Elvis Presley

Great Elvis Presley Live

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The 14 cuts here are all from the Louisiana Hayride (with dates ranging from 1955 up until the early spring of 1956), the radio show on which Presley made his earliest major regional appearances in the South; before he was a national phenomenon, he appeared on the program a total of 75 times. Although the emcee erroneously refers to the opening song as "Heartbreak Motel" and vocally steps on Elvis' opening line, the fidelity is a little shaky by today's standards, and some of the songs (especially "Hound Dog") were better represented elsewhere, this is still a priceless chance to hear some of the palpable excitement that Elvis generated at a time when he was not quite a national phenomenon, respected (or, at least, tolerated) by old-time country audiences and not quite yet "the king of rock & roll." The shouting of the kids is pretty daunting, and his covers of songs like "Long Tall Sally" and "Maybelline" aren't half-bad, alongside his more familiar repertoire, which includes his early rockabilly numbers like "Blue Moon of Kentucky" and "Good Rockin' Tonight" as well as his earliest RCA sides. Scotty Moore and company could really cook during that first year, and it was all so fresh an experience they were throwing themselves into every performance.

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