Black Music Matters Festival

Elvis Presley

Good Rockin' Tonight: The Evolution Of Elvis Presley - The Complete Louisiana Hayride Archives – 2000 (Music Mill Entertainment)

Reviewed by Ken Burke

This is the third official go round for the live '50's recordings lovingly compiled in Good Rockin' Tonight, but that makes them no less worthwhile. Narrator Frank Page saw the whole Elvis Presley phenomena take shape from the wings of the hallowed Louisiana Hayride and his comments provide valuable context concerning the young rocker's still-developing style.

Naturally the chief attraction is the Memphis Flash himself burning through the Sun-era gems "That's All Right Mama," "Blue Moon Of Kentucky," "Good Rockin' Tonight" and "Baby Let's Play House." Some of the restored acetates sound rough, but it's worth the audio noise to hear Presley jump through such rarities as "Hearts Of Stone," "Maybellene," "Tweedle Dee" and "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone."

Occasionally, the 20-year-old Presley bolstered the spare, driving sound of Scotty Moore and Bill Black with staff musicians Floyd Cramer and Sonny Trammell. No matter what he did or how he did it, Hayride audiences loved Elvis Presley. If they hadn't, we probably wouldn't know about him today.