© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
Since blues tunes were important to Elvis Presley,
he searched for an obscure blues song, settling on a tune by a Georgia bluesman, Kokomo Arnold. After launching his music career in the South, Arnold had moved to Chicago and made his living bootlegging whiskey. Music was a sideline for him, but Arnold was
a still a historically significant bluesman who influenced many performers.
Sam Phillips liked the idea of using "Milkcow Blues Boogie" because he believed that a rhythm
and blues or blues tune couplet with a country ballad was still the best way to advance Elvis Presley's career. The recording session was an excellent one. Elvis Presley started slowly, then announced, "Hold it, fellas let's get real real gone".
According to Sam Phillips, ''It's called ''Milk Cow Blues'' there was no boogie on it. I took the liberty of taking the old country song and called it ''Milkcow Blues Boogie''. It was a
play, kinda like ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky''. Who would take an old broken down hillbilly song called ''Milk Cow Blues'', and attempt to foisted it upon the public? We did. You have to get people's attention in different ways. I didn't listen to the market to
see, you could get confused like that, if you were trying to do something other than being a copyist''.
And about the slow and fast arrangement he said, ''Well, that
was my suggestion, and I was always very hesitant to put words on the front end, because of jukeboxes. At that time they didn't like the spoken words, Elvis he loved Bill Kenny of the Ink Spots so much, and Bill's narrations, that Elvis really instinctively
was pretty damned good at it''.
He then completed an extraordinarily vigorous version of the song. After listening to the cut, however, Sam Phillips had some reservations
about "Milkcow Blues Boogie". He believed that Elvis' version lacked the ingredient necessary to become either a country or pop hit. Sam Phillips suggested they try another tune.
payment slip of November 15 seems to indicate a session date, but it may be a falsification; December 8 has also been mentioned as a possible date for this session. Its more than likely that other songs were tried out on the session, although apparently no
other tapes survive. RCA never received master tapes our outtakes from this session from Sun; their masters were dubbed from a SUN 78rpm.
STUDIO SESSION FOR ELVIS PRESLEY
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954
SUN RECORDING STUDIO
UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION 6: MONDAY DECEMBER 20, 1954
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
"MILKCOW BLUES BOOGIE" - A.S.C.A.P. - 2:38
Composer: - James "Kokomo"
Publisher: - Leeds Music Incorporated Limited - MCA Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U-140 - Unknown Take
Recorded: - December 20, 1954 - Sales 20,600 copy's
Going on forty-five years later, and it still works - that corny false start, Elvis Presley mewling like okey country
bluesman (see, he could have gone to Havard), then breaking off command, "Holt it fellas!", "That's don't move me", "let's get real... real gone, for a change". "Wellllllll", before crashing into a jumped up, hiccuping version of the same tune. Had Sam Phillips
subtitled it "HISTORY LESSON NUMBER ONE", the point couldn't have been clearer. Or more irrefutable.
Released: - December 28, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 215-A mono
MILKCOW BLUES BOOGIE / YOU'RE A HEARTBREAKER
Reissued - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-3-23 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1