Ernie's Import Lp Corner

Elvis Rocks Little Rock


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 Little Rock”. 

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 )

This is perhaps the best representation of the revolution that was Elvis in the ‘50’s.  Without any restraints, Elvis, DJ, Scotty and Bill ( whooping it up throughout the show ) give the audience a full-throttle Rock ‘N Roll show, and the audience responds by sending that energy right back to the stage, to which Elvis and company counter by sending it right back to the fans!  And thus we have the “ snowball effect ” that is the key experience of any good concert.  This energy is palpable and transcends through this recording, any true fan of Rock ‘N Roll who doesn’t get excited when listening to this event might want to check their pulse!!  Though it is probably even more rare than the CD pressing, this LP is highly recommended to every Elvis LP collector because of its historic content.  The best source of this show is the BMG box set, but the source isn’t as important as is the fact that, and the playback of this performance leaves no doubt that on this day May 16, 1956, “Elvis Rocks Little Rock”!!

Ernie Boyes Jr.