LPM 1990 Black Label Dog On Top
For LP Fans Only
Side 1. That's All Right / Lawdy, Miss Clawdy / Mystery Train / Playing For Keeps / Poor Boy
Side 2. My Baby Left Me / I Was The One / Shake, Rattle And Roll / I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone / You're A Heartbreaker
This LP was released February 9th 1959 at the number nine slot, and stayed on the chart for eight weeks.
For the albums opener, RCA went right back to Elvis’ first Sun single, “That’s All Right”, it was an appropriate way to kick off proceedings, and is one of several classics to grace this record, there are also three other numbers from Sun on the album. “You’re A Heartbreaker”, dates from late 1954 and was the B-side of Elvis’ third single (“Milkcow Blues Boogie”), upon it’s release in December 1954, it was his most straightforward country-pop performance to date, it was far more laid back than anything he had don thus far.
“I’m Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone” was recorded in mid-April 1955, and was the first original song that Elvis done, this number came from the pen of steel guitarist Stan Kesler, who had been spending some time around Sun Records in the hope of laying down some tracks of his own, the track started of slow and bluesy, but the band transformed it into a mid-tempo country and western style arrangement, and another first for an Elvis session would be the addition of a drummer, Jimmie Lott.
The rockabilly classic “Mystery Train” was the other Sun track included on this LP, and was the B-side of Elvis’ last single for the Sun label, the band worked out an arrangement that was different from the original done by Junior Parker, and is helped Elvis’ own acoustic guitar work, and his whoop and chuckle at the end of the track are defining moments in rock ‘n’ roll history.
Over half of the LP’s tracks are dated from the year that Elvis made it big – 1956.
The job that Elvis done on “I was The One” was so good that RCA made it the B-side for his first single for the label (“Heartbreak Hotel”). Ever since Elvis walked into Sun, he wanted to record ballads, but Sam Phillips didn't encourage him to do that type of song, but at RCA he was given more freedom to try out different styles. Of the five tracks taped during the first sessions, held in Nashville on January 10th & 11th 1956, Elvis considered “I Was The One” his favourite, but despite it being a personal highlight of his early RCA career, it sounds a bit forced in places, and I think this indicates that Elvis was still trying to find his was in the ballad genre.
Three songs came from the next RCA session, which took place in New York, just days after he made his national debut on TV on CBS’s Stage Show. “My Baby Left Me” was a throwback to Elvis’ time at Sun, like “That’s All Right, this was also an Arthur ‘Big boy’ Crudup composition. Elvis does a great vocal on this and it was of the first times since drummer D.J. Fontana had joined the group that he and Elvis really clicked in the studio, the song was released as Elvis’ second single in May 1956 and was backed by “! Want You, I Need You, I Love You”.
It would require a three hour session to lay down masters for “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” and “Shake, Rattle and Roll” on the February 3rd session, without any original material to Elvis’ liking, he tried Lloyd Price’s “Lawdy Miss Clawdy”, and managed to nail it in 10 takes, it would have been done quicker but he kept making mistakes, Shorty Long’s piano propels the song along while Elvis’ vocal is excellent as he gleefully sings about a woman who’s making his life a misery, and is a supremely confident performance, and the same can be said for “Shake, Rattle and Roll”, within two months both these songs would be paired on a 45 when, in a move without precedent in the music industry, RCA issued seven of Elvis’ singles on the same day.
Elvis was effectively producing the session himself, but it was Sholes’s idea to get the band to overdub some backing vocals onto the master, creating an even livelier cut, on “Shake, Rattle and Roll”, this would be the only time that the band would called upon to do such a function. With the session over, Sholes wrote to Parker, “On Friday we didn't have any new material that suited Elvis so we recorded “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” and “Shake, Rattle and Roll”. Neither one of these would be suitable for single release but I know they will make good selections for the second album.” In the end neither would be included on his second album.
Two later recordings from 1956 completed the For LP Fans Only LP, the first was the jolly country-and western track “Poor Boy” that came from Elvis’ first movie outing “Love Me Tender”, apart from the title song Elvis wasn’t very happy about the soundtrack numbers, which struggled to live up to his previous sessions. The last number “Play for Keeps” came from Stan Kesler (“I'm Left, You’re Right, She’s Gone”), this was done during Labor Day weekend at the state-of the-art Radio Recorders studio in Hollywood, with no pianist hired, Elvis stayed at the piano after doing some gospel warm-up numbers with the musicians, Elvis worked hard on the ballad, and a great deal of effort went into the 18 takes before accepting that take seven would be spliced with the end of the final take to produce a master, this would become the B-side of “Too Much”, released as a 45 in January 1957.
Considering that this LP was only released as a stopgap because there was no new material, the LP reached number 19 in the album charts shifting 200,000 copies, this helped keep Elvis’ name alive while he was away in Europe and backed up Parker’s belief that there was a lot to be made in repackaging unreleased numbers.
That's All Right - Recorded July 5th 1954, Memphis, Tennessee
Lawdy, Miss Clawdy - Recorded February 3rd 1956, New York City
Mystery Train - Recorded July 11th 1955, Memphis, Tennessee
Playing For Keeps - Recorded September 1st 1956, Radio Recorders, Hollywood
Poor Boy - Recorded August / September 1956, Fox Stage 1, Hollywood
My Baby Left Me - Recorded January 30th 1956, RCA Studios, New York City
I Was The One - Recorded January 11th 1956, RCA Studios, Nashville, Tennessee
Shake, Rattle And Roll - Recorded February 3rd, RCA Studios, New York City
I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone - Recorded March 5th 1955, Memphis, Tennessee
You're A Heartbreaker - Recorded November / December 1955, Memphis, Tennessee
Radio Recorders, Hollywood
Paramount Scoring Stage, Hollywood
Elvis Presley - Vocals
Scotty Moore, Chet Atkins, Vito Mumolo, Elvis Presley - Guitar
Bill Black, Mike Rubin - Bass
D.J. Fontana, Richard Cornell, Jimmie Lott, Johnny Bernero – Drums
Hoyt Hawkins, Gordon Stoker, Floyd Cramer, Marvin Hughes, Shorty Long, Dudley Brooks - Piano
Luther Rountree - Banjo
Don Frontieri - Accordion
Ben and Brock Speer, Rad Robinson, Jon Dodson, Charles Prescott,
The Jordanaires - Vocals
US - 19
US - February 1959