STUDIO SESSION FOR RAY HARRIS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1956
 
SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: WEDNESDAY JUNE 20, 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
AND/OR BILL CANTRELL
 
''Curl my britches up to my knees/Mama, mama play house with me... Gone go fishin', have a goof time/Git you a woman and a gallon of wine''. That was rural and then some. That was Ray Harris. His two luminous Sun singles are just about a working definition of rockabilly. In fact, ''Come On Little Mama'' might just be the first psychobilly record. If for nothing other than releasing ''Come On Little Mama'', Sam Phillips earns his place in the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. ''Greenback Dollar'', like ''Crawdad Hole'' and ''Black Jack David'', was an old mountain song that adapts surprisingly well to its rockabilly makeover. During the 35 years that hillbilly music had been recorded, it had never been this unfettered. This was something new.
 
Tall and imposing, with sharp, angular features, Ray Harris carries about him a frightening intensity, and speaks with an impenetrable accent that almost demands subtitles for a listener not from Mississippi. He sat in his wife's Chrysler one humid summer night a few years ago, holding a cassette of a band he had just recorded. As it played, his eyes burned as it reached the parts he liked. He stabbed at the cassette deck. "There! There! I tell you, them boys have got it!. As abruptly as it had arise, though, the energy subsided. 
 
Ray Harris' unbridled enthusiasm comes through on both sides of his debut Sun single. The instrumental work on these sides, while spirited, is thin - even by Sun's spartan standards. If there was a bass player on this session, he might have been in Taylor's Cafe next door when they nailed these takes. There is a priceless anecdote about Ray Harris, practicing his vocal craft in a non-air conditioned Memphis apartment in July, standing in his overalls, dripping with sweat, bellowing his heart out to his undeserving neighbors. Folks living blocks away got to preview an a cappella version of these sides, which Billboard later called "dangerous". 
 
All the practicing apparently paid off for Harris, whose voice Billboard described as "extreme" and "emotion packed". In his more staid later life, Ray Harris spent years as the resident engineer at the Hi Records studio across town. 
 
In its original 45rpm form "Come On Little Mama" proved to be a serious challenge for the avid listener as the single was pressed on particularly low grade vinyl. Only in recent years, with the advent of the digital format, has it been possible to soak up the full impact of what Ray Harris first set out to archieve. As a point of interest, his right hand man was a fine guitarist by the name of Wayne Gogswell who saw success of his own when he penned "Teensville" for Chet Atkins.
 
"COME ON LITTLE MAMA" - B.M.I. - 2:14
Composer: - Ray Harris-Wayne Cogswell
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 200 - Master
Recorded: - June 20, 1956
Released: - September 24, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 254-B mono
COME ON LITTLE MAMA / WHERE'D YOU STAY LAST NIGHT
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802-3-1 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2 
"Come On Little Mama" was one of the original Holy Grail Sun singles... and with good reason. Its one of the most berserk records of the era. Ray Harris took his song to Sun. Sam Phillips, surely knowing that he couldn't sell Harris to the mass market, nevertheless responded to his maniacal energy.
 
"I'll never forget it, he was so intense", says Phillips. "Ray was a very intense person. He really put himself into it. He looked like he was going to have a heart attack every time he played. 'Rack 'em up, boy, let's go!. That was Ray's saying". 
 
"Come On Little Mama" was a definitive statement of supercharged rockabilly: a word apart from country, but not identifiably rhythm and blues or pop. The lyrics were virtually unintelligible, the musicianship limited, and the production sparse, but the performance was irresistible. "Come On Little Mama" apparently sold well locally, and Ray Harris was invited back to cut a follow-up. 
 
"COME ON LITTLE MAMA" - B.M.I. - 2:15
Composer: - Ray Harris-Wayne Cogswell
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - June 20, 1956
Released: - 1999
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16311-12 mono
THAT'LL FLAT GIT IT! - VOLUME 16
Reissued: 1999 Boot Records (CD) 500/200rpm 706/2-1 mono
MEMPHIS BOP - VOLUME 3
This alternate take, if anything, even more frantic than the original.
"WHERE'D YOU STAY LAST NITE" - B.M.I. - 2:10
Composer: - Ray Harris-Wayne Cogswell
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 201 - Master
Recorded: - June 20, 1956
Released: - September 24, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 254-A mono
WHERE'D YOU STAY LAST NIGHT / COME ON LITTLE MAMA
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802-3-2 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
"LOVE DUMB BABY" - B.M.I. - 3:00
Composer: - Ray Harris
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1956
Released:   - 1985
First appearance; - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1026-5 mono
ROCKABILLY TUNES
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm MID 8118-8 mono
ESSENTIAL SUN ROCKABILLIES - VOLUME 2
"LOVE DUMB BABY" - B.M.I. - 3:13
Composer: - Ray Harris
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1956
Released:   - November 1986
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 106-2-3 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE ROCKING YEARS - COME ON LITTLE MAMA
Reissued: - May 29, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17313-1-28 mono
THE SUN ROCK BOX 1954 - 1959
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Ray Harris - Vocal and Guitar
Winston Wayne Cogswell - Guitar
Red Hensley - Guitar
Joey Reisenberg - Drums
Unknown – Bass
 
 
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