STUDIO SESSION FOR ALTON LOTT & JIMMY HARRELL
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERIVE FOR SUN RECORDS 1959

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: SUNDAY APRIL 5, 1959
OR MAYBE JUNE 5, 1959
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS,
JACK CLEMENT AND/OR STAN KESLER

Once in a while Sun Records might take a call regarding an act from The Louisiana Hayride and it was the show's entrepreneurial Tillman Franks who put in a good word for Alton and Jimmy. The two buddies from Hillsboro, Mississippi had already seen the inside of a recording studio when they tried-out for Ace Records but their real worth came when they made it up to Memphis. A hasty audition became a fully-fledged session some two months later, from whence this fine 45 emerged.

Alton Lott and Jimmy Harrell have not received a lot of attention in the Sun reissue sweepstakes. On this basis of the single, it is not clear why.

"NO MORE CRYING THE BLUES" - B.M.I. - 1:58
Composer: - Jimmy Harrell-Alton Lott
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Cajun Publisher
Matrix number: - U 363 - Master
Recorded: - April 5, 1959
Released: - June 1959
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 45rpm standard single SUN 323-B mono
NO MORE CRYING THE BLUES / HAVE FAITH IN MY LOVE
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803-4-13 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jimmy Harrell - Vocal and Guitar
Alton Lott - Vocal and Guitar
Roland Janes - Guitar
Billy Riley - Bass
Probably Martin Willis - Saxophone
James M. Van Eaton – Drums

If someone told you that "No More Crying The Blues" was cut bu a garage band in 1991, you might not bat an eye. In some ways, Alton and Jimmy were ahead of their time. Certainly, this is not the kind of rockabilly Sun is famous for. Yet, by 1959, this was all that was left of the vintage Sun sound. Assisted by Billy Riley (bass) and Jimmy Van Eaton, this was as close to the old days as anybody was likely to get in a changing marketplace. Truly, what we have here is a countryside vocal duet over intense guitar-driven rock and roll.

"NO MORE CRYING THE BLUES" - B.M.I. - 1:59
Composer: - Jimmy Harrell-Alton Lott
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Cajun Publisher
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 5, 1959
Released: - August 2000
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16405-16 mono
THAT'LL FLAT GIT IT! - VOLUME 17

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jimmy Harrell - Vocal and Guitar
Alton Lott - Vocal and Guitar
Roland Janes - Guitar
Billy Riley - Bass
Probably Martin Willis - Saxophone
James M. Van Eaton – Drums

"NO MORE CRYING THE BLUES" - B.M.I. - 2:00
Composer: - Jimmy Harrell-Alton Lott
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Cajun Publisher
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 5, 1959
Released: - May 15, 2012
First appearance: - Sun Records Music Group (CD) 500/200rpm X5-2 mono
SUN RED HOT ROCKABILLY SUMMER

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jimmy Harrell - Vocal and Guitar
Alton Lott - Vocal and Guitar
Roland Janes - Guitar
Billy Riley - Bass
Probably Martin Willis - Saxophone
James M. Van Eaton – Drums

Mississippi-born singer Jimmy Harrell prefers the above alternate take of "No More Cryin' The Blues" to the version issued on SUN 323. Although the difference are subtle, there is an undeniably tougher edge to this track. "That's Alton playing the lead guitar" Harrell was quick to inform.

"For years the credits has gone to Roland Janes, but its not him. Roland was on the session, but when he heard how good Alton was, he just sat back and let him take it".

 

The April 5, 1959 session (not June 5, as appears in most discographiest) that produced their lone Sun single was arranged by a phone call from Tillman Franks. "We thought we were going up there for an audition, but Sam was waiting for us with a recording contract and a studio full of musicians. We couldn't believe it".

 

Alton and Jimmy, who recorded two unissued sides for Ace Records in 1958, never saw a penny in royalties for Sun 323. Despite the lack of financial reward, Jimmy concedes that "having recorded for Sun is probably the main thing people will remember me for, no matter how much else I accomplish in my life". In truth, there were few Sun records released in 1959 that sounded this good.

 

"HAVE FAITH IN MY LOVE" - B.M.I. - 2:22
Composer: - Alton Harrell-Jimmy Lott
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated - Cajun Publisher
Matrix number: - U 362 - Master
Recorded: - April 5, 1959
Released: - June 1959
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 45rpm standard single SUN 323-A mono
HAVE FAITH IN MY LOVE / NO MORE CRYING THE BLUES
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803-4-14 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jimmy Harrell - Vocal and Guitar
Alton Lott - Vocal and Guitar
Roland Janes - Guitar
Billy Riley - Bass
Probably Martin Willis - Saxophone
James M. Van Eaton – Drums

On this side, "Have Faith In My Love", is an almost uncanny cross between Mack Self's glorious "Easy To Love" and Riley's "One More Time", recorded just 24 hours earlier at 706 Union!. This hybrid is obsoletely clear during the solo guitar intro.

Alton and Jimmy were clearly among the few keepers of the flame that had burned so brightly in the mid-1950s and drawn aspiring Elvises to the label.

"I JUST DON'T KNOW" - B.M.I. - 2:07
Composer: - Jimmy Harrell-Alton Lott
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 5, 1959
Released: - 1988
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1036-3 mono
MORE SUNDOWN ROCKERS
Reissued: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8318-11 mono
SUN ROCK 'N' ROLL - VOLUME 2

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jimmy Harrell - Vocal and Guitar
Alton Lott - Vocal and Guitar
Roland Janes - Guitar
Billy Riley - Bass
Probably Martin Willis - Saxophone
James M. Van Eaton – Drums

"WHAT'S THE USE" - B.M.I. - 2:01
Composer: - Jimmy Harrell-Alton Lott
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 5, 1959
Released: – 1999
First appearance: – Sun International (LP) 33rpm 706 2-9 mono
MEMPHIS BOP – VOLUME 2
Reissued: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8318-12 mono
SUN ROCK 'N' ROLL - VOLUME 2

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jimmy Harrell - Vocal and Guitar
Alton Lott - Vocal and Guitar
Roland Janes - Guitar
Billy Riley - Bass
Probably Martin Willis - Saxophone
James M. Van Eaton – Drums

"WHY DO I LOVE YOU" - B.M.I. - 2:18
Composer: - Jimmy Harrell-Alton Lott
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Master - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 5, 1959
Released: - 1988
First appearance: – Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1036-2 mono
MORE SUNDOWN ROCKERS
Reissued: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8318-10 mono
SUN ROCK 'N' ROLL - VOLUME 2

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jimmy Harrell - Vocal and Guitar
Alton Lott - Vocal and Guitar
Roland Janes - Guitar
Billy Riley - Bass
Probably Martin Willis - Saxophone
James M. Van Eaton – Drums

 "WHY DO I LOVE YOU" - B.M.I. - 2:19
Composer: - Jimmy Harrell-Alton Lott
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - April 5, 1959
Released: - May 15, 2012
First appearance: – Sun Records Music Group (CD) 500/200rpm X5-12 mono
SUN - ROCKABILLY ARCHIVE

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jimmy Harrell - Vocal and Guitar
Alton Lott - Vocal and Guitar
Roland Janes - Guitar
Billy Riley - Bass
Probably Martin Willis - Saxophone
James M. Van Eaton – Drums

ALTON & JIMMY - Alton Lott and Jimmy Harrell were born on June 17, 1940 and November 16, 1936 respectively, in the same room of the home of John Harrell (Alton and Jimmy's grandfather) in the Hillsboro community just outside Forest, Mississippi. Jimmy's father, Monroe Harrell, and Alton's mother Peggy Lott were brother and sister. They, along with Alton's father, Evaughn Lott, were members of hillbilly bands which performed professionally throughout the South. Alton sang on the radio while in the third grade with his mom and dad's band.

Alton and Jimmy grew up listening to their families sing and play hillbilly and gospel music and both learned to play guitar and sing at an early age. They listened to such artists as Elvis, B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Carl Perkins, Buddy Holly, Fats Domino, Little Richard, many country stars on the Grand Ole Opry, and others on Memphis and Jackson, Mississippi radio stations.

Alton attended grammar school in Forest, Mississippi and graduated from Forest Hill High School, Jackson, Mississippi in 1958. Jimmy attended schools in Hillsboro and Forest, Mississippi and graduated from Hernando High School, Hernando, Mississippi (20 minutes south of Graceland) in 1954. Upon graduation, Jimmy enlisted in the U.S. Navy and while stationed in San Diego, California, attended a Gene Vincent and The Blue Caps concert in a local dance hall. Jimmy was greatly inspired by this fabulous singer/performer and formed a musical group called the Jim-Bobs with Bob Allen and Bob Cohen performing country and early rock and roll music.

After leaving the Navy Jimmy moved in with Alton (and his parents)in Jackson, Mississippi where they began to sing, play, and write music as "Alton and Jimmy." Performing at dances, on TV telethons, radio programs, and in clubs, they became interested in recording and auditioned for Johnny Vincent, Ace Record Company, Jackson. They cut two songs for Ace entitled "Looking For Someone" and "Got It Made In The Shade" in 1958 at the Cosimo Recording Studio, New Orleans, Louisiana. Huey "Piano" Smith, who had a big hit with "Rockin' Pneumonia and Boogie Woogie Flu" on Ace, played piano on this session.

Shortly thereafter, Alton and Jimmy appeared on the Louisiana Hayride, Shreveport, Louisiana. (Auditioned by Shelby Singleton, Mercury records, not signed.) Johnny Horton's manager, Tillman Franks, called Sam Phillips' Sun Record Co., Memphis, who set a recording date of April 5, 1959 where "Have Faith In My Love" and "No More Crying The Blues" were recorded and released later on SUN 323. Musicians were Alton Lott, guitar; Roland Janes, guitar; J.M. Van Eaton, drums and Billy Lee Riley, bass. Exactly two months later, on June 5, 1959 Alton and Jimmy recorded "I Just Don't Know," "What's The Use," "Why Do I Love You," and "The Longest Walk." All songs have subsequently been reissued on vinyl and C.D. "The Longest Walk" cannot be located among the Sun masters.

Jimmy was recalled into the Navy late 1959. He formed "Jimmy and Gene and the Rhythm Kings," a country-rock group, while stationed aboard the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga. The group performed throughout the Mediterranean area and Jacksonville, FL (Saratoga's home port) during 1959 and 1960.

Alton toured with several artists and was a studio musician for many years. He played with Andy Anderson, Murray Kellum, Buddy Rogers, and B.B. Boone. He joined "Faux Pas" and spent 14 years touring the U.S., playing all the major cities. Alton Lott now resides in Grandview, Missouri.

After returning to the Navy in 1959, Jimmy advanced in rank from HM3 (E4) to Captain (0-6) during his 37-year Navy career. Captain Harrell, Medical Service Corps, retired from the Navy in 1993. Jimmy now lives in Jacksonville, Florida with his wife of 40 years, the former Weva Lillian (Lee) Strohm of Grenada, Mississippi. They have one son, Captain James H. Harrell II, U.S. Army; daughter-in-law Sherilyn; one daughter, Wendy Leigh Harrell and three grandchildren; Gayle, Barbara, and Robert. Jimmy now devotes his time to his grandchildren and writing music, performing, and promoting Alton and Jimmy's music.

 

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