on 6 September 2007
This was originaly Elvis Presley's first LP, and it belonges in top 200 R'n'R albums Hall of Fame.
Remastering was done by Kevan Budd, who also did 'Elvis at Sun' and his second LP simply titled 'Elvis'.
If you want early material in superb sound - this is it!
With crisp, clear sound featured here you can realy enjoy virtuoso guitar of Scotty Moore & Chet Atkins,
that constant slapping bass of Bill Black or smart drum rolls of D.J. Fontana, and hear other musicians in all their glory.
Far better sound then on 50's masters boxset.
Booklet and CD are done in the style of original LP release.
With smartly chosen bonus songs this makes one of the greatest R'n'R
CDs you can buy.
on 20 March 2005
Elvis' first Album was a rag tailed affair, pulling together tracks Steve Sholes (and before him Sam Phillips) didn't feel were suitable for single release. The Sun sides were less than great, and "I Love You Because" is just poor. That is except the breathtaking "Trying To Get To You". Why was this not a single? This was easily one of Elvis' best songs, and his father's favourite. Good taste.
Other highlights of Elvis' first outing where a rocking version of "I've Got A Woman", "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down A Cry" and the breathtaking "Blue Suede Shoes", that didn't appear as a single for legal reasons only.
The additional material makes this a 5 start album. "Heartbreak Hotel" is probably his best single, moody and brilliant. "I was The One" was also one of this best ballads, it'd be a while before he reached these heights with a ballad again, though "I Want You I Need You" came close.
"Shake Rattle And Roll" and "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" showed how Elvis struggled for material, but are great songs.
And the best to last. "My Baby Left Me" is one of Elvis' best songs, and anyone who thinks Elvis' career stopped when he left sun and listen to this breathtaking barnstormed.
The first Elvis Presley album was released by RCA in March 1956. You'll already be aware of the sleeve; it's possibly the earliest to be accorded the overused adjective, iconic - could even be justified here. Originally it contained seven tracks from the January 1956 recording sessions, and five tracks which had been recorded at Sun, but not released on that label, the rights for which were transferred to RCA as part of the new contract agreement. The CD release also contains six further tracks from the Jan `56 sessions, several of which appeared as A or B sides of singles in a similar timeframe to the album release.
So what was the music like? Was he going to be able to maintain the stunning performance level of the Sun releases?
The first track ,"Blue Suede Shoes" appears to give a positive answer. Written by Presley's ex-stable mate Carl Perkins, though his version had not yet been released, it's in-your-face rockabilly, but with drums now in the mix. The fSun approach still seemed to be working. However the RCA production team don't stick to this formula, possibly feeling it could have limited shelf-life, obviously concerned that they had to produce something that would sell. Several of the new tracks benefit from the addition of a piano (from Floyd Cramer, later to become Nashville session legend), and some have vocal backing. This certainly adds variation to the end product though in many cases there isn't a dramatic change from the Sun sound. There's no jarring between the new RCA and "old" Sun numbers present.
The material is more varied. Whilst Elvis and the boys had recorded covers at Sun, these tended to be of numbers, the original recordings of which would probably be unknown to the average record buyer. This time among the songs they picked were ones which had been recent hits in the pop and/or R&B charts, Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti", Ray Charles' "I got a woman", the Drifters' "Money Honey", Lloyd Price's "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" and Big Joe Turner`s "Shake, Rattle and Roll"- all from black artists. One of Presley's endearing strengths in these early days was his ability to put his own stamp on songs, rarely would he (and the band) resort to mere mimicry. All of these of his versions of these songs are very good with some, notably, "I got a Woman" and "Lawdy Miss Clawdy", touching on excellence. "Lawdy Miss Clawdy", typically for a New Orleans number, starts with the piano stating the backing theme on hammered single notes then Presley and the band are in there with the chorus, "Well, Lawdy, Lawdy, Lawdy, Miss Clawdy, you sure look good to me......", Scotty Moore takes the break at first echoing the piano on loud ringing, almost metallic guitar, and then doing his his own thing - this is one of the great guitar breaks with some added drum effects. One thing this track is not and that is rockabilly. Whether it's fully deliberate or not the team have expunged all traces of rockabilly but still created a splendid rock'n'roll performance. In contrast, on "I got a woman" they take a number which is not remotely like rockabilly to start with - it was Ray Charles blending gospel, blues and boogie en route to soul - and take it at breakneck pace along with plenty of bass slapping , flurries of notes from Scotty plus one of his trademark country-influenced breaks, a stop start section and the band and Elvis racing each other to the end. The climax is a slow, grinding stage finale - an ending to die for. Makes you wonder if they'd been doing it this way live and merely committed the results straight to wax in the studio in a single take. All this in under two and a half minutes. Fantastic. "Money Honey" is another excellent cover from Presley. The original was by the stylish Clyde McPhatter and the Drifters when they were still an R&B group. With all these numbers Presley takes bits from the original black vocalist, a touch of melisma here, a yelp there, and it all comes out Elvis. And he applies his vocal style as much to white country based numbers as he does to out and out R&B ones.
And there are plenty more highlights: "I'm gonna sit right down..." has sparkling country rockabilly feel with added piano, "Heartbreak Hotel" amply justifies its number one position in the charts and reminds us that Elvis was the best white blues singer bar none, "My Baby Left Me" is another number originally from Big Boy Crudup, and, as a song is virtually the same as his "That's All Right" - blues artists often took overly literally the hit parade edict "make the follow-up similar in style to the hit". But this time it's much more urgent and the overall sound is sharper..
The Sun tracks include the haunting "Blue Moon" , the charming "I love you because", the simply stunning, "Trying to get to you", some country rockabilly in "Just Because" and in "I'll never let you go", a performance which exhibits several of these characteristics.
Overall, a great selection of music. In my view Elvis had managed to retain the quality of his much lauded Sun catalogue and had shown that there were a few more strings to his bow.
on 13 November 2010
This album portrays the roots of a brilliant singer, it gets your foot tapping and if your brave enough or your on your own, you start singing along. Its fantastic, I have been an Elvis fan since I can remember, it is good to have some early work, they are so good, he was always so good.
on 20 September 2008
With a running time of just under half an hour, one might wonder how this album had such an effect on music that was to follow. But upon listening to it, one recognises embryonic rock 'n' roll.
The energy that Presley brings to this record is certainly one of the more noticeable things, expecially on "I Got a Woman" and "Trying to Get to You." But I think that the beauty of this record lies in its inherent contrasts. The differences between "I Got a Woman" and his tender rendition of "Blue Moon" show an artist who was starting to realise his potential to interpret many forms of song. Even this early on, one can see the potential for Presley to become an excellent ballad singer.
But the standout tracks here are total rock 'n' roll. And here Presley takes hold of a genre and makes it his own. The cover shot itself is evidence of Presley's whole-hearted enthusiasm and commitment to R'n'R. It is a visual distillation of the fabulous music contained in the album.
Listen to it and understand how it influenced a huge amount over the next few years.