COMPLETE MASTERS REVIEWED
By Joseph A. Tunzi
How much money is Elvis Presley’s complete recorded output from 1953 to 1977 worth? To
me, it’s priceless and most music historians would agree.

This set begins with his innovative and incredible Sun recordings. If I could only bring one CD
on a car ride down to Memphis, these recordings are the ones I would choose.

The collection goes on to his 1956 RCA sessions, where he would record his first national #1
hit, “Heartbreak Hotel,” then to his triumphant “Elvis Is Back” sessions, where he recorded the
immaculate “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” upon returning from the service in 1960.

This set is arranged in the order that Elvis recorded them. (This is a no-brainer so I’m glad to
see that common sense won out on the alignment of the package.)

The 60s, of course, brings out “Elvis the movie star.” All the movie soundtracks are included
up to his ‘68 Singer Special produced and directed by the great Steve Binder.

I was fortunate to work with Steve on his “‘68 at 40” retrospective. The paperback edition is
now available through our website at www.jatpublishing.com.
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The ‘69 American Sound Studio sessions follow with Elvis’ # 1 hit “Suspicious Minds,” along with other big hits “In the Ghetto,” “Don’t Cry Daddy,” and
“Kentucky Rain.”

This would be the first time Elvis would record in Memphis since the Sun recordings. It’s all here from beginning to end, with the end being Elvis Presley’s
1976 Graceland sessions which he recorded at home.

The set also includes 103 rarities. Now, some of these I would have substituted for other tracks.

For example, one of his best rehearsal performances was the July 24,1970 blues version of
“Stranger In My Own Hometown.” Why it’s not on here is
just a mistake, but that’s a selective choice.

The sound is excellent. The best we’ve heard so far on CD.

Is it as good as vinyl? In some cases, it is and in some cases, it is not.

I think the songs that sound better on vinyl are the early sun recordings and most, if not all, the original ‘56 and ‘57 tracks. Mind you, I’m talking about the
original mono recordings of these tracks when they came out on album or 45s in the 50s.

That said, the sound is the best you’re going to get on CD. The set also includes a lavish book, and all in all, weighs about 16 lbs—very impressive.
So here are the big questions:
Would I have bought it for close to $800?...........The answer is yes.

Would I have preferred that every music fan, other than those who purchased 1000
limited edition copies, had an opportunity to enjoy it?..............The answer is yes.

My suggestions is: why not make this a worldwide release with all 30 CDs in a
replication of one of the early 1956 Elvis Presley carrying cases and sell it for say
$150, with a small book included or sell the book separately?

Why not place a sticker on the front implying that this set features every recorded
master including all his gospel and Christmas recordings for this holiday season,
since Elvis sells big time in these two genres?

Just my opinion but Sony might have got more mileage out of it with a higher profit
margin and a Grammy for best historical package.

Hopefully, this is still possible even with the 1000 units sold out because “The
Complete Masters” deserves it.