Two SUN projects were in the works for the major part of 2005, a project by Ernst Jorgensen on the Follow That Dream label and a project by Joe Pirzada. The latter has released his project, “Memphis Recording Service Volume 1: 1953-1954" just before the end of 2005.
How should we type this release? Is it primarily a book, a single or an audio DVD? The package is a four gatefold with a forword by John Michael Heath, a one sided vinyl single, presented in a brown bag, an audio DVD with a reproduction of the original logo and vinyl type grooves on the surface, presented in the same way as the FTD gatefold packages and finally the ninety pages book. Lots and lots of effort has been made to create a very good looking package. We must say we have to get used to the colorized images, but the artist responsible did a great job.
The single and audio DVD look “authentic” and give a nice touch, combining the old vinyl technology with the modern audio DVD quality. The book is colorful, and very illustrated with many black and white and colorized pictures, paper clippings and memorabilia.
While browsing through the booklet we played the audio DVD and must say, compliments to Mick Ritchie who did the restoration and audio engineering. We had second thoughts when the audio DVD with old SUN material was announced, but the producers really managed to make these tracks sound very clear. Both “My Happiness” and “That's When Your Heartaches Begin” have been remastered from the original transfer tapes with full co-operation from Ed Leek. The latter contains the guitar strum intro, omitted on the BMG release. “Blue Moon Of Kentucky” and “I Don’t Care If The Sun Don’t Shine” are the highlights of the studio tracks with a very clear sound and all musicians clearly audible. "That's All Right is 'clean' and without any reverb, we need some time to get used to that.
The live tracks have been improved too. We know these Hayride performances by heart but have not heard them is this quality. For all the audio tracks the producers tried to get back to the best source (original transfer tapes from Ed Leek and the original Louisiana Hayride tapes direct from the Hayrides archives, and it “shows”.
The book describes the birth of Rock and Roll and takes us from Elvis’ first steps on this globe, his first steps on stage as a ten year old at the Tupelo Mississippi – Alabama Fair, his first hesitated steps in a recording studio and his first steps on the road as a performer covering the south. The book covers the years 1953 - 1954. The big line of the story is well known to the average reader of ElvisNews, but the fine-tuning and addition details and corrections on history as we knew it are interesting. We have yet to learn the authority of the author, so we must confess we wait for confirmation of the (new) facts by the well known Elvis expert Ernst Jorgensen who is working on a similar project. But looking at the work and dedication in the design department, we believe the same effort has been made content wise, and the cooperation with people who were there when it happened like Scotty Moore, and authors who cooperated with Ernst Jorgensen, like Stanley Oberst.
Volume 1 of the “Memphis Recording Service Volume 1: 1953-1954” is an interesting and colorful release on an essential part of Elvis career. It does not only look colorful, but it sounds great too. Although this release will please many, including the many knowledgeable and demanding, fans we’ll pass our final verdict when we compare it with Ernst Jorgensen’s SUN release. This release shows that with the right attitude and commitment something great can be created from public domain material we mainly know from throw-a-way releases. Bring on volume 2.
1. My Happiness
2. That's When Your Heartaches Begin
3. That's All Right
4. Blue Moon of Kentucky
5. Good Rockin' Tonight
6. I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine
First Louisiana Hayride Show 16th October 1954
7. Lucky Strike (Scotty and Bill tune up)
8. That's All Right
9. Blue Moon of Kentucky
10. Milkcow Blues Boogie
11. You're A Heartbreaker
On a 45 rpm vinyl single "That’s All Right".