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…and now I have this on my CD shelf:

As an Elvis fan, I’ve accumulated quite a number of The King’s albums over the years. From greatest hits collections to live and rare recordings, I’ve pretty much got Elvis covered when it comes to the CDs on my shelf. Unfortunately–and this tends to be the case with a lot of legendary performers–quite a bit of material gets doubled up in the process. For example, “Suspicious Minds” might show up on three or four different collections. Of course, it’s not that big of a deal, but it does take up a lot of space.

This four-disc set might not be the end-all collection of Elvis’ catalog. (And, let’s be honest, short of a definitive, 100-disc set that collects every recording the man ever made, no set ever will meet those standards.) But what this set manages to do is span a wide range of Elvis’ music, collecting 100 tracks from throughout his career, making it possible for Elvis fans to at least consolidate some of their collection.

Starting with Elvis’ self-financed demo recording of “My Happiness” in 1953 and ending with a live performance of “Unchained Melody” in 1977, the set marries the classics with the rarities, the live recordings with the demos. (Note: The set actually ends with JXL’s terrible remix of “A Little Less Conversation,” but I don’t include that song in the set because, well, it’s not Elvis.)

His Christmas classics are here (“(There’ll Be) Peace in the Valley (For Me)”), as are his gospels (“Crying in the Chapel”) and country music (“Funny How Time Slips Away”). It’s an eclectic mix, sure, but it’s hard to be entirely cohesive when you’re collecting nearly 25 years worth of recordings.

The package it comes in is darn pretty, too. The box set opens up to reveal a thick, 80-page booklet that documents the life and times of Elvis with an essay from music critic and historian Billy Altman, and a bunch of rare photos of Presley throughout his career. The design of the booklet isn’t essential to the music on the discs, but because of its attention to detail the set becomes a collectible shelf piece.

If you like Elvis but aren’t interested in getting a bunch of different discs, this comprehensive set should be more than enough for you. If you’re like me and own a bunch of this music already, pick it up and have it all in one condensed package.

Time to free up some CD shelf space,

-Shady

Old Poop!