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FTD Release of Complete Sun Sessions - Serious Collector's

Mon May 05, 2003 6:36 am

As per the info on "Master and Session", many of the alternate takes and acetates
from the Sun sessions appear on several different imports and BMG releases.
From a business standpoint, it may not make sense to release all available Sun material on mainstream BMG.

Would it not then make sense to issue this kind of material on the FTD label?

I don't know how other serious collector's feel but I have been looking for BMG to release all of the Sun recordings on a single release.
Both Sunrise and The Complete Sun Sessions fall short of this.

I'm probably beating a dead horse here but I would like to know how other serious collector's
feel about the release of all the Sun material on a single release???

Mon May 05, 2003 7:00 am

I think it'd be great. I know for a fact that everything out there (not Hayride stuff, just SUN) would fit on 2 CDs. They could make a 2 CD-set that had EVERYTHING... even the false starts of "Harbor Lights".

I'd buy that release in a heartbeat!

Mon May 05, 2003 7:03 am

I hear ya, Mike!

Keep those Hayride recordings out! SUN only!!!

Mon May 05, 2003 7:03 am

yeah i was they done that on sunrise
but they didnt.

now if ftd well do it i might get it.

curtis simpkins

Mon May 05, 2003 8:00 am

I really hated how they deleted "The Complete Sun Sessions" for that stupid "Sunrise" with it's horrible-quality Hayride recordings on the second disc.

"The Complete Sun Sessions" was a great cd; it was mid-price, which made it almost $19 cheaper than "Sunrise"! I'm sure there are many out there who have friends who are just cursory Elvis fans who owned "The Complete Sun Sessions". It was a popular disc for lots of people. But now that it's successor has a $30 price tag, it's going to mean alot of people who normally would've had some Sun stuff in their collection will be going without.

Long story short; bring back the low priced single disc "The Complete Sun Sessions!

Mon May 05, 2003 8:31 am

Unfortunately that 1987 CD edition contains less than its 1987 double LP counterpart -- so it too has drawbacks.

Frankly, Sunrise is the closest RCA/BMG has come -- to date -- to properly issuing the awesome Presley Sun material. The cover is gorgeous and the liner notes by Guralnick are excellent. Is it flawed? Yes -- and the Hayride material is the least of the problems, all of which have been covered on the MB many times.

As for a new Sun collection on FTD -- not a chance. The Presley Sun material is too important historically -- if not monetarily, according to BMG -- to see release on a fan-only subsidiary.

If one includes the 04 Dec'56 Sun studio "Million Dollar Quartet" jam -- with the missing material -- a new collection would run to more than three discs. Add to this acetates and unissued tapes and you approach four CDs.

The "Louisiana Hayride" material has always made sense to include on a comprehensive Sun retrospective because on stage in 1954-55 is where Elvis found himself as an artist.

With a limited number of singles to use on tour, he and the boys had to feature other songs that measured up. The astounding Jan'55 Lubbock radio station acetate ("Shake, Rattle & Roll" / "Fool, Fool, Fool") is another example of something a "Sun" collection must include.

It's not far-fetched to assume that almost everything Elvis, Scotty and Bill ran through in concert was tried at 706 Union -- but those tapes are long gone. Thus, the importance of the existing "Hayride" acetates.

It's a shame the audio quality on many of these extra tracks is so poor -- but I wouldn't trade them for a stack of Kiss gold records.

God bless!
Last edited by drjohncarpenter on Tue Aug 04, 2009 8:52 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Mon May 05, 2003 8:37 am

i do like the lp version the 1987 sun session
with all unreleased tracks on them

i dont care for sunrise all that much.

curtis simpkins

Mon May 05, 2003 8:43 am

Amen to what the DR wrote. I agree with everything you said.
They should put everything you mentioned on a Sun box set containing 4 discs or whatever it would take to include everything from Sun records and the Sun years. Everything from 1953-1955 should be altogether in one classic set.

jeff R

Mon May 05, 2003 8:44 am

I agree that they should release the sun material without the live material. The live stuff could have a release of it's own, but the studio material should stand on it's own. The live stuff just doesn't stand up (sound wise) in my opinion. :)

Mon May 05, 2003 8:52 am

thanks dr. john for your invaluable information...

you are correct in as much the casual elvis fan who already owns "the complete sun sessions" will not go out and purchase a "complete" cd with the poor hayride recordings and all outtakes, sessions. they will think they have the majority sun recordings...why plop down the extra money. only the serious fan, collector will do such a thing.

although, for the historic aspect they should all be included in one dyamite set to acheive the overall feel and time of elvis in the mid-fifties. except bmg will believe they will not get a high enough profit on there investment, yes a three to four cd set would have to cover the material.


Mon May 05, 2003 9:26 am

Got a couple points....

Speaking for studio sessions only, all I know of that's left are the false starts of "Harbor Lights", Ernst says there were only two complete takes, and we have them. FTD would be the only fathomable place to release these.

I've heard rumors about other pieces, but if anyone has any leads to anything else, I can't stress it enough to *Please* get in touch with me at:


Because I have a "secondary/second-hand" route to Ernst (not for asking questions, only for submitting material), I do have the means of getting this material to BMG, and I can possibly do it for more than what BMG is normally willing/able to pay (in most cases), which helps the collectors out, too.

ANYway... back to the subject.... does anyone know what other SUN-era stuff BMG has in it's vaults? If all that's left are the false starts of "Harbor Lights", then there's not much left..

A box set would be cool, though.... 4 CD's:
"SUN: The Artistic Birth Of A Legend" (or something like that)
Disc 1: Masters
Disc 2: Alternates
Disc 3: Hayride Live
Disc 4: The Million Dollar Quartet (Complete this time)

That would be an interesting box set for next year, commemorating the start of his career, and the start at SUN.

What do you all think?

Mon May 05, 2003 9:35 am

1) Are the July 1953 and January 1954 Sun acetates considered "masters" or "alternates"?

2) Where do you place items like the January 1955 Lubbock acetate or the March 1955 Houston gig?

3) A complete "Million Dollar Quartet" will run longer than one disc.

Mon May 05, 2003 9:42 am

Dr. John, good points!

1. I consider them "masters" - one take masters, as well as the Lubbock acetates

2. All SUN-era live material would go in the "live" CD (Maybe just call that "live" and not "Hayride")

3. Depending on how much time the "live" CD takes, have the "MDQ" stuff begin on CD-3.

How does that look? Would that have been what you'd do?

Mon May 05, 2003 10:01 am

Your configuration is very good.

4) But are the January 1955 Lubbock performances live or studio?

There's no audience, just Elvis, Scotty and Bill -- just like at 706 Union.

Mon May 05, 2003 1:02 pm

Yeah, I'd always thought it was done at a radio station (never did read up on the whole story on that), so I considered it an "impromptu" studio session, kinda like his first acetates.

Dr. John, do you know of any other tapes besides what's out on boot? I noticed you mentioned it, but I was just curious. :)

Mon May 05, 2003 3:42 pm

Thank you, gentlemen, for your input.

DJC, how do you restrict the live performances to only the Hayride shows?
You have mentioned the Eagles Hall gig - is there more live material from that era?

I have no problem whatsoever having BMG release this material as a 4CD box set.
When it comes to the SUN sessions cost or issuing another box set is not issue - I would only like to have all the available material on one release.

I guess I come back to the fact that the American Studio sessions were released on their own with alternates... why couldn't BMG do the same with the SUN material.

I would include the Lubbock Cotton Club acetates as part of the alternates... these are not Sun recorded sessions or do these recordings have some affiliation with Sun Records?

What about the "When All Was Kool" selections and the alternate of Blue Moon of Kentucky on "Good Rockin' Tonight" Bopcat LP?

Mon May 05, 2003 7:21 pm

I agree with DJC’s comments that all of the material from this period should be released together, and I also think it would make for a great release. As the versions of “Don’t Forbid Me” & “You Belong To My Heart” that were issued on “TT&F” were taken from a different source tape, it could be that Ernst is waiting for the opportunity to make a new recording of the MDQ session available. It’s also worth noting that before the track listing for “Close Up” was confirmed, it was rumoured that a new Sun acetate may have been discovered. With 2004 being the 50th anniversary of the release of “That’s All Right”, maybe we will finally get the definitive collection from the Sun years then.

Mon May 05, 2003 7:21 pm


With the exception of the longer playing time of "Mystery Train" on the "When All Was Kool", the sound on the 50s masters can sound better than this release (I've taken the chance to try this out thinking that the boot sounded better and was surprised to find I was wrong).

As for the Bobcat LP, isn't this the same thing as the "slow" version joked about being "A pop song, nearly 'bout" that RCA has put out... if it isn't, I'll have to hunt me down one-a them.. lol

Good point on the Lubbock acetates, but what I was thinking was that they could be "Bonus" songs at the end of the masters disc.

This is a great discussion - what a dream set!

Mon May 05, 2003 8:14 pm

Hi Mike!

I was mistaken about the Bopcat release of BMOK - it's available on both "TCSS" and "Sunrise" - I'll give my head a shake!!! LOL!!!
(M&S is such a great site with so much information I sometimes start missing things)

Anyway, with regard to "When All Was Kool" - the material I was talking about was the two takes of "How Do You Think I Feel" where Elvis is singing off-mike. It was recorded on March 5, 1955 (as per M&S).

You 're right, this is great material all-around. I just wonder if a re-issue of all this material would sell to the general public.
It has been issued twice since 1987 - could a third release be justified by Ernst to the BMG brass???
I understand Doc's point about the importance of this material and that it should be handled at the "mainstream" level... if a 4CD box set is what it takes... then bring it on.
I am still of the opinion that the Sun material could stand on its own - but obviously there's room for debate!!!

Thanks again.

Mon May 05, 2003 8:40 pm


I think, of all the times to release this material, 2004 is the best time. It should be released July 5th, the same date as the first real SUN recording session.

I can't think of a better time, really...

Mon May 05, 2003 9:32 pm

With the exception of the longer playing time of "Mystery Train" on the "When All Was Kool."

Mike -

The longer version is not on this import CD. From the "Master & Session" Web site:

"A longer running version of "Mystery Train" was released on a European budget CD in 1987 called "Elvis Presley - The Legendary" (JOKER Tonverlag AG/CD 0254). This version runs longer than any known Sun or RCA release (BMG edited the end even more). It even seems to include the very last note played before the fade-out is over."

Mon May 05, 2003 10:55 pm

Hi, Dr. John,

It's not? Maybe I had access to a rare pressing or something, because the version I took off someone's "When All Was Kool" is exactly as described in the Master & Session website.

If you have the "When All Was Kool" CD, check that and see if it's not the case on yours.

Mon May 05, 2003 11:02 pm

Dr John,
I just want to say THANK YOU for your earlier post. I don't understand why everybody gripes about the Louisiana Hayride recordings being packaged with the Sun material. Sure it may be bad soundquality, but it's so freakin rare to have the opportunity to hear live Pre-RCA recordings (and even 56 and 57 are extremely scarce). I dont want someone from RCA to read this MB and get the wrong idea, and not persue the leads on the several remaining unreleased Hayride acetates that are out there because they think we Elvis fans are not interested. I WANT TO HEAR ALL OF THEM!!! EVERYTHING That was recorded by Elvis on the hayride or in other places (like Lubbock and Houston) NEEDS to be released!!! THEY ARE SOME OF THE RAREST AND MOST IMPORTANT AUDIO-DOCUMENTS OF ELVIS EVER!! If they find release on a Sun package SO BE IT!!! It;s live material from the time he was at sun, I dont see anyone complaining about the inclusion of live tracks on Platinum or Today , Tomorrow and Forever!. Sound quality is secondary, Historical content first!

Mon May 05, 2003 11:59 pm

I'm all for including the million dollar quartette stuff if they can get it in the right order and maybe enough new stuff. getting in the right order is not that difficult becuase carl's band dropped out at one point. Again including hayride stuff would be nice to have all in one set if they can find enough new stuff. hopefully Ernst is still looking. I agree, sound in not an issue here because this is all we've got. Also note that the sun sessions cd does not claim to be complete on the cover or label. The "complete" was dropped when issued as a cd. At the time, only the double LP was complete. And for this all to come to light, I think they have to include at least one un-issued Sun song. Cold Cold Icey fingers, would be my choice. This is rumored to exist on tape. Aside note: When steve sholes listened to the sun tapes and catalogued them, when he came across the recording of 'how do you think I feel", as a more-or-less intrumental, he may have marked this as "other selections", because he was unfamilair with the tune. its only logical. The other selection could be "blues stay away from me". My theory is is that elvis perhaps was not off-mike, there was technical problems that prevented his vocals from being recorded.

Wed May 07, 2003 7:17 am

Mike -

I have When All Was Kool and it's not as long as the version cited above.

ekenee wrote:When steve sholes listened to the sun tapes and catalogued them, when he came across the recording of 'how do you think I feel", as a more-or-less intrumental, he may have marked this as "other selections", because he was unfamilair with the tune. its only logical. The other selection could be "blues stay away from me". My theory is is that elvis perhaps was not off-mike, there was technical problems that prevented his vocals from being recorded.

This is erroneous. The "How Do You Think I Feel" tape was discovered long after Sholes' worksheet and it is not one with "technical problems." It is the "second" tape Sam Phillips ran to create the distinctive "slap back" echo on Scotty Moore's guitar. That is why the guitar is so high in the mix. When they were done with the session the reel went back on the "re-use" pile. Somehow -- it survived until the 1970s.
Last edited by drjohncarpenter on Tue Aug 04, 2009 8:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.