Before I get into the music, lets just take a minute to put some perspective on this album. Elvis hadn't really hit yet. He was making recordings with Sam Phillips of Sun records and had released That's All Right and a few others. He had been making appearences and was sought after by several record companies. RCA bought his contract from Sun for $40,000. A huge, unprecedented amount at the time, but nothing compared to what Elvis would make. 6 months later RCA released this album. There are several cover tunes like I Got a Woman and Tutti Fruity that were piano centric songs. Elvis made them guitar songs and this along with the cover image is largely credited as what made the guitar the principle Rock and Roll instrument. The album was also important because for the most part rock and pop artist released singles not entire albums. In many ways this was the first Rock and Roll full length album. At least it was the first sugnificant one. In a lot of ways this was the turning point of what was to become the corparate side of rock and roll. The point where the big corporation bought an artist and turned him into one of the biggest comodities of all time. A pattern they have been repeating ever since. This is where RCA started telling Elvis how to dress and shape his on stage persona. You might think that I am putting too much weight on this album, but look at The Clashes London Calling that copied the album cover, what do you think that was about? How fitting for a punk band to take such an obvious shot at the corporate record industry.
Now the music. I have never been an Elvis fan, but this album and the Sun Sessions are by far my favorite. Elvis was pure and untainted on these early recordings and masterfully took from many different genres and made rock and roll out of it all. Elvis covering Ray Charles certainly takes guts and his version of I got a Woman is very respectable. He's no Ray Charles, but who is. He is not so great in his cover of Little Richards Tutti Fruitti. He clearly shows how even the king can be faillable, sorry guys, but it's true. The rest of the album is brilliant. Blue Suede Shoes, of course a stand out. I also want to make mention of Elvis' band which was one of the finest backing bands in the history of rock. Scotty Moore was so inventive and creative pulling lines from all different genres and creating the backbone or rock guitar. I may not be the biggest Elvis Presely fan, but I can always listen to Scotty's guitar work.