Like with the two previous releases from the UK based Memphis Recording Service there was a lively discussion on the product before anyone had held a copy in their hands. This time for good reason, the press release promised unreleased fifties footage with matching audio, to be exact: Elvis in concert in the fifties! And not just any footage, it was from Elvis’ homecoming in Tupelo from September 26, 1956! Were these expectations met?
The package comes as a fold out digipack containing a DVD, which contains both video, and DVD-Audio content.
The DVD (video and audio)
The most important part of this audio-visual presentation is of course the before mentioned footage, and it blows you away! Not because of the quality of the footage and audio, but because of the combination! Never before did I see Tupelo’s own Elvis, which hangs in my living room on a big poster, perform in my living room.
Elvis rocks through six classic songs and really appears to be enjoying himself and the audience; he performs with a big grin on his face while the audience scream their lungs out. He sure must have felt welcome. During his performance he gets more and more into it and especially during “I Got A Woman” (unfortunately only a short clip) and “Hound Dog” he really shows he is the world’s first “atomic powered” singer gyrating that atomic powered pelvis. So this is what it was like to see Elvis perform in the fifties! If only more of this material had been made (and rediscovered!). This actual concert footage shows a very different Elvis than the one we knew from the television shows. This is real live action, Elvis playing to 8000 fans and friends contrary to the middle aged television studio audience.
Joseph Pirzada is a smart businessman, did something no one did before, he approached Fox to see what they actually had filmed. Only snippets ended up in the newsreel. But of course more raw material was filmed and hopefully survived. Fortunately it did. Cleverly dubbed with remastered audio of the concert, which was already released in the eighties by BMG on the "A Golden Celebration" box. The afternoon and evening show are also added.
The other video footage – in color from the Homecoming Parade and Elvis on back and on-stage - is cleverly presented with matching (unreleased) interviews with Elvis’ parents, Anita Wood as well as with Judy Hopper, the girl who got on stage. The DVD also includes 45 seconds of color footage taken of Elvis' evening performance, nice to have, but unfortunately the camera’s were not that good back than, so it is a bit dark, despite being in colour.
The problem we have with the presentation of the material is that it is a bit too flashy and too complete. The navigation menu is hardly readable due to the amount of text (simply too much information pointing out what’s unreleased) combined with the use of only half the screen. Also irritating is the permanent colour logo of the MRS on the black and white footage.
The 172 pages book is done in the same style as the 1955 and 1956 books, full color and a soft cover, in my opinion, too soft making it floppy (please hard cover next time!). The book itself is great, just browsed through it (could not stop watching the concert) and became very envy of the publishers to have all this material. So many pictures and so much memorabilia to work with. The text is written by Tupelo's own, Roy Turner and will provide a treasure of archival material and background information for the eager fan.
Looking at the images, especially the parade, this book captures the timeframe very well. Gladly only a handful of pictures has been colorized this time, so we get history, as it was back then, black and white :-). Oddly enough the cover shot of Elvis in a red shirt is only used on the cover, we don’t see it in the book.
The event itself must have been very special to Elvis and his parents, returning to the city to be honored by officials from the city and the state after having fled from that same city due to poverty.
With their third outing the Memphis Recording Service produced an essential Elvis release. This package – although a bit over designed – is the first release of a virtually complete Elvis concert form the fifties no fan should be without it. It shows the “Atomic Powered” Elvis who conquered the world only to return triumphantly as The King to receive the traditional key of the city he was borne.
Content Tupelo's Own Elvis Presley:
PART 1: DVD- VIDEO
1) Tupelo Welcomes Home Elvis Presley – UNRELEASED footage of the Parade in Tupelo on 26th September 1956 as well as some backstage footage with Elvis. The audio accompanying the clip are the interviews with Elvis, Vernon and Gladys Presley, Nick Adams and Judy Hopper. Running time: 7 min 41 sec
2) Tupelo’s Own Elvis Presley – UNRELEASED film from the afternoon performance ‘The Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show’ at the Fairgrounds in Tupelo Mississippi on 26th September 1956. Never before have we seen an Elvis concert from the 50’s with sound. Until Now! Running time: 13 min 09 sec.
1. Heartbreak Hotel
2. Long Tall Sally
3. Presentation to the City
4. I Was The One
5. I Want Need Love You & I Got a Woman*
6. Don’t Be Cruel
7. Hound Dog*
* Songs available in parts as no footage exist
3) Tupelo Evening Show Clip - UNRELEASED footage from the evening performance. Running time 0.46 sec.
4) Original Fox Movie tone News Reel 1956 – running time 1min 24 sec.
5) Elvis in Tupelo 1957 - Includes an UNRELEASED AUDIO interview with Elvis Presley and Anita Wood. The footage contains performance clips from the 27th September 1957 show as well as backstage and more. 10 mins 12 sec.
Total uunning time: 33 minutes 12 seconds
PART 2: DVD - AUDIO
21 tracks of the Afternoon and Evening performance from the 26th September 1956 shows. All tracks accompanied with photographs. Total running time 51.13
01 Heartbreak Hotel
02 Long Tall Sally
03 Presentation Key To The City
04 I Was The One
05 I Want You, I Need You , I Love You
07 I Got a Woman
08 Don't Be Cruel
09 Ready Teddy
10 Love Me Tender
11 Hound Dog
12 Love Me Tender
13 I Was The One
14 I Got a Woman
16 Don't Be Cruel
17 Blue Suede Shoes
19 Baby, Let's Play House
20 Hound Dog