|IF YOU CAN BELIEVE YOUR EYES & EARS
By Steven B. Roberts
Normally, I don’t endorse products by Sony/BMG regarding Elvis Presley. However, I am in shock and bewildered they were actually able to pull this off. And
for once, I think they've done a good job with something for a change. But, they made one critical error. The price tag. At $600 this set might be more
obtainable, but $850 is just too much.
After all, Beatles fanatics who shelled out for both the Mono and Stereo sets of their re-masters were willing to spend roughly $500 for not even a quarter of
the amount of music being represented here. I think Elvis fans would do the same. I’m also commending Ernst and Roger for not adding unreleased songs
to this in order to lure people who absolutely must have everything.
This is significant that it shows a break in the regular policy of Elvis “Re-Hash” releases. Generally, some hits are slapped together with some alternate
takes to lure long time collectors as well as casual/new fans to buy a release. Also, the beautiful casing of the project is not the usual cheesy garbage we
are accustomed to seeing.
I have suspicions about the claim this has been in the works for years, and of course, they’ve unveiled it at exactly the wrong time. Economically, it probably
could not be a worse time to unveil a project of this magnitude. However, there’s only a thousand ( there will be more made though, trust me!) and they are
selling. This is a good sign. Maybe they are starting to listen to us? Maybe there’s hope after all ? Nah. Just dreaming. At least they've made some kind of
effort after botching the 75th Birthday celebration so badly.
Steven B. Roberts
Here is the press release.
At last, the ultimate tribute to the ultimate artist. For Elvis Presley's 75th birthday, the definitive collection of all his master recordings is being made
available in stunning fashion.
The Complete Elvis Presley Masters is the crown jewel in RCA/Legacy's 2010 "Elvis 75" campaign. This limited edition, individually-numbered deluxe set
contains 30 CDs with all 711 master recordings released during Elvis' lifetime, sequenced in strict chronological order. Also included are 103 rarities:
additional masters, alternate takes, session outtakes, demos, rehearsal jams, home recordings, live performances and radio recordings. This triumph of
musicology is the definitive document – a magnificent audio chronicle of the inspiration, pain and genius that make Elvis the world's most enduring musical
and cultural icon.
Available exclusively at CompleteElvis.com, The Complete Elvis Presley Masters will be available for pre-orders starting August 2, in advance of the October
19th delivery date. Only 1,000 numbered sets will be available for sale worldwide in this limited edition first run.
Complementing the music is a beautifully designed 240-page hardbound reference book produced exclusively for this collection. A magnificent volume in its
own right, this silk-screened, silver-gilded edition printed on archival paper is the ultimate reference work on the music of Elvis Presley. The discography
was painstakingly researched by compilation producer Ernst Mikael Jorgensen, the respected director of RCA's Elvis catalog for over two decades and
author of Elvis Presley: A Life In Music (St. Martin's Press, 1998), and co-written by him with award-winning author Peter Guralnick.
Jorgensen and Guralnick's extensive historical entries cover every song selection from the perspective of a scholar and a fan, with enlightening background
stories and historical context, along with release dates, chart positions and other info. The discography includes recording dates and locations, full musician
credits, technical notes and a song index. In addition, the book reproduces the artwork for every 45 rpm single, EP and LP release. The book is full of rare
and classic photographs from throughout Elvis' life and recording career, beginning with the cover photo by legendary Williams 'Popsie' Randolph from
Elvis' first official RCA photo session at RCA Studios in New York, on December 1, 1955.
Anchoring the book is a brand-new 6,000-word essay by Guralnick, noted biographer of Elvis Presley. Guralnick's two volumes – Last Train to Memphis:
The Rise of Elvis Presley (Little, Brown, 1994) and Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley (Little, Brown, 1999) – are widely acknowledged as the
definitive biographical studies of Elvis' life. In addition to writing the foreword to Jorgensen's Elvis Presley: A Life In Music, Guralnick also collaborated with
him on another great reference work, Elvis Day by Day: The Definitive Record of His Life and Music (Random House, 1999).
Years in the making, The Complete Elvis Presley Masters has been compiled from the original analog master tapes where available, using 24-bit technology
for greater sonic resolution and dynamics. Each track has been carefully restored to achieve the best sound reproduction without compromising the audio
quality of the original master. The only exceptions are found on the rarities discs, which "derive from a variety of sources," as Jorgensen writes. "First
priority has been given to vividness of performance, historical significance and rarity of repertoire."
The Complete Elvis Presley Masters is the newest release in RCA/Legacy's "Elvis 75" campaign, which commemorates the 75th anniversary of Elvis' birth,
celebrated on January 8, 2010.
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