Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Million Dollar Quartet

Down By The Riverside (1956)
When The Saints Go Marching In (1956)

Today marks the 28th anniversary of Elvis Presley's passing. It seemed pointless to post one of his hits from the 60s or 70s, and it also seemed pointless to copy and paste or link some biography of the man. Instead, a personal reflection is in order.

Last summer, a childhood friend and I took a trip down to Memphis. As the insane music freak, that was an obvious roadtrip choice for me. We hit up the Stax museum, Sun Studios, the Gibson guitar factory, and of course, Graceland. Before that trip to Memphis I wasn't that big of an Elvis fan. My mom loved the guy, saw him in concert, and always told stories about how huge he really was. None of that ever had an impact, but actually seeing Graceland changed my perception of Elvis.

He was a guy who hit it big but never really grew out of his roots. Sure, he had more money than any of us could ever imagine, but he was still a country boy (a country boy with a huge house, beautiful women, a private plane, and a disturbingly loyal following, but still). Graceland wasn't some kind of religious experience for me, but it was somewhat overwhelming as a music fan. You can read about him all you want but seeing the impact and the history is a completely different trip. Two weeks after returning from Memphis, all three major Elvis boxsets graced my collection, as well as the CD pictured above.

The Million Dollar Quartet was recorded on December 4, 1956. While the forty-track piece of recording history is not a proper studio session, it features four legends goofing around and jamming in the studio where they all began. Elvis stopped by Sun and joined Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash for a little sing-a-long. Sam Phillips knew not to just watch, so he started rolling tape. The end result is a mish-mosh of full songs, fun dialogue, and rock and roll history. Cash appears in the famous picture of the event, but you can't hear any vocal by him throughout the album. But, Million Dollar Trio just doesn't have the same ring to it. This album is currently only available on import...enjoy.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can't hear Johnny Cash in the recording but in his book, Cash: The Autobiography, Johnny himself, insists that he was there throughout the entire session. He said that the reason that he isn't heard is because he was furthest away fromthe microphone, and had to sing in a much higher voice so that he could stay in key with Elvis.

9:30 PM  

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