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Walk a Mile In My Shoes: The Essential '70s Masters

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Album Review

Since From Nashville to Memphis: The Essential 60's Masters gave up the ghost of being a complete overview of Elvis Presley's '60s recordings, the compilers of the companion five-disc box set Walk a Mile in My Shoes: The Essential 70's Masters — the third and final installment in RCA's justifiably acclaimed Elvis box set reissue series — decided to throw even the illusion of comprehensiveness out the window and just serve up five discs and 120 tracks of highlights. Instead of adhering to a strict chronological sequencing, which the two previous boxes did, this is divided into two discs of singles, two discs of studio highlights, then one disc that attempts to present the ultimate Elvis Presley live show by culling peaks from several gigs throughout of the decade. This is a sharp move, since there is simply too much recorded material from the '70s to be presented either completely or chronologically, and his high points are easier to digest broken down in this fashion. Truth be told, he didn't have too many outright classics during this time — just "Burning Love," "Always on My Mind," "Raised on Rock," "Promised Land," and "Moody Blue," along with 1971's excellent album Elvis Country (I'm 10,000 Years Old) — but it was a far more consistent era than the '60s, and it was more adventurous in terms of material and production, never sounding like pandering, which the early '60s could on occasion.

This is more evident on the studio highlights than on the singles discs, particularly because those two discs delve into records like Elvis Country, but the end result is a set that is far more consistent and entertaining than From Nashville to Memphis, even if it doesn't sustain the delirious heights of his late-'60s comeback. If the fifth, final live disc is the kind of thing that you listen to only once or twice, it still crackles with energy, and the two studio highlights discs prove that Presley was still a sensitive, inventive interpreter of strong material, and the productions have a rich, robust diversity that keeps this interesting and enjoyable. To say that the '70s recordings are more consistent than the '60s is true, but it does give the impression that Elvis was as consistently brilliant as he was a decade earlier. That's simply not the case — the best of the '60s recordings overshadows the best cuts here without effort — but this does have a diversity of material and sound (even if it sometimes borders on the splashy excess of Vegas) that not only keeps it interesting, it proves that, when pressed, Elvis was still restless and inventive. Maybe the music here isn't as outright classic as those on the previous box sets, but it captures its era just as well, and provides the final piece of musical narrative while serving up some terrific music. And if the final chapter of the most iconic figure in American popular music is not essential to a library, then you don't truly care for American popular music.

Customer Reviews

Agreed. Greatest Box Set Ever!

This is simply the greatest collection of music in one box set ever assembled. If Martians were threatening to destroy earth and we had to give them one thing to prove we were worthy of existence, this would be it. If in 2012 the world is destroyed, and this is all that is left, we can rebuild civilization from it. If...you get the point.

The Greatest Box Set Ever!!!

This is by far the greatest box set of recorded music ever! This is a collection of the best material that Elvis Presley recorded. This is a must have for any Elvis fan!

Walk a Mile in My shoes

I really enjoyed the music on this album. I enjoyed listening to the different songs that I had never heard by this artist before. I would recommend this album to people who are real Elvis Fans.

Biography

Born: January 8, 1935 in Tupelo, MS

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s

Elvis Presley may be the single most important figure in American 20th century popular music. Not necessarily the best, and certainly not the most consistent. But no one could argue with the fact that he was the musician most responsible for popularizing rock & roll on an international level. Viewed in cold sales figures, his impact was phenomenal. Dozens upon dozens of international smashes from the mid-'50s to the mid-'70s,...
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