A couple of years ago Cool Romeo released two box sets with the name “Celluloid Rock”. They contained a lot of outtakes of the movies and became a collector’s item, if not for the music, then at least for the beautiful presentation in two box-sets. Recently Cool Romeo did it again with two box-sets titled “Unsurpassed Masters” box 1 and 2. Together these boxes contain seven CD's. There now two multi volume series with this title. In the early nineties 4 CD's with this title we released on the Yellow Dog label.
Both boxes are done in the same style. The first with one of the famous “Jailhouse Rock” promotion pictures on the front, the second with an early 60’s picture. The pictures are on a marble like background. All CD’s (4 in the first box and 3 in the second) have the same front, but inside other pictures are used. Both boxes contain a sheet with the track list and a beautiful booklet with the session information and great pictures, both black/white and colour. According to the sheet the box sets are limited to 1000 copies. The design of the set demands to have it in your collection.
Long time collectors will find nothing new on these two releases. The material can be found on several other import releases from the past, like the “There’s Always Me”-series, “24 Carat Gold”, “Something Complete” and the “Stand By Me”-volumes. In some occasions the sound is really improved, especially compared to “Something Complete”.
The set starts in 1954, with Elvis doing “I Love You Because” and “That’s All Right”, has a short stop in 1956 (“One-sided Love Affair” and “Lawdy Miss Clawdy”), before going to the June 1958 sessions.
Volume Two contains the rest of the ’58 stuff, with again no take 19 of “I Got Stung”. Volumes 3 and 4 contain the October 1960 session (“His Hand In Mine”/”Surrender”). As a bonus Volume 4 has some takes of “Fame And Fortune”, “That’s Someone You Never Forget” (take 7) and “I’m Yours” (take 5).
The second box starts with Volume 5, containing The March ’61 sessions. Volume 6 continues with this session, before we jump to March ’62 on the last CD of the set.
So the set covers a lot of Elvis’ first 8 years as professional recording artist and has some of his finest work on it. So it's a good addition to the official Essential box sets BMG released. You can now hear how those tracks were recorded.
For the material a lot of fans will not need this release. Still we have to say: “Buy it, when you can get it! (and afford it)”, since this is one of the best releases regarding design ever, period.