A couple of years ago three books by the hand of Bill E. Burk were issued with the title “Early Elvis”: “The Humes Years”, “The Tupelo Years” and "The Sun Years". The first two titles were reissued this year because of the 25th anniversary of Elvis’ untimely death. A good reason to give one of them, "The Tupelo Years" a closer look.
The book has a nice drawing by the well known artist Betty Harper on the front. The page lay-out is very clear, and a good paragraph division makes it very easy to read. The pictures are collected in two sections of glossy paper and are printed well, especially regarding the age of the originals.
Knowing Burk’s style of writing from his magazine “Elvis World” we knew beforehand that it would be a “catchy book”. Our expectations were met and most will read the book in one breathe. The chapters are mainly based upon interviews with people who were there and the author claims that he used the “three times” philosophy and overall it looks he lived up to that. Only one real contradiction was found (which of the Presley families was first in the First Assembly of God church), but like Burk claims… it is over 50 years ago, and it is not a shame at all people do not remind such things exactly.
Overall one gets a very good impression how life was in that little Mississippi town in those thirties and forties. Some fairy tales about Elvis are tackled and some general thoughts are confirmed.
Reading this book was not a penalty at all. Burk’s pleasant style provides that a collection of interviews with often partly the same “content” gets boring. Early Elvis: The Tupelo Years might give a lot of fans more insight in their idol.