CONTAINS

PI 3531-3540 Audio Series 

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Cliff Thomas, Ed & Barbara
"SORRY I LIED" - B.M.I. - 2:15
Composer: - Ed Thomas Jr.
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - P 329
Recorded: - September 12, 1958
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - September 1958
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 45rpm standard single PI 3531-A mono
SORRY I LIES / LEAVE IT TO ME
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15805 DI-4-9 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 5
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Ed Thomas Jr. - Vocal and Piano
Cliff Thomas - Vocal and Guitar
Barbara Thomas - Vocal
Billy Riley - Bass
Jack Clement - Buitar
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums
 
"Sorry I Lied" shows yet again that the Thomas family could record, with remarkably little outside help, some totally engaging pop music in 1958. Ed's debt to a host of rhythm and blues masters, notably Ray Charles, is evident in every note of this record. It is no surprise that Sam Phillips continued to record the Thomasses. Quite apart from their potential for local promotion, they were genuinely talented people whose musical style had a directness and emotionally that must have brought a smile to Sam Phillips' face each and every tim e. (HD)

 
Cliff Thomas, Ed & Barbara
"LEAVE IT TO ME" - B.M.I. - 1:59
Composer: - Ed Thomas Jr.
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - P 330
Recorded: - September 12, 1958
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - September 1958
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 45rpm standard single PI 3531-B mono
LEAVE IT TO ME / SORRY I LIED
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15805 DI-4-10 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 5
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Ed Thomas Jr. - Vocal and Piano
Cliff Thomas - Vocal and Guitar
Barbara Thomas - Vocal
Billy Riley - Bass
Jack Clement - Buitar
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums
 
On "Leave It To Me" you hear everything you need to know about Cliff, Ed and Barbara Thomas - the good, the bad and the ugly. The verdict on this talented family seems to be a strong thumbs up for Ed's piano playing, as well as his songwriting talents. Similarly, the three voices blend strongly and persuasively; the first six bars of ensemble harmonizing are a powerful way into this record. The biggest problem for most Sun fans is the assertively teenage sounding Cliff. Nobody could blame him for being a teenager, and he certainly grew out of the condition with minimal prodding. Its just that what might otherwise have been astonishingly good outings are diminished or transformed into commercial teen music. Tony Rossini with bite.  (HD)(MH)

 
Charlie Rich
"WHIRLWIND" - B.M.I. - 2:06
Composer: - David Kelly
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - P 331 - Overdubbed
Recorded: - August 17, 1958
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - October 1958
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 45rpm standard single PI 3532-A mono
WHIRLWIND / PHILADELPHIA BABY
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15805 DI-4-11 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 5
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Charlie Rich - Vocal and Piano
Ronald Janes - Guitar
Billy Riley - Bass
J.M. Van Eaton - Drums
 
Overdubbed
Martin Willis – Tenor Saxophone
Unknown Vocal Chorus
 
With this recordings begins the recording career of Charlie Rich, one of the towering figures of contemporary popular music. Certainly there was no one recorded by Sam Phillips who equalled the musicianship of Rich. Whether as a jazz pianist, rockabilly or soul singer, Charlie Rich had no equals at Sun. Ironically, it was his multi-ranging talents that made it difficult to record or merchandize him in a consistent manner.
 
Charlie Rich had been working as a session pianist and house composer for several months when he began to receive pressure to record his own material. In truth, Rich would have been happy to contribute material and musicianship to other people's records, and never venture forth into the spotlight. But by August 1958, Rich finally entered the magical confines of 706 Union to produce his own release. The man who grew up listening to Stan Kenton found himself composing and singing a piece of teen fluff, consciously geared to Philadelphia in order to secure a gig on American Bandstand.
 
Hardly anyone outside of Memphis knew what they were dealing with here. That that sexy virily voice belonged to a guy who could also turn heads and hearts with his blues and soul vocals. And fewer yet had a clue that the driving piano work, especially audible on "Whirlwind", was performed by Charlie Rich himself. Within two more releases, the world would come to know a lot more about Charlie Rich. (HD)

 
Charlie Rich
"PHILADELPHIA BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:02
Composer: - Charlie Rich
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - P 332
Recorded: - August 17, 1958
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - October 1958
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 45rpm standard single PI 3532-B mono
PHILADELPHIA BABY - WIRLWHIND
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15805 DI-4-12 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 5
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Charlie Rich - Vocal and Piano
Ronald Janes - Guitar
Billy Riley - Bass
J.M. Van Eaton - Drums
 
Overdubbed
Martin Willis - Tenor Saxophone
Unknown Vocal Chorus
 
On "Philadelphia", all things considered, the record ain't half bad. The instrumental work is solid, the drumming of Jimmy Van Eaton, yet again, is driving, the harmony vocal work is virile and - best of all - Rich demonstrates to an unsuspecting world that he is possessed of a fine, even startlingly good, rockabilly voice. In fact, "another Elvis" was the phrase most often used by critics and disc jockeys to describe both sides of Rich's premier disc . (HD)

 
Mickey Milan & The Bill Justis Orchestra
"SOMEHOW WITHOUT YOU" - B.M.I. - 2:02
Composer: - Wayne Cogswell
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - P 333
Recorded: - Probably September 1958
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - September 1958
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 45rpm standard single PI 3533-A mono
SOMEHOW WITHOUT YOU / THE PICTURE
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15805 DI-4-13 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 5
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Mickey Milan - Vocal
Bill Justis Orchestra
The Montclairs - Vocal Chorus
 
Take a deep breath. Mikki Milan makes her first appearance on the PI label with these two pop sides from September 1958. The original label credited her as working with the Bill Justis Orchestra. Either Sam Phillips or Bill Justis had found Mikki in New York, and thought she might fit Phillips International's uptown image. Wayne Cogswell had just appeared at the studio with "Somehow Without You", and either Sam Phillips or Bill Justis thought it suited Mikki's style. "I had my vocal group, the Montclairs, on that one", said Cogswell. "I remember Mikki Milan was an older woman. She never lived in Memphis. Just came down to record a time or two" . (HD)

 
Mickey Milan & The Bill Justis Orchestra
"THE PICTURE" - B.M.I. - 2:27
Composer: - Wilson-Hess
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - P 334
Recorded: - Probably September 1958
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - September 1958
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 45rpm standard single PI 3533-B mono
THE PICTURE / SOMEHOW WITHOUT YOU
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15805 DI-4-14 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 5
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Mickey Milan - Vocal
Bill Justis Orchestra
The Montclairs - Vocal Chorus
 
Once again, it is best to view this music as lying deeply within the pop tradition. In fact, the simplest view is that Mikki Milan was a poor man's Kay Starr. Certainly Kay's record "Half A Photograph" seems to have cast a large shadow over these proceedings. Even relative to those standards, Mikki tends to be a tad shrill in places. Perhaps she was an acquired taste. More to the point, somebody at 706 Union acquired it. Mikki was back in the studio seven months later for a series of sessions that left not only a follow-up release on PI, but no fewer than 15 unissued titles, suggesting that an album was planned.  (HD)(MH)

 
Ken Cook
"CRAZY BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:35
Composer: - Ken Cook
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - P 335
Recorded: - September 4, 1958
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - October 1958
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 45rpm standard single PI 3534-A mono
CRAZY BABY / I WAS A FOOL
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15805 DI-4-15 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 5
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Ken Cook - Vocal
Roy Orbison - Vocal and Lead Guitar
Billy Riley - Guitar
Jack Clement - Bass
James M. Van Eaton - Drums
Charlie Rich - Piano
Bill Justis - Tenor Saxophone
 
Sun fans looking for a fix in October 1958, or simply seeking reassurance that the Phillips International label would occasionally give them some of the real stuff were in a state of ecstasy when this record (PI 3534) appeared in stores. Perhaps more than any previous PI release, this one contained the maniacal raw energy one expected to find in a Sun recording.
 
"Crazy baby" lived up to its title. Everything about it exuded that pent-up madness fans had come to associate with 706 Union Avenue. That opening drum roll by Jimmy Van Eaton, followed by Roy Orbison's guitar figure lays out a powerful riff that grabs you by the collar and commands all your attention. The interplay between Orbison and Billy Riley on guitar is brilliant. Cook, who had done his share of listening to Jerry Lee Lewis records, sings like a man possessed. If his cry of the title phrase isn't passionate enough for you, then Bill Justis' screeching horn takes it to an even higher level. You can just feel the energy on this date. It builds and grows until even Van Eaton is forced to double up the backbeat during the "more more more" sections of Cook's vocal. (HD)

 
Ken Cook
"I WAS A FOOL" - B.M.I. - 2:24
Composer: - Roy Orbison
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - P 336
Recorded: - September 4, 1958
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - October 1958
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 45rpm standard single PI 3534-B mono
I WAS A FOOL / CRAZY BABY
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 1805 DI-4-16 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 5
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Ken Cook - Vocal
Roy Orbison - Vocal and Lead Guitar
Billy Riley - Guitar
Jack Clement - Bass
James M. Van Eaton - Drums
Charlie Rich - Piano
Bill Justis - Tenor Saxophone
 
This side, a duet with Roy Orbison, shows that even the ballad - or at least less frenzied side - of a good Sun record can also be inspiring. "I Was A Fool" is a really fine song; its simple, melodic and memorable. After a few listening, you really want to hear that chorus. The amusing thing is that now that Orbison's voice has become a cultural icon, and we've learned its Orbi harmonizing with Cook (something that nobody knew prior to the first wave of Sun archaeology in the 1970s), it seems so obvious. Try listening to the chorus and not focusing on the familiar quality of Orbison singing as loud and clear as he did on "Only The Lonely".  (HD)

 
Bill Justis & His Orchestra
"BOP TRAIN" - B.M.I. - 2:02
Composer: - Bill Justis
Publisher: - Justis Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - P 337
Recorded: - Probably End 1958
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - 1958
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 45rpm standard single PI 3535-A mono
BOP TRAIN / STRING OF PEARLS - CHA HOT CHA
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15805 DI-4-17 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 5
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Bill Justis - Saxophone
Richard Mateller - Trumpet
Sid Manker - Guitar
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums
Charlie Rich - Piano
More Details Unknown
 
"Bop Train" is another matter. Hidden on the B-side here and rarely reissued, this track is a gem that truly captures the hybrid spirit of Justis' music. The trouble is there's really nowhere to go after the first 12-bar verse. Its all been said. All that remains is to swap the soloing around until the clock on the wall tells us its time to wrap. In a true tough of class, rather than fade on somebody's solo, they return to the original guitar figure and the "Bop Train" rolls along the tracks until its out of sight. Fine work, girls.
 
The other nice story about ''Bop Train'' is a strange record that doesn't seem quite sure what it wants to be. It begins with a lovely, countrified 4-bar guitar intro in the key of B. Not many songs are in the key and there might not be another one on Sun. Then the band comes in playing a 120bar blues at a lazy rolling tempo with pleasant sax work by Justis in the style of Billy Vaughn. Only now they're in the key of A-flat. Huh? We never lose that 12-bar structure from here on. It's a train, rolling down the track, although the journey doesn't come to close to ''bop'' by anyone definition. (Then again, neither did Elvis when the critics called his music ''hillbilly bop'' back when he started). The first verse is led by the mellow sax. The next two-verses feature a lead guitar with a lot more edge and sting than any playing that comes before. This is as close to rock and roll as the record gets. Then there's one more sax-led verse (the Vaughn sound again) and we're out, back to that lovely hillbilly figure we started with. (HD)(SP)

 
Bill Justis & His Orchestra
"STRING OF PEARLS - CHA HOT CHA" - A.S.C.A.P. - 2:27
Composer: - Jerry Gray
Publisher: - Mutual Music
Matrix number: - P 338
Recorded: - Probably End 1958
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - 1958
First appearance: - Phillips International (s) 45rpm standard single PI 3535-B mono
STRING OF PEARLS - CHA HOT CHA / BOP TRAIN
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15805 DI-4-18 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 5
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Bill Justis - Saxophone
Richard Mateller - Trumpet
Sid Manker - Guitar
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums
Charlie Rich - Piano
More Details Unknown
 
''OK, girls. The cha cha is hot. We've got our roots in the big band era. Let's take that big Glen Miller hit ''String Of Pearls'' and transform it into a cha cha. Can't miss, right''?
 
The band must have had fun recording this one. It certainly comes closer to big band music than anything ever recorded at 706 Union Avenue. Why, Justis even had to bring in a trombone player and a trumpet for the date (at Union scale). And he didn't just bury them in the mix. That's Richard Mateller's trumpet, not Justis' sax, during the first solo. And just listen to Charlie Rich playing those soulful piano fills during the last verse! Forget following up "Raunchy". Let's have some fun! (HD)

 
Clement Travelers
"THE MINSTREL SHOW" - B.M.I. - 1:53
Composer: - Bill Justis-Jack Clement
Publisher: - Jack Clement Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - P 338
Recorded: - February 1958
RCA Studio B, 30 Music Square West
Nashville, Tennessee
Released: - February 1959
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 45rpm standard single PI 3536-A mono
THE MINSTREL SHOW / THREE LITTLE GUITARS
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15805 DI-4-19 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 5
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jack Clement - Vocal and Guitar
Bob L. Moore - Bass
Jimmy Wilson - Piano
Chorus The Anita Kerr Singers
 
The next two sides sat in the can for over a year before finally appearing in February 1959. If anyone wonders just how much creative control producer Jack Clement had achieved in the Sun studio, one needs look no further than this record. Clearly, Clement had his eye on a bigger segment of the pop marketplace   than crossover country. What goes on here is a far sight beyond sweetening some Johnny Cash tracks.
 
On "The Minstrel Show", Clement has attempted to recreate the noisy, good time feeling of turn of the century entertainment. In truth, he hasn't done a bad job; its just that this form of music will hold little pleasure for most Sun collectors.
 
The real inspiration here comes from a more recent icon of popular culture, and Clement has followed obediently in his shoes. This track is a spot-on imitation of something Mitch Miller might have created with his "sing-along" music for the brain-dead. What an awful role model Clement has chosen. (HD)

 
Clement Travelers
"THREE LITTLE GUITARS" - B.M.I. - 1:36
Composer: - Jack Clement-Billy Riley
Publisher: - Jack Clement Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - P 339
Recorded: - February 1958
RCA Studio B, 30 Music Square West
Nashville, Tennessee
Released: - February 1959
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 45rpm standard single PI 3536-B mono
THREE LITTLE GUITARS / THE MINSTREL SHOW
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15805 DI-4-20 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 5
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jack Clement - Vocal and Guitar
Bob L. Moore - Bass
Jimmy Wilson - Piano
Chorus The Anita Kerr Singers
 
On this side will be more tolerable to most Sun fans simply because the voices and trite lyrica are gone. However, this style of melodic construction owes nothing to contemporary country or rockabilly. Instead, it is rooted firmly in the early 1900s. It is just what you might have heard at one of those minstrel shows or, if you really want to push the time machine, on a backporch in somebody's southern plantation. You can almost imagine Stephen Foster hiding in the bushes taking notes. (HD)

 
Jimmy Demopoulos
"HOPELESS LOVE" - B.M.I. - 1:57
Composer: - Gwen McEwen
Publisher: - Justis Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - P 339
Recorded: - Probably End 1958
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - February 1959
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 45rpm standard single PI 3537-A mono
HOPELESS LOVE / IF I HAD MY WAY
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15805 DI-4-21 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 5
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jimmy Demopoulos – Vocal
Charlie Rich - Piano
Unknown Musicians
 
This track, released simultaneously with Jack Clement's "The Minstrel Show", completed the coup de grace for many Sun fans who were sampling the waters on the PI release schedule. "Hopeless Love" indeed. It's not so much that this is a bad record; it just shouldn't be a Sun record.  Jimmy Demopoulos was son of a Greek immigrant, Nick Demopoulos, who ran the local American Legion Restaurant in Memphis. He first came to prominence at age 18 when he won a singing contest at the 1956 Mid-South Fair. He sang "Moonglow: and told everyone that Eddie Fisher was his favorite artist, as if we couldn't guess.  Later that year, he started a course in dentistry, went on the Ted Mack TV show, and auditioned for Lawrence Welk. No surprises there, either. (HD)(CE)

 
Jimmy Demopoulos
"IF I HAD MY WAY" - A.S.C.A.P. - 2:48
Composer: - Kendis-Klein
Publisher: - Paul Pioneer
Matrix number: - P 340
Recorded: - Probably End 1958
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - February 1959
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 45rpm standard single PI 3537-B mono
IF I HAD MY WAY / HOPELESS LOVE
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15805 DI-4-22 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 5
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jimmy Demopoulos – Vocal
Charlie Rich - Piano
Unknown Musicians
 
In 1958, he finally persuaded Bill Justis to take a chance on him. "The thing that worried us", Justis told the Memphis Press Scimitar in January 1959, "is that we were afraid his voice was too good, too clean. He's great. Is he commercial?". Mercifully, the answer was "No!".  Bill Justis chose "If I Had My Way", a 1913 song popularized by barbershop quartets (and revived by Bing Crosby as the title song for a movie in 1940), as the A-side. Sales were probably good among Memphis' Greek community, but insufficiently good to persuade Sam Phillips to take another chance on him. Demopoulos went on to record for Pepper Records before being inducted into the Army as a dental assistant. He later changed his name to Jimmy Damon and worked as a nightclub singer in Chicago for a few years before disappearing from view. (HD)(CE)

 
Cliff Thomas
"I'M THE ONLY ONE'' - B.M.I. - 2:25
Composer: - Ed Thomas Jr.
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - P 341
Recorded: - February 1, 1959
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - March 1959
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 45rpm standard single PI 3538-A mono
ALL YOUR LOVE / TIDEWIND
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15805 DI-4-23 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 5
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Cliff Thomas - Vocal and Guitar
Ed Thomas Jr. - Vocal and Piano
Barbara Thomas - Vocal
James M. Van Eaton - Drums
 
Cliff Thomas's final record on PI is arguably his worst. This one pushes the formula 'til it's paper thin. The uptempo "I'm The Only One" (also known as "All Your Love") is weaker than previous Thomas material and Cliff's vocal is, with apologies, just awful. His reading of the word "day" in the second line is so flat its a wonder that Sam Phillips or Jack Clement or someone didn't simply abort the take. But as usual, if we could magically transform this into an instrumental track featuring Ed's rocking piano and an adventurous drummer (probably Jimmy van Eaton), we'd have something to smile about.  (HD)(CE)

 
Cliff Thomas
"TIDEWIND" - B.M.I. - 1:45
Composer: - Ed Thomas Jr.
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - P 342
Recorded: - February 1, 1959
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - March 1959
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 45rpm standard single PI 3538-B mono
TIDEWIND / ALL YOUR LOVE
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15805 DI-4-24 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 5
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Cliff Thomas - Vocal and Guitar
Ed Thomas Jr. - Vocal and Piano
Barbara Thomas - Vocal
James M. Van Eaton - Drums
 
"Tidewind", is a tad bizarre to say the least. Somebody, perhaps Ed or Barbara, should have understood that their admittedly cute adolescent sib was not up to sing ballads. This one lies beyond Cliff's evolving capabilities. When the song gets into that 4-chord, do you notice a melodic similarity to "Cattywampus" (Also known as "Tuf")? Its actually more than a similarity. Its a note for note vocal line based on that forbidden melody.
 
We don't know what happened to Ed and Barbara, but Cliff Thomas hung around the entertainment scene, such as it was, in Jackson, Mississippi, and was last seen "improving" the old Ace masters for reissues. Interviewed in 1990, he was on the point of leaving Ace to take up a position in the garment business in Jamaica. "Do they have country stations in Jamaica?" he asked quite innocently. "Man, I hate that Reggie music". (HD)(CE)

 
Carl Mann
"MONA LISA" - A.S.C.A.P. - 2:28
Composer: - Jay Livinston-Ray Evans
Publisher: - Famous Music Corporation
Matrix number: - P 343
Recorded: - Unknown Date October 1958
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - March 15, 1959
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 45rpm standard single PI 3539-A mono
MONA LISA / FOOLISH HEART
Reissued: - 1998 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15806 DI-1-1 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 6
 
Name(Or. No. Of Instruments)
Carl Mann - Vocal and Piano
Eddie Bush - Guitar
Robert Oatsvall - Bass
W.S. "Fluke" Holland – Drums
 
This is a landmark record. It not only launched the career of 16 year old Carl Mann, but provided an unexpected hit for the fledgling Phillips International label in the Spring of 1959. In fact, ''Mona Lisa'' very nearly didn't get released. Cecil Scaife, Sun's promotion manager at the time, recorded these sides in January 1959 and tried in vain to talk Sam Phillips into releasing them. ''We don't release mediocre product'' was the response he got. Only after Conway Twitty's clone arrangement began stirring up attention as an LP cut, did Sam relent and allow his own single to reach the market. Scaife went to town and promoted the record into a Top 30 hit.
 
Mann's version of ''Mona Lisa'' bears little resemblance to Nat Cole's hit record from 1951. The melody is all but gone and sections of original lyric have disappeared, but Mann and his buddies from Jackson, Tennessee have brought something very special to the party, and it is undoubtedly these elements that drew young listeners in droves, while repelling many of the older folks who remembered Cole's melancholy version from earlier in the decade. The origins of the arrangement have been shrouded in mystery until recently, when drummer W.S. Holland recalled to journalist John Floyd that he had taken his wife to a club just outside of Jackson where a singer, whose name has disappeared into the mists of time, was performing a set of souped-up Nat Cole tunes.
 
Setting a pattern that would haunt him for most of his Phillips International recording career, Carl Mann offered a rather unemotional vocal against a smooth rolling rhythm. Guitarist Eddie Bush anchored this work with a muted string rock-a-cha rhythm that one could find on contemporary pop tunes like Bobby Darin's ''Dream Lover''. Then, just when you thought it was safe to go into the water, Bush cut loose with one of his maniacal guitar breaks that woke up listeners in three countries. Bush's style, wildly emotional as it was, was not pure rockabilly. His work. with its patented descending thirds, really owed more to the Mexican or mariachi style that could be heard on tunes like Marty Robbins' ''El Paso''. Drummer W.S. Holland, who had already graced the best Sun recordings by Carl Perkins (and would soon join Johnny Cash for a 40-year stint), contributed some fine single stroke rolls at the end of each verse. Mann's piano playing was barely adequate, which was more than fine for this record. Like his workmanlike vocals, they merely set the stage for Bush's barely controlled outbursts.
 
Texan Eddie Bush, after a stint as a staff guitarisr at the Louisiana Hayride, was in Jackson, Tennessee, when he got recruited to play on Carl Mann's first record on the Jaxon label. That record went nowhere but Bush and Mann stayed together long enough to get signed at Sun. Bush was an erratic and unreliable band colleague, sometimes disappearing for days at a time and sometimes missing gigs. But when he showed up, he was worth the wait. (HD) (SP)

 
Carl Mann
"FOOLISH ONE" - B.M.I. - 1:48
Composer: - Carl Mann
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - P 344
Recorded: - Unknown Date October 1958
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - March 15, 1959
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 45rpm standard single PI 3539-B mono
FOOLISH ONE / MONA LISA
Reissued: - 1998 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15806 DI-1-2 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 6
 
Name(Or. No. Of Instruments)
Carl Mann - Vocal and Piano
Eddie Bush - Guitar
Robert Oatsvall - Bass
W.S. "Fluke" Holland – Drums
 
''Foolish One'', a flip-side nearly lost in the shuffle, deserved better. Sam and Sun loved hybrid music and it's clear they got their money's worth. The big difference is that the parts don't come together here, they happen in sequence. The verses have a Latinesque feel. You can also find traces of hillbilly shuffle, rock and roll, and a straight finger pickin' country solo. These segments are neatly framed by the kick-ass drumming of W.S. Holland who once again shows he was more than the straight timekeeper he would become years later for Johnny Cash.
 
W.S. Holland had a lot of success playing drums behind singers named Carl who came from Jackson, Tennessee. His first successes came with Carl Perkins; later he teamed up with Carl Mann. And this track, the B-side of ''Mona Lisa'' connects these two parts of Holland's work at Sun.
 
One side of Carl Perkins' final single at Sun was ''Lend Me Your Comb''. That silly teen-oriented song had a Latin feel attached to it because it used the tresillo rhythm, a pattern that originated in Cuba. That Latin rhythm played behind most of the record- verses and guitar solo. But when the song gets to the release the first time, the rhythm shifts to strait rock and roll. W.S. Holland did most of the work in establishing both those rhythmic patterns on ''Lend Me Your Comb'', but his drumming wasn't prominently featured on that record.
 
Well, that was the end of the Perkins era at Sun. Fast forward 13 months and we're at the beginning of the Carl Mann era. The era begins with ''Foolish One'', a song that, like ''Lend Me Your Comb'', uses the tresillo rhythm in the verses and a straight rock and roll rhythm in the release. But on ''Foolish One'', W.S. Holland is on top of it and his drums is right in front of the recording. He establishes the tresillo rhythm as the tracks begins, and basically stays in command of the record. It's his drum that carries that tresillo rhythm all through the verse; the guitar just provides enough chords to keep the harmony together. The band becomes more like a team rhythmically in the releases and solos. And Holland's surprising way of ending the record is exciting and totally unexpected. (HD)(SP)

 
Edwin Howard
"FORTY 'LEVEN TIMES" - A.S.C.A.P. - 2:31
Composer: - Edwin Howard
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - P 345
Recorded: - January 1959
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - April 1959
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 45rpm standard single PI 3540-A mono
FORTY 'LEVEN TIMES / MORE PRETTY GIRLS THAN ONE
Reissued: - 1998 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15806 DI-1-4 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLE COLLECTION - VOLUME 6
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Edwin Howard - Vocal
Billy Riley - Guitar
Roland Janes - Guitar
Unknown - Bass
Unknown - Drums
 
"Forty Leven Times" was based on something Howard had heard his mother say many times, and was set to the melody of Barbara Allen.   "More Pretty Girls Than One" (a traditional tune that Fiddlin' Arthur Smith first recorded as "There's More Pretty Girls Than One") was a song that Howard remembered his father singing. There's a heavy reverb guitar on Howard's record, not unlike the one behind Onie Wheeler on his Sun session one year earlier.
 
Edwin Howard's record charted locally on the strenght of his stories in the press but, as Howard was quick to point out, Memphis represented only 1.3 percent of the national market. Six months after release, he got a royalty statement. "So far", he wrote, "it has sold 975 copies. With a contract rate of 3% of the 98c list price, minus 10% for promotions, my royalty on paper is $25.81. However, since recording costs must be paid first, and they amounted to $181.50, I am $155.69 shy of earning my first penny as a recording artist. However, since I took the precaution of recording my own songs and songwriters get three-fourths of a cent on every copy sold, I have made something after all - $14.62". His biggest payday came when he contributed some lyrics to yet another song that wasn't his, ''Down By The Riverside''. Billy Riley's recording (Sun 313) sold 10,633 copies, adding $39.86 to Howard's earnings, and providing the best possible encouragement for him to keep his day job. After the demise of the Press Scimitar in 1983, he resurfaced as the lifestyles columnist at The Memphis Business Journal. In 1992, he moved to Washington, DC., but continued to write for the MBJ until the paper dropped its arts and leisure features in 1998.   (MH)(HD)(CE)

 
Edwin Howard
"MORE PRETTY GIRLS THAN ONE" - A.S.C.A.P.- 1:59
Composer: - Edwin Howard
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - P 346
Recorded: - January 1959
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - April 1959
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 45rpm standard single PI 3540-A mono
MORE PRETTY GIRLS THAN ONE / FORTY 'LEVEN TIMES
Reissued: - 1998 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15806 DI-1-3 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLE COLLECTION - VOLUME 6
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Edwin Howard - Vocal
Billy Riley - Guitar
Roland Janes - Guitar
Unknown - Bass
Unknown - Drums
 
Since 1942, Edwin Howard had been the entertainment columnist and subsequently Amusement editor at the Memphis Press Scimitar. In early January 1959, he thought he'd try something a little different. He convinced Sam Phillips to let him cut a record at Sun, which he would then turn into a feature piece for the local nespaper. Phillips had little to lose, and lots of publicity to gain. He turned Howard over to Bill Justis, who arranged these two sides, while Jack Clement worked the controls.
 
Some might say that as a vocalist, Howard was a pretty good journalist. His voice doesn't have much emotional range, certainly compared with others who were wandering in and out of Sun at the time, but then Howard came from a different universe. Born on Grand Island, Florida, on July 26, 1924, he didn't inhabit the hardscrabble world of the honky tonks; instead, he frequented the best restaurants and clubs and continued himself on good terms with Memphis's grandees. He was, among other things, a Pulitzer Prize nominee and cofounder of the Memphis Shakespeare festival. (HD)(CE)

 

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