November 1987 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 106-12 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE ROCKING YEARS

An 12 album boxed set The Rocking Years an whole range of rock and roll music recorded in Sun's famous studio at 706 Union Avenue in Memphis. The set featuring issued, previously unissued, alternate versions of about nearly 200 songs including Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Sonny Burgess, Gene Simmons, Billy Lee Riley, Barbara Pitman, Ray Smith, Bill Justis, Ace Cannon, Kenny Parchman, Ray Harris, Hayden Thomson and many more. Also included in the box set a glossy 50-page LP-size book with a feature on Sam Phillips and every artist included on the discs with liner notes and session information. Compilation and liner notes by Martin Hawkins and Colin Escott. Each album has its own title (a song in the respective album).

Contains

Record 1 ''Put Your Cat Clothes On''
Carl Perkins - Jack Earls - Glenn Honeycutt
Record 2 ''Come On, Little Mama''
Ray Harris - Johnny Bernero Band - Thurman Enlow - Barbara Pittman
Record 3 ''Ooby Dooby''
Wade Moore - Dick Penner - Roy Orbison - Hayden Thompson - Dean Beard - Johnny Carroll
Record 4 ''I Feel Like Rockin'''
Kenny Parchman - Mack Self - Harold Jenkins -Luke McDaniel
Record 5 ''Rockin' With My Baby''
Jimmy Williams - Gene Simmons - Malcolm Yelvington - The Miller Sisters
Rudi Richardson - Rosco Gordon
Record 6 ''We Wanna Boogie''
Sonny Burgess - Warren Smith - Billy Riley
Record 7 ''The Chains Of Love''
Gene Simmons - Hayden Thompson - Jimmy Wages
Record 8 ''Whole Lotta Shakin'''
Jerry Lee Lewis - Ernie Barton - Narvel Felts - Patsy Holcomb - Magel Priesman
Rudy Grayzell - Mack Vickery - Cliff Thomas
Record 9 ''Shake Around''
Tommy Blake - Edwin Bruce - Dickey Lee & The Collegiates
Record 10 ''Willing And Ready''
Ray Smith - Carl Mann - Tracy Pendarvis
Record 11 ''Your Lovin' Man''
Vernon Taylor - Mickey Gilley - Danny Stewart - Eddie Bond
Cliff Gleaves - Roy Hall - Charley Pride - Johnny Powers - Alton & Jimmy
Record 12 ''Raunchy''
Bill Justis Orchestra - Roger Fakes - Billy Riley - Bill Pinkney - Roland Janes Band - Eddie Cash
Martin Willis - Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Johnny ''Ace'' Cannon - Jimmy Pritchett - Brad Suggs

For Biographies of Artists See: > The Sun Biographies <
Most Sun tracks can be heard on the playlists from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on  > YouTube <

INTRODUCTION

"At Sun Records in the rock and roll days", recalled country singer Mack Self, "there would be the stars' pink Cadillacs parked up front on Union Avenue. Out back, there would be the beat-up Fords and pickup trucks of country boys like me trying to make it!"

In this 12 album boxed set of Sun Records - The Rocking Years, we present the whole range of rock and roll music recorded in Sun's famous studio at 706 Union Avenue in Memphis. Naturally we have included samples of the inimitable music by the "Cadillacs" of Sun music - Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis for instance - but we do not park their music conspicuously upfront. We give equal prominence to the "pickup trucks" of the Sun sound. The powerful music generated by singers like Ray Harris, Gene Simmons, Ray Smith and Mack Self could sound mighty impressive when fine-tuned by Sam Phillips in his Sun studio. The Sun rock and roll legend started in 1954 when Elvis Presley recorded ''That's All Right'' on Sun 209. This box tells the story of the Sun sound as it developed between 1955 and 1959.

We make no apology for casting the Sun Sound in the starring role. Many of the artists who were highly important to the development of Memphis music have already seen their  ontribution substantially documented elsewhere - including Carl Perkins (Sun Box 101), Jerry Lee Lewis (Sun Box 102), Johnny Cash (Sun Box 103), Roy Orbison (CDX 4), Billy Riley (CDX 9), Charlie Rich (CDX 10), Harold Jenkins (Conway Twitty BFX 15174), Ed Bruce (BFX 15194) and Warren Smith (contained within the Sun Country Box, BFX 15211). For all these artists, and for other accredited Sun names like Sonny Burgess, we have used unissued alternative versions of their songs wherever appropriate in this box. We have also concentrated on showing the Sun studio "at work": including the session chatter and banter, and sometimes the anger, that went toward the evolution of the sound. We have included interesting false starts and out-takes which at once characterise both the Sun "formula" and the individuality of each artist.

Beyond the better-known names, we have endeavoured to include a representative selection of the best music from the many other performers who gathered in hope and expectation at 706 Union Avenue during the late 1950s. From our standpoint some thirty years later, we are able to look objectively at the legacy of the Sun studio. Often we have included recordings which were not issued on Sun in the 1950s and, where it is justified, we have included music by artists who did not see a release on the original Sun label.

The fame that came to Elvis Presley and to Sun Records through rock and roll was all-pervading. It exerted a degree of influence upon those who followed Elvis' footprints to the door of 706 Union Avenue that it is all too easy to forget, or to take too lightly. Practically everyone who recorded at Sun between 1955 and 1959 was there because of Elvis. This is not to say that they came there to copy him. Many performers, particularly Perkins, Cash, Lewis, Rich and Carl Mann, had genuinely individual styles. Many others gave only a passing nod toward Elvis' music, a few Vocal inflections or the hot potato style of delivery perhaps. Elvis exerted a bigger influence through his very success. Those who followed him were not after the Elvis sound as such but the Elvis route to fame and fortune.

If you talked to all the artists represented in this box - and we have talked to most of them - the vast majority of their biographies would contain elements of the one basic story outline. They started out singing country music, perhaps with a little gospel, blues or pop thrown in. Then one day, they saw Elvis on stage or heard him on the radio. Depending on the extent of their talent or egotism, their reaction was either, "hell, that guy ain't doing anything I ain't been doing", or, "this guy has really got a hell of a new sound and that's the way I want my music to sound". The details of this story differ in each case. A few people set out to imitate Elvis, but other singers genuinely had already developed a rockabilly or rock and roll style before they really knew what it was. It was after all only an amalgam of hillbilly music and rhythm and blues, and it had been inevitable for a decade or more that someone would weld these elements into a magic formula. That someone was Sam Phillips. He never quite made the often misquoted remark about "find me a white man who can sing the blues and I'll make him a million dollars", but he always had the firm notion that what he wanted to do was to record blues in its many forms, including one that reached a white audience.

As early as 1951, the year after he set up his studio in Memphis, Sam was recording Frank Floyd, a white man who could sometimes sound convincingly black. The earliest white music he put on his Sun label had titles that could pass for blues - Boogie Blues, Blues Waltz, My Kinda Carryin' On and so On. Sam Phillips undoubtedly knew what he wanted to hear, even if he hadn't yet heard it.

Elvis Presley provided the basis Of what Sam wanted to hear, and Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis took this new rockabilly sound about as far as it would go before the rest of the business world moved in and "developed" it for a mass market.

But the commercial and artistic success of Elvis, Carl and Jerry Lee was as much due to Sam as to his artists. Elvis had a yen to record ballads and gospel music, Carl Perkins had a pure hillbilly soul and Jerry Lee Lewis was just his eclectic self. It needed Sam with his guiding feel for what Sun Records should be, with his slap-back echo sound and infinite patience, to really create the Sun sound. He was perhaps lucky to find a series of uniquely talented people to work with but he was the man who put their lightning in the bottle, their magic in the grooves. This fact is borne out in the 12 albums contained here. Having established the Sun Sound with first a local country audience and then with a national pop audience, Sam was able to make and sell wonderful rock and roll records by many other singers.

Roy Orbison and Warren Smith were in the national pop charts on Sun at the same time as Carl and Jerry Lee. Sonny Burgess and Billy Riley sold as many if not more raw rocking records in certain regional markets than EMS himself. Gene Simmons and Hayden Thompson had no hit records but they made some classic music in the mainstream of the Sun sound.

Beyond this, Sam recorded teenagers and ageing hillbilly singers, black men and white, talented pretenders and lightweight Elvis copyists He managed to make good music, sometimes wonderful music, with most of Inevitably, as the Sun legend grew, the purity of the sound gave way under commercial pressures. Phillips could not adapt his winning formula indefinitely, he could not personally spend time with every young hopeful. As a result, the Sun vaults yield a wide range of material that was at the time unpolished, unfinished or rejected. Where this music is good - and some of it really is good - we have included it here.

For instance, the wild and undisciplined sound of Jimmy Wages or the powerful sound of Gene Simmons. Even some artists who were genuine also-rans did manage to get it together for one or two songs and we have included some of these - Cliff Gleaves appealing Love Is My Business, for instance, or Ernie Barton's Stairway To Nowhere.

Before we leave the impression that all was wonder and excitement at 706 Union Avenue, we have to say that a lot of the vaulted material was average at best, derivative or downright bad. But then those items were never designed ior record release anyway. In the last ten years more rockabilly music has been anthologised on wax than ever deserved to be. The excitement generated by the first few reissue projects of the early 70s escalated into a bandwagon fill of relentlessly mediocre music of obscure origin. We do not see this boxed set adding to that mess.

Rather, we hope this box will be accepted as a genuine reflection of what Sun's rocking years were about, of the range of people who contributed to the sound, and of the truly good music made at 706 Union Avenue. Sun Records has a legend attached to it. This box shows you why.

Martin Hawkins, June 1986

"SUN RECORDS - CONSISTENTLY BETTER RECORDS...''.
By Colin Escott

The Sun Rock Box is the inevitable box. The reason that Sun is the most collectible label of all time is not the blues recordings, good as they are, nor the country sides, but a surprisingly small body of music recorded between 1955 and 1960 that just about defined rock and roll. Even at the lime they were issued, reviewers and disc jockeys would recognise that Sun Records were synonyrncas with an electrifyingly different sound and an awesome reputation for quality. No amount of repackaging, whether tasteful of tasteless, has destroyed that reputation. In fact. many of the out-takes and rejected masters that have come to light in the last 15 years have served to enhance the reputation of Sun Records.

Sam Phillips issued the first Sun record in March 1952. In a sense, it set the tone for everything that would follow Johnny London's ''Drivin' Slow'' was a tortuous sax solo that was just about themeless and probably didn't deserve to sell many more copies than it did. However, it was d triumph of feel over instrumental virtuosity. That same conflict would get played out time and again in the Sun studio and feel just about always won. ''Driving' Slow'' was also a record.

Phillips rigged up a little booth to isolate the sax and make it contrast sharply with other instruments. The same vogue for experimentation would reassert itself constantly while Sam Phillips was sitting at the board. That first Sun record had a barely contained reverb that gave the side an illusion that it was being played down a long hallway on a steamy night. Perhaps better than anyone else, Phillips learned how to use echo. He used it to give presence rather than distance to the sound, and that was a distinction that few of his imitators ever grasped.

Phillips was also in the right place at the right time. The music that he recorded in his studio could never have been recorded in New York or Los Angeles. It was southern music with the rawness left intact, probably even too raw for Nashville just a few hours drive away but already a bastion of conservatism. There was a craziness at the core of the finest Sun records, whether it was the psychotic intensity of Pat Hare's guitar solo on Cotton Crop Blues or the unbridled passion that dripped from Ray Harris or from Carl Perkins. Phillips captured the strangeness in southern music. Strange music from a strange land. Mississippi cannot be much bigger than Vermont but it gave birth to Jimmie Rodgers, Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Elvis Presley, Jackie Brenston, Howlin' Wolf and countless others who made music that ached with intensity and weirdness.

Phillips' other great contribution to the art and science of recording was to throw away the studio clock. The American Federation of Musicians wanted a group to book a rehearsal hall and work up new material then go to the studio and record four songs in three hours. Phillips wanted to have a hand in the process of creation and his studio became a rehearsal room. He would sit there behind the glass until dawn if he thought that the musicians on the floor would capture the sound he heard in his head. ms probably makes him the first 'producer' in the modern sense of the word. The hours of out-takes in Shelby Singleton's basement and the countless additional hours that were recorded over attest to the painstaking skill that Phillips applied to his craft And from 30 years' distance we can see that he made very few mistakes in terms of choosing the right cut from hours of tape. We have listened to those tapes too and some of the judgement calls were tricky but almost unfailingly correct in terms of his self imposed goals.

From the time that Phillips designed his first piece of stationery, his slogan was "Consistently Better Records for Higher Profits". The years covered by this boxed set show a remarkable commitment to that goal. In fact, the output of Sun Records during this period flies in the face of the old adage that no-one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American people. At the time though, many thought that Phillips was the living embodiment of that old saying. He was making money hand-over-fist from an operation that had virtually no overhead and used demented hillbilly singers to pander to the kids' craving for a little cheap excitement. However, Phillips knew better and, in Charlie Rich's words, "Now everybody knows''.

As this set went to press, Phillips was deified by the yuppie establishment with a feature in Rolling Stone. At this point, he is probably better known than at any juncture in his career. Together with Alan Freed, he is recognised as one of the two non-musicians to have made a substantial contribution to the genesis of rock & roll. All this twenty five years after he stopped producing records on a daily basis. His feelings on this lately come adulation are hard to assess. Certainly, it is no less than his due. The man had a commitment to excellence in sound that stemmed from his background in audio engineering but, more important, he gravitated towards the craziness in other people. He encouraged it where others would have stifled it. He shied away from studio crutches and contrivances and, more than that, he possessed something approaching a messianic quality that spurred an artist to give more than he knew he had.

This music isn't special by accident. You' know.

November 1987 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 106-1A/B mono
SUN RECORDS - THE ROCKING YEARS – PUT YOUR CAT CLOTHES ON

In the years that have elapsed since these recordings were made, rockabilly has become an industry catchphrase, not to mention catchall. Every so often you just have to go back to basics to remind yourself of just what constitutes rockabilly music. Fortunately Carl Perkins is on hand to remind us of the solid and lasting virtues of real rockabilly.

Born of the same wellsprings that nourished Elvis Presley, Perkins' music was consistently brilliant and inventive during these three years that he recorded for Sun. With a style that owned an obvious dept to no-one, Carl Perkins was well placed to take his brief sojourn in the spotlight at the dawn of 1956. One of the first true stars of rock and roll, Perkins was also its first casualty. Too much has been made of the car accident. His career was not doomed when his Chrysler slammed into a poultry truck; it was doomed because you simply could not take the country out of Carl Perkins. The mass market has never accepted roots music with the exception of the occasional novelty. Perkins epitomised roots music as surely as Mississippi Muddy Waters. And that is the reason why we should still approach his early recordings on bended knee and accord him pride of place in this collection.

Jack Earls also epitomised roots music. With a voice so determinedly rural that Carl Perkins sounds uptown by comparison, Earls recorded some quintessential rockabilly during his two years hanging around Sun Records. Only one record resulted and the reasons are not too hard to discern. For a start, Earls was simply too countrified for the market that Phillips was searching for. However, Earls also lacked the dedication to his music that might have ensured him another shot on Sun. He had a wife and a young family to support and was simply unable or unwilling to tour. He could not sustain a musical career from a weekend gig at the Palm Club. However, that is no reflection on the quality of the music. Earls epitomised raw and untutored rockabilly at its best.

On the Other hand, the rawness in Glenn Honeycutt was harder to find. Coming to Sun Records at the dawn of the rockabilly era, Honeycutt had a smoother approach than most of his contemporaries. He might have fared better a few years later with Jack Clement behind the glass but with the intransigent face of Sam Phillips looking for something that would make the hair stand up on the back of his neck, Honeycutt was also condemmed to one single. However, with the Sun session mafia and the seamless harmonies of the Miller Sisters behind him, his sole outing on Sun was a sweet anomaly.

Colin Escott

Recommended further listening: The Carl Perkins Sun Box (Sunbox 101). Jack Earls: The Complete Sun Recordings (Bear Family).

Record 1 ''Put Your Cat Clothes On''
Contains
1.1 - Carl Perkins In Memphis (Not Originally Issued)
Is an announcement for an appearance at Overton Park Shell in Memphis, Tennessee.
1.2 - You Can't Make Love To Somebody (Carl Perkins) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
1.3 - Everybody's Tryin' To Be My Baby (Carl Perkins) (Not Originally Issued)
1.4 - Dixie Fried (Carl Perkins) (Not Originally Issued)
1.5 - Put Your Cat Clothes On -1 (Carl Perkins) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
1.6 - Put Your Cat Clothes On - 2 (Carl Perkins) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
1.7 - That Don't Move Me (Carl Perkins) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
1.8 - Only You (Carl Perkins) (Originally Sun LP 1225)
1.9 - Pink Pedal Pushers (Carl Perkins) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
1.10 - That's Right (Carl Perkins) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
Original Sun Recordings

Record 2 ''Put Your Cat Clothes On''
Contains
2.1 - Crawdad Hole (Jack Earls) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
2.2 - If You Don't Mind (Jack Earls) (Previously Unissued)
2.3 - Slow Down (Jack Earls) (Originally Sun 24))
2.4 - A Fool For Loving You (Jack Earls) (Originally Sun 240)
2.5 - Sign It On The Dotted Line (Jack Earls) (Nor Originally Issued)
2.6 - Rock All Night (Glenn Honeycutt) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
2.7 - I'll Be Around (Glenn Honeycutt) (Originally Sun 264)
2.8 - I'll Wait Forever (Glen Honeycutt) (Originally Sun 264)
2.9 - Be Wise, Don't Cry (Glenn Honeycutt) (Previously Unissued)
Original Sun Recordings

Name (No. Or. of Instruments)
1.2 to 1.10 (Various Dates, July 1955 to March 1958)
Carl Perkins - Vocal and Guitar
Jay Perkins - Guitar
Eddie Starr (Guitar)
Clayton Perkins - Bass
W.S. Holland - Drums

2.1 to 2.5 (Various Dates 1956)
Jack Earls - Vocal and Guitar
Tiny Dixon - Steel Guitar
Johnny Black - Bass
Danny Walquist - Drums

2.6 to 2.9 (December 1956)
Glenn Honeycutt - Vocal and Guitar
Jimmy Wilson - Piano
Roland Janes - Guitar
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums
The Miller Sisters - Vocals

All titles recorded at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee.
Musicians listen to not all appear on every song.

Cover Photo: Carl Perkins

For Biographies of Artists See: > The Sun Biographies <
Most Sun tracks can be heard on the playlists from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on  > YouTube <

  © - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

November 1987 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 106-2A/B mono
SUN RECORDS - THE ROCKING YEARS - COME ON, LITTLE MAMA

1956 held more delights than Carl Perkins and Jack Earls. It also marked the recording debut pf industry stalwart and genial crazy man Ray Harris. If ever a record can be said to sweat then that record was ''Come On, Little Mama''. There is a palpable ferocity to it. Sun 254 was, as Billboard noted, a ''dangerous record''. Possessed more enthusiasm than singing ability, Ray Harris nevertheless managed to record two luminous singles that are virtually a working definition of everything that is best in rockabilly.

To many and varied contribution of Johnny Bernero to the history of Sun Records have been customarily attributed to someone else. He played drums on Elvis Presley's Sun recordings, the early sides by Warren Smith, Barbara Pittman, Billy Riley, Smokey Joe, Conway Twitty and many more. The drums already set up, Phillips would place a call across the street to the Memphis Light Gas & Water two or three times a week inviting Bernero to come over for a session. Only seeing $15 for a record that went on to sell hundreds of thousands of copies, Bernero finally convinced Phillips to record his own combo. Unfortunately, Bernero's own music was firmly rooted in western swing and the little 7'' reels were consigned to storage immediately after the sessions and they remained there for thirty years before they were finally slated for this collection and the Sun Country Box. A fair distance from rockabilly, there is nevertheless a wonderful musically and innate swing Bernero's music that has helped it to survive the years with aplomb.

Barbara Pittman fared better. She recorded inconsistently for Sun over a four year period, and saw a clutch of singles hit the market to mixed acclaim. She seemed to be better suited to the demands of rock and roll than her contemporaries the Miller Sisters, and brought some genuine enthusiasm to her early cuts. Vocal control was not a hallmark of her style but with the nucleus of the Snearly Ranch Boys behind her and some solid material she could hardly fail to fare well.

Colin Escott

Recommended further listening: The Sun Country Box (Bear Family) contains more recordings by Johnny Bernero. The majority of Barbara Pittman's Sun recordings can be found on The Original Sun Sides (Rockhouse LPM 8037).

Record 3 ''Come On Little Mama''
Contains
3.1 - Come On Little Mama - 1 (Ray Harris) (Not Originally Issued)
3.2 - Where'd You Stay Last Night (Ray Harris) (Originally Sun 254)
3.3 - Come On Little Mama - 2 (Ray Harris) (Originally Sun 254)
3.4 - Love Dumb Baby (Ray Harris) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
3.5 - Greenback Dollar, Watch And Chain - 1 (Ray Harris) (Not Originally Issued)
3.6 - Foolish Heart (Ray Harris) (Not Originally Issued)
3.7 - Lonely Wolf (Not Originally Issued)
3.8 - Greenback Dollar, Watch And Chain - 2 (Ray Harris) (Originally Sun 272)
Original Sun Recordings

Record 4 ''Come On Little Mama''
Contains
4.1 - Cotton Pickin' Boogie (Johnny Bernero Band) (Previously Unissued)
4.2 - Rockin' At The Woodchoppers Ball (Johnny Bernero Band) (Previously Unissued)
4.3 - It Makes No Difference Now (Johnny Bernero Band) (Previously Unissued)
4.4 - Bernero's Boogie(Johnny Bernero Band (Previously Unissued)
4.5 - I Don't Mind(Johnny Bernero Band) (Previously Unissued)
4.6 - Sentimental Fool (Barbara Pittman) (Not Originally Issued)
4.7 - I Need A Man (Barbara Pittman) (Originally Sun 253)
4.8 - Voice Of A Fool (Barbara Pittman) (Not Originally Issued)
4.9 - I'm Getting Better All The Time (Barbara Pittman) Originally Phillips International PI 3518)
Original Sun Recordings

Name (Or. No of Instruments
3.1 to 3.8 (Various dates 1956 and 1957)
Homer Ray Harris - Vocal and Guitar
Wayne Powers - Guitar
Red Hensley - Guitar and Vocal
Roy Orbison - Vocal
Unknown - Bass
Joey Reisenberg - Drums

4.3 (1955)
Johnny Bernero - Drums
Thurman Enlow - Piano and Vocal
Dick Horton - Saxophone
Buddy Holobaugh - Guitar
Bill Torrance - Bass

4.6 to 4.8 (April 1956)
Barbara Pittman - Vocal
Probably Johnny Cannon - Saxophone
Joe Baugh - Piano
Marcus Van Story - Bass
Johnny Bernero - Drums

4.9 (1957)
Barbara Pittman - Vocal
Jimmy Wilson - Piano
Roland Janes - Guitar
Billy Riley - Bass
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums

All titles recorded at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee.
Musicians listed do not all appear on every song.

Cover Photo: Ace Cannon with the Johnny Bernero Combo
Left to right: Johnny Bernero, Thurman Enlow, Johnny ''Ace'' Cannon
Courtesy Johnny Bernero, Colin Escott

For Biographies of Artists See: > The Sun Biographies <
Most Sun tracks can be heard on the playlists from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on  > YouTube <

 © - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

November 1987 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 106-3A/B mono
SUN RECORDS - THE ROCKING YEARS - OOBY DOOBY

Most Sun artists came from the Tri-State area (Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas). However, a few artists made the pilgrimage to 706 Union from distant points. One of the first was Roy Orbison who made the trek from Wink, Texas. Orbison was possessed of an enormous talent but had two strikes against him: the first was that by no stretch of the imagination was he a good looking boy. Secondly, his talent was arguably unsuited to rock and roll. However, Orbison seems to have moved to Memphis at some point in 1956 and started playing on a number of sessions aside from his own. His voice and/or guitar can be heard on vintage recordings by Sonny Burgess, Hayden Thompson, Warren Smith, Barbara Pittman and many more.

In the wake of Roy Orbison came Wade (Moore) and Dick (Penner). Their calling card was ''Ooby Dooby'', a novelty song they had written in fifteen minutes on the roof of the frat house at North Texas State College. Orbison had scored some success with the song and Wade and Dick secured a contract on the strength of it. They recorded as a duet and Penner recorded also as a solo act, neither managed to recapture the success of ''Ooby Dooby''. Indeed, Orbison had to wait another four years before he could surpass the success of ''Ooby Dooby''. Differences in temperament and lack of success soon rent asunder the partnership of Moore and Penner. Despite Phillips' enthusiasm for their works, Wade & Dick simple could not translate their clean-cut image and catchy songs into commercial success.

Also from Texas was Dean Beard, one of the many young pilgrims who came to Memphis in the wake of Elvis Presley. With his sax player in tow, Beard had a slightly more polished and less countrified sound than many of his contemporaries. However, he failed to see a release on the magic yellow label. After more solo efforts and a spell with the Champs, Beard returned home. At present, he is bedridden in Coleman, Texas.

Another Texan connection was Johnny Carroll, who came to contact Sam Phillips after meeting Elvis, Scotty and Bill in Shreveport, Louisiana. Carroll leased several songs to Phillips, two of which appeared on a Phillips International single in 1957. Another song, ''Rock Baby Rock It'', was the title of a low budget rock movie made in Texas with another Phillips artist, Rosco Gordon.

Colin Escott

Recommended further listening: Roy Orbison: The Sun Years (Charly CDX 4)

Record 5 ''Ooby Dooby''
Contains
5.1 - Bop Bop Baby (Wade And Dick) (Originally Sun 269)
5.2 - Don't Need Your Lovin' - 1 (Dick Penner) (Not Originally Issued)
5.3 - Don't Need Your Lovin' - 2 (Wade And Dick) (Originally Sun 269)
5.4 - Wild Woman (Wade And Dick) (Not Originally Issued)
5.5 - Cindy Lou (Dick Penner) (Originally Sun 282)
5.6 -Honey Love (Dick Penner) (Originally Sun 282)
5.7 - Fine Little Baby (Dick Penner) (Not Originally Issued)
5.8 - Move Baby Move (Dick Penner) (Not Originally Issued)
Original Sun Recordings

Record 6 ''Ooby Dooby''
Contains
6.1 - Ooby Dooby (Roy Orbison) (Not Originally Issued)
6.2 - Go Go Go (Roy Orbison) (Originally Sun 242)
6.3 - Rockhouse (Roy Orbison) (Originally Sun 251)
6.4 - Domino (Roy Orbison) (Not Originally Issued)
6.5 - Rock-A-Billy Gal (Hayden Thompson) (Not Originally Issued)
6.6 - Rakin' And Scrapin' (Dean Beard) (Not Originally Issued)
6.7 - Long Time Gone (Dean Beard) (Not Originally Issued)
6.8 - That's The Way I Love (Johnny Carroll) (Originally Phillips International PI 3520)
6.9 - Rock Baby, Rock It (Johnny Carroll) (Not Originally Issued)
Original Sun Recordings

Name (Or. No. of Instruments)
5.1 & 5.3 & 5.4 (December 1956)
Wade Moore - Vocal
Dick Penner - Vocal and Guitar
Bob Izer - Guitar
Don Gilliland - Bass
Unknown - Drums

5.2 & 5.5 to 5.8 (December 1956 and February 1957)
Dick Penner - Vocal and Guitar
Don Gilliland - Guitar
Unknown - Piano, Bass, Drums

6.1 to 6.4 (1956)
Roy Orbison - Vocal and Guitar
Johnny Wilson - Guitar
James Morrow - Electric Madolin
Jack Kennelly - Bass
Billy Ellis - Drums

6.5 (April 1957)
Hayden Thompson - Vocal
Roy Orbison - Vocal and Guitar
Brad Suggs - Guitar
Roland Janes - Guitar
Slim Rhodes - Guitar
Spec Rhodes - Bass
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums

6.6 & 6.7 (March and August 1956)
Dean Bears - Vocal and Piano
Probably Jimmy Seals - Saxophone
James Stewart - Guitar
Johnny Black - Bass
Johnny Bernero - Drums

6.8 & 6.9 (June 1957)
Johnny Carroll - Vocal and Guitar
Bill Hennen - Piano
Jay Salam - Guitar
Bill Bustin - Bass
George Jones - Drums

Tittles except 6.8 and 6.9 recorded at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
6.8 and 6.9 recorded at Herring Studio, Fort Worth, Texas.
Musicians listed do not all play every song.

Discographical trivia footnote: Although ''Rock-A-Billy Gal'' features Hayden Thompson and Roy Orbison on vocals and guitar, it was originally conceived as a Slim Rhodes session and the session costs were deducted from Rhodes' royalties. It was a cover version of the song written and recorded by the Colby-Wolf Combo on Flip Records in Los Angeles.

Cover Photo: Wade and Dick - The College Kids
Left to right: Don Jenkins (bass), Wade Moore, Dick Penner, Bob Izer (guitar) Roger Berkley (drums) 1956
Courtesy of Dick Penner and Colin Escott

For Biographies of Artists See: > The Sun Biographies <
Most Sun tracks can be heard on the playlists from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on  > YouTube <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

November 1987 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 106-4A/B mono
SUN RECORDS - THE ROCKING YEARS - I FEEL LIKE ROCKIN'

Jackson, Tennessee, was a fertile source of talent for Sun Records. Carl Perkins and Carl Mann were the two most obvious gifts from Jackson to Memphis. However, there was a complex tie-in between Jimmy Martin's Jaxon label and Sam Phillips' organisation. Phillips seems to have held the publishing on most of Jaxon's releases and several Jaxson' artists ended up on Sun or, in the case of Kenny Parchman, scheduled but not released on Sun.

Parchman made a number of appearances before the mike at 706 Union and his coupling of ''Love Crazy Baby'' and ''Feel Like Rockin''' was assigned a release number (sun 252) but withdrawn after lacquers had been sent to the plants. He eventually saw a release on Jaxon a year or so later but Parchman seemed destined to remain in his home town. Good looks and an undoubted enthusiasm for the music were not sufficient to secure a release although he came very close. Parchman remains in Jackson to this day, running a construction business.

Another artist who came very close to seeing a release on Sun was Luke McDaniel. However, McDaniel had a long career in music behind him when he arrived in Memphis and a longer career ahead of him. His feeling for the new music was genuine and unforced and only a run-in between the spiky McDaniel and the intransigent Sam Phillips prevented the release of his Sun recordings. They were certainly of releasable standard and would have fitted in perfectly with Sun's late 1956 records.

And, of course, no discussion of artists who almost saw a release on Sun would be complete without mentioning Harold Jenkins (a.k.a Conway Twitty). Jenkins' country soul had been rewired when he heard Elvis Presley shortly after leaving the Army. His first stop on the yellow brick road was 706 Union. From the hours of tape that Jenkins recorded only four boxes remained. The original version of ''Rockhouse'' was either recorded-over, never transferred to Shelby Singleton or given back to Twitty at some point. Only the last sessions from the end of 1956 remain on tape in the Sun archive.

Surprisingly, it was Jenkins' confrere from the Arkansas Wood Chopper, Mack Self, who eventually saw a release on Sun and yet another on Phillips International a couple of years later. His wonderfully anachronistic ''East To Love'' should be the cornerstone of any of 1950s country music. However, Self also tried his hand at rockabilly with mixed results. The version of ''Goin' Crazy'' included here makes an interesting comparison with the countrified version and was perhaps his most successful attempt at the new music. His recording of ''Willie Brown'' two years later showed the distance that country music had come in a few short years.

Colin Escott

Recommended further listening: The complete Sun recordings of Harold Jenkins are on Conway Twitty, ''The Rock & Roll Years'' (Bear Family BFX 15174). A good selection of Mack Self's Sun recordings are on ''The Sun Country Box'' (Bear Family BFX 15211).

Record 7 ''I Feel Like Rockin'''
Contains
7.1 - Tennessee Zip (Kenny Parchman) (Previously Unissued)
7.2 - I Feel Like Rockin' (Kenny Parchman) (Previously Unissued)
7.3 - Love Crazy Baby(Kenny Parchman) (Not Originally Issued)
7.4 - Treat Me Right (Kenny Parchman) (Not Originally Issued)
7.5 - Get It Off Your Mind (Not Originally Issued)
7.6 - What's The Reason (Kenny Parchman) (Previously Unissued)
7.7 - You Call Everybody Darlin' (Kenny Parchman) (Not Originally Issued)
Original Sun Recordings

Record 8 ''I Feel Like Rockin'''
Contains
8.1 - Go Ahead Baby (Luke McDaniels) (Not Originally Issued)
8.2 - Huh Babe (Luke McDaniels) (Not Originally Issued)
8.3 - High High High (Luke McDaniels) (Not Originally Issued)
8.4 - My Baby Don't Rock (Luke McDaniels) (Not Originally Issued)
8.5 - That's What I Tell My Heart (Luke McDaniels) (Not Originally Issued)
8.6 - Born To Sing The Blues (Harold Jenkins)(Not Originally Issued)
8.7 - I Need Your Lovin' Kiss (Harold Jenkins) (Not Originally Issued)
8.8 - Goin' Crazy (Mack Self) (Not Originally Issued)
8.9 - Mad At You (Mack Self) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
Original Sun Recordings

Name (Or. No. of Instruments)
7.1 to 7.7 (Various dates 1956, 1957 and 1958)
Kenneth Parchman - Vocal and Guitar
Jerry Smith - Piano
Richard Page - Guitar
Willie Stephenson - Bass
Lemon Carroll - Bass
Bobby Cash - Drums
Ronnie Parchman - Drums

8.1 & 8.2 (September 1956)
Luke McDaniel - Vocal and Guitar
Unknown - Guitar, Bass, Drums

8.3 to 8.5 (January 1957)
Luke McDaniel - Vocal and Guitar
Jimmy Wilson - Piano
Roland Janes - Guitar
Marvin Pepper - Bass
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums

8.6 (January 1957)
Harold Jenkins - Vocal and Guitar
Unknown - Piano
Jimmy Luke Pashman - Guitar
Bill Harris - Bass
Johnny Bernero - Drums

8.7 (November 1956)
Harold Jenkins - Vocal and Guitar
Martin Willis - Saxophone
Jimmy Luke Pashman - Guitar
Bill Harris - Bass
Billy Weir - Drums

8.8 & 8.9 (1956)
Mack Self - Vocal and Guitar
Stan Kesler - Steel Guitar
Therlow Brown - Guitar
Jimmy Evens - Bass and Vocal
Johnny Bernero - Drums

All titles recorded at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee.
Musicians listed do not all play on every song.

Cover Photo: Kenny Parchman

For Biographies of Artists See: > The Sun Biographies <
Most Sun tracks can be heard on the playlists from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on  > YouTube <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

November 1987 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 106-5A/B mono
SUN RECORDS - THE ROCKING YEARS - ROCKIN' WITH MY BABY

This album gathers together some of the lesser known artists who recorded for Sun during 1955-1957. Jimmy Williams only saw one release on Sun but he recorded quite prolifically starting in 1956. He returned in January, May and June 1957 and eventually saw a Sun release later that year. Williams has enjoyed dual careers in both music and aviation. At the time of his Sun recordings he was living in Little Rock, Arkansas but was last heard of in St. Louis, Missouri.

Rosco Gordon's affiliation with Sam Phillips predates Sun Records. Before the birth of Sun, Phillips had recorded Rosco for RPM, Chess and Duke. Throughout the rock years, Rosco remained a sweet holdover from the earlier era, peddling his loping, good timing music. ''The Chicken'' was a big seller for Flip-Sun but not even a classic slice of black rockabilly, ''Sally Jo'', could sustain the momentum. It would take a move to Vee-Jay to get Rosco's career back on track.

The Miller Sisters enjoyed a long career with Sun stretching from 1954 until 1957. The two girls (who were really sisters-in-law because Elsie Jo married Millie's brother, Roy) journeyed to Memphis from Tupelo on countless occasions and saw three singles released to scant acclaim. Despite the fact that singing sister acts were in vogue and despite the high quality of the material and the performances the Millers simply seemed unable to realise their potential.

Rudi Richardson recorded one session for Sun (or one session that was leased to Sun) in late 1956 or early 1957. ''Fools' Hall Of Fame'' was obviously seen as a song to watch because Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash also recorded it. Richardson, whose recording career dated back into the 1940s, turns in a beautifully swinging performance that was delightfully at variance with the pattern of Sun releases at that time.

There was also a delightfully understated swing to the work of Malcolm Yelvington. However, the inspiration came from a different source: western swing. Yelvington was really caught out of time and switched to rockabilly because he had an astute grasp of what was selling. He managed to come up with a wonderful combination of styles that was quite uniquely his own.

Most of the Sun recordings of Gene Simmons with be found on Side 13 of this box. The songs included here date either from Simmons first audition in 1955 or even perhaps from a home-made tape in the case of ''Shake Rattle And Roll''.

Colin Escott

Recommended further listening: The complete Sun recordings of the Miller Sisters and Malcolm Yelvington can be found on the ''Sun Country Box'' (Bear Family BFX 15211). A cross-section of Rosco Gordon's recording for Sam Phillips can be found on the ''Sun Blues Box'' (Charly Sunbox 105). There is a more detailed look at his Sun career on ''The Legendary Sun Performers'' (Charly CR 30133) and his Vee-Jay career on ''No More Doggin''' (Charly CRB 1044). Many of his early recordings for Sam Phillips are on two volumes of Modern/RPM cuts (Ace CH 26 and 51).

Record 9 ''Rockin' With My Baby''
Contains
9.1 - Good Lookin' Woman (Jimmy Williams) (Previously Unissued)
9.2 - Rock-A-Bye-Baby (Jimmy Williams) (Previously Unissued)
9.3 - Sweet Rocking Mama (Jimmy Williams) (Previously Unissued)
9.4 - Sonny Boy (Jimmy Williams) (Not Originally Issued)
9.5 - Fire Engine Red (Jimmy Williams) (Not Originally Issued)
9.6 - Tomorrow (Jimmy Williams) (Previously Unissued)
9.7 - Please Don't Cry Over Me (Jimmy Williams) (Originally Sun 270)
9.8 - That Depends On You (Jimmy Williams) (Originally Sun 270)
9.9 - All I Want Is You (Jimmy Williams) (Not Originally Issued)
9.10 - My One Desire (Jimmy Williams) (Not Originally Issued)
Original Sun Recordings

Record 10 ''Rockin' With My Baby''
Contains
10.1 - Down On The Border (Gene Simmons) (Previously Unissued)
10.2 - Don't Let Me Down (The Miller Sisters) (Previously Unissued)
10.3 - Shake Rattle And Roll (Gene Simmons) (Previously Unissued)
10.4 - It's Me Baby (Malcolm Yelvington) (Originally Syn 246)
10.5 - Rocking With My Baby (Malcolm Yelvington) (Originally Sun 246)
10.6 - It's My Trumpet (Malcolm Yelvington) (Not Originally Issued)
10.7 - Ten Cats Down (The Miller Sisters) (Originally Sun 255)
10.8 - The Fools Hall Of Fame (Rudy Richardson) (Originally Sun 271)
10.9 - Cheese And Crackers (Rosco Gordon) (Originally Sun 257)
10.10 - Sally Jo (Rosco Gordon) (Originally Sun 305)
Original Sun Recordings

Name (Or. No. of Instruments)
9.1 to 9.5 (June 1956)
Jimmy Williams – Vocal
Unknown – Sax, Guitars, Bass, Drums

9.6 to 9.10 (Various dates 1957)
Jimmy Williams – Vocal
Jerry Smith – Piano
Jimmy Wilson – Piano
Roland Janes – Guitar
Billy Riley – Guitar
Marvin Pepper – Bass
Stan Kesler – Bass
Jimmy M. Van Eaton – Drums

10.1 (1955 or 1956)
Gene Simmons – Vocal
Carl Simmons – Mandolin and Vocal
John Green – Fiddle
Talmadge Hesler – Guitar
Jesse Carter – Bass

10.2 (1956)
Elsie Jo Miller, Mildred Wages, Ray Miller, Gene Simmons – Vocals
Carl Simmons, Gene Simmons, and Roy Miller – Guitars
Jesse Carter – Bass

10.3 (1956)
Gene Simmons – Vocal and Guitar
Carl Simmons – Guitar
Jesse Carter – Bass

10.4 & 10.5 (February 1956)
Malcolm Yelvington – Vocal and Guitar
Frank Tolley – Piano
Gordon Mashburn – Guitar
Jake Ryles – Bass
Billy Weir – Drums

10.6 (1957)
Malcolm Yelvington – Piano
Roland Janes – Guitar
Sid Manker – Bass
Otis Jett or Jimmy M. Van Eaton – Drums

10.7 (1956)
Elsie Jo Miller and Mildred Wages – Vocals
Johnny Cannon – Saxophone
Buddy Holobaugh – Guitar
Jan Ledbetter – Bass
Johnny Bernero – Drums

10.8 (1956 or 1957)
Rudi Richardson - Vocal and Guitar
Unknown Musicians
Vocal Chorus - Jimmy Hart, Steve Spear, Mike Gardner,
James Tarbutton, David Beaver

10.9 (October 1956)
Rosco Gordon – Vocal and Piano
James Jones – Saxophone
Lionel Prevest – Saxophone
Phillip Walker – Guitar
L.W. Canty – Bass
Joe Payne – Drums

10.10 (July 1957)
Rosco Gordon – Vocal
Freddie Tavares – Guitar
Unknown Band

Titles exept 10.8 recorded at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee.
10.8 Location uncertain.
Musicians listed do not all play on every song.

Cover Photo: Jimmy Williams

For Biographies of Artists See: > The Sun Biographies <
Most Sun tracks can be heard on the playlists from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on  > YouTube <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

November 1987 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 106-6A/B mono
SUN RECORDS - THE ROCKING YEARS - WE WANNA BOOGIE

The three undisputed giants of Sun rockabilly who never saw the commercial of either Presley or Perkins were Sonny Burgess, Warren Smith and Billy Riley. Sam Phillips obviously had high hopes for all three; there are literally hours of tape in the vaults and probably as much again was recorded-over. All three brought an individualistic approach to their music that was without an obvious debt to anyone. Elvis Presley may have inspired them to foresake country music and seek a new direction but from that point they were their own men.

Both Sonny Burgess and Billy Riley borrowed freely from rhythm and blues (in fact, Riley would later make a blues record under the pseudonym of Lightnin' Leon) whereas Smith always harked back to his hillbilly roots. All three knew that they possessed enviable talents and tried to make careers in the music business. Smith toured constantly during his years on Sun and eventually managed a short winning streak in Liberty in the early 1960s. Riley paid the rent with an endless round of studio work for Sun, his own labels and a bewildering variety of other labels. In the early 1970s, things looked to be failing into place for him. An affiliation with Sun International was followed by a fairly successful stint with Entrance but the big hit had always remained tantalisingly elusive. Sonny Burgess toured with his own band for a few years but then joined Jack Nance in the Conway Twitty band before he finally called it quits and returned to Newport, Arkansas.

Why did all three fail to find success that was almost their birthright? 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 then the story might have been different. Flukes count for much more that the record business likes to acknowledge. Sun's limited promotional machinery must also take a share of the blame. The promotional machine was limited to - at most - two people during the golden era. By the time the promotional department expanded, the product was less worthy of all the attention.

So, we are left with a paradox. Warren Smith, Billy Riley and Sonny Burgess made records for Sun that might have been hits if they had enjoyed the push of a major record company. However, they were making music that could never have been made for a major label.

Colin Escott

Recommended further listening: Sonny Burgess's Sun recordings have been documented on a series of albums: ''The Legendary Sun Performers'' (Charly CR 30136), ''Sonny Burgess & The Pacers'' (Sun/Charly LP 1027), ''We Wanna Boogie'' (Sun/Charly LP 1022 and LP 1039) scheduled. Warren Smith's Sun recordings are documented on ''Legendary Sun Performers'' (Charly CR 30132) and ''The Sun Country Box'' (Bear Family BFX 15211). Billy Riley's Sun recordings are available on ''Red Hot Riley'' (Charly CDX 9).

Record 11 ''We Wanna Boogie''
Contains
11.1 - We Wanna Boogie (Sonny Burgess) (Not Originally Issued)
11.2 - Red Headed Woman (Sonny Burgess) (Not Originally Issued)
11.3 - Ain't Got A Thing (Sonny Burgess) (Originally Sun 263)
11.4 - Feelin' Good (Sonny Burgess) (Not Originally Issued)
11.5 - Truckin' Down The Avenue (Sonny Burgess) (Not Originally Issued)
11.6 - Restless (Sonny Burgess) (Originally Sun 263)
11.7 - Find My Baby For Me(Sonny Burgess) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
11.8 - Sadie Brown (Sonny Burgess) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
11.9 - Itchy (Sonny Burgess) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
Original Sun Recordings

Record 12 ''We Wanna Boogie''
Contains
12.1 - Rock 'N' Roll Ruby (Warren Smith) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
12.2 - Stop The World (Warren Smith) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
12.3 - Uranium Rock (Warren Smith) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
12.4 - Dear John (Warren Smith) (Not Originally Issued)
12.5 - Flyin' Saucer Rock And Roll (Billy Riley) (Not Originally Issued)
12.6 - I Want You Baby Billy Riley) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
12.7 - Red Hot Billy Riley) (Not Originally Issued)
12.8 - No Name Girl (Billy Riley) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
12.9 - Got Your Water Boiling (Billy Riley) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
Original Sun Recordings

Name (Or. No. of Instruments)
11.1 to 11.6 & 11.8 (Various Dates 1956 and 1957)
Albert Sonny Burgess - Vocal and Guitar
Jack Nance - Trumpet)
Ray Kern Kennedy - Piano
Joe Lewis - Guitar
Johnny Hubbard - Bass
Russell Smith - Drums

11.7 (1957)
Albert Sonny Burgess - Vocal and Guitar
Ray Orbison - Second Vocal)
Unknown Band

11.9 (August 1958)
Albert Sonny Burgess - Guitar
Charlie Rich - Piano
Billy Riley - Harmonica
Jack Clement - Bass
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums
NB: The recording of ''Itchy'' was originally erroneously titled ''Thunderbird''.

12.1 (February 1956)
Warren Smith - Vocal and Guitar
Joe Baugh - Piano
Buddy Holobaugh - Guitar
Jan Ledbetter - bass
Johnny Bernero - Drums

12.2 (1957)
Warren Smith - Vocal and Guitar
Unknown - Piano
Al Hopson - Guitar
Probably Marcus Van Story - Bass
Jimmy Lott - Drums

12.3 (1958)
Warren Smith - Vocal and Guitar
Jimmy Wilson - Piano
Possibly Sid Manker - Guitar
Stan Kesler - Bass
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums

12.4 (1959)
Warren Smith - Vocal and Guitar
Unknown Band

12.5 to 12.7 (December 1956 and January 1957)
Billy Riley - Vocal and Guitar
Jerry Lee Lewis - Piano
Roland Janes - Guitar
Marvin Pepper - Bass
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums

12.8 & 12.9 (1959)
Billy Riley - Vocal and Guitar
Martin Willis - Saxophone
Charlie Rich or Jimmy Wilson - Piano
Roland Janes - Guitar
Pat O'Neill - Bass
Brad Suggs - Bass
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums

All titles recorded at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee.
Musicians listed do not all play on every song.

Cover Photo: Live on stage at Ellis Auditorium, Memphis, Tennessee, 1957
Left to right: Marcus Van Story, Warren Smith with unknown MC, Al Hopson, and Johnny Bernero.

For Biographies of Artists See: > The Sun Biographies <
Most Sun tracks can be heard on the playlists from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on  > YouTube <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

November 1987 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 106-7A/B mono
SUN RECORDS - THE ROCKING YEARS - THE CHAINS IN LOVE

Three more classic rockabilly singers, perhaps lacking the stunning originality of the three on Record 8 but still eminently listenable these many years later.

Gene Simmons had a chequered career on Sun. He appears to have recorded quite prolifically in 1956, 1957 and 1958 but only saw one release in 1958 of titles that had probably been recorded two years earlier. A single on Checker was released at roughly the same time and Simmons then began a long association with Hi Records. It gave him his only certifiable hit, a revival of ''Haunted House''. From that point, Simmons rarely stayed with a label for more than one or two releases. He has recorded frequently but never quite matched the sound of these Sun recordings which are, for the most part, pure and unbridled rockabilly.

Hayden Thompson is yet another artist who recorded for Sun at the dawn of a very long career that has been remarkably free of hits. With a crop of hiccuppy mannerisms and an undoubted enthusiasm for the music, Thompson was seen by Sam Phillips as a genuine contender but the relatively poor sales of his only Phillip International single seem to have doomed him. There is a contagious energy to his work on Sun and the backing musicians (who include Jerry Lee Lewis) are rarely less than brilliant.

Jimmy Wages certainly had no shortage of originality. What he lacked was saleability. His music was profoundly southern. It had a strange and tortured quality that makes it among the most listenable music left unissued in the Sun vaults. Wages has usually blamed Jack Clement for the non-appearance of these tracks on Sun but the earl reason is probably that they were determinedly uncommercial. However, all the reasons why they were doomed in 1957 and 1958 are the reasons why they are so eminently listenable today. Wages was a genuine original, and all of his recordings are deservedly brought together here for the first time.

Colin Escott

Record 13 ''The Chains In Love''
Contains
13.1 - Blues At Midnight (Gene Simmons) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
13.2 - Pop And Mama (Gene Simmons) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
13.3 - The Chains Of Love (Gene Simmons) (Not Originally Issued)
13.4 - Juicy Fruit (Gene Simmons) (Not Originally Issued)
13.5 - Drinkin' Wine (Gene Simmons) (Not Originally Issued)
13.6 - I Done Told You (Gene Simmons) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
13.7 - Crazy Woman (Gene Simmons) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
13.8 - I Don't Love You Baby (Gene Simmons) (Not Originally Issued)
13.9 - Money Money Money (Gene Simmons) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
13.10 - If I'm Not Wanted (Gene Simmons) (Previously Unissued)
Original Sun Recordings

Record 14 ''The Chains In Love''
Contains
14.1 - Love My Baby (Hayden Thompson) (Originally Phillips International PI 3517)
14.2 - One Broken Heart (Hayden Thompson) (Originally Phillips International PI 3517)
14.3 - Fairlane Rock (Hayden Thompson) (Not Originally Issued)
14.4 - Blues Blues Blues (Hayden Thompson) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
14.5 - Love My Baby (Hayden Thompson) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
14.6 - Mad Man - 1 (Jimmy Wages) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
14.7 - Heartbreakin' Love (Jimmy Wages) (Not Originally Issued)
14.8 - Miss Pearl (Jimmy Wages) (Not Originally Issued)
14.9 - Take Me From This Garden Of Evil (Jimmy Wages) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
14.10 - Mad Man - 2 (Jimmy Wages) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
Original Sun Recordings

Name (Or. No of Instruments)
13.1 to 13.10 (Various dates 1956, 1957 and 1958)
Gene Simmons - Vocal and Guitar
Carl Simmons - Guitar
Jesse Carter - bass
Unknown - Piano, Drums)

14.1 to 14.5 (1956/1957)
Hayden Thompson - Vocal
Jerry Lee Lewis - Piano
Roland Janes - Guitar
Marvin Pepper - Bass
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums

14.6 to 14.10 (Probably 1956/1957)
Jimmy Wages - Vocal
Unknown - Steel Guitar, Guitars, Piano, Bass and Drums
but including Ray Harris, Jesse Carter, Jimmy M. Van Eaton

All titles recorded at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee.
Musicians listed do not all play on every song.

Cover Photo: Gene Simmons

For Biographies of Artists See: > The Sun Biographies <
Most Sun tracks can be heard on the playlists from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on  > YouTube <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

November 1987 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 106-8A/B mono
SUN RECORDS - THE ROCKING YEARS - WHOLE LOTTA SHAKIN'

As 1957 rolled inexorably into 1958, the fortunes of the Sun Record Company hinge unhealthily on two artists: Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis. By the end of 1958 Cash had departed and Lewis was in disgrace.

At this point, there is simply very little to be said about Jerry Lee Lewis that has not already been said. As this set went into production, Dick Clark managed to sell a re-run of his Jerry Lee Lewis special to one of the American television networks. Jerry had just entered a Memphis hospital which left Clark open to the obvious accusation that, should the Reaper come calling, Clark would clean up in the almighty ratings. Jerry appeared in a tuxedo, looking cadaverous, his face a mask of impassivity but with madman's eyes burning through the mask. Every utterance from Jerry was greated by the applause light and a procession of relatives and friends was called upon to deliver a eulogy and a song. After every commercial break (and those breaks come every five minutes on American television) there was a brief clip of a very young Jerry Lee Lewis performing ''Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On''. The comparison between the alarming, almost feral, energy of the film clip and the drained, empty countenance of the latter day Killer was painfully obvious. Better to remember Jerry from the recordings on the ''Sun Years'' boxed set and out-takes included here.

By comparison, Charlie Rich has always been a recluse, forced by commercial necessity onto the stage. At the dawn of 1958 he was a staff writer for Knox and Hi-Lo Music, drawing a salary against future royalties. With Cash gone and Lewis apparently ruined, Rich finally started recording his own tunes. After a couple of false starts he found his groove. And a wonderful groove it was.

The other artists on this album represent the wide variety of music that was appearing on Sun as the first blush of rock and roll faded. Ernie Barton, Rudy Grayzell and Cliff Thomas still had some of the essential rawness that Phillips cherished. Magel Priesman, from Charlotte, Michigan recorded a number of songs but they remained unreleased until Connie Francis started hitting the high spots with a remarkably similar sound. Mack Vickery and Narvel Felts are captured at the dawn of long careers that, for one reason or another, did not begin with a Sun record. Their sessions stayed in the can.

Colin Escott

Recommended further listening: Jerry Lee Lewis ''The Sun Years'' (Charly Sunbox 102) is the most thorough cross-section of Lewis's recordings for the Sun label. Charlie Rich ''Original Hits and Midnite Demos'' (Charly CDX 10) comprises all of his singles for Phillips International together with a selection of demos and rejected masters.

Record 15 ''Whole Lotta Shakin'''
Contains
15.1 - Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On (Jerry Lee Lewis) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
15.2 - You Win Again (Jerry Lee Lewis) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
15.3 - High School Confidential (Jerry Lee Lewis) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
15.4 - Crazy Heart (Jerry Lee Lewis) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
15.5 - Breakup (Jerry Lee Lewis) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
15.6 - Charlie's Boogie (Charlie Rich) (Not Originally Issued)
15.7 - Blue Suede Shoes (Charlie Rich) (Previously Unissued)
15.8 - My Baby Done Left Me (Charlie Rich)
15.9 - Rebound(Charlie Rich) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
15.10 - Lonely Weekends (Charlie Rich) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
Original Sun Recordings

Record 16 ''Whole Lotta Shakin'''
Contains
16.1 - Stairway To Nowhere (Ernie Barton) (Originally Phillips International 3528)
16.2 - She's Gone Away (Ernie Barton) (Not Originally Issued)
16.3 - You Don't Care (Narvel Felts) (Not Originally Issued)
16.4 - I Wanta Rock (Patsy Holcomb) (Not Originally Issued)
16.5 - Memories Of You (Magel Priesman) (Originally Sun 294)
16.6 - Judy (Rudy Grayzell) (Originally Sun 290)
16.7 - Drive In (Mack Vickery) (Not Originally Issued)
16.8 - Have You Ever Been Lonely (Mack Vickery) (Not Originally Issued)
16.9 - Fool Proof (Mack Vickery) (Not Originally Issued)
16.10 - Sorry I Lied (Cliff Thomas) (Originally Phillips International 3531)
Original Sun Recordings

Name (Or. No of Instruments)
15.1 to 15.5 (Various Dates 1957 and 1958)
Jerry Lee Lewis - Vocal and Piano
Roland Janes - Guitar
Jay W. Brown - Bass
Billy Riley - Bass
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums

15.6 to 15.10 (Various dates1957, 1958, 1959(
Charlie Rich - Vocal and Piano
Roland Janes - Guitar
Martin Willis - Saxophone
Billy Riley - Bass
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums

16.1 & 16.2 (April 1957)
Ernie Barton - Vocal and Guitar
Jimmy Wilson - Piano
Roland Janes - Guitar
Sid Manker - Bass
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums

16.3 (January 1957)
Narvel Felts - Vocal and Guitar
Unknown Band

16.4 (June 1957)
Patsy Holcomb - Vocal
Roland Janes - Guitar
Martin Willis - Saxophone
Stan Kesler - Bass
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums

16.5 (July 1957)
Magel Priesman - Vocal
Roland Janes - Guitar
Onzie Horne - Vibes
Unknown - Bass, Drums

16.6 (October 1957)
Rudy Grayzell - Vocal
Jimmy Smith - Piano
Roland Janes - Guitar
Unknown - Bass
Otis Jett - Drums

16.7 to 16.9 (November 1957)
Mack Vickery - Vocal
Jimmy Smith - Piano
Roland Janes - Guitar
Stan Kesler - Guitar and Bass
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums

16.10 (September 1958)
Cliff Thomas - Vocal and Guitar
Ed Thomas - Piano
Billy Riley - Guitar
Jack Clement - Bass
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums

All title recorded at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee.
Musicians listed do not all play on every song.

Cover Photo:
Jerry Lee Lewis and Sam Phillips in the old Sun Studio, 1958
Courtesy: Knox Phillips/Colin Escott

For Biographies of Artists See: > The Sun Biographies <
Most Sun tracks can be heard on the playlists from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on  > YouTube <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

November 1987 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 106-9A/B mono
SUN RECORDS - THE ROCKING YEARS - SHAKE AROUND

This record shows that there was still much to love on yellow records in 1958. The mysterious Tommy Blake did not live to see all of his Sun recordings gathered together for the first time here. He had first established himself as a writer in the early 1950s working out of his base in Louisiana. He changed his tune with the rock and roll revolution and made some wonderful undervalued music. He also continued to write and succeeded in pitching one song to the departing Johnny Cash (''Story Of A Broken Heart'').

The two other artists on this album have survived in style. Edwin Bruce is now approaching his thirtieth year in business. His career begun on Sun Records but did not see much success until he switched to country music in the mid-1960s. He has also scored some impressive successes as a writer, most notably with ''Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys'', which captured the spirit of ersatz urban cowboy movement of a few years back.

Dickey Lee was, in his own words, a ''misplaced Philadelphia teen idol''. His two Sun singles met with scant acclaim and Lee had to wait until ''Patches'', produced by Jack Clement and leased to Smash in 1962, before he really hit the high spots. However, it has been in country music that Lee has also hit his stride. His own recording for RCA and Mercury achieved some success but his career as a writer has seen undeniable and sustained success starting with ''She Thinks I Still care''.

Tommy Blake, Edwin Bruce and Dickey Lee all made distinctive music for Sun Records. Bruce and Lee in particular were in the right place at the right time but failed to translate that innate advantage into commercial success.

Recommended further listing: Ed Bruce, ''Rock Boppin' Baby'' (Bear Family 15194).

Record 17 ''Shake Around''
Contains
17.1 - Flat Foot Sam (Tommy Blake) (Original Sun 278)
17.2 - Lordy Hoody (Tommy Blake) (Original 278)
17-3 - I Dig You Baby - 1 (Tommy Blake) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
17.4 - You Better Believe It - 1 (Tommy Blake) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
17.5 - Sweetie Pie (Tommy Blake) (Original Sun 300)
17.6 - I Dig You Baby - 2 (Tommy Blake)
17.7 - Shake Around (Tommy Blake) (Original Sun 300)
17.8 - You Better Believe It - 2 (Tommy Blake) (Not Originally Issued)
Original Sun Recordings

Record 18 ''Shake Around''
Contains
18.1 - Rock Boppin' Baby (Edwin Bruce) (Original Sun 276)
18.2 - Eight Wheel Driver (Edwin Bruce) (Not Originally Issued)
18.3 - Sweet Woman (Edwin Bruce) (Original Sun 292)
18.4 - Baby That's Good (Edwin Bruce) (Not Originally Issued)
18.5 - King Of Fools (Edwin Bruce) (Not Originally Issued)
18.6 - Memories Never Grow Old (Dickey Lee) (Original Sun 280)
18.7 - Good Lovin' (Dickey Lee) (Original Sun 280)
18.8 - Fool Fool Fool (Dickey Lee) (Original Sun 297)
18.9 - Dreamy Nights (Dickey Lee) (Original Sun 297)
18.10 - Hey Heart (Dickey Lee) (Not Originally Issued)
Original Sun Recordings

Name (Or. No. of Instruments)
17.1 & 17.2 (November 1957)
Tommy Blake - Vocal and Guitar
Carl Adams - Guitar
Eddie Hall - Bass
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums

17.3 & 17.4 (March 1958)
Tommy Blake - Vocal and Guitar

17.5 to 17.8 (March 1958)
Tommy Blake - Vocal and Guitar
Jimmy Wilson - Piano
Roland Janes - Guitar
Carl Adams - Guitar
Stan Kesler - Bass
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums

18.1 & 18.2 (May 1957)
Edwin Bruce - Vocal and Guitar
Jimmy Smith - Piano
Roland Janes - Guitar
Stan Kesler - Bass
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums

18.3 & 18.4 (January 1958)
Edwin Bruce - Vocal and Guitar
Jimmy Wilson - Piano
Billy Riley - Guitar
Stan Kesler - Bass
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums

18.5 (1958)
Edwin Bruce - Vocal and Guitar
Unknown - Bass

18.6 to 18.10 (August 1957 and March 1958)
Dickey Lee - Vocal and Guitar
Charlie Rich - Piano
Jimmy Wilson - Piano
Stan Kesler - Bass
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums
Richard Page - Drums
Eddie Weil, J.L. Jerden, David Morris, Allen Reynolds,
Bill Talmadge, and David Glenn - Vocal Chorus

All titles recorded at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee.
Musicians listed do not all play on every song.

Cover Photo: Dickey Lee and Allen Reynolds
Courtesy Colin Escott

For Biographies of Artists See: > The Sun Biographies <
Most Sun tracks can be heard on the playlists from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on  > YouTube <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

November 1987 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 106-10A/B mono
SUN RECORDS - THE ROCKING YEARS - WILLING AND READY

As Sun's golden era receded into the past, there were still some artists whose style and approach harked to earlier time. Chief among these was Ray Smith. Armed with as much talent and ambition as anyone who ever walked into the Sun studio, Smith saw scant success on Sun. After leaving Sun he seemed incapable of sustaining a relationship with any label that extended beyond a few singles and only ''Rockin' Little Angel'', recorded for Judd Records, gave him a taste of real chart success. The road that had begun in Paducah, Kentucky, ended for Ray Smith in November 1979 when he committed suicide in his adopted hometown of Burlington, Ontario.

Carl Mann was also restricted to one major hit, ''Mona Lisa. It quickly elevated Mann to Phillips' best-selling artist. The follow-ups did well but nothing could recapture the fleeting success of that first Phillips International single. The lighter and undeniably prettier sound that Mann adopted contrasted sharply with the the darker tones that Phillips had nurtured in his earlier artists. However, he was indisputably the right horse for the course as the 1950s drew to a close and, in retrospect, it is surprising that he only managed one hit of epic proportions.

Tracy Pendarvis, on the other hand, saw nothing that even approached a hit. His sound was a sweet anachronism in the changing times. Coming from Florida, Perndarvis was one of the few early rock and roll artist to call the Sunshine State his home. Pendarvis may have made the right move in journeying to Memphis but he was arguably two years late.

Colin Escott

Recommended further listening: Carl Mann: ''Like Mann?''. (Charly CRM 2006)

Record 19 ''Willing And Ready''
Contains
19.1 - Right Behind You Baby (Ray Smith) (Originally Sun 298)
19.2 - So Young (Ray Smith) (Originally Sun 298)
19.3 - Why Why Why (Ray Smith) (Not Originally Issued)
19.4 - You Made A Hit (Ray Smith) (Originally Sun 308)
19.5 - Sail Away (Ray Smith) (Originally Sun 319)
19.6 - Rockin' Bandit (Ray Smith) (Not Originally Issued)
19.7 - Willing And Ready (Ray Smith) (Not Originally Issued)
19.8 - Forever Yours (Ray Smith) (Not Originally Issued)
19.9 - Shake Around (Ray Smith) (Not Originally Issued)
19.10 - Break Up (Ray Smith) (Not Originally Issued)
Original Sun Recordings

Record 20 ''Willing And Ready''
Contains
20.1 - Mona Lisa (Carl Mann) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
20.2 - Rockin' Love (Carl Mann) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
20.3 - Pretend (Carl Mann) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
20.4 - Too Young (Carl Mann) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
20.5 - A Thousand Guitars (Tracy Pendarvis) (Originally Sun 335)
20.6 - Is It To Late (Tracy Pendarvis) (Originally Sun 335)
20.7 - Is It Me (Tracy Pendarvis) (Originally Sun 345)
20.8 - Southbound Line (Tracy Pendarvis) (Originally Sun 345)
20.9 - Beat It (Tracy Pendarvis) (Previously Unissued)
Original Sun Recordings

Name (Or. No. of Instruments)
19.1 to 19.10 (Various Dates January 1958 to February 1959)
Ray Smith - Vocal
Stanley Walker - Second Vocal
Charlie Rich - Piano
Dean Perkins - Guitar
Stan Walker - Guitar
Roland Janes - Guitar
Stan Kesley - Bass
James Webb - Bass
Gary Diamond - Drums
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums

20.1 to 20.4 (Various Dates January to August 1959)
Carl Mann - Vocal and Piano
Eddie Bush - Guitar
Robert Oatswell - Bass
W. S. Holland - Drums

20.5 & 20.6 20.7 to 20.9 (1959)
Tracy Pendarvis - Vocal and Guitar
Johnny Gibson - Guitar
Jimmy Wilson - Piano
Sid Manker - bass
Merrill Williams - Drums

All titles recorded at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee.
Musicians listed do not all play on every song.

Cover Photo: Ray Smith
Courtesy: Mrs Lillie Smith and Colin Escott

For Biographies of Artists See: > The Sun Biographies <
Most Sun tracks can be heard on the playlists from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on  > YouTube <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

November 1987 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 106-11A/B mono
SUN RECORDS - THE ROCKING YEARS - YOUR LOVIN' MAN

By 1958-1959 the loose, primitive rockabilly music was giving way to a fuller sound that was undeniably less countrified. Vernon Taylor's version of Mystery Train epitomises those changes. The understated beat and acoustic feel Of Presley's Version had been replaced by a rock solid backbeat and a brittle electric feel. Vernon Taylor had the potential to become a serious contender but the magic failed to rub off on him, He was also unusual in that he had previously recorded for another label (in this case, Dot) before coming to Sun.

The other artists on this record come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Eddie Bond had first auditioned at Sun in 1955 and was turned down. He returned in 1958 after the end of his Mercury-Starday pact but, once again, failed to secure a release. He was more successful in 1962 when he recorded two albums' worth of material and actually saw one album released on Phillips International.

Cliff Gleaves was another local boy hoping to make good, He was one of Elvis Presley's buddies and was a local dee-jay at some point. He later recorded for Jack Clement's Summer label as well as Liberty, Park Avenue, Dore, Elixir and Bojo, After stint in Florida, he returned to Memphis.

Roy Hall's career was so extensive that it is impossible to encapsulate it in a paragraph. It is unclear quite how he came to record for Sun although it is possible that the initial contact may have been made by Nashville whiz Murray Nash.

Danny Stewart had an even more ephemeral involvement in the scene. He later became a newsman on a local television station and started his own real estate business.

Johnny Powers, on the other hand, came from points north. Born John Pavlik he submitted some demo tapes to Sun via his manager Tommy Moers, He apparently made a few trips to Memphis but single resulted. Powers stayed in the Detroit area and later became friends with Jack Earls, an a rockabilly who made the trip alone the old Hillbilly Highway as the decade drew to a close.

Songwriter and guitarists Alton (Lot and Jimmy (Harrell) saw one release on Sun in 1959 With a commendably touch slice of pop-rock before moving on to several small Mississippi labels.

Perhaps the talkinq points of this record are the hitherto unknown demo recordings made at Sun by country superstars Mickey Gilley and Charley Pride. Gilleys three titles were made just prior to a Dot session cut at 706 Union and display his already remarkable ability to copy the style of his cousin, Jerry Lee Lewis. Pride's one surviving song was cut well before the dawn of his career as a country balladeer at a time when he was playing baseball for the Memphis Red Sox. Oddly enough, he was covering a white record, The Stroll, as a foretaste of his career as a black man working in a white idiom.

Colin Escott and Martin Hawkins

Recommended further listening: Johnny Powers: (Roller Coaster)

Record 21 ''Your Lovin' Man''
Contains
21.1 - Your Lovin' Man (Vernon Taylor) (Not Originally Issued)
21.2 - Today Is Blue Day (Vernon Taylor) (Originally Sun 310)
21.3 - Breeze (Vernon Taylor) (Originally Sun 310)
21.4 - Hey Little Girl (Vernon Taylor) (Previously Unissued)
21.5 - Mystery Train (Vernon Taylor) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
21.6 - This Kinda Love (Vernon Taylor) (Not Originally Issued)
21.7 - Sweet And Easy To Love (Vernon Taylor) (Originally Sun 325)
21.8 - Mystery Train (Vernon Taylor) (Originally Sun 325)
Original Sun Recordings

Record 22 ''Your Lovin' Man''
Contains
22.1 - Thinkin' Of Me (Mickey Gilley) (Previously Unissued)
22.2 - Have A Little Party (C'Mon Baby) (Mickey Gilley) (Previously Unissued)
23.3 - Whole Lotta Shakin' (Mickey Gilley) (Previously Unissued)
23.4 - I'll Change My Ways (Danny Stewart) (Originally Phillips International 3561)
23.5 - This Old Heart Of Mine (Eddie Bond) (Not Originally Issued)
23.6 - Love Is My Business (Cliff Gleaves) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
23.7 - I Lost My Baby (Roy Hall) (Not Originally Issued)
23.8 - Walkin' (The Stroll) (Charlie Pride) (Previously Unissued)
23.9 - With Your Love, With Your Kiss (Johnny Powers) (Originally Sun 327)
23.10 - No More Crying The Blues (Alton & Jimmy) (Originally Sun 323)
Original Sun Recordings

Name (Or. No of Instruments)
21.1 to 21.3 (August to October 1958)
Vernon Taylor - Vocal and Guitar
Jimmy Wilson - Piano
Jack Clement – Guitar
Cliff Agred - Bass
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums

21.4 (1958)
Vernon Taylor - Vocal and Guitar

21.5 to 21.8 (1959)
Vernon Taylor - Vocal and Guitar
Probably Martin Willis - Saxophone
Charlie Rich - Piano
Brad Suggs - Guitar
Billy Riley - Bass
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums

22.1 to 22.3 (1957 or 1958)
Mickey Gilley - Vocal and Piano
Unknown - Bass

22.4 (January 1958)
Danny Stewart - Vocal
Roland Janes - Guitar
Scotty Moore - Bass
Lee Cornello - Drums
James Terry or Jerry Smoochy Smith - Piano
Bill Justis - Tenor Saxophone
Vernon Drane - Tenor Saxophone
Nelson Grill - Saxophone

22.5 (April 1958)
Eddie Bond - Vocal
Unknown Band

22.6 (1958)
Cliff Gleaves - Vocal
Charlie Rich - Piano
Roland Janes - Guitar
Sid Manker - Bass

22.7 (December 1958)
Roy Hall - Vocal
Jimmy Smith - Piano
Stan Kesler - Bass
Otis Jett - Drums

22.8 (1958)
Charley Pride - Vocal and Guitar
Unknown Band

22.9 (1959)
Johnny Powers - Vocal and Guitar
Martin Willis - Saxophone
Charlie Rich - Piano
Brad Suggs - Guitar
Billy Riley - Bass
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums

22.10 (1959)
Alton Lott - Vocal and Guitar
Jimmy Harrell - Vocal and Guitar
Billy Riley - Bass
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums

All titles recorded at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis.
Musicians listed do not all play on every song.

Cover Photo: Vernon Taylor

For Biographies of Artists See: > The Sun Biographies <
Most Sun tracks can be heard on the playlists from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on  > YouTube <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

November 1987 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 106-12A/B mono
SUN RECORDS - THE ROCKING YEARS - RAUNCHY

In a very real sense, it was the session men who gave Sun records their distinctive sound. By early 1957 the nucleus of the famous Sun house-band was in place. RoIand Janes played guitar, Jimmy Wilson played piano, Stan Kesler had switched from steel guitar to electric bass and Jimmy M. Van Eaton played drums. By 1958 Charlie Rich had replaced Wilson and Otis Jett was occasionally heard on drums but the group essentially remained intact.

The musical director and arranger was Bill Justis. He can be heard on the session tapes coming down onto the studio floor between takes chiding the musicians and getting them primed for yet another take. His own hit, ''Raunchy'', barely diminished the amount of studio work he undertook. After leaving Sun, Justis virtually lived inside one studio or another until his death in July 1982. Among the artists he worked with were Kenny Rogers, Frank Sinatra, Julie Andrews and Tom Jones. "Technically'', said Stan Kesler, "Bill was better than most of the musicians at Sun. He was more of an educated musician than a feel musician . . but he wasn't that hung up on being technically correct''.

Among the young hopefuls whom Justis encouraged was Roger Fakes. He used Fakes's group. the Spinners, on a few of his own sides and arranged one solo session. Fakes would not have been out of place in the releases that Justis worked up in 1958 but he lost out in the bizarre lottery that decided who was released and who was not.

One of the more idiosyncratic releases coupled the Bill Justis band with Bill Pinky (a/k/a Pinkney) who been the lead singer with the Drifters after the departure of Clyde McPhatter. The songs had an undeniable hook but somehow this did not translate into sales. The brief affiliation began and ended with one single.

Ace guitarists Brad Suggs and Roland Janes were no strangers at 706 Union. Suggs had recorded as part of the Slim Rhodes Band back in 1950 and again in 1954?-56, He also undertook session work in 1955-1956 and can be heard on Warren Smith's ''Ubangi Stomp'' among other cuts. His return to session work in 1959 coincided with the departure of Roland Janes. Suggs also saw five singles hit the market under his own name on Phillips International. At present, he works for Sears in Florida. Janes, on the other hand, saw no releases under his own name on either Sun or Phillips. However, there are some
indications that the session of February 6, 1958 was at one point designed for release. After a long career in the music business around Memphis, Janes finally returned to the fold and currently holds a regular job at the Phillips Recording Studio.

This album also includes some prime sax playing from the two principal session men at Sun during the golden years. Martin Willis, who worked with the Billy Riley group, and Johnny ''Ace'' Cannon who was part of the Johnny Bernero Combo before the pair split. Finally, we have the sensational drumming man, Jimmy van Eaton. Today, in the age of drum machines, Van Eaton's loose and unorthodox approach sounds very out of place and very refreshing. And in a sense, his approach serves as a metaphor for all that was best about Sun records. Tight, rocking and informal. The sound of surprise.

Colin Escott

Recommended further listening: ''Though Stuff - Sun Instrumental Gold'' (Charly CR 30186).

Record 23 ''Raunchy''
Contains
23.1 - Raunchy (Bill Justis Orchestra) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
23.2 - Midnight Man (Bill Justis Orchestra) (Originally Phillips International 353519)
23.3 - Somehow We'll Find A Way (Roger Fakes) (Previously Issued)
23.4 - Wild Rice (Bill Justis Orchestra) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
23.5 - College Man (Bill Justis Orchestra) (Not Original Issued)
23.6 - Scroungie (Bill Justis Orchestra) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
23.7 - After The Hop (Bill Justis Orchestra) (Originally Phillips International 3524)
23.8 - Sally's Got A Sister (Bill Justis Orchestra) (Originally Phillips International 3524)
23.9 - Bop Train (Bill Justis Orchestra) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
23.10 - Flip Flop And Bop (Bill Justis Orchestra) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
Original Sun Recordings

Record 24 ''Raunchy''
Contains
24.1 - Rolando (Roland Janes) (Previously Unissued)
24.2 - Little Bitty Pretty Girl (Roland Janes) (Vocal Eddie Cash) (Previously Unissued)
24.3 - Hey Good Lookin' (Roland Janes) (Vocal Eddie Cash) (Previously Unissued)
24.4 - Sugarfoot Rag (Martin Willis) (Previously Unissued)
24.5 - Hey Bo Diddley (Jimmy M. Van Eaton) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
24.6 - That's The Way I Feel (Jimmy Pritchett) (Not Original Issued)
24.7 - Tuff (Cattywampus) (Johnny Ace Cannon) (Previously Unissued)
24.8 - That's Just Too Bad (Johnny Ace Cannon) (Previously Unissued)
24.9 - 706 Union (Brad Suggs) (Previously Unissued Alternative)
Original Sun Recordings

Name (Or. No. of Instruments)
23.1 (1957)
Bill Justis - Saxophone
Jimmy Wilson - Piano
Sid Manker - Guitar
Billy Riley - Bass
Jimmy M. van Eaton - Drums

23.2 (1957 or 1959)
Roger Fakes - Vocal
ill Justis - Saxophone
Jimmy Wilson - Piano
Sid Manker - Guitar
Billy Riley - Bass
Jimmy M. van Eaton - Drums
The Spiners - Vocal

23.3 (1957 or 1958)
Roger Fakes - Vocal
Charlie Rich - Piano
Sid Manker - Guitar
Billy Riley - Guitar
Stan Kesler - Bass
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums

23.4 & 23.6 (August 1957)
Bill Justis - Saxophone
Johnny Wilson - Piano
Sid Manker - Guitar
Jemieson Bryant - Bass
Otis Jett - Drums

21.5 (February 1957)
Billy Riley - Vocal
Bill Justis - Saxophone
Jimmy Wilson - Piano
Sid Manker - Guitar
Billy Riley - Bass
Jimmy M. van Eaton - Drums

23.7 & 23.8 (February 1958)
Bill Pinkney - Vocal
Bill Justis - Saxophone
Roland Janes - Lead Guitar
Stan Kesler - Bass
James M. Van Eaton - Drums
Jimmy Wilson - Piano
Chorus The Turks consisting of Willie Peppers,
Gerald Hendrix, Tom Abston and James Curry

23.9 & 23.10 (1958)
Bill Justis - Saxophone
Unknown - Horns
Charlie Rich - Piano
Jimmy Wilson - Piano
Roland Janes - Guitar
Sid Manker - Guitar
Cliff Aced - Bass
Billy Riley - Bass
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums

24.1 to 24.3 (February 1959)
Roland Janes - Guitar
Eddie Cash - Vocal
Martin Willis - Saxophone
Billy Riley - Guitar
Jimmy Wilson - Piano
Pat O'Neill - Bass
Billy Weir or Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums

24.4 (1958 or 1959)
Martin Willis - Saxophone
Roland Janes - Guitar
Eddie Cash - Vocal
Martin Willis - Saxophone
Billy Riley - Guitar
Jimmy Wilson - Piano
Pat O'Neill - Bass
Billy Weir or Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums

24.5 (1958 or 1959)
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums
Martin Willis - Saxophone
Roland Janes - Guitar
Eddie Cash - Vocal
Martin Willis - Saxophone
Billy Riley - Guitar
Jimmy Wilson - Piano
Pat O'Neill - Bass

24.6 to 24.8 (1958)
Johnny Ace Cannon - Saxophone
Jimmy Pritchett - Vocal
Bill Justis - Saxophone
Johnny Wilson - Piano
Roland Janes - Guitar
Billy Riley - Bass
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums

24.9 (July 1959)
Brad Suggs - Guitar
Martin Willis - Saxophone
Charlie Rich - Piano
Billy Riley - Bass
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums

All titles recorded at 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Musicians listed do not all play on every song.

Cover Photo: Bill Justis

For Biographies of Artists See: > The Sun Biographies <
Most Sun tracks can be heard on the playlists from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on  > YouTube <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

SAM PHILLIPS' ROCKING YEARS
Introduction and interview by Martin Hawkins

Sam Phillips almost invented rock and roll twice. First in 1951 with rhythm and blues musicians like Ike Turner, Jackie Brenton and Rosco Gordon, when he recorded top selling black hits such as ''Rocket 88''. Then again between 1954 and 1956 when Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins evolved with Sam the rockabilly style, and the Sun Sound. In March 1986, some thirty years after Perkins' ''Blue Suede Shoes'' became the first really big-selling Sun rock and roll record, I talked to Sam about the origins of rockabilly and of Sun main artists. Sam had this to Say:

I started out recording country music and rhythm and blues We gained some hits in the blues field, too, but if couldn't get the music liked to a wider audience. I knew that a lot of white people, particularly the younger people. Were listening surreptitiously to black music. My only path into the white audience was a that time through country music. However, between the west coast and Nashville, I really didn't think there was of scope for me to overturn the patterns that were becoming established in pure country music. I knew I had to find something different.

You see, I knew that there was a lot of raw talent, in blues and music. I saw my role as being the facilitator. The man who listened to an artist for his native abilities, then tried to encouraged and channel the artist into what would be a proper outlet tor his abilities. I wasn't interested in just a good singer; there had to be something distinctive there me to decide to spend time with an artist.

So, really. the rock and toll we came out with was the result of a time of experimentation. Scotty Moore and Bill Black really kinda evolved the rockabilly sound through discussions that we had right there in the studio. I credit Scotty Moore with being one of the easiest persons to work with, and for having a real desire be innovative his mind was open and that was an awful lot of help to me. He had a lot of patience too, though he was serious in his intentions, He had been around the studio for a while hoping there was some way I could use him, and he was sympathetic to the thing I was trying to do - to see if we could come up with something a little different.

Scotty was maybe not the greatest overall guitar player I worked with, but he was able to develop style playing, first with Doug Poindexter and then with Elvis Presley. One thing did not like was that Scotty was a great fan of Chet Atkins and I didn't have that kind of playing in mind. But, like say, he was willing to try something else, end he was really keen to succeed.

Bill Black was playing with Poindexter and Scotty Moore, and he just caught my ear as a real good rhythm bass player. He had a stand up that had an unusual sound, a slap beat and a tonal beat at one time. It was important that we worked a rhythm into the patterns since did not use drums much back in 1954.

Both Scotty and Bill felt that w hat I was trying to do was right. When Elvis came along they were willing to work hard on coming up with a sound. Bill, though, was not nearly as it Scotty was Bill was a night gig type of person, at least at first.

You see, most artists that came into my studio were amateurs in the sense they had to be given time to get comfortable with recording. Only people like Slim Rhodes or someone who was on radio or gigging regularly with band would even begin to know what was involved in the techniques of recording.

One Of these so-called was Elvis Presley. When he to me he was not gigging regularly. He didn't even know the protocol of how to get an audition with me. Apparently he walked past times he even had the courage to walk to 706 Union. Finally he got the courage to come in and ask to make a personal disc for his mother, which I did help him with.

For all his inexperience - he had not played professional until he going on club dates with Doug and Scotty - Elvis was very accomplished in one way. He was very aware of what was going on in the music world. He knew all the black musicians and the country guys too. He could sing some pop. Mostly though, when I first saw him. he was very much into gospel quartet music.

The first time I saw Elvis was when he came into the studio one day, I can recall what he looked like. He was without hardly any means at all. He had a style about him but he was obviously from a humble background. Physically, he had the long sideburns which was unusual then, and the hair oil that was unconventional. He put too much oil on his hair because, I later found out, that he was disgruntled with his hair. It grew out in all directions. That was why he combed his hair all the time. Apart from those things, what impressed me was his eyes, which were very pure. Here seemed to he a genuine sort of person. He was very contrite, very keen but totally lacking in confidence.

Anyway he went into the studio to make the record which he said was for his mother. When I first heard him on microphone, I was very impressed with the innate purity of his voice. It seemed to come through, even though in the audition situation he was under some stress.

As things evolved and I decided to work with Elvis to see if we could make a record, I found that music was such a great part of his life. He was so desirous of co-operating of being a success. I don't mean that he had stars in his eyes, that kind of thing. He to succeed just like did, but also he was a good student. He was very bright and he comprehended all kinds of music. He understood and listened to me when I told him that we had to be cautious and to take things slowly and come up with something good and new. Because he was the type of person who listened and who believed in my advice, he learned to know that I was trying to do things right. When I told him something was good. he know it. The basic talent was there, I knew that, but Elvis was ready to do anything, to sing anything, I helped him realise that it had to be done right.

Apart from Scotty and Bill, who developed a real fine feel with Elvis, the other person I used on Elvis' records later on was Johnny Bernero. I can't recall exactly how we came to use Johnny, but I believe he came in with his band which at that was a kind of western-swing band. Now Johnny was a good drummer. I mean is it was easy for him to behave in the studio. People forget that there were lot of microphones in studio in those days I only used one mike on the drums and it was important that the drummer could control his volume. Most people wanted to play to loud, but Johnny could not only play styles and execute real well but he could control the strength too.

Later on, I began to use J. M. Van Eaton as our studio drummer. He had come in sometime in 1956 with Billy Riley and it seemed to me that he was maybe a little better drummer and certainly with more of a feel for the harder rock roll that was coming along. His fault was that he was prone to break time, but did have the rocking approach that was needed later on.

The first day I met Carl Perkins. I knew here was an artist I could work with. He came in, I believe, just little after Elvis came with us, and he was, like Elvis, open to suggestions. He was very eager, but he was also very polite and ready listen. Most of all, had talent in abundance.

My way was to audition an artist and area of music where he was the most comfortable, then to move him on from there to a style that he could live with but which was a little different and might lend itself to some record sales. Now when Carl Perkins very first came in, he was playing rockabilly guitar. I mean he had it all worked out, songs like ''Movie Magg'' which just impressed me so much. He was a tremendous honky tonk guitar picker. He had this feel 'pushing' a song along that very few people had. But I have to say that although I knew that Carl could rock, and in fact he told me right from the start that he had been playing that music before Elvis and Scotty came out on record, I was so impressed by the pain and feeling in his country singing that I originally wanted to whether this wasn't somebody who could revolutionise the country end of the business. I really felt that.

This doesn't mean that we going to rock with Carl. That was because he had such a rhythm in his natural style. His success in the rock field came sooner than I planned or expected it would, however.

It was really a combination of two things, his tremendously driving guitar style and the finding of the right song which of course was ''Blue Suede Shoes''.

There were so different types of people who along to me after Elvis Carl hit with rock and roll. My job then was to assess each person and see how best to use their energy because, as I said before, many of these people were amateurs in the entertainment business and certainly were new to recording.

One person I will never forget is Ray Harris, ''Come On Little Mama''. Ray was a very intense person. He really put himself into it, you know. In fact he looked like he was going to have a heart attack every time he played. He just gave it everything. He wanted it to be right. Of course, Ray was a steel worker and he was not really going out on the road with a band or anything. So he had to to build up a record in the studio from nothing. He had a player called Wayne Cogswell later in the Bill Black Combo, and he had drummer, Joe Reisenberg. Joe was an older man, maybe in his forties or fifties whereas most of the musicians I used would be in their twenties. I think they could have made it for all that, but they lacked a little confidence and maybe some patience. ''Rack em up boy, let's go'', that was Ray's saying. If it didn't go well, he would be off. He didn't stick around.

As we were talked rock and roll, then the person to give some credit to here is Sonny Burgess. Sonny was a rocker, man, I mean a real rocker. It was a real disappointment to me that Sonny never made it because, he was a pleasure to work with, he had awful lot of confidence in what he was doing, and we had some astoundingly good cuts on him, he didn't come off, we'll probably never know.

Sonny could been as one of the greats rock and roll. I mean he had this band in Arkansas, and they were a working band. What knew what they were doing and they had a sound like never heard. They were pure Rock and roll. There was no way Sonny was going to be a ballad singer. Rock was his forté, he just never got the right break. We gave him several record releases because I believe in this guy. We gave him what exposure we could but ultimately it is the DJs and the public who make the decision.

Maybe Sonny's sound was too raw, I know. But I tell this. He had a big-sounding voice and he was a very contagious performer. He had a rhythm that never stopped. Contrary to what the record charts say, in my mind Sonny Burgess was one of the great rockers of all time. He was committed to it.

Another good rocker from those days was Gene Simmons. I never did see him being what you'd call top line artist, but he was a rocker of some ability and we had some very fine cuts on Gene. I was not all surprised that he later came out with some hits on Hi Records. He had a belief in what he was trying to do, a real desire beyond the normal to get a hit. Gene Simmons love the stage, and he would play and perform all kinds of music, rock, blues ballads. I never did see him as a ballad singer, but he certainly had a feel rhythm music. That ''Drinkin' Wine'' sold have been a hit.

Talking of hits, there another person for whom I have no explanation why he didn't make it. That is Hayden Thompson. His ''Love My Baby'' is one my favourite records. It was a classic. Hayden had an awful lot talent and I would like to have had more time with him. He worked with his band a lot to get things right, and he was very confident and a good act. Maybe there was too much of an Elvis influence in him, that's all I can't think of.

Probably the most intense person I recorded was Ray Smith. Nobody wanted recognition more than Ray. He was totally wrapped up in what he doing. The problem was that I could never seem to quite find a groove as far as making records although we did release several. I liked his ''Sail Away'', and then I thought that ''Rocking Little Angel'' was a good records and I was glad to see him get a hit event it wasn't on Sun. Also, Ray was e great showman. I got a kick out of watching him play the piano. He was not a great player but he had a lot of antics. There was never a dry thread on him after a show.

To end with. I say that I am proud that so many my artists came through. People like Elvis, Call, Jerry, Charlie and Bill Justis. Carl Mann too. But I just wish I more time then to work with other people who deserved to make it. Here I particularly Billy Riley, Hayden Thompson, Gene Simmons and Ray Smith. And mast of all Sonny Burgess. That guy had a band they just wouldn't quit.

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