CONTAINS

1952 SUN SESSIONS 1
January 1 to June 30, 1952

Studio Session for Johnny Ace, Unknown Date(s) 1952
Studio Session for Joe Hill Louis, January 1952 / Modern Records
Studio Session for Billy Love, January 10, 1952 / Chess Records
Studio Session for Howlin' Wolf, January 23, 1952 / Chess Records
Studio Session for Rosco Gordon, January 23, 1952 / Chess Records
Studio Session for Houston Boines, January 23, 1952 / Blues & Rhythm
Studio Session for Boyd Gilmore, January 23, 1952 / Modern
Studio Session for Brother Bell (Johnny O'Neal), January 23, 1952 / Blues & Rhythm
Studio Session for Charlie Booker, January 23, 1952 / Blues & Rhythm
Studio Session for Bobby Bland, January 24, 1952 / Modern Records
Studio Session for Elmore James, January 25, 26, 1952 / Flair Records
Studio Session for Bobby Bland, Unknown Date 1952 (2) / Duke Records
Studio Session for Shirley Sisk & Judy Dismukes, February 8, 1952 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Howlin' Wolf, February 12, 1952 / RPM Records
Studio Session for Joe Hill Louis, February 23, 1952 / Chess Records
Studio Session for Walter Bradford, February 23, 1952 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Jack Kelly & Walter Horton, February 25, 1952 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Joe & Jack, Possibly February 25, 1952 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Rosco Gordon, March 1951 / RPM Records
Studio Session for Johnny London, March 1, or 8, 1952 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Drifting Slim, March 21, 1952 / RPM Records
Studio Session for Sunny Blair, March 21, 1952 / Meteor Records
Studio Session for Baby Face Turner, March 21, 1952 / Modern/Meteor Records
Studio Session for Joe Hill Louis, March 31, 1952 / Chess Records
Studio Session for Little Junior Parker, April 1952 / Modern Records
Studio Session for Bobby Bland, April 1952 / Modern Records
Studio Session for Ike Turner & Ben Burton, April 195 2 / RPM Records
Studio Session for Bonnie & Ike Turner, April 1952 / RPM/Modern Records
Studio Session for B.B. King, April 1952 / RPM Records
Studio Session for Sleepy John Estes, April 5, 1952 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Raymond Jones, April 9, 1952 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Boyd Gilmore, April 13, 1952 / Modern Records
Studio Session for Charlie Booker, April 13, 1952 / Modern Records
Studio Session for Elven Parr's In The Groove Boys, April 14, 1952 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Howlin' Wolf, April 17, 1952 / Chess Records
Studio Session for Rufus Thomas, April 21, 1952 / Chess Records
Studio Session for Sleepy John Estes, April 24, 1952
Studio Session for Willie Nix, April 25, 1952 / Checker Records
Studio Session for James Banister & Dennis Binder, May 3, 1952 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Woodrow Adams, May 24, 1952 / Chess Records
Studio Session for Billy Love, May 28, 1952 / Chess Records
Studio Session for Howlin' Wolf, Probably May or June 1952 / Chess Records
Demo Session for Jerry Lee Lewis, Summer 1952 / J&M Records
Studio Session for Billy Love, June 10, 1952 / Chess Records
Studio Session for Walter Bradford & Louis Calvin Hubert, June 14, 1952 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Luke McDaniel, June 15, 1952 / Trumpet Records

For Biographies of Artists (See: The Sun Biographies)
Most Sun tracks can be heard on the playlists from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on YouTube < click

1952

Despite the war in Korea Americans considered themselves to be prospering with average worker earning $3,400 per year, a college teacher could expect to earn $5,100 per year . Three out of 5 families owned a car, 2 out of 3 families now had a telephone, 1 in 3 homes had a television. The average woman in America would be married by 20 years of age looking forward to raising a family but few continued with a career after children were born. Fast Food restaurants were growing in popularity, but the scourge of Polio hit many thousands of families ( 50,000 estimated ) . Many more cars in America were now fitted with automatic gearboxes and gas cost 25 cents per gallon. The worlds first passenger jet The Comet is produced in UK signaling the start of faster and cheaper air travel in later years.

Eunice Kathleen Waymon (aka blues-singer Nina Simone) worked as a pianist for Arlene Smith, a voice teacher and takes piano lessons with Vladimir Sokhaloff.

Ralph Ellison's ''Invisible Man''.

1952

The success of Jackie Brenston, Howlin' Wolf, and Roscoe Gordon kept the arrangement between Chess and Sam Phillips healthy into 1952. But their relationship eventually became strained, as Phillips' later offerings failed to live up to their predecessors' sales. There were the inevitable squabbles about money. ''Confusion arose between Leonard Chess and me about what I was supposed to be paid'', Phillips recalls. ''I made some wrong moves with RPM and Chess. If I'd had my way, I'd rather have done only the creative end and left the business to other people, but once you set up in business you have to carry it through. I grew up on a handshake deal, which I guess is not a good thing to rely upon in business. Len and Phil Chess were not being honest with me. I have to say that. I was not being greedy. I'd have stayed with them, but I was working my ass off and I couldn't afford not to get what was due to me''.

There was another factor in the equation by early 1952. Where just a few years ago it had been empty, the Memphis recording scene was suddenly becoming rather crowded. Ike Turner was still scouting and recording for RPM/ Modern; meanwhile, a fourth Bihari, Lester, had recently returned to Memphis, intending to start a label that would attract the local talent, although he had a head start with a stash of RPM/Modern masters from Chicago. In addition, David James Mattis, production manager at WDIA, started Duke Records at around the same time in partnership with Bill Fitzgerald from Music Sales.

With these factors weighing heavily upon him, Phillips decided early in 1952 that he would start his own label, despite his personal preference for the creative side of the business. ''It truly did not want to open a record label'' he contends, ''but I was forced into it by those labels either coming to Memphis to record or taking my artists elsewhere. What people did not realize was the importance of producing records with the potential to be hits. Hit sounds. Good music. A guarantee of money to the Wolf or the others looked fine, but it was not the answer. It only raised everyone's expectations, and let everyone down on both sides when they didn't deliver''.

With the dismal experience of the Phillips label now two years distant, and with three national Rhythm & Blues hits under his belt, Phillips once again decided to start his own label. ''Sun Records was forced on me'', he says, ''but at the same time, it presented the opportunity to do exactly as I wanted''.

''The Sun to me, even as a kid back on the farm, was a universal kind of thing. A new day, a new opportunity'', said Sam Phillips, reflecting on the confluence of events that had brought him to the formation of his own label. ''I chose the name Sun right at the beginning of 1952, when I had determined to try to start issuing my own recordings. It was a frightening experience for me. I had a heavy workload already, and now here I was with lack of time, lack of know-how, and lack of liquidity''.

At the same time, having Sun Records meant that Phillips would have to answer only to himself for a record's success or failure. He could release music that others had deemed unworthy, he could hand-carry sample discs to every station within a five-hundred-mile radius, and he could exert pressure on his distributors''.

''Then, if the record succeeded, he would reap the rewards. He was no longer forced to second-guess Chess Records' accountings, or to fret that others had won the acclaim for his productions. By the same token, if one of his records bombed, there was only one scapegoat.

''My first step'', he continues, ''was to sketch out a label design and take it to Memphis Engraving on North Second Street. A man named Jay Parker I had known and played with in the Coffee H igh School, class of '44, who had played sousaphone in the marching band, was there. We had a good laugh over that, and I explained to him just what I wanted to convey with the name and the label. It had to be real, and it had to be simple, and it had to reflect the sun, with a rooster crowing for a new day''.

''When he came back the next day, Parker had almost exactly what I had in mind, using a single color (for economy and simplicity) against the bright golden paper he had chosen to announce the label's name''.

There were eleven shaded sun rays surrounded by a staff of musical notes encircling all but the bottom part of the label's outer edge. The notes were in the same burnt umber as all the lettering except SUN (at the top) RECORD COMPANY (across the spindle hole), and MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE (on the bottom crescent of the circle), with each yellow letters set off by the same ''rusty brown'' shadowing (S-U-N) or backdrop. The only thing missing was the rooster.

''I said, Í got to have room for this, I wanted that rooster in the center, 'but I don't want it too crowded'. So he drew my rooster for me and realized some notes and the staff around it, and that label never changed, except I did not anticipate 45s, we were dealing with 78s, with the little hole in the middle, so in the end I had to drop my little rooster''!

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR JOHNNY ACE
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE 1952

PROBABLY MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE 1952
STUDIO HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

In 1986 Sun researcher Colin Escott told readers in Goldmine that back in 1972 he and Martin Hawkins, while cataloging tapes recorded at Sun Studio in Memphis, had discovered two songs probably recorded by Johnny Ace. These songs ''(Remember I Love You) Midnight Hours Journey'' and ''I Cried (Last Night)'' were in an unmarked box of tape that disappeared over the next ten years, he explained, before they could be given another listen for inclusion in the Sun Blues Box. One of these songs, however, emerged in the 1989 as ''the last unreleased Johnny Ace title in the various artists album The Original Memphis Blues Bothers.

Ray Topping, who wrote the jacket notes, claimed to have found the master ''I Cried Last Night'' by Johnny Ace. The song was on a small reel of tape, he said, stripped away of all the other masters and stored in an unmarked tape box ''hidden away in a dusty corner'' at the Modern Records tape archive. Topping provided no evidence at all that the vocalist of ''I Cried (Last Night)'' is Johnny Ace, and, indeed, no one familiar with Ace's voice could ever make so preposterous a claim.

Worse, the album graphics created non-existent documents to suggest that the annotator had done his research among them a concocted telegram (''your son Johnny shot and killed himself tonight'') from Evelyn Johnson to Mrs. Leslie Alexander, dated 12:43 A.M. On 25 December – reporting Ace's death almost twenty-two hours before it happened'.

01 - ''(REMEMBER I LOVE YOU) MIDNIGHT HOURS JOURNEY'' – B.M.I. - 3:29
Composer: - Johnny Alexander
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1952
Released: - 1989
First appearance: - Ace Records (LP) 33rpm CHAD 265 mono
VARIOUS ARTISTS - THE ORIGINAL MEMPHIS BLUES BROTHERS

02 - ''I CRIED (LAST NIGHT)'' – B.M.I. - 4:21
Composer: - Johnny Alexander
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1952
Released: - 1989
First appearance: - Ace Records (LP) 33rpm CHAD 265 mono
VARIOUS ARTISTS - THE ORIGINAL MEMPHIS BLUES BROTHERS

03 - ''FOLLOW THE RULE'' - B.M.I. 2:30
Composer: - Johnny Alexander
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1952
Released: - 2008
First appearance: - Proper Records (CD) 500/200rpm Properbox 143-16 mono
ROCKIN' MEMPHIS

04 - ''BURLEY CUTIE'' - B.M.I. - 2:36
Composer: - Johnny Alexander
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1952
Released: - 2008
First appearance: - Proper Records (CD) 500/200rpm Properbox 143-25 mono
ROCKIN' MEMPHIS

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
The Beale Streeters
Johnny Ace – Vocal & Piano
Earl Forest - Drums
Bobby Bland - Guitar
Billy Duncan - Saxophone

Rosco Gordon - Organ

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR JOE HILL LOUIS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR MODERN RECORDS 1952

PROBABLY MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE JANUARY 1952
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - PROBABY SAM C. PHILLIPS

Joe did get entangled in the Chess-Bihari-Phillips wars and new research makes it apparent that the Biharis recorded his sixth and final Modern record in early 1952 during their own field (?) recordings. It is notable that the usual spark and enthusiasm is absent in ''Peace Of Mind'' and ''Chocolate Blonde''.

01 - ''PEACE OF MIND" – B.M.I. - 2:44
Composer: - Joe Hill Louis
Publisher: - Modern Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - MM 1750 Master - Click > 831-868 Series
Recorded: - Unknown Date January 1952
Released: - January 1952
First appearance: - Modern Records (S) 78rpm standard single Modern 856-A mono
PEACE OF MIND / CHOCOLATE BLONDE
Reissued: - 2001 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHD 803-19 mono
JOE HILL LOUIS - BOOGIE IN THE PARK

02 - ''CHOCOLATE BLONDE" – B.M.I. - 2:49
Composer: - Joe Hill Louis
Publisher: - Modern Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - MM 1751 Master - Click > 831-868 Series
Recorded: - Unknown Date January 1952
Released: - January 1952
First appearance: - Modern Records (S) 78rpm standard single Modern 856-B mono
CHOCOLATE BLONDE / PEACE ON MIND
Reissued: - 2001 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHD 803-20 mono
JOE HILL LOUIS - BOOGIE IN THE PARK

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Joe Hill Louis - Vocal, Guitar; more details unknown

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

1952

Renegade white country & western swing band Bill Haley & The Saddlemen record "Rock The Joint", the first white rock song of note.

Biography Published for Historical Reasons

Bill Haley was born July 6, 1925 in Highland Park, Michigan as William John Clifton Haley. Because of the effects of the Great Depression on the Detroit area, his father moved the family to Boothwyn, near Chester, Pennsylvania, when Bill was seven years old. Haley's father William Albert Haley was from Kentucky and played the banjo and mandolin, and his mother, Maude Green, who was originally from Ulverston in Cumbria, England, was a technically accomplished keyboardist with classical training. Haley told the story that when he made a simulated guitar out of cardboard, his parents bought him a real one.

Bill got his first professional job at the age of 13, playing and entertaining at an auction for the fee of $1 a night. Very soon after this he formed a group of equally enthusiastic youngsters and managed to get quite a few local bookings for his band. When Bill Haley was fifteen (1940) he left home with his guitar and very little else and set out on the hard road to fame and fortune. The next few years, continuing this story in a fairy-tale manner, were hard and poverty-stricken, but crammed full of useful experience. Apart from learning how to exist on one meal a day and other artistic exercises, he worked at an open-air park show, sang and yodelled with any band that would have him, and worked with a traveling medicine show. Eventually he got a job with a popular group known as the "Down Homers" while they were in Hartford, Connecticut. Soon after this he decided, as all successful people must decide at some time or another, to be his own boss again, and he has been that ever since. These notes fail to account for his early band, known as the Four Aces of Western Swing. During the 1940s Haley was considered one of the top cowboy yodelers in America as "Silver Yodeling Bill Haley.

For six years Bill Haley was a musical director of Radio Station WPWA in Chester, Pennsylvania, and led his own band all through this period. It was then known as Bill Haley's Saddlemen, indicating their definite leaning toward the tough Western style. They continued playing in clubs as well as over the radio around Philadelphia, and in 1951 made their first recordings on Ed Wilson's Keystone Records in Philadelphia. On June 14, 1951 the Saddlemen recorded a cover of Jackie Brenston's Sun/Chess recording "Rocket 88". Many rock historians regard this song, with its fusion of African-American Rhythm & Blues as the very first "rock and roll" recording.

During the Labor Day weekend in 1952, the Saddlemen were renamed Bill Haley with Haley's Comets (inspired by the supposedly official pronunciation of Halley's Comet, a name suggested by the disk jockey Alan Freed), and in 1953, Haley's recording of "Crazy Man, Crazy" (co-written by him and his bass player, Marshall Lytle, although Lytle would not receive credit until 2001) became the first rock and roll song to hit the American charts, peaking at number 15 on Billboard and number11 on Cash Box. Soon after, the band's name was revised to Bill Haley & His Comets.

In 1953, a song called "Rock Around The Clock" was written for Haley. He was unable to record it until April 12, 1954. Initially, it was relatively unsuccessful, peaking at number 23 on the Billboard pop singles chart and staying on the charts for only one week.

Haley soon scored a major worldwide hit with a cover version of Big Joe Turner's "Shake, Rattle And Roll", which went on to sell a million copies and was the first ever rock and roll song to enter the British singles charts in December 1954, becoming a Gold Record. He retained elements of the original, but threw some country music aspects into the song (specifically, Western swing) and cleaned up the lyrics. Haley and his band were important in launching the music known as "rock and roll" to a wider, mostly white audience after a period of it being considered an underground genre.

When "Rock Around The Clock" appeared as the theme song of the 1955 film Blackboard Jungle starring Glenn Ford, it soared to the top of the American Billboard chart for eight weeks. The single is commonly used as a convenient line of demarcation between the "rock era" and the music industry that preceded it. Billboard separated its statistical tabulations into 1954 and 1955 present. After the record rose to number one, Haley was quickly given the title "Father Of Rock And Roll" by the media, and by teenagers who had come to embrace the new style of music. With the song's success, the age of rock music began overnight and instantly ended the dominance of the jazz and pop standards performed by Frank Sinatra, Jo Stafford, Perry Como, Bing Crosby and others.

Success came at somewhat of a price as the new music confused and horrified most people over the age of 30, leading to Cold War-fueled suspicion that rock and roll was part of a communist plot to corrupt the minds of American teenagers. FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover attempted to dig up incriminating material on Bill Haley, who took to carrying a gun with him on tours for his own safety.

"Rock Around The Clock" was the first record ever to sell over one million copies in both Britain and Germany and, in 1957, Haley became the first major American rock singer to tour Europe. Haley continued to score hits throughout the 1950s such as "See You Later, Alligator" and he starred in the first rock and roll musical films ''Rock Around The Clock'' and ''Don't Knock The Rock'', both in 1956. Haley was already 30 years old and so he was soon eclipsed in the United States by the younger, sexier Elvis Presley, but continued to enjoy great popularity in Latin America, Europe and Australia during the 1960s.

Bill Haley and the Comets performed "Rock Around The Clock" on the Texaco Star Theater hosted by Milton Berle on May 31, 1955 on NBC in an a cappella and lip-synched version. Berle predicted that the song would go number. "A group of entertainers who are going right to the top''. Berle also sang and danced to the song which was performed by the entire cast of the show. This was one of the earliest nationally televised performances by a rock and roll band and provided the new musical genre called "rock and roll" a much wider audience.

Bill Haley and the Comets were the first rock and roll act to appear on the iconic American musical variety series the Ed Sullivan Show on Sunday, August 7, 1955 on CBS in a broadcast that originated from the Shakespeare Festival Theater in Hartford, Connecticut. They performed a live version of "Rock Around The Clock" with Franny Beecher on lead guitar and Dick Richards on drums. The band made their second appearance on the show on Sunday, April 28, 1957 performing the songs "Rudy's Rock" and "Forty Cups Of Coffee".

Bill Haley and the Comets appeared on American Bandstand hosted by Dick Clark on ABC twice in 1957, on the prime time show October 28, 1957 and on the regular daytime show on November 27, 1957. The band also appeared on Dick Clark's Saturday Night Beechnut Show, also known as The Dick Clark Show, a prime-time TV series from New York on March 22, 1958 during the first season and on February 20, 1960, performing "Rock Around The Clock", "Shake, Rattle, And Roll", and "Tamiami".

A self-admitted alcoholic (as indicated in a 1974 radio interview for the BBC), Haley fought a battle with alcohol into the 1970s. Nonetheless, he and his band continued to be a popular touring act, benefiting from a 1950s nostalgia movement that began in the late 1960s and the signing of a lucrative record deal with the European Sonet label. After performing for Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Variety Performance on November 10, 1979, Haley made his final performances in South Africa in May and June 1980. Before the South African tour, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and a planned tour of Germany in the autumn of 1980 was cancelled.

The October 25, 1980 edition of the German paper Bild reported that Haley had a brain tumor. It quoted British manager Patrick Maylan as saying that Haley "had taken a fit and went over the seat. He didn't recognize anyone anymore" after being taken to his home in Beverly Hills. It also reported that a doctor at the clinic where Haley had been taken said, ''The tumor can't be operated on anymore''.

The Berliner Zeitung reported a few days later that Haley had collapsed after a performance in Texas and been taken to the hospital in his home town of Harlingen, Texas. However, this account is questionable as Bill Haley did not perform in the United States at all in 1980.

Despite his ill health, Haley began compiling notes for possible use as a basis for either a biographical film based on his life, or a published autobiography (accounts differ), and there were plans for him to record an album in Memphis, Tennessee, when the brain tumor began affecting his behavior and he went back to his home in Harlingen, where he died early in the morning of February 9, 1981.

1952

Johnny Ace, a former piano player with the Beale Streeters, a group that included blues legends B.B. King and Bobby "Blue" Bland, records his first record in Memphis and watches it hit number 1 launching him as a major rhythm and blues star.

Fats Domino's own "Goin' Home" hits number 1 on the rhythm and blues charts and becomes one of the first rock songs to scrape the Pop Charts as well, reaching number 30.

Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, still in their late teens, write their first hit "Hard Times" for rhythm and blues star Charles Brown, as well as the rock classic "Kansas City". Their work as writers and producers over the next decade will result in countless hits for dozens of musical legends.

1952

Hit singer Johnnie Ray was so over-the-top histrionic that he's sometimes called the first rock singer, but his style owed more to tuneful rhythm and blues than rock – some call him the "missing link" between Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. Ray could (and would) sob on stage to great effect, and his big hits this year were "Cry" and "The Little White Cloud That Cried."

Cinerama presented multi sound track replay to the public for the first time. This stimulated public interest in the possibility of stereo recordings and research was stepped up.

1952

Newspaper clipping, Baton Rouge.

Roundup Boys Give Show In Nashville.

The Louisiana Round-Up Boys, local band composed of teen-agers, visited in Nashville on the Labor Day week end where they entertained at the "Corral", owned by Hank and Audry Williams.

The members of the band and Hannah Faye Harger were the guests of R.L. Langhart. Band members are Red Withers, Buddy Harger, Bucky Wood, Earl LeBlanc and Anthony Whittington. They visited the studios of Station WSM, met the stars of the Grand Ole Opry and were the guests of Lew Childre at the Grand Ole Opry show Saturday night.

1952

Sun Records comes into being in March. Sam Phillips founds Sun Records and declares "If I could find a white man who sings with the Negro feel, I'll make a million dollars".

Bill Haley's Saddlemen become the Comets.

Bob Horn's Bandstand TV program airs from Philadelphia every weekday afternoon.

The Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed (aka Moondog) organizes the first rock and roll concert, the Moondog Coronation Ball.

Charles Brown's "Hard Times" is the first hit by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller to enter the charts.

Little Richard's first records released.

1952

This year, Scotty Moore, a guitar player from Humbolt, Tennessee had got out of the Army and moved to Memphis. He had contacted Sam Phillips and had been asked to scout around town for musical talent to work with. Whether it was Scotty who approached Doug Poindexter or Sam who put the two together is now unclear, but the result was that Scotty and his friend, bass player Bill Black, joined the Starlite Wranglers. The band worked out a new sound while they played a residency at the Eagle Nest club on Lamar Avenue in Memphis.

Roy Orbison forms the Wink Westerners with high school friends James Morrow, Charles Evans, Billy Pat Ellis in 1952.

Future Sun artist Johnny Carroll's high school band, formed in 1952, was called the Texas Moonlighters because of the many nights he and his friends spent milking cows or bling hay. ''They sounded like Slim Whitman'' he told John Blair. ''But with a little touch of the Clovers''. They performed at talent contests sponsored by the Future Farmers of America organization and on KCLE where the programme directors, Ronnie Hall and Gene Echols, helped them obtain other bookings.

Pianist Roy Hall was on Fortune Records again, working with Skeeter Davis, really Mary Frances Pennick from Corbin, Kentucky, a girl he had known ten years before. Hall told Martin Hawkins, ''I made a record called ''Jealous Love'' with Skeeter that sold about 80,000 copies, which was pretty big record in those days. I had known Skeeter Davis since the age of 14. She was a very fine girl, very religious''. According to Hall, she would join in at social events for which he provided piano and accordion accompaniment. This started around 1945 when she was fourteen, and he was twenty-three. back in Nashville in 1952, Roy Hall set up a late night drinking club on Commerce Street known as the Musician's Hideaway. He continued to work as a session man at Tennessee Records and probably spent much of the next three years running his night club, cursing the day Tennessee Records made Del Wood a piano star than him, and cultivating a drinking habit that really kicked in at this point. In this he was not alone. He developed friendships with a number of Nashville songwriters who also drank hard, men like Jackson Toombs and Vic McAlpin. He started to write songs himself, including ''Cheap Love Affair'', ''Christine'', ''Three Alley Cats'', and ''Santa Claus Is A Texas Cowboy''. He often took inspiration from the players and patrons who frequented the Hideaway. Hall hired a number of passing musicians to play at the Hideaway, and he took pride in later years in having first hired and then fired two of the best, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley.

1952

By 1952, future Sun artist Curtis Hobock was in Carl Perkins' home town, Bemis, working in lumber, milling, and trucking. Driving a truck one winter he was caught in a snowstorm and was holed up for two weeks in a motel in Chicago. Returning home, he vowed to never drive a truck again as it took too much time away from home and family. He worked for the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) for a short period and then joined Central Woodworks as a millwright, staying with them until his retirement from music in the mid 1960s.

1952

Future Sun recording artist Eddie Bond, started his band The Stompers took place over the ensuing months; well-known members would be Reggie Young, John Hughey, Jimmy Smith and Johnny Fine.

Earlier incarnations of the band had included Ronald Smith, Enlo Hopkins, Curtis Lee Alderson and future Musical Warrior for Charlie Feathers, Jody Chastain.

The rounds of the South and Southwest were made taking in Tucson, Arizona, Birmingham, Alabama and Dexter, Missouri, where Eddie and The Stompers together with Roy Orbison and the Teen Kings and Narvel Felts with Jerry Mercer's Rhythm and Blues Boys played on top of a concession stand at the local drive-in a typical scenario for the period 1954-1956.

Hank Williams is fired from the Grand Ole Opry for drunkenness and persistent no-shows.

JANUARY 1952

Sam Phillips records another Howlin' Wolf session for Chess Records. Rosco Gordon also records further sides for Chess. Master numbers are assigned, but the titles are withheld pending the outcome of the legal action.

Joe and Jules Biharis engage Ike Turner as a talent scout for RPM/Modern Records, and Joe and Jules set out on a field trip through Arkansas and Mississippi, and the Greyhound bus station in Ike Turner's hometown of Clarksdale, which Joe Bihari converted into a serviceable studio to records various blues artists. Among those recorded are Junior Parker, Houston Boines, Boyd Gilmore, Charlie Booker, and Johnny O'Neal, all of whom will later record for Sam Phillips.

JANUARY 1952

Jim Bulleit, owner of the Bullet label in Nashville between 1945 and 1949, returns to Nashville after working as a promoter for KWKH radio, the Louisiana Hayride, and as promoter of a music jamboree in Spruce Pine, North Carolina. Bulleit becomes involved in setting up distribution for Sun Records in the spring of 1952, along with his own Delta and J-B labels.

Sam Phillips' mother Margaret ''Margie'' Lovelace Phillips died in January 1952, and the whole family gathered for the ceremony at the North Wood Methodist Church, Florence, Alabama. Jimmy Connolly, Judge Longshore, and Jud Phillips' father-in-law, Mr. Hensley, were among the pallbearers, and Aunt Emma, almost inconsolable, signed sadly with her favorite nephew.

NBC’s “The Today Show” debuts during January of 1952. Hosted by Dave Garroway, the show featured national and world news, as well as interviews and lighter content in a two-hour live format. The concept of the show was envisioned by Sylvester Weaver Jr. who would later become the president of NBC from 1953 until 1955. Dave Garroway would host the show as the main anchor from its start in 1952 until he left in 1961. “The Today Show” was the very first of its kind and inspired the creation of other similarly modeled programs such as “Good Morning America” and “The Early Show''.

JANUARY 1, 1952 MONDAY

Wesley Rose, future Country Music Hall of Famer, is cut in on the family business, as father Fred Rose gives him part of his share of Acuff-Rose, a publishing company he built with Roy Acuff.

Future singer-songwriter Neil Young arrives in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, with his family, following a six-day trip from Toronto. The family stays for five moths, while young Neil recuperates from a bout with polio.

Booking agent and manager Jim Halsey sets up an agency in Oklahoma City. He plays a major role in the careers of Hank Thompson, Ray Clark and The Oak Ridge Boys, among others.

JANUARY 3, 1952 WEDNESDAY

Audrey Williams, kicks Hank Williams out of the house. She denies accusations that she shot at him, he denies accusations of infidelity. Within days, he is taken to a Montgomery, Alabama, hospital following an overdose of pills.

JANUARY 4, 1952 THURSDAY

Scotty Moore is discharged from the Navy. Two years later, he becomes the first guitar player for Elvis Presley.

JANUARY 5, 1952 FRIDAY

Johnnie and Jack give their last performance on The Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport before returning to Nashville to re-claim a spot on the Grand Ole Opry.

Merle Travis is arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct in Los Angeles.

JANUARY 8, 1952 MONDAY

Eddy Arnold recorded ''Easy On The Eyes'' at the Brown Brothers Studio in Nashville.

Lefty Frizzell recorded ''Don't Stay Away (Till Love Growns Cold)'' at the Jim Beck Studio in Dallas, Texas.

Hank Snow recorded \\Lady's Man'' and ''Married By The Bible, Divorced By The Law'' in the evening at Nashville's Brown Radio Productions.

JANUARY 10, 1952 WEDNESDAY

Studio session with Billy Love at the Memphis Recording Service in Memphis, Tennessee.

Audrey Williams files for divorce from Hank Williams for the second time in four years.

Teresa Brewer recorded ''Gonna Get Along Without You Now''. The song is revised as a country hit a dozen years later by Skeeter Davis.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR BILLY LOVE
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR CHESS RECORDS PROBABLY 1952

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: THURSDAY JANUARY 10, 1952
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

During the delay before ''Drop Top'' was issued, Billy Love was back in Sam Phillips studio on January 10, 1952 recording two titles, ''There's No Use'' and ''A Dream'', for which Phillips paid Love $61. Another cheque for $50 from Chess was apparently handed over in person on January 23. Phillips assigned two unusual numbers (LS 402/403) to these two titles and on January 7 he noted that he had applied for copyright on ''A Dream''.

It is unclear what this was all about, and certainly there is no trace of the titles having appeared on Chess or any other label. Phillips was having difficulties in his relationship with Chess at the time: he told me, having successes like Howlin' Wolf and Rosco Gordon and these brought in as many problems too. Confusions came in between Leonard Chess and me about what I was supposed to be paid etc ... I grew up on a handshake deal, which guess is not a good thing to rely on in business." Apparently reluctantly, Sam Phillips started to issue discs on his own Sun Records label in March 1952. Possibly he had in mind to use Billy Love's January session on Sun, but his dealings with Chess had not yet fully imploded and in the end Phillips sent Love's songs to Chess, possibly for consideration as alternative B-sides for ''Drop Top''.

01 - ''THERE'S NO USE" – B.M.I. - 2:59
Composer: - Milton Morse Love
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - LS 402 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 10, 1952
Released: - Re-Issued of Deleted Track 1977 - November 1977
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30135-14 mono
THE LEGENDARY SUN PERFORMERS – JUNIOR PARKER & BILLY LOVE
Reissued: - 2011 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17149-5 mono
GEE... I WISH

''There's No Use'' starts as a mid-paced blues about a lost woman before Harvey Simmons breaks out into a wild sax solo supported by trumpet figures and crashing drumbeats. In considerable contrast, ''A Dream'' was a departure from blues and boogie and indicates the range of styles and musical interests Billy Love may have had. It has a Latin beat from piano and drums, reflecting the increased popularity of that style in the early 1950s, and almost classical piano flourishes. Billy employs a strong, serious-sounding vocal about the girl who appears in his dreams but not in his life.

02 – ''A DREAM'' – B.M.I. - 3:23
Composer: - Milton Morse Love
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - LS 403 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 10, 1952
Released: - November 1977
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30135-16 mono
THE LEGENDARY SUN PERFORMERS – JUNIOR PARKER & BILLY LOVE
Reissued: - 2011 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BFX 17149-6 mono
GEE... I WISH

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Billy Love – Vocal & Piano
Unknown – Guitar, Bass, Drums
Harvey Simmons – Saxophone
Unknown – Trumpet

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

 

JANUARY 12, 1952 SATURDAY

Ricky Van Shelton is born in Grit, Virginia. S smooth and powerful vocalist, Shelton earns a reputation for revitalizing country staples such as ''From A Jack To A King'' and ''Statue Of A Fool'', winning the CMA's Male Vocalist of the Year in 1989.

JANUARY 14, 1952 MONDAY

Hank Williams and Ray Price begin moving into a house at 2718 Wedgewood in Nashville. They share the home for about six months.

JANUARY 15, 1952 TUESDAY

Gene Autry, Pat Buttram and Frankie Marvin all appear in ''The Old West'', a stagecoach drama that debuts in movie theaters.

JANUARY 18, 1952 FRIDAY

Bass player Bob Moore welcomes a son, R. Stevie Moore. Dad goes to play on hundreds of country hits by George Strait, George Jones, Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline, among others, he played on numerous country and some blues recordings for Elvis Presley.

JANUARY 20, 1952 SUNDAY

Paul Stanley, of Kiss is born in Queens, New York. Noted for its theatrical road shows, the rock band becomes an influence for Garth Brooks' concerts. Brooks goes on to imitate Staley in a performance of ''Hard Luck Woman'' for the Kiss tribute album ''Kiss My Ass''.

JANUARY 21, 1952 MONDAY

Capitol released Hank Thompson's ''The Wild Side Of Life''.

Red Foley recorded ''Milk Bucket Boogie''

Columbia released Carl Smith's ''(When You Feel Like You're In Love) Don't Just Stand There''.

JANUARY 22, 1952 TUESDAY

Alabama bass player Teddy Gentry is born in Fort Payne, Alabama. The band mixes country with southern rock in becoming the hottest country act of the 1980s, eventually entering the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Smokey Mountain Boy Jimmie Riddle has a son, Steve.

JANUARY 1952

Studio session with Howlin' Wolf at the Memphis Recording Service in Memphis, Tennessee. Probably also an studio session with Johnny Ace.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR HOWLIN' WOLF
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR CHESS RECORDS 1952

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: WEDNESDAY JANUARY 23, 1952
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
AND/OR MARION KEISKER
STUDIO HOURS: UNKNOWN

MOST OF THE REPERTOIRE ON THIS SESSION WAS
DUBBED FROM ACETATE OR DISC SOURCE
MANY OF THE ORIGINAL MASTER TAPES HAVE BEEN LOST

Like all the genuine greats whom Sam Phillips recorded, Howlin' Wolf arrived at 706 Union with a style which he neither cared to alter, not could possibly have improved. He plays and sings with such bite and attack on this track he sounds like he could have saved the South at Gettysburg! Sure, its something of a "Rocket 88" spinoff, but it has an added sparkle and vitality which owes nothing to any other record. Louis Calvin Hubert 's piano is rock solid, whilst Willie Johnson's guitar fairly bristles with energy - and although Wolf pops his "p's" into the mike, that merely adds to the abandon of the recording. The original working title of the song was "Cadillac Daddy", which was arguably stronger.

So Howlin' Wolf played the blues at Chess Records while Chuck Berry played rock and roll, but this rocks harder and with more abandon than just about anything else on Chess.. or Sun, come to that.

01(1) - "MR. HIGHWAY MAN (CADILLAC DADDY)" – B.M.I. - 2:25
Composer: - Chester Burnett
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 23, 1952
Released: - 1976
First appearance: - Charly Records 1976 (LP) 33rpm CR 30101-A-1 mono
SUN: THE ROOTS OF ROCK – VOLUME 1 - CATALYST
Reissued: - 1989 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15460-12 mono
MEMPHIS DAYS - THE DEFINITIVE EDITION - VOLUME 1

01(2) - "MR. HIGHWAY MAN (CADILLAC DADDY)" – B.M.I. - 2:46
Composer: - Chester Burnett
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - U 7427 Master - Click > 1504-1547 Series
Recorded: - January 23, 1952
Released: - April 15, 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm standard single Chess 1510-B mono
MR. HIGHWAY MAN / GETTIN' OLD GREY
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15500-6 mono
MEMPHIS DAYS - THE DEFINITIVE EDITION - VOLUME 2

02 - "MY TROUBLES AND ME"* – B.M.I. - 3:15
Composer: - Chester Burnett
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Is an evolving version of "Gettin' Old And Grey", originally titled "Old Age Blues",
but cannot properly be termed an alternative take.
Recorded: - January 23, 1952
Released: - 1976
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30102-A-5 mono
SUN: THE ROOTS OF ROCK – VOLUME 2 - SAM'S BLUES
Reissued: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15460-10 mono
MEMPHIS DAYS - THE DEFINITIVE EDITION - VOLUME 1

On ''My Troubles And Me'', Wolf's own performance is matched - if not overshadowed - by Johnson's guitar work, with its jazzy inclinations and distorted tone. In fact, Johnson is allowed full rein on this one and seems determined to steal the show, bursting forth not only around Wolf's stirring vocal, but under it as well, whilst the mellow tone of Wolf's harp offers a stark contrast, despite being rather overshadowed early on in the proceedings. During the first four bars the guitar and piano seem to be at cross purposes, whilst there is a sax buried way back in the mix somewhere, to little effect.

03 - "GETTIN' OLD GREY"* – B.M.I. - 2:35
Composer: - Chester Burnett
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - U 7426 Master - Click > 1504-1547 Series
Recorded: - January 23, 1952
Released: - April 15, 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm standard single Chess 1510-A mono
GETTIN' OLD GREY / MR. HIGHWAY MAN
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15500-7 mono
MEMPHIS DAYS - THE DEFINITIVE EDITION - VOLUME 2

Amazingly, ''Getting Old Grey'' consists of just two vocal verses split by one instrumental chorus. Like the previous track, this is very much a vehicle for Willie Johnson's supercharged block chords and fidgeting single string runs. Both verses have Wolf concerded with encroaching old age - after all, he was 41 at the time of this session. When he sang, "I've got to look out for my older days", he had no idea of the international fame that lay in wait for him. Sam Phillips juggles with his microphones during the solo chorus, beginning with Wolf's stereo typical harmonica phrases and then pumping up Willie Johnson's intense lead. Far in the background a pair of tenor saxes riff contentedly. In his final verse, Wolf reckons "I've got to find me a place to stay". That place would be Chicago.

Johnny Temple's ''Getting Old Blues'' doesn't fret like this, and neither does any other blues song that comes to mind. Just as Sleepy John Estes extolled the virtues of the burial policy, Wolf almost seems intent on selling you a retirement account. Nevertheless, this track becomes a timing nightmare pretty quickly and despite Wolf's distinctive and spectacular voice, it could have used another couple of takes.

04 - "MY BABY WALKED OFF" – B.M.I. - 2:56
Composer: - Chester Burnett
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 23, 1952
Released: -1976
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30102-A-1 mono
SUN: THE ROOTS OF ROCK – VOLUME 2 – SAM'S BLUES
Reissued: - 1989 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15460-8 mono
MEMPHIS DAYS - THE DEFINITIVE EDITION - VOLUME 1

Wolf's vocal performance on this number is damn near faultless, containing all that feral energy and menace which he regularly generated at his very best. However, the pianist seems to have real problems keeping up during the first chorus, before settling in unobtrusively. Wolf contributes some genuinely bizarre lines: "You know she's just my colour/she's just my kind/ I'm crazy 'bout the woman/she just walked off and died". His vocal inflection on the repetition of "colour" is simply magical.

05 - "CHOCOLATE DROP" – B.M.I. - 2:39
Composer: - Joe Hill Louis
Publisher: - Modern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 23, 1952
Released: - 1977
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30134-5 mono
HOWLIN" WOLF - THE LEGENDARY SUN PERFORMERS
Reissued: - 1989 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15460-11 mono
MEMPHIS DAYS - THE DEFINITIVE EDITION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Howlin' Wolf - Vocal and Harmonica
Willie Johnson - Guitar
Unknown - Bass
Willie Steele - Drums
Albert Williams or Louis Calvin Hubert - Piano
Unknown – Saxes*

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

JANUARY 1952

Eddie Hill leaves Memphis to work for WSM radio in Nashville, Tennessee.

The legal wranglings over Howlin' Wolf and Rosco Gordon is finally settled, the Biharis getting Rosco plus four Unissued masters, whilst Chess keep Wolf. Meanwhile, "Booted" is still available on two labels, and the Chess version finally enters the Rhythm and Blues charts.

Chess Records release their second Wolf single "Howlin' Wolf Boogie" (Chess 1497).

Sam Phillips records Arkansas disc jockey Walter Bradford, and pairs jug band veteran Jack Kelly up with Walter Horton, and pitches the dubs to Chess Records. Following their rejection by Chess, Phillips schedules both to be among the first batch of releases on his forthcoming SUN label, although neither make the final ship-out.

In the meantime another Sun label, operating out of Albuquerque, New Mexico, starts up with a disc by Don Paull. Another Sun label, owned by Abe Lyman and based on 161st Street in New York, was launched in 1946 and issuing Jewish and Yiddish Folk music but had probably ceased business by 1952.

Modern Records issues a final Joe Hill Louis single "Chocolate Blonde"/"Peace Of Mind" (Modern 868) an old masters supplied by Sam Phillips.

EARLY 1952

By early 1952, several of Sam Phillips' recording artists were caught up in commercial and legal arguments between the companies who took recordings from him - principally Chess in Chicago and Modern/RPM in Hollywood. Companies not unreasonably wanted exclusivity on the bestselling singers. One of these was Rosco Gordon who had registered hits with RPM but who would also appear shortly on Chess and then, for good measure, on the Duke label.

JANUARY 23, 1952 WEDNESDAY

Rosco Gordon made a session for Chess at Phillips' studio that included an engaging bar room song called ''Decorate The Counter''. However, by February 15 wrangling between the various companies had seen Gordon's contract signed over to Modern/RPM Records and two days later most of the recordings from the January session were passed to Modern. ''Decorate The Counter''was not one of them because Chess had expressed an interest in the song. Sam Phillips apparently held it back as the prototype for someone else to record. That someone was Rufus Thomas, and so we had tuded an extended version of the earliest of Rosco's versions of the song.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR ROSCO GORDON
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR CHESS RECORDS 1952

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: WEDNESDAY JANUARY 23, 1952
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

Rosco Gordon made a session for Chess Records at Phillips' studio that included an engaging bar room song called "Decorate The Counter". However, by February 15, wrangling between the various companies had seen Gordon's contract signed over to Modern/RPM Records and two days later most of the recordings from the January session were passed to Modern. "Decorate" was not one of them because Chess had expressed an interest in the song. Sam Phillips apparently held it back as the prototype for someone else to record. That someone was Rufus Thomas, and so we have included an extended version of the earliest of Rosco's version of the song (03).

01(1) - "DECORATE THE COUNTER" – B.M.I. - 2:28
Composer: - Robert Henry-Courtney Harris
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 23, 1952
Released: - 1977
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30133-A-8 mono
ROSCO GORDON - THE LEGENDARY SUN PERFORMERS
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-2-5 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

01(2) - "DECORATE THE COUNTER'' - 1 – B.M.I. - 2:59
Composer: - Robert Henry-Courtney Harris
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 23, 1952
Released: - 1977
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30133-B-1 mono
ROSCO GORDON - THE LEGENDARY SUN PERFORMERS
Reissued: - 2008 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16695-11 mono
ROSCO GORDON - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

Its hard to be critical of a record like this, which is infectious good-time music, pure and simple. This is the second, looser take with the band getting bawdy in the background, and is a vast improvement on Take 1 (which was released on CR 30133). This version was actually mastered for release on Chess as the follow-up to "Booted", however, legal warn glings between Chess and RPM/Modern over Rosco's contract led to it being withheld. Since Leonard Chess had felt so strongly about the song he requested another version with the same sound and feel: Phillips immediately reassembled the same studio band and brought in another artist - who, like Rosco, had a good-time, good-humoured vocal style. Enter Rufus Thomas: Phillips rushed the resulting acetate to Chess Records in April 1952, and the disc was in the stores within weeks.

02 - "I WADE THROUGH MUDDY WATER (DREAM ON BABY)" - B.M.I. - 3:00
Composer: - Rosco Gordon
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 23, 1952
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm 30133-14 mono
ROSCO GORDON - THE LEGENDARY SUN PERFORMERS
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-2-6 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

John Murry Daley's drums beat like a sepulchral metronome throughout this dirge-like song, the designated B-side of "Decorate The Counter". Sam Phillips recut "Decorate" with Rufus Thomas, but this track - retitled - had to wait 25 years to be released. Its original title comes from the second verse, when Rosco describes what he's prepared to do for the woman who's deserted him. Richard Sanders' baritone sax solo is perfectly recorded, catching the full eruptive depth of those bass notes. His wheedling tone sounds like Lewis Carroll's Walrus coaxing virgin oysters from their shells.

03 - "I LOVE YOU BETTER THAN I LOVE MYSELF" – B.M.I. - 2:22
Composer: - Rosco Gordon
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - January 23, 1952
Released: - Not Originally Issued
Released: - 2006
First appearance: - Charly Records Internet iTunes MP3-4 mono
ROSCO GORDON - SELECTED HITS

04 - "TELL ME PRETTY BABY"
Composer: - Rosco Gordon
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - January 23, 1952
Released: - Sun Unissued

This session was recorded for Chess Records, but the masters were not dispatched pending the outcome of the legal dispute. ''I Wade Through Muddy Water'' was issued as ''Dream On Baby'' on CR 30133.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rosco Gordon - Vocal and Piano
Willie Wilkes - Tenor Saxophone
Richard Sanders - Baritone Saxophone
John Murry Daley – Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Session Published for Historical Reasons

STUDIO SESSION FOR HOUSTON BOINES, BOYD GILMOORE,
BROTHER BELL (JOHNNY O'NEAL), CHARLIE BOOKER
FOR MODERN, BLUES & RHYTHM RECORDS

CLUB CASABLANCA, 1102 NELSON STREET, GREENVILLE, MISSISSIPPI
STUDIO SESSION: THURSDAY JANUARY 23, 1952
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - IKE TURNER
AND/OR JOE BIHARI

In January 1952, Joe Bihari and Ike Turner turned up at the Club Casablanca located on Nelson Street in Greenville to record the local talent which produced three solid countrified, cotton patch singles including harmonica blower Houston Boines (spelt Baines on the Modern subsidiary Blues & Rhythm label and Boyd Gilmore on his cut of Robert Johnson's ''Ramblin' On my Mind'' both trying to capture some of the magic of Elmore James' ''Dust My Broom'' lick. The fourth single by Brother Bell sounded much more like Ike's King's Of Rhythm with Raymond Hill's tenor saxophone prominent on both sides. Brother Bell was vocalist Johnny O'Neal who would record again with Ike Turner at Sun Records in 1953

01 – ''GOING HOME''* – B.M.I. - 2:20
Composer: - Houston Boines-Jules Taub
Publisher: - Modern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - MM 1790
Recorded: - January 23, 1952
Released: - 1952
First appearance: - Blues & Rhythm Records (S) 78rpm B&R 7001 mono
GOING HOME / RELATION BLUES
Reissued: - 2010 Secret Records (CD) 500/200rpm SECBX025-1-14 mono
THAT KAT SURE COULD PLAY! - THE SINGLES 1951 - 1957

02 – ''RELATION BLUES''* – B.M.I. - 2:38
Composer: - Jules Taub-Houston Boines
Publisher: - Modern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - MM 1791
Recorded: - January 23, 1952
Released: - 1952
First appearance: - Blues & Rhythm Records (S) 78rpm B&R 7001 mono
RELATION BLUES / GOING HOME
Reissued: - 2010 Secret Records (CD) 500/200rpm SECBX025-1-15 mono
THAT KAT SURE COULD PLAY! - THE SINGLES 1951 - 1957

03 – ''RAMBLIN' ON MY MIND''** – B.M.I. - 2:49
Composer: - Boyd Gilmore
Publisher: - Modern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - MM 1780 - Take 3
Recorded: - January 23, 1952
Released: - 1952
First appearance: - Modern Records (S) 78rpm Modern 860 mono
RAMBLIN' ON MY MIND / JUST AN ARMY BOY
Reissued: - 2010 Secret Records (CD) 500/200rpm SECBX025-1-13 mono
THAT KAT SURE COULD PLAY! - THE SINGLES 1951 - 1957

04 – ''IF YOU FEEL FROGGISH''*** – B.M.I.
Composer: - Jules Taub-Brother Bell
Publisher: - Modern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - MM 1792
Recorded: - January 23, 1952
Released: - 1952
First appearance: - Blues & Rhythm Records (S) 78rpm R&B 7002 mono
IF YOU FEEL FROGGISH / WHOLE HEAP OF MAMA
Reissued: - 2010 Secret Records (CD) 500/200rpm SECBX025-1-17 mono
THAT KAT SURE COULD PLAY! - THE SINGLES 1951 - 1957

05 – ''WHOLE HEAP OF MAMA''*** – 1 - B.M.I. - 2:35
Composer: - Jules Taub-Brother Bell
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - MM 1793
Recorded: - January 23, 1952
Released: - 1952
First appearance: - Blues & Rhythm Records (S) 78rpm R&B 7002 mono
WHOLE HEAP OF MAMA / IF YOU FEEL FROGGISH
Reissued: - 2010 Secret Records (CD) 500/200rpm SECBX025-1-16 mono
THAT KAT SURE COULD PLAY! - THE SINGLES 1951 - 1957

06 – ''RABBIT BLUES''**** – B.M.I. - 2:22
Composer: - Jules Taub-Charlie Booker
Publisher: - Modern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - MM 1794
Recorded: - January 23, 1952
Released: - 1952
First appearance: - Blues & Rhythm Records (S) 78rpm B&R 7001 mono
RABBIT BLUES / NO RIDIN' BLUES
Reissued: - 2010 Secret Records (CD) 500/200rpm SECBX025-1-18 mono
THAT KAT SURE COULD PLAY! - THE SINGLES 1951 - 1957

07 – ''NO RIDIN' BLUES''**** – B.M.I. - 2:54
Composer: - Jules Taub-Charlie Booker
Publisher: - Modern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - MM 1796
Recorded: - January 23, 1952
Released: - 1952
First appearance: - Blues & Rhythm Records (S) 78rpm B&R 7001 mono
NO RIDIN' BLUES / RABBIT BLUES
Reissued: - 2010 Secret Records (CD) 500/200rpm SECBX025-1-19 mono
THAT KAT SURE COULD PLAY! - THE SINGLES 1951 - 1957

Name (Or. No Of Instruments)
* - Houston Boines - Vocal, Harmonica
** - Boyd Gilmore - Vocal, Guitar
*** - Johnny O'Neal - Vocal
**** - Charlie Booker - Vocal, Guitar
Ike Turner - Piano
Jesse ''Cleanhead'' Love - Drums
Raymond Hill - Tenor saxophone
Willie Kizart - Guitar
Edwin Nash - Bass
Willie Sims - Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

NELSON STREET, GREENVILLE, MISSISSIPPI - Nelson Street was once the epicenter of African American business and entertainment in the Delta. Nightclubs, cafes, churches, groceries, fish markets, barbershops, laundries, record shops, and other enterprises did a bustling trade. Famous blues clubs on the street included the Casablanca, the Flowing Fountain, and the Playboy Club. Willie Love saluted the street in his 1951 recording "Nelson Street Blues''.

Whereas many Delta towns once "rolled up the sidewalks" in time for curfews, Greenville nurtured a flourishing nightlife, especially during the 1940s and 1950s. Blues artists and audiences from throughout the area gravitated to the cafes, pool halls, and nightclubs of Nelson Street. The music ranged from raw Delta blues to big band jump blues and jazz. Years before he became America’s top black recording artist, Louis Jordan joined local bandleader and music educator Winchester Davis for some performances here in 1928.

When down-home southern blues was at its commercial peak in the American rhythm and blues industry in the early 1950s, record companies headed for Nelson Street in search of talent. Leading lights on the local scene included Willie Love and Sonny Boy Williamson II, both of whom recorded for the Jackson-based Trumpet label. In 1952 Charlie Booker and others recorded for the rival Modem Records at the Casablanca, an upscale restaurant and lounge at 1102 Nelson, which advertised its services "For Colored Only''. In the midst of one session, the local sheriff ordered the recording stopped when artists contracted to Trumpet attempted to record for Modem. The resulting lawsuit made headlines in the national trade papers.

One of the Casablanca recordings, Charlie Booker’s "No Ridin' Blues'', joined Willie Love’s "Nelson Street Blues" as a local anthem when Booker sang, "Greenville's smokin’, Leland's burnin' down''. Booker, Love, and Little Milton Campbell were among the blues artists who had their own radio shows on WGVM or WJPR. Disc jockey rocking Eddie Williams later had a record store on Nelson Street. Blues venues of the 1950s included Henry T's Pool Room, the Silver Dollar Cafe and the Blue Note.

Nelson Street alumni include Oliver Sain, Eddie Shaw, J.W. "Big Moose" Walker, Burgess Gardner, Lil' Bill Wallace, Roosevelt "Booba" Barnes, Willie Foster, T-Model Ford, John Horton, and Lil’ Dave Thompson, as well as Greenville’s first black policeman, guitarist Willie "Burl" Carson. The most successful of them all, Little Milton, paid tribute to the Flowing Fountain, a Nelson Street show club, in his 1987 Malaco Records hit "Annie Mae's Cafe''.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR BOBBY BLUE BLAND
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE 1952 FOR MODERN RECORDS

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: THURSDAY JANUARY 24, 1952
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

01 – ''LOVE ME BABY'' – B.M.I. - 3:00
Composer: - Jules Taub-Robert Bland
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 24, 1952
Released: - 1987
First appearance: - Ace Records (LP) 33rpm Ace 216-5 mono
THE FIFIES - JUKE JOINT BLUES
Reissued: - 2011 Jamine Records (CD) 500/200rpm JASCD 564-4 mono
BOBBY BLAND - IT'S MY LIFE, BABY

Name (Or. No Of Instruments)
Bobby Bland - Vocal
Junior Parker – Vocal & Harmonica
Johnny Ace - Piano
Matt Murphy - Guitar
Earl Forest - Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Session Published for Historical Reasons

Flair Records was an American record label owned by the Bihari Brothers, launched in the early 1950s. It was a subsidiary of Modern Records. Its most famous artist was Elmore James, who released ten singles with this label.

STUDIO SESSION FOR ELMORE JAMES
FOR FLAIR RECORDS 1952

CLUB DESIRE
SOUTH UNION STREET, CANTON, MISSISSIPPI
STUDIO SESSION: FRIDAY JANUARY 25, 1952
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - IKE TURNER
AND/OR JOE BIHARI

The main purpose of Ike Turner's trip was to record Elmore James whose ''Dust My Broom'' was big at the time and who, although under contract to Trumpet Records, seemed willing to record elsewhere. The dynamic duo found their man in Canton and duly recorded him at the Club Desire. Over two days ten songs were cut which produced sides for four singles singles. On the three tracks included here are some of Elmore's most impassioned and intense vocals ever recorded. ''Hand In Hand'' burst from the speakers as though the beginning of the recording has been sliced off while on ''Please Find My Baby'', Ike and Elmore seem to battle for prominence over Elmore's famous riff - Elmore wins. ''Rock My Baby Right'' is more measured with the guitar turned down a notch and Ike's boogie piano up front and central.

01 - ''PLEASE FIND MY BABY'' - B.M.I. - 3:08
Composer: - Jules Taub-Elmore James
Publisher: - Universal Music Publishing
Matrix number - PL 147
Recorded: - January 25, 26, 1952
Released: - 1953
First appearance: - Flair Records (S) 78rpm Flair 1022 mono
PLEASE FIND MY BABY / STRANGE KINDA' FEELING
Reissued: - 2010 Secret Records (CD) 500/200rpm SECBX025-2-15 mono
THAT KAT SURE COULD PLAY! - THE SINGLES 1951 - 1957

02 - ''HAND IN HAND'' - B.M.I. - 2:48
Composer: - Jules Taub-Elmore James-Sam Ling
Publisher: - Universal Music Publishing
Matrix number: - FL 161
Recorded: - January 25, 26, 1952
Released: - 1954
First appearance: - Flair Records (S) 78rpm Flair 1031 mono
HAND IN HAND / MAKE MY DREAMS COME TRUE
Reissued: - 2010 Secret Records (CD) 500/200rpm SECBX025-2-28 mono
THAT KAT SURE COULD PLAY! - THE SINGLES 1951 - 1957

03 - ''ROCK MY BABY RIGHT'' - B.M.I. - 2:35
Composer: - Joe Josea-Elmore James
Publisher: - Universal Music Publishing
Matrix number: - FL 201 - Take 2
Recorded: - January 25, 26, 1952
Released: - 1954
First appearance: Flair Records (S) 78rpm Flair 1048 mono
ROCK MY BABY RIGHT / DARK AND DREARY
Reissued: - 2010 Secret Records (CD) 500/200rpm SECBX025-3-27 mono
THAT KAT SURE COULD PLAY! - THE SINGLES 1951 - 1957

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Elmore James - Vocal & Guitar
Ike Turner - Piano
Unknown - Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

CLUB DESIRE, CANTON, MISSISSIPPI - The Club Desire, which stood across the street from this site, was one of Mississippi's premier blues and rhythm and blues nightclubs from the late 1940s through the early 1960s. Owner Clarence Chinn presented the top national acts, including B. B. King, Bobby Blue Bland, Little Junior Parker, James Brown, Ivory Joe Hunter, Big Joe Turner, Hank Ballard & the Midnighters, and the Platters. In the 1960s the club also served as an important meeting place for civil rights workers. Club Desire – or New Club Desire, as it was actually named for most its tenure – was a Canton landmark for several decades, renowned for providing the African American community with first-class entertainment in a celebratory but elegant atmosphere, with strict codes enforced for dress and behavior. Its shows drew patrons from Memphis and New Orleans, and former Cantonites from Chicago and points beyond often attended family reunions and gala holiday events here. Founded by Clarence Chinn (1906-1995) in the 1940s as the Blue Garden, the club was rebuilt after a fire and renamed New Club Desire in the early 1950s. The name Club Desire was first used by a popular nightspot on Desire Street in New Orleans.

The club also earned a place in blues recording history in January 1952 when Modern Records of California rented it to set up a portable tape machine to record several songs by legendary Canton singer-guitarist Elmore James (1918-1963). Modern’s talent scout, Ike Turner from Clarksdale, played piano on the session. Two local members of James’s band, Ernest “Frock” Odell and Precious “Little Hat” Whitehead, were probably also on the recordings. Most published accounts of this session have erroneously cited the name as the Club Bizarre.

Ironically, despite James’s posthumous fame among blues fans, he and other local down-home bluesmen rarely played at New Club Desire, although they did perform for Clarence Chinn’s brother C.O. (1919-1999) at his café on Franklin Street, as well as for Frank Williams at a big dance hall in the Sawmill Quarters. New Club Desire favored touring blues and soul bands with horn sections and professional talent revues. B.B. King, Bobby Bland, and Hank Ballard & the Midnighters were recalled as particular favorites, and the talent roster also featured Little Milton, Albert King, Ted Taylor, Memphis Slim, Joe Simon, and many more. Clarence Chinn sometimes coordinated bookings with Tom Wince, who owned the Blue Room, a prominent Vicksburg venue, so that acts could play in both towns while on tour.

After Chinn decided to focus his energy on real estate and housing, New Club Desire was operated by Leonard Garrett, George Raymond, and Eddie Newton. Raymond and C.O. Chinn were Canton’s leading civil rights activists in the 1960s. At various times New Club Desire was used for private parties and meetings of civic, social, and civil rights organizations. The club closed in the 1970s.

Content © Mississippi Blues Commission

JANUARY 29, 1952 TUESDAY

Hank Williams plays his first concert since a December back operation in Richmond, Virginia. At the hotel, he drinks a mixture of tomato juice and rubbing alcohol, then gives a poor, abbreviated show. Ray Price fills in with a 40-minute set.

The Maddox Brothers & Rose hold their first recording session for Columbia Records after a split with the Four Star label.

JANUARY 30, 1952 WEDNESDAY

Addressing a female reporter who gave the prior night's show a bad review, Hank Williams dedicates a song to a ''gracious lady writer'' on stage in Richmond, then plays ''Mind Your Own Business''.

''The Las Vegas'' opens in theaters with leading roles for Jane Russell and Victor mature. The motion picture also has a secondary part for ''Georgia On My Mind'' songwriter Hoagy Carmichael.

FEBRUARY 2, 1952 SATURDAY

MGM released Hank Williams' single ''Honky Tonk Blues'' backed with ''I'm Sorry For My Friend''

FEBRUARY 5, 1952 TUESDAY

Carl Smith recorded ''It's A Lovely, Lovely World'', ''That's The Kind Of Love I'm Looking For'' and ''Are You Teasing Me'' at the Castle Studio in Nashville.

FEBRUARY 6, 1952 WEDNESDAY

Pete Seeger is branded a member of the Communist party when actor Harvey Mutasow testifies before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Seeger will net country hits as a songwriter of ''Kisses Sweeter Than Wine'' and ''Gotta Travel On..

FEBRUARY 8, 1952 FRIDAY

Ray Price recorded ''Talk To Your Heart'' during the afternoon at the Castle Studio in Nashville's Tulane Hotel. The performance is rejected, and the ultimate single, his first hit, is recorded six days later.

Rex Allen and Slim Pickens are called upon to help unravel a murder in the movie debut of ''Colorado Sundown''. Woodwind player Darol Rice also appear on-screen.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR BOBBY BLUE BLAND
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE 1952 FOR DUKE RECORDS

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE 1952
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

01 – ''I.O.U. BLUES'' - B.M.I. - 3:11
Composer: - James Mattis-Don Robey
Publisher: - Lion Music Publisher
Matrix number: - ASA 2266 Master - Click > Duke Series
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1952
Released: - 1952
First appearance: - Peacock Records (S) 78rpm Duke R 105-B mono
I.O.U. BLUES / LOVIN' BLUES
Reissued: - 2011 Jasmine Records (CD) 500/200rpm JASCD 564-7 mono
BOBBY BLAND - IT'S MY LIFE, BABY

02 – ''LOVIN' BLUES'' - B.M.I. - 2:18
Composer: - James Mattis-Don Robey
Publisher: - Lion Music Publisher
Matrix number: - ASA 2267 Master - Click > Duke Series
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1952
Released: - 1952
First appearance: - Peacock Records (S) 78rpm Duke R 105-A mono
LOVIN' BLUES / I.O.U. BLUES
Reissued: - 2011 Jasmine Records (CD) 500/200rpm JASCD 564-8 mono
BOBBY BLAND - IT'S MY LIFE, BABY

Name (Or. No Of Instruments)
Bobby Bland - Vocal
Adolph Billy Duncan – Tenor Saxophone
Johnny Ace - Piano
B.B. King - Guitar
George Joyner – Bass
Earl Forest – Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR SHIRLEY SISK
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1952

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: FEBRUARY 8, 1952
STUDIO HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER – SAM C. PHILLIPS

Born Ernestine Brooks in Memphis. First recorded for Sam Phillips as a pianist and vocalist with her sister-in- law Judy Dismukes on guitar. The session was on February 8, 1952 when ''Let Me Count The Curls'' and ''Mean Old Memphis'' were recorded. Sam Phillips assigned Chess master numbers and shipped masters to Chess and to local radio stations. However, Chess did not release the titles, but Acuff-Rose picked up the publishing rights to the song ''Let Me Count The Curls''. By the late 1950s and early 1960s, Shirley Sisk was back in Memphis, working out of the Echo studios as a pianist and organist. She was featured on a Phillips International disc by the Memphis Bells and in her own right on Sun 365, recorded at the Echo studio on Manassas Avenue in 1961. She owned Permanent Records in Memphis, which did not live up to its name.

01 - ''LET ME COUNT THE CURLS''
Composer: Ernestine Brooks
Publisher: - Acuff-Rose Music
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - February 8, 1952

02 - ''MEAN OLD MEMPHIS TOWN''
Composer: Ernestine Brooks
Publisher: - Acuff-Rose Music
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - February 8, 1952

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Shirley Sisk - Vocal & Piano
Judy Dismukes - Guitar

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

FEBRUARY 9, 1952 SATURDAY

Rosco Gordon's ''Booted'' (Chess 1487) enters the National Billboard Rhythm & Blues Charts and peaks at number 1 in a 13-week stay (number 15 rhythm and blues record of 1952).

At the beginning of February, Jules and Joe Bihari announced the formation of a new label, Blues And Rhythm, ''which will concentrate on blues waxings from the Deep South'', with eighteen new artists already signed and a ''talent rep'' hired.

They were, clearly, seizing upon a whole new trend. For the first time in many months, Hal Webman wrote in his column in Billboard, ''Rhythm & Blues Notes'': ''the down-home, Southern-style blues appears to have taken a solid hold... The Southern market appears to have opened up to its widest extent in some time... (as) such artists as B.B. King, Howling Wolf, Rosco Gordon, Fats Domino, Sonny Boy Williamson, Lightnin' Hopkins, John Lee Hooker, Lowell Fulson, Billy Wright, Muddy Waters, etc., have taken a fast hold in such market areas as New Orleans, Dallas, Atlanta, Los Angeles, etc. Even the sophisticated big towns, like New York and Chicago, have felt the Southern blues influence in wax tastes.

FEBRUARY 13, 1952 WEDNESDAY

Studio session with Walter Bradford at the Memphis Recording Service in Memphis, Tennessee. Session details unknown.

FEBRUARY 14, 1952 THURSDAY

Ray Price recorded his first hit ''Talk To Your Heart''.

Webb Pierce hires Tommy Hill, a future songwriter and record producer, as a fiddler in his band. Hill writes Pierce's ''Slowly'' and ''Red Sovine's Teddy Bear''.

FEBRUARY 15, 1952 FRIDAY

Chess and the Bihari brothers settled their ongoing squabble with an item in Billboard announcing, ''The Biharis turned over exclusive pact to Howlin' Wolf to the Chess Fraters, while Chess brothers gave four Rosco Gordon masters, and any claim to his contract, to Modern''. It seemed as if the Biharis might have gotten the better end of the deal, as Rosco's Chess recording of ''Booted'' (the Biharis had their own version out) was rapidly climbing the charts, on its way to becoming Rosco Gordon's first number 1 hit. For Sam Phillips that just may have been the trigger. He had two number 1 rhythm and blues hits now, and one number 4, in less than a year; he had discovered the Howlin' Wolf; and he had a wealth of talent still to record, but what did he have in the way of material reward to show for it?

FEBRUARY 18, 1952 MONDAY

Judy Kay ''Juice'' Newton is born at Lakehurst Naval Base, New Jersey. A distant descendent of Sir Isaac Newton, she earns pop/country crossover hits during the 1980s with ''Queen Of Hearts'', ''Angel Of The Morning'' and ''Break It To Me Gently''.

Decca released Red Foley's two-sided hit, ''Milk Bucket Boogie'' and ''Salty Dog Rag''.

FEBRUARY 21, 1952 THURSDAY

Jerry Lee Lewis marries his first wife, Dorothy Barton, in Mississippi, after lying about his age on the application for the license.

FEBRUARY 1952

Rhythm and blues magazine ''Beat'' report: ''Modern Records settled its differences with Chess Records of Chicago. The Biharis turned over exclusive pact to Howlin' Wolf to the Chess Fraters, while Chess brothers gave four Rosco Gordon masters to Modern''.

FEBRUARY 1952

Chess and the Biharis resolved their conflict in an agreement by which Chess kept Howlin' Wolf and the Biharis kept Roscoe Gordon from Sun Records. Chess released their second Wolf single immediately after the deal was struck. Nevertheless, both Wolf and Roscoe would have to wait a number of years to recapture their initial success.

"The first time I saw Howlin' Wolf", says Jim Dickinson on June 1990 in Hernando, Mississippi, "I was still too young to know any better. It was the early 1950s. I was with my father at a warehouse in West Memphis, Arkansas. My father and the warehouse manager were counting cartons of clothes pins. Over the hum of the big band built into the wall I could hear what sounded like jungle drums. I followed the pounding up wooden stairs to an office. Painted on the glass door was a lightning bolt and red letters KWEM RADIO. The door was open. Four negro men in unbleached work clothes were playing music. One man - bigger than the others - was growling words I could not understand into a silver microphone.

I watched until my father found me. The music stuck in my head and wouldn't go away. I found it later on the radio. KWEM - 1070 WDIA "The Black Spot On Your Dial" - WLOK 1340 with Hunky Dory - Dewey Phillips Red Hot And Blue on 56 WHBQ radio.

I had an older friend with a 78rpm copy of Wolf's "I Love My Baby". I listened to it over and over. Then one day in Ruben Cherry's "Home Of The Blues" record shop on Beale Street, I saw the grey album cover with the drawing of a lone wolf howling to the moon. I took it to the check-out counter, and Ruben said, 'Boy, you got the blues there'. "I was hooked. In 1958 my high school combo was playing versions of "Evil" and "Killing Floor" to our white teenaged Memphis audience. By the mid-1960s the Rolling Stones were playing Howlin' Wolf songs to the world.

I have heard Sam Phillips say that his discovery of Wolf was more significant than his discovery of Elvis Presley. The Only artist to share the surreal darkness of Robert Johnson, Wolf brings out his band an ensemble counterpoint unlike anything else in the blues. His voice seems to hang in the air, and make the room rumble with echo. His singing is so powerful that between the vocal lines the compressor-limiter through which the mono recordings were made sucks the sound of the drum and the French harp up into the hole in the audio mix. Notes blend together and merge into melody lines that are not being 'played' by any one instrument. Wolf is not bound by the three-chord blues pattern, and often seems to crass the bar lines of western music. He is a Primitive-Modernist, using chants and modal harmonies of the dark ritualist past brought up from mother Africa and slavery through electric amplifiers.

Like the unsolvable mystery of 'smokestack lightning', Howlin' Wolf contribution to the blues goes beyond musical phrases. The 'idea' of Howlin' Wolf makes blues history somehow deeper and richer. Bloody but unbowed, Chester Burnett is forever frozen in the time - space of these first recordings made by Sam Phillips. Howlin' Wolf sings out his frustrations, never surrendering to the hopeless situation of existence. The same giant pulled a plow like a man-mule in the Mississippi Delta, and lived to ride a Shriners' mini-motorcycle on-stage at the Newport Folk Festival. He toured the world playing the blues, and would sit in his hotel room in his boxer shorts and do-rag, and imitate Senator Everett Dirkson. His life is a legend. His legacy is a treasure as unique as the man himself. Share his vision of love, sex, death, and man's predicament in the Universe. Heed the call of the Wolf, the haunted cry of an animal alone in the night. And that music, loved Elvis Presley".

FEBRUARY 1952

Jackie Brenston and Ike Turner leave Sun Records for Chess Records in Chicago. Sam Phillips need to find new talent ever pressing, he turned to a precocious young piano player named Rosco Gordon. Eddie Hill leaves Memphis to work for WSM radio in Nashville, Tennessee.

FEBRUARY 1952

Sam Phillips borrowed some money from Nashville record magnate Jim Bulleit to begin his Sun Records operation. Sam learned a great deal from Bulleit. Bulleit's company provided another model for Sun Records. Sam Phillips reasoned he could duplicate its success in Memphis. "I thought I could maybe make a go of a company that just recorded rhythm and blues numbers", Phillips recalled.

FEBRUARY 1952

Sam Phillips started off with a flurry of recording activity at the end of February 1952. He cut a seventeen-year-old disc jockey from Forrest City, Arkansas, Walter Bradford, with more of a gift for self-promotion than for singing, then on the same day scheduled another Joe Hill Louis session, but this one, marked ''SCP'', for himself. Veteran blues singer Jack Kelly ''came with ''Mumbles'' Horton for session'', Marion Keisker noted in the logbook, and in due course Sam sent the dubs off to Chess, along with dubs from the Walter Bradford session. Then on March 1 he recorded a fifteen-year-old sophomore from Melrose High School, one of Memphis' three colored institutions, each with its own distinguished music program, who had been coming by with his little rhythm and blues combo, the Rockets, for the past few weeks.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

After possibly two years in the service, at the age of 38, bluesman Howlin' Wolf (Chester Arthur Burnett) returned to farming in Mississippi but started playing in West Memphis, Arkansas around 1948. He probably continued to work on the farm for a while at least because people recall seeing him show up for radio station work in his farm overalls. At that time, West Memphis had longer drinking hours than Memphis, more gambling joints and a city administration willing to turn a blind eye. On Friday and Saturday nights, school buses brought sharecroppers in from the surrounding Delta country.

The Wolf and his small group (very young James Cotton and Little Junior Parker), plied their craft as the country folk boozed, whored and gambled away their meagre earnings. Pat Hare, who later played guitar with James Cotton and Muddy Waters, recalled that his first paying job was working with Howlin' Wolf in a West Memphis whorehouse in 1948 or 1949. Howlin" Wolfs band spotted broadcast over station KWM, where Sonny Boy Williamson II, had a spot.

Session Published for Historical Reasons

STUDIO SESSION FOR HOWLIN' WOLF
FOR RPM RECORDS 1951

KWEM RADIO STUDIO,
231 BROADWAY STREET, WEST MEMPHIS, ARKANSAS
RPM SESSION: TUESDAY FEBRUARY 12, 1952
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - IKE TURNER
AND/OR JOE BIHARI

Howlin' Wolf last session for RPM/Modern Records.

01 - ''WORRIED ABOUT MY BABY'' - B.M.I. - 2:58
Composer: - Chester Burnett
Publisher: - Modern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 12, 1952
Released: - 1966
First appearance: - United Records (LP) 33rpm US 7747-A-5 mono
HOWLIN' WOLF - THE ORIGINAL FOLK BLUES
Reissued: - 1991 Virgin Records (CD) 500/200rpm V2-86295-11 mono
HOWLIN' WOLF RIDES AGAIN

02 - ''HOUSE ROCKIN' BOOGIE'' - B.M.I. - 4:10
Composer: - Chester Burnett
Publisher: - Modern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 12, 1952
Released: - 1966
First appearance: - United Records (LP) 33rpm US 7747-B-2 mono
HOWLIN' WOLF - THE ORIGINAL FOLK BLUES
Reissued: - 1991 Virgin Records (CD) 500/200rpm V2-86295-1 mono
HOWLIN' WOLF RIDES AGAIN

Notes: ''House Rockin' Boogie'' is listed as ''House Rockers'' on original.

03 - ''BROWN SKIN WOMAN'' - B.M.I. - 3:01
Composer: - Chester Burnett
Publisher: - Modern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 12, 1952
Released: - 1966
First appearance: - United Records (LP) 33rpm US 7747-A-2 mono
HOWLIN' WOLF - THE ORIGINAL FOLK BLUES

04(1) - ''CHOCOLATE DROP'' - 1 - B.M.I. - 2:40
Composer: - Joe Hill Louis
Publisher: - Modern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 12, 1952
Released: - 1991
First appearance: - Virgin Records (CD) 500/200rpm V2-86295-7 mono
HOWLIN' WOLF RIDES AGAIN

04(2) - ''CHOCOLATE DROP'' - 2 - B.M.I. - 2:41
Composer: - Joe Hill Louis
Publisher: - Modern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 12, 1952
Released: - 1991
First appearance: - Virgin Records (CD) 500/200rpm V2-86295-12 mono
HOWLIN' WOLF RIDES AGAIN

05 - ''DRIVING THIS HIGHWAY'' - B.M.I. - 2:50
Composer: - Chester Burnett
Publisher: - Modern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 12, 1952
Released: - 1991
First appearance: - Virgin Records (CD) 500/200rpm V2-86295-13 mono
HOWLIN' WOLF RIDES AGAIN

06 - ''THE SUN IS RISING'' - B.M.I. - 2:38
Composer: - Chester Burnett
Publisher: - Modern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 12, 1952
Released: - 1969
First appearance: - United Superior (LP) 33rpm US-7779-B-3 mono
MEMPHIS BLUES - ANTHOLOGY OF THE BUES VOLUME 2
Reissued: - 1991 Virgin Records (CD) 500/200rpm V2-86295-14 mono
HOWLIN' WOLF RIDES AGAIN

07 - ''MY FRIENDS'' - B.M.I. - 2:57
Composer: - Chester Burnett
Publisher: - Modern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 12, 1952
Released: - 1969
First appearance: - United Superior (LP) 33rpm US-7779-B-4 mono
MEMPHIS BLUES - ANTHOLOGY OF THE BUES VOLUME 2
Reissued: - 1991 Virgin Records (CD) 500/200rpm V2-86295-16 mono
HOWLIN' WOLF RIDES AGAIN

08 - ''I'M THE WOLF'' - B.M.I. - 3:02
Composer: - Chester Burnett
Publisher: - Modern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 12, 1952
Released: - 1969
First appearance: - United Superior (LP) 33rpm US-7779-A-2 mono
MEMPHIS BLUES - ANTHOLOGY OF THE BUES VOLUME 2
Reissued: - 1991 Virgin Records (CD) 500/200rpm V2-86295-17 mono
HOWLIN' WOLF RIDES AGAIN

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Howlin' Wolf - Vocal & Harmonica
Ike Turner - Piano
Willie Johnson - Guitar
Willie Steele - Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR JOE HILL LOUIS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR CHESS RECORDS 1952

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: SATURDAY FEBRUARY 23, 1952
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

01 - "DECORATION BLUES"
Composer: - Unknown Probably Joe Hill Louis
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - February 23, 1952
Released: - Sun Unissued - Tape Lost

02 - "ONE MORE DRINK"
Composer: - Unknown Probably Joe Hill Louis
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - February 23, 1952
Released: - Sun Unissued - Tape Lost

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Joe Hill Louis - Vocal, Guitar; more details unknown

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR WALTER BRADFORD
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1952

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: SATURDAY FEBRUARY 23, 1952
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

01 - "DREARY NIGHTS"
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - U 53
Recorded: - February 23, 1952
Released: - Sun Unissued / Sun 176

02 - "NUTHIN' BUT THE BLUES"
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - U 54
Recorded: - February 23, 1952
Released: - Sun Unissued / Sun 176

At this point we really should be writing about Sun 176 (''Dreary Night'' / ''Nuthin' But The Blues), but many people have spent many years searching for Sun 176 without finding it, and it seems fairly certain that it was scheduled but not pressed. Walter Bradford was a disc jockey in Forrest City, Arkansas and Phillips recorded him on February 23, 1952 with hopes and placing the titles with Chess. He noted the titles of three songs (the third being ''Five Days Rain''). After Chess rejected the recordings, Phillips slated ''Dreary Night''/''Nuthin' But The Blues'' for Sun's initial launch in April 1952. One day perhaps, one of the few acetates of Bradford's Sun 78 will show up, but this untitled song from a Memphis Recording Service acetate just might be half of one of the to missing songs. We know that acetates were made and shipped to disc jockeys locally but we do not know their fate. From what we can hear, this recording features the musicians listed by Phillips at the 'lost' February session. It is clearly Pat Hare on guitar, making this his first known recording. Could the lyrical pay-off have been dreary nights, or nuthin' but the blues? Possibly. Something else entirely? Equally possible. Barring the discovery of a copy of Sun 176, we'll never know.

03 - "FIVE DAYS RAIN"
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - February 23, 1952
Released: - Sun Unissued / Tape Lost

04 - "UNTITLED BLUES" - B.M.I. - 1:11
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None / Incomplete
Recorded: - February 23, 1952
Released: - March 8, 2013
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-4-4 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958

The incomplete as ''Untitled Blues'' may in fact be any one of the other three titles above, but this cannot determined from the lyrics

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Walter Bradford - Vocal
Louis Calvin Hubert - Piano
Pat Hare - Guitar
Jerry Lee Walker - Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR JACK KELLY & WALTER HORTON
AT MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1952

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: MONDAY FEBRUARY 25, 1952
STUDIO HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
AND/OR MARION KEISKER

Sam Phillips recorded the duo of harmonica player Walter Horton and jug band veteran Jack Kelly, who together had worked up two tunes. Marion Keisker wrote in her logbook: ''2/25/52, Session with Joe Hill, Jack Kelly and, cut several sides on tape''. (See session below). Best were with Jack Kelly doing vocal and Mumbles (Horton) on harmonica. Tentatively billed on these numbers as ''Little Walter'' with ''Jackie Boy''. Under Kelly's name, she wrote that two cuts were made that day, ''Sellin' My Stuff (Ain't Had A Drink)'', and ''Wanderin' Woman (Blues In My Condition)''.

01 - "BLUES IN MY CONDITION" B.M.I.
Composer: - Jack Kelly-Walter Horton
Publisher: - Copyright Control - Promotional Copies Only
Matrix number: - None - Only Acetate
Recorded: - February 25, 1952
Released: - March 1, 1952 - SUN 174 was never issued
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78rpm acetate SUN 174 mono
BLUES IN MY CONDITION / SELLIN' MY WHISKEY
Reissued: - 2010 JSP Records (CD) 500/200rpm Internet Spotify CD 2-6 mono
BLUES HARMONICA GIANT 1951-56

Walter Horton and Jack Kelly were typical of the Delta bluesman who warmed to Sam Phillips' new recording climate. "Blues In My Condition, chosen from their various meanderings, was nominated as the first Sun single. However, due to an adverse reaction from area radio stations, the recording never made it past the promotional stage. Fortunately a fragment of the 'lower deck' survived, allowing the true beginnings of the Sun label to be represented, right at the moment of conception.

02 - "SELLING MY STUFF (WHISKEY)" - B.M.I. - 1:20
Composer: - Jack Kelly-Walter Horton
Publisher: - Copyright Control - Promotional Copies Only
Matrix number: - None - Only Acetate - Click > Sun 174-180 Series
Incomplete a fragment of the "lower deck" survived
Recorded: - February 25, 1952
Released: - March 1, 1952 - Sun 174 was never issued
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78rpm acetate SUN 174 mono
SELLIN' MY WHISKEY / BLUES IN MY CONDITION
Reissued: - 1996 Charly (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-2-7 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

Although scheduled for release as SUN 175 (and labels printed accordingly) this never made it to the final furlong, being scrapped following a lack of positive audience reaction after an acetate dub had been aired on WHHM. Sadly, neither does a complete version of this track appear to have survived - hence its inclusion here in its (only-known) fragment ed form.

The song itself - with its oddly bowdlerize title - harks back to Kelly's South Memphis Jug Band, with its romping rhythm and good-time lyric. Its a shame to hear only this truncated extract, and one can only speculate what Walter Horton might have brought to the original recording.

On March 5, 1952, Sam Phillips sent dubs (acetates run off the master tape) of the tunes to Chess, inquiring whether they would be interested in releasing them. Chess said they would not. On March 8, Phillips made up a new set of dubs of "Blues In My Condition" and sent one to Memphis station WHHM, asking that it be aired as the introduction to the Sun label.

The response was good enough to persuade him to ship the master for processing. "Sellin' My Stuff" was retitled "Sellin' My Whiskey" in anticipation of release, and the duo was dubbed Jackie Boy and Little Walter. By the time the stampers (the metal parts used in the manufacture of records) were shipped back from Shaw Processing, however, Sam Phillips had decided that Chess Records had been correct: the wasn't strong enough for release. The first Sun record, number SUN 174, was never issued.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jack Kelly - Vocal and Piano
Walter Horton - Vocal, Harmonica and Kazoo
Joe Hill Louis - Guitar and Drums
Probably Will Batts - Fiddle

Fiddler player Will Batts was born on January 24, 1904 in Michigan, Mississippi. A fiddler, Batts was the primary instrumentalist in Jack Kelly's South Memphis Jug Band, a popular string band whose music owed a heavy debt to the blues as well as minstrel songs, vaudeville numbers, reels and rags. Batts was working as a farm hand when he decided to pursue a career in music full-time.

Batts sooned joined Kelly's band, a fixture of the Beale Street area, and in 1933 they made their first recordings, followed in 1939 by a second and final session. Batts also backed a variety of other Memphis performers, including minstrel singer Frank Stokes. This 1952 session with Walter Horton was his last known recording date. Will Batts continued to work in Memphis, Tennessee until his death in Memphis on February 18, 1956.

According to Robert Henry, owner and Beale street connoisseur, ''Well one of the jug band players is still livin' right in the rear of my place of business here; that's Son Brimmer. His name's Will Shade but we called him Son Brimmer. It was a joke - one time I had some people out of New York come to listen to the jug men. So they tol' me, the jug band did, ''All right, but all we need now is for us to have a few drinks so we be feelin' good.''. So they did and we went along to hear the jug men start makin' records. Well, but the boys were so drunk that they wasn't able to stand. The people out of New York lauged and said, ''Well, they wanted to feel good, but they feel too good. Well we have to leave you; this ain't the people we was lookin' for''! But since then Son Brimmer has made several records of the old timers. So it is not many of them is living yet of the original jug bands. We lost one about two years ago - Willie Batts. He had one of the biggest jug bands - and they usually carry from four to five pieces in the band. Made some records with Jack Kelly once; he was a blues man come up from Mississippi. Willie Batts that was. Most of them uses the can for the bass, there's hardly nothing else left in there for them! Some of them do use a jug. There's not much left of them now, but they was mostly men play for parties, picnics and things; elections, for people won a race, and parties of the kind''.

''People who drink and have a good time - mostly the jug band plays for that, they don't play for dances. So that's why the jug band is made for the people, understand me, to have a good time, people who is havin' parties. At one time Batts' Jug Band used to play for conventions at Peabody Hotel. That's our biggest hotel. So we had a jubilee... to entertain the people. Most of the people - it was a hardware convention - was out of the East. So I went downstairs to send the people home in a taxi and when I got back upstairs the jug band had a hat down in the middle of the Peabody Hotel ballroom. But the money was piled in the hat, so I said, 'Well you-all ain't gettin' paid tonight for your act, I'm cuttin' in with you. Because you've got to much money in that hat there. You expect to draw ten dollars for your work'! Aw, it was fun. They played the Peabody for a night or so at a time. I used to book the jug bands on the jobs, but I'd always notify the people who they were workin' for, to be particular about them drinkin' because if they showed they'd got a bottle of whiskey they'd have a bunch of drunken people on they hands. Now they like to play but they sure like to get drunk. So you watch for the jug bands. When they don't get drunk, there's not much pep in them. But they really likes to drink that hooch''.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

POSSIBLY STUDIO SESSION FOR JOE & JACK
AT MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1952

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: PROBABLY MONDAY FEBRUARY 25, 1952
STUDIO HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
AND/OR MARION KEISKER

No Details

01 – ''YOUR CONSTANTLY''
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Probably February 25, 1952

02 – ''AT THE END OF THE PRAYER''
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Probably February 25, 1952

03 – ''MY BABY LOVES ME''
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Probably February 25, 1952

04 – ''MY ONE AND ONLY YOU''
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Probably February 25, 1952

05 – ''SO EASY''
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Probably February 25, 1952

06 – ''LOVE YOU LIKE YOU WANT''
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Probably February 25, 1952

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Joe Hill Louis – Vocals, Guitar & Drums
Jack Kelly – Vocals - Piano
Probably Walter Horton - Harmonica & Kazoo

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

FEBRUARY 22, 1952 FRIDAY

Columbia released George Morgan's ''Almost''.

FEBRUARY 23, 1952 SATURDAY

Del Wood makes her Grand Ole Opry debut, at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee.

Aerosmith guitarist Brad Whitford is born in Winchester, Massachusetts. The rock band scores a major pop hit in 1998 with ''I Don't Want To Miss A Thing'', which Mark Chesnutt immediately remakes for the country charts.

''Here Come The Nelsons'' debuts in movie theaters, the first film to feature future country star Ricky Nelson.

FEBRUARY 24, 1952 SUNDAY

Songwriter Cole Porter, who co-wrote Gene Autry's country hit ''Don't Fence Me In'' is honored with a two-hour tribute on CBS-TV ''Toast Of The Town'', later known as ''The Ed Sullivan Show''.

FEBRUARY 25, 1952 MONDAY

Burl Ives recorded a cover version of Hank Thompson's ''Wild Side Of Life'' with guitarist Grady Martin And His Slew Foot Five.

Jackie Boy and Little Walter recorded ''Blues In My Condition'' and ''Sellin' My Stuff'' (Sun 174) at the Sun Recording Studio in Memphis with producer Sam Phillips. The tracks make up the very first single release by the Sun label.

FEBRUARY 26, 1952 TUESDAY

Singer/songwriter Chris Wall is born in Los Angeles, California. He writes Confederate Railroad's ''Trashy Women''.

Songwriter Gary Burr is born in Meridan, Connecticut. Among his credits, Conway Twitty's ''That's My Job'', Patty Loveless ''I Try To Think About Elvis'', LeAnn Rimes ''Nothin' 'Bout Love Make Sense'' and ''Tim McGraw's ''Can't Be Really Gone''.

FEBRUARY 29, 1952 FRIDAY

Webb Pierce recorded ''That Heart Belongs'' during the afternoon at the Castle Studio in Nashville.

MARCH 1952

Sam Phillips' recordings of Harmonica Frank's "Howlin' Tomcat"/"She Done Moved" (Chess 1494) and Bob Price's "How Can It Be"/"Sticks And Stones" (Chess 1495) are released.

Sam Phillips records young local saxophonist Johnny London and offers the dubs to Chess Records, who refuse them. They are subsequently scheduled as the first release on Sun Records. Johnny London had found his way to the studio almost by accident. ''We saw the studio and wanted to record'', he told music historian Rob Bowman, ''so we went over and talked to Sam Phillips''. Sam was intrigued by the four high school musicians, all of whom had come under the influence of Melrose High School music director Tuff Green, a veteran Memphis musician and band leader who played bass with B.B. King, Rosco Gordon, and the Newborns, among others. They did some demo sessions, and then according to London, ''Sam fell in love with what we were doing, and he decided that he'd hire' us''.

Acetates of SUN 174 and 175 are aired on radio WHHM, introducing the new label. Sam Phillips cuts two further sessions on Joe Hill Louis, yielding "When I Am Gone (She Treats Me Mean And Evil", the cut with which the Chess brothers will launch their newly-formed Checker subsidiary.

Chess Records belatedly release Billy Love's "Drop Top" (Chess 1508).

MARCH 1, 1952 SATURDAY

Sun Records announced its first commercial release (SUN 174) "Blues In My Condition"/"Sellin' My Whiskey" by Jackie Boy and Little Walter, the decision had already been made not to release it. Not everyone understood why Sam Phillips pulled this record at the last minute. It was probably due to fear of failure. "Sam couldn't get the saxophone solo out of his mind", Marion Keisker remembered.

Faron Young holds his first recording session for Capitol Records in Nashville's Castle Studio, cutting the self-penned ''Tattle Tale Tears''.

Uncle Dave Macon makes his final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry, at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee.

''The Last Musketeer'' appears in movie theaters, with Rex Allen and Slim Pickens in the starring roles. Woodwind player Darol Rice is part of the band, and Foy Willing writes one of the picture's song.

MARCH 4, 1952 TUESDAY

Ernest Tubb and his second wife, Olene, welcome their second daughter, Olene Gayle Tubb.

Decca released a cover of ''Wild Side Of Life'' by Burl Ives and guitarist Grady Martin And His Slew Foot Five''.

MARCH 5, 1952 WEDNESDAY

Keyboard player Alan Clark is born in Durham, England. In 1982, he becomes a member of the Mark Knopfler rockband Dire Straits, who orginate the future country hits ''The Bug'' and ''When It Comes To You''.

EARLY 1952

Leonard Chess called Sam Phillips and told him he would not be purchasing any more master tapes. When Phillips asked why, Chess stated that the big-selling hits like Jackie Brenston's "Rocket 88" were no longer coming from the Memphis Recording Service. In reality, Leonard Chess, as the Bihari brothers would do later that year, was trying to save money by recording the artist in local studios himself.

When Leonard Chess informed Sam Phillips that he would not be purchasing any more master tapes from the Memphis Recording Service, Phillips reacted angrily. It appeared that his friends were forcing him out of the record business. "I knew what it was like to be cheated", remarked Phillips. "Tenacity is one thing and I have that". Leonard Chess called back and attempted to save their friendship. It was too late.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR ROSCO GORDON
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR RPM RECORDS 1952

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: PROBABLY EARLY MARCH 1952
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

01 – ''NO MORE DOGGIN''' – B.M.I. - 3:11
Composer: - Rosco Gordon-Jules Taub
Publisher: - Modern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - MM 1786 Master - Click > 339-358 Series
Recorded: - Early March 1952
Released: - March 22, 1952
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm RPM 350-A mono
NO MORE DOGGIN' / MARIA
Reissued: - Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHD 694-1 mono
ROSCO GORDON - THE BEST OF THE RPM YEARS

''I got a girlfriend, Pete'', said recalled Rosco Gordon. ''I took her with me to the dance. I meet another girl, Peggy. So Pete's sitting on the piano stool beside me. So I know her time is up. So I begin to sing, 'No more diggin', fooling around with you...'. Told the tenor player to take it up. And the next day we made the record ''No More Diggin'''. Ike Turner set up the thing at Tuff Green's house because of the Bihari Brothers' spats with Sam Phillips and Chess. I did ''No More Diggin'''and B.B. King did ''Three O'Clock Blues'' the same day.

02 – ''MARIA'' – B.M.I. - 2:34
Composer: - Rosco Gordon
Publisher: - Modern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - MM 1787 Master - Click > 339-358 Series
Recorded: - Early March 1952
Released: - March 22, 1952
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm RPM 350-B mono
MARIA / NO MORE DOGGIN'
Reissued: - Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHD 694-10 mono
ROSCO GORDON - THE BEST OF THE RPM YEARS

03 – ''NEW ORLEANS WIMMEN'' – B.M.I. - 2:34
Composer: - Rosco Gordon-Jules Taub
Publisher: - Modern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - MM 1845 Master - Click > 339-358 Series
Recorded: - Probably Early March 1952
Released: - 1952
First appearance: RPM Records (S) 78rpm RPM 358-A mono
NEW ORLEANS WIMMEN / I REMEMBER YOUR KISSES
Reissued: - 1998 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHD 694-11 mono
ROSCO GORDON - THE BEST OF THE RPM YEARS

04 – ''I REMEMBER YOUR KISSES'' – B.M.I. - 3:03
Composer: - Rosco Gordon-Jules Taub
Publisher: - Modern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - MM 1841 Master - Click > 339-358 Series
Recorded: - Probably Early March 1952
Released: - 1952
First appearance: - First appearance: RPM Records (S) 78rpm RPM 358-B mono
I REMEMBER YOUR KISSES / NEW ORLEANS WIMMEN
Reissued: - 1998 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHD 694-12 mono
ROSCO GORDON - THE BEST OF THE RPM YEARS

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rosco Gordon - Vocal & Piano
Probably The Beale Streeters:
Ike Turner - Piano
Bobby Bland - Guitar
Billy Duncan - Saxophone
Earl Forrest - Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

The record that finally got Sun off the ground was cut a week after the Walter Horton and Jack Kelly session, by a sixteen-year-old alto saxophonist named Johnny London. He recorded two tunes on the afternoon; the better was an original instrumental, "Drivin' Slow". Sam Phillips ran dubs for Dewey Phillips, who aired them on WHBQ the same night to test the reaction. Four days later, Phillips sent dubs to Chess - which rejected them. On March 8, 1952 he brought London back into the studio to recut "Drivin' Slow" and sent out another set of dubs to local disc jockey's to test out his hunch that Chess was wrong. Obviously encouraged, Sam Phillips shipped the masters for processing two days later, together with the Jackie Boy and Little Walter cuts. By the time the stampers arrived back, he had decided to place all his energy behind "Drivin' Slow". The first records were pressed on March 27, 1952, and the Sun label made its low-key debut that day.

STUDIO SESSION FOR JOHNNY LONDON
AT MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1952

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: MARCH 1 OR 8, 1952
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
AND/OR MARION KEISKER

This, of course, was the first Sun record to actually make it into the stores. London was a local rhythm and blues/jazz musician who walked in off the street to cut some demo's, and in time-honoured fashion was promptly snapped up by Sam Phillips. His haunting, sinewy alto sax is heard to great advantage here: with minimal support from tenor sax player Charles Keel and pianist Joe Hall, London unfurls a tortuous improvisation, drenched in the blues. Sam Phillips achieved a recording balance here which contrives to create the illusion that London is playing in the next apartment - all of which adds to the disc's "after hours" charm.

It was indeed a brave step releasing and instrumental as the first offering on Sun in April 1952, but the record actually topped several of the local charts, in particular, WHBQ. A copy of the 78rpm was mounted and remained affixed to the studio entrance at 706 Union for many years. London's principal recollection of the session is that Sam Phillips had holes in his shoes when he put his feet up on the desk! "man, he was scuffing!".

01(1) - "DRIVIN' SLOW"** - B.M.I. - 2:58
Composer: - Johnny London
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 51 Master - Click > Sun 174-180 Series
Recorded: - March 8, 1952
Released: - April 1952
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78rpm standard single SUN 175-A mono
DRIVIN' SLOW / FLAT TIRE
Reissued:- 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-1-2 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

01(2) - "DRIVIN' SLOW"** - 2 - B.M.I. - 2:19
Composer: - Johnny London
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 8, 1952
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CD SUN 38-18 mono
THE SUN BLUES ARCHIVES - VOLUME 6 - TOO BLUE TO CRY

The young 'alto wizard saxophone' Johnny London was a member of Joe Hall's popular local jazz group. The very first Sun record to hit the streets in early 1952 was a poor predictor of what lay ahead. SUN 175 was a curious record by any reckoning. London's alto sax was supported by minimal riffing from tenor sax player Charles Keel. Keel's lines, especially on "Drivin' Slow" might ordinarily have been supplied by a guitar player. But no one ever accused Sun Records or Sam Phillips, for that matter, of being ordinary. London's bluesy improvisation is recorded in a sea of echo that creates the illusion that this performance is coming from the next apartment. London always cited Charlie Parker as his major influence, but on the evidence here he's more within honking distance of Earl Bostic or Lynn Hope.

02 - "FLAT TIRE"** - B.M.I. - 2:28
Composer: - Johnny London
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 52 Master - Click > Sun 174-180 Series
Recorded: - March 8, 1952
Released: - April 1952
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78rpm standard single SUN 175-B mono
FLAT TIRE / DRIVIN' SLOW
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-1-1 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

03 - "WHEN I LOST MY BABY''*
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Probably March 1, 1952

The first "official" session was probably on March 1, 1952: London's combo played a version of "Drivin' Slow" and also backed Phillips' wife on "When I Lost My Baby". Sam Phillips was excited with the results and made acetate dubs of both sides, which he rushed over to disc jockey Dewey Phillips at WHBQ. Dewey played them the same evening, and Sam cut masters the following day. On March 5 sent dubs by Air Express to Leonard Chess in Chicago.

''Sam just knew I liked to sing on ''When I Lost My Baby'', Becky recalled years later. ''I can't remember the song exactly but I remember the beat of it''.

The 16-year-old London's principal attribute was his lung power: beyond that his technique was basically unremarkable - which is proved on this track, which like the A-side, has no real theme. Phillips' "down the hall, round the corner, by the ice-machine" echo chamber effect on London's alto sax means that Charles Keel's tenor, monotonously honking out its boogie pattern, distracts the ear from what is supposed to be the main interest. When he isn't emitting long wailing single notes, London's lack of invention sounds as flat as the tyre in the title. This is particularly true of the last choruses, which consist of minimal variations based around the root note and end on a desperate seventh.

An undated entry in Sam Phillips' check register notes that he paid Plastic Products $135. For most of the 1950s, Plastic Products charged $0,135 per pressing so it seems as Phillips ordered one thousand copies of the first Sun Record.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Becky Phillips - Vocal*
Joe Louis Hall - Piano
Johnny London - Alto Saxophone**
Charles Keel - Tenor Saxophone
Julius Drake - Drums

Even on this first release, all the hallmarks, of a Sam Phillips Sun record were in place: the raw sound, the experimental origin, the dark texture, even the trademark echo. Phillips and London created the illusion of a sax heard down a long hallway on a humid night by rigging something like a telephone booth over London's head while he played. The record's appeal had more to do with feeling than virtuosity - in short, it offered everything music buyers could expect from Sun for the remainder of the decade. A copy of "Drivin' Slow", was mounted on the studio wall near the door after its release, where it remained until the old studio was closed in 1959.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

MARCH 1952

Johnny London's haunting and almost themeless improvisation it onto some local charts, by the rewards for Phillips were meager. He released a mediocre blues record by Forrest City, Arkansas, disc jockey Walter Bradford at the same time, and then temporarily folded the Sun label to contend with a new set of problems. The first concerned the company's name. Another Sun label had been founded in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at about the same time, and there was a dispute over the right to the name.

''Sun'' had been used before, by a Yiddish record company in New York during the 1940s, and by a Detroit label that had come and gone in 1947, but the Albuquerque label (below) posed a more direct problem. The trade magazines never reported the outcome of the dispute, but it's safe to assume that Phillips won, by default if nothing else.

A bigger problem was posed by Mattis and Fitzgerald's Duke label, which looked set to steal much of Phillips' thunder. They began by recording Roscoe Gordon, who was still under contract to the Biharis. Then Mattis signed a local pianist, John Alexander, whom he dubbed Johnny Ace. His first record, ''My Song'', became a number 1 Rhythm & Blues hit, comfortably outselling every record that had emerged from Memphis since ''Rocket 88''. In the wake of Ace's success, Mattis signed Bobby Bland, whom Phillips had recorded briefly for Chess, and Duke seemed poised to become a big factor in the rhythm and blues market. But, again, success brought more problems than rewards. In July 1952, unable to collect on their shipments of Johnny Ace records, Mattis and Fitzgerald were forced to sell most of their interests in the label to Don Robey at Peacock Records in Houston

As a Memphis-based entity, Duke Records had come and gone in a matter of months. Lester Bihari's Meteor label, on the other hand, was better equipped to survive. It had the Biharis' expertise and distribution network behind it, although it was technically separate from RPM/Modern. Launched during the last days of 1952, Meteor began on a higher note than Sun: its just release, ''I Believe'' by Elmore James, cracked the national Rhythm & Blues charts in February 1953.

Phillips knew that he must infuse Sun with both capital and instant expertise if he was to relaunch the label with success comparable to that of Duke and Meteor while avoiding the problems that had beset Duke Records. Fortunately, he was able to solicit instant expertise from Nashville in the form of Jim Bulleit (pronounced ''Bu-lay'' by Bulleit himself but ''Bullet'' by everyone else). Bulleit had been a pioneer in the independent record business in Nashville, recording a variety of music for the Bullet label, which he co-owned. That label had scored one of the biggest hits of 1947 with Francis Craig's ''Near You'', shortly before Bulleit was forced out.

''Jim'd had hits that were real door-openers for independent labels'', recalled Phillips. ''He really helped me an awful lost as much as understanding what the problems were and could be, and he gave me most of the early insight into what I was confronted with, and that was frightening in Sun, also handled Phillips' music publishing. With his help, Sun was relaunched in January 1953 with three singles by local musicians, followed closely by the first classic recording on the Sun label.

MARCH 8, 1952 SATURDAY

Radio station WHHM played the songs by Jackie Boy, Little Walter and Johnny London. It was the public response to these dubs which further persuaded Sam Phillips to release Johnny London's "Drivin' Slow". By giving local disc jockey’s acetate dubs of key songs, Sam Phillips could estimate sales before he pressed copies of a record. In this way he could save money by pressing only those records he believed would sell.

MARCH 11, 1952 TUESDAY

Hank Williams leads a Grand Ole Opry road show at the Municipal Auditorium in Jackson, Mississippi. The audience includes Billy Ray Raynolds, who will play guitar on numerous Waylon Jennings hits, including ''Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way''.

MARCH 14, 1952 FRIDAY

Columbia released Ray Price's ''Talk To Your Heart''.

MARCH 17, 1952 MONDAY

Susie Allanson is born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. An original cast member of ''Jesus Christ Superstar'', she collects four Top 10 country records in the mid-1970s, including remakes of Buddy Holly's ''Maybe Baby'' and ''The Bee Gees' ''Words''.

MARCH 18, 1952 TUESDAY

Gene Autry fights corruption among the Texas Rangers in the debut of ''Night Stage To Galveston'' with Pat Buttram in a supporting role.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Session Published for Historical Reasons

STUDIO SESSION FOR DRIFTING SLIM,
SUNNY BLAIR & BABY FACE TURNER
FOR RPM/MODERN/METEOR RECORDS 1952

MARTIN SCROGGIN'S MUSIC CENTER
106 WEST WASHINGTON AVENUE, NORTH LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS
STUDIO SESSION: MONDAY MARCH 21, 1952
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - IKE TURNER
AND/OR MARTIN SCROGGIN

Back on the road again, Ike Turner turned up at Martin Scroggin's record shop and music center, located at 106 West Washington Avenue in North Little Rock, Arkansas. Ike had rounded up the local talent who had performed as a band and played regularly. Each member (except the drummer) got the opportunity to shine while Ike held it together on piano. The star turn was guitarist Baby Face Turner who on ''Blue Serenade'' adopts the Elmore James riff and ''Gonna Let You Go'' is his take of ''Worried Life Blues''. He reserves his best playing, however, for Drifting Slim's ''Good Morning Baby'' with excellent Muddy Waters style slide. The band up the tempo on Slim's roll and tumble themed ''My Sweet Woman'' and on Sunny Blair's ''Please Send My Baby'', a version of John Lee ''Sonny Boy'' Williamson's ''Step Back Baby''. Blair's side was issued on the Bihari's Memphis based subsidiary Meteor Records operated by Lester Bihari, with the flip side being a second release of Baby Face Turner's ''Gonna Let You Go''.

01 - ''GOOD MORNING BABY''* - B.M.I. - 2:51
Composer: - Elmon Mickle
Publisher: - Universal Music Publishing
Matrix number: - MM 1874
Recorded: - March 21, 1952
Released: - 1952
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm RPM 370 mono
GOOD MORNING BABY / MY SWEET BABY
Reissued: - 2010 Secret Records (CD) 500/200rpm SECBX025-1-22 mono
THAT KAT SURE COULD PLAY! - THE SINGLES 1951 - 1957

02 - ''MY SWEET BABY''* - B.M.I. - 2:55
Composer: - Jules Taub-Elmon Mickle
Publisher: - Universal Music Publishing
Matrix number: - MM 1875
Recorded: - March 21, 1952
Released: - 1952
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm RPM 370 mono
MY SWEET BABY / GOOD MORNING BABY
Reissued: - 2010 Secret Records (CD) 500/200rpm SECBX025-1-23 mono
THAT KAT SURE COULD PLAY! - THE SINGLES 1951 - 1957

03 - ''PLEASE SEND MY BABY BACK (STEP BACK BABY)''** - B.M.I. - 2:17
Composer: - Sonny Boy Williamson
Publisher: - Wabash Music Company
Matrix number: - MM 1878
Recorded: - March 21, 1952
Released: - 1953
First appearance: - Meteor Records (S) 78rpm Meteor 5006 mono
PLEASE SEND MY BABY BACK / GONNA LET YOU GO
Reissued: - 2010 Secret Records (CD) 500/200rpm SECBX025-1-24 mono
THAT KAT SURE COULD PLAY! - THE SINGLES 1951 - 1957

04 - ''BLUE SERENADE''*** - B.M.I. - 2:40
Composer: - Edgar Turner
Publisher: Universal Music Publishing
Matrix number - MM 1876 - Take 2
Recorded: - March 21, 1952
Released: - 1953
First appearance: - Modern Records (S) 78rpm Modern 882 mono
BLUE SERENADE / GONNA LET YOU GO
Reissued: - 2010 Secret Records (CD) 500/200rpm SECBX025-2-13 mono
THAT KAT SURE COULD PLAY! - THE SINGLES 1951 - 1957

05 - ''GONNA LET YOU GO''*** - B.M.I. - 2:03
Composer: - Jules Taub-Ike Turner
Publisher: - Universal Music Publishing
Matrix number: - MM 1877
Recorded: - March 21, 1952
Released: - 1953
First appearance: - Modern Records (S) 78rpm Modern 882/Meteor 5006 mono
GONNA LET YOU GO / BLUE SERENADE
Reissued: - 2010 Secret Records (CD) 500/200rpm SECBX025-2-14 mono
THAT KAT SURE COULD PLAY! - THE SINGLES 1951 - 1957

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Elmon Mickle (Drifting Slim) - Vocal *
Sunny Blair (Sullivan Jackson) - Vocal ** & Harmonica
Ike Turner - Piano
Edgar ''Baby Face'' Turner - Vocal *** & Guitar
Bill Russell - Drums
Unknown Vocal Interjection ''My Sweet Baby''

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

MARCH 21, 1952 FRIDAY

Nine months after he began his Rhythm and Blues show on radio WJW at Cleveland Arena, 3717 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio, disc jockey Alan Freed felt the time was right to whip up the emerging scene with a big live event. He assembled a lineup that included the Dominoes, Tiny Grimes and His Highlanders, Danny Cobb, and Varetta Dillard for a show to take place at this hockey rink. A day before the gig, some 2,000 of the 13,000 tickets were unsold, so on the eve of this show Freed enthusiastically promoted what he called the Moondog Coronation Ball over the air. Some 10,000 young people, most of them black, turned up for the extra tickets. As soon as the first act, Paul Williams and His Hucklebuckers, hit the stage, a massive crowd broke down the doors, and the police were kept busy for the remainder of the evening.

The media accused Freed of deliberately overselling the show, with some papers calling for him to be dumped in jail. The most vociferous criticism came from the city's black newspaper, the Cleveland Call and Post, whose editorial denounced the music as "gut bucket blues", referred to the "weed-smoking elements that crashed the doors", and accused Freed of building his act on a "foundation of immorality, vulgar suggestion, and hidden indecency". Proving that all publicity is good publicity, Freed's radio show got syndicated throughout the Northwest and mid-West, and his concert became better managed and more popular. He later assembled a 23-piece orchestra to back the musicians, and regularly included the Cleveland-based quintet the Moonglows, a band he managed himself, as well as the Drifters, Joe Turner, and Fats Domino.

The Cleveland Arena also hosted a 1972 fund-raiser for George McGovern's presidential campaign featured James Taylor and Paul Simon, soon after the latter's split with Art Garfunkel. The building is now gone, and the local Red Cross headquarters is here.

MARCH 22, 1952 SATURDAY

Rosco Gordon's new rhythm and blues record released, ''No More Doggin'' b/w ''Maria'' (RPM 350/RPM 496), Rosco Gordon's follow-up to "Booted", is issued. Meanwhile, on March 15 the Chess recording of "Booted" tops the Rhythm and Blues charts.

Uncle Dave Macon dies at Rutherford Hospital in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The singer/songwriter-comedian/banjo player became one of the Grand Ole Opry's first members while in his 50s, entering the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1966.

MARCH 24, 1952 MONDAY

Columbia released Marty Robbins' debut single, ''Love Me Or Leave Me Alone''.

MARCH 26, 1952 WEDNESDAY

NBC's ''The Kate Smith Evening Hour'' presents a package of country guests; The Carter Sisters, Ray Acuff and Hank Williams, who performs ''Hey, Good Lookin'''and ''I Saw The Light''.

MARCH 27, 1952 THURSDAY

Sam Phillips' Sun Records released its first record (Sun 174), ''Blues In My Condition'' and ''Sellin' My Stuff'' by Jackie Boy and Little Walter. Sam Phillips also pressed one thousand copies at a cost of $135 of Johnny London's Sun Record (Sun 175). It's hard to know what became of the other two releases, most likely they were never pressed, let alone issued, but Johnny's was given Sun catalogue number 175, with Jack Kelly and Walter Horton's collaboration (as Jackie Boy and Little Walter) assigned the arbitrary starting position of 174 (above), and Walter Bradford and the Big City Four following as Sun 176. Of the four missing tracks, just one minute of the A-side of the Jack Kelly single has survived, a rollicking but somewhat nondescript jug band number called ''Sellin' My Stuff''. From the evidence of a later recording session, the Walter Bradford record was probably no more distinctive, and one can only surmise that after test-marketing the acetates on various local radio programs, including Walter Bradford's own radio show in Forrest City, Sam simply, and altogether uncharacteristically, lost his nerve.

Even if that is the case, however, the one single that Sam did issue, made up of Johnny London's two instrumentals, is no less problematic. The B-side, ''Flat Tire'', is little more than a cute, conventional blues tricked up with a very odd sound in which London's alto lead sounds as if it's coming from an echoey cave far, far away. On ''Drivin' Slow'' the sound is no less odd, but much closer at hand, as Johnny plays a harsh, almost sonically distorted lead while the tenor plays a bluesy riff over and over in the background and the piano supplies steady support. From what Johnny has said, there seems little question that Sam knew what he was looking for. He made them do it over and over until ''he found the sound that he wanted'', a ''hollow sound'' that, Johnny was certain, he had never tried before. ''He created a chamber that he didn't have, something similar to a telephone booth. It was a home-made thing, 8' by 4', something like that''.

The real question is why. It's a pleasant enough blues, and according to Johnny London it got a lot of airplay in Memphis as well as booking dates for the band. But even by Sam Phillips' standards it was weird, not so much unique as just plain weird, and more to the point it was far from the straightahead blues with which one might have thought Sam Phillips would want to inaugurate his new label. ''I never heard Sam speak about this; in all the years I knew him, and all our far-ranging conversations'', said Peter Guralnick, ''I never heard him bring up this record, or any of the first three scheduled releases on the Sun label. The most I ever heard him say, when I asked about ''Drivin' Slow'' directly, was that he knew that ''as an instrumental number it would be more difficult to sell. Nor am I aware of any other interviews in which he explained his reasoning''.

Sam Phillips promptly scheduled new recording sessions for Joe Hill Louis and Rosco Gordon. In the end, it appears that Phillips opted for a more mellow, middle-of-the-road record as Sun's first release. With pride in his eyes and a smile on his face, Sam Phillips mounted Sun Record number 175 on his wall. The Sun sound, which would revolutionize rock and roll, was on its way. Sam Phillips officially starting operations of Sun Records.

MARCH 28, 1952 FRIDAY

MGM released Hank Williams' ''Half As Much''.

Pee Wee King recorded ''Busybody'' during a late-morning session at the RCA Studios in New York.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR JOE HILL LOUIS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR CHESS RECORDS 1952

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: MONDAY MARCH 31, 1952
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

01 - "ONE MORE DRINK"
Composer: - Unknown Possible Joe Hill Louis
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - March 31, 1952
Released: - Sun Unissued - Tape Lost

02 - "SHE TREATS ME MEAN AND EVIL"* - B.M.I. - 3:42
Composer: - Joe Hill Louis
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - C 1036A Master - Click > Checker Series
Recorded: - March 31, 1952
Released: - November 1952
First appearance: - Checker Records (S) 78rpm Checker 763 mono
WHEN I AM GONE (SHE TREATS ME MEAN AND EVIL) / WHEN I AM GONE
Reissued: - 1992 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15524-1 mono
JOE HILL LOUIS - THE BE-BOP BOY

This is in fact the full-length take of this track, Checker having released an edited version. A slow, menacing blues, driven along by some serious "back in the alley" - styled guitar with the thumping drummer Nolan Hall, this is among the nastiest of Joe Hill Louis' blues sides - quite unlike the more genial ebullience for which he was rather better-known.

03 - "WHEN I AM GONE"** - B.M.I. - 3:45
Composer: - Joe Hill Louis
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - C 1036 A Master - Click >Checker Series
Recorded: - March 31, 1952
Released: - November 1952
First appearance: - Checker Records (S) 78rpm Checker 763 mono
WHEN I AM GONE / WHEN I AM GONE / DOROTHY MAE
Reissued: - 1986 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 105 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1956

The latter is actually quite an inferior performance with a tortuously slow boogie guitar break that goes out of tune at the ninth bar. Joe had a habit of doing this on slow numbers but none had reached release before. It appeared simultaneously with a Phillips produced record Checker. This was period of change as Phillips shifted a tough combo outing with Joe only on guitar for ''Dorothy Mae'. '' 'When I Am Gone'' features Joe's dangerously amplified guitar accompanied only by the insistent thud of his bass drum.

04 - "WHEN I AM GONE"*** - B.M.I.
Composer: - Joe Hill Louis
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 31, 1952
Released: - 1952
First appearance: - Rhino Records (LP) 33rpm R2 70962-15 mono
BLUES FLAMES - A SUN BLUES COLLECTION

05 - "WHEN I AM GONE" - B.M.I. - 3:45
Composer: - Joe Hill Louis
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - C 1036 A Edited version - Click > Checker Series
Recorded: - March 31, 1952
Released: - 1952
First appearance: - Checker Records (S) 78rpm standard single Checker 763 mono
WHEN I AM GONE / DOROTHY MAE
Reissued: - 1992 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15524-1 mono
JOE HILL LOUIS - THE BE-BOP BOY

06 - "I'M GOING OVER THE SEA"
Composer: - Joe Hill Louis
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - March 31, 1952
Released: - Sun Unissued - Tape Lost

Only the very end of an untitled boogie still exists on tape and while it appears to be from a fast instrumental, it could be from a vocal, and possible a remnant of "One More Drink".

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Joe Hill Louis - Vocal and Guitar
Nolan Hall – Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Session Published for Historical Reason

STUDIO SESSION FOR LITTLE JUNIOR PARKER,
BOBBY BLUE BLAND & IKE TURNER
FOR MODERN/RPM RECORDS

UNKNOWN LOCATION AND STUDIO
WEST MEMPHIS, ARKANSAS
STUDIO SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE APRIL 1952
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - IKE TURNER
AND/OR JOE BIHARI

In April 1952, Ike Turner was one busy cat, recording with eight artists, himself included. The sessions produced 8 singles of extraordinary diversity. First up, Ike was back in the big city for a couple of sessions and appropriately, the sound is far more sophisticated. The first session was split between Herman ''Little Junior'' Parker and Bobby Bland both ably supported by the exceptional guitar of Matt ''Guitar'' Murphy: two great singers, two great instrumentalists, two great singles. Ike gets a turn in front of the microphone on his own single ''You're Driving Me Insane'' b/w ''Trouble And Heartaches'' recorded at with Ben Burton's band. Here the sound is heavier with a full horn section employed. ''You're driving me insane'', Ike's croons to a tune reminiscent of Tampa Red's ''It Hurts Me Too'' while ''Trouble And Heartaches'' rolls along and is squarely based on Roy Milton's 1946, number 2 rhythm and blues hit ''RM Blues''.

01 - ''YOU'RE MY ANGEL''* - B.M.I. - 1:57
Composer: - Jules Taub-Herman Parker
Publisher: Modern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - MM 1809
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1952
Released: - 1952
First appearance: - Modern Records (S) 78rpm Modern 864 mono
YOU'RE MY ANGEL / BAD WOMEN BAD WHISKEY
Reissued: - 2010 Secret Records (CD) 500/200rpm SECBX025-1-26 mono
THAT KAT SURE COULD PLAY! - THE SINGLES 1951 - 1957

02 - ''BAD WOMEN BAD WHISKEY* - B.M.I. - 3:01
Composer: - Jules Taub-Herman Parker
Publisher: - Modern Music Publishing
Matrix number: MM 1810
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1952
Released: - 1952
First appearance: - Modern Records (S) 78rpm Modern 864 mono
BAD WOMEN BAD WHISKEY / YOU'RE MY ANGEL
Reissued: - 2010 Secret Records (CD) 500/200rpm SECBX025-1-25 mono
THAT KAT SURE COULD PLAY! - THE SINGLES 1951 - 1957

03 – ''DRIFTING FROM TOWN TO TOWN''** – B.M.I. - 3:03
Composer: - Jules Taub-Robert Bland
Publisher: - Modern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - MM 1825
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1952
Released: - June 1952
First appearance: - Modern Records (S) 78rpm Modern 868-A mono
DRIFTING FROM TOWN TO TOWN / GOOD LIVIN'
Reissued: - 2011 Jasmine Records (CD) 500/200rpm JASCD 564-5 mono
BOBBY BLAND - IT'S MY LIFE, BABY

04 – ''GOOD LOVIN'''** – B.M.I. - 2:23
Composer: - Jules Taub-Robert Bland
Published: - Modern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - MM 1826
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1952
Released: - June 1952
First appearance: - Modern Records (S) 78rpm Modern 868-B mono
GOOD LOVIN' / DRIFTING FROM TOWN TO TOWN
Reissued: - 2011 Jasmine Records (CD) 500/200rpm JASCD 564-6 mono
BOBBY BLAND - IT'S MY LIFE, BABY

05 - ''YOU'RE DRIVING ME INSANE''*** - B.M.I - 2:21
Composer: - Jules Taub-Ike Turner
Publisher: - Modern Music Publishing
Matrix number: MM 1833
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1952
Released: - 1952
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm RPM 356 mono
YOU'RE DRIVING ME INSANE / TROUBLE AND HEARTACHES
Reissued: - 2010 Secret Records (CD) 500/200rpm SECBX025-1-29 mono
THAT KAT SURE COULD PLAY! - THE SINGLES 1951 - 1957

06 - ''TROUBLE AND HEARTACHES''*** - B.M.I. - 2:35
Composer: - Jules Taub-Ike Turner
Publisher: - Modern Music Publishing
Matrix number: MM 1834
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1952
Released: - 1952
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm RPM 356 mono
TROUBLE AND HEARTACHES / YOU'RE DRIVING ME INSANE
Reissued: - 2010 Secret Records (CD) 500/200rpm SECBX025-2-1 mono
THAT KAT SURE COULD PLAY! - THE SINGLES 1951 - 1957

Name (Or. No Of Instruments)
Bobby Bland – Vocal & Guitar**
Little Junior Parker - Vocal & Guitar*
Ike Turner - Vocal & Piano***
Matt Murphy - Guitar
L.C. Dranes - Drums
Ben Burton - Bass
Raymond Hill - Saxophone *

Ben Burton Orchestra:
Unknown - Saxophones
Unknown - Trumpet

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

APRIL 1952

Sun Records is launched on a local basis with a single by Johnny London (''Drivin' Slow'' b/w ''Flat Tire'' (Sun 175) and possibly Walter Bradford ''Dreary Nights'' b/w ''Nothin' But The Blues'' (Sun 176) though no copies of the latter are known to have survived. Phillips' log book and check register show that no order for Sun 176 was made to Shaw record manufacturing where #175 was plated or to Plastic Products where #175 was pressed.

Phillips is still involved in producing sessions for licence to other labels and does not concentrate on developing a distribution network for Sun. The label soon becomes inactive.

Sam Phillips records further sessions on Rufus Thomas and Howlin' Wolf for Chess Records. He unsuccessfully pitches acetates by Elven Parr's In The Groove Boys and Sleepy John Estes to Chess, although they do accept a Willie Nix session for their Checker subsidiary.

Duke Records is started in Memphis by James Mattis and Bill Fitzgerald, who launch with a single by Rosco Gordon, "Tell Daddy"/"Hey Fat Girl" (Duke 101). Naturally enough, the Biharis will take legal action against Duke, but not for a couple of months.

APRIL 2, 1952 WEDNESDAY

Bass player Leon Wilkeson is born in Jacksonville, Florida. He joins the rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, whose ''Sweet Home Alabama'' is credited among country's 500 greatest singles in the Country Music Foundation book ''Heartaches By The Number''.

APRIL 4, 1952 FRIDAY

Lefty Frizell recorded ''Forever (And Always)'' at Dallas' Jim Beck Studio.

APRIL 5, 1952 SATURDAY

Rosco Gordon's ''No More Doggin'' (RPM 350) enters the Billboard Rhythm & Blues Chart and peaks at number 2 in a 15-week stay (number 18 rhythm and blues record of 1952).

Studio session with Sleepy John Estes at the Memphis Recording Service in Memphis, Tennessee.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Session Published for Historical Reasons

STUDIO SESSION FOR BONNIE & IKE TURNER
FOR RPM/MODERN RECORDS 1952

TUFF GREEN'S HOUSE
1293 QUINN AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE APRIL 1952
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - IKE TURNER

Back at Tuff Green's house at 1293 Quinn Avenue in Memphis, Ike Turner cut two singles with Bonnie Turner. As Mary Sue, she cut ''Everybody's Talking b/w ''Love Is A Gamble'' and in duet with Ike as Bonnie and Ike Turner they recorded ''My Heart Belongs To You'' b/w ''Looking For My Baby''. Bonnie was Ike's then third wife, and Ike still only 21! The marriage didn't last too long but at least to August 1953 when they recorded again at Sam Phillips' Sun studio at 706 Union Avenue on August 2. Significantly, Bonnie was a pianist which allowed Ike to take on the guitar duties in his band. He was taking lessons from guitarist, Earl Hooker (who he would later record for Blue Thumb Records) and Willie Kizart, the ''Rocket 88'' guitarist. However, with his guitar skills not yet up to scratch, on these recordings Ike is still at the piano.

01 - ''EVERYBODY'S TALKING'' - B.M.I. - 2:51
Composer: - Joe Josea-Ike Turner
Publisher: - Modern Music Publishing
Matrix number; - MM 1859
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1952
Released: - 1952
First appearance: Modern Records (S) 78rpm Modern 880 mono
EVERYBODY'S TALKING / LOVE IS A GAMBLE
Reissued: - 2010 Secret Records (CD) 500/200rpm SECBX025-2-11 mono
THAT KAT SURE COULD PLAY! - THE SINGLES 1951 - 1957

02 - ''LOVE IS A GAMBLE'' - B.M.I. - 3:06
Composer: - Ike Turner
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - MM 1860
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1952
Released: - 1952
First appearance: Modern Records (S) 78rpm Modern 880 mono
LOVE IS A GAMBLE / EVERYBODY'S TALKING
Reissued: - 2010 Secret Records (CD) 500/200rpm SECBX025-2-12 mono
THAT KAT SURE COULD PLAY! - THE SINGLES 1951 - 1957

03 - ''MY HEART BELONGS TO YOU'' - B.M.I. - 2:51
Composer: - Arbee Stidham
Publisher: - Carlin Music Corporation
Matrix number: - MM 1863
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1952
Released: - 1952
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm RPM 362 mono
MY HEART BELONGS TO YOU / LOOKING FOR MY BABY
Reissued: - 2010 Secret Records (CD) 500/200rpm SECBX025-2-5 mono
THAT KAT SURE COULD PLAY! - THE SINGLES 1951 - 1957

04 - ''LOOKING FOR MY BABY'' - 1 - B.M.I. - 2:30
Composer: - Jules Taub-Ike Turner-Baron
Publisher: - Universal Music
Matrix number: - MM 1864
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1952
Released: - 1952
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm RPM 362 mono
LOOKING FOR MY BABY / MY HEART BELONGS TO YOU
Reissued: - 2010 Secret Records (CD) 500/200rpm SECBX025-2-6 mono
THAT KAT SURE COULD PLAY! - THE SINGLES 1951 - 1957

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Bonnie Turner (Mary Sue) - Vocal
Ike Turner - Piano
Calvin Newborn - Guitar
Unknown - Saxophones
Richard ''Tuff' Green - Bass
Phineas Newborn Sr. - Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Session Published for Historical Reasons

STUDIO SESSION FOR B.B. KING
FOR RPM RECORDS 1952

TUFF GREEN'S HOUSE
1293 QUINN AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE APRIL 1952
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - IKE TURNER
AND/OR JOE BIHARI

B.B. King also recorded at Tuff Green's place around the same time and it is likely Ike Turner played on the two songs recorded by King. Both sides of RPM 363 are blues ballads that feature droning saxophones, delicate tinkling piano but no sign of BBs trademark guitar. Another King single was recorded five months later.

01 - ''YOU DIDN'T WANT ME'' - B.M.I. - 2:32
Composer: - Jules Taub-B.B. King
Publisher: - Modern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - MM 1865
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1952
Released: - 1952
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm RPM 363 mono
YOU DIDN'T WANT ME / YOU KNOW I LOVE YOU
Reissued: - 2010 Secret Records (CD) 500/200rpm SECBX025-2-7 mono
THAT KAT SURE COULD PLAY! - THE SINGLES 1951 - 1957

02 - ''YOU KNOW I LOVE YOU'' - B.M.I. - 3:05
Composer: - Jules Taub-B.B. King
Publisher: - Modern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - MM 1866
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1952
Released: - 1952
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm RPM 363 mono
YOU KNOW I LOVE YOU / YOU DIDN'T WANT ME
Reissued: - 2010 Secret Records (CD) 500/200rpm SECBX025-2-8 mono
THAT KAT SURE COULD PLAY! - THE SINGLES 1951 - 1957

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
B.B. King - Vocal & Guitar
Possibly Bill Harvey - Tenor Saxophone
Possibly George Coleman - Alto Saxophone
Possibly Floyd Jones - Trumpet
Possible Ike Turner - Piano
Possibly Richard ''Tuff'' Green - Bass
Possibly Ted Curry - Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Sam Phillips had tried Don Robey in April with some of his rawest cottonpatch blues to date, by Sleepy John Estes, a fifty-three-year-old native of Brownsville, Tennessee, midway between Jackson and Memphis, who, like so many others, just showed up at the studio with his battered guitar and new store-bought teeth. Sam was knocked out by his music, Sleepy John, who had first recorded for Victor in the 1920s, was a brilliant songwriter with a unique crying style of singing, but evidently his teeth didn't fit, and at one point they went flying across the room as he put his heart and soul into the performance.

Sam persuaded him to put them in his pocket. ''I said, 'Don't break them, save them, you might have a girlfriend that you want to see'', and Estes who had gone blind a couple of years earlier, even returned for a second session on April 24, with Lee ''Tennessee'' Crisp on harmonica and washboard-playing friend, Hammie Nixon, but Sam Phillips was never able to sell any of the sides, which he considered priceless and which remained unissued until they came out in England some thirty years later.

STUDIO SESSION FOR SLEEPY JOHN ESTES
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1952

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: MONDAY APRIL 5, 1952
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

Sam Phillips noted this session as unsatisfactory. The tapes have not been found, and were probably re-used. Some song re-recorded on Estes' second session on April 24, 1952.

01 - "RATS IN MY KITCHEN''
Composer: - John Estes
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - April 5, 1952

02 - "BURIAL INSURENCE BLUES/POLICY MAN''
Composer: - John Estes
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - April 5, 1952

03 - "RUNNIN' AROUND BLUES''
Composer: - John Estes
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - April 5, 1952

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Sleepy John Estes - Vocal & Guitar

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR RAYMOND JONES
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1952

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: WEDNESDAY APRIL 9, 1952
STUDIO HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER – SAM C. PHILLIPS

01 – ''LET ME COUNT THE CURLS (ON YOUR CUTE COOTIE)''
Composer: - Raymond Jones
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - April 9, 1952

According to London, "Drivin' Slow" was a number 1 record locally, and provided a great deal of additional work for the band. In view of that it is indeed remarkable that London's final appearance in the Sun studio should have been just 10 days after his record had been released, on April 9 he backet Raymond Jones on 10 takes of a straightforward pop song "Let Me Count The Curls". London recalls: "During that time Phillips was also recording Rufus Thomas, and some others. He had his hands in everything. I think we were busy too - trying to make as much money as possible off the record. We were at school at that time, too. Also, we never made as much money off the record as we thought we would. That may have been the reason".

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Raymond Jones - Vocal & Drums
Joe Louis Hall - Piano
Johnny London - Alto Saxophone
Charles Keel - Tenor Saxophone

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Session Published for Historical Reasons

STUDIO SESSION FOR BOYD GILMORE & CHARLIE BOOKER
FOR MODERN RECORDS 1952

UNKNOWN STUDIO LOCATION
CLARKSDALE, MISSISSIPPI
MODERN SESSION: WEDNESDAY APRIL 13, 1952
STUDIO HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER – IKE TURNER
AND/OR JOE BIHARI

Ike Turner was back in Clarksdale to cut again with Boyd Gilmore and Charlie Booker. ''Charlie's Boogie Woogie'' bowls along with each member of the band taking a crack at a solo as Booker sings his boogie. The other side of this single ''Moonshine Blues'' doesn't feature Ike Turner. Gilmore's coupling is the real deal and if you think the introduction and solo to ''All In My Dreams'' are familiar, you'd be right because they are spliced in from Elmore James' ''Please Find My Baby''. The other side is Gilmore's expressive version of Robert Lockwood's ''Take A Little Walk With Me''.

01 - ''ALL IN MY DREAMS''* - B.M.I. - 3:11
Composer: - Jules Taub-Boyd Gilmore
Publisher: - Modern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - MM 1837
Recorded: - April 13, 1952
Released: - 1952
First appearance: - Modern Records (S) 78rpm Modern 872 mono
ALL IN MY DREAMS / TAKE A LITTLE WALK WITH ME
Reissued: - 2010 Secret Records (CD) 500/200rpm SECBX025-2-2 mono
THAT KAT SURE COULD PLAY! - THE SINGLES 1951 - 1957

02 - ''TAKE A LITTLE WALK WITH ME''* - B.M.I. - 2:31
Composer: - Robert Lockwood
Publisher: - Modern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - MM 1838
Recorded: - April 13, 1952
Released: - 1952
First appearance: - Modern Records (S) 78rpm Modern 872 mono
TAKE A LITTLE WALK WITH ME / ALL IN MY DREAMS
Reissued: - 2010 Secret Records (CD) 500/200rpm SECBX025-2-3 mono
THAT KAT SURE COULD PLAY! - THE SINGLES 1951 - 1957

03 - ''CHARLIE'S BOOGIE WOOGIE''** - B.M.I. - 2:29
Composer: Charlie Booker
Publisher: - Modern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - MM 1852
Recorded: - April 13, 1952
Released: - 1952
First appearance: - Modern Records (S) 78rpm Modern 878 mono
CHARLIE'S BOOGIE WOOGIE / MOONRISE BLUES
Reissued: - 2010 Secret Records (CD) 500/200rpm SECBX025-2-4 mono
THAT KAT SURE COULD PLAY! - THE SINGLES 1951 - 1957

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Boyd Gilmore - Vocal * & Guitar
Charlie Booker - Vocal ** & Guitar
Ike Turner - Piano
Jesse ''Cleanhead'' Love - Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

APRIL 7, 1952 MONDAY

Capitol released Faron Young's debut single, ''Tattle Tale Tears''.

APRIL 11, 1952 FRIDAY

The Stanley Brothers hold the last of their four Columbia recordings sessions.

APRIL 13, 1952 SUNDAY

Mandolin player Sam Bush is born in Bowling Green, Kentucky. He gains acclaim with the progressive acoustic group New Grass Revival, but also plays on hits by Pam Tillis, Kathy Mattea and Garth Brooks, among others.

APRIL 14, 1952 MONDAY

Decca released Ernest Tubb's ''Somebody's Stolen My Honey''.

APRIL 15, 1962 TUESDAY

Rex Allen and Slim Pickens combat counterfeiters in the Old West in the debut of ''Border Saddlemates''. Woodwind player Darol Rice has an on-screen part.

APRIL 16, 1952 WEDNESDAY

Nearly five years aster the started, Porter Wagoner's wife, Ruth, ends her work with the International Shoe Company in West Plains, Missouri.

APRIL 17, 1952 THURSDAY

Elvis Presley returns to work at Loew's State Theater but is fired five weeks later after an altercation with another usher. Loew's State became notable for being the place where Elvis Presley got his first job, in 1948, as an usher and later being fired, and then re-instated. The auditorium was built into an older warehouse which actually fronted Second Street. Second Street wasn't a suitable address for such a prestigious theater so Loew's acquired a single storefront on Main Street which aligned with the warehouse/auditorium on 2nd. Unfortunately, there was an alley between the two buildings which the City of Memphis would not allow Loew's to close off. The solution? The storefront was gutted and turned into a lovely half-block-long lobby which ended in a single grand stairway. This stairway rose to a level high enough to allow a bridge over the alley and entered the auditorium at balcony level. When the LS was not at peak capacity, the sign on the stairs said "downstairs closed" instead of the usual "balcony closed" so familiar to those going to the movies in the 1960's.

The State had a vaudeville stage and pit. The hall was never renovated during its life and so retained all it's Thomas Lamb "Loew's Adam" decor to the end. The first organ in the Loew's State was a Moller. It was replaced by a Wurlitzer in the mid-1920's. The 2 big Loew's theaters in downtown Memphis were under construction at the same time.

APRIL 18, 1952 FRIDAY

Jim Scholten is born in Bay City, Michigan. As bass player for Sawyer Brown, he contributes to such hits as ''The Dirt Road'', ''Six Days On The Road'', ''All These Years'' and ''Thank God For You''.

Columbia released Carl Smith's two-sided single, ''Are You Teasing Me'' and ''It's A Lovely, Lovely World''.

APRIL 21, 1952 MONDAY

Webb Pierce recorded ''The Last Waltz'' at Nashville's Castle Studio.

Roy Rogers and Dale Evans recorded ''Happy Trails''.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Guitarist Parr's band took its name from a WMC radio show that broadcast 15 minutes of suitably 'groovy' records every day. They worked the circuit which moved up and down the Mississippi from Memphis to Cairo, via clubs like M.C. Reeder's 199 Club in Osceola, Arkansas. Pianist Eddie Snow worked with them regularly, as did for a while the lanky Albert Nelson before he changed his last name to King. "Baby Child" is a slow blues with a lusty if slightly winded vocal from Snow.

''She's got me going round in circles, crying just like a baby child". The balance favours Luther Taylor and Bennie Moore's saxes at the expense of their leader's guitar. Sam sent dubs of this 1952 session to Chess, who sent back a ''What else you got''? letter.

STUDIO SESSION FOR ELVEN PARR'S AND THE GROOVE
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR CHESS RECORDS 1952

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: MONDAY APRIL 14, 1952
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

01 - "BABY CHILD" - B.M.I. - 3:24
Composer: - Eddie Snow
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 14, 1952
Released: - 1996
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-2-12 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

02 - "I'M A GOOD MAN" - B.M.I. - 2:27
Composer: - Eddie Snow
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 14, 1952
Released: - September 1977
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30126-A-5 mono
SUN: THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 11 - MEMPHIS BLUES SOUNDS
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-2-13 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

Elven Parr seems to have turned his amp up for this enthusiastic boogie, but the capering saxes still get in the way of what might be one of the great guitar solos recorded at Sun Records - if only we could hear it. Eddie Snow sounds a touch frantic as he claims he wants to live "the right kind of life". Even so, "Let me tell you one ting I want to know/if you have any children (they) got to look like Snow". Chances were, with the lifestyle of a touring band being what it was, there were a few of those already.

03 - "IN THE GROOVE RHUMBA" - B.M.I. - 2:50
Composer: - Eddie Snow
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 14, 1952
Released: - 1996
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-2-14 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

The horns are still front and centre as Eddie Snow's piano takes the lead on this "shimmy like you wanna". When the leader finally gets a chance to show us what he can do, he is once again rather overshadowed. Having made sure we can't ignore them, the horns then break into their lounge lizard riff until the slightly botched ending. The 'mighty rum bling' that persists through most of the tune is caused by Eddie Snow's foot on the sustain pedal as his left hand pounds out the rhythm.

04(1) - "SKIN AND BONE WOMAN" - 1 - B.M.I. - 2:44
Composer: - Johnny Temple
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Slow Version - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 14, 1952
Released: - 1989
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUN 30 mono
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-2-15 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

The band - or Sam Phillips - hedged their bets with this song, since it exists in both slow and fast versions. Eddie Snow's woman is reduced to the 'skin and bones' of the title. "You used to be beautiful but you lived your life too fast/now you ain't got nothin' but your dark unattractive past". Which seems to be what he sings. Legibility is just as problematic on the fast version which changes the verse order and adds two more as well as a frantic tenor solo. Eddie Snow returned three years later to make a Sun single of his own.

04(2) - "SKIN AND BONES WOMAN" - 2 - B.M.I. - 1:59
Composer: - Johnny Temple
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Fast Version - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 14, 1952
Released: - 1984
First appearance: Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 105 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1956
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-9-4 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958

This ''Skin And Bones Woman'' in contrast, this is a very different alternate take used on the 1990's box after being first issued on the Sun Blues Archive CDs in the 1980s. It's the fast version of the song issued on the original LP boxset.

05 - "ROCKAWAY BABY" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Eddie Snow
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - April 14, 1952
Released: - Sun Unissued

06 - "ALL ALONE'' - B.M.I.
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 14, 1952
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Krazy Kat Records (LP) 33rpm Krazy Kat KK 7427 mono
MEMPHIS BLUES - UNISSUED TITLES FROM THE 1950S

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Eddie Snow - Vocal and Piano
Luther Taylor - Saxophone
Bennie Moore - Saxophone
Elven Parr - Guitar
Carl Tate - Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

ELVEN ''L.V.'' PARR INTERVIEW

Interviewed by Mark Dalton and Mike Lynch in Seattle, Spring of 1996. The transcription was created and edited by Mark Dalton. This piece originally appeared on the (long gone) Caldonia web page, and was republished in the May 1997 edition of Blues and Rhythm ("The Gospel Truth") Magazine (UK). L.V. Parr died in Seattle in 1996.

We caught up with Elven "L.V." Parr at a First Hill retirement home, in a room he shares with another resident. The room is impersonal, institutional, much like a hospital room, except for the Washington Blues Society Award on the wall above L.V.'s bed. L.V. is blind now, from the effects of diabetes, and he has slowed down some from the accumulation of 70 years of living, but he was up for talking with us, laughed readily, and occasionally we could see the years drop away as he touched on a happy memory of a free and easy moment, living the blues. Here's L.V.'s story:

I was born in Osceola Arkansas in 1925. My dad ran a cotton gin for many years there. My mother was a housewife, and I was their only child. My dad played piano, and I was exposed to all kinds of music growing up. I didn’t listen to that much blues when I was a child. I sang in the church choir, and was in a gospel quartet as a teenager.

I got into some trouble with the law as a young man, and I really picked up on the guitar while I was in prison. I didn’t have much to do but practice, and I had music books and teachers there too. I had a few guys I could play guitar with, who would show me different things playing, and I began to like it when I was playing with them. Guys would teach me this and that and I was very into listening.

I started playing professionally in 1950. We had a band in Osceola called the "In the Groove Boys" and we were on the radio every day at 3pm. I think the station was KOSE. We had guitar, piano, and drums. We did our own show and also backed up special guests.

I used to know Albert King back in Osceola. He was Albert Nelson back then, that's before he got famous. We used to play together a little bit, but he couldn't play nothing but, you know, soul or blues. He didn't know any chords at that time, but he made it big. I wish I was in his shoes!

I started going to Memphis regularly after I'd been playing awhile. I had a hotel gig there, and would go out on the road with various bands and singers that needed a guitar player. The hotel was owned by a guy named Sunbeam Mitchell, who was also a music promoter.

Sunbeam Mitchell started off promoting B.B. King in the early days. During this period I played with Bobby Bland, Junior Parker, Johnny Ace and Percy Mayfield, among others. I played a gig with Ray Charles at hotel in Atlanta. There were so many guys I played with... I was working all the time back then.

I also did quite a bit of recording at that time. I was...what do you call it, a studio musician? I did a lot of work at Sun Studios, where Elvis Presley made his first recordings. I recorded there with Johnny Ace, Bobby Bland and Earl Forrest, among others. B.B. King was a friend of mine back in those days. We never played together because he had a pretty good guitar player in his band already! (laughs). We used to hang out. He was also a disc jockey at that time. I played quite a bit on Beale Street in Memphis. I played with all the local guys, and then Sunbeam would send us out on the road. I did a long tour with Johnny Ace, not too long before he died. We were out for about six months, mostly playing theaters. We were being booked out of New York City. I played the Apollo Theater back then, and all over the country.

They claimed Johnny Ace killed himself playing Russian Roulette. I think that was a lie. I knew Johnny too well. He wouldn’t do himself that way. What happened was Johnny was fooling with a girl, a white girl. I had just left the tour in Kentucky. This girl had been following Johnny around the south for awhile. Every show he did, she was there. The guys in the band told me that the night Johnny died, this girl's brother and her uncle came to see Johnny, that they went up to his room, and brought down this story that he was playing Russian Roulette. I think one of them shot Johnny.

Johnny Ace was a fun guy to be with. He kept everyone laughing. He could just let himself go. I played on some of his records, including "The Clock." That one was really my tune - I pretty much wrote that one. I worked with him off and on for a couple of years all together, after he went out on his own. Before that he played piano in B.B. King's band.

Another guy I played with down south was Earl Forrest, a good rhythm and blues singer. He was just starting out. We played all down through the south, down into Mississippi. He had a hit record out called "Whoopin' and Hollerin'''. I'd be talking to pretty girls and Earl, he'd come up and say "I'm the bossman here!" (laughs). The girls, they'd say "Who''?

I met Fenton Robinson in Cairo, Illinois around that time. He was about eighteen years old then. I left the little group I was in to go on this tour, and Fenton came in to take my place. I used to show him different stuff, techniques when he was getting started. He played in my place until I got back off the road.

I came out to Seattle in 1959. I got into trouble with the law again, and was basically paroled to my dad, who was living out here by then. I played all over the Northwest when I got here. Things were jumping. I played at first with a guy named Gerald Frank, who had a band and also owned a lot of property, after-hours joints and stuff, around town. He played with Duke Ellington at one time, and could play drums and organ. We played at the Black and Tan, Birdland, the Drift Inn, the Cotton Club, the Mardi Gras, those clubs on Jackson Street. All over. I played with all the local guys, most everyone in town at one time or another.

I played with Dave Lewis off and on. Joe Johansen used to play with him too, and that kid that made it big, Larry Coryell, he played with Dave at one time. I knew all these guys. Jimi Hendrix used to come around. He was just a kid then, I used to practice over at 20th and Madison with James Thomas and a couple of old guys. Every time we were over there, Hendrix would come over and be asking me things, asking me to show him this or that. I don't if you'd call it teaching him or not, but I used to show him a lot.

In the early years I always used a hollow-bodied guitar. I had an Epiphone that was my favorite. Later on I used a Fender Stratocaster. I took a few breaks from playing over the years, drove a cab. I started playing down in the Pike Market in 70's. Hanging out on First Avenue was fun in those days.

I used to hang out at Pig Alley a lot. Also at the Ridge. I bartended at the Shellback for awhile. I hung out with Isaac Scott some back then. We played the same places. Tom McFarland was a good friend. A lot of the time I played with (Hammond B3 organist) Donny Osias. Donny has tapes of us playing together back then, but I never got into a studio in Seattle.

I followed Tom McFarland into a house band gig at the Boulder Cafe at First and Pike around 1976, and we played five nights a week there for year or two. Those were some good times in Seattle. Getting the "Living Legend" award from the Washington Blues Society a couple years ago was great. My friend (local musician and social worker) Joe Martin took me up there to the ceremony. I've got it hanging right here by my bed.

L.V. Parr's health prevents him from playing any more, but his music lives on in others. There are many unsung musical heroes like L.V., people whose daily work helps to create and maintain the rich musical matrix that nourishes the young Jimi Hendrixes and Larry Coryells of the world, and which makes life a little easier and richer for us all.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

By April 1952 Sam Phillips was sending out dubs to Chess once again. But with their differences out in the open once and for all (Sam's declaration of independence, however short-lived, did not go unnoticed), things were not about to be put back together again. On every issue, it seemed, Sam and Leonard vehemently disagreed, from the whole business of the bus, which continued to fester, to the proper way to record the Howlin' Wolf. Sam had another session with Wolf in the middle of the month, but of the eight sides he sent the label, Chess put out only one, and between April and December, out of all the other material Sam sent them, they released just four singles by any of his other artists.

STUDIO SESSION FOR HOWLIN' WOLF
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR CHESS RECORDS 1952

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: THURSDAY APRIL 17, 1952
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
AND/OR MARION KEISKER
MOST OF THE REPERTOIRE ON THIS SESSION WAS
DUBBED FROM ACETATE OR DISC SOURCE
MANY OF THE ORIGINAL MASTER TAPES HAVE BEEN LOST

Note: the session files indicate that other titles were recorded at the session, but the musicians on those titles (''Dorothy Mae'', ''Sweet Woman'' ''Color And Kind'') appear to be different from those titles here.

01 - "EVERYBODY'S IN THE MOOD (ALL IN THE MOOD)" - B.M.I. - 2:55
Composer: - Chester Burnett
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 17, 1952
Released: - September 1977
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30134-4 mono
THE LEGENDARY SUN PERFORMERS – HOWLIN' WOLF
Reissued: - 1989 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15460-15 mono
MEMPHIS DAYS - THE DEFINITIVE EDITION - VOLUME 1

On April 17th 1952 Wolf turned up at the Memphis Recording Service to record a session for Chess Records, for which he received $200, a princely sum for those days. None of the sides were released at the time, although this cut would clearly have made a great jumping B-side to any of his great early singles. Guitarist Johnson fits some powerful boogie licks in beneath Wolf's vocals, but this time its clearly the Wolf's show as he drives it along, calling all the shots from start to finish.

02 - "COLOR AND KIND" B.M.I. - 3:09
Composer: - Chester Burnett
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Re-recorded later as "Just My Kind".
Recorded: - April 17, 1952
Released: - September 1977
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30134 mono
THE LEGENDARY SUN PERFORMERS - HOWLIN' WOLF
Reissued: - 1989 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15460-14 mono
MEMPHIS DAYS - THE DEFINITIVE EDITION - VOLUME 1

03 - "BLUEBIRD (BLUES) - B.M.I. - 2:47
Composer: - John Lee Williamson
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 17, 1952
Released: - September 1977
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30134-3 mono
THE LEGENDARY SUN PERFORMERS – HOWLIN' WOLF
Reissued: - 1989 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15460-13 mono
MEMPHIS DAYS - THE DEFINITIVE EDITION - VOLUME 1

It would seem that even at this early point in his career Wolf's thoughts were already turning North to Chicago, as evidenced by the imagery in this song. Although far from representative of Wolf's best work, it provides a fascinating glimpse into the evolution of his style (although when Wolf finally made his move North, it was in a late model Buick rather than on a bluebird). Sam Phillips duly sent these cut to Chess Records, although they remained unissued at the time - the original acetate of ''Bluebird (Blues)'', this side eventually finding its way onto a bootleg in 1979.

This vintage blues was popular during the late 1930s and early 1940s, Tommy McClennan's gravel-voiced version from 1942 even bearing a superficial resemblance to Wolf's version. Musicologists Robert Dixon and John Godrich have suggested that the "Bluebird" in McClennan's version referred to the label for which it was recorded: fanciful speculation or not, all such meaning was lost by the time Wolf annexed the song making it his own.

''Bluebird when you come back to Chicago
I want you to fly between the sun and cloud (x2)
If you get a message from Lacey Belle, don't let it hit the ground''.

04 - "SADDLE MY PONY"*/** - B.M.I. - 2:31
Composer: - Chester Burnett
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - 1028 Master - Click > 1504-1547 Series
Originally titled "Pony Blues", on the Chess 78, the full title is "Saddly My Pony
(Gonna Find My Baby Out In The World Somewhere)"
Recorded: - April 17, 1952
Released: - July 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm standard single Chess 1515-A mono
SADDLE MY PONY / WORRIED ALL THE TIME
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15500-9 mono
MEMPHIS DAYS - THE DEFINITIVE EDITION - VOLUME 2

05(1) - "DOROTHY MAE"* - B.M.I. - 2:42
Composer: - Chester Burnett
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 17, 1952
Released: - September 1977
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30134 mono
THE LEGENDARY SUN PERFORMERS – HOWLIN' WOLF
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15500-13 mono
MEMPHIS DAYS - THE DEFINITIVE EDITION - VOLUME 2

05(2) - "DOROTHY MAE"* - B.M.I. - 2:36
Composer: - Chester Burnett
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 17, 1952
Released: - 1989
First appearance: - 1979 Blue Night (LP) 33rpm BlueNight BN 073 1667 mono
FROM EARLY TIL LATE
Reissued: - 1989 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15460-16 mono
MEMPHIS DAYS - THE DEFINITIVE EDITION - VOLUME 1

06 - "SWEET WOMAN (I GOT A WOMAN)" - B.M.I. - 3:26
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 17, 1952
Released: - September 1977
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30134 mono
THE LEGENDARY SUN PERFORMERS – HOWLIN' WOLF
Reissued: - 1989 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15460-17 mono
MEMPHIS DAYS - THE DEFINITIVE EDITION - VOLUME 1

07 - "THAT'S ALL RIGHT (WELL THAT'S ALL RIGHT)" - B.M.I. - 2:53
Composer: - Chester Burnett
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 17, 1952
Released: - 1976
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30102-A-8 mono
SUN: THE ROOTS OF ROCK – VOLUME 2 – SAM'S BLUES
Reissued: - 1989 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15460-19 mono
MEMPHIS DAYS - THE DEFINITIVE EDITION - VOLUME 1

Well, actually, things are not alright! This ain't no technical masterpiece by a long shot - although by way of compensation Wolf proffers a standout vocal, and there is an infectious spirit to this recording which transcends most of the technical flaws. There's some rather sloppy timing and the track appears to have been little more than a loose jam - in fact the introduction provides a further example of Wolf kicking into gear without cuin in his sidesmen.

08 - "DECORATION DAY BLUES" - B.M.I. - 3:14
Composer: - John Lee Williamson
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 17, 1952
Released: - 1976
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30102-A-7 mono
SUN: THE ROOTS OF ROCK – VOLUME 2 – SAM'S BLUES
Reissued: - 1989 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15460-18 mono
MEMPHIS DAYS - THE DEFINITIVE EDITION - VOLUME 1

Wolf turns his band to Sonny Boy Williamson his pre-war hit, which he latter has originally recorded back in 1938. As prolific as Sonny Boy was, he didn't originate the song. Teddy Darby aka Blind Darby recorded it first in 1935... although it's unclear if he wrote it. Curtis Jones recorded it next, but Williamson's was the version that Wolf and others copies nearly word-for-word. Following an exceedingly tenuous start - which suggests that Wolf knew exactly where he was off to, but neglected to tell the band - the accompanists struggle to find a point of access into this three-chord jungle. A shift in the recording level during the first verse indicates that not even Sam Phillips was sure what was going down. However, once Wolf gets into his vocal, things settle into a fairly conventional mid-tempo blues distinguished by some excellent harp heroics, and an impassioned vocal.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Howlin' Wolf - Vocal, Harmonica and Guitar*
Willie Johnson - Guitar
Unknown - Bass / The bass is barely audible
Willie Steele - Drums / May not be present on all cuts
Bill "William" Johnson - Piano
James Cotton - Harmonica*

"When I Am Gone" listed in the Chess files with this session is actually by Joe Hill Louis.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR RUFUS THOMAS
AT MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR CHESS RECORDS 1952

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE

SUN SESSION: MONDAY APRIL 21, 1952
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
AND/OR MARION KEISKER

It was the version "Decorate The Counter" from Rosco Gordon, that Rufus Thomas reproduced when he went into the studio on April 21, 1952. There is little wonder that the difference between the two men's versions of this good time Saturday night song was not wide since Rufus used Willie Wilkes, Richard Sanders and John Murrat Daley on the session - the same band as Rosco. Rufus calls "What you say Richard" as Richard Sanders is about to take his solo, as had Rosco. Only Rosco himself is missing, replaced by Billy Love on piano. Rufus's vocals are slightly more prominent and assured than Rosco's even though it is not hos own song. "Decorate" was apparently written by or in the name of Robert Henry, who managed the Handy Theater and booked Rufus and Gordon there along with other local talent and all the big bands of the day. He was also the first manager of B.B. King and one of the real enduring characters of Beale Street, right up to his death in 1978. He ran a pool hall and store there for years and liked to tell people that if they wanted to get served, they'd better decorate the counter, put their money down.

The song that was chosen for release along with "Decorate" was "Juanita", an impassioned ballad complete with mock crying and wailing, a style that found favour in the early 1950s and was exemplified in hits like Tommy Brown's "Weepin' And Cryin" on Dot Records which was the number one rhythm and blues hit of December 1951. If anyone was going to be able to carry off this histrionic style, then Rufus Thomas - the entertainer - was probably the man. No doubt his performance of "Juanita" went down a storm in live performance, but this is a very slow song and although Richard Sanders contributes a moving baritone sax solo, the performance drags a little on record. It was left to Chuck Willis - with a different song - to take "Juanita" into the top ten and rhythm and blues history four years later.

01 – "JUANITA" - B.M.I. - 3:27
Composer: - Rufus Thomas
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - 1024 Master - Click > 1504-1547 Series
Recorded: - April 21, 1952 - Source Rufus Thomas
Released: - July 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm standard single Chess 1517-A mono
JUANITA / DECORATE THE COUNTER
Reissued: - 2008 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16695-13 mono
RUFUS THOMAS - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

When Rufus Thomas recorded "Juanita" for Sun Records, Sam Phillips didn't believe in its commercial possibilities. As a result, it had been sold to Chess Records in Chicago, who released it a few months later. It failed to make the charts. "Sam Phillips sold me the damned song to get even with me", Leonard Chess recalled. Some have said that Elvis Presley sang "Juanita", on tour in 1955 and may have recorded it while at Sun Records. Possible dates: February 6, 1955, November 13, 1954; or something in December 1954. Why Elvis Presley selected the song for his act is a mystery. Rumour has it that Elvis Presley watched Thomas perform "Juanita" in local clubs in Memphis. Combined with that, it probably was simply due to his penchant to experiment with rhythm and blues songs, couplet with the fact that he had just visited with Rufus Thomas in Memphis. Source Rufus Thomas.

02 - "DECORATE THE COUNTER" - B.M.I. - 2:23
Composer: - Robert Henry-Courtney Harris
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - 1025 Master - Click > 1504-1547 Series
Recorded: - April 21, 1952
Released: - July 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1517-B mono
DECORATE THE COUNTER / JUANITA
Reissued: - 2008 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16695-12 mono
RUFUS THOMAS - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

Recorded the same day, and perhaps one of the main reasons for the session, was Rufus version of Rosco Gordon's hymn to intemperance. Rosco's own was now on the shelf alongside the empties from last weekend's carouse. In order to retain the song's unique blowsey atmosphere, Sam Phillips brought the composer and his band into the studio to lend a hand - and perhaps an elbow. For all his exuberance, Rufus can't quite catch the manic edge that Rosco habitually brought to his song. Note the lack of spontaneity when Rufus repeats Rosco's original aside, "What you say, Richard?/that's what I thought you said", as Richard Sanders sets out on a solo that sounds like a malfunctioning industrial vacuum cleaner.

03(1) - "MARRIED WOMAN – 1" - B.M.I. - 2:45
Composer: - Rufus Thomas
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 21, 1952
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 105 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1956
Reissued: - 2008 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16695-14 mono
RUFUS THOMAS - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

Two final songs from the session was "Married Woman" which is presented here in two alternative take. Rufus' baby left him on Saturday, March 1. On April 21 he was in Phillips studio telling the world about it. It is a thumping blues about Rufus sitting around trying to drink his blues away. His baby's leaving - "she was a married woman" - and how loving a married woman will do you no earthly good. The first version contains a storming sax solo by Willie Wilkes, and the second is similar except that Rufus adds some slurred speech at the start to emphasize the depth of his plight.

03(2) - "MARRIED WOMAN – 2" - B.M.I. - 2:40
Composer: - Rufus Thomas
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 21, 1952
Released: - 2008
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16695-15 mono
RUFUS THOMAS - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

According to Marion Keisker's session logs, Rufus recorded four other songs at the "Decorate" session. One of these was the intriguing "Beale Street Bound", a recording that has not apparently survived.

04 - BEALE STREET SOUND"
Composer: - Rufus Thomas
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - April 21, 1952
Released: - Sun Unissued/Lost

05 - "I'M OFF THAT STUFF" - B.M.I. - 2:57
Composer: - Rufus Thomas
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 21, 1952
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Krazy Kat Records (LP) 33rpm KK 7427 mono
MEMPHIS BLUES - UNISSUED TITLES FROM THE 1950
Reissued: - 2008 Bear Family Records CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16695-16 mono
RUFUS THOMAS - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

This title to be recorded at the session was also a moral tale - of temperance, abstinence and fidelity - told to a mid-paced rhythm and blues stomp. This time the solo is taken by Richard Sanders on baritone sax, and you can just imagine Rufus the entertainer delivering the lyrica of "I'm Off That Stuff" with a twinkle in is eye.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rufus Thomas - Vocal
Willie Wilkes - Tenor saxophone
Richard Sanders - Baritone Saxophone
Billy Love - Piano
John Murry Daley – Drums

The day after the session, the Phillips studio airmailed dubs of ''Decorate The Counter'' and ''Juanita'' to Chess Records, and twelve days later masters were "sent to Shaw (probably meaning Billy Shaw's New York based Shaw Artists Corporation). Marion Keisker logged that copies were sent to influential disc jockeys on June 16, including Gene Nobles at WLAC in Nashville, and that payments at musicians union scale were made to the session musicians directly by Chess. The record was released as Chess 1517 at the start of July.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

APRIL 22, 1952 TUESDAY

The day after the Rufus Thomas session, the Phillips studio airmailed dubs of "Decorate The Counter" and "Juanita" to Chess Records, and twelve days later masters were sent to Shaw (probably meaning Billy Shaw's New York based Shaw Artists Corporation). Marion Keisker logged that copies were sent to influential disc jockeys on June 16, including Gene Nobles at WLAC in Nashville, and that payments at musicians union scale were made to the session musicians directly by Chess. The record was released as Chess 1517 at the start of July 1952.

APRIL 23, 1952 WEDNESDAY

Hank Williams makes his second appearance on NBC-TV's ''The Kate Smith Hour'', performing ''Cold Cold Heart''.

Pop keyboard player Jay Gruska is born in New York City. He writes ''Both To Each Other (Friend And Lovers)'', a 1986 country hit for Eddie Rabbitt and Juice Newton at the same time it's a pop hit for Gloria Loring and Carl Anderson.

APRIL 24, 1952 THURSDAY

Bing Crosby and guitar player Grady Martin and His Slew Foot Five recorded ''Till The End Of The World''.

APRIL 26, 1952 SATURDAY

Country gospel singer Martha Carson joins the Grand Ole Opry, at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee.

Merle Travis and Judy Hayden have a daughter, Cindy Travis.

APRIL 28, 1952 MONDAY

Decca released Webb Pierce's ''That Heart Belongs To Me''.

Keyboard player Chuck Leavel is born in Birmingham, Alabama. A member of The Allman Brothers Band for four years, he plays on several Montgomery Gentry country hits, including ''My Town'', ''Back When I Knew It All'' and ''One In Every Crowd''.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR SLEEPY JOHN ESTES
AT MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE 1952

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: THURSDAY APRIL 24, 1952
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

Note that there is no additional instrument on ''Rats In My Kitchen'', so it might date to vocal-guitar session held on April 5. When Sleepy John Estes made his recordings at the Memphis Recording Service he was probably in his early fifties, but his voice was that of a wizened old survivor of the blues.

This topical blues is clearly about the Korean War, although Estes may well originally have written it about World War II. It shows off his unique style to good advantage, and it is interesting to note that he is using an electric guitar. From his very first to his last recordings, Estes employed an anguished delivery in which he would forcefully project the first half of a line or verse, and then breathlessly slur the remainder. Some of Estes noted biting observations can be found here: "Now let's go boys/hold up for your town/if you ever get back home/you'll be on your same old paved ground".

Or the last verse: ''Now if you go to the camp, boy / Hopin' to act rough / They'll put you in that ol' guardhouse / Make you pick up cigarette butts''. As is often the case with Estes, every line repays close listening, but Estes doesn't make it easy.

His longtime sidekick, Hammie Nixon, claimed to be on this session, but Marion Keisker noted that Lee ''Tennessee'' Crisp played harmonica.

Eminent harmonica scholar Joe Filisko confirmed that it's not Hammie on harmonica, but it's possible that he's playing the washboard heard on some songs. Keisker's notes indicate that both Peacock and Chess showed an interest in "Registration Day Blues" and "Rats In My Kitchen", but it seems that neither deal was ever finalised.

01 - "REGISTRATION DAY BLUES" B.M.I. - 3:08
Composer: - John Estes
Publisher: - Tristan Music
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 24, 1952
Released: - 1976
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30101-A-2 mono
SUN: THE ROOTS OF ROCK – VOLUME 1 - CATALYST
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-2-22 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

02 - "POLICY MAN BLUES (BURIAL INSURANCE BLUES" B.M.I. - 3:12
Composer: - John Estes
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 24, 1952
Released: - 1996
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-2-23 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-1-9 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958

Although the sales pitch for an insurance company (!) this track offers the closest glimpse of Estes' pre-War style. According to David Evans the song was a sales for Al Rawls' funeral home in Brownsville, Tennessee. Its original working title was "Burial Insurance Blues", for only $3 you get full benefits - just give up some whiskey money every week, and they bring you home with a sheet over your face, you'll be all set. Whoopie! Its easy to see why Sam Phillips sought to capture Estes on record, as this is indeed exceptionally pure blues music.

Bo Carter's ''Policy Man'' calls on the insurance man to pay out so he can sustain his gambling, while Sonny Boy (John Lee) Williamson's ''Insurance Blues'' is almost a coda to Estes' song in that it spells out the perils of not keeping up with your payments. At this stage Sam Phillips could not have foreseen the early 1960s Folk Boom, which led to the resurrection of Estes and many other old timers: at the time Sam recorded these sides he must have though that Estes/ back-country blues was on the very verge of extinction. (The take used here is different to that used on the original Sun Blues Box).

03 - "RATS IN MY KITCHEN" B.M.I. - 3:05
Composer: - John Estes
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 24, 1952
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Charly 105 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1956
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-2-24 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

The rats are so mean in Sleepy John's kitchen that he needs a mountain cat! When Estes cut these sides he was only 48 years old - yet his voice conjures up the image of a wizened old blues survivor in his 1970s. In fact, when compared with his early 1940s Bluebird sides, one is left with the impression that the intervening decade had not been kind to Estes - or perhaps his chops had just become a little rusty. Recorded at the same session as its companion sides here, the harp player would appear to have sat this track out.

Estes seems to have taken his cue from Blind Lemon Jefferson's 1928 ''Maltese Cat Blues'' which starts, ''Rats is mean in my kitchen, I done lost my Maltese cat''. Beyond that, the song is pure Sleepy John Estes. The last verse, for those who want subtitles, probably goes as follows:

''I'm gonna call a 42 squad car for to protect me in my home (x2) / You know the rats 'stroying my groc', (yodel) work on my D-Con'' (a rat killer). In later years, ''Rats In My Kitchen'' became a part of Sleepy John's campus repertoire. To a generation raised on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, it was an unsettling snapshot of another America.

04(1) - "RUNNIN' AROUND" B.M.I. - 3:03
Composer: - John Estes
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 24, 1952
Released: - 1996
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-2-25 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-1-11 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958

Estes is not best known for uptempo material, but this track proves he could easily accommodate them into his idiosyncratic style. Estes and washboard/harp-player Lee ''Tennessee'' Crisp generate considerable energy between them, and there is some fine interplay between the guitar and harp. Estes' vocal has something of a plaintive feel, which adds to the overall appeal. Structurally, the song is very similar to Estes' pre-War hit, ''Someday Baby'', better known to nearly everyone as ''Worried Life Blues''. (The take 2 used here is different to that used on the original Sun Blues Box).

04(2) - "RUNNIN' AROUND" B.M.I. - 3:04
Composer: - John Estes
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 24, 1952
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 105 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1956
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-9-3 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Sleepy John Estes - Vocal and Guitar
Lee ''Tennessee'' Crisp - Harmonica
Possibly Hammie Nixon - Washboard

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©