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Elvis Aaron Presley

By Blogcritics.com/ David BowlingAug 4, 2008
Elvis Aaron Presley was an 8 LP box set released in 1980 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of his recording debut. Despite the high price tag it sold over a million copies and consisted basically of unreleased live performances and obscure tracks from Elvis’ long recording career. Many of these tracks have now been re-released a number of times but in 1980 they were unique. This set was issued in CD form in the early 1990s but has long been out of print.
Side one of the first disc is an early live performance recorded at the New Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas in the spring of 1956. It is a short thirteen minute concert but Elvis rocks throughout. “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Long Tall Sally,” “Blue Suede Shoes” and “Money Honey” are sung in their entireties at a blistering pace. These are not the throwaway songs they would become in the 1970s but rather find a young, vibrant Elvis at his rock ‘n’ roll best. Side two is a thirteen minute monologue recorded on the set of one of his movies. It is interesting to hear once but that’s about it.

The second disc contains a complete concert performed March 25, 1961 in Honolulu Hawaii. This 15 song set featured fourteen of Elvis’ early hits plus a stirring rendition of “Swing Low Sweet Chariot.” From the opening “Heartbreak Hotel” and “All Shook Up” to the closing “Hound Dog,” he is found at the top of his game. Scotty Moore, D.J. Fontana, Boots Randolph, Floyd Cramer, Bobby Moore and Hank Garland comprised his crack band at the time.

The third disc is entitled “Collectors’ Gold From The Movie Years.” It is basically alternate versions of previously released songs from his films. It really does not matter if this is take 16 of “Wild In The Country” or take 4 of “A Dogs Life,” most of the songs sound the same as the originally released versions and this disc is best skipped.

Disc four contains songs from Elvis’ 1968, 1973 and 1977 TV specials. All of the tracks had been released prior to 1980 and here they are removed from their television and concert contexts. It’s nice to hear “Blue Christmas,” “Lawdy Miss Clawdy/Baby What You Want Me To Do” and “You Gave Me A Mountain” again but it not necessary.

The fifth disc contained ten songs from various Las Vegas concerts. While the songs are familiar, these particular performances had never been released. “Kentucky Rain” and “An American Trilogy” are both excellent. “Polk Salad Annie” is always a welcome performance by Elvis. “Little Sister/Get Back” feature Elvis on guitar. All in all this was an enjoyable disc.

The sixth disc purports to contain lost singles. Such songs as “Softly, As I Leave You,” “Fool,” “The First Time Ever I Saw You Face” and “America The Beautiful” may not have been big hits and may be enjoyable but they were never truly lost.

Side one of disc seven would contain four songs under the title; “Elvis At The Piano.” Three of the songs were taken from the Fool album but the fourth; “Beyond The Reef” was a rare unreleased Elvis studio track and is excellent. Side two was an unreleased performance from 1975. These last years were not kind to Elvis and the renditions of “Love Me Tender,” “All Shook Up,” “Love Me” and more are inferior. It is sad to compare these versions to those of the first two discs in this set.

Disc eight takes the 1975 concert to its conclusion with nice renditions of “T-R-O-U-B-L-E” and “Why Me Lord.” The hits “Burning Love” and “The Wonder of You” find Elvis in fine form. The album concludes with a seemingly random selection of various songs from all parts of Elvis’ career. “How Great Thou Art” is the original version and is always worth a listen. However, we really don’t need to hear “Little Darlin” again.

Elvis Aron Presley was a prototype Elvis Presley post death release. Songs would be moved around and alternate and live tracks would surface. It would quickly become apparent that there was no treasure trove of unreleased studio material.

It has now been 31 years since Elvis Presley’s death and his music continues to sell. His original releases and all sorts of compilations are being purchased by long time fans and new fans who were not even alive during his lifetime. Elvis Presley certainly left an indelible mark on music but all the more so on American culture.
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Reactions

KingKreole (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 6, 2008report abuse
I still love this set. I actually ended up with 2 on vinyl and of course the CD set too. (One was at a garage sale! I had to buy it again even though I already had it.) I agree with 2 things said: I hope they someday can really make the 1961 concert sound great and I adore the "monologue" disc of Elvis talking about life. I did, and do, skip over the disc with stuff from the TV specials. Seems a little pointless. Why not put some rare unreleased stuff from those same TV specials?Certainly the 68 one had tons to choose from, and 73 had all that stuff that popped up on the Pickwick Mahalo album and the 77 one...actually, I am not sure. Still, a small complaint, never really thought about it at the time. And Datin' and a Dog's Life were revelations to me at the time. I was only 12 years old at the time (wow. I just realized that) I knew Elvis was so much better than some of that movie material, but until I heard him breaking up trying to get through it, I don;t think I had realized that he knew he was much much better too. It has never ceased to amaze me how the man could rise to any occasion and turn a song like A Dog's Life into something palatable. I found the "golden celebration" set much much more disappointing.
Eap54 (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 6, 2008report abuse
I bought this album when it was released on LP. Never played it . just about killed me not to but when it came out on CD I Bought it and find it to be a it to be a great buy. This was the first time they releleased Elvis laughing on are you lonesome tonight, the thry released it on the on anther LP so fans could listen it and the booklet is is a little different too
Jumpin Jehosaphat (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 6, 2008report abuse
A must have along with the Gold Set... should be owned in both forms lots of real nice photos on the Gold LP Jackets that are not repeated in the booklet of the gold set..
JimmyCool (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 5, 2008report abuse
A must have! I bought it on CD in 1998 (I was 16) and it's one of my favorite box-sets, along with Platinum and the '50s, '60s and '70s boxes.
Ton Bruins (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 5, 2008report abuse
In 1980 I was only an Elvis fan for three years. So you can imagine what an impact this box had on me ! Still remember playing those unreleased Live tracks like Polk Salad Annie and My Babe. Or songs like First Time Ever I Saw Your Face and Fool. Songs I heard for the first time..This one is a classic for me. Couldn't stop looking at those beautiful pictures of Elvis in the booklet, lol..
Steve V (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 5, 2008report abuse
This was a huge release when it came out. All the fans enjoyed it. I still do. Like Jerry, I have a sealed copy of the vinyl boxset and a copy on CD. Still the only legit release of that legendary 61 show.
JerryNodak (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 5, 2008report abuse
I still remember buying this on vinyl back in the day and rushing home to play it. This set was a big deal back then. I still have my vinyl though I haven't played it in years. I did buy this set on cd when it was released a number of years ago. Still play it occasionally. Still enjoy it a lot.
dressingroomrehearsa (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 5, 2008report abuse
How hard I worked for the purchase of this gem almos 30 years ago as a 16 year old fellow at a factory during my school vacation! And how thrilled I was to listen to it. The Las Veagas tapes from 56, the '61 show. A little dissapointment created the spliced "Baby What You Want Me To Do" which was a shame to do so, my favourite show was the show-wise arranged 1975 concert.
mature_elvis_fan75 (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 4, 2008report abuse
And why is it out of print? as least be nice to have online shop have it in stock,since it has material not on anyother cd!
Ronaldv (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 4, 2008report abuse
What can I say? This is a real classic! I'll keep it till the day I die. Bought the 8lp silver box back in 1980 for 169,95 Dutch guilders together with my brother. An awful lot of money when you're 10 and 13 years old. My brother still has it. I bought the cd version for a bargain in a record store in Denmark a couple of years ago. That Dallas gig is fabulous and a sensation at the time! Back then I didn't know it was cut out of several june 75 concerts, it sounds like a complete show.
OtisBlue22 (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 4, 2008report abuse
"Side two is a thirteen minute monologue recorded on the set of one of his movies. It is interesting to hear once but that’s about it." (?) I will never get tired of this interview, no matter how many times I play it. Still, it's probably worth investing in The Elvis Treasures for the longer, 18 minute version, part of the Elvis Speaks audio CD.
RonBaker (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 4, 2008report abuse
I bought the albums as soon as they were released...I did what is now called pre-ordering at our local record shop (long since gone). The album was an incredible overview of Elvis' career that gave us 3 concert experiences: Vegas at the beginning, Hawaii in '61 and a concert from 1975. It also included moments from his 3 television specials, outtakes from the movies, an interview, and singles on album format. I thought it was a perfect tribute to Elvis...as good as possible...and it remains one of my favorite Elvis collections today...even thoughmost of the tracks are available in other places. The box set had great picture sleeves for each of the albums and a booklet that should have been gargantuan considering the importance of the material being released. Hats off to RCA or Joan Deery or both for coming up with this great set. Hopefully FTD can 'fix' the sound of the Hawaii '61 concert and issue it separately some day.

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