Top positive review
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A very good career overview
on 14 August 2010
This box provides an accessible and affordable detailed introduction to the mans music. If you just want the hits theres 100's of options out there (the best is without a doubt the 3 disc "Hitstory")to chose from. If your not a committed fan though but are curious to get a more indepth insight that goes beyond the greatest hits but unsure which albums to go for, this is possible the best Elvis "starter kit" you could have.
From his 1st album release for RCA in '56, "Elvis Presley" it is the nearest you get to his early Sun cuts without buying them,which you should do. With the pink and green lettering (which was paid tribute to by the Clashs own "London Calling") through to the tailend of his life and career with the great "Moody Blue".
"Moody Blue" is an album worth so much more than AMG's paltry 2 star rating (goes to show even respected sources get it wrong sometimes). Considering his physical state at the time some of these performances beggar belief that he could still turn them out. The last LP release before his death deserves inclusion.
The 2 albums already mentioned which are number 1 and 7 in the box in terms of chronology would be on any "essential" list. So would the 2nd the "Christmas Album" recorded in '57. This was the marker he threw down to the world to say he was more than a white blues shouter. It hints at the range of performance styles he would soon prove himself capable of."Here comes Santa Claus" is pure pop, "Blue Christmas" pure blues, "I Believe" is country and "I'll be home for christmas" demonstrates the vocal range in a spine tingling dozen words or so. Forget the seasonal aspect this is an awsome album.
Just to show nobodys perfect (thats both Elvis and the compilers) we have "Blue Hawaii"- movie soundtrack. AMG hit it on nose here with 2 1/2 stars. Theres still moments everyone should own such as "Rock a hula baby", his only Hawaiian based beachbum/misunderstood richboy/playboy track worth having. Most of the soundtracks will have one or two gems and shouldnt be dismissed out of hand if im honest because of these. The only other song worth having here is "Cant help falling in love".
Next up 2 stone wall classic rock albums. Both absolute belters. The '68 special needs no further introduction. This begins a short period regarded as Elvis' rebirth that would go on till about '73 with the great "Aloha from Hawaii" concert and album.
The '68 special is one of those moments in rock that truly deserves to be called iconic. This is all about the performance. Who cares about the quality of the songs here,here he would've outshone and out performed ANYONE in a charismatic tour de force. Freddy would've hidden behind Brian Mays perm rather than follow this, Meatloaf wouldve packed it in and joined weight watchers!
Back to the more sensible side of this reviewing nonsense. "From Elvis in Memphis" is THE Elvis album. Good as the Sun sessions are and the '68 special mesmerizes this is it. The best Southern soul album of the 60's? Possibly. Its immense not just for the quality of songs and performance but the calibre of the players present. If you only recognise "In The Ghetto", "Suspicious Minds" thats reason enough to have this cd but the standard never drops.
Lastly "I'm 10,000 Years Old: Elvis Country". "From Elvis in Memphis" proves he could do soul and "I'm 10,000 Years Old: Elvis Country" proves he could do country with equal ease and accomplishment.While the songs speak for themselves ive always found the title track nippy. Not the song itself but its faded in and out insertion between the other tracks. Its annoying rather than innovative or clever and detracts from the overall enjoyment of the album as a whole. Thus id disagree with AMG's 4 1/2 stars and drop this to 3. But you might not find it so intrusive so try it and see, the tracks on this album are worth it still.
In summary this is a great boxset largely well thought out in terms of the original albums included here. The one significant blip is Blue Hawaii but i guess a soundtrack had to be in here but theres several better ones.
This is a solid 4 star boxset and great value for money too and i dont hesitate in recommending it.