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Beyond The Comeback And The Hits,
This review is from: Almost in Love (Audio CD)
Given the magnitude of Elvis' "comeback" between 1968 and 1970, it is sometimes easy to forget that the King recorded a lot of songs that really weren't big hits or which served as musical backdrop for his final movies and, because of the usually poor quality of the movies, frequently remained obscure. That's where the compilation album ALMOST IN LOVE, released in late 1970, comes in.
Although like a lot of compilation/greatest hits things it is a hodge-podge, ALMOST IN LOVE nevertheless shows Elvis as a consumate vocalist as always. Three of the songs ("Almost In Love"; the rocking "A Little Less Conversation"; "Edge Of Reality") come from the 1968 film LIVE A LITTLE, LOVE A LITTLE and, thanks in no small part to Elvis' professionalism, are far superior to the film they had been attached to. "U.S. Male", a Jerry Reed-penned C&W/blues number that was a Top 30 hit for the King in the early spring of 1968, saw Elvis making his way back towards his roots and the eventual NBC comeback special. And "Charro", a Mac Davis-penned number, served as the title song to Elvis' 1969 western, one of the better B-movies in the King's short-circuited film career.
For me, the two great tracks here are "Clean Up Your Own Backyard", a downhome kind of riposte to moral hypocrites that shockingly only registered a #35 showing on the Billboard Hot 100 in the late summer of 1969; and the sometimes kitschy but nevertheless funky "Rubberneckin'", one of the songs from Elvis' Memphis sessions that charted at #69 in January 1970 as the B-side of "Don't Cry Daddy" (itself a much bigger hit, at #6).
While this stands in the shadow of the King's 1968 Comeback Special and the 1969 Memphis sessions, ALMOST IN LOVE nevertheless is proof that some of the King's best stuff from that period consisted of rarities that needed to be heard. These songs just add to the enormous legacy of the Man.