Ernie's Import Lp Corner

 The Rockin' Rebel

“ The Rockin‘ Rebel ” on Golden Archives GA-250 circa 1978, was produced in the USA. This is perhaps one of the best conceived and executed bootleg LPs ever. The poster-like gatefold cover opens up to reveal a full length color production still of Elvis from “ Loving You ”. The inside of the cover treats us to nice liner notes and numerous black and white photos of Elvis in concert and on TV. The LP label is the standard “ Golden Archives ” label, the top 5/8 with a red background and the green “ treasure trunk ” graphic overflowing with archived LPs and 45s. The bottom 3/8 of the label blue and white “ sky ” background with the track listing in black text. 

The sound quality through-out is very good, with variances between the source material; the added echo on some of the tracks ( whether already on the source masters or added for this LP ) is somewhat distracting. The LP pressing itself has minimal surface noise. However the fact that a good portion of this material had not seen the light of day at the time this LP was released is a plus. 

Side 1:

“ Hound Dog ” from ABC’s Milton Berle Show broadcast June5, 1956 is a great way to start off this LP. This live version shows that Elvis knew this song inside and out by the time of this performance ( he had probably been playing it live for some time already )…complete with the bump-and-grind ending, this version rocks!!  The studio version Elvis would record for RCA on July 2 may become a hit, but the studio version ( unfortunately we only have master take # 31 ) just didn’t catch the magic of these live 50’s versions. The dialogue that follows is a nice documentation of 50’s American Television as Uncle Miltie clowns around with Elvis and brings out Debra Paget; Elvis’ co-star in “ Love Me Tender ”. The production of the film had just gotten under way. “ I Want You, I Need You, I Love You ” and its introductory dialogue ( Uncle Miltie talks about how long he has “ known ” Elvis ) and its post performance dialogue ( presentation of Billboard Triple Crown award for Heartbreak Hotel ) come from a very different source…it sounds like it was recorded in a 55 gallon steel drum. The amount of echo is unfortunate but the historical significance warrants its inclusion. This side closes out with a Monday May 14, 1956 LaCrosse, Wisconsin interview. Of interest is the background noise as fans attempt to get into Elvis’ dressing room ( where the interview is taking place ) and Elvis’ mention of the film “ The Rainmaker ” starring Burt Lancaster. Unfortunately Elvis’ involvement never materialized. 

Side 2:

The first four tracks on this side were taken from the Dutch bootleg LP “ Good Rockin’ Tonight ”.  Cotton and Dewitt, in their book “ Jailhouse Rock ”, compared these tracks on the two LPs and concluded that the sound quality is the same. All four of these songs have a lot of additional reverb, unfortunately. The slow version of “ My Baby’s Gone ” from Sun studio’s is taken from an acetate.  “ I Don’t Care if the Sun Don’t Shine ” is the two false starts followed by ( what was later discovered to be ) the actual master take.  “ Blue Moon of Kentucky ” is a slow alternate rendition.  '' I’ll Never Let You Go Little Darlin '' is incomplete preceded by studio dialogue.  The last two tracks come from the King Creole Sessions.  Both “ King Creole ” and “ As Long As I Have You ” are sourced from acetates. The reverb is clearly added after the fact as the surface noise from the acetate sources is echoed as well. 

This LP is an excellent presentation of both unreleased and previously released material that allows the listener to experience a few diverse selections spanning the first few years of Elvis’ career in the entertainment industry. The quality material combined with the excellent packaging make this LP a top 5 bootleg LP in my book. Any Elvis fan knows that Elvis’ talent allowed him to sustain a music and film career that spanned two decades, but what put him on the map and caught the attention of both the youth culture and the adults worldwide is what is most loved and will be what is most remembered about him; the fact that he is “ The Rockin’ Rebel ”.

Ernie Boyes Jr.