received this morning the new book Elvis- The Hayride Years 54-56
by Frank Page and Joey Kent published by J.A.T. Publishing. After our interview
with Joey Kent we had the feeling this book would meet all our expectations, and
quite frankly it did just that and beyond.
size of this book is the same as previous book from J.A.T. Publishing ( Rockn
Nassau, For The First Time Ever, Hawaiian Spirit, etc
) and contains 96
pages. Most of the pictures and graphics were provided by the Louisiana Hayride
archives but some came from external sources such as Langston McEachern and
Ernst Mikael Jorgensen to name a few. The lay out of the book is also excellent
and gives life to the pictures and different documents presented here.
text throughout the book was written by Frank Page who recaptured the moments
when Elvis appeared at the Louisiana Hayride. This is a very interesting read
and how fascinating to have lots of dated photographs accompanying the text,
along with posters, news clippings, letters and notes. Even more fascinating is
the inclusion of several pages of the diary of
Joyce Railsback who were taking notes of who was appearing at the shows
and what they were singing. A good example of this being her notes on the first
show Elvis performed as a regular of the Louisiana Hayride on November 6, 1954.
She misspelled Elvis name and wrote Elvis Prestly which was
definitely unknown to her at that moment, yet she had the name right on his
diary page of December 18, 1954. The songs Elvis performed on November 6, 1954
were Im Gonna Sit Right Down and Cry Over You , Fool,
Fool, Fool with a mention saying He has a strange and different
style and may go places with it and finally Blue Moon (
possibly meant Blue Moon Of Kentucky or perhaps not ? ).
The book contains some photographs we have seen before but a whole lot are being seen for the first time. I wont go into details about the different pictures illustrated within the pages of this book but the shots taken during the three months of 1956, and the ones from December 15, 1956 are among my favourites. Since a second book is planned on Elvis last Louisiana Hayride performance of December 15, 1956, I cant wait for that one to be published as well as some of the photographs used here are simply stunning.
Elvis The Hayride Years 54-56 comes with a bonus collectors CD of
restored Louisiana Hayride recordings titled Elvis Presley At The Hayride
Tonight ! . I wasnt expecting much from this CD considering weve got
so many releases from these recordings over the years. The back cover of the CD
mentions For The First Time ! Digitally restored from the original
sources in the Louisiana Hayride archives . Are these tracks sound better
than before ? The answer is yes.
compared the tracks featured on this CD with the same ones contained on the CD
The Elvis Broadcasts On Air
which I considered to this day the best source for the Hayride recordings.
The first two songs on the bonus CD are Thats All Right and
Blue Moon Of Kentucky from Elvis first performance at the
Hayride on October 16, 1954. Those two are possibly the ones who sounded quite
the same on both releases although I would give a slight advantage to the bonus
CD accompanying the book. The same can be said for Baby Lets Play
House but Tweedlee Dee From April 30, 1955 is definitely
way ahead on the Elvis At The Hayride Tonight ! .
I Was The One and Hound Dog are equally sounding better
here than on the Elvis Broadcasts On Air CD, and moreover
Hound Dog is a just a bit longer here since it starts a few lines before the
drum rolls leading to the second verse of the song. Hearts Of Stone
is possibly one of the poorest track weve got from the Hayride from a
very scratchy acetate. Yes, you can still hear some scratches but the
improvement is important here. Indeed we here much lesser scratches and more of
the music and Elvis vocal here.
Maybellene comes with the mention reworked audio . Not
exactly certain what it means but the result is a track that is much better and
sound relatively fresher when compared to the previous outings of this
performance. Thats All Right from January 22, 1955 is also
sounding better. The last track with June Carter talking about Elvis and reading
a poem on March 6, 1960 at the Hayride is fun to have although not essential by
itself. The audio restoration was done by Little Walter Devenne and he did
overall a great job on these Louisiana Hayride recordings.
my memory is failing, I think this is the very first book on Elvis during the
Hayride Years. We had other books containing documents and pictures related to
the Hayride, but nothing as extensive and comprehensive such as this new book by
Frank Page and Joey Kent. These gentlemen did a marvellous job and with the help
of .J.A.T. Publishing produced what has already became one of my favourite book
The Crazy Canuck, January 2004