The Auction at Graceland•Elvis Week•August 12, 2018
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 8/12/2018

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The recording by Elvis Presley of “That’s All Right” and “Blue Moon of Kentucky” is widely considered by many to be the birth of rock ‘n’ roll. When Elvis exploded on the Memphis airwaves, changing popular music forever, Sam Phillips charged into the future and had his records on the shelves only days later, on July 19, 1954. Argued by Rolling Stone magazine to be the first rock ‘n’ roll record, Elvis’ “That’s All Right” was recorded in July of 1954 and released later that month by Sun Records as catalog number 209 with “Blue Moon of Kentucky” on side B. Elvis’ version of the Bill Monroe classic “Blue Moon of Kentucky” was a more upbeat version of the original and Scotty recalls its recording in the book Blue Moon Boys - The Story of Elvis Presley’s Band: “We all of us knew we needed something... and things seemed hopeless after a while. Bill is the one who came up with ‘Blue Moon of Kentucky’... We’re taking a little break and he starts beating on the bass and singing ‘Blue Moon of Kentucky,’ mocking Bill Monroe, singing the high falsetto voice. Elvis joins in with him, starts playing and singing along with him.” They had discovered something they wanted to hold onto with the previous night’s rendition of “That’s All Right,” but the first couple of songs they tried weren’t clicking. After several takes of this new version of “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” they played a version, for which producer Sam Phillips exclaimed, “That’s fine, man. Hell, that’s different — that’s a pop song now, nearly ‘bout!” And was it ever. “That’s All Right” reaps most of the historical references for those fateful July days in 1954, but “Blue Moon of Kentucky” (its B-side) was every bit the local hit record itself, and certainly deserves its place right beside “That’s All Right” in the list of songs that launched Elvis on his path to legendary status. It was almost instantly that both songs were being played on the radio but by October “Blue Moon of Kentucky” had eclipsed “That’s All Right” on the Billboard charts.

The offered Sun 209 “Blue Moon of Kentucky” acetate, a seminal component of the Sun Studio recordings, does its part to help translate the traditions of pop, country, blues, bluegrass and gospel in the hearts of Elvis Presley into the new language of rock and roll. This acetate has no formal label and only a piece of tape on which is written, “ELVIS BLUE MOON OF KEN.” and "SANTA CLAUS, short inst. by Scotty Moore." The tape and its notations could very well be from a later period, but they have been on there for some time, most likely several decades, at least. The tape is affixed between the center hole and top of the three pressing holes. It should be noted that these three holes, from Sam Phillips "Presto" record lathe, arranged as such constitute the holes that form the "delta" marks on the labels of Elvis' first four Sun recordings. The grease pen handwritten marks “Sun 209” and the matrix number “U-129” and partially covers the red “Audiodisc” circular marking on one side.

The approximately 2:01 side A recording of “Blue Moon of Kentucky” plays surprisingly clearly, with very few expected pops, and transports the listener right back into the studio with Elvis. This is the same version as released on Sun 209. The reverse side of the acetate contains what is most likely a Christmas-time radio segment and opens with a jingle, then transitions into the voice of Santa Claus asking children what they want for Christmas and encouraging them to write letters to him to tell him what they want him to bring down their chimney. The 3:09 minute recording has Santa speaking and laughing for over 2 minutes as he laments the difficulty in deciding what good boys and girls would want Santa to bring them for Christmas and reminding them to be good, until 20 seconds of music ends the recording. Based on the lable notation, it's possible this instrumental is played by Scotty Moore.

The offered acetate, and the following two lots of other Sun acetates, were acquired from the collection of Steve LaVere. LaVere is a somewhat contoversial and somewhat legendary figure in the history of American blues music. He was involved in some of the early efforts in the 1960s by the Imperial label to gather historical blues compilations, and he was a key figure in helping the family of blues legend Robert Johnson establish claim to his publishing rights--a process steeped in public and professional contention, to say the least. Along the way, Steve also amassed a large collection of rare and obscure blues and rock and roll records. These Sun production acetates were purchased from his collection. 

This incredible acetate measures 12 inches (30.48 cm) in diameter. It is accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated.

The acetate presents with a few expected scuffs and scratches. The recording contains several skips, pops and crackles throughout as one would expect with a recording of this age. Excellent condition.
1954 Sun Records Acetate for Elvis Presley’s “Blue Moon of Kentucky” (Sun 209) with Additional Recordings on the Reverse
Current Bidding (Reserve Has Been Met)
Minimum Bid: $2,500.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $5,750.00
Estimate: $5,000 - $10,000
Number Bids: 15
Auction closed on Sunday, August 12, 2018.
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