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Disc review: Elvis Presley, 'That's the Way It Is'

There are two versions of this – an eight-disc box of the Deluxe Edition of Elvis’ 1970 album collecting some of the best live performing in Vegas that he ever did, and this two-disc digest of some of the best of his latter-day decadence.

The drugs and fluffernutter sandwiches haven’t yet done their maximum dirty work here and, especially on the full eight-disc box, his jump-suited relationship with his audience is nothing if not singular in all of American popular music.

On the two-disc version, the first disc is his studio classic and the second disc is the first release of a complete concert from Elvis’ 1970 “summer season” in Vegas. The old jokes are here: “Hound Dog” introduced as a tender ballad but blasted out with his guitarist James Burton and drummer Ronnie Burton burning the house down.

There was nothing invidious about Elvis’ exploration of contemporary classics, whether it was “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” or “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

Elvis and Hollywood were a mismatch from the beginning. Elvis and Vegas weren’t.

Rock

Elvis Presley

“That’s the Way It Is” (Sony Legacy, two discs)

3.5 stars 

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