LPM 2011 Black Label Dog On Top
A Date With Elvis
Side 1. Blue Moon Of Kentucky / Young And Beautiful / (you're so square) Baby, I Don't Care / Milkcow Blues Boogie / Baby, Let's Play House
Side 2. Good Rockin' Tonight / Is It So Strange / We're Gonna Move / I Want To Be Free / I Forgot To Remember To Forget
This album contained no new material, but none of the songs had been released on an album before.
The original release had a gatefold cover with pictures of Elvis leaving for Germany as a soldier and a 1960 calendar on the back with a ring around Elvis' presumed release date. It entered Billboard's Hot LP chart on September 20th 1959 at the number 32 position, and remained on the chart for eight weeks.
RCA released this LP in July 1959, RCA RD 27128, it reached number 4 on the chart
Half of the tracks on this LP were laid down at 706 Union Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee, the original home of Sun Records. The earliest recording on this album is the radical reinterpretation of Bill Monroe's Blue Moon Of Kentucky, which first saw the light of day as a b-side of Elvis' first single That's All Right, Monroe was one of bluegrass's chief exponents, although you'd be hard pushed to find any trace of that genre in Elvis' cover, in its way the rendition was as innovative as Elvis' makeover of Arthur Crudup's That's All Right, although it was the latter track that grabbed most of the attention when the songs were paired on Sun 209. The next pair of tracks to make this LP came from later in 1954, originally recorded by its composer, Roy Brown, Good Rockin' Tonight became the A-side of Elvis' second single, but it was Wynonie Harris's cover that most influenced Elvis' version of the song, while Brown's version had a jump blues feel to it, Harris's version had a stronger beat, giving it an edge that Elvis kept. Guitarist Scotty Moore felt compelled to kept it simple throughout, even during his solo, where his spontaneous playing simply emphasised the beat, much to Sam Phillips's delight. Elvis swaggers through the song, right up to his final promise we're gonna rock our blues away".
Of all the Sun tracks on the album four had made it as A-sides, one of these was Milkcow Blues Boogie, by October 1954, it was clear that the music that was taped a few months earlier on That's All Right was no fluke, with it's slow spoken introduction which then hits double time, Milkcow Blues Boogie has a foot in blues and country genres, with Scotty on guitar and Bill Black on bass, they have to work hard to keep up with Elvis as he piles into the song.
Two further Sun numbers were provided, Baby, Let's Play House and the more conventional I Forgot To Remember to forget, both of which were recorded during 1955, the former was the only song to survive from the February session that also saw versions of I Got A Woman and Trying To Get To You taped and subsequently lost after Elvis moved to RCA later in the same year.
All the elements fell into place when the band tried Baby, Let's Play House, then a popular regional hit. the track captures everything that was exciting about the young Elvis Presley. The final Sun number on the A Date With Elvis LP was I Forgot To Remember To Forget, this would become one of the most successful songs that Elvis cut with Sam Phillips, it was Elvis' first national number one hit, holding the top spot on the country charts for five weeks.
The opening RCA track on the album would be We're Gonna Move, a song taken from the Love Me Tender soundtrack EP, the master of this track was spliced from takes 4 & 9. The January 1957 sessions held at Radio Recorders, Hollywood, were three more tracks were laid down, Is It So Strange was first heard on the EP Just For You, the number was composed by Faron Young, who toured with Elvis during his later years at Sun, and who offered the track to Elvis in person. There was a dispute over writing credits but, as Elvis showed in a similar situation with Suspicious Minds over a decade later, his drive and determination to record a track that he liked resulted in an understanding finally being arrived at, the final three tracks that would grace the album were taken from the double platinum Jailhouse Rock EP, up first was Abner Silver and Aaron Schroeder's Young And Beautiful, which featured three times during the movie over the development of Elvis' character. Then it was a Leiber and Stoller double, both recorded at Radio Recorders on May 3rd 1957, three days after Young And Beautiful, Elvis is in great voice in I Want To Be Free. Elvis had wrestled with his vocal for Young And Beautiful, but it was Bill Black's turn to struggle, this time it was Leiber and Stoller's (you're so square) Baby, I Don't Care, no one could slap a stand up bass like Bill, but he wasn't sure about it's electric cousin, finding the song beyond him he throw the instrument to the ground and stormed out, with no obvious replacement, Elvis picked it up and played it himself.
On release, A Date With Elvis was outperformed by the same years For LP Fans Only, it charted 13 places lower at number 32 and sold 25,000 copies fewer, shifting around 175,000 copies, however, by placing Sun and RCA tracks side by side shows the rousing showcase for Elvis' rapid development.
Blue Moon Of Kentucky - Recorded July 1954, Memphis, Tennessee
Young And Beautiful - Recorded April 30th 1957, Radio Recorders, Hollywood
(you're So Square) Baby, I Don't Care - Recorded May 1957, Hollywood
Milkcow Blues Boogie- Recorded November / December 1954, Memphis, Tennessee
Baby, Let's Play House - Recorded February 1955, Memphis, Tennessee
Good Rockin' Tonight - Recorded September 9th 1954, Memphis, Tennessee
Is It So Strange - Recorded January 19th 1957, Radio Recorders, Hollywood
We're Gonna Move - Recorded August 24th 1956, Fox Stage 1, Hollywood
I Want To Be Free - Recorded May 3rd 1957, Radio Recorders, Hollywood
I Forgot To Remember To Forget - Recorded July 11th 1955, Memphis, Tennessee
Radio Recorders, Hollywood
Sun Studio, Memphis, Tennessee
Fox Stage 1, Hollywood
Elvis Presley - Vocals
Scotty Moore, Vito Mumolo, Elvis Presley - Guitar
Bill Black, Mike Rubin - Bass
D.J. Fontana, Richard Cornell, Johnny Bernero – Drums
Mike Stoller, Dudley Brooks - Piano
Hoyt Hawkins - Organ
Luther Rountree - Banjo
Don Frontieri - Accordion
Rad Robinson, Jon Dodson, Charles Prescott, The Jordanaires - Vocals
US - 2
UK - 4
US - September 1959
UK - July 1959