The bulk of the album came from five days of recording sessions in June 1970 which yielded 35 usable tracks. Presley performed every track "live", recording his vocal part in the same take as the band, as was standard practice for him. Eight tracks from the session were released two months earlier in November 1970 on the That's the Way It Is album. During the sessions, Presley and producer Felton Jarvis realized they had several country songs in hand and decided to record several more to create a full album of country material. Needing two more satisfactory tracks, Elvis returned to the same studio in September where he recorded "Snowbird" and a manic, one-take version of "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On."
After this album, Presley would return to his usual practice of recording a seemingly random batch of songs on each trip to the recording studio, letting his producer assemble them into albums.
The June 14, 2004, compact disc reissue included six bonus tracks from the same sessions. Three of them had been previously released on the LP Love Letters from Elvis. The others were the B-side "Where Did They Go, Lord?" (a track that made its first LP appearance on the 1978 compilation "He Walks Beside Me"), and the unabridged version of "I Was Born About Ten Thousand Years Ago" later released on Elvis Now.
In late 2011, RCA Legacy (owned by Sony) announced a 2-CD "Legacy Edition" set of the Elvis Country album. Enthusiasm was short-lived as fans quickly criticized the decision to pair the album with the leftover set that was 1970's Love Letters LP instead of compiling rarities from the acclaimed Elvis Country set. However, both albums originated from the same recording sessions.