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    Elvis Presley

    elvis golden records elvis elvis presley the sun collection king creole

    The Sun Collection( 1954,1955 )
    That's Alright Mama / Blue Moon Of Kentucky / I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine / Good Rockin Tonight / Milk Cow Blues / You're A Heartbreaker / I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone / Baby Let's Play House / Mystery Train / I Forgot To Remember To Forget / I'll Never Let You Go / I Love You Because / Tryin To Get To You / Blue Moon / Just Because / I Love You Because / Harbour Lights

    Sam C Phillips of Sun Records once boasted that if he could find a white singer that could sing, sound and feel 'like a negro' that he'd make a million dollars. Well, he only ever made $35,000 off Elvis Presley, that sum received when he sold Elvis's contract to RCA records. RCA took ownership of these recordings, using them to flesh out the early RCA Elvis albums, for the most part. Joining Elvis here of course, is guitar picker Scotty Moore ( Elvis was a mediocre guitarist at best, but sure looked great when he posed and moved with it! ) and a bass player name of Bill Black. These names have now passed into legend.

    When thinking about Elvis, we each have a different mental image of him, and it's not even down to how old we are. I'm twenty nine at the time of writing. I was only three years old when Elvis died - I couldn't even remember him ever living and can't remember his death. Elvis was always there, his films shown endlessly during school summer holidays, and I enjoyed watching them. Even aged six to ten or so, I never thought his films were works of art, though. They didn't even make me laugh, but there was something captivating about this cool looking figure on the screen. You wanted to watch him. And of course, the songs, the songs. Some were daft, some were soppy, some were plain rubbish - but sometimes the songs were absolutely great. Such childhood memories stayed with me, and my mental image is of Elvis circa 'Jailhouse Rock'. That's a nicer image to have over and above the Seventies, fat and bloated Elvis image, seemingly an image that more people than don't, associate him with. Elvis becomes a figure of fun, not helped by his legions of fans, especially those who go out and dress up and try to sing like him. Tribute acts, their hearts in all the right places. Such is the fame of Elvis, such is the sheer number of these tribute singers and imitators and impressionists - that it becomes comical rather than something done out of love and admiration.

    Elvis was young once, handsome and good looking. Elvis burst into these sessions, raring to go, full of enthusiasm and it's audible enthusiam. This isn't a collection of the best sixteen/seventeen rock'n' roll or rockabilly cuts ever made. These songs sold modest amounts at the time, a time before RCA turned Elvis into the worlds biggest star. So, no. Not the best seventeen Rock N Roll cuts ever, but Elvis is here, his delivery is tense sounding, a result of nerves perhaps, but this tension is released into a collection of stunning vocal performances. The faster cuts, mostly, where Elvis really is himself, really pours his voice out. Early singles 'That's All Right Mama' and 'Mystery Train' are both totally together, tight performances and the voice of Elvis is very rich and the musical backings creating much excitement. Less 'together' performances, both musically and vocally are tracks like 'Blue Moon Of Kentucky', but these kind of performances are just so loose and raw, so genuine in the emotion and excitement, to even be there getting the chance to sing in the first place, that they create a special atmosphere all the same. The sheer enthusiasm Elvis brings to these Sun recordings is audible in the grooves. I particulary adore the way 'Milk Cow Blues' opens all acoustic blues, very earnest - before Elvis stops the recording and says "Let's get real moving" - and then of course, he jumps around, his voice jumps and swoops with tension and enthusiasm as Bill and Scotty follow him to suit.

    'You're A Heartbreaker' boasts a great, assured Elvis vocal in contrast to other, more tense performances. Same comments apply to the very assured sounding and hugely enjoyable Rock N Roll of 'Good Rockin Tonight'. Whether 'it' started here with these Sun recordings, or really started with the later 'Heartbreak Hotel' - in effect, it did all start here. The beginnings of the recorded Elvis story are here - and this isn't, or at least, doesn't come across as, a mere historical document. The performances themselves still sound very alive and relevant.

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    Readers Comments

    Guy Peters guy@guypetersreviews.com
    It's great to see the King getting some attention in the WRC. The debate whether he actually meant the birth of rock 'n roll will go on forever I guess - if you've heard "Rocket 88" or the earlier versions of "Hound Dog" and "Bear cat" (by Big Mama Thornton or Rufus Thomas) you might agree that the very basics were already present a few years before Elvis accidentally launched a 'joking version' of "That's All Right" on the 7th of July, 1954 - but the fact is that he's the first white singer to combine the "negro-swing", elements of country (he was an avid Hank Williams fan) and the style of mainstream crooners (Crosby, Martin), which made up what we now refer to as rock 'n roll. It must've been incredibly exciting for a teenager in that era, with Elvis developing his signature style very fast, and the rise of similar artists such as Perkins (who actually had the biggest hit with 'Blues Suede Shoes"), Gene Vincent (whose earliest tracks almost sound like parodies of Presley), etc...Anyway, to cut the crap, I just wanted to mention that I think those cuts still represent some excitingly fresh and new stuff by a groundbreaking performer who had loads of talent (I don't care about his opponents who'll claim he was a minor figure- he's one of the greatest vocalists ever) and appeal. God bless Marion Keisker for bringing those demos of "my happiness" to Philips' attention!! Oh, and by the way, just a suggestion: a great read, and not only for Elvis fans, but anyone who's interested in reading a great biography: Peter Guralnick's "Last Train to Memphis", which focuses on Elvis' life up till he was drafted for military service, delivers a lot of insight into that important chapter in musical history. There's also a second part , "Careless Love", which deals with the rest of Elvis's life, and although I purchased it, I haven't read it yet (I need a vacation!) , but I'm sure it'll prove to be essential stuff as well. And, one last thing: I fuckin' held the King's mic at the Sun Studio!!! YEAH!

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    Elvis Presley( 1956 )
    Blue Suede Shoes / I'm Counting On You / I Got A Woman / One Sided Love Affair / I Love You Because / Just Because / Tutti Frutti / Tryin To Get To You / I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry / I'll Never Let You Go / Blue Moon / Money Honey

    There may well have been rock albums before this one, I'm not sure and to be honest, don't especially care. This album was a rock album without a single hit song on it. The mighty 'Heartbreak Hotel' may well have brought Elvis to mass attention and adulation, but it wasn't originally on the album. 'Blue Suede Shoes' opens the album then and does so in fine style. We get cynical in this day and age, but the impact of Elvis then and in the immediate years that followed was shocking and immense. Far more of an impact and far more 'punk-rock' than The Prodigy, for example. Firestarter anyone? Elvis ignited and neatly torched the baton that others took and ran with. What would The Beatles or The Stones have had Elvis not been there first? Well, it's tempting to just say if it hadn't been Elvis, it would have been someone else. Perhaps a someone else apparently 'more deserving', thinking back to what Elvis later became. But that's clouding the issue and for many, thinking of what Elvis did wrong rather than right. Everybody makes mistakes, but we're getting ahead of ourselves, aren't we? For a mixed bag of an album drawing in a variety of recording sessions including cuts originally put together for Sun Records, 'Elvis Presley' is a fine, enjoyable record. A varied record too, especially in its day. Rock tracks precede ballads precede rockabilly precede songs with hints of country. If it was a deliberate decision to put together an Elvis LP which showcased the full range of his talents then, whoever did put the LP together did a fine job. Oh, a quick mention for the 2nd song here, the beautifully accomplished ballad 'I'm Counting On You'.

    The difference in sonic atmosphere ( rather than sound ) between 'One Sided Love Affair' with its stupendous rock n roll piano, and the rather strange drawn out 'I Love You Because', is night and day but the album holds together almost because of these differences. Plus, the enthusiasm Elvis puts into some of these performances is a joy to behold. New life is breathed into 'Tutti Frutti' by sheer dint of the energy Elvis brings to the performance, for example. Modern bands will use the studio badly, adding layer upon layer of overdubs and production effects. In recent years, I can only immediately think of The White Stripes who understand the benefit of economy in the studio. Elvis and his associates didn't have to think about such things back then, I suppose, to be fair. They just went ahead and did it. 'Elvis Presley' isn't though, for all its excellence, the likes of 'Blue Moon' and 'I'll Never Let You Go' fall flat. Still, by any standards, and if you happen to be old or young, this album stands up. Forget everything you know about Elvis, if possible, and just listen.

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    Readers Comments

    Mike Harras michael@ctu.edu.vn
    Nice to see Elvis finally get reviewed. It is true, it's hard for people today to listen to his early stuff without taking into account the "mistakes" that haven't even occured yet (shit, they can't even listen to the first Sabbath album not picturing a blathering Ozzy Osbourne)or erase the "iconic" Elvis from their minds for a moment. 8's a fair rating for this collection though. Certainly his Sun recordings are essential in any music collection. Hope you review those too!

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    Elvis 9 ( 1956 ) more best albums...
    Rip It Up / Love Me / When My Blue Moon / Long Tall Sally / First In Line / Paralyzed / So Glad You're Mine / Old Shep / Ready Teddy / Anyplace Is Paradise / How's The World Treating You / How Do You Think I Feel

    The first album is called Elvis Presley, the second is called Elvis? What a rip off! A couple of sumptious ballads, some of the best uptempo numbers Elvis ever did and a generally more confident sounding record than his already impressive RCA debut. 'Paralysed' remains one of my favourite Elvis tunes, the silly and hugely great 'ba ba' backing vocals, the stupendously accomplished Elvis vocal and the sheer joy he invests in lines such as 'lucky me, i'm singing every day'. Said line is of course then followed by another burst of 'ba ba, ba'. Which makes it all the better, of course.

    Ah, I should make some general remarks here for all those Elvis doubters, out there. Lots of people in the world have at least one Elvis CD, if they don't, they've heard at least half a dozen Elvis tunes. It's almost inconceivable to imagine there's a single person who hasn't heard of him on the entire planet. We all know the story and all have images of Elvis, what he was and what he did. So, we could just be thinking of 'Jailhouse Rock', 'Love Me Tender' and budget priced compilations. We may own one of these compilations and be fairly happy in our belief that's all we need. That's unfortunate, because there is so much more to discover. This album i'm reviewing right here, for example. I've only had it a couple of months, but i've already listened to it more, and gained more enjoyment than from 'Elvis All Time Greatest Hits'. I never was much of a fan of compilations, anyway.

    Elvis vocal talents deserve a mention at this stage. It's almost possible to be of the belief that Elvis is generally underrated these days as a vocalist. Even on the evidence of this LP alone, he covers pretty much every type of rock and roll singing, varying from all out rock n roll through to pop through to those life-affirming, sumptious ballads. Something clever went on with the second tune, for example. Perhaps Elvis nuts can enlighten me, but it sounds as if Elvis is singing in a hallway, there's this echo applied to his voice, but also an effect where it sounds as if his voice is coming from an extremely high church. 'Rip It Up' is aptly titled, 'Love Me' is one of the finest rock and roll ballads you will ever hear, this version of 'Long Tall Sally' is indication enough of why each and every single member of The Beatles idolized Elvis. Ah, I'll just finish this review now. You know, the sun recordings are great, the RCA debut LP is great, but this LP is the business. Every cut is fine.

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    Readers Comments

    Candi hayezy@hotmail.com
    This is a hot website i do like it. I am the biggest Elvis fan that you have ever met. see i am only 14 yrs old and dont have enough money so get to graceland but i can dream and when i am older i will go to graceland. Well any who i think it is a pretty good web site thank you and Goodbye Elvisly Yours Candi

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    Loving You 8 ( 1957 )
    Mean Woman Blues / (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear / Loving You / Got a Lot o' Livin' to Do / Lonesome Cowboy / Hot Dog / Party / Blueberry Hill / True Love / Don't Leave Me Now / Have I Told You Lately That I Love You / I Need You So

    Part studio album, part soundtrack to Elvis 2nd feature film. This one gets a slightly lower score than the first two RCA albums simply because the songs and even the performances aren't quite as crunchy and exhilarating as the all out rock n roll of the first two LPs. 'Lonesome Cowboy' is the first song I can pass by and live without. Elvis vocal performance is fine, but what kind of material is this? 'Lonesome Cowboy' surely isn't something Elvis himself would have chosen to sing? So it begins, even here, the mans artistic and commercial descent. Well, not commercial descent just yet. This LP inevitably became another chart-topper at a time Elvis probably could have sang the old proverbial phone book and still watched it sail to number one. The man was a hot-dog! Speaking of 'Hot-Dog!', was a fun tune. Another fun tune is 'Got A Lot O Livin To Do'. Real quality appears for the opening two cuts though, the best two cuts on the LP. 'Mean Woman Blues' has a great rolling bass line and Elvis sounds as if he means every word. 'Teddy Bear' is of course one of the mans biggest hits and it's hard to resist the 'bop be dah dah' parts or the measured, delightfully glorious Elvis vocal. 'Party' rivals these two songs, pure fun rock n roll party time music, but with genuine feeling. Oh, notes concerning the CD versions. You'll get at least eight bonus tracks to add to the original twelve ( first 6 soundtrack, second 6 studio cuts recorded at the same time )

    Switching to the second side ( of the vinyl version ) we get Elvis version of 'Blueberry Hill', a tune made famous of course by Fats Domino. I must admit, the fats version is one of my favourite cuts from the fifties and the Elvis version falls a little flat in comparison. Elvis fairs better with 'Don't Leave Me Now', definitely a superior ballad vocal performance from the man. In fact, all three of the last songs on the original LP version are mid and slow tempo ballads. The mid-tempo 'Have I Told You Lately' is the kind of corny song Elvis could sing with his tongue in cheek, you know those times where he would swoop his voice downwards almost like an audible cheeky grin? I love it when he does that. 'I Need You So' is another superior ballad performance and that's your lot, really. Not an essential LP document, not many rock n roll LPs were, but another worthy slice of Original Elvis. This is still a better way to collect the man than a compilation or two. I'd advise everyone to start with his first few RCA lps then take it from there.

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    top of page Elvis Golden Records 9 ( 1958 )
    Hound Dog / Loving You / All Shook Up / Heartbreak Hotel / Jailhouse Rock / Love Me / Too Much / Don t Be Cruel / Thats When Your Heartaches Begin / (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear / Love Me Tender / Treat Me Nice / Any Way You Want Me (That s How I Will Be) / I Want You, I Need You, I Love You

    These are the singles that transformed The King into, well, The King. A beginners guide to Elvis wouldn't be one of the latter, more comprehensive compilations, rather this. Fourteen songs ( 20 on the CD reissue ) that's Elvis at his finest without anything that came later to potentially dilute him. He does his mumbling, does his peerless ballad singing, does his rock n roll. I'm not going to say something daft like 'you know these songs' because there are people I know that don't know these songs. People in their early twenties in particular seem to have absolutely no concept of rock music past. Just a personal observation. It's frustrating that people haven't heard the wonderful likes of 'Love Me', one of the mans very finest ballads. Oh, a note for rock historians. Five of the fourteen cuts come from the famous Leiber / Stoller writing team. Still, this compilation isn't 14 perfect songs. 'I Want You, I Need You, I Love You' was the follow-up to Heartbreak Hotel and seems to indicate nobody knew how to follow-up 'Heartbreak Hotel', which is understandable, really. I've never much cared for the soppy 'Love Me Tender' which doesn't seem to me to present the same genuine emotions as 'Love Me', for example. 'Anyway That You Want Me' is poor material. Still, let's focus on some positives because there are plenty here. 'Heartbreak Hotel', 'Don't Be Cruel' and 'Jailhouse Rock' are three of the very finest and will still be listened to in another 100 years from now. People will sit back amazed at how such recordings could possibly exist in the same way people are amazed at how classical composers came to write their masterpieces. These days, such a thing doesn't seem possible. It's almost impossible to imagine anyone alive today, any group of producers, engineers or musicians being able to create something like 'Hound Dog', for example. Partly this is because we've passed through fifty years of evolution and can't go back to anything 'so simple' with such conviction. It's also partly because an Elvis Presley doesn't appear very often.

    I was going to write some more but it seems rather pointless. These songs are juke-box favourites and a good collection of songs that the Elvis fanbase was built upon. That fanbase never seems to dimish, quite some feat.

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    top of page King Creole( 1958 )
    King Creole / As Long As I Have You / Hard Headed Woman / Trouble / Dixieland Rock / Don't Ask Me Why / Lover Doll / Crawfish / Young Dreams / Steadfast, Loyal & True / New Orleans

    This was Elvis favourite of all the movies he made. As an LP, it stands above many of his other soundtrack efforts. For those of you wanting to place Elvis in a Sun Records or 1956 box, Elvis himself actually wanted to cover other styles of music. All albums of all rock n roll material wouldn't in fact have built the legend as it was built. So, Elvis needed to do tunes such as the poppy 'Lover Doll' and the quiet, almost spirtual 'Steadfast, Loyal And True'. On the otherhand, all time classic material arrives with the stupendous groove of the title track, the absolute fury of 'Hard Headed Woman' ( also check out Wanda Jackson's version of same song ) and the creepy menace of 'Trouble'. I like the fact this LP only lasts twenty one minutes. I like the energy and the fact of the energy combined with the brievity means it's very easy to play two or three times straight. Even if the likes of 'Steadfast, Loyal And True' are bordering on filler, the song is so short that it hardly even seems to matter. The majority of the songs here are strong though.

    I really love 'Dixieland Rock', those old time trumpets swing jazzily and the song just makes a person smile. 'Don't Ask Me Why' is a superior Elvis ballad that highlights the way his voice could move from a rocker ( 'Dixieland Rock' ) straight into a ballad ( 'Don't Ask Me Why' ) and be superior and rich in both forms. A quick word for 'Crawfish' before I go. I love the descending and rising deep melody lines. With almost nothing in the way of instrumentation bar bass and percussion, with wailing in the distance backing vocals reprising Elvis cries of CRAWfish, the song just has atmosphere. Great atmosphere. 'King Creole' is a modest album I suppose by todays standards, but I'm living in today and I still love it. I'm not particularly an Elvis fan, by the way, just a fan of good music. Pick up an Elvis album today and see what you think. Let us know on this page.

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    Readers Comments

    Quite an atmospheric film this was, and the soundtrack is excellent despite its running time of 20 minutes or so. It's a shame your coverage of Elvis cuts out in 1958, though. He had some truly fine recordings in the ensuing years, especially Elvis is Back (1961), From Elvis in Memphis (repackaged for CD as The Memphis Record, 1969), and the most surprising of all, his gospel recordings, especially "His Hand in Mine", recorded in a single evening in 1960.

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    this page last updated 23/08/15

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