Elvis

By Blogcritics/ David BowlingJun 29, 2008
Elvis
Elvis Presley released his second long playing album, Elvis, on October 9, 1956. Elvis was then a star. His first album, Elvis Presley, and the single “Heartbreak Hotel” had sold millions of copies. In the late summer and early fall of 1956 the double hit single “Hound Dog/Don’t Be Cruel” had topped the American charts for close to two months. In fact “Hound Dog” would be the first song to top the pop, country and rhythm and blues charts at the same time. Elvis was even reported to be dating Natalie Wood. He had it all - voice, looks, popularity, wealth and charisma.
Eleven of the 12 tracks contained on Elvis were recorded during a three-day period. This album was a tad different than the first. The songs were again selected from rock, country and rhythm & blues but Elvis was settling into his classic and unique vocal style. The rockabilly roots were giving way to straight rock and Elvis was now confident enough to record a number of ballads. RCA continued to leave his big single hits off of his albums as the label wanted them to have a commercial life of their own. Thus there was no “Hound Dog,” “Don’t Be Cruel” or “Love Me Tender.” The CD release of this album would contain these tracks plus “Playing For Keeps,” “Anyway You Want (That’s How I’ll Be)” and “Too Much.” These tracks serve to make a very strong album better.

The first two songs are very different yet set the tone for what will follow. Little Richard’s classic song, “Rip It Up,” is given the full Elvis treatment as he tears through it with frenetic energy. “The ballad, “Love Me” follows and provides a wonderful counterpoint. His female fans would always flock to this type of Elvis performance.

Elvis had the confidence to cover three classic country songs. While he remained true to the songs' structures and form, it is his voice that changes them and makes them uniquely his own. Elvis had one of the best vocal instruments in rock music and was able to take almost any song and transform it into his own definitive creation. Bluegrass originator Bill Monroe’s “When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again,” Red Foley’s “Old Shep” and Webb Pierce’s “How Do You Think I Feel” all find Elvis exploring his country roots and then transforming and ultimately transcending them.Other songs such as “Reddy Teddy,” “Long Tall Sally” and “Paralyzed” are all solid. “Paralyzed” gives the writing credit to Otis Blackwell and Elvis. Elvis would only take a writing credit on a small number of songs during his career. It is a testament to his integrity that he would never force this issue.

Elvis has a good feel to it and shows some musical movement and an increasing maturity. This second excellent album by Presley is another critical stop in his musical journey and a fine example of '50’s rock ‘n’ roll.
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Tracklisting

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Reactions

Sandman (profilecontact) wrote on Feb 1, 2010report abuse
The definitive rock album. Superior in every way.
dressingroomrehearsa (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 30, 2008report abuse
intresting talk about elvis presely's cyclic album phases. so for 77 he healthwise should have withdrawn for a while, maybe he would have saved his life...coming back again with new brillant material by 1979...the what if thing, sorry...
JerryNodak (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 30, 2008report abuse
This is the '50s Elvis album I enjoy the most.
My boy, my boy (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 30, 2008report abuse
Elvis's look is stricking on that cover. The entertainer of the century at his peak !...And there were so many more hits to come ahead...
Natha (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 29, 2008report abuse
The cover is indeed very cool. I remember as a kid I wanted to have my hair just like that! And Old Shep? Well, I skipped it a lot (which was hard in those days with vinyl!) as I just lost my extremely sweet and caring dog. Elvis had great sessions later on too, but these were indeed outstanding in a in many ways already outstanding career.
RonBaker (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 29, 2008report abuse
Though perhaps not as groundbreaking...there were two great studio LPs in a row after Elvis came back from the army: Elvis Is Back and His Hand In Mine. We could probably say the same thing about From Elvis in Memphis and Back in Memphis (although they were both recorded in the same sessions). I would add an 'almost' selection as well: That's the Way It Is and Elvis Country as two great albums in a row (although TTWII is a mixture of live and studio recordings). Elvis made a lot of great music!
Steve V (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 29, 2008report abuse
Its amazing how Elvis had 2 stellar & ground-breaking studio albums to start his career off and never was able to repeat that feat again.
dressingroomrehearsa (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 29, 2008report abuse
my favourite track is Anyplace Is Paradise, the song is a real gem. a very underrated and unique track. seems he never revisited this one again or is there some evidence that he played it live at least in the 50's?
Harvey Alexander (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 29, 2008report abuse
This is the first ever Elvis LP I owned and it remains a firm favourite. 'Ready Teddy' is my favourite track and I also love 'Anyplace Is Paradise' and the ballads 'How's The World Treating You' and 'First In Line'. I soon learned to skip 'Old Shep', even if it did make me cry the first time I heard it (hey, I was only a kid!). A great LP and the cover - though not as good as the first LP - is very cool.
Natha (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 29, 2008report abuse
It is truely amazing how Elvis managed to get his career started like this. Two consecutive album of top quality. It is hard to decide which one is the best! Anyway, again he proved to the world how versatile this young artist really was. By the way, I appreciate the remark on writing credits by the reviewer!
Steve V (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 29, 2008report abuse
My favorite Elvis album. Unsurpassed by anyone for a variety of vocal styles not heard before or since. This boy could do it all.

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