The Roots of Elvis

The Roots of Elvis


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The Roots of Elvis

By this time, it ought to be reasonably clear to most people who know rock & roll history that Elvis Presley's music was the product of a diverse variety of influences, but most of the time, when someone writing about Presley's formative days talks about his sources, "white boy who liked the blues" usually ends up being the beginning and end of the story. Sure, Elvis liked the blues, but his taste for the blues ran from the rough and ready rural sounds of "Hardrock" Gunter and "Big Boy" Cruddup to the downtown swing of Big Joe Turner and Ray Charles and the more polished approach of such harmony groups as the Robins and the Drifters. Presley was also big on gospel, country, pop, and nearly anything else that came his way over the radio, all of which seemed to find a way into his musical worldview if you're willing to look for it, and this compilation offers a fascinating perspective on Elvis' wildly eclectic musical tastes. The Roots of Elvis features original (or at least seminal) recordings of 25 songs that made their way into Presley's repertoire over the years, and listening to these performances you can hear what Elvis drew from them, but you can also recognize how much of his own personality spilled over into his later renditions. While some folks still subscribe to the theory that Elvis simply white-washed the blues for consumption by the pop audience, the truth is that Willy & Ruth's "Love Me" and the Eagles' "Trying to Get to You," both featured here, are great vintage R&B but they lack the fierce passionate edge central to Presley's versions. The gospel sides are equally revelatory; Darrell Glenn's "Crying in the Chapel" is tepid compared to Presley's cover, which speaks powerfully of sincere belief, and "There's a Leak in This Building" by Brother Claude Ely is hard white gospel that speaks to the strength of his religious upbringing. And while it's hard not to listen to this as archeology for Elvis fans, this also happens to be a great collection of fine tunes of the 1950s that confirms, if nothing else, that Presley had a really great record collection. Fascinating stuff.

Product Details

Release Date: 07/12/2005
Label: Rev-Ola
UPC: 5013929439924
catalogNumber: 99

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Nick Robbins   Synthesizer
Joe Foster   Synthesizer

Technical Credits

Lowell Fulson   Composer
Joe Hill Louis   Composer
Johnnie Lee Wills   Composer
Irving Berlin   Composer
Ray Charles   Composer
Arthur Neal Gunter   Composer
Jerry Leiber   Composer
Howard Biggs   Composer
George "Funky" Brown   Composer
Ahmet Ertegun   Composer
Rudy Jackson   Composer
Webb Pierce   Composer
Dave Penny   Producer,Liner Notes,Annotation
Winfield Scott   Composer
Charlie Singleton   Composer
Mike Stoller   Composer
Jesse Stone   Composer
Wayne Walker   Composer
Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys   Composer
Rev. Thomas A. Dorsey   Composer
Joe Foster   Producer
Artie Glenn   Composer
Brother Claude Ely   Composer
Billy "The Kid" Emerson   Composer
Fred Fisher   Composer
Renald Richard   Composer
William Trader   Composer
Sam Burns   Composer
Charles E. Calhoun   Composer
Rose Marie McCoy   Composer
Andy Morten   Artwork
Bernard Weinman   Composer
William Raskin   Composer
Joe "Cornbread" Thomas   Composer
Lee Rosenberg   Composer

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