Elvis at Sun

Elvis at Sun

3.6 3
by Elvis Presley
     
 

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The first single-disc overview of Elvis Presley's historic, line-in-the-sand recordings at Sun Studios arrives just as Memphis is celebrating the 50th anniversary of rock 'n' roll -- marked from the King's first recording, of "That's All Right," at Sam Phillips's legendary haunt. There was certainly no turning back. The crisp remastering

Overview

The first single-disc overview of Elvis Presley's historic, line-in-the-sand recordings at Sun Studios arrives just as Memphis is celebrating the 50th anniversary of rock 'n' roll -- marked from the King's first recording, of "That's All Right," at Sam Phillips's legendary haunt. There was certainly no turning back. The crisp remastering polishes the sound to a crystalline sheen that removes some heavy reverb while underscoring the passion Elvis brought to his vocal readings at such a tender age. (A main beneficiary of this has to be guitarist Scotty Moore, whose inventive soloing rivets the attention all the more as a result of the cleaner sound.) Elvis adds that je ne sais quoi to Bill Monroe's bluegrass heartbreaker "Blue Moon of Kentucky" and juices up Arthur Crudup's lowdown blues "That's All Right." He injects a haunting, ethereal element and infectious rhythmic thrust to Junior Parker's chilling blues "Mystery Train" and showcases both a captivating crooner's voice and a veteran's way with a lyric line in the pop chestnut "Blue Moon." Yet he's also able to cut loose with a freewheeling, wild-eyed vocal on the prototypical rockabilly of "I Don't Care if the Sun Don't Shine." With the infallible backing of Moore and bassist Bill Black, and his own solid rhythm guitar for ballast, Elvis rarely made a false move during his Sun tenure. Each of the 19 cuts, including an alternate take of "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone," is a keeper. There's a reason new generations keep finding and treasuring these recordings: They are majestic and monumental in so many details, and have retained their allure and influence over the past half century. With so much verbiage out there trying to explain Elvis, he's best revealed by his performances -- especially these, which are brimming with life-affirming heart and soul.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
Elvis at Sun marks the third time that RCA has given Elvis Presley's seminal Sun Records recordings a refurbishing for release on compact disc (fourth if you count their appearance on the box set The King of Rock 'n' Roll: The Complete 50's Masters), but while 1987's The Complete Sun Sessions and 1999's Sunrise both added plenty of bonus materials along with the ten single sides and various outtakes Presley cut for Sam Phillips' pioneering label, Elvis at Sun seems to follow the notion that "less is more." While the supposedly definitive Sunrise spread 38 cuts over two discs, Elvis at Sun sticks to 19 cuts (all of which appeared on disc one of Sunrise), and reissue producers Ernst Mikael Jorgensen and Roger Semon have done extensive cleansing on these vintage recordings, in some cases buffing off layers of echo and reverb that have been part of these performances since they first appeared on LP (most notably on "You're a Heartbreaker" and "Good Rockin' Tonight"). With neither Elvis nor Sam Phillips around to offer their views, it's hard to say if this amounts to presenting the tapes as they were meant to be heard or playing around with history, but on most of the tracks the effect is startling -- these recordings have never sounded quite so clear and sharp, with a richer sense of detail in the nooks and crannies of Elvis' voice and Scotty Moore's guitar (the always spooky "Blue Moon" is now gloriously spectral -- has anyone ever sounded quite like that?). Too bad they couldn't fix the speed glitch on "I Don't Care if the Sun Don't Shine," though. The disc also abandons the sequencing of most previous releases of this material, which presented songs in the order they were released, in favor of assembling the songs in the order they were recorded, which is probably better history if less satisfying as pure listening. As for the music, well, this is arguably the most important music of Elvis' career and the growth of rock & roll into a mass art form; Presley's wildly idiosyncratic fusion of blues, country, pop, and anything else that crossed his path was still evolving as he recorded these songs, and there's a thrill of discovery here that's a wonder to behold. No, Elvis didn't invent rock & roll, but it would have been a very different creature without his guiding influence, and listening to him making it happen on Elvis at Sun is history at its most wildly entertaining; this isn't necessarily the best collection of these vitally important sides, but it inarguably presents this brilliant music in a new and fascinating light.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/22/2004
Label:
Bmg / Elvis
UPC:
0828766120523
catalogNumber:
61205
Rank:
7607

Tracks

  1. Harbor Lights
  2. I Love You Because
  3. That's All Right
  4. Blue Moon of Kentucky
  5. Blue Moon
  6. Tomorrow Night
  7. I'll Never Let You Go (Little Darlin')
  8. Just Because
  9. Good Rockin' Tonight
  10. I Don't Care If the Sun Don't Shine
  11. Milkcow Blues Boogie
  12. You're a Heartbreaker
  13. I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone
  14. I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone
  15. Baby, Let's Play House
  16. I Forgot to Remember to Forget
  17. Mystery Train
  18. Trying to Get to You
  19. When It Rains, It Really Pours

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Elvis Presley   Primary Artist,Guitar,Piano,Vocals
Bill Black   Bass,Double Bass
Scotty Moore   Guitar
Johnny Bernero   Drums
Doug Poindexter   Guitar
Jimmy Lott   Drums

Technical Credits

Kokomo Arnold   Composer
Roy Brown   Composer
Bill Monroe   Composer
Charlie Feathers   Composer
Richard Rodgers   Composer
Arthur Neal Gunter   Composer
Leon Payne   Composer
Jimmy Wakely   Composer
Bill Emerson   Composer
Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup   Composer
Lorenz Hart   Composer
James Kennedy   Composer
Stan Kesler   Composer
Junior Parker   Composer
Knox Phillips   Liner Notes
Ernst Mikael Jorgensen   Liner Notes
Sam Phillips   Composer,Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Bob Shelton   Composer
Joe Shelton   Composer
Sam Coslow   Composer
Sydney Robin   Composer
Mack David   Composer
Jack Sallee   Composer
Hugh Williams   Composer
Joseph DiMuro   Executive Producer
Will Grosz   Composer
Rose Marie McCoy   Composer
Charlie Singleton   Composer

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Elvis at Sun 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
a fantastic cd by a great singer
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been an Elvis fan since Day One and this is by far the worst recording I have ever purchased. What were the producers thinking releasing something so unflattering to Elvis' memory?
Guest More than 1 year ago
I consider there to be 3 essential Elvis albums I'd like to put in every library with a cd collection .Elvis the Complete Gospel Recordings, Elvis 56, and this one. The 1st handful of tracks are not captivating but then Elvis and the boys with their talent invent something new.