When Elvis released the single "Burning Love" in 1972, it soared to the top of the charts and became the last big hit he would have in his lifetime. Manager Colonel Tom Parker chose not to include the song on any of Elvis' upcoming LPs. The executives at his label, RCA, were furious, but could do nothing. When Elvis had another hit that year with "Separate Ways" b/w "Always On My Mind," Parker pulled the same stunt again. Each of the songs did end up on budget compilations padded with '60s soundtrack recordings, but the damage was done. A confused fan could either buy one of Elvis' uninspired '70s albums with nary a hit in sight, or buy an LP with one hit and nine dull soundtrack recordings from the previous decade. Elvis' concert tours may have been selling, but not his LPs. 30 years later, RCA tried to rectify that situation and released an album of songs recorded in 1972 that, in a perfect world, would have been the album Elvis released that year. On paper, it was a great idea. But let's be real. It's doubtful that Elvis or the Colonel would have ever allowed live versions of "It's Impossible," "It's Over," and "Never Been To Spain," on the same album as "Always On My Mind," "Fool," "It's A Matter Of Time," or "Burning Love." And what about the tired live recordings of "Hound Dog" and "Little Sister/Get Back"? It's bad enough hearing Elvis sleepwalking through those songs on the live albums! Thankfully, they used the single-only Las Vegas live recording of "An American Trilogy," which remains the definitive version. In the end, this album doesn't make sense. There are some emotive, powerful performances here and the sound quality is stunning, but there's no real flow or continuity. . Poor Elvis. Even in death, he don't get no respect!
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AllMusic Review by Steve "Spaz" Schnee