2007 can almost be called the year of the budget compilations, on weekly schedule budget compilations are released by various labels, including BMG who wants to keep up with the budget market too. Every now and then a nice package comes by which grabs your attention. For me “The Original Hit Albums” was one of those packages.
“The Original Hit Albums” comes as a three panel 3CD set. The picture of Elvis in the studio from January 1958 may not be the correct one for Elvis material dating 1954 – 1956, but is does show a young Elvis as an artist in the studio (also used for a SUN compilation by the same Not Now Music label).
Strangely enough this pictures (or others from this session) are hardly used by BMG. One great exception is “Elvis ‘ 56” still one of my personal favourites when it comes to Elvis covers.
Inside we get liner notes telling the story of Elvis first album releases, where the music was recorded and of course the success of those first SUN and RCA recordings. The discs itself are presented as vinyl discs. The one thing missing is the cover art of the original SUN singles and RCA albums. It would have been nice to use those behind the transparent disc inlays instead of the promotional pictures of our man.
I guess I can be brief on the content, who doesn’t know Elvis SUN and early RCA recordings? The first disc contains Elvis’ SUN material, the second his first RCA album and the third disc holds Elvis’ second album. The latter two discs are completed with additional bonus material, the same tracks BMG added when these albums were re-issued in 2005. The track sequence is messed up, but since I play it as a compilation of early work, that’s no problem for me.
How to wrap this up? A nice package nothing new under the SUN so no need for the average fan to pick this up, otherwise than to have a cheap compilation you can keep in your car. For the non-Elvis fan this set is a great introduction to the early Rock And Roll Elvis that conquered the world by storm over fifty years ago. It contains his highest acclaimed work (SUN) and classics like “Heartbreak Hotel”, “Hound Dog” and numerous others performances no music collection should omit. If you ever decide to pick up one of the many many many budget releases popping out on a weekly basis, this is one release you may want to consider.