The Complete Million Dollar Sessions: 50th Anniversary Edition

The Complete Million Dollar Sessions: 50th Anniversary Edition

by Elvis Presley


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One of the most important things to remember about this album is it's really just four guys in a room shooting the breeze, goofing around, and stumbling through a few old songs. This wouldn't be especially interesting under most circumstances, but the three guys in question happen to be Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins, which, as you might imagine, makes quite a difference. Perkins was doing a recording session at the Sun Records studio in Memphis on December 4, 1956, with Lewis playing piano on the date, when Elvis, back in Memphis after a stretch on the road following his breakthrough as a major star, stopped by to say hello. Elvis, Perkins, and Lewis began casually jamming -- mostly on old gospel tunes they remembered from a shared Baptist upbringing -- and Sam Phillips had the presence of mind to record the proceedings. (A famous picture taken that day shows Johnny Cash with the group, but if he stuck around to sing a few tunes, he stayed far enough away from the mike to be absent on these recordings.) To call the performances "casual" taxes understatement, and if you were expecting the ultimate rockabilly moment from these guys, be aware it's about halfway through the session before rock & roll begins to rear its head, and even then it's obvious these guys can play "Down by the Riverside" off the top of their heads far more easily than "Too Much Monkey Business." But half the fun of this album is the playful casualness of the performances (and hearing three of rock's great legends in such non-legendary form). And their personalities certainly manifest themselves right off the bat: Elvis is effortlessly authoritative, and at once amused and perplexed by his sudden fame, while Lewis harmonizes like a wildman, determined to show he's the star of the show, and Perkins displays his characteristic modesty, content to add churchy harmonies and the occasional signature guitar break. It's also fun to hear Elvis imitate Jackie Wilson imitating him, and Perkins marveling at the genius of Chuck Berry. Million Dollar Quartet is really just three guys goofing off -- but from these three guys, "goofing off" is really something to hear. [In 2006, the British Charly label issued a "50th Anniversary Special Edition" version of the Million Dollar Quartet session as a two-disc set, but no new recordings from the historical singalong were unearthed (sorry, Johnny Cash's portion of the program is still missing). Instead, Charly included a bonus disc of period-appropriate Sun recordings from Presley, Lewis, Perkins, and (oh glorious irony) Cash. There are a few surprises -- some rare and unreleased sides from Cash (stripped-down versions of "You're My Baby" and "Belshazar") and Lewis (a great solo take of "That Lucky Old Sun" and a version of "The Marine Hymn" for rockabilly leathernecks everywhere). However, the audio quality is uneven (especially on the Presley numbers, which have generally sounded better in the past), and while the bonus disc is fun listening, it doesn't add much at all to the package.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/16/2006
Label: Sun Records
UPC: 0803415255122
catalogNumber: 9551
Rank: 17497


Disc 1

  1. You Belong to My Heart
  2. When God Dips His Love in My Heart
  3. Just a Little Talk with Jesus
  4. Walk That Lonesome Valley
  5. I Shall Not Be Moved
  6. (There'll Be) Peace in the Valley (For Me)
  7. Down by the Riverside
  8. I'm with the Crowd But Oh So Alone
  9. Farther Along
  10. Blessed Jesus, Hold My Hand
  11. As We Travel Along on the Jericho Road
  12. I Just Can't Make It by Myself
  13. Little Cabin Home on the Hill
  14. Summertime Is Past and Gone
  15. I Hear a Sweet Voice Calling
  16. Sweetheart, You Done Me Wrong
  17. Keeper of the Key
  18. Crazy Arms
  19. Don't Forbid Me
  20. Brown Eyed Handsome Man
  21. Out of Sight, Out of Mind
  22. Brown Eyed Handsome Man
  23. Reconsider Baby
  24. Don't Be Cruel
  25. Don't Be Cruel
  26. Paralysed
  27. Don't Be Cruel
  28. There's No Place Like Home
  29. When the Saints Go Marching In
  30. Softly and Tenderly
  31. Is It So Strange
  32. That's When Your Heartaches Begin
  33. Brown Eyed Handsome Man
  34. Rip It Up
  35. I'm Gonna Bid My Blues Goodbye
  36. Crazy Arms
  37. That's My Desire
  38. End of the Road
  39. Black Bottom Stomp
  40. You're the Only Star in My Blue Heaven
  41. Elvis Farewell

Disc 2

  1. That's All Right
  2. Movie Magg
  3. You're a Heartbreaker
  4. My Treasure
  5. I Don't Care If the Sun Don't Shine
  6. You're My Baby
  7. I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone
  8. New Mexico
  9. I Forgot to Remember to Forget
  10. That Lucky Old Sun
  11. Turn Around
  12. Dixie
  13. Honky Tonk Gal
  14. Milkcow Blues Boogie
  15. Belshazar
  16. The Marine's Hymn [from Hall of the Montezuma}
  17. Sure to Fall
  18. Train of Love
  19. Will the Circle Be Unbroken
  20. Keeper of the Key
  21. I Was There When It Happened
  22. Old Time Religion
  23. Be Honest with Me
  24. Silver Threads (Amongst the Gold)
  25. Mystery Train
  26. Lonely Street
  27. Goodnight Irene
  28. The Great Speckled Bird
  29. Forever Yours
  30. Leave That Junk Alone
  31. Hand Me Down My Walking Cane
  32. Baby, Let's Play House

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Elvis Presley   Primary Artist,Group Member
Johnny Cash   Group Member
Jerry Lee Lewis   Group Member
Carl Perkins   Group Member

Technical Credits

Lowell Fulson   Composer
Bill Monroe   Composer
Gene Autry   Composer
Jimmie Davis   Composer
Chuck Berry   Composer
Jerry Lee Lewis   Composer
Carl Perkins   Composer
Elvis Presley   Composer
Richard Rodgers   Composer
Ernest Tubb   Composer
Otis Blackwell   Composer
A.P. Carter   Composer
Quinton Claunch   Composer
Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup   Composer
Haven Gillespie   Composer
Oscar Hammerstein   Composer
Stan Kesler   Composer
Ralph Mooney   Composer
Junior Parker   Composer
Harry Beasley Smith   Composer
R. Gilbert   Composer
Sam Phillips   Composer
Martin Hawkins   Liner Notes
J.D. Cash   Arranger,Composer
Chuck Seals   Composer
Carroll Loveday   Composer
Traditional   Composer
F. Young   Composer
Helmy Kressa   Composer
A.J. Lara   Composer
Hilda Young   Arranger
Bill Taylor   Composer
William E. Cantrell   Composer
C.C. Perkins   Composer
Lance Guynes   Composer

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