Saturday, September 30, 2023

Review Elvis UK – Beyond RCA (Physical Edition)

Early in the year, renowned Elvis Presley researchers and authors John Townson and Gordon Minto published the digital flip-book ‘Elvis UK - Beyond RCA - The Ultimate Guide To Elvis Presley’s British Non RCA LPs 1974-1997'. Together with Nigel Patterson and Piers Beagley from the Elvis Information Network website I reviewed this mammoth work on Elvis post-RCA vinyl catalog. 
Our conclusion: 

“‘Elvis UK – Beyond RCA’ is another winner from the Elvis UK team. It is an important release offering a treasure chest with so much to discover. It is the perfect book to leaf through on a lazy Sunday afternoon (or any other day). You will be all the better, and better informed, for the experience … but John and Gordon, please consider a softcover edition for us digitally challenged, oldies.”
How great is it to see authors responding positively to the wishes of their readers. Because half a year after the digital release, we now hold a physical version of the book in our hands! 
The design of this 377-page hardcopy edition is exactly the same as both the original ‘Elvis UK’ books in size, and the digital book regarding the content. Although the authors did update and slightly revise the latter for this second edition.
Design-wise readers of the ‘Elvis UK’ books know what to expect. The format of the text-heavy book changed only slightly from a 2-column design to a 1-column design, probably because this book was written for a digital platform. The glossy cover and quality paper add to feel that you’re holding a significant piece of work in your hands. It fits in nicely with the other 'Elvis UK' books in your Elvis library.
A big pro to the new release is that it comes full color which is a big improvement when compared to previous physical editions in this series (I can only compare it to my physical copy of ‘Elvis UK 2’ which only contains black and white images). Not only is the book a much more attractive read, more importantly, the use of color discloses so much more detail on the different variations presented on the 377 pages of this reference.
On the downside, you lose the advantages of a digital format like a search option, or new updates from the authors. But being born over half a century ago, I still know how a reference works, and so will most of the buyers of this book. 
Given the authors’ pedigree, readers know what to expect: a comprehensive and thoroughly researched account of Elvis’s British non-RCA LP releases issued between 1974 and 1997. And there is more than “just vinyl” in these books. The authors did not only go “beyond“ the RCA LPs presented in this book, they also went beyond the production and business-side of these releases thanks to the stories from those who actually were involved in the production, design, marketing or creation of these albums. 

Some discographies are simple books with label and sleeve scans, which is a bit of a cheat as they need to be seen and considered within a context, and that is where the hard work of researching and writing comes in. This is where the ‘Elvis UK’ distinguish themselves from other discography books. 
Please read the review of the digital version for our appreciation of the content >>> in the review archive
The book holds so much content, it is too much for me to really enjoy and take it all in when presented in a digital format. It really makes a difference whether you "quickly look something up digitally" or actually pull a reference-book off the shelf. In the latter case you absorb the content much better. 
There is a real difference between the digital and physical format when it comes to distributing and documenting information. My Elvis Day by Day blog and books illustrate this. Where the blog works great for sharing news and reviews on new releases nearly “real-time”, it is the expanded physical format of the blog that really allows you to take in the events of the year as a while and reviews of various releases. 

Even author Gordon Minto looks happy signing the physical copies of 'Elvis UK - Beyond RCA' :-) 
So I for one am grateful that the authors had an ear for the wishes of part of their readers and - together with Now Dig This / Elvis The Man and His Music - published a physical edition. It will keep me indulged for weeks to come. 

Let’s hope that this edition, with a really modest price-tag, will be “sold-out” soon as that might encourage the authors to re-issue more old titles or new projects as physical references. 

Overall fans of "discography" books are well served this year, with an English re-issue of the 'Elvis German EP Record Guide' and the upcoming 'From Memphis to Tokyo - A Reference Guide to the Absolute Mastery of Elvis' Japanese Vinyl' and Paul Alners first volume on Elvis' U.K. vinyl releases (1956 - 1965)
For more information on the Elvis UK book(s) please visit >>> or >>> to buy this hardcopy edition.

Picture of Gordon Minto courtesy of Now Dig This.