It’s no great surprise that the second half of this chronologically ordered collection sags in direct proportion to the Big E’s waistline. Still, given that most of his RCA albums had valleys of filler that would shame anyone but Colonel Parker, this is the best way to hear Elvis the Superstar. “Hound Dog,” “All Shook Up,” “Are You Lonesome Tonight” and the ever zany “Suspicious Minds” still sound fresh and immediate—impressive given how many times most the world has heard them—and show off the diversity of Elvis’ singing, from the purity of his gospel falsetto to his rock and roll purr. The liner notes, written by Elvis biographer Peter Guralnick, provide excellent accompaniment.
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