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by Charlie Saber

Elvis At Stax

Tune in early Thursday morning for a Cleveland radio broadcast exclusive on WRUW. Elvis At Stax: Radio Special will air at 2am August 8. All insomniacs, early-risers, and third shifters are in for a treat. You'll hear highlights from the 1973 Memphis sessions and interviews with the people who were there during those 12 memorable days.

The last major studio sessions in the career of Elvis Presley have finally been gathered together for the first time in one comprehensive box set. Elvis At Stax: Deluxe Edition was released this past Tuesday, August 6. Released simultaneously is a single CD of highlights from the box set simply titled Elvis At Stax, and a 180-gram, double-vinyl LP.

This new release chronicles recordings Presley made in his hometown of Memphis at Stax recording studios over 12 days in 1973, from July 21-25 and December 10-16. Even though he was using the iconic studio where Booker T. & the MG's laid the grooves for massive hits by artists from Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett to Sam & Dave and the Staple Singers, Presley imported his own players. And after aborting the July sessions because of technical problems, he even imported a mobile recording truck for the second one.

Still, with musicians raised in Memphis, Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and other Southern towns - some of whom had performed on his career-reviving 1969 sessions at Memphis' American Sound Studio - Presley again tapped into the bluesy soul, primal R&B, rockin' gospel, country-tinged rockabilly, and rich balladry that characterized his best work.

One major distinction of these recordings is that Elvis was calling the shots for the first time. Presley had a new recording contract and publishing arrangement that gave him control of song selection. With his Hollywood film obligations fulfilled and these new deals in tow, Presley was free to sing only what he felt like singing.



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