As much of Elvis Presley's catalogue is now over 50 years old, it has fallen out of copyright. This has resulted in a slew of cheap, nasty compilations from unknown record labels simply trying to cash in. Thankfully this 3CD Set does not fall into that category, being compiled and issued by the "rightful owner" of the sounds, RCA Victor themselves (now part of the Sony Group). As they originally held the copyright, the record company have actually been quite clever with this compilation by including a few tracks which are not yet out of copyright - therefore stealing a march on the cheapskate opportunists, who won't be able to release these tracks for a year or so yet. No doubt a newer compilation will be released later to keep them one step ahead. Good thinking!
So what we have here is an excellent, if rather unfocused, compilation of 90 tracks from the first years of Elvis's success. I say unfocused, as there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason in the order the tracks appear, other than that the majority of the hits are on the first two discs, with the third being, in the main, a collection of his finest religious recordings from the period. To my untrained ear, the vast majority of the tracks appear to be the original recordings; unfortunately the packaging does not confirm this, merely informing us, rather bafflingly, that in most cases that the track was recorded before 1972.
This is an ideal way to start an Elvis collection, or to replace some of your old vinyl with an excellent value compilation. All the early hits are here; "Heartbreak Hotel", "All Shook Up", Jailhouse Rock", "Love Me, Tender", "Hound Dog", "Are You Lonesome Tonight" - I could go on. Some of his best early performances, such as "That's All Right" and "Mystery Train" are also included, as are some of the film songs, such as "GI Blues", "Wooden Heart", "Loving You" and many others.
My only (very minor) gripe goes back to the order of the tracks. I would have preferred it to be along the lines of the similarly named "Real Johnny Cash" set, where the tracks are ordered chronologically in six full albums, with "bonus tracks" from the appropriate period inserted in between them.
Despite that, I really can't recommend this set highly enough. Ninety tracks at an amazing price! You'd be daft to miss out!
PLEASE NOTE - If you are reading this review, and thinking of buying this product, please make sure you are on the correct page for the three disc (90 track) version, as there is also an identically titled, and VERY similarly packaged version which has only one CD with 30 tracks on it. Amazon has posted my review on both pages for some reason, although I only reviewed the 3CD version.