Album: Various artists

Elvis Inspiration, Secret
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The Independent Culture

Elvis Inspiration is a sort of Presley-oriented equivalent of the recent album that anthologised all the singles which featured on John Lennon's own portable jukebox. The premise here is slightly different: the compilers of this two-CD box set have brought together 40 original versions of songs later recorded by Elvis, from the very first piece he ever recorded - a cover of The Ink Spots' "That's When Your Heartaches Begin", made as a gift for his mother. What becomes immediately apparent is the sheer breadth of music the young Elvis was able to hear on early-Fifties radio; a rich mulch of country and bluegrass acts such as Eddy Arnold and Hank Williams, crooners such as Dean Martin and Ivory Joe Hunter, R&B belters such as Wynonie Harris and Lloyd Price, vocal groups such as The Clovers and Billy Ward & His Dominoes, and gospel groups such as the splendidly named Trumpeteers. Presley's original Sun Sessions are represented in their virtual entirety, with standout performances from Arthu

Elvis Inspiration is a sort of Presley-oriented equivalent of the recent album that anthologised all the singles which featured on John Lennon's own portable jukebox. The premise here is slightly different: the compilers of this two-CD box set have brought together 40 original versions of songs later recorded by Elvis, from the very first piece he ever recorded - a cover of The Ink Spots' "That's When Your Heartaches Begin", made as a gift for his mother. What becomes immediately apparent is the sheer breadth of music the young Elvis was able to hear on early-Fifties radio; a rich mulch of country and bluegrass acts such as Eddy Arnold and Hank Williams, crooners such as Dean Martin and Ivory Joe Hunter, R&B belters such as Wynonie Harris and Lloyd Price, vocal groups such as The Clovers and Billy Ward & His Dominoes, and gospel groups such as the splendidly named Trumpeteers. Presley's original Sun Sessions are represented in their virtual entirety, with standout performances from Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup ("That's All Right Mama"), Johnnie Lee Wills ("Milk Cow Blues Boogie"), and Junior Parker (the haunting "Mystery Train"). Played back-to-back with Elvis's versions, they offer countless insights into his approach, affirming just how revolutionary his methods were.

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