Two months after the release of the That’s The Way It Is “soundtrack,” Elvis Country was rushed out as a kind of “concept” album,” with snippets of the gospel number “I Was Born About Ten Thousand Years Ago” – in a performance that would have made a great additional track – sandwiched in between the selections. Whatever non-linear meaning you might want to attach to this, the album received a great deal of deserved acclaim for reflecting Elvis’ love of country music all the way back to Bob Wills, Bill Monroe, Eddy Arnold, and Ernest Tubb. It had soulful versions of Willie Nelson’s “Funny How Time Slips Away,” a pile-driving “Whole Lot-ta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” tips of the hat to both early rockabilly (“The Fool”) and ephemeral pop (Anne Murray’s “Snowbird”), each marked by the eclecticism not just of its selection but of the approach that Elvis took to it. Even the front cover, a color-tinted picture of a two- or three-year-old Elvis with his gaunt, Depression-haunted parents, suggested that this was indeed from the heart. And it sold the by-now-predictable half a million copies.
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