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Elvis may have left the building, but somehow, one of his extremely rare, 64-year-old records ended up in a South Island secondhand shop.

And the original New Zealand-pressed E-Z Country Programming No. 2 LP from 1955 was discovered by none other than a travelling church organ tuner.

Oamaru musicologist Dr Ron Newton, who has a PhD in NZ organ history and a museum of pipe and reed organs, was tempted to throw the valuable piece of vinyl away until he did
some research.

"Then I looked it up and discovered it was sought after by collectors all around the world, and I thought, this record needs to go to a museum," Newton said. It is a copy of the first
12" vinyl LP recording of Elvis's music ever made and is sought by collectors because of two featured tracks: "Mystery Train" and "I Forgot To Mention To Forget".

The E-Z Country Programme was number two of three pop albums released by HMV in New Zealand and included songs from other artists such as Chet Atkins, Eddie Fisher and
Dinah Shore.

Newton expected that he'd be posting it to Memphis in the United States, but he then discovered New Zealand has its very own Elvis Presley museum in Hāwera, South Taranaki.
It just happened that Newton, who tunes and services church organs all around New Zealand, was heading in that direction this past week to tune pipe organs ahead of the Easter
church services.

The museum, which is run by 70-year-old Kevin David 'KD' Wasley, houses thousands of items of memorabilia that form New Zealand's only private Elvis Presley museum.
Wasley said he was thrilled when Newton arrived with the record as it was one he had never seen before. "I couldn't find this one; it's new to me. It didn't come up on the computer,
but that's made it more unique."

Wasley wasn't sure how much this album was worth, but he had another pair of rare NZ-made Elvis records that were valued at $3500.

However, he took pleasure in the uniqueness of his vast collection and said: "it was nothing to do with the money".

Mark Thomas, owner of Vinyl Countdown in New Plymouth said he had not heard of the record either and could not put a value on it because it also depended a lot on its condition.

He said records and memorabilia from Presley were popular with collectors worldwide.

But not everyone with a fondness for vinyl was a collector as there had been a resurgence in vinyl records in recent years, with younger people buying turntables so they could play
their records.

"I find a lot of people are using streaming apps like Spotify or Youtube to find out what they like before coming and buying it on vinyl," Thomas said.

Meanwhile, Newton, who was all shook up about his recent find, was hitting the road again in search of his next pile of old records.

Originating Source - Stuff.co.nz

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