CONTAINS 1956 SUN SESSIONS 1

Studio Session for Brad Suggs, Unknown Date 1956 / Meteor Records
Studio Session for Maggie Sue Wimberly, Probably 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Tommy Blake, Early 1956 / Buddy Records
Demo Session for Malcolm Yelvington, Early 1956
Studio Session for Fred Prentiss, 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Unknown Male Quartet, 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Gene Ross, Probably 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Tommy Ruick, Probably 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Macy Skipper, Probably 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Curley Griffin, Probably 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Jimmy Wages, Probably 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Andy Anderson & The Rolling Stones, 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Jimmy Haggett (James Clecy), 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Jack Earls, January 1956 / Sun Records
Non-Studio Session for Charlie Feathers, January 31, 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Eddie Bond, February 1956 / Mercury Records
Studio Session for Malcolm Yelvington, 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Mack Self, February 1, 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Malcolm Yelvington, February 2, 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Slim Rhodes, February 2, 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Warren Smith, February 5, 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for The Kirby Sisters, February 5, 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Billy Riley, Early 1956 / Fernwood Records
Studio Session for Mary Johnson, Early 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Rudy Grayzell, Early 1956 (1) / Starday Records
Studio Session for Rudy Grayzell, May 1956 (2) / Starday Records
Studio Session for The Teen Kings, March 4, 1956 / Je-Wel Records
Studio Session for Dean Beard, March 29, 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Eddie Bond, March 1956 / Mercury Records
Studio Session for Carl Perkins, Probably March 1956 (1) / Sun Records
Studio Session for Carl Perkins, Probably March 1956 (2) / Sun Records
Studio Session for Carl Perkins, Probably March 1956 (3) / Sun Records
Studio Session for Carl Perkins, Probably March 1956 (4) / Sun Records
Studio Session for Roy Orbison, March/April, 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Onie Wheeler, April 1, 1956 / Columbia Records
Studio Session for Charlie Feathers, April 1, 1956 / Meteor Records
Studio Session for Jean Chapel, April 1956 / RCA Victor/Sun Records
Studio Session for Billy Riley, April 1956 / Fernwood Records
Studio Session for Johnny Cash, April 2, 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Jack Earls, April 14, 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Barbara Pittman, Probably April 15, 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Barbara Pittman, April 15, 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Glenn Honeycutt, April 15, 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Roy Orbison, Unknown Date 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Gene Simmons, 1956 (1) / WELO Radio
Studio Session for The Miller Trio, 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for The Miller Sisters, 1956 (1) / Sun Records
Studio Session for The Miller Sisters, 1956 (2) / Sun Records
Studio Session for Sonny Burgess, May 2, 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Johnny Cash, May 8, 1956 / Sun Records
Advertising Session for Carl Perkins (Overton Park Shell), 1956
Live Broadcast for Johnny Cash, June 2, 1955 / Big D Jaboree
Studio Session for Harold Jenkins (Conway Twitty), Mid-1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Jack Earls, June 4, 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Jimmy Williams, June 12, 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Ray Harris, June 20, 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for The Rhythm Rockers, Probably June 1956 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Bill Bowen, June 1956 / Meteor Records
Studio Session for Bill Bowen, June 1956 / Sun Records

Biography of Artists (See: The Sun Biographies)
 

1956 

The increase in living standards and the focus on education helped to fuel the increase in college education with 1 in 3 high school graduates now going off to college. TV shows included "As The World Turns" and "The Price is Right". Mothers could now buy disposable diapers and tefal non stick Frying Pans. Elvis Presley appears on the Ed Sullivan show and enters the music charts for the first time, with "Heartbreak Hotel".
1956

Future Sun recording star Andy Anderson was still in college when he and his band arrived at the Delta Recording Corporation in Jackson, Mississippi run by Jimmie Ammons and Mabel McQueen: Andy on guitar, with Joe Tubb from Jackson on lead guitar, another guitarist, Harold Aldridge 'Cuz' Covington from Meridian on bass, pianist Roy Estes, and drummer Bobby Lyons of Senatobio. McQueen and Ammons signed them to a management contract that lasted until they graduated from college in 1957.
 
Andy Anderson & The Rolling Stones at the Southernaire Club, Columbus, Mississippi, Fall of 1955. Left to right: Billy ''Cuz'' Covington, Little Joe Tubb, Andy Anderson, James Harold Aldridge >

Andy Anderson says of his first recordings: ''I made them with Jimmie in 1956 and 1957. I located him through asking questions of radio disc jockeys about where I could make recordings and I finally found him in the phone book. I had an instant trust in Jimmy, his professionalism and his eagerness to help.
 
His price for studio time was good. We got our money's worth and more''. Andy and the group recorded things like ''Gonna Rip It Up'', a Little Richard medley, and ''Roll Over And Shake It'', a mixture of Chuck Berry's ''Roll Over Beethoven'' and Jerry Lee Lewis's ''Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On'' with some Carl Perkins guitar style thrown. (Their Delta recordings can be heard on the Delta label collection, ''Diddy Wah Diddy'', BCD 16748). There was one original song written by Anderson among those early demos about a man, ''Johnny Valentine'', who loves all the girls and seems to attract them. Andy says he based it on the lifestyle of Elvis Presley who he took as a model for much of his music, though not his lifestyle. Andy said he first met Presley briefly in Memphis in the early 1950s when they both took lessons from the same voice teacher.
Sam Phillips works in the Sun Studio, unknown date 1956 >
 
1956

Sam Phillips had high hopes this year for Billy Riley, Sonny Burgess, and Warren Smith. Hours of tape remain in the vaults and probably as much again was recorded-over. If Elvis Presley inspired them, they soon found their own direction. Sonny Burgess and Billy Riley borrowed liberally from rhythm and blues. Riley even made a blues record as Lightnin' Leon while Burgess had a gloriously unsubtle rhythm and blues voice.

Smith kept faith with rockabilly for three years before reverting to his hillbilly roots. Riley paid the rent with endless hours of studio work at Sun, and then for numberless other labels, but the big hit always remained tantalizingly elusive. Sonny Burgess hung with music until the late 1960s, but returned as a prophet with honor years later. Why were they unsuccessful? Bad luck is a glib answer but contains a glimmer of truth. If one dee-jay across the country had picked up on any of their Sun singles and played it to death, the story might have been different.
 
 
Flukes count for much more than the record business likes to acknowledge. Were their records too raw? Perhaps. Could Sun handle more than one or two his artists at a time? Barely. The paradox is that Warren Smith, Billy Riley and Sonny Burgess made records for Sun that might have been hits with a major label push, but their music wouldn't have sounded this way if they'd recorded for a corporate label that didn't understand them.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Session Published for Historical Reasons

STUDIO SESSION FOR BRAD SUGGS WITH THE SWINGSTERS
FOR METEOR RECORDS 1956

METEOR RECORDING STUDIO
1794 CHELSEA AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
METEOR SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - QUINTON CLAUNCH
AND/OR BILL CANTRELL

Luther Bradley Suggs was a much more accomplished and professional musician than most who appeared on  Meteor. He had worked in the late 1940s as Pee Wee Suggs, guitarist with the Loden Family in Mississippi.  In 1950 he recorded as part of Slim Rhodes' band for Sam Phillips in Memphis, and a string of discs from  those sessions appeared on Gilt-Edge Records. In August 1951, Suggs recorded again for Gilt-Edge and in  1955 and 1956 he featured as guitarist and singer on several Slim Rhodes country singles on Sun Records.

Suggs could play anything and when the new Phillips International label started in 1959, Suggs had five  singles issued in a pop instrumental style under the name the Brad Suggs Orchestra. In between Sun and  Phillips, he fitted in one disc for Meteor, issued in June 1956. It came about when the Rhodes band went out  on tour while Suggs stayed behind with his fife who was ill. He also turned down road work with hit Capitol  artist Sonny James (Loden) and so he called in at Meteor to see whether he could get some studio work on  records while the band was away.

Brad Suggs >

Lester Bihari and Suggs put together a band to record something in the rockabilly style that he had never   properly attempted at Sun. The band included Ira ''Rocky'' Caple taking lead on steel guitar. Caple played   with the Rhodes band occasionally and is remembered as a top class steel and jazz guitarist, Suggs played   electric guitar, Smokey Joe Baugh was on piano, and Johnny Bernero on drums. Suggs told Martin Hawkins,   ''I was not sure about Meteor because Lester was completely different in the studio from Sam Phillips''.
 
''He   was very laid back and not forceful or assertive in any way. He just let it happen. He was learning the ropes   really. Lester wanted to be able to do it, but he didn't have it as a recording engineer''.  ''But I knew Joe Bihari  had been over there and I had seen B.B. King there and I thought it might be a place worth checking out. I   was there when Junior Thompson recorded. They were real energetic guys, and I played some shows over in   Germantown with them''.

 
 01 - ''CHARCOAL SUIT'' - B.M.I. - 2:26
Composer: - Luther Suggs-Les Bihari
Publisher: - Meteor Publishing
Matrix number: - MR 5054
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1956
Released: - June 1956
First appearance: - Meteor Records (S) 45rpm Meteor 5034-A mono
CHARCOAL SUIT / BOP, BABY, BOP
Reissued: - 2003 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCH2 885-2-5 mono
THE COMPLETE METEOR ROCKABILLY & HILLBILLY RECORDINGS

''Charcoal Suit'' was a period song in homage to sharp clothes, while ''Bop. Baby, Bop'' was an excuse in the   hip vernacular to set up a rocking stop-time western swing beat and to take a few solos. This session has a lot   of open space but at the same time a muddier sound than most. It came at the time Lester was replacing his   recording equipment. Suggs said: ''Actually, the sound at the Meteor studio surprised me. He needed better   equipment, but the studio was a bigger and better room than at Sun. It seemed more like a radio studio''.   Lester Bihari in turn described Brad Suggs as ''a kind of an A&R man for me quite a bit of the time''. It seems   at one point he had hopes of getting him more involved with the running of the label.

01 – ''BOP, BABY, BOP'' - B.M.I. - 2:04
Composer: - Luther Suggs-Les Bihari
Publisher: - Meteor Publishing
Matrix number: - MR 5055
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1956
Released: - June 1956
First appearance: - Meteor Records (S) 45rpm Meteor 5034-B mono
BOP, BABY, BOP / CHARCOAL SUIT
Reissued: - 2003 Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDCH2 885-2-6 mono
THE COMPLETE METEOR ROCKABILLY & HILLBILLY RECORDINGS

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Brad Suggs - Vocal & Guitar
Ira ''Rocky'' Caple - Steel Guitar
Smokey Joe Baugh - Piano
Johnny Bernero - Drums

Brad Suggs did not have any great expectations for his Meteor single, though toured locally with other   Meteor artists. ''I just wanted to see what would happen. When the Rhodes band came back, I rejoined them.   I never mentioned the Meteor thing to Sam Phillips and Sam never mentioned it to me. We always had a   cordial and decent relationship and that continued afterwards, almost like I had never been to Meteor. Sam   and I both knew that several artists crossed town to Meteor. I saw Charlie Feathers there, and Quinton   Claunch and Bill Cantrell who were always everywhere, always on the go with some kind of project,   hustling or producing''. Brad Suggs is now retired (2003) and lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 



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The originally unissued tracks here reveal that Maggie Sue was up to the challenge. She lent her voice to Big   Memphis Marainey's "Call Me Anything, But Call Me" and produced a credible version. She tried one more   country balled in 1955 in "They Who Condemn", and here met the emerging rock style head-on with "Rock And  Roll Simmon Tree", updating a children's nursery rhyme into a youthful piece of rock fluff. Previously issued   versions of this tune have consistently gotten the title wrong, a mistake that probably began in the Sun Records   Discography. These are persimmons (shortened to "simmons"), Maggie Sue is singing about. As far as anyone   knows, there were no cinnamon trees growing in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

STUDIO SESSION FOR MAGGIE SUE WIMBERLY
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1955

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE POSSIBLY 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - BILL CANTRELL AND QUINTON CLAUNCH

But long before these adults pastimes, Maggie Sue did her share of experimenting in the Sun studio with Sam  Phillips. It was clear that she could sing hillbilly music. But what else could she do? Certainly, Phillips was not  going to give much rein to her gospel music background. (Maggie Sue began her musical life singing about the  Lord with the Wimberly Family, and later the Harmonettes). With all that passion in her voice, might she also sing  some blues or be pushed into the emerging sound of rock and roll?

01(1) - "ROCK AND ROLL SIMMON TREE*" - B.M.I. - 2:07
Composer: - Bill Cantrell-Quinton Claunch
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably October 25, 1954
Released: - August 2002
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16609-2-13 mono
MEMPHIS BELLES - THE WOMEN OF SUN RECORDS

''Rock And Roll 'Simmon Tree'' this uncompromisingly silly song was obviously an attempt to bring Maggie Sue into line with musical developments since her sole release. However, the transition to rock and roll was not without its problems and they begin with the song. The notion of someone getting the notion to rock and roll while knocking persimmons down from a tree is on a par with the efforts of several country singers who tried to make grandpa rock. A more serious problem comes from the backing group. Only the guitar (who sounds like Roy Orbison) has much feeling for the proceedings. The song's melody is lifted note-for-note from Al Dexter's 1940s smash ''Pistol Packin' Mama'' which, ironically, had been revived by Dexter for the Memphis and L.A. based Ekko Records in 1955.

01(2) - "ROCK AND ROLL SIMMON TREE*" - B.M.I. - 2:03
Composer: - Bill Cantrell-Quinton Claunch
Publisher: -  Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Possible 1956
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-5-16 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 – 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-3-27 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

In search of new material for the young Ms. Wimberly, someone hit upon the idea of reviving Big Memphis Marainey's ''Call Me Anything (But Call Me), sole Sun recording from 1953. That someone was undoubtedly Sam Phillips because he held the publishing and was one of the few people to have actually heard the original, which sold as poorly as this would have. The overall feel of this recording approximates Elvis Presley's early ballads such as ''Love Me'' and ''Anyway You Want Me'' but the moppet's tender years are no match for the material. Her valiant attempt to reach and sustain the final note speaks well of her enthusiasm but poorly of those who had dreamed up this endeavour.

02(1) - "CALL ME ANYTHING" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Dubrover-Mitt Addington
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably October 25, 1954
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sun LP 1023 mono
ROCK AND ROLL PILLS
 
02(2) - "CALL ME ANYTHING" - B.M.I. - 2:55
Composer: - Dubrover-Mitt Addington
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably October 25, 1954
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-5-15 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-3-26 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

 
Returning to the Sun studio, Maggie Sue turns her hand to a honky tonk ballad for the younger set. Her performance is quite accomplished but comes nowhere close to the affecting quality of ''How Long''. The backing group sounds familiar but is nertheless hard to place. Sam Phillips was certainly correct to nix this one as a single contender.

03 - "THEY WHO CONDEMN" - B.M.I. - 2:22
Composer: - Bill Cantrell-Quinton Claunch
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably March 18, 1955
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-5-15 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-3-25 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Maggie Sue Wimberly – Vocal
Unknown Group
Possibly Roy Orbison - Guitar*

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

Beale Street ''Home Of The Blues'', Memphis, Tennessee, Mid-1950s >

1956

For a few months rockabilly was a contender for next big kingdom. Some of those who  followed in Presley's wake, like Roy Orbison, eventually developed an individual approach  and survived in the music business. Some returned to county music and view their flirtation  with rockabilly as an aberration.
 
Most, however, simply returned to the mundane reality of  making a living outside the music business, coming to see with thirty years' hindsight ' that  they never stood a chance of making it. ''Rockabilly'', asserts producer Jim Dickinson, holding up two fingers held close together, ''is  about that wide. Revivalists treat it as if it were all kinds of other things too. Once you get  past Sonny Burgess, Billy Riley, and Johnny Burnette, there ain't much more''. It's still  unclear who coined the term but it was in fairly common use by early 1956 - usually, as  Dickinson indicates, as misapplied then as today.

 
Once Sam Phillips' achievement with Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins became common  knowledge, his little studio became a meet for a generation of young singers who stood at  the door where Elvis had stood, hoping against hope that the magic would rub off on them.  And it was Elvis - not really Carl Perkins, despite his role in shaping the rockabilly sound -  that the new generation sought to emulate. For some, Presley was an enigma they hoped to  unravel; but it's easy to forget that for many of the teenage boys who auditioned at Sun, he  was a frustratingly real person. He might have shared a Coke with them backstage at the  local high school gym after a gig. Yet he had passed from their midst, had suddenly become a  vision of the success that was tantalizingly close and desperately unreachable. Many could  never end the answer to the question: ''Why Elvis and not me''.

Like those who straggle up and down Music Row in Nashville today, they came to the Sun  studio from a variety of backgrounds. The cross-section that follows rejects the different  musical strands that went to make up the great catchall, rockabilly.
The photographer Ernest C. Withers shot B.B. King's tour bus ''Big Red'' looking like a large mechanical caterpillar, at a curb outside King's Palace Cafe on Beale Street, Memphis, with King's entire touring crew, fifteen well-dressed men and a well-dressed woman, lined up in front of the vehicle in their best suits and clean shirts. Well-wishers are leaning out of the windows of the rooming houses above the bus. Cato Walker Jr., drove the musician's tour bus, circa 1956 >
 
1956

The Platters open the year on top of both the rhythm and blues and Pop Charts with "The  Great Pretender" making it the second rock record to accomplish the latter.

Feedback is invented by The Johnny Burnette Rock And Roll Trio on their record "The Train   Kept A Rollin".
 
Pop vocalist Kay Starr has a huge smash that winter with "The Rock & Roll Waltz" a song that  attempts to cash in on the term "rock and roll" while appealing to adults rather than kids,  proving the industry feels the music is a novelty.

Elvis Presley scores five number 1 hits in a seven month span, causes a sensation with his  explosive performance of "Hound Dog" on the Milton Berle Show, appears twice on The Ed  Sullivan Show in the fall to enormous ratings and releases his first film that November.

Rock And Roll enters the movies with cheaply made "rockexploitation" films with limited  plots and numerous cameos by rockers singing their latest hits. The biggest and best of  which is "The Girl Can't Help It" starring blonde sexpot Jayne Mansfield and featuring  performances by Little Richard, Fats Domino and Eddie Cochran.
 
Gene Vincent is convicted of public obscenity and fined $10,000 by the state of Virginia for  singing the erotic "Woman Love" on stage.

"I Put A Spell On You" by Screamin' Jay Hawkins sells over a million copies but faces a  complete radio ban due to its "cannibalistic nature", thus becoming rock's first underground  hit.

1956

This would be one of the great transition years in American pop music. Dominating the  charts was the untamed hellfire shout-outs of Elvis Presley, not to mention the rhythm and  blues-flavored pop of Fats Domino and the Platters. But plenty of the old guard chaperoned  these young rebels: Bing Crosby, Doris Day, Perry Como, and the always-pleasant Ames  Brothers. Still, 1956 was the year that rock and roll stood up and demanded to take over the  pop charts.

Colonel Tom Parker signed on as Elvis Presley’s manager.

''Heartbreak Hotel'' starts Presley-mania.

Elvis Presley's first film, Love Me Tender released in 1956.

The rock and roll music of white rockers is called "rockabilly" (rock + hillbilly).

Screamin Jay Hawkins' "I Put A Spell On You" introduces voodoo into rock and roll.
1956

Wanda Jackson is the "Queen of Rockabilly".

The popularity of rock and roll causes the record industry to boom and allows independent  labels to flourish.

In impromptu recording session occurs at Sun Studios in December 4, 1956 with the million  dollar quartet consisting of Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash.

Elektra pioneers the "compilation" record, containing songs by different musicians.

Buddy Holly had his first official recording session in 1956. It was held in Nashville at  producer Owen Bradley’s, Barn Studio.

Brenda Lee signs a recording contract at the age of 11, after five years of singing  professionally.

Gene Vincent made his first appearance on national TV by performing on The Perry Como  Show.

American Bandstand first aired on nationwide TV.

Stereo LPs became available and new releases were issued in both mono (monaural) and  stereo (stereophonic) versions.

The Philips original cast recordings of My Fair Lady was one of the first million seller LPs  together with Van Cliburn playing Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto.

Future Sun recording artist, Hannah Fay (or Hana Fay, as she had been billed) appeared on the Fine label in 1956 (Fine 108) ''It Pays To Be True'' b/w ''Easy To Remember'' and (Fine 1012) ''Oh Why'' b/w ''Searching For Someone Like You''. Fine Records was owned by three Biloxi residents: Yankee Barhonovich, Marion ''Prof'' Carpenter, and Pee Wee Maddox.
1956

Carl Perkins' "Blue Suede Shoes" gives Sun Records one of the biggest U.S. hits of the year.

Roy Orbison arrives at the company in March, whilst Jack Clement is hired as a  producer/engineer at $90.00 a week on June 15th, just two months after bringing Billy Riley  to the label. During the fall, Jack is also on hand when Jerry Lee Lewis undergoes an  impromptu audition at the Sun studio.

After getting out of school in 1956, future Sun performer Dane Stinit saw that the job  prospects around Owensboro, Kentucky were slender so he hit the Hillbilly Highway north.  He had some relations in Cary, Indiana, which is virtually an industrial suburb of Chicago,  and eventually settled in Lake Station, Indiana which is almost entirely populated by  transplanted southerns. Stinit had played in a little local group in Owensboro but had no  thoughts of bucking the odds against making in Nashville. One of his buddies in the group, L.  Martin decided to try his luck in Nashville and played with Bill Carlisle, Mel Tillis, Donna  Fargo and others before meeting an untimely end in a road accident. Around Christmas 1965  he went on to the Memphis era.

EARLY 1956

Future Sun recording artist, Narvel Felts was seventeen and entered a high school talent  contest at Bernie, Missouri, and sing Elvis Presley's ''Baby Let's Play House'' and when they  wanted an encore there was a new song he had heard a few times by Carl Perkins, called  ''Blue Suede Shoes''. By chance there was a disc jockey in the audience that night from KDEX  radio in Dexter, Missouri, his name was Weldon Grimsley, and the next day and later, Narvel  sings the Saturday afternoon radio shows.

''There was a new song I had heard a few times by Carl Perkins, called ''Blue Suede Shoes'', Narvel told to Howard Cockburn. ''By chance there was a disc jockey in the audience that night from KDEX radio in Dexter, Missouri, his name was Weldon Grimsley, and the next day I was sitting at home listening to the radio, and they said 'if Narvel Felts is listening please contact KDEX immediately'. I ran outside and told my daddy what they had said on the radio. It was cold winter time and he had the water drained out of the radiator of his 1946 International truck. He put water in the truck and drove me eight miles up the gravel road to Bernie to the nearest phone, and I tool J.W. Grubbs with me and they gave us a little Saturday afternoon radio show, live. A little while after that, March 1956, I ran across Jerry Mercer one night at the Four way Inn in Dudley, Missouri. He got me up to sing and this led to a regular job in Jerry Mercer's band along about the spring of 1956. We played a lot of the local clubs in southeast Missouri, north-east Arkansas and some in Illinois and played a package show that summer with Roy Orbison when ''Ooby Dooby'' was his current record. Eddie Bond and The Stompers were also on the show and Eddie's record on Mercury at the time was ''Rockin' Daddy'', said Felts.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Tommy Blake was born Thomas Levan Givens in Dallas, Texas on September 14, 1931. He entered Marine training camp in 1951, and told people he lost an eye in Korea, but the actually lost it before he even left boot camp in North Carolina. Discharged, he went to Louisiana, working on KTBS in Shreveport and KRUS in Ruston as a performer and disc jockey. In 1954, he married his first wife, Betty Jones, in Charthage, Texas. They had six children. Shortly after one of them was born, Blake went to the store to buy cigarettes, saw Faron Young's tour bus, jumped on board, and disappeared for six weeks. It was the critical choice of his life: success, even if experiended tangentially or vicariously, was preferable to absolutely anything else. Yukkin' it up with the guys backstage, or finishing a song in a pill-inducted frenzy beat sitting on the couch watching television with the wife and kids.

In Ruston, Blake met three musicians who would become his sidekicks over the next few tumultuous years. Carl Bailey Adams was born in Rayville, Louisiana on November 7, 1935, the last of ten children, four of whom died at birth. On October 11, 1941, Carl's brother Clyde and his sister's husband, Alton, were planning a hunting trip and asked Carl and Clyde's father for his shotgun. They left the gun on the dinning room table where Carl began fooling with it, sticking his fingers into the barrels. Carl's sister screamed and Carl dropped the gun. It discharged, blowing off two fingers and killing his sister's young son. Carl held himself responsible for his nephew's death and became a troubled soul. His hand was surgically repaired, and he learned to play the guitar left-handed with picks taped to his thumb and remaining fingers. Hughes draws a parallel to the Belgian jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt who had two fingers of his fretting hand destroyed in a fire, but Reinhardt was already a skilled musician at the time of his accident whereas Adams learned to play after the tragedy. Later, Carl Adams attended the Louisiana Technical College, where he met Ed Dettenheim.

Born in Shreveport, Louisiana on February 23, 1934, Dettenheim took up the guitar and then bass. As he told Hughes, ''I learned to play left handed first and switched to right so I was never that great a lead player.. I simply could not move that pick in my right hand fast like flatpickers but I could put harmony and rhythm to anything a picker could play. Filling in the gaps and surrounding whatever melody one night play with supportive sound was why Blake sought me out, I suppose, and why Adams and I made a unique team''. Dettenheim took the name Eddie Hall and Thomas Givens took the name Tommy Blake.

Tommy Blake was one of the more curious characters of the Big Beat era. He was a man with talent, but seemed unable to channel his talent in the right direction. Instead of harvesting the rewards he should have received for his genuine songwriting ability, he burnt too many fingers and rubbed too many people the wrong way. Bill Millar has said of Blake, "The records of Tommy Blake afford a glimpse of a man of considerable imagination as well as flights of indiscipline". He continued, saying Blake was a "headlong troublemaker" and concluded with the lugubrious summary of his life being "-a psychodrama far cheaper than any he wrote about". Noted musicologist Colin Escott similarly opined, "Tommy Blake's life was a How-Not-To-Do-It manual", elaborating with the unfavorable retrospection.

Tommy Blake was one of the guys who never really made it, but got close enough to know what making it was all about. Close enough to know that he wanted it badly. Some guys can give it a shot, accept that the public doesn’t want to buy what they have, then move on happy that they at least tried. Not Tommy Blake. He looked like a star, even if his vocal abilities fell somewhere short of stellar. After this performing career was over, he tried to experience success vicariously by becoming a songwriter. Once again, he came close, even wrote a few hits, but never quite had the industry beating down his door.

Session Published for Historical Reasons

STUDIO SESSION FOR TOMMY BLAKE
FOR BUDDY RECORDS 1956

KWKH STUDIO
327 TEXAS, SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA
OR RADIO TTAE STUDIO, TYLER, TEXAS
BUDDY SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE EARLY 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER – UNKNOWN

Most on weekends, Tommy Blake and the Rhythm Rebels played guest spots on the local Saturday night jamborees, the Big D in Dallas, Texas, the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport, the Grand Prize Jamboree in Houston, Texas, and smaller shows, but Ruston was their home base.
''Koolit'' became Tommy Blake's first record. It was cut for the Buddy label in Marshall, Texas. Starting December 27, 1952, the Saturday night Marshall Jamboree was the week's top event in Marshall, and the shows manager, A.T. Young, featured his son Buddy, for whom he started the label. The show ran from Marshall's City Hall, and was broadcast over KMHT. Blake probably appeared on Young's show often enough for Young to give him a shot on his label. The reference to ''Blue Suede Shoes'' dates to early 1956, and the presence of the Hayride's steel guitarist Sonny Trammell was front-and-center on the hillbilly flipside.

Tommy Blake with Linda Brannon in Shreveport, Louisiana >

The Nashville music business had taken keen notice of what was happening in Shreveport as first Hank Williams, and then Webb Pierce, Faron Young, Johnnie & Jack, Kitty Wells, and more recently Elvis and Johnny Horton came to the fore. But, as Ed Hail confirmed, Blake wasn't content to wait for Nashville to find him: ''From a psychiatric point of view Blake was driven all right'', he said. ''He voiced dreams of fame and fortune but that was not what drove him to do anything.
 
The thrill and high that comes from spitting out a song was of far greater importance to Tommy Blake than fame, fortune, money and the things money might have provided. Every song Blake ever wrote was the ''best song ever written''. He'd get an idea for a song. We three would work as a team without sleeping day and night until we had that song exactly right and on tape as a demo. Only then would Blake go home and rest. Blake would hype that new creation as the greatest song ever written until an idea for the next song hit, usually a day or so later. Then we'd be off again on another non-stop writing frenzy because we had this new best song ever written inside us just dying to get out. Blake and I both wrote because something down inside us needed to come out. Carl's guitar licks and my rhythms had a way of stimulating us to push whatever was wanting to come out to the surface. Blake knew he had problems vocally but he could still sing better than Carl and I could. We'd work for hours to correct his vocal weaknesses and we constantly sought ways to cover them''.

01 – ''KOOLIT'' – B.M.I. - 2:13
Composer: - Tommy Blake
Publisher: - Fiesta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - Unknown Date Early 1956
Released: 1956
First appearance: - Buddy Records (S) 45rpm standard single Buddy B-107-A mono
KOOLIT / IF I'M A FOOL
Reissued: 2007 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16797-3 mono
TOMMY BLAKE - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

02 – ''IF I'M A FOOL'' – B.M.I. - 2:59
Composer: - Tommy Blake
Publisher: - Fiesta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - Unknown Date Early 1956
Released: 1956
First appearance: - Buddy Records (S) 45rpm standard single Buddy B-107-B mono
IF I'M A FOOL / KOOLIT
Reissued: 2007 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16797-20 mono
TOMMY BLAKE - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Tommy Blake with The Rhythm Rebels consisting of
Tommy Blake – Vocal & Guitar
Carl Bailey Adams – Guitar
Possible James Sonny Trammell – Steel Guitar
Edward Eddie Hall Dettenheim – Bass
Possible Douglas Dobber Johnson - Fiddle

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1956

The Rock And Roll Trio, Johnny and Dorsey Burnette with guitarist Paul Burlison in the Sun  studio, but for whatever reason, Sam Phillips turned them down when they auditioned for  Sun Records. The trio took off for New York, where they earned a spot on TV's Ted Mack  Amateur Hour. After winning three weeks straight, they were signed to the Decca subsidiary  Coral Records in New York, and appeared in the 1956 movie Rock Rock Rock. Their version  of jump blues bandleader Tiny Bradshaw's "Train Kept A Rollin'" remains among the greatest  rockabilly record ever made. 
 
None of the Rock And Roll Trio records followed Elvis up the  charts.  They broke up in 1957 and Johnny Burnette headed to Hollywood, hopping freights  with a buddy. Johnny Burnette died at thirty on August 14, 1964, in an evening boating  accident on California's Clear Lake, when his small fishing boat was rammed by a cabin  cruiser. Dorsey died at fifty-seven of a heart attack in 1979. Paul Burlison died in 2004 in his  hometown Memphis, Tennessee.

Johnny Cash and The Tennessee Two spent the rest of 1955 on the road and in January 1956  they landed a regular spot on the Louisiana Hayride. With both ''Hey Porter'' and ''Folsom  Prison Blues'' achieving respectable chart positions they were a hot property on the concert  circuit and were booked for dates across the southern states.

Mack Allen Smith >

1956

Future Sun recording artist, Mack Allen Smith, after graduating from high school in 1956,  Mack Allen joined the Kenny Minyard band as lead singer and performed with this band at  the VFW in Greenwood, Mississippi, until September 1956, when he left for college at  Holmes Junior College in Goodman, Mississippi.


The Kenny Minyard band was a traditional  country or hillbilly band, but Mack Allen was hired to do the Elvis and other rockabilly stuff  that was sweeping the country at that time. Just prior to leaving for college, Mack Allen  formed a band called The Carroll Country Rock & Roll Boys which consisted of Mack Allen  Smith (lead singer and rhythm guitar), Ellis Hopper (lead guitar), and Billy Wayne Herbert  (rhythm guitar).


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

 Session Published for Historical Reasons

HOME DEMO SESSION FOR MALCOLM YELVINGTON

HOME TAPE RECORDER
COVINGTON, TENNESSEE, EARLY 1956
PRODUCER - REECE FLEMING

Early in 1956, with Presley making a big splash on RCA and with Sun and Carl Perkins breaking through in a big way with sales of "Blue Suede Shoes:, the Malcolm Yelvinton band decided to take a more focused tilt at the emerging rock and roll market. They got together in a house in Ripley owned by the mother of their friend, Russell Crawford, and gathered round Russell's tape recorder and one microphone. They demoed "Rockin' With My Baby" and "It's Me Baby" to take down to Sam Phillips to try out one more time for that elusive second Sun release.
 
01 - "ROCKIN' WITH MY BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:09
Composer: - Malcolm Yelvington
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Corporation
Matrix number: - None - Demo - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date Early 1956
Released: - 1988
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1010 mono
GONNA HAVE MY SELF BALL
Reissued: - 2006 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16757-26 mono
MALCOLM YELVINGTON - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

02 - "IT'S ME BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:12
Composer: - Reece Fleming
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Corporation
Matrix number: - None - Demo - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date Early 1956
Released: - 1988
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1010 mono
GONNA HAVE MY SELF BALL
Reissued: - 2006 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16757-27 mono
MALCOLM YELVINGTON - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Malcolm Yelvington - Vocal and Guitar
Gordon Mashburn - Guitar
Jake Ryles - Upright Bass
Reece Fleming - Piano

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Five Input Monaural RCA76-B Mixing Console. These recording consoles were used on some amazing records in the 1950s, but most famously at Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee.

All of the Sun recordings Sam Phillips made with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Howlin' Wolf, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ike Turner, Rufus Thomas, Charlie Feathers, and hundreds of others were done on an RCA 76-D board. >


THE SUN SOUND IN 1956 - By 1956, the Memphis Recording Service control room housed an  RCA 76-D radio console, with inputs and outputs coupled through transformers to provide  the Sun label’s trademark warm sound. And then there were the two Ampex 350 tape decks,  one the master, the other rack-mounted, via which the famous slapback echo was achieved  by bouncing the signal from one machine to the other, with a split-second delay.

 
 
''The board had rotary pots and allowed us to use six mics at once'', says Jack Clement. ''If  we wanted echo, we’d have to use another pot with another mic on it. Well, next to the  console I had a little side panel with six knobs on it, and that meant I could get echo on all  six microphones with just that one mic. We could run the tape at 7.5 inches per second or  15; I usually ran it at 15 so there wasn’t such a long delay''.

According to Sam Phillips, the ''Sun Sound'' was as much about sparse instrumentation as it  was about his pioneering use of slapback echo.

''The human ear doesn’t like hearing something that is aurally so different to the point of  being strange'', he explained. ''It likes something different so far as the total confluence of  the sound and the song and how it's done. I knew that people had heard records on  jukeboxes in live little restaurants and dives, and what I tried to do with that type of echo  and the sparse instrumentation was to make the sound not too foreign to the average ear.  The acoustics of the room were good, but miking has an awful lot to do with the finished  product. Of course, everything at that time was monaural, and I’m big on miking and I’m big
on using the right mic, although I couldn’t buy real expensive microphones''.

These remarks tie in with Jack Clement’s own observations about the audio qualities of the  studio.

''Sam used to say, 'This room's got a sound,’ and I thought he was full of you-know-what, but  I later realised this was true'', Clement says. ''It has leakage, but it’s good leakage. It doesn’t  sound off-mic; it just fills up the sound, and the room isn’t big enough for there to be too  much echo. It was a very simple setup and it worked. We were always talking about  constructing an echo chamber out back, but Sam didn’t own that building, he was renting it.  So, even though he knew how to build one, we never did do it''.

''One time, Sam accidentally put a Carl Perkins album on the echo machine that we would  leave running every time we’d record. Well, I came in there to record something, turned the  machine on and erased the entire album! Sam didn’t complain, because he knew it was his  fault, that album, consisting of singles and B-sides, had taken several months to produce and  we didn’t have any safety copies, but I don’t think it was that good anyway...''.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

 STUDIO SESSION FOR FRED PRENTISS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS PROBABLY 1956

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
AND/OR JACK CLEMENT
 
A seven-inch tape box sits in the Sun vault bearing the name of Lynn Pratt and Hornet Records - the Tennessee label owned by Pratt in the 1950s. We first thought that these tracks were the work of Pratt, himself, although aural evidence suggested otherwise. An interview with Lynn Pratt confirmed that he was not the vocalist, although identifying the singer proved a bit tricky.

"I knew it wasn't me when you played that tape", Pratt began, "but I couldn't recall the name of the singer. I called all the guys in my band from back then and asked them if they could recall. The name that everyone came up with is Fred Prentiss. It wasn't so much his vocal that stood out to me, but his guitar work. Fred was a great guitar player - he was with us for about a year and a half - and this just reminded me of his style. I know I recorded some stuff on him to see if we could get a record out of him. I sent one of the demos to Sun. I think everybody turned us down, including a few labels in Nashville".

Relatively little is known of Fred Prentiss. Lynn Pratt recalls that the singer left the group and went to live in Chicago. "I know he also lived in Arkansas for a while before moving back to Tennessee. He got involved in agricultural work after he left us. I know he still has family in Tennessee and has a sister who is involved in gospel music".

01 - "JUNGLE QUEEN" - B.M.I. - 2:37
Composer: - Fred Prentiss
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date Probably 1956
Released: - August 2000
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16405-1 mono
THAT'LL FLAT GIT IT! - VOLUME 17

"Jungle Queen" holds a tough of the exotic as Prentiss takes his best "Cattle Call" wail into the jungle. The song uses a minor key and gives the guitarist a chance to show off the tremolo bar on his Stratocaster.

02 - "LAZY RIVER" - B.M.I. - 1:31
Composer: - Hoagy Carmichael-Sidney Arodin
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date Probably 1956
Released: - August 2000
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16405-28 mono
THAT'LL FLAT GIT IT! - VOLUME 17
Reissued: - 2009 Burning Fire Internet iTunes MP3-1-8 mono
VARIOUS ARTISTS - ROCKABILLY ON FIRE

Prentiss romps through "Lazy River", a Hoagy Carmichael tune introduced in 1931. The versions Prentiss was most likely influenced by were by The Mills Brothers (1952) or Rusty Draper (1953). The problem with rocking up standards - a tradition that pre-dates Carl Mann on Sun - is that standards usually feature music that is more complex than 3-chord rockabilly fare. "Lazy River" is such a case and Prentiss and his band get predictably lost during the less conventional parts of Hoagy's construction.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Fred Prentiss - Vocal and Guitar
Unknown Musicians

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© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR UNKNOWN ARTIST
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS PROBABLY 1956

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE PROBABY 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - UNKNOWN

Another of the anonymous demos submitted to Sun in the 1950s, this one features a bluesy rocker with a somewhat quirky lyric. When is the last time you heard lines like "You acted real sincere" rhymed with "I realized one of my greatest fears"? A bit artsy for the rockabilly crowd, but its quite clear this guy knows how to sing and play the guitar. In fact, the lead-in to the guitar break and first few bars of the solo are really vintage stuff that would have been very much at home on a yellow Sun label.

01 - "IF YOU NEED ME" - B.M.I. - 1:51
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date Probably 1956
Released: - August 2000
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16405-8 mono
THAT'LL FLAT GIT IT! - VOLUME 17

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Unknown Artist
Unknown Musicians

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© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

 STUDIO SESSION FOR UNKNOWN MALE QUARTET
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1956

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM PHILLIPS OR OTHERS

This recording has previously been credited inaccurately to "Hunki Dori". Despite extensive research with gospel scholars of international repute, we can still not identify the quartet. We can, however, tell that it was not Hunky (or Hunki) Dori. The confusion was natural. Hunki Dori was a Memphis radio personality and disc jockey, whose broadcast appeared regularly over WLOK.

Apparently, at some point around 1956, he brought a quartet into Sun to audition for Sam Phillips. At least two sessions were held - one a cappella and one featuring s small combo. Both secular and rhythm and blues/doo wop material were recorded. If Sam Phillips ever knew the identity of the quartet, he does not now recall it. The tapes were stored in a box bearing Hunky Dori's name, presumably as contact person.

01 - "I'M WORKING ON A BUILDING" - B.M.I. - 2:13
Composer: - Traditional
Publisher: - Knox Music Limited
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1956
Released: - 2000
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16387-6 mono
SUN GOSPELS

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Unknown Male Quartet

This quartet has remained resistant to identification over the years. It may simply be the case that they did not exist as a discrete recording group. There were a number of quartet trainers active in Memphis's burgeoning gospel scene, and these singers may simply have been one of their projects. At the least, it is clear from this and other session tapes that they were well rehearsed. Their performances, however, may have been confined to Wednesday night prayer meeting in long disappeared neighborhood churches.

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© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR GENE ROSS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS PROBABLY 1956

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: PROBABLY 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
AND/OR JACK CLEMENT

We knew very little about Gene Ross. Judging from the cohesion, Ross was performing with his own band, but its unclear if this is an actual Sun recording or a submitted demo. Ross became much-traveled but little documented. He went on to record for Spry Records in Los Angeles (the highly regarded "Rockin' China Doll"), Herald Records in New York (a cover of "Endless Sleep" that was issued on Parlophone in England), and for Time Records in New York City. Beyond that, we know nothing.

01 - "EVERYBODY'S TRYING TO KISS MY BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:12
Composer: - Gene Ross
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date Probably 1956
Released: - 1995
First appearance: - Charlie Records (LP) 33rpm CPCD 8137-17 mono
UNISSUED SUN MASTERS
Reissued: - 1999 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16311-15 mono
THAT'LL FLAT GIT IT! - VOLUME 16

"Everybody's Trying To Kiss My Baby" is a spirited performance that tries to integrate the vocal group sound with good old three-chord rockabilly.

02 - ''LITTLE ONE''
Composer: - Gene Ross
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date Probably 1956

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Gene Ross - Vocal
Unknown Musicians

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

THE STORY ABOUT - Before leaving Sun Records, Tommy Blake may have bequeathed Sam  Phillips with Gulf Coast songwriter Jonas Ross, otherwise known as Gene or Jerry Ross. Ross  supposedly recorded two titles for the yellow label during 1958 or 1959 and appears to have  partnered with Tommy Blake as a song writer around the time of the latters second Sun  session. This speculative claim is based on the fact that Ross co-inked "I Dig You Baby" with  Blake, while both names also appear on "Sweetie Pie", a song that was originally written by  Dale Hawkins and Carl Adams (Hawkins' originally unissued version of the tune was recorded  in Chicago for Chess Records late in 1957 and featured Carl Adams on guitar).

However, the two tunes that Gene Ross cut for Phillips, "Everybody's Trying To Kiss My Baby"  and "Little One" as by Gene Ross, offer sparse evidence as to the relation between Blake and  Ross, due to the lack of writer credits on "Everybody's Trying To Kiss My Baby", which is the  only title from Ross' session that has surfaced to date. The sole clue that solidifies the  affirmation of a partnership between Ross and Blake is a seven-inch record that Ross cut for  the Shreveport based Murco label in 1959. The top deck of the Murco single, "Everybody's  Tryin'" (Murco 1016) as by Jerry Ross, is identical in every aspect to the earlier Sun version and credits Thomas Givens and Jonah Ross as the writers. Givens was Blake's given surname  and provides ample proof that Blake and Ross did work together as songwriters. The flip of  Ross' Murco disc, "Small Little Girl", may be a reworking of his still missing Sun demo "Little  One".

Blake and Ross may have worked together on a handful of other tunes as well, indicated by  the entry of "Alright" in BMI's online database, along with the curious "You And I", which was  credited to the trio of Betty Givens (Blake's wife), 'Ross' Givens and Jerry Ross. 'Ross' Givens  was, most likely, an input error on BMI's part and is actually Tommy Blake. Little else is  known of Ross, aside from a few other records that appeared under the name of Gene Ross  on Herald (the Al Silver owned label?), Indie, Spry (a re-issue of the Indie release) and Time.  Furthermore, Ross' association with Blake seems to have ended some time in 1959 when  Blake struck a second songwriting partnership, this time with Carl Belew.

Liner notes taken from: Copyright © Blackcat Rockabilly
 



© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR TOMMY RUICK
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS PROBABLY 1956

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE PROBABLY 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
AND/OR JACK CLEMENT

Tommy Ruick is another name on a tape box with neither a face nor a biography to go with it. He probably came to Sun Records in the mid-1950s. Sam Phillips' assistant Marion Keisker maintained a notebook from earliest times until 1956, and Ruick merits one entry. Ruick has an appealing vibrato-laden voice, but his demo's weren't worked up for release.

01 - "PRISONER OF THE BLUES" - B.M.I. - 1:39
Composer: - Tommy Ruick
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date Probably 1956
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1026-10 mono
ROCKABILLY TUNES
Reissued: - 1999 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16311-22 mono
THAT'LL FLAT GIT IT! - VOLUME 16

02(1) - "DON'T COME CRYIN'" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Tommy Ruick
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date Probably 1956
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1026-9 mono
ROCKABILLY TUNES

02(2) - "DON'T COME CRYIN'" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Tommy Ruick
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date Probably 1956
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1030-10 mono 
ROCKIN' ROLLIN' COUNTRY STYLE

03 - "LET 'EM KNOW'" - B.M.I. - 1:43
Composer: - Tommy Ruick
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date Probably 1956
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1026-11 mono
ROCKABILLY TUNES
Reissued: - 1998 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8317-14 mono
ESSENTIAL SUN ROCKABILLIES - VOLUME 5

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Tommy Ruick - Vocal and Guitar
Hank Hanlain - Guitar
Johnny Bernero - Drums
Dexter Johnson - Bass
Johnny Ace – Saxophone

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© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

An obscure rockabilly singer, born in St. Louis on September 2, 1920,   and became a bit player on the Memphis music scene for several decades, starting with the   Swift Jewel Cowboys.

The Cowboys consisted of Pee Wee Wamble on trumpet, Jose Cortez   on fiddle, Kokomo Crocker on accordion, Slim Hall on guitar, and Macy (then known as   Cactus Pete') on bass. Jim Sanders and Bill Thompson were the vocalists.
 

Macy Skipper married Marie "Sally Carter" Ehrett, who had sung with Gene Austin (the   originator of "My Blue Heaven"), and they moved to Oak Ridge, Tennessee in 1943. They   began performing together in Memphis around 1951. 
 
"In recent years", the Memphis Press   Scimitar reported in November 1957. "Skipper has had his biggest following among the   teenage crowd with a seven-piece orchestra".

 
STUDIO SESSION FOR MACY SKIPPER
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS PROBABLY 1956

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE PROBABLY 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
AND/OR JACK CLEMENT
The fact that Macy Skipper recorded for Sun Records wasn't revealed until a serious excavation of the out-take boxes was conducted in the 1980s.

Skipper is clearly drawing on traditions quite different from the majority of Sun rockabillies. The veneer of sophistication makes his music more akin to Bill Justis than anyone else.  After failing to secure a release on Sun Records in 1956, he recorded for a start-up label,   ”Quick Sand Love”\”Who Put The Squeeze On Eloise” (Light 2020) for Light Records,   owned by a local theatre owner, M.A. Lightman. After Light Records, Skipper recorded an   instrumental single “Goofin' Off”\”Night Rock”(Stax 117) for Stax Records, in 1960, and   the Stax correspondence file reveals that they tried to lease it to RCA without success.
 
From that point, Skipper worked society functions, country clubs and the like, all the while   holdings down a day job as a government equipment inspector, right up until his death on   April 17, 2001.
 
01 - "BOP PILLS" - B.M.I. - 2:24
Composer: - Macy Skipper-Melton McNatt
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date Probably 1956
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1023-2 mono
ROCK AND ROLL PILLS
Reissued: - 1999 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16311-23 mono
THAT'LL FLAT GIT IT! - VOLUME 16

02 - ''WATCH THAT STUFF'' - B.M.I. - 2:27
Composer: - Macy Skipper
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1956
Released: 1985
First appearance: – Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1023-5 mono
ROCK AND ROLL PILLS
Reissued: 1997 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8236 mono
ESSENTIAL SUN ROCKABILLIES - VOLUME 4

03 - ''SLOW ROCK AND ROLL'' - B.M.I. - 3:09
Composer: - Macy Skipper-Melton McNatt
Publisher: - Jack Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1956
Released: 1985
First appearance: – Sun England  (LP) 33rpm LP 1023-8 mono
ROCK AND ROLL PILLS
Reissued: 1993 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8161 mono
ESSENTIAL SUN ROCKABILLIES - VOLUME 3

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Mace Skipper - Vocal and Bass
Brad Suggs - Guitar
Melton McNatt - Piano
Nelson Grilli - Tenor Saxophone
Slick Glissom - Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 



© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

 STUDIO SESSION FOR CURLEY GRIFFIN
AT MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS PROBABLY 1956

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: PROBABLY 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
AND/OR JACK CLEMENT

Curley Griffin is chiefly revered by rock and roll collectors for his role in the creation of "Dixie Fried" and "Boppin' The Blues". Curley wasn't content to sit in the background, though; he wanted to be on Bandstand, too.


Curley Griffin (left) & Carl Perkins with his son Stan beside him >

Born Malcolm Howard Griffin on June 6, 1918, he was partially sighted and  attended a school for the blind. He was on radio WDXI in Jackson, Tennessee when he met  Carl Perkins. According to Perkins, Curley came up with the idea for both "Dixie Fried" and  Boppin' The Blues", but Curley's claim-to-fame really ends there. He recorded several selfproduced  singles for Atomic Records.


A tape was sent to Sun because Sun's publishing company, Hi-Lo, handled the publishing. As  can be deduced, Curley really wasn't much of a vocalist, although he made up in enthusiasm,  what he lacked in finesse. According to Carl Perkins, Curley Griffin died in 1964 or 1965.
 
 
 
 
 
01 - "GOT ROCKIN' ON MY MIND" - B.M.I. - 2:28
Composer: - Howard Griffin
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably 1956
Released: - 1999
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16311-17 mono
THAT'LL FLAT GIT IT! - VOLUME 16

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Curley Griffin - Vocal and Guitar
Ron Griffin - Lead Guitar
Unknown Musicians

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

1956

How could there not be a place for Jimmy Lee Wages on Sun's release schedule?. His recordings are a fierce expression of hillbilly torment. When he attempted a song with a melody, like ''Heartbreakin' Love'', he sounded almost mundane and his vocal weaknesses were magnified, but his riff-driven songs, ''Mad Man'', ''Take Me From This Garden Of Evil'', and ''Miss Pearl'', stand on a par with the work of Howlin' Wolf, Charley Patton or any Mississippi primitive. Wages' songs even had quasi-blues architecture, repeating the first line. Most rockabilly songs value or exalt women, but Wages' subtext is much darker. ''Miss Pearl, Miss Pearl daylight have caused you to hang your head, go home'' or ''You treat me like a mad man, runnin' from me all the time''. Definitely not standard fare. If Sam Phillips had been behind the glass, he might have responded to Wages;  tortured hillbilly-rockabilly-blues. Instead, it was Jack Clement manning the board, and this was truly music from another planet to Clement, and he placed it where he thought such music belonged: the shelf.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR JIMMY WAGES
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1956

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: PROBABLY 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND  RECORDING ENGINNER - JACK CLEMENT

Jimmy Lee Wages was one of the undiscovered jewels of the Sun outtake boxes. This was dark, perverse, impenetrable music from the bowels of Mississippi. The warped view of women, reflected on both "Mad Man" and "Miss Pearl", was especially disturbing. Jimmy Wages believes that "Mad Man" was cut at his first session in April 1956, and featured Jerry Lee Lewis and J.M. Van Eaton.

01 - "HEARTBREAKIN' LOVE" - B.M.I. - 2:17
Composer: - Jimmy Wages
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably 1956
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1026-6 mono
ROCKABILLY TUNES
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm Charly MID 8118 mono
ESSENTIAL SUN ROCKABILLIES - VOLUME 2

Like several of his Sun confreres, notably Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimmy Wages's music has a tortured side. Bizarre, quasi-religious images are mixed with disturbing personal themes. Jimmy's vision of women (conveyed in ''Miss Pearl'' and ''Mad Man'') is unsettling, to say the least. The conflict between good and evil and ritualized moral judgement are embodied in ''Take Me'' (originally titled ''Garden Of Evil''). If anything, Wages' songs are even more revealing than Lewis' since, unlike Jerry Lee, Jimmy Wages wrote all of his own material.

Jimmy Wages was a true musical primitive. His voice, never a trained or precision instrument, was adequate to deliver his often bizarre lyrics. The musical accompaniment on his recordings is undisciplined and unorthodox, despite the presence of several stalwart session men (including J.M. Van Eaton) along with Gene Simmons' bass player, Jesse Carter. The sides project a wild, barely controlled charm and, in one case, a totally out of place steel guitar.

The lyrics to Wages' songs are often raw, unpolished folk poetry. At the risk of over-using the word ''tortured'', that's the best description of the thoughts and images in Wages' music. These are far from commercial pop songs, but are nevertheless quite effective because of the obvious urgency with which the lyrics are delivered. Jimmy's soul was very close to the surface when he wrote and performed this material. As producer Jack Clement surmised when he decided not to release any of it, few people would have had an easy time connecting with Jimmy Wages and his music. Even  when rockabilly was as its peaks, this was not saleable product. Wages, of course, sang from his heart and had mo perspective whatsoever about such issues. He wanted to be a piano-sounding rocker. It didn't occur to him that the kids on Bandstand wouldn't be dancing to his tortured (there's that word again) messages about predatory women. Anyway you sliced it, this was not mainstream music. Certainly it was out of place in an era of ''Teenage Queens''. Jack Clement - arguably the worst imaginable producer for Jimmy Wages - knew it in a heartbeat, although he, too, must have been fascinated by the show in the studio as Wages ran through his repertoire.

Half a century later, we don't have to concern ourselves with what the kids will be buying or dancing to. You want a deep look at rockers in the Sun vaults? This is what you get. It is both compelling and revealing music. For all its chaos and pain and sheer drive, Jimmy Wages' small recorded legacy is what the best southern music is all about: blues, hillbilly, gospel morality plays, pain, conflict, nightmares and, most of all, unbridled honesty.

 
02(1) - "TAKE ME (GARDEN OF EVIL)" - B.M.I. - 2:23
Composer: - Jimmy Wages
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably 1956
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1026-7 mono
ROCKABILLY TUNES
Reissued: - August 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16210-5 mono
THAT'LL FLAT GIT IT! - VOLUME 14

02(2) - "TAKE ME (GARDEN OF EVIL)" - B.M.I. - 2:36
Composer: - Jimmy Wages
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably 1956
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 106-7-19 mono
SUN - THE ROCKING YEARS - THE CHAINS OF LOVE
Reissued: -  May 29, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17313-5-19 mono
THE SUN ROCK BOX 1954 - 1959

Jack Clement was the company representative who gave the somewhat  off-the-wall chanter a shot at Sun, and the rabid ? Miss Pearl? became the undounted highlight of his visit.

03 - "MISS PEARL" - B.M.I. - 2:33
Composer: - Jimmy Wages
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated - Ridgetop Music
Matrix number: - None – Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably 1956
Released: - 1978
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30147-12 mono
SUN SOUND SPECIAL - RAUNCHY ROCKABILLY
Reissued: - August 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16210-20 mono
THAT'LL FLAT GIT IT! - VOLUME 14

04(1) - "MAD MAN" (1) - B.M.I. - 2:10
Composer: - Jimmy Wages
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably 1956
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 106-7-16 mono
SUN RECORDS – THE ROCKING YEARS - THE CHAINS IN LOVE
Reissued: - 1999 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16311-27 mono
THAT'LL FLAT GIT IT! - VOLUME 16

The Commercial prospects for Jimmy Wages singing "Mad Man" weren't too bright at any point, but that doesn't mean that this isn't stark and compelling music. In its way, its as good as anything ever recorded at Sun Records.

04(2) - "MAD MAN" (2) - B.M.I. - 2:00
Composer: - Jimmy Wages
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably 1956
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 106-7-20 mono
SUN RECORDS – THE ROCKING YEARS - THE CHAINS IN LOVE
Reissued: - May 29, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17313-5-20 mono
THE SUN ROCK BOX 1954 - 1959 
 
In August 1983 in an interview with Colin Escott, after an question, how he did make his first contact with Sun Records?, Jimmy Wages says, ''I knew all the musicians in Tupelo like the Miller Sisters. We were doing club dates together all around. And they were going up there to record so one day we decided we'd go up there and try. The guy we saw wasn't Sam Phillips. It was Jack Clement. He kept us coming back. We did four or five sessions. I kept recording my songs. Everything I did was my material. It was 8 or 10 songs, I think. I can't recall them all. There was ''Garden Of Evil'', ''Mad Man'', Miss Pearl''. When I made the master for ''Mad Man'', we were in the studio for five hours. That was the way Jack Clement worked. You'd go for an hour, then he'd say 'I'm going to let you rest awhile. Go get a cup of coffee'. Then after 30 minutes you'd get back to work again. Some of the other songs we did were just demos. We were just trying out the material''.

05 - "UNKNOWN TAPE FRAGMENT" - B.M.I. - 0:30
Composer: - Jimmy Wages
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1956
Released: - August 2000
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16405-34 mono
THAT'LL FLAT GIT IT! - VOLUME 17
Reissued: 2009 Burning Fire Records Internet iTunes MP3-1 mono
ROCKABILLY ON FIRE

Jimmy Wages >

Aural evidence suggests that this 30-sec fragment is the work of rockabilly legend Jimmy Wages. The only problem is that what we have here, brief as it is, is not part of any of the four titles Wages is known to have recorded for Sun - all of which have been issued, along with various alternate takes.  In a 1981 interview, Wages indicated to Colin Escott that he had recorded more than the four titles we knew about over the course of several sessions. Until now, no trace of those recordings has been found. On the evidence of this tape fragment, Wages' memory may indeed be right.

Despite its fragmentary nature, this tantalizing snippet comes close to near-erfect rockabilly. The instrumental sound is wonderful and the swampy recording style only enhances the bluesy tension of the performance. If this is indeed Jimmy Wages, we can only hope that future visits to the Sun vault will unearth a more complete version of this track, which may well be Wages' finest recording for the Sun label.

 
 Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jimmy Wages - Vocal and Guitar
Unknown Group Including:
Ray Harris - Guitar
James M. Van Eaton - Drums
Jesse Carter - Bass

Cannot be the case because Jerry Lee Lewis and Van Eaton weren't around Sun at the time, and there's no piano on the session. Jimmy Wages remembered that drummer Jack Rearkic from Amory, Mississippi was on the sessions, Grady Pannell from Tupelo was on guitar, and Jesse Carter was on bass, so it might be those local musicians that we're hearing.

According to Wages, ''For quite a while I thought Sun was going to put something out and I kept waiting. After a while I gave up. A few years after the last session, I went up to Sun and tried to get hold of my tapes, I said 'If you guys won't release anything there are other labels that might'. But Jack Clement said 'No, we can't do that. We have our own sound here. We can't let you have those tapes'. So I never got anything. They never charged me for the studio or the musicians. At the time they were trying anything they could. There was such a boom in that kind of music. Orbison had just come in and he was trying his stuff. There were 25 other artists there at least. Later on I went to Hi Records when Ray Harris was there. I cut a session but nothing ever came out. We didn't get a good cut''.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

Jimmy Lee Wages was one of the great finds in the Sun vaults. A man of singularly warped  vision and a true musical primitive, he was a little too deep into left-field even for Sun in its  heyday. Quasi-religious images and a distinctly ambivalent attitude toward woman color his  work.

Jimmy has lived in Tupelo all his life and worked in construction whilst quality time at  weekends was spent playing gigs alongside other locals such as Ray Harris and The Miller  Sisters, and says he's not only the same age as Elvis Presley, but went to school with him.
 
He  followed the familiar path to Sun's door, and Jack Clement recorded him. James Wood and  his band backed Jimmy on one session and his band called Jimmy "The Catman", and that  apparently became his local nickname.

As far as we know, Jimmy Wages had one record on Tombigbee Records and another on the  Nashville based Cavalcade International Records. His brother, Ben, also worked in music as a  bandleader and disc jockey on KWAM, Memphis. His early shows must have been something  to behold. After Sun, Jimmy tried out at Hi Records and for Stan Kesler. He became a club  act, touring as far afield as California. "I'm just one who tried and didn't make it", he says  with remarkably little rancor. "I got a lot of company".

TRUE STORY ABOUT JIMMY - Jimmy Wages had recorded at least four unreleased sides for  Sun in the middle 1950s but little is known of him. His music suggested that, even by Sun's  standards, Wages was a rather unorthodox individual. Like several of his Sun confreres,  notably Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimmy Wages music has a tortured side. Bizarre, quasi-religious  images are mixed with disturbing personal themes. Jimmy's vision of women (conveyed in  ''Miss Pearl'' and ''Mad Man'') is unsettling to say the least. The conflict between good and evil  and ritualized moral judgements are embodied in ''Take Me'' (originally titled ''Garden Of  Evil''). If anything, Wages' songs are even more revealing than Lewis's since Wages, unlike  Jerry Lee, wrote all of his own material. Jimmy Wages is a true musical primitive, his voice,  never a trained or precision instrument, is adequate to deliver his often strange lyrics, The  musical accompaniment on his recordings is undisciplined and unorthodox, despite the  presence of several stalwart session men. The sides project a wild, out of control charm,  including a totally out of place steel guitar, The lyrics to Wages songs are often raw,  unpolished folk poetry. They are far from commercial pop songs, but are nevertheless quite  effective because of the obvious urgency with which he delivers them.

Jimmy's soul was very close to the surface when he wrote and performed this material. As  producer Jack Clement surmised when he decided not to release any of it, few people would  have had an easy time connecting with Jimmy Wages' music. Even when rockabilly was at its  peak, this was not mainstream music. Certainly it was out of place in an era of "Teenage  Queens". But in an entirely different sense, this is both compelling and revealing music. For  all its chaos and pain and sheer drive, Jimmy Wages' small recorded legacy is what the best  southern music is all about: blues, hillbilly, gospel morality plays, pain, conflict, nightmares  and, most of all, unbridled honesty.
 

 

Edgar ''Andy'' Anderson >
 
By 1956 Jimmie Ammons had almost ceased issuing records on Delta Records in favour of setting up management and leasing deals so it was decided that Jimmy would contact Sam Phillips at Sun Records and Andy traveled to Memphis to make some demos at Sun. ''We called and said we wanted to some up'', Andy said, ''and they knew who we were ; cause we had one of the hottest groups in the South. At Sun Andy and his group worked with Jack Clement who had just joined the label.


He recorded The Rolling Stones on nine versions of ''Johnny Valentine'',    who loves all the girls and seems to attract them,  and four takes of another Anderson original, ''Tough Tough Tough''. No-one at Sun ever got around to picking and scheduling the tapes for release. Despite some encouraging noises from Clement, Andy remembered, ''they kept saying they were going to put it (a record) out but they never did''.
 

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR ANDY ANDERSON & THE ROLLING STONES
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1956

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER - SAM C. PHILLIPS AND/OR STAN KESLER
RECORDING ENGINEER - JACK CLEMENT

It was a real surprise to find Andy Anderson among the 1300 out-take boxes and rejected masters at Sun Records. 

01 - "TOUGH, TOUGH, TOUGH" - B.M.I. - 2:32
Composer: - Andy Anderson
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1956
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1026-4 mono
ROCKABILLY TUNES
Reissued: - August 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16210-14 mono
THAT'LL FLAT GIT IT! - VOLUME 14

Given the run o group cut a raft of originals the strongest of which was "Johnny Valentine", a cool chunk of swagger that highlighted Anderson's smoky lead vocal. The song eventually saw light of days as a recut on Felsted Records.

02(1) - JOHNNY VALENTINE" - B.M.I. - 2:12
Composer: - Andy Anderson
Publisher: - Ridgetop Music
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1956
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1026-3 mono
ROCKABILLY TUNES 
Reissued: - 1986 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm Charly 36-7 mono
THE BEST OF SUN ROCKABILLY - VOLUME 2

02(2) - JOHNNY VALENTINE" - B.M.I. - 2:14
Composer: - Andy Anderson
Publisher: - Ridgetop Music
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1956
Released: - 1998
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rom CPCD 8137-7 mono
UNISSUED SUN MASTERS
Reissued: - 2002 Sanctuary Records (CD) 500/200rpm FBUBX002-4-2 mono
50 GOLDEN YEARS 1952 - 2002

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Andy Anderson - Vocal and Guitar
The Rolling Stones
Joe Tubb - Lead Guitar
Harold Aldridge - Guitar
Billy "Cuz" Covington - Bass
Roy Estes - Piano
Bobby Lyon - Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

TRUE STORY ABOUT ANDY ANDERSON - The mid-fifties maybe more than any other time  produced a large "communications gap" in musical tastes. The lines of battle were reasonably  muddled but the out cries raised against the likes of hot rods, black leather jackets,  sideburns, blue suede shoes, and rock and roll were starting a revolution in the American  home.  One man's rock and roll was another man's frivolous and often times scandalous way  of presenting himself to the public. Like it or not Rock was here to stay and along with it  came Rock's Original Rolling Stone, Andy Anderson.

By 1945 the largest armed conflict in the history of the world had ended and all 48 states  were excited about their future and "letting off post-war steam".  Ten-year-old Andy  Anderson and cousin Billy Anderson were excited too, but not about their future. It Was  Saturday.  That meant that everyone within 25 miles of the King & Anderson Plantation, near  Clarksdale, Mississippi, would descend on the plantation general store, collect their wages,  pay bills, shop, gossip and sing and dance. By late afternoon, Andy and his brother Brooks,  along with cousins Billy and Harry Anderson, would have played around...
 
 
...all day listening to  the likes of Mississippi Slim, B.B. King, Howlin' Wolf, John Lee Hooker or Elmore James.  Although Andy loved this live music it wasn't until his sophomore year in high school that he  began to realize and appreciate its influence on his own music.

Culver Military Academy, in 1951, was to see the start of that sophomore year for Andy and  cousin Billy. The two were together again, just like the old days on the plantation, only this  time they were loose on Culver, Indiana. Christmas vacation of that year proved to be one of  the most important times of Andy's life and its impact on music would eventually be felt by  millions. During that vacation, Andy and Elizabeth Anderson, his mother, were watching  their new television, one of the first in the area. A Memphis station was showing some local  country talent. Elizabeth said that she thought that Andy could do as well as the musicians  on the program. Andy said that he thought so too, if only he had a guitar. Since a Memphis  shopping trip was a family tradition, Elizabeth and Andy went to Memphis the next day. After  checking into the Peabody Hotel, Andy was given fifty dollars and in the spirit of the family  tradition, went shopping. He was looking for a reasonably priced beginner guitar, but what  he really found was a large part of his future.
The $37.50 6-string guitar that was to be the first of many guitars for Andy was purchased at  O.K. Huck’s Music Company on Union Avenue in downtown Memphis, Tennessee. It was O.K.  himself who sold and tuned the guitar, explained some chords and picking' styles, and  suggested the Mel Bray 10 Easy Lessons.

Andy took it all, pocketed his change and started  out as millions have, to his first solo session on guitar. Most people practice for the first time  anywhere they can hide or on a back alley street corner, but not Andy.

His session took place  in a reserved suite at the Peabody Hotel, a good, if unusual start. When Elizabeth Anderson  returned from her shopping, she found Andy and his new "Christmas present" hard at work.

Andy listened to the Grand Ole Opry every Saturday night from six until midnight without fail.  Within weeks, Andy was playing and singing many of the favorites of the Pry. Andy got his  musical talent from his mother. She wrote music, played piano, and sang. She was always  very supportive of ...
 
 
... Andy's music, but she was never to see to what extent he kept his  promise to her about learning to play. Her untimely death in October of 1953 signaled the  end of any family support from his father and later his stepmother. From then on he was on  his own, literally a "Rolling Stone".

Andy's junior year in high school, back in Mississippi, coincided with his first experience with  a band. With classmates Jimmy Giles on drums, and the ever-present Billy Anderson on  piano, the three were soon enjoying themselves making "Mississippi Music" at every  opportunity. 1952 and 1953 were Andy's introduction to college life at Mississippi State  University. Even though he was still in high school he was playing fraternity parties on  campus and was later joined at these functions by "Cu" Ellington on bass and Joe Tub on lead  guitar. In 1953 as freshmen, Andy, Cu and Joe lived in the same dorm at "State" in Stark  ville, Mississippi. Since they lived there, it seemed only logical that they should practice  there also.

Numerous jam sessions took place prompting more than one reprimand from the  administration, but history was not to be denied. A musical group comprised of Andy  Anderson, Joe Tub, "Cu" Ellington, Bobby Lyon, James Aldrin and Roy Estes emerged out of  all those who took part in the jam sessions and by 1955 they were playing all around  campus, neighboring towns, and on telethons. They were soon convinced they could  entertain people beyond just good showmanship, and they decided that since they traveled  so much that they should charge for playing. Their name reflected the amount of time spent  on the road and as Joe Tub was quick to point out, they were "gathering no moss", just  experience and fans. So it was, that the "Rolling Stones" started writing their own chapter in  American music, one that would find its way into the 1980's and history.
The original Rolling Stones, Andy Anderson, vocal, guitar; Joe Tubb, lead guitar; Cuz Covington, bass; Bobby Lyon, drums; James Aldridge, guitar; Roy Estes, drums >
 
During the formative years for the "Rolling Stones", bookings just took care of themselves",  but when requests for gigs became more numerous than there were nights to play them, it  was obvious that some controls were needed. Joe Tubb, Cuz Covington, and Andy all three  took control, shared the responsibilities, and managed the group from then on.

In 1956,  Jimmy Ammons of Delta Records and Mabel McQueen of Pine-Sol fame, decided to offer a  management contract to this group of popular Rock and Roll performers.  The "Rolling Stones"  signed and worked with Ammons and McQueen for the larger part of that year. The  popularity of the "Stones" grew rapidly and with it came the need for a different agency, one  with more national exposure. Ammons and McQueen parted company with the Stones and  once again the group was on its own. Whenever they were left alone, the "Rolling Stones"  seemed to make the right decisions career wise.
 
 
Their next move took them to see Sam  Phillips at Sun Records in Memphis. Like so many of the other greats who were his  contemporaries, Andy and the "Rolling Stones" cut several records at Sun. After numerous  weekends of work, while still in school, Andy and the Stones cut an album with Jack  Clements as engineer at the old Madison Avenue Studio in Memphis, but the work was never  released because of Sun's financial position. At that time Sun was using all of its funds in  order to pay the cost of its current stable of artists, the listing of which sounds like a  veritable who's who of music:

Johnny Cash and "I Walk The Line"
Elvis with "That's All Right''
Carl Perkins - "Match Box"
Billy Riley - "Red Hot"
Jerry Lee Lewis - "Whole Lota Shakin' Goin' On"
Warren Smith - "Ubangi Stomp"
and Roy Orbison with "Oobie Doobie"

At Sun Records and on the road, Andy and the "Rolling Stones" played and learned with the  likes of Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison. At one time Andy and Elvis  shared the same voice teacher in Memphis, one Zelma Lee Whitfield. These people all  influenced each other as a group of the "founding fathers" of rock and roll and they crossed  paths many times. The album that was cut but was never released by Sun was a blow to Andy  and the "Stones" but not for long, other events were on their minds.

Andy and the "Rolling Stones" graduated from "State" in 1957. Most had engineering degrees  and many had job offers in the far less fanciful world of business. Roy Estes and Bobby Lyon  both left the band for jobs elsewhere. They were replaced by Sammy Martina and Jimmy  Whitehead, both of whom had been subs on piano and drums respectively for several years.  Even to the casual observer it was obvious that the "Rolling Stones" were professionals and  as such, professional contact were in order. Murray Nash and Associates, publishing agents  from Nashville, Tennessee, were one such contact. They signed the "Rolling Stones" in 1957  and things began to happen. But not all was as it seemed. Through Nash and Associates a  deal was struck with the Felsted label, the Rock and Roll subsidiary of London Records, for  the recording of "Johnny Valentine" and "I-I-I Love You." "Johnny Valentine" was written by  Andy as an answer to "The Naughty Lady of Shady Lane" a popular song of that time by the  Mills Brothers. The "Stones" had played "Johnny Valentine" hundreds of times on the road,  but when they arrived at the Bradley Studios in Nashville they were told that studio  musicians were to be used because the band members were not union members. Andy could  sing, but he wasn't allowed to play rhythm guitar on the session.

That version of "Johnny Valentine" featured Andy on lead vocals, Hank "Sugarfoot" Garland  on lead guitar, Buddy Harmon on drums, Bobby Moore on bass, and the Jordanaires on  background vocals. It holds a unique place in musical history in that it was the first Rock and  Roll record to be distributed on a world wide basis. London Records, through its Felsted  Label, intended on making sure that their first Rock record would be a hit. With that in  mind, London turned its international distribution of "Johnny Valentine" over to Top Rank  International, and it did indeed become a hit. Although London had succeeded in making a  hit record, they had neglected the musicians who made that song and thereby lost the  confidence of Andy and the "Rolling Stones". Later on in 1957, the "Rolling Stones" went into  a little upstairs recording studio in Nashville, and union or not, they cut "You Shake A Me Up"  and "The Way She Smiled" on a 45 record. "You Shake A Me Up" was Andy's insightful look at  the effects of his music on Rock and Roll fans in the 50s and "The Way She Smiled" was  written in about 45 minutes by Andy and Joe Tubb in the car outside of the studio because  they needed a slow song for the "B" side of the record. When Felsted/London finally realized  that they had a hit on their first Rock and Roll world wide release, they wanted more of the  "Rolling Stones" but by then it was too late. The independent recording of "You Shake a Me  Up" had been shopped by Nash and Associates, picked up by Apollo, a New York label, and  was on its way to becoming one of only a few songs in history that was the "Pick Hit of the  Week" in Cash Box, Billboard, and Music Reporter all in the same week. It was that release on  Apollo that is responsible for the popularity of Andy and his music in and around new York  City today. By concentrating on the record instead of on the musicians who made it, London  lost a chance to continue to make musical history with "Andy and the Rolling Stones".
In December of 1959, at the height of the Rolling Stones popularity, Andy received a phone  call from his dad. His dad told him it was time to reconcile their differences, time to forget  Rock & Roll, and come home to run the family plantation. Since Andy had been groomed to  do this all his life, he gave notice to the Rolling Stones and left the lead vocal responsibilities  to Howard "B.B." Boone.  Andy packed his personal possessions and returned to Clarksdale, a  place in the Mississippi Delta, that was supposed to be home. Andy's father had remarried  and like the change going on all around him, Andy's father had changed too.

Upon Andy's  arrival, his dad told him that he had second thoughts about his previous decision, and that  he didn't think that it would work out.  Andy was totally devastated and lost remaining  respect for his father and the family plantation tradition. Andy had betrayed his fellow  Rolling Stones and his love for music for nothing.

Andy, bitter and disgusted, returned to Jackson and with the unrelenting determination of a  true Taurus, started two new ventures.
 
 
The first was a new Rock & Roll show band he called  "The Dawnbreakers". The second venture was a wholesale electrical supply company. About  the time Andy's supply company was getting established, "The Dawnbreakers had their first  hit record": "Tough Tough Tough" G/W "Gimme a Curly Lock of Your Hair". That record created  a snowball effect and led to four other hit records and a life on the road touring. The  Dawnbreakers were on their way to becoming even bigger than the Rolling Stones.

By 1965, the constant touring and business pressures had taken its toll on Andy. He dissolved  the Dawnbreakers, turned the management of his supply company over to his partners and  moved to California to pursue an acting career. From 1966 to 1968, under the tutelage of  Aaron Spelling and the William Morris Agency, Andy pursued a new career. He loved the new  challenge, and was successful playing small parts and recording new songs with "The  Association". The songs got good air play across the country and things in California were  going good for Andy. Andy and his manager Karl Brent had formed their own personal  management company and began managing "The Seeds", "Canned Heat", "Jefferson  Airplane", and Sherry Jackson.

In 1968 Andy received another shocking phone call from Mississippi. His younger brother,  Brooks, was terminally ill with cancer, and Andy went home to help take care of him, but  Brooks died in December of 1969 leaving another heavy void in Andy's life. During his long  and drawn out illness, Brooks, like Andy before him, went through devastating experiences  regarding plantation stock, money, his marriage and their reluctance to accept him as a  member of the family. Andy always felt that Brook's rejection by the family destroyed his  will to fight, and the cancer finally won. Having lost a similar battle himself, Andy was now  alone in the world.

After Brooks death, Andy stayed in Mississippi to help settle family affairs and to resume the  management of his business interests. Things were going well for Andy again in Mississippi,  but Hollywood and show business are fickle, after his two year departure, Andy felt he had  lost his momentum there and decided to concentrate on his business interests. In 1972, the  IRS started auditing Andy's company and turned his already disturbed world upside down.  Their actions caused the breakup of his marriage and forced him to liquidate his supply  company. This on top of his previous family problems, the death of his brother, and the loss  of his California life style, forced Andy to seek therapy in seclusion. Andy's attorney, and life  long friend Al Binder, had Andy admitted to Riverside hospital for three months to give him  time to sort through the pieces and get his sanity back. A wise move, the IRS, his father, his  wife, nor anyone could get to him.

In 1974, Andy was still living in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. There he met J.J. Hettinger from  Louisville, Kentucky. J.J. was teaching in the Catholic High School in Biloxi. Andy was still  recovering from the many fiascos and trying to start a new life. He once again turned to  music. J.J. was a talented and creative songwriter and he and Andy started writing songs  together. With Andy's background in Rock & Roll and Blues, and J.J.'s ability to write  modern, expressive lyrics, they made a dynamic and unique team. They classified their style  as progressive, folk-rock, blues. After writing several commercial songs, we started cutting  tracks at Malaco Studios in Jackson, Mississippi under the name of "The Eagle and the Hawk".

By the fall of 1975, Andy had negotiated final settlements with the IRS and his former wife.  Andy, financially and mentally devastated, decided to move to New Mexico and use Santa Fe  as a home base for the Eagle and the Hawk and Aerie Records, his new record label. Eagle  and the Hawk was a new and challenging outlet for Andy at this time in life. He was almost  out of money but not energy. Andy obtained his Real Estate License and started developing  and selling real estate to make a living. Meanwhile, he promoted Eagle and the Hawk  throughout the south and southwest with every penney he could muster.

Eagle and Hawk were getting extensive air play in Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and New  Mexico, but the product was not there. Fans wanted the records but there were none for  them to buy. International Record Distributors, of Nashville had not gotten the records into  stores in those markets, therefore, their efforts had been futile. Their records were new  and refreshing and well accepted by disc jockeys and the public. Even though they were not  in a position to capitalize on the record sales, requests to perform were beginning to come  in and finally the Eagle & the Hawk were going on tour throughout south Texas.

On December 23, 1975, Andy returned from Santa Fe to spend Christmas with his cousin  Billy Anderson in Clarksdale, his old home town. His luck was with him! He was in the right  place at the right time for once in his life! He stopped in a neighborhood drug store in  Jackson to buy Christmas cards and met his future wife Kay Norcom. Kay was teaching  school and working part time in the drug store during the holidays for the next three  months, they became inseparable. Kay was teaching and Andy and J.J. were finishing up  Texas Woman, Rhonda, and Long Long Way to Go at Malaco Studio.

In April 1976, Andy, Kay, and J.J. moved to Taos, New Mexico, and set up operations there.  They were getting settled in, promoting their records and getting ready for a concert tour  through Texas when tragedy struck again. On May 13th, 1976, two days before his forty-first  birthday, Andy got the middle finger on his left hand caught in the hydraulic lift on their  equipment truck and severed it to the first joint. The vision of his entire musical career  flashed before his eyes and Andy knew it was over. Andy went into a deep depression, put  his guitar under the bed, and gave up on music. Eagle and Hawk were forced to cancel their  first concert tour, and J.J. moved back to Louisville, Kentucky.

To survive, Andy put together a new company "Big Valley Land & Construction", and started  designing, building, and developing real estate projects. His music momentum died along  with the Eagle & the Hawk. All of his energy and time were devoted to building their home  and their company. They were at home one evening when the phone rang. It was Don  Filletti, with Relics Inc. in New York. Don's company programmed music from the 50's & 60's  for area radio stations. He remembered Andy from the Rolling Stones and Dawnbreakers, and  had been receiving requests for Andy's music for some time. Don had thought Andy was dead  and was very excited to find him alive and well. They did a forty-five minute telephone  interview live and during their visit, Don told Andy about Peter Zedrenka of Bison Bop  records in Frankfurt, Germany. It seems Peter was also interested in finding Andy. Peter's  Company was a major distributor of old Rock and Roll in Germany and Europe. Peter flew to  the states to release Andy's entire catalog on Bison Bop Records in Germany. In Europe Andy  is considered one of the original founders of rock and Roll, but he had never been made  aware of the fact. All of his life he had pursued his own thing, and now all of a sudden, so  many miles down the road, he was amused that someone was pursuing him for a change. He  was still very skeptical of everything, and the guitar was still under his bed.

Shortly after the Bison Bop deal, Andy and Kay were returning home one night from the  Sagebrush Inn in Taos where they had been partying with friends. Andy got a strong vision  for a song and began writing it on the way home. When they arrived home, Andy pulled the  Ovation guitar from under the bed, and with Kay writing the lyrics, the song, "Rachelene"  was born. That was the spark that Andy needed. With his usual persistence, he taught  himself to play the guitar again improvising new finger positions to accommodate for the  missing finger. He reverted back to his old Rockabilly style of guitar playing since he was  lacking a finger to perform the more complex cords. He started writing songs with the old  feel and everything started falling in place again. In 1983, Andy started rehearsing with local  musicians in Taos. They put together a band and started playing local gigs, but that was not  enough to fuel Andy's deep seated needs. He needed hard core Southern Rock And Roll.

After amassing many new songs, he contacted his friend James Stroud from the old Malaco  Studio sessions. James had moved to Nashville from Boulder, Colorado, and was producing  sessions there. He invited Andy to come to Nashville, and he cut four sides for James at  United Artist Studios. James position changed shortly thereafter, and Andy was never able to  finish the project. He was now back in Taos, distraught and disillusioned once again, but as  usual, that would not last long. The success of Andy's album on Bison Bop Records in  Germany, along with the release of his old Sun recordings on Charley Records in London  prompted Dave Travis of Ridgetop Music in London to contact Andy. Dave contracted with  Andy as his European agent and proceeded to secure album releases on Red Lighting Records  in England, Sun Jay Records in Sweden, and Go Cat Go Records in Japan. His European  connections were beginning to finally gain form and function.

The roller coaster ride was still not over however. In 1986, Andy's company Big Valley Land &  Construction subcontracted a large project the New Mexico State fish hatchery which was to  be built in Questa, New Mexico, north of Taos. This was to be Andy's last project in New  Mexico. He and Kay had decided to move permanently back to Mississippi to be closer to  family and friends and last but not least, Southern Rock and Roll musicians. The profits from  this large construction project would give him the capital he needed, but his biggest  contract yet was not meant to be. The general contractor on the project went bankrupt. This  cost Andy his profit from the job and forced him to liquidate his company to pay off all of his  debts.

Again, depressed over his business fiasco, and the unfinished Nashville sessions, Andy was  about to make some dramatic life changing decisions. He started analyzing his music to start  with. He was unhappy with the sound he got in Nashville, it was too slick and too country. It  lacked the raw energy and drive of Southern Rock And Roll. He thought about the recording  he had done at John Wagner's studio in Albuquerque and the session in Ceaillos with the  local musicians, and came up with the same thought. It just wasn't "Kick Ass Rock And Roll.  He realized to get the sound and feel he wanted there was only one thing to do. He had to  get back home to Mississippi. To do this, Andy had to get on his feet financially to be able to  move.

Andy and Kay sold their home in Taos and moved to Albuquerque. They lived there for nine  months and designed and built custom homes. Andy and Kay finally moved home in August of  1987. Kay got a job teaching at St. Mary's Catholic School and Andy started selling medical  supplies for a company in Jackson. They had gone full circle and were starting over again.  Andy, anxious to get his music going and to finish the album he started in Nashville with  James Stroud, called his old friend Jackie Thompson. Jackie invited Andy to record at  International Recording Studio, his studio in Pearl, Mississippi. There he met Jimmy McNeil  and bobby Furman. They could identify with Andy's goals and decided to complete his  Nashville project at International. As usual, nothing was easy for Andy. The master tapes had  been recorded with DBX noise reduction, and International did not have the equipment to  record over the DBX. In order to salvage the Nashville session, he had to have the songs  transferred to another master tape without the noise reduction. He sent the master back to  Nashville, but they could not do the transfer. The studio in Nashville sent the tapes to  Criteria Studios in Miami. There, they not only transferred the songs without the noise  reduction, but they transferred sixteen tracks to twenty-four tracks giving them more tracks  until the master tapes returned to International in perfect condition. While waiting on the  old masters to return, Andy started cutting new songs he had written in Taos. They cut Hot  Rod Baby, Wichita Wichita, Omaha Cowboy, and Mississippi Lady." "Mississippi Lady" was a  remake of Texas Woman," a progressive country tune he had previously recorded with J.J.  Hettinger and Eagle & the Hawk. Texas woman had caught the hearts of fans in Texas and  Andy felt the same might hold true for fans in Mississippi.

Andy finally got the master tapes back from Criteria Studio, but by now Jimmy McNeil had  moved on to Nashville. Bobby Furman was now fully in charge and he and Andy decided to go  all out on the new projects. Andy and Bobby worked very closely together producing,  recording, and creating their own sound. They feel they have achieved perfection in their  art. Andy for the first time in his career is happy with his music. It has a message, it kicks,  and it satisfies. It is the finished art of the many who helped create it and it will live. It is a  reflection of everybody who contributed to its being, and most important of all: One man's  Rock and Roll still lives on!

© Rockabilly Hall of Fame ®
 



© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR JIMMY HAGGETT (JAMES CLECY)
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1956

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
AND/OR JACK CLEMENT

Trade press reports in 1956 referred to a song of Jimmy Haggett called ''Cats Out Of Town'', which had not been found on tape.
During this visits to the Sun studio, Haggett struck up a personal friendship with Charlie Feathers who was making the same transition from hillbilly to rockabilly music, albeit with slightly more enthusiasm. Haggett and Feathers started booking dates together and visited each other on a number of occasions. Feathers may also have been instrumental in Haggett's move to Meteor in 1957, although Haggett recalled that Bud Deckelman had suggested that he contact Lester Bihari. In any event, Haggett and his band journeyed back to Memphis in the early months of 1957 his sole Meteor single. Unfortunately, the boys were driving to Memphis with the car windows open and the new material flew out of the window and was never retrieved. 

"We worked up a couple of songs in the studio", recalled Jimmy, "I just scratched 'em down and that was what we played but it was just pitiful, the sorriest thing I ever heard".

01(1) - "HOW COME YOU DO ME" - B.M.I. - 2:09
Composer: - Jimmy Haggett
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1956
Released: - 1978
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1010-1 mono
RUN ROCKABILLIES - VOLUME 1
Reissued: - 1999 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8352-9 mono
ESSENTIAL SUN ROCKABILLIES - VOLUME 6
 
01(2) - "HOW COME YOU DO ME" - B.M.I. - 2:08
Composer: - Jimmy Haggett
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1956
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: -  Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-5-17 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-3-28 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

''How Come You Do Me'', this song also copyrighted by Junior Thompson on December 14, 1956 (see below) and released at approximately the same time on Tune Records. It was therefore assumed that this title was by the same artist despite the fact that the lyrics are different. However, an article in Country Song Roundup indicated that Haggett had cut a session for Sun including this title. Jimmy recognised it immediately when he heard a dub and matched it against the acetate that Phillips had given him after the session in June 1956. So, thirty years after it was recorded, the song was finally released with the correct artist credit. The only surprise is that Phillips did not release the track. It would have fitted right in with the current crop of releases on Sun in the summer of 1956.  

01(3) - "HOW COME YOU DO ME" - B.M.I. - 2:06
Composer: - Jimmy Haggett
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 3 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1956
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1018-6 mono
RABBIT ACTION
Reissued: - 2012 Charly Records Internet iTunes MP3-6 mono
DING DONG PRESENTS VOLUME 1 - RABBIT ACTION - ROCK-A-BILLY BLUES
 
 02(1) - "RABBIT ACTION" - B.M.I. - 1:47
Composer: - Jimmy Haggett
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Take 1 with Count-In - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1956
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: -   Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-5-20 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-3-31 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

The major fault on ''Rabbit Action'' is that the lyrics are somewhat contrived to reflect the rockabilly lifestyle of sharp clothes, sharp cars and an endless round of boppin'. Carl Perkins was obviously the godfather of this performance; Haggett's vocal owes a clear debt to Perkins, as does the guitarist. Even the drummer achieves an approximation of W.S. Holland's  stubby drum sound. Nevertheless, there is a contagious energy here and some genuine good timing music.

02(2) - "RABBIT ACTION" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Jimmy Haggett
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1956
Released: - Sun Unissued

03 - "ROCK ME BABY" - B.M.I. - 1:57
Composer: - Jimmy Haggett
Publisher: - Ridgetop Music
Matrix number: - None – Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1956
Released: - November  986
First appearance: -  Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-5-19 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-3-30 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

Jimmy Haggett, Teddy & Doyle Wilburn, Grant Turner, WSM, Nashville, Tennessee, February 1955>

On ''Rock Me Baby'', Haggett and his band sound much more comfortable with the emerging rockabilly style on this wonderful slice of primitive jumping music. Haggett shares the honours with his guitarist who literally dominates the recording from his supporting role. He is bursting with ideas, many of them borrowed or developed from Carl Perkins, but he nevertheless generates real excitement and, like Carl, was not afraid to venture onto the bass strings.


This track, together with ''How Come You Do Me'', shows that Haggett and his band could play very decent rockabilly music.  As far as Jimmy Haggett remembers, "Rock Me Baby" was recorded in late 1956. The spirit of Carl Perkins looms large over the session, and as Sam Phillips was having a hard time selling Perkins after "Blue Suede Shoes" he probably concluded that he didn't need someone who sounded like Perkins.

 
The next track really says it all. If you listen closely, you can hear a country musician's frustration at dealing with the new rockabilly music. The guitarist has adapted well to the new sounds, although he sounds as though he would be at a loss without Carl Perkins to draw on. Haggett sounds a little uneasy, as he does on some titles from this session. This is very primitive rockabilly music without the desperate, often contrived, excitement of other artists working the same territory.

05 - "RHYTHM CALLED ROCK 'N' ROLL" - B.M.I. 2:04
Composer: - Jimmy Haggett
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1956
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: -   Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-5-18 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-3-29 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

This songs, they sat in an unmarked out-take box for upwards of 30 years before they were issued mistakenly under the name of Junior Thompson. The titles were so radically different from Jimmy Haggett's only Sun single that no one researching the Sun vaults thought for a moment that if could be him. "Yes, they are different", conceded Jimmy Haggett, who still has an original acetate of those songs, given to him after the session, "but I was trying to get in on the rock and roll craze because we were entertainers. It was our living and we felt that it would help with our personal appearances. I never felt comfortable with the style, though. I never felt I could do it justice".


Carl Perkins was a regular touring partner during the mid-1950s and even later after death and alcoholism had broken up the Perkins Brothers band. "Carl and I played scores and scores of shows and fairs together. I remember one time that we played a fair in the afternoon and we had a nightclub engagement that night in Kennett. We decided to go fishing and we headed to a lake in Arkansas, just across the state line. Something kept taking the minnows off Carl's line and Carl said, 'If I lose one more minnow, I'm gonna jump in the lake'. His guitar player said, 'I'm coming with you'.


So anyway, Carl lost another minnow and kept his word, threw his rod and reel with him and made a dive. The guitar player followed. They found the rod three or four years later", recalled Jimmy Haggett.
 

 
 
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jimmy Haggett - Vocal and Acoustic Guitar
Charlie Hardin - Guitar
Billy Springer - Steel Guitar
Jackie Lee Adkins - Bass
Don White - Drums

''Country music had changed radically in the few years between "No More" and Without You". Country radio changed with it. The era of "live" country radio was giving way to era of formatted stations and tightly controlled playlists. Jimmy offered this title cameo of "live" country radio in the late 1940s and early 1950s. "I worked in live radio and I worked as a disc jockey. Live radio was just that. We played right there in the studio, me and my band. When we were on KBOA my band was known as the Ozark Mountain Boys and then, later, as the Daydreamers. The show started at 8 o'clock in the morning and we'd begin with our instrumental theme song. After the theme I'd say, 'Good morning, folks' and introduce the band. I did most of the vocals but all the boys could sing and they often joined me on the chorus".
"I also worked as a disc jockey two hours a day. I had complete freedom in what I played. There was no playlist and I'd be happy to take requests over the air or by letter. I'd read the letter over the air and play the request. We would mix honky tonk and religious material but I would always close with a religious song. I also featured many guest on the show. Recording artists, Grand Ol' Opry stars... they all came in. We'd sit and talk and, in that way, our listeners could become better acquainted with them. If any recording personality was in the area I would look them up, or, more often, they would took me up''.
 
 
WSM, Nashville, February 1955 >

''When I closed out my show I would always say, 'If you always tell the truth, you'll never have to remember anything'".  "We used to run promotional stunts at the station. I remember one in particular. Johnny Mays had been an on air personality at KBOA for ten years and did a two hour show. I was a newcomer - I'd only been there about three months. The station decided that, for a gimmick, they'd ask for cards and letters. Each card or letter would count as one vote.

 
The loser, who got the least votes, had to push the winner down the Main Street of Kennett during the Fall Festival Parade. The loser had to wear nothing but long red underwear and a black bow tie and push the winner in a wheelbarrow. Well, I got 12,000 pieces of mail and Johnny Mays got 13,000 so I had to push him down Main Street wearing red flannel underwear and a bow tie. I still have a photo of it somewhere", recalled Jimmy.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

 
JANUARY 1956
 

JANUARY 1956

"Blue Suede Shoes" (Sun 234) by Carl Perkins is reviewed in Billboard and acclaimed as "A  lively reading on a gay rhythm ditty... fine for jukes".
 
Johnny Cash joins the Louisiana Hayride radio and stage show on a regular basis starting  January 18. His second disc, Sun 232 "Folsom Prison Blues", is released along with trade ads  which bill Sun as "America's Number 1 Country Label".

Rosco Gordon remains the only blues/rhythm and blues artist contracted to Sun during the  rockabilly era.

Carl Perkins appears on the Big D Jamboree in Dallas, Texas, for the first time. The Big D is in the process of becoming the ''alternative'' new music Jamboree.

JANUARY 1956

Johnny Cash and The Tennessee Two landed a regular spot on the Louisiana Hayride. With  bot "Hey Porter" and "Folsom Prison Blues" achieving respectable chart position they were a  hot property on the concert circuit and were booked for dates across the southern states. In  late 1956 Cash scored his first pop hit with a track "I Walk The Line" that would become the  closing number at most of his concerts in the eighties and nineties.

Like Elvis Presley and Hank Williams before him, Johnny Cash raced down to Shreveport  every Saturday night for the precious exposure. The show brought him before more people  every Saturday than he could hope to reach all week with a full date book.

JANUARY 1956

''Little Fine Healthy Thing''/''Something For Nothing'' were issued as Sun 233 in January  1956, sandwiched in the release schedule between Johnny Cash's ''Folsom Prison Blues'' and  Carl Perkins' ''Blue Suede Shoes'', two major hits for the Sun label. It was little wonder that  the trade paper reviews of Emerson's disc took a little time to filter out, It was not until May 1956 that the 'Billboard' Rhythm & Blues Beat column was noting that, "Jim Lowe, WRR  Dallas, likes Billy Emerson's 'Little Fine Healthy Thing' on Sun''.

Billy Emerson liked it too, but, in his opinion, "Sam Phillips, he didn't see it as a hit. And I  didn't like the cold way he treated people, so when my contract ended I quit. He never paid  me a dime, and year later I sued him for 6.000 dollars. I couldn't stand that doggish  treatment he would give you. I had a writer's contract and a recording contract. But when I  took the chance to get out from under that guy, I took it. "

For the record, Emerson had in fact been paid for his recordings at Sun, but he did not  apparently receive songwriter's royalties on ''Red Hot'' and other songs until he recovered  about $2500 in the mid-1960s on the back of the Sam The Sham and Elvis Presley  recordings.

It seems that the bitterness Emerson felt about not being sufficiently promoted at Sun arose  from what was a farly normal balancing act independent record labels had to conduct  between recording time and promotional effort. Sam Phillips, for his part, said, "His voice  wasn't that distinctive. but I know that if I'd had the time I could have done so much with  those songs''. Emerson always maintained that there was a distance between Phillips and his  artists, black or white, and that he "always let you know that he was Sam Phillips and that  you were Billy Emerson'', but he also conceded to me that, ''Sam Phillips was a big help. And  when were recording if he told you to vary it, you varied it because he had a sense, you  know, a sense of what was going to sound right'', Billy Emerson recalled.

Meanwhile, Presley cut his first sessions for RCA Victor in January and began making  appearances on national television the following month. By March, sales numbers of  Presley's ''Heartbreak Hotel'' had pushed it up country, pop and rhythm & blues charts, and  Perkins' ''Blue Suede Shoes'' was following Presley's lead in all three categories. Perkins'  momentum was slowed when he and his band crashed their car while on their way to the  Perry Como TV show in late March. While in hospital, Perkins' song reached number two on  'Billboard's' country and pop charts, and number one in Rhythm & Blues.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

 STUDIO SESSION FOR JACK EARLS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1956

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE JANUARY 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER – SAM PHILLIPS
 
 

Jack Earls and the Jimbos at the Palms Club, Memphis, Tennessee, circa 1957, from left: Johnny Black, Jack Earls, Danny Wahlquist, Warren Gregory >
 
Until that point, most of Sun's releases were straight country or blues, with the exception of Presley and Perkins. Before the Jimbos saw their record come out in April of 1956, Warren Smith (from Mississippi) and Roy Orbison & the Teen Kings (from Texas) began to cut rock and roll sessions at the studio.


With a sligh different version of the Jimbos, Jack Earls returned the studio in early 1956 with steel guitarist Tiny Dixon and singer-guitarist Lucky Yarbrough. They recorded a couple takes of the old to ''Crawdad Hole'', which survived to present times (why use the term survived?' Phillips often reused tapes he judged to be nonessential to his business including old recording sessions).
 
 
''Tiny was our steel player. He was a big guy weighed about 300 pounds'', said Earls ''Luc Yarbrough was a singer and band leader, but Sam didn't like his voice. So. he didn't last long''. The band's unique arrangement featured various instruments playing through what to have been the last lines of each verse, allowing the listener to imagine the original lyrics, or replace them with something more racy. (Another version of the song was cut without Dixon a Yarbrough, but with Gregory on guitar. Judging by the sound of Earls' voice, it could have be recorded at the same session as ''Hey Jim'').
An example of Phillips' role in the product process can be heard at the start of a record of ''Crawdad Hole'', with Dixon and Yarbrougt. Someone in the studio asked him what he thought was wrong with the performance they'd just concluded, and Phillips said, ''That damn ending sounds like we ... sounds exactly like we are: We don't know what were gonna do''. The end of the take that follows Phillips' observation sounds as final as an exclamation point.
 
Three takes of "Crawdad Hole" with Tiny Dixon survived, and the group obviously had another go when Dixon was not present and recorded a third version without steel.
 

01(1) - "CRAWDAD HOLE" - (2) - B.M.I. - 2:20
Composer: - Jack Earls
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date January 1956
Released: - 1976
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30101-2-4 mono
SUN - THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 1- CATALYST
Reissued: - 2010 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16935-1-9 mono
JACK EARLS - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

01(2) - "CRAWDAD HOLE" - (2)- B.M.I. - 2:45
Composer: - Jack Earls
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Studio Talk Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date January 1956
Released: - 1987
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sun Box 106 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE ROCKING YEARS
Reissued: - 2010 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16935-1-10 mono
JACK EARLS - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

01(3) - "CRAWDAD HOLE" - (2) - B.M.I. - 2:20
Composer: - Jack Earls
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 3 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 1956
Released: - 1981
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CFM 40007-A-4 Mono
TENNESSEE STOMP
Reissued: - 2010  Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16935-1-24 mono
JACK EARLS - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

Name (Or. No Of Instruments)
Jack Earls – Vocal & Guitar
Lucky Yarborough – Guitar
Johnny Black – Bass
Danny Wahlquist – Drums
Tiny Dixon – Steel Guitar

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

JANUARY 1, 1956 SUNDAY

Carl Perkins' "Blue Suede Shoes"/"Honey Don't" is released. His "Sure To Fall"/"Tennessee" is  held back because Sam Phillips probably does not want to risk splitting airplay.

After the "Blue Suede Shoes" release it was a massive chart success. In the United States, it went   to number 1 on Billboard magazine's country music charts (the only number 1 hit he would   have) and to number 2 on Billboard's Best Sellers pop music chart.

Elvis Presley performs two shows with Hank Snow and Webb Pierce at Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis. It kicks off the year that Presley is transformed from a regional act to a superstar.

JANUARY 2, 1956 MONDAY

Decca released the double-sided Kitty Wells and Red Foley single ''You And Me'' and ''No One But You''.

JANUARY 4, 1956 WEDNESDAY

Merle Travis is arrested at his home, at 12406 Chandler Boulevard in Los Angeles, after pistol-whipping his wife during a drunken rage.

Hank Thompson recorded ''Anybody;s Girl'', ''I'm Not Mad, Just Hurt'' and ''The Blackboard Of My Heart'' during a morning session at the Capitol Studios on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles.

JANUARY 7, 1956 SATURDAY

Johnny Cash begins regular appearances on The Louisiana Hayride at Shreveport's Municipal Auditorium.

Columbia Pictures begins production on "Rock Around The Clock" featuring the song of the   same name by Bill Haley and His Comets. Alan Freed is also featured and serves as a   technical consultant. It was also announced that Freed had made a deal with Columbia   Records and WINS to take packaged rock and roll shows cross country to appear in local   movie theaters.

JANUARY 9, 1956 MONDAY

Porter Wagoner recorded ''What Would You Do (If Jesus came To Your House)'' and the Bill Monroe song ''Uncle Pen'' during an evening session at the RCA Studios on McGavock Street in Nashville.
 
 
JANUARY 10, 1956 TUESDAY

Elvis Presley's first recording session for RCA Victor produces ''Heartbreak Hotel'' and ''I Got A  Woman'' among other tracks. “Heartbreak Hotel” soon became the number one song on the Billboard pop charts for eight weeks after its release, it also hit number one on the country singles chart. This was also his first single to sell over one million copies. During the month of January he also had his first network TV appearance on Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey’s "Stage Show''. Later the same year his ''Love Me Tender'' is the first disc to  have advance orders of more than 1 million copies.

Red Sovine recorded ''If Jesus Came To Your House''.
 
JANUARY 10, 1956 TUESDAY

"Why Do Fools Fall in Love" the first single of Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers issued. Franklin Joseph  "Frankie" Lymon was born on September 30, 1942 was an American rock and roll/rhythm and blues singer  and songwriter, best known as the boy soprano lead singer of the New York City-based early rock and roll  group, The Teenagers. The group was composed of five boys, all in their early to mid teens. The original  lineup of the Teenagers, an integrated group, included three African American members, Frankie Lymon,  Jimmy Merchant and Sherman Garnes, and two Puerto Rican members, Herman Santiago and Joe Negroni.

The Teenagers' first single, 1956s "Why Do Fools Fall in Love", was also their biggest hit. The song went to  number one in England and number six in the United States, and the group followed it with three more hits,  ''I Promise To Remember'', ''I Want You To Be My Girl'', and ''The ABCs Of Love''. After Lymon went solo  in mid-1957, both his career and those of the Teenagers fell into decline. On February 27, 1968 Franklin was  found dead at the age of 25 in his grandmother's bathroom from a heroin overdose. His life was dramatized  in the 1998 film ''Why Do Fools Fall In Love''.

JANUARY 11, 1955 WEDNESDAY

Elvis Presley recorded ''I Was The One'' at the RCA Studios in Nashville.

In his first session for Columbia, Johnny Horton recorded ''Honky Tonk Man'' and ''I'm A One Woman Man'' at the Bradley Film and Recording Studio in Nashville.

Singer/songwriter Robert Earl Keen is born in Houston, Texas. His rough-cut sound and unique songwriting make him a favorite on the Texas red-dirt circuit, and he appears in the soundtrack to ''Happy Texas''.
 

JANUARY 12, 1956 THURSDAY

Carl Perkins contract with Sun Records is renewed for a 2 year term.
JANUARY 14, 1956 SATURDAY

Little Richard's ''Tutti Frutti'' is released.  "Tutti Frutti" (means "All Fruits" in Italian) is a song written by Little Richard (Richard Wayne Penniman)  along with Dorothy LaBostrie that was recorded in 1955 and became his first major hit record. With its  opening cry of "A-wop-bom-a-loo-mop-a-lomp-bom-bom!" (a verbal rendition of a drum pattern that Little  Richard had imagined) and its hard-driving sound and wild lyrics, it became not only a model for many  future Little Richard songs, but also a model for rock and roll itself.

Jimmie Davis guests on ABC's ''Ozark Jubilee''.
 

JANUARY 15, 1956 SUNDAY

The singles, Sun 230 ''There's No Right Way To Do Me Wrong'' b/w ''You Can Tell Me'' by The Millers Sisters and Sun 233 ''Little Fine Healthy Thing'' b/w ''Something For Nothing'' by Billy Emerson issued.

JANUARY 17, 1956 TUESDAY

Blues singer Blind Afred Reed dies. His performance of ''How Can A Poor Man Stand Times And Live'' is ranked in 2003 among country's 500 greatest singles in the Country Music Foundation book ''Heartaches By The Number''.

JANUARY 18, 1956 WEDNESDAY

Mark Collie is born in Waynesboro, Tennessee. He scores two Top 10 singles, ''Even The Man In The Moon Is Crying'' and ''Born To Love You'', during the 1990s and becomes a spokesman for diabetes.

The Wilburn Brothers recorded ''I'm So In Love With You''.

JANUARY 19, 1956 THURSDAY

Faron Young recorded ''I've Got Five Dollars And It's Saturday Night'', ''Turn Her Down'' and ''You're Still Mine'' in Nashville.

JANUARY 20, 21, 1956 SATURDAY/SUNDAY

Based on local airplay, Sam Phillips suspects that there will be a heavy demand for Carl   Perkins' "Blue Suede Shoes" and he instructs Superior to ship stampers to Paramount in   Philadelphia and Monarch Manufacturing in Los Angeles. "We anticipate that this number will   be very bis", adds Sam Phillips.

Billboard review "Blue Suede Shoes" in their country music review section: "Perkins   contributes a lively reading on a gay rhythm ditty with a strong rhythm and blues styled   backing. Fine for the jukes". The rating is 76/100.

JANUARY 21, 1956 SATURDAY

Ten years after making a pair of country hits with Red Foley, Lawrence Welk rates the cover of TV Guide.

JANUARY 23, 1956 MONDAY

Singer/songwriter Harley Allen is born in Dayton, Ohio. He writes Alan Jackson's ''Between The Devil And Me'', Darryl Worley's ''Awful, Beautiful Life'' and Blake Shelton's ''The Baby''. He also sings harmonies on The Soggy Bottom Boys' ''I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow''.
 
 
JANUARY 26, 1956 THURSDAY

Buddy Holly's first professional recording session for Decca Records in Nashville at Bradley's Barn, a studio  owned and operated by Owen Bradley. Buddy cutting ''Blue days, Black Nights'', and his f irst single to be released in April 1956.

JANUARY 27, 1956 FIDAY

RCA Victor released Elvis Presley's first single ''Heartbreak Hotel'' backed with ''I Was The One'' (RCA 47-6420).
 
 
JANUARY 28, 1956 SATURDAY

Elvis Presley makes national television debut as a guest on "Stage Show" on the CBS-TV   network. The show is produced by Jackie Gleason and stars The Dorsey Brothers. He sings   ''Heartbreak Hotel'' and ''Blue Suede Shoes''. "Heartbreak Hotel" races up the charts neck and   neck with his former Sun Records cohort Carl Perkins "Blue Suede Shoes" as they claim the   number 1 and number 2 spots on the charts.

Coasters sign with Atco, an Atlantic Records subsidiary.

JANUARY 30, 1956 MONDAY

Bass player Doug Kahan is born in Detroit, Michigan. He replaces Bryan Grassmeyer in The Gibson/Miller Band in 1992, playing on their album ''Red, White And Blue Collar'' before the group breaks up. He co-writes Trick Pony's ''On A Night Like This''.

Elvis Presley recorded an cover version of Carl Perkins' ''Blue Suede Shoes'' at RCA's New York recording studio.

Columbia released Carl Smith's ''I've Changed''.

Wynn Stewart holds his first Capitol session, recording the Harlan Howard song ''You Took Her Off My Hands (Now Please Take Herr Off My Mind)''. A Ray Price version of the title becomes a hit six years later.
 

JANUARY 1956

Little Richard performed at the Nat Ballroom, 508 George Avenue, Amarillo, Texas.   Admission $2.50 per person, Tax included. Upstairs Reserved for Color Patrons, Private   Intrance.

Columbia Pictures announces a deal to rent its pre-1948 features to television, to be   followed shortly by Warner Bross.

Johnny Cash's Sun single "Folsom Prison Blues"/"So Doggone Lonesome" raced up the country   charts alongside Carl Perkins' "Blue Suede Shoes". Within a few weeks it was obvious that   "Blue Suede Shoes" was also selling well in the pop and rhythm and blues markets. Unable to   handle the vocal demands of rock and roll, Johnny Cash seemed to be doomed to the   country charts. He did make his attempts; trying to corner a small role in the new market,   he started composing rock and roll songs.

END JANUARY 1956

At the end of January, Elvis Presley had the first of four consecutive appearances in the "Stage Show". Already in these early live recordings everyone realized that Elvis was a real phenomenon. The first time was visually demonstrated the nation his unique style of rhythm and blues, coupled with a spunky touch. 

On the next following Saturday, after his 4th appearance at the Dorsey "Stage Show" (February 18, 1956) Elvis came back to the Louisiana Hayride. He sang "Heartbreak Hotel" and the audience was thrilled as always. The crowd exploded like never before and you felt the enormous enthusiasm that went through the auditorium. Elvis was about to be ripped from "The Cradle of the Stars" and thrust into the international spotlight. The next Hayride stars were George Jones and Johnny Cash, but no one would be a next Elvis Presley.

When the TV and movie offers began to pour in, it was incredibly difficult for Elvis and the band to come back every Saturday to Shreveport. Colonel Tom Parker, by now in complete control of Elvis career, tried everything in his power to relieve Elvis of his Hayride obligations At one point, Parker offered to buy into the show, but he let the thought go, because the Hayride management did not come down with his demand of the final say in the decision making process. The management of the Hayride would not, could not, afford to surrender control of the program at any price. Frank Page: “Ultimately, we knew we could hold this rising star no longer, so in early April of 1956 Elvis was allowed to buy out the remaining six months of his contract for the sum of 10,000$''.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

 NON SUN - STUDIO SESSION FOR CHARLIE FEATHERS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1956

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: TUESDAY JANUARY 31, 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - CHARLIE FEATHERS

Soon after the LP version of The Sun Country Years was issued, Zu-Zazz Records  found and released a previously unheard and unknown Charlie Feathers session from Sun Records. In its way, it was a perfect encapsulation of country becoming rockabilly. The identity of Feathers' group on that day in 1956 is unclear. The steel guitarist is probably Jody Chastain, who began working with Feathers around the time this was recorded, and switched to bass when Feathers switched to rock and roll. The electric guitarist is probably Jerry Huffman because the playing sounds similar to the King and Meteor sessions on which Huffman was known to have worked. The bassist could be Shorty Torrance and the drummer could be Jimmy Sword, both of whom worked with Feathers in 1956.

Charlie Feathers' contract with Sun Records ends, Feathers rents the studio at  706 Union Avenue and records 4 or 5 titles in a non-Sun demo session. He pitches the songs to Sam Phillips in a bid to gain a new recording contract.

Sam Phillips does not offer a new contract, and Feathers later moves to Meteor Records. The titles recorded at the demo session were "Frankie And Johnny", "Bottle To The Baby", "Honky Tonk Kind", and "So Ashamed, and probably ''Corrine, Corrina''.

01(1) - "BOTTLE TO THE BABY -1" - B.M.I. - 2:22
Composer: - Charlie Feathers
Publisher: - Ridgetop Music
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 31, 1956
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Zu-Zazz Records (LP) 33rpm ZZ 1001-A-1 mono
CHARLIE FEATHERS - THE LEGENDARY DEMO SESSIONS
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311 3-19 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

Together with Elvis Presley's Sun recordings and Carl Perkins' early sides, this music stands as a clear-eyed statement of what rockabilly is all about. The finished version of ''Bottle To The Baby'' is markedly superior to even the King Records cut. Not only does it have a cutting edge that could rip through steel plate but it also has Feathers' original lyrics with their wonderful images of southern lowlife.

''Back in those days at the foot of the hill
We'd get our juice from a liquor still...''.
or
 ''Me and the wife and the little kitchy-koo
We in Apartment East 42
When we get sluiced we get a little loud
The landlady up and she throws us out...''.

Wonderful stuff? On a par with ''Dixie Fried''.

01(2) - "BOTTLE TO THE BABY – 2" B.M.I. - 2:43 
Composer: - Charlie Feathers
Publisher: - Ridgetop Music
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 31, 1956
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Zu-Zazz Records (LP) 33rpm ZZ 1001-B-4 mono
CHARLIE FEATHERS – THE LEGENDARY 1956 DEMO SESSION
Reissued: - 1990   Zu-Zazz Records (LP) 33r500/200rpm ZCD 2011-1 mono
THE DEFINITIVE COLLECTION OF RARE AND UNISSUED RECORDINGS 1954 - 1973
 
 
''So Ashamed'' was hillbilly to the core, and as good as any other country recording: hard-assed hillbilly music from the ground up. Although as unabashedly rural as Doug Poindexter, Feathers had style. The bridge gives him an excuse to go way high, like his idol Bill Monroe, even if the tempo on these 1956 recordings didn't allow him to twist and turn notes as he did on the slower Sun and Flip recordings.

02(1) - "SO ASHAMED – 1" B.M.I. - 2:48
Composer: - Charlie Feathers
Publisher: - Ridgetop Music
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 31, 1956
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Zu-Zazz Records (LP) 33rpm ZZ 1001-A-2 mono
CHARLIE FEATHERS – THE LEGENDARY 1956 DEMO SESSION
Reissued:  February 15, 2013  Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311 6-33 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

02(2) - "SO ASHAMED – 2'' - B.M.I. 2:48
Composer: - Charlie Feathers
Publisher: - Ridgetop Music
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Overdubs - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 31, 1956
Released: -  2009
First appearance: - El Toro (CD) 500/200rpm  ETCD 1020-2-19 mono
CAN'T HARDLY STAND IT!

03(1) - "HONKY TONK KIND'' - B.M.I. - 2:48
Composer: - Charlie Feathers
Publisher: - Ridgetop Music
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 31, 1956
Released: - Norton Records (CD) 500/200rpm CED 333-3 mono
CHARLIE FEATHERS - HONKY TONK KIND
 
 03(2) - "HONKY TONK KIND'' - B.M.I. 
Composer: - Charlie Feathers
Publisher: - Ridgetop Music
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - January 31, 1956

''Honky Tonk Kind'', this is pure hillbilly soul, underpinned by an impenetrable, tortured morality. Few could deliver songs like this with the scorching intensity that Feathers brings to them. With the future of rockabilly or rock and roll still very much unassured, it's clear why Sam Phillips thought that Feathers should stick with country music. And no one in country music had been this intense since Hank Williams had breathed his last breath some four years earlier. It seemed as if Williams' death paved the way for Webb Pierce's ascendance, and it's hard not to believe that Feathers could have been as successful as Pierce. At least Fathers could song on-pitch.

03(3) - "HONKY TONK KIND'' - B.M.I. - 2:38
Composer: - Charlie Feathers
Publisher: - Ridgetop Music
Matrix number: - None - Take 3 - Not Originally Issued
With false start released on ZCD 2011
Recorded: - January 31, 1956
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Zu-Zazz Records (LP) 33rpm ZZ 1001-A-4 mono
CHARLIE FEATHERS – THE LEGENDARY 1956 DEMO SESSION
Reissued: -   February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-6-34 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

03(4) - "HONKY TONK KIND'' - B.M.I. - 2:45
Composer: - Charlie Feathers
Publisher: - Ridgetop Music
Matrix number: - None - FS + Take 4 - Not Originally Issued
 Might be a spliced version 
Recorded: - January 31, 1956
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Zu-Zazz Records (CD) 500/200rpm ZZ 1001 mono
CHARLIE FEATHERS – THE LEGENDARY 1956 DEMO SESSION

03(5) - "HONKY TONK KIND'' - B.M.I. - 2:57
Composer: - Charlie Feathers
Publisher: - Ridgetop Music
Matrix number: - None - FS + Take 4 - Not Originally Issued
Truncated version with faults
Recorded: - January 31, 1956
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Zu-Zazz Records (LP) 33rpm ZZ 1001-B-3 mono
CHARLIE FEATHERS – THE LEGENDARY 1956 DEMO SESSION
Reissued: - 1990  Zu-Zazz Records (CD) 500/200rpm ZCD 2011-8 mono
THE DEFINITIVE COLLECTION OF RARE AND UNISSUED RECORDINGS 1954 - 1973

04(1) - "FRANKIE AND JOHNNY'' - A.S.C.A.P. - 2:36
Composer: - Traditional
- A. Gottlieb-Fred Karger-Ben Weisman
Publisher: - Williamson Music
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 31, 1956
Released: - 2008
First appearance: - Norton Records (CD) 500/200rpm CED-332-12 mono
CHARLIE FEATHERS - THE WILD SIDE OF LIFE
Reissued: - Luxel Records (CD) 500/200rpm MS-8603-2 mono
BOP HOP JAMBOREE

''Frankie And Johnny'' is an even bigger surprise. It was never known to have been part of Feathers' repertoire but these 5 unissued cuts show that Feathers had put a considerable amount of work into his arrangement. The sustained trailing high notes betray Feathers' debt to Bill Monroe and the walking bass part played on the electric guitar shows the influence of Johnny Cash, but the overall result is pure Feathers. This is just about a working definition of rockabilly.

04(2) - "FRANKIE AND JOHNNY'' - A.S.C.A.P. - 2:34
Composer: - Traditional
- A. Gottlieb-Fred Karger-Ben Weisman
Publisher: - Williamson Music
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 31, 1956
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Zu-Zazz Records (LP) 33rpm ZZ 1001-A-3 mono
CHARLIE FEATHERS – THE LEGENDARY 1956 DEMO SESSION
Reissued:  February 15, 2013  Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-6-35 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

04(3) - "FRANKIE AND JOHNNY'' – A.S.C.A.P.
Composer: - Traditional
- A. Gottlieb-Fred Karger-Ben Weisman
Publisher: - Williamson Music
Matrix number: - None - Take 3 False Start - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - January 31, 1956

04(4) - "FRANKIE AND JOHNNY – 4" A.S.C.A.P. 
Composer: - Traditional
- A. Gottlieb-Fred Karger-Ben Weisman
Publisher: - Williamson Music
Matrix number: - None - Take 4 - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - January 31, 1956

04(5) - "FRANKIE AND JOHNNY'' - A.S.C.A.P. - 2:49
Composer: - Traditional
- A. Gottlieb-Fred Karger-Ben Weisman
Publisher: - Williamson Music
Matrix number: - None - Take 5 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 31, 1956
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Zu-Zazz Records (LP) 33rpm ZZ 1001-B-1 mono
CHARLIE FEATHERS – THE LEGENDARY 1956 DEMO SESSION
Reissued: 1990 Zu-Zazz Records (CD) 500/200rpm Zu~Zazz ZCD 2011 mono
CHARLIE FEATHERS - ROCK-A-BILLY

St. Louis, 1942: ''Frankie Baker a 66 year-old Negro woman who claims to be the original ''Frankie'' of ''Frankie and Johnny'' last her suit against Republic Pictures when she tried to collect damages over the movie ''Frankie and Johnny''. Was she the original Frankie? Quite probably. In 1899, St. Louis balladeer Bill Dooley composed Frankie Killed Allen shortly after the Baker murder case. The first published version of ''Frankie And Johnny'' with music appeared in 1904, copyrighted by Hughie Cannon, the composer of ''Bill Balley Won't You Please Come Home''. Where did Charlie Feathers hear the song? We'll never know. Jimmie Rodgers, perhaps. Although the song was much recorded in the 1920s and 1930s, it's hard to think of too many versions from the early 1950s. Feathers' recording is a fair distance from the way the song sounded around 1900, the year after Ms. baker claimed to have done the deed, or even around 1930 when Rodgers recorded it. What's remarkable about Feathers' recording is his mastery of rhythm. On this slower take, he's surefooted and playful, very confident of where he'll land. The electric guitarist is less surefooted and flubs several notes. In the 1942 lawsuit, Baker's attorney asked her, ''Did your gun go rootie, toot, toot''? ''No'', she replied. ''It went TOOT. I just shot him once''.
 
04(6) - "FRANKIE AND JOHNNY'' - A.S.C.A.P. - 2:55
Composer: - Traditional
- A. Gottlieb-Fred Karger-Ben Weisman
Publisher: - Williamson Music
Matrix number: - None - Take 6 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 31, 1956
Released: - 2008
First appearance: - Norton Records (CD) 500/200rpm CED-334 mono
CHARLIE FEATHERS - LONG TIME AGO
 
Despite Charlie Feathers penchant for rockabilly Sam Phillips passed over material like "Corrine, Corrina" and old Bo Chatmon blues which found Feathers talking in tongues, and insisted instead on hardcore country.

05 - "CORRINE, CORRINA" B.M.I. - 2:14
Composer: - Bo Chatmon-Williams-Parish
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Corporation
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - January 31, 1956
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Zu-ZAzz Records (CD) 500/200rpm ZCD 2011-8 mono
THE DEFINITIVE COLLECTION OF RARE AND UNISSUED RECORDINGS 1954 - 1973
Reissued: - 2005 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm SNAP 230-12 mono
CHARLIE FEATERS - GONE, GONE, GONE
 

"Corrine, Corrina" (sometimes "Corrina, Corrina") is a 12-bar country blues song in the AAB form. "Corrine, Corrina" was first recorded by Bo Carter (Brunswick 7080, December 1928). However, it was not copyrighted until 1932 by Armenter "Bo Carter" Chatmon and his publishers, Mitchell Parish and J. Mayo Williams. 

The Mississippi Sheiks, as the Jackson Blue Boys with Papa Charlie McCoy on vocals, recorded the same song in 1930; this time as "Sweet Alberta" (Columbia 14397-D), substituting the words Sweet Alberta for Corrine, Corrina. "Corrine, Corrina" has become a standard in a number of musical styles, including blues, jazz, rock and roll, cajun, and western swing. The title of the song varies from recording to recording; chiefly with the variant "Corrina, Corrina''. 

"Corrine, Corrina" may have traditional roots, however, earlier songs are different musically and lyrically. One of the earliest is the commercial sheet music song "Has Anybody Seen My Corrine?" published by Roger Graham in 1918. Vernon Dalhart (Edison 6166) recorded a vocal version in 1918, and Wilbur Sweatman's Original Jazz Band (Columbia A-2663), an instrumental version the same year. Blind Lemon Jefferson recorded a version of  "C.C. Rider" in April 1926 entitled "Corrina Blues" which contains a verse in a similar vein. The Mississippi Sheiks also recorded "Sweet Maggie" in the 1930. 

Notable early singers to record the song included Blind Lemon Jefferson (1926), Bo Carter (1928), Charlie McCoy (1928), Tampa Red (1929, 1930), Frankie "Half Pint" Jaxon (1929), Walter Davis (1939), Johnny Temple (1940 ), Big Joe Turner (1941). Postwar-blues artists recording the song included Taj Mahal and Snooky Pryor. Veteran blues artists recorded for the Blues revival market include Mississippi John Hurt (1966) and Mance Lipscomb (1968).  

Among the musicians to record the song were Wilbur Sweatman, Red Nichols (1930). Cab Calloway (1931), Art Tatum (1941) and Natalie Cole. 

Several recordings were made for the Country market by artists including Clayton McMichen (1929) and the Cajun musician Leo Soileau (1935). In 1934, Milton Brown and his Musical Brownies recorded the song under the title "Where Have You Been So Long, Corrinne," as a western swing dance song. Shortly thereafter, Bob Wills adapted it again as "Corrine, Corrina," also in the western swing style. Following his recording with The Texas Playboys (OKeh 06530) on April 15, 1940, the song entered the standard repertoire of all western swing bands, influencing the adoption of "Corrine, Corrina" by cajun bands and later by individual country artists. 

Although the Playboys' rendition set the standard, early Western swing groups had already recorded "Corrine, Corrina". Western swing bandleaders easily adapted almost any style of music into their dance numbers, but the Mississippi Sheiks' string band country blues style came easier than some. Milton Brown and his Musical Brownies recorded the song during a session on August 8, 1934, after meeting the Sheiks at a similar recording session earlier that year. Their version was titled "Where You Been So Long, Corrine?" (Bluebird B-5808). 

"Corrine, Corrina" is also an important song related to western swing's pioneering use of electrically amplified stringed instruments. It was one of the songs recorded during a session in Dallas on September 28, 1935 by Roy Newman and His Boys (OKeh 03117). Their guitarist, Jim Boyd, played what is the first use of an electrically amplified guitar found on a recording. Cliff Bruner's Texas Wanderers also recorded an early version of Chatmon's song on February 5, 1937 (Decca 5350). 

"Corrine, Corrina" entered the folk-like acoustical tradition during the American folk music revival of the 1960s when Bob Dylan began playing a version he titled "Corrina, Corrina". Although his blues based version contains lyrics and song structure from ''Corrine, Corrina'', his melody is lifted from "Stones in My Passway" (Vocalion 3723) recorded by Robert Johnson in 1937. Dylan's version, found on his second album, "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan," also borrows lyrics taken from Johnson's song. 

The Rising Sons featuring Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder recorded the song as ''Corinna, Corinna'' before breaking up in 1966. Taj Mahal then recorded another version in 1968 titled ''Corinna''. Joni Mitchell covered the song in 1988 on her album ''Chalk Mark In A Rain Storm''; titling it "A Bird That Whistles (Corrina  Corrina)", and adding a flight-evoking Wayne Shorter sax solo. Many other different artists have covered this folk and blues classic over the years, including Eric Clapton, who sings it as "Alberta, Alberta", Willie Nelson, Steve Gillette and Leo Kottke, both of whom showcase their guitar virtuosity in their performances, and Conor Oberst. They generally sing a Bob Dylan style of it, with similar lyrics, although Oberst includes in the first verse: "I've been worried about you Coquito (a sweet coconut beverage), ever since you've been gone". Also regularly sung by Declan Sinnott (freeman of Wexford in Ireland/ producer of 4 albums for Mary Black) when he plays with Christy Moore - and as 7th track on his first album "I Love The Noise It Makes" (2012). 

Big Joe Turner released a version of this song on Atlantic Records in 1956. Ray Peterson had a number 9 in 1960 with his version of the song, produced by Phil Spector. Jerry Lee Lewis released a version of the song on his 1965 album, ''The Return Of Rock''. Bill Haley and His Comets released a rock and roll version as a Decca Records single in 1958. Charlie Feathers recorded ''Corrine, Corrina'' for Sun on January 31, 1956 and later issued on the Zu-Zazz CD ''The Definitive Collection of Rare and Unissued Recordings 19541973''; Steppenwolf offers their version of "Corina, Corina" on the LP entitled ''Steppenwolf  Live", released in April 1970. Rod Stewart recorded his own version sometime between 2011 and 2013, and it is featured as a bonus track on his CD "Time". Boz Scaggs released a version of the song on his 2013 album Memphis. 

Asleep At The Wheel covered the song on their 1993 album ''A Tribute To The Music of Bob Wills & The Texas Playboys'' with Brooks and Dunn. Their version peaked at number 73 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles and Tracks chart in 1994. 

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Charlie Feathers - Vocal and Guitar
Probably Stan Kesler - Steel Guitar
Probably Johnny Black or Jody Chastain - Bass
Probably Jerry Huffman - Guitar
Probably Jimmy Swords – Drums
 

Note: According to Colin Escott, the drummer was probably not Jimmy Sword, but Johnny Bernero, who worked across the street from the Sun studio at the Memphis Light, Gas and Water Company and left his drums permanently set up in the studio. His firm but unobtrusive drumming can be heard on early cuts by Elvis Presley, Warren Smith and others. 

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©


 
FEBRUARY 1956
 

 
FEBRUARY 1956

"Blue Suede Shoes" enters the local Memphis country charts on February 11 at number 2.  The following week it is number 1, where it remains for three months. Billboard picks is as a  'Country Best Buy'. "Interestingly enough", adds Billboard, "the disk has a large measure of  appeal for pop and rhythm and blues customers". It starts to sell in huge quantities  throughout the South.

Carl Perkins also becomes a regular on the Big D Jamboree stage and TV show in Dallas,  Texas at the time. Meteor Records in Memphis release another song in the "daydreamin'"  sage, "Daydreams Come True" (Meteor 5027) by Buddy Bain, Kay Wayne and the Meteor Trio.  This band is from Corinth, Mississippi.

FEBRUARY 1956
 
The Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union is held during February of 1956, during which the Soviet Leader, Nikita Khrushchev, gave a speech condemning former Soviet premier Joseph Stalin who had died three years earlier. Khrushchev denounced Stalin as a cruel leader who had created a toxic, suspicious and terrifying environment in which persecution was rife. Khrushchev stated that Stalin’s “cult of personality” must be dismantled and urged the Soviet Congress members to reveal the truth about Stalin slowly to the Russian public. The entirety of the secretive speech was not revealed to the Russian people until 1988.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Other developments during this time, Eddie Bond appearances on the Louisiana Hayride alongside with Johnny Horton, Elvis Presley and Sonny James, and further touring alongside Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Harold Jenkins (later to become Conway Twitty), and Charlie Feathers. Concurrently a move to develop links with radio were set up when the Eddie Bond Show was transmitted on KWEM, beginning a relationship with the airwaves that continues today. So now touring was joined by broadcasting as well as recording in the continually broadening of the Bond career. At the same time Eddie signed with Bob Neal's Stars Incorporated, then looking after the interests of Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash with Warren Smith and Ray Orbison soon to be added to the ranks.

Session Published for Historical Reasons

STUDIO SESSION FOR EDDIE BOND
FOR MERCURY RECORDS 1956

WMPS RECORDING STUDIO
112 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
MERCURY SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE FEBRUARY 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER – DEE KIRKPATRICK

Four Mercury sessions were recorded, the first of which he poses a mystery. Held at WNPS in Memphis, and produced by Mercury artist and repertoire man Dee Kilpatrick, for songs were recorded but only two were issued on Mercury, ''I Got A Woman'', ''Rockin' Daddy''; the remaining two songs, ''Sister Jenny Won't You  Pray For Me'' and ''Blue Suede Shoes'' do not appear on Mercury paperwork never mind tape vaults. Eddie Bond confirms they were recorded and that he does not have tapes either. What happened here is unknown, perhaps an independently produced session with an option taken up by Mercury was effected? Mercury usually recorded in Chicago or Nashville, so why use WMPS in Memphis? Eddie is certain that Dee Kilpatrick was involved but could he have been there in these tapes being used by Mercury? There has to be a reason for the remaining two titles not appearing at Mercury either on tape or on paper.

What is certain is that the Stompers were featured on these cuts which, when released on a single, sold healthily. Thirty-seven years on Eddie speculates: ''It probably sold more than some current hits today as figures are calculated quite differently'', says Eddie Bond.

01 – ''I GOT A WOMAN'' – B.M.I. - 1:55
Composer: - Ray Charles
Publisher: - Starrite Music
Matrix number: - YW 12674
Recorded: - Unknown Date February 1956
Released: - March 1956
First appearance: - Mercury Records (S) 45rpm Mercury 70826-B mono
I GOT A WOMAN / ROCKIN' DADDY
Reissued: 1993 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15708-1-5 mono
EDDIE BOND – ROCKIN' DADDY

02 – ''ROCKIN' DADDY'' – B.M.I. - 2:02
Composer: - Sonny Fisher
Publisher: - Starrite Music
Matrix number: - YW 12675
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1955
Released: - March 1956
First appearance: - Ekko Records (S) 45rpm Ekko 70806-A mono
ROCKIN' DADDY / I GOT A WOMAN
Reissued: 1993 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15708-1-6 mono
EDDIE BOND – ROCKIN' DADDY

03 – ''BLUE SUEDE SHOES'' – B.M.I.
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Mercury Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1955

04 – ''SISTER JENNY WON'T YOU PRAY FOR ME''' – B.M.I.
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Mercury Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1955

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Eddie Bond – Vocal & Rhythm Guitar
Reggie Young – Guitar
John Hughey – Steel Guitar
Johnny Fine - Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 



© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR MALCOLM YELVINGTON
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1956

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

01 - "GOIN' TO THE SEA" - B.M.I. - 1:20
Composer: - Louie Moore
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Corporation
Matrix number: - None - Demo - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1956
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-4-20 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - 2006 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16757-18 mono
MALCOLM YELVINGTON - THE SUN YEARS

02 - "LET THE MOON SAY GOODNIGHT" - B.M.I. - 1:53
Composer: - Reece Fleming
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Corporation
Matrix number: - None – Demo - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1956
Released: - 1988
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1010 mono
GONNA HAVE MY SELF BALL
Reissued: - 2006 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16757-19 mono
MALCOLM YELVINGTON - THE SUN YEARS

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Malcolm Yelvington - Vocal and Guitar

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

FEBRUARY 1956

Surprisingly, it was Harold Jenkins' sometime band-mate in the Arkansas Wood Choppers, Mack Self, who   eventually saw one release on Sun and another on Phillips International. Self's wonderfully archaic ''Easy To   Love'' is on the country box-set, and should be the cornerstone of any 1950s country collection. Trying his   hand at rockabilly, Self had mixed results. His version of ''Goin' Crazy'' is markedly different from the   hillbilly version on the country box-set. If ''Mad Of You'' was rockabilly caught out of time when it was   released in October 1959, that's hardly surprising. It was recorded two years earlier, and was resurrected as  the B-side of a Tom Dooley-soundlike, ''Willie Brown''. Collectors figured that it was Charlie Feathers   singing the bluesgrass-style harmony on ''Mad At You'', a belief that Feathers fostered, but it was actually   Jimmy Evans.


 
 


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR MACK SELF
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1956
 
SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: PROBABLY WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 1, 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

Among the country based singers at Sun Records who did not see any real commercial success, two names stand out the quality and genuine originality of their music, Ernie Chaffin and Mack Self. Of the two, Chaffin had a slightly more illustrious career whereas Mack's talent remained a fairly well kept secret.

Mack Self was always a local artist. Based in Helena, Arkansas he has mostly held down a regular job as a sheet metal worker, reserving his country songwriting and performing for evenings and weekends. Mack has seen several of his musical comrades go on to bigger things, most notably steel guitarist John Hughey and singer Harold Jenkins (later known as Conway Twitty). Yet at the outset, in 1956 Sam Phillips heard more that he liked in Mack's strong, plaintive voice and songs than he did in Jenkins' breathy rockabilly style. Sam issued Mack's "Easy To Love" and "Everyday" in the summer of 1957, following with "Mad At You" and "Willie Brown" in 1959. The latter disc coupled a very tuneful rockabilly offering with a story song in the prevailing gunfighter ballad mould. The Sun vaults bear further evidence of Mack's versatility. They include the relentless rocker, "Vibrate", and the uptempo song "Goin' Crazy".
  It would be silly to argue that Mack's music is as distinctive as that of Johnny Cash, or that a 27 year old country singer from Helena offered Sam Phillips a better shot at the pop charts than, say the precocious Jerry Lee Lewis or the highly distinctive Carl Mann. Equally, though, it would be wrong to assume that Mack Self was merely a product of the Sun sound formula. Mack's two records, one on Sun Records, one on Phillips International, are highly memorable waxings, and they are backed up by fine country recordings on Zone and Sabor.
 
"Easy To Love" was finally recorded for the third time. Jerry Lee Lewis' "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" was doing good, and Jack Clement carried Jerry Lee and Mack Self over to Plastic Products to pick up copies of their records.
 
Two simple facts: (1) this record is a total anomaly. A two sided hillbilly waltz with virtually no commercial potential in the summer of '57. (2) "Easy To Love" is one of the most beautiful Sun records ever released. Granted, 'beautiful' is not an adjective commonly associated with Sun, unless one stretches it a bit to describe a 'beautiful' rockabilly solo by Billy Riley, for example.
 

But this record is beautiful in the old fashioned way; it is utterly gorgeous. It is easy to point to the haunting steel guitar work or the deft use of a 2-minor chord in the melody. But there is so much more here, small things that just come together perfectly. Self's lyric, for example. "living a lie / it's true, it's true". A small touch, but memorable. Or the final vocal line "I'm letting you go". The ending is made stronger by the fact that the first time through, that same line is just a wordless moan. The lyric only takes form when it is uttered at the end of the song.

01(1) - "EASY TO LOVE"** - B.M.I. - 2:45
Composer: - Mack Self
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 256  - Master
Recorded: February 1, 1956
Released: - June 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 273-B mono
EASY TO LOVE / EVERYDAY
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802-4-15 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

Within the context of Sun's release schedule, ''Easy To Love'' fell smack in the middle of rockabilly items like Carl Perkins'''That's Right'' and Ray Harris's ''Greenback Dollar''. It was flanked by even less countrified rockers by Tommy Blake (''Lordy Hoody'') and Wade & Dick (''Bop Bop Baby''). In short, ''Easy To Love'' was pure country outing, the very thing from which Sun was progressively shying away. All of which underscores just how direct its impact must have been on Phillips for him to schedule its release. Commercialism aside, what has contributed to the beautiful of ''Easy To Love''? Self's vocal, while not powerful, is rather idiosyncratic. His line ''I'm tuning you loose'' is followed by wordless humming in the first verse. Two bars without a lyric. This tension is resolved in the last verse the same line is finally completed with ''I'm letting you go''. A nice touch, especially surrounded by the drama of the sustained 4-chord and cymbal at the finale.
Rhythmically, the song achieves a surprising momentum from the echoey drumming and acoustic guitar. In fact, if it can be said that a waltz is driving, then this one surely qualifies. The instrumental work seems serviceable, not flashy throughout, with its simple Luther Perkins-like lead guitar.

Even the steel, an instrument often given to tasty riffs and virtuosity, is played in flawless, but rudimentary style. The record simply has an understated charm that assert itself almost immediately. For some reason, one throwaway feature (absent from the recently discovered alternate take) has always focused my memory of this song.
 
The band hits a passing 2-minor chord between halves of the verse. It comes right after the lines ''Like they're brand new'' and ''between you and me''. One would expect a conventional 5-2-5 transitional sequence but instead there's that implied 2-minor chord. A mistake, maybe, but it's simply beautiful.

01(2) - "EASY TO LOVE" - B.M.I. - 2:45
Composer: - Mack Self
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 1, 1956
Released: - 2007
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16519-21 mono
MACK SELF - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

02(1) - "GOIN' CRAZY" - B.M.I. - 2:33
Composer: - Mack Self
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 1, 1956
Released: - 2007
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16519-11 mono
MACK SELF - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

02(2) - "GOIN' CRAZY" - B.M.I. - 2:29
Composer: - Mack Self
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 1, 1956
Released: - 2007
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16519-19 mono
MACK SELF - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

''Goin' Crazy", a track that never saw light in the 1950s - offers lines like "You got me barkin' like a dog/ rootin' like a hog/ skinning saplings/ eatin' paw paws". It doesn't get much more country than that.

03(1) - "MAD AT YOU"* - B.M.I. - 2:17
Composer: - Mack Self
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 1, 1956
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 106-4-16 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE ROCKING YEARS - I FEEL LIKE ROCKIN'
Reissued: - May 29, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17313-3-20 mono
THE SUN ROCK BOX 1954 - 1959

03(2) - "MAD AT YOU"* - B.M.I. - 2:06
Composer: - Mack Self
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 1, 1956
Released: - 2007
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16519-17 mono
MACK SELF - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

Here included a previously unissued alternate take of "Mad At You", if anything, even more spirited than the originally released version. Is this one of the few times that Sam Phillips may have chosen the wrong take for release. Mack's uptempo songs like "Mad At You" contained down home lyrics like "My cow's gone dry/The hens won't lay".
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Mack Self - Vocal and Guitar
Thurlow Brown - Lead Guitar
Stan Kesler - Steel Guitar
Jimmy Evans - Bass and Harmony Vocal*
Johnny Bernero – Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 



© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
Malcolm Yelvington was probably the only artist who didn't come to Sun looking to emulate Elvis Presley for the simple reason that he had first recorded for Sam Phillips back when Elvis Presley came on the scene. According to Malcolm, he turned down an opportunity to go with RCA in the early 1950s because RCA wouldn't take his band, and came to Sun because it was the only game in town. Now that the King was gone, it was time to have another look at Yelvington's quirky stylins. This man would plainly never be a teenage hearthrob, but maybe there was gold in them musical hills after all.

His first single appeared between Elvis' first and second single. Malcolm was then left contemplating his future in a world that Elvis increasingly dominated.

STUDIO SESSION FOR MALCOLM YELVINGTON
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1956

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: THURSDAY FEBRUARY 2, 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

''I went back to Sun with "Rockin' With My Baby", Malcolm recalled. "It's the only song I ever wrote in my life. We made a demo tape one Sunday and carried it down to Sam to listen to. He liked it, and he set up a date for us to come in and record''. This is a slightly mellower, more countrified version of what became Malcoln's second and last Sun record. Lately, in his retirement, Malcolm has taken to conducting your groups through the old Sun studio on weekends while his wife gets her hair done.

01 - "GONNA HAVE MYSELF A BALL" - B.M.I. - 1:46
Composer: - Malcolm Yelvington
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Corporation
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 2, 1956
Released: - 1974
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm 6467025 mono
GONNA HAVE MYSELF A BALL
Reissued: - 2006 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16757-9 mono
MALCOLM YELVINGTON - THE SUN YEARS PLUS
Yelvington does a better job on this side, an unpretentious blues featuring Frank Tolley's rolling piano. Yelvington continued to record at Sun, including the superb "Trumpet", but never again saw his name on a little yellow record.

"It's Me Baby" is so downhome, it rates as a thirteen bar blues. Equally intriguing is the stanza that bears a striking resemblance to Jay McShann's "Confessin' The Blues" - not that anyone was paying anything like that much attention to detail. The song's creator was Malcolm's longstanding piano player, Reece Fleming, a musician who covered his 88 keys in the stride fashion of a previous generation. The mastertrack emerged as a B-side in August 1956.

02(1) - "IT'S ME BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:23
Composer: - Reece Fleming
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 207 - Master
Recorded: - February 2, 1956
Released: - August 3, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 246-B mono
IT'S ME BABY / ROCKIN' WITH MY BABY
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802-2-12-B mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

02(2) - "IT'S ME BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:25
Composer: - Reece Fleming
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take - Not Original Issued
Recorded: - February 2, 1956
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-4-14 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-3-5 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

This alternative of ''It's Me Baby'' it is obvious that the group had the jumping blues on their mind when they cut this tune. Yelvington sounds  a little uneasy with the blues inflections and recalled that a reviewer had noted that his band had come to terms with the blues but the singer had not. Once again, there's some very tasty accenting from the drummer and some stinging lead guitar. Was the final ''Inside, Baby''! a sly piece of sexual innuendo? We'll probably never know.
Yelvington forsook his western swing roots as well as his false teeth and mumbled his way through some credible rockabilly for this session. "Rockin' With My Baby" was a self-conscious attempt to be contemporary that doesn't quite cut the mustard. Billboard's recognized what Yelvington was trying to do, but concluded that the side "may not get out of the territories". It turns out to have been a sound prophecy.

Sam Phillips was impressed with Yelvington's "Rockin' With My Baby", with its references to popular song titles, and with the bluesy feeling of Fleming's "It's Me Baby", and that spring Phillips recut the songs as Sun 246 along with "Gonna Have Myself A Ball", a song that used the catchphrases of several local disc jockeys.

03(1) - "ROCKIN' WITH MY BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:17
Composer: - Malcolm Yelvington-Jones
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 206  - Master
Recorded: - February 2, 1956
Released: - August 3, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 246-A mono
ROCKIN' WITH MY BABY / IT'S ME BABY
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802-2-11 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

''Yelvington is one of the more recent of Sun's string of talented rockabillies'', said Billboard in September 1956, unaware that the man had been recording for the label since 1954. However, they were unfortunately correct when they concluded that ''Jumper... may not break out of the territories''. ''Rockin' With My Baby'' went on to sell approximately 8,500 copies, a respectable but unspectacular sale considering that Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins could move 20,000 or more copies a day. Yelvington, his false teeth removed, seems to be slightly ill at ease with the tempo but turns in a supercharged vocal performance. The song, of course, is a collage of song titles from across the eras: ''Birth Of The Blues'', ''Rootie Tootie'', ''Sixteen Tons'', ''Blue Suede Shoes'', etc. It's fun, if a little contrived, and makes an interesting comparison with an earlier version, ''Have Myself A Ball''. The guys had worked at shaking off their honky tonk-western swing-cowboy harmony roots and acquiring a harder-edged sound. Change or die, it seems.

03(2) - "ROCKIN' WITH MY BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:29
Composer: - Malcolm Yelvington
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take 1 -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 2, 1956
Released: - 2006
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16757-10 mono
MALCOLM YELVINGTON - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

03(3) - "ROCKIN' WITH MY BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:29
Composer: - Malcolm Yelvington
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take 2 – Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 2, 1956
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1021 mono
ROCK BOP BOOGIE
Reissued: - 1999 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16211-11 mono
THAT'LL FLAT GIT IT! - VOLUME 16

"Sam was better known by the time I cut "Rockin' With My Baby", recalled Malcolm Yelvington, "Carl Perkins was the big artist in Sun 1956. I first saw him at Covington in 1953 when he played with his boys there. We would be playing at one club and he would be another place just up the road. matter of fact, my band used to go and sit in with the Perkins band some nights when we'd finished".

04 - "INTERVIEW MALCOLM YELVINGTON" - B.M.I. - 0:55
In his latter years, Malcolm Yelvington adopted the role of strolling ambassador for the Sun studio. Whilst his wife popped down town to have her hair done, he would act as a tour guide around 706 Union Avenue, much to the delight of visiting fans. It was here that I was able to glean some fascinating anecdotes from this most genie of characters - a musician who had witnessed both the curtailment of outmoded country fashions and the inception of vibrant new rockabilly stylings.
Released: - 2002
First appearance: - Sanctuary Records (CD) 500/200rpm FBUBX002-8-4 mono
50 GOLDEN YEARS 1952 - 2002
"Carl was very unusual even back then, had a style all his own. He picked guitar very clean; used to call him 'One-string Perkins' because everything was so clear. One note at a time, no chords, you know. Like a blues guitarist. That style was very successful for him, real successful. Then in '57, the big artist at Sun was Jerry Lee Lewis. First time I saw him, I went down to the studio one day and Sam wasn't cutting anything, he was just listening, and as soon as I saw Lewis playing and singing and the way he was carrying on and going up and down the keyboard, I said, 'He'll make it'. And he did, he made it then lost it, then made it again. Right then, I knew my own days as a recording artist were numbered".
 
Up to now, Malcolm Yelvington had been in the habit of placing paper between his guitar strings to deaden the sound and produce a drum effect. The Sun 246 session was the first time that the band used a drummer, but Yelvington did not remember who he was. Evidence from Sun's files indicates that it was Billy Weir. Certainly the drums underlined the shift in thinking towards the new rockin' music. So did the change in Gordon Mashburn's lead guitar style. Mashburn had been a classy and hot guitarist all along, but now he was clearly trying to take on board the style of another Tipton County neighbor, Carl Perkins. Yelvington recalled, "My boys had sat in with his band some nights and Carl was very unusual with a style all his own. He picked guitar very clean, one note at a time, no chords, like a blues guitarist".

The trade paper, Billboard, described Yelvington as a talented rockabilly and his songs as a 'jumper' while it found the swinging, bluesy flipside "a good enough warble". The disc healthy local sales but it was not the big hit Yelvington longed for.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Malcolm Yelvington - Vocal and Guitar
Reece Fleming or Frank Tolley - Piano
Gordon Mashburn - Guitar
Billy Weir - Drums
Jack Ryles - Upright Bass

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 



© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR SLIM RHODES
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1956

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: THURSDAY FEBRUARY 2, 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

Until now, Dot Rhodes has remained little more than a footnote in the annals of Sun Records. Her name appeared on Sun labels, but always in the smallest print as part of the phrase "Vocal: Dusty and Dot". Dot was married to fiddle player Dusty Rhodes, and worked as a regular member of the Slim Rhodes show, a Memphis institution since the 1940s. If you lived within 50 miles of Memphis and owned a radio or a TV you had heard of Slim Rhodes.

Rhodes' band was largely a family business, although they fleshed out their ranks with outsiders like guitarist Brad Suggs and steel player John Hughey on a regular basis. Rhodes first recorded for Sam Phillips in 1950. The results - four singles worth - appeared on the Gilt Edge label. By the time they returned to the Sun studio in 1955, Phillips had his own label. He released four sides by the band in the next two years. Dot appeared as a vocalist on three of them, always in a duet with her husband. The band returned for a final attempt at commercial success in 1958 but the results never came to fruition.

01(1) - "GONNA ROMP AND STOMP" - B.M.I. - 2:19
Composer: - Dot Rhodes-Dusty Rhodes
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take – Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 2, 1956
Released: - August 2002
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16609-3-7 mono
MEMPHIS BELLES - THE WOMEN OF SUN RECORDS
 
This is another disc that barely made it north of the Mason-Dixon line and, it turns out, with good reason. Slim  Rhodes and his aggregation have once again turned in a fine hillbilly outing, pairing a boogie with a wheeper.  It was the title of the boogie side that led northern collectors to hope that here lay some undiscovered treasure.  After all, rompin and stompin sound like things that aspiring Elvises did. As it turns out, those activities also go  on at rural barn dances and back country hoedowns. There is some fire on this side and it has helped ''Romp And Stomp'' to survive better than some of the country sermonettes.

01(2) - "GONNA ROMP AND STOMP" - B.M.I. - 2:19
Composer: - Dot Rhodes-Dusty Rhodes
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 188  - Master - Vocal Dusty and Dot Rhodes
Recorded: - February 2, 1956
Released: - April 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 238-A mono
GONNA ROMP AND STOMP / BAD GIRL
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802-1-19 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

Singer/guitarist/composer Brad Suggs recently listened to ''Bad Girl'' for the first time in over 50 years. It stirred some memories, not the least of which was the source of the strange, underwater-sounding instrumental break that occurs right after John Hughey's steel solo. This was no small mystery! In fact, we'd be hard pressed to find another piece of recorded music featuring this odd sound. After a moment's reflection, Brad laughed and reported that it was Dusty Rhodes fiddle played through a vibrato. ''I think Sam liked it. It sounded different to him''. Suggs emphasised that this was a song about a girl with a reputation. He was quick to add that reputations were sometimes pretty far from the truth. Suggs recalled that some folks misread the point of the song. ''Slim Rhodes told me that, disc jockey. Eddie Hill wouldn't play the record because he was convinced it was about a prostitute. I guess he thought he was saving his listeners''. A half a century later, Suggs could laugh at that.

02 - "BAD GIRL"** - B.M.I. - 2:25
Composer: - Brad Suggs-Slim Rhodes
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 189  - Master - Vocal Brad Suggs
Recorded: - February 2, 1956
Released: - April 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 238-B mono
BAD GIRL / GONNA ROMP AND STUMP
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802-1-20 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Ether Cletus ''Slim'' Rhodes - Guitar
Perry Hillburn ''Dusty'' Rhodes - Vocal* and Fiddle
Dorothy ''Dot'' Rhodes Moore - Vocal* and Guitar
John Hughey - Steel Guitar
Gilbert Ray ''Speck'' Rhodes - Bass
Luther Bradley ''Pee Wee'' Suggs - Vocal** and Guitar
W.S. ''Fluke'' Holland – Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 


The Snearly Ranch Boys got their name from Miss Imah Snearly. Imah owned a mansion located at 233 North McNeil Street in the Evergreen District of Memphis in 1949. Her affinity and desire to help musicians led her to open up her home to any musician who needed a place to stay or live. It became a boarding house (known as ''Snearly Ranch House'') and rehearsal hall for local country musicians >

  
FEBRUARY 3, 1956 FRIDAY

''The Adventures Of Champion'' ends a short-lived run on CBS-TV. The series was produced by Gene Autry's company and based on his trusty Wonder Horse.

 
FEBRUARY 4, 1956 SATURDAY

Elvis Presley sings ''Baby, Let's Play House'' on The Dorsey Brothers' ''Stage Show''.

 
Warren Smith was one of the first to arrive to Sun in February 1956, and one of the most talented. Twenty-four-year old and raised in rural Mississippi, and just out of the Air Force, he had shown up at the Cotton Club one night and sat in with the Snearly Ranch Boys. Their steel player, Stan Kesler, who had written ''I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone'' and ''I Forgot To Remember To Forget'' for Elvis Presley, brought him to Sam Phillips, who was impressed with his brooding good looks and pure country voice. All he needed, said Sam, was a good song. So Stan wrote him one, a good country song called ''I'd Rather Be Safe Than Sorry'', but then Sam phoned and said he had a rhythm song, ''Rock 'N' Roll Ruby'', for the new guy that Johnny cash had written when he was down in Shreveport playing the Louisiana Hayride. Stan Kesler played steel on the session, Snearly Ranch Boys Johnny Bernero and Smokey Joe Baugh were the drummer and piano player, and the idea was that this was going to be a joint enterprise in which the whole band shared equally, since the group leader, Clyde Leoppard, had been paying room and board for Smith at Mrs. Imah Snearly's boardinghouse in Memphis.

 


 

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

 
Warren Smith had made a similar move to Memphis and while Billy Riley was taping his songs at Fernwood, Warren Smith got a job as a singer with the country band of Clyde Leoppard. Part of this band went Warren Smith to Sun for a demo session on his first recording session when a rockabilly sound was tried out.

Early in 1954 Sam Phillips hailed Warren Smith as the third all-market contender he had signed. Smith seemed to have limitless potential. He was good looking, he had stage presence, he had a desperate will to succeed and, best of all, the man could really sing. However, his success on Sun was limited to a few local chart entries, a fleeting entry into the Hot 100 and then a swift decline at the very moment he should have consolidated his initial success.

STUDIO SESSION FOR WARREN SMITH
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1956

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: SUNDAY FEBRUARY 5, 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
AND/OR JACK CLEMENT

Unlike Billy Riley or Hayden Thompson, Warren Smith did manage to see the hits he considered no less than his birthright - although they would come only after he had left Sun Records and would be fewer than he might have hoped. Smith had a voice that was pure country, without vocal contrivance or mimickry. He had the looks and the will to succeed, and he certainly seemed to be in the right place at the right time. Yet he managed only one fleeting hit on Sun and no more than a few years in the spotlight after he left the label.

01 - "ROCK 'N' ROLL RUBY" - B.M.I. - 2:38
Composer: - John R. Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Alternate Take - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 5, 1956
Released: - 1992
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15514-3 mono
WARREN SMITH - THE CLASSIC SUN RECORDINGS 1956 - 1959
Reissued: -  May 29, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17313-4-21 mono
THE SUN ROCK BOX 1954 - 1959
In that turbulent month of February 1956 it was still far from clear whether Rock and Roll was a passing fad. Sam Phillips hedged his bets by recording a stone country flipside, "I'd Rather Be Safe Than Sorry". He possibly thought that he might be able to breech two markets and would have himself a fine new country singer if rock and roll blew over.  "I'd Rather Be Safe Than Sorry", is one of Smith's finest outings.  The presence of this out-and-out hillbilly weeper on the flip side of Warren Smith's debut single shows how uncertainly Sam Phillips was feeling his way through the confusion in the early months of 1956.

Perhaps he was hoping for airplay on the country stations in case the whole rock and roll craze went the way of other crazes, like the calypso craze a year or so later.
 
Perhaps he simply did not appreciate that the mass audience beyond Memphis would have preferred a pop ballad to a slice of unadulterated hillbilly music. However, the mass audience's loss is our gain. This is very pure country music, and astonishingly beautiful. Smith's vocal is perfectly pitched and it allows us to eavesdrop on the way that he sounded before Elvis Presley turned his head around.
 
Stan Kesler said that Smith was supposed to be the front man for Clyde Leoppard's Snearly Ranch Boys, and it's certainly the Ranch Boys backing him on his first single, possibly with Johnny Bernero replacing Leoppard. According to Kesler, Smith was housed with the Ranch Boys in West Memphis and they paid him money to live on. After ''Rock 'N' Roll Ruby'' took off, Smith quickly reneged on the deal, and went solo.

02(1) - "I'D RATHER BE SAFE THAN SORRY" - B.M.I. - 2:55
Composer: - Stan Kesler-W.E. Taylor
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 187  - Master
Recorded: - February 5, 1956
Released: - April 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 239-B mono
I'D RATHER BE SAFE THAN SORRY / ROCK N'' ROLL RUBY
Reissued - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802-1-22 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

02(2) - "I'D RATHER BE SAFE THAN SORRY" - B.M.I. - 2:59
Composer: - Stan Kesler-W.E. Taylor
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take - Not Original Issued
Recorded: - February 5, 1956
Released: - 2014
First appearance: - El Toro Records (CD) 500/200rpm ETCD 1071 mono
SMOKEY JOE - SUN'S FIRST BOOGIE WOOGIE COUNTRY MAN

 
The provenance of "Rock 'N' Roll Ruby" is in some doubt. It is credited to Cash but Smith asserted that George Jones had written the song and sold it to Cash for $40.00.  Johnny Cash cut a primitive demo in the breathless baritone he reserved for uptempo numbers at some point in late 1955 or early 1956.  The acetate ended up in the hands of Clyde Leoppard, probably in order that he could rehearse the band.  By the time Smith and the Snearly Ranch Boys (with Johnny Bernero replacing the barely proficient Leoppard on drums) wrapped up "Rock 'N' Roll Ruby", it was obvious that Sam Phillips had, as Billboard put it, "another contender in the Rock-a-Billy sweepstakes".
 

''Johnny Cash and Sam Phillips came in one night when I was playing with Clyde Leoppard'', recalled Warren Smith. ''They invited me to come back to their table and sit down. To begin with, I thought it was some kind of fluke, then Sam Phillips asked me to come over to Sun the next day, and Johnny Cash said he might have a song for me''. 

 
03 - "ROCK 'N' ROLL RUBY" - B.M.I. - 2:49
Composer: - John R. Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 186  - Master
Recorded: - February 5, 1956
Released: - April 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 239-A mono
ROCK 'N' ROLL RUBY / I'D RATHER BE SAFE THAN SORRY
Reissued - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802-1-21 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

This is a highly important record and a two sided gem. Here are the sides that launched Warren Smith's career at Sun. Even though "Ruby" has become a rockabilly anthem, we can hear today how precariously perched it is on the edge of country music. Smith's vocal is appropriately sexy and southern, but it has an unmistakable country twang that is absent from the stylings of rockabilly confreres like Elvis Presley or Gene Vincent. The instrumental work also blows Smith's cover. The roots of this band are especially apparently during the solo breaks: not exactly a plethora of stinging guitar here. Billy Riley and Roland Janes were still months away from being available for session work.

"Ruby" hit the Memphis charts on May 1 and was sitting pretty at number one by May 26. Among the most notable were Johnny Cash's Decca version, Lawrence Welk and Dave Burton's big band versions. Even a black vocal group, the Saints on Salem Records, covered the song. There was also a Canadian cover version.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Warren Smith - Vocal and Guitar
Buddy Holobauch - Guitar
Stan Kesler - Steel Guitar
Jan Ledbetter - Bass
Johnny Bernero - Drums
Smokey Joe Bauch – Piano

For a while Warren Smith used Johnny Bernero on drums, but Bernero was unwilling to jeopardize his day job at Memphis Light, Gas & Water. ''I played a lot of Warren's jobs within a three hundred mile radius'', he told Colin Escott in 1986. ''There was me, Al Hopson, and Marcus Van Story. I played on most of his early sessions too, ''Black Jack David'', ''Rock 'N' Roll Ruby'', and so on. When we went out on live dates Warren would pay me more than the other guys because they were just going it because they had nothing else to do. I had to get off work, drive up to three hundred miles, oh man! And some of the jobs we played! On top of concession stands at drive-in movie theaters and we might go from there to a rodeo during the same night. That was work and I wasn't going to do that for just union scale. Warren was making good money and he paid good. Warren used to cut up a little on stage but he played 95% country music on live gigs. Even the rock and roll stuff he played had a real country flavour to it. There's no getting away from the fact that Warren was basically a country musician''.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

TRUE STORY ABOUT WARREN SMITH
by Shaun Mather & Phil Davies, February 1999

It was February 1956 and the patrons of The Cotton Club in West Memphis, Arkansas were  enjoying the sounds of their regular band, Clyde Leopard and The Snearly Ranch Boys. The  band had recently been augmented by a young country singer who some felt had the  potential to go beyond these settings. So impressed had been Ranch Boy steel player and  songwriter, Stan Kesler, that he had called the attention of local record man Sam Phillips.

Following an audition where they had performed a hillbilly ballad penned by Kesler, ''I'd  Rather Be Safe Than Sorry'', Phillips had told them to get some more material.  This  particular night, Phillips actually turned up at the club with Johnny Cash and at the interval  had invited the singer, Warren Smith to join them at their table. Cash was armed with a song  he'd written (or purchased from George Jones!) called Rock 'N' Roll Ruby and he offered it to  Smith and the band. Looking back now, it's funny to think that Johnny Cash, being more...
 
 
...country than rock, didn't fancy the song himself but offered it to Warren Smith who was  probably as pure a country singer as any that stepped through the hallowed doors of Sun  Studios.

Born in Humphreys County Mississippi near the blues-drenched Yazoo City on February 7th  1932, Smith had been raised in Louise, MS with his grandparents following the divorce of his  parents. After a spell in the Air Force, and with music very much his passion, he made the  move to the tune-town known as Memphis, Tennessee determined to make his fortune.

The following Sunday (5th), Warren and the Snearly Ranch Boys, Buddy Holobaugh, Stan  Kesler, Jan Ledbetter, Smokey Joe Baugh and Johnny Bernero, drafted in to play drums  instead of Leopard who may have felt his nose out of joint, converged on Union Avenue  ready to cut. After Phillips and Cash turned up late, the session began with the band running  through Ruby a couple of times. An early out-take exists which shows the band well on the  way to perfecting the tune, Baugh's piano solo being particularly on the money. The master  truly is a rockabilly classic with Holobaugh's guitar driving the track, together with Benero's  drumming. The second song tackled was one they were familiar with, ''I'd Rather Be Safe  Than Sorry''. A country weeper, Smith's vocal's are perfection, he starts the tune in a high  key and maintains it without a quiver. Sufficiently pleased with the debut cuts, Phillips  released them on March 25, 1956 as Sun 239. Billboard magazine predicted "another Sun  candidate for rock and roll - country and western stardom" adding that "Smith sells Rock And  Ruby with sock showmanship and a strong, driving beat''. Two weeks later in it's May 5th  issue, Billboard reviewed it again raving "Sun has done it again! This country rock and roll  record is showing all the signs of being a Presley-type success. Already on the Memphis and  Charlotte territorial charts, it should soon hit the national charts''.

By the 26th of May it was number 1 on the Memphis charts, helped no doubt by exposure  from the local jocks and personal appearances all over town. After selling over sixty eight  thousand copies by July, it was obvious that another session was needed to re-enforce this  encouraging start. None of Sam's other stars had sold more copies with their debut, Elvis,  Jerry Lee, Carl Perkins…. The summer included a mouth-watering week long tour of the  Memphis area with Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Eddie Bond and new boys, Roy Orbison and  the Teen Kings whose Ooby Dooby had just been released on Sun. Not a bad night out for the  local's! The tour culminated with a show at Overton Shell park in Memphis in which Elvis  made a non-performing appearance.

In order to get more widespread exposure, the rest of summer 1956 was spent on the road  as Smith and Orbison undertook a gruelling tour of Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi. Once  the royalties had been collected, it was obvious that Smith felt he was the man and that the  Snearly Ranch Boys were coincidental. This aggrieved the band who understood an  unwritten agreement existed in which the band would be on equal terms with royalties split  equally. Not one to worry about upsetting others, Smith duly severed his connections with  them and assembled his own band featuring Al Hopson on guitar, Marcus Van Story on bass  and drummer Johnny Bernero.
It was this new line-up which recorded two separate sessions in August producing the goods  for Sun 250. The a-side was a Johnny Cash styled take on the old English standard, ''Black  Jack David''. Charles Underwood, a student at Memphis State University, had provided the  song ''Ubangi Stomp'' bathed in racist lyrics, but Smith hadn't been impressed with it at first.  However, with nothing in the bag, Smith tried the song out of desperation and surprised  himself with a performance which he felt got better with every take. Released on September  24th, and despite another encouraging review from Billboard, sales were disappointing with  only thirty eight thousand takers.
 
Marcus Van Story and Warren Smith on stage Ellis Auditorium, Memphis, Tennessee, circa 1956/1957 >

The first year in the big time ended with a five day gig at the Malco Theatre at home in  Memphis with Carl Perkins and Roy Orbison followed by some dates in Huntsville and  Sheffield, Alabama with Carl Perkins and someone destined to steal Smith's thunder, a cocky  young piano pounder who'd just started to make an impression in Memphis, Jerry Lee Lewis.

 
1957 started with an unproductive (single wise) session with ''The Darkest Cloud'' and an  early take on ''So Long I'm Gone'' remaining in the can. Another session in January had the  same affect and with the second single having failed to click, the pressure was on to come  up with something strong. In February, with a different line-up Smith had another crack at  ''So Long I'm Gone'', a song from the pen of Roy Orbison. With Jimmie Lott now on drums due  to the unwillingness of Bernero to tour, and with Jimmy Wilson on piano, the rhythm was  strong and was helped by the dual guitar of Al Hopson and Roland Janes. It's a classic midtempo  country rocker and was commercial enough to have a chance at the charts. Breaking  from tradition, Sam chose not to release the single with a rocker on one side and a country  song on the other. Instead the flip was the wild Miss Froggie, the rockinest item he ever  recorded, helped in no small part by Al Hopson's brilliant guitar.
Al Hopson, the guitarist on many of Warren Smith's recordings >

Released as Sun 268 on April 15, 1957, Billboard advised it's readers to "watch both of  these''. Smith certainly would have been watching as the single showed great promise and in  May broke into the Hot 100 at number 72. This was the big break he'd been after and the  already healthy ego must have started busting at the seams. As luck would have it, fellow  Sun star Jerry Lee Lewis' second single ''Whole Lot Of Shakin' Goin' On'' had been released  the previous month and was now sitting on top of the Memphis charts.

Sensing a potential  hit, Phillips and his brother Judd, got Jerry Lee a shot on national TV. On Sunday 28th July,  he performed a wild, sneering, chair throwing version of Shakin' on the Steve Allen Show. 

Following the show, demand for the single grew too big for Sun to cope. In order to meet the  orders Sam made the decision to concentrate on Jerry Lee and therefore ending any chances  of ''So Long I'm Gone'' going any further.
 
 
Smith was numbstruck and apparently became so  outraged at hearing the Jerry Lee hit all the time on the radio that he started smashing any  copies he came across. According to Jimmie Lott "Warren was an egotist - the biggest egotist  I've ever met. A caring man and a good man, but an egotist. Warren wanted recognition. He  painted WARREN SMITH - THE ROCK AND ROLL RUBY MAN on the back of his car - a seven or  eight thousand dollar Cadillac sedan''.

Smith returned to the Sun studio in October and with Hopson and Janes working in perfect  harmony, cut a brilliant version of Slim Harpo's ''Got Love If You Want It''. With a tender  ballad from the pen of Hopson, ''I Fell In Love'', on the flip, Sun 286 was released in  December. This same month, Sun also released Johnny Cash (''Ballad Of A Teenage  Queen''/''Big River''), Sonny Burgess (''My Bucket's Got A Hole In It''), Roy Orbison (''Chicken- Hearted'') and Carl Perkins (''Glad All Over''). However, it was to be old sparring partner Jerry  Lee Lewis that caused the problems again, as this time he was riding high with ''Great Balls  Of Fire''. Again, promotion of Smith was limited and resulted in a poultry seven thousand  copies being sold. The wheels were starting to come off and bass man Marcus Van Story quit,  being replaced by Will Hopson, brother of guitarist Al. Lott had also had his namesake and  for future shows, drummers were picked up from local bands. Smith also parted company  with Stars Inc. and handed over his bookings to the Charlotte based G.D. Kemper who  immediately fixed up some dates in Canada with cowboy Lash Larue. An appearance on the  influential Ed Sullivan Show was a step in the right direction but then Kemper severed  contacts with Smith following the latter's booking his own dates in Maryland.

Musically, he was still producing great stuff like ''Uranium Rock'', ''Golden Rocket'', ''Dear  John'' and ''Do I Love''. On January 7th 1959, Smith went into the studio with Billy Lee Riley  and Sid Manker (guitars), Cliff Acred (bass), Charlie Rich (piano) and the great Jimmy Van  Eaton (drums). The results were as good as one would expect from such a line-up. Both the  perfect ''Goodbye Mr Love'' and the poppy, chorus laden ''Sweet Sweet Girl'' were ideal for  the time and in mid-February they were released as Sun 314. Billboard again enthused  "Chances are Warren Smith'll have the top money-making record of his career in this Sun  outing. One end, a top drawer, middle beat country offering finds Warren sadly singing  "Goodbye Mr Love". On the other half, a terrific Don Gibson-penned, all-market rocker,  Smith sez that his ex-gal was a "Sweet, Sweet Girl" to him. Great vocal and musical support  for Warren's ultra-commercial ballad and beat offerings''. Given that kiss of death, sales were  again negligable and with his contract at an end it was no surprise that Smith and Sun parted  company. In later interviews, he contested that he always wanted to cut country music but  that Sam wasn't interested. Well, he had cut country, some of which was as good as any  country music cut in the decade. From Sam's point of view, he was right to cut Smith as a  rocker, his vocals were perfect for the genre. Sun wasn't amune to releasing singles aimed  squarely at the hillbilly market, Ernie Chaffin had had four singles in the same time-span, it's  just that the rewards for a big pop hit far out-weighed the rewards for a country hit.

Following in the footsteps of buddy Johnny Cash, Smith packed the misses into the Caddie  and headed west to California. He landed a deal with Warner Brothers and cut three low key  singles (including a Xmas 45) under the name Warren Baker. The new life had not started too  well professionally, but socially they settled down quickly in Sherman Oaks, spending a lot of  time with the Cash's. Cash offered him a slot on his package show, but was turned down,  Warren Smith still had plans and they didn't include playing second fiddle to anyone else.  Whilst appearing at the Town Hall Party in Compton, CA, he was spotted by an executive of  Liberty Records who were planning to launch a country division. Smith duly signed,  becoming their first country act and on March 9, 1960, entered the Radio Recorders studio  at 7000 Santa Monica Boulevard   in Hollywood. He had moved two thousand miles from Memphis, but the music had moved a  million. The new sound was real country, fiddles a-plenty and stone country vocals. With the  top west coast pickers (Ralph Mooney, Johnny Western, Jim Pierce), they laid down three  tracks from which Liberty 55248 was released. ''I Don't Believe I'll Fall In Love Today''/''Cave  In'' was released late summertime and rose to number 5 in the country charts. With no Jerry  Lee to disrupt his sales, Smith had the pleasure of seeing his next release ''Odds And Ends  (Bits And Pieces)'', Liberty 55302, also reach the top ten, peaking at 7 early in 1961. Both  hits had been written by country tunesmith, Harlan Howard and Smith, never a prolific  writer, ceased to write his own stuff.
 
Both artist and label must have been bubbling, and decided the next move was to cut an  album. The majority of the album was cut on 4th May at Radio Recorders with the same gang  and with the two hits added was released as The First Country Collection Of Warren Smith.  The playing's fine and the singing's great, it just lacks any sparkle. The same can't be said of  the next single, Liberty 55336, which coupled two excellent songs in a revisited ''Old  Lonesome Feeling'' (written by Stan Kesler) and ''Call Of The Wild''. It was the b-side which  took, eventually making the 26 spot. The follow up single was a duet with Shirley Collie,  George Jones' ''Why, Baby, Why'' which again stalled in the twenties (23).

Despite his career blooming, things were starting to come undone as he became addicted to  amphetamines (any Johnny Cash influence!!) and Smith failed to appear for a scheduled  session with Collie. Willie Nelson took his place and also seemed to take husband Bill Coffie's  place as well. With the first seeds of unreliable being sown, his next single, cut in Nashville,  was Bad News Gets Around (!) and despite a great reading it failed to chart. Same fate for  the next single, ''160 lbs Of Hurt'' and its flip, ''Book Of Broken Hearts''. The next single was  marvellous. The a-side ''That's Why I Sing In A Honky Tonk'', climbed to 25 in November 1963  and the b-side ''Big City Ways'' followed it to 41. This being despite the fact, that radio at  first gave it the cold shoulder due to Smith's long, emphasised pronounciation of the first  sylable when describing his - country girl. I'll bet the boys back in Memphis enjoyed the  moment.

In April 1964 he cut his final single for Liberty back in Hollywood. ''Blue Smoke'' is real  1960's country and justifiyably rose to 41 in the charts, a fine swan-song. The label didn't  renew his contract, his life was being ruined by drugs and Liberty was doing okay without  needing a risk artist. It's a shame because Smith's vocals were in peak condition and his  sound was sounding as fresh as anything being generated in Nashville.

On August 17, 1965 in LeGrange, Texas at 8am, Smith's 1965 Pontiac skidded off Highway 77,  just missing another car before slamming into a steep embankment. He was rushed to  Fayette Hospital with severe back injuries and facial lacerations. He was out of action for  the best part of a year, having to learn to walk again.

A comeback of sorts was arranged with Slick Norris' Houston based label, Slick. She Likes  Attention suffers from a poor vocal but Future X is a good track. Nothing came of the  release, not surprising as promotion/distribution must have been limited.

A single came out on Mercury, who now had Jerry Lee, but this time there was no  competition. Smith's chart days were over despite his health problems not affecting his voice  as much. Now mixing drink with his drugs, Smith was now being arrested on a regular basis  and ended up doing an eighteen month spell in a Huntsville, Alabama jail. His long-term  marriage was over, but on his return to civilisation, he met and married a new woman.  Trying to restart his life, he got work as a Safety Director for Trinity Industries in Longview,  Texas, only singing on stage at weekends. In the early 70's he cut a couple of low-budget,  low-profile singles for Jubal Records.
In 1976 he got an offer from Mike Cattin of the Carl Perkins Fan Club to record only his  second album, for the Lake County record label. Due to his work commitments the album  had to be recorded on Sundays and started in December 1976 and was finished in June  1977. Smith was very disappointed with the results, the tracks ranging from remakes of  Sun/Liberty songs to a few originals.

In April 1977, Warren Smith arrived in Britain to play a rockabilly show with Jack Scott,  Charlie Feathers and Buddy Knox. Smith was completely overcome by the reception he  received and was invited back the following November with fellow Sun artist Ray Smith.  Again, the shows went well and a rejuvenated Smith was scheduled to return in April.

Unfortunately this tour never materialised as on the last day of January 1981, Smith was  admitted to hospital with chest pains. Before the day was over, he suffered a massive heart  attack and died. He was 47.

How better to sum him up than a couple of quotes from Sam Phillips:  In an interview with Colin Escott and Martin Hawkins; "He was probably the best pure singer  for country music I've ever heard. He had a pure country voice and an innate feel for the  country ballad. With that music he was as good as anyone I've heard before or since. So Long  I'm Gone was just a wonderful country record. He was a difficult personality, but just  interesting enough that I liked him a whole lot''.

In an interview with Trevor Cajiao, talking about Sonny Burgess, Billy Lee Riley and Warren  Smith; "..I should have followed through with Warren Smith too although he was much more  of a country-flavoured guy in a way. The guy had the ability to make it. That, I guess, in a  way, I regret somethin' like that because these were people with unique abilities and I  coulda' made 'em' even if there's such a thing as a little more unique. I was probably a bit  deficient in the fact that I didn't take a little more assistance and probably I coulda' pulled  some of these guys, and done a little more with 'em. Those three guys I know had hit records  in 'em''.

Shaun Mather, February 1999
 



© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Until fairly recently, the only thing known for sure about the Kirby Sisters was that three tapes of theirs, containing multiple takes of four titles, had gathered dust in the Sun archives for nearly fifty years. There was no further information available.

And then the pieces began to fall together. Guitarist Clarence "Tonk" Edwards was inducted into the Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame in 2000. The biography of this accomplished jazz guitarist who had toured with Sarah Vaughan makes passing reference to playing with the Kirby Sisters, Bette and Mary, in a Texarkana club in 1956. In fact, Edwards credits Bette Kirby (who sings solo on one of the four Sun titles) with instigating his unusual stage name.

STUDIO SESSION FOR THE KIRBY SISTERS
AT MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1956

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: SUNDAY FEBRUARY 5, 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
Bette and Mary Kirby, 1954 >

In his last interview from Malcolm Yelvington just a couple of weeks before his passing in February 2001, he offered the possibility that his piano man, Reece Fleming, might have been involved in the recording of "Red Velvet" by The Kirby Sisters. Despite a distinctive boogie in the solo, Malcolm was unable to shed any further light on the subject. The girls themselves showed promise with their well-drilled harmonies on this records and demos dating from February 1956.

Clarence Edwards recalls the Kirby Sisters as being very professional: "They were good musicians, man. I was very taken with them. I mean, they played standards! Just about everybody I knew back then was playing country. But Bette and her sister could play standards.

They'd play tunes like "Body And Soul" and "Stardust" and then mix them in with Chuck Berry tunes. It opened up my eyes to a lot of music. I have to give them credit for that".

 
 
Edwards recalls that Bette, the younger of the two, was a piano player and her sister Mary play clarinet. "She'd play down in that lower range. Mary had spent some time in Memphis and she had absorbed a lot of blues feeling".

The Kirby Sisters band also included Bette's husband, drummer Bill Fairbanks. Edwards recalls: "I was real impressed with him as well. Bill was from up in Chicago. He had a large record collection and he used to let me listen to it. I learned a lot of music in a very short time. I had grown up listening to nothing but Hank Williams and western swing. We didn't even have a record player. Being around the Kirbys was just unbelievable. I was still wet behind the ears. They gave me a chance to play and to listen".
Sax player Del Puschert with Bette Kirby, North Beach, Mayland, 1953 >

Tonk Edwards put me in tough with two other musicians who had worked with the Kirbys: sax player Del Puschert and guitarist Gene Harrell. Puschert's contact with the Kirbys had been a lot more personnel. ''I was in love with Bette, man. I was just crazy about her. I was q 22 year old kid in love with a married 24 year old piano player. I followed her all over the country. That's how I ended up in Texas''.

To this date, Puschert maintains a discreet Bette Kirby archieve of memorabilia. Puschert, himself, went on to a notable career as a blues-playing saxman, whose touring and recording history was recounted in a 'Washington Post'' feature on March 26, 2001.

He fronted a black group called the Van Dykes, who recorded for Atlantic Records in the early 1960s. Some 40 years later, Puschert notes, ''I'm retired now, but I still blow the hell out of the horn''.

 
 
01(1) - "BLOND ON RED VELVET - 1*/**" - B.M.I. - 2:22
Composer: - Kirby
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 5, 1956
Released: - 2002
First appearance: - Sanctuary Records (CD) 500/200rpm FBUBX002-5-13 mono
50 GOLDEN YEARS 1952 - 2002
Reissued: - August 2002 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16609-1-3 mono
MEMPHIS BELLES - THE WOMEN OF SUN RECORDS
Bette Kirby (left) working in a music store, Kilgore, Texas, circa 1946 >

"Red Velvet" deserves special mention. It is both a memorable and sexually confused song. Reference to a "blond in red velvet" normally conjures up images of a woman. Yet, the Kirby's (or Johnnie) are plainly pining away for this mysterious figure in their dreams. It seems almost an afterthought to turns this red velvet apparition into a man in order to keep the song in the mainstream.
 

After all, we can't have girl singers lusting after a blond woman in red velvet; at least, not in 1956. The situation becomes even more amusing when one listens carefully to some of the alternate takes in which the Kirbys can plainly be heard changing the sex of the pronoun ("There must be some reason / she haunts me in my dream". 

Just what was going on here? It's not all that surprising that this little streak of Arkansas bizarro would have appealed to Sam Phillips' search for something different.

01(2) - "BLOND IN RED VELVET - 2*/**" - B.M.I. - 2:19
Composer: - Kirby
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 – Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 5, 1956
Released: - August 2002
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16609-2-20 mono
MEMPHIS BELLES - THE WOMEN OF SUN RECORDS 
Reissued: - May 29, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17313-2-6 mono
THE SUN ROCK BOX 1954 - 1959

02(1) - "I'VE GOT THE CRAZIEST FEELING" - B.M.I. - 2:47
Composer: - Floyd Tillman
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 5, 1956
Released: - August 2002
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16609-3-5 mono
MEMPHIS BELLES - THE WOMEN OF SUN RECORDS
Reissued: - 2011 License Music Internet iTunes MP3-20 mono
QUEENS OF COUNTRY

02(2) - "I'VE GOT THE CRAZIEST FEELING" B.M.I. - 2:40
Composer: - Floyd Tillman
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - Take 2 – Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 5, 1956
Released: - August 2002
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16609-3-24 mono
MEMPHIS BELLES - THE WOMEN OF SUN RECORDS

"I've Got The Craziest Feeling", Floyd Tillman tune that had originally appeared on 4-Star Records (1520) in 1950. The original release was by Jessie James & All The Boys, vocal by Hub Sutter.

03 - "YOU'LL ALWAYS BELONG TO ME*/**" - B.M.I. - 1:32
Composer: - Gene Harrell
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 5, 1956
Released: - August 2002
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16609-3-6 mono
MEMPHIS BELLES - THE WOMEN OF SUN RECORDS
Reissued: - May 29, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17313-2-7 mono
THE SUN ROCK BOX 1954 - 1959

"You'll Always Belong To Me" was composed by Gene Harrell, guitarist of the group at the time, later to be replaced by Scotty Johnson and for a while Tonk Edwards.

04(1) - "SO TIRED - 1*" - B.M.I. - 2:03
Composer: - Bette Kirby
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 5, 1956
Released: - August 2002
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16609-4-4 mono
MEMPHIS BELLES - THE WOMEN OF SUN RECORDS

"So Tired", a 12 bar blues is probably composed by Bette Kirby. Tonk Edwards remembers it being a regular part of their live set. Guitarist Gene Harrell recalls a fifth title from the session called "Hello Stranger", but there is no record of the song among the Sun tapes.

04(2) - "SO TIRED - 2*" - B.M.I. - 2:32
Composer: - Bette Kirby
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - February 5, 1956
Released: - August 2002
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16609-4-22 mono
MEMPHIS BELLES - THE WOMEN OF SUN RECORDS
Reissued: - May 29, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17313-2-8 mono
THE SUN ROCK BOX 1954 - 1959

"I remember three things very clearly about that session", recalls Gene Harrell. "One is how nervous I was. Sam was very nice to all of us but I kept thinking 'That's Sam Phillips! They don't get any bigger than Sam Phillips'. I remember how Sam took us all out to lunch. He bought me a cheeseburger and a beer. It's funny how things like that stick in your mind. I also recall that Sam had just received an acetate copy of "Heartbreak Hotel". Elvis had sent it to him just after his first RCA Victor session. The record wasn't even out yet. Sam played it for all of us and asked us what we thought. We were all very impressed and told him it was sure to be a hit. He seemed pleased. I remember Mary, who was older than most of us, she was probably in her mid-30s, saying something like 'It even makes an old grandmother like me perk up her ears'".
Bette Kirby on stage, Chaylor's Club, Texarkana, Texas, 1954 >

Harrell's final memory is far less pleasant: "While we were recording, Sam received a phone call. It was from Johnnie back at Chaylor's club. She was just screaming and yelling at Sam, telling him that she had written the song and if he ever released anything by the Kirby Sisters, she'd sue him for every penny he was worth. She went on and on and by the time Sam got off the phone, she just came back into the studio and told us he was sorry, but the session was over''.

''We were all in shock. I'm surprised that we even got four titles down. I didn't think we had even gotten that far before Johnnie called and everything stopped".

Tales of this phone call remain clear in everyone's minds to this day. In Tonk Edwards words: "Johnnie raised a lot of cain on the phone". Others descriptions are more vivid. Most agree that Johnnie was at best jealous, and at worst downright mean. Some suggest that Johnnie wanted to save the material for herself, or for her son Lloyd to record. Harrell's version is even simpler:
 
 
"Johnnie wanted to be a big star. She was very jealous of Bette and Mary. She threw a monkey wrench into it to keep the girls from becoming stars. It was as simple as that".
Del Puchert with Elvis Presley, circa 1955 >

In any case, the message was loud and clear: Sam Phillips better not release anything by the Kirby Sisters if he knew what was good for him. Phillips, no stranger to law suits, decided that he had enough adventure in his life without agitating this hornets nest down in Texarkana. He politely passed on the deal, terminating the session before their work was complete. And so the Kirby Sisters' brief fling with fame, fortune, and a career with Sun Records came to a screeching halt.

There is no telling how the repercussion played themselves out back in Texarkana, but it is known that the Sisters and their entourage were back on the road shortly afterwards, although they did return to Chaylor's club when the smoke had cleared.
 
Postscript: For all her dreams of wealth, fame and a passport out of Texarkana, Johnnie never hit the big time with "The Blond In Red Velvet". There is no indication the song was ever recorded by anybody else, much less published. Who knows how history might have unfolded had Johnnie resisted the impulse to call Sam Phillips and block the Kirby Sisters' success (See below).

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Bette Kirby - Vocal* and Piano
Mary Kirby - Vocals** and Clarinet
Probably Sandy Kirby - Unknown Instrument
Clarence "Tonk" Edwards - Guitar
Gene Harrell - Guitar
Ivan Greathouse - Steel Guitar
Bill Fairbanks - Drums
Del Puschert – Saxophone
Other Musicians Unknown

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

FEBRUARY 6, 1956 MONDAY 

George Jones joins The Louisiana Hayride. 

Columbia released ''Keep A Lovin' Me'', The Everly Brothers first single. 

Capitol released Tennessee Ernie Ford's ''That's All'', and the double-sided Hank Thompson' hit, ''The Blackboard Of My Heart'' backed with ''I'm Not Mad, Just Hurt''. 

Decca released Red Sovine's ''If Jesus Came To Your House''. 

FEBRUARY 8 1956 WEDNESDAY 

Buddy Holley sings a recording contract with Decca Records, ignoring the misspelling of his last name, ''Holly''. He mentors Waylon Jennings, and one of his songs, ''True Love Ways'', becomes a country hit for Mickey Gilley. 

Wynn Stewart recorded his first hit, ''The Waltz Of The Angels''. 

FEBRUARY 10, 1956 FRIDAY 

The movie ''Hidden Guns'' makes its worlds premiere at Indianapolis Lyric Theatre. It marks Faron Young's first on-screen appearance, giving him his nickname, ''The Young Sheriff''. Also making a cameo role, fiddler Gordon Terry. 

Little Richard recorded ''Slippin' And Slidin'''at J&M Studio in New Orleans, Louisiana. The song becomes a rock and roll standard, and earns a new country treatment in 1963 from Billy ''Crash'' Craddock. 

FEBRUARY 11, 1956 SATURDAY 

Elvis Presley sings ''Blue Suede Shoes'' and ''Heartbreak Hotel'' in his third appearance on The Dorsey Brothers' ''Stage Show''. Ella Fitzgerald is guest host. 

Houston-based music publisher Curt Peeples sends a letter to Sun Records' Sam Phillips claiming he owns the copyright to ''Blue Suede Shoes''. Phillips sends back a letter stating that Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash co-wrote it. Peeples never responds. 

Gene Vincent marries 15-year-old Ruth Ann Hand. They stay together two years. 

George Jones reaches number 1 on the Billboard country chart for the first time as the writer of Red Sovine' and Webb Pierce's ''Why Baby Why''.

 


 

Advertising for the Big D Jamboree, Dallas, Texas >

FEBRUARY 11, 1956 SATURDAY

The Platters appear on "The Perry Como Show" on NBC-TV singing "The Great Pretender".

Perkins first performed ''Blue Suede Shoes'' on national television on the ABC-TV's Ozark  Jubilee.

FEBRUARY 13, 1956 MONDAY

Decca released a double-sided Webb Pierce hit, ''Yes, I Know Why'' backed with ''Cause I Love You''.

Capitol released Sonny James' ''For Rent (One Empty Heart)''

FEBRUARY 18, 1956 SATURDAY

Elvis Presley makes his fourth appearance on The Dorsey Brothers' ''Stage Show'', singing ''Tutti Frutti'' and ''I Was The One''.
 
Carl Perkins signs a long term contracted with "The Big D Jamboree" a nationwide radio  show.

FEBRUARY 19, 1956 SUNDAY

Gospel singer Robert Bailey is born in Middle town, Ohio. He provides backing vocals on such hits as George Strait's ''You'll Be There'', Reba McEntire's ''Why Haven't I Heard From You'' and Carrie Underwood's ''Something In The Water''.

FEBRUARY 21, 1956 TUESDAY

The Browns recorded ''I Take The Chance''.

FEBRUARY 22, 1956 WEDNESDAY

Patsy Cline tells fan club president Treva Miller in a letter that she ''still can't say I'm satisfied'' after moving into a new 33-foot trailer, and that she may leave Gerald Cline. If they divorce, she says, ''I'm certainly not going to marry again''.

Elvis Presley opens for Little Jimmy Dickens at City Auditorium in Waycross, Georgia. In the front row, future Byrd Gram Parsons, who goes backstage to collect The King's autograph.

Frank Sinatra holds the inaugural recording session at the Capitol Recording Studios in Los Angeles. The cylindrical building hosts sessions for numerous future country hits, including recordings by Merle Haggard, Buck Owens and Glen Campbell.

FEBRUARY 23, 1956 THURSDAY

Elvis Presley collapses after a concert at the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida. A doctor tells him to slow down, but Presley performs again the next night.

Red Foley hears Brenda Lee for the first time, when both perform at Bell Auditorium in Augusta, Georgia. He becomes a mentor, and she receives a contract that night to become a regular on ''The Ozark Jubilee''.

Red Sovine recorded ''Hold Everything (Till I Get Home)''.

FEBRUARY 25, 1956 SATURDAY

Elvis Presley collects his first number 1 record as ''I Forgot To Remember To Forget'' reaches the top of the Billboard country singles chart.
 
Alan Freed is chairman for Teenagers March for Childhood Nephrosis fund drive. In New York  11,000 rock and roll fans turn out in a downpour to distribute 1/2 million pledge cards. RCA  Victor announces that Elvis Presley has six singles among the company's top selling twenty  five records.

On 8:30 to midnight, Carl Perkins performed at the Big D Jamboree at the Sportatorium,  Dallas, Texas. Also on the bill where Hank Locklin, Jimmy and Johnny, and the Big D Gang,  the show was broadcast coast-to-coast on CBS' KRLD.

Memphis disc jockey Bob Neal (WMC) open his disk shop. Music distributors and operators welcomed popular WMC disc jockey Bob Neal into the fold this week. Bob opened the Bob Neal Record Shop in the heart of Memphis. It's the only walk-in record shop on 50 South Main Street in town. Formal opening is set for March 1, 2, and 3.

Bob is also personal manager of Elvis Presley, country and western singer who appears on TV's Saturday night ''Stage Show'' with the Dorsey Brothers. Bob, who has a 5 to 7:30 a.m. radio show, will spend much of his time in his record shop after his radio work each day. His shop will handle all top pop tunes, country and western, rhythm and blues, and a representative line of EP and LP albums.

FEBRUARY 26, 1956 SUNDAY

Carl Smith recorded ''Doorstep To Heaven'', ''You Are The One'' and ''Before I Met You'' in an afternoon session at Hollywood's Radio Recorders on 7000 Santa Monica Boulevard.

FEBRUARY 27, 1956 MONDAY

Capitol released Faron Young's double-sided single, ''Ive Got Five Dollars And It's Saturday Night'' and ''You're Still Mine''.

Future Sun recording artist Roy Hall's first two Decca discs sold reasonably if unspectacularly. A lot was riding on the third session, which came on this date and trod in the considerable footsteps of Carl Perkins' ''Blue Suede Shoes''. Hall cut both ''Shoes'' and a novelty follow-up song, ''You Ruined My Blue Suede Shoes''. His recording of ''Blue Suede Shoes'' was issued on Decca in March 1956, only a couple of weeks after Carl Perkins' version started to sell on Sun. It is possible that the intention was to back a version of ''Shoes'' beat  and theme, Hall's song takes the story on a few verses. Hall's shoes are already ruined by the time the story starts, and it is he who has the blues, not the shoes. What is fascinating is that Hall's song contains some lines Carl Perkins himself used in his own (unissued) sequel, ''Put Your Cat Clothes On''. Perkins' opening verse ''They took my blue suede shoes down to ol' Mobil, etc'' comes from Hall's song. Did hall send it to Sun as a potential follow-up to ''Blue Suede Shoes'' and did Carl lift bits of it? Both Perkins and Hall liked a drink. Maybe they took one together at some point? We'll never know.

The Memphis Press-Scimitar ran an article on Carl Perkins' success, two weeks after the Big D Jamboree in Dallas. ''Blue Suede Shoes'' had already sold 250,000 copies, Elton Whisenhunt reported, with 75,000 more on order, which represented twice as many sales as Elvis Presley's biggest seller on Sun, ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky''. Perkins had recently signed a one-year contract for weekly appearances on the Big D Jamboree at $350 a week. There was more about Carl's and Sun's success (''Sun records are the hottest thing in the country and western business now'', said Sam, ''the first time anything like this has ever happened in Memphis''), but the unexpected upshot was that Carl got thrown out of the $32-a-month public housing apartment in Parkview Courts in Jackson, where he lived. He had received no royalty payments to date because the record was so new, but as he told the paper some months later, he never had any doubt that Mr. Phillips would advance him whatever he needed.

FEBRUARY 28, 1956 TUESDAY

Elvis Presley has a minor fender-bender, when another driver runs into his Eldorado convertible in a Memphis parking garage.
 


Some of the most sought after honky-tonk and rockabilly recordings of the 1950s were cut in garages around Memphis. Truck driver Slim Wallace started Fernwood Records in this garage before moving to Main Street.

Slim Wallace put up most of the 450 dollars they needed to buy an old Magnecord tape deck from disc jockey  Sleepy Eyed John, and Jack Clement built himself a studio in the garage. 

Billy Riley >
 

Billy Riley is known as a multi-talented session musician and vocalist. He is a virtual chameleon in the studio, recording in a variety of voices and styles. In many ways (and against formidable competition), this first record is his best. "Trouble Bound", recorded at Fernwood, so impressed Sam Phillips that he imported it, turning Riley loose in the Sun studio to produce a worthy flipside. That he did.
 

 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR BILLY RILEY
AT FERNWOOD RECORDS 1956

FERNWOOD STUDIO
158 FERNWOOD DRIVE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
FERNWOOD SESSION: EARLY 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER - JACK CLEMENT
RECORDING ENGINEER - ROLAND "SLIM" WALLACE

''TROUBLE BOUND''

According to Roland Janes, once Sam Phillips decided to release ''Rock With Me Baby'', he wanted a flipside that came closer to the rock music that was selling around Memphis at the time. Putting the tapes for ''Think Bare You Go'' aside, he turned Jack Clement loose in the studio at 706 Union Avenue to come up with a second recording. The result was this classic side.
Fernwood Studio Garage, 158 Fernwood Drive, Memphis, Tennessee >
 
Good luck finding a category for this music. Country? Blues? Rockabilly? It's hybrid music at us finest. The beat is incessant. The sound is bluest' The vocal is vaguely country. Just when you think you've got the arrangement figured out, it does something to confound you. The vocal is backed by a driving shuffle beat, courtesy of drummer Johnny Bernero. But don't get too comfortable with it. All of a sudden, it turns into a hard 4/4 backbeat during the instrumental solos.

And the guitar fills around Riley's vocal are also hard to pin down. Everything is bluesy enough so you'd expect some flatted 7s chords (flatted 7s are the heart of the blues.
 
You may not know them by name, but you'd recognize them in a heartbeat). Instead the fills consist largely of 6s, which don't sound very bluely, and undercut some of the tension in the song. Listen for them, for example, after lines like ''Drinkin'wine together... "or Laughin' and havingfun...''.
 

01(1) - "TROUBLE BOUND" - B.M.I. - 2:42
Composer: - Billy Riley-Roland Wallace-Jack Clement
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - F 10 - Master
Recorded: - Early 1956
Released: - May 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 245-B mono
TROUBLE BOUND /ROCK WITH ME BABY
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802-2-9 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

This track features Riley on that prominently miked rhythm guitar, with Roland Janes on lead guitar. We've found three alternates and a false start. They're not massively different, but if you listen closely, you'll hear the differences. They show up in the singing and playing. There's always the possibility in situations like these that you'll hear an alt take and think, "Why wasn't that one released? I like it better" There seems little chance of that happening here.

01(2) - "TROUBLE BOUND" - B.M.I. - 2:46
Composer: - Billy Riley-Roland Wallace-Jack Clement
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Early 1956
Released: - 2011
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17122-1-8 mono
BILLY RILEY - THE OUTTAKES

01(3) - "TROUBLE BOUND" - B.M.I. - 2:47
Composer: - Billy Riley-Roland Wallace-Jack Clement
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Early 1956
Released: - 2011
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17122-1-9 mono
BILLY RILEY – THE OUTTAKES

01(4) - "TROUBLE BOUND" - B.M.I. - 0:24
Composer: - Billy Riley-Roland Wallace-Jack Clement
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - False Start 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Early 1956
Released: - 2011
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17122-1-10 mono
BILLY RILEY – THE OUTTAKES

01(5) - "TROUBLE BOUND" - B.M.I. - 2:45
Composer: - Billy Riley-Roland Wallace-Jack Clement
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take 3 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Early 1956
Released: - 2011
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17122-1-11 mono
BILLY RILEY – THE OUTTAKES

02 - "INTERVIEW BILLY RILEY" - B.M.I. - 0:50
It was quite an event when Billy Riley performed his inaugural British
concerts in June 1979. We conferred about the route he'd taken to 
Sun Records just prior to his shows, and he quite clearly shared the
same air of anticipation as the crowds who turned out en force to
see him strut his stuff. Anointed with an abundance of
musical talent, a striking profile and an ability to generate an 
optimum response, Billy kept this foundational piece of moodiness
in his live set for several years.
Released: - 2002
First appearance: - Sanctuary Records (CD) 500/200rpm FBUBX002-8-3 mono
50 GOLDEN YEARS 1952 - 2002

"Trouble Bound" is a brooding, acoustic guitar-led blues, with the trademark Johnny Bernero shuffle beat. In fact, it is Bernero's understated drumming, shifting in and out of the shuffle following the guitar break, that elevates this record to brilliance.

Jack Clement was engineering and, as told Martin Hawkins, "Riley was doing country but he was one of these rockabilly types - he had a beat, Fernwood had a tape recorder but no real studio then so we rented time at WMPS studio and cut the masters there. We were going to make it (the Riley record) the first record on Fernwood but I took it to Sam Phillips on the off chance and he called me one day, said he liked it and we worked out a lease deal".

03 - "THINK BEFORE YOU GO" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Jack Clement
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Tape Lost
Recorded: - Early 1956
Jack Clement taking the countryish "Think Before You Go" and the bluesy "Trouble Bound" to Sam Phillips the next day, with Phillips rejecting the country side and suggesting that they replace it with a rocker.

"Sam said, 'Cut something rockabilly", remembers Riley, "and I went and wrote that real quick". However, Roland Janes has insisted that "Trouble Bound" was cut at Sun as the replacement for "Think Before You Go" and Clement has stated that both sides were recorded at WMPS with just himself and Riley using overdubs.

Ronald ''Slim'' Wallace >

The evidence afforded by the tape boxes would seem to suggest that Billy Riley is correct. "Trouble Bound" was recorded on cheap tape (Phillips used pro quality Scotch Audiotape) over the top of Jack Clement's original demo of "I'm Feeling Sorry", suggesting that it was cut at Fernwood.  The sessions were assuredly not cut using overdubs as Clement suggested otherwise the tape hiss would be overpowered.

 
After working on the songs Jack Clement needed somewhere to have his tapes mastered for transfer to disc. On the advice of Bill Fitzgerald at Music Sales Distributors, Jack Clement went to Sun Records. Sam Phillips heard Clement's tape of Billy Riley singing "Trouble Bound" and offered both Jack Clement and Billy Riley a job.
Billy Riley (right) with early country band, circa 1954 >

Jack Clement's only remaining interest in Fernwood was to use Sun's facilities to make masters, and to add the echo to the number one hit "Tragedy" by Thomas Wayne. This had been recorded at Hi Records since the garage studio was still incomplete. "Sam Phillips always wondered how they got that echo", says Clement with a grin, "but I figured it didn't take but a few minutes so why should I tell him".

On the old question of whether Sam Phillips really controlled the development of the Sun sound, whether he was "the man" or just lucky. Jack Clement is in no doubt. "All of Sam's early success was entirely Sam's. Elvis, Carl, Cash. My work was with developing Cash's sound, and with Bill Justis and Charlie Rich. I was into making things musical.

Sam was not, but he understood one thing that I didn't at that time. He understood feel in music. I was interest in machines and the way recordings could be made better. Sam liked empty, hollow, tubby sounds, but he knew a thing or two I didn't. He let me do what I liked, but he retained ultimate control of what was issued".

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Billy Riley - Vocal and Acoustic Guitar
Roland Janes - Lead Guitar
Roland "Slim" Wallace - Bass
Johnny Bernero - Drums
Bob Deckelman - Steel Guitar

The master were either sold or leased to Sun Records in April 1956 and released in May. Although he is credited as sole composer, Riley's share was only 50% (Clement and Wallace split the remaining 50%). Riley and Clement had conceived of "Trouble Bound" as the A-side but with the Memphis area starting to rock like crazy, Sam Phillips had other ideas.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

BILLY RILEY – THE OUTTAKES - Billy Riley will need no introduction to buyers of this Box Set.  The numerous Sun's Greatest Hits or 1950s rockabilly packages may serve as a general  introduction to Riley's work, but the collection in your hands right now constitutes deep Sun  vault by any reckoning. This is stuff for collectors and fans who want more than just another  fix of Riley's best known titles.  The truth is, Billy Riley never had anything resembling a hit – ''greatest'' or otherwise. Chalk  it up to one more injustice in the record business. At his considerable best, Billy Riley was  making records for the Sun label that deserved the status of national hits.

Bear Family Records BCD 17122 2 CD Box Set ^
 
''Top Ten'' or not,  Riley's music had a strong impact on many people. Years later, Bob Dylan publicly proclaimed  Riley as ''My hero in the music business''.  Fortunately, Billy Riley lived long enough to bask in some of that glow. He deserved a lot  more of the acclaim, the attention, and the money - not to mention everything else that  rained down on rock's biggest stars from the Fabulous 1950s. But he never found anything  like it.
 
 
 
He coped with it about as well as anyone might have under the circumstances - which  is to say, fine on most days, with occasional flare-ups that went duly noted by journalists and istorians. You can read all about those days on-line or in Rob Bowman and Ross Johnson's  book that accompanies Bear Family's two-CD set of Riley's recordings of the era (BCD 15444).

We're not going to retell those stories here, or retread the ground that Bowman and Johnson  covered so well. Instead, we're going to dig more deeply into the music. For every ''Red Hot''  or ''Flying Saucer Rock And Roll'' released to the public, there were five or ten unissued  versions that give some perspective into the energy and ideas that went into creating them.  False starts, aborted takes, and inferior completed takes. Most of them are really here in  one place. Put them together with BCD 15444 and you've got about as deep a look at vintage  Billy Riley as we are likely ever to see.

Completing a flawless Billy Riley discography is a nearly hopeless task. It isn't that Riley was  more elusive than his fellow Sun artists. It's that Sun didn't keep accurate records. Union  logs were reluctantly and inconsistently filed. Although today's historians take Sun Records  very seriously, Sun was never run with an eye towards history.

The music we know and  admire was often created under spontaneous and informal conditions that are the kind of  events that give nightmares to historians. Piecing together fragments long after the fact can  be a thankless task performed against insurmountable odds. For example, a single Sun tape  reel may contain takes from different sessions held days, weeks or months apart.

We owe an enormous debt of thanks to discographers who have previously attempted this  job, but not surprisingly their results are incomplete and occasionally inaccurate. In fact,  this collection contains more alternate takes than the 1987 Escott/Hawkins discography even  lists; a credit to the persistence of Sun archaeologists.

Even setting aside the organs session information, there's the additional problem that Billy  Riley's music appears on approximately 200 LPs and CDs as of this writing. These collections  were issued in Europe, Asia and North America often in limited press runs.

Riley left numerous alternate takes in the Sun vaults. To say that this one first appeared on  Charly CDX 9 or AVI 5007 or P-Vine 318 or Bopcat 100 is speculative at best. What the Escott  & Hawkins discography refers to alt-1 may have a different designation elsewhere. As we  learned the hard way, making clear distinctions between alternate take of, say ''Red Hot'' or  ''Got The Water Boiling'' can be grueling work involving painstaking comparisons. It is  unlikely such comparisons were often made and, without them, we can only guess at which  alternates appeared where.

We have created a careful and thorough discussion of Billy Riley alternate takes. We have  coordinated it with Bear Family's 2-CD box set of Riley's Classic Recordings (BCD 15444 BH).  Taken together, the two sets provide almost all of what Billy Riley recorded at Sun,  organized in a way that makes comparison and cross-referencing about as easy as it's likely  to get.

Colin Escott, Martin Hawkins, Scott Parker, Hank Davis, Richard Weize, 2010
 



© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

This tracks will, of course, be a complete surprise to Sun collectors. Only a scrap of address in Corinth, Mississippi offers any clue about Ms. Johnson. The reverb suggest that the recording might have been mate at 706 Union rather than submitted as a home demo. This is the only gospel material on Johnson's tape. All her other material is quite secular.

It deserved no less after spending nearly a half century in a dusty tape box. There also decided to try one more time to find out who the singer was and what she had done with her life before disappearing. This time we succeeded, and what we found was a much bigger story than any of us anticipated.

STUDIO SESSION FOR MARY JOHNSON
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS EARLY 1956

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE EARLY 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - JACK CLEMENT
Mary Johnson (aka Jeanie Greene) was born in Mississippi in 1943. Mary filled the house with music to the delight of her family. Some time in 1956, the Johnsons decided it wasn't enough to listen to her performing live in the living room.

They wanted to have a record of her music. And so off to the Memphis Recording Service they went, making the 45-minute drive to that small studio on Union Avenue where - despite the growing success of the Sun label - you could still walk in off the street and make a record for your own use. $3 for one side. $5 for a two-sided 10-inch disc.
 
Mary Johnson >

Mary had just celebrated her 13th birthday. She sat herself down at the piano and went through a small portion of her repertoire. She began with her favorite song, the theme from "River Of No Return", a 1954 movie  starring Robert Mitchum and Marilyn Monroe,  that had thrilled her romantic soul. She then launched into Duke Ellington's 1931 tune "Mood Indigo". Then turning her attention to country music, she completed...
 
 
... a brief version of Hank Williams' "Your Cheatin' Heart". Finally, she turned to a gospel tune called "My Heart Is A Chapel". And then she was done. Four tunes in barely ten minutes. Four unself-conscious performances in styles ranging from pop to country to jazz to gospel. Her piano work was rudimentary, but her vocals revealed a confidence and ability way beyond her years. The Johnsons paid their money, packed up their discs and drove back to Corinth.


The story might have ended there except Jack Clement, who had recently gone to work for Sam Phillips, decided that this bright-eyed youngster from across the state line had something. Rather than recycling the tape, as was customary, Clement stored it away in a carefully marked box.

Perhaps Sam Phillips listened to it at some points; perhaps he never did. In any case, the dust on the tape box probably hadn't been dissturbed for 44 years when we carried it up to the studio and sampled the tracks.
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 01 - "RIVER OF NO RETURN" - B.M.I. - 3:35
Composer: - Lionel Newman-Ken Darby
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date Early 1956
Released: - August 2002
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16609-5-7 mono
MEMPHIS BELLES - THE WOMEN OF SUN RECORDS

02 - "MOOD INDIGO" - B.M.I. - 2:02
Composer: - Bigard Barney-Duke Ellington-Mills Irving
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date Early 1956
Released: - August 2002
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16609-6-3 mono
MEMPHIS BELLES - THE WOMEN OF SUN RECORDS

03 - "YOUR CHEATIN' HEART" - B.M.I. - 1:26
Composer: - Hank Williams
Publisher: - Acuff-Rose Publishing Corporation
Matrix number: - None – Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date Early 1956
Released: - August 2002
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16609-6-18 mono
MEMPHIS BELLES - THE WOMEN OF SUN RECORDS

04 - "MY HEART IS A CHAPEL" - B.M.I. - 1:55
Composer: - Mary Johnson
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date Probably 1953
Released: - 2000
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16387 AH-29 mono
SUN GOSPEL
Reissued: - August 2002 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16609-5-14 FK mono
MEMPHIS BELLES - THE WOMEN OF SUN RECORDS

This track may be too easily discounted. Repeated listening reveals a surprisingly effective vocal with plenty of fratted thirds (blue notes) and effective phrasing. The song is probably an original by the singer/pianist and, with her, has disappeared into the mists of time. Pop/gospel music like this was probably widely performed in informal social (maybe even church social) settings but almost never recorded. As such, this brief demo gives us a glimpse into a bygone era.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Mary Johnson - Vocal and Piano

See Video Clips: Mary Johnson

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

The Southern Comfort, from left: Ginger Holladay, Mary Johnson, Donna Thatcher, Mary Holladay, with Elvis Presley at the American Sound Studio, Memphis, Tennessee, 1969 >

Mary Johnson's work appears anonymously on a host of Elvis Presley records recorded during  the 1960s. "The first session we ever did with Elvis was "In The Ghetto", recalls Mary  Johnson. "That was at American Sound. We also did "Suspicious Minds". We never did appear  with him on his stage shows.

They used The Sweet Inspirations instead because they were  quite a draw in person. I originally got the job singing backup for Elvis because of my  recording for RCA. Felton Jarvis, who was Elvis's producer, handled my last session at RCA''.  '' Some time later we had done some work at American Sound and I found out that Elvis was  coming in. I remember we spent the night at the Holiday Inn on the river after our session  and the next morning as we were checking out I called Felton. That's the boldest thing I  think I ever did in my life. I said to him, 'We just found out from Chips that you're bringing  Elvis in for a session and we really want to be on it'. He said, 'Well, I'll talk to Elvis about it'  and sure enough we got to do it. We almost fainted".

Mary's group, The Southern Comfort, also recorded widely (and performed live with) Neil  Diamond. They were seen with Diamond when he appeared on the Johnny Cash TV show. As  her original Sun recordings suggested, Johnson was not restricted by musical categories. Her  vocal group also appeared on recordings with country artist Bobby Bare, and soul singer  Percy Sledge (When A Man Loves A Woman), Joe Tex and Joe Simon.

In 1972 Mary Johnson appeared with Marlin Greene on George Harrison's landmark Concert  For Bangladesh album. Mary's group also appeared on 1960s albums by Boz Scaggs and Cher;  1970s albums by Don Nix, Albert King, Lonnie Mack, Gerry Goffin, Dan Penn, Willie Nelson,  Leo Sayer and Peter Yarrow.

In 1971 Mary again recorded solo, producing an LP on Elektra called "Mary Called Jeanie  Greene" (EKS 74103). A live recording of an tour called "The Alabama State Troupers" was  issued on Elektra 75002 in 1972, featuring Jeanie, Don Nix, and blues singer Furry Lewis.

In 1984, Mary recorded as backup singer for Carl Perkins, but she never did get paid for it.  After that, things began to wind down. In 1993 her husband Max died, Today Mary-Elizabeth- Jeanie Johnson-Greene-Lee lives in Corinth, Mississippi, not far from where she grew up.  She lives a quiet life enjoying none of the material benefits or notoriety one might expect  from such as a productive career in the music business. She is not looking for international  fame and fortune, but neither was she expecting to be forgotten. Her voice, has graced  numerous gold and platina records. She has been heard by millions who never knew who she  was.
 

 
MARCH 1956
 

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Session Published for Historical Reasons

STUDIO SESSION FOR RUDY GRAYZELL
FOR STARDAY RECORDS 1956

GOLD STAR RECORDING STUDIO
5628 BROCK STREET, HOUSTON, TEXAS
CAPITOL SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE EARLY 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER – H.W. PAPPY DAILY
RECORDING ENGINEER – BILL QUINN

01 – ''THE MOON IS UP (THE STARS ARE OUT)'' – B.M.I. - 3:01
Composer: - Norma Grimm
Publisher: - Starrite Music
Matrix number: - 2399
Recorded: - Unknown Date Early 1956
Released: - March 1956
First appearance: - Starday Records (S) 45rpm standard single Starday 229 A mono
THE MOON IS UP (THE STARS ARE OUT) / DAY BY DAY
Reissued: - 2010 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16837-23 mono
RUDY GRAZELL - LET'S GET WILD

02 – ''DAY BY DAY'' – B.M.I. - 2:18
Composer: - Norma Grimm
Publisher: - Starrite Music
Matrix number: - 2340
Recorded: - Unknown Date Early 1956
Released: - March 1956
First appearance: - Starday Records (S) 45rpm standard single Starday 229 B mono
DAY BY DAY / THE MOON IS UP (THE STARS ARE OUT)
Reissued: - 2010 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16837-29 mono
RUDY GRAZELL - LET'S GET WILD

Name (or. No. Of Instruments)
Rudy Grayzell – Vocal
Herb Remington – Steel Guitar
Harold Harris – Guitar
Unidentified – Bass
Ernie Hunter – Fiddle
Earl Caruthers – Fiddle
Charles Lewis – Piano

Future Sun recording artist Rudy Grayzell last Capitol single was released in June 1955 and his first Starday single was issued in mid-March 1956. ''I made the contact with Starday through Charlie Walker again'', Rudy remembered. ''Starday was run by Pappy Daily in Houston, and his son, Bud, van Pappy's distributor and he'd come through San Antonio. So Bud called me and brought me to Houston. Pappy stood behind me. He said, 'Rudy, you've got a message in there somewhere, and we're gonna find it''. There were four Rudy Grayzell singles on Starday, and Pappy was true to his word, trying one style after another. Two of the singles, ''Duck Tail'' and ''Let's Get Wild'', have come to define rockabilly in all its go-for-broke looniness.

The songs on the first Starday single, ''The Moon Is Up''/''Day By Day'' were stone hillbilly and were credited to Rudy's first wife, Norma. The Other Starday songs were credited to Rudy's father, Joe Grayzell, Rudy says that he credited his father as a way of honoring him, but it was probably to duck a prior contract with American Music. There were two certain things about Starday singles: first, the record label would be yellow; second, the song would be published by Pappy Daily's company. By the time the second single ''Duck Tail'', hit the stores in April 1956, Rudy had been dubbed Rudy ''Tutti' Grayzell by Elvis Presley. Again, the connection came through Charlie Walker.

''I was playing the opening of a food store'', he said, ''and Charlie said that Elvis Presley was coming. I said, 'How will I know him'? . He said, 'You'll know'. I felt goosebumps when I saw him. We played some shows together, and we did one in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We sang ''Tutti Frutti' and he said, 'From now on, you're Rudy Tutti'''. This doesn't quite check out because Elvis was in Tulsa for a on April 18, 1956, a couple of weeks after ''Duck Tail'' was released under the name Rudy ''Tutti'' Grayzell, but the story is probably true in essence if not in detail. ''Duck Tail'', said Rudy, was inspired by the local greasers slicking back their hair. As a song that told the square world not to mess with your fashion statement, it seemed to have been inspired by ''Blue Suede Shoes'' but Rudy vigorously denies any connection, even though he name checks ''Blue Suede Shoes'' in the song.

The recording engineer slathered the song in echo and a guitarist hits all the right licks. On April 25, 1956, within days of release, Rudy's song was covered by Joe Clay for RCA's Vik label. Clay coupled it with another just-released Starday song, Link Davis' ''Sixteen Chicks''.

''Duck Tail'' sold well in and around Texas, and Rudy became a local celeb. ''One night'', he said, ''I was driving home from a concert when my car stalled and I was forced to hitch-hike. Three girls drove by, recognized me from the show and picked me up and drove to a cemetery where they hid my clothes and told me to sing ''Duck Tail'' for them in private in the nude''. Never one to disappoint his audience, Rudy stood on a tombstone and cut loose with ''Duck Tail''. Someone drove by, saw what was going on and called the police. Rudy got a towel until he could find his clothes and the girls got a night in the drunk tank.

Around that time, Rudy was working a show date for Pearl Beer in Laredo, Texas. ''I had a bus and I told the driver to get us as close to the border as he could. He parked alongside the Rio Grande. I wandered off, drank a few tequilas and beers and waded into the river. I was in maybe up to my head when I saw a vehicle on the Mexican side. It was the Mexican police. They shouted out. 'hey stupid, you're swimming the wrong way', 'cause I was swimming toward Mexico and they thought I was an illegal immigrant swimming to the United States. My band was on the bank laughing their heads off'.

Session Published for Historical Reasons

STUDIO SESSION FOR RUDY GRAYZELL
FOR STARDAY RECORDS 1956

GOLD STAR RECORDING STUDIO
5628 BROCK STREET, HOUSTON, TEXAS
CAPITOL SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE MARCH 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER – H.W. PAPPY DAILY
RECORDING ENGINEER – BILL QUINN

01 – ''DUCK TAIL'' – B.M.I. - 2:32
Composer: - Joe Grayzell
Publisher: - Starrite Music
Matrix number: - 2434
Recorded: - Unknown Date March 1956
Released: - April 25, 1956
First appearance: - Starday Records (S) 45rpm standard single Starday 241 A mono
DUCK TAIL / YOU'RE GONE
Reissued: - 2010 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16837-4 mono
RUDY GRAZELL - LET'S GET WILD

02 – ''YOU'RE GONE'' – B.M.I. - 2:00
Composer: - Joe Grayzell
Publisher: - Starrite Music
Matrix number: - 2435
Recorded: - Unknown Date March 1956
Released: - April 25, 1956
First appearance: - Starday Records (S) 45rpm standard single Starday 241 B mono
DUCK TAIL / YOU'RE GONE
Reissued: - 2010 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16837-3 mono
RUDY GRAZELL - LET'S GET WILD

Name (or. No. Of Instruments)
Rudy Grayzell – Vocal
Dave Sullivan – Guitar
Roy McMeans - Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 


MARCH 1, 1956 THURSDAY

Carl Perkins performed at the Boys Club Gymnasium in Paris, Texas. Also on the bill, Jimmy  and Johnny, The Belew Twins, and Carolyn Belew. Tickets $1 at the door. Children tickets  will be 50 cents.

Ray Price recorded ''Crazy Arms'' and ''You Done Me Wrongs'' during an overnight session at the Bradley Studios in Nashville, Tennessee.

MARCH 2, 1956 FRIDAY

Elvis Presley gets pulled over on Riverside Drive in Memphis for speeding.

The Cowsill's John Cowsill is born in Newport, Rhode Island. Best known for ''The Rain, The Park and Other Things'', The Cowsills also notch a 1968 hit with ''Indian lake'', destined for country success when it's covered by Freddy Weller.

 
''Loose Talk'' songwriter, Freddie Hart holds his first Columbia recording session. Under the affiliation, he makes his first chart appearance three years later.

MARCH 3, 1956 SATURDAY

Ernest Stoneman, of The Stoneman Family, tapes an appearance on NBC-TV's ''The Big Surprise''. His run on the game show lasts five weeks, as he earns $10,000.

''Heartbreak Hotel” debuted on the chart at number 68. It moved up the chart quickly, and by the end of the month it was inside the top 10 at number 9 and on its way to number 1. The flip side, “I Was The One” became Elvis’s second chart song when it entered the Top 100 at #84 on March 10, 1956. By the end of the month, it had climbed to #25. Elvis Presley perform at the Louisiana Hayride, Shreveport, Louisiana. Upcoming Sun recording star Tommy Blake also appeared at the Louisiana Hayride on this day.

MARCH 4, 1956 SUNDAY

Roy Orbison recorded ''Ooby Dooby'' in Clovis, New Mexico, with his band The Teen Kings, including future country songwriter Johnny ''Peanuts'' Wilson. The song becomes Roy Orbison's first single.
 

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Norman Petty behind his studio equipment >

Amongst the first to find their way to Norman Petty's doorstep were The Teen Kings, from Vernon, Texas, they were led by Roy Orbison, who would come to be regarded as one of the greatest vocalist in popular music. The band recorded "Ooby Dooby" and a cover of the Clover's "Tryin' To Get To You''. 
 
 
A West Texas record dealer with contacts in Memphis, played "Ooby Dooby" over the telephone for Sam Phillips, who immediately signed Orbison to Sun Records. Before leaving for Tennessee, Roy Orbison recommended Petty's studio to another group of young Texas rockers, The Rhythm Orchids.

This was a talented bunch that featured both Buddy Knox of Happy, Texas, and Jimmy Bowen ( who was born in Santa Rita, New Mexico) The group recorded three songs at Petty's studio, including "Party Doll" by Knox and Bowen's...
 
 
..."I'm Stickin' By You", Petty released the tracks as a double-sided single. Roulette Records signed both artists, split the single, with both songs then selling over a million copies. Norman Petty was now a force to be reckoned with in the music business.

This was an session for Je-Wel Records.
The session is published on the Sun vaults priority has been given to historic content.

STUDIO SESSION FOR THE TEEN KINGS
FOR JE-WEL RECORDS 1956

NORMAN PETTY RECORDING STUDIO
206 NORTH MAIN STREET, CLOVIS, NEW MEXICO
JE-WEL SESSION: SUNDAY MARCH 4, 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - NORMAN PETTY
 
Roy Orbison had been approached by local entrepreneur Weldon Rogers, who had an associate by the name of Chester C. C. Oliver. They were just starting up the Je-Wel label and wanted to record Roy and the band. Roy was anxious to take Rogers and Oliver up on their offer and Je-Wel's first recording session was hastily arranged for March 4, 1956 at Norman Petty Studio in Clovis, New Mexico. This time, Roy and The Teen Kings, recorded The Clover's "Tryin' to Get to You" and "Ooby Dooby". The single was released two weeks later circa March 19, 1956. That same day, Roy took a copy to Cecil Hollifield in Odessa. 

Je-Wel JE-101 >

He was a well-know record dealer in West Texas. "Poppa" Hollifield liked the record and played it on the phone to one of his connections in Memphis. The guy on the other side of the line asked him to send him a copy. His name was Sam Phillips, owner of Sun Records. A few days later "Poppa" telephoned Roy to say that Phillips wanted the  Teen Kings in Memphis in three days to record for Sun Records.

 
01 - "OOBY DOOBY" - B.M.I. - 2:22
Composer: - Wade Lee Moore-Allen Richard Dick Penner
Publisher: - T-N-T Music
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - March 4, 1956
Released: - March 19, 1956
First appearance: - Je-Wel Records (S) 78/45rpm Je-Wel JE-101-B mono
OOBY DOOBY / TRYIN' TO GET TO YOU
Reissued: - 2001 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16423-1-1 mono
ROY ORBISON - ORBISON 1955 - 1966

Only 100 copies of Jewel 101 were pressed on 78rpm, making for a rarity even upon release.

02 - "TRYIN' TO GET TO YOU" - B.M.I. - 2:46
Composer: - Charles Singleton-Rose Marie McCoy
Publisher: - Williamson Music
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - March 4, 1956
Released: - March 19, 1956
First appearance: - Je-Wel Records (S) 78/45rpm Je-Wel JE-101-A mono
TRYIN' TO GET TO YOU / OOBY DOOBY
Reissued: - 2001 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16423-1-2 mono
ROY ORBISON - ORBISON 1955 - 1966

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
The Teen Kings consisting of
Roy Orbison - Vocal and Guitar
Johnny ''Peanuts'' Wilson - Guitar
James Morrow - Electric Mandolin (Echoplex)
Jack Kennelly – Upright Bass
Billy Pat Ellis – Drums

''We had this TV show on Channel 2 in Midland, hosted by Keith Ward'', Weldon Rogers told Kevin Coffey. ''Just before we came on for thirty minutes there was a young band on for thirty minutes. It was Roy Orbison and the Teen Kings. So, anyway, we had a session set - we were going to do a session at Norman Petty's - and the gentleman that went in with me on this deal, Chester Oliver said, 'Did you listen to them boys in there'? I said, Yeah, I listened to them'. He said , 'What do you think'. I said, 'Well, I was thinking we ought to go talk to this young man that's the head of the group... Do you think it'd sell'? I said, 'Yep. It sure would'. So we talked to him a night or so later, went over to his apartment in Odessa... He said, 'Well, I've been turned down by every record label there is.. we've tried 'em all''. 

The Olivers lived in Seminole, Texas, sixty miles north of Odessa and 150 miles from Clovis. James Morrow claimed at one point that he dated Jean Oliver and paid for the Clovis session, and Roy once insisted that he paid for it, but in an interview with Glenn A. Baker he confirmed Rogers' account: ''There were some people in Seminole, Texas who wanted me to make a record for them, so they paid for the time. It was the first custom session Norman Petty ever did''.

''I was selling those records just as fast as I could peddle ém'', said Weldon Rogers. ''They were selling faster than I could get 'em pressed. Cecil Holifield had a record shop in Odessa and a record shop in Midland. He was selling a lot of those records. I went back about a third time to take him a hundred. There was a music store in Lubbock that bought ém 250 at a time - and a week later they called, 'Hey, I'm out! I need some more'. It was doing that well. Well, Cecil Holifield, it stirred him up. He picked up the phone and called Sam Phillips at Sun Records in Memphis. When I signed the contract with Roy Orbison, age did not enter my mind or Mr. Oliver's mind. We just took for granted that he was of age. Well, he wasn't. He was only 19. We didn't ask him. He didn't tell us. He signed the contract - but you know about how much that was worth. Cecil Holifield called Sam Phillips and told him: Í got some boys out that's got a record that's just selling like hotcakes and this old boy that signed him to a contract don't know that he's just 19. If you'll get them down there and record them, you can make a mint with this old boy'. So Sam Phillips got in touch with Roy, said, 'You boys come on down. Bring your father to sign the contract'. In the meantime, they filed an injunction against me and Mr. Oliver in the district court in Odessa, an injunction to stop me from selling his records''.

It seems as if the Je-Wel record had been on the market no more than a week when Phillips approached Ray, and the fact that he approached Moore and Penner to acquire ''Ooby Dooby'' on March 20, 1956 supports this. A district judge ruled against Je-Wel, leaving Orbison free to sign with Sun, but ordered that Orbison's father cover some of Oliver's and Rogers' expenses. Orbie didn't have the money and the lawyer refused the offer of ten percent of Roy's profits, thinking no one would pay to see someone as ugly as he thought Ray was. In addition, Rogers says, ''The judge ordered me to give Roy all of the records that I had on hand... about fifty is all I had with me. So I gave 'em to him. Later on, I went back to Norman Petty's and I told Norman what happened. It made Norman (mad) - it hacked him off pretty good. He said, 'What exactly did that judge tell you'? I said, 'He told me that I had to turn over all the records that are on hand to Roy Orbison'. Did he tell you, 'Do not press any more'? I said, 'Yeah'. He reached over and got the phone, said, 'This call's on me'. He called (the plant) in Phoenix and said, 'Press this Je-Wel 101 - press five thousand up and send ém to me just as soon as you can get ém here'. So, anyway, we sold another five thousand records of that - except for about a dozen that I kept''. That would certainly account for the fact that, although rare, Je-Wel 101 is available with several different label backgrounds and is nowhere near as hard-to-find as it would be if it had only been on the market a few weeks.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

NORMAN PETTY STUDIOS - Located at 1313 West 7th Street, Clovis, New Mexico, Buddy Holly  cut most of his massive-selling 1950s hits under Norman Petty's supervision in sleepy Clovis,  just inside the New Mexico state line with Texas. A year after recording Roy Orbison's debut  single, "Ooby Dooby", in 1956, Petty turned his attention to Buddy Holly. A winning formula  for the bespectacled singer came only after a lot of experimentation, at first Petty used a  cardboard bix instead of drums because he couldn't figure out how to get the right sort of  amplification. Unable to decide whether to present Holly as a rough rockabilly singer or a  sensitive crooner, Petty covered his bases by doing both.

Studio manager Ken Broads shows original microphones at Norman Petty Recording Studio >

In the early 1960s Petty enjoyed chart success with Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs, and he  scored again in the 1970s with the babys after moving operations in 1968 to an old cinema  at 206 Main Street. The original West 7th Street studio is now a mini-Holly museum and hosts  an annual Holly festival at the end of July.
Vi & Norman Petty >

NORMAN PETTY - (May 25, 1927 – August 15, 1984) was an American musician, songwriter, and pioneer record producer who helped shape modern popular music, including pop and  rock. Born in the small town of Clovis, New Mexico, near the Texas border, Petty began  playing piano at a young age. While in high school, he was regularly heard on a fifteen  minute show on a local radio station.  Petty and his wife Vi founded the Norman Petty Trio, along with guitarist Jack Vaughn. They  landed a recording contract and were voted Most Promising Group of 1954 by Cash Box  Magazine.

In 1956, their major hit "Mood Indigo" had sold a half million copies and enabled  Norman to expand his recording studio, considerably. In 1957, their song "Almost Paradise"  hit number 18 and Norman won his first BMI writers award.

Despite the success with his own records, Petty is most famous for his recording studio in  Clovis. In his homespun studio, he made 78 and 45 rpm singles for his own musical group...
 
 
...and  for then-unknown Texan singers Roy Orbison, Buddy Knox, Waylon Jennings, Carolyn Hester  and Buddy Holly, with whom he is most closely associated in the public mind. "Sugar Shack"  and "Bottle Of Wine" by Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs and "Wheels" by the String-A-Longs  were recorded at Petty's studio. Petty produced a number of Canadian groups including Wes  Dakus & The Rebels, Barry Allen, Gainsborough Gallery, and the Happy Feeling; all which had  chart success in their homeland.

Petty served as Buddy Holly's recording engineer and also as his first manager and producer  until late 1958. Many of Holly's best and most polished efforts were produced by Petty at the  Clovis studio. After Holly's death, Petty was put in charge of overdubbing unfinished Holly  recordings and demos to add to Holly's record output. According to Buddy's immediate family  and his wife, Petty refused to pay Holly money contractually owed the composer-singer.  Petty reportedly told Holly, "I'd rather see you dead than to give you the money now''.

In 1963 Petty launched the FM radio station KTQM next door to the recording studio; he  added the AM station KWKA in 1971. Petty ran both stations until 1979, when they were sold  to their current owner. Norman Petty posthumously was named Clovis Citizen Of The Year in  1984.

Norman Petty died in Lubbock, Texas, in August 1984 of leukemia. His wife Vi died in March  1992. The original 1313 West 7th Street Studio in Clovis, New Mexico, is available for tours  by appointment only. Originally named "The Norman & Vi Petty Music Festival" which  featured many artists that recorded at the Studios, the event halted in 2002, later to  resurge as "The Clovis Music Festival" which is held in September.

Norman & Vi were given "Outstanding Graduate Accomplishment" awards (Class of '45 and '46  respectively) by the Clovis Municipal Schools Foundation and Alumni Association in April  2011. The awards go to Clovis High School graduates based on achievement in their realm of  business. Graduates are chosen because their strengths of character and citizenship serve as  models to inspire and challenge today’s CHS students. The plaques were given to Vi's relative  Nick Brady who turned them over to Kenneth Broad of the Petty Estate to display during  Studio tours.
 

The first Sun publicity shot. From left: Billy Pat Ellis, Roy Orbison, James Morrow, Johnny ''Peanuts''  Wilson, Jack Kennelly >

THE TEEN KINGS – roots go back to 1948, two years after Roy Orbison's family moved to Wink, Texas,  when the 12-year-old Orbison began playing guitar with a friend and schoolmate named James Morrow. The  following year, the two put together a quintet, Morrow on electric mandolin, Orbison on lead guitar, Charles  "Slob" Evans on upright bass, Richard "Head" West at the piano, and Billy Pat "Spider" Ellis on drums.
 
 
At a teacher's suggestion, they christened themselves the Wink Westerners, and they played school dances  and other small local events.  Within two years, they were good enough to get some radio appearances, and by 1953 they had their own  sponsored show on KERB once each week. The Wink Westerners played country and western, and their  repertory included lots of instrumentals, among them "In the Mood" and "Little Brown Jug''.
 

They were popular at local dances, presenting a lively show that the kids appreciated, and  at the center of it was Roy Orbison, who was not only a strong singer but a talented lead  guitarist. He didn't yet have the operatic depth to his singing that would make him  internationally famous a decade later, but he could wail out a ballad or rip through a  dance number like nobody's business. The group's radio show, as was the case with most  performers in those days, was barely a break-even affair financially, but it served well as a  promotional medium to get them the performing gigs.


They also appeared on the KERB  Jamboree with other local bands, again doing country & western material. The group was  good enough to impress their high school principal, who got them a performance at a  Lion's Club convention in Chicago.
Backstage on the Big D. Jamboree in Dalles, 1955. From left: Billy Pat Ellis, Roy Orbison, Johnny ''Peanuts'' Wilson, Slim Whitman, James Morrow, Charles Evans >

By 1954, they were also backing up players like Slim Whitman. Orbison and Ellis attended  North Texas State College in Denton, and the group held together during this period,  sufficiently long enough to discover rock and roll by the end of 1954. Around that time,  they'd even added "Shake, Rattle & Roll" to their repertory.

It was while at North Texas State that Orbison first encountered a fellow fraternity member,  Wade Lee Moore, who had co-authored a song called "The Ooby Dooby" with Dick Penner.  The Wink Westerners later auditioned for Columbia Records using the latter song, to no  avail.

Following a brief hiatus, the Wink Westerners resumed their activities during the summer of  1955, and managed to get an appearance on a television show on KMID-TV in Midland, TX,  doing country songs but also covering what...
 
 
...was becoming increasingly familiar rock and roll  material, including the current hit "Rock Around the Clock" by an ex-Western swing band,  and "That's All Right" by that Elvis Presley fellow out of Memphis, and Moore and Penner's  "Ooby Dooby''.

As the radio show had been, the television appearances were used mostly to promote the  band's live appearances. The band had gotten very good, and doubly so in the context of  local performing groups. Although he was no Scotty Moore (who could play anything),  Orbison had become a formidable lead guitarist and singer, and the band matched him. The  kids were also starting to dance more enthusiastically to rhythm and blues songs (what were  called "rhythm numbers" in those days), and the group was performing more Little Richard,  Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, and Big Joe Turner than Hank Williams.

A change in name was called for, and the Wink Westerners became the Teen Kings. The  group had a few lineup shifts, Orbison himself had to teach Evans' successor on bass, Jack  Kennelly, how to play the instrument, but kept playing and hoping for a break.

Texas in those days was filled with hundreds, perhaps thousands of small bands that were  evolving out of country music and into rock and roll. Buddy Holly was just getting into the  music seriously around that time, and a lot of veteran country players were busy adapting  their styles to the new music, or trying to. The Teen Kings were young enough that it wasn't  a stretch, and the results were natural.
Their break came with help from the father of a woman that James Morrow was dating.  Having heard the group's radio broadcasts, and seen some shows and television spots, he  arranged for a recording session at Norman Petty's studio in Clovis, New Mexico, which  yielded a pair of songs, "Tryin' To Get To You," which had been a single by an rhythm and  blues vocal group called the Eagles, and had been covered (but not yet released) by Elvis  Presley, and "Ooby Dooby''. 

Roy Orbison early-mid 1950s, jammin' with some of the members of the Teen Kings, in Lubbock, Texas. Photo taken by his girlfriend, Claudette Frady's mother. From left: Jack Kennelly, Johnny ''Peanuts'' Wilson, Roy Orbison, Billy Pat Ellis, James Morrow >

They were issued on two sides of a single (45 and 78 rpm) in  early 1956 on the Je-Wel label. The songs were played by a record store owner friend of the  band in Odessa, Texas, over the telephone to Sam Phillips of Sun Records. By the end of  March, the band was under contract to Sun and playing gigs with Johnny Cash.
 
 
The Sun  single of "Ooby Dooby" had a different B-side,"Go! Go! Go!" Ironically, the original B-side of  Je-Wel, "Tryin' To Get To You," went through a bizarre odyssey of its own, Weldon Rogers  had also recorded the song, and the Teen Kings' version was sent to Lew Chudd at Imperial  Records by mistake, along with Rogers' rendition and the song "So Long, Good Luck, And  Goodbye", the Teen Kings' version accidentally ended up on the B-side of the latter single by  Rogers, and was "lost" and forgotten in the Imperial catalog for the next 36 years, until it  was licensed for inclusion on Sony Music Special Products' 1991 box set The Legendary Roy  Orbison.

The Teen Kings' "Ooby Dooby" (which already credited Orbison more than the rest of the  group) peaked at number 59 nationally, and their next single, "You're My Baby" b/w  "Rockhouse'', again credited to Orbison and the Teen Kings, failed to chart nationally. Sam  Phillips' strategy was becoming clear, he'd pegged Orbison for stardom, and the other group  members came to resent this, not only in the billing on their records but, ultimately, the  structure of the recording sessions. The end came when they turned up for a recording  session and saw that Phillips had booked in additional musicians to work with Orbison. His  success at Sun ended with "Ooby Dooby," and it would take another half-decade for another  label and producer, Fred Foster (ironically, the producer of the Eagles' original version of  "Tryin' To Get To You") at Monument Records, to help Orbison achieve the level of success  that Phillips saw in his potential. The Teen Kings only left behind a handful of Sun and Je- Wel tracks, but in 1995, a group of 16 live recordings from KOSA-TV in Odessa in 1956 were  unearthed and released for the first time by Rollercoaster Records. Featuring the last  incarnation of the band, it's a special body of work for a variety of reasons, presenting  Orbison at the peak of his early rockabilly period, and also a rare chance to hear live-in-the studio  performances by an early Sun act, with no producer getting in between the artists  and their music, or the public and appreciating it.
 

 
 
Tommy Blake, Billy Smith (Elvis' cousin) and Elvis Presley backstage Louisiana Hayride, Shreveport, Louisiana, March 3, 1956 >
 
MARCH 1956

Carl Perkins is in the  national pop chart on March 10 with "Blue Suede Shoes". Perkins disc also appears on the  country and Rhythm and Blues charts, the first time has happened.  Elvis Presley's RCA cover version of the song appears in the charts later in the year, as part  of an EP drawn from his first album "Elvis Presley (RCA Victor LPM-1254).

Roy Orbison and the Teen Kings arrived at Sun Records during March 1956.

 
 
 
MARCH 1956

In March of 1956, just before he sent his order to get a new batch of records pressed,  Phillips pulled Jack Earls' ''Hey Jim'' from the docket and added ''Slow Down'' in its place.  Just a week or two later, Earls' single was birthed (on 78rpm and 45rpm) among a crowd of  noisy, rockin' platters that signaled the direction Phillips would take for the next couple of  years.

MARCH 5, 1956 MONDAY

Sid King & The Five Strings record ''Ooby Doobie'' (sic) for Columbia Records. On the 78rpm single, it is shown as Wade Moore's solo composition, published by Peer Music.
MARCH 7, 1956 WEDNESDAY

Merle Travis and actress Judy Hayden are divorced after seven years of marriage.

MARCH 8, 1956 THURSDAY

Webb Pierce recorded the Jimmie Rodgers classic ''Any Old Time'' in Nashville's Bradley Recording studio.

Less than a week after he was cited for driving over the speed limit, Elvis Presley gets another speeding ticket in Memphis.

MARCH 9, 1956 FRIDAY

''Slippin' And Slidin''' the flip side of Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally" is picked number on new  record on NBC radio's "National Juke Box Fan Club".

Fats Domino's "I'm In Love Again" destroys the Fontane Sisters tepid remake and by years end  white pop singers virtually give up covering rhythm and blues hits as a result.

MARCH 10, 1956 SATURDAY

Eddie Cochran is made a regular member of Hollywood Jubilee a weekly show at Los Angeles'  American Legion Stadium.

MARCH 10, 1956 SATURDAY

Carl Perkins becomes the first country artist to reach the national rhythm and blues charts,  "Blue Suede Shoes" eventually peaks at number 2. He is followed three weeks later by Elvis  Presley with "Heartbreak Hotel", which peaks at number 3.

Ernest ''Pop'' Stoneman, of The Stoneman Family, is a guest on NBC-TV's ''The Big Surprise''. The game show, taped one week earlier, begins a five-week winning streak for Stoneman, who earns $10,000 by answering trivia questions.

George Jones reached number 1 on the Billboard country chart for the first time as the writer of Red Sovine and Webb Pierce's ''Why Baby Why''.

MARCH 12, 1956 MONDAY

Decca released Kitty Wells' ''How Far Is Heaven'' featuring daughter Carol Sue Wright.

Elvis Presley pays $29,500 for a home at 1034 Audubon Drive in Memphis, Tennessee.

The moment it all happened for Sun Records. An order (order number 5459) by Plastic  Products Company, located at 1746 Chelsea Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee, for 20,000 copies  of "Blue Suede Shoes" (Sun 234).
 
MARCH 13, 1956 TUESDAY

Elvis Presley's first LP, RCA Victor LPM 1254 ''Elvis Presley'' issued. This first Elvis' release contains 3 Sun recordings.
 
MARCH 14, 1956 WEDNESDAY

Ampex demonstrates a working rotary head quadruplex (four-head) videotape recorder to  200 CBS TV affiliates at the National Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters  convention in Chicago. The event causes a tremendous stir throughout the entire  broadcasting world and within the four days of the show the small California company has  orders worth nearly $4m for over 70 of the first VRX1000 machines - later renamed Mark IV -  at $50,000 each. The first orders come from the NBC, CBS and ABC networks and the US  government.

On this date and after two years in the service in Yokohama, future Sun artist Harold Jenkins (Conway Twitty) arrived back in Helena, Arkansas. He quickly realized that Elvis Presley had changed the game while he'd been away. Bands in northeast Arkansas led by guys like Billy Riley, Sonny Burgess, and Ronnie Hawkins, were playing the new music. Twitty wanted in. ''I still had some thoughts of baseball, but Elvis Presley stirred me up'', he said later.
 
 
''Elvis knocked me out, and the first time I heard him talk it sent cold shivers up my back. Later, when I was compared with Elvis, it made me proud and still does. He's the ultimate. Of course I was influenced by Elvis. Hundreds were. The only difference is, I admit it. I laid down my baseball bat, picked up a guitar, and decided to get with it''. Sitting on his porch at 1011 Poplar Street in Helena, he was playing guitar when another wannabilly, Bill Harris, heard him. They assembled Harold Jenkins and the Rockhousers. Before he joined the Army, Twitty probably thought that Nashville was the center of the musical universe. Suddenly, it was Memphis - barely an hour's drive away.
MARCH 14, 1956 WEDNESDAY

Harold Jenkins (Conway Twitty) leaves the Army after a four-year stint.

Boy Howdy guitarist Larry Park is born in Stockton, California. The group fashion two hits, ''A Cowboy's Born With A Broken Heart'' and ''She'd Give Anything'', before disbanding in 1996.

MARCH 15, 1956 THURSDAY

Elvis Presley's management deal with Bob Neal expires, and Neal chooses not to exercise his option, leaving Colonel Tom Parker as Presley's sole manager.
 
"My Fair Lady" opens on Broadway starring Julie Andrews as Eliza Doolittle and Rex Harrison as Professor Higgins. The smash hit musical comedy “My Fair Lady” debuts on Broadway during March of 1956. The musical, created by Lerner and Loewe, was based off of George Bernard Shaw’s 1913 play “Pygmalion” and starred Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews in the lead roles of Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle. The show proved to be immensely popular with audiences and was praised by critics. It was nominated for ten Tony Awards and won six, including Best Musical, Best Actor in a Musical, and Best Direction. Its original run continued until September of 1962 with a total of 2,717 performances, making it the longest running musical at that time. It was revived in 1976, 1981, and 1993 and there was a popular film version released in 1964.

MARCH 16, 1956 FRIDAY

Jerry Lee Lewis and Jane Lewis have their second son, Ronnie Guy Lewis.

MARCH 17, 1956 SATURDAY

Carl Perkins makes his first national appearance on Red Foley's ABC-TV's "National Jubilee", sings ''Blue Suede Shoes''

Carl Perkins Perkins became the first country artist to reach the number 3 spot on the  rhythm and blues charts. He is followed by Elvis Presley with ''Heartbreak Hotel''. In the  United Kingdom, the song became a Top Ten hit. It was the first record by a Sun label artist  to sell a million copies. The B-side, "Honey Don't", was covered by The Beatles, Wanda  Jackson, and (in the 1970s) T. Rex. John Lennon used to sing lead on the song when the  Beatles performed it before the song was given to Ringo Starr to sing. Lennon performed the  song on his own as recorded on the Lost Lennon Tapes.

Elvis Presley appears for the fifth time on The Dorsey Brothers ''Stage Show'', singing ''Heartbreak Hotel'' and ''Blue Suede Shoes''. His ''Heartbreak Hotel'' reaches number 1 on the Billboard country singles chart.

Pete Seeger leads a benefit concert to raise money for singer/songwriter Woody Guthrie, who is suffering from Huntington's chorea, at New York's Pythian Hall. The concert is considered a significant event in the revival of folk music.

MARCH 19, 1956 MONDAY

Patsy Cline sends a letter to fan club president Treva Miller from her mother's home in Winchester, Virginia, to say she's left husband Gerald Cline: ''He told me if I was gonna sing, I wasn't going to live with him. So I'm back home''.

Roy Orbison's first single ''Tryin' To Get To You'' / ''Ooby Dooby'' released by Je-Wel Records (Je- Wel 101).

MARCH 20, 1956 TUESDAY

Elvis Presley's parents, Vernon and Gladys, move into a new house that Elvis bought for them on Audubon Drive in Memphis, Tennessee. Purchase price: $29,500

Elvis Presley performs at Bell Auditorium in Augusta, Georgia. Backstage, he is introduced to Brenda Lee.
MARCH 22, 1956 WEDNESDAY

After playing a show in Norfolk, Virginia, on March 21, 1956, the Perkins Brothers Band   headed for New York City and their appearance on the nationally-broadcast or the Perry   Como Show. Shortly before sunrise near Dover, Delaware, Stuart Pinkham, aka Dick Stuart  and Poor Richard, and Charlie Feathers', brother-in-law assumed the duties as driver. After fell asleep at the wheel, running head on into the back of a  pickup truck, their car ended up in a ditch of water about a foot deep, and Carl was lying face down in the water.
 
Drummer W.S. ''Fluke'' Holland rolled Carl over, saving him from   drowning. Carl had suffered 3 fractured vertebrae in his neck, a severe concussion, a broken   collar bone, and lacerations all over his body in the crash. Carl remained unconscious for an   entire day.  The driver of the pickup, Thomas Phillips, a forty year old farmer, died when he   was thrown into the steering wheel of his pickup. Carl's brother Jay had a fractured neck  along with severe internal injuries. Carl will be in the hospital until April 10. Jay will never   recover fully.

MARCH 23, 1956 FRIDAY

Alan Freed stages a three day "Rock And Roll Stage Show" at the State Theater in Hartford.   Although Freed denies that there was a riot, eleven teenagers were arrested over the   weekend.

Dr. Francis J. Braceland of the Institute of Living in Hartford calls rock and roll a   "communicable disease with music appealing to adolescent insecurity and driving teenagers   to do outlandish things... It's cannibalistic and tribulistic..'' Dr. Braceland's remarks prompt a   published defense of rock and roll from Freed and three well known bandleaders of another   generation, Sammy Kaye, Benny Goodman and Paul Whiteman.
 
Telegram from Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, Bill Black and D.J. Fontana to Carl Perkins >

MARCH 23, 1956 FRIDAY

Bill Black, Scotty Moore and D.J. Fontana visited Carl on their way to New York to appear  with Elvis the next day. Bill Black told Carl, "Hey, man, Elvis sends his love", and lit a  cigarette for him, in spite of the fact that the patient in the next bed was in an oxygen tent.  A week later, Carl was given a telegram, which had actually arrived on the 23rd, from Elvis  wishing him a speedy recovery.

Sam Phillips had planned to surprise Perkins with a gold  record during the Perry Como show. "Blue Suede Shoes" had already sold more than 500,000  copies by March 22.

Now, while Carl recuperated from the accident, "Blue Suede Shoes" rose  to number one on most pop, rhythm and blues, and country regional charts. It also held the  number two position on the Billboard Hot 100...
 
 
...and country charts. Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak  Hotel" held the number one position on the pop and country charts, while "Shoes" did better  than "Heartbreak" on the rhythm and blues charts. By Mid-April, more than one million  copies of "Blue Suede Shoes" had been sold.

MARCH 24, 1956 SATURDAY

Elvis Presley makes his sixth and final appearance on The Dorsey Bothers ''Stage Show'', performing ''Heartbreak Hotel''. His single had finally broken into the pop charts at number 11, and Carl Perkins' ''Blue Suede Shoes'' at number 9, and the two records were chasing each other up the charts, all the charts, in a manner that had never been seen before.

MARCH 25, 1956 SUNDAY

The Louvin Brothers recorded ''Hoping That You're Hoping''.

MARCH 27, 1956 TUESDAY

After recording the song once previously, Roy Orbison remakes ''Ooby Dooby'' during his first session for Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee. (See: below)

Keyboard player Paul Wickens is born in Chelmsford, England. Noted for his work with Paul McCartney, Paul Carrack and Nik Kershaw, he also backs alternate-country singer Kim Richey on the soundtrack to 1999's ''Happy, Texas''.


Dean Beard also made the two-day trek from west Texas with hopes high. ''Rakin' And Scrapin''' (August 26, 1956) later found release on Atlantic, but it's hard to make the case that his Sun recordings deserved a better fate in 1956.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR DEAN BEARD
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR FOR SUN RECORDS 1956

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: MARCH 29, 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
AND/OR STAN KESLER

Intent on duplicating Presley's success, Beard borrowing one hundred dollars from his father for the trip to   Memphis, and cut two demo sessions in Memphis for Sun Records in 1956, but Sam Phillips decided not to   sign him. Asked why he didn't see a release, Beard said that he ran around town with Sam Phillips's  girlfriend, Sally Wilbourn, thereby ensuring that his sessions would remain in the can. The truth might have   been more prosaic: the recordings weren't that good. The songs were undistinguished and it's Seals on   saxophone he sounds like an angry goose. One of the demos was "Rakin' And Scrapin'," which Beard  recorded again the next year in Abilene for Willet's Edmoral label.

01 - "DON'T LIE TO ME" - B.M.I. 2:03
Composer: - Dean Beard
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 29, 1956
Released: - 1974
First appearance: - Bopcat Records (LP) 33rpm BLP 200-9 mono
WE WANNA BOOGIE
Reissued: - 1997 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8236-6 mono
ESSENTIAL SUN ROCKABILLIES - VOLUME 4
 
  02 - "ROCK AROUND THE TOWN" - B.M.I. - 2:22
Composer: - Dean Beard
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -  March 29, 1956
Released: - 1974
First appearance: - Bopcat Records (LP) 33rpm BLP 200-8 mono
WE WANNA BOOGIEReissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm MID 8118-18 mono
ESSENTIAL SUN ROCKABILLIES - VOLUME 2

03(1) - ''WHAT CAN I DO'' - B.M.I. - 2:20
Composer: - Dean Beard
Publisher: Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -  March 29, 1956
Released: - 1996
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8161-4 mono
ESSENTIAL SUN ROCKABILLIES - VOLUME 3
Reissued: - 1997 Charlie Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8274-2-49 mono
THE VERY BEST OF SUN ROCKABILLY

03(2) - ''WHAT CAN I DO'' - B.M.I. - 2:19
Composer: - Dean Beard
Publisher: Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -  March 29, 1956
Released: - 1996
First appearance: - Encore Records (CD) 500/200rpm ECD 193587-13 mono
DEAN BEARD - ROCK AROUND THE TOWN

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Dean Beard - Vocal and Guitar
James Steward - Guitar
Jimmy Seals - Saxophone
Johnny Black - Bass
Johnny Bernero - Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

 
Dean Beard > 

DEAN BEARD - remembered by brother Danny Ray. My name is Danny Ray from Coleman,  Texas, home of Dean Beard and birthplace of Ronnie Dunn of the Country Music duo "Brooks  & Dunn". I was raised on the music of Elvis Presley at the age of five. I won a boppin' contest  at age six dancing to "Hound Dog". My dad Leonard Ray used to play lead guitar for Ray  Thompson's Band (country star Hank Thompson's brother).  My dad (who passed away in  1993) used to set Dean on his knee when he was a kid and show him chords on the guitar.

This encouraged Dean to get involved in music and he later learned to play the keyboards.  After Dean graduated from Coleman High he began futhering his musical career.  He also had  a crush on my older sister Elizabeth. He had to come to our house quite often to not only  watch my dad play, but to eye my sister. When Dean got his band "The Crewcats" together,  he began moving up in popularity.

 
 
Here I was age six in 1957 and everytime Dean came home and staged a dance, I either had  to get my sister Liz or my dad to take me where Dean was playing. I couldn't go inside, but I  would bop on the sidewalk outside. People would get excited watching me bop and they  would go in and tell Dean that he had a young fan outside dancing. Dean would have them  open the door wide enough so he could see me. Dean would wave at me and I would wave  back. He would dress in a nice black outfit with a Spanish lace white shirt underneath. He  would cut down on one of his tunes and I would cut down on my dancing. Then Dean had  purchased an old transit bus in an auction and he brought it to my dad to fix-up for a band  bus. My dad was a auto-bodyman at the time. He stripped out all the seats in the bus and put  in an ice-box, stove, fold-down table that the sections laid across the booth-type seats and  made a bed. He built more bunk-type beds at the rear of the bus. My mom made curtains for  it, my dad also carpeted the floor. Then my dad and I grabbed sandpaper and began sanding  this big bus all over, worn my fingers to the bone. After we got it all sanded, then dad  primed it out, and we sanded it again until we got the primer smooth. Then we had to maskoff  all chrome and glass and my dad painted it a pretty blue with white top. That was  Coleman's school colors. Then in real fancy letters, my dad painted "Dean Beard and the  Crewcats" on both sides. I almost forgot, my dad had to overhaul the engine in this bus too.
Then Dean and the band took off on tour. I didn't see him for a long time. Then when I had  my 12th birthday in 1963, The Beatles struck America. I went from Elvis to the Beatles. At  age 13th, I received my first set of skins and my younger brother Bob at 5 years old was  playing guitar. He and I started our own band together and began playing on television for  charity and around Abilene, Texas, where we were living at the time. We played on the stage  with many famous television stars and music groups. Then at age 15, I was asked to play my  first professional gig with Eddie Burns.

Dean Beard & The Crew Cats >

I would go to school M-F, and Friday and Saturday  nights I was Honky-tonky with Eddie. His wife was a cousin to B.B. King. I got the honor to  jam with B.B. for nearly an hour. Then Eddie, me, and a white guy named Bill Holman  playing bass guitar. He could eat that bass up.

I recorded two 45rpm records with Eddie on "Plantation Records". His two big hits from  these were "Color Me Country"...
 
 
...and "The Southside of Chicago''. Then my parents moved back  to Coleman, thus ending my career with Eddie. We heard that Dean had been involved in a  car wreck and messed his back up. I began playing in a rock band named "Showboat" here in  Coleman and played with them all through high school. I graduated in 1969, got married in  1971, went into the U.S. Air Force in 1972 and got out in 1975. Served some time in  Vietnam. Messed me up nerve-wise. Couldn't hold a job until I finally found a job that didn't  pressure me in 1976. Worked for them for 21 years, was forced to quit in 1997 because of  health problems due to being exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam. I played drums in a  country music band my brother Bob started named "Southern Cross".

The Lord finally got me out of the honky-tonks in 1986 and called me to preach. I thought  Dean Beard was dead until my cousin told me that he was bed-fast living in the government  apartments. I called him and he was glad to hear from me. He invited me over and I went to  see him. When I knocked on the door, He said,"Come on in Danny''. When I walked in, there  was his piano setting against the wall and a big oil painting of Elvis hanging on the wall.  When I got to his bedroom door, He said, "Hello Danny, Long time no see!" I grabbed him and  hugged him, both of us had tears in our eyes. I told Dean I was a Minister and he was so glad.  Then I found out that no one was coming over and giving Dean his baths. He said everyone  that wanted to do it asked for money. I said, "No more Dean-O, I am going to come over here  at least three times a week, carry you to the bathroom, set you in that chair in the bathtub,  so you can take your shower, and I will not charge you one cent''. He couldn't believe it.

Each day I went over to give him his bath, we would talk about the old days. He would make  me pull down his picture album and we would go through looking at all the autographed  pictures of different musical groups he toured with. I remember "Buck Owens & the  Buckaroos" was one. He showed me pictures of he and Elvis together in front of Elvis' 1955  Cadillac. The Cadillac that Elvis and Dean dragged up and down our main street chasing girls.  Dean had told Elvis that he had a dance to do here in Coleman and asked Elvis to front for  him. Elvis did. Dean had met Elvis after Elvis had done his dance in Brownwood only 30 miles  away from Coleman. They became best of friends. Elvis loved Dean's voice. Dean showed me  the hand-written and hand-signed letters that Elvis sent to him for some time until Elvis  started making it big in movies and he stopped writing Dean. He showed me the picture of  his band bus and asked, "Danny do you remember this bus?" I replied, "Boy, do I ever!" He  asked me to pull a box out from under his bed. When I pulled it out it was full of his records.  He picked two of his hits out and autographed them for me. He said, "Keep these, they will  be worth a lot some day. This is payment for your kindness.

I was setting there one day with Dean when the phone rang. Dean answered and he said,  "Yes this Dean Beard. No I ain't dead yet''. The conversation went on for a few minutes and  he hung up. Dean asked, "Danny do you know who that was?" I said, "No Deano, who was it?"  He said it was a big record promoter in London, England, and his song "Party, Party, Party"  was still number 1 in Europe. This made old Deano very happy and I was glad for him too.  Dan Seals (country star and little brother of Jimmy) used to come by once a month to check  on Dean. Jimmy Seals and Dash Croft used to play in Dean's band. When the band broke up  in the mid 1960s, Jimmy and Dash formed the famous rock duo "Seals and Croft." Dan Seals  was also known as England Dan when he was duo with John Ford Coley.

Then Dean asked me to come to come get him on Sundays for church. I had just introduced  Terry Moffet to Dean. I would pick Dean up and put him in his wheel chair, wheel him to my  car, take him out and seat him in the back seat and take him to church. It felt good to him to  get out of his apartment and meet people. He got up in front of the church and gave his  testimony warning kids to stay from booze, chasing wild women, and popping pills. He said  he was paying for his sins. There was not a dry eye in the church building. He thanked me  and Brother Terry in front of the church for the kindness we had shown him. He said all he  wanted to do was to go to Heaven and see his mother. We asked Dean if he knew the Lord  Jesus as his Savior and he said "yes'', but he had never been baptized. Brother Terry  baptized him. Then a week later, Dean caught pneumonia and was rushed to the Brownwood  Hospital. He was in there nearly two weeks. His body was so weak from his other health  problems, he couldn't pull out. He passed away in 1989 at age 54. My wife and I, along with  a few friends, threw Dean his last birthday party in his apartment. It thrilled him so much.  My wife fixed his favorite meal, spaghetti and meatballs and chocolate cake with white icing.  He ate until he couldn't eat any more. It was a thrill to me to be able to make this great  rockabilly star of the 1950s last few months of his life a little more comfortable. He was in  constant pain all the time, but he always praised Jesus and witnessed to those who came to  see him. He is missed.
MARCH 1956

Billboard picks "Blue Suede Shoes" as one to watch for the pop market. It features in their  "Coming Up Strong" picks. The cover versions start appearing. The first is probably by  western swing bandleader Pee Wee King, whose version hits the market in early March. It is  followed in short order by versions from Boyd Ennett, Bob Roubian with Cliffie Stone's  Orchestra, Sid King, Lawrence Welk, Roy Hall, Sam "The Man" Taylore and Jim Lowe. It is also  covered by Elvis Presley but Presley's version is only initially available on his first album and  an EP drawn from it. However, Presley performs the song during his appearance on the  Dorsey Brothers television show on March 17.

"Blue Suede Shoes" appears on Billboard's Hot 100 on March 3. Presley's debut RCA single,  "Heartbreak Hotel" makes its appearance on the charts during the same week, and tops the  charts for eight weeks. Billboard dubs both songs 'mongrel music' and notes that Perkins is  showing up on several rhythm and blues charts. ''It has already been suggested'', Paul Ackerman wrote in the issue of Billboard, ''that country artists with rhythm and blues-styled material, or rhythm and blues-styled delivery, be excluded from the best-selling country chart''. Ackerman suggested slyly, would not only be wrong, it would be un-American, striking at the very foundation of the free enterprise system in which ''competition is the soul of business''. 

Carl Perkins returns to the studio to cut a follow-up. Four songs are recorded but the intense  action surrounding "Blue Suede Shoes" convinces Sam Phillips to delay mastering a new  single. "Blue Suede Shoes" is selling over 20,000 copies a day.
 

Eddie Bond and his band recording for Mercury Records, Nashville, 1956. From left: Johnny Fine, Eddie Bond, Reggie Young, Jody Chastain, and Bob Neal >

During the two years Eddie Bond was on Mercury Records, he was booked by Bob Neal's Stars inc., a company in which Phillips probably owned a stake. ''The dyed-in-the-wool country musicians would look down at us and say, 'There's one of THEM'', Bond told Raiteri. ''I was ashamed to do rockabilly, but not so ashamed I didn't want to make a livin' at it. We'd play schoolhouses, little theaters, honky tonks, and bar-rooms''.

''Played on top of every drive-in movie theater from Texas to Arizona. Bob Neal would keep you real busy like that. Little school houses would fill up with people come to see Eddie Bond, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, and Roy Orbison''.


Bond doubled as a disc jockey on KWEM, West Memphis from 2:30 until 4:30 every afternoon and, from April 28, 1957, he was a featured performer on the Louisiana Hayride. If not in the charts, he was busy.
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Session Published for Historical Reasons

STUDIO SESSION FOR EDDIE BOND
FOR MERCURY RECORDS 1956

MUSIC CITY RECORDING STUDIO
804 16TH AVENUE SOUTH, NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE
MERCURY SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE MARCH 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER – DEE KIRKPATRICK

Nashville, Tennessee was the location of the next session that produced Eddie Bond's strongest rockabilly performances ever with ''Boppin' Bonnie'', ''Flip, Flop Mama'', ''Slip, Slip, Slippin' In'' and ''Baby, Baby, Baby (What Am I Gonna Do)'' used by Mercury on two singles in June and September of 1956, which sold well enough for Mercury to organise two more sessions held in Houston, Texas, in 1957.

01 – ''SLIP, SLIP, SLIPPIN' IN'' – B.M.I. - 2:09
Composer: - R. Belyew-C. Wright
Publisher: - Murray Nash Association
Matrix number: - YW 12700
Recorded: - Unknown Date March 1956
Released: - June 1956
First appearance: - Mercury Records (S) 45rpm Mercury 70882-A mono
SLIP, SLIP, SLIPPIN' IN / FLIP FLOP MAMA
Reissued: 1993 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15708-1-7 mono
EDDIE BOND – ROCKIN' DADDY

02 – ''BABY, BABY, BABY (WHAT AM I GONNA DO)'' – B.M.I. - 2:12
Composer: - R. Newton
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - YW 12701
Recorded: - Unknown Date March 1956
Released: - September 1956
First appearance: - Mercury Records (S) 45rpm Mercury 70941-A mono
BABY, BABY, BABY (WHAT AM I GONNA DO) / BOPPIN' BONNIE
Reissued: 1993 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15708-1-8 mono
EDDIE BOND – ROCKIN' DADDY

03 – ''FLIP, FLOP MAMA'' – B.M.I. - 2:08
Composer: - C. Edens-Eddie Bond
Publisher: - Alpine Music
Matrix number: - YW 12702
Recorded: - Unknown Date March 1956
Released: - June 1956
First appearance: - Mercury Records (S) 45rpm Mercury 70882-B mono
FLIP, FLOP MAMA / SLIP, SLIP SLIPPIN' IN
Reissued: 1993 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15708-1-9 mono
EDDIE BOND – ROCKIN' DADDY

04 – ''BOPPIN' BONNIE'' – B.M.I. - 2:06
Composer: - Jody Chastain- Jerry Huffman
Publisher: - Alpine Music
Matrix number: - YW 12703
Recorded: - Unknown Date March 1956
Released: - September 1956
First appearance: - Mercury Records (S) 45rpm Mercury 70941-B mono
BOPPIN' BONNIE / BABY, BABY, BABY (WHAT AM I GONNA DO)
Reissued: 1993 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15708-1-10 mono
EDDIE BOND - ROCKIN' DADDY

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Eddie Bond - Vocal & Guitar
Reggie Young - Lead Guitar
Tommy Potts - Bass
Possibly Jody Chastain – Bass
Johnny Fine – Drums
Jimmy Smith - Piano

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 



© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR CARL PERKINS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1956

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: PROBABLY MARCH 1956-1 
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

In the early 1956, after the great success of ''Blue Suede Shoes'', Carl Perkins purchased an $800 blonde Gibson ES-5 maple-top with three P-90 pickups with separate tone and volume controls for each. He also got himself one of the hand built EchoSonic amps from Ray Butts out of Cairo, Illinios for $250 down and $200 delivery. This session was his first he got his new ES-5.

Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley, Overton Park Shell, Memphis, June 1, 1956 >

What we casually refer to today as "rockabilly" of the Sun Sound, was new music back in early 1956. In fact, nobody knew what to call it. Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins were still being described as performing "Hillbilly Bop" when this record, SUN 243 came out.  Billboard rightly described it as "loaded with flovor and potential for all three markets".  The Memphis regional chart in May 1956 showed that Sam Phillips' vision had literally dominated the city's taste.


"Boppin' The Blues" sat at number 3 bettered only by "I Walk The Line" and "Blue Suede Shoes" (at numbers 1 and 2, respectively).  The number 4-6 chart position were filled by "Heartbreak Hotel", "Ooby Dooby" and "Rock 'N' Roll Ruby". These were magic times to cruise down Union Avenue in your Chevy convertible with the radio blaring.

 
 
 01(1) - "YOU CAN'T MAKE LOVE TO SOMEBODY" - B.M.I. - 2:17
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 4 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1018-11 mono
RABBIT ACTION
On this LP Jimmy Haggett tracks are mistakenly attributed to Junior Thompson.
Reissued: - 2012 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240-1-13 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES
 
Whether this new music needed drums was a matter of some debate at Sun. Sam Phillips thought it didn't but Perkins wanted a drummer so much that he created one. He recruited W.S. Holland to learn to play the drums and join the band. Holland was a complete novice. He borrowed a set of drums, set them up incorrectly (reversing the hi-hat and bass drum), and taught himself to play with that arrangement. ''Not knowing how to set the drums up or how to play is one of the reasons I've been playing drums for 62 years''.
 
This wonderful track ''You Can't Make Love To Somebody'', recorded after ''Blue Suede Shoes'' was a hit, gives us a fine exhibition of the transition from hillbilly bop to rock and roll. W.S. Holland provides a strong back-beat on the snare drum and his cymbal work is, uncharacteristically for a Sun recording, prominent in the mix. He also tosses in frequent little accent and short rolls. Those all sound like ad libs, feeling of the moment as if he were silently singing along with Carl. All of that doesn't add up to a truly rock and roll performance. Holland's drumming, and the totality of the record, is far more free, and swinging than, say, ''Blue Suede Shoes'' which the Perkins band had recorded fully four months earlier. And it's far less a rock and roll record than ''Boppin' The Blues'' which they recorded at this same session as this track. Their authentic country roots were still showing in this country song.
 

01(2) - "YOU CAN'T MAKE LOVE TO SOMEBODY" - B.M.I. - 2:24
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 5 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - April 27, 2012
First appearance: -  Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240-1-14 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

The nation that Carl's music was an irresistible and lifechanging force ("I still love you baby, but I'll never be the same") was a clever and powerful image. In fact, Carl took that idea one step further in "Boppin' The Blues". Like Dr. Ross ("The Boogie Disease") before him and Huey Piano Smith ("Rockin' Pneumonia" and  "The Boogie Woogie Flu") after him, Carl likened his music to an infectious disease. One exposure and you've had it, whether you like it or not. Ironically, this was just the kind of perverse thinking that fueled anti-rock and roll boycots by the White Citizen's Councel. "Boppin' The Blues" was meant to capture the essence of the new music but instead it showed how closely Perkins was tied to the country tradition. In contrast, Elvis Presley's second record for RCA Victor, "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You", did not fit any definition of country music. "Boppin' The Blues" reached number 9 in the country charts but did no more than dart in and out of the lowest reaches of the pop charts.

02(1) - "BOPPIN' THE BLUES" - B.M.I. - 0:18
Composer: - Carl Perkins-Howard Griffin
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - False Start 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - April 27, 2012
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240-2-1 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES
BOPPIN' THE BLUES
 
Sadly, all we've got for this important title, Carl's fourth Sun record, is two incomplete takes and one full outtake. If that's the bad news, the good news is that they’re all wonderful.
 
The first thing you'll notice about outtake number 1 is that it has a very different feel from the issued single. This one is far more countrified than the distinctively rock-oriented version we know. The mix is also different. Perhaps more than ever before, we can hear every instrument in Carl's small band. The biggest surprise is W.S. ''Fluke'' Holland. No longer buried in the mix or forced to use brushes, W.S. provides a strong backbeat. It's not obvious why this take was aborted after barely 13 seconds, but it would have been a dandy if it had kept on like tins.

On the next take, also aborted way too soon, the instrumental separation is again wonderful. You can even hear brother Jay's acoustic guitar against the drums, bass and Carl's lead guitar. This gets shut down after the second time Carl pops a ''P''. Again, the take was on its way to being a gem, perhaps even better than the issued version.

The first and only full outtake we could find has much to recommend it. For one thing, W.S. really swings here. We have never heard him play like this before, not just keeping time but providing lots of tills. Carl delivers a splendid vocal. If this single outtake were the only thing Carl had left in the Sun vault before vanishing, it's a safe bet he'd still have attained legendary status among fans and collectors. Thankfully we have much more to know and admire about Carl Perkins.

02(2) - "BOPPIN' THE BLUES" - B.M.I. - 0:29
Composer: - Carl Perkins-Howard Griffin
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Fragment 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - April 27, 2012
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240-2-2 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

02(3) - "BOPPIN' THE BLUES" - B.M.I. - 2:33
Composer: - Carl Perkins-Howard Griffin
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 101 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN YEARS
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15494-1-25 mono
THE CLASSIC CARL PERKINS

02(4) - "BOPPIN' THE BLUES" - B.M.I. - 2:48
Composer: - Carl Perkins-Howard Griffin
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 196 - Master Take 2
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - May 29, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 243-A mono
BOPPIN' THE BLUES / ALL MAMA'S CHILDREN
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802-2-5 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

''ALL MAMA'S CHILDREN''

This song got released as one side of the follow-up to Blue Suede Shoes Coming up with another lyric that evolved shoes seems like a daunting task but Carl and Johnny Cash were up to it.

Here outtakes from two recording sessions. Outtakes 1 and 2 are from the earlier session; the remaining five are from the later one The first outtake begins with some attempt to talk through the arrangement and after a sloppy beginning is a respectable run-through of the song including that last verse that includes ''reelin' and rockin' and a knockin' their souls'' that never appears again. The second tries out a whole different approach to the song, beginning every verse with break downs. They didn't do that again either. On both these tracks, W.S. ''Fluke'' Holland plays a shuffle rhythm on the snare drum, another thing that won't reappear

The last five outtakes get closer to the version we know from Sun 243 Holland's drumming is now concentrated on the backbeat with tom-tom accents (and is really lively on the next-to-last outtake) and the slap-bass is better integrated into the overall sound.

One constant throughout all the recordings of this song is the peculiar sound of Carl’s guitar. It’s unlike anything he recorded on other songs and sounds as if he were playing an electric ukulele. We don't know just how he did it, why he did it on this songs, and why he didn't do it again. But his solos on all tracks stay pretty close to each other and to the released version, so we suppose he decided that these solos sounded good with that guitar sound.

Carl often ad libbed lyrics but keeping track of the lyrical changes on this song is a challenge. Sometimes it's an ''old woman'' who lives in the shoe and sometimes it's an ''old lady''. Sometimes the kids are ''pickin' ém up and puttin' ém down'' and sometimes ''pickin'' ém up and layin' ém down''. Sometimes the kids are ''children'' and sometimes ''young 'uns''. The final compromise occurs on the released version where he says ''alla mama's chunguns are doin' the bop''). Sometimes they're ''gonna roll, gonna rock, gonna bop til they pop'', sometimes they're ''gonna rock, gonna roll, gonna bop (or jump), gonna go''. AlI of these shuttle back and forth in different combinations. The lyrical version we know from Sun 243 is probably not the result of a plan but just the accident that happened on Sam's favourite performance.
03(1) - "ALL MAMA'S CHILDREN" - B.M.I. - 2:19
Composer: - Carl Perkins-John R. Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - April 27, 2012
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240 2-4 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

 03(2) - "ALL MAMA'S CHILDREN" - B.M.I. - 2:08
Composer: - Carl Perkins-John R. Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15494-1-23 mono
THE CLASSIC CARL PERKINS
Reissued: April 27, 2012 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240-2-5 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

''ONLY YOU''

There is no outtake, but there is a pretty good story. The Platters' record of ''Only You'' hit the charts on October 1, 1955 and stayed there for 22 weeks). It became a favorite of Carl's and he often sang the song for his own entertainment. On December 12, 1955. Carl played a show in Amory, Mississippi along with Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley (how'd you like to travel back in time to see that one?) Carl performed ''Only You'' to an enthusiastic response from the crowd, although he had never recorded it and it was not the kind of song audience expected Perkins to perform. W.S. ''Fluke'' Holland recalls that Carl ended up singing it three times that night. ''Elvis went over to Bob Neal and told him jokingly, 'Don't book me on any more shows with that Perkins boys''. After the show, Carl told W.S. And the band that they ought to think about recording it the next time they went for a session.

The most recent Carl Perkins discography (BCD 15494) shows the recording date as March 1956, only a few months after the Amory performance. The original Sun Session discography (Escott/Hawkins) showed the session implausibly taking place in early 1957. In any case, the track appeared on Carl's Sun LP issued in 1958 and can be heard on BCD 15494 and BCD 17213.

04 - "ONLY YOU" - B.M.I. - 3:19
Composer: - Buck Ram-Ande Rand
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - 1958
First appearance: - Sun Records (LP) 33rpm SUN SLP 1225-6 mono
DANCE - THE BEST OF CARL PERKINS
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/22rpm BCD 15494 EH-1-28 mono
THE CLASSIC CARL PERKINS
 ''EVERYBODY'S TRYING TO BE MY BABY''

Although this song got recorded at several sessions in March 1956, it remained unreleased until Carl's album came out in 1958. Its origins deserve some discussion. According to his biography, Carl claimed that he was inspired by an offhand remark that he made to Jay at a club date and it quickly turned into a song. When bio author David McGee pointed out that the song actually dated from the 1930s, Carl opined that perhaps he'd heard someone sing it at some honky tonk or another.

In fact, we know of four recordings of this song that pre-date Carl's - the first, by Rex Griffin in the late 1930s, one by Roy Newman, one by Jemmy Short ( (better known as Ernest Tubb's guitar player), and one by Gene Thompson in the early 1950s The styles evolve from western swing to hillbilly as the years go by, but the the song stays the same. It's a twelve-bar blues with a two-line verse followed by four lines of the title. The two-line verses vary from record to record All four of the early ones include ''They took some honey from a bee/Dressed it up and called it me'', which Carl modifies to ''honey from a tree''. All include waking up at half-past four with some number of women knockin' at my door; three of the records have fifteen women but Roy Newman has a near dozen. Carl did not make this up at a club.

There several full outtakes, a few fragments and false starts, and some discussions in which lyrics get composed. Obviously they were not satisfied with the arrangement and took a variety of approaches to it. The natural first question was how to open the song. Should they go right into it or have a few opening lines with stops? If there are stops should they be single-beat stops as in ''Boppin' The Blues'' or two-beat stops as in ''Blue Suede Shoes''? They try out all those possibilities. Should the guitar solos be rhythmic chords or single or double-note tunes or pedal steel-like chord sequences? They try out all those too. Carl's vocals range from energetic to subdued. They also try changing the key they play it in (the 7th and 8th outtakes are in a deferent key from the others). And even what little melody as there is in this song gets a revision in the 8th.

As we've seen, Carl often made up lyrics on the spot so it's no surprise that the verses change from take to take. But it is interesting to at half-past four. Most of the predecessor recordings of this song have fifteen. Carl has nineteen until the middle of the seventh outtake. In that take he sings the verse twice - there are nineteen women the first time but that shrinks to only the historically correct fifteen later in the take. And he sticks with fifteen thereafter. So what happened to the number nineteen, we wonder? Easy. In the version that was released on LP 1225 he adds a verse. ''Went out last night didn't mean to stay late/ Before home I had nineteen dates''. Nineteen is too good a number to abandon completely.

The band seemed never fully satisfied with any single approach to the song. Sam wasn't satisfied either, apparently, and sat on it until he finally put it on the album.

05(1) - "EVERYBODY'S TRYING TO BE MY BABY" - B.M.I. - 0:06
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - False Start 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: April 27, 2011
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240 ER-2-11 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

05(2) - "EVERYBODY'S TRYING TO BE MY BABY" - B.M.I. - 1:00
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Fragment 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: April 27, 2011
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240 ER-2-12 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

05(3) - "EVERYBODY'S TRYING TO BE MY BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:15
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: April 27, 2011
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240 ER-2-13 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

05(4) - "EVERYBODY'S TRYING TO BE MY BABY" - B.M.I. - 0:17
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - False Start 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: April 27, 2011
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240 ER-2-14 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

05(5) - "EVERYBODY'S TRYING TO BE MY BABY" - B.M.I. - 0:10
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - False Start 3 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: April 27, 2011
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240 ER-2-15 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

05(6) - "EVERYBODY'S TRYING TO BE MY BABY" - B.M.I. - 0:17
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15494 EH-1-24 mono
THE CLASSIC CARL PERKINS
Reissued: - April 27, 2012 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 172450 ER-2-16 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES 
''PUT YOUR CAT CLOTHES ON''
Recorded over three sessions March 1956-1/March 1956-3/December 4, 1956

Carl Perkins spent more studio time at Sun working on ''Cat Clothes'' than he did any other song. Thee sheer number of takes felt behind dwarfs any other title in Carl's Sun legacy. More than the total number of outtakes of ''Movie Magg'', ''Tennessee'', Blue Suede Shoes'', Honey Hon't'', ''Boppin' The Blues'', ''Matchbox'', ''Forever Yours'', ''Lend Me Your Comb'' and ''That's Right'' combined. And what came of it? Nothing. ''Put Your Cat Clothes On'' never appeared on the orginal Sun label - not as a single and not on Carl's Sun LP. There's quite ' a disconnect there. The title was worth all that studio time and tape, but the results were never good enough to release.

The saga began on or around March 1 956 when the first few takes were recorded, when Carl and the boys still sounded much like the country band they had been when they started. You can readily hear the difference in this approach from what emerged at the December 1956 session, when the final takes with Jerry Lee Lewis on piano were recorded. Obviously Sam and Carl had enormous faith in the song but never heard a take that satisfied them. And we thank we know what made this one so hard to get right.

There are eighteen full takes and some false ends. It's obvious why most - of them never made it out into the world - there are mistakes galore. But even the flawed ones have lots of virtues. The result is that listening to all of these takes not become boring. When the mistakes happen, they're a variously frustrating, disappointing, annoying and often interesting. But the energy driving this song is limitless and unrelenting.

We'll get to discussing why they could never get a perfect and satisfying take, but the lyrics of the song deserve some attention first. The song is, about Carl telling his woman to get dressed up sharp because they're going out dancing. The peculiar thing about that is that ''cat clothes'' was the term to denote fancy threads for men, purchased largely by African-American musicians, at Lansky's clothing shop on Beale Street in Memphis. Lansky customers went beyond local aspiring artists and included Billy Eckstine and B.B. King. Moreover, these hip threads were beginning to show up among a white clientele as well. Lansky's had the store windows into which Elvis Presley looked longingly during his earliest Sun days and where and where he bought lots of clothes once success came his way. By mid-l956, Cat Clothes were worn by hip black and white men alike, but in this song Carl is putting them on a woman. Calling her ''Kitty'' doesn't overcome the strangeness of the sex change.

And what a woman! She is such an energetic dancer that she not only ''knocks the polish off her toes'' but also, remarkably, knocks her toenails off as well. Luckily, that's not an emergency because they can he packed up the next day. Now that is peculiar-sounding. What it might be about, though, is the artificial nail extensions that were introduced in late 1954 and were the subject of a fashion article in ''Life'' magazine. The ''Life'' piece was all about fingernails, but we're guessing that Carl's woman used them on her toes. In any case, Carl seems to have had a particular fascination with the feet of dancing women. Not only do there toenails come loose in this song, they pick up sand from the dance floor in ''Hone Don't''.

Our last observation about the lyric is that songwriters who did not grow up in rural Tennessee would not thank to rhyme ''fruit far'' with ''tomorrow''.

Now to the central question: Why was this song so hard to get right in the studio? What repeatedly goes wrong with this song is the timing. Perhaps by design, or perhaps by mistakes, this song is often played as an 11 1/2-bar blues. In the first track is present, you can hear an example of the problem early. When Carl first sings ''Put your cat clothes on çause tonight we're gonna really do it right/Kitty put your cat clothes on...'' he should have waited a few beats longer between '''right'' and ''Kitty''. Timing mistakes at that spot in the song, and some elsewhere, plague these performances. You'll hear it happen often. Not surprisingly, getting perfect unfailing coordination among all the band members for this slight change from traditional 12-bar blues structure just didn't happen. The reason for it ls that, essentially it's written as a 24-bar blues; the chord changes are meant to happen slowly and the waiting time between them seems unnaturally long. As a results some musician or another either rushed in prematurely or held back too long. Although this might have come out fine I ''Cat Clothes'' were a solo a performance, getting an entire band to play a slight vacant on a familiar musical form with established chord structures didn't work. It certainly could have if Carl or Jerry Lee or somebody had taken the time to talk it trough before they played it. A little coordination is all it would have taken. If you want a great example of how this works when it's successful, listen to Billy Riley's record of ''Red Hot'' (Sun 271; BCD 17122). Riley and company remove a few beats here and there from the 12-bar construction to hurry up those ''Your gal ain t doodle squat'' replies. That shrunken structure didn't come naturally to any of them, but once they talked it through, it worked like a charm. Apparently Carl and the boys never had such a conversation and so we have over a dozen needlessly messy outtakes.

But even that doesn't entirely solve the mystery to our ears. Why didn't Carl or one of the instrumentals| or the engineer (Sam? Jack Clement'?) ...someone... notice that the band had gotten out of sync and stop the take? Why did they just play all the way through, thereby providing just one more unusable but complete outtake?

There are other interesting variations in the performances here present. Almost all begin with an instrumental introduction but on the 10th and 11th outtakes they begin with Carl saying . ''WeIl'' reminiscent of ''Boppin' The Blues''. Some are faster, some are slower. Some have the drums or the slap bass miked very prominently, others have them further back. Some have a guitar solos that are all chord work (including some odd Hawaiian-sounding stuff on outtake 14) and some are single-string tunes. Outtakes 13 and 14 have so many mistakes that we should wonder if too much bourbon was flowing though the session. Some have glorious moments like the final guitar run on the 12the outtake. Some have frustrating moments like Jerry Lee's change in piano style behind Carls beautiful second solo ín the final outtake. And all have W.S. ''Fluke'' Holland and brother Clayton playing their hearts out. One false start in the next-to-last outtake is particularly interesting. It sounds if Carl lost track of his own vocal and got distracted by something. But what could that have been? Wouldn't it be great of this false start marked the moment that Carl first saw Elvis's arrival on December 4, 1956, the occasion of Elvis's return to Sun Studio and the Million Dollar Quartet.

06(1) - "PUT YOUR CAT CLOTHES ON" - B.M.I. - 2:47
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - April 27, 2012
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240 ER-3-1 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

06(2) - "PUT YOUR CAT CLOTHES ON" - B.M.I. - 2:52
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - April 27, 2012
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240 ER-3-2 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

06(3) - "PUT YOUR CAT CLOTHES ON" - B.M.I. - 2:43
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 3 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - April 27, 2012
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240 ER-3-3 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

06(4) - "PUT YOUR CAT CLOTHES ON" - B.M.I. - 2:48
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 4 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - April 27, 2012
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240 ER-3-4 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

06(5) - "PUT YOUR CAT CLOTHES ON" - B.M.I. - 2:50
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 5 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - April 27, 2012
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240 ER-3-5 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

06(6) - "PUT YOUR CAT CLOTHES ON" - B.M.I. - 2:49
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 6 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - April 27, 2012
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240 ER-3-6 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

06(7) - "PUT YOUR CAT CLOTHES ON" - B.M.I. - 2:44
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 7 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - April 27, 2012
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240 ER-3-7 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

06(8) - "PUT YOUR CAT CLOTHES ON" - B.M.I. - 2:41
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 8 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - April 27, 2012
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240 ER-3-8 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

06(9) - "PUT YOUR CAT CLOTHES ON" - B.M.I. - 2:43
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 9 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - April 27, 2012
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240 ER-3-9 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

''Put Your Cat Clothes On'' was probably scheduled for release with ''Boppin' The Blues'' but replaced with ''All Mama's Children''. It was included in the safety masters with ''Boppin' The Blues''. 

 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Carl Perkins - Vocal and Guitar
James Buck Perkins - Rhythm Guitar
Lloyd Clayton Perkins - Bass
W.S. "Fluke" Holland – Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

 


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR CARL PERKINS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1956

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: PROBABLY MARCH 1956-2
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

 01 - "RIGHT STRING BUT THE WRONG YO YO" - B.M.I. - 2:34
Composer: - Willie Perryman
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - March 1956
This nimble spokesphrase harks back to the early twentieth century,
however, Carl would conceivably have picked up the lyric from 
hearing Piano Red's rhythm and blues rewrite in 1951. By a remarkable
coincidence, Red was recording a new live version of the song 
in Atlanta just as Carl's permutation was being cut in Memphis.
Released: - 1958
First appearance: - Sun Records (LP) 33rpm LP 1225-9 mono
DANCE - THE BEST OF CARL PERKINS
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15494 EH-1-30 mono
THE CLASSIC CARL PERKINS

02(1) - "ALL MAMA CHILDREN" - B.M.I.- 2:22
Composer: - Carl Perkins-John R. Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 3 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - April 27, 2012
First appearance: Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240 ER-2-6 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

According to Cal Perkins, ''It was just the greatest way in the world to cut raw music, there was no rush, no clock on the wall, we didn't work it that hard, we really didn't take it that serious. It was just an easy carefree feeling, that was the beauty of it''.

''Sam knew when I made a mistake. He'd say, 'I know what you're talking about, I'll show you when we listen back to it. But, Carl, that's not bad, it's got too many good things in it'. I'd say, 'But, Mr. Phillips, it's full of mistakes', and he'd say, 'Okay, do it again'. But then he'd say, 'Listen, see, the excitement's gone. The mistake are not there, but it don't have the feeling the other one did'. And he'd always keep the one he liked''.

''Sam just seemed to know. He's step out from behind that little old glass window, and he'd say, 'All right, boys, we just about on it now, do it again. Do it one time for Sam'. Oh yeah, he did me that way all the time. It was just that type of thing, you just forgot about making a record and tried to show him. It was things like that that'd cause me, I'd walk out on a limb, I'd try things I knew I couldn't do, and I'd get in a corner trying to do it and than have to work my way out. I'd say, 'Mr. Phillips, that's terrible'. He said, 'That's original'. I said, 'But it's just a big original mistake'. He said, 'That's what Sun Records is. That's what we are'''.

02(2) - "ALL MAMA CHILDREN" - B.M.I.- 0:17
Composer: - Carl Perkins-John R. Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - False Start - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - April 27, 2012
First appearance: Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240 ER-2-7 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

02(3) - "ALL MAMA CHILDREN" - B.M.I.- 2:29
Composer: - Carl Perkins-John R. Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 4 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15494 EH-2-1 mono
THE CLASSIC CARL PERKIND
Reissued:  - April 27, 2012  Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240 ER-2-8 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

02(4) - "ALL MAMA CHILDREN" - B.M.I.- 2:51
Composer: - Carl Perkins-John R. Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 5 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15494 EH-2-1 mono
THE CLASSIC CARL PERKIND
Reissued:  - April 27, 2012  Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240 ER-2-9 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

02(5) - "ALL MAMA CHILDREN" - B.M.I.- 2:17
Composer: - Carl Perkins-John R. Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 6 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - April 27, 2012
First appearance: Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240 ER-2-10 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

SUN 243 is a fine two-sized record, although a note on the instrumental work on "All Mama's Children" is in order. W.S.'s drums and Clayton's slapped bass sound great, but Carl's guitar has never sounded cheesier. The problem seems to be that this side was cut in the Key of "C", thereby forcing Carl into some awkward chord inversions. This is odd because most pickers know that the Eleventh Commandments states, "Thou shalt never play rockabilly in "C". The blurring of racial lines that is essential to Carl's deep south patois has never been clearer than on these sides. Although the disc did not achieve the commercial success of "Blue Suede Shoes", it did solidify Carl's reputation as a solid southern rocker - both as a vocalist and an inventive guitarist. Nearly 40 years later that reputation is still intact.

02(6) - "ALL MAMA CHILDREN" - B.M.I. - 2:06
Composer: - Carl Perkins-John R. Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 195 - Master
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - May 29, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 243-B mono
ALL MAMA'S CHILDREN / BOPPIN' THE BLUES
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802-2-6 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

03(1) - "DIXIE BOP/PERKINS WIGGLE" - B.M.I. - 1"57
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - 1974
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 6467 028-7 mono
SUN ROCKABILLYS - VOLUME 3
On this LP Jimmy Haggett tracks are mistakenly attributed to Junior Thompson.
Reissued: - November Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-3-8 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: December 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-2-15 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

Back in Jackson, Tennessee, the Perkins Brothers Band had developed a signature tune variously remembered as ''Perkins Boogie'' or ''Dixie Bop''. When this was recorded at Sun some years later, Sam Phillips wrote down the title as ''Perkins Wiggle''. This version features the 'Dixie Bop' line and starts with a very different opening lyric to that previously issued. The verses were obviously inter-changeable in Carl's mind. He plays a deliberate but still driving solo and it is surprising, as it is with many Perkins titles of the era, that this song was never worked up for release in the 1950s.

03(2) - "PERKINS WIGGLE" - B.M.I. - 1:57
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-11-2 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: December 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-6-23 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Carl Perkins - Vocal and Guitar
James Buck Perkins - Rhythm Guitar
Lloyd Clayton Perkins - Bass
W.S. "Fluke" Holland – Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 



© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR CARL PERKINS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1956

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: MARCH 1956-3
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

01(1) - "EVERYBODY'S TRYIN' TO BE MY BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:21
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Carlin Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 3 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-3-14 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Recorded (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-2-18 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

01(2) - "EVERYBODY'S TRYIN' TO BE MY BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:29
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Carlin Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 4 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: April 27, 2012
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240 ER-2-18 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

01(3) - "EVERYBODY'S TRYING TO BE MY BABY" - B.M.I. - 1:54
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Take 5 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - 1985 Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1018-5 mono
RABBIT ACTION
On this LP Jimmy Haggett tracks are mistakenly attributed to Junior Thompson.
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15494 EH-2-4 mono
THE CLASSIC CARL PERKINS

 01(4) - "EVERYBODY'S TRYING TO BE MY BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:11
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 6
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - 1958
First appearance: - Sun Records (LP) 33rpm LP 1225-10 mono
DANCE - THE BEST OF CARL PERKINS
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15494 EH-2-6 mono
THE CLASSIC CARL PERKINS

02(1) - ''DIXIE FRIED" - B.M.I. - 0:57
Composer: - Carl Perkins-Howard "Curly" Griffin
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Fragment  1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - April 27, 2012
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240 ER-2-20 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

 02(2) - ''DIXIE FRIED" - B.M.I. - 2:40
Composer: - Carl Perkins-Howard "Curly" Griffin
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1018-8 mono
RABBIT ACTION
On this LP Jimmy Haggett tracks are mistakenly attributed to Junior Thompson.
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15494 EH-2-3 mono
THE CLASSIC CARL PERKINS

''DIXIE FRIED''
Recorded over two Sessions

There's no doubt that Carl was drawing on some real life experience when he wrote the lyric for ''Dixie  Fried''. But did Sam really thinks he could sell it? Were the same kids who danced to ''Blue Suede Shoes''  ready to join Carl in this after-hours romp thru the Jackson honky tonks? The interesting thing is, the title  ''Dixie Fried'' was not a common term for being drunk. The words had a lot to do with how you might cook a  steak or a chicken, but applying it to the after-efects of a bottle of Jim Beam was uniquely Carl's doing.

There's no doubt this is a clever lyric that, once again, showcases Carl's talent as a song writer. But the song  was really written for the very people it showcases, and there just ain't enough of them to make a hit record.  We hope you're interested in the song and its evolution because we've preserved just about every second of  tape committed to it in the studio.

On the first outtake we join a performance already in progress. This early session shows a considerably more  country approach to the song. Note how prominently mikes Clayton's slap bass.

The next one shows that early on, Sam, Carl and the band envisioned the song as a stop-rhythm track. That  shouldn't surprise anyone since ''Blue Suede Shoes'' and ''Boppin' The Blues'' had both used that approach  and made plenty of money. Maybe that’s what the record-buying public expected of Carl? The problem is, it  just didn't work here and it took a few minutes of studio time to get it out of their system.

Again, the slap bass is very prominently miked, which saved Sam from having to record a full set of drums  in his tiny studio. With the evolution of rockabilly and the growing importance of rock and roll, Sam would  have to change his thinking. But in the middle of 1956 he was still hanging on to his approach.

You'll hear some alternate lyrics on this take, which is hardly unusual for a Carl Perkins song. Most  everything Carl recorded was a work in progress. The guitar work in both the intro and solo here is  progressing towards what Carl plays on the issued version of ''Dixie Fried''. This recording of the song still  sounds a lot like ''Blue Suede Shoes'', although the addition of a piano in the next session would change all of  that.

Our third outtake is much closer to the issued version, although it's clear at this point the boys aren't quite  there. Carl certainly goes to some interesting places during his second guitar solo.

The fourth outtake is fascinating: You can hear Carl mess up after about half a minute and apologize to  everyone in sight. About ten seconds later, he gets it wrong again. When it happens a third time about a  minute into' the take, Carl vows he's '' gonna bust his GIT-ar''. He makes a comment about how much his  newly purchased, barely affordable Gibbson Les Paul model cost him. And here he was, blowing a guitar riff  over and over! It's a priceless moment for Sun fans and historians. When the boys finally get through the  take, there are still some sections with odd timing. Carl also utters the curious phrase, ''I've got Dixie Fried''.  Still, you can hear how close this is to the issued version of the song.

Next we have another false start followed by a full take Carl recites the lyric like he's reading a poem or  acting out a play, which is no doubt how he saw this song all along. In it's own way, this is not so far from  what Leiber and Stoller were writing for the Coasters, a story set to music.

There's a lot of energy in Carl's performance, and he continues to take some mayor liberties with both  phrasing and accenting the vocal. The guitar solo is pretty well worked out by now and W.S. ''Fluke'' Holland has  started tossing in those single stroke rolls that extend a beat or two into the next verse. It unusual, to say the  least, and it produces a powerful effect that will become most noticeable on Carl's next record, ''Matchbox''.

The last outtake is another nearly perfect version, although one problem turns up here that also shows up on  a number of Carl's recordings. You'll frequently hear his final vocal note waver in pitch when he has to  sustain it at the end of the recording. Usually that happens as he attempts to hold the note while playing the  closing guitar figure. In fairness, that's a lot to keep your attention on at once. and is a mayor reason that  bands or self accompanied singers to lay down an instrumental bed track before the perform the vocal. That  allows them to direct full attention to one thing at a time - a luxury Carl never had at Sun.
03(1) - ''PUT YOUR CAT CLOTHES ON" - B.M.I. - 2:47
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 10 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - April 27, 2012
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240 ER-3-10 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

03(2) - ''PUT YOUR CAT CLOTHES ON" - B.M.I. - 2:34
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 11 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - April 27, 2012
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240 ER-3-11 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

03(3) - ''PUT YOUR CAT CLOTHES ON" - B.M.I. - 2:57
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - False Start 1 - Take 12 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - April 27, 2012
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240 ER-3-12 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

03(4) - ''PUT YOUR CAT CLOTHES ON" - B.M.I. - 3:07
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 13 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - April 27, 2012
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240 ER-3-13 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

03(5) - ''PUT YOUR CAT CLOTHES ON" - B.M.I. - 2:50
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 14 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - April 27, 2012
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240 ER-3-14 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

 
03(6) - "PUT YOUR CAT CLOTHES ON"* - B.M.I. - 2:45
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 15 - Not Originally Issued
This song was probably scheduled for release with "Boppin' The Blues",
but replaced with "All Mama's Children".
It was included in the safety masters with "Boppin' The Blues".
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1018-12 mono
RABBIT ACTION
On this LP Jimmy Haggett tracks are mistakenly attributed to Junior Thompson.
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15494 EH-1-26 mono
THE CLASSIC CARL PERKINS

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Carl Perkins - Vocal and Guitar
Thomas E. Cisco (Eddie Star) - Rhythm Guitar
Lloyd Clayton Perkins - Bass
W.S. "Fluke" Holland - Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 



© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR CARL PERKINS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1956

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: MARCH 1956-4
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCERS AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

Anyone who doubts Carl Perkins' status as a folk poet of the rural south hasn't heard "Dixie Fried". This song may be an utter delight to fans of redneck rockabilly, but it stood as much chance of denting the national charts in October, 1956 as a Bach chorale.

"Dixie Fried" was perhaps the high point of Perkins' career on record and probably the best song he had a hand in writing. It was so determinedly rural in content and execution that it was inconceivable that Sam Phillips could have entertained serious hopes for it in the pop market. Gogi Grant was sitting atop the pop charts with "Wayward Wind" on the day that "Dixie Fried" was released. The two songs could have come from different planets.
"Dixie Fried" was a slice of life from the Jackson honky tonks. Talking to Ronnie Weiser, Carl Perkins gave a little background on the environment that had spawned the song: "The light from the jukebox was all we had. They had chicken wire around us and the jukebox to keep the bottles from hitting us. 

(The bartender) had an axe handle behind the bar and about four or five inches on the big end of the axe handle was bored out and poured full of hot lead. When he said, 'That's it. That's enough. Get out!' you had just enough time to do it or they'd swing". In "Dixie Fried", Carl Perkins wrote: "On the outskirts of town, there's a little nitespot". Dan dropped in about "Five o'clock". He pulled off his coat, said "The night is short".
 
Reached in his pocket and he flashed a quart, hollerin', "Rave on, children I'm with you, rave on cats", he cried. "Its almost dawn and the cops are gone, Let's all get Dixie Fried". Dan got happy and he started ravin. He jerked out a razor - but he wasn't shavin'. All the cats knew to jump and hop "Cause he was borned and raised in a butcher shop...".

01(1) - "DIXIE FRIED" - B.M.I. - 2:19
Composer: - Carl Perkins-Howard "Curly" Griffin
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - April 27, 2012
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240 ER-2-22 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

01(2) - "DIXIE FRIED" - B.M.I. - 3:29
Composer: - Carl Perkins-Howard "Curly" Griffin
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - 3x FS, Take 3 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - 1990
First appearance: -  Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15494 EH-2-7 mono
THE CLASSIC CARL PERKINS
Reissued: - April 27, 2012 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240 ER-2-23 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

Carl Perkins co-wrote the song with Howard "Curly" Griffin, a disc jockey from Jackson. Whatever Perkins' role in the composition might have been, it is "Dixie Fried" rather than "Blue Suede Shoes" that is the vindication of his skill as a songwriter. The song is born and bred of illicit liquor delivered with the throwaway humour of Chuck Berry. One could make a movie out of it. And every record producer in New York, Nashville, or Los Angeles would have said, "I'm sorry Carl..." after hearing the first run-through. "Dixie Fried" did some business in the country charts on the lingering strength of "Blue Suede Shoes" but predictably failed to show up in the pop charts.

01(3) - "DIXIE FRIED" - B.M.I. - 2:30
Composer: - Carl Perkins-Howard "Curly" Griffin
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - FS, Take 4 - Not Originally Issued 
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: -  April 27, 2012 
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240 ER-2-24 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

01(4) - "DIXIE FRIED" - B.M.I. - 2:27
Composer: - Carl Perkins-Howard "Curly" Griffin
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 5 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: -  April 27, 2012 
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240 ER-2-25 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

01(5) - "DIXIE FRIED" - B.M.I. - 2:25
Composer: - Carl Perkins-Howard "Curly" Griffin
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 211 - Master Take 6
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - August 3, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 249-B mono
DIXIE FRIED / I'M SORRY I'M NOT SORRY
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802-2-18 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

If this slice of menacing southern low life appears as an unrepentant sneer at commercial record making, this flipside moved in quite the opposite direction. On "I'm Sorry I'm Not Sorry", Perkins tries his hand at a pop ballad, complete with some of the hiccupy mannerisms Presley was busy taking to the bank. It failed, not undeservedly, but it wouldn't be the last time Sam Phillips recorded Carl Perkins with one eye on the burgeoning teen marketplace.
Wanda Ballman >

''I'M SORRY I'M NOT SORRY''

To begin with, Sam had no idea what to do with Carl Perkins at this point. Perkins had come to him as a hillbilly singer in the Hank Williams mold. There was no denying Carl's talent as both a singer and songwriter, but Williams had been dead for over three years and his grip on country music was fading. Carl had shown a flair for songwriting, and his comic ode to a pair of shoes had made them both a lot of money.

But the follow-up to ''Blue Suede Shoes'' had failed to sustain the momentum. Sam had better do something fast, or Perkins might become just another one-hit wonder.  On one side of Sun 249, Sam placed the clever but commercially untenable ''Dixie Fried''. On the other side he force-fed Carl a piece of late 1950s pop balladry, complete with piano triplets and hiccuppy vocal gimmicks. Was this the stylistic path Carl might follow? Luckily for us, it wasn't a hit, although at this point, anytime seemed possible.
 
 
Certainly buyers who came to the party for this song would wonder what hit them when they flipped the record over. But the same can be said for buyers who came to hear ''Dixie Fried''.

For the first time, Carl's record featured material admittedly composed by somebody else. The song had been written by Wanda Bellman, an aspiring, singer/songwriter from Jonesboro, Arkansas. She submitted the song via demo to Sam and went from being an unknown to a professional almost overnight when her copyright appeared on one side of a Carl Perkins record. Pretty impressive stuff. We do know that Wanda engaged in an extended correspondence with Sam throughout this period. He stoked Wanda's fires even higher when he had her come to Memphis in 1957 and record five sides. None were released at the time although they continue to be resurrected on Sun reissues internationally. It is possible that Sam, being Sam, made the most of Wanda Ballman's enthusiasm when he acted as her a new found benefactor and champion. In later years, Wanda persevered and had her material recorded by main stream artists like Loretta Lynn and Charley Pride.

What we do know for sure is that this cleverly titled song went through half a dozen outtakes by Carl (all of which are included here). Its title managed to confuse one of us (HD) over the years (did It mean ''Sometimes I 'm sorry: sometimes I'm not'' or was it an apology Carl offers when he sings ''I'm sorry THAT I'm not sorry''?). The song was part of the ''clever title 'tradition of the day such as Elvis's ''I Forgot To Remember To Forget'' or ''I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone'' In any case, the record sank like a stone, although ''Dixie Fried'' has been recorded several times by other artists in the ensuing half a century.

In general these outtakes are a mess. Maybe it's because he isn't playing his own material, but the feeling in Carl's vocal seems contrived and his guitar work is uninspired and aimless – not qualities one usually associates with Carl's playing. Granted the issued version of the song doesn't make the ''Carl at Sun'' híghlight reel, but these outtakes are really inferior fare. On some, e g., the first, the shuffle rhythm is more pronounced than the single On others, the vocal hiccup quotient is measurably lower. On the fourth, Carl's singing is far more emotional during the release. The melody (what there is of it) is different during the early outtakes (e g. the first). Also note that the slap bass is more prominently miked than on the original release. The one thing that seems to have been steady and consistent is the brief instrumental kick-of. However, as late as our final outtake (which may have been recorded immediately before the released version) the ending is still a mess. All in all, this one sounds like it was a chore to record.

02(1) - ''I'M SORRY I'M NOT SORRY" - B.M.I. - 2:34
Composer: - Wanda Ballman
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - April 27, 2012
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240 ER-2-26 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

 02(2) - ''I'M SORRY I'M NOT SORRY" - B.M.I. - 0:26
Composer: - Wanda Ballman
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - False Start 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - April 27, 2012
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240 ER-2-27 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

02(3) - ''I'M SORRY I'M NOT SORRY" - B.M.I. - 0:12
Composer: - Wanda Ballman
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - False Start 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - April 27, 2012
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240 ER-2-28 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

02(4) - ''I'M SORRY I'M NOT SORRY" - B.M.I. - 2:35
Composer: - Wanda Ballman
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - April 27, 2012
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240 ER-2-29 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

02(5) - ''I'M SORRY I'M NOT SORRY" - B.M.I. - 3:35
Composer: - Wanda Ballman
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - False Start 3 - False Start 4
- False Start 5 - Take 3 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - April 27, 2012
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240 ER-2-30 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

02(6) - ''I'M SORRY I'M NOT SORRY" - B.M.I. - 2:33
Composer: - Wanda Ballman
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 4 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - April 27, 2012
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17240 ER-2-31 mono
CARL PERKINS - THE SUN ERA OUTTAKES

02(7) - ''I'M SORRY I'M NOT SORRY" - B.M.I. - 2:25
Composer: - Wanda Ballman
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 210  - Master
Recorded: - March 1956
Released: - August 3, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 249-A mono
I'M SORRY I'M NOT SORRY / DIXIE FRIED
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802-2-17 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

 Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Carl Perkins - Vocal and Guitar
Thomas E. Cisco (Eddie Star) - Rhythm Guitar
Lloyd Clayton Perkins - Bass
W.S. "Fluke" Holland - Drums
Jimmy Smith – Piano

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

 Jerry Mercer and Narvel Felts >
 
MARCH 24, 1956 SATURDAY

Future Sun recording artist, Narvel Felts ran across Jerry Mercer one night at the Fourway  Inn in Dudley, Missouri. Mercer got him to sing and invited him to come to Pop Schmitzer's,  near Malden, the next night and sit in with him some more and this led to a regular job in Jerry Mercer's band along about the spring of 1956.
 
He played a lot of the local clubs in  south-east Missouri, nort-east Arkansas and some in Illinois and played a package show that  summer with Roy Orbison when ''Ooby Dooby'' was his current record and ''Go! Go! Go!'' the B-side  of it.  Eddie Bond and The Stompers were also on the show and Eddie's record on  Mercury at the time was ''I Got A Woman'' and ''Rockin' Daddy''.

During 1956 from the spring until about mid-December, Narvel Felts worked with Jerry  Mercer and he would;d play the slap bass when he was singing...
 
 
...and he would play it when  Narvel was singing. ''We would trade and both of us played'', remembered Narvel Felts. ''I  would play rhythm guitar when I sang and he would play rhythm guitar when he sang. During  this period of time we did that show with Roy Orbison and Eddie Bond at Dexter, Missouri,  and within a couple of weeks after that show I wound up with an audition with Sun Records.

Calvin Richardson, who was my manager and a Dexter music store owner at the time, told  me that Roy was going to help him get an appointment at Sun for me, so Leon Barnett and I  drove down in my Chevrolet to Sun. I was very hot summer time, probably August or early  September, when we auditioned for Jack Clement. Jack told us to write some more songs,  bring the whole band back. However, we did not wind up doing that until early 1957. In the  meantime, in December of 1956, Jerry Mercer got married and decided to quit the music  business. The band now became Narvel Felts and the Rockets.
Roy Orbison and The Teen Kings playing a dance at the Youth Center in McCamey, West Texas on December 20, 1957 >

MARCH 26, 1956 MONDAY

Roy Orbison and the Teen Kings arrived in Memphis. The next days they re-recorded "Ooby  Dooby", "Tryin' To Get To You" and "Go! Go! Go! (Down the Line)". Bob Neal, owner of Starts  Inc., signed the group to a booking and management contract. They kicked off with an  experimental tour of Southern drive-in movies theaters, performing on the projection house  roofs between film showings.

Most of the time touring with Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash,  Warren Smith, Sonny Burgess, Faron Young, Johnny Horton and then Jerry Lee Lewis and  other Country and Rockabilly stars.  Later, the single ''Ooby Dooby" hit the national charts in June 1956 but the next Sun singles  did not chart and Roy started developing his songwriting talent. The Teen Kings split up in  December 1956 and Roy used studio musicians for the upcoming Sun sessions. He stayed at  Sun until 1958.

 
Roy Orbison was the most talented of the new wave of second generations rockers, a twenty-year-old college student from Wink, Texas, who had grown up with a deep love of country music, which his father, an oil rigger, had passed on to him. He was an odd duck in high school, short, jug-eared, and awkward-looking, with thick unflattering glasses that only emphasized a past, moon-faced complexion, he wrote poetry, drew cartoon, and at some point early on, perhaps to defuse the common perception that, with his poor eyesight and pale coloration, he was an albino, dyed his hair black.

END MARCH 1956

Johnny Cash completes a Sun tour of Texas, and goes on to tour Floridam Georgia and the Carolinas with Ferlin Husky.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR ROY ORBISON & THE TEEN KINGS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1956

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: TUESDAY MARCH 27, 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
AND JACK CLEMENT

One of the many who came to Sun in the wake of Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison tried for a few years to become a rock and roll singer. By his own admission, his heart remained elsewhere. Despite the fact that Orbison made periodic forays back into the country and rock music of his youth, the heart of his style was rooted in pop ballads. Hillbilly and rockabilly were essentially southern musics; the hits Orbison scored in the 1960s were timeless and placeless. Like Elvis Presley, but unlike Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins Roy Orbison transcended his roots.

At Johnny Cash's suggestion, Roy Orbison had already approached Sam Phillips at Sun Records, but Phillips had rebuffed him, declaring, "Johnny Cash doesn't run my record company". But Orbison had stronger ally in Cecil "Pop" Holifield, who operated the Record Shop in Midland and Odessa and had booked Elvis Presley  into the area. Holifield played a copy of the Je-Well Record of "Ooby Dooby" over the phone to Phillips, who heard something unique in the strangely fragile voice, and asked him to send along a copy. "My first reaction", recalled Sam Phillips many years later, "was that "Ooby Dooby" was a novelty-type thing that resembled some of the novelty hits from the 1930s and 1940s. I thought if we got a good cut on it we could get some attention. Even more, I was very impressed with the inflection Roy brought to it. In fact, I think I was more impressed than Roy".


01(1) - "OOBY DOOBY" - B.M.I. - 2:10
Composer: -    Wade Lee Moore-Allen Richard Dick Penner
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U-192 - Take 2 - Master
Recorded: - March 27, 1956
Released: - May 29, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 242-A mono
OOBY DOOBY / GO! GO! GO!
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802-2-3 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

In Odessa, Texas, Roy Orbison roomed with James Morrow, Jack Kennelly, and Billy Pat Ellis, who recast themselves as the Teen Kings. The original bassist from the Wink Westeners, Charles Evans, had guit to get married and had been replaced by Jack Kennelly. The Teen Kings were joined by the diminutive Johnny "Peanuts" Wilson on rhythm guitar, and with that line-up they secured themselves on an television show on KOSA, sponsored by the local Pontiac dealer. Roy Orbison had also returned from Denton with original song, "Ooby Dooby", that he had acquired from Wade Moore and Dick Penner, who had written it in fifteen minutes on the flat roof of a frat house at North Texas State. It was copyrighted in May 1955, and Orbison apparently first recorded it at some point in late 1955 during a demo session for Columbia Records at Jim Back's studio in Dallas. That session also yielded a version of the Clovers hit, "Hey Miss Fanny".

It appears as though it was first recorded by the Wink Westeners, reconstituted as the Teen Kings, at Norman Petty's studio in Clovis, New Mexico, together with 12 or 14 other songs. At roughly the same time "Ooby Dooby" was re-recorded in Arlington, Texas. An acetate was submitted to Columbia who later gave it to Sid  King, who recorded "Ooby Dooby" on March 5, 1956. A day earlier, Roy Orbison had re-recorded the song at Norman Petty's studio in Clovis, New Mexico. That session yielded essential rockabilly, such as "Domino", as well as "An Empty Cup (And A Broken Date)" pitched by Petty to Buddy Holly. In the Petty sessions the Teen Kings sang backup vocals similar to those popularized by rhythm and blues groups.

"Ooby Dooby" did good business nationwide, eventually reaching number 59 on Billboard's Hot 100 and selling roughly 200,000 copies. It would be the biggest hit that Orbison would have for four years. He bought his first Cadillac. "That's what we all wanted", he asserted, "a Cadillac and a diamond ring before out twenty-first birthday".

01(2) - "OOBY DOOBY" - B.M.I. - 2:11
Composer: -    Wade Lee Moore-Allen Richard Dick Penner
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -  March 27, 1956
Released: - 1980
First appearance: - 1989 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15461 AH-1 mono
ROY ORBISON - THE SUN YEARS 1956 - 1958
Reissued: - 2001 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16423 GL-2-1 mono
ROY ORBISON - ORBISON 1955 - 1966

There are many Sun out-takes of ''Ooby Dooby'', all of them very close to the finished version, and very close to the Je-Wel and Columbia versions. True, the song lacked profundity, but it was a remarkable record that can't be dismissed as easily as Roy later tried to dismiss it. Roy's guitar solo was marvellously lyrical. He repeated it note-for-note on the second break and on all existing alternate takes and alternate versions, proving that he was already a painstaking craftsman rather than a spontaneous creator. But the record's most unusual feature was its ending. What other record ended with five descending bass notes?

01(3) - OOBY DOOBY" - B.M.I. - 2:11
Composer: - Wade L. Moore-Dick A.R. Penner
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -  March 27, 1956
Released: - 1989
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15461 AH-9 mono
ROY ORBISON - THE SUN YEARS 1956 - 1958
Reissued: - 2001 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16423 GL-2-2 mono
ROY ORBISON - ORBISON 1955 - 1966

According to Sam Phillips, ''Roy was a perfectionist in the best sense. I don't think people generally know how good a guitar player Roy was. His timing would amaze me, with him playing lead and filling in... he would do a lot of combination string stuff, but it was all pushing real good''.

01(4) - "OOBY DOOBY" - B.M.I. - 2:10
Composer: - Wade L. Moore-Dick A.R. Penner
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 3 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -  March 27, 1956
Released: - 2001
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16423 GL-2-3 mono
ROY ORBISON - ORBISON 1955 - 1966

Roy Orbison's version of "Ooby Dooby" from the Petty sessions was quickly released on Je-Wel Records, the name a rough acronym from Jean Oliver and Weldon Rogers. The label was underwritten by Oliver's father, Chester, an executive at Gulf Oil. The Teen Kings had met Jean, who played accordion and sang, and her boyfriend, Weldon Rogers, at some of the Friday night jamborees they played in West Texas. Sensing that  "Ooby Dooby" might break like "Blue Suede Shoes", Sam Phillips moved fast and brought the Teen Kings to Sun Records to re-record the song.

According to Weldon Rogers, Sam Phillips called him during the ''Ooby Dooby'' session: ''After all of this, Sam Phillips had the nerve to call me one night home when they were doing the session down there. He couldn't get the sound in his studio that Norman Petty had gotten. He told me, ''This is Sam Phillips at Sun Records. Weldon, I understand you cut a record with Roy Orbison and the Teen Kings'. And I said, You ought to know about it'. He said, 'I hope there's no hard feelings... By the way, do you still have the master for that'? Yeah, I've got it'. I'm recording these boys down here and we can't get the sound that they had at Norman Petty's studio and I wonder if you would sell me that master'? I said, 'Yeah, I'll be happy to sell it to you'. 'What would it take to buy it'? I just pulled a figure out of the air: 'I'll take $1,100 for it'. Oh my, he said, 'You ain't got nothing like that much in it'. I said, 'It's not any of your business what I've got in it. You asked me what I'd sell it for. So I'll just keep it''.
 
From a point of view, the song is simply there to bracket the guitar solos. The solos, which are essentially identical, are two full choruses long (solos were usually only one verse long back then) and the record is built around them. The solo's first three lines follow the song's melody and then Orbison breaks free. He bends notes creating tension that gets resolved quickly; he attacks staccato chords; he runs up and down; and he closes with a satisfying final chord that leads back into the vocal. It's a well-crafted journey. In later years, Orbison did all he could to disavow his Sun recordings. But the evidence is clear: He was one hell of a guitar player.
"Go! Go! Go! was copyrighted in 1956 as a co-write between Roy Orbison and his drummer Billy Pat Ellis. In just a matter of months the song yielded further spoils when it was reworked as "Down The Line", the flipside of "Breathless" by Jerry Lee Lewis. By this stage, Roy had waved goodbye to The Teen Kings and Ellis' contribution was ungraciously erased. Sam Phillips wanted one of his own copyrights on the flip-side "Go!, Go!, Go!". The coupling was released in April 1956. Billboard praised its "spectacular untamed quality" and surmised that it would "cash in for plenty of loot in the rural sectors". In fact, it did good business everywhere, eventually reaching number 59 on Billboard's Hot 100.

02 - "GO! GO! GO!" - B.M.I. – 2:08
Composer: - Roy Orbison-Billy Pat Ellis
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U-193 - Master
Recorded: -  March 27, 1956
Released: - May 29, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 242-B mono
GO! GO! GO! / OOBY DOOBY
Reissued - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802-2-4 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

03(1) - "TRYIN' TO GET TO YOU" - B.M.I. - 2:39
Composer: - Margie C. Singleton-Rose Marie McCoy
Publisher: - Motion Music Company
Matrix number: - Undubbed - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -  March 27, 1956
Released: - 1961
First appearance: - Sun Records (LP) 33rpm SLP 1260-4 mono
ROY ORBISON AT THE ROCKHOUSE
Reissued: - 1989 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15461 AH-10 mono
ROY ORBISON - THE SUN YEARS 1956 - 1958

03(2) - "TRYIN' TO GET TO YOU" - B.M.I. - 2:38
Composer: - Margie C. Singleton-Rose Marie McCoy
Publisher: - Motion Music Company
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -  March 27, 1956  
Released: - June 1988
First appearance: - Zu-Zazz Records (CD) 500/200rpm Z 2006 mono
PROBLEM CHILD
Some additional undubbed and unissued Sun masters.
Reissued: - 2001 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16423 GL-2-4 mono
ROY ORBISON - ORBISON 1955 - 1966

Roy Orbison with country star Charlene Arthur at the Big D. Jamboree, Dallas, Texas, 1956 >

Even stranger was the fact that Roy Orbison had recorded "Tryin' To Get To You" for Je-Wel Records. Never a real lover rhythm and blues, Orbison had latched on to an obscure song by the Eagles and recorded it at roughly the same time that Elvis Presley recorded a version for Sun Records (that remained unissued until 1956). The most likely scenario is that Elvis Presley sang the tune on one of his forays through Texas and that Roy Orbison learned it from Elvis Presley.


Orbison used Presley's shuffle rhythm and makes the same minor lyrical change that Elvis Presley made. An additional wrinkle was added to the story when Orbison's Je-Well record was leased to Imperial for a B-side to a Weldon Rogers single in 1956.
 
 
 
 
At the suggestion of Johnny Cash, Orbison approached Sam Phillips at Sun Records, but Phillips rebuffed him saying "Johnny Cash doesn't run my record company". However, Orbison had a stronger ally in Cecil Holifield who operated the Record Shops in Midland and Odessa and had booked Elvis Presley into the area. Holifield sent a copy of the Je-Well record to Sam Phillips who heard something unique in the strangely fragile voice and invited the group to Memphis.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Roy Orbison - Vocal and Guitar
Johnny ''Peanuts'' Wilson - Guitar
James Morrow - Electric Mandolin
Jack Kennelly - Bass
Billy Pat Ellis - Drums

Roy Orbison and the Teen Kings returned to West Texas immediately after the session and heard nothing until Sam Phillips called them one day in early May and told them that the record was breaking in Memphis and other markets. Sam Phillips placed the Teen Kings with Bob Neal's booking agency, Stars Incorporated, located at 1916 Sterick Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee.

Dropping out of school just weeks before final exams, the Teen Kings hit the road as part of a package show with Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Warren Smith. ''We played trying to make stage shows out of one hit record, which is very difficult, so we jumped around on stage like a bunch of idiots''. Warren Smith's drummer Jimmie Lott, remembered that Roy wouldn't wear his glasses and was led to the microphone like a blind blues singer. ''We started in West Virginia or North Carolina'', Roy remembered, ''then wound up in Memphis''. Elvis made a surprise appearance at the Memphis show, held at Overton Park Shell on June 1, 1956.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 


THE STORY ABOUT ''OOBY DOOBY'' – In February 1955, Wade Moore and Dick Penner  composed "Ooby Dooby", in fifteen minutes on the roof of the frat house, but nothing  happened even when Roy Orbison recorded the song. That demo was sent to Don Law, a  Columbia Records representative, in vain with "Hey, Miss Fanny" as B-side. However, Roy  Orbison and The Teens Kings keep faith on the song and they will often perform it on stage.  Soon Weldon Rodgers, himself a great singer, wanted to set a up session in Norman Petty's  studio in December 1955. "Ooby Dooby" b/w "Tryin' to Get to You" was issued on JE-WEL 101.

Sun contract for ''Ooby Dooby''. >

 
That label was named from the first letters Jean Olivier (daughter of Weldon's label  associate) and Weldon. The record was manufactured in Phoenix, Arizona and, in spite of  good sales, Roy Orbison was still lookin' around for fame and fortune on a major label.

 
At last, Roy's demo record came between the hands of Sid King and The Five Strings who  recorded the song for Columbia, on 5th March 1956. The session in Dallas and worked fine.  One month earlier, as the same band had covered Carl Perkins "Blue Suede Shoes". Sam  Phillips should have watching for them next record. In spite of the JE-WEL contract, Sam  Phillips took on Roy and his band. A battle followed in court and the JE-WEL contract was  cancelled as not signed by Roy's folks because he was still underage. The JE-WEL records had  to be released from the records shops too. That's now a real rare record often gets  bootlegged. So be aware if you are looking for one vintage copy.

On March 27, 1956, a Roy Orbison's session was at 706 Union Avenue. Sam Phillips was  disappointed by the result and gave a phone call to Weldon Rogers in order to buy the JEWEL  master. Weldon asked for a so high price than Sam Phillips issued what he got on the  Sun 242. In June 1956, "Ooby Dooby" climbed to number 59 in Billboard's Hot 100 and  quickly sold over 500.000 copies. Some covers followed, the better being recorded by  rockabilly Queen Janis Martin for RCA records. The "Ooby Dooby" success led Sam Phillips to  sign Dick Penner and Wade Moore on his label.
His birthplace Wink, Texas, built in two years after the 1930s oil boom, Wink is now nearly  deserted. Roy Orbison grew up here in the 1940s and early 1950s and escaped as soon as he  could. The street where he lived is now renamed Roy Orbison Avenue, but his house is gone.  Shortly after the singer died, the mayor tried to get a $30.000 statue erected; only $5000  was donated, however, with many locals claiming not to know "The Big O" was, Wink now  hosts an annual Orbison festival the second Saturday in June, with soundalike and lookalike  contests.
 
A cut-out of Orbison stands by the door of the Roy Orbison Museum at 205 East Hendricks  Boulevard, City Hall, Wink, which could kindly be said to lack funding. The people at City  Hall can let you in during office hours, and with advance notice, a volunteer will give a talk  on Roy Orbison.
 

Carl Perkins received a 1956 Cadillac Fleetwood from Sam Phillips for one million sales of ''Blue Suede Shoes'', April 11, 1956. The Cad delivered by Southern Motors at 341 Union Avenue, two blocks west across street from Sun studio between Union and Gayoso at the corner of Danny Thomas Boulevard. >

There was a story in the Press-Scimitar by Bob Johnson that pictured both the car Carl Perkins had wrecked and the car Carl was receiving as a gift from Sam Phillips, owner of Sun Records Co., with Sam handing over the keys to Carl. It was a moment he would always treasure, or at least treasure until years later when Carl realized that the cost of the Cadillac had been deducted from his royalties. For Sam Phillips this was something of a painful subject in later years, he was certain he had never spoken to Carl in the terms that Carl, with his natural generosity of spirit, had understood him to use. According to his own recollection, he had told Carl quite plainly that he wanted Carl to have a new car and that he would happily advance the money and get it for him at dealer's cost, which came to something like $1,500 below the sticker price. But he never corrected the newspaper caption, and from the perspective...
 
 
...of Johnny Cash, who like Carl remained unaware of the accounting issue for many years, that simply raised the question ''Where's my Cadillac''? when his new single, ''I Walk The Line'', had accumulated sales of nearly a million some six months later. (Carl was touched beyond measure, he confided to Johnny Cash that Sam said he had made a vow to buy a brand-new Cadillac for the first Sun artist to sell a million records).
 


MARCH 28, 1956 WEDNESDAY

Peer Music registers ''Ooby Dooby''. The publisher is shown as Hi-Lo Music. ''Roy called Dad and told him that if he would allow him to record ''Ooby Dooby'', he would give him the royalties on his next four recordings'', said Lane Cowart (daughter of Wade Moore). ''My dad did not think this was fair to Roy so he turned down the offer and agreed to let Roy record it''. (In fact, a published song can be recorded by anyone, provided that the statutory royalty is paid).

MARCH 31, 1956 SATURDAY

Brenda Lee debuts on Red Foley's ''Ozark Jubilee'' TV-show in Springfield, Missouri, performing ''Jambalaya'' (On The Bayou)''. The program becomes a key component in launching her to national stardom.

Elvis Presley makes his final regular appearance on The Louisiana Hayride, although he does return to the show for one week in December 1956.

Alyce King, of The King Sisters, remarries, tying the knot with Robert Clarke, 10 years after the group earned a country hit with ''Divorce Me C.O.D.''.
 

 
APRIL 1956
 


APRIL 1956

The ensuing months on Sun were marked by disappointment for Carl Perkins, as he struggled  to recapture the seemingly effortless success of ''Blue Suede Shoes''. They were also tinged  with envy, as he saw labelmates Johnny Cash and then Jerry Lee Lewis achieve the success  that eluded him. Finally, they were darkened by grief as he watched his brother Jay slowly  fall victim to cancer.
 
After a short hospital stay, Carl Perkins was back in Memphis at the beginning of April 1956.  The huge Chrysler that was ruined in his wreck had been a loaner from Southern Motors  while Carl awaited the delivery of his obligatory Cadillac. Rarely one to miss a photo  opportunity, Sam Phillips handed him the keys to the shiny new blue '56 Fleetwood as he  and Perkins stood at the dealership on April 11. Perkins told the press that the car was a gift  from Phillips, who had sworn that the first artist to sell a million copies of a record on Sun  would receive a Cadillac. ''Carl says he'll drive it mighty careful'', said the report in the  Memphis Press Scimitar - although the car would be wrecked on August 29 near Brownsville,  Tennessee, when Perkins was speeding.

Sam Phillips had anticipated his record company might receive some attention as these two  artists hit the top, and beginning in April he unleashed a full round of country rock and roll  records: Warren Smith's ''Rock 'N' Roll Ruby'' b/w ''I'd Rather Be Safe Than Sorry'' (Sun 239), followed by Jack Earls and the  Jimbos ''Slow Down'' b/w ''A Fool For Loving You'' (Sun 240), followed by Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two's rhythmic  country hit ''I Walk The Line'' b/w ''Get Rhythm'' (Sun 241). 

In May, Roy Orbison & the Teen Kings had ''Ooby  Dooby'' (Sun 242), followed by Perkins' next disc after ''Blue Suede Shoes'', ''Boppin' The  Blues'' (Sun 243), followed by Billy Lee Riley's first Sun release, ''Trouble Bound'' (Sun 245).  Except for Earls' and Riley's, these platters caused commotion in markets across the U.S.A.  (Riley made up for it the following year with ''Flying Saucer Rock And Roll'' and ''Red Hot'').

APRIL 1956

Johnny Cash started composing rock and roll songs. One of these, "Rock 'N' Roll Ruby" was  pitched to a newcomer at Sun, Warren Smith, in March 1956. Cash's breathless demo shows  how painfully ill-at-ease he was with anything brisker than a medium tempo. (Warren Smith  would later contend that George Jones had told him that Johnny Cash had bought "Rock And  Roll Ruby" off Jones for forty dollars. If that is the case, however, it would appear that Cash  amended the lyrics, for they bear the imprint of his writing style). Cash also pitched another  rock and roll song called "Little Woolly Booger (You're My Baby)" to Roy Orbison, an effort he  would later call "the worst thing I ever conceived". In the demo, again, Cash continually trips  over himself in an inept attempt at acute need to pander to the nascent rock market. He  had written a very adult song that would cross over effortless and wholly without  contrivance into the pop charts.

APRIL 1956

"Blue Suede Shoes" finally tops most charts. Although it spends almost five months on  Billboard's country and pop charts, it is excluded from the number 1 position by "Heartbreak  Hotel." By early May both Perkins and Sun Records have logged their first million-seller.

APRIL 1956

"Bad Girl" b/w ''Gonna Romp And Stomp'' (Sun 238) by Slim Rhodes and Sun 239 "Rock 'N' Roll Ruby" b/w ''I'd Rather Be Safe Than Sorry'' by Warren Smith are  issued. But when the single came out, Warren Smith reneged on the deal, and the royalties for the record's remarkable sale of seventy thousand copies in the first three months all went to him. Which was one reason that Warren Smith, an intense, not infrequently moody young man who Sam thought had unlimited potential in the country field, was not particularly popular with his fellow musicians. ''He was the kind of character that needed to be loved a lot'', said Sam Phillips. ''But a lot of people didn't like him, he perceived that they didn't, and it was his fault in most cases''.

Billboard of May 12 reports the formation of the Stars Incorporated booking agency in  Memphis by Sam Phillips and Bob Neal. Sam describes Warren Smith as "The third entrant in  the sweeptakes after Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins". Warren's "Rock 'N' Roll Ruby" enters the  Memphis chart at this time, and makes number 1 by May 26.

"I Walk The Line" b/w ''Get Rhythm'' (Sun 241) by Johnny Cash is released.

Claunch and Cantrell are working  with Lendon Smith for Meteor Records on "Women" (Meteor 5030).

Carl Perkins  finally makes his delayed appearance on the Perry Como TV show on May 26. "Blue Suede  Shoes" peaks on the National Honor Roll of Hits at number 4.

Roy Orbison and the Teen Kings hit the road as part of package shows assembled by Bob  Neal. "We played all these unbelievable little town", recalled Orbison to Booth. "We were  trying to make stage shows out of one hit record - which is very difficult - so we jumped  around on stage like a bunch of idiots". By that point, Roy Orbison had developed a  fascination for studio work. He moved to Memphis, played sessions at Sun Records and  performed on commercials and radio spots that Sam Phillips continued to engineer just in  case the rock and roll craze blew over.
 
APRIL 1956
 
The very first half-hour television serial (soap opera) "As The World Turns" premiered on CBS during April of 1956. It was unusual as most serials had only been 15 minutes in length up until that point. The public reception of the show was initially tepid but it soon became quite popular and was one of the highest rated shows on television. "As The World Turns" had featured several now well-known actors during its fifty plus year run including Meg Ryan, Amanda Seyfried, Matthew Morrison, and Jordana Brewster. The show was set in fictional Oakdale, Illinois and plot lines focused on the lives of the town's residents. It was notable in that it had a much slower pace than other serial soap operas of the time, choosing to highlight gradual character development rather than over the top drama. It won several Emmy Awards throughout its run. In 2010 the show was cancelled by CBS due to low ratings.

Thirty-one year old Rocky Marciano retires from the sport of professional boxing during April of 1956 as the only champion with a perfect record, having won all 49 of his professional career match-ups. Marciano began his boxing career after leaving the U.S. Army at the end of World War II. He had his first professional match in 1947 against Lee Epperson. In 1952 he won the title of Heavyweight Champion of the World after defeating Joe Walcott. After winning the title, he successfully defended his crown five other times before his retirement. Of his 49 total matches, he won 43 of them with a knockout. Marciano was later killed in a plane crash at the age of forty-five during 1969.

APRIL 1, 1956 SUNDAY

Elvis has a screen test with producer Hal Wallis of Paramount Pictures. The result being he is  signed to three year contract.

Studio session for Charlie Feathers at Meteor Record in Memphis, Tennessee.
 


Onie Wheeler >

In early 1955 future Sun recording artist Onie Wheeler got his first taste of the new wave in country music when he was booked on tour with Elvis Presley. As far back as 1952, Onie had been managed by Charlie Terrell who also operated trucking companies from his base in Sikeston. Bob Neal, then managing Elvis Presley, contracted Terrell and placed Onie Wheeler on tours in the Spring of 1955 booked through Colonel Tom Parker and Hank Snow's Jamboree Attractions.



Neal also assumed Onie's management for a while. Onie Wheeler left his band, the Nelson brothers back in Sikeston area.  After he returned, they picked up where they had left off with no hard feelings on anyone's part. In fact, the Nelsons were glad to see him back; their attendances were dropping off without him. Once again, Charlie Terrell took over as Onie's manager.

 
In August 1955, Columbia Records picked up their option on Sun future recording artist, Onie Wheeler's contract, renewing it at three percent. Onie returned to the studio next year in April 1956, with rock and roll looming large in his thoughts. ''Onie's Bop'' was one of the more successful attempts by an established  country artist to render his version of the new music, if for no other reason than he made light of it. It had been written while Onie was driving for Charlie Terrell, and, according to Terrell, it was the biggest-selling record of Onie's career to that point. They lined up a television appearance on the Ozark Jubilee when Onie had to censor the line: ''that's when I flub my dub''.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Session Published for Historical Reasons

STUDIO SESSION FOR ONIE WHEELER
FOR COLUMBIA RECORDS 1956

MUSIC CITY RECORDERS
804 16TH AVENUE SOUTH, NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE
COLUMBIA SESSION: SUNDAY APRIL 1, 1956
SESSION HOURS: 14:00-17:00
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER – DON LAW

01 – ''I WANNA HOLD MY BABY'' – B.M.I. - 2:31
Composer: - Jean Wheeler
Publisher: - Peer Music
Matrix number : OB 1101 / CO 55835
Recorded: - April 1, 1956
Released: - 1956
First appearance: - Columbia Records (S) 78rpm standard single Columbia 21523-3 mono
I WANNA HOLD MY BABY / ONIE'S BOP
Reissued: - 1992 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15542-4 mono
ONIE WHEELER – ONIE'S BOP

01 – ''ONIE'S BOP'' – B.M.I. - 2:32
Composer: - Onie Wheeler
Publisher: - Peer Music
Matrix number : OB 1102 / CO 55836
Recorded: - April 1, 1956
Released: - 1956
First appearance: - Columbia Records (S) 78rpm standard single Columbia 21523-4 mono
ONIE'S BOP / I WANNA HOLD MY BABY
Reissued: - 1992 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15542-4 mono
ONIE WHEELER – ONIE'S BOP

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Onie Wheeler – Vocal, Harmonica, Guitar
Thomas Grady Martin – Guitar & Fiddle
Ray Edenton – Guitar
Bob Foster – Steel Guitar
Ernest ''Ernie'' Newman – Bass
Murray M. ''Buddy'' Harmon - Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

 
From left, Jerry Huffman, Charlie Feathers and Jody Chastain > 

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Quinton Claunch, who played guitar on a Charlie Feathers' Sun session of ''Corrine, Corrina'' said: ''Charlie had a great voice and was talented, but he was self-centred and he didn't trust anybody. He could feel a song as well, but putting up with him was something else''. Jody Chastain (bass), Jerry Huffman (guitar), and Jimmy Swords (brother of Haward) worked with Feathers then and felt the same.

''While we were waiting for Sam to make up his mind on ''Corrina'', said Huffman, ''Charlie couldn't bear it. Les Bihari at Meteor was after him, saying he would put out a disc right now.
 
On April 1, 1956 Feathers persuaded his band to go Meteor and re-recorded ''Corrina'' note-for-note, but with new words and title, ''Get With It''. The record came out on April 12, 1956.
 
 
 
Chastain and Huffman wrote ''Tongue-Tied Jill'' for release on Sun Records, but as Feathers recalled: ''We made a demo of it and took it to Sam but he thought the song was mocking afflicted people. Lester Bihari asked me if he could issue the song, so I said 'Why not?'. After Sam didn't like it thought it might not be very good, but the Meteor disc broke real good here in Memphis''.

The record had at least three pressings on 45 and one on 78, and sold well enough for the local distributor of Cincinnati-based King Records to take notice. Feathers lined up a recording deal for July 1956 with King. His disc with Meteor was a one-off deal, and he had not signed any contract. A few months later Lester wrote in a letter, ''King got Charlie Feathers – I don't mind though, we are still pushing ''Tongue-Tied Jill'' more than ever''. Lester made a real attempt to keep Feathers on the label. He set up a string of promotional appearances and used fellow-singer Wayne McGinnis to help. He recalled; ''We would make road tours visiting radio stations and sometimes carry Charlie and other Meteor artists to disc jockeys. One day we stopped at a radio station in Carruthersville, Missouri, and the first thing they guy wanted to know was, ''did you bring any copies of Charlie Feathers singing ''Tongue-Tied Jill''?. It was a big record locally at that time.

Wayne McGinnis also remembers the recording session. ''It was in the Meteor studio, about the middle of the day and into the afternoon. Charlie was drinking a milkshake, he loved chocolate milkshake all the time, and singing his heart out. He was a great artist who everybody respected for his talent in those days''.

Lester Bihari's take on all this 25 years later, talking to Jim O'Neil, was: ''Charlie Feathers came in and his ''Tongue-Tied Jill'' could' a been a big number. I says to him, 'You've always vied to be like Elvis, and you can sing'. He could, he sing right with him. Charlie would come to my place and we'd get ready to sign a contract and he'd go down and get himself a malted. And I got so I couldn't do anything with him, you know, a really illiterate boy, just poor white trash to the ninth degree. Couldn't read, couldn't sign his name or anything. When he wouldn't sign a contract, he didn't get any royalty, he didn't get nuthin'. I said, 'I'll tell you, Charlie, we're going to make you the biggest artist in Shelby County, period! And that's as far as we walked''.

Feathers went on to record for a string of small labels and one major, Elektra. His career contained some wonderful records, offset by some duds, and he earned himself a rightful place in Memphis music history, offset by his vision of himself as the insufficiently recognised founder of rockabilly music. Charlie Feathers born on June 12, 1932 at Slayden near Holly Springs, Mississippi, he died of a stroke on August 29, 1998 in Memphis, Tennessee.

Session Published for Historical Reasons

STUDIO SESSION FOR CHARLIE FEATHERS
FOR METEOR RECORDS 1956

METEOR RECORDING STUDIO
1794 CHELSEA AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
METEOR SESSION: SUNDAY APRIL 1, 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER – QUINTON CLAUNCH

01 – ''GET WITH IT'' – B.M.I. - 2:01
Composer: - Charlie Feathers-Jody Chastain-Jerry Huffman
Publisher: - Meteor Publishing - Ridgetop Music
Matrix number: - MR 5030
Recorded: - April 1, 1956
Released: - April 12, 1956
First appearance: - Meteor Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single Meteor 5032 A mono
GET WITH IT / TONGUE-TIED JILL
Reissued: - Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm Ace CDCH2 885-2-1 mono
THE COMPLETE METEOR ROCKABILLY & HILLBILLY RECORDINGS

The essence of rockabilly music is right here: the link between country music and rock and roll. Charlie Feathers did not invent it, as he sometimes claimed, or bring it to the world's attention, like Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins, but he sure could play it. He felt it, ''You pick the tune, you slap the bass, I'll play the rhythm... we got to get with it, got no time to waste''.

02 – ''TONGUE-TIED JILL'' – B.M.I. - 1:56
Composer: - Charlie Feathers-Jody Chastain-Jerry Huffman
Publisher: - Meteor Publishing - Ridgetop Music
Matrix number: - MR 5031
Recorded: - April 1, 1956
Released: - April 12, 1956
First appearance: - Meteor Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single Meteor 5032 B mono
TONGUE-TIED JILL / GET WITH IT
Reissued: - Ace Records (CD) 500/200rpm Ace CDCH2 885-2-2 mono
THE COMPLETE METEOR ROCKABILLY & HILLBILLY RECORDINGS

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Charlie Feathers – Vocal & Guitar
Jody Chastain – Steel Guitar
Jerry Huffman – Guitar
Jimmy Swords - Drums
Shorty Torrence - Bass

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

 
Jean Chapel >

It was rare for Sam Phillips to commission outside masters, largely because he'd long been in the business of leasing tapes of his own. In a complexity of issues, "Welcome To The Club" by Jean Chapel (born Opal Amburgey in Neon, Kentucky) was submitted to Sun courtesy of the enterprising Murray Nash, a one-time song-plugger who ran a publishing company in Nashville. Spurred on by the meteoric elevation of Elvis Presley, RCA Victor then sublicensed the track in the fall of 1956.


There's still some mystery surrounding these sides by Jean Chapel, whose list of aliases would fill. Sun collectors have tried to like this record over the years. Many have concluded that is just doesn't sound like a Sun record, and with good reason - it isn't.   It was produced by Chapel's manager, veteran country Artist and Repertoire man, Murray Nash, who had worked for RCA, Mercury, and Hickory before striking out on his own.

 
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR JEAN CHAPEL
FOR RCA VICTOR AND SUN RECORDS 1956

MUSIC CITY RECORDING
804 16TH AVENUE SOUTH, NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE
RCA SESSION: APRIL 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - MURRAY NASH

01(1) - "WELCOME TO THE CLUB" - B.M.I. - 1:52
Composer: - Mea Boren Axton
Publisher: - Murray Nash Association Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 1956
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1023-11 mono
ROCK AND ROLL PILS

01(2) - "WELCOME TO THE CLUB" - B.M.I. - 1:52
Composer: - Mea Boren Axton
Publisher: - Murray Nash Association Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 196 SUN - G2WW-7278 RCA  - Master
Recorded: - April 1956
Released: - June 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 244-A mono
WELCOME TO THE CLUB / I WON'T BE ROCKIN' TONIGHT
October 1956 RCA Victor (S) 45rpm 47-6681 mono
WELCOME TO THE CLUB / I WON'T BE ROCKIN' TONIGHT
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802-2-7 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Jean Chapel (born Opal Amburgey), and sister of Martha Carson >

He produced these sides in Nashville, and sold them to Sun in April or May 1956. Then, in a bizarre twist, the record re-emerged on RCA Victor in October. In between, Ms. Chapel appeared at the Apollo, and was holding down a club job in Montreal when the record was switched. Nash hyped her to press as the Female Elvis Presley. That RCA Victor would pick up this record was odd because it already had Charline Arthur's recording of "Welcome To The Club" on the shelves.


Its a record that sits uncomfortably with other Sun records from mid-1956. To stretch a pun, it doesn't really belong in the club.  There is some truth to Billboard's claim that "Classification may be difficult in Miss Chapel's case". It is also true that she owed as much of a debt to 1940s Hollywood as to 1950s Beale Street.


 
 
02 - "I WON'T BE ROCKIN' TONIGHT" - B.M.I. - 2:08
Composer: - Mea Boren Axton-Tommy Durden
Publisher: - Murray Nash Association Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 197 SUN - G2WW-7279 RCA  - Master
Recorded: - April 1956
Released: - June 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 244-B mono
I WON'T BE ROCKIN' TONIGHT / WELCOME TO THE CLUB
October 1956 RCA Victor (S) 45rpm 47-6681 mono
I WON'T BE ROCKIN' TONIGHT / WELCOME TO THE CLUB
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802-2-8 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jean Chapel - Vocal
Possible Grady Martin - Guitar
Unknown Musicians

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 



Having departed his native Arkansas, William Lee Riley put down roots in Memphis where he sang part-time with The Dixie Ramblers, a dyed-in-the-wool country combo whose guitarist Jack Clement and bass player Ronald "Slim" Wallace were about to launch their own Fernwood label in Memphis.

The plan was for the talented Billy Riley to become their inaugural signing but at the eleventh hour Jack Clement approached Sam Phillips, with the result that he and Riley both ended up at Sun Records.
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 © - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR BILLY RILEY
AT WMPS FOR FERNWOOD RECORDS 1956

WMPS RECORDING STUDIO
 112 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
WMPS SESSION: APRIL 1956
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER - JACK CLEMENT
RECORDING ENGINEER - ROLAND "SLIM" WALLACE

''ROCK WITH ME BABY''

The top side of Riley's first Sun record, and a gem. This one comes pretty close to defining what rockabilly is all about It's tense, edgy, sexy and driving. This is not mindless, teen dance music. It can send shivers down your spine. There's not a wasted note here. The vocal is perfect. The band work is stellar, not overly complex, but perfectly orchestrated. When the guitar solos take off, you just have to stand back. Those beautiful singlestroke drum rolls by Johnny Bernero let you know when to take cover as the two guitars played by Ruble Shaw and Roland Janes, just soar. One slides into the chord while the second hits just the right notes to maintain that bluesy countryish feel. Some critics tell you that real rockabilly needs a stand-up bass, the kind Bill Black used to slap behind Elvis back in 1954. If that's true, then this record contains a double dose of rockabilly drive. One slap bass was played by Slim Wallace, the second by Jan Ledbetter.
 ''Rock With Me Baby'' was recorded at the studios of WMPS. Sadly, having explored every inch of Billy Riley recording tape known to exist at Sun, it seems thru second tide from this session - the countryish ''Think Before You Go'' - is irretrievably lost.

"Rock With Me Baby" is likewise a standout track, with its guitar interplay between Billy Riley and Roland Janes, and soaring drumwork during the solos. SUN 245 clearly promised that Billy Riley was capable of producing memorable work within the tense and impassioned style Sun Records was beginning to forge.

01(1) - "ROCK WITH ME BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:09
Composer: - Billy Riley-Roland Wallace-Jack Clement
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - F 11   - Master
Recorded: - April 1956
Released: - May 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 245-A mono
ROCK WITH ME BABY / TROUBLE BOUND
Reissued - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802-2-10 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

Three alternates and four false starts grace this session, giving you a sense of what this session was all about. If sequencing on the original tape reel is to be believed, alternates 2 and 3 were recorded after the released version. This leaves us to wonder why they didn't stop once they had nailed the version we've known and loved for so long. They kept on trying different approaches, including a noticeably slower tempo, and only made the final decision to go with Take 2 after the session was over.

01(2) - ''ROCK WITH ME BABY'' - B.M.I. - 0:29
Composer: - Billy Riley-Roland Wallace-Jack Clement
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - False Start 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 1956
Released: - December 7, 2010
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17122-1-1 mono
BILLY RILET - THE OUTTAKES

01(3) - ''ROCK WITH ME BABY'' - B.M.I. - 2:15
Composer: - Billy Riley-Roland Wallace-Jack Clement
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 1956
Released: - December 7, 2010
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17122-1-2 mono
BILLY RILET - THE OUTTAKES

01(4) - ''ROCK WITH ME BABY'' - B.M.I. - 0:14
Composer: - Billy Riley-Roland Wallace-Jack Clement
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - False Start 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 1956
Released: - December 7, 2010
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17122-1-3 mono
BILLY RILET - THE OUTTAKES

01(5) - ''ROCK WITH ME BABY'' - B.M.I. - 2:14
Composer: - Billy Riley-Roland Wallace-Jack Clement
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 1956
Released: - December 7, 2010
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17122-1-4 mono
BILLY RILET - THE OUTTAKES

01(6) – ''ROCK WITH ME BABY'' - B.M.I. - 0:16
Composer: - Billy Riley-Roland Wallace-Jack Clement
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - False Start 3 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 1956
Released: - December 7, 2010
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17122-1-5 mono
BILLY RILET - THE OUTTAKES

01(7) – ''ROCK WITH ME BABY'' - B.M.I. - 0:15
Composer: - Billy Riley-Roland Wallace-Jack Clement
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - False Start 4 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 1956
Released: - December 7, 2010
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17122-1-6 mono
BILLY RILET - THE OUTTAKES

01(8) – ''ROCK WITH ME BABY'' - B.M.I. – 2:15
Composer: - Billy Riley-Roland Wallace-Jack Clement
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take 3 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 1956
Released: - December 7, 2010
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17122-1-7 mono
BILLY RILET - THE OUTTAKES

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Billy Riley - Vocal and Acoustic Guitar
Roland Janes - Lead Guitar
Ruble Shaw - Guitar
Slim Wallace - Bass
Jan Ledbetter - Bass
Johnny Bernero - Drums


Jimmy M. Van Eaton and Billy Riley >