Elvis 75: Good Rockin’ Tonight


PresleyThe King finally has a box set fit for a king. After years of such multidisc compilations as “I Believe — The Gospel Masters,” “The Complete ’68 Comeback Special,” “The Music of Elvis Presley — The 1950s,” “Elvis at the Movies” and “The Country Side of Elvis,” Legacy Recordings commemmorates what would have been the Mississippi Tupelo Flash’s 75th birthday with a career-spanning chronological sampler of 100 songs (incorporating the entire “30 #1 Hits” release) that keeps the singer’s forays in proportion to his artistic success.

An excellent perq to “Elvis 75 – Good Rockin’ Tonight” is the sessionography included in the 80-page booklet, which makes it possible to group tracks according to their respective guitarists, such as:

Original guitarist Scotty Moore. Beginning with the Sun single that gave birth to rockabilly, “That’s All Right,” Moore barnstormed through a 14-year parade of flat-out rockers including “Mystery Train,” “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Hound Dog” and “All Shook Up.”

Hank Garland, quintessential Nashville studio guitarist. Garland got the call several times to come in for sessions from 1958 to 1961, when Presley was looking to expand his sound. It wasn’t long before Garland and Moore became a double-guitar team, exemplified by cuts such as “It’s Now or Never,” “Reconsider Baby” and “Little Sister.” Unfortunately, in 1961, a near-fatal car accident ended his career.

Southern soul guitarist Reggie Young. Before settling in Nashville, Young played in former Presley bassist Bill Black’s combo and then became house guitarist at Chips Moman’s American Studios, where the legendary single “Suspicious Minds” and the comeback LP “From Elvis in Memphis” were cut.

James Burton, “chicken pickin’ ” guitarist. The former Rick Nelson guitarist couldn’t play on the “Comeback” television special because of a prior commitment to Frank Sinatra, but a year later he agreed to assemble the Taking Care of Business band to play Vegas and ended up staying with Presley until the end. Some of The King’s best Americana is from this period, including versions of Tony Joe White’s “Polk Salad Annie,” Willie Nelson’s “Funny How Time Slips Away,” Joe Babcock’s “I Washed My Hands in Muddy Water,” Mickey Newbury’s “An American Trilogy” and James Taylor’s “Steamroller Blues.”

Sprinkled throughout the box are performances by Jerry Reed, Grady Martin, Harold Bradley, Tommy Tedesco, Al Casey and others.gnm_end_bug

DISC ONE (1953-57)
1. My Happiness
2. That’s All Right
3. Blue Moon Of Kentucky
4. Good Rockin’ Tonight
5. Baby Let’s Play House
6. Mystery Train
7. I Forgot To Remember To Forget
8. I Got A Woman
9. Heartbreak Hotel
10. I Was The One
11. Blue Suede Shoes
12. My Baby Left Me
13. One-Sided Love Affair
14. I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry (Over You)
15. Lawdy, Miss Clawdy
16. I Want You, I Need You, I Love You
17. Hound Dog
18. Don’t Be Cruel
19. Love Me Tender
20. Love Me
21. Paralyzed
22. Too Much
23. All Shook Up
24. Mean Woman Blues
25. (There’ll Be) Peace In The Valley (For Me)
26. (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear
27. One Night
28. Jailhouse Rock
29. Treat Me Nice
30. Blue Christmas
31. Don’t

DISC TWO (1958-62)
1. Hard Headed Woman
2. Trouble
3. King Creole
4. Wear My Ring Around Your Neck
5. I Need Your Love Tonight
6. A Big Hunk O’ Love
7. (Now And Then There’s) A Fool Such As I
8. Stuck On You
9. A Mess Of Blues
10. It’s Now Or Never
11. Thrill Of Your Love
12. Such A Night
13. Are You Lonesome Tonight?
14. Reconsider Baby
15. Doin’ The Best I Can
16. Pocketful Of Rainbows
17. Surrender
18. Crying In The Chapel
19. I Feel So Bad
20. There’s Always Me
21. Judy
22. Can’t Help Falling In Love
23. (Marie’s The Name) His Latest Flame
24. Little Sister
25. Good Luck Charm
26. Suspicion
27. She’s Not You
28. Return To Sender

DISC THREE (1963-69)
1. Bossa Nova Baby
2. (You’re The) Devil In Disguise
3. (It’s A) Long Lonely Highway
4. I Need Somebody To Lean On
5. Viva Las Vegas
6. It Hurts Me
7. This Is My Heaven
8. Adam And Evil
9. How Great Thou Art
10. Tomorrow Is A Long Time
11. Guitar Man
12. Big Boss Man
13. Too Much Monkey Business
14. U.S. Male
15. If I Can Dream
16. Memories
17. Don’t Cry Daddy
18. In The Ghetto
19. Suspicious Minds
20. Stranger In My Own Home Town
21. Kentucky Rain
22. Only The Strong Survive

DISC FOUR (1970-77)
1. Polk Salad Annie (live)
2. The Fool
3. Funny How Time Slips Away
4. I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water
5. I Just Can’t Help Believin’ (live)
6. I’m Leavin’
7. An American Trilogy (live)
8. Burning Love
9. Always On My Mind
10. Steamroller Blues (live)
11. Loving Arms
12. Good Time Charlie’s Got The Blues
13. Promised Land
14. T-R-O-U-B-L-E
15. For The Heart
16. Hurt
17. Way Down
18. Unchained Melody (live)
19. A Little Less Conversation (JXL radio remix edit, 2002)

Total time: 4:35:03

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