Surfing the WWW we stumbled on the Master & Session website. Attracted by the design we took a closer look and got a bit dazzled. Several days later we regained consciousness and decided to write this review.
As stated above, the first impression of the site demands further exploration. The setting is soft and tasty and a nice Java-menu with clear, self-explaining buttons takes care of the basic navigation. First you make a choice for the desired decade (fifties, sixties or seventies), where you get a session-overview including complete song-listings. There you can select a certain session or song for the specific details. About the only minor regarding design is the hidden RealAudio behind the songs. You only notice the presence of it after clicking the playtime (or watching the statusbar while moving the mouse over the playtime). It takes a while to get used to this way of navigation, but it works easily after you got it.
The webmaster of the Master & Session website has collected all possible session-information regarding Elvis’ recordings. His site can be described as a pretty complete Internet database. The real interest of the site is the detailed information. It almost makes you feel sorry for yourself when you bought expensive books like Ernst Jorgensen’s A Life in Music, or Joe Tunzi’s the Elvis Sessions. Probably for the common Elvis-fan this site goes far to deep, but for the real freaks it’s heaven. Especially because "Steve Sholes" (what’s in a name?) made the effort to combine sources. The webmaster added some very interesting anecdotes to the otherwise "dull" lists of information, so even for the common fan there is something to find. Unfortunately we are afraid they’ll never see it because they’ll probably be frightened by, or get lost in the huge pile of detail-tables.
A little minus of this type of site is that it is very static. Of course with every "new" released song there comes some additional information available, but overall it is static.
Maybe it’s an idea to add some navigation hints to the info-page and move this page more to the left of the main-menu. Another suggestion to improve the downward navigation is to add "up and down"-arrows, like you used the "left and right"-ones.
One last advice we’d like to give "Steve" is to add a little RealAudio button or logo to the audio-files. We think it would be a loss when the extra the RealAudio could add to the otherwise perhaps "dry" information is not discovered.
This is about the shortest review we made so far. Probably that’s a sign of the greatness of this site. For the freaks it's a must, for other more "common" fans it's a place to bookmark anyway. It's a great to be able to check things out whenever the facts are needed. We are very pleased to give Mr. Sholes our 3 Star Award!