CONTAINS 1954 SUN SESSION

Studio Session for Mississippi Slim, Probably Early 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Joe Manuel, Early 1950s, Probably 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Sidney Louis Hardrock Gunter, January 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Earl Peterson, January 4, 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Coy Hot Shot Love, January 8, 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Kenneth Banks, January 8, 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Billy Emerson, January 11, 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Billy Love, January 19, 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for The Jones Brothers, January 28, 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for The Prisonaires, February 2, 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Luke McDaniel, February 24, 1954 / King Records
Studio Session for Little Junior Parker, March 2, 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Ramsey Kearney, March 11, 1954 / Or May 9, 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Little Milton, March 30, 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Billy Emerson, April 12, 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Raymond Hill, April 12, 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Doug Poindexter &
The Starlite Wranglers, April 25, 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Billy Love, May 3, 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for The Prisonaires, May 8, 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for James Cotton, May 14, 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Pat Hare, May 14, 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Buddy Blake Cunningham, April 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Onie Wheeler, May 17, 1954 / Okeh/Columbia Records
Studio Session for Harmonica Frank Floyd, July 1, 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Onzie Horne, July 17, 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Luke McDaniel, July 27, 1954 / King Records
Studio Session for Doctor Ross, July 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Rudy Grayzell, August 31, 1954 / Capitol Records
Studio Session for The Prisonaires, September 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Hayden Thompson, October 1954 / VON Records
Studio Session for Malcolm Yelvington, October 10, 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Maggie Sue Wimberly, October 25, 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Billy Emerson, October 27, 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Carl Perkins, October 1954 (1) / Sun Records
Studio Session for Carl Perkins, 1954 (2) / Sun Records
Studio Session for Onie Wheeler, October 28, 1954 / Columbia Records
Demo Session for Johnny Cash, 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Johnny Cash, Late 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for The Prisonaires, End 1954/Early 1955 / Sun Records
Live Recordings for Carl Mann, 1954
Studio Session for Charlie Booker, Probably Late 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Doctor Ross, Unknown Date December 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Eddie Snow, Late 1954/Early 1955 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Little Milton, Unknown Date(s) 1954/1955 / Sun Records
Probably Demo Session for The Burnette Brothers, Unknown Date Late 1954/1955

Biography of Artists (See: The Sun Biographies)


1954

Following more wives moving back into the workforce the economy continued to grow and consumer goods and television programmes included the popular "Father Knows Best" Marlin Brando starred in two of the most popular movies " On The Waterfront" and "The Wild One" The Movie " Blackboard Jungle" also featured the song " Rock Around The Clock" from Bill Haley and the Comets, and Elvis Presley cut his first commercial record. A new trend also started called DIY Do It Yourself projects as families wanted to improve their homes and do their own maintenance. Car engines continued to get bigger and more powerful and gas cost 29 cents. Following the discovery of a vaccine against Polio, the first mass vaccination of children against begins. Brown v Board of Education makes segregation in US Public Schools Unconstitutional.

The last detainee, a Norwegian merchant seaman named Arne Peterssen was released, and Ellis Island officially closed. What is often not realized is not all Immigrants entering the United States were processed at Ellis Island many were never required to undergo processing only those who arrived on "steerage" or third class passengers were processed at Ellis Island. First and second class passengers who arrived in New York Harbor were not required to undergo the inspection process at Ellis Island. Ellis Island is located in the upper bay just off the New Jersey coast, within the shadow of the Statue of Liberty.

Martin Luther King Jr. becomes pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.


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Sometime in the early-1950s, a tall, rangy country singer named Lee Ausborn came into the Sun studio. he   announced that he was the man who had taught Elvis Presley to play guitar, and proceeded to leave on tape   fifteen demo songs. Sam Phillips was away at the time, so the singer left a temporary address, 951 Peabody   Street, Memphis, and a message at the end of the tape... "This is Lee Ausborn of Tupelo, Mississippi. These   songs was written by Trice Garner and Lee Ausborn".   During the message, the sound of machinery of some kind can be heard in the background.

Mississippi Slim and Clinton Ausborn,  WELO Radio, Tupelo, Mississippi. ^

It is tempting to  think that this was a harvester playing up and down a field outside Slim's home in Mississippi, and the 'tinny'  sound of the demos might bear this out. On the other hand, the tape used was standard-issue bulk supply of  professional plastic-base Audiotape, implying that these were just rushed, unbalanced 706 Union demos.

STUDIO SESSION FOR MISSISSIPPI SLIM
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: MID-1950S/PROBABLY EARLY 1954
STUDIO HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

The date of this demo recording is not clear, but it was probably made in the middle of the 1950s when Slim was resident in Memphis. A few earlier, Slim had recorded for the Tennessee label of Nashville in a variety of honky tonk and hillbilly styles. This demo recording has rather more energy than the Tennessee discs, and it is easy to see how Sun could have turned this an interesting record either in an uptempo style or as a rockabilly item. Slim's lyrics are in the best tradition of country laments about cheating partners, by they contain a humorous and lighthearted approach that lifts the song out the ordinary.

01 - ''TRY DOIN' RIGHT'' - B.M.I. - 1:35
Composer: - Carvel Lee Ausborn-Trice Garner
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: Mid 1950s / Probably Early 1954
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-10-14 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-6-14 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

02 - "COFFIN NAILS, I FOUND SOMEBODY NEW" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Trice Garner-Carvel Lee Ausborn
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - Mid-1950s / Probably Early 1954
Released: - Sun Unissued

03 - "NICOTINE FITE" - B.M.I. - 1:39
Composer: - Carvel Lee Ausborn
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Mid-1950s / Probably Early 1954
Released: - 1984
First appearance: Redita Records (LP) 33rpm Redita 126-2-8 mono
COTTON CHOPPER COUNTRY

04 - "CHICKKASAW DAN"
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date

05 - "YELLOW MAN"
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date

06 - "NITESPOT ON THE HILL"
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date

07 - "PLAY HER LITTLE GAME"
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date

08 - "NO APPARENT REASON"
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date

09 - "CRAZY GAME"
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date

10 - "WHY DON'T YOU SETTLE DOWN"
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date

11 - "MARRIED MAN"
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date

12 - "LITTLE WOODPECKER SONG"
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date

13 - "UNPAID BILLS"
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date

14 - "MOVIE AND POPCORN"
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date

15 - "FOUND SOMEBODY NEW"
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date

16 - "SILVER PLATTER"
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Carvel Lee Ausborn - Vocal & Guitar


Charles Boren disc jockey and radio announcer for WELO Radio, Tupelo, Mississippi. >

Whatever the place of recording of the Sun demos, the interesting thing is that Lee Ausborn, also known as  Mississippi Slim, really was the man who showed Elvis Presley how to make guitar chords. Slim had started  a ''live'' country music show on WELO in Tupelo, Mississippi in June 1944, just one month after the station  opened. Originally a 15-minute Saturday show, ''Singing And Pickin' Hillbilly'' increased to 30 minutes and  finally yo one hour, five days a week.


There was also the ''Saturday Jamboree'' sponsored by the Black and  White Store each Saturday afternoon. Sometimes the Jamboree came live from outside the Tupelo  courthouse.

For nine year-old Elvis Presley, this was a real novelty. Particularly so when there was the  opportunity to watch Slim perform at first hand. By all accounts, Slim was a quiet, easy-going fellow who  sang country songs but liked to call himself an actor and paid as much attention to ''giving a show'' as to  singing. He always wore a suit and kept well away from cowboy attire. He sometimes played with local  country bands, including a relative named Clinton, but he was essentially a solo act. Still a young man  himself, Slim was apparently not too happy to be approached by station announcer Charles Boren about  playing guitar for a nine year old kid who had asked to be allowed to sing. However he did accompany Elvis  Presley singing ''Old Shep'' one day in the summer of 1944. After this, the two developed a rapport, and Slim  would find Elvis waiting around after every show to be instructed in the art of making three chords in two  keys.

The Sun demos were either badly miked or perhaps recorded at home and subsequently copied in the studio.  Either way Slim's voice sounds harder and higher pitched. Most of the songs are unexceptional, although  "Coffin Nails, I Found Somebody New" and "Try Doin' Right" are worthy of release, Whether Sam Phillips  ever heard the tape is anybody's guess.

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Rhythm and blues explosion >

1954

Rhythm and blues music explodes into the mainstream with black vocal groups leading the  crossover thanks to such records such as the Crows "Gee", The Chords "Sh-Boom", The  Charms "Hearts Of Stone" and The Penguins "Earth Angel". The often crude recording  techniques, amateurish vocals and sometimes nonsensical lyrics give the indication the  music is just a novelty.


Pop record companies try desperately to capitalize on the perceived fad by having white  artists cover black vocal group records and the increased distribution and radio play  assures many of those versions of becoming the bigger hits.

The Midnighters cause waves when their off-color "Work With Me Annie" and its equally  suggestive sequels become the most popular rhythm and blues records of the year  resulting in many communities calling for complete bans on rock and roll.

Among those records targeted for widespread bans are Clyde McPhatter & The Drifters  explicit "Honey Love" and "Such A Night" and the Midnighters "Sexy Ways". Despite this  they all become massive rhythm and blues hits.

10,000 fans attend Alan Freed's first east coast Rock And Roll Show held in Newark New  Jersey, featuring the Clovers and Harptones. The success of it outside Freed's base of  operations in Cleveland is further proof that rock and roll has national appeal.

1954

Ah, to be an American in 1954. Throw a steak on the grill, stir a chilled Martini, and enjoy  endless white-picket-fence prosperity. On the Hi-Fi this year were Dean Martin, Frank  Sinatra, Doris Day, and – for the youngsters – the Crew Cuts, trilling "Sh-Boom." Skies were  blue and worries were none. (Except, of course, for the rows of A-bombs the Ruskies had  aimed at us, the fact that blacks couldn't vote and women were hardly allowed in the  workplace – but if you don't talk about it, it's not a problem, right?)

The companies began to provide the equipment for stereo recording in major studios. The  possibility of recording right hand and left hand signals simultaneously on separate tracks  on quarter inch magnetic tape had already been demonstrated and some of the major  problems inherent in transferring both signals to one groove of a disc had been solved by  Baumann in 1930.

Bill Haley's "Rock Around The Clock" is the first rock song used in a movie soundtrack.

The record companies switch from 78 RPMs to 45 RPMs.

Japanese electronic company TTK (later Sony) introduces the world's first transistor radio.

Ray Charles forms his band.

In 1954, Big Joe Turner recorded the original version of the 1950s hit, ''Shake, Rattle And  Roll''.

Johnny Cash forms the Tennessee Two with Luther Perkins and Marshall Grant.


1954

Zydeco pioneer Boozoo Chavis recorded ''Paper In My Shoe'' and James ''Sugar Boy'' Crawford introduces Mardi Gras Indian lore to popular music with ''Jock-a-Mo''.

Elvis Presley signs with Sun in the summer of 1954, whilst Carl Perkins does the same  three months later. (see 1954 Elvis Presley)

In 1954, while in high school, Mack Allen Smith became lead singer in his first band, The J.  Z. George FFA Band. This band consisted of Mack Allen Smith (lead singer), Charles Martin  (lead guitar), Alton Alderman (rhythm guitar and harmony vocals), Sidney Nabors (rhythm  guitar and harmony vocals), Junior Bailey (harmony vocals), and Clovis Harbin (bass tub).  The J. Z. George FFA Band won the State FFA Band Championship contest two years in a  row (school years 1954-1955 and 1955-1956). Mack Allen Smith recorded for Sun Records  in 1959.

1954

After moved in 1947 to Hernando, just south of Memphis, future Sun recording artist Jimmy Harrell graduated from Hernando High School and then  enlisted in the United States Navy. Stationed in San Diego, California, he saw Gene Vincent, and formed an onbase band, the Jim Bobs, with two guys named Bob. ''I got out of the Navy, and there were no jobs'', he said. ''Then we had family get-together in Forest, and my Aunt Peggy said I should come to Jackson. Alton (Lott) lived there then, working at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, so we lived in the same household. Alton didn't care for singing. He just wanted to play the guitar'', said Harrell. 

JANUARY 1954

Sam Phillips has masters made of sides recorded by Johnny O'Neal and Mose Vinson in August  and September 1953 respectively. Sun matrix numbers U 96/97 and U 100/101 are assigned,  but neither record is released.

Marilyn Monroe weds Joe DiMaggio in San Francisco.

*


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These songs were found on an unaccredited tape in the Sun vaults and have been issued under two different names before now: Earl Perterson and Gene Steele, both of them wrong as it turns out. The singer is Joe Manuel, radio performer and emcee of the Saturday Night Jamboree in Memphis.

STUDIO SESSION FOR JOE MANUEL
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: EARLY 1950S PROBABLY 1954
STUDIO HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

Manuel's songs were first credited to Earl Perterson, but, apart from the yodel that did not sound right to us 30 years ago, and the researches Escott, Hawkins, and Davis asked many people who the singer might have been. Sam Phillips, Quinton Claunch, Bill Cantrell, Doug Poindexter and many others wished well but offered the no real leads. Although the artist appeared very assured before the microphone, the song was never registered with BMI and a comparison of the voice with a multitude of post-War Memphis recordings still left us nowhere. Then Bill Diehl, a bass player and country bandleader in Memphis came up with the view that this artist was undoubtedly Gene Steele. Steele was known as the ''Singing Salesman'' and appeared on Memphis radio for over 20 years. Subsequent enquiries of the Steele family appeared to support this, though unfortunately Steele himself died just before the search begin.


On stage at the Saturday Night Jamboree. From left: Major Pruitt, Robert ''Droopy'' Howard, Joe Manuel, Larry Manuel, 1953. >


The real performer of ''Alimony Blues'' was also a radio veteran. Joe Manuel wrote the song in the early 1940s and it become much requested both in his radio mail bag and in live performance. Joe went through more than one divorce in his life and his heartfelt lyric obviously found a ready audience for the hard luck themes he unveiled here.


His recording is a very fine country performance that would have sat nicely on a yellow Sun 78 in about 1953, or come to that on a Bluebird 78 circa 1940. According to Manuel's son, Larry, who joined his father's band as a accordionist around 1953 and recalls playing the song many times, the guitarist playing the bluesy licks is Lee Adkins, making probably his first recordings, and the bass player is Danny Chambers.

The alimony theme had first been recorded in 1928 by Buddy Baxter on Victor, and then in 1933 by Bill Cox and by Jimmie Davis. Al Dexter recorded yet another ''Alimony Blues''. None of these songs is the same as Joe Manuel's though, whose recording is one of the best country performances on the new box set.

01 - "ALIMONY BLUES" - B.M.I. - 3:08
Composer: - Joe Manuel
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Early 1950s - Probably 1954
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-10-12 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-6-12 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

Like ''Alimony Blues'', ''Daisy Bread Boogie'' had us thrown for several years and the reference to ''Pennington'' had us checking out a string of singers to no avail. There was a Pennington Milling Company in Cincinnati and it now appears that Joe Manuel was commissioned to write a boogie song about their Daisy Bread. Whether Sam Phillips recorded this as a radio advertisement only or as a potential record release of one of Manuel's better known commercials, we will probably never know. No matter, really, for it is a bright and humorous country boogie that makes a welcome contribution here.

02 - "DAISY BREAD BOOGIE" - B.M.I. - 2:54
Composer: - Joe Manuel
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Early 1950s - Probably 1954
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-10-13 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-6-13 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Joe Manuel - Vocal and Guitar
Lee Adkins - Guitar
Danny Chambers – Bass

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Action Productions 100-A / 101-B ''Dreamy Joe'' b/w  Holsum Boogie / You've Done Me Wrong (1953) >


Rare custom pressing for Holsum Bread radio commercials, recorded at Memphis Recording  Service. Sources suggest either Joe Manuel or Gene Steele as the artist. Similar records for  other breads were made.


GENE STEELE - Born in Kennedy, Alabama on October 22, 1908. He was widely known by   Memphis resident as "The Singing Salesman", and had a long running show over WMC, and   also WREC. An article in Memphis Commercial Appeal also referred to him as the "Kingpin   Of The Hillbillies".

More recently Gene Steele was also remembered for his work as the   track announcer at the Southland Greyhound Track in West Memphis. Gene's radio show   became something of an institution in Memphis during the 1950s and many of Sun's artists   were visiting performers.
Gene Steele >

Gene Steele's singing was widely heard locally, both in personal appearances and on the   radio. He was obviously as comfortable with a love song as he was singing the praises of a   1954 DeSoto. In fact, there were times when Gene's singing commercials received as much   air time in Memphis as the latest Top 10 hits. Strangely he made no records that were   commercially released other than a 1939 session for Vocalion.

Gene Steele's broadcast typically appeared at 8:30 a.m. and contained four songs   interspersed with cheery banter and commercials. He was usually sponsored by   Automobile Sales, a Chrysler dealership on Union Avenue, or by the King Cotton sausage   company. His backup group was knows as the "King Cotton Revelers" on sausage days and   reverted to the "Dixie Revelers" when the auto dealer paid the bills. During the mid-1950s,   the announcer introduced Gene as a singer of 'hill, western and folk songs'. In actually, the  group performed a curious mixture of contemporary country and pop hits (e.g. Marty   Robbins "Pretty Words"; Jo Stafford's "Make Love To Me", western swing style   instrumentals, often led by pedal steeliest John Hughey, and old time material,   occasionally sung in harmony with Jack Pennington, such as "Let Me Call You Sweetheart"   or "Down The Trail Of Broken Hearts"). Each broadcast was signed on and off with Gene's   theme song, "Floating Down The River To Cotton Town".

Gene Steele died in West Memphis on January 8, 1984. He never lived to see the   commercial release of the two long forgotten titles on this session recorded for Sam   Phillips nearly 43 years ago.


JANUARY 1954


Sam Phillips' brother-in-law, mentor, and radio partner Jimmy Connolly tipped him to a sometime WJLD employee, Sidney ''Hardrock'' Gunter, who had acquired his felicitous nickname not from the music that he played but from an incident that occurred when he was a teenager loading up the car for his first musical gig and the trunk lid fell on his head. Amid cries of consternation from his fellow band members, he just said, ''Give me the banjo'', and his friends, concluding that his head must be hard as a rock, gave him the nickname. Gunter, who despite a long apprenticeship in country music had always been drawn to boogie-woogie, from the irrepressible drive to Pinetop Smith's ''Pinetop's Boogie Woogie'' to Erskine Hawkins' more sophisticated ''Tuxedo Junction'', in  sharp comparison, Sidney ''Hardrock'' Gunter had already seen one massive hit,  ''Birmingham Bounce'' in 1950, when he leased two titles to Phillips in February 1954.  Gunter's Sun  recording of ''Gonna Dance All Night'', a song he had already cut for Barna Records in 1950,  approximated Bill Haley's fusion of western swing, jazz, and country boogie. It was certainly  a mix of black and white musical styles, but it was a fair distance from the magic blend that  Phillips would achieve with Elvis Presley a few months later. What Presley would do was  evolve a black approach to singing grafted onto a backing that was equal parts country and  blues; Gunter merely delivered his cornball vocals over a band that mixed rhythm and blues  and western swing riffs. As Nick Toschess said of Gunter's single, ''Even though it was a bad  record, it failed to sell''.

In 1956 Gunter leased another single to Sun. He had recorded a rockabilly novelty, ''Jukebox  Help Me Find My Baby'', that was getting a good reaction around his new home base of  Wheeling, West Virginia. He rushed a copy to Phillips, who promptly leased it, but again the  Midas touch worked in reverse. After it was released on Sun, the record died, and with it,  Gunter's affiliation with Sam Phillips.


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Sidney Hardrock Gunter made his name in and around Birmingham, Alabama, but in 1952 he moved to WWVA in Wheeling, West Virginia. In July the following year he quit WWVA to return to Birmingham to resume his TV career.  At the same time, he landed a disc jockey gig on an rhythm and blues station, WJLD, where the program director was Sam Phillips' brother in law, Jim Connally. Told by Connally that Gunter would record for Sun. Phillips asked Gunter to come to Memphis, but Gunter demurred. Instead he cut two songs at a Birmingham radio station.

Hardrock Gunter promotional photo circa 1953. ^

STUDIO SESSION FOR SIDNEY LOUIS HARDROCK GUNTER 1950

RECORDED UNKNOWN STUDIO LOCATION
BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA

Sidney Louie "Hardrock" Gunter was unique among Sun country artists in that he had previously enjoyed a major hit. He was the closest thing to an established 'name' artist that Sam Phillips ever signed during the early of his recording activity. 

01 - "FALLEN ANGEL" - B.M.I. - 2:44
Composer: - Sidney Gunter
Publisher: - Sheldon Music
Matrix number: - U 112 - Master
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1950
Released: - May 1, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 201-B mono
FALLEN ANGEL / GONNA DANCE ALL NIGHT
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-2-24 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Sidney "Hardrock" Gunter made here his first of two appearances at Sun Records with these unusual sides: "Fallen Angel", most Sun fans would no doubt like to shoot the piano player, canonize the bass player and check the sax player's passport. Where did he come from? True to Sam's credo, this is hybrid music. To make matters worse, this is the ballad side.   Only the sax break distinguishes ''Fallen Angel'' from the country mainstream of 1954, but the sax was very much in keeping with Birmingham's uptown blend of country music and swing (the same blend heard in Cuck Murphy's music). The theme is familiar (in fact, Bob Wills issued an unrelated ''Fallen Angel'' in March 1964) and Gunter's vocal owes a heavy debt to western swing balladry. This is a very straight performance with none of the off-the-wall character of Phillips' best work. It actually stood a fair chance of garnering some action in the country market of that far-off year. Gunter was a known quantity and the single was a strong double-sided contender by the standards of the time. It was probably Phillips' lack of promotional capital and his unfamiliarity with the market that doomed it.


02 - "GONNA DANCE ALL NIGHT" - B.M.I. - 2:20
Composer: - Sidney Gunter
Publisher: - Tannen Music
Matrix number: - U 113 - Master
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1950
Released: - May 1, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 201-A mono
GONNA DANCE ALL NIGHT / FALLEN ANGEL
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-2-23 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1


The Golden River Boys, circa 1947, left to right: Hardrock Gunter, Bill Tucker, Carley Best, Joe Rumore, Happy Wilson, Bob Stickland. > 

''Gonna Dance All Night'', sold to Sun in January 1954, is a fusion of rhythm and blues and country music, yet very different from the fusion that Phillips achieved later that same year with Elvis Presley. The reason are clear: Presley was drawing from hillbilly music and country blues; Gunter was drawing from uptown rhythm and blues and western swing. 


This uptempo side was very close to the sound that Bill Haley was peddling with increasing success on Essex Records but, despite the fact that the group had a nice feel for the rhythm. Gunters' vocal is unmistakably white.

Gunter had recorded earlier versions of this song in 1950 for Bama Records, and, ironically, both the Sun and Bama records were numbered 201. Phillips' cheque register shows a series of cheques made payable to Gunter's then current band and the song was copyrighted with Tannen Music on June 24, 1954.

Gunter really takes off for parts unknown. (His steel guitar player seems to be on the same flight). It sounds cornball today. If nothing else, this material shows that Sam Phillips truly was looking for a different sound. 

Both sides of Sun 201 were recorded in Birmingham, Alabama and shipped to Memphis, where Sam Phillips released them on his own label. Considering that Phillips had entered the record business by providing product for other labels, this was quite a reversal of form. 

This two records, it was certainly a mix of black and white styles but a fair distance from the marginal blend Sam Phillips achieved with Elvis Presley a few months later. Gunter had grafted his country vocals onto uptown boogie riffs. In contrast Elvis Presley brought a black approach to singing and grafted it onto a backing that was equal parts hillbilly and country blues.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Sidney Gunter - Vocal and Guitar
Ted Crabtree - Steel Guitar
Linda Lane - Bass
Bob Summer - Drums
Alvin Tunkle - Piano
Tony Duke - Tenor Saxophone

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JANUARY 1954

On the same day that Howard Seratt's record was issued, Sam Phillips released the first Sun   record with an identifiably contemporary country sound. ''Boogie Blues'' by Earl Peterson   was a one-shot release by an artist who dubbed himself ''Michigan's Singing Cowboy''. A   staple of live radio in rural Michigan, Peterson's driving force was his mother, who believed   desperately in his talent. In the 1953 family Buick, Mrs. Peterson and her son ventured south   to Memphis and knocked on Phillips' door in early 1954. Peterson demoed ''Boogie Blues'',   Phillips liked what he heard, and together with some local backup musicians they cut a   session. When Phillips calculated Peterson's royalty statement a year later, ''Boogie Blues''  had sold 2,868 copies, of which 196 had been returned. Total royalties came to $94.17. 


EARLY 1954

Sam Phillips's musical compass served him so well with blues and later rock and roll, but didn't function as well with country music. Clearly, he was drawn to the primitivism of the Cotton Choppers and Howard Seratt, but soon realised that acts like that didn't sell. As Sun Records moved in 1954, Earl Peterson' ''Boogie Blues'' too Sam one small step nearer to the amalgam of blues with country he cherished, and one big step nearer to commercial country music. If he had a one-year contract with Peterson, he didn't release the remaining songs or pick up the option to prevent him from going to Columbia. The unrepentantly hillbilly Doug Poindexter was unlikely to sell, but his backing group included Scotty Moore and Bill Black. Phillips sensed that Moore and Black were willing to experiment and placed them with a young protegé.


JANUARY 1, 1954 FRIDAY

A decade after he earned a pair of country hits, Bing Crosby is featured on the cover of TV Guide.

JANUARY 2, 1954 SATURDAY

John Jarvis is born in Pasadena, California. A session keyboard player who recorded with George Strait,  Wynonna and Mary Chapin Carpenter, he also writes Vince Gill's ''I Still Believe In You'', Steve Wariner's  ''Small Town Girl'' and Conway Twitty's ''Julia''.

JANUARY 3, 1954 SUNDAY

Ray Whitley returns to NBC's ''The Roy Rogers Show'', appearing in an episode titled ''Little Dynamite''  alongside regulars Dale Evans and Pat Brady.

JANUARY 4, 1954 MONDAY

On Monday, January 4, 1954, Elvis Presley walked into Dell Taylor's Cafe for a coke. Marcus Van Story was  sitting at the counter and they talked. Elvis Presley was going into Sam Phillips' Memphis Recording Service  to cut his second vanity record, ''It Wouldn't Be The Same Without You'' backed by ''I'll Never Stand In Your  Way''. Van Story agreed to go with him. "I told Elvis it would be fun to do a couple of songs", Van Story  recalled. "To loosen Elvis up, I remember him it was four dollars he was wasting to cut the song". Elvis  Presley laughed at Van Story's good-natured remark. As they entered the Sun Records building, Elvis Presley  remarked that there was an interesting sign on the studio wall. "I guess I'm in the right place, Marcus", Elvis  commented. The long lost recording is discovered in 1997.  (See: Elvis Sun Sessions / Elvis 1954 / January 4, 1954).

The daily children's program ''The Pinky Lee Show'' begins aired on NBC-TV. The cast includes country  music's Molly Bee.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR EARL PETERSON
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: MONDAY JANUARY 4, 1954
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

Earl Peterson's recording circumstances portend to be more fiction than fact. However, in the early fifties it was still possible to load up a truck, drive hundreds of miles to a record company, tape a selection of songs and head on home. Sam Phillips was no fool because Peterson sang and yodelled in a confident Hank Williams' manner which, to him, oozed commercial appeal. "Boogie Blues" found a release and the label copy read "Michigan's Singing Cowboy" - a ploy to woo his modest, but nevertheless established fan base.

"Earl Peterson was out of Michigan", recalled Sam Phillips, "I think he had the dynamics and everything to have been a real competitor for anything out of Nashville or the west coast. We made some good records with him - he had the "Boogie Blues" that I liked. But somehow we never quite pulled it off with him".

01 - "BOOGIE BLUES" - B.M.I. - 2:33
Composer: - Earl Peterson
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Peer Music
Matrix number: - U 102 - Master
Recorded: - January 4, 1954
Released: - February 20, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 197-A mono
BOOGIE BLUES / IN THE DARK
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-2-15 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1


Earl Peterson ''The Michigan Singing Cowboy'' >

Earl Peterson and his mother parked their 1953 Buick in front of 706 Union and went inside to audition "Boogie Blues". Whether Sam Phillips knew or remembered 'Michigan's Singing Cowboy' from his disc jockey days, or whether it was mother Pearle's stony insistence, the result was a recording session. 

"Boogie Blues" is not a great record, but it is Sun's first foray into modern country music and market, some three months before Elvis Presley's debut.


Peterson apparently despised this recording of ''Boogie Blues'' but his vocal performance is strong and personable, and the innate drive of the song lends an astringent edge to Peterson's creamy style.  The song derives from a number of pre-War songs in the Jimmie Rodgers-Gene Autry style. However, Columbia seemed to think that it had a place in the post-War market.  They signed Peterson just a few months after his Sun debut and re-recorded two sessions of ''Boogie Blues'' that were apparently much closer to Peterson's heart. However, they lacked much of the sparkle of the Sun version.

02 - "IN THE DARK" - B.M.I. - 2:33
Composer: - Ollie F. "Mack" McGee
Publisher: - Perco Music - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - U 103 - Master
Recorded: - January 4, 1954
Released: - February 20, 1954
First appearance:- Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 197-B mono
IN THE DARK / BOOGIE BLUES
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-2-16 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

The ballad ''In The Dark'' allows Peterson to show off his smoother side, and is close to the ''twilight on the trail'' style which was apparently Peterson's first love. This is a lovely song and Peterson turns in a finely crafted performance. Oliver McGee registered the song with BMI on February 26, 1954. By that point, he was probably living in Nashville but had been a friend of Peterson's from the old days in and around Lansing, Michigan.

03 - "NOTHING TO LOSE BUT MY HEART" - B.M.I. - 2:40
Composer: -    Ollie F. "Mack" McGee
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None   - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 4, 1954
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-2-19 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-2-3 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

''Nothing To Lose But My Heart'' is the first of two unissued songs made up Earl Perterson's one and only 4-song session for Sun. ''Nothing To Lose'' is on a par with many a hillbilly recording from 1954, but it just lacks the drive of ''Boogie Blues'' or the quality of lyricism contained in ''In The Dark''. Peterson sings pleasantly and the musicianship is adequate without ever really catching fire.

04 - "I'M LEAVING MY HEART UP TO YOU" - B.M.I. - 2:55
Composer: -    Ollie F. "Mack" McGee
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 4, 1954
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-2-20 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-2-4 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

The final song from Earl's session is another weeper, again tending towards the cowboy sentimentally that Peterson would have heard in many country recordings from the 1940s. The main singer still having real success with this vocal sound and style in 1954 was Marty Robbins, and it is interesting to note how close Peterson's unissued titles were to Robbins' earlier Columbia recordings.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Earl Peterson - Vocal and Guitar
Unknown Guitar, Steel Guitar, Fiddle

Note: Earl Peterson's one and only Sun single reportedly sold a mere 2672 copies. He re-copyrighted and re-recorded ''Boogie Blues'' for Columbia Records in October 1954, whilst still under contract with Sun. Columbia released it in February 1955.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


JANUARY 5, 1954 TUESDAY

Verlon Thompson is born in Ardmore, Oklahoma. Briefly the lead singer for Restless Heart before the band becomes famous, Thompson writes ''Cross My Broken Heart'', ''The First Step'', ''Up And Gone'' and ''You Say You Will''.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR COY HOT SHOT LOVE
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: FRIDAY JANUARY 8, 1954
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

A product of Clarkendale, Arkansas where he came into the world in 1914, Coy Love was taught to play the harmonica by his father. His relocation to Memphis brought regular work as a sign painter and he was briefly pacted to the Sun label where he cut "Wolf Call Boogie", a remarkable track that had all the freewheeling abandon of a field recording. The Love career never developed any further and he became better known as a neighbourhood lothario before being killed in an Interstate pileup in June 1980.

A note under the session reads, ''Transportation for Stokes and Pat Hare P.C. $4.75''. Was P.C. an acronym for penal colony, prison camp, police custody, Plantation Club? We'll never know of course. The inspiration for this record was probably Sonny Boy Williamson's ''Jivin' The Blues'', but Phillips might have been drawn to it because of its passing similarity to ''Feelin' Good''.

01(1) - "WOLF CALL BOOGIE" - B.M.I. - 2:34
Composer: - Coy Love
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - F 12 - Master Take 1
Recorded: - January 8, 1954
Released: - February 20, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 196-A mono
WOLF CALL BOOGIE / HARMONICA JAM
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-2-13 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

This engaging and effective track was recorded in January 1954 with several of Sun's stalward sessionmen, including guitarist Pat Hare, pianist Mose Vinson, bassist Kenneth Banks, and drummer Houston Stokes. Coy Love (who blows harp a la Sonny Terry) jive talks his way along the bar of a juke joint which sounds like the distant prototype of a singles bar. At the time of this session Love was an itinerant musician based on Gayoso Street in Memphis. Before his death in 1980 he earned his living as a sign painter, both his jacket and his bicycle emblazoned with choice epigrams.

01(2) - "WOLF CALL BOOGIE" - B.M.I. - 2:33
Composer: - Coy Love
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 2   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 8, 1954
Released: - 1996
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-7-4 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
Reissued: - march 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-9-14 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958

Hot Shot Love was truly one of a kind. The free-spirited humor on display here is a sheer delight. His line about not being a pauper and having money to spare is a moment to treasure. Sam Phillips captured it all and wisely saw fit to issue it, although this is an alternate 1990s box version of the song.

01(3) - "WOLF CALL BOOGIE" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Coy Love
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 3   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 8, 1954
Released: - June 25, 2006
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm SUN 27 mono
WOLF CALL BOOGIE


Coy ''Hot Shot'' Love >

In between the issued first take and a third released on a previous harmonica compilation, is a second which is pitched somewhere between the virtuosity and the garrulity of its neighbours. After some banter outside the bar - "Man, you sharp. Goodness knows, you really sharp. Looka there at them shoes". - Love gets into a mean exchange with the bartender: "No, I don't want no vanilla! What you think I am? I want something strong for my money. I'm spending a great big dime here...".


When he finally gets to 'calling' a woman, he switches back from amplified to acoustic harmonica. After some fetching rooster stuff, the woman discovers he's only got a nickel and Love waxes philosophical, viz: "You say I'm cheap, go 'ahead on. I ain't gonna beg you. Too many other women".

02 - "HARMONICA JAM" - B.M.I. - 2:31
Composer: - Coy Love
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - F 13 - Master
Recorded: - January 8, 1954
Released: - February 20, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 196-B mono
HARMONICA JAM / WOLF CALL BOOGIE
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-2-14 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

A self-explanatory title for an enjoyable if unspectacular romp through Love's harmonica repertoire. He punctuates it with a brief plea to his woman to stay - "I wouldn't tell you wrong". As the tune proceeds the tempo increases, which may be why Love gets somewhat lost mid-way. Both Hare and Vinson make occasional forays but for the most part content themselves with providing solid back-up.

03 - "HARPIN' ON IT" - B.M.I. - 2:27
Composer: - Coy Love
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 8, 1954
Released: 1996
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-7-5 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-5-28 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958

In the real world, an instrumental recording needs a signature riff or theme, even if it's not as memorable as ''In The Mood'' or ''The Hucklebuck''. Phillips omitted to tell Hot Shot Love about the little requirement, with the result that ''Harmonica Jam'' and the slightly slower ''Harpin' On It'' don't leave you humming. Pat Hare did his best to follow Love, but it's doubtful if even Love knew where he was going. The call-and-response between the falsetto voice and the harmonica is often reckoned to be Sonny Terry's invention, but you can hear it on blues and hillbilly records back in the 1920s, so it probably stems back beyond that. The title ''Harpin' On It'' was assigned by reissuers. On tape, it had no title.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Coy "Hot Shot" Love - Vocal and Harmonica
Pat Hare - Guitar
Mose Vinson - Piano
Kenneth Banks - Bass
Houston Stokes – Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


JANUARY 11, 1954 MONDAY

Decca released Red Foley's duet with Betty Foley, ''As Far As I'm Concerned''.

Capitol released Tommy Collins' first hit, ''You Better Not Do That''. 


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR KENNETH BANKS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN 2 SESSIONS: FRIDAY JANUARY 8, 11, 1954
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

01 - "BLUE MAN" - B.M.I. - 3:17
Composer: - Kenneth Banks
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 8, 1954
Released: - 1996
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOC 7-7-6 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-5-32 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958


Kenneth Banks >

Of Kenneth Banks, we know next to nothing. Back in the 1940s, he worked at the Plantation Inn in West Memphis, Arkansas, with Phineas Newborn Sr's eight-piece band, and he worked quite prolifically for Sam Phillips around 1954.

On the same day that he played bass on Hot Shot Love's session, Kenneth Banks also crooned three takes of this Charles Brown-inspired opus. Perhaps he was at the quiet end of the bar in which Love whooped it up.


After some trenchant opening piano chords from Vinson, Hare is uncharacteristically restrained in his  accompaniment, even during the staccato chorus - "Oh, what's the matter? Why all this chatter?". Both musicians than play a restrained solo chorus. This first take repeats the vocal chorus, whereas both subsequent takes omit it.


02(1) – "HIGH" - B.M.I. - 2:20
Composer: - Kenneth Banks
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 8, 1954
Released: - 1996
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-7-7 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-5-31 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958

And then he went down the rowdy end of the bar and took advantage of the dime Hot Shot was spending to get roaring drunk. Like Love's "Harmonica Jam", this is largely an excuse for the band to cut loose, and Pat Hare takes full advantage of his opportunity. Banks starts to get into the spirit about halfway through this first take, achieving the pitch at which he begins the next, complete with hicks and belches. Sam Phillips must have thought there was something in this, because he brought banks back into the studio and recorded "But High" with Ike Turner's band. But in the final event, neither version was issued at the time.

02(2) – "HIGH (BUT HIGH)" - B.M.I. - 2:35
Composer: - Kenneth Banks
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 8, 1954
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Krazy Kat Records (LP) 33rpm KK 7427 mono
MEMPHIS BLUES - UNISSUED TITLES FROM THE 1950
Reissued: - August 1, 2009 Fantastic Viyage (MP3) Internet Sample mono
LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THE BLUES MEMPHIS

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Kenneth Banks - Vocal and Bass
Mose Vinson - Piano
Jesse Knight - Bass
Pat Hare - Guitar
Houston Stokes – Drums
Willie Sims - Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


Billy ''The Kid'' Emerson >

JANUARY 11, 1954 MONDAY

Studio session with Billy "The Kid" Emerson at Sun Records, Memphis, Tennessee.  It was now that Billy Emerson first had the chance to take his music to a wider audience,  via records. Ike Turner had been involved in a number of good-selling recordings for Sam  Phillips' Memphis Recording Service and he decided to promote two his two singers,  Emerson and Billy Gayles, to Phillips for his new Sun label.


''Ike got me my first recording,  with Sun Records, because he was already affiliated with them. My first numbers with Ike's  band''.

These first numbers were made at Phillips small recording studio on Union Avenue in  Memphis at a session held on 11 January 1954. Billy took along two songs he had written,  blues ballads with unusually distinctive structures ''No Teasing Around'' and ''If Lovin' Is  Believin'. He played piano and sang in an intense manner while Ike Turner opened and  supported the songs with alternately growling and flowing guitar figures. The drums and  horns were provided by Ike's road band augmented by another bandleader and arranger,  Oliver Sain. Sam Phillips logged in a rather low key manner, ''got two numbers that were  OK''. He paid Emerson 20 dollars, Turner 25, and a hundred in all for the band, and he  noted that Emerson had signed a one year contract that day.

Phillips logged Emerson's permanent address as 513 Levis Avenue, Tarpon Springs. and he  noted that Emerson was currently living at Ashton Street, Clarksdale.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR BILLY EMERSON
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: MONDAY JANUARY 11, 1954
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

01(1) - "NO TEASING AROUND" - B.M.I. - 2:58
Composer: - William Robert Emerson
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - F 10 - Master
Recorded: - January 11, 1954
Released: - February 20, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 195-A mono
NO TEASING AROUND / IF LOVIN' IS BELIEVING
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-2-11 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

William Robert Emerson broke the mould at Sun for the label's early affinity with Delta blues artists. A resident of Pinellas County, Florida, he experienced his first taste of the outside world when he served with the US Air Force in Greenville, Missouri. It was there that his keyboard abilities came to the attention of Ike Turner who swiftly ushered him in the direction of 706 Union. Once he'd proved himself, Sam Phillips issued "No Teasin' Around" on Sun and also chose it as the primer for his new label, Flip Records. 

Driven by Ike Turner's eerie tremolo guitar work and Emerson's pleading but insistent vocal. "Don't mess with me" says Billy the Kid. "I'm not in the mood". Turner's guitar extends the message. It sounds fragile yet seems capable of considerable force if necessary.

01(2) – ''NO TEASING AROUND'' - B.M.I.
Composer: - William Robert Emerson
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 2   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 11, 1954
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CD 30 mono
SUN BLUES ARCHIVES VOLUME 1 – BLUE GUITAR

02(1) - "IF LOVIN' IS BELIEVING" - B.M.I. - 2:10
Composer: - William Robert Emerson
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - F 11 - Master
Recorded: - January 11, 1954
Released: - February 20, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 195-B mono
IF LOVIN' IS BELIEVING / NO TEASING AROUND
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-2-12 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1


Billy has fun... >

Builds considerable tension but is ultimately hemmed in by its stop rhythm. The tag line is delivered in an unexpected minor key. Sun 195 released on February 20, 1954, curiously, Billboard missed the boat on these sides, giving them low marks and calling the material "rather weak". Sam Phillips knew better and kept going back to the well with Emerson.

Billy Emerson was one of the most musically sophisticated bluesmen ever recorded by Sam Phillips. His songs were consequently a cut above the average. 

Several contain lyrical or musical hooks that rendered them borderline novelty records, so its little wonder his music has been covered by white artists, and crosses genres and decades.

02(2) - "IF LOVIN' IS BELIEVING" - 2 - B.M.I.  
Composer: - William Robert Emerson
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 11, 1954
Released: - 2000
First appearance: - Titanic Records (CD) 500/200rpm TRC 6006 mono
RED ABOUT THE BLUES - UNRELEASED SUN RECORDINGS

At this session, Billy Emerson recorded a song called ''Satisfied'', a string of verses that may have been taken from Percy Mayfield's Louisiana, linked together by bluesy guitar solos and a latinesque drumbeat. It is known that Elvis Presley recorded a song called ''Satisfied'' at Sun - that has never been found - and though it has mainly been assumed that this was Martha Carson's gospel hit, it is not impossible that it was in fact Emerson's song Presley recorded.

03(1) – "SATISFIED" - B.M.I. - 2:18
Composer: - William Robert Emerson
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - May 31, 1955
Released: - 2011
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16937-12 mono
BILLY THE KID EMERSON – THE SUN YEARS PLUS
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-7-15 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958

The presence of an electric bass and the song's position on the original reels suggest that ''Satisfied'' dates from Emerson's first Sun session in January 1954 with Ike Turner and the Clarksdale guys, not, as previously assumed, from the ''Red Hot''/''No Greater Love'' session with the Phineas Newborn band. If, as seems likely, ''Satisfied'' was an unpublished Emerson song, he thought outside established rhythm and blues tropes. Perhaps the song's only weakness is that the title isn't immediately apparent. ''Satisfied'' is one of several titles it could have had. The electric bass contributed far more than subtle underscoring. Working with the drums, it created a swampy bed track for Ike Turner's pinched guitar lines. Everyone seemed to be in search of something different.

03(2) – "SATISFIED" - B.M.I. - 2:12
Composer: - William Robert Emerson
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - May 31, 1955
Released: - 1992
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CD SUN 36-23 mono
THE SUN BLUES ARCHIVES - WAY AFTER MIDNIGHT - VOLUME 4

04(1) – ''HEY LITTLE GIRL'' - B.M.I. - 2:26
Composer: - William Robert Emerson
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 11, 1954
Released: - 1976
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30103-B-4 mono
SUN: THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 3 - DELTA RHYTHM KINGS
Reissued: - 2009 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16937 mono
BILLY THE KID EMERSON – THE SUN YEARS PLUS

04(2) - ''HEY LITTLE GIRL'' - B.M.I. - 2:24
Composer: - William Robert Emerson
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Take 2   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 11, 1954
Released: - March 5, 1996
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CD 8139 mono
BOPPIN' THE BLUES

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
William Robert Emerson - Vocal and Piano
Ike Turner - Guitar
Jesse Knight Jr. - Electric Bass
Oliver Sain - Trumpet
Eugene Fox - Tenor Sax
Willie Sims – Drums

The session appears a third song, a storming if slightly loose number called ''Hey Little Girl'' that Emerson remembered writing on the spot in homage to an appealing woman who walked by outside the studio. The Turner band really lets this one fly. Maybe Phillips felt that the rhythm of the song was scans like ''Rocket 88'' that he had already made with Ike Turner, or maybe he just found the arrangements on Emerson's slower songs more interesting. Either way, he scheduled the two ballads for release as Sun 195 in the in the week of 22 February 1954.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


JANUARY 16, 1954 SATURDAY

Billy and Sara Holbrook are married. They will have a son, Corky Holbrook, who goes on to play bass for Billy Ray Cyrus.

JANUARY 17, 1954 SUNDAY

NBC's ''The Roy Rogers Show'' welcomes guest Ray Whitley in an episode titled ''The Kid From Silver City'', also featuring regular cast members Dale Evans and Pat Brady.

Lyricist Richard Adler has a son, Christopher Adler. Dad wrote the Ernest Tubb-Red Foley hit ''The Strange Little Girl''.

JANUARY 18, 1954 MONDAY

Decca recorded Webb Pierce's ''Slowly''.

Columbia released Ray Price's double-sided hit, ''I'll Be There (If You Ever Want Me)'' backed by ''Release Me''.

JANUARY 19, 1954 TUESDAY

EMI announces it will gain controlling interest of Capitol Records. The label already represents Merle Travis and Tennessee Ernie Ford, and will go on to house such artists as Garth Brooks, Merle Haggard, Buck Owens and Lady Antebellum.

Kitty Wells recorded ''Release Me'' at Nashville's Castle Studio in the Tulane Hotel.

Johnny Bond recorded ''10 Little Bottles'' at his home studio in Burbank, California. It's another 10 little years before another version of the song becomes a hit.

George Jones holds his first recording session, at a makeshift studio in Beaumont, Texas, home of Starday Records co-owner Jack Starnes, recording ''No Money In This Deal''.

JANUARY 19, 1954 TUESDAY

Billy ''Red'' Love returned as a session leader, again with a new band - local sax players Harvey  Simmons, Jewell Briscoe, and Lucius Coleman, local bass player Kenneth Banks, guitarist  Charles McGowan, and drummer Houston Stokes. Love was paid 20 dollars and the band 75,  and the session was apparently an attempt to cut a disc for release on the Sun label. It  produced five titles from which Sam Phillips selected two, ''Hey Now'' and ''Way After  Midnight'' and scheduled them for release as Sun 205 in the early summer of 1954,  registering their copyrights with B.M.I that May.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR BILLY LOVE
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: TUESDAY JANUARY 19, 1954
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

01(1) - "HEY NOW" - B.M.I. - 2:46
Composer: - Milton Morse Love-Sam Phillips
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 19, 1954
Released: - 2011
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17149-14 mono
GEE... I WISH

Most blues musicians around this time had a crack at recording latin music, usually combining it with a fast 4/4 section for a featured soloist. With Ruth Brown's ''Mambo Baby'' and the Drifters' ''Honey Love'' hitting number 1, rhythm and blues was still with Latin rhythms, and Love and his rhythm section had no problem with that.  This track is different, for whichever tenor man gets the ride (Harvey Simmons, Lucian Coleman or Jewell Briscoe), he stays in latin rhythm for his two choruses of fame. One thing these guys couldn't do was write a reasonable set of lyrics to fit the unusually busy backing - and Billy Love, for all his confidence, is no exception.

01(2) - "HEY NOW" - B.M.I. - 2:44
Composer: - Milton Morse Love-Sam Phillips
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 118 - Take 2   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 19, 1954
Released: - 1992
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CD SUN 36-6 mono
THE SUN BLUES ARCHIVES - WAY AFTER MIDNIGHT - VOLUME 4
Reissued: - 2011 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17149-20 mono
GEE... I WISH


''Hey Now'' was another song based on a Latin rhythm upon which was built a riffing blues workout from Love on piano and probably Harvey Simmons on sax. The lyric essentially just asks why Love's baby loves to make him cry, but the overall effect of the performance is much more substantial than that. Love sings in a breathy, conversational style that is mirrored by the sax solo that really takes off before giving way to the hypnotic rhythm.  The song, ''Way After Midnight'' was a desolate blues about a man whose baby keeps creeping in during the early hours of the morning.

Billy Love's death notice >

Both Billy and the band keep the energy flowing though and the band builds up a repeating horn figure from which one of the sax men emerges to take a passionate solo complete with jazzy changes borrowed from the be bop saxophonists.

02(1) - "WAY AFTER MIDNIGHT" - B.M.I. - 2:53
Composer: - Milton Morse Love-Sam Phillips
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 19, 1954
Released: - 2011
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17149-15 mono
GEE... I WISH

Despite the sombre nature of the material, there's plenty of energy here. The disc has a highly charged atmosphere, established immediately by the boys whooping it up in the background, Billy's vocal sounds supremely confident, and is matched by his piano work (such a pity that he never lived to see some belated recognition). The (unidentified) alto sax player seems destined for outer space during his solo as he works some jazz changes into Billy's basic 12-bar blues. Sam Phillips registered this title with B.M.I. in May 1954, which would suggest that he'd considered releasing one of the takes as a single.

02(2) - "WAY AFTER MIDNIGHT" - B.M.I. - 2:47
Composer: - Milton Morse Love-Sam Phillips
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 19, 1954
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 105 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1956
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-9-15 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958

02(3) - "WAY AFTER MIDNIGHT" - B.M.I. - 2:43
Composer: - Milton Morse Love-Sam Phillips
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 119 - Take 3   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 19, 1954
Released: - 1992
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CD SUN 36-7 mono
THE SUN BLUES ARCHIVES - WAY AFTER MIDNIGHT - VOLUME 4
Reissued: - 2011 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17149-21 mono
GEE... I WISH

03(1) - "THE NEWS IS ALL AROUND TOWN" - B.M.I. - 2:05
Composer: - Milton Morse Love-Sam Phillips
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 19, 1954
Released: - 1996
First appearance: - Charly (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-7-11 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
Reissued: - 2011 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17149-22 mono
GEE... I WISH


This is a beautiful poised after-hours blues featuring Billy Love as himself for once, instead of copying someone else's style. He sings confidently and keeps pace with the standout lyric "She shows me no mercy/she feels no pain", whilst contributing some fine, rolling piano.  There is a fluid and rather jazzy tenor sax solo, and Sam Phillips has miked the acoustic bass very prominently, achieving an unusually ballsy sound. Just about the only liability here is the drummer Houston Stokes who was woefully off-form, and could surely have used a short course in subtlety. (The take used here is different to that used on the original Sun Box).


Beale Street, the morning after. ^

03(2) - "THE NEWS IS ALROUND TOWN" - B.M.I. – 2:37
Composer: - Milton Morse Love-Sam Phillips
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 19, 1954
Released: - 2011
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17149-12 mono
GEE... I WISH

''The News Is All Around Town'' was a slow after hours blues where Love follows the strong vocal style of a Roy Brown or Big Joe Turner and there is something of the style of pianist Ivory Joe Hunter here too. Harvey Simmons plays a fluid and jazzy tenor sax solo that highlights the desolation Love feels.

03(3) - "THE NEWS IS ALROUND TOWN" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Milton Morse Love-Sam Phillips
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 3   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 19, 1954
Released: - November 1977
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30135-11 mono
THE LEGENDARY SUN PERFORMERS – JUNIOR PARKER & BILLY LOVE

Several versions of ''Gee I Wish'' were made at this session. ''Gone'' was the Latin beat of the earlier session and the song became faster and more raucous as the session developed. Take 3 is sax based and the band play riffs for all they're worth. Take 6 opens with a piano boogie from Billy before he rocks into a more impassioned vocal supported by more band riffs and sax solos. The saxman takes an audible run-up to his first solo, fluid and rocking all at once.

04(1) - "GEE I WISH" - B.M.I. - 2:15
Composer: - Milton Morse Love-Sam Phillips
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 3   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 19, 1954
Released: - November 1977
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30135-9 mono
THE LEGENDARY SUN PERFORMERS – JUNIOR PARKER & BILLY LOVE
Reissued: - 2011 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rom BCD 17149-16 mono
GEE... I WISH

04(2) - "GEE I WISH" - B.M.I. - 2:48
Composer: - Milton Morse Love-Sam Phillips
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 4 - Alternate   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 19, 1954
Released: - 1992
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CD SUN 36-5 mono
THE SUN BLUES ARCHIVES - WAY AFTER MIDNIGHT - VOLUME 4
Reissued: - 2011 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17149 mono
GEE... I WISH

"Gee I Wish" works here because of the contrast between the tightly reined verses and the free wheeling 4/4 of the release.

04(3) - "GEE I WISH" - B.M.I. - 2:10
Composer: - Milton Morse Love-Sam Phillips
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 5   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 19, 1954
Released: 1996
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-7-10 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-9-16 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958

This track (take 5) it is different, starting with a Latin rhythm instead of a horn riff and building at a slower pace than some of the many versions Love recorded. 

04(4) – "GEE I WISH" - B.M.I. - 2:18
Composer: - Milton Morse Love-Sam Phillips
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 6   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 19, 1954
Released: - 2011
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17149-26 mono
GEE... I WISH

04(5) – "GEE I WISH" - B.M.I. - 2:14
Composer: - Milton Morse Love-Sam Phillips
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 7   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 19, 1954
Released: - 2011
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17149 mono
GEE... I WISH

Then we come to Take 7 where guitar and piano make the opening and the guitar figure stays more to the fore throughout.

The big guns were well and truly wheeled out for the this session: a full band comprising three saxes (Harvey Simmons, Lucian Coleman and Jewell Briscoe) together with a full rhythm section of Love on piano, Charles McGowan on guitar, Kenneth Banks on bass, and Houston Stokes on drums). The session cost Sam Phillips $92.50 to put together, compared with his average session cost of $20.25! The results are impressive, and were tentatively scheduled for release on Sun - perhaps Phillips' cashflow problems prevented their release. Love's vocal is brisk and confident, and whilst the sax solo betrays rather jazzy leaning initially, he revises and simplifies his approach quite markedly, more in empathy with the material: its almost as though someone had leaned over and whispered "too close to Jazz, man". The song sports a catchy hook and would have fitted in well with the uptown blues hits of 1954 - all of which conspire to make its non-release even more of a mystery. (The take used here is different to that used on the original Sun Box).

05(1)- "IF YOU WANT TO MAKE ME HAPPY" - B.M.I. - 2:18
Composer: - Milton Morse Love
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 19, 1954
Released: - Re-Issued of Deleted Track - November 1977
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30135 mono
THE LEGENDARY SUN PERFORMERS - JUNIOR PARKER & BILLY LOVE
Reissued: - 1992 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CD SUN 36-3 mono
THE SUN BLUES ARCHIVES - WAY AFTER MIDNIGHT - VOLUME 4

05(2) - "YOU COULD HAVE LOVED ME" - B.M.I. - 2:18
Composer: - Milton Morse Love
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 19, 1954
Released: - Not Originally Issued
First appearance: - 1992 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CD SUN 36-4 mono
THE SUN BLUES ARCHIVES - WAY AFTER MIDNIGHT - VOLUME 4
Reissued: - 2011 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17149-13 mono
GEE... I WISH


Finally the session produced ''If You Want To Make Me Happy'', a song with an arrangement along the lines of the emercing Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew band out of New Orleans. Charles McGowan plays sparse guitar figures, Harvey Simmons plays a good solo and the whole band sways along throughout. We have  included both the more bluesy first like and the rather jauntier second cut. 

Billy Love must have had a real expectation of seeing his Sun record out that summer, and so must Sam Phillips who made seven different small payments on account to Love between January and August.

Beale Street, Memphis, Tennessee, 1954 ^

Around May or June Sam assigned Sun master numbers to Love's two songs, ''Hey Now'' and ''Way After Midnight'', U 118 and U 119, but the record did not appear with the May batch of Sun discs. 

By August, Phillips had recorded and released the first record by Elvis Presley and was embroiled in all the work that surrounded an emergent hot property. Billy Love's disc never appeared, and neither did other blues and rhythm discs scheduled for Sun by Johnny O'Neal, Mose Vinson, Little Junior Parker and The Prisonaires. It was the beginning of the end for most blues and rhythm and blues singers at the Phillips studio - and it was particularly so for Billy Love who had a reputation for unreliability and who must have done something particular to worry Phillips at this time. Sam told me: "Not all of the black artists would have made it. Billy Love, now, Billy was a supergood musician but he didn't have the gut desire to succeed. Not that he didn't want to; but I didn't have time to waste and I think Billy's problem was lack of patience and devotion to what he was doing. He played well but there is a kind of dedication and belief in your music that extends beyond the doors of the studio. He did not have that."

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Milton ''Billy'' Love - Vocal and Piano
Harvey Simmons - Saxophone
Jewell Briscoe - Saxophone
Lucian Coleman - Saxophone
Charles McGowan - Guitar
Kenneth Banks - Bass
Houston Stokes – Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

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

1954

Back in 1954, as Billy Love's chances of having a disc issued on Sun were reducing, he was  continuing his association with Rosco Gordon who had been signed to Duke Records of  Houston in 1953. On June 10, 1954, Love was logged for the first time as the session pianist  on a Rosco Gordon recording, ''Keep On Doggin'', made in Houston as a follow up to Gordon's  earlier hit ''No More Doggin''.

It is possible that Love had played piano on earlier Gordon discs  though for the most part Gordon's own less technical and heavier-handed style is apparent.

It seems that Billy Red Love may have spent a good part of the years 1954 to 1956  travelling with Gordon as his arranger and pianist. He crops up on a number of Gordon's  recordings and Rosco spoke as though their association lasted well into the mid-1950s.  Certainly Love was still around when Gordon re-signed with Sam Phillips to record for Sun  Records between 1955 and 1957. When he spoke to interviewer Hank Davis, Rosco gave  the impression Love was on the road with him at least until they were promoting his Sun  recording of ''The Chicken'' during 1956 and that Love had been the pianist on Rosco's  penultimate Sun single, ''Shoobie Oobie'', made at the end of 1956.

Saxophonists Willie Wilkes and Richard Sanders and drummer John Murry Daley were other  members of the Florida Street rehearsal group who also stayed with Gordon off and on  through the years. Although Gordon minimised it in later interviews, he and those who  worked with him had a drinking and gambling culture and he told Peter Guralnick this was  reflected in his song titles. He said he got his song ideas from drunks in the band: "Willie  Wilkes and Billy drank a lot, Billy 'Red' Love, you know, the piano player, he did a lot of  drinking."

In 1957 Rosco Gordon moved his base away from Houston and Memphis and started to tour  more widely, spending some time in the North and even touring abroad. It was at about  that time that Billy Love disappeared. Interviewer Cilia Huggins asked several Memphis-based  musicians about Billy Love over the years and told me, "Everyone I ever asked said,  'He went to Texas' - and they knew no more''. Rufus Thomas said that Love moved to  Kansas City and Rosco Gordon told Hank Davis "He was a winehead. Last time I saw him he  was out west somewhere. He looked terrible. He had a wife and six kids. It was just too  much for him to handle."

JANUARY 21, 1954 THURSDAY

Bill Monroe buys his second farm, a 288-acre property in Sumner County, Tennessee, with a $10 down payment for the $15,660 purchase. He will share the home with bass player Bessie Lee Mauldin while his wife Carolyn remains on his other farm.

JANUARY 22, 1954 FRIDAY

Little Jimmy Dickens recorded ''Out Behind The Barn'' in Nashville.

Woody Guthrie and Anneke Marshall have a daughter, Lorina Lynn Guthrie, at New York's Bellevue Hospital.

JANUARY 24, 1954 SUNDAY

Bass player Glenn Worf is born in Dayton, Ohio. A multiple winner of the Academy of Country Music's bass honor, he plays on several hundreds hits by the likes of Alan Jackson, George Strait, Faith Hill, Toby Keith and Martina McBride. In addition, he co-produces hits by Miranda Lambert and David Nail.

JANUARY 27, 1954 WEDNESDAY

Roy Rogers and Dale Evans adopt a six-year-old boy, John David, better known as Sandy Rogers.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR THE JONES BROTHERS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: THURSDAY JANUARY 28, 1954
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCERS AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

Memphis has been at the hub of gospel music ever since the era of pioneering songwriter, Thomas Dorsey (see below), during the 1930s. After World War II, there was a profusion of close harmony groups traveling the South (spreading the word and selling a whole lot of records), so it wasn't surprising that Sun might sooner or later enter the fold. The locally popular Jones Brothers boasted six very powerful voices, which, for Sam Phillips, proved difficult to balance and difficult to market.

Other than the Prisonaires, who are best viewed as a pop quartet, the Jones Brothers have the distinction of being the only gospel quartet Sam Phillips ever issued on Sun. Memphis was a city rich in black gospel, although Sam Phillips barely exploited this tradition. He did record the Brewsteraires back in 1951, but the results were issued on Chess Records.

01 - "LOOK TO JESUS" - B.M.I. - 2:47
Composer: - Eddie Hollins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Knox Music Limited
Matrix number: - U 107 - Master
Recorded: - January 28, 1954
Released: - January 8, 1955
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78rpm standard single SUN 213-A mono
LOOK TO JESUS / EVERY NIGHT
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-3-19 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

The Jones Brothers are not typical of the deep harmony a cappella tradition that still flourished in Memphis at the time. Their style is closer to the soulish/shouting approach which emerged after gospel's golden era' and continues to dominate the field. The Jones Brothers consisted of six vocalists and a guitar (the term 'quartet' does not imply anything numerical in gospel singing). The group Sam Phillips recorded had its origins in Marion, Arkansas in the late 1930s when Cas Jones formed a quartet.

"Look To Jesus" probably stood a greater chance of garnering some attention. The song is delivered in a classic call and response style. Again, however, this as not a noteworthy side. Truth to tell, the material is fairly ordinary, and although the lead vocalist acquits himself with panache, the backup harmony is surprisingly thin. This is a particularly strong indictment considering there were five voices available to echo the Lord's praises.

02(1) - "EVERY NIGHT" - 1 - B.M.I. - 2:39
Composer: - Jake McIntosh
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 106 - Master
Recorded: - January 28, 1954
Released: - January 8, 1955
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78rpm standard single SUN 213-B mono
EVERY NIGHT / LOOK TO JESUS
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-3-20 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Although the rich gospel tradition in Memphis was a wellspring of deep harmony a cappella singing, Sam Phillips never released any examples of it. True, he did record the Brewsteraires and Southern Jubilees, but those sides were ultimately slotted for release on other labels, bot Sun. 

"Every Night" is not a particularly successful recording. Although the lead vocal conveys style and passion, the backing is tepid. What might have been an intense outing is instead unfocussed. It fails to build the tension necessary for arrangements like this to work effectively. The lead guitar, which may have appealed to Sam Phillips, is overly intrusive. In fact, many of the guitar lines might have been sung to greater effect.

The hard bluesy edge of these sides was probably more appealing to Phillips than the smoother vocal blending of quartet harmony. In any case, his ambivalence about releasing gospel music was still in evidence - this single was held back almost a year after recording. Despite some local action, these sides were a commercial disaster and all but sealed the fate of gospel releases on Sun.

02(2) - "EVERY NIGHT" - 2 - B.M.I. - 2:21
Composer: - Jake McIntosh
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 28, 1954
Released: - March 8, 2013
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-8-30 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958

A newly discovered version of one of the Jones' Brothers issued songs, this preliminary take of ''Every Night'' is inferior in every way. It's possible that this version stems from the same January 28, 1954 session that yielded the single release, but the only evidence for that is the tuning of the guitar. It is in tune only with itself (key of A) but flat to the outside world. It was also in that slightly flat tuning when the group recorded the subsequent version of the song that was issued on Sun. But there is a much stronger possibility that the quartet went in to the Memphis Recording Service some time in 1953 to cut this acetate for their own use. As noted above, they might have gone in with Brother Russell, but that is of little consequence. Sam Phillips might have been intrigued by what he heard of the quartet and said, ''You fellas bring me something original for the flipside and I'll do a session on you''. This account actually makes sense because it is odd that an acetate would have been cut that included this inferior version of a released song.


It is far more likely that the group took this one home with them before they worked up a second song for their session. It also accounts for why no trace of this take appears in the Sun logs pr tape files. It was truly a one-off event, kept among Johnny Prye's possessions until his death. In any case, this newly discovered alternative is much more subdued than the issued version and has a slightly different arrangement as well (an unlikely thing to change on the fly in the studio). Notice that the version of Sun features what amounts to a duet between the lead singer and the ''basser'' until the song arrives at its call and response section, during which the title phrase is repeated over and over.

The Jones Brothers ^

The second difference, and this has a major impact on the song, is that the group's vocal renderings of the title phrase on this version are odd enough to sound wrong. They are not simply 1-3-5-8 or 1-3-5-flatted 7 harmonies and they have an unsettling effect as they are repeated over and over again. Fortunately the problem was rectified before the issued take was recorded. The timings of the two versions, by the way, are virtually identical at around 2:24 so nothing fundamental about the song changed between this and the single.

03 - "I'M SEALED*" - B.M.I. - 2:32
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably 1953
Released: - March 8, 2013
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-8-29 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958

The identity of Brother R. Russel is unknown. His music turned up on the flipside of a 1953 acetate made at the Memphis Recording Service. Despite the label credit on the acetate, ''I'm Sealed'' is a vocal solo with piano and guitar accompaniment in a style that has almost no bearing on quartet singing. The extent of the connection between Russell and the Jones Brothers may be social, although it is possible that he ''borrowed'' their guitarist, Charles Bishop for the recording. It is also entirely possible that they went into the Memphis Recording Service together to split the cost of a vanity session. In any case, this track ''I'm Sealed'', is an oddity whose connection with either Sun records or the Jones Brothers quartet is indirect, at best. It informs the bigger picture of the range of black gospel music being performed in Memphis, circa 1953. If we can speculate, this is a style that would have turned up, not frequently, in the vanity recordings made by Phillips. it is highly unlikely he would have given it a second thought as far as being a candidate for commercial release.

04 - "DO YOU KNOW THE MAN" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - January 28, 1954

05 - "SOMEWHERE IN GLORY" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - January 28, 1954

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
The Jones Brothers consisting of:
William Gresham - Vocal
Jake McIntosh - Vocal
Charles Jones - Vocal
Eddie Hollins - Vocal
Johnny Prye - Vocal
James Rayford - Vocal
Charles Bishop – Guitar

Brother R. Russell - Vocal*

Note: On ''I'm Sealed'' the Jones Brothers not heard.

NOTE - NOTE - NOTE

Until recently no one knew that Elvis Presley made any studio recordings between 1953 and   1955 outside of those taped at Sun. Then Johnny Prye, front man with the Jones Brothers, a   black gospel septet, revealed that Presley had cut acetates with them. Most recently, in   1992, RCA unearthed a recording of Presley singing "Fool, Fool, Fool" recorded for a radio   station in Lubbock, Texas, during 1955. Perhaps Prye really did remember a long lost session   with the Jones Brothers.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


THOMAS DORSEY - Blues and gospel musician and composer. An important figure in both blues and  gospel music. Thomas Andrew Dorsey was born in Villa Rica, Georgia, on July 1, 1899. His father was a  Baptist minister and moved the family to Atlanta, Georgia in 1904. During the years just prior to World War I  Dorsey sang and played piano for private parties and at clubs throughout Atlanta. After briefly attending  Morehouse College, he moved north and settled in Chicago, Illinois by 1916.  The period between 1916 and 1932 was marked by a deep professional involvement with popular music,  especially the blues.


Dorsey worked with several Chicago-based vaudeville acts and during the mid-1020s toured  with a band that worked the TOBA ) known colloquially as Tough on Black Artists) circuit across the South  and urban North.  He and Tampa Red (Hudson Whittaker) formed an extremely popular duo, with Dorsey  playing piano, Tampa Red performing on guitar, and both men singing a mixture of blues and risque  numbers. This partnership remained strong for about four years, during which Dorsey also recorded with the  Famous Hokum Boys, the Black Hill Billies, and the Hokum Jug Band.

Although much of his early life was spent as a popular entertainer and blues pianist, singer and composer,  Thomas Dorsey always retained and avid interest in and respect for gospel music. In 1932 he decided to give  up popular music entirely and devote his talent to sacred music. He met with some resistance initially, both  from those who associated Dorsey with ''the devil's music'' and by the promoters and musicians who  prospered because of his popularity.

Thomas Dorsey persisted in his gospel music career, however, and the period between 1932 and 1950 is  marked by his influence. He worked extensively with Mahalia Jackson and also helped Roberta Martin and  Sallie Martin early in their careers. Dorsey's promotion of these and other singers helped to move black  gospel music into the realm of popular music after World War II.

Dorsey is perhaps best known as a gospel song composer. An early publication, ''Precious Lord, Take My  Hand'' is one of the most popular gospel songs ever written. Over the lengthy career, Dorsey has composed  approximately 500 songs, including ''When The Last Mile Is Finished'', ''Wings Over Jordan'', ''If You See  My Savior'', and of course, ''There Will Be Peace In The Valley, Dorsey wrote for Mahalia Jackson in 1937,  which also became a gospel standard. He was the first African American elected to the Nashville Songwriters  Hall of Fame and also the first in the Gospel Music Association's Living Hall of Fame. In 2007, he was  inducted as a charter member of the Gennett Records Walk of Fame in Richmond, Indiana. His papers are  preserved at Fisk University, along with those of W.C. Handy, George Gershwin, and the Fisk Jubilee  Singers.

Dorsey's works have proliferated beyond performance, into the hymnals of virtually all American churches  and of English-speaking churches worldwide. Thomas was a member of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity.  Thomas Dorsey died in Chicago, Illinois on January 23, 1993 and was interred there in the Oak Woods  Cemetery.


Ernie Chaffin and Pee Wee Maddux >

EARLY 1954

Pee Wee Maddux took future Sun artist Ernie Chaffin to Nashville with the clear intention of  getting him a record deal and a spot on the Grand Ole Opry. If Ernie, himself, had any  doubts, Pee Wee didn't share them.  He made an appointment with Opry boss Jim Denny for  the initial round of screening. Ernie passed the test and went on to meet with Paul Cohen,  head of Decca's Nashville division.


Cohen was suitably impressed and offered Ernie a longterm  deal with the label. For whatever reason, Ernie wanted no part of it. He made that  abundantly clear, leaving Maddux shocked and embarrassed.  Paul Cohen's state can only be  imagined. Maddux had set very high goals for himself and his star-in-waiting artist, and he  had, agains't all odds, achieved what he came to Nashville for. The one thing he hadn't  counted on was the stubborn streak that ran through his artist like a four lane highway.  Ernie obviously didn't like Paul Cohen or his style. To hell with the Opry. To hell with Decca  records. He'd be just as happy playing the local clubs on the Mississippi coast, mingling with  folks he liked and felt comfortable with. Someone else could deal with the Nashville  establishment and the gruff style of Paul Cohen and his long-term contract.

JANUARY 29, 1954 FRIDAY

Fiddler Theron Hale dies. One of the early members of the Grand Ole Opry, he stayed with the cast from 1925-1933.

Talk show maven Oprah Winfrey is born in Kosciusko, Mississippi. She gets name checked in Patty Loveless' 1994 country hit ''I Try To Think About Elvis''.

FEBRUARY 1, 1954 MONDAY

Guitarist Mike Campbell is born in Panama City, Florida. A member of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers, he appears on Johnny Cash's ''Hurt''.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

 STUDIO SESSION FOR THE PRISONAIRES
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: TUESDAY FEBRUARY 2, 1954
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

01 - "I WISH" - B.M.I. - 2:39
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 2, 1954
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15523-14 mono
THE PRISONAIRES - JUST WALKIN' IN THE RAIN

Sam Phillips certainly brought an idiosyncratic approach to recording vocal group. It was one style for which he had little feeling, possibly accounting for some of the incongruous, if pleasant results. This may be the finest unreleased track the Prisonaires left behind at Sun. ''Don't Say Tomorrow'' is a lovely, melodic performance with strong harmony and driving rhythm. Basser Marcell Sanders is the standout performer here, although everyone was in fine shape. One can only guess at the joyous sounds that flowed from the car as the Prisonaires and their guard drove back to the Nashville pen after the session in Phillips' studio. If this track had been recorded in New York the simple acoustic guitar would probably have been replaced by a riffing sax section and some piano boogie. As it is, the sound owes more to earlier quartet styles than the uptown sound of the Drifters or the Clovers. ''Don't Say Tomorrow'' is a little masterpiece caught out of time. The song was composed in 1953 by Robert Riley, but not registered with BMI until 1957 when Riley pitched it to the Hollyhocks on Excello's teen-slanted labels, Nasco.

02 - "DON'T SAY TOMORROW" - B.M.I. - 2:32
Composer: - Robert Riley
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 2, 1954
Released: - 1976
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30104 mono
SUN: THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 4 - COTTON CITY COUNTRY
Reissued: -1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15523-15 mono
THE PRISONAIRES - JUST WALKIN' IN THE RAIN

03 - "NO MORE TEARS" - B.M.I. - 2:45
Composer: - Johnny Bragg
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 2, 1954
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Bear Family Record (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15523-16 mono
THE PRISONAIRES - JUST WALKIN' IN THE RAIN

Name. (Or. No. of Instruments)
Johnny Bragg - Lead Tenor Vocal
John Drue - 2nd Tenor Vocal
William Steward - Baritone Vocal and Guitar
Marcell Sanders - Bass Vocal
Ed Thurman - Tenor Vocal

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©



Sam Phillips with his brother Jud Phillips >

FEBRUARY 1954

Jim Bulleit informed Sam Phillips that some months earlier in November 1953,  Jud Phillips purchases Jim Bulleit's interest in Sun Records and sets up a new distribution  system unrelated to Bulleit's Delta and J-B labels as an inducement to sell his shares, an important point of information now that he was thinking of selling his publishing company.


Jud adamantly denied having said any such thing, and there was a brief, angry flurry of correspondence in which Sam set the uncompromising tone. ''Now if you want to.. call in your lawyer, if you can get one to take the case, then I'm ready. Or if you want to live up to your obligation and not try to railroad another one of your stunts over on somebody then we will sit down and settle up. But get this, buddy... I'll stake my reputation with yours any day of the week and will be glad at any time to do it''. That seemed to do the trick, as Jim swiftly capitulated and transferred all of the Sun material, as they had originally agreed, to Sam's newly  Sun registers the Hi-Lo Publishing Company with B.M.I., to publish Sun copyrights. 

Sam Phillips pays Leonard Chess two checks totalling $1500, probably a repayment of a personal loan to Phillips after the ''Bear Cat'' judgment went against him.

Country recording artist Hardrock Gunter is put in touch with Sam Phillips when working  with Phillips' brother-in-law, Jim Connally, at radio WJLD in Birmingham, Alabama. Unable  to spare the time to get to Memphis, Gunter record two songs locally and ships them to  Phillips for release on Sun.  The titles are "Gonna Dance All Night" and "Fallen Angel",  performed in a western-swing style. The A side has rock and roll overtones in the Bill Haley  mould. 

Jud Phillips borrowed $1200 and bought Jim Bulleit out. Sun was now free from outside  interference, and Sam Phillips could negotiate his own business deals. This was an  important turning point for Phillips. During the year, Sam frantically recorded numerous  black acts. Jud Phillips helped sell the product by making a deal with a Shreveport,  Louisiana, distributor, Stan Lewis, who agreed to get Sun Records played on local radio.

Sam Phillips' files show he was continuing to do custom mastering work for other labels, including for Johnny Vincent for Specialty Records, and for Meteor Records, and he cast about for any and every way that he could think of to improve his situation. He came up with the idea of a management company that would provide representation for each of the artists he had under contract, calling for a 5 percent commission on gross earnings. It was to be called the Exclusive Booking Agency, and he signed all of his new artists to it. But in the end, like all the other moneymaking schemes he had come up with in the past for which he seemed to have little heart, Sam never put this plan into practice.

FEBRUARY 5, 1954

There was no money in the till. Marion Keisker had gone back to supplementing petty cash with money from her salary as assistant program director at WREC. When Jud Phillips' wife, Dean, wrote to Sam Phillips on this day requesting $300 to settle what was owed, Sam replied to his brother, ''Right now we do not have that much in the bank, but.. I'm sure we will have a check from somebody before the week is gone''. Leonard Chess had come in, he wrote, ''and I paid that off... and a lot of other things have hit us pretty hard, but I will send, the money, the minute we get it''. 

FEBRUARY 10, 1954 WEDNESDAY

''Phantom Stallion'' debuts in theaters, with Rex Allen and Slim Pickens starring. It's considered the last of the singing-cowboy westerns.

FEBRUARY 14, 1954 SUNDAY

Eddy Arnold recorded ''Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young'' at Thomas Production Studio in Nashville. Faron Young cuts the definitive version 11 months later.

FEBRUARY 15, 1954 MONDAY

Sam Phillips was on the road for almost the entire month of February, putting over five thousand miles on the black 1951 Cadillac four-door he had bought a few months earlier with a down payment of $750 for just this purpose. If his brother Jud had continued to be involved, he might have been better able to focus on what really mattered most, making records (Sam was unable to schedule a session for the next two weeks, he wrote to Jud on February 15, because of the constant travel), and some of Knox's and Jerry's most vivid early memories of their father, they were now eight and five respectively, were of going to the pressing plant with him on the weekend and helping him load up the trunk of his car with records. Sometimes that was the most they got to see of him, as he set out on his latest sales and promotion trip through Louisiana, Texas, and up into Oklahoma, before Sam could turn around, come back home, and start all over again.

FEBRUARY 17, 1954 WEDNESDAY

Terry Fell recorded ''Don't Drop It'' at the RCA Studios in Hollywood. The session also yields ''Truck Driving Man'', a song that George Hamilton IV covers a decade later.

FEBRUARY 18, 1954 THURSDAY

Actor John Travolta is born in Englewood, New Jersey. After starring in ''Saturday Night Fever'' and ''Grease'' he becomes a focal point of the trend toward country music and fashion during the 1980s, thanks to his role in the movie ''Urban Cowboy''.

FEBRUARY 19, 1954 FRIDAY

Eunice Kathleen Waymon (blues-singer Nina Simone)  Recital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at New Center Auditorium.

FEBRUARY 20, 1954 SATURDAY

Eddy Arnold is a special guest on NBC-TV's ''The Spike Jones Show''

Bluegrass performer Claire Lynch is born in Poughkeepsie, New York. The plaintive singer begins her career with The Front Porch String Band, earning Grammy nominations with two solo albums, ''Moonlighter'' and ''Silver And Gold''.

FEBRUARY 20, 1953 SATURDAY

Sun 195 ''No Teasing Around'' b/w ''Somebody Told Me'' by Billy ''The Kid'' Emerson another Ike Turner discovery, a singer and pianist from Florida with a flair for highly crafted, quirky, and idiosyncratic songwriting in the blues vein.  Sun 196 ''Wolf Call Boogie'' b/w ''Harmonica Jam'' by ''Hot Shot'' Love also are issued from this hard-blowing local harmonica player and sign painter (he advertised both his sign painting and his distinctive philosophy on the back of his bicycle as he rode all around the streets of South Memphis.

Earl Peterson's "Boogie Blues" b/w ''In The Dark'' (Sun 197) is released at about this time, the first inaugural contemporary country single on Sun. Earl was a twenty-six-year-old country disc jockey from Michigan, who showed up at the studio for an audition with his mother and billed himself as ''Michigan Singing Cowboy''. The B-side was a smoothly sung ballad referencing Hank Williams and put across with a good deal of warmth. The featured number, ''Boogie Blues'', with which Peterson had auditioned, was a cheerful hillbilly boogie update along the lines of Hawkshaw Hawkins, but with allusions to some of Bill Monroe's more extravagant bluegrass yodeling numbers.

The second was deep-seated country gospel labeled as  Sun 198  "Troublesome Waters" b/w ''I Must Be Saved'' by Howard Seratt, the Arkansas singer Sam Phillips had carried over to Nashville to help persuade Governor Clement to let him sign the Prisonaires. Seratt, whom Sam considered to be one of the most beautiful singers he had ever heard, accompanied himself on guitar and harmonica. When he had first come to the studio the previous year early 1953 , to cut some sides for his manager's custom label (St. Francis), Sam was well aware that his music didn't have a chance in the pop market, but he couldn't restrain himself from recording Seratt again (late 1953), and this time putting the record out on his own Sun label. Maybe in the back of his mind he was still hoping to convert Seratt to a more secular approach, but he knew that was a pipe dream. Seratt had made himself very clear, and in the end Sam Phillips wouldn't have wanted to change his mind anyway. But there was something haunting about the music, something about the pure spirituality and honesty of the singer's voice that failed to lead anywhere except to reinforce Sam's conviction that music like this needed to be preserved, that someday music like this, presented properly, could reach an audience that, even if it didn't know it, might just be hungering for something more.  Neither disc is successful commercially but they   represent an increasing commitment to country music on the part of Sun Records.

FEBRUARY 21, 1954 SUNDAY

Johnnie & Jack recorded ''(Oh Baby Mine) I Get So Lonely''.

Keyboard player Billy Earhart is born in Tullahoma, Tennessee. He joins The Amazing Rhythm Aces, appearing on all three of their hits, ''Third Rate Romance'', ''Amazing Grace (Used To Be Her Favorite Song);; and Grammy-winner ''The End Is Not In Sight''.


The New Alcazar Hotel, located at 127 Third Street, Clarksdale, Mississippi, was built in 1915. The  building was designed by Charles O. Pfeil in a Classical Revival style. In earlier years the hotel also  was the host to the local radio station WROX, a station where many blues artist got their start.  While WROX was located at the Alcazar a young boy, Ike Turner, was the elevator operator. He  became fascinated by the operation of the radio station and soon at the the age of eight, he began to  spin records for the station. This early exposure was Ike Turner's start in his music career. The  building is mostly vacant now with some businesses on the first floor. >

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Session Published for Historical Reasons

STUDIO SESSION FOR EUGENE FOX & ANNIE MAE WILSON
FOR CHECKER/RPM RECORDS 1954

RADIO WROX RADIO STATION,  THE ALCAZAR HOTEL
127 THIRDS STREET, CLARKSDALE, MISSISSIPPI
CHECKER/RPM SESSION: MONDAY FEBRUARY 22, 1954
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - IKE TURNER

Back in is home-town Clarksdale and at the WROX radio station in the Alcazar Hotel, where as a boy he had operated the lift and helped the disc jockeys spin discs in his spare time, Ike Turner cut a totally bizarre session with his saxophone player Eugene Fox. The recordings were made after midnight when the broadcasting ceased and the midnight hour was quite appropriate for these weird waxing. Ike had attempted to record ''The Dream'' b/w ''Sinner's Dream'' earlier at Sun with Johnny O'Neal as ''Johnny's Dream'' but the record, recorded on August 2, 1953, remained unissued until the 1970s. 

In ''The Dream'' gravel voiced Fox takes the lead role, and Ike's new wife, Annie Mae Wilson supports, in a tale of ''slippin'''around and retribution when, Sambo, the dead husband of Fox's girl comes back to haunt him as he sleeps in her bed in a drunken stupor. The dream is so real that when Fox wakes up he grabs his hat and runs.


Eugene Fox >

''Sinner's Dream'' is more of the same but this time but this time Fox is led by ''Mr Death'' down to hell to meet ''Mr Devil''. ''Don't push me in that fire''! he pleads. Throughout both epics, Ike's guitar shivers and quivers creating a suitably unearthly feel. The ''straight'' cut of the session, ''Stay At Home'' is based on the Drifters' ''Money Honey'' on which Ike plays a killer solo. In later life Eugene Fox gave up music and became the principal of Coahoma Agricultural High School and was somewhat embarrassed about these crazy recordings.


01 - ''STAY AT HOME''** - B.M.I. - 2:43
Composer: - Eugene Fox
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - U 7606
Recorded: - February 22, 1954
Released: 1954
First appearance:   - Checker Records (S) 78rpm Checker 792 mono
STAY AT HOME / SINNER'S DREAM
Reissued: - 2010 Secret Records (CD) 500/200rpm SECBX025-3-1 mono
THAT KAT SURE COULD PLAY! - THE SINGLES 1951 - 1957

02 - ''SINNER'S DREAM''* - B.M.I. - 3:26
Composer: - Friskillo
Publisher: - Tristian Music
Matrix number: - U 7607
Recorded: - February 22, 1954
Released: - 1954
First appearance:   - Checker Records (S) 78rpm Checker 792 mono
SINNER'S DREAM / STAY AT HOME
Reissued: - 2010 Secret Records (CD) 500/200rpm SECBX025-3-2 mono
THAT KAT SURE COULD PLAY! - THE SINGLES 1951 - 1957

03 - ''THE DREAM (PART 1 & 2)''* - B.M.I. - 4:12
Composer: Eugene Fox
Publisher: - Modern Music Publishers
Matrix number: - Part 1 MM 2133 / Part 2 MM 2134
Recorded: - February 22, 1954
Released: - 1955
First appearance: - RPM Records (S) 78rpm RPM 420-A-B mono
THE DREAM (PART 1) / THE DREAM (PART 2)
Reissued: - 2010 Secret Records (CD) 500/200rpm SECBX025-3-4 mono
THAT KAT SURE COULD PLAY! - THE SINGLES 1951 - 1957

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Eugene Fox - Vocal
Ike Turner - Guitar
Annie Mae Wilson - Vocal * & Piano **
Or Dennis Binder - Vocal *
Possibly Raymond Hill - Tenor Saxophone **
Jesse Knight Jr. - Electric Bass **
Possibly C.V. Veal - Drums / Sound Effects *

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Session Published for Historical Reasons

STUDIO SESSION FOR LUKE MCDANIEL
FOR KING RECORDS 1954

RADIO KWKH STUDIO, SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA
KING SESSION: WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 24, 1954
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - BERNIE PERLMAN
AND/OR TOM JACKSON

01 - ''I CAN'T STEAL ANOTHER'S BRIDE'' - B.M.I. - 2:13
Composer: Luke McDaniel
Publisher: - Lois Music
Matrix number: - K-3766
Recorded: - February 24, 1954
Released: - April 1954
First appearance: - King Records (S) 78rpm standard single King 1338-A mono
I CAN'T STEAL ANOTHER'S BRIDE / THE AUTOMOBILE SONG

02 - ''HONEY WON'T YOU PLEASE COME HOME'' - B.M.I. - 2:17
Composer: Luke McDaniel
Publisher: - Lois Music
Matrix number: - K-3767
Recorded: - February 24, 1954
Released: - June 1954
First appearance: - King Records (S) 78rpm standard single King 1356-A mono
HONEY WON'T YOU PLEASE COME HOME / CRYING MY HEART OUT FOR YOU
Reissued - 2008 Stomper Time (CD) 500/200rpm Stomper Time STCD 24-9 mono
LUKE MCDANIEL - MISSISSIPPI HONKY HONK ROCKABILLY MAN

03 - ''THE AUTOMOBILE SONG'' - B.M.I. - 2:20
Composer: Luke McDaniel
Publisher: - Lois Music
Matrix number: - K-3768
Recorded: - February 24, 1954
Released: - April 1954
First appearance: - King Records (S) 78rpm standard single King 1338-B mono
THE AUTOMOBILE SONG / I CAN'T STEAL ANOTHER'S BRIDE
Reissued - 2008 Stomper Time (CD) 500/200rpm Stomper Time STCD 24-9 mono
LUKE MCDANIEL - MISSISSIPPI HONKY HONK ROCKABILLY MAN

04 - ''CRYING MY HEART OUT FOR YOU'' - B.M.I. - 2:00
Composer: - Luke McDaniel
Publisher: - Lois Music
Matrix number: - K-3769
Recorded: - February 24, 1954
Released: - June 1954
First appearance: - King Records (S) 78rpm standard single King 1356-B mono
CRYING MY HEART OUT FOR YOU / HONEY WON'T YOU PLEASE COME HOME
Reissued - 2008 Stomper Time (CD) 500/200rpm Stomper Time STCD 24-9 mono
LUKE MCDANIEL - MISSISSIPPI HONKY HONK ROCKABILLY MAN

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Luke McDaniel - Vocal & Guitar
Unknown Musicians
Johnny Horton and Jack Cardwell
were present at this session and may have played acoustic guitar.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


FEBRUARY 23, 1954 THUESDAY

Webb Pierce and The Wilburn Brothers recorded ''Sparkling Brown Eyes'' in Nashville at the Castle Studio.

Wesley and Marilyn Tutlle recorded ''Never''.

FEBRUARY 25, 1954 THURSDAY

Bass player John Doe is born in Decatur, Illinois. A co-founder of the Los Angeles punk group X, he writes a Kelly Willis song on the soundtrack of ''Thelma and Louise'' and has acting roles in ''Pure Country'' and ''Great Balls Of Fire''.

MARCH 1954

Sam Phillips temporarily resolves the problems which have kept Little Junior Parker out of the Sun  studio since November, and a recording session is fixed for this month. Parker had been  touring with Duke Records artists, and had been approached by Duke to record for them since December 2, 1953.

MARCH 1, 1954 MONDAY

Slim Whiteman recorded ''Rose-Marie'' in the studio at Shreveport radio station KWKH.

Janis Oliver is born in Torrance, California. She joins younger sister Kristine to form Sweethearts Of The Rodeo, who rise in the 1980s behind a rockabilly-tinged sound. By that time, her last name is changed, following her marriage to Vince Gill.

Actress Catherine Bach is born in Warren, Ohio. She appears in the CBS series ''The Dukes Of Hazzards'' as Daisy Duke. The character is referenced in the 2002 Mark Wills hit ''19 Somethin'''.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Little Junior Parker had been part of Johnny Ace's revue, but in January 1954 Don Robey made him the headliner of his own show, later adding Bobby Bland to form Blues Consolidated. Clearly, Robey knew he was courting trouble by recording Junior in December 1953 because he held back ''Sittin', Drinkin' And Thinkin''' until June 1954, and by then there had been a lawsuit from Sam Phillips. Upon release of the Duke version, Billboard said, ''Ork weaves a moody backdrop. A good blues etching that can easily into the money''. In 1958, Junior recorded the very similar ''Sittin' And Thinkin'''for Duke (credited to Joe Scott and Don Robey), and in 1977 his Sun recording finally appeared.

STUDIO SESSION FOR LITTLE JUNIOR PARKER
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: TUESDAY MARCH 2, 1954
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

The following month, Little Junior Parker broke his contract with Sam Phillips and signed with Duke Records. Phillips sued Parker, won a $17,500 settlement from Don Robey, but found little personal gratification in it. Parker was an act he loved, and he had hoped to find him a hit record. But Little Junior Parker was forgotten as Phillips began looking for new talent. The business end was now complete, and the stage was set to find a superstar act. Amidst the controversy over Parker, young Elvis Presley came into the Sun Records fold.

01 - "SITTIN' DRINKIN' AND THINKIN*'" - B.M.I. - 3:07
Composer: - Herman Parker
Publisher: - Bluesman Music
Matrix number: - U 105  - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 2, 1954
Released: - November 1977
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30135-7 mono
THE LEGENDARY SUN PERFORMERS – JUNIOR PARKER & BILLY LOVE
Reissued: - 1990 Rounder Records (CD) 500/200rpm Rounder CD SS 38-7 mono
MYSTERY TRAIN


''Sittin' Drinkin' And Thinkin''', this song comes from an unknown session, which is believed to have taken place on March 2, 1954. The guitarist is audibly Pat Hare, who provides incessant fills around Junior's vocal, along with a marvelously jazzy solo, whilst the latter delivers one of his more relaxed vocals, a la Roy Brown. Just a few weeks after this session Parker broke his contract with Sun Records and was installed in Duke's Houston studio where he re-cut this song (Duke 127). However, this is clearly a finished take, neither a run-through nor demo. Reportedly, Duke's Don Robey was more comfortable with Junior's jazz inclinations than Sam Phillips, who was willing to record these efforts, but more likely to release the rockin' sides.

02 - "SITTIN' AT THE BAR" - B.M.I. - 2:31
Composer: - Herman Parker-Sam Phillips
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 2, 1954
Released: - November 1977
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30135-6 mono
THE LEGENDARY SUN PERFORMERS – JUNIOR PARKER & BILLY LOVE
Reissued: - 1990 Rounder Records (CD) 500/200rpm CD SS 38-8 mono
MYSTERY TRAIN

Someone - either Junior Parker himself or Sam Phillips - was obviously obsessed with the rhythm possibilities of "Feelin' Good". So much so that little effort has gone into the lyrics, which have Junior ringing his baby to get her to "come on, down". From this lukewarm enthusiasm, he may get some competition from Hot Shot Love and Kenneth Banks if she ever arrives. The identity of the guitarist here is unknown: from the amplification its tempting to identify Pat Hare again, although there's equally good reason to suggest it might be Floyd Murphy playing through a defective amplifier.

03 - "SITTIN' AT THE WINDOW" - B.M.I. - 1:59
Composer: - Herman Parker-Sam Phillips
Publisher: - Bluesman Music
Matrix number: - None   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 2, 1954
Released: - November 1977
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30135-5 mono
THE LEGENDARY SUN PERFORMERS – JUNIOR PARKER & BILLY LOVE
Reissued: - 1990 Rounder Records (CD) 500/200rpm CD SS 38-9 mono
MYSTERY TRAIN


Herman Parker Jr. >

From the instrumentation, this seems to come from the same session that produced "Sittin' Drinkin' And Thinkin'", with Junior's dept to Roy Brown even more apparent. 

The song is yet another variation on B.B. King's "Woke Up This Morning", with its combination of latin and fast 4/4 rhythms. This time one of the tenor players takes a two-chorus solo, which doesn't really get off the ground, hampered perhaps by the drummer's inability to swing.


Junior was always a consistent seller so it's hard to penetrate Phillips' reasoning in not issuing this, unless, as mentioned earlier, he was legally enjoined from doing so.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Little Junior's Blue Flames consisting of
Herman Parker - Vocal
Pat Hare - Guitar
Unknown - Alto Saxophone*
Raymond Hill - Tenor Saxophone*
James Wheeler - Tenor Saxophone*
Bill Johnson - Piano
Kenneth Banks - Bass
Houston Stokes - Drums

Note - these three sides may not all have been recorded the same day, but one or more of these titles might date to the November 18, 1953 session.


Junior Parker 1953 >

Herman Parker had joined fellow Memphians Bobby Bland and Johnny Ace on a package show booked through the Buffalo Agency in Houston, a subsidiary of Duke/Peacock Records.

The owner of Peacock, Don Robey, had already sued Sam Phillips over "Bear Cat" and offered an inducement for Parker to sign with him.  Herman "Junior" Parker completed a final session at Sun which featured "Sittin' Drinkin" And Thinkin'".



It was scheduled for release with "Feelin' Bad" when Sam Phillips discovered that Parker had been lured away by Don Robey, owner of Peacock Records, and had re-recorded "Sittin' Drinkin' And Thinkin'".

Sam Phillips filed suit against Robey and, when the case of "Bear Cat" from Rufus Thomas came to trail in 1955, he was awarded a $17.500 judgement which must have represented sweet revenge for the lawsuit he had lost to Robey on "Bear Cat". At the same time, Sam Phillips secured 50% of "Mystery Train", which would prove to be a better investment than he could ever have imagined.

By the time Parker quit Sun, he had taken on a new guitarist. He replaced the technical adroitness of Floyd Murphy (brother of Matt Murphy" with the raw power of Auburn "Pat" Hare. It is Hare who can be heard on "Sittin' Drinkin' And Thinkin'" (both the Sun and Duke cuts). Once at Duke, Parker also cut another "Feelin' Good" sequel, "I Wanna Ramble", and re-cut "Sittin' At My Window" as "Please Baby Blues" with Pat Hare.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


MARCH 3, 1954 WEDNESDAY

Fiddler Gordon Terry and his wife, Virginia, have a daughter, Ronda Gayle Terry.

MARCH 5, 1954 FRIDAY

Fiddler George Wilkinson dies. He was the founder and leader of The Fruit Jar Drinkers, a string band that  was a mainstay of the early Grand Ole Opry.

MARCH 6, 1954 SATURDAY

Ray Price recorded ''Much Too Young To Die;; during an afternoon session at the Castle Studio in Nashville's  Tulane Hotel.

Elvis Presley files his first federal income tax return. His job classification is checked off as "semi-skilled",  and his return shows income of $129.74 from M.B. Parker and $786.59 from Precision Tool, with no  deductions or exemptions.

Songwriter Kimmie Rhodes is born in Wichita Falls, Texas. Rhodes' composition ''Ordinary Heart'' is  recorded by Emmylou Harris for the ''Happy, Texas'' soundtrack.

Starday released George Jones' debut single, ''No Money In This Deal''.

MARCH 8, 1954 MONDAY

Decca released Kitty Kallen's ''Little Things Mean A Lot''. The pop hit provides a point of reference for  Margo Smith's 1977 country version.

MARCH 11, 1954 THURSDAY

Steel guitarist Jerry Byrd and his wife, Thelma, have their second daughter, Luana June Byrd, in Nashville.  Byrd has amassed recording credits with Red Foley, Hank Williams and Jimmy Wakely.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR RAMSEY KEARNEY
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: MARCH 11, 1954 / OR MAY 9, 1956
STUDIO HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER – SAM C. PHILLIPS

After graduation from Boliver Central High School, Ramsey moved to Memphis, Tennessee to further his career and get more experience. Ramsey was lead vocalist and front man for the Snearley Ranch Boy's, who played night clubs in Memphis and Arkansas. During this period in time, Ramsey also had a daily radio show on KWEM in West Memphis, Arkansas.

In 1953 Ramsey Kearney was drafted in the U.S. Army. During his first army leave, Ramsey was visiting his friend Sleepy Eyed John (John Lepley), a popular disc jockey at WHHM. He told Ramsey that Sam Phillips was about to do something recording wise. According to Kearney, ''We went to Sam and discussed the possibilities... we decided on what musicians to use, and Sam called the session. We did three songs, ''The Work Of The Lord'' which I wrote, ''New Low Price Of Love'', which I co-wrote with John Lepley, and the third song was ''I've Never Stopped Loving You'', another song I wrote''. Sam seemed to be well pleased with these recordings, especially with ''The Work Of The Lord'', but to Ramsey's dismay, Sam Phillips never released these recordings.

01 - ''THE WORK OF THE LORD - B.M.I.
Composer: - Ramsey Kearney
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - March 11, 1954 / Or May 9, 1956
Released: - Sun Unissued

02 - ''NEW LOW PRICE OF LOVE - B.M.I.
Composer: - Ramsey Kearney-John Lepley
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - March 11, 1954 / Or May 9, 1956
Released: - Sun Unissued

03 – ''I'VE NEVER STOPPED LOVING YOU'' - B.M.I. - 2:40
Composer: - Ramsey Kearney
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Sun Unissued
Recorded: - March 11, 1954 / Or May 9, 1956
Released: -   1996
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8181 mono
SUN HILLBILLY

 04 - ''UNISSUED UNKNOWN TITLE''

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Ramsey Kearney – Vocal
Paul Brazile – Guitar
Albert Evescove – Guitar
J.R. Ledbetter – Bass
Al Vescovo - Steel Guitar
Paul Buskirk - Unknown

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


MARCH 14, 1954 SUNDAY

Jann Browne is born in Anderson, Indiana. A member of Asleep At The Wheel from 1981-1983, she blossoms on the West Coast circuit, creating one minor hit with 1989's ''Tell My Why''.

MARCH 15, 1954 MONDAY

Jim Ed and Maxine Brown recorded ''Looking Back To See'' in Shreveport. It becomes the first hit for the Browns.

Billy Walker recorded ''Thank You For Calling'' in a morning session at the Jim Beck Studio in Dallas, Texas.

Jan Howard, going under her married name Lula Grace Smith, has her fourth child, Janet Louise Smith, in Columbus, Ohio. The baby dies one month later.

Columbia released Carl Smith's ''Back Up Buddy''.

Record executive Mike Dungan is born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He becomes the head of Capitol's Nashville division in 2000, taking part in the careers of Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum and Luke Bryan, among others. In 2012, he leads the merged Universal Music Group, which includes MCA and Mercury.

MARCH 16, 1954 TUESDAY

Faron Young recorded ''If You Ain't Lovin' (You Ain't Livin')'' at the castle Studio in downtown Nashville. He also makes his first attempts at cutting ''I've Got Five Dollars And It's Saturday Night''.

Jim Reeves recorded ''Penny Candy'' at Shreveport's KWKH Radio.

Tim O'Brien is born in Wheeling, West Virginia. A member of the bluegrass act Hot Rize, he writes Kathy Mattea's 1986 hit ''Walk The Way The Wind Blows'' and joins her on her 1990 duet ''The Battle Hymn Of Love''.

MARCH 18, 1954 THURSDAY

Red Foley recorded ''Jilted''.

MARCH 19, 1954 FRIDAY

Elvis Presley leaves Precision Tool, where he is not particularly happy with either the work  or the razzing he is forced to put up with because of the length of his hair. Tool is the same employer that fired him three years earlier for being under-age.

MARCH 20, 1954 SATURDAY

Jim Seales, of Shenandoah, is born in Hamilton, Alabama. The guitarist is a key ingredient to such hits as ''Next To Me, Next To You'', ''The Church On Cumberland Road'' and ''Two Dozen Roses''.

MARCH 22, 1954 MONDAY

Hank Thompson recorded ''Honky Tonk Girl'', ''We've Gone Too Far'', ''If Lovin' You Is Wrong'', ''Tears Are Only Rain'' and ''Annie Over'' at the Capitol Studios on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles.

Capitol released Hank Thompson's double-sided hit, ''Breakin' The Rules'' backed with ''A Fooler, A Faker''.

MARCH 24, 1954 WEDNESDAY

Hank Thompson recorded ''The New Green Light'' at the capitol Studios on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles.

Wanda Jackson and Billie Gray recorded ''You Can't Have My Love'' in an evening session as the Capitol Studios on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles.

MARCH 26, 1954 FRIDAY

Jackie Gleason makes the cover of TV Guide, seven years before he earns a country hit as the writer of Jimmy Dean's ''To A Sleeping Beauty''.

MARCH 27, 1954 SATURDAY

Opera meets the Opry: opera singer Helen Traubel makes a guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry,  at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee.

MARCH 29, 1954 MONDAY

Jimmy Dean's wife, Sue, gives birth to their daughter, Connie Elizabeth Dean, at the Seventh Day Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park, Maryland. Connie inspires his 1962 recitation ''To A Sleeping Beauty''

MARCH 30, 1954 TUESDAY

Steel guitarist Gary Hogue is born. He appears on the multi-artist Grammy-winner ''Same Old Train'', a 1998 recording produced by his employer, Marty Stuart.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR LITTLE MILTON
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: TUESDAY MARCH 30, 1954
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCED AND RECORDING ENGINEER - IKE TURNER
AND/OF SAM C. PHILLIPS

The recordings has been prepared from digital transfers off the original masters. Due to the age and conditions of the tapes, listeners may notice dropouts or distortion.

There are at least five takes of "Lookin' For My Baby". Milton's final record for Sun, in the tape vaults. The issued version is undoubtedly the cleanest, as well as the slowest. The use an American movie rating metaphor, Sam Phillips has issued the PG version - not an unreasonable choice, commercially speaking. The problem for the Sun fans is that there were several R, perhaps even X-rated versions that languished in the archives for ever 20 years before seeing daylight (Sunbox) 105 and ZuZazz 2007). On the technically flawed alternatives, Milton's guitar virtuosity shone to a level one can only guess at from his issued records.

The version of "Lookin' For My Baby" that appeared on Sun in 1955 is still a fine record by any reckoning, from Milton's idiomatic spoken intro, "...see can't I find her", to the trainlike riffing horns, to Milton's pleading vocal and searing guitar work. Even when his fires were damped down, the man was still s fine musician.

01(1) - "LOOKIN' FOR MY BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:33
Composer: - James Campbell
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 152 - Master Take 1
Recorded: - March 30, 1954
Released: - June 21, 1955
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 220-B mono
LOOKIN' FOR MY BABY / HOMESICK FOR MY BABY
Reissued - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-4-4 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

01(2) - "LOOKIN' FOR MY BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:41
Composer: - James Campbell
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 30, 1954
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 105 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1956
Reissued: - 1990 Rounder Records (CD) 500/200rpm Rounder CD SS 35-7 mono
LITTLE MILTON - THE SUN MASTERS

This remarkable track succeeds at at levels, from the matter-of-spoken introduction and the stinging rigour of Milton's guitar solo to the raucous support from Ike Turner's band. Milton is deceptively relaxed as he informs us, "People, you know what? My baby's left me and she hasn't come back. And I'm gonna get on this old train and see can I find her". His cutting amplification alone would have roused the outkirts of Memphis. Lonnie Haynes sets up a loping shuffle as the horns bray out a train-whistle riff. Although his records from this period are chameleon-like, Milton here begins to show the originally he would quickly again. Milton was tantalizingly close to success in commercial rhythm and blues. Just one great song was all he needed, but ''Alone And Blue'' wasn't it, and he wouldn't find it until ''We're Gonna Make It'' eleven years later.

02 - "ALONE AND BLUE" - B.M.I. - 3:07
Composer: - James Campbell
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 109 - Master
Recorded: - March 30, 1954
Released: - April 15, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 200-B mono
ALONE AND BLUE / IF YOU LOVE ME
Reissued - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-2-22 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Milton had a penchant for spoken introductions around this time. He oozes sincerity (of a sort) as he addresses his woman: "Darling, I've a story to tell you/can't reach you but maybe my story will". The song itself works up from the template of a B.B. King blues ballad, although Ike's horn players lack the polish of their counterparts. That's illustrated to dubious effect when C.W. Tate takes a tremulous (and poorly piched) solo chorus. In a bid to cover all the bases, Milton even calls on both God and his mother to bring his baby back - all to no avail.


The uptempo side of Milton's second (SUN 200) single is by far the more interesting of the pair. Milton begins with some strong guitar licks lifted straight from Elmore James "Dusty My Broom". Milton was not the first, and will not be the last bluesman to steal this riff. If nothing else, it was the inspiration for B.B. King's "Please Love Me". Milton turns in a solid vocal and guitar performance, but it may be Ike Turner's pounding piano, almost buried in the mix, that takes top honours.

03(1) - "IF YOU LOVE ME BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:32
Composer: - James Cambell
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 108 - Master
Recorded: - March 30, 1954
Released: - April 15, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 200-A mono
IF YOU LOVE ME / ALONE AND BLUE
Reissued - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-2-21 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Once again Milton displays his gift for imitation bordering on plagiarism - however, on this occasion it barely matters that he is ploughing someone else's furrow. having purloined that irresistible intro from Elmore Jame's "Dust My Broom" he turns in a polished vocal performance, ably later, B.B. King recalled Ike Turner as one of the finest backing pianists he'd ever heard, and these sides by Milton bear evidence of this.

03(2) - "IF YOU LOVE ME" - B.M.I. - 2:24
Composer: - James Campbell
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None   - Not Originally Issued
Alternate Take SUN 200 master, original master lost, and garnered any
attention, this side would not have deflected disc jockey action.
Recorded: - March 30, 1954
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Rounder Records (CD) 500/200rpm Rounder CD SS 35-5 mono
LITTLE MILTON - THE SUN MASTERS


"Homesick For My Baby", has not been a popular candidate for reissue. Although an alternate take appears on Sunbox 105, the original issue is nowhere to be found on any major Sun blues retrospective, including a collection of Milton's best Sun recordings (ZuZazz 2007). The oversight probably reflects the fact that, while a competent recording, "Homesick" is not a particularly exciting record. From a marketing point of view, it probably made good sense to attach it to the flipside of "Lookin' For My Baby" (or "Rode That Train All Night Long", as the tape box calls it) and hope that stellar A-side would find a clear track to market success.

04(1) - "HOMESICK FOR MY BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:18
Composer: - James Campbell
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 153 - Master Take 1
Recorded: - March 30, 1954
Released: - June 21, 1955
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 220-A mono
HOMESICK FOR MY BABY / LOOKIN' FOR MY BABY
Reissued - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-4-4 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

04(2) - "HOMESICK FOR MY BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:49
Composer: - James Campbell
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take 2   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 30, 1954
Released: - 1976
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30102 mono
SUN: THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 2 - SAM'S BLUES
Reissued: - 1986 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 105 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1956

A straightforward blues outing, this is an alternate take of the original B-side of SUN 220. Distinguished by yet another superlative guitar solo - once again demonstrating Milton's flair for aggressive phrasing - the saxes (Lawrence Taylore and W.C. Tate) weight in with some rather soulful notes, whilst Ike Turner really shines in his somewhat limited supporting role on piano. The only sour note in the performance is literially the last - which is probably why it remained in the can. The only sour note in the performance is literally the last but, as Sam Phillips would have told them, ''It's the feeling that counts''.

05 - "RUNNING WILD BLUES" - B.M.I. - 2:38
Composer: - James Campbell
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 30, 1954
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Rounder Records (CD) 500/200rpm Rounder CD SS 35-8 mono
LITTLE MILTON - THE SUN MASTERS

06 - "I LOVE MY BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:24
Composer: - James Campbell
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 30, 1954
Released: - 1988
First appearance: - Zu-Zazz Records (CD) 500/200rpm Zu-Zazz Z 2007 mono
HITTIN' THE BOOGIE - MEMPHIS DAYS
Reissued: - 1990 Rounder Records (CD) 500/200rpm Rounder CD SS 35-9 mono
LITTLE MILTON - THE SUN MASTERS

As the above tracks show, Milton had a problem with song titles. If that isn't enough, there are actually two different songs with this title. This straightforward boogie kicks off with Ike Turner's piano. The lyrics begin by warming aspirants away from his woman, but then go on to prove that his own status with her is somewhat less than solid. After effective guitar and tenor solos, he concludes on a note of hope, "So I guess that's all for now and I'll see you down the road/but the next time I see you, be sure you have your clothes".

07 - "IF CRYING WOULD HELP ME" - B.M.I. - 3:11
Composer: - James Campbell
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 30, 1954
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Rounder Records (CD) 500/200rpm Rounder CD SS 35-10 mono
LITTLE MILTON - THE SUN MASTERS

08 - "OH WEE, WEE BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:42
Composer: - James Campbell
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 30, 1954
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Rounder Records (CD) 500/200rpm Rounder CD SS 35-11 mono
LITTLE MILTON - THE SUN MASTERS

Unquestionably the most unusual track Little Milton recorded for Sun. If Sam Phillips was looking for hybrid material, he should have stayed with this effort. It's got a clear streak of hillbilly running right through it and the title suggests a throwback to the 1940s. Originally logged and issued as ''Re-Beat'', this song has an engaging rhythm and a sixeable hook. This is about as far as Milton ever strayed from traditional blues during his early career. Talking to Steve LaVere, Milton was adamant that the song was called ''Re-Beep'', though he didn't say what he meant by that, and if you listen closely that is indeed what he's saying.

09 – "RE-BEET (RE-BEAT)" - B.M.I. - 2:36
Composer: - James Campbell
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 30, 1954
Released: 1986
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 105 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1956
Reissued: - 1990 Rounder Records (CD) 500/200rpm Rounder CD SS 35-13 mono
LITTLE MILTON - THE SUN MASTERS

10 - "SHE'S MY QUEEN" - B.M.I. - 2:29
Composer: - James Campbell
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 30, 1954
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 7-7-17 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

A straightforward blues outing which doesn't really distinguish itself until Milton unleashes a stinging guitar solo, after which it really soars. There are shades of Guitar Slim here, but Milton remain essentially hos own man. No one would ever want to deny Milton his 1960s and 1970s successes, but its a shame he had to achieve it in a musical style which wholly submerged both his blues roots and magnificent guitar playing.

11(1) - "RODE THAT TRAIN ALL NIGHT LONG" - 1 - B.M.I. - 2:50
Composer: - James Campbell
Publisher: - Memphis Music
Matrix number: - None - Take 5  -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -   March 30, 1954
Released: - 1976
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30102-B-2 mono
SUN: THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 2 - SAM'S BLUES
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310 JK-6-21 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958

On the tape box, Sam Phillips logged this song as ''Rode That Train All Night Long'' but issued it as ''Lookin' For My Baby''. The first take was unusable because Phillips changed levels on the fly, first during Milton's guitar intro and again when the horns came in. By the second take, issued first on Zu-Zazz and reissued here, Phillips had his acte together and Milton was still on fire. His guitar has a filthy tone, and he's really buston' out his licks, taking two choruses instead of the single chorus on the released version. More than that, there's a spectacular untamedness to this take that was lost by the time they reached the issued fifth take.

11(1) - "RODE THAT TRAIN ALL NIGHT LONG" - 2 - B.M.I. - 2:36
Composer: - James Campbell
Publisher: - Memphis Music
Matrix number: - None -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -   March 30, 1954
Released: - 1996
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm   CD Sunbox 7/7-18 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310 JK-9-18 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Milton Campbell - Vocal and Guitar
Ike Turner - Piano
C.W. Tate - Tenor Saxophone
Lawrence Taylor - Alto Saxophone
Cleophus Robinson - Bass
Probably Jesse Knight JR. - Electric Bass
Lonnie Will ''Cool Breeze'' Haynes – Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


APRIL 1954

Little Junior Parker breaks his contract with Sun Records, and joins Duke. Sun launches a suit  against Duke, which comes to trial in 1955 and is settled in favour of Sun. Meanwhile, Don  Robey also signs Phineas Newborn Jr. to Duke.

Sam Phillips had to go Houston for a hearing requesting a preliminary injunction to prohibit Duke from putting out any more records of Junior Parker. Sam had thought he had the thing worked out. Little Junior had assured him that it was all a misunderstanding and they had even scheduled a recording session for the beginning of March. But then Don Robey had somehow gotten in the middle again, or maybe Little Junior was just bullshitting him, which he found difficult to believe, but in any case he drove to Houston on April 6 to put his case before a judge. The hearing was scheduled for federal district court, under the jurisdiction of Judge Ben C. Connally, but Connally, the son of Texas' recently retired senior senator Tom Connally, was on vacation, and the judge who was brought in, an octogenarian who seemed altogether unacquainted with the recording business, refused to issue a temporary stay, especially after Little Junior testified for the defense. Meaning that for all practical purpose Robey had won, even if Sam Phillips continued to pursue justice, as he vowed he would do until hell froze over.

By April 1954, a year further on, Billboard had decided that "Answers (Are) Not The  Answer. The year 1953 saw an important precedent set in regard to answer tunes. Since  the "Hound Dog" decision, few diskeries have attempted to answer smash hits by other  companies by using the same tune with different lyrics". They might have stopped to think  about Rufus Thomas's own follow up disc. "Tiger Man", where he attempted to plagiarise  his own hit, "Bear Cat". He had moved on in the feline world, or rather, his session  g uitarist, Joe Hill Louis, had, during his attention to the king of the jungle.

APRIL 1954

Roy Orbison see Elvis Presley perform at Dallas Sportatorium, Dallas, Texas.

APRIL 1, 1954 THURSDAY

Drummer Joe Porcaro has a son, Jeff Porcaro, in Hartford, Connecticut. Two years after dad plays on the Glen Campbell hit, ''Southern Nights'', Jeff, who is also a drummer debuts as a member of the rock band Toto.

APRIL 5, 1954 MONDAY

Under the assumed name Simon Crym, Ferlin Huskey recorded ''Cuzz Yore So Sweet''.

APRIL 6, 1954 TUESDAY

Dottsy is born in Seguin, Texas. She sings on the Grand Ole Opry as a child, then nets one bona fide hit, ''(After Sweet Memories) Play Born To Lose Again'', in 1977 before leaving the music business to work with mentally handicapped children.

APRIL 8, 1954 THURSDAY

Stuart Hamblen recorded ''This Ole House'' in New York City.

APRIL 12, 1954 MONDAY

Decca released Red Foley's ''Jilted''.

Sam Phillips had long been fascinating with echo. For his first Sun release, on sixteen-tear-old Johnny London, in 1952, he had constructed a special ''echo chamber'', a tetephone-booth-like box, and he had experimented with the technique off and on over the last couple of years. But he had never achieved the result he wanted, to his ears, placing the vocalist or lead instrumentalist in a box, or placing a speaker in a resonant hallway or bathroom, as many engineers did, created too cavernous an effect. Phillips knew, of course, that it was all ''artificial''. But what he was looking for was the richness and fullness and naturalness with which the human ear could be tricked into thinking it was actually hearing sound without artifice. People were used to listening to music in honky-tonks and bars. He didn't want to stun them with too clean an overall impression, he wanted it to sound more familiar but different at the same time. What he was really aiming for was ''just a little bit of beautiful clutter''. What he came up with was a technique for creating a slightly less controlled version of the delayed, or repeat, echo that had become a hallmark of Les Paul's work.

It was an idea, obviously, that was in the air. A self-taught electronics tinkerer, accordion player, and home inventor named Ray Butts in Cairo, Illinois, had already come up with a similar concept for electric guitar when he put together an amp that he called the EchoSonic, with a ''3rd Dimension Tone'', in 1952. To get the ''multiple-sound echo effects'' that, he advertised, ''you have always wanted'', he placed a tape inside the amplifier that operated in a continuous loop, as it chased after the live sound with just enough of a delay to suggest the depth and richness that Bill Putnam and Les Paul had created with their studio recordings. Chet Atkins, a great admirer of Les Paul and open to all sorts of musical experimentation himself, bought one of the first EchoSonic, and the sound was heavily featured in his playing on the David Sisters' ''Rock-A-Bye-Boogie'', which was popular in the fall of 1953. But the first inkling that Sam Phillips had of just how he might achieve the same effect in his own tiny studio occurred when he got his first Ampex 350 tape recorder at the beginning of 1954.

This came in the midst of a general upgrading of equipment that flew in the face of every financial exigency screaming out at him for attention every day. As Marion Keisker observed, Sam Phillips might scrimp on everything else, in fact, he could even make a virtue out of it, but he would never skimp on the recording equipment. And while he was more than happy with his fifteen-year-old converted RCA radio console, from the time the Ampex 350 came on the market the previous summer, with its state-of-the-art technology, Sam Phillips just knew it was something he had to have.

It was while playing around with the Ampex that Sam first got the idea for ''slapback''. It suddenly occurred to him that in the time it took the tape to move across the three heads of the machine, from record to erase to playback, ''that would give me a very slight delay, and if, I turned it on playback and fed it back into the board, I would have a controllable sound'', Sam said. The trouble was, Sam would be slathering that sound, whether it was close together at fifteen inches per second or more spread out at seven and one-half, on every element of the recording, thereby restricting the dramatic effect he wanted to achieve. The only solution was to acquire a second Ampex 350, which he did with supreme financial disregard. Sam mounted the second tape recorder on a rack behind him to his right and designated it as his ''slap'' machine, applying it to Billy ''The Kid'' Emerson's and Doug Poindexter's vocals, and Raymond Hill's saxophone, on the three records Sam recorded between April 12 and April 25.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR BILLY EMERSON
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: MONDAY APRIL 12, 1954
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

Billy Emerson remembered Phillips being as pleased about his name as he was about the songs, telling Jim O'Neal: ''So Sam Phillips say. 'Well, what name you gonna use? I said 'Billy The Kid Emerson', he said 'That's what I want!' 'You see, Sam always wanted something different''.

The entertainment business trade newspaper Billboard' was less impressed than Sam Phillips. They reviewed ''No Teasing Around'' as a 'slow blues handed a warm reading from Emerson while the or backs him with a staccato beat. Not too impressive''. Of ''If Lovin Is Believing'' they said, "Emerson tries on this one but the material is rather weak''. Fortunately, Sam Phillips had more faith.


Sam Phillips, Ike Turner and Billy Emerson returned to the drawing board at a session on April 12, 1954. Ike Turner again supplied the band although only he and his bass player Jesse Knight remained from the first session. Raymond Hill and Bobbie Fields played saxes in place of Oliver Sain and Eugene Fox, while Robert Prindell came in on drums replacing Willie Sims. "We decided that I had to try something different'', Billy recalled. ''I had already written another blues-type song for my next record, called ''I'm Not Going Home'', so then I took an old nursery rhyme and I wrote this fast novelty thing, ''The Woodchuck''. That got me a lot of action around town.


Billy Emerson and his wife Camile. ^

01(1) - "I'M NOT GOING HOME" - B.M.I. - 3:10
Composer: - William Robert Emerson
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 114 - Master
Recorded: - April 12, 1954
Released: - May 1, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 203-A mono
I'M NOT GOING HOME / THE WOODCHUCK
Reissued - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-2-27 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

"I'm Not Going Home" is, as Billboard used to say, a "minor key opus". It is also one of Emerson's lesser efforts. Which is precisely why B-sides were created: not to interfere with attention garnered by the A-side. The ending is further evidence that Sam Phillips, for all his genius in the studio, could or would not master the art of the fade-out. Here, the echo rises as the volume fades. And we still manage to hear the instruments quit before the fade is complete.

01(2) - "I'M NOT GOING HOME" - 2 - B.M.I. - 3:10
Composer: - William Robert Emerson
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 12, 1954
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CD 30-23 mono
SUN BLUES ARCHIVES VOLUME 1 - BLUE GUITAR

"The Woodchuck" gives us the first clear glimpse of Emerson's penchant for novelty. He had the ability to take popular expressions or nonsense rhythm and convert them into saleable songs. Although Emerson was not usually one to string together a series of blues cliches and hope for the best, "The Woodchuck" contains as one might imagine. Only the chorus is memorable, which is precisely what Emerson intended. The whole recording exudes such a good natured spirit that all is forgiven. As a bonus, rockabilly fans will notice that Ike Turner contributes some stinging licks here that would have been welcome several years hence at a Warren Smith session.

02 - "THE WOODCHUCK" - B.M.I. - 3:08
Composer: - William Robert Emerson
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 115 - Master
Recorded: - April 12, 1954
Released: - May 1, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 203-B mono
THE WOODCHUCK / I'M NOT GOING HOME
Reissued - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-2-28 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

03(1) – ''WHEN MY BABY QUIT ME'' - B.M.I. - 3:01
Composer: - William Robert Emerson
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None   - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 12, 1954
Released: - 1976
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30103-B-5 mono
SUN: THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 3 - DELTA RHYTHM KINGS

03(2) - ''WHEN MY BABY QUIT ME'' - 2 - B.M.I.
Composer: - William Robert Emerson
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 12, 1954
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CD 30-22 mono
SUN BLUES ARCHIVES VOLUME 1 - BLUE GUITAR

03(3) - ''WHEN MY BABY QUIT ME'' - 3 - B.M.I. - 2:39
Composer: - William Robert Emerson
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 12, 1954
Released:  - 1992 
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CD 36-21 mono
WAY AFTER MIDNIGHT

This version featured here is an entirely different song of the same title by Emerson, previously released on Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30103 mono. Two different songs - same title - same artist.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
William Robert Emerson - Vocal and Guitar
Ike Turner – Guitar
Jesse Knight – Bass
Robert Prindell – Drums
Bobby Fields – Tenor Saxophone
Raymond Hill – Tenor Saxophone

It is likely that Emerson also recorded a blues called ''My Baby Quit Me'' at this session. In keeping with his aim to try something different, he made two versions of the song, first a plaintive delta blues that had all the hallmarks of Turner and his band, and then a more swinging version with Emerson singing a melody akin to ''Since My Baby Left Me'' after after the style of Ivory Joe Hunter.

Emersons' second disc, Sun 203, was issued on 1 May 1954 and he was paid a 10 dollar advance on sales as well as $22.50 for the 12 April session. He had played piano with the Turner band the same day on a session that produced Sun 204, two sax-led instrumentals by Raymond Hill, and these were issued alongside Billy's disc at the start of May.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS -      ©

On April 12, 1954, Ike Turner arranged a Billy Emerson session at Sun that yielded ''The Woodchuck''/''I'm Not Going Home''. Before or after Billy Emerson took the vocal mic, Turner persuaded Sam Phillips to let his longtime saxophonist Raymond Hill, cut a couple of instrumentals. The session costs $112.50, were split between Emerson and Hill. For some reasons, Phillips took fifty percent of the composer's share of both single. He did the same thing when Billy Love recorded a few weeks earlier; other wise, he rarely cut himself in.


Raymond Hill ^  

STUDIO SESSION FOR RAYMOND HILL
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: MONDAY APRIL 12, 1954
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

The New Orleans theme is retained, but the title of what ensues has anything to do with the Crescent City. This was the era of Joe Houston and Big Jay McNeely, but out Raymond Hill was plainly too laid-back to even come near emulating their antics. He sets off with a series of donkey honks that fail to build to a satisfying conclusion, even when he's joined by Ike's guitar and Bobby Field's saxophone. His solo is fluent enough, but rarely strays far from the roots chords, whilst drummer Bob Prindell fires off a machine-gun snare roll give the track the semblance of an excitement it never possessed.

01 - "BOURBON STREET JUMP" - B.M.I. - 2:40
Composer: - Raymond Hill
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 117 - Master
Recorded: - April 12, 1954
Released: - May 1, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 204-A mono
BOURBON STREET JUMP / THE SNUGGLE
Reissued - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-3-1 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

As deputy leader of the Kings Of Rhythm, Raymond Hill returned to the Sun studios on a split session with Billy "The Kid" Emerson. This slow, blowsey instrumental has a distinct aroma of New Orleans around it, largely due to Emerson's two-handed piano accompaniment. Unfortunately, the mix places such emphasis on Hill's tenor that very little of the backing band can be heard - thus, the intended interplay between tenor and piano on the final chorusses doesn't happen at all.

02 - "THE SNUGGLE" - B.M.I. - 2:59
Composer: - Raymond Hill
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 116 - Master
Recorded: - April 12, 1954
Released: - May 1, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 204-B mono
THE SNUGGLE / BOURBON STREET JUMP
Reissued - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-3-2 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Raymond Hill - Tenor Saxophone
Bobby Fields - Tenor Saxophone
Billy Emerson - Piano
Ike Turner - Guitar
Jesse Knight - Bass Guitar
Robert Prindell – Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


APRIL 13, 1954 TUESDAY

Tommy Collins recorded ''Untied'' and ''Whatcha Gonna Do Now'' at the Capitol Studios on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles.

APRIL 14, 1954 WEDNESDAY

Singer/songwriter Pierce Pettis is born in DeKalb County, Alabama. He writes Garth Brooks ''You Move Me''..

APRIL 15, 1954 THURSDAY

Webb Pierce recorded ''You're Not Mine Anymore'' at Nashville's Castle Studio.

Janet Louise Smith, the one-month-old daughter of future Grand Ole Opry star Jan Howard, dies in Columbus, Ohio, of a cerebral hemorrhage.

''My Baby'' b/w ''Straighten Up Baby'' (Sun 199) of James Cotton, and ''Alone And Blue'' b/w ''If You   Love Me'' (Sun 200) of Little Milton, are released.

APRIL 20, 1954 TUESDAY

Elvis Presley begins work at Crown Electric Company located at  475 North Dunlap,  where he starts out driving a truck at  $1 an hour, delivering supplies to building sites. He is hoping for the chance to train to be an  electrician. The warmer weather, Elvis Presley and Dixie Locke often go to Riverside Park,  where Elvis plays his guitar and sings for Dixie and other friends.

Sometime during the spring  Elvis tries out for the Songfellows, the junior Blackwood group, and is crushed when  according to his recollection, he is told that he "can't sing" - though other members of the  group later insist that they meant he couldn't sing harmony.

APRIL 22, 1954 THURSDAY

Eddy Arnold recorded ''This Is The Thanks I Get (For Loving You)'' at the RCA Recording Studio in New York City.

Tennessee Ernie Ford recorded ''River Of No Return'', the title song from a movie starring Robert Mitchum and Marilyn Monroe.

APRIL 23, 1954 FRIDAY

The Pickin' And Singin' News News reports Red Foley has moved from Nashville to Springfield, Missouri, where he is signed for several radio shows. Within months, he begins hosting ''The Ozark Jubilee'' on radio.

APRIL 24, 1954 SATURDAY

''Teen-Agers Demand Music With A Beat, Spur Rhythm-Blues'' was the page one headline of the April 24 issue of Billboard, only the latest in a long line of Delphic pronouncements, keenly observed but subject to a wide variety of interpretations, dating back over the last couple of years. ''The teen-age tide has swept down the old barriers which kept this music restricted to a segment of the population'', wrote Bob Rolontz and Joel Friedman, in a long front-page article that was borne out by Atlantic Records' virtually simultaneous launch of a new label, Cat Records, made up of rhythm and blues artists and intended to appeal directly to this trend. ''Southern bobbysoxers began to call the rhythm and blues records that move them 'cat music''', wrote Atlantic executives Jerry Wexler and Ahmet Ertegun only a little disingenuously a couple of months later in Cash Box. ''And what kind moves them? Well, it's the up-to-date blues with a beat''.

APRIL 25, 1954 SUNDAY

Singer/songwriter Rob Crosby is born in Sumter, South Carolina. He writes Lee Greenwood's ''Holdin' A Good Hand'', Martina McBride's ''Concrete Angel'' and ''Eric Paslay's ''Friday Night'', and has two hits in 1991 as an artist, ''She's A Natural'' and ''Love Will Bring Her Around''.

The Sterling Hayden western ''Arrow In The Dust'' opens in theaters with a cast includes two country hitmakers, Jimmy Wakely and Sheb Wooley.

APRIL 25, 1954 SUNDAY

More one-shot followed, Sam Phillips recorded a Memphis group called Doug  Poindexter's Starlite Wranglers, a name that would have been enveloped by the mists of time   were it not for the rosy future of the group's guitarist and bass player, Scotty Moore and Bill Black. Local hillbilly singer Doug Poindexter,'s  engagingly rural style made even Hank Williams sound uptown by   comparison; his solitary Sun recording sold even worse than ''Boogie Blues'', netting about   three hundred copies.

Discouraged by the record's dailure, but encouraged the fact that, at last, he had broken the recording barrier, Scotty Moore stopped by every day after work to talk to Sam about the future. He was hoping that Sam could give him work, any work, that would help him break into the music business. And that opportunity, it turns out, was just around the corner.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR DOUG POINDEXTER & THE STARLITE WRANGLERS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: PROBABLY SUNDAY APRIL 25, 1954 TUESDAY
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

Originally from Vanndale, Arkansas, Douglas Winston Poindexter was working at a Memphis bakery when Scotty Moore hired him to front his country sextet, the Starlite Wranglers. Inspired by the group's popularity at local nitespots like the Bel-Air and Beaufort Inn, Sam Phillips decided to capture their moment of glory and the track "My Kind Of Carryin' On" resulted. Scotty Moore, along with Bill Black, would shortly be sidestepping the scheme of things to become Elvis Presley's Blue Moon Boys.

Before Sun Records defined the blueprint for rockabilly music with Elvis Presley's "That's All Right" in the summer of 1954, the nearest thing Sam Phillips had heard to that sound was SUN 202, "My Kind Of Carryin' On" by Doug Poindexter and the Starlite Wranglers. There were no drums or rock and roll backbeat, but there was a hurrying bass rhythm from Bill Black and some hot guitar from Scotty Moore. Poindexter's lyrics were surprisingly salty for a country record - about fussin' and fightin' with his woman over whether he's going to get his 'sugar'. At the time the record was made, Elvis Presley was still only on the fringe of the Sun set-up, gigging occasionally with Poindexter's band.

01 - "MY KIND OF CARRYING ON" - B.M.I. - 2:00
Composer: - Scotty Moore-Doug Winston Poindexter
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 111 - Master
Recorded: - April 25, 1954
Released: - May 1, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 202-B mono
MY KIND OF CARRYING ON / NOW SHE CARES NO MORE
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-2-26 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Scotty Moore kicking off with some striking notes and settling into a persistent bass-string figure. Doug Poindexter telling the risque story in his hillbilly tenor with a hard-edged echoed sound. "My Kind Of Carryin' On" was supported by a more conventional hillbilly performance on "Now She Cares No More For Me", written by Doug's friend, country singer Bud Deckelman. However, Sun's accounts show that the record sold only 330 copies in the first year.


Doug Poindexter & The Starlite Wranglers, 1953-1954. From left: Bill Black, Tommy Dealey, Doug Poindexter, Millard Yow (steel), Clyde Rush, Scotty Moore. >

The song itself was an important record. It was honky tonk shading toward rockabilly. Listen, for instance, to the dirty-toned electric guitar up in the mix. There is a lot of fire in this recording, perhaps due less to Poindexter's vocal than to the backing group led by Scotty Moore and Bill Black. From the evidence afforded by this song, they were already marching to the beat of a different drummer.


Moore says that he wrote both sides of the record, but gave a share to his brother, Carney, for writing the lead sheet and a share to Poindexter because he was the singer, but that would be easier to swallow if he'd written more songs that sounded like this. It would have been good to say that this record deserved to be a massive hit but, of course, it did not stand a prayer. Billboard identified the major problem: ''Okay chanting from nasal voiced Poindexter. Big city buyers might not go big this but it should do well in the back country''.

02 - "NOW SHE CARES NO MORE" - B.M.I. - 3:00
Composer: - Scotty Moore-Carney Hefley Moore-G. Bud Deckelman
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 110 - Master
Recorded: - April 25, 1954
Released: - May 1, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 202-A mono
NOW SHE CARES NO MORE / MY KIND OF CARRYING ON
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-2-25 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

This recording features such a determinedly backwoods vocal that it makes Poindexter's hero, Hank Williams, sound uptown by comparison. The melody bears a similarity to Williams ''I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry'', but no matter, this is pure country soul with some real pain in the vocal. To underscore the Williams connection, steel guitarist, Milard Yow, even has some of Don Helms' directness and bluesy tone. The cowriter, Bud Deckelman, soon put Memphis country music on the map with ''Daydreamin''', a hit that Phillips missed. Hit or not, Poindexter's record was fiercely unafraid of its raw edges.

Scotty was working days blocking hats at his brother Carney Moore's University Park Dry Cleaners, located at 613 North McLean Boulevard in Memphis, and it was while working there that Scotty Moore became a member of the Starlite Wranglers. (The mother of singer Tammy Wynette (born Wynette Pugh) once worked for Carney Moore at University Park Cleaners). Bill Black worked at the local Ace Appliance Company(*) on 3431 Summer Avenue in Memphis. Scotty Moore had started his musical career in Washington, DC, on WBRO radio. He moved to Memphis in 1951 and had previously been featured on Eddie Hill's recording of "Hot Guitar" on Mercury Records.


Poindexter wanted to sound like his hero, Hank Williams. As usual, Sam Phillips wanted something a bit different. Poindexter came close to having his way on "Now She Cares No More For Me". Sam Phillips got his revenge on the flipside. "My Kind Of Carrying On" contains, along with some surprisingly raunchy lyrics, the modest seed of the Sun rockabilly sound. That owes, in no small way, to the fact that the Starlite Wranglers happen to contain Scotty Moore and Bill Black, who would venture forth into an unsuspecting world in just a few months as Elvis Presley's backup band.

Doug Poindexter >

The precise path that brought the Starlite Wranglers to Sam Phillips has never been identified. Poindexter and Scotty Moore have different tales, but this much is certain: when Phillips sat down to calculate Poindexter's royalties in May 1955 the record had sold all of 330 copies, and that was insufficient to send Phillips chasing after Doug to make another one.

All this somewhat hard to connect with the Doug Poindexter of today, a suburban insurance-man who quite happily admits to not having touched a guitar for many years. Poindexter appears somewhat bemused, and perhaps slightly amused, at the interest in his one and only recording session, held in May 1954. His perhaps over-modest view of those days is this: "Sam Phillips has a lot of credit due to him. He's built music in Memphis. I didn't do anything for it, because I only did the same thing everyone else was doing. As far as I'm concerned, Sam was the creator".

"Doug Poindexter was a local young man that I thought had a great potential along a Hank Williams line", recalled Sam Phillips. "He had an interesting voice and he had a fine band that Scotty Moore and Bill Black came from. Really, it was that I was getting involved with Elvis Presley around that time that prevented Doug's band really fulfilling their original aims in country".

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Doug Poindexter - Vocal and Acoustic Rhythm Guitar
Scotty Moore - Electric Lead Guitar Gipson EKS 295
Bill Black - Acoustic Upright Bass
Millard Yeow - Steel Guitar
Clyde Rush - Rhythm Guitar
Tommy Seals – Fiddle

Scotty Moore knew the Starlite Wranglers were not going to be the way he was going to do it. For one thing, Doug Poindexter didn't have the forward looking musical attitude that you needed to make in in the competitive, forward-looking music business; for another, no one in the band was prepared to give up their steady jobs to travel, with the exception of his friend, bass player Bill Black. So Scotty got in the habit of coming down to the studio several days a week after he got off work to talk to Sam Phillips about the future. They would go next door to Dell Taylor's restaurant for a cup of coffee if Sam had the time, Scotty just liked to listen to him talk, mostly about the changes that he saw on the horizon. ''He knew there was a crossover coming. He foresaw it. I think that recording all those black artists had to give him an insight; he just didn't know where that insight would lead'', says Scotty.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


APRIL 26, 1954 MONDAY

Ernest Tubb is arrested for drunk driving when his car hits a telephone pole on North First Street in Nashville.

Decca released the Kitty Wells and Red Foley double-sided single, ''One By One'' and ''I'm A Stranger In My Home''.

Percussionist Billy Ware, of the Cajun group Beausoleil, is born. The band appears on Mary Chapin Carpenter's ''Down At The Twist And Shout''.

APRIL 29, 1954 THURSDAY

Goldie Hill and Justin Tubb recorded ''Looking back To See''.

Karen Brooks is born in Dallas. Voted the Academy of Country Music Top New Female Vocalist in 1983, she scores a number 1 hit with T.G. Sheppard on ''Faking Love'' and writes Emmylou Harris' ''Tennessee Rose''.

APRIL 30, 1954 FRIDAY

''River Of No Returns'' debuts in movie theaters. Starring Robert Mitchum and Marilyn Monroe, its theme song becomes a country hit for Tennessee Ernie Ford.

APRIL 1954

This time, 'Billboard' listed the Emerson disc in their Review Spotlight' and said that with the   plaintive, stop-time song I'm Not Going Home. The label "could have a solid one here. Tune is   an exciting hunk of material and the warbler sells it the most." The compelling riffs, rocking   guitar, and conversational vocal style of The Woodchuck was described as a "novelty effort   (that) receives a good talking rendition from the chanter over a southern blues backing by   the combo''.

MAY 1954

In the spring of 1954, future Sun artist Ernie Chaffin with his buddy Pee Wee Maddux signed a two record deal with Hickory  Records, the label division of Acuff-Rose publishing released all four titles to scant acclaim during 1954. Fred Rose wrote a note to Pee Wee Maddux expressing disappointment in the sales but thought that Ernie had, in Rose's words, ''gained an entre'' Within a few weeks however Rose was dead and Ernie was never called back for another session.  What should have become the start of  a long career in mainstream country music evaporated when neither record released by  Hickory garnered much attention. Two releases later, the deal was over.

If Rose had not accepted their material, Maddux was determined to start up an independent label to issue his work with Ernie. It was this option the their now began to explore. Fine Records was started in Biloxi as a joint venture between Maddux and Prof. Marion Carpenter who was a local band director and Ernie's manager. At some point promoter Yankie Bahanovich seems to have become involved. Their first venture, Ernie's original recording of ''The Heart Of Me'', was released in early 1956.

MAY 1, 1954 SATURDAY

Hardrock Gunter's "Gonna Dance All Night" b/w ''Fallen Angel'' (Sun 201) is released at about this time. It is a country boogie for the Bill Haley market and, unusually for Sun, has been recorded elsewhere, also released this day t he singles ''The Woodchuck''/''I'm Not Going Home'' Sun 203 by Billy "The Kid" Emerson and ''The   Snuggle''/''Bourbon Street Jump'' Sun 204 by Raymond Hill, and Sun released Doug Poindexter and The Starlite Wrangler's ''My Kind Of Carryin' On'' backed with ''Now She Cares No More For Me'' (Sun 202), the only Sun single for the band, featuring guitarist Scotty Moore and bass player Bill Black. Within weeks, Moore and Black begin work with Sun's Elvis Presley. The element of this records make different was its sound, it introduced for the first time Sam Phillips' own version of the ''artificial'' echo that had become a common recording technique following the experiments of studio engineer Bill Putnam six or seven years earlier. Sam put his special stamp on it, applying the name ''slapback''. Nothing happened. None of the records sold.

Singer/songwriter Don King is born in Omaha, Nebraska. His writing credits include Janie Fricke's ''You Don't Know Love'' and Reba McEntire's ''Why Do We Want (What We Know We Can't Have)''.

Comedian Andy Griffith makes his Grand Ole Opry debut,  at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee.

MAY 3, 1954 MONDAY

Tennessee Ernie Ford makes the first of three guest appearance on ''I Love Lucky'' as hick relative Uncle Ernie. The plot includes a rendition of ''Wabash Cannonball''.

Columbia released Little Jimmy Dickens' ''Out Behind The Barn'' and Marty Robbins' ''Pretty Words''.


Billy Love's ''Hart's Bread Boogie'' > 

MAY, 1954

On May 14, Milton Billy Red Love played a session with blues guitarist Pat Hare and drummer  Israel Franklin that produced the enthusiastic ''Bonus Pay'' and the foreboding ''I'm Gonna  Murder My Baby'', neither of which were issued at the time. It is likely that this was the  month when Love also recorded a promotional record for the Hart's bakery in Memphis,  perhaps on May 3, when Love was paid $15.


The two songs he made that day have a much  sparser and more bluesy sound and the musicians backing him on ''Blues Leave Me Alone''  and ''Hart's Bread Boogie'' are probably Pat Hare and Israel Franklin. ''Blues Leave Me Alone''  features a deliberate, slow and building riff and shows Love's vocal range and ability to lose  himself in the blues.

He suddenly sounds much closer to the country blues singers of an  earlier generation with his vocal, both smooth and hollering at the same time. It may have  been recorded as a B-side but it was not issued and possibly Love or Phillips did not know  that the Hart's company liked to issue promotional 45s with the same song on both sides.  Love recorded three versions of ''Hart's Bread Boogie'' but only one was used.

The Hart's bakery briefly had a policy of using well-known local musicians to make  promotional records in support of their products. They issued these on 78 and 45 rpm  discs that were sold or were given away at various promotional events and which doubled  as good advertising vehicles for use by disc jockeys. Billy Love's is the only known blues  version of ''Hart's Bread Boogie'' but the same song was recorded by a number of hillbilly  bands as were other variants like Slim Rhodes's ''Don't Say Bread Say Hart's'' also issued on  the Hart's label. Curley Hickson recorded ''Hart's Boogie'' on the SEMO label, and versions  appeared on a number of advertising agency labels.

Someone called Dreamy Joe recorded the same song as ''Hardin's Bread Boogie'' on Action  Productions and he also recorded the song as both ''Holsum Bread'' and ''Sweetheart  Bread''. The advertising agency Action Productions label also had a unidentified singer  titled Bunny Bread.

It is difficult to say whether this song was written by Billy Love, by one of the hillbilly  bands, or by an advertising man in Memphis somewhere. Billy Love sings the same lyrics as  Curley Hickson and the other hillbillies but musically his version is a world apart. Love has  a far more attacking vocal style and Pat Hare plays a wonderfully harsh guitar solo. There  is something of the greasy style of Ray Charles's ''It Should Have Been Me'' about the  recording and the bottom line was, "You can't do the boogie if Hart's not in it."



Hart's bread was founded by L. S. Hartzog, known as ''Mr Hart'' who founded a bakery in   Selma, Alabama, before moving to Memphis and starting up the Hart's Bread Bakery on   Summer Avenue at the junction with Mendenhall Street, just a short car ride away from   706 Union Avenue. At its height of success Hart's was a big operation and the company had   a large factory over which towered a neon lit Hart's sign, a bright red heart on an   aluminum pedestal with flashing yellow hearts all of which lit up in a pulsing sequence.



Although Hart's was a wholesale factory many Memphians recall the pre-health department   days when they could walk up to a tiny window, hand an employee a quarter and take  away a steaming hot loaf right off the assembly line. 'Mr Hart' also owned a lot of   restaurants including many links in the chains of Wendy's, KFC, and others. It is not known   who the 'Mr Brown' was, mentioned in all versions of the Hart's boogie song, but   presumably he was the manager of the Memphis wholesale bakery. This closed down at   some point in the 1970s although the Hart's brand is still current today. One of the few   differences in the versions Billy Love recorded is that the "man by the name of Brown" one   version becomes "Mr Brown" in others.

It's not known what politics Billy Love supported, but in taking the commission to make   music for Hart's bread he unwittingly took part in what a famous politician later   denounced as a history of exploitation by the Hart's company. 



Old Hart's Bread bakery building on 4871 Summer Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. >

A chronicler of old Memphis, Vance Lauderdale, wrote this about the hart's Bread bakery at 4871 Summer Avenue and Mendenhall. ''The sign stood like a bacon. It was a combination neon and mechanical. You had a huge bright-red heart mounted on a fluted aluminium pedestal. On each side were neon-shaped hearts, arranged one inside the other, which got smaller and smaller as they reached the center. 


These were in yellow, and as the neon tubes flashed on and off, in and out, in sequence, the heart seem pulse or beat. At the exact moment when every tube of neon was illuminated, the giant cursive letters spelling out 'Hart's' flashed across the sign. Then they turned off, and the whole 'heartbeat' started again. Mounted on top of this, was a full-color Volkswagen-sized loaf of Hart's bread''. So even the sign did the ''Hart's Bread Boogie''.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR BILLY LOVE
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE PROBABLY MONDAY MAY 3, 1954
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

01(1) - "HART'S BREAD BOOGIE" - B.M.I. - 2:39
Composer: - Milton Billy Love
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 1   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Possibly May 3, 1954
Released: - 1996
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-7-1 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310 JK-7-5 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958



Here is a photograph of Billy Red 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. ^

Love pays a talking blues tribute to the title's product. In fact, the "Hart's Bread Show" ran regularly on KWEM in West Memphis, Arkansas, and an alternate version of this song appeared on the Hart's Bread label.

The lyric recounts the curative and restorative powers of the product in a manner which would no longer pass codes of Advertising Practice (imagine Love and Sam Phillips trying to argue the truth of lines like "You can't do the boogie if your heart's not in it" in court) Love's vocal is performed in the same greasy style as Ray Charles "It Should Have Been Me", which was highly popular in 1953 when this song was conceived.


01(2) - "HART'S BREAD BOOGIE" - B.M.I. - 3:26
Composer: - Milton Billy Love
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Alternate    - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Possibly May 3, 1954
Released: - 1992
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CD SUN 36-9 mono
THE SUN BLUES ARCHIVES - WAY AFTER MIDNIGHT - VOLUME 4
Reissued: - 2011 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17149-18 mono
GEE... I WISH

01(3) - "HART'S BREAD BOOGIE" - B.M.I. - 2:39
Composer: - Milton Billy Love
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - HB 66 - Take 3
Recorded: - Possibly May 3, 1954
Released: - 1954
First appearance: - Harts (S) 78rpm H B-22 mono
HART'S BREAD BOOGIE
Reissued: - 2011 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17149-25 mono
GEE... I WISH

02(1) - "BLUES LEAVE ME ALONE" - B.M.I. – 3:29
Composer: - Milton Billy Love
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Take 1   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Possibly May 3, 1954
Released: - November 1977
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30135-12 mono
THE LEGENDARY SUN PERFORMERS - JUNIOR PARKER & BILLY LOVE
Reissued: - 2011 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17149-24 mono
GEE... I WISH

02(2) - "BLUES LEAVE ME ALONE" - B.M.I. – 3:28
Composer: - Milton Billy Love
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Take 2   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Possibly May 3, 1954
Released: - Re-Issued of Deleted Track
First appearance: - 1992 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CD SUN 36-8 mono
THE SUN BLUES ARCHIVES - WAY AFTER MIDNIGHT - VOLUME 4
Reissued: - 2011 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17149-17 mono
GEE... I WISH

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Billy Love - Vocal and Piano
Pat Hare – Guitar / Unknown - Bass and Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


Fannie Mae Duncun's Cotton Club, Colorado Springs, Colorado

BLUES LEAVE ME ALONE

Where out west? Well, according to the City Directory of Colorado Springs for 1959 Milton  Love was living at 330 ½ Conejos Street with his wife, Lillie M Love, and he was working as  an attendant at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. He was obviously still playing  music because the next year, 1960, he had moved with Lillie to 608 North Franklin and  was listed as a musician at Duncan's Cotton Club.

The Cotton Club at 25/27 West Colorado Avenue was a renowned venue for black  musicians and became an institution in Colorado Springs until it closed in the mid-'70s. The  club was owned by Fannie Mae Duncan from Luther, Oklahoma, who ran a cafe and bar  with her husband before establishing a night club in 1948. They booked top quality jazz  and blues performers in the 1950s and 1960s including Fats Domino, Duke Ellington, Billie  Holiday, Lionel Hampton, Little Richard and B. B. King.

The club was the place to go for  servicemen from Fort Carson as well as students from  Colorado College and although the clientele was 80% black Mrs Duncan was renowned for  discouraging segregation. She posted a huge sign with a spotlight over it in the window  that read, 'Everybody Welcome!"'. Mrs Duncan became a local legend for her pioneering  business sense and tough and savvy facade along with her all- embracing attitude. One  employee said: "When you entered, you would always see her sitting at the end of the bar  on a bar stool in the corner. She had this presence about her. She dressed like no other.  She wore furs and diamonds, but everybody respected her. People felt very comfortable  coming in there, of all races, and no one was ever turned away."


Fannie Mae Duncan and The Houseband >

Fannie Mae Duncan employed a house band through the 1960s and Milton Love was a  pianist and arranger there for several years. By 1961 he had moved to 608 Gillette Street  with Lillie and on May 31, that year the ''Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph'' contained  among its notices section the news: "Mr and Mrs Milton Love, 608 Gillette St, a boy, 7  pounds four and three-quarter ounces, born Monday May 29 at Penrose Hospital." This may  have been one of the first of the 'six kids' Rosco Gordon spoke about.


Nothing is known of Milton Love's life outside of the Cotton Club during the 1960s but  apparently things went wrong by 1968 when he was living at the rear of 117 Corona Street  and listed as a labourer.

By 1973 he was living at the rear of 223 South Institute Street,  apparently renting accommodation from a man named Raymond Anderson who lived in the  main part of the house. Sometime that year Milton's address was changed to 225 South  Institute Street, indicating either that he had moved in next door to Anderson or that the  rear part of the house now had a separate number. It was at this new address on January  6, 1974 that Milton was arrested by the police.

The Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph reported on 7 January: "Man killed in drug raid - A  Colorado Springs man was shot to death Sunday after he opened fire on police officers  conducting simultaneous drug raids on two houses in the 200 block of South Institute  Street. Police identified the dead man as Raymond Anderson, 62 of 223 Institute Street.  The Anderson house was raided by police at 9:15 p.m. fit with search warrants. The  occupant of the second house, Milton Love, 225 South Institute Street, was arrested on  complaints of possession for sale of narcotic drugs and possession of illegal weapons.  Suspected heroin was found in both houses, according to Carl Petry, Assistant Chief of  Police. Petry said police gained entrance to the Love home without incident but when  Anderson answered the knock on his door and two officers identified themselves, he fired  three shots through the glass portion of the door. After they were shot at, police said,  Detective Sgt Adas Talley and Sgt James Lilley returned the fire through the door. Petry  said the officers fired a total of six shots into the house. Anderson's son, Richard, 23, was  in the house at the time of the shooting."

Three days later, the ''Gazette'' reported on January 10, that "Seven heroin counts were  filed in district court Wednesday against two men, Garland Edward Banks, 23, of Hancock  Avenue and Milton B Love, 44, of 425 South Institute Street. Banks had five counts of  selling heroin and one of having heroin for sale filed against him … Love was charged with  having heroin for sale and having an illegal weapon in hos possession, a sawed off shotgun,  Sunday.... The defendant (Love) was arrested at his his home during a raid by police and  narcotics officers who also raided the 223 South Institute which resulted in the death of an  occupant of the house, Raymond Anderson. The matter was presented to the grand jury  Tuesday night and it was established that Anderson had fired first. The officers returned  six shots Anderson fired a second shot and when the officers entered the house it was  found that Anderson had been hit five times. After six hours of testimony Tuesday night,  the grand jury ruled it ''was a clear cut case of self defense'' and refused to return any  indictment against the officers". The same day the ''Greeley (Col) Tribune'' reported that  the Police said they confiscated $1500 worth of heroin from the Love household.

Nevertheless, it seems that Milton Love survived the events of 1974 relatively unscathed  and the City Directory returns for the following year found him, described as Milton B  Love, still living at 225 South Institute. However Milton's luck ran out five months into that  year. The notices section of the ''Gazette Telegraph'' of Monday May 5, 1975 reported:  "Milton Love. Passed away Friday at a local hospital. Arrangements later." It was not  reported whether the cause was the heroin or the drink but Rosco Gordon told Hank Davis  in 1980 that "(Billy's) dead. Died a long time ago... He drank himself to death."

The funeral arrangements involved moving Milton Love's body from Colorado Springs to  Memphis where he was taken to the Victory Funeral Home. On May 16, 1975 Milton Morse  ''Billy Red'' Love was buried at the Memphis National Cemetery on Townes Avenue.

Quite apart from the problems associated with his lifestyle leading to his early death, two  and a half records on Chess, an aborted record on Sun, and a promotional disc for bread  were not a lot to show for a life in music. But Milton Billy Love left behind a number of  unissued recordings that started to be issued on blues and rhythm and blues collections in  the 1970s and 1980s, fuelling a degree of interest in him and his music. Also, the little girl  who had taken Billy Love's appetite back in the early 1950s never forgot him or his music.  Raymond Sanders's sister Lillie was Lillie Jubirt by the 1980s when her three daughters,  Ann, Carol and Lynn started performing in Memphis as the Jubirt Sisters. They made an LP,  ''Ladies Sing The Blues'', High Water, LP 1008, for producer David Evans and included two  of Billy Love's songs, ''Early In The Morning'' and ''If You Want To Make Me Happy''.

Reflecting on discussions about the songwriter overheard during these recording sessions,  Evens told me: "I always got the impression he was an elusive character, operating in the  shadows. Well respected for his musical abilities though." The Jubirt Sisters recordings  reappeared in CD form in 2000 on ''Sing! Sister! Sing!'', High Water, Hightone HMG 6515.  Singer Ann Jubirt told me, "The Jubirt Sisters are inspired by this fascinating and talented  artist."

by Martin Hawkins, Maidstone, England, October 2010

MAY 7, 1954 FRIDAY

The Nelson family, including Ricky nelson, appears on the cover of TV Guide.



Presto PT 900 Portable Recording Equipment >

Sam Phillips went to the Tennessee State Penitentiary with his portable recording equipment and cut what would be their last Sun single, "What'll You Do Next" and "There Is Love In You". It was released on July 1, 1954, a few days before Sam Phillips found the path towards commercial salvation with Elvis Presley. If Phillips had his ear a little closer to the ground, he would have known that the sound of doo-wop was changing.


Governor Frank Clement was running for re-election, and his political opponents, not to mention the newspapers, had been jumping all over him for his irresponsible ideas on prison reform ever since the Prisonaires had starting making outside appearances the previous July. Sam Phillips entered the prison gates not without a certain amount of trepidation, it was a maximum-security prison designed to hold twelve hundred with a population of a thousand more. But Sam knew that if he were to show fear, he would only be drawing further attention to himself. So, with the warden accompanying him, he ate in the prison chow line. ''Man, I can tell you, I didn't eat a whole lot. Because I tried to speak with as many of the men as I could'', said Phillips. And Sam put forty or fifty prisoners to work hanging canvas with him to deaden the sound in the prison's concrete-block movie theater. Sam didn't want any extra guards. He just wanted as many prisoners as possible to participate in the process. And he left the prison at 2:30 the following morning with two songs for the Prisonaires' next and, as it would turn out, last single release.

Sam Phillips also left the prison with an acetate that had been set aside for him by Red Wortham, the song publisher who had steered the Prisonaires to Sun Records (See: Elvis Sun Sessions / Elvis 1954 / June 26, 1954).

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR THE PRISONAIRES
AT THE TENNESSEE STATE PENITENTIARY, NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE 1954

PRESTO PT 900 PORTABLE RECORDING EQUIPMENT
SUN SESSION: SATURDAY MAY 8, 1954
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

A devotional, if you will. Love, faith, hope, trust, peace... all those qualities most of us wish we had a little more of in our lives. Whether we get them from lovers of friends or deities differs from person to person. Bragg's lyric is unusual only because he seems to shuttle back and forth within the same song until we don't know just whom he's adoring. And so the lyric stands in all its unorthodox ambiguity and honesty. Just the way Sam Phillips would have liked it.

01(1) - "WHAT'LL YOU DO NEXT" - B.M.I. - 1:37
Composer: - Johnny Bragg-William Stewart
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - May 8, 1954
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15523 AH-17 mono
THE PRISONAIRES - JUST WALKIN' IN THE RAIN

The Prisonaires saw three singles issued from sessions in Memphis, but the two songs that appeared as their fourth and final Sun single were made on portable recording equipment in the auditorium of the penitentiary. The alternative take of ''What'll You Do Next'' has never been issued before and is marginally slower than the issued version while retaining the bongo beat probably provided by prison band drummer Hubbard Brown and the clever interplay between the bass voice and the tenors.

01(2) - "WHAT'LL YOU DO NEXT"* - B.M.I. - 1:28
Composer: - Johnny Bragg-William Stewart
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 123 - Master
Recorded: - May 8, 1954
Released: - July 1, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm single SUN 207-B mono
WHAT'LL YOU DO NEXT / THERE IS LOVE IN YOU
Reissued - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-3-8 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

01(3) – WHAT'LL YOU DO NEXT - B.M.I. - 1:35
Composer: - Johnny Bragg-William Stewart
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - May 8, 1954
Released: - 2011
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16893-24 mono
THE PRISONAIRES – BABY PLEASE


Is worth a long second listen. The big question is simply, is this a secular or a religious recording? To whom is Bragg singing? His girlfriend or God? While artists like Ray Charles, Sam Cooke or Aretha Franklin have made careers of blending gospel and secular music, it has been done like this. Initially, it seems a safe bet that Johnny Bragg is singing about God. There is joy, there is peace, there is hope, and there is rest in the object of his affection. These are not usually qualities associated with one's girlfriend, at least in popular music. The idea that he follows in the footsteps of his adored being, further suggests a religious theme.


By then, suddenly, the other shoe falls, "There is rest in you/When you're in my arms". Hardly the place one expects to find the Big Gut: in Johnny Bragg's arms.  The version of the slow ballad ''There Is Love In You'' is similar to the issued version but with the group's voices more prominent behind Bragg's heartfelt lead vocal. Music writer Hank Davis has pointed out the confusion in the lyrics, which never make clear whether this is a secular or religious love Bragg's heart feels. The song was written by Bragg with co-composer, guitarist William Stewart.

02(1) - "THERE IS LOVE IN YOU" - B.M.I. - 2:51
Composer: - Johnny Bragg-William Steward
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 122 - Master
Recorded: - May 8, 1954
Released: - July 1, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm single SUN 207-A mono
THERE IS LOVE IN YOU / WHAT'LL YOU DO NEXT
Reissued - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-3-7 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

02(2) - ''THERE IS LOVE IN YOU'' - B.M.I. - 2:53
Composer: - Johnny Bragg-William Steward
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - May 8, 1954
Released: - 2011
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16893-25 mono
THE PRISONAIRES - BABY PLEASE


Has appeared both with and without percussion on different anthologies. Sam Phillips expended considerable time recording it and rightly so. It is a fine song, worthy of his effort. The final released version is superb, if a bit thin on the bottom end. With the addition of a string bass to drive it, this record would have been a classic.  As it is, the recording features fine interplay between the bass singer and harmony vocals. The arrangement build considerable tension going into the final release, "Don't tell me you're not giving...". Sam Phillips picked the correct take for release; virtually every element meshes in this effective and minimalist recording.


The Prisonaires 1953 ^

What has happened here? Perhaps the most reasonable account is that somewhere in his lonely cell, Johnny Bragg thought about those things most missing in his life and wrote a simply love song to them. A devotional, if you will. Peace and Love are simple things, rendered that much more desirable by their absence. Both God and woman are ways to achieve them, and the distinction between these sources was of secondary importance in Bragg's lonely soul. And so the Lyric stands, in all its unorthodox ambiguity and honestly. Just the way Sam Phillips would have liked it.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Johnny Bragg - Lead Tenor Vocal
John Drue - 2nd Tenor Vocal
William Steward - Baritone, Vocal and Guitar
Marcell Sanders - Bass Vocal
Ed Thurman - Tenor Vocal
Probably Hubbard Brown – Bongoes (*)

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


MAY 1954

The rawness that Sam Phillips found in Little Milton's guitar was amplified, bot literally and  metaphorically, in the work of Auburn ''Pat'' Hare, the most aggressive picker to work at  Phillips' studio in Memphis. Together, Pat Hare and James cotton produced one of the truly  great blues recordings, ''Cotton Crop Blues''.

MAY 10, 1954 MONDAY

Tennessee Ernie Ford makes his second guest appearance as rural Uncle Ernie on CBD' ''I Love Lucy''. Viewers get renditions of ''Wabash Cannonball'' and ''Y'all Come''.

Decca released Webb Pierce's ''Even 'Tho'', featuring his duet with The Wilburn Brothers, ''Sparkling Brown Eyes'' on the B-side.

Columbia released Ray Price's ''Much To Young To Die''.

MAY 12, 1954 WEDNESDAY

Little Jimmy Dickens recorded ''Take Me As I Am (Or Let Me Go)'' in Nashville. The song becomes a hit for Ray Price a lucky 13 years later.

MAY 13, 1954 THURSDAY

Carl Smith recorded ''Go, Boy, Go'', ''More Than Anything Else In The World'' and ''No, I Don't Believe I Will'' during the afternoon at the castle Studio in Nashville.

Ray Kennedy is born in Buffalo, New York. He earns a hit in 1990 with ''What A Way To Go'', then goes on to produce alternate country albums with Steve Early.

The Broadway production ''The Pajama Game'' opens at the St. James Theatre in New York. The musical introduces the Richard Adler-Jerry Ross song ''Hernando's Hideaway'', which is parodied in a country rendition by Homer and Jethro.


If ever there was a seminal example of country and city blues merging in Memphis, then this must surely be it. The lyrical content is so deeply rooted in the Delta, its surprising that it even got as far as Memphis - whilst on the other hand, Pat Hare's devastating guitar playing and sound epitomises the harsh angularity of the city blues. The whole record becomes a metaphor for rural oppression and hopelessness, in much the same was as Mercy Dee Walton's best records (but unfortunately, without any of the humour). Who can forget Cotton's  brooding interjections like "So dark and muddy on this farm?". 


James Cotton ^

But make no mistake, its Hare's work which elevates this disc to classic stature: his blistering fills and solo, complemented by the barely contained distortion, are truly lightning in a bottle, whilst the pounding piano from Mose Vinson, and the drums of John Bowers, provide the ideal accompaniment. This is surely Hare's finest recorded performance - and whilst the solo was patently preconceived (sections of it are reproduced note-for-note in other Hare recordings), the fact that it was conceived at all, much less recorded, is truly impressive.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR JAMES COTTON
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: FRIDAY MAY 14, 1954
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

By any criterion, ''Cotton Crop Blues'' is one of the finest blues records ever made, easily transcending its origin as a barely disquised rewrite of Roosevelt Sykes' ''Cotton Seed Blues''. Here, country and city merge. The words are so deeply rooted in the Delta and the sharecropper's grimly predictable life, it's surprising that ''Cotton Crop Blues'' even got as far as Memphis, but Pat Hare's vituperative guitar seems born and bred of the city.

01 - "COTTON CROP BLUES" - B.M.I. - 2:59
Composer: - James Cotton
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 120 - Master
Recorded: - May 14, 1954
Released: - July 1, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 206-A mono
COTTON CROP BLUES / HOLD ME IN YOUR HANDS
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-3-5 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

If listening to "Hold Me In Your Arms" (SUN 206), the original master is lost, produces a sense of deja-vu, don't be surprised. Virtually every note here, from Hare's guitar intro to the simulated fadeout (Sam Phillips seemed unwilling or unable to fade out performances from the control room), is borrowed directly from Junior Parker's "Love My Baby". In a recent interview, Cotton claimed that he and guitarist Floyd Murphy had first conceived the tune and performed it over radio station KWEM. If Sam Phillips was aware of the duplication, he was unconcerned; he held the publishing, Hi-Lo Music Incorporated, to both titles.

02 - "HOLD ME IN YOUR ARMS" - B.M.I. - 2:45
Composer: - James Cotton
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - U 121 - Master
Recorded: - May 14, 1954
Released: - July 1, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 206-B mono
HOLD ME IN YOUR ARMS / COTTON CROP BLUES
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-3-6 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Mind you, if one had to plagiarise, then this is as good a place to start as any. In a mid-1980s interview Cotton  vividly recalled this session, right down to the fact that he had contributed to the rhythm section by playing  'drums' on a cardboard box.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
James Cotton - Vocal possibly Percussion
Pat Hare - Guitar
Mose Vinson - Piano
John Bowers - Drums

There was a marked contrast between the lyrics - rooted in rural despair - and Pat Hare's accompaniment which epitomized the harshness and angularity of city blues. Hare played intense and climactic fills around Cotton's vocal and then took a solo of extraordinary violence and passion. "Mr. Sandman" was sitting on top of the Hit Parade on the day "Cotton Crop Blues" was released. The two songs could have come from different planets.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR PAT HARE
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: FRIDAY MAY 14, 1954
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

''Bonus Pay'' although not titled as such on its initial release (it originally appeared as "Ain't Gonna Be That Way" on Charly Records Sun LP 1061, this is Hare's version of Eddie ''Cleanhead'' Vinson's 1946 Mercury single. In comparison with much of his earlier work the guitar solo is quite restrained, although it certainly features Hare's fondness for over-amplification to the point of distortion. Perhaps the major problem here is that Hare was constrained by having to sing and play guitar fills at the same time - i.e. without the benefit of latter-day overdubbing techniques.

01 - "BONUS PAY (AIN'T GONNA BE THAT WAY)" - B.M.I. - 2:07
Composer: - Eddie Vinson
Publisher: - Cherio Music
Matrix number: - None   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - May 14, 1954
Released: - 1990
First appearance: Rounder Records (CD) 500/200rpm Rounder CD SS 38-13 mono
MYSTERY TRAIN
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-8-2 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958


Auburn Pat Hare >

Back in 1941 when Doctor Clayton recorded ''Cheating And Lying Blues'', his murder threat was lighthearted and the lyrics were intentionally funny. Even without knowing the tragic coda in which life imitated art, nothing about this record was funny. Hare was not a great vocalist, but this is distinguished by his guitar solo and his psychopathic rewrite of Clayton's song. As recorded, it could almost be court evidence. In the light of what transpired interjections like ''Gonna kill her tomorrow'' are chilling.


Violence probably lay close to the surface in hare's life. His guitar-shredder style seems to imply as much. Jim Dickinson once said that Pat Hare played guitar like he was in Hell. Some of his cohorts from the good days in Memphis remembered him quite differently, but others remembered a mean drunk who was capable of committing the act prefigured in this recording.

02(1) - "I'M GONNA MURDER MY BABY
(CHEATIN' AND LYIN' BLUES)" - B.M.I. - 2:54
Composer: - Clayton
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - May 14, 1954
Released: - 1973
First appearance: - 1986 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 105 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1956
Reissued: March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310 JK-5-26 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958

02(2) - "I'M GONNA MURDER MY BABY
(CHEATIN' AND LYIN' BLUES)" - B.M.I. - 3:05
Composer: - Clayton
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - May 14, 1954
Released: - 1973
First appearance: - Redita Records (LP) 33rpm Holland 111 mono
706 BLUES
Reissued: March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310 JK-9-28 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958

If only for the spoken asides, this is more menacing than the commonly available take heard (above). taken from an acetate disc and first issued on a Redita LP, this has been unavailable since the 1970s. What were Phillips' feelings as he sat in the control room listening to perhaps the most malevolent recording in the history of the blues.



And now to the notorious case of life imitation art: much has been written about the grim irony attached to this song and the tragic circumstances of Pat Hare's subsequent life - for he did in fact murder his baby, albeit not until nearly yen years later.  Hare is not a great vocalist, but this recording is distinguished by its guitar solo and the psychopathic nature of the song (which is itself born in part from Dr Clayton's "Cheatin' & Lyin' Blues". Hare's menacing response to his baby's infidelity is captured forever on tape, and could almost have been used in court as evidence.


Blues Consolidated on the road: top from left:  Junior Parker, Hamp Simmons, Jimmy Johnson, Eugene Ballow, Pat Hare, bottom: Bobby Bland, Joe Fritz. South Carolina, 1952. ^

In the light of what later transpired, interjections such as "Gonna kill her tomorrow!" are chilling, indeed. Arguably, the violence in Pat Hare's life lay very close to the surface, although - as is often the way - many of his cohorts from the good ol' days in Memphis remembered him quite differently. In a Living  Blues interview, Rosco Gordon described him as "a beautiful personality, such a gentle person", whilst conversely, Muddy Waters fired him for persistent drunkenness and violence. Who knows... but whatever, this remains a chilling, disturbing record.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Auburn Pat Hare - Vocal and Guitar
Billy Love - Piano
Unknown - Bass
Israel Franklin – Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


PAT HARE A BLUES GUITARIST

TAKE THE BITTER WITH THE SWEET
by Kevin Hahn, Juke Blues number 23, pp-8-15, Summer 1991.

During the decade of the 1950s the name of Pat Hare stood among the front ranks of the many fine guitarists playing in Memphis, Houston, and Chicago. As Sam Phillips' favorite guitarist he appeared on many of Sun's blues sessions and his ferocious lead work made classics of records by the young James Cotton, Walter Bradford and Little Junior Parker; later recordings and performances with Parker, Bobby Bland and Muddy Waters served as tutelage for a new generation of blues players. Bob Koester, of Delmark Records, whose interest in blues is primarily as a vocal music, considered Pat as one of the finest non-singing guitarists and one of the few of interest. By the early 1960s, however, his career was over; his last recorded work dates from 1960 and in early 1964 he was sentenced to life in prison for a double murder in Minnesota. Although he lived until 1980 and continued to perform while incarcerated, he was a forgotten figure in the blues community. This article is intended to bring some attention to his brief but important part in the story of the blues, and especially to shed some light on the events that ended his musical life, a story that has been clouded with myth and misinformation.

Auburn Hare was born on December 20, 1930 in Cherry Valley, Arkansas at the home of his grandfather on Mrs Fay Van's plantation. The family, which included Auburn's only sibling, a brother who died at the age of six, remained on the plantation until 1940 when they moved to a farm near Parkin. By this time Auburn had been nicknamed ''Pat'' by his grandmother and had already begun to play on an old guitar he had discovered under a bed at his grandfather's house.

In his young teens Pat came under the musical wings of Joe Willie Wilkins and Howlin' Wolf, who lived nearby and knew Pat's parents. From Joe Willie, Pat received lessons and was allowed to join in playing between innings at the minor league baseball games in West Memphis. By the late 1940s Pat was spending his weekends playing in Wolfs band when it performed in the Parkin/Forrest City/West Memphis area (Wolf would come out to the Hare farm and pick him up for the gig and return him at the end of the night); during the week he drove ''a big John Deere tractor'' helping his father on the farm. The band experience was a heady one for a teenager spending his life on the farm and this early exposure to nightlife and moonshine encouraged his rebellious streak. Feeling his oats, he had several runins with Wolf (who tried to keep him in check), one time getting up on a chair to punch the much-larger Wolf in the mouth (Wolf didn't retaliate, but did tell Pat's parents when he brought him home that night, recommending that they give him a good  whipping!), and another time claimed to have actually taken a few pot-shots at Wolf with a small-caliber automatic, laughing with glee while Wolf scrambled up and over a wood-pile behind the juke they were playing at. One night a fight with some patrons ended with Pat cracking an antagonist over the head with a handy rake-handle, breaking the rake, his pursuer's jaw, and his own little finger, which healed crookedly and remained bent for the rest of his life.

Howlin' Wolf kept Pat in the band despite all this and by 1951 he was playing full-time with the group, broadcasting from West Memphis station KWEM on Wolfs radio spot; he also broadcast with James Cotton, Willie Nix and Joe Hill Louis, and from station WDIA in Memphis with his cousin, disc jockey Walter Bradford, with whom he made his recording debut, cutting six titles in February/June 1952 for Sun Records. The first session's results, ''Dreary Nights'' b/w ''Nuthin' But The Blues'', were supposedly issued on Sun 176 but copies have never been found and they remain unheard. The second session produced four titles, including the very fine ''Reward For My Baby'' with superb guitar work from Pat. Pat also remembered playing behind Wolf on some RPM titles cut at KWEM (twenty-five years later he could still play ''The Sun Is Rising'' note for note), but Willie Johnson claims that no titles were actually cut at the station, and that Pat never recorded with the band.

In 1952 Pat left Wolf and began playing with Little Junior Parker's band and was with Parker in Houston from June 1952 to April 1953. When he returned to Arkansas he joined up with Cotton until Floyd Murphy left Parker in 1954; Pat then rejoined the Blue Flames. As Pat recalled those days: ''I stayed on the farm all the time I was playing with Wolf and Junior Parker and Bland. . . I knew Wolf before I started playing with a band. Wolf was the first band. And in between them times I was playing with Johnny Ace, Ike Turner or just a bunch of us guys would meet up and go play a gig someplace. For a short while I played alone (his ex-wife  Dorothy Mae Hare Adams, whom he had married on Christmas Day 1949, remembered Pat working as a one-man band in the late 1940s. ''I didn’t leave the farm at all because whenever I came off the road I would always make it out to the farm. I hung around Memphis a lot tho''. 

Pat did indeed hang around Memphis a lot, soon becoming known, along with Willie Johnson, Floyd and Matt Murphy and, a bit later, Hubert Sumlin, as one of the city's premier young guitarists. Pat became a favorite of Sam Phillips and between 1952-1955 backed up a number of Phillips' artists in the studio, among them Bradford, Parker, Walter Horton, Big Memphis Ma Rainey, James Gayles, Kenneth Banks, Hot Shot Love, Rosco Gordon and others.

The musical event Pat spoke of with the most pride from his days in Memphis, however, was playing with Memphis Minnie on one occasion around 1960 after Minnie had returned to town on her retirement: Minnie was one of Pat's guitar heroes (along with Joe Willie Wilkins and Lonnie Johnson) and he tried to see Minnie and Son Joe frequently when in Memphis.

On May 14, 1954 Pat and James Cotton each recorded two vocal sides at the Sun studio. Cotton’s ''Cotton Crop Blues'' b/w ''Hold Me In Your Arms'' were released on Sun 206 and featured Pat as guitarist; ''Cotton Crop'' was a showcase for Pat's blistering, over-amplified soloing, derived from his earlier solo on Bradford's ''Reward For My Baby''. His playing here pushed Memphis-style guitar to new standards and, although he soon became much more technically proficient, this must remain the milestone of his recorded work, a landmark of  1950s Memphis blues-playing. Pat's own two cuts, the only vocals he would record during his career, showed an engaging, countrified style but were not released on Sun and did not appear until 1976 when they were issued on a Dutch bootleg LP. Although much has been made of the theme of his ''I'm Gonna Murder My Baby'' as revealing a side of his nature (and foreshadowing events in his life), the song is in fact a reworking of Doctor Clayton's 1941 ''Cheating And Lying Blues'' (also captured on tape in 1964 by Robert Nighthawk as ''Goin' Down To Eli's''); both of his titles, according to Pat, had been given to him to record by someone in the studio. The second tune, '' Ain't Gonna Be That Way'' (Eddie Vinson's ''Bonus Pay'') employed a much simpler guitar part than his other work of the day, suggesting some lack of familiarity with the song. Cotton was to have blown harp on Pat's sides, but he and Pat had a fist fight between sessions and was unable to play.

Shortly after this session Pat headed back to Houston with Little Junior Parker (who would become his son Larkin's godfather), who had left Sun and signed with Duke Records. Parker and Bobby Bland were touring together and sharing the same backup band; Pat required a better amplifier for this level of playing and so rather than the raw and distorted tone of the Sun recordings his playing with the Parker/Bland group in Houston was smoother, cleaner and jazzy. Because Duke/Peacock did not keep records of the session men it is sometimes difficult to absolutely identify Pat's work at Duke, but between 1954 and 1956 he seems to have played on almost all of Parker's records and shared the duty behind Bland with Roy Gaines and Clarence Hollimon; he may also, as he claimed, have been the guitarist on recordings by Harold Conner, Connie McBooker, Big Mama Thornton and Johnny Ace (i.e. possibly on the latter's ''How Can You Be So Mean'').

Pat never spoke of Gaines or Hollimon, but fondly remembered Big Mama, McBooker, Floyd Dixon and Curtis Tillman; he also told a favorite story involving saxophonist Evelyn Young. The band would often cross into Mexico to visit a favored bordello when they had some time off in Houston, and on one occasion Evelyn, who liked to dress in men's clothing, insisted on joining the pilgrimage. The bordello was a rather informal affair; lacking actual rooms it had curtained-off areas each equiped with a bed for the patron. Evelyn, undetected as a woman by the girls, had made her selection along with the others and things were proceeding swimmingly for everyone until a scream and a lot of Spanish expletives came from Evelyn's ''room'' and her girl went tearing through the cubicles, breaking down the ropes and curtains and jumping over beds and bodies. Everyone in the band fell out laughing themselves sick, although Evelyn was not amused with her evening!

Some time in 1956 Pat left the band, having been fired by Bobby Bland; he may have served a jail sentence in Houston at this time, precipitating his dismissal. James Cotton summoned him to Chicago to replace Jimmy Rogers in Muddy Waters' band, an offer he accepted after first situating his wife and three children in Cleveland. Pat felt that Muddy's music was a step backwards from what he had been playing in Houston: a simpler, rougher brand of blues with which some felt his Memphis-style guitar didn't fit. Nonetheless, with 
Pat in the band Muddy played less and less guitar himself, letting Pat carry the load except on some of his older numbers featuring slide. Unfortunately, Pat didn’t get along with Leonard Chess and most of Muddy’s recordings from this time have Pat's guitar way down in the mix, oftentimes barely audible, although there are a few fine examples of his playing such as on ''She's Into Something'' and ''Take The Bitter With The Sweet''. When playing in clubs like the Tay May, Pat, Cotton and Otis Spann usually did most of the singing with Muddy coming on stage only in the shank of the evening. Some of the fine lead instrument interplay that Pat and Cotton developed is represented on the ''Muddy Waters Sings Big Bill'' LP.

Pat had a reputation for toughness or ''meanness'' that had followed him up to Chicago and, although Paul Oliver found him quite amiable when he met him in 1960, Oliver commented on this in ''Nothing But The Blues''. Pat responded to the charge in a letter: ''I've never been a mean guy, I just never did backup off nothing or anybody. Oh I would fight in about two seconds if somebody gave me a reason to, but nobody can say that I went around looking for someone to jump on. It was somebody always around or someplace I went that thought they could kick my ass. Then I would have to come unglued you dig? See I just never afraid. And lots of people mistook that for meanness. Another thing I stayed pretty well down under (i. e. drunk) all the time. That's why Paul said I looked about 20 years older than I really was''.

One night, however, (some time between 1960-1963, the date is unclear) Pat did go looking for someone to jump on. With his wife in Cleveland, Pat had been seeing a woman in Chicago named Louise Kennedy, but things weren't going smoothly between the two and he accused Louise of cheating on him. One night he called her and, getting no answer, got his Winchester and went to her apartment. Pat said he knew she was there and just refused to answer the door, so he emptied the rifle through the front window in a drunken rage. The police knew who had done the shooting and were on the lookout for him. Muddy was able to hide him for a short time but then sent him to Memphis to stay with Joe Willie Wilkins. He was visiting his parents in Parkin in May 1963 when Mojo Buford and Jojo Williams, both late of Muddy's band, tracked him down. They were starting up a band of their own in Minneapolis and wanted Pat to join them.

The band, with Pat and Sonny Rodgers on guitars, Jojo (not Jody) Williams on bass, Francey Clay on drums and Mojo on harp and vocals, found work almost immediately playing weekends at Mattie's B-B-Q on 29th and 1st Avenue in South Minneapolis. Mojo had brought the band to the area because of the encouragement he had received there while playing with Muddy so his reception was not unexpected; what did cause him consternation were the antagonisms with Pat, who was proving to be at the end of his downward spiral. Pat was drinking heavily, and by this time apparently it wasn't taking much alcohol to put him out of control. There were reports of him drinking wine and falling asleep on the bandstand, and one night Mojo sent him home when he was unfit to play. Pat took two nights off and then reappeared, demanding to be paid for the time he had missed; when Mojo refused Pat threatened to get his gun and shoot him, but nothing further transpired.

Shortly after beginning their engagement at Mattie's Pat met Agnes Winje, a white woman whose husband was the maintenance man at the club. Soon afterwards ''Aggie'' left her husband and moved into an apartment with Pat at 3025 Portland Avenue, just a few blocks from Mattie's. In order to augment his income Pat took a job as a window washer during the weekdays but his drinking was using up most of the money, and even though Aggie was working at a nearby grocery store they had a hard time making ends meet. Soon there were arguments about money, his drinking problem, and her jealousy. Aggie was 49 to Pat's 32 and insecure about the age difference. They lived together for four to five months and the arguments got worse with time. In October 1963 Pat confronted Aggie while she was at work and threatened her with a gun he had bought at Hy's Pawn Shop in August; a police officer, Kymphus Workcuff, who knew Pat and was in the store at the time, took the gun from him and later gave it to Nila Pool, who was Mojo's girlfriend and manager of the band. She later returned the gun to Pat.

On Sunday, December 15, Pat apparently spent the afternoon drinking wine with S. P. Leary (known as Kelly) who was living on the 1800 block of 15th Avenue South and was working with Willie Johnson and J. T. Brown. After Leary left, Pat called a young woman friend of Aggie's named Pat Morrow and hitched a ride to a friend's house where he obtained a half-pint of gin. From there they proceeded to the home of James McHie, who employed Hare as a window washer; McHie wasn't home at the time and Pat invited McHie's wife to bring James to his apartment when he returned. There were difficulties because Aggie had told him that she was thinking of returning to her husband, and Pat was working himself into a state.

Morrow pulled up outside the Portland address and dropped Pat off; she did not think he was drunk as his speech was clear and he was walking alright. For some reason she waited a few minutes and Aggie came out to the car and got in: she was afraid. Pat had just taken a few shots at her with his pistol. Aggie wanted Morrow to wait and drive Pat away as she wanted to throw him out. Aggie went back to the apartment and Morrow drove off.

Aggie went into the apartment and the argument continued. There was a knock at the door and Pat was called to the telephone of neighbor Charles Cooke (Pat and Aggie did not have a phone). Pat crossed to his neighbor’s apartment, saying, ''That woman is going to make me kill her''. He had a brief conversation on the phone, hung up, and told Cooke, ''You got the wrong Pat''. The caller had been Pat Morrow's husband looking for her.

Hare returned to his apartment; there were more shouts and more shots, and Cooke's girlfriend Florence Whipps called the police. Officers James E. Hendricks and Chester Langaard were only blocks away when the call went through. In two minutes they were at the apartment and Hendricks, several steps ahead of Langaard and armed with a shotgun, was directed to Pat's rooms by Whipps, who then retreated. Langaard saw his partner enter the room and heard him say, ''Give me the gun’, then heard three gunshots. He got to the door and saw Hendricks lying on the floor and Pat pointing his pistol at the body. Langaard shot Pat twice and dropped him. Aggie was sitting on a couch, shot twice.

Help was called for and Hendricks was rushed away in the first ambulance but died on the way; Aggie and then Pat were loaded into the second ambulance and taken to General Hospital where they both underwent surgery. Pat was out of the operating room at 11: 15 and was interviewed for the second time of the night (he had been questioned briefly at the scene of the shooting). He was questioned at least once again that night and was understandably confused; he claimed he was drunk and that when he had been drinking he didn’t know what he was doing. He said that he knew he had been shot by a policeman, but didn’t think he had shot anyone; when told that Aggie had been shot he thought that she might have done it herself; when told that a policeman was dead he said Aggie must have shot him, and when asked if she would do such a thing replied, ''She wouldn’t hurt a fly''. The next morning he made a statement admitting to both shootings. On January 22, 1964 Aggie died of her wounds.

Pat got no breaks at his trial: his case was assigned to Judge Tom Bergin and he was persuaded to waive his rights to a jury trial. Bergin had been a Minneapolis cop for eight years before being appointed to traffic court in 1949 where he earned the nickname ''Tender Tom'' for his habit of handing down maximum sentences. He had just been elected to the criminal court earlier that year and Pat's was one of his first cases.

Court convened on February 19, 1964 and the trial lasted one day: Pat was found guilty of 1st degree murder in the case of Hendricks and ''was allowed'' to plead guilty to 3rd degree murder in Aggie's case. He was sentenced to life in prison and was immediately bound over to Stillwater State Prison where he was assigned number 21961-E.

I met Pat in the summer of 1973; I had been interviewing Jojo Williams and Lazy Bill Lucas and corresponding with Living Blues when Jim O'Neal told me that Pat was in prison here. When I first went to Stillwater that August I met a small, stooped, balding and intensely quiet man, hardly what I'd expected from the little bit that I then knew of him. He was glad of the company and eager to help with whatever information he could give me; other than letters from Bob Eagle and occasional visits from Willa Buford (Mojo's wife) he had been pretty much out of touch; indeed he seemed to have been forgotten, as in all my visits with Jojo, Lazy Bill, Sonny Rodgers, Baby Doo Caston and Mojo in the previous two years his name had never been mentioned. I had asked Muddy about Pat in 1972 and he affirmed that Pat was in prison here but then quickly changed the subject, as if he were an embarrassment.

Soon after he was incarcerated, Pat was befriended by Sgt Bill Kiley who induced him to join the prison Alcoholics Anonymous group. He was soon considered a model prisoner; he minded his own business and stayed away from confrontation. Eventually he was allowed to start a musical program for the inmates, collectively called ''Sounds Incarcerated'': this consisted of various inmate bands playing country and western, jazz, rock and blues, who put on shows for the prison population. Because of Pat’s musical  reputation and his quiet leadership which earned him the esteem of both inmates and prison officials, the groups were allowed to put on programs outside the prison until 1972 when the prison tightened security because of unrest in the penitentiary.

Pat began drawing attention from the outside now nearly ten years after his imprisonment. He met another inmate's attorney, Dan Shulman (son of author Max Shulman), and his wife Margret, and Dan began representing him. On the basis of his fine prison record Pat was urged to try for an early parole in 1974; unfortunately this bid for freedom failed in spite of a large number of letters of support from blues fans around the world who had been made aware of Pat's situation. Although the pardon was not granted (in part because o f a letter Judge Bergin sent the parole board) Pat became cognizant of the large interest in him on the outside, support which he needed to boost his morale at times. Although he rarely complained, his health and prison life were wearing him down. As he wrote to me:

''Yes I'm back and feeling pretty goddam good, you dig? Man I was a sick man for a few days. They had to cut the ole belly open and go in there and straighten things out. So in no time at all I should be good as new you dig''?

''I told you that they changed our meeting to Monday nights didn't I? Well anyway they did. You did get my other letter didn't you? And did I tell you I got ulcers again? Man I don't know what’s happening I get one thing taken care of and something else comes up''.

''As you could guess I'm in the hospital again. Man I think I'm just falling apart. Seems that way anyway.  This time I got hepatitis don't no how the hell I got that I don’t shoot no dope but that's what they say I got. I don't know how long I'll be here it could be two weeks three or four I don't no. . . Man looks like everything is happening to me. My mother passed away the 16th of last month and I just found it out and 22nd and you know I've been pretty upset ever since''.

''I came out of the hospital yesterday. I'm still very weak tho, but feels much better now in a few weeks I should be as good as new you dig''?

''I made it a point to get visiting musicians who had been friends with Pat to go see him, and those who paid him visits eagerly when they were in town included Mighty Joe Young, Sunnyland Slim, Louis Myers, Willie Smith, Albert King, Freddie King, Willie Dixon, Gatemouth Brown, Walter Horton and James Cotton.

In 1975 Pat was diagnosed with lung cancer; surgery was performed and part of a lung removed. His recovery was slow and he didn't have a lot of strength to draw from, but eventually he seemed to be coming around. Then in 1977 cancer appeared in his throat and he again underwent surgery and chemotherapy. This time the muscles from the left side of his neck and under his tongue were removed, as well as the left half of his jawbone. His speech was garbled, although it improved somewhat in time, and he had a hard time chewing food. Always smallframed, he seemed to become almost frail and he never fully recovered his strength. Realizing that his condition was grave, the prison administration softened its policy and transferred Pat to the minimum security ward where he was given a lighter job and his diet was catered to more carefully. He was also now allowed to go outside of the prison grounds (accompanied by a guard) to perform on occasion.

Pat had formed a group of ''outside'' musicians including Roger Herd on second guitar and Gene Adams on trumpet, and in the summer of 1978 they performed free concerts at Harriet Lake Park and at Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis; in 1979 there was a show at the Walker Church which was broadcast over station KFAI, and Jim O'Neal and Steve Wisner came up to record the show and interview Pat. That same year Muddy Waters came to town as the warm-up act for Eric Clapton and Pat was allowed backstage to surprise Muddy, whom he hadn't seen in years. Pat and his guard sat behind the bank of speakers during Muddy's set, and then for his encore of ''Got My Mojo Working'' Muddy called Pat on stage, introduced him to the huge crowd with, ''This young man is my old guitar player, Pat Hare''!, and handed him Bob Margolin's guitar. It had been nearly twenty years since they had last played together, and it would be their last time.

The next year the prison band was asked to play at the Hennepin County Government Center, but then received news that they would be picketed by the Minneapolis police (whose headquarters was across the  street), and they were forced to cancel. In February 1980, however, they did play in Powderhorn Park's recreation building where they were filmed for the local PBS program ''Wyld Rice'', and there was later a segment on Pat on the local ''PM Magazine'' program, broadcast just the week before he died. In April Pat appeared in the basement of Mama D's restaurant near the University of Minnesota; by this time he was very weak and just beginning to cough up blood.

In August Muddy and his new band were going to play at the Union Bar and arrangements had been made for Pat to sit in. I had heard nothing from Pat for two weeks before the show, and then received a call from a guard at the prison telling me that Pat had been admitted to Ramsey Hospital in St. Paul with a recurrence of lung cancer. The cancer had also affected some nerves in his vocal cords and he was barely able to speak. He missed the gig with Muddy but rallied enough to play at an engagement he had made at the Whole Coffeehouse on the University of Minnesota campus, but was extremely weak, sitting through the entire set and unable to speak to the appreciative listeners who approached him afterwards.

Pat's estranged family, whom he hadn't seen since his incarceration (Dorothy Mae divorced him while he was in prison), was contacted and made the trip up from Cleveland; when they arrived they found that Pat had been taken to Rochester's Mayo Clinic for an effort to temporarily clear his congested lungs which were literally growing shut; this was done by holding him down and forcing a tube down his throat and tearing an opening into his air passages. On his return to Ramsey, Pat told me he'd never go through that again, fully aware of the consequences. A side benefit of this treatment was some restoration of his vocal powers, and he was able to reunite with his now grown family.

A week after his family returned to Cleveland and a day after he had been informed that he would be granted a medical pardon, Pat Hare died at Ramsey Hospital at 2:25 p.m. September 26, 1980. Margret Shulman was at his bedside.

Bobby Bland performed at the Riverview Supper Club in Minneapolis on Saturday the 27th and left the next day for another gig in another town, so he had neither the chance to see his old guitarist one last time nor to pay his last respects. Instead he sent a floral tribute in the shape of a guitar. On the Lady Day of September, after his friends had gathered to remember the gentle and creative man they had known, after his last band had played a slow blues for him, Pat Hare was put to rest in Stillwater's Fairview Cemetery at the opposite end of the Mississippi river from which he had begun, the flowered guitar standing at his gravesite silhouetted against the late summer sunset.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR BUDDY BLAKE CUNNINGHAM
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: PROBABLY END MAY 1954
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

Many, probably most, Sun collectors have never heard this single, which gives new meaning to the notion that ignorance is bliss. The earliest Sun, catalogs, those simple one page sheets that were replete with typing errors, ominously listed Buddy Blake Cunningham's record under the category "Popular". Now you know why. Hearing either side of this single for the first time may be the cruellest part of being a completest.

Sam Phillips must have liked his style though, for there are no less than 16 unissued tracks by Buddy Blake Cunningham Sr. in the Sun vaults, which no Sun archeaologist has ever deemed worthy of resurrection.

01 - "RIGHT OR WRONG" - A.S.C.A.P. - 2:46
Composer: - Lew Douglas-L. Laney-Clif Parman
Publisher: - Midway Music - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - U 127 - Master
Recorded: - Probably End May 1954
Released: - July 15, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 208-A mono
RIGHT OR WRONG / WHY DO I CRY
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-3-9 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Originally born en bred in Jackson, Mississippi, Buddy Blake Cunningham had a career as a minor league pitcher to concentrate on singing. Instead he pitched himself as a vocalist, albeit in the style of forties' crooner, Rus Morgan. Using a song from Lew Douglas, an arranger who had once worked with Tommy Dorsey in his hometown of Chicago, Cunningham cut his own master and sold tapes to Sun. In July 1954 he was living in Memphis very close to Sam Phillips, and he was the closest thing to a star on the Sun roster that month too. His Valley recording of "Angels In The Sky", which, like this record, was also directed by Cliff Parman had been a good regional seller earlier in 1954.

02 - "WHY DO I CRY" - B.M.I. - 2:28
Composer: - Eddy-Hubbs
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 126 - Master
Recorded: - Probably End May 1954
Released: - July 15, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 208-B mono
WHY DO I CRY / RIGHT OR WRONG
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-3-10 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Did Sam hear something special here he thought he could sell? God knows what might have happened to the fledgling Sun label if this record had sold. Still, Sam Phillips gave Buddy a second kick at the can on Phillips International in 1957, and Buddy's son, B.B., went on to become a luminary in the local scene as a member of the Hombress. Buddy himself went on to start a collection agency which may have repo'd the automobiles of several members of the Sun rooster.

03 - "MY BABY DONE ME WRONG''
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Probably End May 1954

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Buddy Blake Cunningham - Vocal
Cliff Parman Orchestra

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©



Hi-Hat Club, Memphis, Tennessee. The building with the Sisco TV sign was the site of nightclubs including one with the name Hi-Hat.

The Hi-Hat was located at Third Street (Highway 61) on the edge of town and featured country and western music and a business card for the Hi-Hat club (right). >



MAY 15, 1954 SATURDAY

Elvis Presley and Dixie Locke go to the Hi-Hat Club on South Third. Elvis is wearing his bolero   jacket with a pink shirt and accompanies himself on the guitar, singing two songs. The tryout   does not get him a job, and in later years Elvis will dramatize the rejection by saying that   Eddie Bond told him to go back to driving a truck.

The owners of the Hi-Hat Club, Tom and Mary, were former Arthur dance instructors who   had invested their profits in the creation of a beautiful music club. They wanted a pop   music band, but most of the Memphis groups performed country or hillbilly music. Eddie   Bond and his group, a country artist and band that were decidedly un-pop, were   reorganized by Ronald Smith, who also urged the hiring of Elvis Presley as a guest vocalist.

Ronald and Eddie Bond, who were also performers on KWEK in West Memphis, gave away   tickets to the Hi-Hat's Saturday Night Show. "I asked Elvis Presley to bring Dixie Locke out   to the Hi-Hat", Smith recalled. "Elvis was nervous but I told him the band could play   anything". 

It was at this May 1954, club engagement that Elvis Presley was first introduced  to Eddie Bond. "I was outside and talked in my car", Bond remarked. "I had known Elvis   before, when he sang over at the Home For Incurables", said Bond. "My father sold paint to   the Home. I had met Elvis over there and knew he could sing anything. So, I asked Elvis if   he wanted to sing pop with Eddie Bond and The Stompers down at the Hi-Hat, and he   jumped at the chance. He came down and began singing with us. He sang three or four   weeks with us". "I was amazed by Elvis' knowledge of pop music, he knew all the songs on   that day".

When Ronald Smith took over Bond's Stompers for nightclub dates, he often brought in Ace   Cannon, so it happened that when Elvis Presley performed with the band, he was backed   by some of Memphis' best musicians. "Elvis loved the Hi-Hat Club and couldn't stop talking   about singing there", Ronald Smith remembered.

The music was pop and there was no   brawling. At the Hi-Hat, Mark Waters played drums, Dino Dainesworth played saxophone   and clarinet, Elvis Presley vocal, Ronald Smith played guitar, and Aubrey Meadows played  piano.

"Sitting right in front of the bandstand were a man and two woman. We called them the   Board of Directors. One of them owned the club. After they heard Elvis and saw Elvis, they   came to me and said, 'If you don't get rid of that greasy-haired redneck, we will get rid of   you!", said Eddie Bond.

"I was making fifteen hundred dollars a week at the time. Not long out of high school. That   was big money in those days. I wasn't about to give that up. What else could I do? So I fired   Elvis!'.

"I'm probably the only person in the world who can legitimately lay claim to having fired   Elvis". "Not long after that, Elvis recorded "That's All Right" at Sun, Elvis took off, headed   toward becoming a legend. The owner came to me then and said, 'We might let him back if   he wants to come back'".

"I went to Elvis and gave him the offer. He kind of laughed. said, sure, he would come back   to the Hi-Hat, but it would cost them twenty-five hundreds dollars a week''!

MAY 17, 1954 MONDAY

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that separate educational  facilities for blacks and whites "are inherently unequal". With that decision the Court  overturned the precedent of "separate but equal" set by the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson case  and set the stage for the civil rights movement of the 1960s.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Session Published for Historical Reasons

STUDIO SESSION FOR ONIE WHEELER
FOR OKEH/COLUMBIA RECORDS 1954

CASTLE RECORDING STUDIO, TULANE HOTEL
EIGHT AVENUE / CHURCH STREET, NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE
OKEH/COLUMBIA SESSION: MONDAY MAY 17, 1954
SESSION HOURS: 15:00-19:00
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER – DON LAW

It was not until May 1954 that future Sun country star Onie Wheeler tried to vary the formula. ''Hazel'' was in the Latin groove that Johnnie and Jack were using. ''His mind worked overtime'', remembered Alden J. Nelson. ''Different songs, arrangements, and he loved those screwy rhythms''. ''Hazel'' didn't impress producer Don Law though, and sat in the can while Columbia stayed on safer ground. Later, in a half-hearted gesture towards tropical rhythms, they released ''I'm Satisfied With My Dreams'' (later recorded in October 18, 1954), which switched between rhumba and 4/4.

Onie's releases were moved from Okeh to the parent Columbia label in April 1955 (a year when he didn't record at all). At the beginning of that year, one of Onie's songs, ''No, I Don't Guess I Will'', became a minor hit for Carl Smith as ''No, I Don't Believe I Will'' on the flipside of ''Kisses Don't Lie''. Onie's version was held back until January 1956. In exchange for placing it with Smith, Jim Denny took half the composer credit.

01 – ''HAZEL'' – B.M.I. - 2:13
Composer: - Onie Wheeler-Tracy Lee
Publisher: - Peer Music
Matrix number : NASH 1860 / CO 51579
Recorded: - May 17, 1954
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-11-13 mono
SUN RECORDS – THE COUNTRY YEARS 1950-1959
Reissued: - 1992 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15542-22 mono
ONIE WHEELER – ONIE'S BOP

02 – ''LITTLE MAMA'' – B.M.I. - 2:10
Composer: - Crowe-Strange
Publisher: - Peer Music
Matrix number : NASH 1861 / CO 51580
Recorded: - May 17, 1954
Released: - 1954
First appearance: - Okeh Records (S) 78rpm standard single Okeh 18049-4 mono
LITTLE MAMA / LOVE ME LIKE YOU USED TO DO
Reissued: - 1992 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15542-21 mono
ONIE WHEELER – ONIE'S BOP

03 – ''NO, I DON'T GUESS I WILL'' – B.M.I. - 2:02
Composer: - Crowe-Jim Denny
Publisher: - Peer Music
Matrix number : NASH 1862 / CO 51581
Recorded: - May 17, 1954
Released: - January 1956
First appearance: - Okeh Records (S) 78rpm standard single Columbia 21500-4 mono
NO, I DON'T GUESS I WILL / I TRIED AND I TRIED
Reissued: - 1992 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15542-17 mono
ONIE WHEELER – ONIE'S BOP

04 – ''MY HOME IS NOT A HOME AT ALL'' – B.M.I. - 3:01
Composer: - Onie Wheeler-Tracy Lee
Publisher: - Peer Music
Matrix number : NASH 1863 / CO 51582
Recorded: - May 17, 1955
Released: - 1954
First appearance: - Okeh Records (S) 78rpm standard single Columbia 21418-4 mono
MY HOME IS NOT A HOME AT ALL / THAT'S WHAT I LIKE
Reissued: - 1992 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15542-20 mono
ONIE WHEELER – ONIE'S BOP

05 – ''WOULD YOU LIKE TO WEAR A CROWN'' – B.M.I. - 2:32
Composer: - Onie Wheeler-Tracy Lee
Publisher: - Peer Music
Matrix number : NASH 1864 / CO 51583
Recorded: - May 17, 1955
Released: - 1954
First appearance: - Okeh Records (S) 78rpm standard single Okeh 18058-4 mono
WOULD YOU LIKE TO WEAR A CROWN / I SAW MOTHER WITH GOD LAST NIGHT
Reissued: - 1992 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15542-18 mono
ONIE WHEELER – ONIE'S BOP

06 – ''I SAW MOTHER WITH GOD LAST NIGHT'' – B.M.I. - 2:32
Composer: - Crowe-Sherry
Publisher: - Peer Music
Matrix number : NASH 1864 / CO 51583
Recorded: - May 17, 1955
Released: - 1954
First appearance: - Okeh Records (S) 78rpm standard single Columbia 18058-4 mono
WOULD YOU LIKE TO WEAR A CROWN / I SAW MOTHER WITH GOD LAST NIGHT
Reissued: - 1992 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15542-19 mono
ONIE WHEELER – ONIE'S BOP

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Onie Wheeler – Vocal, Harmonica, Guitar
Alden J. Nelson – Lead Guitar, Vocals
Doyal Nelson – Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
Benny Martin – Fiddle
Ernest G. Thompson - Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


MAY 20, 1954 THURSDAY

Linda Porter, the wife of ''Don't Fence Me In'' songwriter Cole Porter, dies in their apartment at the Waldorf Towers in New York.

MAY 21, 1954 FRIDAY

Johnnie and Jack recorded ''Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight''.

MAY 22, 1954 SATURDAY

Bob Dylan celebrates his bar mitzvah. The folk/rock legend will write Johnny Cash's ''It Ain't Me Babe'', Chris Hillman and Roger McGuinn's ''You Ain't Going Nowhere'' and Garth Brooks' ''To Make You Fell My Love''.

MAY 28, 1954 FRIDAY

A western documentary, ''The Cowboy'', opens, with Tex Ritter serving as one of the picture's four narrators.

MAY 29, 1954 SATURDAY

Marty Robbins recorded ''Call Me Up (And I'll Come Calling On You)'' and ''Time Goes By'' during an afternoon session at Dallas' Jim Beck Studio.

MAY 31, 1954 MONDAY

Capitol released Tennessee Ernie Ford's ''River Of No Return'', the theme song from a movie starring Robert Mitchum and Marilyn Monroe. Monroe sings in the movie.

Steel player Paul Franklin is born in Detroit. Beginning his studio career on Gallery's 1972 pop hit ''It's So Nice To Be With You'', Franklin plays on country hits by George Strait, Alan Jackson, Rascal Flatts and Shania Twain, among others.

Capitol released Hank Thompson's two-sided single, ''Honky Tonk Girl'' and ''We've Gone To Far''.


JUNE 1954

Roy Orbison graduates from Wink High School, Wink, Texas.

Duke Records releases a new recording of Little Junior Parker's "Sittin' Drinkin' And Thinkin'"   (the version recorded at Sun Records in March was not released).

Another one that got   away. B.B. King celebrates five years in showbiz: he grosses $480,000 per year from   personnel appearances, and is near the top of the Rhythm and Blues charts with "You   Upset Me Baby".

Chess Records built their own studio at Cottage Grove, Chicago. They announce that in   future they will record all their own product (although they will actually continue   licensing material in throughout the 1950s and well into the 1960s.

In June 1954, WDIA increased its signal power significantly to 50,000 watts, covering not   just the Memphis area but the entire South. This was a big success with sponsors, and it   cemented the station's place in the local black community. According to Rufus, ''I don't   care what - if it was said on WDIA, that was it. They would argue you down. They'd say, I   heard it on WDIA, and that was it''. By this time, Rufus had another Saturday morning   show, 'Boogie For Breakfast', and he was on with the 'Hoot 'N' Holler' show every night   from 9.30 to 11pm starting the party with "I'm young and loose and full of juice/ We're all  feeling gay though we ain't got a dollar/ So let's all get together and hoot 'n' holler''. Dora   Todd, a teacher at Washington High said: "Most folks in the 1950s may not have been able   to tell you who the mayor or governor was, but they sure knew the names of Nat Williams   and Rufus Thomas''.

Eunice Kathleen Waymon (blues-singer Nina Simone)   takes a job as singer-pianist in Atlantic City, New Jersey, at the Midtown Bar and Grill and  decide to use the stage name Nina Simone.

JUNE 3, 1954 THURSDAY

Singer/songwriter Dan Hill is born in Toronto. His pop single ''Sometimes When We Touch'' is remade by Mark Gray and Tammy Wynette, and he writes the Mark Wills hit ''I Do (Cherish You)'' and ''She's In Love'', plus Sammy Kershaw's ''Love Of My Life''.

JUNE 5, 1953 SATURDAY

Calling it a money-saving move, several companies make the seven-inch single an industry standard.

JUNE 6, 1954 SUNDAY

Bass player Bryan Grassmeyer is born in Nebraska. He becomes a founding member of The Gibson/Miller Band, playing on their lone hit, ''Texas Tattoo''. He leaves the band before it recorded its second album.

Playwright Maxwell Anderson marries his third wife, Gilda Hazard. He is a co-writer of ''September Song'', destined to become a country hit for Willie Nelson 25 years later.

JUNE 8, 1954 TUESDAY

Faron Young recorded ''A Place For Girls Like You'' at Nashville's Castle Studio.

JUNE 12, 1954 SATURDAY

Ferlin Husky joins the Grand Ole Opry, at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee.

JUNE 14, 1954 MONDAY

The words "under God" are added to the United States Pledge of Allegiance signed into law.

JUNE 15, 1954 TUESDAY

Terry Gibbs is born in Miami, Florida. On the heels of her pop/country hit ''Somebody's Knockin''', she wins the Country Music Association's first Horizon award, designed to honor new and developing artists in 1981.

Guitarist and banjo player Bruce Watkins is born in Bonne Terre, Missouri. He plays on a host of Alan Jackson hits, plus George Jones' ''Choices'', Jamie O'Neals's ''Trying To Find Atlantis'' and the Dolly Parton/Ricky Van Shelton duet ''Rockin' Years''.

JUNE 18, 1954 FRIDAY

WCBR becomes the second Memphis station targeted exclusively to African Americans. The following day, WDIA ups its wattage to 50,000, thereby blanketing the Delta. In 1956, WBRC is acquired by the OK Group in Louisiana and chances its call letters to WLOK, call-letters previously used by a hillbilly station in Lima, Ohio. One of WLOK's disc jockeys, Chester McDowell aka Hunky Dory, later brings in a group to record at Sun Records.

JUNE 20, 1954 SUNDAY

''Corral Cuties'' makes its debut. The short western film features Tennessee Ernie Ford, who sings ''Anytime'' plus Molly Bee, Billy Strange and Cliffie Stone.

JUNE 21, 1954 MONDAY

Columbia released Carl Smith's ''Go Boy, Go''.

JUNE 22, 1954 TUESDAY

Ernest Tubb recorded ''Two Glasses, Joe'' in the early afternoon at the Castle Studio in Nashville's Tulane Hotel.

JUNE 25, 1954 FRIDAY

Keyboard player David Paich is born in Los Angeles. Best known as a member of the rock band Toto, he also appears as a supporting musician on the Glen Campbell hits ''Rhinestone Cowboy'' and ''Southern Nights''.

JUNE 26, 1954 SATURDAY

Elvis Presley has a spur-of-the-moment tryout with Sam Phillips at the Sun Recording Studio in Memphis, Tennessee. The song ''Without You'' that Sam Phillips brought back from his Nashville trip continued to haunt him. There was something about it, for all of its sentimentally, there was a quality of vulnerability about it, and Sam thought more and more that he'd like to have someone come in and give it a try. The only one who to mind was the kid who had stopped by the previous summer on July 18, 1953 and for $4 cut a personal record ''My Happiness''. Like the singer on the demo, like the Prisonaires' Johnny Bragg, he was unmistakably influenced by the Ink Spots' lead singer, Bill Kenny, and in fact, one side of the two-sided acetate was the Ink Spots standard ''That's When Your Heartaches Begin''. The boy had come in to cut on January 4, 1954, another personal vanity record, ''It Wouldn't Be The Same Without You'' backed by ''I'll Never Stand In Your  Way'', Sam couldn't image that he was more than a year or so out of high school, and evidently he stopped by from time to time to talk with Marion Keisker, Sam was well aware of that fact because Marion was going on about him.  So he had Marion call him.

Elvis arrived he would say in later years, almost before Miss Keisker hung up the phone, and for the first time Sam really had the opportunity to take his measure. He was nineteen-years-old, a good-looking boy with acne on his neck, long sideburns, and long, greasy hair combed in a ducktail that he had keep patting down, but what struck Sam most was his quality of genuine humility, humility mixed with intense determination. He was innately, Sam thought, one of the most introverted people who had ever come into the studio, but for that reason one of the bravest, too. He reminded Sam of many of the great early blues singers who had come into his studio, ''his insecurity was so markedly like that of a black person''. (See: Elvis Sun Sessions / Elvis 1954 / June 26, 1954).

JUNE 28, 1954 MONDAY

Ava Barber is born in Knoxville, Tennessee. She earns a minor hit with ''Bucket To The South'' in 1979 while a regular on ''The Lawrence Welk Show''.

Capitol released Wesley and Marilyn Tuttle's ''Never''.

JUNE 30, 1954 WEDNESDAY

R.W. Blackwood and Bill Lyles, of The Blackwood Brothers, die in a plane crash in Clanton, Alabama. The group's ''His Hand In Mine'' is named one of country's 500 greatest singles in the Country Music Foundation book ''Heartaches By The Number''.


JULY 1954

Sun has steadily been increasing its output of country   music at the expense of blues and rhythm and blues.

Sun 205 ''The Great Medical Menagerist'' b/w ''Rockin' Chair Daddy'' released by Harmonica Frank indicating the direction in which Sam Phillips' mind is  heading. Recorded some three years earlier, it is a hybrid of black and white styles.

Elvis Presley's debut single Sun 209 ''Thatl All Right'' b/w ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'' is rush-released later in the month following good reaction to local radio play. The disc is promoted in the country music market, though reviewers stress the all-market appeal of the disc. (See 1954 Elvis Presley).

JULY 1954

Following his discharge from the Air Force in July 1954 Johnny Cash moved to Memphis and   found a job selling electrical appliances for the Home Equipment Company.  He was not the greatest salesman and with their  first child on the way there was a need to find another job with a better income. He tried to  get a job as a radio announcer but was turned down due to his lack of experience. Cash   finally enrolled at Keegan School of Broadcasting in Memphis.

In 1954 Cash's brother Roy was working at Automotive Sales Garage on Union Avenue in   Memphis. There were two mechanics also working at the garage - Luther Perkins and   Marshall Grant. In their spare time and during quiet spells at the garage they would play   music together. Knowing his brother's love of music and desire to make it in the music   business, Roy introduced them to him.

Luther Perkins was born in Memphis and Marshall Grant in Flatfs, North Carolina. The first   time they worked with Cash was at Luther's home on Nathan Street in Memphis. One of   the songs they would try was Hank Snow's ''I'm Moving On''. They all played acoustic guitars   and hit it off resulting in more informal sessions, although at this point neither Luther nor   Marshall were interested in pursuing a musical career. Unhappy with his job as an   appliance salesman and determined to make it in the music business, Cash suggested they   try different instruments. Luther borrowed an electric guitar and Marshall a stand-up bass,   although nobody was sure how to tune it. They were all self-taught musicians and started   to play more seriously. There was a fourth member, steel guitar player A. W. 'Red'   Kemodle, who would record just once with Cash but was so nervous that he would leave   the studio, never to return! He has been quoted as saying, "There was no money in it and   there was too much staying up late at night and running around''.

They were sponsored by Cash's boss to play a 15 minute spot on country station KWEM in   West Memphis, Arkansas on Saturdays. They had played together for many hours and were   progressing well and the next logical step was to make a record. In Memphis at that time   there was only one place to go, Sun Records and producer Sam Phillips.

JULY 1, 1954 THURSDAY

Edwin Howard, reporter of the Memphis Press-Scimitar, became the first reporter to   interviewed Elvis Presley for his column, "The Front Row". (See 1954 Elvis Presley).

The singles Sun 206 '' ''Cotton Crop Blues'' b/w ''Hold Me In Your Hands'' by James Cotton and Sun 207 ''There Is Love In You'' b/w ''What'll You Do Next'' by The Prisonaires are released.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

If Sam Phillips was after a fusion of black and white music, he'd found it. The problem was that it was the black and white music of the 1920s, if not the 1890s. Sun 205 was delightfully at variance with everything that was selling in 1954, but so, it must be said, was Elvis Presley who trailed Frank by just a few months. Frank used to say this was the first rock and roll record, which, of course, it wasn't, but there's a wonderful drive and contagious energy here that has survived the years well. Sam Phillips maintained that he recorded these titles in 1954 and not 1951 as had once been supposed. Certainly, aural evidence would bear out that Frank returned for another session. The sound quality is markedly improved and Phillips obviously used two tape machines to achieve the slapback effect. A mighty thank-you to Sam Phillips from posterity for preserving Harmonica Frank for us.
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR HARMONICA FRANK FLOYD
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: THURSDAY JULY 1, 1954
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

"... You see I played rock and roll before I ever heard of Elvis Presley. I saw him in Memphis before he ever made a record with Sam Phillips on North Main in Memphis Tennessee...".
From a letter Frank wrote to Greg Shaw

A part-Cherokee Indian, Frank Floyd came from pure sharecropping stock and as a teenager in the 1920s he entertained carnival crowds with novelty songs, fire-ating and hypnotism. He first showed up at The Memphis Recording Service in 1951 and cut two singles which were leased to Chess Records in Chicago.

After the and of a gig with Eddie Hill, Frank Floyd secured a radio spot in Dyersburg, Tennessee. He was probably still there when Sam Phillips recorded two more sides by him and issued them on his Sun label in July 1954. Some trade papers remarked that he record was a good blend of black and white styles but, barely two weeks later, another Sun record hit the streets that was a stunningly contemporary mix of rhythm and blues and hillbilly music. Elvis Presley had make his debut. Frank's music seemed like an anachronism by comparison and Sam Phillips never contacted him again.

01 - "THE GREAT MEDICAL MENAGERIST" - B.M.I. - 3:05
Composer: - Frank Floyd
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - U 124 - Master
Recorded: - July 1, 1954
Released: - July 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 205-A mono
THE GREAT MEDICAL MENAGERIST / ROCKIN' CHAIR DADDY
Reissued - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-3-3 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

This talking guitar blues hybrid lies somewhere between Grandpa Jones and W.C. Fields, yet there is a clear hint of the soon-to-be-famous Sun slap back surrounding Floyd's quaint tent-show style of performing.

Here probably a miniature autobiography, it is a catalogue of all the prim and decent people Frank made asses of, and of the jobs his fun cost him The first lines have the perfection of myth: "Ladies and gentlements, cough white dodgers and little rabbit twisters, step right around closely, tell ya all about a wonderful medicine show I use ta work with...".

Was Frank's standard medicine show shtick that he could have performed in his sleep. This kind of humour would have to move to the city before it could think about getting rural. As with any style that was first recorded in the 1920s, its tempting to identify it with the person who first recorded it, and in this case the talking medicine show blues was first recorded by one Chris Bouchillon and subsequently adapted by Robert Lunn, and Frank owes a heavy debt to both.

What is a medical menagerist? Most of us long ago stopped wondering. Frank apparently wrote this song about his days in the Happy Phillipson Medical Show although parts of the song seem to derive from Chris Bouchillon's ''Born In Hard Luck/The Medicine Show'', which apparently sold 90,000 copies in 1927, one of them quite possibly to Frank Floyd. Frank runs through his schtick, throwing a few humorous couplets to get the folks gathered around. Just a few years before Frank recorded this tune, Hank Williams and a galaxy of stars were participating in the Hadacol Caravan and the blackface duo of Jamup & Honey was still on the Opry, so perhaps it is not quite as anachronistic as it seems. In any event, this is a fascinating little glimpse back into a past that none of us will ever experience. The blues may have timeless relevance but ''The Great Medical Menagerist'' is charmingly trapped in a lost world of salves, balms, potions, purgatives, tonics, and cure-alls.

02 - "ROCKIN' CHAIR DADDY" - B.M.I. - 3:01
Composer: - Frank Floyd
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 125 - Master
Recorded: - July 1, 1954
Released: - July 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 205-B mono
ROCKIN' CHAIR DADDY / THE GREAT MEDICAL MENAGERIST
Reissued - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-3-4 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1


Here he reaches for falsettos, talk to himself, corrects himself, roaring into town: "Rock to Memphis, dance on Main. Up stepped a lady and asked my name. Rockin' chair daddy don't have to work. I told her my name was on the tail of my shirt!".

It is the historical status of the flipside, "Rockin' Chair Daddy" (SUN 205), that caused Frank to wonder if he had in fact invented rock and roll. As Billboard observed, "This side is an unusual mixture of rhythm and blues and country music.

Harmonica Frank Floyd >

The singer is a country artist, instrumentation is the type used for downhome blues wax". The review went on to lament the "poor recording", a problem no doubt stemming from the fact that Frank Floyd sang with his harp firmly planted in one side of his mouth. He had long since given up attempts at using a conventional rack for his harps, preferring to sing and play with them sticking out of his mouth and, on occasion, his nose. The man was truly an original. Any hopes that this unusual mixture of rhythm and blues and country music would be developed by Sam Phillips were dashed when another singer, working the same hybrid ground, caught Phillips' attention.

He was younger than Floyd and better looking. Within several days, Elvis Presley would have his first Sun record on the market. Frank Floyd's Sun single are released on July 1, 1954. Frank Floyd, vocal, guitar and harmonica. Frank Floyd's life deserves a book, or at least a TV movie. His life and struggles are from another time, an era that few Americans remember but most romanticize. He was in his element performing at rural medicine shows or singing on a back porch. Yet, when he turned to Colin Escott and Hank Davis in 1981, and asked us with the innocence of a child, "Is it true? Did I make the first rock and roll record?", it wasn't possible to be quite so dismissive.

Frank Floyd recorded for Sam Phillips on several occasions in 1951, and Phillips leased two (or strictly speaking, two-and-a-half) singles to Chess Records in Chicago. When Floyd recorded for Sun, not many reviewers knew what to make of it.

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


JULY 1, 1954 THURSDAY

Faron Young marries Hilda Margot Macon, babysitter for his sergeant in the Army.

Sun Records released Harmonica Frank's ''Rockin' Chair Daddy''. The song will be ranked among country's 500 greatest all-time singles in the 2003 Country Music Foundation book ''Heartaches By The Number''.

JULY 2, 1954 FRIDAY

Guitarist Paul Warmack dies. He was the leader of The Gully Jumpers, a stringband that first appeared on the Grand Ole Opry in 1927, and would continue an Opry association until the 1970s.

Slim Whitman recorded ''Singing Hills'' during a session at the KWKH Studio in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Elvis Presley attends the Memphis funeral for R.W. Blackwood and Bill Lyles, of the gospel quartet The Blackwood Brothers. Blackwood and Lyles died in a plane crash in Alabama two days earlier.

JULY 3, 1954 SATURDAY

Johnny Cash is discharged from the U.S. Air Force at Fort Kilmer, New Jersey.

Elvis Presley's girlfriend, Dixie Locke, with whom he's discussed the possibility of marriage, leaves Memphis for a two-week vacation in Florida. By the time she returns, he's had his first recording session for Sun Records and appeared on the radio.

JULY 4, 1954 SUNDAY

Elvis Presley practices at guitarist Scotty Moore's apartment for the first time, with Moore and bass player Bill Black.

The television game show ''The Kollege Of Musical Knowledge'', formerly hosted by big band figure Kay Kyser, returns on NBC, with Tennessee Ernie Ford hosting. It lasts only two months.

JULY 5, 1954 MONDAY

Elvis Presley recorded Arthur 'Big Boy' Crudup's "That's All Right'' (Sun 209) for Sun Records in   Memphis, Tennessee. This record launched Elvis' career and a musical style called Rock And   Roll. (See 1954 Elvis Presley).

JULY 6, 1954 TUESDAY

Capitol released Faron Young's ''A Place For Girls Like You''.

JULY 8, 1954 THURSDAY

While Elvis Presley watches ''High Noon'' at the Suzore movie theater, disc jockey Dewey Phillips plays, ''That's All Right'' 14 times in a row on radio WGBQ in Memphis.

JULY 9, 1954 FRIDAY

Elvis Presley recorded Bill Monroe's ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'' at the Sun Recording Studio in Memphis, Tennessee.  (See 1954 Elvis Presley).

JULY 10, 1954 SATURDAY

Songwriter/producer Robert Byrne is born in Detroit, Michigan. Among his credits, Earl Thomas Conley's ''What I'd Say'', Shenandoah's ''Two Dozen Roses'', Ronnie Milsap's ''How Do I Turn You On'' and The Forester Sisters' ''Men''.

JULY 12, 1954 MONDAY

Guitarist Scotty Moore becomes Elvis Presley's first manager.

JULY 13, 1954 TUESDAY

Louise Mandrell is born in Corpus Christi, Texas. Barbara Mandrell's sister collects five solo hits in the 1980s, including ''Save Me'' and ''I'm Not Through Loving You Yet''. She also adds backing vocals on Merle Haggard's ''Always Wanting You''.

Rock musician Billy Falcon is born in Queens, New York. His daughter, Rose Falcon, becomes a country singer/songwriter who co-writes Eric Paslay's ''Friday Night''.

JULY 14, 1954 WEDNESDAY

Webb Pierce recorded ''I'm Gonna Fall Out Of Love With You'' in Nashville at the Tulane Hotel's Castle Studio.

JULY 15, 1954 THURSDAY

Sun 208 ''Right Or Wrong'' b/w ''Why Do I Cry'' by Buddy Cunningham issued.

JULY 17, 1954 SATURDAY

''The Ozark Jubilee'' debuts as an ABC radio show, airing from the Jewell Theater in Springfield, Missouri, with host Red Foley.

Elvis Presley makes his first live appearance since holding his inaugural sessions at the Sun Recording Studio. He sings ''That's All Right'' and ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'' during the set at Memphis' Bon Air Club.

The cover of TV Guide features Roy Rogers.

RCA released the two-sided Eddy Arnold hit, ''Hep Cat Baby'' backed with ''This Is The Thanks I Get (For Loving You)''.

US "Operation Wetback" is started to send back to Mexico almost 4 million illegal immigrants.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR ONZIE HORNE
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: SATURDAY JULY 17, 1954
STUDIO HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER – SAM C. PHILLIPS

Back in the era when Beale Street was the Midsouth's epicenter of African-American culture, commerce,   and, especially, music, perhaps no one was more entrenched and admired than Onzie Horne Sr. He was a   teacher, mentor, arranger, musician, businessman, bandleader, and man-on-the-street disc jockey on this   famous street for most of his adult life, working with everyone from Ike Turner, Rufus Thomas, and B.B.   King to Hi Records legend Willie Mitchell, the extraordinary ''Rat Packer'' Sammy Davis Jr., and Stax   Records icon Isaac Hayes.

UNKNOWN TITLES

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Onzie Horne - Vibes & Piano
Unknown Group

Note: Sam Phillips wrote, ''To be worked out for Sun'' in his notebook.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


JULY 18, 1954 SUNDAY

Guitarist/vocalist Mark Jones is born in Harlan, Kentucky. In 1989, he joins Exile, contributing to the group's latter-day hits ''Nobody's Talking'' and ''Yet''.

Ricky Skaggs is born in Cordell, Kentucky. centered in bluegrass, he leads a swing toward traditional country in the early 1980s, joining the Grand Ole Opry in 1982 and taking the Country Music Association's Entertainer of the Year in 1985.

JULY 19, 1954 MONDAY

Elvis Presley first Sun single (Sun 209) ''That's All Right'' b/w ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'' issued. The record came out officially less than two weeks after the first session and from the start sold like nothing else Sam Phillips ever released. ''Presley's first release on Sun has just hit the market'', read the two-page typed sheet, which called attention to the earlier discovery of B.B. King, Rosco Gordon, Little Junior, the Prisonaires, and the Howling Wolf by the company's ''youthful president'', and cited ''reports from key cities indicating that it is slated to be one of the biggest records of the year. Music Sales Company, Memphis distributor for SUN, sold over 4,000 of the disc in the first week''.

JULY 22, 1954 THURSDAY

Merle Travis and Judy Hayden secure mutual restraining orders during divorce proceedings in a Los Angeles courtroom.

JULY 26, 1954 MONDAY

Elvis Presley sign his first official recording contract with Sun Records, calling for eight tracks over the next two years.

Songwriter Mary Beth Anderson is born in Nyack, New York. She writes Gary Stewart's 1976 hit ''Your Place Or Mine''

Sonny James recorded ''She Done Give Her Heart To Me''.

JULY 27, 1954 TUESDAY

The Erroll Garner Trio recorded ''Misty'' at the Universal Recording Studios in Chicago. The song is revived as a banjo-laden country hit two decades later by Ray Stevens.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Session Published for Historical Reasons

STUDIO SESSION FOR LUKE MCDANIEL
FOR KING RECORDS 1954

ROYAL RECORDING STUDIO
1540 BREWSTER AVENUE, CINCINNATI, OHIO
KING SESSION: TUESDAY JULY 27, 1954
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - BERNIE PERLMAN

01 – ''ONE MORE HEART'' - B.M.I. - 2:10
Composer: Luke McDaniel
Publisher: - Lois Music
Matrix number: - K-3820
Recorded: - July 27, 1954
Released: - February 1955
First appearance: - King Records (S) 78rpm standard single King 1426-A mono
ONE MORE HEART / LIVING IN A HOUSE OF SIN
Reissued: 2008 Stomper Time (CD) 500/200rpm Stomper STCD 24-15 mono
LUKE MCDANIEL – MISSISSIPPI HONKY TONK ROCKABILLY MAN

02 – ''MONEY BAG WOMAN'' - B.M.I. - 2:24
Composer: Luke McDaniel
Publisher: - Fort Knox Music – Trio Music
Matrix number: - K-3821
Recorded: - July 27, 1954
Released: - September 1954
First appearance: - King Records (S) 78rpm standard single King 1380-A mono
MONEY BAG WOMAN / HURTS ME SO
Reissued: 2008 Stomper Time (CD) 500/200rpm Stomper STCD 24-10 mono
LUKE MCDANIEL – MISSISSIPPI HONKY TONK ROCKABILLY MAN

Luke McDaniel maintains that his next-to-last King single, ''Money Bag Woman'', was intended as a proto-rockabilly record but someone decided that it needed a Hank Snow-styled rumba beat.

03 – ''HURTS ME SO'' - B.M.I. - 2:28
Composer: Luke McDaniel
Publisher: - Lois Music
Matrix number: - K-3822
Recorded: - July 27, 1954
Released: - September 1954
First appearance: - King Records (S) 78rpm standard single King 1380-B mono
HURTS ME SO / MONEY BAG WOMAN
Reissued: 2008 Stomper Time (CD) 500/200rpm Stomper STCD 24-29 mono
LUKE MCDANIEL – MISSISSIPPI HONKY TONK ROCKABILLY MAN

04 – ''LIVING IN A HOUSE OF SIN'' - B.M.I.
Composer: Luke McDaniel
Publisher: - Lois Music
Matrix number: - K-3823
Recorded: - July 27, 1954
Released: - February 1955
First appearance: - King Records (S) 78rpm standard single King 1426-B mono
LIVING IN A HOUSE OF SIN / ONE MORE HEART
Reissued: - 1996 Hydra Records (LP) 33rpm Hydra BLK 7715-21 mono
LUKE MCDANIEL - DADDY-O-ROCK

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Luke McDaniel - Vocal & Guitar
Floyd Robinson - Lead Guitar
Noel Boggs - Guitar
Louis Innis - Bass
Ernie Newton - Fiddle
Freddie Landon - Drums

In 1954, Luke McDaniel started working regular guest shots on the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport, Louisiana, and it was there that he met Elvis Presley.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


JULY 28, 1954 WEDNESDAY

Randy Cornor is born in Houston, Texas. He gains the only hit of his career with his 1974 release of an Eddy Raven song, ''Sometimes I Talk In My Sleep''.

JULY 29, 1954 THURSDAY

Pete Cassell dies in Key West, Florida. Reaching his peak in the 1940s on a barn dance at Atlanta radio station WSB, the blind singer was a forerunner of such smooth vocalists as Jim Reeves, George Morgan and Eddy Arnold.

JULY 30, 1954 FRIDAY

Elvis Presley makes his first advertised concert appearance, playing with Slim Whitman, Billy Walker and The Louvin Brothers at the Overton Park Shell in Memphis, Tennessee.


While back in Memphis, Doctor Ross formed a new group to work on WDIA again, Doctor Ross and the Interns, sponsored not entirely appropriately by Camel cigarettes. The Interns were Barber Parker on drums and guitarist Tom ''Slamhammer'' Troy, both of whom Ross had known since they'd played in Clarksdale with Willie Love's  Three Aces. The Aces continued under Parker's leadership as the Silver Kings when Love fell ill and died in 1953. The Interns also included another guitarist, David Freeman, who Ross called Little Davey. It is not known whether Freeman was with the group in July 1954 when Ross and the Interns appeared at 706 Union Avenue to make a follow-up to Ross's well-received first Sun disc. The group certainly featured Troy and Parker on ''The Boogie Disease'' and ''Jukebox Boogie'', along with three other titles. 

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR DOCTOR ROSS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE JULY 1954
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - UNKNOWN

The use of "Doctor" along with "Professor" and "Deacon", as authoritative musical designations, was common practice during the formative years of rhythm and blues. Isiah Ross became Doctor Ross every time he took his one-man band on the road, although on this occasion he added guitar and drums for the stomping "Boogie Disease". Unfortunately, further delights were not to be had as he departed from Sun, concerned that his royalties were being used to promote Elvis Presley.

01(1) - "THE BOOGIE DISEASE" - B.M.I. - 2;28
Composer: - Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date July 1954
Released: - 2013
First appearance: - JSP Records (CD) 500/200rpm JSP4239-1-6 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - THE MEMPHIS CUTS 1953 - 1956

01(2) - "THE BOOGIE DISEASE" - B.M.I. - 2:48
Composer: - Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date July 1954
Released: - 2013
First appearance: - JSP Records (CD) 500/200rpm JSP4239-1-7 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - THE MEMPHIS CUTS 1953 - 1956

01(3) - "THE BOOGIE DISEASE" - B.M.I. - 2:28
Composer: - Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 3 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date July 1954
Released: - 2013
First appearance: - JSP Records (CD) 500/200rpm JSP4239-1-18 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - THE MEMPHIS CUTS 1953 - 1956

01(4) - "THE BOOGIE DISEASE" - B.M.I. - 2:31
Composer: - Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 136 - Master Take 4
Recorded: - Unknown Date July 1954
Released: - November 10, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 212-A mono
THE BOOGIE DISEASE / JUKEBOX BOOGIE
Reissued - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-3-17 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

The good doctor is in fine form on his second Sun single. "The Boogie Disease" opens with Troy's effective but understated guitar figures and Parker's laid back drumming and  features a humorous and spirited vocal from Ross. Some of his lyrics are truly memorable. The man was not just spinning out cliches. "Gonna boogie for the doctor, gonna boogie for the nurse / Gonna keep on boogieing till they throw me in the hearse... I ain't gonna get well/ I'm gonna keep on boogieing... I may get better, but I'll never get well".  Ross claims that he can only get better; he can't get well. In truth, it is hard to imagine him getting better than this. This is post-war country blues at its finest. Ross' guitar work, especially during the main riff and solos has an undeniable rockabilly edge to it, a feature that has not gone unnoticed by collectors over the years. As usual, the ending cries out for a studio fade, and Sam Phillips refuses to oblige. He forces this tight little combo to end cold, which yields exactly the kind of chaos one might expect. No matter; this is a splendid entry in Sun's blues years.

01(5) - "THE BOOGIE DISEASE" - B.M.I. - 2:29
Composer: - Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 5 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -  Unknown Date July 1954
Released: - 1992
First appearance: - Arhoolie Records (CD) 500/200rpm Arhoolie CD 371 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - BOOGIE DISEASE
Reissued: - 2013  JSP Records (CD) 500/200rpm JSP4239-2-11 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - THE MEMPHIS CUTS 1953 - 1956

Whether Ross ever had a specific disease in mind is unknown but in later years after ''The Boogie Disease'' was recorded by the Flamin' Groovies and other rock bands it became hailed as the finest song written about sexual-related disease, based on the line, ''gimme one of them penicillin shots''. On January 5, 1955 Billboard hailed the disc cautiously saying ''backing is on the primitive side... the good doctor chants of the title affliction with gay spirit... good side for Southern jukes''. The magazine  found in his review ''Jukebox Boogie'' to be ''an infectious instrumental that will please dancers''. 

01(6) - "THE BOOGIE DISEASE" - B.M.I. - 2:34
Composer: - Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 6 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -  Unknown Date July 1954
Released: - 1972
First appearance: - Arhoolie Records (LP) 33rpm Arhoolie 1065 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - HIS FIRST RECORDINGS
Reissued: - 2013  JSP Records (CD) 500/200rpm JSP4239-2-24 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - THE MEMPHIS CUTS 1953 - 1956

01(7) - "THE BOOGIE DISEASE" - B.M.I. - 2:34
Composer: - Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 7 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date July 1954
Reissued: - 2013  JSP Records (CD) 500/200rpm JSP4239-2-25 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - THE MEMPHIS CUTS 1953 - 1956

02 - ''DOCTOR ROSS BOOGIE'' - B.M.I. - 2:22
Composer: - Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 8 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -  Unknown Date July 1954
Released: - 1990
First appearance: Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm SUN CD 27 mono
MEMPHIS HARMONICA 1951 - 1954
Reissued: June 14, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16939-18 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

Of the three original unissued sides from the session ''Doctor Ross Boogie'' is a hard-driving rhythm tune with vocal interjections straight from the Doctor Ross patent. It differs from the song of the same name Ross recorded in 1951 through the attacking drumming of Parker. As before, Ross shines on harmonica. 

''Downtown Boogie'' is a slower Ross patent and has interesting lyrics with Ross telling his gal she can have anything in the store.

03(1) – ''DOWNTOWN BOOGIE'' - B.M.I. - 2:23
Composer: - Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -   Unknown Date July 1954
Release: -  2013
First appearance: -  JSP Records (CD) 500/200rpm JSP4239-1-3 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - THE MEMPHIS CUTS 1953 - 1956

03(2) – ''DOWNTOWN BOOGIE'' - B.M.I. - 2:21
Composer: - Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -  Unknown Date July 1954
Release: - 1972
First appearance: - Arhoolie Records (LP) 33rpm Arhoolie 1012 mono
BLUES AND TROUBLE - VOLUME 2
Reissued: - June 14, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16939-19 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

04(1) - "JUKEBOX BOOGIE (MEMPHIS BOOGIE)" - B.M.I. - 2:41
Composer: - Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -  Unknown Date July 1954
Released: - 1989
First appearance: Rounder Records (LP) 33rpm Rounder SS 29 mono
SUN RECORDS HARMONICA CLASSICS
Reissued: - 2013   JSP Records (CD) 500/200rpm JSP4239-1-8 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - THE MEMPHIS CUTS 1953 - 1956

04(2) - "JUKEBOX BOOGIE (MEMPHIS BLUES)" - B.M.I. - 2:49
Composer: - Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -  Unknown Date July 1954
Released: - 1972
First appearance: - Arhoolie Records (LP) 33rpm Arhoolie 1065 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - HIS FIRST RECORDINGS
Reissued: - 2013   JSP Records (CD) 500/200rpm JSP4239-2-22 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - THE MEMPHIS CUTS 1953 - 1956

The title of the flipside suggests a throwaway instrumental jam. While technically true, "Jukebox Boogie" also manages to be a rather melodic and engaging outing. Lots of reverb keeps things tense and involving despite obvious limitations in both format and number of musicians.

04(3) - "JUKEBOX BOOGIE" - B.M.I. - 2:31
Composer: - Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 137 - Master Take 3
Recorded: -  Unknown Date July 1954
Released: - November 10, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 212-B mono
JUKEBOX BOOGIE / THE BOOGIE DISEASE
Reissued - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-3-18 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

''Feel So Sad'', is in the same musical grooves as ''Downtown Boogie'' but the lyric is a version of ''Feelin' Good'', a song just released on Sun by Little Junior and his Blue Flames. Little Junior Parker was beginning to get a good reaction to the song, itself based on John Lee Hooker's half spoken boogies, and it may be that Ross had hurriedly written a song to take the story on one step further. Parker himself would soon record ''Feel So Bad'' and Sam Phillips had several other artists attempt variants of the song.

05(1) - ''FEEL SO SAD'' - B.M.I. - 2:21
Composer: - Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - False Start - Incomplete
Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -   Unknown Date July 1954
Released: -  2013
First appearance: - JSP Records (CD) 500/200rpm JSP4239-1-2 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - THE MEMPHIS CUTS 1953 - 1956

05(2) - ''FEEL SO SAD'' - B.M.I. - 2:33
Composer: - Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -  Unknown Date July 1954
Released: -  2013
First appearance: -  JSP Records (CD) 500/200rpm JSP4239-2-3 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - THE MEMPHIS CUTS 1953 - 1956

05(3) - ''FEEL SO SAD'' - B.M.I. - 2:34
Composer: - Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 3 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -   Unknown Date July 1954
Released: - 1992
First appearance: - Arhoolie Records (CD) 500/200rpm Arhoolie CD 371 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - BOOGIE DISEASE
Reissued: - 2014 Arhoolie Internet iTunes MP3-19 mono
BOOGIE DISEASE

05(4) - ''FEEL SO SAD'' - B.M.I. - 2:33
Composer: - Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 4 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -   Unknown Date July 1954
Released: -  2013
First appearance: -  JSP Records (CD) 500/200rpm JSP4239-1-22 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - THE MEMPHIS CUTS 1953 - 1956

06 – ''INDUSTRIAL AVENUE BOOGIE'' - B.M.I. - 4:25
Composer: - Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Alibri Music
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -  Unknown Date July 1954
Released: - 1992
First appearance: - Arhoolie Records (CD) 500/200rpm Arhoolie CD 371 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - BOOGIE DISEASE
Reissued: - 2014 Arhoolie Internet iTunes MP3-21 mono
BOOGIE DISEASE

06 – ''INDUSTRIAL BOOGIE'' - B.M.I. - 3:04
Composer: - Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Alibri Music
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -   Unknown Date July 1954
Released: -   2013
First appearance: -  JSP Records (CD) 500/200rpm JSP4239-1-13 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - THE MEMPHIS CUTS 1953 - 1956

06 – ''INDUSTRIAL BOOGIE'' - B.M.I. - 4:05
Composer: - Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Alibri Music
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -   Unknown Date July 1954
Released: -   2013
First appearance: -  JSP Records (CD) 500/200rpm JSP4239-2-5 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - THE MEMPHIS CUTS 1953 - 1956

06 – ''INDUSTRIAL BOOGIE'' - B.M.I. - 3:59
Composer: - Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Alibri Music
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -   Unknown Date July 1954
Released: -   2013
First appearance: -  JSP Records (CD) 500/200rpm JSP4239-2-16 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - THE MEMPHIS CUTS 1953 - 1956

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Isaiah Ross - Vocal, Guitar and Harmonica
Tom Troy - Guitar
Roosevelt ''Barber'' Parker - Drums

Note: Doctor Ross recorded other versions of these songs at this session.

The exact date of this ''Boogie Disease'' session was never recorded but the month of July may be corroborated by stories Doctor Ross told about meeting Elvis Presley who had just made his first record there early that month of July 1954. Doctor Ross talked to interviewer David J. Boyd about ''meeting Presley in the Sun studio'' and this reinforced by the fact that the five takes Ross made of ''The Boogie Disease'' were recorded over a Presley session, with just some session chatter and a version of ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'' remaining underneath. Ross said, ''I met Elvis at Sun, Presley and two more white boys. He come up and needed some money and Sam said, 'I ain't got no money and I'm working... I got Dr. Ross and the Interns here'. Elvis says, 'Hey, I know Dr. Ross. I hear him on the radio every day'. So Phillips asks 'Can you tell which one is Dr. Ross, do all that singing'? They say, 'that's him, talking about barber, and Phillips say 'No that there's Dr. Ross'. They say, 'what that little old man? I thought he weighed about 240 pounds, bout 6 foot tall'. I said 'I weight 140 pounds that's all I ever weighed''.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


Isaiah Doctor Ross settled in Michigan 1955, with  his young family sitting on a moon-shaped prop in a Flint photographer's shop. >

JULY 1954

After the July session, Ross's contract was renewed on September 2 and ''The Boogie Disease'' was issued on November 10, 1954. It is not known whether Phillips was pleased to learn that almost as soon as Ross recorded ''The Boogie Disease'' he decided to take off again to find work in the North.

By the time ''The Boogie Disease'' hit the streets, Ross was married again (to Beatrice, this time apparently a second cousin of Willie Love) and that month they settled in Flint, Michigan. The contact address Ross had given Sam Phillips in 1951, care of his father on rural Route 1, in Dundee, Mississippi, was crossed through in Phillips' notebook and replaced with one on East 12th Street in Flint and soon by another at Witherbee Street there.

Ross later told interviewers he had started work at General Motors in Flint on December 22. He remained there all his working life, letting music take second place. Ross said Phillips had hated to lose him and that Sam had reminded him about artists like Jackie Brenston who had previously headed north or west, but returned home broke. Ross countered that he had better sense and was intending to get a job and ride out his Sun contract. Years later he told the Flint Journal, ''I came to Flint in 1954 on a honeymoon, and I kinda took a likin' to General Motors. Flint was in boom-time and money was growing on trees''. 

UNKNOWN DATE SUMMER 1954

In the summer of 1954, soon after he joined Sun Records, Elvis Presley entered the Music Box Night Club (Hideaway) located at Commerce Street in Nashville,   looking for a job. Roy Hall, owner of the club recalls, "I was drunk that night, I didn't feel   like playing piano, so I told him to get up there and start doing whatever in hell it was that   he did. I fired him after just one song that night. He wasn't no damn good". 

It is an   interesting story but doubtful, since Elvis Presley was living and working in Memphis at the   time. It seems to be popular among rockers who didn't make it big to claim they fired Elvis   Presley from their acts or clubs. Singer Eddie Dean also claimed to have fired Elvis Presley.   There is one segment of Hall's story that might be credible - that he gave Jerry Lee Lewis a  job at his club in 1956, and it was there that Lewis first learned Hall's song "Whole Lotta   Shakin' Goin' On". Jerry and Hall were more like-minded and they had the musical bond of the piano. ''I hired him for fifteen dollars a night'', Hall told Toshes. He kept Lewis on for several weeks apparently, playing while the club was open illegally after hours. ''He'd play that damn piano from one in the morning until daylight. WE did a lot of duets together too. He was still a teenager, and everybody figured that when we got musted he'd be the one that the cops let go; so everybody gave him their watches and jewellery to hold for them case the cops came. We got hit one night; he must'a had fifteen wristwatches on his arms. Sure enough he was the only one didn't get searched''.

JULY/AUGUST 1954

Unknown date, studio session with Doctor Ross at Sun Records, Memphis, Tennessee. Session  details unknown.

AUGUST 1954

Sam and Jud Phillips open negotiations about Sam settling with Jud for his financial stake in  Sun.

Sun recording activity slows down considerably as the label concentrates on marketing  and promoting Elvis Presley. When sessions are stepped up again, the emphasis will be on  country music.

U.N. troops withdraw from Korea.

Elvis Presley reaches the Memphis country charts on August 28. ''That's All Right'' is the first significant chart action for Sun since the blues hits ''Bear Cat'', ''Feelin' Good'', and ''Just Walkin' In The Rain'' in the summer of 1953.

Recording activity at Sun now slow as the label concentrates on marketing Elvis Presley. When activity picks up at the end of the year, the emphasis has shifted from blues to country.

AUGUST 2, 1954 MONDAY

Columbia released Marty Robbins' ''call Me Up (And I'll Come Calling On You)''.

Three masked robbers steal $3,500 at gunpoint at Dunbar Cave, a resort owned by Roy Acuff near Clarksville, Tennessee.


Johnny Cash and Vivian Liberto >

AUGUST 7, 1954 SATURDAY

One month after his discharge, Johnny Cash married Vivian Liberto at St. Ann's Roman Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas, and they set up home on Tutwiler Avenue in Memphis.  Cash's older brother Roy had found him a job selling appliances, but Cash was, by his own  admission, "the world's worst salesman. I spent more time in my car listening to the radio  than I did knocking on doors".


Cash's trips into the black neighborhoods of Memphis gave him his first exposure to black  music. "I heard a lot of blues. I became friends with some of the musicians. I met Gus  Cannon one day on the porch of his home. He had written "Walk Right In" way back, and he  was sitting there playing the banjo. I sat and listening to him, played with him, and it got  to be quite a regular affair with me".

Once exposed to black music, Johnny Cash became a convert, spending money he did not  have at the Home Of The Blues record store at Beale Street in Memphis. "Southern blues,  black gospel, black blues, that's my favorite music", he told Bill Flanagan. "People like Pink  Anderson, Robert Johnson, Howlin' Wolf, and Sister Rosetta Tharpe... Blues In The  Mississippi Night Alan Lomax did, is my all-time favorite album", recalled Johnny Cash.

AUGUST 9, 1954 MONDAY

Capitol released Tommy Collins;  ''Whatcha Gonna Do Now''.

Eleven days after he first played the venue, Elvis Presley makes an unpromoted appearance at Memphis' Overton Park Shell during a concert that features Slim Whitman, Carl Smith and Webb Pierce, who refuses to go on after Presley.

AUGUST 11, 1954 WEDNESDAY

Webb Pierce recorded ''More And More'' in Nashville at the Castle Studio.

AUGUST 12, 1954 THURSDAY

Jazz guitarist Pat Metheny is born in Lee's Summit, Missouri. He eventually becomes a Grammy nominee in the country genre.

AUGUST 13, 1954 FRIDAY

''Johnny B. Goode'' songwriter Chuck Berry takes part in the first recording session of his career, for Ballad Records, at Premier Studios in St. Louis, Missouri.

AUGUST 14, 1954 SATURDAY

Ernest Tubb leaves the Grand Ole Opry, though their split will be mended before the end of the year.

AUGUST 17, 1954 TUESDAY

Pop singer Billy Murray dies of a heart attack at Jones Beach, New York. Fifteen years later, his 1916 hit ''Are You From Dixie (Cause I'm From Dixie Too)'' is reprised as a country single by Jerry Reed.

AUGUST 18, 1954 WEDNESDAY

Joe and Rose Lee Maphis have a son, Jody Maphis. A drummer and guitarist, he plays in bands with Earl Scruggs and Marty Stuart and appears on Lacy J. Dalton's debut single, ''Crazy Blue Eyes''.

AUGUST 21, 1954 SATURDAY

Guitarist Nick Kane is born in Jerusalem, Georgia. In 1994 he joins The Mavericks, whose accomplished mix of country, rock, pop and Latin sounds makes it a critically acclaimed and commercially under appreciated force in the 1990s.

AUGUST 27, 1954 FRIDAY

After nearly two years of working for free on Atlanta's WAGA-TV, Brenda Tarpley debuts on ''Peach Blossom Special'', a weekly show on WRDW-TV in Augusta, George. It marks her beginning as a professional, and the first time she uses the name Brenda Lee.

AUGUST 28, 1954 SATURDAY

Comedian Stringbean leaves the Grand Ole Opry to become a regular on Canada's ''The Tommy Hunter Show''.

Ray Price recorded ''If You Don't, Somebody Else Will'' during the morning hours at the Castle Studio in downtown Nashville.

AUGUST 29, 1954 SUNDAY

Ohio's Columbus Citizen reports that Woody Guthrie has just finished a jail sentence at the Columbus City Prison, his 12th jail stay in six weeks, as he rides the railroads illegally. Guthrie also notes in the story that he wrote ''Oklahoma Hills''.

Dave Cavanaugh, A&R Representative for Capitol Records, announces that The Four Keys, formerly with Aladdin Records, have been signed to Capitol.

AUGUST 30, 1954 MONDAY

Capitol released Sonny James' ''She Done Give Her Heart To Me''.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Session Published for Historical Reasons

STUDIO SESSION FOR RUDY GRAYZELL
FOR CAPITOL RECORDS 1954

UNKNOWN STUDIO AND LOCATION, DALLAS, TEXAS
CAPITOL SESSION: TUESDAY AUGUST 31, 1954
SESSION HOURS: 19716
PRODUCER & RECORDING ENGINEER – KEN NELSON

Back in 1954, future Sun recording artist Rudy Grayzell was still holding down a steady gig at The Barn when Charlie Walker stepped in again, telling Capitol's Ken Nelson that he needed Grayzell on the label. Nelson was pretty astute and he'd probably noticed the surge of interest in white country guys performing rhythm and blues. In Texas, it was a subculture dubbed cat music. Nationwide, Bill Haley had been in the charts with ''Crazy Man, Crazy'', and in the South Elvis Presley was just starting to make a stir with his first record ''That's All Right'' (Sun 209). Rudy seemed to know what was going on, and, according to his Capitol Records biography, had already changed the name of his band from the Silver Buckles to the Texas Kool Cats.

01 – ''THERE'S GONNA BE A BALL'' – B.M.I. - 2:48
Composer: - Rudy Gray
Publisher: - American Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - 12940 – Take 6
Recorded: - August 31, 1954
Released: - October 1954
First appearance: - Capitol Records (S) 45rpm Capitol F 2946 A mono
THERE'S GONNA BE A BALL / HEARTS MADE OF STONE
Reissued: - 2010 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16837 AH-9 mono
RUDY GRAZELL - LET'S GET WILD

Break in Master Numbers

''You Better Believe It'' was written by Rudy's girlfriend and first wife, Norma Grimm (or Grim), and it was an engaging blend of rolling Joe Turner rhythms and doo wop harmonies.

02 – ''YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT'' – B.M.I. - 2:19
Composer: - Norma Grimm
Publisher: - Breckwood Music Corporation
Matrix number: - 12950 – Take 12
Recorded: - August 31, 1954
Released: - February 1955
First appearance: - Capitol Records (S) 45rpm Capitol F 3044 A mono
YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT / CA-RAZY!
Reissued: - 2010 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16837 AH-10 mono
RUDY GRAZELL - LET'S GET WILD

Break in Master Numbers



Rudy Grayzell & His Silver Buckle Boys, Cabaret Club, Bandera, Texas, circa 1954. From left: Rusty Hornbeak, Greg Nanus, Gerald Carnes, Bobby Baker, Rudy Grayzell, Johnny Olenn. >

''I met Ken Nelson at KMAC'', remembered Rudy. ''We recorded in Dallas, and I took my own band. He thought the name 'Grayzell' was too long so he changed it to 'Gray'. He later admitted it was a mistake. Ken really liked my band, and he saw me crossing over between rock and country''.


The first challenge was to get ''Heart Of Stone'' on the streets. Rudy sang the verses to a fetching light mambo while the band jumped to 4/4 on the break.  A very prominent electric bass ( a rarity in country music back then) worked in tandem with the drummer while the steel guitarist shaded Rudy's vocal. ''Oh, man, was Ken Nelson hot on that 'Hearts Made Of Stone''', Rudy told David Davidson. ''He said, 'This song is gonna make you!'. But we recorded it too slow. A month after my record was released a group out of L.A. Called the Charms came out with their recording of it and upped the beat, baby. I lost a million bucks!''. The story is a little more complex than that. The original version was by the Jewels who were from Los Angeles, and their recording of ''Hearts Of Stone'' came out in August 1954. Perhaps Ken Nelson had been hipped to the song as he was based in Los Angeles,  or perhaps Rudy heard it somewhere. Either way, he recorded it on or around August 31.

The Charms were from Cincinnati and covered the song on September 13, almost two weeks after Rudy. The Jewels' record didn't chart at all, but the Charms record charted at the end of October and eventually reached number 1 on the Rhythm & Blues charts. The Fontane Sisters covered it for the pop market and they too reached number 1 while Red Foley charted a country cover version. So Rudy was unlucky not to score a hit. His flip-side, ''There's Gonna Be A Ball'', was quintessential cat music. Depending on your perspective, it was either rhythm and blues with hillbilly overtones. What's for sure is that Rudy Grayzell was way ahead of the curve.

03 – ''HEARTS MADE OF STONE'' – B.M.I. - 2:58
Composer: - Rudy Jackson-Eddy Ray
Publisher: - American Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - 12963 – Take 9
Recorded: - August 31, 1954
Released: - October 1954
First appearance: - Capitol Records (S) 45rpm Capitol F 2946 B mono
HEARTS MADE OF STONE / THERE'S GONNA BE A BALL
Reissued: - 2010 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16837 AH-13 mono
RUDY GRAZELL - LET'S GET WILD

Ken Nelson followed ''Hearts Of Stone'' (titled ''Hearts Made Of Stone'' on Rudy's record) with ''Ca-Razy!'', a song that he'd probably picked up in Los Angeles. From the descending piano figure at the intro to the split tempo, it was Louis Prima reconfigured for the beer joints. The writers of ''Ca-Razy!'' were Ted Varnick (who wrote Tony Bennet's big rock and roll era hit ''In The Middle Of An Island'', British vaudevillian Eddie Lisbona aka Eddie ''Piano'' Miller, and Ken Sloan aka songplugger and journalist Arnold Shaw.

04 – ''CA-RAZY!'' – B.M.I. - 2:37
Composer: - Ted Varnick-Eddie Lisbona-Ken Sloan
Publisher: - Ross Jungnickle Music
Matrix number: - 12964 – Take 17
Recorded: - August 31, 1954
Released: - February 1955
First appearance: - Capitol Records (S) 45rpm Capitol F 3044 B mono
CA-RAZY! / YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT
Reissued: - 2010 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16837 AH-11 mono
RUDY GRAZELL - LET'S GET WILD

Name (or. No. Of Instruments)
Rudy Grayzell (as Rudy Gray) – Vocal
Charlie Harris - Guitar
Wayne Wood – Steel Guitar
Joe Pruneda or Bobby Brown - Bass
Gerald Carner or Kermit Baca - Drums
Rusty Hornbeak - Fiddle
Greg Nanus - Piano
Unidentified – Vocal Chorus

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR THE PRISONAIRES
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE SEPTEMBER 1954
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

01(1) - "TWO STRANGERS" - B.M.I. - 2:51
Composer: - Robert Riley
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U-132 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date September 1954 - Scheduled for release
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15523 AH-20 mono
THE PRISONAIRES - JUST WALKIN' IN THE RAIN

A alternate version of ''Two Strangers'', a song that Sam Phillips planned to release as a fifth single on Sun, but shelved in October 1954 under the weight of his new workload promoting Elvis Presley's first two discs was a really strong ballad, written by Robert Riley and sympathetically sung by Bragg and the group.

01(2) - ''TWO STRANGERS'' - B.M.I. - 2:47
Composer: - Robert Riley
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date September 1954
Released: - 2011
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16893-27 mono
THE PRISONAIRES - BABY PLEASE

02 - "WHAT ABOUT FRANK CLEMENT (A MIGHTY MAN" - B.M.I. - 2:58
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date September 1954
Released: - 1976
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30104 mono
SUN: THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 4 - COTTON CITY COUNTRY
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15523 AH-21 mono
THE PRISONAIRES - JUST WALKIN' IN THE RAIN

03 - "FRIENDS CALL ME A FOOL" - B.M.I. - 2:59
Composer: - Johnny Bragg-Robert Riley
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U-133   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date September 1954 - Scheduled for release
Released: - Sun Unissued - 1990
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15523 AH-22 mono
THE PRISONAIRES - JUST WALKIN' IN THE RAIN


The Prisonaires only recorded one version of ''Lucy, You Know Want You'' but it has never before been issued with its correct title. It is a rocking little number driven ahead by bass, guitar and drums and the vocalists leave us in no doubt what they want from Miss Lucy.  At some point after this song was recorded it catalogued as a song about a woman named ''Lucille'' and it was issued as such on compilation LPs twenty years later. Johnny Bragg even copyrighted it using the title under which it had been released. But the group is clearly singing about someone called ''Lucy'', not ''Lucille''. To sing a song, that might have been released, full of lustful yearning about ''Lucille'', which happened to be the name of the wife of the Governor, would not have been a smart move for any prisoner let alone a group of singers who owed so much of their lifestyle to her and her husband.

No such restraints applied to the writer from 'People' magazine of 27 August 1956 who said: "After the huzzas and groans of the Democratic Convention in Chicago died away, there was almost unanimous agreement that the Democrats' choicest doll is Lucille Clement, wife of Tennessee's give-em-ellfire Governor Frank G. Clement, the convention's bombastic keynoter. Mother of three boys, Lucille, 36, whose figure is one of modern politics' most attractive gerrymanders, took time out to model some cute creations for a Hearst lensman''.

04 – "LUCY, YOU KNOW I WANT YOU" - B.M.I. - 2:36
Composer: - Probably Johnny Bragg
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None   - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date September 1954
Released: - 1976
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30104 mono
SUN: THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 4 - COTTON CITY COUNTRY
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15523 AH-23 mono
THE PRISONAIRES - JUST WALKIN' IN THE RAIN

A fifth single, comprising "Friend Call Me A Fool" and "Two Strangers", was scheduled for release in the Fall of 1954, but was never shipped.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Johnny Bragg - Lead Tenor Vocal
Possible John Drue - 2nd Tenor Vocal
William Steward - Baritone Vocal and Guitar
Possible Marcell Sanders - Bass Vocal
Ed Thurman - Tenor Vocal and Lead Tenor Vocal
L.B. McCollough - Electric Guitar
Hubbard Brown - Drums
Henry "Dish Rag" Jones - Piano
George Williams – Trumpet

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


SEPTEMBER 1954

By 1953, future Sun artist Ray Harris had married and moved to Memphis. He had got a job on the  graveyard shift at Firestone working next to Bill Black. ''One day we was taking a break and I asked Bill,  'What you doing in music'? He said that on Saturday nights he was playing at the State Line, some li'l old  cob down on the Mississippi-Tennessee state line. He also said he was trying to cut a record up at Sun  Records with some boy named Elvis Presley. He asked me to come by during the next session. A couple of  weeks went past and I came up to Sun one afternoon. I parked and waited for Bill then we went inside and  Bill introduced me to Sam Phillips, Elvis Presley and Scotty Moore. They was cutting ''Good Rockin'  Tonight''. I sat up in the control room and Sam had both hands up in the air saying 'This Is It'! Sam would  play back the tape and Elvis would say, 'What do you think, Mr Phillips\ ? Sam would say, 'It sounds good.  You just got to work on this and that...'. Now you've gotta remember that I was hooked on Hank Williams. I  didn't like it at the beginning but even before the end of the session it was starting to hit me. I'd played a little  around Tupelo. We'd go down by a creek or river and have a weenie roast. We'd sing and play - all acoustic,  of course. I listened to Presley and I thought, 'Hell'!! He ain't doing anything I can't do.

SEPTEMBER 1954

The Perkins Brothers Band drives in from the Bemis/Jackson area of Tennessee where Carl Perkins has been  pioneering the rockabilly style of guitar. They gain the first of several audition sessions which will lead to a  contract with Sam Phillips' Flip and Sun labels. The contract is signed on October 24, 1954. Carl Perkins was originally from Lake County, Tennessee, in the northwest corner of the state, on the Mississippi banks, but his family had moved to the Jackson area after the war, where he and his brothers, jay and Clayton, formed a band. He was twenty-two-years old and had been working as a baker in Jackson before he quit to play the honky-tonks full-time. Then one day his wife, Valda, heard ''That's All Right'' on the radio. ''That sounds a lot like you, Carl'', she said. And that was what had given him the idea.

The band arrived in a 1941 Plymouth, with the bass tied on top covered by a nine-foot cotten sack. Sam Phillips wasn't there when the band arrived, but Marion Keisker showed no interest whatsoever, according to Carl's recollection, in either his talent or his potential. ''We've got this new boy, Elvis Presley'', she told Carl, and they weren't listening to anybody else. When Carl told her sounded something like Elvis, she said that wasn't going to do him any good, they didn't need anyone else that sounded like Elvis Presley just now.

It was at this point in Carl's account that Sam showed up. Bear in mind that Sam was still driving the same black 1951 Cadillac that he had purchased just one year earlier, but Carl's version lends all the more piquancy to the story of someone who had grown up even poorer than Elvis and would always be certain that Marion Keisker looked down upon him because of his need.

''I took my hat and started out the front door'', Carl said. ''As I did, there was a 1954 Coupe de Ville Cadillac almost took the front bumper off my old Plymouth. A man got out dressed just like the car. He had on a light blue pair of trousers and a dark blue coat. I thought to myself, 'That's either that Presley boy, or that's the man that owns this place. I said, ''Are you Mr. Phillips''? He said, 'Yes''. I said, 'My name's Carl Perkins, and that's my brothers sitting there in the car, and we come down to pick for you'. He said, 'I ain't got time'. I said, 'Mr. Phillips, please. Just one song. Will you''? I guess I said it just that hurt. He said, 'Okay, get set up. But I can't listen long'. We was set up and picking before he could get back to the control room. Afterwards he told me, 'I couldn't say no. Never have I seen a pitifuller-looking fellow as you looked when I said, 'I'm too busy to listen to you'. You overpowered me'. I said, 'I didn't mean to, but I'm glad I did'''. That was the beginning right there.

Around this time, Johnny Cash telephones Sam Phillips to enquire about recording gospel music. He is told  to come into the studio with country material only.

SEPTEMBER 1, 1954 WEDNESDAY

Kitty Wells recorded ''I'm In Love With You'', ''Lonely Side Of Town'' and the Don Everly-penned ''Thou Shalt Not Steal'' at the Castle Studio in downtown Nashville.

Johnnie and Jack recorded ''Kiss Crazy Baby'' and ''Beware Of It'' at the Castle Recording Studio in downtown Nashville.

SEPTEMBER 2, 1954 THURSDAY

Jimmy Bryant and Speedy West recorded ''Stratosphere Boogie'' at the Capitol Studios on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles.

SEPTEMBER 3, 1954 FRIDAY

RCA released Porter Wagoner's first charted single, ''Company's Comin'''.

SEPTEMBER 4, 1954 SATURDAY

In the wake of Elvis Presley's recording of ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'', Bill Monroe recorded a newer, hotter version of his signature song in Nashville.

SEPTEMBER 5, 1954 SUNDAY

Carl Smith recorded ''Loose Talk'' at Nashville's Castle Studio in the Tulane Hotel.

SEPTEMBER 6, 1954 MONDAY

Decca released Ernest Tubb's ''Two Glasses, Joe''.

SEPTEMBER 7, 1954 TUESDAY

Keyboard player Benmont Tench is born in Gainesville, Florida. A member of Tom Petty's band, The Heartbreakers, he writes Rosanne Cash's ''Never Be You'' and Hal Ketchum's ''Stay Forever'', and plays on country recordings by Travis Tritt, Johnny Cash and Mary Chapin Carpenter.

Singer/songwriter Craig Bickhardt is born in Pennsylvania. He replaces Paul Overstreet in Schuyler, Knobloch and Overstreet in 1987, but also writes Pam Tills' ''In Between Dances'', The Judds' ''Turn It Loose'' and Kathy Mattea's ''You're The Power''.

SEPTEMBER 9, 1954 THURSDAY

RCA declines to re-sign Porter Wagoner, though he manages to nab a hit single for the label within a month.

Elvis Presley performs for the grand opening of Katz Drug Store on Lamar Avenue in Memphis. The show is witnessed by Johnny Cash, who meets his future Sun labelmate for the first time, and Johnny was knocked out not just by the music but by the galvanizing force that could come from a simple trio format, he even got to meet Elvis afterward and was impressed by his enthusiasm, conviction, and polite demeanor. But what motivated him most of all, as it happened, was rejection, as he stopped by again and again and was rebuffed each time without getting so much as a perfunctory audition.

SEPTEMBER 10, 1954 FRIDAY

Elvis Presley starts recording sessions that yield ''Good Rockin' Tonight'' and ''I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine'' at Memphis' Sun Recording Studio.

Webb Pierce tries his hand at Jimmie Rodgers' ''In The Jailhouse Now'' during a session at the Castle Studio in Nashville. Unhappy with the result, he recorded the final version a dozen weeks later.

SEPTEMBER 11, 1954 SATURDAY

Porter Wagoner recorded ''A Satisfied Mind'' and ''Eat, Drink And Be Merry (Tomorrow You'll Cry)'' at the KWTO Radio studio in Springfield, Missouri, at a cost of $40, two days after RCA let his contract lapse.

SEPTEMBER 12, 1954 SUNDAY

''The Kollege Of Musical Knowlege'' airs for the final time on NBC-TV, with Tennessee Ernie Ford hosting the game show.

''Lassie'' is broadcast for the first time and is an American television series that follows the adventures of a female Rough Collie dog named Lassie and her companions, both human and animal. The show was the creation of producer Robert Maxwell and animal trainer Rudd Weatherwax and was televised from September 12, 1954, to March 25, 1973. The fourth longest-running U.S. Primetime television series after The Simpsons, and Law and Order, the show chalked up 17 seasons on CBS before entering first-run syndication for its final two seasons. Initially filmed in black and white, the show transitioned to color in 1965.

The show's first 10 seasons follow Lassie's adventures in a small farming Community. Fictional eleven-year-old Jeff Miller, his mother, and his grandfather are Lassie's first human companions until seven-year-old Timmy Martin and his adoptive parents take over in the fourth season. When Lassie's exploits on the farm end in the eleventh season, she finds new adventures in the wilderness alongside United States Service Rangers. After traveling on her own for a year, Lassie finally settles at a children's home for her final two syndicated seasons.

Lassie received critical favor at its debut and won two Emmy Awards in its first years. Stars Jan Clayton and June Lockhart were nominated for Emmys. Merchandise produced during the show's run included books, a Halloween costume, clothing, toys, and other items. Campbell's Soup, the show's lifelong sponsor, offered two premiums (a ring and a wallet), and distributed thousands to fans. A multi-part episode was edited into the feature film Lassie's Great Adventure and released in August 1963. Selected episodes have been released to DVD.

SEPTEMBER 13, 1954 MONDAY

Eddy Arnold recorded ''Christmas Can't Be Far Away'' at the RCA Victor Studios in New York City.

Columbia released Ray Price and His Cherokee Cowboys' single ''If You Don't, Somebody Else Will'', and  Hank Thompson's ''The New Green Light''.

SEPTEMBER 14, 1954 TUESDAY

George Jones marries his second wife, Shirley Ann Corley in Houston.

Barry Cowsill, of the pop group The Cowsills, is born in Newport, Rhode Island. The group scores hits with ''The Rain, The Park And Other Things'', ''Hair'' and ''Indian Lake'', which is remade several years laster as a country hit by Freddy Weller.

SEPTEMBER 15, 1954 WEDNESDAY

Eddy Arnold recorded ''I've Been Thinking'' and ''Don't Forget'' at the RCA Studios in New York City.

SEPTEMBER 16, 1954 THURSDAY

Eddy Arnold recorded ''Two Kinds Of Love'' and ''In Time'' at RCA's New York studios.

A confused Woody Guthrie checks into Brooklyn State Hospital in New York voluntarily. Guthrie has been suffering for several years from Huntington's chorea, a rare neurological disease.

SEPTEMBER 20, 1954 MONDAY

Columbia released Carl Smith's double-sided single, ''Loose Talk'' backed with ''More Than Anything Else In The World''.

Ernest Tubb, Hank Snow and Roy Acuff perform a three-hour show in Montgomery, Alabama, as the city spends the weekend saluting the late Hank Williams.

SEPTEMBER 21, 1954 TUESDAY

A 10-foot marble memorial is unveiled at the gravesite of Hank Williams in Montgomery, Alabama, following a parade in the late star's honor that draws 60,000 people. The marker bears the inscription ''I Saw The Light''.

SEPTEMBER 22, 1954 WEDNESDAY

Sun Records released Elvis Presley's ''Good Rockin' Tonight'' (Sun 210), a number-one 1948 rhythm and blues hit by leather-lunged blues shouter Wynonie Harris, backed with a casually delivered, Dean Martin-styled version of  ''I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine'', a number originally written for the 1950 Disney animated feature ''Cinderella''.

SEPTEMBER 26, 1954 SUNDAY

Glendale, Arizona, mayor H.L. Schrey declares Marty Robbins Day.

Guitarist Cesar Rosas is born in Hermosillo, Mexico. He joins the Los Angeles band Los Lobos, whose ''Will The Wolf Survive'' is ranked among the 500 greatest country singles in the Country Music Foundation's book ''Heartaches By The Number''.

John Mattea marries Ruth Ann Cappellanti is St. Augustine, West Virginia. The union produces a future country star, Kathy Mattea.

SEPTEMBER 27, 1954 MONDAY

Capitol Records breaks ground in Hollywood for its new tower, the first round office building in the world. The Capitol Recording Studios will also be the site for sessions by Merle Haggard, Glen Campbell, Buck Owens, Dwight Yoakam and Taylor Swift.

''The Tonight Show'' premieres on NBC. Originally called ''Tonight'', it's first hosted by Steve Allen, some four years after the comedian wrote a country crossover hit, ''Let's Go Church (Next Sunday Morning)'' by Margaret Whiting and Jimmy Wakely.

SEPTEMBER 29, 1954 WEDNESDAY

Kitty Wells and Red Foley recorded the Roy Acuff-penned ''As Long As I Live'', ''No One But You'', ''Make Believe ('Til We Can Make It Come True)'' and ''You And Me'' during an evening session at the KWTO Studio in Springfield, Missouri.

Songwriter Nancy Montgomery is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She pens Eddy Raven's ''I Wanna Hear It From You'', The McCarters' ''The Gift'' and Ricky Skaggs and Sharon White's  ''Love Can't Ever Get Better Than This''.

SEPTEMBER 30, 1954 THURSDAY

Patsy Cline signs her first recording contract with Bill McCall, of Four Star Records.


The Southern Melody Boys: front row from left: Clyde Hill, Perry King, Back row from left: Junior Johnson, Cricket Grissom, Hayden Thompson, possibly Charles Bolton, Marvin Grissom. >

OCTOBER 1954

The Southern Melody Boys featured with Hayden Thompson, were managed by a local  promoter and disc jockey, Charles Boltop, who put on stage shows and radio shows in and  around Booneville, and who offered the band a step up from the schools, churches, and low  scale gigs they could find for themselves.

Hayden looks back on those days fondly: "One of the little theaters we played in  Booneville was the Von Theater, and on Saturdays that was the venue for the 'Dixieland  Jamboree' stage show that also went out over radio WBIP. It was organised by Charles  Bolton as a very miniature version of the Opry format. I led the stage band there, and we'd  have other local artists, and then there'd be a headliner from Memphis or somewhere, like  Johnny and Dorsey Burnette or Eddie Bond. They would drive about 125 miles and barely  make gas money. I recall clearly the first time Eddie Bond came to town, he had a 1955  Pontiac, and to see someone come out of Memphis like that was really something. I was  totally impressed. Elvis Presley played the Von once, in a show with Johnny Cash, who  actually took the applause because people weren't always sure what to make of Elvis''.

Charles Bolton once confirmed that in the main people wanted to see country shows.  ''Hayden Thompson was doing country music - he sang the Elvis songs, but with a country  band. Johnny Burnette was doing country because his brother Dorsey was playing steel  guitar and they had a fiddle player and a bass. You have to keep in mind that Presley and  Cash were country artists; all they had was electric guitar and bass. They didn't have loud  drums and all that back then''.

Bolton ran a company called 'Dixie Talent and he remembered that he had to pay a 'pretty  steep' cost of $350 to hire talent such as Elvis Presley. Johnny Cash, and David Houston  who came as a package one day in January 1956. He also told researcher Jim Cole that,  ''one week each month, we would do a special weeknight show and bring in some of the  Grand Ole Opry stars like Grandpa Jones or Flatt & Scruggs''. Bolton recalled that on  special holidays he would hire local singers like Hayden Thompson or Lloyd McCullough to  play a show in-between screenings of musical movies, a format Hayden would follow again.

Although he had the germ of a career going and was enamoured of Presley's new rocking  music, Hayden was well aware of his place in the pecking order in those days. He told Ken  Burke, "I met Presley several times in those days, and we talked, but he was three years  older than me. Every single day there was something in the paper about what he was  doing and how his shows were going, so be just became family to everybody because we  all watched his career develop. We watched it happen and we all felt like we knew him''.


Von 1001-A-B >

Hayden's own first recordings came about through the fledgling local company, Von  Records, that had grown out of the musical promotions at the Von Theater, Charles Bolton  explained. "The label was owned by Sam Thomas who performed as part of a blackfaco  comedian team called 'Rastus and Hastus'. He named the record label Von because of our  shows there and he recorded the people we were promoting: Johnny Burnette, Lloyd  McCullough, Hayden Thompson, Shorty Sullivan and so on''.


Hayden's recording session was held not in Booneville but at the radio studio of WERH in  Hamilton Alabama. ''We played a country show over there regularly'', said Hayden. "It was  a live radio broadcast every Saturday afternoon at the skating rink there''.

The recording  engineer at the station was local disc jockey, recording artist and songwriter, Edgar  Clayton, a long-time mainstay of the Alabama music business.