Review : The Complete Louisiana Hayride Archives 1954-1956 CD / Book
Source: Elvis Australia
May 17, 2012
Elvis in '55, which is just unbelievable, the sound on it. It was recorded live at the Louisiana Hayride, and it's got all his stuff, like I Was The One. It's got him doing comedy, being funny, which I remember Elvis being. It all got deadly serious later. Well, in people's minds it did. I don't think he ever took it seriously'.
Regardless of whether you're a fan of the young, rockin' Elvis or the older, more mature Elvis, it can't be overlooked that both were born from a new form of music created at Sun Records in the summer of 1954. Of course, that is when a then-unknown 18-year old truck driver from Memphis stopped into the Sun Recording Studio and cut a record as a gift for his mother's birthday. The rest, as they say, is history ... and history is EXACTLY what you get when you pick up the latest release from the relatively new Memphis Recording Service label : 'The Complete Louisiana Hayride Archives 1954-1956'. The first thing that immediately strikes you with this latest package from MRS is the high-quality that MRS releases have now become famous for. 'The Complete Louisiana Hayride Archives 1954-1956' is a gorgeous hardback book and CD package focusing on one of the earliest parts of Elvis' career ... perhaps one of the most important parts of Elvis' career. Although there have been many official and unofficial releases over the years covering Elvis' various appearances on the Louisiana Hayride, this package marks the first time all of the known audio material from those important and historical performances have been gathered all in one place ... and in such FANTASTIC quality!
One of the many rare photos : The Complete Louisiana Hayride Archives 1954-1956 CD. March 10, 1956.
But let's start with a look at the book that is part of the audio-visual experience that is 'The Complete Louisiana Hayride Archives 1954-1956'. Captured inside the 92-pages of this deluxe, hardcover book are TONS of released and unreleased photos taken at the Louisiana Hayride both on and off stage. These photos capture the young, innocent Elvis Presley as he begins his ride into superstardom. Presented along with these amazing photos is a wonderful essay by Joseph Pirzada, which illustrates for the fans Elvis' time spent on the Louisiana Hayride. Some newspaper clips, a copy of Elvis' first contract with the Hayride and other promotional Hayride pieces dot the landscape of the book as well. All of these visual goodies are presented on brown speckled colored pages, to give the reader a feeling that what they hold in their hands is a historical scrapbook, which is EXACTLY what this book is. The essay is very well written and presents fans with some interesting tidbits and information that help readers to perhaps better understand how Elvis' early career was taking shape. The book itself is made of a very high quality, with the glossy pages sewn into a thick, hardback book. Inside the back cover of the book comes the audio portion of the Hayride experience ... the CD!
Clocking in at just over 75 minutes, the single CD included with The Complete Louisiana Hayride Archives 1954-1956 package presents fans with all of the known Louisiana Hayride recordings now assembled all in one release. From Elvis' first appearance on the Hayride on October 16, 1954 through his final appearance on December 16, 1956, there are 27 tracks covering the 2+ years that Elvis was associated with the Louisiana Hayride. One of the most interesting things to hear as you listen to these performances is the confidence that Elvis clearly gains with each appearance, becoming more assertive and aggressive as he performs for the fans. Along with Elvis' increasing level of comfort, it's also interesting to hear the fan reactions with each subsequent appearance. From polite applause for his first appearance to outright pandemonium by the time he gave his final performance, listeners can clearly hear the increased excitement that Elvis caused as he continued to gain popularity. The material itself naturally consists of Elvis' earliest recordings from That's All Right to Baby Let's Play House, along with some of the cover tunes he was singing at the time including Tweedle Dee, Maybellene and Hearts Of Stone. But, the piece de' resistance of this set has to be the complete Louisiana Hayride concert which marked Elvis' final appearance in December, 1956. Recently featured in the RCA set 'Young Man With The Big Beat', this ultimate performance sounds even better here on 'The Complete Louisiana Hayride Archives 1954-1956' set. According to the producers, this concert has been 'speed corrected' when compared to the 'Young Man With The Big Beat' version and I have to agree. Not only does the concert sound more natural here, but it also sounds more in context here when presented with Elvis' previous performances on the Hayride. Regardless of whether you agree or disagree about the sound quality, the fact can't be argued that Elvis clearly had grown as an artist and performer. Not only had Elvis' career truly taken off, but his repertoire had grown significantly from his early Hayride appearances and it is fun to hear these early live performances of songs like Paralyzed, Love Me, Don't Be Cruel and others. Aside from the material itself, which is phenomenal, the audio quality on this CD is outstanding considering these recordings are well over 50 years old. Despite the various source tapes used for this project along with the lesser quality recording equipment of the time, the producers at MRS have managed to make these recordings sound better than ever!! Closing out the audio portion of the project are 2 bonus tracks ... a short clip of June Carter telling a cute story about her time with Elvis on the Hayride along with a remixed version of Maybellene. Elvis Presley was undoubtedly the pioneer of Rock N' Roll. His unique style of singing and performing started a musical movement that has been the road map for generations of performers to follow. Now, thanks to the wonderful people at the 'Memphis Recording Service', 'The Complete Louisiana Hayride Archives 1954-1956' provides fans with a unique audio-visual diary documenting the formation of the musical movement known as rock n' roll.
A Must Have For All Fans!!!
The CD also contains the recent discovery of Elvis' last performance on the Louisiana Hayride in December 1956 as released on Sony's Young man With The Big Beat. This will be a more complete version of the show and for the first time, be speed and pitch corrected, which Sony has failed to master for their release.
This CD is presented exactly the same as the MRS releases Off Duty With Private Presley Book Deluxe CD set and Tupelo Welcomes Home Elvis Presley : Deluxe CD set.
100 Page Book
The set also includes a 100 page hard back book with informative text and many rare and new photographs that were due to be shown first, in the upcoming FTD Sun book.
First Louisiana Hayride Show : 16th October 1954
1. Hayride Begins Jingle
2. Introduction/That's All Right
3. Blue Moon of Kentucky
January 15th 1955
4. Hearts of Stone
5. That's All Right
6. Tweedle Dee
January 22nd 1955
7. Money Honey
8. Blue Moon of Kentucky
9. I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine
10. That's All Right
April 30th 1955
11. Tweedle Dee
July 16th 1955
12. I'm Left You're Right She's Gone
August 20th 1955
13. Baby Let's Play House
15. That's All Right
Last Louisiana Hayride Show : 16th December 1956
16. Heartbreak Hotel
17. Long Tall Sally
18. I Was the One
19. Love Me Tender
20. Don't Be Cruel
21. Love Me
22. I Got a Woman
23. When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again
25. Hound Dog
26. Elvis Has Left the Building
27. Hayride End Jingle
28. June Carter Talks about Elvis on the Hayride
29. Maybellene (Tunzi Remix)
The Complete Louisiana Hayride Archives 1954-1956
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Never before have we seen an Elvis Presley concert from the 1950's with sound. Until Now! The DVD Contains recently discovered unreleased film of Elvis performing 6 songs, including Heartbreak Hotel and Don't Be Cruel, live in Tupelo Mississippi 1956. Included we see a live performance of the elusive Long Tall Sally seen here for the first time ever. + Plus Bonus DVD Audio.
This is an excellent release no fan should be without it.
The 'parade' footage is good to see as it puts you in the right context with color and b&w footage. The interviews of Elvis' Parents are well worth hearing too. The afternoon show footage is wonderful and electrifying : Here is Elvis in his prime rocking and rolling in front of 11.000 people. Highly recommended.
Tupelo's Own Elvis Presley DVD Video with Sound.