Jailhouse Rock The Bootleg Records of Elvis Presley 1970-1983

Lee Cotten and Howard A. DeWitt

1st printing: The Pierian Press, 1983, Hardback, Illustrated, 367 pages, ISBN: 0-87650-158-7

Reprint: Popular Culture Ink, 1993, Hardback, 412 pages, ISBN:1560750340

Elvis bootlegs...the mere mention of illegal, underground releases makes some salivate and others legislate. It all depends on whether you are a fan, an artist or a record company.

In Jailhouse Rock, the authors have done an amazing job of detailing all of Elvis' early bootleg releases (singles, EPs and albums), essentially the period of bootleg vinyl before bootleg CDs were introduced and came to dominate the market. In addition to bootlegs, pirate and counterfeit albums are also covered.

The book is well structured with clear chapter headings. The albums are listed in alphabetical order and numbered from 1 to 340.

Each of the entries includes:

  • label details
  • catalog number
  • release date
  • country of origin
  • track listing
  • comments on packaging and sound quality
  • album highlights
  • summary section
  • cover artwork (in black & white)

For example, about 'The Monologue L.P.':

  • PACKAGING: This is another "quickie" cover, with only an insert photo on the front, and a small list of song titles pasted on the back......
  • SUMMARY: This album represents a nice piece of history, since so much of it reportedly comes from Elvis' opening Las Vegas show in 1969......

There is a goldmine of historical information in Jailhouse Rock that you will find fascinating. Whether it be some of the extreme label names (eg. Dog Vomit Records), historic rarities or the significantly varied quality of cover artwork, all fans should find the book interesting to browse through.

The book also ventures beyond vinyl, with sections devoted to bootlegged:

  • cassette tapes
  • Super 8 film
  • videotapes

Other value-added features include:

  • a consolidated listing of recordings and illustrations
  • a fascinating introduction to bootlegs
  • label index
  • name index
  • song title index
  • bootlegged novelty albums about Elvis

Jailhouse Rock is still available in both new and used formats from sellers including amazon.com. Copies also appear from time-to-time on eBay.com.

Verdict: While now outdated, 'Jailhouse Rock The Bootleg Records of Elvis Presley 1970-1983' is an indispensable compendium about the early evolution of Elvis bootleg vinyl. It is an engaging book to look through, rich in detail and a much needed historic record of one facet of the diverse Elvis industry that often bitterly splits fans and the record industry into two opposing camps. Hard-core Elvisphiles will love this book!

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