While visiting London about a month ago to see Elvis Presley In Concert, I picked up little book/CD combo titled Off Duty With Private Elvis. Not much bigger than a double CD jewel case I wasn't expecting too much, but as it turned out it was well worth its money.
This book/CD was recently released by the UK based Memphis Recording Service, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s discharge from the army in 1960. The book is a little beauty in itself, featuring many rare photographs from Elvis' time in uniform.
The photos I found the most interesting were the ones obviously taken by soldiers serving together with Elvis. The ten or so shots of Elvis "shoppin' around" at the post exchange (PX) made me think of my own time in the military abroad, and how important it was to be able to buy articles from home, like magazines, candy and other stuff. Obviously Elvis thought so as well.
As for the CD, it features four of the five master recordings from June 1958 as well as some 30 unreleased home recordings recorded privately by Elvis and friend while stationed in US and Germany. To be honest, there is a lot of distortion at times, and this is only for die hard collectors. That said, it's not every day you get to listen to Elvis doing a medley of "Que Sera Sera/Hound Dog."
I won't bother with any more details, instead refering to Piers Beagley's excellent review at the Elvis Information Network website. Let me just end by saying that I find Off Duty With Private Presley much more praiseworthy than some of the (very expensive) book/CD combos put out by FTD.