Joe Hill Louis
"GOTTA LET YOU GO" - B.M.I. - 2:43
Composer: - Joe Hill Louis-Sam Phillips
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - 100-2
Recorded: - July 27, 1950
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - August 1950
First appearance: - The Phillips (S) 78rpm standard single The Phillips 9001-A mono
GOTTA LET YOU GO / BOOGIE IN THE PARK
The single had different numbers on A and B sides.
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-1-4 mono digital
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Joe Hill Louis - Vocal, Guitar
Ford Nelson – Piano
Unknown - Drums
More Details Unknown

This side of Louis' first disc is wildly percussive, too, but the slower tempo allows the words to shine. It's a splenetic blues: our man has lavished money and gifts upon his woman, and is getting nothing in return. Joe Hill rants in one chord through the verses. It's a common enough theme, but he's riled up, and the harsh guitar accentuates his malice. Many extremely rare records are often found to be extremely rare for a reason; this one, almost certainly unheard by all but a few hundred people in and around Memphis at the time of release, is a jewel of high octane juke joint blues. 300 copies pressed by Plastic Products on August 30, 1950.  (CE) (HD) (MH)
The Phillips 9001-A 78rpm


Joe Hill Louis
"BOOGIE IN THE PARK" - B.M.I. - 2:45
Composer: - Joe Hill Louis
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - 101-2
Recorded: - June/July 27, 1950
Memphis Recording  Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - August 1950
First appearance: - The Phillips (S) 78rpm standard single The Phillips 9002-B mono
BOOGIE IN THE PARK / GOTTA LET YOU GO
The single had different numbers on A and B sides.
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-1-5 mono digital
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Joe Hill Louis - Vocal, Guitar
Ford Nelson – Piano
Unknown - Drums
More Details Unknown

From major to minor. A few months earlier, Joe Hill Louis had recorded for Columbia Records in Nashville, probably at Castle... the South's ste-of-the-art studio. But Sam Phillips, who'd only just opened his door, knew something that Columbia and Castle didn't; how to record the blues. All the rough edges are intact, and Phillips makes no attempt to soften them. Originally issued on The Phillips, a label that Sam Phillips co-owned with WHBQ disc jockey Dewey Phillips, this boogie is a raw, stomping performance driven by Louis's percussive guitar and punctuated by his squeaky harmonica. Louis returned to this theme several times, first on a session for lease to Modern five months later, but never with the raw energy of this, his first recording for Phillips. ''The song Dewey liked was ''Boogie In The Park'', Sam Phillips told Martin Hawkins. ''It was a song Joe played a lot, and it was associated with him. Though I am not sure whether he first played it in Handy Park or the other little park along there, or whether it was Russwood Park where Joe used to play when the Memphis Red Sox were in town. They were the black baseball team in those days. The white team was the Memphis Chicks''. 300 copies pressed by Plastic Products on August 30, 1950.  (CE) (HD) (MH)
The Phillips 9002-B 78rpm


Jackie Boy & Little Walter
''BLUES IN MY CONDITION''/"SELLING MY STUFF (WHISKEY)" - B.M.I. - 1:20
Composer: - Jack Kelly-Walter Horton
Publisher: - Copyright Control - Promotional Copies Only
Matrix number: - None - Only Acetate - Sun 174 was never issued
Incomplete a fragment of side-B of the "lower deck" survived
Recorded: - February 25, 1952
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - March 1, 1952
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78rpm acetate SUN 174-B mono
SELLIN' MY WHISKEY / BLUES IN MY CONDITION
Reissued:  - 1996 Charly (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-2-7 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

Walter Horton and Jack Kelly were typical of the Delta bluesman who warmed to Sam Phillips' new recording climate. "Blues In My Condition'' b/w ''Sellin' My Whiskey'', chosen from their various meanderings, was nominated as the first Sun single. However, due to an adverse reaction from area radio stations, the recording never made it past the promotional stage. Fortunately a fragment of the 'lower deck' survived, allowing the true beginnings of the Sun label to be represented, right at the moment of conception.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jack Kelly - Vocal and Piano
Walter Horton - Vocal, Harmonica and Kazoo
Joe Hill Louis - Guitar and Drums

In the Memphis Recording Service logbook, under Walter Horton, Marion Keisker wrote, ''2/25/52, Session with Joe Hill, Jack Kelly and -, ''Cut several sides on tape''. Best were with Jack Kelly doing vocal and Mumbles (Horton) on harmonica. Tentatively billed on these number as 'Little Walter' and Jackie Boy''. Under Kelly's name, she wrote that two cuts were made that day, crossing out and changing both titles, ''Sellin' My Stuff (Ain't Had A Drink)'' and ''Wanderin' Woman (Blues In My Condition)''. On March 5, dubs of Kelly-Horton, Johnny London, and Walter Bradford were sent to Chess, but on March 8, Marion noted that dubs of Kelly/Horton were sent to ''Teamer, Aired on WHHM as intro to Sun''. Teamer was WHHM's 9 p.m. to midnight rhythm and blues jock, Screamin' Eddie Teamer, who got Walter Bradford's sides, too. A dub was also sent to 'Jack The Bellboy' at KWEM. On March 10, masters of Kelly-Horton and Johnny London were shipped to the Shaw record planting plant in Cincinnati. The following day, dubs were sent to Rufus Thomas and Walter Bradfort in Forrest City. At some point very soon thereafter, Phillips decided to pull the plug on Kelly-Horton and Bradford, and launch Sun with Johnny Londen. Presumably, it was the disc jockeys' reaction that precipitated this change of heart.

And so Sun 174 remained unseen and unheard until Robert Loers found an acetate bearing the label Sun 174 and Steve LaVere later found a fragment of the song on another acetate. It's a rollicking Saturday night song, harking back to Kelly's roots in the South Memphis Jug band. Horton apparently played a Prince Albert tobacco can, accounting for the kazoo-liked sound. There's a very busy drummer, so Joe Hill Louis cannot be playing drums and guitar simultaneously and it's hard to determine which instrument he's playing. The identity of the fourth guy, indicated by Marion with the blank line, can only be guessed at.  (CE) (HD) (MH)
Sun 174-B 78rpm


Johnny London - Alto Wixard
"DRIVIN' SLOW" - B.M.I. - 2:58
Composer: - Johnny London
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 51 - 78rpm Only
Recorded: - March 8, 1952
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - April 1952
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78rpm standard single SUN 175-A mono
DRIVIN' SLOW / FLAT TIRE
Reissued:- 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-1-2 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Joe Hall - Piano
Johnny London - Alto Saxophone
Charles Keel - Tenor Saxophone
Julius Drake - Drums

This is the first Sun record to hit the streets, apparently part of a batch of three scheduled in April 1952 but the only one to be pressed for commercial sale. Londen was a local rhythm and blues and jazz musician who walked in to make some demos and was snapped up by Sam Phillips. His marvellous sinewy alto sax is heard to great advantage here. There are the inevitable shades of Charlie Parker and Earl Bostic, but London is essentially his own man. With minimal support from tenor sax player Charles Keel and pianist Joe Louis Hall, London unleashes a tortuous improvisation drenched in blue. If London's performance and Phillip' approach to recording it had a forebear, it was Johnny Otis's 1945 hit record of ''Harlem Noctume'' with Rene Bloch's wiry alto sax weaving in and out of the gloriously simple arrangement. Phillips achieved a recording balance here that creates the illusion that London is playing in the next apartment, all of which adds to the discs after-hours charm. London never had another record out, but his pianist, Joe Hill Hall, recorded with Willie Mitchell's combo, and played piano on Hi Records' first hit, Bill Black's ''Smokey''.  (CE) (HD) (MH)
Sun 175-A 78rpm


Johnny London - Alto Wizard
"FLAT TIRE" - B.M.I. - 2:28
Composer: - Johnny London
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 52 - 78rpm Only
Recorded: - March 8, 1952
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - April 1952
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78rpm standard single SUN 175-B mono
FLAT TIRE / DRIVIN' SLOW
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-1-1 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Joe Hall - Piano
Johnny London - Alto Saxophone
Charles Keel - Tenor Saxophone
Julius Drake - Drums

So the automobile imagery continues on this flip-side. Charles Keel is a busy man, honking the same riff repeatedly as London wails over the top. It's short on finesse and long on mood, ''Flat Tire'' wasn't Phillips' first choice for a flip-side. Initially, it was to be a song called ''When I Lost My Baby'' sung by his wife, Becky, to London's accompaniment. Dewey Phillips aired the two tunes on the day were recorded, and dubs were mailed to Chess. Three days later, March 8, 1952, Phillips re-recorded ''Drivin' Slow'' together with ''Flat Tire''. Within the space of the next two days he decided to launch Sun with that coupling. On March 10, he sent masters to Shaw record plating in Cincinnati and shipped the pressing parts to Plastic Products in Memphis. Rufus Thomas played the tunes on one of his WDIA shows the following day. The first Sun records were pressed on March 27. It was a brave step releasing an instrumental as the first offering on Sun but it signaled Phillips' intention to do it differently. According to London, the records reached number 1 on some local charts (WHBQ, he remembers), and a copy of the 78 was affixed to the studio entrance at 706 Union for years. But London's principal recollection of the session is that Phillips had holes in his shoes when he put his feet up on the desk. ''He was scuffling''.

An undated entry in Phillips' check register notes that he paid Plastic Products $135. For most of the 1950s, Plastic Products charged $0.135 per pressing so it seems as Phillips ordered one thousand copies of the first Sun record.  (CE) (HD) (MH)
Sun 175-B 78rpm

Walter Bradford & The Big City Four
''DREARY NIGHTS''/''NUTHIN' BUT THE BLUES''
(SUN 176)

In all the forty-plus years that Sun Records have been collected no-one has yet found a copy of this, giving credence to the notion that it never reached the streets - not even in Bradford's home town, Forrest City, Arkansas. Bradford was a discjockey there, so it would have been a politically correct move to release a record by him, but it appears as though the reaction to the advance dubs from other discjockey was sufficiently negative to convince Phillips not to do it. (CE)


Gay Garth & Handy Jackson
"GOT MY APPLICATION BABY" - B.M.I. - 3:04
Composer: - Sam C. Phillips-Handy Jackson
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 55 - 78rpm Only
Recorded: - Probably December 1952
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - January 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78rpm standard single SUN 177-A mono
GOT MY APPLICATION BABY / TROUBLE (WILL BRING YOU DOWN)
Reissued - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-1-3 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Gaylord Garth - Vocal & Piano
Willie Wilkes - Saxophone
Robert Carter - Guitar
William Cooper - Drums

Sun's false dawn in April 1952 produced just one commercial-issued record and two intended releases that somehow never made it to the retail counters. This was the second Sun record, issued at the end of January 1953 along with discs by Joe Hill Louis and Willie Nix. The flow of records ended fifteen years later in January 1968.

Frustratingly, there remains some mystery about the singer and about the attribution of both sides of this disc to Handy Jackson. Sam Phillips logged ''Got My Application'' by a man named Gay Garth, and in 1984 he told Martin Hawkins that he ''remembered'' Gay Garth as ''a local musician who had potential for making both blues and jazz''. Sam said that he ''did not recall'' Handy Jackson and, surprisingly, couldn't remember why the recording appeared as by Jackson. At first, he said Garth was Jackson, and then said he wasn't for sure. When Gaylord Garth was finally interviewed in 2004, he confirmed that he was indeed the singer and pianist on this song but he didn't know Jackson's name. He recorded ''Application'' with another song, ''Screamin' And Cryin''', at the end of a session where he was part of a band led by saxophonist Willie Wilkes. Garth and Wilkes were employed to back s singer who was not part of their band and whose name Garth had forgotten. ''Application'' opens with saxophonist Wilkes playing plaintively and Garth comes in sounding appropriately an quished about his baby's delay in singing his application papers. If she doesn't hurry up, he'll begone again. It is not clear what he's applying for; perhaps for a stay from armed service duty, perhaps even for marriage. The Korean War was on and if a man was a woman's sole support or the father of her children he could claim an exemption from the draft. Garth plays some piano fills around the sax solo and the band was, according to Garth, anchored by guitarist Robert Carter, who'd played but not recorded back in the jug band era, and drummer William Cooper who, Garth recalled, ''used to do tricks with his drumsticks'', Garth said that all these men played with Rosco Gordon and, if so, they may have been on Gordon's early session. The drummer certainly sounds familiar. It is surprising then that the players wander in and out of synch with each other, making chord changes at different times, one still in 8b while another has switched to Eb. It is also noticeable that whereas Sam Phillips always mic'd his classic sides to perfection this sound as though he had just gathered four guys around a mic placed in the middle of the piano.  (CE) (HD) (MH)
Sun 177-A 78rpm


Gay Garth & Handy Jackson
"TROUBLE (WILL BRING YOU DOWN)" - B.M.I. 2:58
Composer: - Handy Jackson-Sam C. Phillips
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 56 - 78rpm Only
Recorded: - Probably December 1952
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - January 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78rpm standard single SUN 177-B mono
TROUBLE (WILL BRING YOU DOWN) / GOT MY APPLICATION BABY
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Records Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-1-4 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Handy Jackson - Vocal
Gaylord Garth - Piano
Willie Wilkes - Saxophone
Robert Carter - Guitar
William Cooper - Drums

Sam Phillips did not log this song as one of the two Gay Garth sang for him, but he put the name handy Jackson after the titles. So Jackson was presumably the man Wilkes and Garth had come in to support that day. His name appears as songwriter on both sides of the record label and while he may have just been the writer whose name somehow became the artist credit, more likely he was the singer on this side of the disc. If Jackson was sufficiently well known around Memphis to have come to Phillips' attention, none of that fame has been recorded for us in newspapers or in the memories of other Memphis based musicians, or even in the memory of Sam Phillips himself. What we are left with is a fairly standard slow blues about the singer's baby leaving town. Garth's jazzy piano is mixed upfront and there is an echoey, insistent, alto solo played either by Willie Wilkes or, Garth thought, by Richard Williams, a member of Wilkes band at the time. The Unbalanced sound makes this second Sun disc a first cousin to Johnny London's release six months earlier.  (CE) (HD) (MH)
Sun 177-B 78rpm


Joe Hill Louis
"WE ALL GOTTA GO SOMETIME'' - B.M.I. - 2:40
Composer: - Walter Horton-Joe Hill Louis
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 57 - Take 2 - 78rpm Only
Recorded: - December 8, 1952
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - January 30, 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78rpm standard single SUN 178-A mono
WE ALL GOTTA GO SOMETIME / SHE MAY BE YOURS (BUT SHE COMES TO SEE ME SOMETIME
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 1501-1-5 mono digital
THE SUN COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Joe Hill Louis - Vocal, Guitar and Drums
Walter Horton - Harmonica
Albert Williams - Piano

On December 8, 1952, Walter Horton recorded ''We All Gotta Go Sometime'' backed by Joe Hill Louis, pianist Albert Williams, and a drummer reputed to be Willie Nix. That same day, Joe Hill Louis recorded with Williams and a drummer. Marion noted ''Walter Horton, harp'' and then crossed it out, but it's possible that Horton is playing on this because there is harmonica under the vocal when Louis sings ''got grandfather told''. Sixty years on, our best guess is that both Horton and Louis recorded ''We All Gotta Go Sometime'' on the same day. Louis's version has considerably more vigor, and Nix, if indeed it's him, kicks the record along in tandem with the piano. As noted above, the song was credited to Louis, but was essentially (John Lee) Sonny Boy Williamson's 1941 song, ''Shotgun Blues'' (Williamson offered his woman twenty dollars to return, while Louis held the line at ten). A Big Bill Broonzy record from later in 1941, ''I Feel So Good'', provided the melody for the chorus. But Williamson's and Broonzy's records were cleanly and precisely executed. This, in comparison, is folk art.  (CE) (HD) (MH)
Sun 178-A 78rpm


Joe Hill Louis
"SHE MAY BE YOURS (BUT SHE COMES TO SEE ME SOMETIME" - B.M.I. - 2:58
Composer: - Joe Hill Louis-Sam C. Phillips
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 58-3 - Take 3 - 78rpm Only
Recorded: - November 17, 1952
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - January 30, 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78rpm standard single SUN 178-B mono
SHE MAY BE YOURS (BUT SHE COMES TO SEE ME SOMETIME / WE ALL GOTTA GO SOMETIME
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 1501-1-6 mono digital
THE SUN COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Joe Hill Louis - Vocal, Guitar
Albert Williams - Piano
Willie Nix - Drums

Playing harmonica fills between vocal lines while playing guitar necessitated a harmonica rack and the rack was positioned squarely between Joe Hill Louis's mouth and the microphone, hence the distorted vocal. Drummer Willie Nix and pianist Albert Williams were always perfectly attuned to Joe Hill Louis's music, never more so than here. It's hard to know which side of Sun 178 was considered the A-side, assuming Phillips even thought in those terms back then. Certainly, both were excellent rowdy blues. In its issue of March 28, 1953, Billboard picked this as a A-side, commenting on what was then the suggestive nature of the subtitle. The vocal sounds a little distant on the other side, ''We All Gotta Go Sometime'', but doesn't have the distortion heard here because there's almost certainly someone else playing harmonica. It's clear that Sam Phillips had his eyes on the prize with this one. Instead of using Louis in his customary One Man Band role, Phillips added a drummer and piano player to the session and the effect is quite positive. There's no mistaking the presence of a full drum kit and a musician who was able to concentrate on drumming, rather than singing, playing harp and guitar at the same time. The piano is far more in balance on this issued version as well. The One Man Band routine may have increased Louis's fortunes on the street, but when it came time to record, bringing in some other musicians to fill out the sound was a wise decision.  (CE) (HD) (MH)
Sun 178-B 78rpm


Willie Nix (The Memphis Blues Boy)
"BAKER SHOP BOOGIE" - B.M.I. - 2:39
Composer: - Willie Nix-Sam C. Phillips
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 60 - 78rpm Only
Recorded: - October 2, 1952
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - January 30, 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78rpm standard single SUN 179-A mono
BAKER SHOP BOOGIE / SEEMS LIKE A MILLION YEARS
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-1-7 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Willie Nix - Vocal and Drums
Joe Willie Wilkins - Guitar
Albert "Joiner" Williams - Piano
James "Jimmy" Cotton - Harmonica

We're hearing Nix and his KWEM cohorts. Joe Willie Wilkes makes one of his rare appearances at Sun together with James Cotton and Albert Williams. Cotton is an especially busy man. As imited as Nix as a vocalist and as insufferable as he was personally, ''Baker Shop Boogie'' rocks out. This wasn't the first baker-sex analogy, and it's not as well known as Lonnie Johnson's ''He's A Jelly Roll Baker'' or even Blind Lemon Jefferson's ''Baker Shop Blues'', but it's irresistible nonetheless.  (CE) (HD) (MH)
Sun 179-A 78rpm


Willie Nix (The Memphis Blues Boy)
"SEEMS LIKE A MILLION YEARS" - B.M.I. - 2:39
Composer: - Willie Nix-Sam C. Phillips
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 59 - 78rpm Only
Recorded: - October 9, 1952
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - January 30, 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78rpm standard single SUN 179-B mono
SEEMS LIKE A MILLION YEARS / BAKER SHO BOOGIE
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-1-8 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Willie Nix - Vocal and Drums
Joe Willie Wilkins - Guitar
Albert "Joiner" Williams - Piano
James "Jimmy" Cotton - Harmonica

Willie Nix seems to have endeared himself to Sam Phillips. Phillips recorded him first for RPM, then for Chess/Checker, and finally for Sun. Recorded on October 9, 1952, this and ''Baker Shop Boogie'' were destined for Chess, but Nix's first Chess/Checker single had sold very poorly and things were falling apart between Chess and Phillips. And so on January 30, 1953, it appeared on Sun. ''Seems Like A Million Years'' was given appropriately serious treatment, from the cascading piano work of Albert Williams to Joe Willie Wilkes' taut guitar. Nix's vocal is measured and his drumming simply follows the rhythmic line.  (CE) (HD) (MH)
Sun 179-B 78rpm


Jimmy DeBerry & Walter Horton
"EASY" - B.M.I. - 2:56
Composer: - Walter Horton
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 61
Recorded: - February 25, 1953
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - March 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 180-A mono
EASY / BEFORE LONG
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-1-9 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Walter Horton - Harmonica
Jimmy DeBerry - Guitar
Houston Stokes - Drums

Every Sun release from inception had been good, but this was the label's first classic. Walter Horton disingenuously denied knowledge of Ivory Joe Hunter's 1950 hit ''I Almost Lost My Mind'', but that's most assuredly what he's playing. He repeats the theme with mounting intensity, making ''Easy'' one of the most-erro-neously titled songs ever. As it progress, Horton assumes total control with a long, slow build-up as he climbs the harp's register to blow a harsh passage as the tune's bridge. There is often a saxophone quality to his playing, belying the cheapness of the harp, but what impresses most are his perfect sense of time and the create reverb, and the increment of tape delay seems to increase in tandem with the intensity of Horton's performance. Shimmering blue perfection. Truly a masterpiece, as well as the first known Sun release to be pressed on both and 45 rpm. Phillips was high on this release, judging by his check register. Two days after the session, he was running off dubs to send out to disc jockeys. It seems that he hand-delivered a dub to Eddie Teamer at WHHM because he charged back the cigarettes he gave Teamer. On March 2, he mailed out another four dubs in advance of finished copies.  (CE) (HD) (MH)

Sun 180
First Sun release to be pressed on both 78 and 45 rpm
Sun 180-A 78rpm


Jimmy DeBerry & Walter Horton
"BEFORE LONG" - 1 - B.M.I. – 2:55
Composer: - Jimmy Dewberry
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 62
Recorded: - February 25, 1953
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - March 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 180-B mono
BEFORE LONG / EASY
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-1-10 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Walter Horton - Harmonica
Jimmy DeBerry - Vocal and Guitar
Houston Stokes - Drums

This song refutes Sam Phillips' assertion, made to musicologist David Evans, that he never got a good cut out of Jimmy DeBerry. Perhaps Phillips heard something in a demo session that DeBerry never recaptured, but surely the blues comes no purer or blues than this profoundly moving record. Without prompting, Marion Keisker remembered these lines 30 years after DeBerry had sung them in the studio. ''Woman I love dead and in her grave / Woman I hate, I see her every day''. True, DeBerry was adapting some old blues lines (on ''I Will Turn Your Money Green'' back in 1928, Furry Lewis sang, ''Woman I hate see her every day (x2) / Woman I love, she so far away'') but he delivered them with undeniable feeling. ''Before Long's'' more immediate forbeat, though, was Tony Hollins' 1951 Decca recording of ''I'll Get A Break''. Hollins was a barber in Clarksdale and later in Chicago whose ''Crawlin' King Snake'' was an influential recording from ten years earlier when he also made ''Married Woman Blues'', another song with the ''before long'' refrain. None of this subtle or not-so-subtle plagiarism devalues DeBerry's record. It's spartan, even for 1953, but the performance is masterful. He crafted a beautiful poised country blues, vocal and guitar meshing perfectly with rudimentary support from Houston Stokes on drums. Not a note or vocal inflection is wasted; no other instrument is required.  (CE) (HD) (MH)

Sun 180
First Sun release to be pressed on both 78 and 45 rpm
Sun 180-B 78rpm


Rufus Thomas
"BEAR CAT" - B.M.I. - 2:49
Composer: - Jerry Leiber-Mike Stoller
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 63
Recorded: - March 8, 1953
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - March 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 181-A mono
BEAR CAT / WALKING IN THE RAIN
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-1-11 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rufus Thomas - Vocal and Piano
Joe Hill Louis contributes some stinging guitar work
especially during his extended 36-bar solo
Houston Stokes - Drums
Tuff Green - Guitar and Acoustic Bass soon to be known as 'slap'.


Later pressings without the ''answer to Hound Dog'' statement for copyright reasons.

Billboard was not joking when it noted that ''Bear Cat'' was ''the fastest answer song to hit the market''. Big Mama Thornton's ''Hound Dog'' was recorded in August 1952 and shipped in January or February 1953. ''Bear Cat'' was recorded on March 8, 1953 and was in the stores by the end of the month, if not before. On April 4, Duke/Peacock Records boss, Don Robey, whose Lion Music published ''Hound Dog'', wrote to Sam Phillips informing him that the Harry Fox Agency, which issued mechanical song licenses, had not received a request for ''Bear Cat'' as an answer disc to ''Hound Dog''. Routinely, writers and publishers of answer songs had to surrender at least 50% of the composer and publisher share to the original composer and publisher. Phillips claimed 100% of both. By not securing permission ahead of time, Phillips left himself open to Robey claiming 100% the publisher and composer's share, and that was happened. Robey instructed Fox to issue a mechanical license for ''Bear cat'' giving him 100%, and Phillips refused the license. ''Bear Cat'' entered the carts on April 18 and reached its high point to number 3 on May 2. On May 18, Phillips paid Robey's Lion Music $1580 together with another 4500 to a law firm, Shepherd Tate, suggesting that he'd already bowed to the inevitable. His first hit on Sun left him with a sour taste, and very financial benefit.

Gimmickry aside, ''Bear Cat'' is a very primitive record. It is driven by Tuff Green's very percussive string bass and Joe Hill Louis's spare electric guitar. Louis has an extended 36 bar solo, after which Rufus elbows his way back in. To his credit, Louis does not run short of ideas, many of which were borrowed directly from Pete Lewis, who played on the original record. The real problem is that gimmickry can't be put aside and as such this record hasn't weathered as well as some of the commercially less successful recordings from the same period. Thirty years later, Sam Phillips' only comment was, ''I should have known better. The melody was exactly the same as theirs but we claimed credit for writing the damn thing''.  (CE) (HD) (MH)
Sun 181-A 45rpm


Rufus Thomas
"WALKING IN THE RAIN" - 1 - B.M.I. - 2:21
Composer: - Rufus Thomas
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 64
Recorded: - March 8, 1953
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - March 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 181-B mono
WALKING IN THE RAIN / BEAR CAT
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-1-12 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rufus Thomas - Vocal and Piano
Joe Hill Louis contributes some stinging guitar work
especially during his extended 36-bar solo
Houston Stokes - Drums
Tuff Green - Guitar and Acoustic Bass soon to be known as 'slap'.

Rufus does a credible job on his own minor key blues. Joe Hill Louis plays aggressively in the now famous over-amplified and distorted style perfectly at 706 Union. He's supported by an under-recorded acoustic guitar, probably played by bassist Tuff Green, and a comping piano probably played by Albert Williams. The song only makes a brief two-bar foray into a major key.  (CE) (HD) (MH)
Sun 181-B 45rpm


Dusty Brooks and His Tones
"HEAVEN OR FIRE" - B.M.I. - 2:38
Composer: - Bernstein
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 65
Recorded: - April 1953
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - May 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 182-A mono
HEAVEN OR FIRE / TEARS AND WINE
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-1-13 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Dusty Brooks And His Tones
Juanita Brown - Vocal on "Heaven Or Fire"
Janie McFadden - Vocal on "Two Blue Devils"
Joe Alexander - Vocal

Sun 182, A-side and B-side remains one of the most obscure and ultimately, one of the most issued by Sun. Could this material actually have been recorded by the same man who had just issued ''Bear Cat'' and was holding preliminary sessions with Little Junior Parker?

Actually, the answer is ''no''. If it's any consolation, Sun 182 was sent to Sam by his then partner, Jim Bulleit. Whether is was recorded by Bulleit in Nashville or acquired from the west coast is unclear, although the fact that the contracts were mailed to Los Angeles suggests the latter. Phillips was simply trying to survive by covering all his bases, from the backporch crowd. to the nightclub patrons. It was clear which of those audience Dusty Brooks and Juanita Brown were destined for.  (CE) (HD) (MH)
Sun 182-A 45rpm


Dusty Brooks and His Tones
"TEARS AND WINE" - B.M.I. - 2:36
Composer: - Bernstein
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 67
Recorded: - April 1953
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - May 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 182-B mono
TEARS AND WINE / HEAVEN OR FIRE
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-1-14 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Dusty Brooks And His Tones
Juanita Brown - Vocal on "Heaven Or Fire"
Janie McFadden - Vocal on "Two Blue Devils"
Joe Alexander - Vocal

Actually, Dusty Brooks was no stranger to the entertainment business. He had previously recorded and enjoyed some limited success on the west coast, where he had also won some fame as an actor in black films. The Vegas lounge act sound of ''Heaven Or Fire'', or the torchy crooning of ''Tears And Wine'' were in no way out of character for Brooks. Rather, it is collectors who have trouble reconciling this form of black music with what they know and love most about Sun.  (CE) (HD) (MH)
Sun 182-B 45rpm


D.A. Hunt
"LONESOME OLD JAIL" - B.M.I. – 2:57
Composer: - D.A. Hunt
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 69
Recorded: - Probably March 11, 1953
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - June 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 183-A mono
LONESOME OLD JAIL / GREYHOUND BLUES
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-1-15 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Daniel Augusta Hunt - Vocal and Guitar

This performance is even gloomier than Hunt's first as he reflects on his woman while locked up in his cell. The similarity to Lightnin' Hopkins is almost uncanny: the little flash of falsetto at the end of the line, the sour spoken asides, the interplay between vocal and guitar. According to researcher Steve LaVere, Hunt actually served time in one of Memphis's jail, but that was later. In 1953, his address was noted as Anniston, Alabama, and he was to be contacted via the Reverend Noble Ulynn. Hunt was probably recorded in March 1953 and was back in Memphis in August to collect a nine dollar loan from Sam Phillips. As far as we know, he never recorded again.  (CE) (HD) (MH)
Sun 183-A 45rpm


D.A. Hunt
"GREYHOUND BLUES" - B.M.I. - 2:35
Composer: - D.A. Hunt
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 70
Recorded: - Probably March 11, 1953
Memphis Recording  Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - June 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 183-B mono
GREYHOUND BLUES / LONESOME OLD JAIL
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-1-16 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Daniel Augusta Hunt - Vocal and Guitar

Lightnin' Hopkins was clearly Hunt's model, right down to the pinched vocal, spoken asides and signature four-note closing lick. It was an almost eerie recreation of Hopkins' sound. From sixty years' distance, it's hard if not impossible to penetrate the logic behind what got released or remained unreleased on Sun. Lightnin' himself was becoming a tough sell by 1953, so Phillips certainly wasn't jumping on a bandwagon as he was with ''Bear Cat'', Perhaps he simply liked Hunt's record. Perhaps a distributor around Hunt's home town of Anniston, Alabama guaranteed a sufficiently big order to justify a small run. Perhaps... we'll never known.  (CE) (HD) (MH)
Sun 183-B 45rpm


Big Memphis Marainey - Onzie Horne Combo
"CALL ME ANYTHING, BUT CALL ME" - B.M.I. - 2:58
Composer: - Dubrover-Mitt Addington
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 71
Recorded: - April 19, 1953
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - June 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 184-A mono
CALL ME ANYTHING, BUT CALL ME / BABY NO! NO!
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-1-17 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
"Big Memphis" Lillie Mae Glover - Vocal
Pate Hare - Guitar
Houston Stokes - Guitar
Onzie Horne - Piano and Vibes
Tuff Green - Bass
Houston Stokes - Drums
T.S. Lewis - Drums

Lillie Mae Clover's style has its origins in a different tradition from most of the tracks on Sun Records. Her full throated delivery is straight out of vaudeville blues and the lady obviously considers herself an their to this tradition by virtue of her pseudonym. For this recording she was paired with Onzie Horne, an arranger who worked for Sam Phillips transcribing songs for copyright. A schooled musician and an educator who tutored Phineas Newborn and Charles Lloyd, Horne hosted a talk show on WDIA. At one time or another, he was the musical director at the Beale Street theaters where Glover plied her trade, and, for a time, worked with Duke Ellington's arranger, Billy Strayhorn. One of his last arrangements was Isaac Hayes' 'Theme From Shaft''. Horne died in 1973, aged 49, Clover's record is at best a curious mishmash of styles. Pat Hare's decidedly blue guitar vies uneasily for space with Horne's sophisticated vibes.

A few weeks after this song was recorded, one of its writers, Milton ''Mitt'' Addington, pitched another song, ''Burned Fingers'', to western swing star Wade Ray, who did fairly well with is. One year or so later, Sam Phillips asked him to write songs for Elvis Presley, but he demurred. In 1965, he wrote a by-god hit, ''Laurie Strange Things Happen In This World)'', during the short-lived craze for death discs. performed by another Sun alumnus, Dickey Lee, it was published by yet another, Jack Clement. Around the same time, Lee and Addington combined to write ''Memphis Beat'' for Jerry Lee Lewis. Addington, who made his career as a psychologist, died in 1979, aged 55.  (CE) (HD) (MH)
Sun 184-A 45rpm


Big Memphis Marainey - Onzie Horne Combo
"BABY, NO, NO!" - B.M.I. - 3:00
Composer: - Marion Keisker-Mitt Addington
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 72
Recorded: - April 19, 1953
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - June 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 184-B mono
BABY NO! NO! / CALL ME ANYTHING, BUT CALL ME
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-1-18 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
"Big Memphis" Lillie Mae Glover - Vocal
Pate Hare - Guitar
Houston Stokes - Guitar
Onzie Horne - Piano and Vibes
Tuff Green - Bass
Houston Stokes - Drums
T.S. Lewis - Drums

This is a considerable improvement on its A-side, being a standard jump blues complete with stops in the verse, although performed with none of the usual instrumentation. Here, Ma Clover's husky vocal is backed only by a trio - fronted by the ubiquitous Hare, who sounds a little less distorted than usual. On balance, this disc is a real oddity: it seems to have been aimed squarely at the black habitues of the local nightclub scene, and Sam Phillips probably had little ambition of selling it outside Memphis - hence its phenomenal scarcity value (at the time the original Sun Blues Box was being compiled, Ms Glover commented that she was unable to get a copy). The song had been composed by Milton "Mitt" Addington, a consulting psychologist who also wrote Sonny Burgess' "Restless", and amateur songwriter, together with Marion Keisker, who typed it out at her desk in the front office at 706 Union. Almost until her death in April 1985, Lillie Mae Glover was still performing without a marked diminution of exuberance. Records never really mattered to her.  (CE) (HD) (MH)
Sun 184-B 45rpm


Jimmy DeBerry
"TAKE A LITTLE CHANCE" - B.M.I. - 2:17
Composer: - Jimmy DeBerry-Rebecca Sam Burns
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 73
Recorded: - May 16, 1953
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - June 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 185-A mono
TAKE A LITTLE CHANCE / TIME HAS MADE A CHANCE
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-1-19 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jimmy DeBerry - Vocal and Guitar
Mose Vinson - Piano
Raymond Jones - Drums
Raymond Jones Combo

On the face of it, Jimmy DeBerry does not deserve the obscure status into which he seems to have been consigned. his entire recorded studio output was restricted to two pre-War singles for Vocalion and OKeh, together with his two Sun singles - a meagre output for someone possessed of such obvious talent. This side showcases his abilities as a superbly expressive vocalist: however, it also serves to demonstrate his biggest problem, i.e. one of timing - which is further exacerbated by some asthmatic-sounding groans during the solo. The song, credited to DeBerry and Sam Phillips (under the name of Sam Burns), the song was based quite closely on Robert Lockwood's 1941 recording of ''Take A Little Walk With Me'', itself based on ''Sweet Home Chicago''.
Sun 185-A 45rpm


Jimmy DeBerry
"TIME HAS MADE A CHANCE" - B.M.I. - 2:41
Composer: - Jimmy DeBerry-Rebecca Burns
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 74
Recorded: - May 16, 1953
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - June 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 185-B mono
TIME HAS MADE A CHANCE / TAKE A LITTLE CHANCE
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-1-20 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jimmy DeBerry - Vocal and Guitar
Mose Vinson - Piano
Raymond Jones - Drums
Raymond Jones Combo

The fuller instrumentation suggests that this song may have been the plug side but it is markedly inferior to its flipside. This arguably the least affecting and sloppiest of DeBerry's recordings for Sam Phillips. The lead instrument, Mose Vinson's bar-room piano, competes with rather than complements DeBerry acoustic guitar. The timing surrounding the stops is so noticeably ragged in places that it is surprising Phillips saw fit to release this track. Again, the ''Burns'' who claimed half of the composer credit is none other than Phillips, whose wife's maiden name was Burns. In January 1954, DeBerry's contract was up, and Phillips wrote to him in Jackson, Tennessee, saying, ''Even though to be commercial (from a sales point of view) we still believe we can come up with something''. At that point, DeBerry was owned $12.45 in back royalties, but never, as far as we know, recorded at Sun again. In fact, he made no further recordings, except a comeback session for Steve LaVere. (CE) (HD) (MH)
Sun 185-B 45rpm


The Prisonaires
"JUST WALKIN' IN THE RAIN" - B.M.I. - 2:47
Composer: - Robert Riley-Johnny Bragg-Buddy Killen
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U-76
Recorded: - June 1, 1953
Memphis Recording  Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - July 8, 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 186-A mono
JUST WALKIN' IN THE RAIN / BABY PLEASE
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-1-21 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Johnny Bragg - Lead Tenor Vocal (A-side)
Ed Thurman - Tenor Vocal
John Drue - Lead Tenor Vocal (B-side)
William Stewart - Baritone Vocal and Guitar
Marcell Sanders - Bass Vocal
Possible Joe Hill Louis - Guitar
Willie Nix – Drums

Variations labels. The demand for this hit record, was so strong that out of town pressing plant capacity was needed. Therefore, there are genuine 1953 first pressings both with and without push marks. The last 45rpm depicted is the re-release on thin vinyl with push marks.

Johnny Bragg and Robert Riley were walking to the prison laundry when Bragg remarked to Riley, ''Here we are walking in the rain. I wonder what the little girls are doing''. ''Just Walkin' In The Rain'' was the song that stemmed from that observation, and it played to Bragg's strengths as a vocalist. He sang exquisitely and with deep feeling, both on the Nashville demo and on the master version. The bridge (''People come to window...'') perfectly captured the yearning and regret he must surely have felt on so many occasions during his long incarceration. Although no lover of close harmony groups, Phillips released ''Just Walkin' In The Rain'' on July 8, 1953. On July 28, Sam Phillips' brother, Jud, went to Nashville to meet Bulleit and the Prisonaires. Jud had joined Sun a few months earlier to work on promotion and distribution. ''The boys are getting from 10 to 25 letters a day from all over the country'', wrote Jud. ''They plan to bring all of them to you they come over. They make me think of a bunch of baby birds. They are fine boys all of them. I get great joy out of helping people like that... I know you do too''. Phillips also got great joy from watching the orders roll in. Ebony magazine reported that the record sold over 200,000 copies, and the group started making personal appearances on day passes throughout the state, and - with considerable complication - outside the state. They were held up by warden James Edwards and Tennessee Governor Frank Clement as shining examples of rehabilitation. ''The hopes of tomorrow rather than the mistakes of yesterday'', gushed Clement. Although it didn't chart, ''Just Walkin' In The rain'' was a hit. One who took notice was Joe Johnson who worked for Columbia's country artist and repertoire man, Don Law. Johnson soon moved to California to work for one of Law's acts, Gene Autry, and told him about ''Just Walkin' In The Rain''. Autry acquired the music publishing from Wortham, who probably thought the song had run its course. Johnson pitched the song to Don Law in 1956, who recorded it with one of his act, Dick Richards. law gave Richard's disc to Columbia's New York artists and repertoire man, Mitch Miller, who produced Johnny Ray number 2 pop hit version. Bragg was invited to the annual BMI banquet in New York, but found himself otherwise engaged that night. (CE)
Sun 186-A 45rpm


The Prisonaires
"BABY PLEASE" - B.M.I. - 2:48
Composer: - Robert S. Riley
Publisher: - Warner Chappell Music Limited
Matrix number: - U-75
Recorded: - June 1, 1953
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - July 8, 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 186-B mono
BABY PLEASE / JUST WALKIN' IN THE RAIN
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-1-22 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Johnny Bragg - Lead Tenor Vocal (A-side)
Ed Thurman - Tenor Vocal
John Drue - Lead Tenor Vocal (B-side)
William Stewart - Baritone Vocal and Guitar
Marcell Sanders - Bass Vocal
Possible Joe Hill Louis - Guitar
Willie Nix – Drums

Variations labels. The demand for this hit record, was so strong that out of town pressing plant capacity was needed. Therefore, there are genuine 1953 first pressings both with and without push marks. The last 45rpm depicted is the re-release on thin vinyl with push marks.

According to a July 1953 report in the Memphis Commercial Appeal, a country music publisher and promoter, Red Wortham, went to the Tennessee State Penitentiary in Nashville to check out a hillbilly songwriter, and was asked to listen to a group of inmates who called themselves the Prisonaires. Back in his Nashville office, Wortham played a tape of the Prisonaires to his cousin, Jim Bulleit, who had become a minority partner in Sun. They particularly like a song called ''Just Walkin' In The Rain'' written by singer Johnny Bragg and another inmate, Robert Riley. Bulleit persuaded Sam Phillips to record the group, while Wortham retained the music publishing. And so, early on the morning of June 1, 1953, a prison vehicle made its way from the Tennessee State Penitentiary in Nashville down Highway 70 toward Memphis with five convicts, an armed guard and a trusty, ''Gee look at that funny cemetery'', said Bragg, as they passed an empty drive-in movie theater.

At 10:30 a.m., they grouped themselves around a microphone at Sun while the guard and trusty went next door to Taylor's Restaurant. The Prisonaires usually featured Bragg as lead singer but one of the songs they recorded ''Baby Please'' was led by another tenor, John Drue. After the Prisonaires had sung ''Baby Please'' for Sam Phillips, he called over to vending machine operator, Drew Canale to ask if his houseboy, Joe Hill Louis, could come and sit in on guitar. Louis was at the polar opposite extreme of black music; raw, unsophisticated and bluesy. ''You guys are good'', Louis said to Bragg, ''but you've got to stick together''. Bragg replied that, with three of the group in for 99 years, there was not much chance of doing otherwise. It took until 8"30 p.m. to finish the two songs. Louis imparted a tough, bluesy edge to ''Baby Please'', for which he was paid $10.00, but the group persuaded Phillips that Louis should sit out ''Just Walkin' In The Rain''. They didn't want its poignancy destroyed by his slash-and-burn guitar. Upon release, Phillips saw ''Baby Please'' as the plug side, and was surprised when ''Just Walkin' In The Rain'' became a hit. (CE)
Sun 186-B 45rpm


Little Junior's Blue Flames
"FEELIN' GOOD" - B.M.I. - 2:50
Composer: - Herman Parker
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated - Knox Music Ltd - Bluesman Music
Matrix number: - U 77
Recorded: - June 18, 1953
Memphis Recording  Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - July 8, 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 187-A mono
FEELIN' GOOD / FUSSIN' AND FIGHTIN' (BLUES)
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-1-23 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Herman "Little Junior" Parker - Vocal
James Wheeler - Tenor Saxophone
Floyd Murphy - Guitar
William "Struction" Johnson - Piano
Kenneth Banks - Bass
John Bowers - Drums

Sun Records' first charted hit. It always sounded as if two guitars were on the session, but Sam Phillips recalled that Floyd Murphy exhibited amazing dexterity on the guitar. ''He could make it sound like there were two man playing at one''. The whole performance owes a debt to the king of the one-chord boogies, John Lee Hooker. Junior saw himself as a slick uptown singer and disavowed Hooker's sound. Phillips did not like the material that Junior was offering, and so, when Phillips went out to answer the telephone, the boys in the studio agreed to give him a taste of down home music. To Hooker's template, Parker added some vocal finesse and an effective wall going up from flatted 7th to 8 similare to that he had already used on his very earliest recording (''You're My Angel'') for Modern. Phillips was thrilled and to Parker's surprise ''Feelin' Good'' became his first hit. On November 14, Phillips paid $50.23 in royalties to both Parker and the session's pianist, William ''Struction'' Johnson, suggesting that Johnson might have been the co-leader of the Blue Flames (certainly, when Parker began recording for Duke, his group was billed as Bill Johnson's Blue Flames).

In 2011, an Austin, Texas-based garage soul band, Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, revisited ''Feelin' Good'' almost not-for-note as ''Mustang Ranch''. So someone's still listening. (CE) (HD)
Sun 187-A 45rpm


Little Junior's Blue Flames
"FUSSIN' AND FIGHTIN' (BLUES)" - B.M.I. - 2:55
Composer: - Herman Parker
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated - Bluesman Music
Matrix number: - U 78
Recorded: - June 18, 1953
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - July 8, 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 187-B mono
FUSSIN' AND FIGHTIN' (BLUES) / FEELIN' GOOD
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-1-24 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Herman "Little Junior" Parker - Vocal
James Wheeler - Tenor Saxophone
Floyd Murphy - Guitar
William "Struction" Johnson - Piano
Kenneth Banks - Bass
John Bowers - Drums

This very mellow outing based on Eddie Boyd's 1952 hit ''Five Long Yours'', stands in marked contrast to ''Feelin' Good''. When Junior revived Boyd's hit in 1958 for Duke, his vocal was almost a note for note copy of this performing. This recording is notable for Floyd Murphy's omnipresence; he fills between vocal lines, plays under the vocal, and takes a solo. Add his work on ''Feelin' Good'' and Phillips got good value for Murphy's session fee that day. (HD) (CE)
Sun 187-B 45rpm


Rufus Thomas
"TIGER MAN (KING OF THE JUNGLE)" - B.M.I. - 2:46
Composer: - Joe Hill Louis-Rebecca Sam Burns
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated - Knox Music Limited
Matrix number: - U 79
Recorded: - June 30, 1953
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - July 8, 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 188-A mono
TIGER MAN / SAVE THAT MONEY
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-1-25 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rufus Thomas - Vocal
Floyd Murphy - Guitar
James Wheeler - Tenor Saxophone
William "Strutcher" Bill Johnson - Piano
Kenneth Banks - Bass
Houston Stokes - Drums

Rufus' menagerie was starting to fill out, although the Dog and the Funky Chicken were still some years away. Joe Hill Louis and Sam Phillips (aka Sam Burns) were obviously wearing their hit maker's hats when they concocted ''Tiger Man''. Louis also played the insistent lick on the guitar. Rufus comes across as an engaging personality but a limited singer with ragged timing. Joe Hill takes a primitive solo that hints at some rather than stating them, but is no less effective for that. On some level, this panders to African stereotypes, but Houston Stokes' simulation of tribal drums, was pretty far out for its time. Red Saunders' 1952 hit ''Hambone;; had a proto-Diddley beat, but was tame compared with this. Surprisingly, the record failed to reach the charts and Rufus moved on to Phillips' local competitor, Les Bihary at Meteor. Phillips eventually got a payday from ''Tiger man''. In 1968 when Elvis Presley filmed his comeback TV special, ''Elvis'', he received ''Tiger Man'', replicating Louis's guitar lick as closely as he could. It was dropped from the show and the accompanying LP, but soon appeared on a budget LP. The likeliest scenario is that Phillips had given it to him back in 1954 or 1955, suggesting that he might like to cover it for Sun. Introducing the song on-stage in 1970, Elvis said, ''This was my second record, 'cept no one got to hear it''. Louis would have benefitted if Elvis had revived it in 1954 (he might even have made enough for the tetanus shot that would have saved his life), but he wasn't around to collect his share of the 1970s bounty. (CE) (HD)
Sun 188-A 45rpm


Rufus Thomas
"SAVE THAT MONEY" - B.M.I. - 2:41
Composer: - Rufus Thomas
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated - Tristian Music Limited
Matrix number: - U 80
Recorded: - June 30, 1953
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - July 8, 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 188-B mono
SAVE THAT MONEY / TIGER MAN
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-1-26 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rufus Thomas - Vocal
Floyd Murphy - Guitar
James Wheeler - Tenor Saxophone
William "Strutcher" Bill Johnson - Piano
Kenneth Banks - Bass
Houston Stokes - Drums

This ranks alongside Rufus Thomas's very finest recordings. The theme, no money equals no friends, is familiar enough, but Rufus sounds a passionate and engaged as he ever did, making the very most of his limited vocal chops. He tells his listeners to remember the Depression of 1929-1930 and put pack some money from their paychecks. Just about all of Thomas's hits were novelties, so it shouldn't be a surprise that he kept going back to that well, but it's really too bad he didn't take a shot at writing a few more songs like this. (CE)
Sun 188-B 45rpm


The Prisonaires
"SOFTLY AND TENDERLY'' - B.M.I. - 2:30
Composer: - Will Thompson-Public Domain
Publisher: - Babb Music
Matrix number: - U 82
Recorded: - August 3, 1953
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - September 1953
First appearance: - Sun Record (S) 78/45rpm single SUN 189-A mono
SOFTLY AND TENDERLY / MY GOD IS REAL
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-1-27 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Johnny Bragg - Lead Tenor Vocal
John Drue - 2nd Tenor Vocal
William Stewart - Baritone Vocal and Guitar
Marcell Sanders - Bass Vocal
Ed Thurman - Tenor Vocal
Ike Turner - Piano and Electric Guitar
Unknown - Bass, possible Ike Turner

Recorded through the years by Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Alan Jackson, and countless others, ''Softly And Tenderly'' was written by an Ohio businessmen, Will Thompson, in 1880. Thy hymn remains immensely popular among white congregations, but was sung at the memorial service for Martin Luther King at the Elbenezer baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, on April 8, 1968. It's hard to know who or what induced the Prisonaires to record it jubilee style for their second single.

Out of every hundred versions surely 99 of them are dirgelike. Somehow, slow equals pious. But the Prisonaires are having none of that. With Ike Turner in the unaccustomed role of church pianist, the piano intro sounds a little similar to ''Rocket 88'' and the group approaches the tune with an energy and enthusiasm that must have raised a few sanctified eyebrows. The recording has a strong live feel, abetted by handclapping and shouts. This might have been a one-take wonder, a warmup effort that became a contender for release simply because of its spontaneous joy. That feeling is undiminished 60 years later. Without Johnny Bragg singing lead, though, it wasn't identifiably a Prisinaires record, and it wasn't about to get played on rhythm and blues stations. As an act of piety, it was touching. As a follow-up to ''Just Walkin' In The Rain'', it was a disaster. (CE)(HD)
Sun 189-A 45rpm


The Prisonaires
"MY GOD IS REAL" - B.M.I. - 2:28
Composer: - Kenneth Morris-Public Domain
Publisher: - Babb Music - Morris Music
Matrix number: - U 81
Recorded: - August 3, 1953
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - September 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 189-B mono
MY GOD IS REAL / SOFTLY AND TENDERLY
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-1-28 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Johnny Bragg - Lead Tenor Vocal
John Drue - 2nd Tenor Vocal
William Stewart - Baritone Vocal and Guitar
Marcell Sanders - Bass Vocal
Ed Thurman - Tenor Vocal
Ike Turner - Piano and Electric Guitar
Unknown - Bass, possible Ike Turner

In its way, the Prisonaires' version of this classic is as good as any other, and others, who've recorded it include Mahalia Jackson, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Al Green. Bragg's lead is stilling. The piece was written in 1944 by an African American minister and hymnodist, Kenneth Morris, as ''Yes, God Is Real''. ''There are some places I cannot go'' was one of the most awfully true lines on a Sun record. That said, the Prisonaires were getting out of the prison gates on a fairly regular basis, and on one of their Sunday forays into the free world they attended a service with the legendary Clara Ward and her choir. Ward had recorded ''My God Is Real'' in 1949 and made it her own until Mahalia Jackson took ownership of it. Inspired by Ward, the Prisoniares recorded ''My God Is Real'' with ''Softly And Tenderly'' in Memphis on August 3, 1953. It became their second Sun single, and a commercial mis-step. (CE)
Sun 189-B 45rpm


Ripley Cotton Choppers
"BLUES WALTZ" - B.M.I. - 2:52
Composer: - Mrs. R.M. Lawrence
Publisher: - Redwood Music Limited
Matrix number: - U 84 - 78rpm Only
Recorded: - July 11, 1953
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - September 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78rpm standard single SUN 190-A mono
BLUES WALTZ / SILVER BELLS
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-2-1 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Ernest Underwood – Vocal & Fiddle
Jesse Frost - Vocal
Jettie Cox - Vocal
Raymond Kerby - Guitar
James Kerby - Guitar
Bill Webb - Guitar
James Wiseman - Bass
Pete Wiseman - Bass
James Haggard - Mandolin

Sun's first country release was hardly typical of Memphis country music in the 1950s.  This side, "Blues Waltz", it features twin guitar work by Raymond Kerby and Bill Webb who played lead. This first country release was hardly typical of Memphis country in the 1950s. Rather, this side harks back beyond the era of the honky tonk to a time when country music was performed at church socials and family gatherings. Only the electric guitar dates it to the 1950s rather than the 1920s or 1930s. This track features Ernest Underwood and Jesse Frost in a vocal duet backed by guitars, bass, and James Haggard's mandolin (an instrument that was not over-represented at 706 Union). The original 78rpm credited the composition to Mrs. R.M. Lawrence, a resident of Ripley, Tennessee. This record was already doomed to obscurity by virtue of the fact it was twenty years out of date on the day of release but Phillips' lack of experience in marketing country music banished it to a distribution network that barely exceeded the Ripley City limits. (MH)
Sun 190-A 45rpm


Ripley Cotton Choppers
"SILVER BELLS" - B.M.I. - 2:14
Composer: - E. Madden-P. Wenrich
Publisher: - Redwood Music Limited
Matrix number: - U 83 - 78rpm Only
Recorded: - July 11, 1953
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - September 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78rpm standard single SUN 190-B mono
SILVER BELLS / BLUES WALTZ
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-2-2 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Ernest Underwood – Vocal & Fiddle
Jesse Frost - Vocal
Jettie Cox - Vocal
Raymond Kerby - Guitar
James Kerby - Guitar
Bill Webb - Guitar
James Wiseman - Bass
Pete Wiseman - Bass
James Haggard - Mandolin

This tune, composed by vaudevillian Percy Wenrich in 1910, was already a minor standard when the  Choppers took it to Sam Phillips. The record is really a showcase for the guitar of Bill Webb who is backed  by guitarists Raymond and James Kerby and the driving bass of Pete Wiseman. The back-country charm of  the record, one of Sun's rarest releases, compensates for some technical flaws, not the least of which is  Webb's slightly out-of-tune instrument. You'd think this wouldn't stand a prayer in the country music world  of the 1950s, but in 1955, Chet Atkins and Hank Snow took ''Silver Bell'' to the country charts. The label of  Sun 190 states ''Silver Bells'', which is the old Christmas standard. (MH)
Sun 190-B 45rpm


The Prisonaires
"A PRISONER'S PRAYER" - B.M.I. - 2:38
Composer: - James Proctor
Publisher: - Memphis Music
Matrix number: - U 85
Recorded: - August 3, 1953
Memphis Recording  Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - November 1, 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 191-A mono
A PRISONER'S PRAYER / I KNOW
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-2-3 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Johnny Bragg - Lead Tenor Vocal
John Drue - 2nd Tenor Vocal
William Stewart - Baritone Vocal and Guitar
Marcell Sanders - Bass Vocal
Ed Thurman - Tenor Vocal
Ike Turner - Piano and Electric Guitar
Unknown - Bass, possible Ike Turner

Only in the most technical sense is this a gospel recording. The subject matter is only remotely spiritual. More cynically, this is a pop record designed to capitalize on the unique status of the group. The composer was a white member of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Jim Proctor. As prison music, this is certainly a long way from work songs and field hollers, and it makes the penitentiary seem like a place of monastic calm and quiet contemplation. The reference to Cell Block 23 certainly brings it down to a nuts and bolts level. The vocal performance owes little to the classic quartet tradition, and equally little to then-current vocal group music. It centres more upon the lead singing of Johnny Bragg, dueting occasionally with bass singer Marcell Sanders. Sparse and effective instrumental support was provided by Ike Turner on electric guitar and William Stewart on acoustic guitar. The problem was that Sam Phillips had been the coverage of ''Just Walkin' In The Rain'', and decided that the Prisonaires' story was more significant than their music. In pandering to that, he got it wrong. After a gospel single pairing ''Softly And Tenderly'' with ''My God Is Real'', this was another commercial mis-step. (CE)(HD)
Sun 191-A 45rpm


The Prisonaires
"I KNOW" - A.S.C.A.P. - 3:41
Composer: - Jennings-Brook
Publisher: - Memphis Music
Matrix number: - U 86
Recorded: - October 17, 1953
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - November 1, 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 191-B mono
I KNOW / A PRISON'S PRAYER
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-2-4 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Johnny Bragg - Lead Tenor Vocal
John Drue - 2nd Tenor Vocal
Williams Stewart - Baritone Vocal and Guitar
Marcell Sanders - Bass Vocal
Ed Thurman - Tenor Vocal

With Sun 189 stiffing on all fronts, Sam Phillips had another Prisonaires record on the market barely two months later. The move had an element of damage control about it, and the record was a calculated play on the group's novelty appeal.

Arguably, this is the worst of the Prisonaires four Sun releases. ''I Know'' revives a 1946 hit by the Jubalaires that may have needed reviving like a fish needs a bicycle. Johnny Bragg gives a credible reading is a style that was almost self parodying when the Inkspots' Bill Kenny worked it a decade earlier. (HD)(CE)
Sun 191-B 45rpm


Little Junior's Blue Flames
"MYSTERY TRAIN" - B.M.I. - 2:19
Composer: - Herman Parker-Sam C. Phillips
Publisher: - Memphis Music - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 89
Recorded: - August 5, 1953
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - November 1, 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 192-A mono
MYSTERY TRAIN / LOVE MY BABY
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-2-5 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Herman Parker - Vocal
Probably Raymond Hill or
James Wheeler - Tenor Saxophone
Floyd Murphy - Guitar
William "Bill" Johnson - Piano
Kenneth Banks - Bass
John Bowers - Drums
James Wheeler - Tenor Sax

Only rarely can two versions of a song be hailed as classics, even less often are they on the same label. This beautiful poised blues tone poem is one of the finest of Phillips' early recordings, and Elvis Presley's striking re-imagination of it is, of course, is among rock and roll early defining moments. Everything meshes on Junior's record so that the end result is much greater than the sum of its parts. And the parts are really disarmingly simple' Junior's melodic composition and smooth, high pitched vocal; the gentle train rhythm established by the bass and drums; a breathy saxophone; and the instantly memorable guitar riff. In fact, it's the rhythm that provides the songs's hook. A piano is buried in the mix to no great effect. It's a deeply affecting, personal and atmospheric blues that stood little chance of repeating the success of its predecessor, ''Feelin' Good'', at least in part because the title appears nowhere within the song. When it originally appeared, ''Mystery Train'' was credited solely to Junior Parker and published by Memphis Music. By the time Elvis Presley recorded it in 1955 Sam Phillips had appended his name to the copyright (possibly in part settlement of Junior Parker's contract dispute) and the publishing had been transferred to Phillips' Hi Lo Music. (CE) (HD)
Sun 192-A 45rpm


Little Junior's Blue Flames
"LOVE MY BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:32
Composer: - Herman Parker
Publisher: - Memphis Music - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 88
Recorded: - August 5, 1953
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - November 1, 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 192-B mono
LOVE MY BABY / MYSTERY TRAIN
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-2-6 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Herman Parker - Vocal
Probably Raymond Hill or
James Wheeler - Tenor Saxophone
Floyd Murphy - Guitar
William "Bill" Johnson - Piano
Kenneth Banks - Bass
John Bowers - Drums
James Wheeler - Tenor Sax

This extraordinary track is certainly one of the earliest rock and roll records. It is arguably one of the earliest rockabilly as well. The song originally appeared on the flipside of ''Mystery Train'' often overshadows it. When Jud Phillips went on the road in November 1953, disc jockeys were picking ''Love My Baby'' as the follow-up to ''Feelin' Good''. The recording sports an instantly catchy guitar riff, although the guitarist loses was momentarily and blows one chord change during the third verse. Parker's high creamy tenor soars over the instrumental back drop. Three years later, when Sun's blues era was firmly consigned to the past, Phillips would play Parker's uptempo records to his rockabilly artists, asking the guitarists to duplicate Floyd Murphy's riffs. The guitar playing on this track crept into the consciousness of a whole generation of rockabilly and rock guitarists who have never heard of Junior Parker, much less guitarist Murphy. Perhaps the first to be influenced by this solo was Sun's most famous sideman: Scotty Moore. When Hayden Thompson recorded it for Sun in 1957, Roland Janes was handed the task of replicating Murphy's work. An interesting footnote to this track is that it once again reveals that, despite his eminence as a producer, Sam Phillips was totally uncomfortable with fadeout endings. He either shunned them or never mastered the rudimentary skill of producing one during Sun's peak blues years. (HD) (CE)
Sun 192-B 45rpm


Doctor Ross
"COME BACK BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:50
Composer: - Isiah "Doctor" Ross
Publisher: - Memphis Music
Matrix number: - U 90
Recorded: - October 3, 1953
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - December 24, 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 193-A mono
COME BACK BABY / CHICAGO BREAKDOWN
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-2-7 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Doctor Ross - Vocal, Guitar, Drums and Harmonica
Wiley Galatin - Guitar
Reuben Martin - Washboard
Robert Moore – Broom

The music of Dr. Isaiah Ross is instantly recognisable. True to form, this track is totally engaging. It's not music to sit still through. The song's enduring appeal surely has nothing to do with the totally forgettable lyric or the one-chord backing. Once again, the good Doctor riffs off another song; in this case, the verses (''I got a gal...'ect) come from ''Step It Up And Go''. But somehow Ross, with his warm delivery and back country dance rhythm charms the hell out of all us patients. A fine track. Fine then; fine now. (HD) (CE)
Sun 193-A 45rpm


Doctor Ross
"CHICAGO BREAKDOWN" - B.M.I. - 2:53
Composer: - Isiah "Doctor" Ross
Publisher: - Memphis Music
Matrix number: - U 91 - Take 3
Recorded: - October 3, 1953
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - December 24, 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 193-B mono
CHICAGO BREAKDOWN / COME BACK BABY
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-2-8 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Doctor Ross - Vocal, Guitar, Drums and Harmonica
Wiley Galatin - Guitar
Reuben Martin - Washboard
Robert Moore – Broom

This time out, Doc Ross plagiarizes himself. The ''Chicago Breakdown'' lick is much the same as his ''Texas Hop'' lick. He's promoting ''Chicago Breakdown'' as the next dance craze to follow Red Saunder's ''Hambone''. It didn't happen, of course, but what a wild, percussive joy this song is. Up in Detroit some ten years later, Ross recycled ''Chicago Breakdown'' almost note-for-note and word-for-word as ''New York Breakdown''. He even re-used the wonderful colloquialism ''all y'all''. (CE)
Sun 193-B 45rpm


Little Milton
"BEGGIN' MY BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:23
Composer: - James Milton Campbell
Publisher: - Memphis Music - Tristan Music Limited - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 92
Recorded: - July 28, 1953
Memphis Recording  Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - December 24, 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 194-A mono
BEGGIN' MY BABY / SOMEBODY TOLD ME
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-2-9 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Milton Campbell - Vocal and Guitar
Ike Turner - Piano
C.W. Tate - Tenor Saxophone
Jesse Knight - Bass
Willie Sims - Drums

''Ike Turner had a little three or four piece band'', Little Milton told Jim O'Neal. ''Himself, Junior (Jesse Knight) who was his nephew, Willie Sims who we called Bad Boy. And I took the saxophone from my band, C.W. Tate. Ike introduced me to Sam Phillips. 'You want to cut a record'? 'Yeah', So start singing and playing'. We had not rehearsed anything, but two or three of those tunes I was doing with my Playmates of Rhythm. Sometimes you'd get in (to Sun) around one or two o'clock in the afternoon and we'd be there all night, sometimes into the next day. Nobody worried about the time. Ike, he'd be playin' piano, showin' you different things. Sam Phillips, he'd be running the board'', said Milton. 

From the rolling and melancholy 4-bar piano introduction, it was clear that ''Beggin' My Baby'' was a winner. As Little Milton's Sun legacy reveals, the man was truly a chameleon at this point in his career, capable of turning his talents to a variety of contemporary styles. Arguably, this was not the kind of artist that lawsuit-prone Sam Phillips needed on his roster. Here Milton turns his attention to a barely disguised version of Fats Domino's 1953 hit ''Going To The River''. Despite its derivative nature, Milton's performance is totally arresting. Even Billboard concurred given ''Beggin' My Baby'' highest marks and observing in January 1954 ''Here's a sock rendition of a most melodic new effort by Milton over a pounding backing. The lyric has suspense and Milton sings it for all he's worth. A solid slicing that could easily break out for the big coin''. (HD)(CE)
Sun 194-A 45rpm


Little Milton
"SOMEBODY TOLD ME" - B.M.I. – 2:52
Composer: - James Campbell
Publisher: - Memphis Music - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 93 - Take 1
Recorded: - July 28, 1953
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - December 24, 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records 78/45rpm standard single SUN 194-B mono
SOMEBODY TOLD ME / BEGGIN' MY BABY
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-2-10 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Milton Campbell - Vocal and Guitar
Ike Turner - Piano
C.W. Tate - Tenor Saxophone
Jesse Knight - Bass
Willie Sims - Drums

Once again Milton contributes a highly charged blues performance, but it lacks the punch of his best Sun work because he is constrained by the mambo rhythm. Milton's vocal phrasing is ill-suited to the lathin beat and his guitar doesn't get a chance to shine. Fortunately, the band shucks the mambo during the chorus and extended instrumental break. Just as fats Domino inspired one side of Milton's first single, so this side was ripped from B.B. King's 1953 hit ''Woke Up This Morning''. King used an almost identical arrangement down to the stinging guitar-over-mambo intro, and the switch to 4/4 on the chorus and break. (CE)HD)
Sun 194-B 45rpm


Billy ''The Kid'' Emerson
"NO TEASING AROUND" - B.M.I. - 2:58
Composer: - William Robert Emerson
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - F 10
Recorded: - January 11, 1954
Memphis Recording  Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - February 20, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 195-A mono
NO TEASING AROUND / IF LOVIN' IS BELIEVING
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-2-11 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
William Robert Emerson - Vocal and Piano
Ike Turner - Guitar
Jesse Knight Jr. - Bass
Oliver Sain - Trumpet
Eugene Fox - Tenor Sax
Willie Sims – Drums

Billy Emerson was one of the most musically sophisticated bluesmen ever recorded by Sam Phillips. His songs were consistently a cut above the average. Several contain lyrical or musical hooks that rendered them borderline novelty records, so it's little wonder his music has been covered by white artists, and crosses genres and decades.

Emerson's first record for Sun was probably his least exploitable. Both sides of Sun 195 are intense and powerful blues that were probably overlooked. On reflection, both showcased Emerson as a singer and songwriter. ''No Teasin' Around'' is driven by Ike Turner's eerie tremolo guitar work and Emerson's pleading but insistent vocal. ''Don't mess with me'', says Billy the Kid. ''I'm not in the mood''. Turner's guitar extends the message. It sounds fragile yet seems capable of considerable force if necessary. (HD)
Sun 195-A 45rpm


Billy ''The Kid'' Emerson
"IF LOVIN' IS BELIEVING" - B.M.I. - 2:10
Composer: - William Robert Emerson
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - F 11
Recorded: - January 11, 1954
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - February 20, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 195-B mono
IF LOVIN' IS BELIEVING / NO TEASING AROUND
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-2-12 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
William Robert Emerson - Vocal and Piano
Ike Turner - Guitar
Jesse Knight Jr. - Bass
Oliver Sain - Trumpet
Eugene Fox - Tenor Sax
Willie Sims – Drums

''If Lovin' Is Believing'' builds considerable tension but is ultimately hemmed in by its stop rhythm. The tag line is delivered in an unexpected minor key. Curiously, Billboard missed the boat on these sides, giving them low marks and calling the material ''rather weak''. Sam Phillips knew better and kept going back to the well with Emerson. (HD)
Sun 195-B 45rpm


Hot Shot Love
"WOLF CALL BOOGIE" - B.M.I. - 2:34
Composer: - Coy Love
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Copyright Controll
Matrix number: - F 12 - Take 1
Recorded: - January 8, 1954
Memphis Recording  Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - February 20, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 196-A mono
WOLF CALL BOOGIE / HARMONICA JAM
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-2-13 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Coy "Hot Shot" Love - Vocal and Harmonica
Pat Hare - Guitar
Mose Vinson - Piano
Kenneth Banks - Bass
Houston Stokes – Drums

This engaging track was recorded in January 1954 with the help of several of Sun's stalwart session men, including guitarist Pat Hare and drummer Houston Stokes. A note under the session reads, ''Transportation for Stokes and Pat from P.C. $4.75''. Was P.C. an acronym for penal colony, prison camp, police custody, Plantation Club? We'll never know, of course. The inspiration for this record was probably Sonny Boy Williamson's ''Jivin' The Blues'', but Phillips might have been drawn to it because of its passing similarity to ''Feelin' Good''. Love blows his harp and jive talks his way along the bar of a juke joint that sounds like the distant prototype of a singles bar. His style is irrepressible. At the time he made this record, Love as an itinerant musician based on Gayoso Street in Memphis. Before his death in 1980, he earned his living as a sign painter and played for tips on Memphis's Mid American Mall. Both his jacket and his bicycle were emblazoned with epigrams. A man who did his own thing fifteen years before doing your own thing became a hippie mantra. (CE)(HD)
Sun 196-A 45rpm


Hot Shot Love
"HARMONICA JAM" - B.M.I. - 2:31
Composer: - Coy Love
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - F 13
Recorded: - January 8, 1954
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - February 20, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 196-B mono
HARMONICA JAM / WOLF CALL BOOGIE
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-2-14 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Coy "Hot Shot" Love - Vocal and Harmonica
Pat Hare - Guitar
Mose Vinson - Piano
Kenneth Banks - Bass
Houston Stokes – Drums

The title tells it all. It sounds like one of those sessions where the wine flowed and everyone had a fine old time. Love does his patented shtick here, jive talking and shouting through his harp in the style popularized by Sonny Terry. Guitarist Hare manages to hit one clam but, as Sam Phillips would tell you, all was forgiven by the overall feeling. (HD)(CE)
Sun 196-B 45rpm


Earl Peterson – Michigan's Singing Cowboy
"BOOGIE BLUES" - B.M.I. - 2:33
Composer: - Earl Peterson
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Peer Music
Matrix number: - U 102
Recorded: - January 4, 1954
Memphis Recording  Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - February 20, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 197-A mono
BOOGIE BLUES / IN THE DARK
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-2-15 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Earl Peterson - Vocal and Guitar
Unknown Guitar, Steel Guitar, Fiddle

Earl Peterson and his mother parked their 1953 Buick in front of 706 Union and went inside to audition "Boogie Blues". Whether Sam Phillips knew or remembered 'Michigan's Singing Cowboy' from his disc jockey days, or whether it was mother Pearle's stony insistence, the result was a recording session. "Boogie Blues" is not a great record, but it is Sun's first foray into modern country music and market, some three months before Elvis Presley's debut. Peterson apparently despised this recording of ''Boogie Blues'' but his vocal performance is strong and personable, and the innate drive of the song lends an astringent edge to Peterson's creamy style. The song derives from a number of pre-War songs in the Jimmie Rodgers-Gene Autry style. However, Columbia seemed to think that it had a place in the post-War market. They signed Peterson just a few months after his Sun debut and re-recorded two sessions in October 1954 of ''Boogie Blues'' that were apparently much closer to Peterson's heart. However, they lacked much of the sparkle of the Sun version. Columbia released the new version in February 1955. (HD)
Sun 197-A 45rpm


Earl Peterson – Michigan's Singing Cowboy
"IN THE DARK" - B.M.I. - 2:33
Composer: - Ollie F. "Mack" McGee
Publisher: - Perco Music - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - U 103
Recorded: - January 4, 1954
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - February 20, 1954
First appearance:- Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 197-B mono
IN THE DARK / BOOGIE BLUES
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-2-16 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Earl Peterson - Vocal and Guitar
Unknown Guitar, Steel Guitar, Fiddle

According to Sam Phillips, earl Peterson and his mom arrived at the front door of 706 Union with this and a clutch of other songs brought down from Michigan. This ballad allows Peterson to show off his smoother side, and is close to the ''twilight on the trail'' style which was appearently Peterson's first love. This is a lovely song and Peterson turns in a finely crafted performance. Oliver McGee registered the song with BMI on February 26, 1954. By that point, he was probably living in Nashville but had been a friend of Peterson's from the old days in and around Lansing, Michigan. (HD)
Sun 197-B 45rpm


Howard Seratt
"TROUBLESOME WATERS" - S.E.S.A.C. - 3:03
Composer: - J.B. Karnes-Ernest Rippetoe
Publisher: - Sesac - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - U 51
Recorded: - Late 1953
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - February 20, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 198-A mono
TROUBLESOME WATERS / I MUST BE SAVED
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-2-17 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Howard Seratt - Vocal and Guitar
Red Candel - Guitar
Travis Burkett - Bass
Keith Clayton - Guitar

One of the joys of being the sole proprietor of a record company is that one can issue titles that are commercial suicide but nevertheless deserve to be issued. Surely Sam Phillips could not have held out great hopes for this title but its overarching simplicity is so moving that it cried out for release. Even after the passage of 30 years, Phillips remembered Seratt, ''Oh that man. I never heard a person, no matter what field of music, could sing as beautifully. The honesty! The integrity The communication! He had such an unpretentious quality. It had a depth of beauty about it in its simplicity. Oh God Almighty, that was a sad thing because I could have recorded him 'ad infinitum' and never got tired'', told Sam.

The assumption underlying a lifetime pact with Sun, however, was that Seratt would have to switch to secular music and perhaps that would have been self-defeating because it is Seratt's faith, expressed in the understated gentleness of his style, that makes this performance outstanding. The hymn was an obscure one, Published in 1940 by Stamps-Baxter in a songster called ''Golden Key'' (another minor classic, ''Gathering Flowers For The Master's Bouquet'', first saw light-of-day there, too). The words were by Mrs. Karnes and the music by Ernest Rippetoe. Ten years later, Johnny Cash recorded it, crediting it to his mother-in-law, Maybelle Carter, her husband, Ezra, and their house-guest, Dixie Deen (the soon-to-be wife of Tom T. Hall). It's entirely possible that Cash remembered Seratt's record or remembered the song from the original hymnal. Flatt and Scruggs recorded it two years after Johnny cash, similarly crediting the carters and their housequest. (MH)
Sun 198-A 45rpm


Howard Seratt
"I MUST BE SAVED" - S.E.S.A.C. - 2:55
Composer: - J.B. Coats
Publisher: - Sesac
Matrix number: - U 53X
Recorded: - Late 1953
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - February 20, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 198-B mono
I MUST BE SAVED / TROUBLESOME WATERS
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-2-18 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Howard Seratt - Vocal and Guitar
Red Candel - Guitar
Travis Burkett - Bass
Keith Clayton - Guitar

Despite Sam Phillips' affection for Seratt, there is not a single artifact in the Sun files to suggest that he was ever there. The tapes were probably recorded over when funds fell short. The session details were never entered in the log book and the record itself is obscenely rare. This side, while surprisingly melodic for its simple chord structure, does not have quite the same impact as ''Troublesome Waters''. Somehow the simplicity in Seratt's style is less in evidence here. Nevertheless, it is a beautiful recording. Even on another label or in another era, this would be a standard. Seratt or Phillips titled the song. It was a J.B. Coats hymn originally titled after the first line, ''In All My Sin There Was Not One Who Cared'', and first published in another 1940 songster ''Old Camp Meeting Songs''. (MH)
Sun 198-B 45rpm


Howard Seratt
"MAKE ROOM IN THE LIFEBOAT FOR ME" - B.M.I. - 2:36
Composer: - Delmore Brothers
Publisher: - Sesec
Matrix number: - U 49
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1953
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - February 1954
First appearance: - St. Francis Records (S) 78rpm St. Francis 100-A mono
MAKE ROOM IN THE LIFEBOAT FOR ME / JESUS MEANS ALL TO ME
Reissued: - 1986 Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 – 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311 FK-2-5 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Howard Seratt - Vocal, Guitar and Harmonica

From the very first harmonica notes it is clear that this is going to be no ordinary record. It is not that  harmonica players were a rarity in the mid-South, for Howard Seratt is merely adapting the music of Lonnie  Glosson and Wayne Raney who had been firm radio favorites for many years. Indeed, it was Wayne Raney's  pals, the Delmore Brothers, who originated ''Make Room In The Lifeboat For Me'' recording it for Decca in  1940. It has more to do with the reassuringly solid execution of both guitar and harmonica styles and the  convincing tone in which Howard delivers the moving lyrics. This recording was made in 1953 by Sam  Phillips as a custom order for the short-lived St. Francis label of Forrest City, Arkansas. It would not be long  before Sam Phillips would invite Howard back to record for Sun.

Note: Howard Seratt actually recorded this single at his own expense, at the time of his first (and only) Sun release. The U-49 and U-50 matrix numbers and the vinyl trail-off etchings, shows that the record was manufactured at the same time and place as the Sun release. In fact, Sun 198 indeed has the words ''St Francis'' etched into the trail-off grooves, indicating that it wasn't intended for Sun use. (MH)
St. Francis 100-A 789rpm


Howard Seratt
"JESUS MEANS ALL TO ME" - B.M.I. - 2:16
Composer: - Howard Seratt
Publisher: - Sesec
Matrix number: - U 50
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1953
Memphis Recording  Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - February 1954
First appearance: - St. Francis Records (S) 78rpm St. Francis 100-B mono
JESUS MEANS ALL TO ME / MAKE ROOM IN THE LIFEBOAT FOR ME
Reissued: - 1986 Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 – 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311 FK-2-6 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Howard Seratt - Vocal, Guitar and Harmonica

On ''Jesus Means All To Me'', again adapting the harmonica style of Lonnie Glosson and Wayne Raney, this  time at a brighter tempo, Howard Seratt leads into another deeply felt religious message that is so attractively  delivered and yet so disarming as to momentarily convert even the most confirmed of atheists. It is at this  faster pace that one can particularly see the reason why Sam Phillips was so taken with Howard's music and  so anxious to open negotiations with him about the possibility of recording of some secular music.

Note: Howard Seratt actually recorded this single at his own expense, at the time of his first (and only) Sun release. The U-49 and U-50 matrix numbers and the vinyl trail-off etchings, shows that the record was manufactured at the same time and place as the Sun release. In fact, Sun 198 indeed has the words ''St Francis'' etched into the trail-off grooves, indicating that it wasn't intended for Sun use. (MH)
St. Francis 100-B 78rpm


James Cotton
"MY BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:20
Composer: - James Cotton
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - U 98
Recorded: - December 7, 1953
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - April 15, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records 78/45rpm standard single SUN 199-A mono
MY BABY / STRAIGHTEN UP BABY
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-2-19 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
James Cotton - Vocal
Tom Roane - Tenor Saxophone
Harvey Simmons - Tenor Saxophone
Pat Hare - Guitar
Billy Love - Piano
Kenneth Banks - Bass
Houston Stokes - Drums

It's unclear whether James Cotton's pronunciation was slurred by his Mississippi origins or a half-bottle of Ripple, but it's straight out of the Jimmy Reed school of diction. Nevertheless, Cotton manages to crank up a pretty rocking opus out of a slender riff. Sax and guitar cover a lot of grounds here that might otherwise have been handled by a horn section. Both solos show distinct jazz leanings. (HD)
Sun 199-A 45rpm


James Cotton
"STRAIGHTEN UP BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:19
Composer: - James Cotton
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 99
Recorded: - December 7, 1953
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - April 15, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 199-B mono
STRAIGHTEN UP BABY / MY BABY
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-2-20 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
James Cotton - Vocal
Tom Roane - Tenor Saxophone
Harvey Simmons - Tenor Saxophone
Pat Hare - Guitar
Billy Love - Piano
Kenneth Banks - Bass
Houston Stokes - Drums

It is really unclear which side of Sun 199 was destined to be the plug side. Arguably both this and ''My Baby'' are competent performances with solid riffs. ''Straighten Up Baby'' seems to take its cue from Nat King Cole's classic ''Straighten Up And Fly Right'', but both sides of Cotton's debut single lacked the special excitement to distinguish them from the other 30-40 rhythm and blues releases of that week in April 1954. (HD)(CE)
Sun 199-B 45rpm




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