Have collected EP since the summer of 1964 and have all the "essentials"...and then some. Have great memories of buying, perhaps, an Elvis single a month in my teenage years..while my friends (most of them) stared at me in disbelief (in that "British Invasion" period in pop).
This item is amazing. As a loyal, longtime fan I can say most of the photos and many of the backstories are new to me. I'm still astonished that at age 19, he had that kind of command and was so responsible for a *new* sound. He wasn't 41 and well traveled, by any means. (Just listen to that first, October, 1954, show: he is almost too relaxed!) He "got there" just by *listening* - to his small collection of 78s...on friends' record players. And *watching*: excuse the mention in the same writing breath - but he watched Pentecostal Preachers bang on guitar and walk amongst the asembled - and yes, he watched sensuous aesthetes in strip joints....no?
He cut his first [personal]disc at Sun when he was 18 and could only hear it a pal's house. The pal kept the thing until about 1990!).
For the deep historian, there's not alot that's new - in fact by now, two more Hayride performances have been released - but the sound is crystalline and the actual recording dates are nicely mounted, too - and man, it's so cool, to listen to say "January 15th, 1955" and see a corresponding photo in the pages.
It occurs to me that this CD really tells the larger story of one man and his music which became our music. He sounded confident at 19...a young country boy with a new style...by 21 he was larger than life..in fact, his farewell Hayride show, in December, 1956, after selling millions and millions of discs, and making a very respectable Hollywood western, has little to do with hillbilly bop...he has revolutionized pop music and was now the leader of the generation. oh yeah, with a drummer added and a full gospel quartet, we had a show which absolutely defied description, then and now.
I'm still desperate to hear the long-promised (or long said-to-exist) - presumptive Sun studio takes of I Got a Woman and Uncle Pen and Tennessee, Saturday Night ad live takes of Rock Around The Clock, I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Cry Over You, etc., etc., but this deal will keep me occupied for quite a while.