Slacker Logo

The King of Rock 'n' Roll: The Complete 50s Masters

Advertisement
Advertisement
Elvis Presley 6/23/1992

Review

Prior to the 1992 release of the five-disc box set The King of Rock 'n' Roll: The Complete 50's Masters, RCA's approach to reissuing Elvis Presley on CD -- or on LP, for that matter -- was rather scatter-shot, seeming to follow the dictates of the market more than the demands of history. There were some excellent releases of archival material and in 1987, on the tenth anniversary of the King's death, there was a stellar series of compilations, but most of what was released was a constant stream of recycled hits, which this box most certainly is not. This set is sharply and expertly assembled, presenting Elvis' peak as a creative and cultural force in staggering detail. Despite the subtitle of this box, this does not contain everything Presley recorded in the '50s; there are alternate takes not present on this set, including second takes for Sun that were included on the subsequent collection Sunrise, and after this release, more acetates recorded around the same time as his privately recorded "My Happiness" (unveiled here for the first time) were found and released. That said, those alternate takes are the province of collectors, particularly since the best of those are chronicled on the fifth and final disc of this set. That means, anything a real serious fan or listener needs is on this exhaustive set, since it chronicles the rise of the greatest figure of American music in the 20th century. The first disc is largely devoted to the released Sun singles, both the As and Bs, and this remains the rawest, liveliest, nerviest music Presley ever cut, retaining its power over the years; decades later, it still sounds alive and unpredictable -- it still is possible to hear rock & roll being created in its very grooves and it's just as thrilling to hear the kinetic energy of this lean combo create an entirely new music; anybody who doubts Elvis as an innovator need only hear this to be proven wrong. Toward the end of the first disc, Elvis leaves Sun for RCA, and the production is a little cleaner and the material a little more streamlined, but that's just a relative judgment. This is still the birth of rock & roll, and when "I Got a Woman" and "Heartbreak Hotel" inaugurate the RCA years, that wild energy is still palpable, even now. As this set illustrates, partially through its sheer scope, that energy could be dissipated by an inclination to move toward the pop mainstream, which could result in beautiful, heartbreaking ballads, but also the safe pop crooning that debilitated his career in the '60s. Fortunately, at no time in the '50s did he sink into the murk that enveloped him for a period in the '60s. He may have recorded forgettable ballads and trifle (including, ironically, one of his few compositions, the corny "We're Gonna Move"), sometimes succumbing to either his trite side or the demands of the marketplace, but the remarkable thing about this box is how consistently compelling, even thrilling, this music is. The overly familiar hits, and they're all here, are given new life in this context, which has the feeling of history unraveling in front of your ears. That's what makes this box set transcendent -- the music and annotation alone would make it necessary for libraries, but this is better because it is thoroughly listenable, while presenting history in a compelling narrative context. Yes, some of these tunes sound like light pop tied to their time, but they make for very few cuts on this 140-track box. Most of this is dynamic, thrilling music that presents Elvis at his very best. Historically, this is surely essential, but what makes the box so great is that it's so entertaining, providing ample proof that Elvis' music is indeed every bit as influential and timeless as the history books state. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Read More Read Less
  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 My Happiness Elvis Presley 2:30
  3. 2 That's All Right Elvis Presley 1:55
  4. 3 I Love You Because Elvis Presley 2:41
  5. 4 Harbor Lights Elvis Presley 2:34
  6. 5 Blue Moon of Kentucky Elvis Presley 2:2
  7. 6 Blue Moon Elvis Presley 2:39
  8. 7 Tomorrow Night Elvis Presley 2:58
  9. 8 I'll Never Let You Go (Little Darlin') Elvis Presley 2:23
  10. 9 I Don't Care if the Sun Don't Shine Elvis Presley 2:27
  11. 10 Just Because Elvis Presley 2:32
  12. 11 Good Rockin' Tonight Elvis Presley 2:11
  13. 12 Milk Cow Blues Elvis Presley 2:37
  14. 13 You're a Heartbreaker Elvis Presley 2:10
  15. 14 Baby Let's Play House Elvis Presley 2:15
  16. 15 I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone Elvis Presley 2:36
  17. 16 Mystery Train Elvis Presley 2:24
  18. 17 I Forgot to Remember to Forget Elvis Presley 2:27
  19. 18 Trying to Get to You Elvis Presley 2:30
  20. 19 When It Rains, It Really Pours Elvis Presley 2:1
  21. 20 I Got a Woman Elvis Presley 2:23
  22. 21 Heartbreak Hotel Elvis Presley 2:7
  23. 22 Money Honey Elvis Presley 2:34
  24. 23 I'm Counting on You Elvis Presley 2:23
  25. 24 I Was the One Elvis Presley 2:33
  26. 25 Blue Suede Shoes Elvis Presley 1:58
  27. 26 My Baby Left Me Elvis Presley 2:10
  28. 27 One-Sided Love Affair Elvis Presley 2:9
  29. 28 So Glad You're Mine Elvis Presley 2:20
  30. 29 I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Cry (Over You) Elvis Presley 2:1
  31. 30 Tutti Frutti Elvis Presley 1:57
  32. 1 Lawdy Miss Clawdy Elvis Presley 2:7
  33. 2 Shake, Rattle & Roll Elvis Presley 2:27
  34. 3 I Want You, I Need You, I Love You Elvis Presley 2:39
  35. 4 Hound Dog Elvis Presley 2:14
  36. 5 Don't Be Cruel Elvis Presley 2:1
  37. 6 Any Way You Want Me (That's How I Will Be) Elvis Presley 2:13
  38. 7 We're Gonna Move Elvis Presley 2:29
  39. 8 Love Me Tender Elvis Presley 2:39
  40. 9 Poor Boy Elvis Presley 2:13
  41. 10 Let Me Elvis Presley 2:8
  42. 11 Playing for Keeps Elvis Presley 2:49
  43. 12 Love Me Elvis Presley 2:43
  44. 13 Paralyzed Elvis Presley 2:23
  45. 14 How Do You Think I Feel Elvis Presley 2:9
  46. 15 How's the World Treating You Elvis Presley 2:23
  47. 16 When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again Elvis Presley 2:20
  48. 17 Long Tall Sally Elvis Presley 1:50
  49. 18 Old Shep Elvis Presley 4:9
  50. 19 Too Much Elvis Presley 2:30
  51. 20 Anyplace Is Paradise Elvis Presley 2:24
  52. 21 Ready Teddy Elvis Presley 1:55
  53. 22 First in Line Elvis Presley 3:21
  54. 23 Rip It Up Elvis Presley 1:53
  55. 24 I Believe Elvis Presley 2:3
  56. 25 Tell Me Why Elvis Presley 2:5
  57. 26 Got a Lot O' Livin' to Do! Elvis Presley 2:30
  58. 27 All Shook Up Elvis Presley 1:56
  59. 28 Mean Woman Blues Elvis Presley 2:15
  60. 29 Peace in the Valley Elvis Presley 3:20
  61. 1 That's When Your Heartaches Begin The Million Dollar Quartet 3:20
  62. 2 Take My Hand, Precious Lord Elvis Presley 3:16
  63. 3 It Is No Secret (What God Can Do) Elvis Presley 3:52
  64. 4 Blueberry Hill Elvis Presley 2:38
  65. 5 Have I Told You Lately That I Love You Elvis Presley 2:31
  66. 6 Is It So Strange Elvis Presley 2:28
  67. 7 Party Elvis Presley 1:25
  68. 8 Lonesome Cowboy Elvis Presley 2:59
  69. 9 Hot Dog Elvis Presley 1:11
  70. 10 One Night of Sin Elvis Presley 2:34
  71. 11 (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear Elvis Presley 1:45
  72. 12 Don't Leave Me Now Elvis Presley 1:57
  73. 13 I Beg of You Elvis Presley 1:50
  74. 14 One Night Elvis Presley 2:29
  75. 15 True Love Elvis Presley 2:4
  76. 16 I Need You So Elvis Presley 2:36
  77. 17 Loving You Elvis Presley 2:11
  78. 18 When It Rains, It Really Pours Elvis Presley 1:47
  79. 19 Jailhouse Rock Elvis Presley 2:26
  80. 20 Young and Beautiful Elvis Presley 2:1
  81. 21 I Want to Be Free Elvis Presley 2:11
  82. 22 (You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care Elvis Presley 1:51
  83. 23 Don't Leave Me Now Elvis Presley 2:4
  84. 24 Blue Christmas Elvis Presley 2:6
  85. 25 White Christmas Elvis Presley 2:22
  86. 26 Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane) Elvis Presley 1:53
  87. 27 Silent Night Elvis Presley 2:22
  88. 28 O Little Town of Bethlehem Elvis Presley 2:34
  89. 29 Santa Bring My Baby Back (To Me) Elvis Presley 1:51
  90. 30 Santa Claus Is Back in Town Elvis Presley 2:22
  91. 31 I'll Be Home for Christmas Elvis Presley 1:52
  92. 1 Treat Me Nice Elvis Presley 2:10
  93. 2 My Wish Came True Elvis Presley 2:33
  94. 3 Don't Elvis Presley 2:47
  95. 4 Danny Elvis Presley 1:51
  96. 5 Hard Headed Woman Elvis Presley 1:52
  97. 6 Trouble Elvis Presley 2:16
  98. 7 New Orleans Elvis Presley 1:58
  99. 8 Crawfish Elvis Presley 1:48
  100. 9 Dixieland Rock Elvis Presley 1:46
  101. 10 Lover Doll Elvis Presley 2:8
  102. 11 Don't Ask Me Why Elvis Presley 2:4
  103. 12 As Long as I Have You Elvis Presley 1:49
  104. 13 King Creole Elvis Presley 2:7
  105. 14 Young Dreams Elvis Presley 2:23
  106. 15 Steadfast, Loyal and True Elvis Presley 1:14
  107. 16 Doncha' Think It's Time Elvis Presley 1:55
  108. 17 Your Cheatin' Heart Elvis Presley 2:23
  109. 18 Wear My Ring Around Your Neck Elvis Presley 2:13
  110. 19 I Need Your Love Tonight Elvis Presley 2:3
  111. 20 A Big Hunk O' Love Elvis Presley 2:11
  112. 21 Ain't That Loving You Baby Elvis Presley 2:22
  113. 22 (Now and Then There's) A Fool Such as I Elvis Presley 2:35
  114. 23 I Got Stung Elvis Presley 1:48
  115. 24 Interview With Elvis Elvis Presley 13:34
  116. 1 That's When Your Heartaches Begin Elvis Presley 2:45
  117. 2 Fool, Fool, Fool Elvis Presley 1:51
  118. 3 Tweedle Dee Elvis Presley 2:7
  119. 4 Maybellene Elvis Presley 1:57
  120. 5 Shake, Rattle & Roll Elvis Presley 2:16
  121. 6 Blue Moon of Kentucky Elvis Presley 1:3
  122. 7 Blue Moon Elvis Presley 2:54
  123. 8 I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone Elvis Presley 2:40
  124. 9 Reconsider Baby Elvis Presley 2:53
  125. 10 Lawdy Miss Clawdy Elvis Presley 2:7
  126. 11 Shake, Rattle & Roll Elvis Presley 2:25
  127. 12 I Want You, I Need You, I Love You Elvis Presley 2:39
  128. 13 Heartbreak Hotel Elvis Presley 2:54
  129. 14 Long Tall Sally Elvis Presley 2:15
  130. 15 Blue Suede Shoes Elvis Presley 4:59
  131. 16 Money Honey Elvis Presley 3:16
  132. 17 We're Gonna Move Elvis Presley 2:30
  133. 18 Old Shep Elvis Presley 3:52
  134. 19 I Beg of You Elvis Presley 1:50
  135. 20 Loving You [Previously Unreleased][Slow Version] Elvis Presley 1:47
  136. 21 Loving You [Alternate Take][Previously Unreleased][Uptempo Version] Elvis Presley 1:24
  137. 22 Young and Beautiful Elvis Presley 1:9
  138. 23 I Want to Be Free Elvis Presley 2:5
  139. 24 King Creole Elvis Presley 2:4
  140. 25 As Long as I Have You Elvis Presley 1:24
  141. 26 Ain't That Loving You Baby [outtake][Fast Version][Alternate Take] Elvis Presley 1:47

Loading Sliders...
  1. + -
  • GUESTS
  • CHAT
Some UserSample Msg
Advertisement

Advertisement

LIVE STREAM... SOCIAL RADIO STREAM...

LIVE STREAM... SOCIAL RADIO STREAM...
Casting to |