by: Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley's legendary recordings for Sun Records had been reissued many times before Sunrise appeared in early 1999, most notably in the 1987 collection The Complete Sun Recordings. Despite its title, The Complete Sun Recordings was missing a few odds and ends, plus its sequencing on CD was a little didactic, resulting in a repetitive listen. Those flaws are corrected on the exceptional Sunrise, a generous 38-song double-disc set that contains all of Elvis' Sun recordings, including alternate takes and several previously unreleased live performances. The compilers wisely decided to devote the first disc to the original takes, dedicating the second to alternate takes: six live cuts from 1955 and four private demos from 1953 and 1954. This sequencing emphasizes the brilliance of this music. Not only is listening to all 19 masters in a row quite breathtaking, but the second disc winds up as a revelatory experience, since it offers a kind of alternate history by following Elvis' pre-professional recordings from his Sun sessions to early live performances. As such, Sunrise is essential for the curious and the collector alike. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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