Another Hayride compilation has been released on the Disky label from The Netherlands. By itself this is not too interesting, but we will use this release to explain the origin of the Hayride recordings and the way they are released. This is based on a posting on the FECC message board by a poster using the name "Swedish" and the interview by Fabris Giovanni Luca with Joey Kent, owner of Elvis' Hayride recordings.
The design is very good for a Hayride release, although they used a standard photo (reversed), they did a consequent design. The CD is released by a company from The Netherlands but the liner notes are from Todd Slaughter, President of the official U.K. fan club.
The CD contains 16 Hayride recordings, the quote "Elvis has left the building" and three interviews from 1956. As with most of these releases the sound quality differs since (radio)recordings from various shows were used to compile this (and many other) Louisiana Hayride compilations.
These recordings have been released over and over again by various, sometimes obscure, record companies, but also by BMG. There has been made some effort to make these recordings sound better, the most recent attempt at that was done by Tomato Records which had several parts of Elvis’ backing band (Scotty, DJ Fontana And Bill Black) replayed by studio musicians.
Hayride Recordings History
The Hayride recordings were made routinely by employees of KWKH in Shreveport. The radio station owned them. When KWKH sold the rights to the defunct Louisiana Hayride program to a local Shreveport businessman named Kent in 1973, that meant Kent (and nowadays his son Joey Kent) own the old KWKH recordings and they were amazed to discover 16 of them feature Elvis singing.
RCA does not own rights to every recording made of Elvis singing. And EPE does not own the rights to every photo taken of Elvis. If you tape-recorded Elvis singing, you own that tape, but you don't own the rights to what's on that tape. So you could sell or lease it to BMG or any other record company. Of course royalties must be paid for every copy sold of every song featured and that royalty check (as small as it may be) mainly goes to Scotty Moore, who played on all those Elvis Hayride recordings. A percentage goes to publishers of songs performed like "That's All Right", "Tweedlee Dee” and others.
In the case of Elvis Presley's Hayride recordings, RCA does not own them. There have been court cases about these early Elvis live recordings and according to Joey Kent, owner of the tapes, BMG licensed the tracks from him, so they obviously consider him to be the owner. He has been generous enough to license them to BMG for 50's Masters Box and "Sunrise." He even produced his own 2CD compilation called "Good Rockin’ Tonight" pressed and distributed by Music Mill. Earlier this year Tomato Record released a very good sounding version on these recordings in which they added new recordings of Elvis backing by studio musicians improve the sound.
By itself another Hayride release, above average, but there are better releases available from BMG and Hayride-tape owner Joey Kent which have (slightly) better sound and are more complete.