Elvis Presley

Let's Be Friends

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Just as Elvis Presley returned to the top of the charts with his 1968 comeback, RCA's budget line Camden began to flood the market with compilations of leftovers. The process started in 1968 with Singer Presents Elvis Singing Flaming Star and Others, a record initially released as a promo but seeing wider circulation toward the end of the year, but it began in earnest with Let's Be Friends, a hodgepodge released in April of 1970. Camden LPs offered a quick buck for both RCA and Elvis but that swift infusion of cash came at the expense of coherence, particularly in the case of Let's Be Friends, which snags a couple of good leftovers from the American Sound Studio sessions from 1969 -- "If I'm a Fool (For Loving You)," "I'll Be There" -- and pairs them with movie leftovers dating all the way back to 1962. That particular oldie would be "Mama," an exceptionally sticky ballad, but most of the leftovers are recent, including three selections from Presley's last film, 1969's Change of Habit. Although these tracks pale when compared to the songs Elvis cut for Chips Moman, the production is informed by Presley's soulful comeback, so they don't feel quite as hackneyed as, say, the contrived down-home stomp "Stay Away, Joe" that unfortunately opens up the album. It's the worst thing on the album, providing an uneasy start to what otherwise is a fitfully entertaining and worthwhile collection.

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