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The King Of Rock 'N' Roll : The Complete 50's Masters a five CD box set 2012 re-issue. Like previous 'bookset' reissues of the 60s and 70s masters Boxes, there appear to be all 'pros' and very few 'cons' with this release. The content hasn't changed, simply reconfigured into the shelf-friendly DVD-sized 'bookset'. You still get every studio master released by Elvis in the 1950s, as well as rare recordings (My Happiness and That's When Your Heartaches Begin from 1953) and various alternate takes / outtakes and live cuts. In total, 140 tracks tell the story from the early Sun Records recordings, and the RCA signing, until Elvis put his recording career on hold when joined the army in 1958.
The 44-page booklet contains the same Peter Guralnick essay as the original, guiding us through Presley's career-defining early years in an informative and entertaining manner. There is also a 'sessionograhy' detailing all the recording sessions, as well as a discography. An abundance of photos including album covers, posters, ticket stubs and record labels evoke the era perfectly.
A minor quibble is the rather fiddly way the CDs are held in place with plastic sprung clips sitting below each disc, requiring a firm downwards tug at the top of each disc to release and re-seat each CD, but overall, this superb package just got a whole lot more attractive thanks to the excellent packaging.
This Essential Elvis Presley 5 CD set contains 140 digitally remastered tracks, 15 of them previously unreleased (mostly contained on Disc 5, 'are And Rockin') and several others never before released on compact disc.
Anyone who doubts the genius of Elvis Presley should listen all the way through this five-disc set before passing final judgment on the King of Rock and Roll. Of the 140 tracks here, precious few do not give testimony to Presley's enormous gift and enthusiasm for a wide variety of music, including pop, rock and roll, country, gospel, and rhythm and blues. From the first Sun recordings (finally presented by RCA without the annoying overlay of additional reverb) to the rushed singles session Presley cadged while on Army leave in 1958, The King Of Rock 'N' Roll - The Complete 50's Masters radiates an energy, versatility, and awe-inspiring mastery rarely approached by his contemporaries--or any other pop singer, for that matter.
Disc 1: My Happiness - That's All Right - I Love You Because - Harbor Lights - Blue Moon Of Kentucky - Blue Moon - Tomorrow Night - I'll Never Let You Go - I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine - Just Because - Good Rockin' Tonight - Milkcow Blues Boogie - You're A Heartbreaker - Baby Let's Play House - I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone - Mystery Train - I Forgot To Remember To Forget - Trying To Get To You - When It Rains, It Really Pours - I Got A Woman - Heartbreak Hotel - Money Honey - I'm Counting On You - I Was The One - Blue Suede Shoes - My Baby Left Me - One-Sided Love Affair - So Glad You're Mine - I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry - Tutti Frutti
Disc 2: Lawdy, Miss Clawdy - Shake, Rattle And Roll - I Want You, I Need You, I Love You - Hound Dog - Don't Be Cruel - Any Way You Want Me - We're Gonna Move - Love Me Tender - Poor Boy - Let Me - Playing For Keeps - Love Me - Paralyzed - How Do You Think I Feel - How's The World Treating You - When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again - Long Tall Sally - Old Shep - Too Much - Anyplace Is Paradise - Ready Teddy - First In Line - Rip It Up - I Believe - Tell Me Why - Got A Lot O' Livin' To Do - All Shook Up - Mean Woman Blues - Peace In The Valley
Disc 3: That's When Your Heartaches Begin - Take My Hand, Precious Lord - It Is No Secret - Blueberry Hill - Have I Told You Lately That I Love You - Is It So Strange - Party - Lonesome Cowboy - Hot Dog - One Night (Of Sin) - Teddy Bear - Don't Leave Me Now - I Beg Of You - One Night (With You) - True Love - I Need You So - Loving You - When It Rains, It Really Pours - Jailhouse Rock - Young And Beautiful - I Want To Be Free - Baby I Don't Care - Don't Leave Me Now - Blue Christmas - White Christmas - Here Comes Santa Claus - Silent Night - Oh Little Town Of Bethlehem - Santa Bring My Baby Back - Santa Claus Is Back In Town - I'll Be Home For Christmas
Disc 4: Treat Me Nice - My Wish Came True - Don't - Danny - Hard Headed Woman - Trouble - New Orleans - Crawfish - Dixieland Rock - Lover Doll - Don't Ask Me Why - As Long As I Have You - King Creole - Young Dreams - Steadfast, Loyal And True - Doncha Think It's Time - Your Cheatin' Heart - Wear My Ring Around Your Neck - I Need Your Love Tonight - A Big Hunk O' Love - Ain't That Loving You Baby - A Fool Such As I - I Got Stung - Interview with Elvis
Disc 5: That's When Your Heartaches Begin - Fool, Fool, Fool - Tweedle Dee - Maybellene - Shake, Rattle And Roll - Blue Moon Of Kentucky (Alternate Take) - Blue Moon (Alternate Take) - I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone (Alternate Take)- Reconsider Baby - Lawdy, Miss Clawdy (Alternate Take) - Shake, Rattle And Roll (Alternate Take) - I Want You, I Need You, I Love You (Alternate Take) - Heartbreak Hotel (Live) - Long Tall Sally (Live) - Blue Suede Shoes (Live) - Money Honey (Live) - We're Gonna Move (Alternate Take) - Old Shep (Alternate Master) - I Beg Of You (Alternate Master ) - Loving You (Slow Version) - Loving You (Uptempo version) - Young And Beautiful (Alternate Master) - I Want To Be Free (Alternate Master) - King Creole (Alternate Master) - As Long As I Have You (Alternate Master) - Ain't That Loving You Baby (Fast Version - Take 11)
Personnel includes: Elvis Presley (vocals, guitar, piano, bass); Gordon Stoker (vocals, piano); The Jordanaires, Ben Speer, Brock Speer (vocals); Scotty Moore, Chet Atkins, Hank Garland, Carl Perkins (guitar); Mahlon Clark (clarinet); Justin Gordon (saxophone); John Ed Buckner (trumpet); Elmer Schneider (trombone); Ray Siegel (tuba, acoustic bass); Floyd Cramer, Shorty Long, Marvin Hughes, Dudley Brooks, Mike Stoller, Jerry Lee Lewis (piano); Hoyt Hawkins (piano, organ, cymbals); Gordon Stoker (piano, bongos, background vocals); Clayton Perkins (acoustic bass); Neal Matthews (electric bass); D.J. Fontana, Bernie Mattinson (drums); Freddy Martin & His Orchestra.
Principally recorded at Sun Studios, Memphis, Tennessee; RCA Studios, Nashville, Tennessee; RCA Studios, New York; 20th Century Fox and Radio Recorders, Hollywood, California between 1953 and 1958. Includes liner notes by Peter Guralnick.