Yes, you are looking at the LP version of this VERY
RARE release from 1989!! Though
this concert has been released several times since, this has the nicest cover: a
picture of Elvis taken from the cover of “Life” magazine.
And it looks even better in the large LP cover format!
The material on this Bilko LPM 1598 release is the same as on the CD,
though I do not have the CD to directly compare, I think that is a safe
assumption. It contains the May 16, 1956 late show from the Robinson
Memorial Auditorium in Little Rock, Arkansas; hence the title “Elvis Rocks
The concert is complete, though the recording level at
the end of “ I Was the One ” drops out and is almost inaudible; the
completion of the song is indeed there. The
2002 BMG box set “ Today, Tomorrow and Forever ” includes this concert, and
the audible drop-out was compensated for and made as audible as possible.
The pre-show interview with Arkansas DJ Ray Green,
which is actually “ between shows ”, is included after the concert.
The beginning of the interview section gives a short audio snippet of the
“ early show ”, though the sound is quite distant.
This is probably without a doubt the best sounding live show from the
‘50’s that we have. Excluding
the TV performances, and the Vegas show from just ten days before on May 6, the
only other “ tour ” shows that are available are the two Tupelo benefit
shows from September 25 of this same year; but the sound quality of these two
shows is much more harsh and shrill, this show has a much clearer frequency
range. Considering that is was
recorded with a single microphone set in front of the PA system, it is certainly
a unique document of the period of Elvis’ early career that we unfortunately
don’t have more recordings of. Rumors
have circulated for years that another 12 or so recordings of early Elvis shows
from 1956-1957 exist, but they have not come to light.
And considering that magnetic tape has a variable life span, if these
shows do exist, hopefully good digital copies have been made because the master
tape recordings may no longer be playable because of their age.
The quality of the LP pressing is good, there is some
surface noise but the show is very listen-able in this format.
The CD format obviously allows for better reproduction considering the
source. The back LP cover has a black-and-white action photo of Elvis
on stage in the ‘50’s with DJ Fontana in mid-swing off to Elvis’ right
side. The LP label is black and
yellow, and may mirror the CD label style, but again I don’t have the CD to
compare to. ( note: the cover of the CD is the same as the LP but
label is different )
Ernie Boyes Jr.