis incorporating a heavy arrangement of drums, bass, piano/organ, rhythm & lead guitars, back-up vocals, strings and horns - and yet it never sounds crowded, garish or overdone (others may disagree, decide for yourself). Ultimately, this is a box set for die-hard fans who've purchased the 50's and 60's retrospectives and are craving for more. "Walk A Mile In My Shoes" is a strong argument that the King was - for better or worse - still kicking & screaming with music, even towards the very end."