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“Stranger In My Own Hometown”

By Mahnuel Muñoz

Stranger In My Own Hometown” is a composition by Percy Mayfield (1920-1984), also the author of the Ray Charles classic “Hit The Road, Jack”. It is the lament of a man who, after spending a long time away from his home, feels like a stranger to those who were his friends and loved ones, a setback that, however, will not break him.


The song had been released in 1964, and Elvis recorded it at American Sound studios on February 17, 1969 with a colorful blues-rock instrumental arrangement. That recording was included on the LP “Back In Memphis”, but I have to say that my reference version is the one recorded during rehearsals in August 1970 in Las Vegas, closer to the bare bones of the blues that were a true home for Elvis, as shown by his jam sessions for “Baby, What You Want Me To Do” (1968), “Merry Christmas Baby” (1971) or “Tiger Man” (1975).

The King plays with the abandon and bitterness required for the blues, and the autobiographical verses about “going back to Memphis to drive a truck” are a revelation bathed in 24-karat gold, but an old, noble gold, as valuable or more valuable than the shining gold of their live show.

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