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Elvis Heard Them Here First
     

Elvis Heard Them Here First

 
It's doubtful that many Elvis Presley fans, even very serious ones, have heard his covers of all of the 24 songs on this CD, let alone the original versions collected for this unusual, imaginative anthology. These were all done by Elvis between his return from the army in 1960 and his death in 1977, but even though that takes many classics he covered in the '50s out

Overview

It's doubtful that many Elvis Presley fans, even very serious ones, have heard his covers of all of the 24 songs on this CD, let alone the original versions collected for this unusual, imaginative anthology. These were all done by Elvis between his return from the army in 1960 and his death in 1977, but even though that takes many classics he covered in the '50s out of consideration, it still leaves a very large pool from which to draw. Though a few of these were hits for Presley ("Bossa Nova Baby," "Guitar Man," "The Wonder of You"), the emphasis is on original versions of what might be called "deep" Elvis cuts, found on his LPs, low-charting/foreign-charting 45s, and B-sides. While the liner notes are careful to point out that it's not certain these were the versions Elvis heard first or modeled his interpretations upon in all cases, certainly in many instances they must have been. The benefit of an impressively cross-licensed compilation like this is that it brings together a lot of rarities that even dedicated collectors would have a hard time assembling on their own. The drawback is that these aren't always among the better tunes that Elvis decided to cover, and that the original versions aren't always that good, even when Presley did a good job with them. However, a few tracks are genuine standouts on their own merits. Those include Jerry Reed's boastful "Guitar Man"; the Coasters' reliably fun "Girls Girls Girls, Pt. 2"; the early Bob Dylan romantic song "Tomorrow Is a Long Time" (Presley's version being Dylan's favorite cover of one of his songs); Jerry Butler's late-'60s soul hit "Only the Strong Survive," cut by Elvis in the studio just two days after it was released; and Vern Stovall's country classic "Long Black Limousine." More obscure highlights are Carl Mann's respectable Charlie Rich-penned 1960 rockabilly outing "I'm Comin' Home"; Matthews' Southern Comfort's gently country-rocking "I've Lost You," a modest 1970 hit for Elvis; and Brenda Lee's 1972 country-pop single "Always on My Mind." Yet some of the selections clearly don't measure up to Presley's reworkings, like Charlie Blackwell's "The Girl of My Best Friend" (also well known via Ral Donner's hit cover) and Tippie & the Clovers' "Bossa Nova Baby," penned by frequent early Elvis suppliers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. The Bards' 1969 original of "Goodtime Charlie's Got the Blues" predates both Presley's version and the hit by its composer Danny O'Keefe, and sounds pretty rudimentary in its original reincarnation. Still, as usual, Ace comes through with interesting and thorough (and thoroughly illustrated) liner notes detailing the origins of these songs, which sometimes weren't well-known even when they were first done by stars like Bobby Darin ("I Want You with Me"), Rick Nelson ("Stop, Look and Listen"), Charlie Rich ("Pieces of My Life"), or Tony Joe White ("For Ol' Times Sake"). And though the Pointer Sisters' surprisingly country-oriented "Fairytale" and Mickey Newbury's "An American Trilogy" weren't highlights of Presley's repertoire in his final years, they testify to his willingness to try an extremely eclectic range of material. As a minor side note, the liners speculate Elvis learned "Tomorrow Is a Long Time" from Ian & Sylvia's 1963 cover version, but according to other sources, he learned it from Odetta's rendition on her Odetta Sings Dylan album. It also doesn't seem impossible that if he heard a Dylan recording of the song, it could have been on a publishing demo done by Dylan himself (as heard on Dylan's Witmark Demos collection), rather than the 1963 live recording (first issued on Dylan's 1971 Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 compilation) licensed for this CD.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/03/2012
Label:
Ace Records Uk
UPC:
0029667049122
catalogNumber:
6704912

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Alan Lorber   Conductor
Stan Kesler   Conductor
Nashville Edition   Background Vocals
David Carroll   Conductor

Technical Credits

Chet Atkins   Producer
Mickey Newbury   Arranger
Charlie Rich   Composer
Jerry Butler   Composer
Bob Dylan   Composer
Bonnie Pointer   Composer
Jerry Leiber   Composer,Producer
Dennis Linde   Producer
Alan Lorber   Arranger
June Pointer   Composer
Tony Joe White   Composer
Woody Harris   Composer
Troy Seals   Composer
Mark James   Composer
Thom Bell   Arranger
Owen Bradley   Producer
Jerry Crutchfield   Composer,Producer
Tom Dowd   Producer
Ahmet Ertegun   Producer
Kenny Gamble   Composer,Producer
Leon Huff   Composer,Producer
Buddy Kaye   Composer
Stan Kesler   Arranger,Composer
Ian Matthews   Producer
Bill McElhiney   Arranger
Danny O'Keefe   Composer
Ray Pohlman   Arranger,Producer
Bill Rice   Composer
David Rubinson   Producer
Billy Sherrill   Producer
Mike Stoller   Composer,Producer
Bergen White   Arranger
Tom Wilson   Producer
Alan Blaikley   Composer
Dick Pierce   Producer
Tony Rounce   Liner Notes
Philip Springer   Composer
Sam Phillips   Producer
Jordan Christopher   Composer
Alfred Wertheimer   Cover Photo
Wayne Carson Thompson   Composer
Vern Stovall   Composer
Sam Bobrick   Composer
Joy Byers   Composer
Bobby George   Composer
Traditional   Composer
Baker Knight   Composer
Bobby Martin   Arranger
Jerry Hubbard   Composer
David Carroll   Arranger
Kenneth Howard   Composer
Steve Barbly   Producer
Beverley Ross   Composer
Thomas Perkins   Composer

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