Review: ‘A Boy From Tupelo’ set goes above and beyond for Elvis fans


First, this CD set deserves acclaim not just for the music, but for the fabulous companion book that comes with the set. When you’re paying about $27 on Amazon to get a 3 CD set, you don’t expect to get much more than a small booklet to go with the CDs, but Elvis Presley: A Boy From Tupelo: The Complete 1953-55 Recordings offers 120 pages of detailed Elvis history in its 8″ x 8″ square companion book.

The A Boy From Tupelo book is organized week by week chronicling the first 18 months of Elvis Presley’s career with an easy to follow list of where Elvis performed on each day. But what will really blow Elvis fans away are the number of early photos of Elvis from July 1954 to December 1955 shown in this book. I doubt that most Elvis fans have ever seen many of these photos before.

Compared to 40 pages that previously documented the same time period in the Elvis Day By Day book by Peter Guralnick and Ernst Jorgensen, the companion book that is included in A Boy From Tupelo expands to 100 pages to cover those 18 months. This set is based on the previous FTD release which was released in 2012 in limited quantities at a much higher price.

Tupelo-collageCThe producer of the set, Ernst Jorgensen, deserves much acclaim for the thorough research and photos that were discovered. He attributes many of the historical treasures to the Elvis fans that contributed to the project by offering their personal photos, rare recordings and personal stories of seeing Elvis perform live during that time period.

Jorgensen credits the many people that helped him with the project including “the Elvis collectors who had paid dearly to buy these rare little photos whenever they were available, stepped forward and graciously said ‘Well, you have the right project for it – we will let you use our photos.’ Those collectors obviously mean a lot to me in that they unselfishly supported this release,” he said in an interview on Sirius XM’s Elvis Radio channel. “It is really a combination of a lot of people who cared for Elvis back then, who would want to share their stores, and some of them are very personal, some are funny… “

And then there are the three CDs. Finally, a complete collection of not only Presley’s official Sun recordings, but also alternate studio takes and live concert recordings of Elvis during that time period.

It will take a while to digest all the music on the 3 CDs, but for starters, fans will get a kick out of listening to outtakes of “I Love You Because.” In these alternate takes of the song, you’ll hear Elvis reciting a spoken monologue in the middle of the song, which did not make it to the final cut. This surely prepared Elvis for his infamous monologue in “Are You Lonesome Tonight” recorded several years later.

Elvis Presley: A Boy From Tupelo: The Complete 1953-55 Recordings is not only a must-have for Elvis fans, but it is a vital document to Elvis history and the beginnings of rock and roll.
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