That's all right, Elvis (By Scotty Moore)

(Review by Ernest Boyes Jr.)

I don't read a lot of Elvis books because, frankly, so many of them are not very good. This however was one was I VERY interested in reading!! Scotty Moore's biography "That's Alright Elvis" is a fantastic telling from the point of view of one who rode into the musical revolution that became a national sensation. But it all started out with Bill, Scotty and Elvis. What I like most about this book is that it is about Scotty, his life, his talent, what he was doing, where he came from and it is a fascinating look into how destiny took him to become a rock and roll icon. Make no mistake, Bill and Scotty were just as much as part of that Rockabilly revolution as was Elvis. It was Scotty, Bill and Elvis who took "That's All Right Mama" and squeezed and twisted it into that new sound. It may have been Elvis and Bill who started clowning around with it, but it took the talent and abilities of all three of them and that chemistry to bring it to life. This book is Scotty's recollections as told to author James Dickerson. Published by Schirmer Books in 1997, this is Scotty's story; his life growing up, his marriages, his service in Korea, with pictures of friends and family to boot.

One very telling point is that Scotty dedicated the book to Bill Black, and one could only wish we hadn't lost Bill in 1965 because his side of the story would be as fascinating and heartbreaking as Scotty's. The title of the book is almost a statement of forgiveness on the part of Scotty (and Bill if Scotty is allowed to speak for him) to Elvis, because simply put, both got royally screwed. As Elvis rose to fame and gained fortune, the fortune wasn't necessarily equally distributed. Certainly the crowds were coming out in droves to see Elvis and his unique brand of performance, but without that equally unique talent behind Elvis, would it have been the same? One can only speculate and having played music for years and been in bands, the chemistry of a band is very important, and in my opinion, if it had not been Scotty and Bill, it wouldn't have been the same. That doesn't mean it wouldn't have been good, or even great, but just as Elvis was good after that era of Scotty and Bill, it wasn't the same.

That said, the most honorable point about this book as that not once does Scotty have a single bad thing to say toward Elvis. He loved Elvis, you can feel it in the words, after all, Scotty was much more than his musical partner and manager, Scotty was Elvis' dad-on-the-road in those early years. Perhaps things could have been different, what if Elvis had stood up for he and Bill. But considering how much Col. Parker helped Elvis, it is only with 20/20 hindsight that we can see how much a scammer the Colonel was. Who new in those early days? Though Scotty stayed on with Elvis, Bill went out on-his-own and was very successful with the Bill Black Combo, only to be tragically killed by a brain tumor.

I don't want to shed any negative light on this book, and certainly Scotty does not want any pity. There are good times and not so good times in life, and Scotty had all of those ups and downs. I highly recommend this book because of Scotty's honesty about himself, it would have been easy to gloss things over, but he didn't…he tells the story highs and lows…it is his story.