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Elvis Presley: The King of 'n' Roll /

The Complete '50s Masters (RCA 90689, all formats). It's 20 years since RCA released the first Elvis boxed set. In those days, of course, he was still alive, and Colonel Parker was running the show. The come-on for that set was an individual scrap of one of Presley's suits, neatly cut and inserted into a little envelope, A Free Gift For You] with each and every box. Mine was grey and blue check worsted, and I'll bet it had never been within a dozen states of Elvis Presley. So what's new? There are 140 tracks on these five CDs (or equivalent tape and vinyl), and the special attractions are these: 'My Happiness', from the acetate he recorded for his mum in 1953; a demo of 'Fool Fool Fool', an Ahmet Ertegun song he never recorded properly; unreleased alternate masters of a few things like 'Old Shep' and 'I Want to Be Free'; a handful of unreleased early live tracks; 'unreleased highlights from press conference, 22 September 1958'; and - wait for it - 'a sheet of four-colour stamps depicting Presley's '50s record covers'. Of course, there's some wonderful music for your 50 quid - the Sun sessions in full, the first Christmas album, great pop songs like 'Baby I Don't Care' and 'A Fool Such as I' - but not many people ought to need it in this unedited form. The fine booklet notes are a taster for Peter Guralnick's Presley biography, due next year as a corrective to Albert Goldman's monstrous calumny. Richard Williams

Morrissey: Your Arsenal (Parlophone 0777 7 9979424). Does the world really need another picture of Morrissey sticking his tongue out? The man himself obviously thinks so, despite, or perhaps because of, the ever smaller numbers of people who agree with him. Unfortunately the paranoid narcissist tendencies of this his fourth solo album do not stop with the sleeve, but open out into self-pitying piffle like 'We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful'. If only Morrissey, and everyone else for that matter, could stop thinking about his career trajectory, he still has it in him to make a pretty good record. Parts of this are it: having Mick Ronson as producer works well on the first couple of numbers, where big fuzzy swathes of 'Spirit in the Sky' guitar-steals mother the Russholme yodel to oddly comforting effect, and 'Seasick, Yet Still Docked' and 'I Know It's Gonna Happen Someday' manage to be mournful but not maudlin. But the intriguing hints of altruism on Morrissey's last album Kill Uncle are lost, and at times his Little Englandism gets uncomfortably close to Fascism. Ben Thompson

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