CONTAINS 1951 MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE SESSIONS

Studio Session for Sam Phillips, Probably 1951
Studio Session for Walter Horton, Probably January 1951 / Modern Records
Studio Session for B.B. King, January 8, 1951 / Modern Records
Studio Session for Rosco Gordon, February 1951 / RPM Records
Studio Session for Walter ''Mumbles'' Horton, January/February 1951 / RPM/Modern
Studio Session for Jackie Brenston, March 5, 1951 / Chess Records
Studio Session for Rosco Gordon, April 1951 / RPM Records
Studio Session for Joe Hill Louis, April 30, 1951 / Modern Records
Studio Session for Howlin' Wolf, Probably May 14, 15, 1951 / Chess Records
Studio Session for William Stewart, Probably May 14 or 15, 1951
Studio Session for B.B. King, May 27, 1951 / RPM Records
Studio Session for Lou Sargent, Probably May 1951 / Chess Records
Studio Session for Rufus Thomas, Probably May/June 1951 / Chess Records
Studio Session for Joe Hill Louis, May 30, 1951 / Modern Records
Studio Session for Jackie Brenston, Probably May/June 1951 / Chess Records
Studio Session for The Evangelist Gospel Singers of Alabama,
Probably May/June, 1951 / Chess Records
Studio Session for The Spiritual Stars, Probably 1951 / Chess Records
Studio Session for Walter ''Mumbles'' Horton, June 1951 / RPM/Modern Records
Studio Session for Jim Lockhart, Probably June 1951 / RPM/Modern
Studio Session for Alfred Harris, Probably June 1951 / RPM/Modern
Studio Session for B.B. King, June 18, 1951 / Modern Records
Studio Session for Howlin' Wolf, July/August 1951 / Chess Records
Studio Session for Rosco Gordon, July 1951 / RPM Records
Studio Session for Harmonica Frank Floyd, July 15, 1951 / Chess Records
Studio Session for Willie Nix, July 1951 / RPM Records
Studio Session for Jackie Brenston, Probably July 1951 / Chess Records
Studio Session for Billy Love, Probably June/July 24, 1951 / Chess Records
Studio Session for Jackie Brenston, Probably July/August 1951 / Chess Records
Studio Session for Rosco Gordon, August 1951 / Duke/Chess Records
Studio Session for The Evangelist Gospel Singers of Alabama,
Probably August/September 1951 / Chess Records
Studio Session for The Brewsteraires, September 26, 1951 / Chess Records
Studio Session for Howlin' Wolf, September 1951 / RPM Records
Studio Session for Howlin' Wolf, October 2, 1951 / RPM Records
Studio Session for Rufus Thomas, October 1951 / Chess Records
Studio Session for Lafayette Jerl Thomas, October 1951 / Chess Records
Studio Session for Bobby Bland, November 1951 / Modern Records
Studio Session for Doctor Ross, November 29, 1951 / Chess Records
Studio Session for Billy Love, October/November 1951 / Chess Records
Studio Session for Bob Price, December 2, 1951 / Chess Records
Studio Session for Rosco Gordon, December 3, 1951 / RPM Records
Studio Session for Rosco Gordon & Bobby Bland, December 4, 1951 / Chess Records
Studio Session for Harmonica Frank Floyd, December 1951 / Chess Records
Studio Session for Gospel Tones, December 10, 1951
Studio Session for Jackie Brenston, December 15, 1951 / Chess Records
Studio Session for Howlin' Wolf, December 18, 1951 / Chess Records
Studio Session for The Southern Jubilee Singers, December 19, 1951 / Chess Records
Studio Session for L.B. Lawson & James Scott Jr., Probably 1951
Studio Session for J.C. Cole, Probably 1951/1952
Studio Session for Arbee Stidham, Unknown Date(s) 1951/1952

Biography of Artists (See: The Sun Biographies)


1951

This year, unemployment dipped to 3.3% in the US and new roads were built to take the ever increasing numbers of cars including the New Jersey Turnpike. Children were given more than any other time in previous history with guitar lessons and sets of Encyclopedias to improve their minds . The average family income was $3,700 per year and people had money to spend so cars became more luxurious and had more powerful engines with options for two tone paint, during this time things like turn signals were still an extra and most drivers still used hand signals to tell other drivers which way they were turning. Television continued to grow with popular programmes like "I Love Lucy" and the first tests for Color Television Pictures were broadcast from Empire State Building on June 25th. Europe continued to export many cars to the US including Volkswagen's and Austin's.

Martin Luther King Jr. graduated with a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania.

1951

Dragnet was one the many shows from the period that began on radio and moved over to television, Dragent was about police and parts of the show still remain in the memories from those old enough to have seen the series including part of the opening title and these words "Ladies and gentlemen: the story you are about to hear is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent." The series ran on Television from 1951 - 1959, a new series was created and shown from 1967 - 1970.


1951

A big year for dulcet-toned crooner Nat King Cole, a rare black presence on the radio who  was so butterscotch smooth he offended no one. Also thrilling audiences were the easy-listening  jazz-pop sounds of Tony Bennett and Rosemary Clooney (Rosemary's cousin named  George, who became an actor).

The first juke-box that plays 45 RPM records is introduced.

Howling Wolf and Joe Turner popularize the "shouters".

Gunter Lee Carr cuts the dance novelty "We're Gonna Rock".

1951

The white Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed decides to speculate on the success of Leo  Mintz's store and starts a radio program, Moondog Rock And Roll Party, that broadcasts black  music to an audience of white teenagers. He called himself ''The Moondog'' and the music ''rock and roll'', black slang for sexual intercourse. In 1952 Freed, Mintz and Lew Platt put on what is now considered the first rock and roll concert, the Moondog Coronation Ball, at the Cleveland Arena. Thousands of teenagers whites and blacks, rushed the gates to see the Dominos, Paul Williams, and Varetta Dillard. The commotion caused the concert to be shut down early, but, as the saying goes, rock and roll was here to stay

A wave of young black vocal groups spring up with variations of the style popularized by  the Orioles. The Five Keys smooth harmonies hit with "The Glory Of Love", the Clovers  combine tougher harmonies with southern-inflected blues and hit with "Don't You Know I  Love You" and "Fool, Fool, Fool", kicking off a string of 15 straight Top Ten hits, the  Dominoes gospel-based singing and racy lyrics land them the biggest hit of the decade with  "Sixty Minute Man" which sells in such high numbers that it makes number 17 on the Pop  Charts as well.

In Memphis Sam Phillips records Ike Turner's band with Jackie Brenston on lead for "Rocket  88", leasing it to Chess Records of Chicago where the alcohol fueled rocker tops the charts  and further cements rock's future as a raucous, exciting and dangerous style of music.

Les Paul's dazzling electric guitar work on the number 1 Pop Hit "How High The Moon" with  Mary Ford allows the song to cross over onto the rhythm and blues charts bringing together  the diverse influences that would help form rock and roll.

1951

In 1951 Sam Phillips was incredibly busy in his part-time studio, recording as much of the  local blues and rhythm and blues talent as he could. In the first couple of years of the  Memphis Recording Service Sam's sessions included Memphis-area pianists Lost John Hunter,  Phineas Newborn, Albert Williams,  Louis Calvin Hubert , Mose Vinson, Ike Turner, William 'Strutcher'  Johnson, Evans Bradshaw, Eddie Snow, Ford Nelson, and Jack Kelly. It was natural that a  pianist with Billy Love's reputation among his peers would suit Phillips' needs and one day  in January or February 1951, possibly even before Rosco Gordon was there, Billy Love duly  appeared on Phillips' log sheets as the session pianist with harmonica bluesman Walter  Horton on Horton's ''Little Boy Blue'' released on Modern Records.

In 1951 Roy Orbison had been appearing regularly on KERB Radio in Kermit.

Libya is granted its independence, followed by twenty other new African nations over the next ten years, a spur to black self-determination in the United States.


ALAN FREED - Popular New York City disc jockey for radio station WINS who is often credited  with coining the phrase "rock and roll". Alan Freed, who was born in Johnstown,  Pennsylvania, on December 15, 1922, was one of the most successful disc jockey's in the  country until his career was ruined by the payola scandals of the 1950s. Worked at various  small stations throughout Ohio, Alan Freed came to  Cleveland in 1950 and began working for a TV station before picking up regular work at WJW  radio at 3717 Euclid Avenue, an AM station with the powerful transmitter that reached a  large part of the state.


Freed signed on to play classical music but then became friendly with  Leo Mintz, owner of the town's Record Rendezvous store, who persuaded him that his future  lay in playing rough, dance-able rhythm and blues, a black music style that was finding a  following among the city's white youth.

In 1951 Freed went to the station bosses, got the go-ahead for a youth-oriented show, and  then almost got fired, not for scrapping the station play list, but for playing records by black  artists. Listeners supported him, however, and he was given a free hand on the late-night  shift-the Moondog Shift, as he called it. Soon he'd christened himself the Moondog and was  whooping and screaming in between records, swigging whiskey on air, pounding telephone  books with his fists to beef up the beat, talking to an imaginary studio dog, and referring to  his listeners as Moondoggers or Moon Puppies.

The Moondog Rock and Roll Party initially attracted a black audience (most of whom thought  this screaming disc jockey with jive like vocals was himself black), but whites soon picket it  up, especially after the press brought the music to national attention following the riot at  Freed's showcase gig at the Cleveland Arena in 1952. He became one of the first disc  jockey's in the country to play records from the Chess and King labels, what Billboard up to  1949 had called race music, for a white, teenage audience. One of the things that got Freed  into trouble was his co-composer credits on several songs, including "Sincerely" (Chess 1581)  by the Moonglows and "Maybellene" (Chess 1604) by Chuck Berry.

The later package at Cleveland Arena featured Clevelander Screamin' Jay Hawkins, who had  earlier boxed in a local Golden Gloves contest in this arena and was noted for stage props  that included coffins, voodoo insignia, and a skull called Henry. The Moondog tours  catapulled Hawkins to the crest of his career in 1957, when he appeared in the Mister Rock  and Roll movie that starred Alan Freed. Hawkin's role as an African bush warrior with a bone  through his noise angered the NAACP(*), however, which got the film company to cut parts  out and even lobbied the National Casket Association to stop supplying the coffins for his  stage act.

Alan Freed left for a job at New York's WINS in 1954. There he continued championing  rhythm and blues and Alan Freed was the first disc jockey in New York City to play Elvis  Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel" in 1956. In May 1958, an Alan Freed-organized concert held in  the Boston Arena at 238 Street across Botolph Street, was about to start when a phalanx of  Boston's finest stormed to the stage and turned to face the crowd, nightstick drawn. Freed,  the show's emcee, was informed that the show would not be allowed to go on until everyone  in the audience sat down. Freed instead egged on the crowd, got himself arrested, and  caused the gig to be cancelled. Meanwhile, backstage, two of the performers on Freed's  package tour had finally had enough of each other's company. The story goes that while  Freed was arguing with the cops out front, Jerry Lee Lewis's father had a gun trained on  Chuck Berry, who was in turn holding a knife to Jerry Lee's neck.

On Christmas Day 1956, Alan Freed promoted the first raucous rock and roll show at  Brooklyn Paramount, University Plaza, Flatbush and DeKalb Avenue, Brooklyn at this longclosed  concert hall, now part of Long Island University. The show with Fats Domino and  Frankie Lymon was so successful that Freed soon became a millionaire. He had wisely  arranged to take a large cut of the door takings rather than a fixed fee. The big stars of the  day, Buddy Holly and the Crickets, Little Richard, and so on, played over the next two years,  but the shows were stopped in 1958 after a riot at the Freed-sponsored gig in Boston. At one  of Freed's last Paramount shows, the never-very-chummy Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis  had a furious argument over who should top the bill. Berry claimed seniority, and so Lewis  went on first and ended by setting fire to the piano with gasoline while still playing it. The  crowd went wild. Off went Lewis, who turned to Berry and jeered, "Follow that, nigger".

After continued played rhythm and blues on WINS, money troubles and the payola scandal  ruined his career; he died in 1965.


1951

In May or June 1951 Billy Love and his friend Richard Sanders appeared on a Rufus Thomas  session for Chess records, ''Night Workin' Blues'', and then around July 1951 Love recorded  with drummer Willie Nix on a session that produced the RPM disc '' Lonesome Bedroom  Blues''. In October he was on another Rufus Thomas session, ''No More Dogging Around'', and  it was reported by some contemporaries that Billy Love coached singer Bobby Bland in  matters of stage presentation following his first recordings in December 1951 and his debut  singing with the Rosco Gordon band.

Bobby Bland and Rosco Gordon, Memphis, Tennessee, early 1950s. ^

If this is so, it lends weight to the view that Love was a  veteran of the Beale Street theatres by that time. This is further backed-up by reports of  Love being an accomplished arranger.



Bobby Bland (center) and his band at Club Handy in Memphis, circa 1950. >

Certainly he was a regular at several clubs and bars. Calvin Newborn remembered that   Love was among the musicians who often hung, around the store of theatre manager   Robert Henry, looking for gigs. Talking of his friends like Billy who were part of the Florida   Street crowd, Rosco Gordon told John Floyd, "The people in my band re mostly   neighbours.



We would all go to Sunbeam Mitchells Club Handy and I would meet a lot of   musicians singer Big Lucky Carter remembered, The greatest musicians you had was   upstairs at Sunbeam Mitchell's. All of the musicians would come through up here. It was  hard to find a hotel in those days. They'd stop by Sunbeams and play for their supper.

That was the baptizing place for musicians. If you come out of there, if they said you was a   musician, you was a musician." We can imagine a proud Milton Billy Love stepping out into   the post-jam session sunshine on many an occasion and, by all accounts, stumbling out on   others after an evening of drink and dice.


Disc jockey Rufus Thomas and joined the staff of WDIA radio in 1951. >

1951

Rufus inherited the 'Sepia Swing Club' from B. B. King when King went on the road on the  back of his burgeoning recording career. 'Sepia Swing Club' was on at 3pm. Rufus had  already worked a 6.30 to 2.30 shift American Textile and he used to catch the streetcar to  the radio station, often leaping into his chair at or just beyond the opening of the show,  ready to take off "like a late freight" as he put it.

After a while he would get a ride in his  friend's car and then from 1954 he travelled in his own automobile. His opening patter  remained the same though: "Come in the club, we're ready and right/ Got records and  jive, no fuss no fight/ This is Rufus Thomas of Sepia Swing/ Gonna try to make you laugh  and sing''.

1951

In the 1951 Memphis phone book under ''Recording Studios'' there are three listed: Memphis Recording Service, KWEM Radio Station, and Berl Olswanger Music. (Oldwanger was dubbed ''Mr. Music of Memphis''. He broadcast locally on radio and television, and ran a music store at 1531 Union Avenue that included a recording studio.

JANUARY 1951

Sam Phillips cuts several audition acetates of Walter Horton for Modern Records.

Sam Phillips  records B.B. King for RPM Records.

During January of 1951 the United States government began nuclear bomb testing at a test site in Nevada. After the initial development of the atomic bomb during the mid-1940s the U.S. had moved its test sites off of the country’s mainland and began using islands in the Pacific. Due to logistical and safety concerns the U.S. Government decided to move the testing back to the mainland in 1951 and chose a large portion of mountainous and desert land in Nevada, located about 65 miles away from Las Vegas, as their site. The first series of tests to be held at this new site was named Operation Ranger. Initially, many tests were atmospheric tests but because of the adverse health effects that were observed all of the tests were moved underground by 1962. A total of 928 nuclear tests were conducted at the Nevada Test Site between 1951 and 1992. 

JANUARY 2, 1951 TUESDAY

Columbia released Lefty Frizzell's ''Look What Thoughts Will Do'' backed by ''Shine, Shave, Shower (It's Saturday)''.

JANUARY 5, 1951 FRIDAY

Slim Whitman recorded his first hit, ''Love Song Of The Waterfall'', at the KWKH Studio in Shreveport, Louisiana. The label will bill him on the single as ''Slim Whitman, The Smilin' Star Duster''.

JANUARY 6, 1951 SATURDAY

Lefty Frizzell tops the Billboard country chart with ''I Love You A Thousand Ways''.

*


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Deep in the Sun tape archives lies an uncredited tape box, marked only "Sam's poem - Do not erase". The inscription is old and almost surely in Marion Keisker's hand. It contains the recitation on this track. A duly surprised Sam Phillips had little trouble identifying the artist. And so Sam C. Phillips, record producer before there were such things, talent scout and architect of careers too numerous to mention, finally makes his debut as a recording artist. His efforts took a half a century to appear, but were worth the wait.


STUDIO SESSION FOR SAM PHILLIPS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE 1951

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: PROBABLY 1951
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

He recalled: "I had a friend named Mary  Lois Crisler back in high school in Florence, Alabama. I was very fond of her and one night I took her to see the John Daniel Quartet. They were playing nearby and we borrowed my brother's car and drove to see them. The highlight of the show for us was when Troy Daniel, John's brother, recited that poem from the Stamps-Baxter hymnal. We were both very impressed with it".

"Anyway, Mary Lois went off and got married to a guy in the Air Force. He was killed quite young and she moved around a bit, finally settling in Texas. Years later after I came to Memphis I got to thinking about Mary Lois and all that had happened to her so I decided to surprise her with that tape. I recited the poem in my best announcer's voice and sent it to her. That was around 1950. She was delighted with it''.

''It was still her favorite poem. Its one of mine too. I really think it does a fine job of revealing the things that matter in life", Sam recalls.

01 - ''WOULD ANYBODY CARE'' - B.M.I. - 2:23
Composer: - Stamps
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date Probably Early 1951
Released: - 2000
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16387-32 mono
SUN GOSPEL

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Sam Phillips - Vocal
Unknown Musicians

The true story about the poem is, that in Sam Phillips' high-school days, a girl named Mary Lois Crisler had  moved to town from Moulton, thirty-five miles away, her father repaired old woodstoves at the smallest  hardware store in town, and the family was extremely poor. There were mock-trail cases every week in a  course Sam took in commercial law, and every week, Sam beat everybody, whether for the prosecution or the  defense, unless he happened to run up against Mary Lois Crisler. ''Now, she didn't have as many friends in  the class as I did, but when she got through with her case, she whipped my ass every time, but that taught me  something. Now, here was the woman that I just absolutely wanted to whip more than the rest of the class put  together, but probably I got afraid. And didn't know it. I got frightened to death that this woman was going to  win and couldn't admit it (to myself)''. The lesson was clear: ''You can't let anybody get a hold of you and  make something out of you that is not instinctively yours''. The result was ''Mary Lois Crisler was about the  only girl at that time that I reckon I ever thought I was in love with''.

One time he took her to a John Daniel Quartet show that Sam's brother J.W. (Jud) was promoting for the  DeMolay society, going out to Lovelace Community to borrow his brother Horace's 1937 Dodge for their  date and impressing Mary Lois with his knowledge not just of the music but his personal acquaintance with  some of the members of the quartet. The highlight of the concert was troy Daniel reciting an old poem called  ''Would Anybody Care?''.

''If I had heavy burdens'', Troy recited with feeling, ''That I must bear alone

If I had grief and troubles
That others had not known
If I in my heart's deep sorrow
And nothing to compare
Would anybody comfort me,
Would anybody care?

If my life had been a failure
And I tried but could not win
If I became discouraged
And said, I'll never try again
If my heart is sad and lonely
Filled with sorrow and despair
Would anybody cheer me,
Would anybody care?

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©



Joe Willie Wilkins (left) and Walter Horton (right) >

Had it not been for the emergence of Little Walter, then Walter Horton would no doubt be (rightly) regarded as the greatest of the post-War harp players. This is the first known recording, and its a tour de force of harmonica-playing, demonstrating different techniques and frequent changes in tempo. It is, quite simply, one of the classic tracks of post-War blues.



Furthermore, its easy to see why the Biharis accepted two complete sessions of Horton's material after hearing this "Audition". Mention, too, must be made of the superb guitar accompaniment (Joe Willie Wilkins?) which echoes the harp in some passages and acts as a stunning counterpoint in others. All blues should be this good!

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR WALTER HORTON
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR MODERN RECORDS 1951

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: PROBABLY JANUARY 1951
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

It's widely assumed that this tour de force is Walter Horton's first known recording as a featured artist, although the acetate is undated and the recording isn't noted in Marion Keisker's logs. It first appeared in the early 1970s on the grammatically challenged Memphis Blues at Sunshine LP. Was it really recorded in January 1951? Who are the guys behind him? On both counts, we're unsure. The other side of the acetate held a white female singing Mitt Addington's ''Without Him Blues''. Addington first saw his name on Sun in 1953 when he co-wrote both sides of Big Memphis Marainey's record, but he was a pal of Keisker's and could have demo'd songs earlier than 1953. All we know for sure is that Walter Horton wasn't known as Little Walter after Walter Jacobs appropriated the name in September 1952, so this tune probably predates the fall of 1952. Adding a further layer of confusion, another ''Walter Instrumental'' was issued on Bear Family's Joe Hill Louis CD. The questions surrounding provenance and the marginal quality of the acetate notwithstanding, this recording pretty much defines what Walter Horton could do with a harmonica. You get the sense that he could have carried on awhile without running short of ideas. If this indeed dates to early 1951, it's easy to see why the Biharis accepted two complete sessions of Horton's material after hearing this test. Mention, too, must be made of the guitar playing which echoes the harp in places and acts as a counterpoint in others.

01 - "LITTLE WALTER'S INSTRUMENTAL" – B.M.I. - 2:53
Composer: - Walter Horton
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably January 1951
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 105 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1956
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-1-6 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Walter Horton - Harmonica
Possibly Billy Love - Piano
Joe Willie Wilkins - Guitar
Unknown – Drums

According to harmonica player Walter Horton and had recently formed a duo with Riley B. King, ''I was just walking around one day and decided I'd go up to his studio. Joe Hill Louis was playing, and so I stopped in there and played a couple of numbers, and after that, Sam Phillips wanted me to record for him''. As if to bear out this account, Sam Phillips immediately dubbed the thirty-three-year-old Horton ''Mumbles'' as much for his dreamy nature as his manner of speech, but the instrumental sample that he sent to Modern on January 17, 1951, is a masterpiece of sound and tone, mixing a kind of ethereal lyricism with a focused attack, and while Horton's melodies may have derived from familiar tunes, in everything else his playing represented just what Sam was looking for, a free-flowing feel that had its origins solely in the artist's imagination.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


JANUARY 8, 1951

Decca released two separate Red Foley singles: his solo recording of ''Hot Rod Race'' and a duet effort with Evelyn Knight, ''My Heart Cries For You''.

Sam Phillips recorded six more titles on Riley B. King at the beginning of January 1951, nothing he considered particularly outstanding, but the Bihari brothers appeared to be satisfied, and it resulted in another release a couple of months later. The two sides chosen for the single each provided a different glimpse of the singer's potential, with the first, ''My Baby's Gone'' (RPM 318), stamped by a makeshift rhumba beat that, just two years later, would become the basis for ''Woke Up This Morning'', one of his most enduring hits. The backside, ''Don't You Want A Man Like Me'', offered a slow crooned vocal that never quite caught fire and, like the first, seemed in the end curiously unfinished. To Sam it was B.B.'s disc jockey background as much as anything else, his professional affability coupled with an almost desperate personal desire to please, that stood as the chief impediment to his breaking free of the traces of conformity and convention. But he didn't sense from their reaction that the Bihari brothers were in any way displeased, they were, after all, just casting about for a hit, so, as a matter of pure pragmatism, he simply decided to look elsewhere, among some of the other equally gifted but less ''professional'' musicians who came into his studio, for that secret store of talent, that indefinable spirit that lay within the soul of every man, to which he felt that he alone could the unlocking key.


Riley B. King at WDIA studio 1950/1951 >

King is a true visionary of blues. He was among the first to take blues out on the long highway and to see, on a grand scale, the connection between extensive touring and the sales of records. While King has been working to sell blues to the public, he has also been busy innovating and adding to the music. In his early days, King fused powerful, gospel-inflected vocals and stately, intricate, Texas-flavored blues guitar with the raw guts of Mississippi Delta blues, thus creating and perfecting a hybrid that has been an inspiration to rural and urban musicians alike.

His use of a large band with a powerful horn section, elaborate musical arrangements and even strings, also made him popular and influential in the blues world. Today he continues to build on the music, incorporating elements of jazz, funk, pop and soul. And few blues guitarists can match King's clean power and dexterity.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR B.B. KING
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICES FOR RPM RECORDS 1951

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: MONDAY JANUARY 8, 1951
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

01(1) - "FINE LOOKIN' WOMAN" – B.M.I. - 2:16
Composer: - Riley B. King-Jules Taub
Publisher: - Modern Music
Matrix number: - MM 1491 - Take 1 -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 8, 1951
Released: - 2002
First appearance: - Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHM2 835-2-2 mono
B.B. KING - THE MODERN RECORDINGS 1950 - 1951
And a detailed host of photographs and memorabilia.

01(2) - "FINE LOOKIN' WOMAN" – B.M.I. - 2:20
Composer: - Riley B. King-Jules Taub
Publisher: - Modern Music
Matrix number: - MM 1404 - Take 2
Recorded: - January 8, 1951
Released: - 1952
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm standard single RPM 348-A mono
FINE LOOKIN' WOMAN / B.B. BOOGIE
Reissued: - 2002 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHM2 835-2-3 mono
B.B. KING - THE MODERN RECORDINGS 1950 - 1951

01(3) - "FINE LOOKIN' WOMAN" – B.M.I. - 2:28
Composer: - Riley B. King-Jules Taub
Publisher: - Modern Music
Matrix number: - MM 1491 - Take 3 -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 8, 1951
Released: - 2002
First appearance: - Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHM2 835-2-4 mono
B.B. KING - THE MODERN RECORDINGS 1950 - 1951

02 - "QUESTIONNAIRE BLUES" – B.M.I. - 2:57
Composer: - Riley B. King-Joe Josea
Publisher: - Modern Music
Matrix number: - MM 1488 - Take 1 -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 8, 1951
Released: - 1968
First appearance: -   First appearance: - Kent Records (LP) 33rpm KST 9011 mono
ANTHOLOGY OF THE BLUES - B.B. KING 1949-1950
Reissued: - 2002 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHM2 835-1-14 mono
B.B. KING - THE MODERN RECORDINGS 1950 - 1951

03 - "A NEW WAY OF DRIVING" – B.M.I. - 1:55
Composer: - Riley B. King-Sam Ling
Publisher: - Modern Music
Matrix number: - MM 1490 - Take Not Originally Issued  1 - 
Recorded: - January 8, 1951
Released: - 1968
First appearance: - Kent Records (LP) 33rpm KST 9011 mono
ANTHOLOGY OF THE BLUES - B.B. KING 1949-1950
Reissued: - 2002 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHM2 835-2-1 mono
B.B. KING - THE MODERN RECORDINGS 1950 - 1951

04(1) - "B.B. BLUES" – B.M.I. - 2:12
Composer: - Riley B. King-Jules Taub
Publisher: - Modern Music
Matrix number: - MM 1489 - Incomplete Take 1 -  Not Originally Issued
Released: - 2002
First appearance: - Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHM2 835-1-15 mono
B.B. KING - THE MODERN RECORDINGS 1950 - 1951

Solomon Hardy's squealing tenor sax wails throughout the mid-tempo ''B.B. Blues'', King shouting the blues full-throttle. The patriotic Korean War epic ''Questionnaire Blues'' and the double-entendre boogie ''A New Way Of Driving'' stem from the same session as ''B.B. Blues'' but had to wait a couple of decades to see light of day on that same historic Kent LP. Rounding out the session was the easy-swinging ''Fine Lookin' Woman'', issued as RPM 348 with Hardy squawking up a storm and is also on offer here in an alternate rendition.

04(2) - "B.B. BLUES" – B.M.I. - 2:29
Composer: - Riley B. King-Jules Taub
Publisher: - Modern Music
Matrix number: - MM 1489 - Take 2 -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 8, 1951
Released: - 2002
First appearance: - Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHM2 835-1-16 mono
B.B. KING - THE MODERN RECORDINGS 1950 - 1951

B.B. King had recorded for Bullet Records at the WDIA radio studio in 1949 before recording three singles for RPM at Sam Phillips' studio. This was the fourth. Phillips' willingness to court the unusual betrayed itself on ''B.B. Blues'', recorded on this session and pulled for release six months later. Solomon Hardy's wailing sax punctuated B.B's vocal to striking effect. While B.B. seemed quietly resigned to his misery, Hardy screamed in anguish. Pianist Ford Nelson was one of B.B.'s fellow disc jockeys on WDIA and performed with him as an on-air duo.

04(3) - "B.B. BLUES" – B.M.I. - 2:27
Composer: - Riley B. King-Jules Taub
Publisher: -  Modern Music
Matrix number: - MM 1489 - Take 3
Recorded: - January 8, 1951
Released: - June 1951
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm standard single RPM 323-A mono
B.B. BLUES / SHE'S DYNAMITE
Reissued: - 2002 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHM2 835-1 mono
B.B. KING - THE MODERN RECORDINGS 1950 - 1951

05(1) - "DON'T YOU WANT A MAN LIKE ME" – B.M.I - 2:21
Composer: - Riley B. King-Jules Taub
Publisher: - Modern Music
Matrix number: - MM 1470 - Take 1 -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 8, 1951
Released: - 2002
First appearance: - Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHM2 835-1-12 mono
B.B. KING - THE MODERN RECORDINGS 1950 - 1951

05(2) - "DON'T YOU WANT A MAN LIKE ME" – B.M.I. - 2:19
Composer: - Riley B. King-Jules Taub
Publisher: - Modern Music
Matrix number: - MM 1470 - Take 2 or Take 3
Recorded: - January 8, 1951 - Missing In Action
Released: - 1951
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm standard single RPM 318-A mono
DON'T YOU WANT A MAN LIKE ME / MY BABY'S GONE
Reissued: - 2002 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHM2 835-1
B.B. KING - THE MODERN RECORDINGS 1950 - 1951

Both sides of RPM 318 served as intriguing tuneups for subsequent King gems. ''My Baby's Gone'', cut on 8 January 1951, is his first crack at what would morph into his horn-leavened early 1953 smash ''Woke Up This Morning''. The bubbly Latin rhythmic pulse is already in evidence and the lyrics are nearly identical, but the  innovative tempo switch into full-blown jump mode that made ''Woke Up This Morning'' so distinctive isn't.

King takes ''Don't You Want A Man Like Me'' at a more deliberate pace than the sprightly south-of-the-border tempo of his 1954 L.A. treatment, concentrating on his vocal to the total abandonment of Lucille.

06 - "MY BABY'S GONE" – B.M.I. - 1:59
Composer: - Riley B. King-Jules Taub
Publisher: - Modern Music
Matrix number: - MM 1469
Recorded: - January 8, 1951 - Missing In Action
Released: - 1951
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm standard single RPM 318-B mono
MY BABY'S GONE / DON'T YOU WANT A MAN LIKE ME
Reissued: - 2002 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHM2 835-1-11 mono
B.B. KING - THE MODERN RECORDINGS 1950 - 1951

07 - "SHAKE IT UP AND GO" – B.M.I. - 2:33
Composer: - Traditional Arranged by Riley B. King-Jules Taub
Publisher: - Modern Music
Matrix number: - MM 1805 - Unknown Take
Recorded: - Probably January 8, 1951 - Missing In Action
Released: - 1952
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm standard single RPM 355 mono
SHAKE IT UP AND GO / MY OWN FAULT, DARLIN'
The other side of 355 was "My Own Fault, Darlin'", a 1952 recording.
Reissued: - 2002 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHM2 835-2-5 mono
B.B. KING - THE MODERN RECORDINGS 1950 - 1951

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
B.B. King - Vocal and guitar
Solomon Hardy - Saxophone
Ford Nelson - Piano
James "Shinny" Walker - Bass
E.A. Kemp – Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


JANUARY 9, 1951 TUESDAY

Brenda Gayle Webb, Loretta Lynn's youngest sister is born in Paintville, Kentucky. She adopts the stage name Crystal Gayle, and her pop-influenced country earns a string of hits, including the million-selling ''Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blues''.

JANUARY 10, 1951 WEDNESDAY

Sony executive Allen Butler is born in Clarksville, Tennessee. Under his leadership in the 1990s, Wade Hayes, Rick Trevino, The Kinleys and The Dixie Chicks all have their first records released.

JANUARY 11, 1951 THURSDAY

Lefty Frizzell recorded ''I Want To Be With You Always'' and ''Gibe Me More, More, More (Of Your Kisses)'' at the Jim Beck Studio in Dallas, Texas.

Teddy Wilburn joins the Army.

Ernest Tubb recorded ''Don't Stay Too Long'' in an afternoon session at the Castle Studio in Nashville's Tulane Hotel.

JANUARY 12, 1951 FRIDAY

Pop guitarist Larry Hoppen is born in Greenpoint, New York. As a member of Orleans, he contributes to the 1976 pop hit ''Still The One'', covered by Bill Anderson in country music. He also co-writes the Oak Ridge Boys 1986 hit ''Juliet''.

JANUARY 15, 1951 MONDAY

''TV Ranch'' debuts on WAGA-TV in Atlanta, Georgia. The program provides a launching pad for Brenda Lee.

JANUARY 16, 1951 TUESDAY

Guitarist Tommy Crain is born in Nashville. He becomes a member of The Charlie Daniels Band, playing on ''The Devil Went Down To Georgia'', ''In America'' and ''Drinkin' My Baby Goodbye''.

JANUARY 19, 1951 FRIDAY

Jimmy Murphy recorded ''Electricity'' in his first session, using Anita Carter as his only supporting musician. The performance is ranked among country's 500 greatest singles in the Country Music Foundation's 2003 book ''Heartaches By The Number''.

JANUARY 21, 1951 SUNDAY

Jimmy Wakely performs on the Ed Sullivan-hosted CBS variety show ''Toast Of The Town''. Among the other guests is singer Margaret Truman, the daughter of president Harry S. Truman.

JANUARY 26, 1951 FRIDAY

Hank Snow recorded ''Down The Trail Of Achin' Hearts'' and ''Bluebird Island'' with Anita Carter during the evening at Nashville's Brown Radio Production.

JANUARY 27, 1951 SATURDAY

More than two years after ''The Louisiana Hayride'' turned him down, Lefty Frizell debuts on the ''Hayride'' when it airs from Beaumont's City Auditorium.

JANUARY 30, 1951 TUESDAY

Carl Smith recorded ''If Teardrops Were Pennies'', ''Mr. Moon'' and ''Let's Live A Little'' during an afternoon session at the Castle Studio in Nashville.

''Gene Autry And The Mounties'' debuts in theaters, with Autry playing a Montana marshal who joins Canadian lawmen to chase bank robbers. Pat Buttram and Autry's horse, Champion, make their prerequisite appearance.


FEBRUARY 1951

Sam Phillips cuts auditions of Rosco Gordon for Modern Records.

Modern accept Walter   Horton's demo's and Sam Phillips duly cuts a session for Modern Records.

FEBRUARY 1951

Studio session for Rosco Gordon at the Memphis Recording Service in Memphis, Tennessee.

FEBRUARY 2, 1951 FRIDAY

MGM released Hank Williams' ''Cold Cold Heart'' and ''Dear John''.

The oil business provides the backdrop for a Roy Rogers film as ''Spoilers Of The West'' debuts in theaters. Foy Willing and The Riders Of The Purple Sage join Rogers on the silver screen.

FEBRUARY 3, 1951 SATURDAY

Songwriter Linda Hargrove is born in Tallahassee, Florida. She writes ''Let It Shine'', for Olivia Newton-John; ''Tennessee Whiskey'', for George Jones; and ''Just Get Up And Close The Door'', for Johnny Rodriguez.

FEBRUARY 8, 1951 THURSDAY

Pop vocalist Mary McCreary is born in San Francisco, California. In 1965, she marries future country hitmaker Leon Russell.

FEBRUARY 11, 1951 SUNDAY

Billy Walker holds his first recording session in a new agreement with Columbia Records, at the Jim Beck Recording Studio in Dallas, Texas.

FEBRUARY 14, 1951 WEDNESDAY

Michael Doucet is born in Scott, Louisiana. In 1975, he forms BeauSoleil, a Cajun group that joins Mary Chapin Carpenter for her 1991 hit ''Down At The Twist And Shout''.

FEBRUARY 17, 1951 SATERDAY

Zeb Turner recorded ''Chew Tobacco Rag'' at the King Recording Studio in Cincinnati.

FEBRUARY 18, 1951 SUNDAY

Isabel Preysler is born in The Philippines. In 1971, she marries ''To All The Girls I've Loved Before'' singer Julio Iglesias.

FEBRUARY 20, 1951 TUESDAY

Kathie Baillie, of Baillie & The Boys, is born in Morristown, New Jersey. She sings on seven Top 10 singles for the trio which becomes a duo after its first album from 1987-1990, including ''Oh Heart'', ''Long Shot'' and ''(I Wish I Had A) Heart Of Stone''.

FEBRUARY 21, 1951 WEDNESDAY

Keyboard player Vince Welnick is born in Phoenix. He joins the jam band The Grateful Dead in 1973, more than 20 years before the group is mentioned in the lyrics of Lonestar's ''No News''.


FEBRUARY 1951

In February, Sam Phillips sent the Bihari brothers sample dubs on another artist in whom he had a strong belief, a piano player with a quirky, almost childlike sense of his own inimitability. Rosco Gordon was twenty-two-yeas old and had grown up on Florida Street in South Memphis, not too fat from Beale Street, where, he liked to say, he had gotten his education. As a teenager he won the Amateur Night contest at the Palace Theater, and he picked up coaching on his piano playing from Billy ''Red'' Love, another young Beale Streeter, whom Rosco, a heavy drinker himself from his teen years, described affectionately as a ''winehead'' but who could play virtually every style of piano, past, present, and future, with effortless ease.

From the moment Rosco entered the studio, Sam Phillips liked him. He was a funny little guy with nothing polished about him. He had a long expressive face and an infectious enthusiasm, and he played piano with an amateur ishness that belied Billy ''Red'' Love teaching. His music in fact conveyed an almost fey whimsically, driven by a distinctive rhythmic approach, a kind of lilting loping beat built on a rudimentary boogie-woogie base.

According to Sam Phillips, ''Rosco was one of my favorite people. He would always come in by himself and sit down and play the piano, in this, very different way, and I thought, Well, you know, maybe we can just make a band out of this thing, we might not need any rhythm other than the way he plays this piano''. Even so, there was little question he needed a lot of work, and Sam had no idea how the Bihari brothers would react to him, he didn't really give a damn how they reacted to him, so long as they didn't steal Rosco from him, the main thing was, he didn't want Rosco to change, he didn't want him to go off and try to imitate someone else, he believed in him just as he was, and he did everything in his power to convince Rosco of that, too.

According to Rosco Gordon, ''Sam said, 'What you're playing, nobody in the world id going to play that but you'. Said, 'I don't know what it is. It's not blues, it's not pop, it's not rock. So we gonna call it ''Rosco's Rhythm''. That's what we called it. That's where that came from''.


Rosco Gordon >

''I had a Memphis band and a road band'', recalled Rosco Gordon. ''The Memphis band was used mostly on recordings. Willie Wilkes, he played tenor saxophone. He was an old guy at the time, good player. I mean he was tight, he was like my father and me being so young. Richard Sanders was the great baritone, he had the guts and that, I tell you. There was Raymond Thomas, alto saxophone and Manson on drums. For sessions I also used Adolph Duncan on tenor saxophone, Billy ''Red'' Love on piano, Pat Hare on guitar, and Tuff Green on bass''.

''On the road, I had E. Jefferson and Harvey Simmons on tenor saxophones, Billy ''Red'' Love on piano, Murry Daley on drums with pick-up bass players. I toured with Tuff Green's band as well'', said Gordon. 


''My main gig was in Mason, Tennessee, Doyle's Nitespot. I played Arkansas, Brinkley, The Club Eldorado in Little Rock, Hot Springs, Pine Bluff, all over Mississippi... West Memphis and Club Handy on Beale Street, Memphis. The audiences were very enthusiastic 'cause I had a new sound''.

''Look, we were young, he confides. ''We were enjoying what we were doing. Man, I was so hot! Every time I looked around I had a new record out. At 18 or 19 I had the best of everything, big Cadillac, the sharpest clothes, $200 shoes, girls... had so much fun, I tell you, But I didn't know anything about the business side. I get as big a thrill out of playing now as I did then. The same thrill, the same enthusiasm, the same energy, everything. It's still there. It doesn't just disappear''.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR ROSCO GORDON
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR RPM RECORDS 1951

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: FEBRUARY 1951
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
AND/OR MARION KEISKER

Rosco Gordon Jr. was born in Memphis in 1934, the youngest of eight children, growing up on Florida  Street. He taught himself piano by sitting next to his sister while she practiced her lessons and before the age  of eighteen had won the Talent Show at Beale Street's famed Palace Theater (the M.C. was Rufus Thomas)  and was appearing on WDIA, America's first all black radio station (where B.B. King got his start around the  same time). Through WDIA's owner James Mattis he was sent to see Sam C. Phillips who recorded him,  leasing his sides to the Bihari Brother' RPM label out of Los Angeles, charting for the first time with  ''Saddled The Cow (Milked The Horse)'' b/w ''Ouch! Pretty Baby'' which went to number 9 at the Rhythm And  Blues Charts in September of 1951.

01 – ''CITY WOMAN'' – B.M.I. - 3:18
Composer: - Rosco Gordon-Jules Taub
Publisher: - Modern Music
Matrix number: - 1503
Recorded: - February 1951
Released: - April 1951
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm RPM 322-A mono
CITY WOMAN / ROSCOE'S BOOGIE
Reissued: - November 14, 1998 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm Ace CDCHD 694 mono
ROSCO GORDON - BOOTED - THE BEST OF THE RPM YEARS

02 – ''ROSCOE'S BOOGIE'' – B.M.I. - 2:45
Composer: - Rosco Gordon
Publisher: - Modern Music
Matrix number: - 1502
Recorded: - February 1951
Released: - April 1951
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm RPM 322-B mono
ROSCOE'S BOOGIE / CITY WOMAN
Reissued: - November 24, 1998 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm Ace CDCHD 694 mono
ROSCO GORDON - BOOTED - THE BEST OF THE RPM YEARS

''The Phillips studio in its early days was like a hole'', said Rosco Gordon. ''It was just something Sam had slammed together. It wasn't a recording studio, just a hole in the wall with the backs out of the recording equipment - and Sam using his soldering iron, his pliers and whatever. But he put it together. You didn't get out of the studio until you got it right. He's the best, I tell you he's the best. He generated enthusiasm and energy. He gives it you. It was Sam who arranged the first recording deals with RPM and Chess''. 

03 – ''SO TIRED'' - B.M.I. - 3:20
Composer: - Rosco Gordon
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 1951
Released: - 1982
First appearance: - Ace Records (LP) 33rpm Ace CH 51-1-4 mono
ROSCO GORDON - THE MEMPHIS SESSIONS - VOLUME 2
Reissued: - 2006 Charly Records (MP3) Internet Sample mono
ROSCO GORDON - LET'S GET HIGH

04 – ''SHE ROCKS ME'' - B.M.I.'' - 3:06
Composer: - Rosco Gordon
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 1951
Released: - 1982
First appearance: - Ace Records (LP) 33rpm Ace CH51-1-1 mono
ROSCO GORDON - THE MEMPHIS SESSIONS - VOLUME 2
Reissued: - 2006 Charly Records (MP3) Internet Sample mono
ROSCO GORDON - LET'S GET HIGH

Rosco's name is misspelled on all RPM labels.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rosco Gordon – Vocal & Piano
Probably the next musicians:
Billy ''Red'' Love - Piano
Pat Hare - Guitar
Willie Wilkes - Tenor Saxophone
Richard Sanders - Baritone Saxophone
Adolph Duncan - Tenor Saxophone
Tuff Green - Bass

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©



The world of post-war blues harmonica was wide and varied and many names go to make up the story: the two Sonny Boys, Junior wells, Snooky Pryor, George Smith, Papa Lightfoot and Slim Harpo. However, two artists that stood way out in front and could not be challenged were Little Walter (Jacobs) and Big Walter Horton. These gifted musicians transformed the whole concept of harmonica playing and they pioneered the electronically amplified harmonica during the forties.



Mouth harp maestro Walter Horton. This photo came from the Shelby County Prison Farm in Memphis, Tennessee. (Courtesy by Steve LaVere). >

Their amazing virtuosity changed the role of the instrument from a solo one to a band instrument and they did for the harmonica what Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young had done for the tenor sax in jazz, shaping their harmonica blues tones into breath-taking instrumental solos.

The harmonica or French harp as it was known in the south, had been a staple instrument in the rural southern states and was widely used by black and white musicians alike, from cornball hillbillies of Appalachia, to wandering minstrels, and jug bands of the delta. Even a negro, Deford Bailey, featured the harmonica on the snowy-white Grand Ole Opry in Nashville for many years.

Little Walter met Walter Horton in Memphis during the 1940s where they exchanged ideas. Little Walter later left for Chicago where he joined Muddy Waters band and later went on to stardom as a solo performer on Checker Records. Horton subsequently made his move to Chicago some years later, but not before he made some classic sides at Sam Phillips' Memphis Recording Service.

In early 1951 Sam Phillips recorded Walter Horton. It has been reported that he went down to Handy Park and brought both Walter Horton and Jim Lockhart back to his studio, where he recorded sample auditions for the Biharis.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR WALTER ''MUMBLES'' HORTON
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICES FOR RPM/MODERN RECORDS 1951

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: JANUARY/FEBRUARY 1951
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

All the recordings on this session were made direct to acetate lacquers, and a great deal of restoration work has been done, including cleaning and remastering.

01 - ''COTTON PATCH HOT FOOT'' - B.M.I - 2:33
Composer: - Walter Horton
Publisher: - Modern Music
Matrix number: - MM 1504 - Instrumental - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January/February 1951
Released: - 1973
First appearance: - Polydor Records (LP) 33rpm 2383 200-6 mono
COTTON PATCH HOTFOOT
Reissued: - 1988 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CHD 252-6 mono
MOUTH HARP MAESTRO

02(1) - ''WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH YOU'' - B.M.I. 2:27
Composer; - Walter Horton-Jules Taub
Publisher: -  Modern Music
Matrix number: - 1505 - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -  January/February 1951
Released: - 1973
First appearance: - Polydor Records (LP) 33rpm 2383 200-5 mono
COTTON PATCH HOTFOOT
Reissued: -  1988  Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CHDH 252-12 mono
MOUTH HARP MAESTRO

02(2) - ''WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH YOU'' - B.M.I. - 2:14
Composer; - Walter Horton-Jules Taub
Publisher: -  Modern Music
Matrix number: - 1505 - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -  January/February 1951
Released: - 1973
First appearance: - Polydor Records (LP) 33rpm 2383 200-12 mono
COTTON PATCH HOTFOOT
Reissued:  - 1988  Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CHDH 252-5 mono
MOUTH HARP MAESTRO

03(1) - ''BLUES IN THE MORNING'' - B.M.I. - 2:49
Composer: - Walter Horton
Publisher: -  Modern Music
Matrix number: - 1507 - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -  January/February 1951
Released: - 1973
First appearance: - Polydor Records (LP) 33rpm 2383 200-9 mono
COTTON PATCH HOTFOOT
Reissued: - 1988 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CHD 252-9 mono
MOUTH HARP MAESTRO

While transferring ''Blues In The Morning'' we noticed the acetate had another take of this number, not listed on the label. This take of the song is probably not Walter Horton on vocal and harmonica, and this gave rise to the theory that musicians would gather around the studio when Sam Phillips was holding sessions and would be given the chance to audition, even on the numbers that were currently being recorded.

03(2) - ''BLUES IN THE MORNING'' - B.M.I.
Composer: - Walter Horton
Publisher: -  Modern Music
Matrix number: - 1507 - Take 2
Recorded: -  January/February 1951
Released: - Unissued

04(1) - ''LITTLE BOY BLUE'' - B.M.I. - 2:59
Composer: - Robert Lockwood Jr
Publisher: -  Modern Music
Matrix number: - MM 1508 - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -  January/February 1951
Released: - 1973
First appearance: - Polydor Records (LP) 33rpm 2383 200-3 mono
COTTON PATCH HOTFOOT
Reissued: - 1988 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CHD 252-13 mono
MOUTH HARP MAESTRO

Also here for the first time is an alternate of the magnificent ''Little Boy Blue'', and two takes of ''What's The Matter With You'' from this session and best of all you can now hear clearly, for the first time, the wonderful instrumental ''Cotton' Patch Hot Foot'' (above).

04(2) – ''LITTLE BOY BLUE'' - B.M.I. - 2:56
Composer:- Robert Lockwood Jr
Publisher: -  Modern Music
Matrix number: - MM 1508 - Take 2
Recorded: -  January/February 1951
Released: - Early 1951
First appearance: - Modern Records (S) 78rpm Modern 809-A (mono)
LITTLE BOY BLUE / NOW TELL ME BABY
Reissued: - 1988 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CHD 252-7 mono
MOUTH HARP MAESTRO

During subsequent weeks Sam cut further sessions with Walter Horton, who was accompanied by Joe Hill Louis on guitar and drums, and possibly a dancer with bottle tops on his boots, producing a novel clickerty-clack effect.

An unknown pianist is just audible on ''Little Boy Blue'' and ''I'm In Love With You Baby''. From these first sessions the Biharis selected ''Little Boy Blue'' and ''Now Tell Me Baby'' for Horton's first release on Modern 809. On the labels he was credited as ''Mumbles''.

05(1) - ''NOW TELL ME BABY'' - B.M.I. - 3:04
Composer: - Walter Horton
Publisher: -  Modern Music
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -   January/February 1951
Released: - 1973
First appearance: - Polydor Records (LP) 33rpm 2383 200 mono
COTTON PATCH HOTFOOT
Reissued: - 1988 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CHD 252-10 mono
MOUTH HARP MAESTRO

The real sensation was finding an alternate take of ''Now Tell Me Baby'', which is quite different from the released version on Modern 809. This features the legendary guitarist Willie Johnson, whose choked guitar figure is musically better than the released version. Maybe Sam Phillips was looking for diversity, trying out new arrangements and riffs. Sadly we could not use both versions because the released master take is irreparably damaged. However it is available on a Memphis Blues collection on Nighthawk LP 105.

05(2) - ''NOW TELL ME BABY'' - B.M.I. - 3:07
Composer: - Walter Horton
Publisher: -  Modern Music
Matrix number: - MM 1506- Take 2 - Master Damaged
Recorded: -   January/February 1951
Released: - Early 1951 - Master Damaged
First appearance: - Modern Records (S) 78rpm Modern 809-B (mono)
NOW TELL ME BABY / LITTLE BOY BLUE
Reissued: - January 5, 2009 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm Ace CDCHD 1003 mono
THE MODERN DOWNHOME BLUES SESSIONS  VOLUME 3 - MEMPHIS ON DOWN

06(1) - ''WALTER'S BLUES (I'M IN LOVE WITH YOU) - B.M.I. - 3:07
Composer: - Walter Horton
Publisher: -  Modern Music
Matrix number: - MM 1509  – Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -   January/February 1951
Released: - 1973
First appearance: - Polydor Records (LP) 33rpm 2383 200-8 mono
COTTON PATCH HOTFOOT
Reissued: - 1988 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CHD 252-8 mono
MOUTH HARP MAESTRO

06(2) - ''WALTER'S BLUES (I'M IN LOVE WITH YOU) - B.M.I. - 2:37
Composer: - Walter Horton
Publisher: -  Modern Music
Matrix number: - MM 1509 – Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -   January/February 1951
Released: - 1973
First appearance: - Polydor Records (LP) 33rpm 2383 200-11 mono
COTTON PATCH HOTFOOT
Reissued: -   1988   Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CHD 252-11 mono
MOUTH HARP MAESTRO

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Walter Horton - Vocal & Harmonica
Joe Hill Louis - Guitar, Percussion
Willie Johnson - Guitar
Unknown tap dancing effect
Other Musicians Unknown

When Modern Records received outside masters, they would assign their own MM matrix numbers en-bloc, so these do not always accurately refer to the original sessions when they were recorded.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


MARCH 1951

"Memphis Bounce" b/w ''Sixty Days'' (Gilt-Edge 5026) by Slim Rhodes is released and reviewed in Billboard. It   is the second of four discs to be culled from the two Sam Phillips' sessions.

Over the course of the next month Sam Phillips worked out a deal with the Bihari brothers for both of his new artists, and on March 1 he sent sides by both Rosco Gordon and Walter Horton with some assurance, he felt, that the Biharis would pick out at least one single by each for release. In the fall of 1950 they had finally put out the first Joe Hill Louis single, ''I Feel Like A Million'' backed with ''Heartache Baby'' (Modern 795), but from Sam's point of view it hardly made up for the way they had treated him previously. From his perspective, one release over a period of six months did not exactly constitute a binding marriage. The Bihari brothers might think they were the only game in town, but he'd be damned if he'd be yoked to those pissants for life. So when he met Leonard Chess, who just happened to show up in town on a Southern promotion swing the very day that Sam sent off his new sides to the Biharis, Sam listened carefully to what Chess had to say.

Leonard Chess was a tough-talking hustler from Chicago with a record company that he ran with his younger brother, Phil. Not quite thirty-four-years old but looking older, with thinning hair and a gaunt, wiry body, he and his brother had arrived from Poland at eleven and seven, five years after their father had established a junk business in Bronzeville, on Chicago's teeming South Side. He had gotten into the record business in 1947 after running a tavern on the 3900 block of Cotton Grove Avenue and realizing that the live entertainment that he was presenting was in any cases as good as the records that he had on the jukebox. After buying out his original partners, at Buster Williams' suggestion he changed the name of the company from Aristocrat to Chess in June of 1950 (Buster said the new name, an Ellis Island simplification of the real family name, was short, sharp, and direct, and everyone knew the game of chess), and his first two releases were modest hits. The first, by jazz saxophonist Gene Ammons, was by far the bigger seller, but the second set the trend. ''Rolling Stone'' by Mississippi-born blues singer Muddy waters, was very much in the vanguard of the new down-home blues market, a trend that had in effect begun with the astounding success of John Lee Hooker's ''Boogie Chillen'' on the Modern label just one year earlier. When his tavern burned down in the fall of 1950, Leonard received a much-needed infusion of capital from the insurance, and the new label was enjoying its first big blues hit with Muddy waters' ''Louisiana Blues'', which in contrast to Hooker's improbable million-seller, was unlikely to sell more than twenty-five or thirty thousand copies. Leonard, in fact, was in town to promote that record and Muddy's upcoming release, ''Long Distance Call'', when Sam Phillips met him for the first time over at Dewey Phillips' show called ''Red Hot and Blue'' on WHBQ.

Sam Phillips could sense from the start that Leonard was different from the Bihari brothers. For one thing, with a new company just struggling to get under way, he was hungrier. For another, he was less smooth, less sure of himself. But like them, he was a smart street hustler, driven, intense, and like Dewey Phillips he spoke the language of his artists informally and without affectation (''Hey motherfucker'' could be the easygoing greeting of either one, but then Leonard might lapse into Yiddish if he was in the company of a landsman).

According to Sam Phillips, ''I kind of liked Leonard, he didn't really have very much money at the time, but he'd heard about my studio, and he came by, and we talked, and he said, 'Man, I'd give anything to work with you'''. And then, right on the spot, he proposed a deal, they'd split the profits 50-50 on any recording of Sam's that he released, so long as he had the rights of first refusal. ''And the first thing I gave him was ''Rocket 88''.

''Rocket 88'', an original number by a young group out of Clarksdale, Mississippi called the Kings of Rhythm, was a song that came to Sam Phillips indirectly through his association with B.B. King. King had met the kid who led the group, nineteen-year-old Ike Turner, a few years earlier, when B.B. Was still Riley King, still living in Indianola, Mississippi, with his wife, Martha. He was playing a little theater in Clarksdale, and this kid had a full-scale band, the Top hatters, and asked if he could sit in on piano. As young as he was, he had obviously gone to school on boogie-woogie, he had both energy and imagination to burn, and at his invitation Riley stayed with him for a night or two at his mother's house. Just two years later, unbeknownst to Turner, Riley was making records, and the Top Hatters had split unto two groups, the uptown Dukes of Swing, who could all read music and played the kind of swing that Sam broadcast from the Skyway at the Peabody, and the Kings of Rhythm, a small Louis Jordan-type of jump combo, tenor and baritone sax, plus a three-man rhythm section, that specialized in just wrecking the point. They were coming back from a gig in Greenville when Ike saw all these cars parked by the side of the road at a big roadhouse outside Chambers, Mississippi, with a sign that announced that B.B. King was playing there tonight.

Ike Turner had seen the posters on telegraph poles all over Mississippi, he said, with that same''peculiar name'' on it, but for some reason he had never attached it to the man he knew as Riley King. When he walked into the roadhouse, ''it was B.B., man, and we asked him, could we play a song? Hey said, Yeah, and, boy, we tore the house down. So he said, 'Man, you guys need to be recording'. And we said, 'Well, what do you do to record? How do you do it? Hey said, 'Well, man, this guy in Memphis has a studio, that's where I record'. He said, ''His name is Sam Phillips, and what I'm gonna do, I'm gonna tell him to give you a call, man, on Monday for you guys to come up and record'. I said, 'Just like that'? He said, 'Yeah. And sure enough, Monday Sam Phillips called. He wanted to know how soon could we come up. I told him, 'Right now'. And we had no idea, none, what we were gonna do when we got there'' .

Ike Turner arrives in Memphis with The Kings Of Rhythm, including Jackie Brenston. Sam   Phillips signs them to Chess contracts. Brenston is under age and his mother signs as his   guardian. "Rocket 88" and three other titles are shipped to Chess Records in Chicago.

As the bands and singers on Beale Street began making records, it was natural for everyone   to get the idea that they ought to record their own music. The growth of small local record   labels provided the opportunity for many of the performers. Memphis musicians all wanted   the same thing - a hit record.

When there was a success, as occurred in 1951 when Ike Turner and his Kings of Rhythm hit   the charts with Jackie Brenston singing lead on "Rocket 88", everyone's enthusiasm was   renewed. This song, with the musical revolution on Beale Street as a backdrop, helped bring   rock and roll to life. Memphis was not only the cradle of this new black music, it was the   central focus of an emerging white style.

MARCH 1, 1951 THURSDAY

''Silver City Bonanza'' opens in Theaters. The movie's cast includes Rex Allen, Buddy Ebsen and The Sons Of The Pioneers.

MARCH 3, 1951 SATURDAY

Songwriter Bob DiPiero is born in Youngstown, Ohio. His hits include Tim McGraw's ''Southern Voice'', Montgomery Gentry's ''Gone'', George Strait's ''Blue Clear Sky'' and The Oak Ridge Boys' ''American Made''. He marries, and later divorces, Pam Tillis.

MARCH 4, 1951 SUNDAY

Pee Wee King recorded ''Slow Poke'' during the afternoon at RCA Studio A in Chicago.


Ike Turner's Kings of Rhythm. Back: Jackie Brenston, Raymond Hill, Eddie Jones, Fred Sample, Bill Gayles. Front: Jesse Knight, Ike Turner, Eugene Washington > 

MARCH 5, 1951 MONDAY

A little known band drove to Memphis from Clarksdale, Mississippi to audition for Sam  Phillips in the studio. The band was ‘Jackie  Brenston and his Delta Cats’, (who were actually Ike Turner's Kings of Rhythm)  which included Willie Kizart on guitar, Raymond Hill on  Saxophone, and Ike Turner on piano.


During the

drive to Memphis, Tennessee, was not without incident. Everyone was in great good humor when they first set out in the pouring rain, all five crowded into a little sedan with their saxes, guitar, and drum set, and the trunk secured with a rope to accommodate the guitar amp and bass drum. Neither the weather nor the close quarters could dampen their enthusiasm, and they couldn't stop talking about what they were going to do when they got to Memphis.

They were relatively unfazed when they got stopped by the highway patrol and hauled into some little country court. It was just another case of ''too many little niggers in the car'' they joked after they paid the fine, they were more frustrated when they subsequently had a flat tire and then went and dropped the guitar amp on the pavement in their hurry to dig out the spare. But they quickly returned to their rapid-fire banter, a combination of nervousness, anticipation, boastfulness, and verbal competition entered into freely on all sides, except when their twenty-year-old leader Ike's glowering stare stopped one of them in their tracks.

When they got to Memphis, naturally they drove down Beale Street, past all the clubs and pawnshops and the New Palace and the Hippodrome skating rink, which had just started to bring in all the big-name rhythm and blues acts. Then, going out Union, they couldn't find the studio, they must have driven by it three or four times at least, because they were looking for something. Well, they didn't know what they were looking for. None of them had ever seen a recording studio before, but they thought it had to be something to match their dreams. Instead it turned out to be this sorry-ass storefront that looked more like a barbershop than anything else, with one of those neon signs in the window, but when they went in to ask the lady at the desk if she knew where the studio was, she told them this was it.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR JACKIE BRENSTON AND IKE TURNER
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR CHESS RECORDS 1951

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: MONDAY MARCH 5, 1951
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
AND/OR MARION KEISKER

While this record was being produced, Sam Phillips had realized that Ike Turner was ruining the song. He made "Rocket 88" a success by placing Turner, the would-be-producer, in the background, and by controlling the raw, rough edge of Turner's band. Not only did Sam cut the tune, but he leased it to Chess Records. It had taken all of Sam Phillips' persuasive powers to convince Ike Turner to allow Jackie Brenston to sing the lead.

01 - "ROCKET 88*" – B.M.I. - 2:47
Composer: - Jackie Brenston
Publisher:- N.M.P.C. - Arc Music Corp
Matrix number: - U-7316 - Acetate
The first rock and roll tune on the Memphis Recording Service
Recorded: - March 5, 1951
Released: - April 1, 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm standard single Chess 1458 mono
ROCKET 88 / COME BACK WHERE YOU BELONG
Reached at number 1 at the Billboard's Rhythm and Blues charts
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-1-7 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

Rightly hailed as a classic, this was one of the finest jump blues to emerge from the early 1950s. Several things combine to make this record unique. The first is the sound emanating from Willie Kizart's guitar: he'd inadvertently created the first fuzz tone in the history of recorded sound when his amplifier fell off the top of the car on the way to Memphis, busting the speaker cone. Sam Phillips later recalled: "...we had no way of getting it fixed so we started playing around with the damn thing... stuffed a little paper in there and it sounded good. It sounded like a saxophone". Only Phillips would have had the courage to pair it with Ike Turner's powerful piano to lay down a rhythm track that could kill at 50 paces. Brenston's vocal drips a confidence which belies his tender years, and Raymond Hill's sax solo builds in monumentum to a screaming climax.



Brenston and the band get in something of a pickle here as they all lock into tortuous, uncomfortable riffs, apart from Ike Turner who belabours the piano's treble keys with some abandon. Willie Kizart's fingers don't always find the right frets, whilst Willie Sims bravely - if foolhardily - persists with a rhythm pattem which combines his floor tom and sundry splashes on his hi-hat. Raymond Hill adds his tenor sax to the rippling riff before Jackie commends him "Play your horn, Raymond! Blow!".



At the end of the piece, Jackie picks up his saxophone to supplement Hill's tenor. This was in fact yet another variation on "Rocket 88", recorded the same day and held over until it was used as the B-side of "Juiced".

Sam Phillips later recalled to Hot Press' Joe Jackson: "You're damn right it was the first rock and roll record, but don't ask me what was going on there, even though I created the thing! ...it was just a magic elixir that worked''.  ''But I had to tell Ike Turner 'As great as you are on piano, you can't sing'. That wasn't easy! ...but you can't be timid about telling the truth, or else you're a damn hypocrite. I had to say 'Do you have anybody, before we close down this session, that can sing?'. He said 'Jackie Brenston' ...Jackie sings, and that's how Rocket 88 came about".

The song itself is clearly highly derivative of Jimmy Liggins' 1947 hit "Cadillac Boogie" (which in turn had its roots deeply embedded in Robert Johnson's "Terraplane Blues") - only instead of a caddy, Brenston's song was a paean to the new 1950 Hydra-matic Drive V-8 Oldsmobile Rocket 88. In fact, as Brenston cheerfully told Jim O'Neal in Living Blues Magazine many years later: "if you listen to the two, you'll find that they're both basically the same. The words are just changed".

In a curious coda to this historic recording, when Sam Phillips saw to the paperwork after the session he realized that vocalist Jackie Brenston was still underage, and so the contract had to be signed by his mother - which seems wildly at variance with Brenston's later hard-drinkin'/good-timin' image.

02 - "COME BACK WHERE YOU BELONG*" – B.M.I. - 2:44
Composer: - Jackie Brenston
Publisher: -  N.M.P.C.
Matrix number: - U-7317 - Acetate
Recorded: - March 5, 1951
Released: - April 1, 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm standard single Chess 1458 mono
COME BACK WHERE YOU BELONG / ROCKET 88
Reissued: - 2010 Secret Records (CD) 500/200rpm SECBX025-1-2 mono
THAT KAT SURE COULD PLAY! - THE SINGLES 1951 - 1957

During there drive from Clarksdale to Memphis, guitarist Willie Kizart's amp fell off the top of the car, breaking the speaker cone. "We had no way of getting it fixed, so we started playing around with the damn thing, stuffed a little paper in there and it sounded good. It sounded like a saxophone", Phillips told Robert  Palmer. Rather than submerge the distorted sound of Kizart's guitar, Sam Phillips took a change and overamplified it, making it the centerpiece of the rhythm track. Kizart played a simple boogie riff in unison with Ike Turner's piano. Raymond Hill contributed two screeching tenor sax solos, and Brenston rode over the top with a hugely confident vocal that belied his tender years. Sam Phillips later characterized "Rocket 88" as the first rock and roll record in the world.

After the session, Sam Phillips ran off dubs and sent them to the Chess brothers in Chicago the same night. Chess snapped up "Rocket 88" together with an undistinguished blues single from Ike Turner. They were released in April 1951. "Rocket 88" reached the charts in May, hit number 1 in June, and eventually became the second-biggest rhythm and blues record of the year, after "Sixty Minute Man" from the Dominoes.


The record's success also caused dissent in the ranks of the band, Sam Phillips explains: "Ike Turner wanted a record out real badly. I said, 'Ike, man, you're a hell of a piano player, you play guitar real good, but you just can't sing. Now Jackie here has this vocal that we can really go somewhere with'. Well, this did not please Ike, and it created a little problem. I tried to handle it right and explain the way it was, but I guess I can understand how Ike felt - that Jackie's success was really his success. Anyway, Ike took Jackie's band away from us and  we had a problem. At that time, Chess was screaming for more top-notch product, so I recorded Billy Love singing "Juiced". We used that as the follow-up and issued it under Jackie's name. I bought it off Billy for Jackie". Love was a local singer and pianist who sounded convincing in a number of styles; little is known of him except that he had a proclivity for the bottle. Phillips later leased several recordings by Love to Chess, one of which ''Drop Top'' was modeled closely after ''Rocket 88''.

If you buy into the myth, then is ''Heartbroken And Worried'' is what it sounded like thirty minutes before rock and roll was invented. Even with Willie Kizart's distorted guitar, ''Heartbroken And Worried'' was still a mundane cocktail blues, and it's pretty evident why Sam Phillips wanted to get Ike Turner away from the mic. Ike was a middling vocalist, and his best Charles Brown impersonation simply isn't good enough. Kizart's funky tone is by far the best thing about a record that's only interesting these days because we hear what the ''Rocket 88'' session sounded like before ''Rocket 88''.

03 - "HEARTBROKEN AND WORRIED**" – B.M.I. - 3:07
Composer: - Ike Turner
Publisher: -  N.M.P.C.
Matrix number: - U-7324 - Acetate - Vocal Ike Turner
Recorded: - March 5, 1951
Released: - April 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm standard single Chess 1459 mono
HEARTBROKEN AND WORRIED / I'M LONESOME BABY
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-3-3 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958

Everyone's far more comfortable on a tune that may well have had its origins in New Orleans and the rhumba rhythms of Professor Longhair. Bandleader/disc jockey/talent scout Ike Turner was an eager 19-year-old when these tracks were recorded. He was a reluctant vocalist even then, but Johnny O'Neal's defection from the Kings Of Rhythm to pursue a solo recording career with King meant that he had to taken his share. Not only that, the ambitious young music man needed product with his name on it to help him achieve his ambitions. Hill and Brenston's saxes chatter throughout the piece, except when Hill takes his solo Brenston picks up a pair of claves. Willie Kizart's blown cones deliver another distorted guitar solo which ends the song.

On the next track from this session, leader Ike Turner working in the then-popular mambo groove with faint intimations of ''Rocket 88''. Phillips should have cranked up Ike's voice in the mix. Willie Kizart's fuzztone guitar at the end adds an interesting touch. The lyrics were quite mundane, and the rolling rhythm (could Ike have heard Professor Longhair?) is the best thing about the performance. 

04 - "I'M LONESOME BABY**" – B.M.I. - 3:00
Composer: - Ike Turner
Publisher: - N.M.P.C./
Matrix number: - U-7325 - Acetate - Vocal Ike Turner
Recorded: - March 5, 1951
Released: - April 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm standard single Chess 1459 mono
I'M LONESOME BABY / HEARTBROKEN AND WORRIED
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-1-9 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jackie Brenston - Vocal* and Baritone Saxophone
Raymond Hill - Tenor Saxophone
Eugene Fox - Tenor Saxophone
Ike Turner - Vocal** & Piano 
Willie Kizart - Guitar
Jesse Knight - Bass
Willie Sims - Drums

Members of the band of Ike Turner, there was drummer Willie ''Bad Boy'' Sims and guitarist Willie Kizart, from Tutwiler, whose father, Lee, was a well-known local guitarist and piano player. Baritone player Jackie Brenston was a big talker in the group. He had run into Ike Turner on the street just after getting out of the army, when Ike was putting the band together. He barely knew how play the sax then, but Ike patiently schooled him, and he had very recently taken over most of the vocals, after Johnny O'Neil, known as ''Scarface Brother'' for the lived scar across his chin, left just a few weeks earlier to make records on his own. Sixteen-year-old Raymond ''Bear'' Hill (for both his physique and his boxing ability), the lead tenor player, was probably the best-educated musician in the group, and certainly the most affluent, his father owned several clubs and roadhouses in the area, a cafe, and a service station, and his grandfather, who was Chinese (Ike Tuner alternately called Raymond ''Chink'' and ''Hockway'', which he insisted was ''nigger'' in Chinese), had started the Wong Grocery Store, which his mother now ran.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


MARCH 5, 1951 MONDAY

Decca Released Ernest Tubb's ''Don't Stay Too Long''.

MARCH 7, 1951 WEDNESDAY

Webb Pierce conducts his first recording session for Decca Records, at the Castle Studio in Nashville. The session includes ''Drifting Texas Sand'', which he re-recorded nine years later.

MARCH 9, 1951 FRIDAY

Ernest Tubb and Red Foley recorded ''The Strange Little Girl'' at Nashville's Castle Studio.

MARCH 11, 1951 SATURDAY

''As per our telephone conversation'', Sam Phillips wrote to Jimmy Connelly, just four days after making the recording, ''I am enclosing herewith a copy of the letter to 'Atomic Boogie' DJ Bob Umbach about the sensational new record, ''Rocket 88'' which is going to make my first million for me. Seriously, Jimmy, this is one of the best race records I have ever heard, and I think you'll agree with me when you hear it''.

MARCH 12, 1951 MONDAY

Columbia released Carl Smith's ''Let's Live A Little''.

MARCH 13, 1951 TUESDAY

Johnny Bond recorded ''Sick, Sober And Sorry'' at Hollywood's Radio Recorders.

The Southern Baptist Convention buys Ward Belmont College in Nashville. The school opens a music business program in the 1970s, providing a link to the business for students Trisha Yearwood, Lee Ann Womack, Josh Turner, Brad Paisley and others.

MARCH 14, 1951 WEDNESDAY

Zella Lehr is born in Burbank, California. After starting her career on ''Hee Haw'' she gains a Top 10 hit with a version of Dolly Parton's ''Two Doors Down'' that is recorded three months before Parton's version.

MARCH 15, 1951 THURSDAY

Ray Price his first recording session for Columbia Records at the Jim Beck Studio in Dallas, Texas, leading with what becomes his debut single, the Lefty Frizzell-penned ''If You're Ever Lonely Darling''.

Gene Autry plays a lawman disrupting a bogus Mexican lottery in the debut of the movie ''Texans Never Cry'', featuring his sidekick Pat Buttram.

MARCH 16, 1951 FRIDAY

Ray Benson is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He forms Asleep At The Wheel, which emerges as the strongest modern advocate for western swing. The group wins multiple Grammys but earns just one hit, ''The Letter That Johnny Walker Read''.

Hank Williams recorded ''Hey, Good Lookin''', ''I Can't Help It (If I'm Still In Love With You)'', ''Howlin' At The Moon'' and ''My Heart Would Know'' in an afternoon session at Nashville's Castle Recording Studio.

MARCH 17, 1951 SATURDAY

Hawkshaw Hawkins recorded ''I'm Waiting Just For You'' in Cincinnati.

MARCH 19, 1951 MONDAY

Columbia released Left Frizzell's ''I Want To Be With You Always''.

MARCH 21, 1951 WEDNESDAY

Bass player Conrad Lozano is born in Los Angeles. He joins Los Lobos, a Tex-Mex band whose 1985 record ''Will The Wolf Survive'' ranks among country's all-time greatest singles in the Country Music Foundation's ''Heartaches By The Number''.

MARCH 22, 1951 THURSDAY

Jimmy Wakely and Margaret Whiting recorded ''When You And I Were Young Maggie Blues'' at the Capitol Studios on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles.

Ernest Tubb and his second wife, Olene, have their first daughter, Erlene Dale Tubb.

MARCH 27, 1951 TUESDAY

Red Foley recorded ''(There'll Be) Peace In The Valley (For Me)'' in Nashville.

Songwriter Kent Blazy is born in Lexington, Kentucky. He authors Garth Brooks'''If Tomorrow Never Comes'', Gary Morris' ''Headed For A Heartache'' and Chris Young's ''Gettin' You Home (The Black Dress Song)'', among others.

MARCH 28, 1951 WEDNESDAY

Sam Phillips was in the process of formalizing an ''iron-clad'' agreement with Leonard Chess and getting a letter of ''consent and confirmation'' from Jackie Brenston's mother on behalf of her not-yet-twenty-one-year-old son, he was determined this time not to be taken advance of. When the record came out, though, it caused considerable consternation among the musicians once they saw the label credit.

They had all assumed it would say something like The Kings of Rhythm, Vocal by Jackie Brenston, Ike had never doubted it would say Ike Turner and His Kings of Rhythm, just like it should have, but instead, the label copy read ''Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats'', a name nobody had ever heard before. ''I was kinda teed about it'', said Ike, who saw it as a clear betrayal, but when he raised the point with Sam, the skinny, strangely intense little white guy wouldn't back down, he insisted it was because they were going to put out a release on Ike, too, and it wouldn't look right to put out two releases under the same name.

In any case, by the end of the month the record had taken off beyond anyone's expectations. ''Rocket Becomes Flying Disc, Spins Toward Record Glory'' was the headline in the front-page story in the Commercial Appeal on march 28, 1951, which not only celebrated the record's sales but trumpeted the accomplishments of the hitherto unknown and unsung Sam C. Phillips, the young ''recorded behind the Rocket'', a recording engineer and talent scout who had ''agreements with two record companies to locate and record hillbilly and race music''. Sam, wrote reporter Lydel Syms, ''is convinced the Rocket will move out of the race field into general popularity. He says Jackie will get 31/2 percent of the retail record sales, plus whatever his contract calls for on the sheet music. Jackie, when I talked to him about it, said that if he makes enough out of it he's going to buy one of those cars''.

Sam Phillips sent a copy of the story to Gene Nobles the day it came out, along with his sincere thanks to ''fellows like you'' and Bob Umbach and Dewey Phillips and pioneering black disc jockey Al Benson in Chicago, not just for playing the record but for believing in it. Sam also enclosed a new release ''by another artist that I have scouted for Leonard''. This was the single featuring Ike's two vocals 0credited, as promised, to ''Ike Turner and His Kings of Rhythm''). It had, in fact, been released virtually simultaneously but, despite Sam's claim to Gene that it was ''going good in this territory'', with far less fanfare than ''Rocket 88''.


Assignment: Memphis -
Article by Lydel Syms, March 28, 1951, Memphis Commercial Appeal

ROCKET BECOMES FLYING DISC, SPINS TOWARD RECORD GLORY – If you have a song you can't  get published, you might ask Sam Phillips for help. Look what he did for ''Rocket 88''! You may not have  heard this musical explosion yet, but I expect you will. I'm afraid you are utterly doomed to hear it, sooner or  later. Brace yourself now and check your shock absorbers.


Sam, the recorder behind the Rocket, is the closest  thing I've found to a Memphis contact-man for song-writers. Even he is not in the sheet music business, but  he does know people who are. What he does, as operator of Memphis Recording Service at 706 Union, is to  locate and record songs for record companies. He makes the acetate masters from which the retail platters  spring.

ALSO A TALENT SCOUT – That means he is a recording engineer, but he's also a talent scout. He has  agreements with two recording companies to locate and record hillbilly and ''race'' music. Race numbers are  those tailored for the Negro trade. Sam auditions musicians with original songs, when he finds something  he's sure will sell, he gets it on the acetate and sends it to one of the companies. He doesn't charge the  musicians anything; like them, he gets his from the company, unproductive auditions are just part of the days  work. Let's use ''Rocket 88'' as a thumping, throbbing case history. B.B. King of Memphis, one of the race  artists Sam has been recording, passed the word along to Ike Turner, a Negro band leader of Clarksdale,  Mississippi, that the market was open. Ike brought his band up for an audition.

OOZIN' AND CRUISIN' ALONG – His vocalist, Jackie Brenston, had composed ''Rocket 88'', a red-hot  daydream of high life in a convertible. The car in the lyrics goes ''oozin' an' cruisin' along'', but the song  could hardly be said to ooze. It erupts. Sam was sure it would hit. He got the acetate on a plane to Chicago  that night. Chess Records took it, sent Jackie a contract, arranged for sheet music to be published and went  into production. Just to complete the local picture on it, copies of the record for distribution in this are being  pressed at Plastic Products, Inc. Sam is convinced the Rocket will move out of the race field into general p opularity. He says Jackie will gets 3 ½ per cent of the retail record sales, plus whatever his contract calls for  on the sheet music. Jackie, when I talked to him about it, said that if he makes enough out of it he's going to  buy one of those cars.

GLAD TO LOOK IT OVER – But to go back to the songwriter's angle, which started all this. Sam's direct  search is for musician-composers in the hillbilly or race field who can record their own songs. But he may  branch out some day, and he figures its to his interest to know what's being done around here in the whole  field of popular music. So he says if anybody wants to bring him a song, he'll be glad to look it over. If he  thinks it has merit, he'll send it to one of the publishing firms he's become acquainted with through his  recording work. Whether they take it or not, he says, they'll at least give it serious consideration. He says  he'll be glad to do this, but please don't fight with him if he doesn't think your song has merit. And there will  be no charge.

Let me make that no-charge business clear, some song-writers are bound and determined to have a recording  of their song made, they think that will help sell it to a publisher. From what I can learn, this is probably a  waste of money. Sam agrees, and he's in the recording business. So if you insist on making a recording  against advice, that's another matter. That costs money. And if you're stubborn enough to do it, don't say I got  you into it''.

This article it appeared in the March 28th, 1951 edition of the Memphis Commercial Appeal for posterity.


MARCH 29, 1951 THURSDAY

The USS Valley Forge returns from the Korean War for repairs in San Diego. Crewman Scotty Moore is reassigned to the USS Boxer, then to the naval base. Moore is bound to become the first guitarist for Elvis Presley.

MARCH 30, 1951 FRIDAY

Roy Rogers is framed in a cattle-theft scheme as ''Heart Of The Rockies'' debuts in theaters. Foy Willing and The Riders Of The Purple Sage provide their usual support.

APRIL 1951

Sam Phillips cuts ''Ouch! Pretty Baby'' b/w ''Saddled The Cow'' (RPM 324), another Rosco Gordon session for   RPM Records at Memphis Recording Service in Memphis (Session details unknown).

Modern Records releases Walter Horton's first single "Now Tell Me Baby" b/w "Little Boy Blue"  ( Modern 809), under the pseudonym "Mumbles".

Chess Records releases Jackie Brenston's "Rocket 88" b/w "Come Back Where You Belong" (Chess   1458). Brenston forms a touring band with Wilbur & Luther Steinberg, Narvel Campbell, and   Calvin Newborn.

The Biharis release Rosco Gordon's first record ''Roscoe's Boogie'' b/w ''City Woman'' (RPM 322).

Six European nations sign the Treaty of Paris establishing the European Coal and Steel Community during April of 1951. The treaty was signed by Italy, France, Belgium, West Germany, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. The six countries joined together in an economic union in what was a precursor to the creation of the European Union. The treaty came into effect during July of the next 1952 and it remained in effect until 2002.

APRIL 1, 1951 SUNDAY

Hank Williams and Lefty Frizzell kick off the only concert tour they will work together in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Pop singer Henry Gross, best known for his 1976 hit ''Shannon'' is born in Brooklyn, New York. In 1969, he co-founds the 1950s revival group Sha Na Na. In 1996, he had a country hit as a songwriter on BlackHawk's ''Big Guitar''.

APRIL 4, 1951 WEDNESDAY

Steve Gatlin, second of The Garlin Brothers, is born in Olney, Texas. Along with brothers Larry and Rudy, their tight harmonies propel them to a Grammy award for ''Broken Lady'' and three trophies from the Academy of Country Music.


APRIL 7-8, 1951 SATURDAY/SUNDAY

This weekend, the ''Delta Cats'' label disappeared altogether when the band debuted for two nights at the W.C. Handy Theatre, 2353 Park Avenue, the Orange Mound neighborhood in Memphis, where B.B. King had first stayed with his cousin Booker White. ''First Time In Memphis'', the handbill announced, with the kind of staggered layout and alternating script, typeface sizes, and dramatically placed stars that the times favored.

Handbill, April 1951 >

Sam Phillips invited Mike McGee, the fill-in music editor for the Commercial Appeal, to see the show, sitting up in the balcony with Mike and his wife in the only seating available to whites. Sam had no idea how Mike was going to like the show, but the figured it was worth a shot. ''Mike was a man in his mid-fifties, he was anything but a music connoisseur, he had been in real estate, at the paper, and I think he went out there with me more or less, out of, curiosity. But Ike Turner and Jackie Brenston put on a helluva show'', said Sam. And so did Rufus and Bones duo, with Robert "Bones" Couch,  the comedy team who MCed the weekly amateur show at both the Handy and the Palace theaters. It was a memorable evening in every respect, the house was packed, and people were lined up around the block. But Sam still wasn't sure of Mike's reaction until his story came out the following week.

He had been a little ''hazy'', McGee confessed to the good people of Memphis, about ''just what ''Rocket 88'' might be, but, that no longer is true. It is, we must report, like two tomcats meeting on a tin roof.

McGee wrote, ''Sam Phillips of the Memphis Recording Co., who recorded the number for Chess Records, took us around to the Handy the other night to hear the recording orchestra from Greenwood, Miss., do the number. John Brochstein, more accurately, of course, Jackie Brenston, does an extremely capable job with the vocal but what was impressive was the performance of Ike Turner and His Rhythm Boys, the recording orchestra, also from Greenwood. Folks who have wondered if the Negro race would ever produce another pianist of the Fats Waller caliber can stop wondering. Ike Turner is the hottest piano player in many a day. He's not only all over the keyboard like a blanket over a baby's crib, he's one of the few who attemps it who can really play a piano and tap dance at the same time. In fact he can even get on top of the piano and play the thing upside down''.  The Handy theatre was demolished in December 2012.


APRIL 7, 1951 SATURDAY

Restless Heart drummer John Dittrich is born in Batavia, New York. He provides harmonies on a strong of 1980s hits sings lead on ''When She Cries'' in 1992. Dittrich also co-founds the short-lived group The Buffalo Club.

Pop singer and songwriter Janis Ian is born in New York. Best known for her recordings ''Society's Child'' and ''At Seventeen'', she gains a country hit as a songwriter when she co-writes the 1988 Judy Rodman single ''I Want A Love Like That''.

APRIL 8, 1951 MONDAY

''Thunder In God's Country'' debuts in theaters, with Rex Allen and Buddy Ebsen. Allen sings ''Molly darling''.

Bass player Mel Chacher is born in Owosso, Michigan. As a member of Grand Funk, he plays on the 1973 hit ''We're An American Band'', referenced in the lyrics of The Eli Young Band country hit ''Always The Love Song''.

Singer/songwriter Jim Photoglo is born in Los Angeles. Following a career as a pop artist, he moves to Nashville, where he pens Alabama's ''Hometown Honeymoon'' and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's ''Fishin' In The Dark''.

APRIL 9, 1951 TUESDAY

Songwriter Bob Corbin is born in Butler, Pennsylvania. He joins Dave Hanner to form The Corbin/Hanner Band but finds his largest success by writing Alabama's ''Can't Keep A Good Man Down'' and ''(There's A) Fire In The Night''.

Decca released Red Foley's  ''Hobo Boogie'', and The Weavers' only country hit, ''On Top Of Old Smokey''.

APRIL 14, 1951 SATURDAY

Bill Monroe is served a court summons in a lawsuit brought by songwriter Tomie Thompson, who claims Monroe has not properly credited him for the lyrics to ''Kentucky Waltz''. Monroe admits Thompson wrote them, but insists he bought them.

APRIL 15, 1951 SUNDAY

Texas Playboys guitarist Junior Barnard dies a Fresco Country General Hospital in California after a car crash. He played on ''Bob Wills Boogie'', ''Brain Cloudy Blues'' and ''White Cross On Okinawa'', as well as Johnnie Lee Wills' ''Milk Cow Blues''.

APRIL 16, 1951 MONDAY

Eddy Arnold recorded ''Call Her Your Sweetheart'' at RCA's New York studio.

Gene Autry sings songs written by Acuff-Rose founder Fred Rose in the debut of ''Whirlwind'', also featuring Smiley Burnette and Frankie Marvis.

APRIL 17, 1951 TUESDAY

Eddy Arnold recorded ''Heart Strings'' and ''Bundle Of Southern Sunshine'' at RCA's New York studio.

At the radio station the gibes just kept on coming, in fact, if anything, they came at an even more accelerated pace, now that Sam Phillips' secret was out. He continued to send sides to Modern, five by Rosco Gordon on this date (including two cut numbers, ''Ouch! Pretty Baby'' and ''Sadled The Cow (And Milked The Horse'' and five more by Joe Hill Louis two weeks later. It does not seem to have dawned on anyone yet, neither Sam nor the Bihari brothers, for that matter, how the altogether unanticipated success of ''Rocked 88'' might imperil their relationship.

APRIL 18, 1951 WEDNESDAY

Eddy Arnold recorded ''I Wanna Play House With You'', ''Trouble In Mind'' and ''Somebody's Been Beating My Time'' at RCA's New York studio.

APRIL 19, 1951 THURSDAY

Big Joe Turner recorded the rhythm and blues hit ''Chains Of Love'' in New York City. More than 25 years later, it's is re-recorded as a country hit by Mickey Gilley.

Deposed general Douglas MacArthur addresses a joint session of Congress, saying, ''Old soldiers never die, they just fade away''. Inspired by the statement, Gene Autry writes ''Old Soldiers Never Die'', which he recorded the next day.

APRIL 20, 1951 FRIDAY

Gene Autry recorded ''Old Soldiers Never Die'', a song inspired by a Douglas MacArthur speech, to honor those who served in World War II and the Korean War.

APRIL 22, 1951 SUNDAY

Steel guitarist Reuben Gosfield Gosfield is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Using the stage name Lucky Ocean, he joins Ray Benson in founding Asleep At The Wheel, a western-swing band best known for its 1975 hit ''The Letter That Johnny Walker Read''.

APRIL 23, 1951 MONDAY

Decca released Red Foley and Ernest Tubb's ''The Strange Little Girl''.

APRIL 27, 1951 FRIDAY

Paul ''Ace'' Frehley is born in New York. He becomes the space-garbed guitarist for Kiss, a rock band that influences Garth Brooks' concert performances. Brooks remakes the group's ''Hard Luck Woman'' for a 1993 tribute album, ''Kiss Mt Ass''.

MGM released a two-sided Hank Williams hit ''Howlin' At The Moon'' backed with ''I Can't Help It (If I'm Still In Love With You)''.

Johnny Cash completes training at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi, where he's learned to intercept Morse code from Soviet transmissions.

APRIL 29, 1951 SUNDAY

NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt is born in Kannapolis, North Carolina. He's name checked in the 2003 Chris Cagle single ''Chicks Dig It'' and the 2009 Tim McGraw hit ''Southern Voice''.

APRIL 30, 1951 MONDAY

Columbia released Ray Price's debut single, the Lefty Frizzell-penned ''If You're Ever Lonely Darling''.

Studio session with Joe Hill Louis at the Memphis Recording Service in Memphis, Tennessee.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR ROSCO GORDON
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR RPM RECORDS 1951

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE APRIL 1951
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

01(1) – ''OUCH! PRETTY BABY'' – B.M.I. - 2:24
Composer: - Rosco Gordon-Jules Taub
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1951
Released: - 1982
First appearance: - Ace Records (LP) 33rpm Ace CH51-2-7 mono
ROSCO GORDON - THE MEMPHIS SESSIONS - VOLUME 2
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CD 213-6 mono
ROSCO GORDON - LET'S GET HIGH

01(2) – ''OUCH! PRETTY BABY'' – B.M.I. - 2:23
Composer: - Rosco Gordon-Jules Taub
Publisher: - Modern Music
Matrix number: - 1555 - Master
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1951
Released: - August 1951
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm RPM 324-A mono
OUCH! PRETTY BABY / SADDLED THE COW
Reissued: 1980 Ace Records (LP) 33rpm Ace 10 CH 26 mono
THE BEST OF ROSCO GORDON - VOLUME 1

02 – ''SADDLED THE COW (AND MILKED THE HORSE)'' – B.M.I. - 2:54
Composer: - Rosco Gordon-Jules Taub
Publisher: - Modern Music
Matrix number: - 1556
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1951
Released: - August 1951
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm RPM 324-B mono
SADDLED THE COW / OUCH! PRETTY BABY
Reissued: 1980 Ace Records (LP) 33rpm Ace 10 CH 26 mono
THE BEST OF ROSCO GORDON - VOLUME 1

03 – ''YOU CAN'T TREAT ME RIGHT'' – B.M.I.
Composer: - Rosco Gordon
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1951
Released: - 1982
First appearance: - Ace Records (LP) 33rpm Ace CH51-2-5 mono
ROSCO GORDON - THE MEMPHIS SESSIONS - VOLUME 2

04 – ''THAT GAL OF MINE'' – B.M.I. - 2:19
Composer: - Rosco Gordon
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1951
Released: - 1982
First appearance: - Ace Records (LP) 33rpm Ace CH51-1-3 mono
ROSCO GORDON - THE MEMPHIS SESSIONS - VOLUME 2
Reissued: - 2009 JSP Records Internet iTunes MP3-5 mono
ROSCO GORDON - LET'S GET HIGH

05 – ''TELL ME, TELL ME BABY'' – B.M.I. - 2:23
Composer: - Rosco Gordon
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1951
Released: - 1982
First appearance: - Ace Records (LP) 33rpm Ace CH51-1-2 mono
ROSCO GORDON - THE MEMPHIS SESSIONS - VOLUME 2

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rosco Gordon - Vocal & Piano
Probably Ray Jones - Alt Saxophone
Probably Man Son or Murry Daley - Drums
More Details Unknown

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR JOE HILL LOUIS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR MODERN RECORDS 1951

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: MONDAY APRIL 30, 1951
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

The latter performance would have ruled it out for release because it stumbles near the beginning but it does include two very fine and low down guitar solos. John Lee Hooker's guitar is brought to mind at times and a couple of the unissued sides reflect Muddy Waters' influence. ''Big Legged Woman'' reverts to chorded guitar, taken at breakneck speed. Joe sometimes seems to anticipate rock and roll, as he does here on ''Gotta Go Baby''. It includes the accompanying 'clapping' or 'bones' that Sam Phillips recalls.

01(1) – ''GOTTA GO BABY'' – B.M.I. - 2:28
Composer: - Joe Hill Louis
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - MM 1629
Recorded: - April 30, 1951
Released: - 1951
First appearance: - Modern Records (S) 78rpm Modern 839-A mono
GOTTA GO BABY / BIG LEGGED WOMAN
Reissued: - 2001 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHD 803 mono
BOOGIE IN THE PARK

01(2) – ''GOTTA GO BABY'' – B.M.I. - 2:27
Composer: - Joe Hill Louis
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - MM 1629 -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 30, 1951
Released: - 1973
First appearance: - Polydor Records (LP) 33rpm LP 2383-214 mono
BLUE IN THE MORNING
Reissued: 2009 Goldenlane Records Internet iTunes MP3-33 mono
JOE HILL LOUIS - ESSENTIAL BLUES MASTERS

02(1) – ''JOE HILL BOOGIE (BOOGIE WOOGIE ALL NIGHT)'' – B.M.I. - 2:25
Composer: - Joe Hill Louis
Publisher: - EMI Music Publishing Limited
Matrix number: - MM 1630 -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 30, 1951
Released: - 1995
First appearance: - P-Vine Records (CD) 500/200rpm CD PVC 22002 mono
GOTTA BOOGIE BABY
Reissued: - 2001 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHD 803-16 mono
BOOGIE IN THE PARK

02(2) – ''JOE HILL BOOGIE'' - 1 – B.M.I. - 2:22
Composer: - Joe Hill Louis
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 30, 1951 - Take 1 - Fast Version
Released: - 1995
Released: - January 5, 2009
First appearance:  Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm Ace CDCHD 1003-6 mono
THE MODERN DOWNHOME BLUES SESSIONS  VOLUME 3 - MEMPHIS ON DOWN

02(3) – ''JOE HILL BOOGIE'' - 2 – B.M.I. - 2:41
Composer: - Joe Hill Louis
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 30, 1951 - Take 2 - Slow Version
Released: - January 5, 2009
First appearance:  Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm Ace CDCHD 1003-9 mono
THE MODERN DOWNHOME BLUES SESSIONS  VOLUME 3 - MEMPHIS ON DOWN

03 – ''BIG LEGGED WOMAN'' – B.M.I. - 2:34
Composer: - Joe Hill Louis
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - MM 1631
Recorded: - April 30, 1951
Released: - 1951
First appearance: - Modern Records (S) 78rpm Modern 839-B mono
BIG LEGGED WOMAN / GOTTA GO BABY
Reissued: - 2001 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHD 803 mono
BOOGIE IN THE PARK

04 – ''EARLY IN THE MORNING (NEAR ABOUT THE BREAK OF DAY)'' – B.M.I. - 2:37
Composer: - John Lee Williamson
Publisher: - Wabash Music Corporation
Matrix number: - MM 1632 -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 30, 1951
Released: - 1995
First appearance: - P-Vine Records (CD) 500/200rpm CD PVC 22002 mono
GOTTA BOOGIE BABY
Reissued: - 2001 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHD 803-15 mono
BOOGIE IN THE PARK

05 – ''HIGHWAY 99'' – B.M.I. - 2:26
Composer: - Joe Hill Louis-Sam Ling
Publisher: - BMG Music Publishing
Matrix number: - None -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 30, 1951
Released: - 1970
First appearance: - Kent Records (LP) 33rpm LP 9002-4 (mono)
ANTHOLOGY OF THE BLUES - MEMPHIS BLUES - ARCHIVE SERIES - VOLUME 2
Reissued: - 2001 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHD 803-12 mono
BOOGIE IN THE PARK

06 – ''I TOLD YOU BABY''
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None -  Unissued
Recorded: - April 30, 1951

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Joe Hill Louis – Vocal, Harmonica, Guitar, Hi-Hat, Bass Drum

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


MAY 1951

Sam Phillips records B.B. King for RPM Records.

Sam Phillips records Rufus Thomas for the  first time and sends the dubs to Chess Records.

"Rocket 88" enters the Billboard's Rhythm  and Blues charts at number 4.  Jackie Brenston's back-up band, featuring Wilbur & Luther  Steinberg, cut two sides for Sam Phillips, who forwards the dubs to Chess Records. "Ridin' The Boogie" b/w "She Really Treats Me Wrong" is rush-released as a single on Chess 1465 under  the pseudonym "Lou Sargent". 

Joe Hill Louis returns to the studio to cut a cover version of  "Eyesight To The Blind", a regional hit for Sonny Boy Williamson on Trumpet and the Larks  on Apollo.

And then at the beginning of May 1951 it all seemed to catch up with Sam Phillips. He was working eighteen to twenty hours a day, he was down to 123, 124 pounds, fifteen pounds less than what he normally carried on his slender five-foot-nine-inch frame; and just like in Decatur he could feel the onset of the panic attacks that he had experienced from time to time ever since he was a boy. At what should have been his moment of greatest triumph he simply ran out of physical and emotional steam. Just as before he couldn't turn his mind off, the worries kept whirring and whirring around, and he finally told his wife Becky he couldn't stand it anymore, he needed to be admitted to Gartly-Ramsay Hospital out on Jackson, they were the best psychiatric hospital in the city, he told her, and he thought he needed some more electroshock.

Dr. Dick McCool, director of Electro-convulsive Therapy at Gartly-Ramsay, agreed. But, he told Sam, there was no guarantee of the results. Sam had eight electroshock treatments, one each day, with another five or six days in the hospital to recuperate. Marion Keisker was able to keep the business going and took over some of Sam's duties at the WREC radio station. She had been in a terrible state when Sam first went into the hospital, she had frantically besieged Becky the initial results, but she was no more surprised than Becky, she had seen it coming all along.

When Sam Phillips went back to work, everybody at the station seemed to treat him like he was just going to fall apart, and Becky confided that Dr. McCool had told her in confidence he really shouldn't be pressed too much at this point, maybe ever. He pored over the therapeutic papers that Dr. McCool had given him, papers with titles like ''Therapeutic Relaxation Treatment Procedures'', which advocated fifteen minutes of Bibliotherapy followed by half an hour of Educated Therapy and then capped by reciting the expression ''Feeling fine'' twenty times each day. But it was Dr. McCool's lack of faith that in the end Sam felt was the best therapy of all. Everybody tiptoeing around him like he was some kind of damn invalid only challenged him to find that inner strength he had always possessed, ''the strength that says, Okay, I can do it''.

The United States performs the first thermonuclear weapon test during May of 1951 as a part of “Operation Greenhouse.” The test was conducted at the Enewetak Atoll and the blast, named “George,” was the first successful small-scale demonstration of a non-weaponized hydrogen bomb. The test confirmed to scientists working on the project that the foundation of their design worked and it would be possible to create a large-scale hydrogen bomb. The U.S. would go on to to test the first full-scale thermonuclear hydrogen bomb during November of 1952 with “Ivy Mike” in “Operation Ivy''.


MAY 2, 1951 WEDNESDAY

Bass player Mike Fleming is born in Evansville, Indiana. As a member of the bluegrass band The Steel Drivers, he takes part in recording ''Blue Side Of The Mountain'', a country Grammy nomination in 2009.

MAY 6, 1951 SUNDAY
Johnny and Jack recorded ''Cryin' Heart Blues''.

MAY 9, 1951 WEDNESDAY

Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs recorded ''Don't Get Above Your Raisin'', covered some 30 years later by Ricky Skaggs.

MAY 12, 1950 SATURDAY

Hank Williams ''Cold Cold Heart'' reaches number 1 on the Billboard country singles chart.



MAY 1951

Like most of the true greats Sam Phillips recorded, Chester Burnett, a.k.a. Howlin' Wolf,  brought to the studio a style that he neither cared to alter nor could possibly improve.  Dressed in his field overalls, with holes cut in his oversize shoes to accommodate his corns,  Wolf made his recording debut in the summer of 1951. Leaving his small group to find their  way as best they could, he began to sing his unearthly tales of darkness and pain.


Howlin' Wolf and The Houserockers, Chicago, mid-1950s. From left: Howlin' Wolf, Jody Williams, Earl Phillips, and Hubert Sumlin. >

Chester Burnett had been a farmer, blues singer, and soldier by the time he first recorded.  His adopted nickname, though far from original, fitted him with made-to-measure precision.

Born near Aberdeen, Mississippi, on June 10, 1910, Burnett developed a fondness for the  music of the primordial Delta bluesman Charley Patton, who lived near the Burnett family  after they moved to Ruleville, Mississippi. After four years in the service, between 1941 and  1945, Burnett returned to farming near Penton, Mississippi, before deciding to move to West  Memphis, Arkansas.

Soon after coming to West Memphis, Wolf secured steady work playing whorehouses, black  baseball parks, and other spots that catered to country folk in search of a little diversion.  The feral energy with which he sang added a new dimension to the traditional Delta blues  upon which he based his style. Wolf landed a spot on KWEM in 1950. Monday through  Saturday, he appeared between 4:45 and 5:00 P.M., lacing his blues with pitches for grain  and fertilizer. In his fortieth year, he became a hot item among the rural blacks around  Memphis.

''A disc jockey from West Memphis told me about Wolf's show'', recalled Sam Phillips to  Robert Palmer. ''When I heard him, 'I said, 'This is for me. This is where the soul of man  never dies'. Then the Wolf came to the studio and he was about six foot six, with the biggest  feet I've ever seen on a human being. Big Foot Chester is one name they used to call him. He  would sit there with those feet planted wide apart, playing nothing but the French harp and I  tell you, the greatest sight you could see today would be Chester Burnett doing one of those  sessions in my studio. God, what it would be worth to see the fervor in that man's face when  he sang. His eyes would light up, you'd see the veins on his neck and, buddy, there was  nothing on his mind but that song. He sang with his damn soul!''.

MAY 1951

Sam Phillips must have liked what he heard of the Ike Turner's piano playing at the ''Rocket 88'' session because, a few weeks later, he used Ike backing the blues giant (in all senses of the word) Chester ''Howlin' Wolf'' Burnett on his wonderful loping blues boogie ''How Many More Years''.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

The first demo session for Howlin' Wolf at Memphis Recording Service framed by the small group he had assembled in West Memphis. There are records of some 60 complete tracks recorded by Howlin' Wolf at Sam Phillips' studio in Memphis and down the road in West Memphis, Arkansas, about two and a half years. Most of this material founds its way to Chess Records in Chicago, although the open double-dealing whereby tapes also went to RPM/Modern lingered for a while, as with the 1952 RPM single "My Baby Stole Off'/"I Want Your Picture". But it meant that Leonard Chess need not hurry the Wolf into a Chicago session, even though that initial hit was not repeated in such Memphis Chess releases as "The Wolf Is At Your Door", "Saddle My Pony", "Oh Red" and "All Night Boogie", all of them powerful witnesses to the singers' outstanding talent. sales ticked over while the Wolf established his club reputation, and Chess was kept busy with hits by other members of his growing blues stable.

STUDIO SESSION FOR HOWLIN' WOLF
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR CHESS RECORDS 1951

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: POSSIBLY MAY 14, 15, 1951 (POSSIBLY EARLIER)
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

"If you ain't thought about, you ain't talked about".
"And they talks about me every day".
Big Foot Chester (courtesy of Dick Shurman)

The sessions took place on different dates and the May 14 date may apply to one of them. Phillips sent the dubs to RPM/Modern, and may have sent them to Chess. 

They concentrated on two songs on this session, that changed with every take, throbbing mid-tempo blues called ''How Many More Years'' which seemed to be Wolf's calling card, and a more conventional up-tempo number, ''Baby Ride With Me'', that served as a showcase for Wolf's pulsating rhythmic drive and Willie Johnson's unrelenting attack. For one of the few times in his life, Sam Phillips couldn't think of a thing to do. ''I was totally blinded by the sound of his voice. I'm not sure that I heard anything in the way of instrumentation. I mean, I was sure enough that I knew I didn't have everything quite right. But his distinctiveness was so overwhelming to me that I could find a way to make a suggestion. Wolf and Willie alone, I knew it wasn't going to wind up with that, it would wind up with, more, structure on the piano, but I didn't want anything much but Wolf, I mean, the minute I opened the microphones and that look came over his face, like, 'I'm getting ready, I'm getting ready, everybody else better be ready, too'''.

But he knew he could do better, once the initial spell began to wear off. He knew the Wolf had even more to offer than just the elemental energy that poured out of him, he knew he could do more to bring it out, not by complicating things by by simplifying them, by helping to frame all the contradictory ingredients that constituted the uncategorizable whole.

He did add a piano in subsequent sessions, if only to fill out the bare bones of the sound, and they continued to work on the same two songs, always subtly changing, and sometimes not so subtly. Sam Phillips continued to be overwhelmed by the sheer force of the music and by the intensity of its presentation. He was fascinating by the Wolf, mesmerized each time the man sat down at the mike with his harps spread out all around him.


01(1) - "BABY RIDE WITH ME (RIDIN' IN THE MOONLIGHT)" – B.M.I. - 2:55
Composer: - Chester Burnett-J.L. Sanders
Publisher: - Universal Music Publishing
Matrix number: - None -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Possible May 14, 1951 or earlier
Released: - 1989
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15460-21 mono
MEMPHIS DAYS - THE DEFINITIVE EDITION - VOLUME 1


01(2) - "BABY RIDE WITH ME (RIDIN' IN THE MOONLIGHT)" – B.M.I. - 2:41
Composer: - Chester Burnett-J.L. Sanders
Publisher: - Universal Music Publishing
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - May 14, 1951 Possibly June
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15500-1 mono
MEMPHIS DAYS - THE DEFINITIVE EDITION - VOLUME 2

01(3) - "BABY RIDE WITH ME (RIDIN' IN THE MOONLIGHT)" – B.M.I. - 2:35
Composer: - Chester Burnett-J.L. Sanders
Publisher: - Universal Music Publishing
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - May 14, 1951 Possibly June
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15500-18 mono
MEMPHIS DAYS - THE DEFINITIVE EDITION - VOLUME 2

01(4) - "BABY RIDE WITH ME (RIDIN' IN THE MOONLIGHT)" – B.M.I. - 2:34
Composer: - Chester Burnett-J.L. Sanders
Publisher: - Universal Music Publishing
Matrix number: - None - Take 3 -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - May 14, 1951 Possibly June
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15500-19 mono
MEMPHIS DAYS - THE DEFINITIVE EDITION - VOLUME 2

01(5) - "BABY RIDE WITH ME (RIDIN' IN THE MOONLIGHT)" – B.M.I.
Composer: - Chester Burnett-J.L. Sanders
Publisher: - Universal Music Publishing
Matrix number: - None - Take 4 -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - May 14, 1951 Possibly June
Released: - Unknown
First appearance: - Ace Records (LP) 33rpm CH 52 mono
RIDIN' IN THE MOONLIGHT

Sam was so struck by his differentness, he was so drawn to the particularity of his demeanor, but he didn't want to over promise anything. He simply suggested that maybe Wolf could come in with his band sometime, they could try a few things, just see what they could get. Wolf showed up several days later with a guitarist and drummer in tow, plus an assortment of harmonicas, and before long the trio was just blowing as if Sam wasn't even in the room, encouraging one another with unrestrained shouts while he switched the mikes around and adjusted the levels to get the absolutely maximum out of each individual sound. Most of all, though, he was just stunned by the uniqueness, the overwhelming thrust, subtlety, and power of the Wolf's voice, as riveting an instrument as he had ever encountered in all his life.

According to Sam Phillips, ''He would set in the middle of the studio and he would stretch those long legs and his feet out in front of him, his feet had to be a number sixteen shoe. And when he opened up his mouth to sing, this guy hypnotized himself along with you. To see him on a session, it was just the greatest show, the fervor in than man's face, his eyes rolling up into his head, sweat popping out all over, setting up on the front of his chair and locked into telling you individually about his trials and tribulations. He's the only artist I ever recorded that I wish I could have had a camera on, the vitality of that man was something else''.


02(1) - "HOW MANY MORE YEARS" – B.M.I. - 2:48
Composer: - Chester Burnett
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Possibly May 14, 1951 or earlier
Released: - 1989
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15460-20 mono
MEMPHIS DAYS - THE DEFINITIVE EDITION - VOLUME 1

02(2) - "HOW MANY MORE YEARS" – B.M.I. - 2:29
Composer:- Chester Burnett
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - May 14, 1951 Possibly June
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15500-16 mono
MEMPHIS DAYS - THE DEFINITIVE EDITION - VOLUME 2

02(3) - "HOW MANY MORE YEARS" – B.M.I.
Composer: - Chester Burnett
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - Unknown - Take 2
Recorded: - May 14, 1951 Possibly June
Released: - Sun Unissued - Damaged

02(4) - "HOW MANY MORE YEARS" – B.M.I. - 2:26
Composer: - Chester Burnett
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 3 -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - May 14, 1951 Possibly June
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15500-17 mono
MEMPHIS DAYS - THE DEFINITIVE EDITION - VOLUME 2

02(5) - "HOW MANY MORE YEARS" – B.M.I.
Composer: - Chester Burnett
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 4
Recorded: - May 14, 1951 Possibly June
Released: - Sun Unissued

The guitarist Willie Johnson's playing very nearly matched its inspiration as Johnson, a small, dark-skinned man of twenty-eight with a cherubic face and haunted eyes, created the effect almost of playing two guitars at once, a role imposed upon him perhaps by the trio format but one that he would very likely have carried out in any context by the sheer inventiveness of his playing. He combined not just lead and rhythm in the conventional sense, putting together a combination of thick, clotted chords and deftly distorted single-string runs, but then he threw in bebop inflections, along with echoes of T-Bone Walker's delicate phrasing and the dirtiest sound you could ever imagine being drawn from an electric guitar.

Drummer Willie Steele meanwhile socked away with undiminished good cheer, while Wolf's harp playing filled the air with a broad pneumatic vibrato, as guitar and harmonica fused to create a single impenetrable line of attack.

But it was Wolf, Wolf's voice, that unwaveringly compelled attention. It was a voice that mixed the roughest elements of the Delta blues styles on which he had been weaned with its most graceful modulations, cutting through the studio atmosphere with a sandpaper rasp, an almost overwhelming ferocity, but retaining at the same time a curious lyricism, a knowing combination of fury and fragility, which set it off from any other blues singer in that rich tradition. It was at one and the same time, Sam Phillips would always say in later years with his ingrained love of paradox, both the worst voice he had ever heard in his life and, in its own inimitable way, the most beautiful. There was no other way of saying it, he sang ''with his damn soul''.

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

"It was Ike Turner got us recording", said James Cotton. "He played piano and was acting as some kind of talent scout for the Sun label. They was paying him to find people to record, so we went in there and recorded "Moanin' At Midnight" and "How Many More Years". It was a little old room, we just played how we felt and Sam Phillips kept himself busy getting the microphones right. We didn't think we were making a new sound or anything, we were just playing the way we played. Sam Phillips got real excited, he was real friendly and far as I was concerned he was a real nice person... Then Wolf decided he was gonna go up to Chicago, so  he left Willie Johnson behind and took Hubert Sumlin along with him".

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


In a studio conversation added as a coda to the Charly boxed set of his work, which like all Chess material  on the Charly label was deleted in 1996 when MCA Records won the rights to the catalogue, after a long and  bitter dispute, Howlin' Wolf recalled his start in music:

"I was ploughing, ploughing four mules on the plantation. And a man come there picking a guitar called  Charley Patton. And I liked his sound, so I always did wanna play guitar. So I got him to show me a few  chords, y'know, and so every night that I'd get off work I'd go his house and he'd learn me how to pick the  guitar. So I got good with it and I went out for myself''.

Howlin' Wolf on stage at Silvios, Chicago, early 1960's ^

''I got out there and everything was great, with the people seeing what I was putting down. Then I decided I  would play so I asked my father to get me a guitar...".

"Then along comes Sonny Boy with the harp, Rice Miller, he married my sister then he learned me how to  blow the harp. Then I went to play from there. I been playing ever since. I been playing through Arkansas,  Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and around Kentucky. I never was in Texas but I played all over the cottonbelt  country, y'know, so that's what started me playing the blues". "Then I had a woman, she was kinda nice  to me, then she pulled off and left me. And that give me the blues sure 'nuff. I went to Howlin' like a dog  then, you know what I mean. So I's been playing ever since".

Pop' Stapless, head of the family gospel group the Staples Singers, has recalled seeing Patton and the Wolf  working at this time.


Howlin' Wolf in his Sun days, early 1950s. >

"My daddy though the blues was the devil's music. Wouldn't even let me play the guitar,  said that was the instrument of the devil too. So I'd sneak out of the house, and that's how  I saw Charley Patton and Wolf, when I was 12 or 13 years old. It would be where someone  had a big house, and on Saturday night they'd organize a dance. ladies would be cooking  chicken and chitlin' in the kitchen, and they'd have a room for gambling, playing cards,  drinking bootleg liquor, and a big room out in front where they'd play and dance".


"Charley and me was on the same plantation, he'd always be playing there, and Wolf came  along later. Wolf was my main man. Charley Patton was a good man, far as I know - I was  young, and didn't know about his life or anything''.

''But Wolf, I thought he was the greatest  thing. A big guy, a real tall handsome man, he was really something else. He was just a few  years older than me, but he was so powerful I wouldn't even dare speak to him. They were  already calling him Wolf then. He was playing with Charley, I think he was maybe playing  Charley's songs, but he was something different altogether. As far as I was concerned, he was  the blues", according Howlin' Wolf.


Years ago, it was assumed that the William Stewart who recorded unamplified blues at Sun was the same guy who played unamplified acoustic guitar with the Prisonaires. Even Sam Phillips claimed to remember Stewart playing cottonpatch blues. This, we're certain now, is not the case. For one thing, the guitarist with the Prisonaires was a harmonically sophisticated player; Talking Boy Stewart was most assuredly not. And a newly-discovered note in the tape box dates the session 1951 when the Prisonaires were securely confined elsewhere. That said, we know very little of William talking Boy Stewart.


Note: found within the original tape box of Talkin' Boy Stewart. ^

These were, as far as we know his only recordings, and he sounds as if he came up from points South without listening to much of what happened in blues after about 1929.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR WILLIAM ''TALKING BOY'' STEWART
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE 1951

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: PROBABLY MAY 14 OR 15, 1951
STUDIO HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

01(1) - "COUNTRY FARM BLUES" - B.M.I. - 1:54
Composer: - William Stewart
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably May 14 or 15, 1951
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 105 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1956
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-5-12 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

The presence of old Mississippi looms heavy over ''County Farm Blues''. With a layer of crackle and hiss, you could easily believe that it had been recorded twenty or more earliers. In fact, Son House recorded a more-or-less unrelated ''Mississippi County Farm Blues'', as did Bukka White and others. Both House and White knew whereof they sung because both had served time at Mississippi's Parchman Farm (as had Elvis Presley's father), but Stewart leaves no clue to tell us which county farm is on his mind. true, John Lee Hooker and Lightnin' Hopkins were selling records rooted in rural blues around 1951, but they brought a sheen of modernity (and in Hooker's case electricity) to their music. William Stewart gave every indication of having just arrived from the late 1920s.

There's some confusion about exactly who's gone out on the country farm; in his second verse, he  sings, "Well my gal done left me, gone out on the country farm". Its a bit like, "Have a sandwich,   my feet are killing me". Given the context of the other verses, perhaps there should've been an   "I've" separating the two statements.

02(1) - "THEY CALL ME TALKING BOY" - 1 - B.M.I. - 2:20
Composer: - William Stewart
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -  Probably May 14 or 15, 1951
Released: - August 1977
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30127-B-3 mono
THE ROOTS OF ROCK – VOLUME 12 – UNION AVENUE BREAKDOWN
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-5-13 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

It don't get much more primitive than this. This is backporch music to the extreme: one foot, one guitar. Like many bluesmen of this style, Stewart changes chords when he wants to, and that muse seems to be pretty erratic. The lyrics are a string of blues cliches, and the title is possibly a Sam Phillips concoction. This track is more a documentary than an attempt at commercial recording.

02(2) - "THEY CALL ME TALKING BOY" - 2 - B.M.I. - 2:23
Composer: - William Stewart
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued - Take 2
Recorded: -  Probably May 14 or 15, 1951

03 - "RATTLESNAKE MAMA" - B.M.I. - 2:47
Composer: - William Stewart
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -  Probably May 14 or 15, 1951
Released: - August 1977
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30127-B-2 mono
THE ROOTS OF ROCK – VOLUME 12 – UNION AVENUE BREAKDOWN
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-5-14 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

Another figure from the past is evoked here, this time the shade of Blind Boy Fuller, who recorded  "I'm A Rattlesnakin' Daddy" back in 1935. By dying in 1941, Fuller was spared the horror of hearing this, quite possibly the worst ever adaptation of this song.  This time the accompaniment is strummed but the  untutored air remains intact. Stewart sings in a curiously adenoidal tone, which again poses the  question, is he imitating someone else's delivery? He also lapses into a coarser vocal tone at times,  before retreating back up his nasal passages.

04 - "FORTY FOUR BLUES" - B.M.I. - 3:01
Composer: - William Stewart
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -  Probably May 14 or 15, 1951
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Krazy Kat Records (LP) 33rpm KK 7427 mono
MEMPHIS BLUES - UNISSUED TITLES FROM THE 1950
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-5-15 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

This is performed at a faster tempo than most of his repertoire and doesn't follow the verse structure  of the familiar "Forty Four Blues" in other bluesmen's songbooks: "Well I said 'Good mornin' Mr  Pawnshop man'/just as I rapped upon his door/I ain't in no hurry but I need my 44". William Stewart  even manages to put a macabre turn on the one verse tag he does use: "I wore my 44 so long it  made my shoulder sore/after I find that woman (and) kill her, won't wear that thing no mer". In the  light of Pat Hare's later "Gonna Murder My Baby", is there an added dimension to this verse?

Other verses are his own, but he's trying his damndest to set them to the famous. ''44 Blues''. Some reckon that song originated before Little Brother Montgomery and Roosevelt Sykes popularized it in the 1920s, but it has had a long afterlife with recordings by Johnny Winter, Little Feat, the Black Crowes and many others, most of whom take their cue from Howlin' Wolf's 1954 version. If this were the only version, the song wouldn't have had so many takers.

05 - "BLACK SNAKE BOOGIE" - B.M.I. - 2:43
Composer: - William Stewart
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -  Probably May 14 or 15, 1951
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Krazy Kat Records (LP) 33rpm KK 7427 mono
MEMPHIS BLUES - UNISSUED TITLES FROM THE 1950
Reissued: - June 25, 2006 Charly Records (MP3) Internet Sample mono
WILLIAM TALKING BOY STEWART

06(1) - "HEY GAL" - B.M.I. - 1:44
Composer: - William Stewart
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -  Probably May 14 or 15, 1951
Released: - 1992
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm SUN 37 mono
BACK COUNTRY BOOGIE
Reissued: - June 25, 2006 Charly Records (MP3) Internet Sample mono
WILLIAM TALKING BOY STEWART

06(2) - "HEY GAL" - B.M.I. - 2:34
Composer: - William Stewart
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -  Probably May 14 or 15, 1951
Released: - 1992
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm SUN 37 mono
BACK COUNTRY BOOGIE
Reissued: - June 25, 2006 Charly Records (MP3) Internet Sample mono
WILLIAM TALKING BOY STEWART

07 - "I LOVE MY BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:53
Composer: - William Stewart
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -  Probably May 14 or 15, 1951
Released: - 1992
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm SUN 37 mono
BACK COUNTRY BOOGIE
Reissued: - June 25, 2006 Charly Records (MP3) Internet Sample mono
WILLIAM TALKING BOY STEWART

08 - "TALKING BOY" - B.M.I. - 2:23
Composer: - William Stewart
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -  Probably May 14 or 15, 1951
Released: - 1992
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm SUN 37 mono
BACK COUNTRY BOOGIE
Reissued: - June 25, 2006 Charly Records (MP3) Internet Sample mono
WILLIAM TALKING BOY STEWART

09 - ''HEY, LITTLE GIRL''
Composer: - William Stewart
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: -   Probably May 14 or 15, 1951

10 - ''I GONNA LEAVE HERE WALKIN'''
Composer: - William Stewart
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: -   Probably May 14 or 15, 1951

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
William Stewart – Vocal and Guitar

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


MAY 15, 1951 TUESDAY

Roy Rogers is caught up in a drough-related scandal with the movie debut of ''In Old Amarillo'', featuring an appearance by Pat Brady

Buck Owens relocates from Phoenix, Arizona, to Bakersfield, California, with his family, including wife Bonnie Owens and son Buddy Alan.

MAY 18, 1951 FRIDAY

The movie ''Inside The Walls Of Folsom Prison'' makes its debut in American theaters. The picture inspires Johnny Cash to write ''Folsom Prison Blues''.

The comedic picture ''Kentucky Jubilee'' appears in movie theaters. The film includes appearances by ''Atomic Power'' songwriter Fred Kirby and steel guitar player Les ''Carrot Top'' Anderson.

MAY 21, 1951 MONDAY

Hank Williams is sent to the North Louisiana Sanatorium in Shreveport, moaning about back pain. The pain remains throughout the rest of his life.

Columbia released Gene Autry's ''Old Soldiers Never Die''.

MAY 23, 1051 WEDNESDAY

Mac Wiseman has his first recording session as a solo artist, cutting sides for Dot Records.

Judy Rodman is born in Riverside, California. After singing background on hits by George Strait, T.G. Sheppard and George Jones, Rodman develops her own solo career, earning the Academy of Country Music's Top New Female award in 1986.

MAY 24, 1951 THURSDAY

Lefty Frizzell recorded ''Always Late (With Your Kisses)'', ''How Long Will It Take (To Stop Loving You)'' and ''Mom And Dad's Waltz'' at the Jim Beck Studio in Dallas, Texas.

MAY 25, 1951 FRIDAY

Marty Robbins signs a recording contract with Columbia Records in Phoenix. He remains with the company for most of the next 31 years, racking up such classics as ''El Paso'', ''Devil Woman'' and ''My Woman, My Woman, My Wife''.

Faron Young graduates from Fair Park High School in Shreveport, Louisiana, ranked #236 in a class of 244.

MAY 26, 1951 SATURDAY

Songwriter Richard Leigh is born in McLean, Virginia. He writes Crystal Gayle's ''Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue'', Billy Dean's ''Somewhere In My Broken Heart'', Steve Wariner's ''Life's Highway'' and Reba McEntire's ''The Greatest Man I Never Know''.

Jimmy and Sue Dean have a son, Garry Taylor Dean.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR B.B. KING
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR RPM RECORDS

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: SUNDAY MAY 27, 1951
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER - SAM C. PHILLIPS AND JULES BIHARI
RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

Hudson Whittaker - better known as kazoo-blowing Chicago blues patriarch Tampa Red - had just cut the rollicking original "She's Dynamite" for RCA Victor in March of 1951. Then B.B. grabbed hold of it two months later for RPM, hiking its energy level in the esteemed company of two generations of Newborns, Phineas Sr. on drums and Phineas Jr. on piano.

Joe Bihari said to Colin Escott, ''I was in Atlanta and our distributor Jake Friedman said, 'RCA is getting a lot of jukebox plays on ''She's Dynamite'', but people can't buy the record'. So I went up to Memphis to Sam Phillips studio''. What emerged was a record that almost said more about Sam Phillips than B.B. King. Unlike the restraint of Tampa Red's original, this was modelled on the giddy, hormonal rush of ''Rocket 88''. The thunderous rhythm track and the sax teetering on the edge of atonatily were Phillips' trademarks, not B.B's. It was rock and roll in all but name. The guitarist was certainly not B.B. because he plays under the vocals... something B.B. never did. We're probably hearing Calvin Newborn on guitar and his brother, Phineas on piano. Phineas's trademark was finesse, not the jackhammer left hand called for here. Upon release, the Biharis left the composer credit ominously blank, as they unusually did when they didn't own the publishing. Phillips noted that he sent out seven dubs of ''She's Dynamite'' to disc jockeys, emphasizing the rapidity with which the record was released (ordinarly, the Biharis would have taken care of this). It showed up on some local charts (Richmond and New Orleans), but surely deserved to do better. 

01 - "SHE'S DYNAMITE" – B.M.I. - 2:28
Composer: - Hudson Whittaker
Publisher: - Modern Music
Matrix number: - MM 1563 - Unknown Take - Missing In Action
Recorded: - May 27, 1951
Released: - June 1951
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm standard single RPM 323-B mono
SHE'S DYNAMITE / B.B. BLUES
Reissued: -  2002 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHM2 835-2-6 mono
B.B. KING - THE MODERN RECORDINGS 1950 - 1951

The next recordings mainly a mystery. Original session master tapes have never been found for "Three O'Clock Blues", "That Ain't The Way To Do It" and "She Don't Move Me No More" These sides were probably cut in September at the YMCA, 254 South Lauderdale in Memphis, Tennessee, after the Biharis dispute with Sam Phillips in the summer of 1951.  As a result of a feud between Phillips and Modern over Sam handing Jackie Brenston's "Rocket 88" to Chess Records, the Biharis eschewed the use of Phillips' studio that September to cut what would be King's national breakthrough, "Three O'Clock Blues". "When they would come in town, usually they would bring portable equipment like Ampex 600s, things like that", said King, whose backing cast for the session included illfated pianist Johnny Ace, Sanders and Billy Duncan on saxes, and drummer Earl Forrest. "And they would set them up in any vacant place that we could find. In fact, when we made "Three O'Clock Blues", we made it at the YMCA''.

02 - "THREE O'CLOCK BLUES" – B.M.I. - 2:59
Composer: - Jules Taub-B.B. King
Publisher: - Modern Music
Matrix number: - MM 1682 - Unknown Take
Recorded: - September 1951 / Probably May 27, 1951
Released: - 1951
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm standard single RPM 339 mono
THREE O'CLOCK BLUES / THAT AIN'T THE WAY TO DO IT
Reissued: -  2002 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHM2 835-2-13 mono
B.B. KING - THE MODERN RECORDINGS 1950 - 1951

The Bihari brothers recorded the first B.B. King sides at the colored YMCA on Lauderdale in Memphis. ''I called B.B., and I said, 'I'm coming in'''said the youngest brother, Joe Bihari, twenty-six-years-old and now in charge of the field recording division. ''We rented a room in the black YMCA, big room, and had to put up blankets over the windows so you wouldn't hear the noise from the cars outside''.


YMCA's new addition almost finished completion is near on the $250,000 addition to the Abe Scharff Branch of the YMCA at 254 South Lauderdale on September 5, 1951. Dormitory rooms and a gymnasium are in the wing at left; the auditorium is in the center. An open house on September 30, 1951 will mark the start of activities in the new addition. >

B.B. King had assembled a splendid crew of up-and-coming musicians for local gigs that he dubbed the Blues Boys. "The group first was mine, and then it was called the Beale Streeters after that," he explained.


"The Beale Streeters, at that time, consisted of Richard Sanders, Johnny Ace was the piano player - his name   was John Alexander, but he later started making records under his own name with the Beale Streeters.

In fact, the whole group was the group that I put together when we made ''Three O'Clock Blues''. But when ''Three O'Clock Blues'' became a hit and I started to work out of a booking agency called Shaw Artists Corporation, and Universal (Attractions), they didn't want me to have a band. They wanted me alone''. 
So I left the band, and when I did, gave it to Johnny Ace. And that's when he changed it. Instead of calling it the Blues Boys as it had been, he started calling it the Beale Streeters."

B.B. picked up "Three O'Clock Blues" from fellow blues guitar master Lowell Folson, who scored his own first national hit with it in late 1948. B.B's did even better, topping the Billboard's rhythm and blues charts for five weeks in February and March of 1952.

"That Ain't The Way To Do It", is a playful romp highly reminescent of Louis Jordan's "Ain't That Just Like A Woman" (the ebullient alto saxman was another primary King influence).

03(1) - "THAT AIN'T THE WAY TO DO IT" – B.M.I. - 2:16
Composer: - Riley B. King-Jules Taub
Publisher: - Modern Music
Matrix number: - MM 1683 - Take 1
Recorded: - September 1951 / Probably May 27, 1951
Released: - 1952
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm standard single RPM 339 mono
THAT AIN'T THE WAY TO DO IT / THREE O'CLOCK BLUES
Reissued: - 2002 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHM2 835-2-14 mono
B.B. KING - THE MODERN RECORDINGS 1950 - 1951

03(2) - ''THAT AIN'T THE WAY TO DO IT" – B.M.I. - 2:17
Composer: - Riley B. King-Jules Taub
Publisher: - BMG Music Publishing limited
Matrix number: - MM 1682 - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - September 1951 / Probably May 27, 1951
Released: - 2002
First appearance: - Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHM2 835-2-15 mono
B.B. KING - THE MODERN RECORDINGS 1950 - 1951

Despite a large gap in the matrix, the bonechilling "She Don't Move Me No More" apparently dates from the same session.

04 - "SHE DON'T MOVE ME NO MORE" – B.M.I. - 3:11
Composer: - Riley B. King
Publisher: - Modern Music
Matrix number: - MM 1752 - Unknown Take
Recorded: - September 1951 / Probably May 27, 1951
Released: - 1952
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm standard single RPM 348-B mono
SHE DON'T MOVE ME NO MORE / FINE LOOKIN' WOMAN
Reissued: - 2002 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHM2 835-2-16 mono
B.B. KING - THE MODERN RECORDINGS 1950 - 1951

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
B.B. King - Vocal and Guitar
Richard Sanders - Tenor Saxophone
Phineas Newborn Jr. & Ike Turner - Piano
Calvin Newborn - Guitar
Possibly James Walker - Bass
Unknown - Baritone Saxophone
Phineas Newborn Sr. - Drums
Adolph "Billy" Duncan - Tenor Saxophone
Possibly Earl Forrest or Man-Son – Drums

Ike Turner was also present at the seminal recordings of B.B. King's massive hit ''Three O'Clock Blues'' recorded around the same time as the Howlin' Wolf session. The story goes that regular pianist Phineas Newborn Jr. couldn't get the right feel, so up steps the young Turner and hits the groove in two takes. 

According to Bihari, ''it just was not working, and I told everybody, I said, 'B.B., come on, everybody, take a break'''. He had been using Phineas Newborn Jr. on piano, as he recalled, ''but he played jazzy, he wasn't good a blues, or he didn't want to play blues, and that's why nothing was really happening''. During the break another piano player ''wandered in'' he had just been listening and now sat down at the upright Joe had rented for the session and started playing exactly what Joe had been looking for. So after the break, he paid off Phineas Newborn Jr. and hired the new piano player. ''That piano player'', said Joe, ''was Ike Turner''.

Whether or not this is exactly the way it happened, and there are, certainly, numerous (though not unrelated) variations, the session proved to be momentous in two fundamental respects. The first was that B.B. King had his first national hit with Modern ''Three O'Clock Blues'', an old tune of Lowell Fulson's that B.B. had often played as a disc jockey, which hit number 1 on the rhythm and blues charts in early February 1952. The song was close to the kind of thing Sam Phillips had been groping for in his last sessions with B.B., with a pair of saxophones providing a churchy background to the gospel overtones of B.B.'s voice. Here, though, for the first time voice and guitar were fused, the approach was more muscular, more compressed, the record was stamped once and for all as B.B. King's and nobody else's. Ike Turner's contributions to this sound, whatever the tangled truths of everyone's memories, were not all that significant, but his place in Joe Bihari's esteem could not have been higher. There was something about Ike, sharp, in charge, always on the hustle, that really captured Joe Bihari's attention. According to Joe, ''I hired Ike. I bought him a car. I bought him a Buick Roadmaster. I gave him some of my suits, we wore the same size. I gave him an expense account and a weekly salary. I said, 'You go scout talent all through Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and when you have talent, you call me. I'll come in'''. 

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


The photo was taken on Beale Street in 1955 by Memphis photographer Ernest Withers. It was B.B.'s first  bus and the first large band that he put together - after scoring his first big hit in 1952 with ''Three O'Clock  Blues'' he went out with the bands of others.

From the early 1950s until his death, King played several  hundred gigs a year, sometimes well over 300, so he's certainly spent more time on his various buses than he  has his regular home, he maintains one in Las Vegas. >



B.B. King had assembled a splendid crew of up-and-coming musicians for local gigs that he dubbed the  Blues Boys. "The group first was mine, and then it was called the Beale Streeters after that," he explained.  "The Beale Streeters, at that time, consisted of Richard Sanders, Johnny Ace was the piano player - his name  was John Alexander, but he later started making records under his own name with the Beale Streeters. In  fact, the whole group was the group that I put together when we made ''Three O'Clock Blues''.

But when ''Three O'Clock Blues'' became a hit and I started to work out of a booking agency called Shaw  Artists Corporation, and Universal (Attractions), they didn't want me to have a band''. ''They wanted me  alone. So I left the band, and when I did, gave it to Johnny Ace. And that's when he changed it. Instead of  calling it the Blues Boys as it had been, he started calling it the Beale Streeters'', recalls B.B.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR LOU SARGENT (LUTHER STEINBERG)
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR CHESS RECORDS 1951

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: PROBABLY MAY 1951
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

01 - "RIDIN' THE BOOGIE" – B.M.I. - 2:16
Composer: - Sam Phillips-Leonard Chess
Publisher: - B.L.P.C
Matrix number: - U 64
Recorded: - Probably May 1951
Released: - July 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1465-A mono
RIDIN' THE BOOGIE / SHE REALLY TREATS ME WRONG
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-1-10 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

Lou Sarcent was actually a pseudonym for Luther Steinberg, although in the broader sence, the name was used as a front to describe the entire assembled musical aggregation. And in time-honoured fashion, Steinberg himself was unaware that he'd acquired a new identity until this record appeared. This could almost have been the backing track for "Rocket 88", which is hardly surprising when you consider that the group became Jackie Brenston's touring band following his (invatableble split with Ike Turner. 

The track is driven along by the  piano, playing of Phineas Newborn Jr. (who was probably still under contract to Modern Records at the time), whilst the nominal leader, "Sargent", is barely audible on trumpet. Luther's brother Wilbur played bass and provided the vocal on the flipside "She Really Treats Me Wrong" under yet another pseudonym, Les Mitchell.

02 - "SHE REALLY TREATS ME WRONG – 1" – B.M.I. - 3:00
Composer: - Sam Phillips-Leonard Chess
Publisher: - B.L.P.C.
Matrix number: - U 65 - Vocal Les Mitchell (Wilbur Steinberg)
Recorded: - Probably May 1951
Released: - July 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1465-B mono
SHE REALLY TREATS ME WRONG / RIDIN' THE BOOGIE

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Lou Sargent (Luther Steinberg) - Trumpet
Tot Randolph - Saxophone
Phineas Newborn Jr. - Piano
Les Mitchell (Wilbur Steinberg) - Vocal 1 and Bass
Jeff Greyer - Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©




In 2010, Lewie Steinberg (September 13, 1933 – July 21, 2016)  was on hand Sunday evening along with other members of the family for the Beale Street Brass Note Walk of Fame induction ceremony honoring the legendary Steinberg family, which included Milton, Nan, Morris, Luther, Wilbur, Martha Jean and Diane.






LOU SARGENT  - was Luther Steinberg, scion of a prominent music family. From the Beale Street barrelhouses to the Stax era, the Steinbergs were present. Milton Steinberg was a pianist at Pee Wee's Saloon from around 1910 until the 1950s and had four sons who became musicians (Luther, Wilbur, Morris, and Lewie) as well as a daughter, Nan, who sang with Fats Waller and various swing bands. Luther played trumpet, while Wilbur and Lewie both played bass. Their last name was honestly come by, it seems.

Either Milton of his father was the product of a union between a Beale Street pawnbroker and an African American woman, although the brothers were reportedly brought up in the Catholic faith. Luther and Wilbur led the first African American band on television in the mid-South. Either Sam Phillips or Chess Records changed Luther's name to Lou Sargent and Wilbur's to Les Mitchell.




The pseudonym Lou Sargent was coined by Chess Records for "Ridin' The   Boogie", the sole release for a band nominally fronted by trumpet-player Luther Steinberg,   but which was effectively Phineas Newborn Jr's band (whom Jackie Brenston would annex   following his split with Ike Turner). However, the Lou Sargent name has generally become   associated with Steinberg, whose brother Wilbur played the bass on the session and sung  lead on the flip-side "She Really Treats Me Wrong".

Luther Steinberg and His Trumpet & His Orchestra featuring Luther (left), Lewie (2nd from left), and Wilbur (standing in front of mic boom).


Luther later married WDIA on-air personality and black socialite Martha Jean Jones, and left Memphis to work for Lionel Hampton, as did Morris, who later worked with B.B. King, Willie Mitchell, and other bands. Wilbur, who sings on ''She Really Treats Me Wrong'', became a bassist at Stax and Hi Records (he's reportedly on Ace Cannon's signature hit, ''Tuff'' and Rufus & Carla Thomas's ''Cause I Love You''). Lewie also became a bassist at Stax, playing on Booker T's ''Green Onion''. As the sole surviving brother, Lewie was on-hand to acknowledge the debt that Memphis music owed the Steinbergs when they were accorded a Brass Note on Beale Street's Walk of Fame in November 2010. Luther's wife, Martha Jean, became in 1963 a radio legend in Detroit, Michigan (her station's call-letters, WCHB in Inkster, was, she said, an acronym for Queen Broadcast Here), and on the occasion of her death in February 2000, it was noted by Billboard that Luther Steinberg had died on February 15, 2004, age of 72. Both died back in Memphis. Luther and Martha Jean's daughter, Dianne Steinberg Lewis, sang back-up for Rod Stewart, Peter Frampton, and others, and has recorded quite prolifically.


MAY 1951

Probably studio session with Rufus Thomas at the Memphis Recording Service in Memphis,  Tennessee.

By the time Rufus Thomas realized that his bullet disc existed but was not going to be a big  seller and that Bullet Records was making no noises about recording Mr. Swing again - he  also started to realize that there was an emerging recording opportunity right on his  doorstep. In fact, Memphis radio announcer and producer Sam Phillips had first opened the  doors of his Memphis Recording Service on Union Avenue pretty much at the same time  Rufus was recording for Star Talent. By the early part of 1951, Phillips had already sold  rhythm and blues recordings to out of town record companies like RPM and Chess and was  gaining something of a reputation on the back of recordings of B. B. King, Rosco Gordon  and others. "Rocket 88" by Jackie Brenston was top of the rhythm and blues charts when  Rufus Thomas started to think about going along to Union Avenue. He told Peter Guralnick,  "Everyone was just going up there, and I found out about it, so I went, too. You could come  right off the street and go in there".

MAY 28, 1951 MONDAY

Columbia released Carl Smith's double-sided single, ''Mr. Moon'' backed by ''If Teardrops Were Pennies''

MAY 30, 1951 WEDNESDAY

Studio session with Joe Hill Louis at the Memphis Recording Service in Memphis, Tennessee.

Lee Wallard wins the Indianapolis 500 at a speed of 126 miles per hour. The crowd includes Tiny Hill, who earned a hit months earlier with ''Hot Rod Race''.

MAY 31, 1951 THURSDAY

Tony Bennett recorded Hank Williams' Cold Cold Heart'' with producer Mitch Miller at the CBS Studio in New York.


JUNE 1951

Sam Phillips had been vindicated; as he declared later, ''Rocket 88'' was the record that  really kicked it off for me as far as broadening the base of music and opening up wider  markets for our local music''. As with most successes, though, it brought as many problems  as reward. ''I was still recording weddings and funerals'', recalls Phillips, ''taking care of the  PA system at the Hotel Peabody, and I was doing the Skyway broadcast every night at ten-thirty  and then back at work at seven-thirty the following morning. I was an eighteen-to twenty- hours-a-day person''.

Rebecca ''Becky'' Phillips at all girl WHER station, 1955/56 ^

''Then I went home and told my wife, 'Becky, I can't stand it'. I'd  already had a nervous breakdown and this was so emotionally and mentally exhausting. I  told her, ''I've just got to make a decision. I've worked awfully hard to get where I am in  radio. I like it but it's not what I want to do. She said, 'Whatever you want to do, we'll be  there'. June of 1951 is when I resigned. I had no income, my kids were growing up and going  to school, and there was a lot at stake. It had been a big decision to quit WREC, and if it all  fell through then I would have had to start a lot further down back in radio''. Nevertheless,  on the day he resigned, Phillips knew that ''Rocket 88'' was sitting atop the rhythm and blues  charts. As incentives go, it was better than most.

The feature on ''Rocket 88'' in the Commercial Appeal gives a little of the favor of Phillips'  business: Phillips ''has agreements with two recording companies to locate and record  hillbilly and race music. Race numbers are those tailored for the negro trade. Sam auditions  musicians with original songs. When he finds something he's sure will sell, he gets it on  acetate and sends it to one of the companies. He doesn't charge the musicians anything. Like  them, he gets his (sic) from the companies. Sam may branch out one day . . . so he says if  anyone wants to bring him a pop song, he'll be glad to look it over''.

Brenston's success on Chess ensured that Phillips now had only one record company to whom  he could pitch product; the Biharis were understandably incensed.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR RUFUS THOMAS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR CHESS RECORDS 1951

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: PROBABLY MAY/JUNE 1951
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

When Rufus Thomas entered 706 Union Avenue, the first person he encountered was Marion Keisker, Sam Phillips' first, and at that time only, assistant. She arranged for him to visit when Sam would be there, and Phillips was pleased to have a go at recording one of the rising stars of Beale Street and Memphis radio.

Marion recorded Rufus' address in her files as 440 Vance, and later changed this to 1376 Kerr when the Thomas family moved. She set up a recording session for some time in May or June 1951, and Sam Phillips started to make a deal with Leonard Chess for the output of the session to be leased to Chess Records in  Chicago.

01 - "NIGHT WORKIN' BLUES" – B.M.I. - 2:51
Composer: - Marty Witzel
Publisher: - B.L.P.C.
Matrix number: - U-62
Recorded: - Circa May/June 1951
Released: - July 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1466-A mono
NIGHT WORKIN' BLUES / WHY DID YOU DEEGEE?
Reissued: - 2008 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16695-7 mono
RUFUS THOMAS - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

As far as is known, the first title Phillips recorded was "Night Workin' Blues", a song Rufus had been singing for some years, although it was credited to Marty Witzel. It opens with a swinging riff from the band and Herman Green and Richard Sanders both feature throughout on tenor and baritone sax. Pianist Billy Love swoop around the tune and keeps a solid rhythm section going. The music is more rhythm than blues but Rufus forcefully gets across his tale of woe about coming off the night shift to find he's getting no attention at home.

"I try to make her happy/But my life is misery" and the solution seems to be to "let this all night working go". We may never know how biographical the song was, and the same goes for the next song Rufus recorded. ''Why Did You Deegee?", its about a man who didn't believe his gal would leave him and its about as close to recognized blues structure as Rufus gets. A slower pace is set here by drummer Houston Stokes and is emphasized by prominent use of cymbals, while Rufus really opens up his vocal chords and sells his story of heartbreak, punctured by sax riffs, jazzy guitar figures from an unidentified guitarist, and more prominent interventions from Billy Love. "Night Workin' Blues" and "Why Did You Deegee?" were issued as Chess 1466 in the mid-summer of 1951, and at the end of July it was noted in Sam Phillips' logbook that he paid Rufus an advance on sales of fifty dollars.

02 - WHY DID YOU DEEGEE?" – B.M.I. - 2:28
Composer: - Rufus Thomas
Publisher: - B.L.P.C.
Matrix number: - U 63
Recorded: - Circa May/June 1951
Released: - July 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1466-B mono
WHY DID YOU DEEGEE? / NIGHT WORKIN' BLUES
Reissued: - 2008 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm  BCD 16695-8 mono
RUFUS THOMAS - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

A third song had been made at the session and the master of "Crazy About You Baby" was sent to Chess at the same time as the masters for Chess 1466. "Crazy" was a pounding proto-rocker of the "Rocket 88" style that had gained Sam Phillips a massive rhythm and blues hit not long before. It is Billy Love pounding piano this  time, rather than Ike Turner, and Rufus reeling off the honking vocals rather than Jackie Brenston. Saxophonists Green and Sanders do as good if not better a job than the Turner/Brenston band, and all the pieces were in place for a hit. Rufus was a few months too late with this one despite it being a considerably good record - and his song was about a girl rather than a car. Mistake. Sales of "Night Workin' Blues" must have been sufficient to encourage Phillips and Chess to plan a second release.

03 - "CRAZY ABOUT YOU BABY" – B.M.I. - 2:37
Composer: - Rufus Thomas
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - U 7400
Recorded: - Circa May/June 1951
Released: - January 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1492 mono
CRAZY ABOUT YOU BABY/NO MORE DOGGING AROUND
Reissued: - 2008 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm  BCD 16695-9 mono
RUFUS THOMAS - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rufus Thomas – Vocal
Herman Green - Tenor Saxophone
Richard Sanders - Baritone Saxophone
Billy Love - Piano
Unknown - Guitar
Unknown – Bass
Houston Stokes - Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


MAY/JUNE 1951

Probably studio session for the Evangelist Gospel Singers of Alabama at the Memphis   Recording Service in Memphis, Tennessee.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

At the same time that Sam Phillips shipped some masters of B.B. King to California, he sent out dubs to seven disc jockeys, so strong was his and Joe Bihari's belief in its commercial potential. Three days later, on May 30, he cut a one-song session on Joe Hill Louis, this one, too, inspired by a record that was beginning to make a little noise, though in this case the artist himself brought it to him. ''Eyesight To The Blind'' by Sonny Boy Williamson was a song that was very popular locally, and we really wanted to get a good cut on it. Joe had learned the song from Sonny Boy, whom he knew from his broadcasting experience on both KWEM and WDIA, and Sam Phillips for the first time added drums and piano to get the best sound they could on a number that Joe himself acknowledged was a killer in its original version. With this rhythmic underpinning, Joe was able to deliver a ''much more focused and upfront vocal'', and this, too, was rush-released, although to even less commercial effect than the B.B. single.

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

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: WEDNESDAY MAY 30, 1951
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

01 – ''EYESIGHT TO THE BLIND'' – B.M.I. - 2:36
Composer: - Sonny Boy Williamson
Publisher: - EMI Music Publisher Limited
Matrix number: - MM 1564
Recorded: - May 30, 1951
Released: - 1951
First appearance: - Modern Records (S) 78rpm Modern 828 (mono)
EYESIGHT TO THE BLIND / GOING DOWN SLOW
Reissued: - 2001 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHD 803-18 mono
BOOGIE IN THE PARK

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Joe Hill Louis – Vocal, Harmonica, Guitar, Hi-Hat, Bass Drums
Ford Nelson - Piano

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''. 

The latter is actually quite an inferior performance with a torturously 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'm Gone'' features Joe's dangerously amplified guitar accompanied only by the insistent thud of his bass drum.

By the time the exciting November/December sessions for his lone Sun single, Joe had amplified his harp and Phillips uses Willie Nix for the drums. Joe's Meteor session in February of 1953 returns to a one-man-band format and is the second focal point of this collection. It was recorded during a Modern field trip and not by Lester Bihari himself as has sometimes been speculated. On return to the West Coast, very anonymous bass and drums were overdubbed to the four sides slated for release. This addition basically only served to dilute the sound. The original undubbed recordings are used in this collection. ''Western Union Man''/''Jack Pot'' as by Chicago Sunny Boy was a good seller but would have been of unlikely long-term value to Joe's career. The pseudonym, which even fooled researchers for years, suggests that his contract with the Biharis had by this time ended.

''Jack Pot'' is actually ''Woody Herman's At The Woodchopper's Ball'' and Joe's superb was performance was indicated as such on the tape box. Two takes exist with both equally meriting fusion, but the shorter previously unissued and looser alternate take is heard here.

Exceptionally fine are two further instrumentals (originally logged as ''Boogie'' and ''Boogie 2'') which eventually came out on the Howling Wolf Crown LP as ''Twisting And Turning'' and ''Backslide Boogie'' respectively. The rock solid 'Twisting And Turning' has never been on CD and it is a more deliberate and superior take to that originally issued as ''On The Floor'' on the rare second Meteor 78.

A glance at the discography reveals that the undubbed version of this take no longer exists while '' She Broke  Up My Life'' is the correct title for '' She Got Me Welkin'' . This title had been assigned to another take of the  same song, which now only exists as a fragment due to tape damage.

''Good Morning Little Angel'' is a pretty weak adaptation of Sonny Boy's ''School Girl'' but this Meteor session still finds Joe in absolute top form with wonderful cohesion between the instruments. It occupies a unique place in his discography as the only full one-man-band session recorded with amplified harp.

Joe returned to Sun a couple of months later to cut scintillating versions of his two most commercial songs - ''Tiger Man'' and ''Hydramatic Woman'' with a band including Walter Horton on harmonica but no release at the time resulted. A mystery version of the latter song by Louis with a full rhythm and blues band was eventually released by 4-Star on their Big Town subsidiary in 1954. Clearly taken from an old acetate, it is very likely an earlier version sent by Phillips to Don Pierce at 4-Star during the time of their earlier dealings. All that would follow during Joe's tragically short life would be two chaotic 1953 sessions held at a radio station with George Lawson's band for Henry Stone's Rockin' label - followed by an unissued session for Johnny Vincent the next year. Later on, there was a strange record on Vendor (taken from a radio broadcast) and a very rocking 1957  record on House Of Sound, which proved that Joe Hill Louis's talent was still intact for the talented producer who could capture it - just as Sam Phillips had done.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR JACKIE BRENSTON
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR CHESS RECORDS 1951

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: PROBABLY MAY/JUNE 1951
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
AND/OR MARION KEISKER

01 - "INDEPENDENT WOMAN*" – B.M.I. - 2:50
Composer: - Jackie Brenston
Publisher: -  Burton Limited
Matrix number: - U-7350 - Acetate
Recorded: - Probably May/June 1951
Released: - July 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm standard single Chess 1472 mono
INDEPENDENT WOMAN / JUICED
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-1-8 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

A musical clone of ''Rocket 88'' without the automotive hook. Chess coupled it with ''Juiced'' and released it as Brenston's third single. His career lost further momentum as a result. As before, he shouts encouragement to Raymond Hill during the sax solo. in fact, there's so much saxophone, it's almost a Raymond Hill record. One possibility is that dissension had already set in between Brenston and Ike Turner's band, leading Phillips to retrieve this substandard cut and pair it with ''Juiced'', a song that didn't even have Brenston on it, even though it was credited to him.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jackie Brenston - Vocal and Baritone Sax
Raymond Hill - Tenor Sax
Probably Ike Turner - Piano 
Willie Kizart - Guitar
Willie Sims - Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©



In the early days of the Memphis Recording Service, one of Sam Phillips' staple activities was recording community events including church sermons and gospel music. He made these recordings both on location and in his recording studio. Much of this was for the personal use of his clients but occasionally he was in a position to suggest that a singer or group might make a commercial session.


The Evangelist Gospel Singers of Alabama >


We know that Phillips recorded the Gospel Tones and the Gospel Travelers in 1950 and the Brewsteraires in 1951, and the Chess master numbers suggest that two disc by the Evangelist Gospel Singers of Alabama were made by Sam Phillips for Chess Records in the summer of 1951.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR THE EVANGELIST GOSPEL SINGERS OF ALABAMA
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR CHESS RECORDS 1951

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: POSSIBLY MAY/JUNE 1951
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

This recording session is not logged in the MRS files, but the Chess Records archives indicate that the masters were purchased from Sam Phillips.

The Evangelists are good, no matter who recorded them. What's good here includes the highly syncopated rhythm and highly arranged and rehearsed performance. This quartet didn't walk into a studio and lay down a track after agreeing on a key, a tempo and some lyrics. In that sense they differ from many of the blues performances presented here. These guys rehearsed, and they worked the piano player into their arrangement. he's not just comping mindlessly behind them; the piano is driving and fronting the performance. The cold stop at the end and the voicing of the final vocal chord tells you that a lot of prep work went into what you're hearing. Perhaps the strongest evidence to suggest this may not have been a Phillips recording is the sheer skill that went into balancing the lead vocalist with the quartet, and the quartet as a whole with the piano. The studio at 706 Union was small and some other Phillips recordings of the era show that Sam was not always skilled at doing this kins of balancing act. This ''Leaning On The Lord'' hymn was one that the Golden Gate Quartet, the Famous Blue Jay Singers, and many others had recorded.

01 - "LEANING ON THE LORD" – B.M.I. - 2:55
Composer: - Traditional
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - U-7351
Recorded: - Possibly May/June 1951
Released: - July 1953
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1473-A mono
LEANING ON THE LORD / LORD STOP THE WAR
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-10-19 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958

Before we get into the music, we want to remind everyone near and far that, while there are discographical reasons to believe these may be recordings made by Sam Phillips, we remain sceptical on aural evidence alone. The record labels offer no clues: no composer and no publisher. Now the music. Originally appearing on one side of Chess 1473, this ''Lord Stop The War'' might have competed for radio airtime because of its content. The Korean War loomed large over the black community and dragged its tendrils into the repertoire of gospel quartets and their recording session. The content was clear: Let our boys come home from this senseless war being fought god knows where over issues none of us understands. Just make our families and community whole again. That message, sung to a familiar 8-bar structure is what you get here for 2:46 sec. What it lacks in originality, it more than gains in topicality. A lot of P's get popped, but that's what happens when you're singing about ''everybody Praying''. The topicality is hammered home in the final line when the group asks God not to stop the War, but to Stop This War. Amen.

02 - "LORD STOP THE WAR" – B.M.I. - 2:46
Composer: - Traditional
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - U-7352
Recorded: -   Possibly May/June 1951
Released: - July 1953
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1473-B mono
LORD STOP THE WAR / LEANING ON THE LORD
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-10-18 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Evangelist Gospel Singers of Alabama consisting of:
Willie McInstry - Lead Vocal
Leroy Terry - Tenor and Piano
Willie Banks - Baritone Vocal
John Davis - Bass Vocal
Unknown - Vocal

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


There have been several gospel groups with this name but the identity of the Spiritual Stars who saw one disc issued on Chess records in 1951 has escaped us. The master numbers of ''I'll Search Heaven'' and ''Good Religion'' are close to those of the Evangelist Gospel Singers. If the debate about who recorded them and when is resolved in favor of Phillips then that will likely confirm the time and place of the Stars recordings too.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR THE SPIRITUAL STARS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR CHESS RECORDS 1951

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: PROBABLY 1951
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

''I'll Search Heaven'' is a very good record. There is no real evidence that these guys ever saw the inside of 706 Union Avenue, but it's nice to think that they might have. Again, the record label offers no clue. The only subscript is ''Spiritual Series'', and we could have guessed that. The group holds more harmonic interest and greater dynamic range than the Evangelist Gospel Singers and comes across as slightly more ''modern'' because of it. The 16-bar structure and melodic line of this song bear more than a passing similarity to the classic ''Peace In The valley'', but it was a loose adaption of Mae Glover and Beatrice Brown's 1945 song, ''I'll Search Heaven For You'', recorded by the Mill Brothers among others.

01 - ''I"LL SEARCH HEAVEN'' - B.M.I. - 3:06
Composer: - Mae Glover-Beatrice Brown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number:  U 7373
Recorded: Probably 1951
Released: 1951
First appearance: Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1485-A mono
I'LL SEARCH HEAVEN / GOOD RELIGION
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-10-22 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1959

The Spiritual Stars were good! You heard it here. This time they turn their hands and voices to the oft-recorded tune ''So Glad I Got Good Religion'' (check out the Blind Boys of Alabama for a definitive version). just listen to this record and hear great harmonic variants of what would in lesser hands be simple 4-square chords. Not on this record, though. Nothing is ordinary here. If Sam Phillips truly had recorded this music in his tiny studio back in 1951, maybe he fallen on his knees, poured his Jack Daniels down the drain, trashed his little black book on the spot, and gone into the gospel music business. Of course that would mean the history of American popular culture as we know it would never have been written. Maybe that's too steep a price to pay. But one way or the other, he would have known, as you do, that this is really a hell of a record.

02 - ''GOOD RELIGION'' - B.M.I. - 2:21
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number:  U 7374
Recorded: Probably 1951
Released: 1951
First appearance: Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1485-B mono
GOOD RELIGION / I'LL SEARCH HEAVEN
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-10-23 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1959

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
The Spiritual Stars
Unidentified Group Members

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


JUNE 1951

"Rocket 88" tops the Rhythm & Blues charts.

Sam Phillips quits his two other jobs (i.e. WREC  and Hotel Peabody).

Sam Phillips records his first session with white Folk and Blues artist  Harmonica Frank Floyd. He sends the dubs to Chess Records.

Sam Phillips record his final  session with B.B. King.

The first commercial computer to be created in the U.S., the UNIVAC (Universal Automatic Computer), was dedicated for use at the U.S. Census Bureau during June of 1951. The computer was designed by Presper Eckert and John Mauchly and was created by the Remington Rand company. Eckert and Mauchly had also created the first general-purpose computer (ENIAC) in 1946. The data-processing machine had 5,000 vacuum tubes, weighed about 16,000 pounds, and measured 14.5 by 7.5 by 9 feet in size. UNIVAC was an improved version of ENIAC and the first successful commercial computer created for civilian use. It could do about 1,000 calculations in a second, improving the efficiency of the Census Bureau.

JUNE 1951

Studio session with Walter Horton at The Memphis Recording Service in Memphis, Tennessee.

MID-1951

By the middle of 1951, however, pianist and future Sun recording star, Roy Hall had again made his way to Detroit where he briefly formed a new group named The Eagles, recording for Detroit's Citation Records.

JUNE 1, 1951 FRIDAY

Lefty Frizzell recorded eight Jimmie Rodgers songs at the Jim Back Studio in Dallas, Texas, including ''Travellin' Blues''.

The World War II movie ''Fighting Coast Guards'' opens in theaters with music by The Sons Of The Pioneers.

JUNE 3, 1951 SUNDAY

Louisville, Kentucky, celebrates Pee Wee King Day.

Lula Grace Wood, the future Jan Howard, welcomes her third son, David Bryan Wood, in Greeley, Colorado.

Elvis Presley walked over to the 1132 Kansas Avenue to take a look at the building. He then went home  and called Whitehall 8-1652, and asked if they were hiring.  A day later, on June 3, 1951, Elvis Presley  filled out an employment application and was hired to work from 7:00 a.m. to 3:20 p.m at Precision Tool  Corporation, located at 1132 Kansas Avenue, across McLemore Avenue.

JUNE 4, 1951 MONDAY

Decca released Red Foley's ''(There'll Be) Peace In The Valley (For Me)''.

JUNE 6, 1951 WEDNESDAY

Songwriter Jon Vezner is born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He authors such hits as ''Then What?'' by Clay Walker, ''If I Didn't Love You'' by Steve Wariner and ''Where've You Been'' by his wife, Kathy Mattea.

JUNE 8, 1951 FRIDAY

Tony Rice is born in Danville, Virginia. A highly admired bluegrass guitarist, he joins J.D. Crowe and The New South in the 1970s, where his bandmates for a short time include Rocky Skaggs and dobro ace Jerry Douglas.

Carl Smith recorded ''(When You Feel Like You're In Love) Don't Just Stand There'' in the afternoon at the Tulane Hotel's Castle Studio in Nashville.

JUNE 9, 1951 SATURDAY

''Rocket 88'' hit number 1 on the Billboard Rhythm and Blues charts and stayed there well into July. By the end of August it would sell over one hundred thousand copies. In the ads that Chess Records took out in the trade magazines the sky was clearly the limit. ''Climbing to the Top'', proclaimed the girl in the bathing suit, who sat astride a crudely drawn version of the same rocket on which a fully clothed, giddily excited young married couple was perched in the original Oldsmobile ad for ''a driver's dream come true''. But for all of the promise that the ''Hottest Little Label in the Country'' held out for their sensational new act, the seeds for the band's dissolution were already planted and well under way.

Basically, what it came down to in the view of everyone except the principal figure himself was that Jackie Brenston had gotten the big head. Ike Turner was still seething that Jackie's names had gone on the record when everyone knew it was Ike's band. But it wasn't just Ike, who might have been volatile under the best of circumstances. Raymond Hill, the sixteen-year-old lead saxophonist, was sufficiently irked that he commandeered the band and played gigs around the Delta as Raymond Hill and His Delta Cats, on occasion featuring ''Jackie Brimson'', while the real Jackie Brenston was out on his own. According to Ike's admittedly imperfect recollection, the only date the original band played together following the record's release was the triumphant Handy Theatre performance on April 7 and 8, and while that may not have been the literal truth, it didn't miss the mark by much. In fact, when Leonard Chess pressed Sam Phillips for a follow-up by the band, it proved so impossible to get Jackie and the Kings of Rhythm back in the studio at the same time that, with Leonard's permission, Sam picked out a ''Rocket''-styled number written by versatile pianist Billy Love and recorded Billy playing and singing it with an all-star Memphis contingent behind him. He then purchased both song(''Juiced'') and performance from its author and gave it to the record company to put out under Jackie's name.

For the first time, Sam Phillips felt like his star was truly in the ascendancy. Chess rush-released two more of his recordings in this new hard-driving ''swing boogie'' style, including a gruff-voiced novelty item ''Night Workin' Blues'' backed with ''Why Did You DeeGee?'' (Chess 1466) by Rufus Thomas, the WDIA disc jockey who had hosted the Handy Theatre show. The Biharis, too, suddenly seemed more receptive, as Sam completed an animated B.B. King session, this time showcasing B.B.'s own lead guitar, delivered another unclassifiable number by Rosco Gordon and sent in sides by eccentric blues drummer Willie Nix and harmonica wizard Walter Horton in the gutbucket blues style that he himself personally favored. Perhaps almost as significant, a western swing outfit from Chester, Pennsylvania, called Bill Haley and the Saddlemen put out a cover version of ''Rocket 88'', and while Sam didn't think much of Haley's version, it didn't come close in his view to matching the intensity or drive of the original, the very fact of its popularity with a white audience went a long way toward proving a point that he found himself returning to again and again in conversation with Leonard Chess and the Bihari brothers; this music didn't have to be limited to an audience of a certain complexion, this music wasn't restricted to any one segment of the population, this was a music that, by its very nature, potentially had universal appeal.

JUNE 10, 1951 SUNDAY

''Casa Manana'', a musical about an entrepreneur opening a Mexican restaurant, appears in theaters. Spade Cooley provides the band.

JUNE 12, 1951 TUESDAY

The Weavers recorded the pop hit ''Kisses Sweeter Than Wine''. Six years later, it's revived as a pop and country crossover hit by Jimmie Rodgers.

JUNE 15, 1951 FRIDAY

Ernest Tubb recorded the Ray Price-written ''Hey La La'' during an evening session at Nashville's Castle Studio.

JUNE 16, 1951 SATURDAY

Hank and Audrey Williams hold grand opening for a new clothing store, Hank & Audrey's Corral, at 724 Commerce Street in downtown Nashville. Lefty Frizzell is on hand for the activities.

JUNE 17, 1951 SUNDAY

Pop singer Lenny LeBlanc is born in Leominster, Massachusetts. As a member of the duo LeBlanc & Carr, he's part of the 1977 hit ''Falling''. He also writes Sawyer Brown's 1996 country hit ''Treat Her Right''.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR WALTER ''MUMBLES'' HORTON
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICES FOR RPM/MODERN RECORDS 1951

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE JUNE 1951
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

Sam Phillips got Walter Horton back to the studio in June 1951. This time he had assembled a new set of musicians with a meatier, electric sound, and the four sides cut on this date were underpinned by Calvin Newborn's amplified guitar, which almost dominated by Phineas Newborn Jr. and Willie Nix may be the drummer. From this session the Biharis issued ''Back Gal'' and Jumpin' Blues'' on their subsidiary label RPM (338).

The remaining unreleased Horton sides didn't see the light of day until 1969 and the early 1970s when they were issued on collections on Kent and Polydor, although bad remastering didn't do the sides justice.

01 - ''BLACK GAL'' - B.M.I. - 2:56
Composer: - Sonny Boy Williamson
Publisher: - Modern Music
Matrix number: - MM 1619
Recorded: June 1951
Released: - Fall 1951
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm standard single RPM 338-A mono
BLACK GAL / JUMPIN' BLUES
Reissued 1973 Polydor Records (LP) 33rpm 2383 200-13 mono
COTTON PATCH HOTFOOT

02 - ''HARD HEARTED WOMAN'' - B.M.I. - 2:36
Composer: - Walter Horton
Publisher: -  Tristan Music Limited
Matrix number: - MM 1620 -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: June 1951
Released: - 1973
First appearance: - Polydor Records (LP) 33rpm 2383 200-14 mono
COTTON PATCH HOTFOOT
Reissued: -  1988  Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CHD 252-3 mono
MOUTH HARP MAESTRO

03 - ''JUMPIN' BLUES'' - B.M.I. - 2:13
Composer: - Walter Horton-Jules Taub
Publisher: -  Modern Music
Matrix number: - MM 1621
Recorded: June 1951
Released: - Fall 1951
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm standard single RPM 338-B mono
JUMPIN' BLUES / BLACK GAL
Reissued: - 1973 Polydor Records (LP) 33rpm 2383 200-15 mono
COTTON PATCH HOTFOOT

04 - ''GO LONG WOMAN'' - B.M.I. - 3:01
Composer: - Walter Horton
Publisher: -  Copyright Control
Matrix number: - MM 1622 -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: June 1951
Released: - 1973
First appearance: - Polydor Records (LP) 33rpm 2383 200-16 mono
COTTON PATCH HOTFOOT
Reissued: -  1988  Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CHD 252-4 mono
MOUTH HARP MAESTRO

Mistakenly retitled ''So Long Woman'' on the Polydor LP

After a disagreement with Modern, Sam Phillips continued recording Walter Horton for his own Sun label with Jack Kelly and Jimmy DeBerry. In 1953 he released the magnificent ''Easy'' (Sun 180). However by this time Horton had left Memphis for good and relocated in Chicago where he started a new career working and recording in the bands of Johnny Shines, Jimmy Rogers, and Muddy Waters.

Horton subsequently recorded solo sides for United and Cobra, and by the 1960s he was acting as a regular sideman for dozens of dates with Johnny Young, Big Mama Thornton, Johnny Shines, and Robert Nighthawk. He also appeared on a string of albums under his own name for Argo, Decca, Red Lightning, Sire, Delta and Alligator and through the 1960s and 1970s he was a frequent visitor to European shores, appearing with the American Folk Blues Festival and with the Chicago Blues All Stars. He died in Chicago on December 8, 1981.

Name (Or. No of Instruments)
Walter Horton – Vocal and Harmonica
Calvin Newborn – Guitar
Phineas Newborn – Piano
Possibly Willie Nix - Drums

When Modern Records received outside masters, they would assign their own MM matrix numbers en-bloc, so these do not always accurately refer to the original sessions when they were recorded.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR JIM LOCKHART
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICES FOR RPM/MODERN RECORDS 1951

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE PROBABLY JUNE 1951
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

Jim Lockhart, the mysterious Memphis cohort of Joe Hill Louis and Walter Horton, makes his first appearance on wax with ''Boogie Woogie Boogie (Baby)''. This previously unreleased master was cut by Sam Phillips about the same time as the Walter Horton, Joe Hill Louis, and B.B. King sides. Lockhart plays an amplified acoustic guitar which produces an eerie gutbucket sound. He is accompanied by an unknown washboard player and percussionist hitting spoons, or a cowbell - could it be members of a Memphis jug band? These Lockhart masters were perhaps too down-home for release by the Biharis at the time.

Lockhart cut about 3 sides on this session, although the remaining tracks were so badly damaged that they could not be used on this session and CD collection. 

01 - ''BOOGIE WOOGIE BOOGIE (BABY)'' - B.M.I. - 5:43
Composer: - Jim Lockhart
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: None - Nor Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably June 1951
Released: 1988
First appearance: Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCH 252-14 mono
WALTER HORTON - MOUTH HARP MAESTRO
Reissued: - 2003 P-Vine Records (CD) 500/200rpm P-Vine 3058 mono
JUKE JOINT BLUES 1950S - 1960S

02 - ''EMPTY HOUSE BLUES'' - B.M.I. - 3:14
Composer: - Jim Lockhart
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: None - Nor Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably June 1951
Released: - January 2, 2013
First appearance: - Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHD 1003-12 mono
THE MODERN DOWNHOME BLUES SESSIONS  VOLUME 3 - MEMPHIS ON DOWN



Lockhart apparently hung out at Handy Park with Jack Kelly, Walter Horton, and Joe Hill Louis. Dewey Corley recalls in Bengt Olsson's ''Memphis Blues'', ''In the late 1940s, I played with Joe Hill Louis and Lockhart for a dance in Arkansas; right after that we played for some white people in east Memphis''. Also Willie Borum recalled in 1969, ''I saw Lockhart the other day, he works catching dogs down around Beale now, they said he was Joe Hill's brother, but I don't know. At least they were close as brothers''.



By the time he settled in Memphis in 1916, Dewey Corley had leaned to play one-string bass, kazoo and jug, and has been an integral part of the music scene there over since.^

Name (Or. No of Instruments)
Jim Lockhart - Vocal & Guitar
Unknown Musicians

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© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR ALFRED ''BLUES KING'' HARRIS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICES  FOR RPM/MODERN RECORDS 1951

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE PROBABLY JUNE 1951
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

This tracks are by the equally enigmatic Alfred ''Blues King'' Harris who was probably recorded by the Biharis on one of their first trips to Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee in 1950 or 1951.

01 - ''SUFFICIENT CLOTHES'' - B.M.I. - 3:54
Composer: - Alfred Harris
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably June 1951
Released: - 1988
First appearance: Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCH 252-15 mono
WALTER HORTON - MOUTH HARP MAESTRO
Reissued: - January 2, 2013  Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHD 1003-13 mono
THE MODERN DOWNHOME BLUES SESSIONS  VOLUME 3 - MEMPHIS ON DOWN

''Miss Darling'' first appeared in 1969 on Kent LP 9004, credited to Johnny Harris. However, the original 78rpm lacquer was unmarked except for the titles written on its sleeve. On the flip it revealed ''Sufficient Clothes'' which was marred by a surge in level halfway through the performance, but with Bob Jones' technical assistance, the imperfection was corrected.

02 - ''MISS DARLING'' - B.M.I. - 4:12
Composer: - Alfred Harris
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably June 1951
Released: - 1988
First appearance: Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCH 252-16 mono
WALTER HORTON - MOUTH HARP MAESTRO
Reissued: - January 2, 2013  Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHD 1003-14 mono
THE MODERN DOWNHOME BLUES SESSIONS  VOLUME 3 - MEMPHIS ON DOWN

Alfred Harris also recorded in Chicago, as Harmonica Blues King for Ebony and had previously travelled from Memphis with James Bannister where the duo recorded for United in 1954. These sides have recently been released on Delmark's Pearl label on an LP entitled ''Harmonica Blues Kings'' together with Walter Horton's States sides.

The Memphis postwar blues story is gradually emerging and its fascinating puzzle is fitting together. Shortly we will be taking a look into the amazing Little Rock and Helena sessions produced by the Biharis on their trail-blazing field trips during the early fifties.

Name (Or. No of Instruments)
Alfred Harris - Vocal & Guitar
Unknown Musicians

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©



Two takes of "She's A Mean Woman", convincingly spotlight B.B. the blues singer, with a noticeable nod to the melismatic innovations of Roy Brown - whose openthroated delivery also echoes through two renditions of B.B's rocking ''Hard Workin' Woman".

Why the Biharis chose to bury both takes of the driving "Pray For You" is anyone's guess - punchy horns push the proceeding hard (Richard Sanders probably handles the sax solo), and B.B's stinging solo attractively complements his roaring vocal.


''She's A Mean Woman'' acetate of B.B. King ^

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR B.B. KING

AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR RPM RECORDS 1952

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: MONDAY JUNE 18, 1951
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

Sam Phillips recorded his final session with B.B. King.

01(1) - "SHE'S A MEAN WOMAN" – B.M.I. - 2:28
Composer: - Riley B. King-Jules Taub
Publisher: - BMG Music Publishing Limited
Matrix number: - MM 1604 - Take 1 -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - June 18, 1951
Released: - 2002
First appearance: - Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHM2 835-2-7 mono
B.B. KING - THE MODERN RECORDINGS 1950 - 1951

01(2) - "SHE'S A MEAN WOMAN" – B.M.I. - 2:32
Composer: - Riley B. King-Jules Taub
Publisher: - Modern Music
Matrix number: - MM 1604 - Take 2
Recorded: - June 18, 1951
Released: - 1951
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm standard single RPM 330-A mono
SHE'S A MEAN WOMAN / HARD WORKIN' WOMAN
Reissued: - 2002 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHM2 835-2-8 mono
B.B. KING - THE MODERN RECORDINGS 1950 - 1951

02(1) - "HARD WORKIN' WOMAN'' – B.M.I. - 2:32
Composer: - Riley B. King-Jules Taub
Publisher: - Modern Music
Matrix number: - MM 1605 - Take 1
Recorded: - June 18, 1951
Released: - 1951
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm standard single RPM 330-B mono
HARD WORKIN' WOMAN / SHE'S A MEAN WOMAN
Reissued: - 2002 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHM2 835-2-9 mono
B.B. KING - THE MODERN RECORDINGS 1950 - 1951

02(2) - "HARD WORKIN' WOMAN" – B.M.I. - 2:27
Composer: - Traditional
Publisher: - BMG Music Publishing Limited
Matrix number: - MM 1605 - Take 2 -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - June 18, 1951
Released: - 2002
First appearance: - Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHM2 835-2-10 mono
B.B. KING - THE MODERN RECORDINGS 1950 - 1951

03(1) - "PRAY FOR YOU" – B.M.I. - 2:29
Composer: - Riley B. King
Publisher: - BMG Music Publishing Limited
Matrix number: - MM 1606-2- Take 1 -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - June 18, 1951
Released: - 2002
First appearance: - Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHM2 835-2-11 mono
B.B. KING - THE MODERN RECORDINGS 1950 - 1951

03(2) - "PRAY FOR YOU" – B.M.I. - 2:25
Composer: - Riley B. King
Publisher: - BMG Music Publishing Limited
Matrix number: - MM 1606-2- Take 2 -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - June 18, 1951
Released: - 2002
First appearance: - Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHM2 835-2-12 mono
B.B. KING - THE MODERN RECORDINGS 1950 - 1951

04(1) - "DARLING I LOVE YOU" – B.M.I.
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - MM 1607 - Unknown Take
Recorded: - June 18, 1951
Released: - Sun Unissued

04(2) - "DARLING I LOVE YOU" – B.M.I.
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - MM 1607 - Unknown Take
Recorded: - June 18, 1951
Released: - Sun Unissued

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Riley B. King - Vocal and Guitar
Richard Sanders - Tenor sax
Johnny Ace - Piano
Earl Forrest - Drums
More details unknown

Memphis could hold B.B. King no longer. His vital recordings of the 1950s and the early 1960s for the Bihari  brothers, that inaugurated an open-ended regal reign, are fully revealed in his Ace box set, "The Vintage Years.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


JUNE 20 , 1951 WEDNESDAY

''Silver Canyou'' appears in American theaters, with Gene Autry playing a Union scout during the Civil War. Also on the bill, the reliable Pat Buttram.

JUNE 22, 1951 THURSDAY

MGM released Hank Williams ''Hey, Good Lookin'''.

JUNE 26, 1951 TUESDAY

The Yale Bowl in New Haven, Connecticut, present Cole Porter Night, honoring a Yale grad who had become a leading voice for Broadway, and wrote the country hit ''Don't Fence Me In''. Porter, who is ill, does not attend.

JUNE 28, 1951 THURSDAY

Steel guitarist Lloyd Maines is born in Lubbock, Texas. The father of Natalie Maines, he plays on many of The Dixie Chicks' hits, including ''Long Time Gone'', ''Ready To Run'' and ''Wide Open Spaces''.

To protect his business interest, Sam Phillips signed both Ike Turner and Jackie Brenston to what amounted to personal service contracts and, for the $910 he had advanced Jackie already, obtained ownership of Jackie's hit song. Just how little either Sam or Leonard Chess understood of the music business at this point can be gleaned from the fact that neither one had a publishing company, and Sam never gained anything from his ownership of the song. In fact, unbeknownst to him (and without, Chess had already given the publishing to its lawyer in exchange for services rendered, and he in turn had sold it to Hill and Range, among the most prominent of the upstart young BMI song publishers who had taken advantage of the boom in ''race'' and ''hillbilly'' recordings after the war. The personal services contracts with Ike Turner and Jackie Brenston, as well as with the pianist Phineas Newborn Jr. and most likely others, too, were couched in identically optimistic language and painted a rosy future in which Sam would receive 5 percent of each artist's gross income (''including any and all remuneration for personal appearances, stage engagements, recording contracts, etc'') in return for his exclusive guidance, advice, and recording services. Marion Keisker witnessed the agreements, and Phillips breathed a quiet sigh of relief at having finally figured out how to make an honest living without having to start a record company of his own, which he was determined not to do, in what he had long since found to be a very ''dirty'' business.

But if this plan could ever have had a chance of working, by now it was too late. The runaway success of ''Rocket 88'' had finally touched a nerve with the Bihari brothers. At first they seem to have treated Sam's giving the record to Chess as just another harmless eccentricity by this undoubtedly eccentric, and no less naive, maverick studio owner in Memphis. They had continued to do business with Sam well past the time that the record hit number 1. They had accepted the Rosco Gordon and raw blues sides that Sam had sent them for future release. But then at the end of July, the extent of his financial betrayal seems finally to have hit them, as they announced in the trades, in the cold, unemotional language of commercial enterprise, just what they intended to do about it.



Abe Scharff (left) presents a key to Chris Roulhac (second Right) in ceremonies dedicating an addition to  Abe Scharff Branch of the YMCA at 254 South Lauderdale on September 29, 1951. Looking on were Earle  Whittington (second left), YMCA general secretary and T. Walker Lewis (right), president of the  Metropolitan YMCA Board. Mr. Scharff is a board member of Metropolitan YMCA and Roulhac is branch  executive secretary. >


JUNE 1951

Unfortunately, Sam Phillips involvement with King ended after a session on June 18, 1951,  the casualty of a dispute between the Biharis and Phillips over ''Rocket 88'', a song that  Sam Phillips had placed with Chess Records.


After that point Saul Bihari came to Memphis  and recorded King on a portable Magnecord at the YMCA or Tuff Green's house. It was  probably September 1952, during one of those makeshift session, that King cut ''Three  O'Clock Blues''', the song that established him in the rhythm and blues market and got him  out of Memphis. (See May 27, 1951 session).


JULY 1951

Sam Phillips purchases the rights to "Rocket 88" from Jackie Brenston for $910. Chess   Records sells the publishing to Hill and Range for exploitation in the country music field. The first country cover version by Bill   Haley's and His Saddlemen was recorded on June 14, and was released   a few weeks later.

Sam Phillips buys the rights to Billy Love's "Juiced". Love's recording is rush-released   under Jackie Brenston's name on Chess 1472.   Brenston's originally planned follow-up "My Real Gone Rocket" is assigned a catalogue   number (Chess 1469), but held back until October 1951.

Chess releases Harmonica Frank's ''Swamp Root'' (Chess 1475), This is one of Chess's first ventures into the country market. Initially the record is backed with ''Goin' Away Walkin''' but this is replaced with ''Step It Up And Go'', a minor hit at the time for Big Jeff on Dot.

Walt Disney’s 13th animated feature film “Alice in Wonderland” is released during July of 1951. Disney had been trying to create the film adaptation of the classic Lewis Carroll novel since the 1930s but was unhappy with it until after the end of World War II. When the film was finally finished and released in 1951 it was considered a flop and received negative reviews from film critics. “Alice in Wonderland” soon became a cult favorite film and was re-released in the 1970s to a more favorable critical response.

JULY 1951

Studio session with Rosco Gordon at the Memphis Recording Service in Memphis,   Tennessee. More details unknown.

Probably studio session with Willie Nix at the Memphis Recording Service in Memphis,   Tennessee, and Sam Phillips sends the dubs to Modern Records. These are believed to be the   last recordings that Sam made for the Biharis, who were annoyed at his successful liaison   with Chess Records. More details unknown.

Chess Records released the first of two disc by the Evangelist Gospel Singers of Alabama, probably recorded by Sam Phillips.

JULY 1, 1951 SUNDAY

Four weeks after he started working for the company, Precision Tools fires Elvis Presley because he's underage.

JULY 3, 1951 THUESDAY

The Carlisles recorded ''Too Old To Cut The Mustard'' in Nashville.

JULY 5, 1951 THURSDAY

Hank Williams renews his agreement with MGM Records for two more years.

JULY 9, 1951 MONDAY

Columbia released Lefty Frizzell's double-sided hit ''Always Late (With Your Kisses)'' and ''Mom And Dad's Waltz''.

Rosco Gordon's ''Rosco's Boogie'' (RPM 322) enters the local charts in Oak land, California.

JULY 10, 1951 TUESDAY

Singer/songwriter Cheryl Wheeler is born in Timonium, Maryland. She writes Dan Seals' 1988 hit ''Addicted'' and Suzy Bogguss' 1992 recording ''Aces''.

JULY 11, 1951 WEDNESDAY

Bonnie Pointer, of The Pointer Sisters, is born in Oakland, California. Though primarily a rhythm and blues act, The Pointers win a Grammy award in 1975 for Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group, for ''Fairytale''.

JULY 14, 1951 SATURDAY

Harry Choates, a Cajun fiddler best known for ''Jole Blon'', is arrested in Austin, Texas, for failure to pay child support. He dies in jail three days later. The death report blames cirrhosis of the liver, although some believe he was beaten to death.

JULY 15, 1951 SUNDAY

The Jay-Cees in Montgomery, Alabama, sponsor a Hank Williams Homecoming that includes performances by Hank Snow, The Carter Family and Chet Atkins, who's billled as the ''Teenage Tantalizer''.

''Rodeo King And The Senorita'' appears in movie theaters with Rex Allen and Buddy Ebsen in the starring roles.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

They kept fooling around in the studio, working not so much to refine the music, really, as to bore down into its molten core. Sam Phillips could experiment with mike placement, he could improve the engineering, and he did. He switched to an omni-directional mike because of the way Howlin' Wolf constantly moved his head from side to side, and he kept cranking up the sound to the point where it was just on the edge of distortion, sometimes past it, so that the music could jump right out of the jukebox but the needle would still stay in the groove, if only barely. He tried to give the piano player more confidence, the piano part may at this point have been merely filling out the sound, but it still didn't have the muscularity that the music called for. He tried to get the band to forget his presence in the studio, hanging back behind the glass as they just jammed, coming out only to indicate approval or make a slight mike adjustment that might be accompanied by an equally unobtrusive suggestion. But most of all, he knew he needed to get the Wolf so comfortable in the studio that he could just kick off his shoes, both figuratively and literally, and reach down for that part of him that was buried somewhere deep within.

Sam sent auditions to both Modern and Chess, even as he continued to work with the band. He had no intention of stopping before he reached a point that declared, this is the core of what you are looking for. This is the pure essence. For the first time he felt as if he had in Marion Keisker a full partner in his enthusiasm for the music. Despite the indifference she had always shown toward not just the music but its practitioners (they were for the most part, in her view, an ill-behaved lot who trucked in mud on the linoleum floor without the slightest regard for all the effort she put in to keep things clean), she was utterly charmed by Wolf, by the spontaneity of his style and the gentleness of his demeanor. Marion put it down initially to the single-mindedness of Sam's focus. ''Sam played Wolf over and over. I have some marvelous old discs of Howlin' Wolf that have maybe fourteen sets of lyrics to ''How Many More Years''. You couldn't be in the presence of Sam's intense motivation and drive and hear him making all these comments about, the music, without picking something up. But Sam's favorite Wolf story was my Wolf story. I was over at the studio, one night, either painting the floor or woodwork, totally absorbed in what I was doing, and all of a sudden I heard this voice, sounding like it was coming down from the sky. 'Miss Marion, what you doing down there on the floor?''', according Marion Keisker. She was scared to death at first, of course, but then she realized Wolf had been passing by and, when he saw the lights on in the studio, had come in out of concern for her. And she retained her fondness for both him and his music all her life.


STUDIO SESSION FOR HOWLIN' WOLF
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR CHESS RECORDS 1951

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: PROBABLY TWO SESSIONS JULY/AUGUST 1951
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

''I was totally blinded by the sound of his voice'', Sam Phillips told Peter Guralnick many years later. ''I'm not sure I heard anything in the way of instrumentation''. Those are the words of someone attuned to every aspect of recording, and that alone speaks to Howlin' Wolf's authority. Even a list of all Wolf's obvious and not-so-obvious influences, like Tommy Johnson, Charley Patton, and Jimmie Rodgers, doesn't half-way explain the ageless wonder of his debut. He was so much more than the sum of those parts. This is one of those records that could have come from nowhere but Mississippi. There's a piano on ''How Many More Years'', suggesting that it might have been recorded at a different time from ''Moanin' At Midnight''. And there were earlier versions of ''How Many More Years'' suggesting that it was the presumed A-side until Wolf suddenly cut loose with ''Moanin' At Midnight''. One possibility is that the pianist thought ''Moanin''' was a run-through and sat it out. The identity of the pianist has never nailed beyond doubt, but there seems to be common assent that it's Ike Turner, even though Phillips didn't recall Turner ever working with Wolf. Guitarist Willie Johnson later insisted that he had a hand in writing the song on the way to the studio. ''I'm the one (who)... printed it and put the words in his mouth'', he said. Wolf disputed that claim, but it was a moot point at first because the putative composer of both sides was Carl Germany, who was also credited with writing several other songs on Chess, including some of Sax Mallard's records and one of Jackie Brenston's  song, ''Hi Ho Baby''. It wasn't unknown for Chess to use composer credits to repay favors. Alan Freed was often thus rewarded, and Russ Fratto, who ran a Chicago stationery company, received one third of Chuck Berry's ''Maybellene'' in return for who knows what. Rufus Thomas's first single, ''Night Walkin' Blues'', was credited to Marty Witzel, who'd introduced Leonard Chess to his wife. Carl Germany, a mid-western dance promoter and Chicago disc jockey, was similarly blessed. These days, though, the composer credit reads as it always should: Chester Burnett.

01(1) - "HOW MANY MORE YEARS"* – B.M.I. - 2:41
Composer: - Carl Germany-Chester Burnett
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - None - Master
Recorded: - July/August 1951
Released: - August 31, 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm standard single Chess 1479 mono
HOW MANY MORE YEARS / MOANIN' AT MIDNIGHT
Reached at number 4 at the Billboard's Rhythm and Blues charts
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15500-2 mono
MEMPHIS DAYS - THE DEFINITIVE EDITION - VOLUME 2

On "How Many More Years", in contrast to Willie Johnson's striding, intricate guitar riff on "Moanin' At Midnight", the mood is set by Williams stomping double-fisted piano style, as irresistible as anything by Jerry Lee Lewis. On top of them all, the icing on the cake, is the deepest, most reverberating howl ever yet heard on record, a voice that audibly sent all the needles in the control room jerking over into the red danger zone. It was an extraordinary debut, 40-years in the making.

01(2) - "HOW MANY MORE YEARS"* – B.M.I. - 2:33
Composer: - Carl Germany-Chester Burnett
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - None - Chess Alternate Take - Presto Acetate
Recorded: - July/August 1951
Released: - 1973
First appearance: - Redita Records (LP) 33rpm RLP-105 mono
VARIOUS - MEMPHIS BLUES AT SUNSHINE - MEMPHIS BLUES AT SUNRISE

Many words have been devoted to unraveling just how and why this is among the truly seminal recordings in the almost 100-year history of recorded blues. Some have written elegantly about is, some inelegantly, but all have been transfixed by the emotional impact of the eerie, wordless moan and the one-chord vamp over which Wolf sings his song. The sub-par recording quality only enhances the enigma. It's as if you're hearing voices of the dead rising through a miasma of sound. Musicologist Ted Giola made a detailed analysis of the song, exploring Wolf's uncertain tonality and guitarist Willie Johnson's ability to shuttle between ''a predictable rhythmic figure and acerbic interjections that push and prod Wolf in his bristly vocal''. Even parsed and analyzed, it retains its inscrutability.

Later in life, Sam Phillips would sometimes place a retrospective spin on what he'd done, but he was clearly high on Howlin' Wolf from the beginning. Writing to Nashville disc jockey Gene Nobles on September 3, 1951... three days after this record was released, Phillips said, ''Moanin' At Midnight'' is the side... I know I'm partial, but it is the most different record I ever heard''. Wolf still had his radio show on KWEM and was probably plugging the record heavenly. Phillips told Nobles that it was already the top-selling blues record in Memphis. On November 10, it entered the national Rhythm and Blues charts, the first of Wolf's six charted hits.

02 - "MOANIN' AT MIDNIGHT" – B.M.I. - 2:53
Composer: - Carl Germany-Chester Burnett
Publisher: - Arc Music Incorporated - Charly International
Matrix number: - None - Take 1
Recorded: - July/August 1951
Released: - August 31, 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm standard single Chess 1479 mono
MOANIN' AT MIDNIGHT / HOW MANY MORE YEARS
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15500-3 mono
MEMPHIS DAYS - THE DEFINITIVE EDITION - VOLUME 2

Although the Wolf will always be remembered in tandem with his later Chicago guitarist Hubert Sumlin, it is clear that the younger man learned much from Willie Johnson's belligerent, driving guitar style. There is little to suggest that, if Johnson had been willing to travel north a couple of years later, the Wolf catalogue would be any the weaker. Musically, that is - though one of them 
might well have killed the other before too long. "Willie and Wolf would just argue all the time like cat and dog", said James Cotton. "Willie could be pretty mean, too. It just got to be too much trouble for the old man".

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Howlin' Wolf - Vocal and Harmonica
Willie Johnson - Guitar
Willie Steele - Drums
James Cotton - Harmonica
Possibly Ike Turner - Piano* or
Billy ''Red'' Love - Piano

The tape of the Howlin' Wolf sessions went to Chess Records in Chicago, but a next second version, produced on a session in September by Ike Turner over KWEM radio in West Memphis, Arkansas, also included a version of "Moanin' At Midnight" (''Morning At Midnight'') (RPM 333) and was sent to the Biharis, appearing on RPM Records. This situation could clearly not last, and by the following year all Howlin' Wolf sides were going to Chess, and Sam Phillips had burned his boats as far as the Biharis were concerned.

Summarize, it was only after the Bihari brothers had indicated a final and irrevocable break with their Billboard announcement that they had signed all of Sam's discoveries to exclusive contracts at the end of July that Sam at last turned in a record to Leonard Chess that he felt did full justice to Wolf's talents. This time he got Rosco Gordon's mentor, Billy ''Red'' Love, for the piano chair. Fair-skinned, freckle-faced, and barely twenty-one, Billy was comfortable in every style, and it was his distinctive piano figure that served as the intro to ''How Many More Years'' before Willie Johnson's thunderous guitar chords and Wolf's inexorable vocal took over the play. The other side, oddly enough, was not ''Baby Ride With Me'', the track they had been working on all these weeks May 14, 15, but an entirely different number, which dispensed with piano altogether and led off with a feature not present in either of the other songs, Wolf's howl. In this case it took the form of an almost unearthly moan, starting low and gathering force over the first eight bars of the song, until it coalesced in a single focused blast that seemed capable of ripping the innards out of Sam's prized omni-directional mike.

''Moanin' At Midnight'' was the very embodiment of all the loneliness and all the ferocity implicit in Wolf's music. The howl came from the ''blue yodel'' of Jimmy Rodgers, the so-called father of Country Music, whom Wolf always acknowledged as a direct influence, and Crystal Springs, Mississippi bluesman Tommy Johnson, whose delicate filigreed style, punctuated with wordless falsetto ululations, was the point of origin for much of the subtle lyricism underlying Wolf's otherwise extroverted approach. But the performance itself was inimitable, with the same hypnotic power that Sam himself had experienced from the very first time he had heard the Wolf but imbedded now in the grooves of a record in a way that the world itself could fully apprehend it. There may never have been a more powerful example of blues committed in the pure Mississippi style, not by Wolf's mentor, Charley Patton, widely acknowledged as the progenitor of Delta blues, nor by anyone else who has arrived on the scene before or since. ''I can take one damn record like 'Moanin' At Midnight''', Sam told Wolf co-biographer James Segrest, ''and forget every damn thing else that the man ever cut''. Not that he ever would. As far as Sam was concerned, there was no question at that moment that he was going to go on recording Wolf until the day that one of them died. But there was equally little question that they had achieved something together that would be around for the ages. No less than if it had been carved in marble, in granite. It would be there, Sam Phillips was convinced. It would be there. As big as life itself.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR ROSCO GORDON
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR RPM RECORDS 1951

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE JULY 1951
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
AND/OR MARION KEISKER

01 - "WOMEN, WOMEN, WOMEN (DIME A DOZEN)"* – B.M.I. - 2:35
Composer: - Rosco Gordon
Publisher: - Modern Music
Matrix number: - 1639
Recorded: - July 1951
Released: - Fall 1951
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm standard single RPM 336-A mono
DIME A DOZEN / A NEW REMEDY FOR LOVE
Reissued: - November 24, 1998 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm Ace CDCHD 694-6 mono
ROSCO GORDON - BOOTED - THE BEST OF THE RPM YEARS

02 - "A NEW REMEDY FOR LOVE"* – B.M.I. - 2:16
Composer: - Rosco Gordon
Publisher: - Modern Music
Matrix number: - 1640
Recorded: - July 1951
Released: - Fall 1951
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm standard single RPM 336-B mono
A NEW REMEDY FOR LOVE / DIME A DOZEN
Reissued: - November 24, 1998 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm Ace CDCHD 694-7 mono
ROSCO GORDON - BOOTED - THE BEST OF THE RPM YEARS

03 – ''KICKIN' THE BOOGIE'' – B.M.I.
Composer: - Rosco Gordon
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1951
Released: - 1982
First appearance: - Ace Records (LP) 33rpm Ace CH51-1-7 mono
ROSCO GORDON - THE MEMPHIS SESSIONS - VOLUME 2

04 – ''A MISERABLE FEELING'' – B.M.I. - 3:05
Composer: - Rosco Gordon
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date April 1951
Released: - 1980
First appearance: - Ace Records (LP) 33rpm Ace CH26-2-5 mono
THE BEST OF ROSCO GORDON - VOLUME ONE
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CD 213-11 mono
ROSCO GORDON - LET'S GET HIGH

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rosco Gordon - Vocal & Piano
Probably Ray Jones - Alt Saxophone
Probably Man Son or Murry Daley - Drums
More Details Unknown

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


Frank Floyd was not the first white musician to record for Sam Phillips; that distinction goes to Slim Rhodes or Buck Turner. However, he was the first white musician who had a real dash of blues in his style. Sam Phillips sold two cuts to Chess, "Swamp Root" and "Goin' Away Walkin". Two weeks later, the single was withdrawn and "Goin' Away Walkin'" was replaced with "Step It Up And Go". Despite the confusion, the new coupling appears to have sold quite respectable. Frank received $100 from Chess and the label placed an advertisement in Billboard (August 25, 1951) announcing that the record was The newest country smash... Spreading Like Wildfire.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR HARMONICA FRANK FLOYD
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR CHESS RECORDS 1951

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: SUNDAY JULY 15, 1951
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
AND/OR MARION KEISKER

On May 15, 1981 there was a press conference-cum-reception honouring the participants in the forthcoming Memphis Music in May festival. Over in the corner, looking for all the world as though he should be standing in the Farm Credit Bureau, was an elderly gentleman downing a respectable quantity of wine. There was a decal on his overalls which, on closer inspection, read Harmonica Frank - King Of Harps. Aside from a few patronising comments from the media types and hangers-on, Frank was being ignored, which did not seem to bother him a great deal, perhaps because of the limitless supply of wine and cheese. He pulled his guitar from its case, ran through a few numbers that he intended to use the next day, and spoke of days long passed.

The fact we know anything at all about Frank Floyd is entirely due to the perseverance of blues researcher  Steve LaVere who followed up the skimpiest of leads and finally tracked down the elusive Harmonica Frank in  rural Tennessee. LaVere recounts his exploits in Blues Unlimited No. 99.



Harmonica Frank Floyd >

Harmonica Frank opened the May festival. He walked on stage colourfully attired in red trousers, red shoes, a multicolored jacket, psychedelic tie and shirt, all topped with a red baseball cap. He ran through his repertoire of old time music which he had extended to include a couple of Hank Williams songs. His guitar playing was proficient but, in the man's own words, "I'm not a guitarist. Don't claim to be".



However, when he started pulling harmonicas from various pockets and pouches in his jacket he suddenly became very special. He really could hold a harmonica in one side his mouth and sing out of the other side. It wasn't just a gimmick, it was his style. He was also clutching a bootleg Dr. Ross EP that he hoped to sell and, for the benefit of those who had never heard of him, he reiterated his claim to be the founding father of rock and roll.

Of course, that claim is a little far fetched but if we can allow Jelly Roll Morton to assert that he invented jazz one day in 1902 then we can live with Frank's claim. At the very least, he was playing a mix of blues and hillbilly music years before most people thought that the two could, or should, be combined.

Frank became a rambler. He joined a carnival and played for nickels and dimes in town squares and on street corners. He had already reached a high level of virtuosity on the harmonica but did not take up the guitar until he heard Jimmie Rodgers, perhaps the first popular artist to blend black and white musical styles. Frank Floyd became so enamoured of Rodgers' style that he even made a pilgrimage to Rodgers' home in Kerrville, Texas, to meet his idol.

01 - "SWAMP ROOT" – B.M.I. - 2:36
Composer: - Frank Floyd
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - U 80
Recorded: - July 15, 1951
Released: - August 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1475 A mono
SWAMP ROOT / GOIN' AWAY WALKIN'
Reissued: - November 1986 Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-2-1 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-1-19 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

After hearing ''Swamp Root'', it is impossible to imagine how record collectors could ever have thought that Harmonica Frank was black. This song bears some similarity to Buddy Jones' 1937 recording ''Hunting Blues'' *reworked in 1950 by Joe Stewart on Star Talent), although it was probably a medicine show or vaudeville routine dating back much further. Chris Bouchillon was the first to record in this talking blues style, but that doesn't mean he originated it. Frank was the master of pastiche. A bit from here, a bit from there; some definitely from Bouchillon. Water from an ancient well perhaps, but it was idiosyncratically his own. The title comes from a patent medicine: Dr. Kilmer's Swamproot: Kidnet, Liver, and Bladder Cure. Frank probably sold it somewhere along the way. And along that way, he picked up couplets like ''The wine goes in, the truth comes out / Two more shots and I'll tell it all...'' Every verse has noises that most of us renounced at the age of five, but no matter, it adds to the sloppy drunk charm of the tune.

02 - "GOIN' AWAY WALKIN'" – B.M.I. - 2:33
Composer: - Frank Floyd
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - U 81
Recorded: - July 15, 1951
Released: - August 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1475-A mono
GOIN' AWAY WALKIN' / SWAMP ROOT
Reissued: - November 1986 Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-2-2 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-1-20 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

On ''Goin' Away Walkin'' out comes the harmonica, and here comes the blues. Now this could have fooled some folks into thinking they were hearing a black guy. ''Goin' Away Walkin''' is basically a crazy-quilt of blues cliches, but it proves that Frank had a genuine feel for blues cadences and rhythms. Probably no more than a few lines were freshly minted for the recording but Frank delivers it all with real conviction. It is not hard to see the delight that Phillips must have taken in recording the man because there is a real intuitive musically underlying every performance.

"Frank Floyd - now here was a musician I was very much into", recalled Sam Phillips. "He was what I call a modern-day hobo. He didn't stay anywhere for very long. He was unique, and he fascinated me. It was a little difficult to find a market for Frank, because people appreciated what he did without really buying his records that much. He was really out of the old school. Frank was a one-man-band. He played harmonica out of one side of his mouth and sang through the other side. He didn't use a harmonica bracket. He picked guitar and did a lot of those old narrative type songs. You have to keep in mind along that time, music was getting somewhat less pure that it had been - had I been able to spend the money on Frank Floyd I think, because of the sheer fact that he was so different, he could have become an institution here. It would have been more a classification of a novelty kind of act compared to most of the artists we had".

03 - "STEP IT UP AND GO" – B.M.I. - 2:21
Composer: - Frank Floyd
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - U 82
Recorded: - July 15, 1951
Released: - August 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1475 A mono
STEP IT UP AND GO / GOIN' AWAY WALKIN'
Reissued: - November 1986 Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-2-3 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-1-21 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

When the first incarnation of Chess 1475A was snatched off the market after a few weeks, it was replaced by ''Step It Up And Go'' as a new partner for ''Swamp Root''. Like many blues songs, its lineage begins with the first recorded version, even if the original wasn't necessarily by the original writer. Charlie Burse recorded an unissued song called ''Oil It Up And Go'' on July 8, 1939. Blind Boy Fuller was almost certainly around when that song was cut, on March 5, 1940, recorded ''Step It Up And Go''. In between, on November 22, 1939, Tommy McClennan recorded ''Bottle It Up And Go''. The first hillbilly version was by Blue Friday & His Daniel Boone Ramblers on Rich-R-Tone in 1949. Big Jeff's Dot recording appeared at rougly the same time as the Maddox Brothers and Rose's ''New Step It Up And Go'', and both became juke box favorites. The Maddoxes' record was notified to Billboard in April 1951 and Big Jeff's in May. Frank recorded it in July. His version features some spirited interchanges between the guitar and harmonica and possesses a wonderful drive. Frank Floyd was a tight little rhythm section. He sounds like both Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee rolled into one.

At the end of July 1951 Chess Records released Harmonica Frank's "Swamp Root" (Chess 1475), one of their first ventures into the country market. Initially, the disc is backet with "Goin' Away Walkin'", which is later replaced by "Step It Up And Go", a minor hit at that time for Big Jeff on Dot Records.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Harmonica Frank Floyd - Vocal, Guitar and Harmonica

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR WILLIE NIX
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR RPM RECORDS 1951

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE JULY
OR PROBABLY JUNE 18, 1951
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

01 - "LONESOME BEDROOM BLUES" – B.M.I. - 2:29
Composer: - Willie Nix-Jules Taub
Publisher: - Modern Music
Matrix number: - 1608
Recorded: - Unknown Date July 1951
Released: - Fall 1951
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm RPM 327-A mono
LONESOME BEDROOM BLUES / TRY ME ONE MORE TIME
Reissued: - 2004 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHD 1003-2 mono
THE MODERN DOWNHOME BLUES SESSIONS VOLUME 3 - MEMPHIS ON DOWN

02 - "TRY ME ONE MORE TIME" – B.M.I. - 2:41
Composer: - Willie Nix-Jules Taub
Publisher: - Modern Music
Matrix number: - 1609
Recorded: - Unknown Date Probably July 1951
Released: - Fall 1951
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm RPM 327-B mono
TRY ME ONE MORE TIME / LONESOME BEDROOM BLUES
Reissued: - 2004 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHD 1003-1 mono
THE MODERN DOWNHOME BLUES SESSIONS VOLUME 3 - MEMPHIS ON DOWN

03 - "FINE AND MELLOW BABY" – B.M.I. - 2:41
Composer: - Willie Nix-Jules Taub
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date Probably July 1951
Released: - Japan 1994
First appearance: - P-Vine Records (CD) 500/200rpm P-Vice PCD 3036 mono
ANTHOLOGY OF THE BLUES - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Willie Nix - Vocal & Drums
Willie Johnson - Guitar
Billy Love - Piano
More Details Unknown

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©



Chess Records advertisement for Jackie Brenston's ''My Real Gone Rocket'' with the flipside ''Tuckered Out''. >

If there were any real doubts that Phillips' recordings with Jackie Brenston presaged rock and roll, then this should bury them for good. Ike Turner's piano is mixed way up front as Brenston continues the "Rocket 88" saga: a wild recording which almost veers off the road, out of control, Turner's thunderous left hand once again drives the beast along, ably supported by guitarist Willie Kizart. 


This is indeed quintessential good-time music, riddled with contagious energy and a couple of memorable lines, viz: "When I cruise through your town/Like that great Northwestern/You can tell everybody/that was mighty Jackie Brenston'. Yes, indeed!".

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR JACKIE BRENSTON
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR CHESS RECORDS 1951

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: PROBABLY JULY 1951
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

01 - "MY REAL GONE ROCKET" – B.M.I. - 2:26
Composer: - Jackie Brenston
Publisher: - B.L.P.C.
Matrix number: - U 66A
Recorded: - Probably July 1951
Released: - October 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1469 mono
MY REAL GONE ROCKET / TUCKERED OUT
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-1-12 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

The identity of the group on this session is unclear. Brenston seems to identify the saxophonenist as Clint, and the presence of a trumpet suggests that we're hearing the Steinberg outfit. The neatly executed section work similarly seems to imply skilled musicians, not honkers and screamers. 

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jackie Brenston - Vocal
Willie Kizart – Guitar
Ike Turner - Piano
Willie Sims - Drums
Raymond Hill - Tenor Saxophone
Unknown - Trumpet

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©



Here is a photograph of Billy Love sitting at a piano on the corner of the stage of what  may well be the Palace Theater on Beale Street in Memphis and behind him is an advertising  poster for the Johnny Otis Show due to appear in Memphis for four nights from 9 -12 of a  month and year that are not visible.  It is known that the Otis show featuring the same    singers and guests as listed in the poster was in Memphis at the Palace on November 9-12,    1950, and it just may be that Billy Love played that show too as part of the local support.


The Otis revue made regular visits to Memphis over the next two or three years and so  Love's promotional photograph could date from as early as 1950 or as late as 1953. >


ABOUT BILLY RED LOVE Billy Love was a massive talent, becoming the Sun label's best session pianist in black music  and the leader of Rosco Gordon's road band for some years. But he spent his life in and out  of the armed forces, in and out of employment, in and out of jazz clubs, and in and out of  the attention of law enforcement officers. Billy Love led a full, short, frustrating and strange  life.

Until now Billy Red' Love was a name on a record label, a name in a recording company's  files, someone several of his contemporary musicians remembered - but the information,  though intriguing, was sparse at best and contradictory at worst. Billy Love was never  featured in any music publications or promotional blurbs, and he was never interviewed.


According to the files kept between 1951 and 1954 by Sam Phillips and Marion Keisker at  the Memphis Recording Service, where Love made all his known recordings, his real name  was Milton Billy Love. But Love is quite a familiar surname in and around Memphis and  parts of Mississippi, in both the black community and the white, and it was not  immediately clear and straightforward whether we should be looking to trace a man  named Billy or William or Milton.

In the official registers of births, no-one named Billy or William seemed to fit the bill. A  little research soon revealed that our man was not the same Billy Love who was famous  around Greenville, Mississippi, for buying and selling cotton. Equally he was not the same  Milton Love who recorded as lead singer of The Solitaires for Old Town Records in New  York in the mid-'50s. Some contemporaries and writers have confused him with Willie  Love, another blues pianist and singer associated with Trumpet Records in Jackson,  Mississippi, Others have speculated some connection with harmonica player Coy Love but  research along those lines led to nothing. Eventually, it became possible to identify our  man through the records of the U S Army; these revealed that he was named Milton Love  and that he had first signed on for the Army in 1946 in Memphis. With that information, it  was possible to find his July 1944 application for a social security number - and there it  finally transpired that his real full name was Milton Morse Love junior.

But the Memphis of the late 1940s and early 1950s was full of good pianists, both local  fixtures and those passing through, professional and amateur, dedicated and not. Pianist  Roosevelt Sykes came through Memphis to play for many years and remembered: "I played  at the Palace Theater. I had me a band in there. The Palace was awful popular,, they'd  bring all the leading names in." Along Beale Street the Palace was vying for business with  the Daisy Theater, Pee Wee's Saloon, Robert Henry's, and other establishments, both large  and small. Sykes described how he, played all over Memphis, out there in Boxtown, on  Kansas Street, at Trigg and Florida for 'Tobacco George I played at LaFonza's (Joe Ruffanti's  Midway Cafe) on Fourth and Beale. Pianist Memphis Slim got his start in there... Them  places they had a restaurant in the front, but you go through the back, that's the big part,  that's where the action is, card tables and dice tables, and the bandstand was back  there... (The pianists) all them guys, they'd only play if they got broke. Then they'd say  'I'm going to play the blues' and start playing because somebody would give 'em a stake to  get back in the game. Then too, they could get the women. B. B. King said, "I think that  area around Beale Street and Fourth Avenue would have been my community college,  because they had a lot going on. Guys would be out there, professional guys, practicing  their horns, shooting craps, or dancing. I mean the best.... They would play amongst each  other, they would learn from each other... and late Fridays and Saturdays, people would  come from the surrounding area, so it would be almost like Times Square on a Saturday  there."

Meanwhile Billy Love's contemporaries and friends from Florida Street were all finding  their way over to Beale Street, once known as the Main Street of Negro America, where  the action lay in the theatres and bars and night clubs there. They probably also made  their way across the river to the other area of night clubs and bars in West Memphis,  Arkansas.

Emerging blues singer and guitarist B. B. King had found his way onto radio and onto  records and formed a band that included pianist Johnny Ace, drummer Earl Forest, and sax  player Richard Sanders, Billy Love's friend and Lillie's brother, to play clubs in the local  area. Rosco Gordon, too, was making some moves after his various attempts to get out of  Memphis as a teenager. Rosco said: "When I got back to Memphis, I had these two friends.  We were inseparable. We liked to drink Mogen David wine, and on this particular  Wednesday night we had no wine money, so we went, to the amateur night that they had  every Wednesday on Beale Street, where Rufus Thomas was the emcee. They coaxed me  to go up on stage to make the wine money: Whether or not Billy Love was one of these  friends, and whether or not he, too, played the amateur shows, or even the professional  shows, is unknown. What is clear is that Rosco started to win amateur prizes, then  appeared on radio WDIA as part of one prize, and then gained an introduction to Sam  Phillips at the Memphis Recording Service over on Union Avenue. Sam was looking to make  blues and rhythm and blues records to lease to big city record companies, Phillips  recorded Gordon in February 1951, and on five more occasions that year. The liaison bore  fruit with Gordon's chaotic and unusual 'big-handed' piano style that had emerged from  Billy Love's teachings. Sam dubbed this 'Rosco's Rhythm' and before long Gordon's  recording of Rosco's Boogie was making significant sales on RPM Records. Another pianist  and former Florida street player, Johnny Ace, soon followed and briefly eclipsed Rosco's  success with ''My Song'' and other recordings for Duke Records before his early and much  reported demise while playing with a hand gun.


JULY 17, 1951 TUESDAY

Cajun-fiddler Harry Choates dies while incarcerated in Austin, Texas. Though the cause of death was listed as cirrhosis of the liver, a jail beating might have been the actual cause. Choates earned acclaim with ''Jole Blon''.

JULY 19, 1951 THURSDAY

Mary Carlson is born. She is destined to marry Merrill Osmond, of The Osmonds.

JULY 21, 1951 SATURDAY

Lefty Frizzell joins the Grand Ole Opry, at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee.

JULY 22, 1951 SUNDAY

Guitarist and record producer Richard Bennett is born in Chicago. He works with George Strait, Neil Diamond, Steve Early, Conway Twitty, Hal Ketchum, Travis Tritt and Emmylou Harris, among others.

JULY 23, 1951 MONDAY

George Jones' first wife, Dorothy, files for divorce. 



Milton Billy Love, at front centre with tie: happy times  with Rosco Gordon in dark jacket,  and Florida Street friends, early 1950s. >

JULY 24, 1951 TUESDAY

Sam Phillips and his assistant Marion Keisker opened a file on the man who told them his  name was Milton Billy Love, and they noted that Love was living at 172 Person Street. The  City Directory for that year lists Milton Love, a musician, living at the rear of 159 Majuba  Avenue.

Both addresses were located in South Memphis below Beale Street and near to Riverside  Park, as too was Florida Street. Milton Love was listed as living with a wife or girlfriend  named Carrie at that time, though no trace of a marriage registration can be found.

Phillips noted a telephone number for Love but then crossed it out and added seven more  in the period 1951 to 1954 and so it is probable that Love moved house again more than  once. The last number was described as being that of 'Harvey'. It may have been that of  saxophonist Harvey Simmons but equally it could have been bandleader Bill Harvey with  whom Love is known to have played at one time. Harvey put a band together for B. B.  King, who said: "Bill was one of the greatest bandleaders and one of the worst guys ever -  he was one of the best people but he loved to drink." We can also imagine Billy Love falling  in with the drinking and dice crowd at this time if he had not already done so with the  Rosco Gordon crowd.

That July day in 1951 Sam Phillips paid Milton Billy Love a hundred dollars for  performance and rights to Chess 1472 for Brenston to be deducted from Brenston  royalties. Saxophonist and singer Jackie Brenston was a member of a band led by Ike  Turner, known as the Kings of Rhythm, who had recorded for Phillips in March 1951. By  that summer they were riding high on the rhythm and blues charts with a storming rhythm  and blues number Phillips had recorded and sold to Chess Records, Rocket 88. Phillips had  credited the record to Jackie Brenston's Delta Cats, to Turner's displeasure, and the Delta  Cats were soon in demand for personal appearances. On 7 May Sam Phillips bought  Brenston a complete PA-system' for $165. By August 15, Phillips had made the down  payment on a $1000 tour bus for Brenston and his band. Jackie Brenston and Ike Turner  had a falling out over who was the real mover and leader of the band and that summer  Brenston toured first with Turner's band and then with the Steinberg band, then the  Newborn brothers who put a band together to tour the big cities - Los Angeles, Chicago,  New York and Philadelphia.

A follow-up disc by Brenston was in demand as much as personal appearances were and  Brenston recorded a second disc in April and May 1951. Its release was delayed and then it  did not hit, and Phillips was soon under pressure to produce a better follow-up and one  that could be issued quickly. Brenston made another session early in July 1951 having  been in Memphis briefly to sign a contract about royalties on June 28.

Phillips decided, however, that only one song was worthy of release and that this would be a  B-side. He badly needed another storming performance, and this was where Billy Love came  in. Brenston was a better sax player than a singer and he did not have a strong original song.  Besides, he was in demand on the road. Billy Love, in contrast, was in town playing sessions  for Sam, was a better singer, wrote his own songs, and played a storming piano too. He  played Sam a song that fit the bill exactly, Juiced. Sam Phillips told me: "Ike Turner took  Jackie Brenston's band away from us, and so we had a problem. At that time Chess was  screaming for some more top notch product so I recorded Billy Love singing 'Juiced' and we  used that as the follow up song. It was the best song around and I bought it off Billy for  release as Jackie."

Released around October 1, 1951 as Chess 1472 by Jackie Brenston, ''Juiced'' was the  finest record Jackie Brenston never made - and that Billy Love was never credited with  making. It is likely that the song was recorded after Brenston's session at the end of June  and before Phillips paid Love for the song on July 24. ''Juiced'' is a drinking song of the  first order and features Love's enthusiastic shouts and edgy vocal about getting loose and  drinking some juice. Love plays a rolling piano boogie punctuated by rocking guitar figures  and solos by Calvin Newborn. There is an excellent sax solo by Charles Walker and the  storming track is carried along by drummer Phineas Newborn senior. It would have made  sense if Phineas's son were also there playing piano, but the style is clearly that of Billy  Love. On the strength of his session work so far and the promising cut on Juiced, Sam  Phillips signed Billy Love to a personal services contract dated July 31, 1951. On August  29, Phillips noted he gave Love a personal loan of $15 and that, unusually, this was 'not  checked against royalties. Years later Phillips confirmed to me his liking for Billy Love's  music saying, "Billy was a super good musician".


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR BILLY LOVE
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR CHESS RECORDS 1951

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: POSSIBLY TUESDAY JULY 24, 1951
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

Billy Love was a massive talent, becoming the Sun label's best session pianist in black music and the leader of Rosco Gordon's road band for some years. But he spent his life in and out of the armed forces, in and out of employment, in and out of jazz clubs, and in and out of the attention of law enforcement officers. Billy Love led a full, short, frustrating and strange life. His music was not strange though. In his singing, song writing, arranging and piano playing he was up there with the best.

01 – "JUICED" – B.M.I. - 2:30
Composer: - Milton Morse Love
Publisher: - Hill and Range Songs Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 7349
Recorded: - Possibly July 24, 1951
Released: - July 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1472 mono
JUICED / ROCKET 88
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-1-11 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

This track is most certainly deserving of more than a passing footnote in the annals of Rhythm & Blues. A cryptic entry in Phillips own session files states that Billy Love was paid $100 for the composition, session piano, and vocal, but the irony was, of course, that this track was released under Jackie Brenston's name as a follow-up to "Rocket 88". An uproarious performance from start to finish, Love mimics Brenston's habit of yelling the soloist's name and whooping continually throughout. There is indeed a prodigious amount of energy in these grooves: Love's left hand is rock solid and fairly drives the session along, playing in unison with the bass. Guitarist Calvin Newborn fills incessantly around the vocal and takes a mean. extended solo: he's playing Jazz with lethal attacks, and that dirty rhythm & blues tone which Sam Phillips so loved. The sax is buried until the solo initially, but then assumes control in fine style. It should a been a biggie - in fact, perhaps if "Juiced" been issued under Billy Love's own name he could have afforded to kill himself on a better brand of liquor.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Billy Love - Vocal and Piano
Charles Walker - Saxophone
Calvin Newborn - Guitar
Phineas Newborn Sr. - Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR JACKIE BRENSTON
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR CHESS RECORDS 1951

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: PROBABLY JULY/AUGUST 1951
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

Songwriter Larry Meeks is a white, Colorado-based lounge pianist and tunesmith who worked at one time or another with Benny Goodman, Les Elgart, and Tennessee Ernie Ford. In 1951, he was in the Navy, based in Millington, Tennessee... just north of Memphis. ''I was a pianist with the Navy band'', Meeks said recently. ''I wrote this song for the score of a musical comedy titled 'Prairie Navy' which had only two performances at the Auditorium in Memphis. I wrote it for me to sing in the show and I made a demo recording of the song at Sun studio and later learned it was recorded at Sun with a group or performer whom I didn't know''. As far as we know, this is the only show tune , and one of just a handful of songs written by white composer... if you discount the appearance of label owners in the composer credits. ''Prairie Navy'' ran in March 1951, so Phillips must have sat on the song for a few months. 

01 - "TUCKERED OUT" – B.M.I. - 2:28
Composer: - Larry Meeks
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - U 85
Recorded: - Probably July/August 1951
Released: - October 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1469 mono
TUCKERED OUT / MY REAL GONE ROCKET
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-1-15 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

It isn't known how Sam Phillips or Jackie Brenston stumbled across this number, but its clearly a rather better - crafted song than Brenston's own loose, good-time rockers. The riffing horns are mixed way down, upstaged by the band chanting the refrain, whilst Calvin Newborn's guitar solo evinces distinct jazz leanings. Although recorded a month or so after the rather meatier "My Real Gone Rocket" Brenston himself recalled that this one was touted as the A-side, and he felt that this career lost momentum as a result. Nonetheless, this remains a magnificent performance, as tight and organized as "Real Gone Rocket" is loose and unbridled.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jackie Brenston - Vocal
Unknown - Saxophone
Unknown - Bass
Phineas Newborn Jr. - Piano
Calvin Newborn - Guitar
Phineas Newborn Sr. - Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


JULY 25, 1951 WEDNESDAY

Hank Williams recorded ''Lonesome Whistle'' and ''Crazy Heart'' at Nashville's Castle Studio. He also takes a swipe at ''Baby, We're Really In Love'', though he records it again the following month.

JULY 26, 1951 THURSDAY

The Abbott & Costello comedy ''Comin' Round The Mountain'' appears in movie theaters, with ''Freudin' And Fightin'''singer Dorothy Shay co-starring.

JULY 27, 1951 FRIDAY

George Jones is slapped with a court order to stay away from his wife, Dorothy, who has filed for divorce.

JULY 28, 1951 SATURDAY

''Modern Inks Seven Artists to Packs, was the headliner in Billboard, with Ike Turner, Jackie Brenston, Phineas Newborn, and Walter Horton included, and the stipulation that Jackie, and presumably all others from Memphis, had now joined the American Federation of Musicians in Atlanta. ''Tho Rocket 88'' has been a top seller, Chess, has, no pact with Brenston'', the press release unhesitatingly declared, essentially positing union membership as the only basis for a legitimate contractual relationship.

''I had a deal with Phillips to pick up all the stuff he made'', Jules Bihari declared in an interview nearly twenty years later. When ''Rocket 88'' hit, he said, ''that sure blew the deal''. Which as far as Sam Phillips was concerned didn't match the facts in any way, shape, or form. There was no way in hell it was an exclusive deal. And if it was, the Bihari brothers hadn't lived up to it from the start. Of all the recordings he had sent them in the eight months between the time they had first met and Leonard Chess' arrival in Memphis, the only record they had actually put out was the Joe Hill Louis single that they had sat on forever. From Sam's point of view, it was all just a bunch of bullshit, to the Bihari brothers it was all about the money, pure and simple, they would just as soon ruin him as look at him. But he was not about to acquiesce. And besides, by now he had seen it, he had heard it, he had found what he had been seeking all along, that magical meeting of flesh and spirit, where, as he would later say, ''the soul of man never dies''. He had over the past month met and recorded the music of the man he would consider the greatest talent, the most profound artist he ever encountered, the Howlin' Wolf.

JULY 29, 1951 SUNDAY

Songwriter Ed Hunnicutt is born in Troy, New York. He authors Mickey Gilley's 1986 hit ''Doo-Wah Days''.

JULY 30, 1951 MONDAY

Decca released Ernest Tubb's ''Hey La La''.

Decca released The Weaver's pop hit ''Kisses Sweeter Than Wine''. Six years later, Jimmie Rogers lauches a new version into the pop and country charts.

AUGUST 1951

The Biharis complain to the American Federation of Musicians that they have Jackie  Brenston under contract. Jules and Saul Bihari leave Los Angeles on a tour of Southern  distributors. On their return, they announce that they have signed Willie Nix.

The wrangling begins over Howlin' Wolf, who had been in the process of establishing  himself as a radio personality at KWEM in West Memphis. Sam Phillips signs him to an AFM  contract, and possibly to a Chess Records contract.

Someone cuts a session on Wolf for  RPM Records - possibly the Biharis during their field trip, or perhaps Ike Turner, on their  behalf.

AUGUST 1951

Sam Phillips sees his first country music recordings issued on Chess. Harmonica Frank's ''Swamp Root'' b/w ''Goin' Away Walkin'''(Chess 1475 A) is announced in Billboard on August 4. Only two weeks later, Billboard carries the announcement of ''Swamp Root'' b/w ''Step It Up And Go'' (also Chess 1475 A). The switch was perhaps made because Big Jeff & The Radio Playboys had successfully released ''Step It Up And Go'' on the Dot label and Chess hoped to sell their version in competition. Alternatively, the very bluesy ''Goin' Away Walkin'''may not have been well received by country disc jockeys.


AUGUST 1951

Around the time that ''Juiced'' was released, Billy Love's friend Rosco Gordon was going  from hot to hotter on the rhythm and blues charts. That October he recorded a novelty song  called ''Booted'' for RPM Records and quickly recorded the same song for Chess too. There  was a significant wrangle between the labels but the upshot was that the Chess version  became a number one rhythm and blues hit in the spring of 1952.  Rosco was in demand  touring behind that record and, remembering those days, he told John Floyd: "So the first  thing I know, I'm a big act ... my first job (was) B. B. Beeman's auditorium in Atlanta. I had  never been on no professional gigs before. That Atlanta show was miserable.

Little Esther  and Mel Walker were on the show and I think Johnny Otis had the band". Rosco went on to  explain how he had to do three shows and sing ''Booted'' all the time until he was fed up  with it, and how Johnny Otis had told him to get on with it or get his own band. So Rosco did  just that and by the time Otis was next touring in the South things were different: "By then  I'd added Billy Love to the band ... I had one band I recorded with and another band I  travelled with. I put my local band together - the band I recorded with. But they had jobs in  Memphis so they couldn't leave, so I let Billy Love put another band together." Rosco  expanded on this to Peter Guralnick: "See, we had a rehearsal every Tuesday. That's where  these ideas would come up. Because I got the band right there.... The piano player, he was  such a great pianist, Billy 'Red' Love. Now that was my man. I learned everything about the  piano mostly from him and my own ideas. But the structure, it came from Billy. He was my  bandleader. He could call a strike anytime, man"!.


AUGUST 1951

Ike Turner defected to the Biharis, for whom he assumed Phillips' role, cutting sessions in  Memphis and the vicinity. Meanwhile, Jackie Brenston recruited a new set of Delta Cats,  featuring Phineas Newborn, Jr. But Brenston's flirtation with fame was short-lived. The  follow-ups failed, and Brenston later reunited with Ike Turner and took refuge in drink.

Izear Luster Turner Jr.  >


Sam Phillips cut himself loose from the Biharis and WREC, was now free, and obligated, to  serve but one master: Chess Records. With Brenston and Turner gone and the need to find  new talent ever pressing, he turned to a precocious young piano player named Rosco  Gordon, who had first come to see him in February 1951. 

Sam Phillips had succeeded in placing Gordon with the Biharis, and now he moved him to Chess after the fallout from ''Rocket 88''. For  the first Chess session Phillips secured a sloppy-drunk song called ''Booted'', which he  encouraged Gordon to deliver with slurred diction and an appropriately booting tenor sax  solo. The record was underpinned by a primitive, loping shuffle that Phillips later dubbed  ''Roscoe's Rhythm''. Released on Chess at the end of 1951, ''Booted'' rose quickly up the  rhythm and blues charts and eventually captured the top slot. The only problem was that  the Biharis considered Gordon to be still under their contract. Ike Turner, in his new role as  the Biharis A&R representative in Memphis, hastily rerecorded Gordon singing ''Booted'' for  RPM.

The complexities mounted when Phillips signed another artist to Chess whom the Biharis  considered theirs, a singer who was perhaps the greatest of Phillips' discoveries during the  years he recorded rhythm and blues.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR ROSCO GORDON
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE 1951 FOR DUKE/CHESS RECORDS

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE AUGUST 1951
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

In an interview with John Floyd, Rosco Gordon said that WDIA's David James Mattis set up the meeting for him at Sam Phillips' studio. In some biographical entry, Rosco gave two other accounts of how he came to the Memphis Recording Service, but the account given to Floyd seems more plausible. ''The only reason I did it was for the wine money'', said Rosco. ''I didn't have sense enough to be nervous. Sam was very nice and he had this song that Courtney Harris wrote called ''Booted'', and he asked if I could play it''. Turns out he could. The mystery of Courtney Harris's identity has never been solved. The original composer credit said T. Courtney and R. Henry, the latter being a Beale Street bar owner, Robert Henry. Today, the song is registered to J. Courtney and David Henry. It's also registered as a Rosco Gordon composition. If it's ever featured in a movie, some lawyers will doubtless figure it out. The song itself, and with its cheerful celebration of the pleasures of alcohol, seemed just right for Rosco's breezy, boozy style. Sam Phillips told Rosco to put himself in the spirit of the song, which Rosco conceded, ''by me being already halfway raunchy'', he had no trouble doing, and they got a take that everybody was pleased with in no time.  

01 – "BOOTED" – B.M.I. - 3:04
Composer: - J. Courtney-David  Henry
Publisher: - Arc Music Corp
Matrix number: - U 7375
Recorded: - August 1951
Released: - December 15, 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm standard single Chess 1487 mono
BOOTED / I LOVE YOU TILL THE DAY I DIE
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-1-14 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

Many of Rosco Gordon's records from this era give the impression that you've arrived midway through a party and the band's already seen off the first jug of moonshine. This ramshackle masterpiece is no exception, from John Murry Daley's machine-gun snare at the beginning, to his lapse onto the on-beat during Willie Sims' increasingly psychotic sax solo, to the Keith-Moon-are-you-listening? confusion at its end. In between is Rosco's tale of being jilted and his planned revenge, delivered in a lazy vocal style which is in fact a wicked parody of the Charles Brown school of singing. Sam Phillips thought it was so good, he leased versions to both Chess and RPM Records. The resulting furore raged over Christmas 1951 and was resolved early in the New Year, when Chess Records got Howlin' Wolf and RPM got Rosco Gordon. No guessing who got the better deal.

02 - "I LOVE YOU TILL THE DAY I DIE"* – B.M.I. - 3:17
Composer: - Bobby Bland
Publisher: - Burton LTD
Matrix number: - U 7376
Recorded: - August 1951
Released: - December 15, 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1487 mono
I LOVE YOU TILL THE DAY I DIE / BOOTED
Reissued: - 2010 Jasmine Records (CD) 500/200rpm JASCD 564-1 mono
BOBBY BLAND - IT'S MY LIFE, BABY

Rosco Gordon volunteered that his chauffeur's cousin, Robert Bland, himself a singer, whose mother had a popular restaurant on Third just off Beale Street, had recently driven him to a gig in Arkansas, and when Rosco got caught up in a dice game in the back room, had filled in very effectively with a set of his own, featuring Rosco's ''Love You Till The Day I Die''. Sam Phillips recorded the young man, Bobby Bland, doing that song, and, although all of Rosco's records to date had been released on Modern, sent off both Rosco's and Bobby's acetates to Leonard Chess. It was one of the last sessions that Sam cut on acetate, as he prepared to convert to tape, a process he had held off on until they were able to eliminate some of the high-frequency hiss endemic to the size of the magnetic particles used to make the tape. But now at a time when he had no idea if he was even going to survive, let alone succeed in this difficult business, he went out and bought a top-of-the-line 900-P Presto tape recorder. He never wavered in his belief that if he failed, he would at least know that he had given it his all. 

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rosco Gordon - Vocal and Piano
Bobby Bland - Vocal*
Willie Wilkes - Saxophone
Adolph Duncan - Saxophone
Unknown - Bass
John Murry Daley - Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


AUGUST 1951

Probably studio sessions for Howlin' Wolf and Joe Hill Louis at the Memphis Recording   Service in Memphis, Tennessee.

Pee Wee (Brad) Suggs, guitarist with the Slim Rhodes Band but currently in the Army, recorded for 4-Star while on furlough from Fort Ord.

AUGUST 2, 1951 THURSDAY

Andrew Gold is born in Burbank, California. Known for his pop hit ''Lonely Boy'' and for writing the theme to ''The Golden Girls'', Gold plays guitar and/or sings background on hits by Linda Ronstadt and Wynonna Judd, and writes Judd;s ''I Saw The Light''.

AUGUST 4, 1951 SATURDAY

Carl Smith recorded ''Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way'' in the afternoon at the Castle Studio in Nashville's Tulane Hotel.

AUGUST 10, 1951 FRIDAY

Hank Williams recorded ''Half As Much'' and ''Baby, We're Really In Love'' during an evening session at Nashville's Castle Studio. He also cuts ''I'm Sorry For You, My Friend'', a song he re-recorded it in December this year.

AUGUST 11, 1951 SATURDAY

Following his performance on the Grand Ole Opry, Lefty Frizzell is arrested for contributory delinquency, stemming for a dalliance with an under-age girl in Little Rock on April 1.

Hank Williams hits number 1 in Billboard's country chart with ''Hey, Good Lookin'''.

AUGUST 13, 1951 MONDAY

Webb Pierce recorded ''Wondering'' in an evening session at Nashville's Castle Recording Studio in the Tulane Hotel.

Dan Fogelberg is born in Peoria, Illinois. His 1985 album ''High Country Shows'' features Ricky Skaggs, Vince Gill and Doc Watson, and his supporting tour leads to the formation of The Desert Rose Band.

Fiddler Hubert Dwane ''Hoot'' Hester is born in Louisville, Kentucky. A member of the Grand Ole Opry house band, he appears on hits by Conway Twitty, Dan Seals, Steve Wariner and Rocky Van Shelton.

AUGUST 14, 1951 TUESDAY

''Cyclone Fury'' appears in movie theaters, with Charles Starrett, the Durango Kid protecting an orphaned Indian boy. Smiley Burnette and Merle Travis also appear.

Columbia released Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs' ''Don;t Get Above Your Raisin''', destined to become a hit 30 years later for Ricky Skaggs.

AUGUST 15, 1951 WEDNESDAY

Hank Williams begins a concert tour, sponsored by the Hadacol medicinal company, that teams him with comedians Bob Hope, Milton Berle, Minnie Pearl, Jack Benny and Jimmy Durante.

Fourteen-year-old Merle Haggard is picked up for robbing a liquor store in a case of mistaken identity. Released five days later when the real criminals are caught, he expects to be tried as an adult: he was carrying a fake I.D. that said he was 18.

Sam Phillips had become embroiled in yet another business misunderstanding, this time with Leonard Chess. On this day, just before Howlin' Wolf's epochal single came out (Chess 1479), Sam put down $1,000 for a bus for Jackie Brenston. He had argued long and loud against it. He kept telling Leonard that Jackie didn't need a bus, Jackie couldn't afford a bus, Jackie didn't even have a band to carry around in a bus at this point. But Leonard Chess was under constant pressure from his biggest star. Sam could understand, Jackie wanted a bus. And Leonard just said, ''Find him a damn bus. I'll pay''.

Sam Phillips found a guy named Perry Little, who piddled around on the edges of show business and drove for the black county schools. He had an old Flexible passenger bus for sale, it looked pretty sharp, but when Sam asked him about it, Little said, ''Well, I have to tell you, Mr. Phillips, the reason I'm getting rid of it is that it don't get any mileage on it''. So Sam got back to Leonard, and by this time Leonard was so committed he couldn't have backed out even if he had wanted to. Sam took Jackie out to see the bus, ''and, boy, you would've thought it was a Rolls-Royce or something'', Jackie was so excited. Leonard told him to go ahead and make the deal, Leonard would send a cashier's check the next day. As Sam recalled, he put the money down, but then the check didn't arrive, ''and so here I was with Perry Little, I had promised him he had a deal. And I'm trying to think where to get the money. I got some of it from, Hoyt Wooten's brother, S.D. I rounded up the rest some way or the other. But do you know, I never got the money out of Leonard Chess for the bus''.

It remained a thorn in his side all through the fall, as he continued to make payments on a bus that, as Sam had predicted, was never really fit to be on the road. Each time it broke down Sam was out a little more money, and the last time, it had to be towed back to Memphis, where it sat on the street just off Hernando until Sam finally had it towed to his own driveway at 1928 Vinton Avenue, Memphis.

AUGUST 17, 1951 FRIDAY

Ralph Stanley is seriously injured in an auto accident near Raleigh, North Carolina. During his recovery, Bill Monroe drops plans to bring The Stanley Brothers on as members of his backing band.

Columbia released Lefty Frizzell's ''Travellin' Blues''.

AUGUST 18, 1951 SATURDAY

Rosco Gordon's ''Saddled The Cow'' (RPM 324) enters the local charts in Oakland, California.

AUGUST 19, 1951 SUNDAY

Bass player John Deacon is born in Leicester, England. He joins Queen, whose 1980 pop hit ''Crazy Little Thing Called Love'' becomes a country success when remade by Dwight Yoakam in 1999, two years before the band takes its place in the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame.

AUGUST 22, 1951 WEDNESDAY

Hank Snow is injured in a serious automobile accident in Nashville. He flips the car twice, hitting a parked car and a telephone pole. He is taken to General Hospital with a skull fracture and multiple lacerations.

AUGUST 24, 1951 FRIDAY

George Jones is jailed for failing to make support payments to his wife, Dorothy, who had filed for divorce a month earlier.

AUGUST 28, 1951 TUESDAY

Wayne Osmond is born in Ogden, Utah. The brother act The Osmonds becomes a major pop group during the 1970s, then moves into country for the hit ''I Think About Your Lovin'''. They sing harmony on Conway Twitty's ''Heartache Tonight'' in 1983.

AUGUST 30, 1951 THURSDAY

''Al Morgan'' is broadcast for the last time on the DuMont TV network, concluding a two-year run. During the variety series', first season, the host earned his only country hit with ''Jealous Heart''.

AUGUST 31, 1951 FRIDAY

Five-year-old Neil Young wakes up at his home in Omemee, Ontario, in pain. He is taken to a Toronto hospital, where he is diagnosed with polio.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR THE EVANGELIST GOSPEL SINGERS OF ALABAMA
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR CHESS RECORDS 1951

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: POSSIBLY AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 1951
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

This recording session is not logged in the MRS files, but the Chess Records archives indicate that the masters were purchased from Sam Phillips.

This time the quartet turns to the classic from the dusty hymnal on the table. Credited to a Georgia-born white Baptist minister, James C. Moore, ''Where We'll Never Grown Old'' has been recorded by a Who's Who of gospel performers, including Smith's Sacred Singers, the Vaughn Quartet and Aretha Franklin as well as a wide range of country singers including Jim Reeves, Johnny Cash, George Jones and Eddy Arnold. This is one of the first black gospel recordings of the song. On this version you keep waiting for the boys to shake loose of the slow, free tempo, as they did on ''Leaving On The Lord'', but they never do it. That they do offer, however, is a narration that includes a passing plea for world peace. You can be certain that the hymnal version of the song didn't include any such words.

01 - "NEVER GROW OLD" – B.M.I. - 2:58
Composer: - Traditional
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - U-7377
Recorded: - Possibly August/September 1951
Released: - December 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1486-A mono
NEVER GROW OLD / WALK IN THE LIGHT
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-10-21 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958

On ''Walk In The Light'' the Evangelists are back for another of their Chess outings of indeterminate provenance. If the source is Sam Phillips, then this is almost certainly from a different session than the one producing the first Evangelist disc. The piano is buried more deeply in the mix and there is a driving bass sound throughout. Is it a partial drum kit? Somebody's foot on the floor? There is no pitch to that bass sound so it can't have been sung or provided by a stringed instrument. In any case, it fills in a hole in the sonic range quite effectively. Likewise, handclapping helps to drive the record. All told, this is a good example of jubilee style in full flower. If you listen carefully, you'll hear the ''baser'' singing the wordless part that a Fender bass would play in just a few short years.

02 - "WALK IN THE LIGHT" – B.M.I. - 3:11
Composer: - Traditional
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - U-7377
Recorded: -  Possibly August/September 1951
Released: - December 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1486-B mono
WALK IN THE LIGHT / NEVER GROW OLD
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-10-20 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958

03 - "JESUS (IS MY FRIEND)" – B.M.I. - 1:58
Composer: - Traditional
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -  Possibly August/September 1951
Released: - 2010
First appearance: - Macomba Records (CD) 500/200rpm Macomba 3905 mono
WINDY CITY WONDERS ON SOUTH COTTAGE GROVE

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Evangelist Gospel Singers of Alabama consisting of:
Willie McInstry - Lead Vocal
Leroy Terry - Tenor and Piano
Willie Banks - Baritone Vocal
John Davis - Bass Vocal
Unknown - Drums and Vocal Effect

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


SEPTEMBER 1951

The Biharis announce that they have signed Howlin' Wolf, and the first RPM single "Mornin' At  Midnight" b/w ''Riding In The Moonlight'' (RPM 333) is released. "Mornin'" may have been a misprint on the label, or it may  have been a deliberate misspelling because Sam Phillips had already registered "Moanin' At  Midnight" with the AFM. Under AFM regulations at that time, the same song could not be re-recorded  for another record label for five years.

"Rocket 88" finally drops off the rhythm and blues charts after an 18-week run. Brenston  has now relocated in Chicago and is touring the West Coast, playing a stint at the Elks Club  in Hollywood.

The classic science-fiction film “The Day the Earth Stood Still” debuted during September of 1951 in New York. The film told the story of an alien and his robot who traveled to Earth to deliver an important message to humankind. “The Day the Earth Stood Still” was praised by critics and considered to be one of the best movies to be released that year. It was directed by Robert Wise who is also known for directing popular films like 1961’s “West Side Story” and 1965’s “The Sound of Music.” In 1995 the film was chosen for preservation by the Library of Congress.

SEPTEMBER 1, 1951 SATURDAY

Hank Williams purchases a farm in Williamson County, Tennessee.

Lefty Frizzell's ''Always Later (With Your Kisses)'' ascent to number 1 in Billboard magazine.

SEPTEMBER 3, 1951 MONDAY

''Moanin' At Midnight'' backed with ''How Many More Years'' (Chess 1479) by Howlin' Wolf came out at the end of August 1951 and hit almost immediately on the regional charts. ''Under separate cover I am sending you the number by the Howlin' Wolf that I told you about'' Sam Phillips wrote to his old colleague WLAC disc jockey Gene Nobles on this day. ''It was released in Memphis last Friday and is already the biggest number in town...no bulls, it is, according to Buster Williams, owned distributor Music sales. 'Moanin' At Midnight' is the side, I know I'm partial but it is the most different record I ever heard''. didn't doubt for a moment that both sides were masterpieces, and both made the national rhythm and blues charts, with ''How Many More Years'' reaching number 4. But it was ''Moanin' At Midnight'' on which Sam bestowed his ultimate accolade, ''the most different record I ever heard''. Of all the superlatives that he could, and often did, bestow, this was the greatest in his multifarious vocabulary. To Sam Phillips if you weren't doing something different, you simply weren't doing anything at all. 

SEPTEMBER 5, 1951 WEDNESDAY

Drummer Jamie Oldaker is born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. A part of Eric Clapton's band for much of the 1970s and 1980s, he joins The Tractors, whose 1994 hit ''Baby Likes To Rock It'' makes them the first country act to earn a gold debut album with touring.

SEPTEMBER 6, 1951 THURSDAY

Five-year-old Neil Young is discharged from a Toronto hospital after six-weeks stay with polio. As andult, he writes the country hit ''Are You Ready For The Country'' and ''Love Is A Rose''.

SEPTEMBER 9, 1951 SUNDAY

''Dukes Of Hazzard'' star Tom Wopat is born in Lodi, Wisconsin. He writes earl Thomas Conley's ''Shadow Of A Doubt'', becomes a temporary host of TNN's ''Prime Time Country'', and co-stars opposite Reba McEntire when she appears in Broadway's ''Annie Get Your Gun''.

Bass player and record producer Buddy Killen moves to Nashville from Florence, Alabama. He goes on to direct hits for Exile, T.G. Sheppard and Ronnie McDowell, among others.

SEPTEMBER 14, 1951 FRIDAY

MGM released Hank Williams' ''Lonesome Whistle'' and ''Crazy Heart''.

SEPTEMBER 15, 1951 SATURDAY 

Rosco Gordon's second RPM single "Saddled The Cow (And Milked The Horse)" b/w "Ouch! Pretty  Baby" (RPM 334) enters the Billboard National Rhythm and Blues chart and peaks at number 9 in a five-week stay. 

SEPTEMBER 17, 1951 MONDAY

Hank Williams' Hadacol-sponsored tour, with comedians Bob Hope, Minnie Pearl, Milton Berle, Jack Benny and Jimmy Durante, comes to a screeching halt one month early when Hadacol is sold.

SEPTEMBER 19, 1951 WEDNESDAY

Record producer Daniel Lanois is born in Hull, Quebec. Noted for his work with such rock artists as U2, Peter Gabriel and Bob Dylan, he also oversees session for Emmylou Harris and Willie Nelson.

SEPTEMBER 21, 1951 FRIDAY

Cowboy Copas recorded ''Tis Sweet To Be Remembered'' in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Red Foley recorded ''Alabama Jubilee'' in Nashville, Tennessee.

Hawkshaw Hawkins recorded ''Slow Poke'' in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Columbia released Carl Smith's ''Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way''.

SEPTEMBER 22, 1951 SATURDAY

Lefty Frizzell headlines one of country music's first stadium shows, at Griffith Park in Washington, D.C. The lineup also features Ernest Tubb, Flatt & Scruggs, Moon Mullican, Carl Smith and the Duke of Paducah, drawing 14,000 fans.

SEPTEMBER 24, 1951 MONDAY

Dinah Washington recorded a hit jazz of Hank Williams' ''Gold, Cold Heart'' in New York City.

SEPTEMBER 25, 1951 TUESDAY

Bluegrass bass player Bessie Lee Mauldin and Nelson Gann are separated. Later in the decade, she appears on ''Gotta Travel On'' by Bill Monroe.

SEPTEMBER 26, 1951 WEDNESDAY

Red Foley recorded ''Midnight'', partially penned by Chet Atkins, at the Castle Studio in Nashville's Tulane Hotel.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR THE BREWSTERAIRES
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR CHESS RECORDS 1951

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 26, 1951
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

Reverend Brewster was a kingpin of the Memphis gospel scene. The quartet bearing his name was formerly known as the Mt. Pisgah Gospel Singers and dates back to 1943. The Brewsteraires that appear on this recording they performed widely on Memphis stage and radio. In fact, Reverend Brewster had his own program on WHBQ, further evidence that he was the man in black gospel in Memphis.

It is likely that Reverend Brewster had already employed the service of The Memphis Recording Service for special events at his church and their relationship simply evolved from there. In any case, arrangements were made for Sam Phillips to record.

The hymn ''Where Shall I Be'' was an old one, written by African American hymnodist Charles P. Jones back in 1899, and first recorded, as far as we can tell, by the Missouri-Pacific Diamond Jubilee Quartet in 1927.

01 - "WHERE SHALL I BE (WHEN THAT FIRST TRUMPET SOUNDS" – B.M.I. - 2:43
Composer: - Charles P. Jones
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - September 26, 1951
Released: - April 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1502-A mono
WHERE SHALL I BE / WINGS FOR MY SOUL
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-8-17 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958

Compared to its original flipside, ''Wings For My Soul'' is a far conventional, less adventurous performance. Again, the roots of 1960s soul music are plainly in evidence here, especially during the final segment. In all respects, this is a solid, tense gospel quartet performance. Both the lead and vocal support are intense and although the arrangement features no rhythmic changes or vocal simulations of musical instruments, it remains memorable.

02 - "(THE LORD GAVE ME) WINGS FOR MY SOUL'' – B.M.I. - 2:36
Composer: - Reverend W.H. Brewster
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - F 1009
Recorded: - September 26, 1951
Released: - April 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1502-B mono
WINGS FOR MY SOUL / WHERE SHALL I BE
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-8-18 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958

Following the session, Sam Phillips sent samples of four tracks to the Chess Brothers in Chicago, who accepted two titles for release on Chess 1502. This track reveals everything you need to know about the power, passion and musically of a capella black gospel from its golden age.

The first time through, the quartet offers an emotional free-meter reading rich in the kind of mannerisms that soul singers would be taking to the bank in ten years. The second time through, the syncopation kicks in and a really brilliant and varied arrangement ensues. The vocal trumpet solo is an unexpected pleasure, borrowing from a well established tradition regularly employed by secular groups such as The Mills Brothers and Four Vagabonds.

Prior to their recordings for Sam Phillips, The Brewsteraires had recorded for Gotham. Following their lone Chess single, they went on to record for Dot, while enjoying their own regular show over WDIA in Memphis.

03 - "IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT'' – B.M.I.
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - September 26, 1951

03 - "MORE OF JESUS, LESS OF ME'' – B.M.I. - 3:10
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - September 26, 1951
Released: - February 2013
First appearance: - Dotted Eighth Records (MP3) Internet Sample mono
WHAT WOULD JESUS DO? - CLASSIC GOSPEL FOR EASTER
Reissued: April 4, 2002 JSP Records (CD) 500/200rpm 77154 mono
MEMPHIS MARRELS - MEMPHIS GOSPEL 1927 - 1960

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
The Brewsteraires consisting of:
Solomon Ouston – Lead Tenor
Odell Rice - Baritone
Nathaniel Peck - Tenor
Henry Reed - Bass

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©



Reverent William Herbert Brewster with Miss Sylvia Banks, choir director and Mrs. Anna Lois Brooks, organist,  rehearse at East Trigg Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, on February 25, 1970.


Dr. Brewster is one of the  foremost song writers of the day, having written, "somewhere between 200 and 500," by his own estimation. >



WILLIAM HERBERT BREWSTER - (born on July 2, 1897 in Somerville, Tennessee and died on October 14, 1987 in Memphis, Tennessee) was an influential African American Baptist minister, composer, dramatist, singer, poet and community leader.  A 1922 graduate of Roger Williams College in Nashville, Tennessee, Brewster settled in Memphis in the 1920s; he served as the pastor of the East Trigg Avenue Baptist Church in South Memphis from 1930 until his death in 1987.

The Brewsteraires were well-known and originally formed in 1943, they were known as the Mt. Pisgah Gospel Singers before Reverence Brewster took them under his wing. Brewster was a prolific songwriter and his radio show ''Old Camp Meeting Of The Air'' broadcast over WHBQ, meant certain exposure in the mid-South gospel market. In addition to their sides for Sam Phillips the Brewsteraires recorded some memorable work for Dot in Gallatin, Tennessee and for Gotham in Philadelphia. Later the Brewsteraires broadcast regularly over WDIA. In other words, they were a Memphis institution. In 1 1981 interview with Doug Seroff, Nathaniel Peck indicated that most of the group's material was arranged by either or Reverence Brewster.

His lasting fame, however, is through his  musical composition. Among his more than 200 published songs are the gospel standards  "Move On Up A Little Higher" (Mahalia Jackson's first hit in 1948) and "Surely, God Is Able"  (a 1950 hit for The Ward Singers). These songs hold the distinction of being the first  million-selling black gospel records. Other Brewster songs that were hits included "Lord  I've Tried" (The Soul Stirrers), "I'll Go" (Queen C. Anderson), "I'm Climbing Higher And  Higher" (Marion Williams), and a favorite of African-American gospel choirs, "The Old  Landmark," among many others.


Reverent William Herbert Brewster and friends  pose an undated portrait. >

Though there are several available recordings of Reverent Brewster's gospel groups The  Brewster Singers and The Brewsteraires, there are only two vocal recordings of Reverent  Brewster himself. Both recordings credited to "Rev. W.H. Brewster And His Camp Meeting  Of The Air" appeared on the Gotham single "Give Me That Old Time Religion"/"So Glad I've  Got Good Religion". Each song features a narration by Rev. Brewster followed by vocals.


Brewster was also the composer of more than fifteen gospel music dramas, including From Auction Block to Glory (1941) which was the first nationally-staged African American  religious drama that featured gospel songs written specifically for the production. He was  honored by the Smithsonian Institution in 1982 for his music when it presented his musical  drama Sowing in Tears, Reaping In Joy.


Apart from his vast legacy in the genre of black gospel music, Brewster also had a formative influence on a  young Elvis Presley. Elvis occasionally attended services at East Trigg Avenue Baptist Church and listened to  Brewster's sermons which were broadcast on Sunday nights on the "Camp Meeting Of The Air" over  Memphis radio station WHBQ. According to Presley biographer Peter Guralnick, "Dr. Brewster constantly  preached on the theme that a better day was coming, one in which all men could walk as brothers, while  across Memphis Sam Phillips listened on his radio every Sunday without fail''.



East Trigg Baptist Church, 1189 East Trigg Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. ^

In February 2007, the Memphis City Schools named a new school in the Binghampton community in  Brewster's honor as the Dr. William Herbert Brewster Elementary School. Dr. Brewster is buried in the New  Park Cemetery in Memphis.


AND AGAIN - THE BREWSTERAIRES – Although they recorded little, the Brewsteraires were one of the  most influential local gospel quartets because their patron was the influential Baptist minister, Dr. William  Brewster, a preacher, community leader and composer of many well-known gospel songs.

Members of Brewster's church were formed into a number of choirs and gospel quartets over the years, of  which the Brewster Singers and the Brewsteraires were foremost. Brewster' main protege was Queen C.  Anderson, who took the lead in singing many of Brewster's new gospel songs.

The Brewsteraires ^

In 1950 and 1951, the Gotham  label of Philadelphia recorded four discs credited variously to the Brewster Singers led by Queen C.  Anderson, the Reverent Brewster himself narrating Camp Meeting introductions to songs like ''Give Me That  Old Time Religion'', and the Brewstenaires of Memphis singing ''When Shall I See Him Face To Face''. Sam  Phillips has said that he listened to Brewster and his groups on the radio frequently and by 1951 when he was  looking for music to record for Chess Records, the Brewsteraires would have been a natural choice.

When they recorded for Sam Phillips in September 1951 the Brewsteraires comprised lead tenor Solomon  Ouston, Nathaniel Peck, second tenor, Odell Rice, baritone, and Henry Reed, bass singer. Their ''Where Shall  I Be When The First Trumpet Sounds'' was released on Chess but Phillips did not call them back for further  sessions, possibly because the Chicago-based label found the group had limited appeal beyond the mid- South. The Brewsteraires were recorded on a dozen acetates by radio WDIA in the following year and they  remained on Memphis radio for many years. Both B.B. King and Elvis Presley admitted to attending  Brewster's church to listen to his singers. After Chess, the Brewsteraires only other commercial recording  was a single made in Memphis in 1972 for Sariron Records shortly before the quartet broke up.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

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: UNKNOWN DATE SEPTEMBER 1951
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER - IKE TURNER
RECORDING ENGINEER - UNKNOWN

Coincidentally, Modern Records owners, the Bihari brothers from Los Angeles, had been leasing recordings from Sam Phillips and were mightly displeased that Jackie Brenston ''Rocket 88'' hit had been placed with Chess rather than them. They were also wrangling with the Chess brothers over Howlin' Wolfs' contract. 

Sam Phillips could understand it. Leonard Chess was clearly preoccupied with building his own label, not with feathering Sam Phillips' nest. The Bihari brothers meanwhile had flung down yet another gauntlet, coming into Memphis just two weeks before Wolf's Chess sides began to chart and recording first Howlin' Wolf, then B.B. King with a portable Magnecord tape recorder. Their first release on Wolf, cut at the radio station in West Memphis where Ike Turner worked, was ''Baby Ride With Me'',  one of the two songs Sam Phillips had been working on with him from the start. It was retitled ''Riding In The Moonlight'', Turner there again, hammering the keys, and had been effectively realized in the studio, as Wolf brought all of his energy to the performance, overriding any sonic defects in the recording.

01 - "RIDING IN THE MOONLIGHT" – B.M.I. - 3:04
Composer: - Chester Burnett-J.L. Sanders
Publisher: - Universal Music Publishing
Matrix number: - MM 1674
Recorded: - Unknown Date September 1951
Released: - 1951
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm RPM 333 mono
RIDING IN THE MOONLIGHT / MOANIN' AT MIDNIGHT
Reissued: - 2010 Secret Records (CD) 500/200rpm SECBX025-1-8 mono
THAT KAT SURE COULD PLAY! - THE SINGLES 1951 - 1957

02 - "DOG ME AROUND'' – B.M.I. - 2:43
Composer: - Chester Burnett-Jules Taub
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date September 1951
Released: - 1962
First appearance: - Crown Records (LP) 33rpm CLP-5240-8 mono
HOWLING WOLF SINGS THE BLUES
Reissued: - 1991 Virgin Records (CD) 500/200rpm Virgin 86295-4 mono
HOWLIN' WOLF - HOWLIN' WOLF RIDES AGAIN

03 - "MORNING AT MIDNIGHT" – B.M.I. - 2:43
Composer: - Carl Germany-Chester Burnett
Publisher: - Arc Music Incorporated - Charly International
Matrix number: - MM 1677
Recorded: - Unknown Date September 1951
Released: - 1951
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm RPM 333 mono
MOANIN' AT MIDNIGHT / RIDING IN THE MOONLIGHT
Reissued: 1991 Virgin Records (CD) 500/200rpm Virgin 86295-5 mono
HOWLIN' WOLF - HOWLIN' WOLF RIDES AGAIN

The other side was far less effective, a copy of Wolf's crashing masterpiece labeled ''Morning (as opposed to ''Moanin''') At Midnight'', with the introductory moan barely audible and, despite Wolf, the overall sound not even close to matching the magisterial effect of the original. In keeping with Modern's continuing appeal to the union over the legitimacy of Chess' signing of Jackie Brenston, the label announced through the agency of its owners, the Bihari brothers, that it had ''inked a term disk contract with Howlin' Wolf, Memphis blues warbler'', on exactly the same grounds.

04 - "KEEP WHAT YOU GOT'' – B.M.I. - 2:24
Composer: - Chester Burnett
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date September 1951
Released: - 1962
First appearance: - Crown Records (LP) 33rpm CLP-5240-7 mono
HOWLING WOLF SINGS THE BLUES
Reissued: - 1991 Virgin Records (CD) 500/200rpm Virgin 86295-3 mono
HOWLIN' WOLF - HOWLIN' WOLF RIDES AGAIN

NOTES: ''Moanin' At Midnight'' is listed as ''Morning At Midnight'' on all original singles release.

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


1951

KWEM studios were located at 231 Broadway Street in West Memphis, Arkansas, in the west side of the  Merchants and Planters Bank Building, now the Regions Bank building. In 1954 a second studio was added  at 64 Flicker Street in Memphis, Tennessee. The tower and transmitter were south of the viaduct between the  Harahan Bridge and the U.S. Engineers Office. KWEM was a daytime station with 1,000 watts on 990  kilocycles.




Howlin' Wolf's house at 11th Street and Broadway, West Memphis, Arkansas. ^

George Mooney, sportscaster for the Razorback Network, was the manager. Other staff members were Bill  Trotter, commercial manager; Frank Keegan, program director; Vernon Dillaplain, chief engineer; Erie  Cutrer, salesman; Bill Garrett, announcer; Hal Hill, announcer; Douglas Clark, announcer; Johnny Kenlo,  announcer; James Klaser, in charge of production; Betty Dabbs, receptionist; Jean Mooney, traffic director;  and Ed Beck, engineer. Later, Franklin Page of Little Rock was added as an announcer. Officers of KWEM  included, J. O. Johnson, president; J. W. Rich, vice-president; J. C. McCaa, secretary; Melvin Dacus,  director; and John Cooper, director. KWEM was later sold, and in 1960 would officially become KWAM.

KWEM Radio featured live music performance in the years from 1947 to 1955, a pay to play method  generating revenue for radio stations who could not make enough money from conventional advertising  sponsors and the spinning of records. Unknown artists who appeared on KWEM during the late 1940s and  early 1950s were B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf, Ike Turner, Scotty Moore, Stan Kesler, Warren Smith, Paul  Burlison and Joe Hill Louis. All of these artists performed live on KWEM, and for many it was their first  radio exposure. Listening to KWEM Radio would inspire another young West Memphis area youth, Albert  King, to learn to play and he appeared to support his band at the T-99 Club in Oceola, Arkansas. He would  launch his career and become a major influence on Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Howlin’ Wolf, Hubert Sumlin, Pat Hare, James Cotton and Junior Parker honed their skills at KWEM and  ignited the Chicago Blues scene.

Joe Hill Louis began his music career with his own show in 1949. He would record for Sam Phillips in the  early 1950s. Louis moved to WDIA in the early 1950s and replaced B.B. King as the ''Pepticon Boy''. Louis  would also become a Sun Records recording artist and session musician.


Sonny Boy Williamson II had become the most well known musician in the Mississippi Delta while   appearing on the King Biscuit Radio Program on KFFA in Helena, Arkansas. Williamson arrived in West   Memphis in 1949 and launched his own live daily KWEM program, sponsored by Hadacol Elixir. While at  KWEM, Williamson worked with Howlin’ Wolf, B.B. King, Junior Parker, and James Cotton, bring his   friends from around the delta to perform on his program. These included Elmore James, Houston   Stackhouse, Robert Nighthawk (King Biscuit regulars) and Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup. B.B. King made his   first radio appearance anywhere at KWEM in 1949, appearing on Williamson’s show.

Howlin' Wolf in the KWEM studio, 1951 ^

Elvis Presley's first radio appearance was on KWEM in 1953, performing first with Johnny Burnette and the   Rock & Roll Trio, and then with a country group, the Shelby Follin Band. Paul Burlison, guitarist for the   Johnny Burnette Trio, had been performing on KWEM since 1949 and played with Howlin’ Wolf. Johnny   Cash’s first radio appearance when he arrived in Memphis was at KWEM. He had his own weekly show with   bandmembers Luther Perkins, and Marshall Grant. Ike Turner recorded Howlin’ Wolf in the KWEM studios   in 1951. Scotty Moore and Bill Black both made an appearance on KWEM in 1954. Johnny Cash recorded a   demo of a song he wrote, ''Rock 'N' Roll Ruby'' in the KWEM studios. The song was recorded by Warren   Smith for Sun Records after Cash and Sam Phillips appeared at the Cotton Club and offered Smith's band the   chance to record the song. Junior Parker had his own show on KWEM in 1953, before leaving and recording   for Chess Records in 1954. James Cotton also had a programme on KWEM until around 1954, when he   joined Muddy Waters as his harmonicist. Cotton also recorded for Chess Records. Eddie Bond also played on  KWEM, whilst his guitarist, Reggie Young, grew up around Blytheville, Arkansas. KWEM’s station   manager, Dick Stuart, became Carl Perkins’ manager. Stuart’s brother-in-law, Charlie Feathers, also appeared   on the radio station. KWEM is listed on the National Historic Buildings applications for Sun Studios and   Graceland, as having been a major influence on Presley, and the Memphis area in the development and birth   of rock and roll, along with WDIA.


SEPTEMBER 28, 1951 FRIDAY

George Jones is jailed for the second time in five weeks for failure to make support payments to his wife, Dorothy.

SEPTEMBER 29, 1951 SATURDAY

Porter Wagoner moves from his hometown, West Plains, Missouri, to Springfield, just 100 miles away, to take a job performing on KWTO Radio.

SEPTEMBER 30, 1951 SUNDAY

Porter Wagoner makes his debut on KWTO Radio in Springfield, Missouri, where his instant popularity earns him a raise from $35 weekly to $70.

The Weavers, ''He'll Have To Go'' songwriter Joe Allison and Foy Willing and The Riders Of The Purple Sage are featured in the movie debut of ''Disc Jockey'', a musical that also stars Tommy Dorsey, Herb Jeffries and Sarah Vaughan.

Gene Autry plays a doctor in the lawless West with the debut of the movie ''The Hills Of Utah'', featuring his performance of ''Peter Cottontail''. Pat Buttram returns to the screen as Autry's sidekick.


OCTOBER 1951

"Saddled The Cow" enters the rhythm and blues charts at number 10, but soon disappears  after peaking at number 9.

Rosco Gordon's third single, "A New Remedy For Love" b/w "Dime A  Dozen" (RPM 336) is shipped. This comes from Sam Phillips' last session on Rosco for RPM  Records. Phillips duly purchases the rights to the song "Booted", which he has already sent to  Chess Records.

Sam Phillips recorded Harmonica Frank, and West Coast bluesman Lafayette (L.J.) Thomas  for Chess Records.

Studio session with Rufus Thomas at the Memphis Recording Studio in Memphis, Tennessee.

The first release of a Memphis-based gospel group recorded at Phillips' studio is made by Chess, The Brewsteraires ''Where Shall I Be''.

OCTOBER 1, 1951 MONDAY

Songwriter Chip Hardy is born in Scott City, Kansas. He writes three early-1980s hits for The Whites, ''Hagin' Around'', ''Pins And Needless'' and ''You Put The Blue In Me''. 

Decca released Webb Pierce's first hit, ''Wondering''.

OCTOBER 2, 1951 TUESDAY

Gordon Summer is born in Wallsend, England. Under the name Sting, he plays in the rock band The Police, then builds an electric solo career. He joins Toby Keith in the country charts on a remake of his song ''I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying''.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Session Published for Historical Reasons

STUDIO SESSION FOR HOWLIN' WOLF
FOR RPM RECORDS 1951

YMCA BUILDING, WEST MEMPHIS, ARKANSAS
RPM SESSION: TUESDAY OCTOBER 2, 1951
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - JOE BIHARI
AND/OR IKE TURNER

01 - ''PASSING BY BLUES'' - B.M.I. - 2:44
Composer: - Chester Burnett
Publisher: Modern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - MM 1684
Recorded: - October 2, 1951
Released: - 1951
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm RPM 340 mono
PASSING BY BLUES / CRYING AT DAYBREAK
Reissued: - 1991 Virgin Records (CD) 500/200rpm V2-86295-10 mono
HOWLIN' WOLF RIDES AGAIN

02 - ''CRYING AT DAYBREAK'' - B.M.I. - 3:55
Composer: - Chester Burnett
Publisher: Modern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - MM 1685
Recorded: - October 2, 1951
Released: - 1951
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm RPM 340 mono
CRYING AT DAYBREAK / PASSING BY BLUES
Reissued: - 1991 Virgin Records (CD) 500/200rpm V2-86295-2 mono
HOWLIN' WOLF RIDES AGAIN

''Crying At Daybreak'' is listed as ''Crying At Daylight'' on LP ''Big City Blues''.

03 - ''MY BABY STOLE OFF'' - B.M.I. - 3:03
Composer: - Chester Burnett
Publisher: - Modern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - MM 1748
Recorded: - October 2, 1951
Released: - 1952
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm RPM 347 mono
MY BABY STOLE OFF / I WANT YOUR PICTURE
Reissued: - 1991 Virgin Records (CD) 500/200rpm V2-86295-8 mono
HOWLIN' WOLF RIDES AGAIN

04 - ''I WANT YOUR PICTURE'' - B.M.I. - 2:53
Composer: - Chester Burnett
Publisher: - Modern Music Publishing
Matrix number: - MM 1749
Recorded: - October 2, 1951
Released: - 1952
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm RPM 347 mono
I WANT YOUR PICTURE / MY BABY STOLE OFF
Reissued: - 1991 Virgin Records (CD) 500/200rpm V2-86295-9 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 RUFUS THOMAS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR CHESS RECORDS 1951

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE OCTOBER 1951
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

Sam Phillips planned a second release for Rufus Thomas, and in October 1951 Rufus was back in Phillips' studio recording a song called "No More Dogging Around". It was the first of many he would record over the years with "Dog" in the title, though this time he was talking about being led a dance by his woman rather than promoting dance steps. The same band as before sets up a stomping rhythm and Herman Green takes a flowing sax solo. Rufus follows the catchy riff, his voice rising and falling as he sets out how he intends to get out from  under. It is evident that Rufus knew exactly what he wanted his bands to do, and overall the sound on this recordings is one that can be heard on later recordings for Sun, Meteor and Stax.

01 - "NO MORE DOGGING AROUND" – B.M.I. - 2:36
Composer: - Rufus Thomas
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - U 7399
Recorded: - October 1951
Released: - January 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1492 mono
NO MORE DOGGING AROUND/CRAZY ABOUT YOU BABY
Reissued: - 2008 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm  BCD 16695-10 mono
RUFUS THOMAS - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

Marion Keisker logged that the master of "No More Dogging Around" was mailed to Chess on October 5, and that Chess "already have "Crazy About You" and the "Christmas Song". Latter whatever it was, has not been found, and it was "Crazy" that was issued along with "Dogging" on Chess 1492. The record gathered some steady but not spectacular sales through the spring of 1952.

02 - "CHRISTMAS SONG" – B.M.I.
Composer: - Rufus Thomas
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Unissued/Lost
Recorded: - October 1951

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rufus Thomas - Vocal
Herman Green - Tenor Saxophone
Richard Sanders - Baritone Saxophone
Billy Love - Piano
Unknown - Guitar and Bass
Houston Stokes - Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR LAFAYETTE JERL THOMAS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR CHESS RECORDS 1951

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE OCTOBER 1951
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

01 - "SAM'S DRAG" – B.M.I. - 2:49
Composer: - Lafayette Jerl Thomas
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - U7393
Recorded: - October 1951
Released: - January 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1493-A mono
SAM'S DRAG / BABY TAKE A CHANCE WITH ME
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-1-15 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958



This instrumental is anything but a drag, its tough guitar work, giving a clear indication of Lafayette Jerl Thomas' burgeoning talent. However, its readily apparent at this early stage in his career that he hadn't quite developed the technique to match his energy and enthusiasm. An off-key passage towards the end confirms that he still had some way to go to achieve his later status as West Coast guitar star. Although Thomas was from the Shreveport area, he was already based in Oakland, California when this was recorded.



Lafayette Jerl Thomas ^


Recording as a side-man since 1948, Thomas was touring with Jimmy McCracklin in 1951, so it's at least possible that McCracklin's tour stopped in Memphis, and then stopped at the Memphis Recording Service.

Certainly, Thomas and McCracklin recorded together in Houston a few months later with two saxes, piano, and rhythm section... in other words, the same line-up heard here. The tune hits a sweet groove, but not an original one; it was based quite closely on the hugely influential ''Junior Jives'', a hit for Roy Milton a few months earlier. Thomas's next solo record came in 1955. His only other oblique connection with Sun came in 1960 when he joined two other Sun alumni, James Cotton and Pat Hare, for one song on Muddy Waters ''At Newport'' LP.

02 - "BABY TAKE A CHANCE WITH ME"* – B.M.I. - 2:44
Composer: - Lafayette Jerl Thomas
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - U7394
Recorded: - October 1951
Released: - January 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1493-B mono
BABY TAKE A CHANCE WITH ME / SAM'S DRAG
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-1-16
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

Meanwhile, over on the flip-side things pick up considerably. Thomas' pinched, nasally vocal delivery and fluid, syncopated guitar fills are clearly borrowed from the Texas tradition - exuding distinct overtones of T-Bone Walker - and giving a clear pointer to later blues guitar styles. The band play in a wonderfully doomy   vein, in distinct counterpoint to their leader.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Lafayette Jerl Thomas - Vocal* - Guitar
Unknown - Saxophone, Bass and Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


OCTOBER 3, 1951 WEDNESDAY

Kenny Dale is born in Artesia, New Mexico. He garners a hit in 1979 by remaking Gene Pitney's ''Only Love Can Break A Heart''. 

Blues singer and songwriter Keb' Mo' is born in Los Angeles, California. He joins Garth Brooks in a 2001 NBC special, recorded with Lee Roy, and appears on tribute albums celebrating Johnny Cash and Hank Williams.

OCTOBER 4, 1951 THURSDAY

When The Oak Ridge Quartet plays in Evansville, Indiana, concert-goer Minnie Huff gives the band a wallet-size picture of Jesus and writes ''Oak Ridge Boys'' on the back. The Quartet later adopts The Oak Ridge Boys as its official name.

OCTOBER 5, 1951 FRIDAY

''Don't Fence Me In'' songwriter Cole Porter enters Doctors Hospital in Manhattan, where he undergoes multiple shock treatments.

The Red Skelton/Ester Williams movie ''Texas Carnival'' debuts with Foy Willing in a supporting musical role.

OCTOBER 6, 1951 SATURDAY

Rhythm and blues musician Tiny Bradshaw recorded ''The Train Kept A-Rollin'''. Johnny Burnette and The Rock And Roll Trio cover the song ranks among country's 500 greatest singles in the Country Music Foundation book ''Heartaches By The Number''.

OCTOBER 7, 1951 SUNDAY

John Mellecamp is born in Seymour, Indiana. The rocker, known for such hits as ''Hurts So Good'' and ''Pink Houses'', joins Willie Nelson and Neil Young to present the annual Farm Aid concerts. He's name-checked in the title of Keith Urban's 2015 hit ''John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16''.

OCTOBER 8, 1951 MONDAY

Hank Snow recorded ''Music Makin' Mama From Memphis'' and ''The Gold Rush Is Over'' during the evening in Nashville.

Carl Butler has his first solo recording session for Capitol Records.

OCTOBER 12, 1951 FRIDAY

Johnnie & Jack recorded ''Three Ways Of Knowing'' and ''Ashes Of Love''.

OCTOBER 15, 1951 MONDAY

The classic television show “I Love Lucy” debuted on the CBS network on October 15th of 1951. The show starred comedienne Lucille Ball as the titular Lucy Ricardo, Cuban entertainer Desi Arnaz as Lucy’s husband Ricky, with Vivian Vance and William Frawley as their goofy landlords Fred and Ethel Mertz, and it revolved around Lucy’s comical antics. Arnaz and Ball were a real-life husband and wife and the show was based off a popular radio series that Ball had previously starred in. “I Love Lucy” was one of the first scripted television shows to be filmed using three different cameras and it was unusual that it was filmed in Hollywood using a live audience rather than in New York using a laugh track. The show was a huge success and was nominated for and won many Emmy awards while it aired. It ended in May of 1957 but remained popular in reruns and it is still regularly aired on cable TV.

''Slaughter Trail'' debuts in movie theaters with vocal appearances by Rosemary Cloony and by songwriter Terry Gilkyson, who wrote Tennessee Ernie Ford's hit from the previous year, ''The Gall Of The Wild Goose''.

There's gold in them their hills! Rex Allen races a gang of thugs to a mine in the plot of ''Utah Wagon Train'', which makes its debut in theaters. Allen's rendition include the classic ''The Streets Of Laredo (The Cowboy Lament)''.

Racing horses, bandits and a gypsy are all part of the action with the debut of the Roy Rogers movie, ''South Of Caliente'', also featuring Dale Evans and Pat Brady.

OCTOBER 16, 1951 TUESDAY

Ray Price recorded the first version of Hank Williams song ''Weary Blues From Waitin'''at Dallas' Jim Beck Studio. Williams' version becomes a hit posthumously.

Little Richard holds his first recording session at WGST Radio in Atlanta, Georgia. He goes on to write two songs that become country hits, Waylon Jennings' ''Lucille (You Won't Do Your Daddy's Will)'' and Billy ''Crash'' Craddock's ''Slippin' And Slidin'''.

OCTOBER 18, 1951 THURSDAY

Red Foley recorded ''Salty Dog Rag''.

OCTOBER 20, 1951 SATURDAY

Hank Williams sings a movie deal with MGM Pictures.

OCTOBER 23, 1951 TUESDAY

David Wills is born in Pulaski, Tennessee. He cuts two Charlie Rich produced hits in the 1970s and writes George Strait's ''If You're Thinking You Want A Stranger (There's One Coming Home)'' and John Schneider's ''You're The Last Thing I Needed Tonight''.

OCTOBER 24, 1951 WEDNESDAY

Flatt & Scruggs recorded ''Tis Sweet To Be Remembered'' and the original version of ''Earl's Breakdown'' at the Castle Studio in Nashville.

OCTOBER 25, 1951 THURSDAY

Hank Williams recorded ''There's A Tear In My Beer''. The tape remains in boxes at Bill Lister's house until 1988, when Lister sends it to Hank Williams Jr., who eventually recorded a duet matching him with his father's performance.

OCTOBER 26, 1951 FRIDAY

Big Bill Lister recorded the first version of ''There's A Tear In My Beer'' to be released. The song will achieve hit status when Hank Williams Jr.'s voice and new instrumental tracks are added to a demo recording by the song's writer, Hank Williams.

George Morgan recorded ''Almost''.

OCTOBER 28, 1951 SUNDAY

George Jones' first daughter, Susan, is born.

NOVEMBER 1951

Howlin' Wolf's "Moanin' At Midnight" enters the rhythm and blues charts at number 10 but  quickly disappears, and a follow-up, "Cryin' At Daybreak" b/w "Passin' By Blues" (RPM 340) is rush-released.  During the same month, Wolf receives a sizable cash advance from Chess Records.

Lester Bihari (who will later move to Memphis, where he will found Meteor Records)  rejoins brothers Joe, Jules, and Saul as New York sales and promo man for RPM/Modern  Records.

Sam Phillips recorded Doctor Ross for the first time and sends the dubs to Chess Records in  Chicago.

NOVEMBER 1, 1951 THURSDAY

Cole Porter, co-author of ''Don't Fence Me In'', is released from Doctors Hospital in New York after a stay of nearly four weeks in which he underwent repeated shock therapy for emotional problems.

NOVEMBER 5, 1951 MONDAY

Martha Carson recorded her signature song, ''Satisfied'', at the Castle Studio in Nashville's Tulane Hotel. The gospel tune never makes national country charts, but it helps her gain membership in the Grand Ole Opry.

Songwriter Archie Jordan is born in Augusta, Georgia. He writes the Ronnie Milsap ballads ''Let's Take The Long Way Around The World'' and ''It Was Almost Like A Song'', plus hits for Sylvia, Charlie Rich and Barbara Mandrell.

NOVEMBER 9, 1951 FRIDAY

MGM released the first Hank Williams album, ''Hank Williams Sings''.

NOVEMBER 11, 1951 SUNDAY

Pop singer Paul Cowsill is born in Portsmouth, Virginia. He becomes one of seven members of the family group The Cowsills, who gain a trio of pop hits in the 1960s. One of them, ''Indian Lake'', is remade as a country hit by Freddy Weller.

NOVEMBER 12, 1951 MONDAY

Decca released Ernest Tubb's ''Driftwood On The River''.

NOVEMBER 13, 1951 TUESDAY

Ernest Tubb recorded ''Somebody's Stolen My Honey'' at Nashville's Castle Studio.

NOVEMBER 14, 1951 WEDNESDAY

Marty Robbins has his first recording session for Columbia Records at Hollywood's Radio Recorders. He recorded his debut single, ''Love Me Or Leave Me Alone''.

Ernest Tubb and Red Foley recorded ''Too Old To Cut The Mustard'' at the Castle Studio during an evening session in Nashville.

Hank Williams makes his first national TV appearance, on CBS-TV's ''The Perry Como Show'', performing ''Hey, Good Lookin'''.

NOVEMBER 15, 1951 THURSDAY

''Pals Of The Golden West'' debuts in theaters, with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans tackling a smuggling ring on the Mexican border.

Actress Beverly DÁngelo is born in Columbus, Ohio. She plays Patsy Cline in the 1980 movie ''Coal Miner's Daughter'', earning a Country Music Association award when the soundtrack is named Album of the Year.

NOVEMBER 16, 1951 FRIDAY

George Jones joins the Marines.

Columbia released Lefty Frizzell's double-sided hit ''Give Me More, More, More (Of Your Kisses)'' backed by ''How Long Will It Take (To Stop Loving You)''.

NOVEMBER 17, 1951 SATURDAY

Eva Overstake Foley, the wife of Red Foley, commits suicide in Nashville after discovering her husband is having an affair with TV personality Sally Sweet.

Jimmy heap holds his first Capitol recording session in Austin, Texas. He earns the only hit of his career during his time with the label.

NOVEMBER 18, 1951 SUNDAY

Boy Hawdy drummer Hugh Wright is born in Keokuk, Iowa. The band develops three hits, ''A Cowboy's Born With A Broken Heart'', ''They Don't Make 'Em Like That Anymore'' and ''She'd Give Anything'' before disbanding in 1996.

NOVEMBER 20, 1951 TUESDAY

''Valley Of Fire'' debuts in movie theaters, starring Gene Autry and Pat Buttram. Autry plays a mayor in a southwestern town where outlaws try to hijack a train full of women who are, in essence, mail-order brides.

NOVEMBER 22, 1951 THURSDAY

The Four Guys' Laddie Cain is born in Houston. The group earns Grand Ole Opry membership in 1967.

NOVEMBER 23, 1951 FRIDAY

MGM released Hank Williams' ''Baby, We're Really In Love''.

NOVEMBER 28, 1951 WEDNESDAY

Bessie Lee Mauldin is granted a divorce from Nelson Gann. She is already romantically involved with Bill Monroe, whose 1959 hit ''Gotta Travel On'' will feature her on bass.



Ike Turner struck up a relationship with Joe Bihari, who set him up as a talent scout, providing a car and a new suit so he could scour the Memphis and Mississippi Delta for blues and rhythm and blues talent. Ike, the black man could open the doors for the ''out of towner'' Jewish white guy that would be otherwise closed. Ike would round up the talent, set a series of dates and Joe Bihari would drive in and record at a whole array of venues throughout the Delta and Memphis.

Bobby Bland at WDIA >


The first session of these sessions to produce a single was with Robert Bland (soon to be blues superstar Bobby ''Blue'' Bland) recorded at band-leader. Tuff Green's house in Memphis.   ''Dry Up Baby'' is the sort of chaotic rocker that Howlin' Wolf might have cut, while the reverse of Modern 848 is a slow moaning blues with Bobby demonstrating his vocal prowess.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Session Published for Historical Reasons

STUDIO SESSION FOR BOBBY BLUE BLAND
FOR MODERN RECORDS 1951

TUFF GREEN'S HOUSE
1293 QUINN AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE NOVEMBER 1951
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - IKE TURNER

01 – ''CRYING ALL NIGHT'' – B.M.I. - 3:03
Composer: - Jules Taub
Publisher: - Modern Music
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - Unknown Date November 1951
Released: - 1951
First appearance: - Modern Records (S) 78rpm Modern 848-A mono
CRYING ALL NIGHT / DRY UP BABY
Reissued: - 2010 Jasmine Records (CD) 500/200rpm JASCD 564-2 mono
BOBBY BLAND - IT'S MY LIFE, BABY

02 – ''DRY UP BABY'' – B.M.I. - 2:01
Composer: - Jules Taub
Publisher: - Modern Music
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - Unknown Date November 1951
Released: - 1951
First appearance: - Modern Records (S) 78rpm Modern 848-B mono
DRY UP BABY / CRYING ALL NIGHT
Reissued: - 2010 Jasmine Records (CD) 500/200rpm JASCD 564-3 mono
BOBBY BLAND - IT'S MY LIFE, BABY

Name (Or. No Of Instruments)
Bobby Bland - Vocal
Ike Turner - Piano
Matt Murphy - Guitar
Unknown - Saxophones
Possibly Richard ''Tuff'' Green - Bass
Earl Forest - Drums, Band Vocals, Handclaps

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


NOVEMBER 1951

Courtesy of Sam Phillips' developing relationship with Chess Records in Chicago, the good Doctor Ross and  his small band were able to treat the wider public to the hypnotic one-chord style that cured all ills. Ross was  just out of the Army and came into the Memphis Recording Service as a singer and harp player accompanied  by his Jump and Jive Boyd; guitarist Wiley Gatlin and Robert Moore aka Mook who used a broom to make a  percussive sound. Ross would soon develop the ability to pay rhythm guitar, harmonica, and drums  simultaneously, but he and his boys already had the formula down pat. It ain't Gershwin or Charlie Parker but  it sure is hard to resist. Can you imagine how Sam must have felt the first time he listened to this music  coming through the speakers in his tiny studio? Probably much the same as when Joe Hill Louis began to  play, because in some respects they were quite similar. One possibility is that Sam Phillips feared he might  lose Louis to Modern in the fall-out from ''Rocket 88'' and saw the Doctor as a replacement. This in fact  happened; Modern recorded a session or two with Joe Hill Louis away from Phillips studio before dropping  him.


NOVEMBER 1951

With the war in Korea looming, Isaiah Doctor Ross was required to join the Army again for a year starting on  October 2, 1950 and ending in November 1951. He served this time in Fort Worth, Texas, suffering a delay  in his career at an important moment. By the time he was back in Memphis near the end of 1951 he found  people he'd known down in Mississippi or in West Memphis had started to make records and big reputations  – men like B.B. King, Howlin' Wolf, and Ike Turner with Jackie Brenston. 


Isaiah Doctor Ross ^

As soon as he could, he  reconnected with WDIA and he became a paid up member of the musicians union at this time.  He told Barry  Lee Pearson: ''B.B. King took me around there and I got my union card and everything. And I paid for my  band boys. That was Wiley, Mook, and Reuben Martin. Wiley played the guitar and I blowed the harmonica  and sang. Mook had him a broom and get him a rough piece of wood on the floor and he's take the straw part  and have it up and the naked part at the bottom. And he'd just stroke that. And Reuben Martin played  washboard with a spoon and fork. And so everybody fell for us''.

Ross also lost no time in connecting with Sam Phillips' Memphis Recording Service. Jacob Ross, his brother,  had apparently been to see Phillips on his behalf while Isaiah was back in the Army. Ross told Chris Baird,  ''Sam Phillips said, 'Well bring your brother in'. One day my brother carried me there and I met Sam Phillips  and he had a little old recording studio, just plain props and pasteboard up against the wall for to make some  sound. He said he would like us to record for him one evening, so me and Wiley and a couple more boys  went up there to play. He listened to us and then he took the phone off the hook and called Chess Records.  He was a scout then, for Leonard Chess. He said, 'These guys are the beat I've heard around here'. And he  had us to play and we played ''Country Clown'' and the other side was ''Doctor Ross Boogie'', so we put that  out and it came on the Chess label''.


The card measures approximately 2.25 x 4" with round edges. Dr. Ross's full name, Issiah Ross, his written on the card in black felt tip marker - it is unlikely the signature of Doctor Ross, but probably written in by whoever issued him the card. It shows normal wear (considering that it was probably carried around in Doctor Ross' back pocket for a year) but is in overall good condition. At the time that Doctor Ross was issued this card, he was only 24 years old and had not yet signed his first recording contract. A year later Ross would join the Army. In 1952 he would release his first single with Sam Phillip's legendary Sun Records label. 

From the estate of Doctor Ross himself comes this original Union Card issued to Ross by the Memphis Federation of Musicians in 1949. ^


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR DOCTOR ROSS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR CHESS RECORDS 1951

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: THURSDAY NOVEMBER 29, 1951
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

Doctor Ross first recording session took place on November 29, 1951 with Ross playing harmonica and singing, Wiley Gatlin on guitar, and Robert Moore on broom. Ross told Norman Darwen, ''Mook used to drag the broom, yeah he could drag that, he could make it sound better than any drums''. Six songs from the session have survived. Sam Phillips was impressed by Ross's little group and their fascinating mix of catchy rhythms and authentic blues. He probably didn't know or care that Ross's original tunes were drawn from his years on the juke joint circuit and from listening to records.

01(1) - "COUNTRY CLOWN" B.M.I. - 2:51
Composer: -  Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - November 29, 1951
Released: - 1996 
First appearance: -  Charly Records (CD) 500/200rom CDSUNBOX 7-1-17 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
Reissued: March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-1-13 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958

Doctor Ross' recording debut shows the profound influence that John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson had on the harmonica players of the next generation. The performance is something of a hybrid, since it combines elements of Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas in its construction. The song is Ross' version of Lil' Son Jackson's "Bad Whiskey, Bad Woman", recorded in Houston, Texas three years previously and issued on Gold Star 642. This first take begins with a long harmonica solo, whereas the issued version has a four-bar introduction before the first verse. Sam Phillips noted Ross's guitarist as 'Wiley Gallatin' but no one of that name appears to have been living around that time, and Ross later confirmed that he was really Wiley (or Wylie) Gatlin. Ross, Gatlin and Rober Moore aka Mook had played together for some years on Arkansas radio stations either side of Ross's stints in the Army and they'd found themselves a slot on WDIA where A.C. Mooha Williams dubbed Ross the Medical Director of the Royal Amalgamated Association of Chitlin' Eaters of America.

01(2) - "COUNTRY CLOWN" B.M.I. 2:54 
Composer: -  Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - F 1012 - Take 2
Recorded: - November 29, 1951
Released: - March 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1504-A mono
COUNTRY CLOWN / DR. ROSS BOOGIE
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-1-17 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

02 - "DOCTOR ROSS BOOGIE" B.M.I. - 2:35
Composer: -  Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - F 1013
Recorded: - November 29, 1951
Released: - March 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1504-B mono
DR. ROSS BOOGIE / COUNTRY CLOWN
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-1-18 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

''Doctor Ross Boogie'' is the template for many of Doctor Ross' later Sun recordings.  The guitarist's amplifier makes a rather muddy jumble of his boogie phrases, but his presence is almost incidental to Ross' exuberant vocal and his harmonica playing. The song's obvious derivation from Pinetop's "Boogie Woogie" is made plain by Ross' spoken (or half-shouted) instructions to his imaginary audience "When I tell you to that thing/try your best to break your leg". He prefaces a harmonica solo with the comment, "Now play it cool", and proceeds to play with anything but reticence. 

03 - "CAT SQUIRREL" B.M.I. - 2:23
Composer: -  Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - November 29, 1951
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-1-20 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
Reissued: March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-1-14 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958

On ''Cat Squirrel'', this intriguingly named track, Dr. Ross moves away from his usual incessant one-chord boogie. This is shaped after Robert Petway's ''Catfish Blues'', recently revived by Bobo Thomas on the flip side of Elmore James' ''Dust My Broom''. Muddy waters' revival of the song as ''Rollin' Stone'' was still on jukeboxes as well. The Doctor recorded ''Cat Squirrel'' several more times in later years, and the version for Fortune was especially fine, arguably better than this.

In 1966, Cream featured ''Cat Squirrel'' (retitled ''Cat's Squirrel'' and credited to Trad. Arr. S. Splurge) on the flip side of their first single, ''Wrapping Paper''. True, Clapton's solos were pretty spectacular, but the song's energy, not to mention its signature riff, came straight from the Doc. Soon after, Jethro Tull covered Cream's cover. Cream certainly didn't hear this recording, which went unreleased until Krazy Kat bootlegged it in 1985, but they might have heard Ross play it on the 1965 Folk Blues festival. If so, they should have realized that he needed the money more than they did.

04(1) - "LITTLE SOLDIER BOY" B.M.I. - 2:58
Composer: -  Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - November 29, 1951
Released: - 1972
First appearance: - Arhoolie Records (LP) 33rpm Arhoolie 1065 mono
HIS FIRST RECORDINGS
Reissued: - January 5, 1992 Arhoolie Records (CD) 500/200rpm Arhoolie 371 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - BOOGIE DISEASE

04(2) - "LITTLE SOLDIER BOY" B.M.I. - 2:55
Composer: -  Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - November 29, 1951
Released: - 1996
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-1-19 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
Reissued: - 2013 JSP Records (CD) 500/200rpm JSP4239B-2-4 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - THE MEMPHIS CUTS 1953-1956

The second of two takes, this version is slightly faster than the previous take and features the prominent foot-tapping also present on "Country Clown". Those with a mania for classification could argue endlessly over which musician is providing pedestrian assistance or whether a third party, like Willie Johnson, might have wandered into the studio to help. The song refers to Ross' two bouts of Army service, from which he'd recently been demobbed. Having served in the Philippines and the Southwest Pacific, he got out in 1948 but was recalled two years later. In his own words: "He kept on playing/he would say/Everything's going to be alright after awhile'/and he would keep a smile on his face/pointing his finger and blowing his harmonica/all of the girls loved Doctor Ross".

05(1) - "SHAKE A MY HAND" B.M.I. - 2:34
Composer: -  Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None –  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - November 29, 1951
Released: - 1972
First appearance: - Arhoolie Records (LP) 33rpm Arhoolie 1065 mono
HIS FIRST RECORDINGS
Reissued: - January 5, 1992 Arhoolie Records (CD) 500/200rpm Arhoolie 371 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - BOOGIE DISEASE

05(2) - "SHAKE A MY HAND" B.M.I. - 2:34
Composer: -   Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None –  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - November 29, 1951 - Alternate Take
Released: - 1992
First appearance: - Arhoolie Internet iTunes MP3-10 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - BOOGIE DISEASE
Reissued: - 2013 JSP Records (CD) 500/200rpm JSP4239-1-26 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - THE MEMPHIS CUTS 1953 - 1956

06 – ''THAT'S ALRIGHT (GOIN' BACK SOUTH*'' B.M.I. - 2:35
Composer: -  Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - November 29, 1951
Released: - January 5, 1992
First appearance: - Arhoolie Records (CD) 500/200rpm Arhoolie 371 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - BOOGIE DISEASE
Reissued: - 2013 JSP Records (CD) 500/200rpm JSP4239-1-12 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - THE MEMPHIS CUTS 1953 - 1956

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Isaiah Ross  – Vocal, Harmonica & Footstomping
Wiley Gatlin - Guitar & Vocal*
Robert Moore (aka Mook) - Broom

Wiley Gatlin was recorded as a cotton farmer on the Wilson Plantation north east of Dundee in Tunica Country at the time. According to Doctor Ross, ''the best picker you ever saw''.  Robert Moore, was a man Doctor Ross called ''Mook'', who played a string bass and also used a broom to make a percussion sound.

Note: Doctor Ross recorded other versions of these songs at this session.  Note 2: Doctor Ross also played on ''That's Alright (Goin' Back South)'' sung at this session by Wiley Gatlin.


In almost total contrast, Doctor Ross's final offering at the session was an engaging if strange attempt to marry some familiar lines about a mistreating woman (from the likes of Sonny Boy Williamson's 1946 recordings of ''Shake The Boogie'') with Moohah Williams local catchphrase: ''come on and shake-a my hand''. WDIA jockey A.C. Williams had the ''Wheelin' On Beale'' show.  He had still been a biology teacher at Manassas High School when he started at WDIA in 1949, but he soon became the first full time black employee of the station, working on promotion and organisation of events as well as hosting shows.


He set up the Teen Town Singers group that changed personnel each year to include the best talent from all seven of the local black High Schools.  When singer Faye Adams had a number 1 rhythm and blues hit on Herald in the summer of 1953 with another song called ''Shake A My Hand'', Moohah got together with WDIA's David Mattis to write a comical song about the perils of hand-shaking. Issued that November on Starmaker Records, Moohah's ''All Shook Out'' was an answer song in the vein of Rufus Thomas's ''Bear Cat'', a recent number 1 in Memphis. The song may also have had secondary reference to the gladhanding that went on during the annual WDIA Goodwill Revue. Although Moohah played all kinds of black music in his shows, he took the name ''Mr Blues'' for one show and ran mock elections for the preservation of good country blues; he awarded Doctor Ross the presidency of the Royal Amalgamated Association of Chitterling Eaters of America for his musical efforts.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


NOVEMBER 1951

Up to the time Rosco Gordon first recorded ''Booted'', Billy Love had recorded just one song  for Sam Phillips but around November 2, 1951 he recorded three more songs, two of which  became his first record on Chess under his own name. Perhaps featuring the same band as  on the Juiced session, ''Drop Top'' was another stormer, an undisguised attempt to follow in  the slipstream of ''Rocket 88''. Billy's going to breeze around town keeping cool in his fantasy  convertible and he doesn't care who knows it. He boogies into this track singing after the  style of a Roy Brown before giving way to a crashing guitar solo from Calvin Newborn and a  matching sax solo. The other side of the record was to be ''You're Gonna Cry'', a mid-paced  Niles about the perils of getting too high and mighty. There is a throaty sax solo twin an  unidentified player and good understated support from guitar and drums, possibly the  Newborns again. The third title recorded at this time was ''Ain't No More'' hut the tape or  acetate of this has never been found. Phillips paid Love an advance c l $70 on the disc on  November 2, and loaned him $15 on December 11, when he noted that Chess has masters on  ''Ain't No More'', ''You're Gonna Cry'' and ''Drop Top". However the disc was not issued  immediately and some months later on March 16, 1952 Phillips noted that he had sent  another master of ''Drop Top'' to Chess. The disc was finally issued as Chess 1508 on April 1,  1952. The record seems to hive been given little promotional support by Chess and it did not  show up significantly on regional sales charts.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR BILLY LOVE
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR CHESS RECORDS 1951

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: POSSIBLY OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 1951
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

01 - "DROP TOP" – B.M.I. - 2:41
Composer: - Milton Morse Love
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - F 1014
Recorded: - Possibly October/November 1951
Released: - April 1, 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1508-A mono
DROP TOP / YOU'RE GONNA CRY
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-1-20 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

"Rocket 88", of course, inspired a great many sequels - a fair number of which emanated from Sam Phillips' studio, notably "My Real Gone Rocket", "T-Model Boogie", "Mr. Highway Man", "Ridin' The Boogie". Billy Love's song is a delightful eulogy to the long-gone, gas-guzzlin' convertibles of the early 1950s: a routine  eight-to-the-bar boogie, driven along by Billy's rock-solid, dependable left hand and hugely confident vocal, the automobile evolves into a metaphor for nookie halfway through. Sam Phillips' later comments notwithstanding, Love appears to have possessed considerable talent, and clearly should have gone on to become a major player - and whilst his dept to Roy Brown is readily evident here, he remains his own man.

02 - "YOU'RE GONNA CRY" – B.M.I. - 2:26
Composer: - Milton Morse Love
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - F 1015
Recorded: - Possibly October/November 1951
Released: - April 1, 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1508-B mono
YOU'RE GONNA CRY / DROP TOP
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-1-21 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

''You're Gonna Cry'', a mid-paced blues about the perils of getting too high and mighty was the song backed ''Drop Top'' on Chess. There is a throaty sax solo, probably from Charles Walker, and good understated support from Calvin and Phineas Newborn, Sr, on guitar and drums. Phillips paid Love an advance of $70 on the disc on November 2, 1951 and loaned him $15 on December 11 when he noted that ''Chess has masters on ''Ain't No More'', ''You're Gonna Cry'' and ''Drop Top''. However the disc was not issued immediately and some months later on March 16, 1952 Phillips noted that he had sent another master of ''Drop Top'' to Chess. The disc was finally issued in April, but appears to have been given little promotional support and did not show up significantly on regional sales charts.

Apparently from the same session as ''Drop Top'' and ''You're Gonna Cry'', Sam Phillips shows that ''It Ain't No More'' was sent to Chess along with the other two titles. There was a delay of some months before a record was issued and in that time Chess decided to go for the other titles. At one point, Chess asked for another copy of the ''Drop Top'' master and somewhere along the line the tape of ''It Ain't No More'' was lost but, here an acetate copy from Steve LaVere who had kept it for over forty years. If it were not for the greater saleability of the ''Drop Top'' lyric, this recording would have been a real contender for release. It is a storming performance, from Love's opening piano chord and the pushing drumbeat of Phineas Newborn through the unison riffing of sax and guitar and on to the superior guitar solo from Carlvin Newborn. The song itself consists of Love telling his girl the reasons why she's got to pack everything and go and perhaps this downbeat message being delivered at such a rocking tempo weighed against the track when Chess 1508 was being planned.

03 - "AIN'T NO MORE" – B.M.I. - 2:19
Composer: - Milton Morse Love
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - Possibly November 1951
Released: - March 8, 2013
First appearance: Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-3-15 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958

Over the river in West Memphis, Arkansas there were other clubs and bars, like the Sixteenth Street grill where Sonny Boy Williamson, Willie Love and B. B. King played, the Be-Bop Hall, and also the Cotton Club that catered to a white audience.

Together Memphis and West Memphis provided a living to touring pianists like Roosevelt Sykes, Ivory Joe Hunter, or Fats Domino, to the pianists in local bands such as those led by Tuff Green or Bill Harvey, to the solo pianists and itinerant performers - Memphis keyboard legends like 'Struction' and 'Dishrag' - and to budding youngsters just starting out to learn. And then there was Phineas Newborn junior who played in a family band with his father Phineas, a well-known drummer, and his brother Calvin, a guitarist.

The Newborns came from around Jackson, Mississippi, originally but Phineas senior moved to Memphis in about 1930. His son joined him in the Tuff Green band in the mid-1940s and spent summers on the road with the popular Saunders King band when aged just 16. In 1948 the Newborn family show band was resident at Morris Berger's Plantation Inn in West Memphis, moving over the bridge to the Flamingo Room at Hernando and Beale in the early 1950s.

By the mid-1950s Phineas was being feted by jazz aficionados in New York and Los Angeles, and he remains a legendary name in jazz. Writing about musicians from Memphis in Rhythm Oil, Stanley Booth quoted one contemporary Memphis pianist saying that Phineas Newborn "had a boogie-woogie left hand, a bebop right hand, and this ... third hand." That's what pianist Billy Love was competing with when he was growing up.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Billy Love - Vocal and Piano
Charles Walker - Saxophone
Calvin Newborn - Guitar
Phineas Newborn Sr – Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


NOVEMBER 30, 1951 FRIDAY

Ernest Tubb recorded ''Missing In Action'' during an afternoon session at Nashville's Castle Studio in the Tulane Hotel.

Columbia released Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs ''Tis Sweet To Be Remembered''.

Guitarist Gordon Payne is born. He becomes a longtime member of Waylon Jennings' band, playing on ''I Ain't Living Long Like This'', ''I've Always Been Crazy'' and ''Luckenbach, Texas (Back To The Basics Of Love)''.

DECEMBER 1951

The Chess version of Howlin' Wolf's "Moanin' At Midnight" (Chess 1479) enters the rhythm  and blues charts at number 10. The Biharis file a claim against Chess Records, but the latter  claim that they have a prior contract filed by Sam Phillips with the negro local of the AFM in  Memphis. Sam Phillips cuts a second session on Wolf for Chess Records.

Chess release Rosco Gordon's "Booted" b/w ''I Love You Till The Day I Die''  (Chess 1487). The Biharis arrange to cut another version with Roso and their version of ''Booted''  which is released on RPM 344. They also file a further suit against  Chess, but again find that the latter have a prior contract on the song filed with the AFM.

At this stage, Chess Records and the are also in dispute over John Lee Hooker. 

Sam Phillips  records a second session on Rosco Gordon for Chess Records, but only a duet with Bobby  Bland is issued. The session also includes Rosco's belated answer-disc to "Rocket 88", the  "T-Model Boogie". 

Sam Phillips recorded another country artist, Bob Price, for Chess Records.

Chess Records release a disc by the Spiritual Stars ''Good Religion'' b/w ''I'll Search Heaven'' (Chess 1485) probably recorded by Phillips, along with a second disc by the Evangelist Gospel Singers of Alabama ''Walk The Light'' b/w ''Never Grown Old'' (Chess1486).

DECEMBER 1, 1951 SATURDAY

Slim Whitman recorded ''Indian Love Call'' at the KWHK Studio in Shreveport, Louisiana. The song was introduced in the 1930s by Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy in the movie ''Rose Mari.

DECEMBER 2, 1951 SUNDAY

The Randolph Scott western ''Man In The Saddle'' debuts in movie theaters, with Tennessee Ernie Ford singing the title song.


Sam Phillips records another country artist for Chess Records, Bob Price. Phillips' mid-1950s venture into country music was largely conducted in partnership with the A&R team of Quinton Claunch and Bill Cantrell, but it seems as if Claunch was there first. He appeared at Phillips' door with Bob Price, and was certainly not joking when he said that Price had an unusual voice. Price and Harmonica Frank marked Chess Records' inauspicious debut into the country market. Both were a long way from mainstream but, unfortunately, this outing has none of the period charm of Frank Floyd, nor the searing hillbilly passion of Phillips' later efforts. In fact it has not weathered the years at all well although Roy Cooper's dancing guitar fills are quite pleasant and Price's vocal has its moments. If Price was aiming for the pop-country mix of Eddy Arnold-George Morgan-Red Foley, he came up with an almost comically inept parody. He had previously recorded for Decca in 1949 together with Eddie Hill, suggesting that he may have been part of the same troup, although Claunch recalled that Price rarely sang except at home. Billboard, though reported in March 1952 that Price was on the point of joining the live on-air staff of KWEM, West Memphis, so perhaps he got around more than Claunch believed.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR BOB PRICE
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR CHESS RECORDS 1951

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: SUNDAY DECEMBER 2, 1951
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS 
AND/OR QUINTON CLAUNCH

Sometime during the fall of 1951, a childhood friend of Quinton Claunch named Price Twitty came to Memphis to play a few country music gigs. In a strange reversal of the Harold Jenkins story, Twitty rejected his surname for the stage name Bop Price. Claunch recalls that Price sang very little and "mainly in the bath", yet Price was no novice and had pursued an intermittent career in country music, recording for Decca in on August 22, 1949. Bop Price had what Claunch characterizes as, "an unusual voice, and his own way of phrasing a song  that was his main claim to fame". In November 1951, Claunch called Sam Phillips and took price down to the studio at 706 Union Avenue. This was to the Claunch's first venture as a record producer.

Although somewhat lightweight, Bob Price's unusual phrasing impressed Sam Phillips sufficiently to call a recording session. Claunch recalls that before the session be, Price and guitarist Paul Buskirk recorded a demo of "How Can It Be" at WLAY radio studio in Muscle Shoals. Moving back to Memphis for the proper session, Claunch found that the additional session players Sam had brought in were not capable of making the sounds he intended the world to hear and he was somewhat dissatisfied with the outcome.

Nevertheless, Sam Phillips was involved at the time with leasing country material to the newly established Chess label country series, and he was able to sell "How Can It Be" and "Sticks And Stones" for release on Chess 1495 in March 1952.

01 - "HOW CAN IT BE" – B.M.I. - 3:06
Composer: - Quinton Claunch-Bob Price
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - F-1002
Recorded: - December 2, 1951
Released: - March 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1495-A mono
HOW CAN IT ME / STICKS AND STONES
Reissued: - November 1986 Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-2-9 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-1-27 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

''Stick And Stones'', this uptempo side has a folky, almost nursery rhyme, quality enhanced by the instrumental break which sounds like a musical box. Hank Thompson was doing well with songs like this (''Humpty Dumpty Heart'', ''Whoa Sailor'', etc) but Thompson at least had visibility in the western half of the country. Released to little acclaim in January 1952, this single represented the beginning and end of Chess's involvement in hillbilly music until they allied themselves with Stan Lewis in Shreveport. However, shortly after this record was released, Billboard announced that Leonard Chess was heading south to secure more country talent. Perhaps the dismal sales of this outing convinced Chess to stay clear of the country market until Lewis started providing him with saleable product. Note that the master tape from this session was recorded over. Only the very last cut on the tape, a fragment of ''Why So Blue''? remains from the original tape.

02 - "STICKS AND STONES" – B.M.I. - 2:24
Composer: - Bob Price
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - F-1003
Recorded: - December 2, 1951
Released: - March 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1495-B mono
STICKS AND STONES / HOW CAN IT ME
Reissued: - November 1986 Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-2-10 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-1-28 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

03 - "WHY SO BLUE" – B.M.I.
Composer: - Bob Price
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Snatch
Recorded: - December 2, 1951
Released: - Sun Unissued

04 - "DONATIN' MY TIME" – B.M.I.
Composer: - Bob Price
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - December 2, 1951
Released: - Sun Unissued

Two other songs had been recorded by Sam Phillips. A snatch of "Why So Blues" remains on tape, but "Donatin' My Time" appears to have been recorded over along with the master tape of the two issued items. The inconspicuous sales of Chess 1495 compared unfavourably with the good sales on rhythm and blues  recordings from Phillips' studio, and this may have put Sam Phillips off country music for a while. It would be another two years before Claunch came to Sam again with a song to resurrect his recording career.

"Bob Price made some things for Chess Records in my studio", recalled Sam Phillips. "His real name was Price Twitty. He was a young man from down in Tishomingo, Mississippi.  But he did not have the blue feel in the music. We didn't do too much with Bob". Price was simply not quirky enough, not even for this ready-made new hillbilly marked, and Sam Phillips doubted that there was a bluesy bone in his body. The results in any case were satisfying to no one, including Leonard Chess, who suspended his brief country music experiment shortly thereafter.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Bob Price - Vocal
Quinton Claunch - Guitar
Roy Cooper - Guitar
Harold Buskirk - Bass
Dexter Johnson - Mandolin
Bob Smith – Piano
Unknown - Fiddle

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


DECEMBER 3, 1951 MONDAY

Studio sessions for Rosco Gordon at the Memphis Recording Service in Memphis, Tennessee.

Hank Williams is sued for copyright infringement, charged with stealing the melody for ''Cold, Cold Heart'' from the T. Texas Tyler recording ''You'll Still Be In My Heart''.

The Maddox Brothers & Rose sign with Columbia Records.

DECEMBER 4, 1951 TUESDAY

Studio sessions for Rosco Gordon and Bobby Bland at the Memphis Recording Service in Memphis, Tennessee.

Guitarist Gary Rossington is born in Jacksonville, Florida. In his teens, he becomes a founding member of Lynyrd Skynyrd, whose ''Sweet Home Alabama'' receives billing in a Country Music Foundation book among country's 500 all-time greatest singles.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR ROSCO GORDON
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICES FOR RPM RECORDS 1951

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: PROBABLY MONDAY DECEMBER 3, 1951
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

01 - "BOOTED" - B.M.I. - 3:09
Composer: - Rosco Gordon
Publisher: - Modern Music
Matrix number: - MM 1744
Recorded: - December 3, 1951
Released: - January 1952
First appearance: RPM Records (S) 78rpm RPM 344 mono
BOOTED / COLD COLD WINTER
Reissued: 1998 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHD 694-8 mono
ROSCO GORDON - THE BEST OF THE RPM YEARS

02 - "COLD COLD WINTER" - B.M.I. - 3:12
Composer: - Rosco Gordon-Jules Taub
Publisher: - Modern Music
Matrix number: - MM 1745
Recorded: - December 3, 1951
Released: - January 1952
First appearance:  First appearance: RPM Records (S) 78rpm RPM 344 mono
COLD COLD WINTER / BOOTED
Reissued: 1998 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCHD 694-9 mono
ROSCO GORDON - THE BEST OF THE RPM YEARS

03 - "WHAT YOU GOT ON YOUR MIND" - B.M.I. - 1:54
Composer: - Rosco Gordon-Jules Taub
Publisher: - Modern Music Publisher
Matrix number: - 1842
Recorded: - December 3, 1951
Released: - September 6, 1952
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm standard single RPM 365-A mono
WHAT YOU GOT ON YOUR MIND / TWO KIND OF WOMEN
Reissued: - November 24, 1998 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm Ace CDCHD 694-14 mono
ROSCO GORDON - BOOTED - THE BEST OF THE RPM YEARS

04 - "TWO KIND OF WOMEN" - B.M.I. - 3:02
Composer: - Rosco Gordon
Publisher: - Modern Music Publisher
Matrix number: - 1867
Recorded: - December 3, 1951
Released: - September 6, 1952
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm standard single RPM 365-B mono
TWO KIND OF WOMEN / WHAT YOU GOT ON YOUR MIND
Reissued: - November 24, 1998 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm Ace CDCHD 694-13 mono
ROSCO GORDON - BOOTED - THE BEST OF THE RPM YEARS

05 - "GONNA LET YOU OUT''
Composer: - Rosco Gordon
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - December 3, 1951

06 - "THAT'S AGAINST THE RULE''
Composer: - Rosco Gordon
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - December 3, 1951

07 - "TELL DADDY, BABY''
Composer: - Rosco Gordon
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - December 3, 1951

This session was recorded for Chess Records but the masters were not dispatched pending the outcome of the legal wrangling surrounding Gordon. The titles were later offered to RPM/Modern.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rosco Gordon - Vocal and Piano
Willie Sims - Saxophone
Willie Wilkes - Saxophone
John Murry Daley - Drums
More Details Unknown

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR ROSCO GORDON & BOBBY BLUE BAND
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICES FOR CHESS RECORDS 1951

MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: TUESDAY DECEMBER 4, 1951
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

01 - "LETTER FROM A TRENCH IN KOREA*/***" - 1 – B.M.I. - 2:55
Composer: - Rosco Gordon
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - U 7398
Recorded: - December 4, 1951
Released: - December 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Duke 106-B / Chess 1489-B mono
LETTER FROM A TRENCH IN KOREA / CRYING
Reissued: - July 5, 2013 Salt & Pepper Records (MP3) Internet Sample-3 mono
LOVE YOU TILL THE DAY I DIE - EARLY SINGLES 1951 - 1956

02 - ''CRYING'' - 1 - B.M.I. - 3:00
Composer: - Rosco Gordon
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - U 7397
Recorded: - December 4, 1951
Released: - December 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Duke 106/Chess 1489-A mono
CRYING / LETTER FROM A TRENCH IN KOREA
Reissued: - July 5, 2013 Salt & Pepper Records (MP3) Internet Sample-2 mono
LOVE YOU TILL THE DAY I DIE - EARLY SINGLES 1951 - 1956

03(1) - "T-MODEL BOOGIE" – B.M.I. - 2:25
Composer: - Rosco Gordon
Publisher: - Lion Publishers
Matrix number: - None - Alternate to Original Issue Duke 106
Recorded: - December 4, 1951
Released: - 1952
First appearance: - Duke Records (S) 78rpm standard single Duke 106-A mono
T-MODEL BOOGIE /
Reissued: - 1990 Charly (CD) 500/200rpm Instant INS 503 mono
THE SUN STORY VOLUME 1 - SUNRISE

03(2) - "T-MODEL BOOGIE" – 1 - B.M.I. - 2:25
Composer: - Rosco Gordon
Publisher: -  Lion Publishers
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - December 4, 1951
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30133-3 mono
ROSCO GORDON - THE LEGENDARY SUN PERFORMERS
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-1-22 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

Rosco Gordon recorded at least three versions of this, two for Sam Phillips (the other take first appeared on CR 30101) and a speeded-up version for Duke Records, with automobile noises spliced into the intro and outro. The song is patently another "Rocket 88" spinoff, but has an engaging spirit of its own - although things begin to fall apart rhythmically during the third verse after Rosco attempts to cram a couple of gratuitous extra beats into the mix. The tenor sax player suddenly springs to life during his solo, exhibiting a surly blues tone - his  sustained note during the last verse being particularly effective.

03(3) - "T-MODEL BOOGIE" – 2 - B.M.I.
Composer: - Rosco Gordon
Publisher: -  Lion Publishers
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - December 4, 1951
Released: - 1976
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30101-A-3 mono
SUN: THE ROOTS OF ROCK – VOLUME 1 - CATALYST

04 - "NATIVE CHANT***" - 1 – B.M.I.
Composer: - Rosco Gordon
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - December 4, 1951

05 - "DR BLUES**" - 2 – B.M.I.
Composer: - "Dr. Blues" Maxwell
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - December 4, 1951
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30133-4 mono
ROSCO GORDON - THE LEGENDARY SUN PERFORMERS

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rosco Gordon - Vocal* and Piano
Bobby Bland - Second Vocal***
"Dr Blues" Maxwell - Vocal**
Willie Sims - Saxophone
Willie Wilkes - Saxophone
John Murry Daley - Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


DECEMBER 1951

Business started picking up a little in December 1951. Sometime around the beginning of the month Sam Phillips recorded harmonica Frank Floyd, a grizzled white medicine-show veteran in his forties who sang and played the harmonica without making use of either his hands or a harmonica rack, simply rolling the harmonica around in his mouth and then rolling it back to the side again as he declaimed the lyrics of his blues and humorous entertainments in a parched, self-amused voice. He had been captivated by Frank when they met, and first recorded him on July 15, 1951, signing him immediately to a management contract. He was not by any stretch of the imagination a great artist, but he was a compelling one, a true original, of the sort that Sam Phillips had always been drawn to. According to Sam Phillips, ''Frank Floyd was a beautiful hobo. He was short, fat, very abstract, and you looked at him and you really didn't know what he was thinking, what he was going to say or sing next. He had the greatest mind of his own, I think hobos by nature have to have that, and that fascinated me from the beginning. And then he had some of these old rhymes and tales and stuff that he had embellished, and some of them were so old, God, I guess they were old when my father was a kid''.