In the endless series of releases of the Louisiana Hayride recordings we finally have another release (besides Magnum's attempts) that might be interesting. Where Magnum offered a remastered CD with "Playing With Fire" (or "The Hillbilly Cat") last year, Tomato goes one step further. They did some instrumental overdubs to improve sound quality.
The cover art is good to say the least. Some classic 50's shots, decorated with interesting liner-notes by Andria Lisle. There is also a description of the restoration of the recordings. The musicians involved in the project (Paul Nowinski on bass, Jon Paris on (rhythm) guitar and Steve Wolf on drums ("Hound Dog" only) are introduced in this section too.
Overall we can only say one thing. The improvement is remarkable. Probably everybody is familiar with the content itself, so we won't go into the songs, but they do sound much and much better. Sometimes the audience sounds a bit strange, as if they appear suddenly (e.g. during "That's All Right"). A nice addition to the CD is formed by the Lucky Strike commercial and the Louisiana Hayride Theme.
We heard some complaints by fans that it isn't original anymore, since the instrumentals are redone, often the same fans digging the computerised version of 'A Little Less Conversation'. We think this is something completely different, and everybody has his or her own taste, but at least this CD sounds like Elvis probably wanted it at the time, something that can't be said of the recent single release. Of course 'A Little Less Conversation' served its own goal, and obviously succeeded. But where this single mainly had to conquer a new audience, the goal of 'Roots Revolution' is restoration to the best possible quality of original - and for Elvis' career essential - performances. Hopefully the people that became fan because of the recent success will appreciate the original Elvis too. And with this release they are able to listen to the early Elvis on stage in almost decent quality.
Of course the Hayride recordings must be in any fan's collection. If you don't have any of them yet, you might choose the Magnum releases that were earlier mentioned for completeness and 100% authenticity. If you prefer to hear the pure Elvis in a decent sound quality, you'll prefer this one.