ARTIST: Elvis Presley
TITLE: Elvis Presley
YEAR RELEASED: 1956
CHART ACTION: #1 US, #1 UK
SINGLES: Blue Suede Shoes (#20 US, #9 UK), Blue Moon (#55 US), Money Honey (#76 US) – Note: RCA released every track as either a single or B-side in 1956, even though they withheld huge hits from this album.
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: He covered a lot of R&B here along with country from earlier sessions.
LINEUP: Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, Bill Black, DJ Fontana, Chet Atkins, Floyd Cramer, Shorty Long, the Jordanaires
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The first album released by the King supplemented his hit singles nicely even though a few tracks were from the Sun Sessions.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: I mean, it’s Elvis, right? Those only looking for the actual huge hit singles may not want to bother. Those who need all the Elvis you can grab should get the Complete Masters sets, which I’ll review for the 50’s later since his output was really scattered. This set? It’s pretty nifty; not the perfect album, but it IS seminal.
Now, rockabilly is clichéd, and even Elvis’ style is clichéd. But this is the King early in his career, and his ballad singing is less affected, more pure and genuine and moving. He also puts a lot of effort into the up-tempo songs. Basically, this is young, fuzzy-cheeked Elvis who knows these sessions are make-or-break.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: “Blue Suede Shoes” was released as a single eight months to the day after Carl Perkins’ original was released, as a promise Elvis made to Perkins and Sam Phillips.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, lots of other session material and outtakes, mostly blown cuts. I’d really just go to the Masters collection if you need more Elvis from these sessions.
GRADE: A-: If RCA put a couple more hits on this, it would have been an A+. They recycled some Sun material to pad it out, and withheld tracks for singles (as per the custom then).