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on 1 December 2011
OK the souind quality of these recordings isn't great and I am usually very wary when cd's include the caveat about "historical importance" as it tends to mean the listener is in for a rough time. However bear in mind these tracks are now nearly 60 years old and that they were never intended for commercial release. What you get is a damn fine set of the young Elvis performing live, including the unreleased Hayride show from December '56 and one or two other snippets too. The packaging is superb which is usual for Memphis Recording releases. I enjoyed it very much. Even Hearts of Stone sounds cleaner than I have ever heard it before. For the low admission price this set makes a very nice Xmas present indeed. It's funny how very "Southern" Elvis sounded in '55 when you compare his accent to the later years and very charming it sounds too. Invest in this one immediately please.
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on 1 December 2011
This relese is definitely not for the casual listener, that is, unless the casual listener wants to hear the very beginning, and to try and get a feel for what it was like for those who were there!

Yes the quality is substandard, but these recordings are very old, and the recording conditions were probably not good. If you want professional studio recordings of a young Elvis, then I'd recommend 'Elvis At Sun', which contains all Elvis' studio masters from 1954 and 1955.

What you have in this set is an audio record of Elvis at The Louisiana Hayride, during and just after Elvis' Sun Records period. Vibrant, exciting and youthful. You also get a book of information and photographs, and all for a great price.

I highly recommend this release to all Elvis fans. Now if only someone could find some decent live footage of some of these shows..
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on 1 December 2011
A remarkable find. Unseen photographs and unheard live recordings of the young Elvis. Churlish to be critical of recording quality. The Louisiana Hayride was a radio show, and these tracks would come from radio tanscriptions that were never designed to be played or heard more than once or twice. Remastering is as good as we will get. It is remarkable how close to the recording the band played. Scotty Moore's licks are almost identical to his studio work. For fans, fanatics, collectors and everyone interested in the history of rock n roll. This is where it all began. A singer and style that changed the world.
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on 10 April 2012
Elvis Presley: Well, I'd like to say how happy we are to be out here. It's a real honor for us to get a chance to appear on the Louisiana Hayride show and we're gonna do a song for you. You got anything else to say, sir?

Frank Page: No, I'm ready.

Elvis: We're gonna do a song for you we've got out on Sun Records and it goes something like this....

With that and the first strum of Elvis' guitar the fuse was lit for his rocket-powered ride to become the world's number one Rock'n'Roll superstar!

If you are a fan of ELVIS and need to understand what all the beginning-of-rock'n'roll fuss is about then this is a great value CD/Book for anyone.

In the past Elvis' few recorded Hayride performances have been spread among a pile of releases of varying quality and substance. Somewhat surprisingly Elvis' very first almighty Hayride performance from October 16th 1954 being the most common (luckily because it was captured on tape in good quality).
Other songs however like the fabulously rare `Hearts of Stone' and `I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine' or an early `Money Honey' (captured live one year before Elvis recorded it for RCA!) were basically unlistenable due to the terrible quality of the surviving acetate recordings.

The final key to a historical overview of Elvis' Hayride performances was the discovery and auction of Elvis' final Hayride performance from December 16th 1956.

Making use of the Public Domain laws MRS have compiled a sensational 76 minute CD featuring all of Elvis' available Hayride performances. What's more by using some astounding audio technology the previously un-listenable performances now sound ok, albeit NOT in hifi-quality. This really demonstrates what twenty years of technological advancement and an amazing audio engineer can do.
The book is 96 pages with a CD stylishly inset in the back cover. The design is nicely laid-out with plenty of full-page Elvis photos, along with some illuminating text.
What a change you can see from the hesitant young Elvis on the first page back in 1954 to the superstar in leather gloves leaving the Hayride on December 16 just two years later - as shown on the book's final page!

The informative text captures the excitement and adventure of these two years with the Louisiana Hayride, without whose help and exposure Elvis may not have achieved the rocket-launch to fame that his talent deserved. It is good to be reminded of some salient facts, for instance the fact of the huge gap between Elvis' last regular Hayride gig on March 31st 1956 (no audio survives) and his final hurrah on December 16th 1956.

A lot of the key photos I have seen spread out through the earlier MRS deluxe books but having the specific Hayride photos collected together - plus all the new 1956 images not in previous MRS books - is very impressive.
There are plenty of images here that seem new to me and putting the action shots to match the featured Hayride recordings really do help explain the Elvis phenomenon

A packed CD of twenty-nine tracks takes us from Elvis' first Hayride performance on October 16 1954, through to his last on December 16th 1956 and all sounding better than on previous releases.
The real treat for me is hearing Elvis' songs within the Hayride setting starting with the fabulously tacky Hayride intro jingle, setting the scene before Elvis walks on stage.

The August 20th 1955 performances are some of the best and in great audio quality too. By now the band has total confidence and everyone is having a ball even if live on the radio - "I'm sick, sober and sorry" jokes Elvis. `Baby Let's Play House' is fabulous with lots of hiccupping and laughter plus a great audio balance with Scotty's Moore's guitar and Bill Black's bass rockin' out!

Elvis finally ends the year with an all-mighty `Hound Dog' as his faithful fans scream their lungs out in love and appreciation. How amazing to compare this explosive fan adoration to track one of this CD when Elvis first walked out onto the Hayride stage.

The final `Elvis has left the building' track is a lovely addition including "I told you absolutely straight up to this point that that he has left the building" - what a fabulous finish! Similarly the final Hayride jingle reminds you that the Hayride was still a family "country" affair and not a platform for launching rock'n'roll careers.

Overall Verdict: At last we get all of these all-important live Louisiana Hayride performances on one great CD. While this could have been done by any label, we are lucky that MRS have done such terrific work combining the stunningly upgraded acetates along with Hayride jingles plus producing a fabulous and informative 96-page book to go with it packed with great Elvis photos. This really is another high-quality and value-for-money product from MRS - Highly Recommended for Rock'n'Roll fans.

See the full review plus images and text extracts at the Elvis Information Network website
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on 21 December 2011
There have been a number of Elvis Louisiana Hayride compilations over the years, so why another. Anything from the Memphis Recording Service label has to be paid attention and this book/CD package is certainly attractive. The book is great, although illustration heavy and words light. The CD is good too - the tracks are in chronological order and the sound quality is about as good as it can be. Best of all is the 16 December 1956 Hayride Return concert - heard in its entirety and in the best sound quality possible for the first time. There's 75 minutes of sound too. My reservation is over the 'complete' tag - I have the other compilations. Where is Good Rickin' Tonight from 25 June 1955 and Tweedle Dee from 17 December 1955 for starters, and I am sure there are others. So, treat it as a book with a CD and you'll be OK; but as a 'Complete' CD, with a book, its a bit of a let down.
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on 11 June 2013
As a small CD/Book set, nothing matches this beauty. Memphis Recording Service are well known for their high quality releases and now with this fitting tribute to Elvis Presley's stints at the Louisiana Hayride, they have excelled themselves.

Other than the benefit of gathering these historic mid 1950's recordings in one place for us, the presentation is out of this world. I am even tempted to order another set just for keeps! The packaging is just too beautiful to describe here.

As you might expect, the recordings are not latest technology to say the least. But that's not to say they are bad. They were most likely recorded on a big single track reel to reel tape recorder back then and as long as you expect that quality you won't be disappointed when listening to history in the making. Elvis was barely 20 years old and about to turn the world upside down.

I can't recommend it strongly enough. Get your copy while still available. I received mine in December 2011 when the price was £11.99
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on 19 February 2012
The Complete Louisiana Hayride Archives 1954-1956 (CD+100 Page Book)

For anyone fascinated by the early career of Elvis Presley this is a must. There is one song (Hearts of Stone) I'd not heard by Elvis before.
The music covers his appearances on this radio show in 1954, 1955 and 1956. The largest number of songs come from a 1956 session he did free, the proceeds going to a local charity (YMCA). Even in 1956 the radio station announces, 'Elvis has left the building' to avert a possible riot.
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on 4 June 2013
Its still not complete because Elvis' first appearance on the Hayride was when he was a guest the week before.I know all this because my penfriend Ginny Wright sent me the missing one which is Elvis At The Hayride on the Louisiana Hayride label.
The narration by M C Frank Page is 13+ minutes long and ends just as Ginny Wright's song is ending.So what follows is the very first Elvis appearance.
When Ginny met him after he gave her a signed A4 glossy which must be worth a fortune today.
This double CD includes everything from the CD under review
Yet in spite of a 100 page book there's no mention of Ginny Wright whose recording career began the year before Elvis cut the custom disc.
She has total recall of everything something I emailed a magazine called Now Dig This about and that I could arrange an interview with one of the few survivors from that time who met Elvis but the answer from some person called Trevor something was so cavalier that in the end Ginny told me to ignore them and that she would never do it.So today a magazine called Now Dig This is one I would not want to know about.They could have had a world exclusive but blew it
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on 6 August 2013
A great timepiece as Elvis was in his very early days. Not brilliant sound but what can you expect from something so old not intended for release at the time.
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on 31 January 2012
The best issue yet of the Hayride Sessions despite a few wrongly captioned photos sadly Rock Around the Clock and Crazy Man Crazy have yet to surface!
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