Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Elvis Presley - Good Rockin' Tonight

My in-laws walked into the house one day excited, because they’d been listening to the car radio and they heard a recording of Elvis singing Grenada. They’d never liked Elvis, but after hearing him do Grenada, they realized what a talented singer he was. Hmm I said. I’ve never heard Elvis do Grenada. Are you sure it was Elvis? Maybe be it was Frankie Laine, I suggested, helpfully. Oh no, it was Elvis, they said. Hmmm…

It was a book I found at the St. James Library, Elvis, The Illustrated Record, that confirmed what I’d believed. The book listed every recording Elvis ever released, in chronological order. No Grenada. That is the power of Elvis. Even his non-existent recordings leave an impression…

But the book was key. I went through it, and I used it to make this collection, a best-of by Elvis Presley, his hits and highlight b sides, album tracks, and EP tracks, in order of release. It’s a collection that RCA never made. It’s an idea that RCA never used. For all the Gold’s, Legendary Performances, box sets, and anthologies, not one does a chronological career survey. Pathetic? I’d say so.

This is part one. Everything here comes from The Sun Sessions CD.

Elvis Presley:

That’s All Right – Recorded in Memphis at Sun Records and sold later to RCA, like the rest of the entries here, this obscure blues by obscure blues singer Arthur Crudup got catapulted to immortality when it ended up being Elvis’ first single.. What better place to start. Three of them, Elvis on rhythm guitar, Scotty Moore on lead guitar, and Bill Black on bass, and they made more sound, and more meaningful sound, than all the metal bands in the world put together. Rod Stewart recorded this, and so did Paul McCartney. Had Elvis not recorded it, neither would they have. Bob Dylan recorded it but never officially released it; it can be had on bootlegs. Elvis’s record was released in the summer of 1954, but didn’t show up on an album until For LP Fans Only in 1959. That was RCA…
Blue Moon Of Kentucky – This was the B side By the great Bill Monroe, whose version was in waltz time. Elvis’ recording was nothing short of a revolution. Appeared on A Date With Elvis in 1959.
Good Rockin’ Tonight – Elvis rocks out like nobody’s business, on his second Sun single. The song was by Roy Brown, and Pat Boone messed it up, though Paul McCartney did a respectable version. Elvis proves that he is, indeed, a might mighty man. On A Date With Elvis.
I Don’t Care If The Sun Don’t Shine – The music mattered. This is the B side of Good Rockin’ Tonight. Hit the top 100 (from an EP) in the fall of 1956.
Milkcow Blues Boogie – Listen to Ricky Nelson do this, and you’ll get why Elvis was special. This is Elvis’ third single. It is on A Date With Elvis.
You’re A Heartbreaker – Elvis sings about love revenge like nobody else. With Bill Black clack clack clacking on the bass they didn’t need drums…On For LP Fans Only.
Baby Let’s Play House – Indeed. Come back, sings Elvis. Come back, I wanna play house with you. John Prine recorded this as Pink Cadillac. On A Date With Elvis.
I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone – Drums on this one, by D. J. Fontana. Here Elvis sings of heartbreak, but he has such authority that his heartbreak is another man’s triumph. On For LP Fans Only,
Mystery Train – Single Number 5 and the last one for Sun. Elvis sings about death, and he sings with such authority and abandon that the devil doesn’t stand a chance. The song is by Junior Parker, and was covered later by Paul Butterfield Blues Band and by The Band. Turned up on For LP Fans Only.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

so who did grenada?

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