Elvis Presley '55

Elvis Presley

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Elvis Presley '55 Review

by Richie Unterberger

Fourteen songs from Elvis Presley's Louisiana Hayride appearances in the mid-'50s -- a well-traveled body of work that has been issued in various different permutations -- are on this CD. While any live recordings of Presley from so early in his career have high historical importance, this package has its flaws. It's not a complete record of his early Louisiana Hayride appearances; some additional tracks are on other CDs, such as Good Rockin' Tonight: Evolution of Elvis Presley. Although there's a thick booklet in the gatefold sleeve, the dates of the original recordings are not given. The booklet does contain information about some of the songs on the collection, along with a timeline of key dates and events in the year 1955. Then there's the music. Remember? Although the sound is, through no fault of the compilers, not very good or well-recorded due to limitations in the source tapes, they're exciting performances that give a good idea of the brash excitement generated by Elvis onstage in the early days. You could hardly ask for a better slice of his early repertoire, too, with "Heartbreak Hotel," "Blue Suede Shoes," "Hound Dog," "Baby Let's Play House," "That's Alright Mama," and "Good Rockin' Tonight" as the highlights, along with a couple of songs he didn't record in the studio in the mid-'50s, "Tweedle Dee" and "Maybellene."

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