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Album Review: A Boy From Tupelo: The Complete 1953-1955 Recordings [Box Set] by Elvis Presley
Fantastic, Based on 3 Critics
AllMusic - 100 Based on rating 10/10
A Boy from Tupelo rounds up all the known existing Elvis Presley recordings from 1953 through 1955, a sum total of 53 studio takes and 32 live performances. The subtitle of the triple-disc set is The Complete 1953-1955 Recordings but it could as easily been dubbed The Sun Years, as the first two discs not only contain all the masters Elvis released for Sam Phillips' legendary Memphis label, but all the outtakes, the four alternate mixes of Sun material released by RCA, and the four acetates Presley privately cut for Phillips' Memphis Recording Service. The third disc is devoted to live material, primarily recorded at the Shreveport radio show Louisiana Hayride, but there are also some tracks recorded at concerts and radio stations in Texas and Mississippi.
There's an eye-popping photo in this essential 3-CD set taken on July 31, 1955, at a Tampa, Florida. gig. Elvis clutches his customized Martin acoustic, hollering to heaven and the cheap seats, right hand a strumming blur, face and throat glistening, pants soaked in sweat, as Scotty Moore leans into the shot with his Gibson peghead. It's a high-resolution alternate angle on the cover shot from Presley's debut LP, one of rock's most iconic images, packaged with a 120-page detailing - via images and a day-by-day timeline, of Presley's birth as recording artist and mega-star.
Elvis Presley has been dead for almost 40 years. It would seem by now that every single piece of music the King ever recorded has been released to the public, but that doesn't mean that they have been readily available. While much music has found its way to legitimate albums with state of the art sound, the availability of the early Elvis material—before he signed to RCA and even before he signed to Sun—has been spotty.