Therefore, I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw on the Elvis Day By Day blog yesterday that this much anticipated and long awaited FTD Sun project will be released in August. In fact, I immediately visited all the other Elvis sites I could think of to verify this information, and true enough, they all had the same announcement:
“A BOY FROM TUPELO – THE COMPLETE 1953-55 RECORDINGS” includes for the first time in one collection every known Elvis Presley SUN master and outtake, plus two private records Elvis paid for with his own money, as well as thrilling radio and concert performances from the period. This 3 CD package features 10 previously-unreleased cuts.
The accompanying book is, in essence, a fully-illustrated travelogue. It thoughtfully details the birth of Elvis' career through facts, anecdotes, documentation, many rare photos, and a succinct narrative. Independence Day 1954 is when this uniquely American saga begins, less than 24 hours before his first professional recording session, and it ends in December 1955, when the rights to Elvis' SUN tapes officially expire, and the singer leaves Sam Phillips to record for RCA. This is Elvis Presley before he becomes world-famous, and the mystery of how this amazing young man readies himself for stardom, achieving success on a level that no one could have dreamed possible.
All audio has been re-mastered and restored as best we could, but Disc 3 has pretty rough audio. The book is 512 pages in 12” by 12” format and includes more than 500 photos of which about 200 are previously unpublished. If you are not an expert in this period of Elvis’ career, a lot more photos will be new to you. Many familiar photos will be seen in best ever quality, but since this is a historical document, there will also be many images of less quality, included for their rarity value and support of the story. The book also includes, for the first time, Steve Sholes’ original notes on the Sun tapes.
The project will come in a slip case (like “YOUNG MAN WITH THE BIG BEAT”) that holds both the book and the CD holder (a double album type package).
No doubt A Boy From Tupelo – The Complete 1953-55 Recordings is one of the most important Elvis releases in a long time. With a price tag around €99 or US $126 it's also one of the most expensive (not counting The Complete Elvis Presley Masters box set). But, as Ernst Jorgensen has been working with this ambitious project for many years now, I'm sure it will be well worth both the money and the wait.
Finally, here's for hoping the track listing will be announced soon, I would really like to know more about those “10 previously-unreleased cuts.” When Ernst Jorgensen talked to the Elvis Information Network (EIN) in 2007, he had this to say about the music on the three CD's:
Ernst - The CDs with it will be an extra added bonus. No, we don’t have ‘Uncle Penn’, ‘Tennessee Saturday Night’ or ‘Rock Around The Clock’ as mentioned in the rumours that keep circulating. However we have a great selection on three CDs. The first will be The Masters, the second The Outtakes and then the third with everything else that we could get hold of. However I don’t think people should be buying this release just because of the CDs, but because of the photos, the information and the complete package.
EIN – How much on CD3 is going to surprise people?Ernst – Not too much, but it is going to sound better than they have ever heard before. There’s obviously going to be the copy of ‘That’s All Right’ from Meridian 1955 which is kinda’ cool. There’s also a handful of other pieces that people have never heard before, plus Kevan has been working on the radio recordings like ‘Fool, Fool, Fool’ to get them sounding much better. And also on CD2 there will also be a few little bits and pieces including outtakes that people have never heard before. Nothing earth shattering but it will be very nice to listen to.
We’re still negotiating on one more particular track, not a rare song but another performance we would like to include. But unless the owner moves on from the high price that FTD cannot even consider, then we’re not getting anywhere.