Now I know you're a big Elvis fan, but I have to admit my enthusiasm for him peaked around 1972 when some of his films — Girls! Girls! Girls! and Fun in Acapulco are two I definitely saw — were shown in BBC1's early evening movie slot on successive Wednesdays. (OK, I admit: it might have been Tuesdays. But I think it was Wednesdays.) At that age the songs were irresistibly catchy (they also felt grown-up). It was just after that that I broke my mum's Elvis 78s. I remember where I was when I heard he had died, but my earth wasn't shattered.
After a hiatus of a decade or so after that, when I next paid Elvis any attention everything was filtered through the legend. I can't be sure about the circumstances that led me to buy this double LP. My guess is that I got The Sun Collection and missed the hits, so I got this as a complement. That was over 20 years ago, and I doubt either record has had more than five plays in that time. So you could say I'm coming to the songs fairly fresh.
I have to say that, to my ears, these recordings are no great shakes. I've heard it's hip to laud the work he did before he joined the army over the later songs, and the difference is stark. On average I do prefer the pre-1958 stuff, but it seems to me that, later on, the peaks were higher and the troughs lower. In the Ghetto has long been my favourite, just for the sound world that surrounds his voice. Weird things happen to that voice over the years, made evident by the jump cuts that you get with compilations. I guess the Colonel saw to it that he had lots of coaching. Meanwhile, Suspicious Minds is great, but I prefer both Willie Nelson's and the Pet Shop Boys' versions of Always on my Mind, so shoot me.
MusicBrainz entry for this album
Wikipedia entry for this album
Rate Your Music entry for this album
Some metadata about this album at Last.fm