- CHESS RECORDS -

Contains
Jackie Brenston - Chess 1458
Ike Turner - Chess 1459
Lou Sargent - Chess 1465
Rufus Thomas - Chess 1466
Jackie Brenston - Chess 1469
Jackie Brenston - Chess 1472
Evangelist Gospel Singers of Alabama - Chess 1473
Harmonica Frank - Chess 1475
Howlin' Wolf - Chess 1479
The Spiritual Stars - Chess 1485
Evangelist Gospel Songers of Alabama - Chess 1486
Rosco Gordon - Chess 1487
Bobby Bland - Chess 1489
Rufus Thomas - Chess 1492
Lafayette Jerl Thomas - Chess 1493
Harmonica Frank - Chess 1494
Bob Price - Chess 1495
Jackie Brenston - Chess 1496
Howlin' Wolf - Chess 1497
The Bresteraires - Chess 1502
Doctor Ross - Chess 1504
Billy Love - Chess 1508
Howlin' Wolf - Chess 1510
Howlin' Wolf - Chess 1515
Billy Love - Chess 1516
Rufus Thomas - Chess 1517
Howlin' Wolf - Chess 1528
Walter Horton - Chess 1529
Jackie Brenston - Chess 1532
Joseph Dobbin & The Four Cruisers - Chess 1547


Jackie Brenston
"ROCKET 88" - B.M.I. - 2:47
Composer: - Jackie Brenston
Publisher: - Arc Music Corporation
Matrix number: - U-7316 - Acetate
The first rock and roll tune on the Memphis Recording Service.
Recorded: - March 5, 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - April 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm standard single Chess 1458-A mono
ROCKET 88 / COME BACK WHERE YOU BELONG
Reissued: - 1986 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm SUNBOX 105 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1956

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jackie Brenston - Vocal and Baritone Sax
Raymond Hill - Tenor Sax
Eugene Fox - Tenor Sax
Ike Turner - Piano
Willie Kizart - Guitar
Jesse Knight - Bass
Willie Sims - Drums

Reached at number 1 at the Billboard's Rhythm and Blues charts

The story had become muddied in the re-telling, but a front-page article in the Memphis Commercial Appeal dated march 28, 1951 was so soon after the event that it's possible: ''B.B. King of Memphis, one of the race artists of Sam Phillips has been recording, passed the word along to Ike Turner, a negro band leader of Clarksdale, Mississippi, that the marked was open. Ike brought his band up for audition''. In one of Ike's accounts, they had only covers when they set out, but arrived with four original songs. If they'd driven across country, we might believe that, but they's driven 75 miles. That said, ''Rocket 88'' was almost a cover. Most of the melody and even some of the lyrics were lifted from Jimmy Liggins' 1947 recording of ''Cadillac Boogie''. The different lay in ''Rocket 88'' explosiveness, and for that some credit must go to Sam Phillips. Willie Kizart inadvertently created fuzz toned guitar when his amp either fell off the back of the car en route or was rain-damaged in the trunk. Turner insisted upon the latter, but the sound is more consistent with a sliced speaker cone. Phillips recalled, ''WE had no way of getting it fixed so we started playing around with the damn thing, stuffed a little paper in there and it sounded good. Sounded like a saxophone''. In a later interview with Richard Buskin, he explained how Ike Turner & The Kings of Rhythm became Jackie Brenston & the Delta Cats: ''I had to tell Ike that I wanted to know if he had somebody in his band who could sing. Ike was singing and of course he was a hell of a talent, but I knew his voice was not quite what I was looking for. Anyway, he told me that Jackie Brenston had a song called ''Rocket 88''. Jackie played the sax, but I put a mic in front of him and, man, as a singer he was a natural''. The distorted guitar and piano created a thunderous rhythm track, although Tuner thought nothing of it at the time: ''Man, we were just tryin' to cut a record the way we thought one was supposed to be cut. I had the boogie-woogie bass movin' on the bottom, Willie was tryin' to play guitar like Robert Nighthawk, and we were fond of Joe Liggins in those days, so that's how Jackie sang''. Brenston's vocal drips confidence and Raymond Hill's sax solo builds in momentum to a screeching climax. After the session was over and the paperwork underway, Phillips realized that Brenston was underage and the contract had to be signed by his mother, which seems wildly at variance with the carefree, hedonistic image he was projecting. 

The Biharis believed that they had first call on ''Rocket 88'' by virtue of their pre-existing deal with Phillips. Joe Bihari told John Broven that Leonard Chess was in town and paid spot money for ''Rocket 88'', but it's likelier that Chess had left town with a better offer on the table. The Commercial Appeal stated that Phillips sent out a lacquer to Chess by Air Express the night of the session. it was a 16-inch acetate because, as Phillips told Nadine Cohodas, ''I wanted all the little nuances to be conveyed to them''. Apparently the Chesses couldn't handle 16-inch discs and called to ask for a 12-inch, but once they heard it, they jumped on it. The Commercial Appeal article talked as if the record was already out and gaining traction. This was on March 28, just three weeks after the session. On March 30, Brenston was back at Phillips' studio to pick up an $85 advance and was back again on April 10 for another $200, suggesting that ''Rocket 88'' was already selling well. On May 7, Brenston got another $100 and the same day Phillips fronted him $165 for a PA system. ''Rocket 88'' finally charted on May 12, and hit number 1 on June 9. Five days later, a then-unknown Pennsylvania hillbilly bar band, Bill Haley and the Saddlemen, recorded what was probably the first cover version. On June 28, an entry in Phillips' logbook states that Brenston assigned all future royalties on ''Rocket 88'' to Phillips in lieu of the $910 already advanced to him, but Brenston's name is still on the song. When ''Rocket 88'' became a not-very-valuable copyright in the later 1050s and 1960s, it's conceivable that Phillips simply forgot that he owned it. Under then-existing American copyright law, the song came up for renewal in 1979, and at that point, Phillips as the songwriter could have grabbed the publishing for his company, but didn't.

Sam Phillips and Chess Records had their first hit; Brenston had his first and last. The longstanding, unenforceable claim that ''Rocket 88'' was the first rock and roll record is borne out by Little Richard, who ought to know. Richard liked it so much, he stole the intro for ''Good Golly Miss Molly''. Phillips' original acetate was auctioned in 2002. It contained ''Rocket 88'' and one of the Ike Turner songs. In recognition of its totemic status, it fetched nearly $14,000. (CE)
Chess 1458-A 78rpm


Jackie Brenston
"COME BACK WHERE YOU BELONG" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Jackie Brenston
Publisher: - Arc Music Corporation
Matrix number: - U-7317 - Acetate
Recorded: - March 5, 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - April 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm standard single Chess 1458-B mono
COME BACK WHERE YOU BELONG / ROCKET 88

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jackie Brenston - Vocal and Baritone Sax
Raymond Hill - Tenor Sax
Eugene Fox - Tenor Sax
Ike Turner - Piano
Willie Kizart - Guitar
Jesse Knight - Bass
Willie Sims - Drums
Chess 1458-B 78rpm


Ike Turner & The Kings of Rhythm
"HEARTBROKEN AND WORRIED" - B.M.I. - 3:07
Composer: - Ike Turner
Publisher: - N.M.P.C.
Matrix number: - U7324 - Acetate - Vocal Ike Turner
Recorded: - March 5, 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - April 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm standard single Chess 1459-A mono
HEARTBROKEN AND WORRIED / I'M LONESOME BABY
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7 mono digital
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jackie Brenston - Vocal and Baritone Sax
Raymond Hill - Tenor Sax
Eugene Fox - Tenor Sax
Ike Turner - Piano
Willie Kizart - Guitar
Jesse Knight - Bass
Willie Sims - Drums

If you buy into the myth, then this is what it sounded like thirty minutes before rock and roll was invented. Even with Willie Kizart's distorted guitar, ''Heartbroken And Worried'' was still a mundane cocktail blues, and it's pretty evident why Sam Phillips wanted to get Ike Turner away from the mic. Ike was a middling vocalist, and his best Charles Brown impersonation simply isn't good enough. Kizart's funky tone is by far the best thing about a record that's only interesting these days because we hear what the ''Rocket 88'' session sounded like before ''Rocket 88''. (CE)
Chess 1459-A 78rpm


Ike Turner & The Kings of Rhythm
"I'M LONESOME BABY" - B.M.I. - 3:03
Composer: - Ike Turner
Publisher: - N.M.P.C
Matrix number: - U7325 - Acetate - Vocal Ike Turner
Recorded: - March 5, 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - April 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm standard single Chess 1459-B mono
I'M LONESOME BABY / HEARTBROKEN AND WORRIED
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7 mono digital
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jackie Brenston - Vocal and Baritone Sax
Raymond Hill - Tenor Sax
Eugene Fox - Tenor Sax
Ike Turner - Piano
Willie Kizart - Guitar
Jesse Knight - Bass
Willie Sims - Drums

From the same session that produced ''Rocket 88'', this is session leader Ike Turner working in the then-popular mambo groove with faint intimations of ''Rocket 88''. Phillips should have cranked up Ike's vocal in the mix. Willie Kizart's fuzztone guitar at the end adds an interesting touch. The lyrics were quite mundane, and the rolling rhythm (could Ike have heard Professor Longhair'?) is the best thing about the performance. In fact, looking back on the session, Sam Phillips remembered how Ike wanted a record out as a vocalist. ''He was desperate for that. I said, 'but man, you can't sing. You're a hell of a player, but you can't sing''. The Biharis were more forgiving, it seems, allowing Ike to appear as a featured vocalist after he jumped ship. (HD)(CE)(MH)
Chess 1459-B 78rpm


Lou Sargent (Luther Steinberg)
"RIDIN' THE BOOGIE" – B.M.I. - 2:16
Composer: - Sam Phillips-Leonard Chess
Publisher: - B.L.P.C
Matrix number: - U 64
Recorded: - Probably May 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - July 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1465-A mono
RIDIN' THE BOOGIE / SHE REALLY TREATS ME WRONG
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-1-10 mono digital
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Lou Sargent (Luther Steinberg) - Trumpet
Tot Randolph - Saxophone
Phineas Newborn Jr. - Piano
Les Mitchell (Wilbur Steinberg) - Vocal 1 and Bass
Phineas Newborn Sr. - Drums

Lou Sargent' was a pseudonym for Luther Steinberg, although, in a broader sense, the names covered the entire aggregation. Steinberg himself was unaware that he acquired a new identity until the record appeared. This could almost have been the backing track for ''Rocket 88''. Small wonder because the group was Brenston's touring band after his split from Ike Tuner. The track is driven by the piano of Phineas Newborn, Jr., whose clear preference even in this context was for refinement. The nominal leader, Luther Steinberg, is barely audible on trumpet. His brother, Wilbur, played bass and provided the vocal on the flipside under another pseudonym, Les Mitchell. The unlikely listed composers were Sam Phillips and Leonard Chess. (CE)(HD)
Chess 1465-A 78rpm


Lou Sargent (Luther Steinberg)
"SHE REALLY TREATS ME WRONG'' – 1 – B.M.I.
Composer: - Sam Phillips-Leonard Chess
Publisher: - B.L.P.C.
Matrix number: - U 65 - Vocal Les Mitchell (Wilbur Steinberg)
Recorded: - Probably May 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - July 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1465-B mono
SHE REALLY TREATS ME WRONG / RIDIN' THE BOOGIE

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Lou Sargent (Luther Steinberg) - Trumpet
Tot Randolph - Saxophone
Phineas Newborn Jr. - Piano
Les Mitchell (Wilbur Steinberg) - Vocal 1 and Bass
Phineas Newborn Sr. - Drums
Chess 1465-B 78rpm


Rufus Thomas
"NIGHT WORKIN' BLUES" – B.M.I. - 2:51
Composer: - Marty Witzel
Publisher: - B.L.P.C.
Matrix number: - U-62
Recorded: - Circa May/June 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - July 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1466-A mono
NIGHT WORKIN' BLUES / WHY DID YOU DEEGEE?
Reissued: - 2008 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16695-7 mono digital
RUFUS THOMAS - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rufus Thomas – Vocal
Herman Green - Tenor Saxophone
Richard Sanders - Baritone Saxophone
Billy Love - Piano
Unknown - Guitar
Unknown – Bass
Houston Stokes - Drums
Chess 1466-A 78rpm


Rufus Thomas
''WHY DID YOU DEEGEE?" – B.M.I. - 2:28
Composer: - Rufus Thomas
Publisher: - B.L.P.C.
Matrix number: - U 63
Recorded: - Circa May/June 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - July 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1466-B mono
WHY DID YOU DEEGEE? / NIGHT WORKIN' BLUES
Reissued: - 2008 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16695-8 mono digital
RUFUS THOMAS - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rufus Thomas – Vocal
Herman Green - Tenor Saxophone
Richard Sanders - Baritone Saxophone
Billy Love - Piano
Unknown - Guitar
Unknown – Bass
Houston Stokes - Drums
Chess 1466-B 78rpm


Jackie Brenston
"MY REAL GONE ROCKET" – B.M.I. - 2:26
Composer: - Jackie Brenston
Publisher: - B.L.P.C.
Matrix number: - U 66A
Recorded: - Probably July 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - October 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1469-A mono
MY REAL GONE ROCKET / TUCKERED OUT
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-1-12 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jackie Brenston - Vocal
Unknown - Trumpet and Saxophone
Ike Turner - Piano
Willie Sims - Drums
Willie Kizart – Guitar

If there were any doubts that Phillips' recordings with Jackie Brenston prefigured rock and roll, this should silence them. The piano is mixed way up front as Brenston continues the ''Rocket 88'' saga. It's a wild ride that almost goes out of control... as rock and roll should. Once again the pianist thunderous left hand is bolstered by an electric guitar. The identity of the group is unclear. Brenston seems to identify the saxophonist as Clint, and the presence of a trumpet suggests that we;re hearing the Steinberg outfit. The neatly executed section work similarly seems to imply skilled musicians, not honkers and screamers. The energy is contagious and some of the line are good: ''When I cruise through your town like that great Northwestern / You can tell everybody there goes mighty Jackie Brenston'', Yes, indeed. (CE)(HD)
Chess 1469-A 78rpm


Jackie Brenston
"TUCKERED OUT" – B.M.I. - 2:28
Composer: - Larry Meeks
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - U 85
Recorded: - Probably August 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - October 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1469-B mono
TUCKERED OUT / MY REAL GONE ROCKET
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-1-15 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jackie Brenston - Vocal
Unknown - Saxophone
Phineas Newborn Jr. - Piano
Calvin Newborn - Guitar
Phineas Newborn Sr. - Drums

Songwriter Larry Meeks is a white, Colorado-based lounge pianist and tunesmith who worked at one time or another with Benny Goodman, Les Elgart, and Tennessee Ernie Ford. In 1951, he was in the Navy, based in Millington, Tennessee... just north of Memphis. ''I was a pianist with the Navy band'', Meeks said recently. ''I wrote this song for the score of a musical comedy titled, Prearie Navy'' which had only two performances at the Auditorium in Memphis. I wrote it for me to sing in the show and I made a demo recording of the song at Sun studios and later learned it was recorded at Sun with a group or performer whom I didn't know''. ''Prairie Navy'' ran in March 1951, so Phillips must have sat on the song for a few months. The riffing horns are mixed way down; in their place, the band chants the refrain. Calvil Newborn's guitar solo is jazz all the way. The often unreliable Chess matrixing system indicates that this title was recorded after ''My Real Gone Rocket''. Brenston himself recalled that it was touted as the A-side and he felt that his career lost momentum as a result. After sixty years, Meeks finally heard Brenston's record and declared that any resemblance between the way he heard the tune and Brenston's performance was accidental. We'll take that to be a negative verdict, but there's a case to be made for saying that ''Tuckered Out'' is as tight and organised as ''Real Gone Rocket'' is loose and unbridled, and together they made a fine pairing. (CE)
Chess 1469-B 78rpm


Jackie Brenston (Billy Love)
"JUICED" – B.M.I. - 2:30
Composer: - Milton Morse Love
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - U 7349
Recorded: - Possibly July 24, June 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - October 1, 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1472-A mono
JUICED / ROCKET 88
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-1-11 mono digital
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Billy Love - Vocal and Piano
Possibly Charles Walker - Saxophone
Unknown Saxophone
Calvin Newborn - Guitar
Unknown - Bass and Drums

This track is most certainly deserving of more than a passing footnote in the annals of Rhythm & Blues. A cryptic entry in Phillips own session files states that Billy Love was paid $100 for the composition, session piano, and vocal, but the irony was, of course, that this track was released under Jackie Brenston's name as a follow-up to "Rocket 88". It's uproarious from start to finish. Love mimics Brenston's habit of yelling the soloist's name and wooping throughout the solos. It might even be his own nickname, Red, that he yells during the intro. Roy Brown was the godfather of this performance, but Love takes Brown a step beyond. There's prodigious energy here... Love's rock solid left hand anchors and drives the recording, playing in unison with the bass. Guitarist Calvin Newborn fills incessantly around the vocal and takes an extended solo. Charles Walker's sax is buried until the solo. Sam Phillips remembered the day vividly: ''Ike Turner took Jackie Brenston's band away from us, and so we had a problem. At that time Chess was screaming for some more top notch product so I recorded Billy Love singing ''Juiced'' and we used that as the follow up song. It was the best song around and I bought it off Billy for, release as, Jackie'' Released around October 1, 1951, ''Juiced'' was the finest record Jackie Brenston ever made. (CE)(HD)(MH)
1472-A 78rpm


Jackie Brenston
"INDEPENDENT WOMAN" – B.M.I. - 2:50
Composer: - Jackie Brenston
Publisher: - Unknown
Matrix number: - U7350 - Acetate
Recorded: - March 5, 195
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - October 1, 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm standard single Chess 1472-B mono
INDEPENDENT WOMAN / JUICED
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-1-8 mono digital
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jackie Brenston - Vocal and Baritone Sax
Raymond Hill - Tenor Sax
Eugene Fox - Tenor Sax
Ike Turner - Piano
Willie Kizart - Guitar
Jesse Knight - Bass
Willie Sims - Drums

A musical clone of ''Rocket 88'' without the automotive hook. Chess coupled it with ''Juiced'' and released it as Brenston's third single. His career lost further momentum as a result. As before, he shouts encouragement to Raymond Hill during the sax solo. In fact, there's so much saxophone, it's almost a Raymond Hill record. One possibility is that dissension had already set in between Brenston and Ike Tuner's band, leading Phillips to retrieve this substandard cut and pair it with ''Juiced'', a song that didn't even have Brenston on it, even though it was credited to him. (CE)(HD)
Chess 1472-B 78rpm


Evangelist Gospel Singers of Alabama
"LEANING ON THE LORD" - B.M.I. - 2:25
Composer: - Traditional
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - U-7351
Recorded: - Unknown Date August 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - 1953
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1473-A mono
LEANING ON THE LORD / LORD STOP THE WAR

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Evangelist Gospel Singers of Alabama
More Details Unknown

The Evangelists are good, no matter who recorded them. What's good here includes the highly syncopated rhythm and highly arranged and rehearsed performance. This quartet didn't walk into a studio and lay down a track after agreeing on a key, a tempo and some lyrics. In that sense they differ from many of the blues performances presented here. These guys rehearsed, and they worked the piano player into their arrangement. he's not just comping mindlessly behind them; the piano is driving and fronting the performance. The cold stop at the end and the voicing of the final vocal chord tells you that a lot of prep work went into what you're hearing. Perhaps the strongest evidence to suggest this may not have been a Phillips recording is the sheer skill that went into balancing the lead vocalist with the quartet, and the quartet as a whole with the piano. The studio at 706 Union was small and some other Phillips recordings of the era show that Sam was not always skilled at doing this kins of balancing act. This ''Leaning On The Lord'' hymn was one that the Golden Gate Quartet, the Famous Blue Jay Singers, and many others had recorded. (HD)
Chess 1473-A 78rpm


Evangelist Gospel Singers of Alabama
"LORD STOP THE WAR" - B.M.I. - 2:46
Composer: - Traditional
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - U-7352
Recorded: - Unknown Date August 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - 1953
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1473-B mono
LORD STOP THE WAR / LEANING ON THE LORD

Name (Or. No.Of Instruments)
Evangelist Gospel Singers of Alabama
More Details Unknown

Before we get into the music, we want to remind everyone near and far that, while there are discographical reasons to believe these may be recordings made by Sam Phillips, we remain sceptical on aural evidence alone. The record labels offer no clues: no composer and no publisher. Now the music. Originally appearing on one side of Chess 1473, this ''Lord Stop The War'' might have competed for radio airtime because of its content. The Korean War loomed large over the black community and dragged its tendrils into the repertoire of gospel quartets and their recording session. The content was clear: Let our boys come home from this senseless war being fought god knows where over issues none of us understands. Just make our families and community whole again. That message, sung to a familiar 8-bar structure is what you get here for 2:46 sec. What it lacks in originality, it more than gains in topicality. A lot of P's get popped, but that's what happens when you're singing about ''everybody Praying''. The topicality is hammered home in the final line when the group asks God not to stop the War, but to Stop This War. Amen. (HD)
Chess 1473-B 78rpm


Harmonica Frank
"SWAMP ROOT" – B.M.I. - 3:40
Composer: - Frank Floyd
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - U 80
Recorded: - July 15, 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - August 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1475-A mono
SWAMP ROOT / GOIN' AWAY WALKIN'
Reissued: - 1986 Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Harmonica Frank Floyd - Vocal, Guitar and Harmonica

After hearing ''Swamp Root'', it is impossible to imagine how record collectors could ever have thought that Harmonica Frank was black. This song bears some similarity to Buddy Jones' 1937 recording ''Hunting Blues'' *reworked in 1950 by Joe Stewart on Star Talent), although it was probably a medicine show or vaudeville routine dating back much further. Chris Bouchillon was the first to record in this talking blues style, but that doesn't mean he originated it. Frank was the master of pastiche. A bit from here, a bit from there; some definitely from Bouchillon. Water from an ancient well perhaps, but it was idiosyncratically his own. The title comes from a patent medicine: Dr. Kilmer's Swamproot: Kidnet, Liver, and Bladder Cure. Frank probably sold it somewhere along the way. And along that way, he picked up couplets like ''The wine goes in, the truth comes out / Two more shots and I'll tell it all...'' Every verse has noises that most of us renounced at the age of five, but no matter, it adds to the sloppy drunk charm of the tune.
Chess 1475-A 78rpm


Harmonica Frank
"GOIN' AWAY WALKIN'" – B.M.I.
Composer: - Frank Floyd
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - U 81
Recorded: - July 15, 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - August 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1475-B mono
GOIN' AWAY WALKIN' / SWAMP ROOT
Reissued: - 1986 Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Harmonica Frank Floyd - Vocal, Guitar and Harmonica

On ''Goin' Away Walkin'' out comes the harmonica, and here comes the blues. Now this could have fooled some folks into thinking they were hearing a black guy. ''Goin' Away Walkin''' is basically a crazy-quilt of blues cliches, but it proves that Frank had a genuine feel for blues cadences and rhythms. Probably no more than a few lines were freshly minted for the recording but Frank delivers it all with real conviction. It is not hard to see the delight that Phillips must have taken in recording the man because there is a real intuitive musically underlying every performance.
Chess 1475-B 78rpm


Harmonica Frank
"STEP IT UP AND GO" – B.M.I. - 3:18
Composer: - Frank Floyd
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - U 82
Recorded: - July 15, 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - August 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1475-C mono
STEP IT UP A ND GO / GOIN' AWAY WALKIN'
Reissued: - 1986 Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Harmonica Frank Floyd - Vocal, Guitar and Harmonica

When the first incarnation of Chess 1475A was snatched off the market after a few weeks, it was replaced by ''Step It Up And Go'' as a new partner for ''Swamp Root''. Like many blues songs, its lineage begins with the first recorded version, even if the original wasn't necessarily by the original writer. Charlie Burse recorded an unissued song called ''Oil It Up And Go'' on July 8, 1939. Blind Boy Fuller was almost certainly around when that song was cut, on March 5, 1940, recorded ''Step It Up And Go''. In between, on November 22, 1939, Tommy McClennan recorded ''Bottle It Up And Go''. The first hillbilly version was by Blue Friday & His Daniel Boone Ramblers on Rich-R-Tone in 1949. Big Jeff's Dot recording appeared at rougly the same time as the Maddox Brothers and Rose's ''New Step It Up And Go'', and both became juke box favorites. The Maddoxes' record was notified to Billboard in April 1951 and Big Jeff's in May. Frank recorded it in July. His version features some spirited interchanges between the guitar and harmonica and possesses a wonderful drive. Frank Floyd was a tight little rhythm section. He sounds like both Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee rolled into one.
Chess 1475-C 78rpm


Howlin' Wolf
"MOANIN' AT MIDNIGHT" – B.M.I. - 2:53
Composer: - Chester Burnett- Carl Germany
Publisher: - Arc Music Incorporated 
Matrix number: - U-84 - Take 1
Recorded: - July 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - August 15, 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm standard single Chess 1479-A mono
MOANIN' AT MIDNIGHT / HOW MANY MORE YEARS
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15500 AH-3 mono digital
MEMPHIS DAYS - THE DEFINITIVE EDITION - VOLUME 2

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Howlin' Wolf - Vocal and Harmonica
Willie Johnson - Guitar
Willie Steele - Drums
James Cotton - Harmonica

Many words have been devoted to unraveling just how and why this is among the truly seminal recordings in the almost 100-year history of recorded blues. Some have written elegantly about it, some inelegantly, but all have been transfixed by the emotional impact of the eerie, wordless moan and the one chord vamp over which Wolf sing his song. The sub-par recording quality only enhances the enigma. It's as if you're hearing voices of the dead rising through a miasma of sound. Musicologist Ted Giola made a detailed analysis of the song, exploring Wolf's uncertain tonality and guitarist Willie Johnson's ability to shuttle between ''a predictable rhythmic figure and acerbic inter actions that push and prod Wolf in his bristly vocal''. Even parsed and analyzed, it retains its inscrutability.

Later in life, Sam Phillips would sometimes place a retrospective spin on what he'd done, but he was clearly high on Howlin' Wolf from the beginning. Writing to Nashville disc jockey Gene Nobles on September 2, 1951... three days after this record was released, Phillips said, ''Moanin' At Midnight'' is the side - I know I'm partial, but it is the most different record I ever heard''. Wolf still had his radio show on KWEM and was probably plugging the record heavily. Phillips told Nobless that it was already the top-selling blues record in Memphis. On November 10, it entered the national Rhythm And Blues Charts, the first of Wolf's six charted hits. (CE)
Chess 1479-A 78rpm


Howlin' Wolf
"HOW MANY MORE YEARS" – B.M.I. - 2:41
Composer: - Chester Burnett- Carl Germany
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - U-84
Recorded: - July 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - August 15, 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm standard single Chess 1479-B mono
HOW MANY MORE YEARS / MOANIN' AT MIDNIGHT
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15500 AH-2 mono digital
MEMPHIS DAYS - THE DEFINITIVE EDITION - VOLUME 2

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Howlin' Wolf - Vocal and Harmonica
Willie Johnson - Guitar
Willie Steele - Drums
Possible Albert Williams - Piano
James Cotton - Harmonica

Reached at number 4 at the Billboard's Rhythm and Blues charts

''I was totally blinded by the sound of his voice'', Sam Phillips told Peter Guralnick many years later. ''I'm not sure I heard anything in the way of instrumentation''. Those are the words of someone attuned to every aspect of recording, and that alone speaks to Howlin' Wolf authority. Even a list of all Wolf's obvious and not-so-obvious influences, like Tommy Johnson, Charley Patton, and Jimmy Rodgers, doesn't half-way explain the ageless wonder of his debut. He was so much more than the sum of those parts. This is one of those records that could have come from nowhere but Mississippi. There's a piano on ''How Many More Years'', suggesting that it might have been recorded at a different time from ''Moanin' At Midnight''. And there were earlier versions of ''How Many More Years'', suggesting that it was the presumed A-side until Wolf suddenly cut loose with ''Moanin' At Midnight''. One possibility is that the pianist though ''Moanin'' was a run-through and sat it out. The identity of the pianist has never been nailed beyond doubt, but there seems to be common assent that it's Ike Turner, even though Phillips didn't recall Turner ever working with Wolf. Guitarist Willie Johnson later insisted that he had a hand in writing the song on the way to the studio. ''I'm the one (who)... printed it and put the words in his mouth'', he said. Wolf disputed that claim, but it was a moot point at first because the putative composer of both sides was Carl Germany, who was also credited with writing several other songs on Chess, including some of Sax Mallard's records and one of Jackie Brenston's song, ''Hi Ho Baby''. It wasn't unknown for Chess to use composer credits to repay favors. Alan Freed was often thus rewarded, and Russ Fratto, who ran a Chicago stationary company, received one third of Chuck Berry's ''Maybellene'' in return for who knows what. Rufus Thomas's first single, ''Night Walkin' Blues'', was credited to Marty Witzel, who'd introduced Leonard Chess to his wife. Carl Germany, a mid-western dance promoter and Chicago disc jockey, was similarly blessed. These days, though, the composer credit read as it always should: Chester Burnett. (CE)
Chess 1479-B 78rpm


The Spiritual Stars
''I"LL SEARCH HEAVEN'' - B.M.I. - 3:06
Composer: - Mae Glover-Beatrice Brown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number:  U 7373
Recorded: Probably 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: 1951
First appearance: Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1485-A mono
I'LL SEARCH HEAVEN / GOOD RELIGION
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310 JK-10-22 mono digital
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1959

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
The Spiritual Stars
Unidentified Group Members

This is a very good record. There is no real evidence that these guys ever saw the inside of 706 Union Avenue, but it's nice to think that they might have. Again, the record label offers no clue. The only subscript is ''Spiritual Series'', and we could have guessed that. The group holds more harmonic interest and greater dynamic range than the Evangelist Gospel Singers and comes across as slightly more ''modern'' because of it. The 16-bar structure and melodic line of this song bear more than a passing similarity to the classic ''Peace In The valley'', but it was a loose adaption of Mae Glover and Beatrice Brown's 1945 song, ''I'll Search Heaven For You'', recorded by the Mill Brothers among others. (HD)
Chess 1485-A 78rpm


The Spiritual Stars
''GOOD RELIGION'' - B.M.I. - 2:21
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number:  U 7374
Recorded: Probably 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: 1951
First appearance: Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1485-B mono
GOOD RELIGION / I'LL SEARCH HEAVEN
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310 JK-10-23 mono digital
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1959

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
The Spiritual Stars
Unidentified Group Members

The Spiritual Stars were good! You heard it here. This time they turn their hands and voices to the oft-recorded tune ''So Glad I Got Good Religion'' (check out the Blind Boys of Alabama for a definitive version). just listen to this record and hear great harmonic variants of what would in lesser hands be simple 4-square chords. Not on this record, though. Nothing is ordinary here. If Sam Phillips truly had recorded this music in his tiny studio back in 1951, maybe he fallen on his knees, poured his Jack Daniels down the drain, trashed his little black book on the spot, and gone into the gospel music business. Of course that would mean the history of American popular culture as we know it would never have been written. Maybe that's too steep a price to pay. But one way or the other, he would have known, as you do, that this is really a hell of a record. (HD)
Chess 1485-B 78rpm


Evangelist Gospel Singers of Alabama
"NEVER GROW OLD" – B.M.I. - 2:58
Composer: - Traditional
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - U 7377
Recorded: - August 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - December 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm standard single Chess 1486-A mono
NEVER GROW OLD / WALK IN THE LIGHT
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records BCD 17310 JK-10-21 mono digital
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Evangelist Gospel Singers of Alabama consisting of:
Willie McInstry - Lead Vocal
Leroy Terry - Tenor and Piano
Willie Banks - Baritone Vocal
John Davis - Bass Vocal
Unknown - Drums and Vocal Effect

This recording session is not logged in the (MRS) Sun files, but Chess Records' archieves indicate that the masters were purchased from Sam Phillips.

This time the quartet turns to the classic from the dusty hymnal on the table. Credited to a Georgia-born white Baptist minister, James C. Moore, ''Where We'll Never Grown Old'' has been recorded by a Who's Who of gospel performers, including Smith's Sacred Singers, the Vaughn Quartet and Aretha Franklin as well as a wide range of country singers including Jim Reeves, Johnny Cash, George Jones and Eddy Arnold. This is one of the first black gospel recordings of the song. On this version you keep waiting for the boys to shake loose of the slow, free tempo, as they did on ''Leaving On The Lord'', but they never do it. That they do offer, however, is a narration that includes a passing plea for world peace. You can be certain that the hymnal version of the song didn't include any such words. (HD)(MH)
Chess 1486-A 78rpm


Evangelist Gospel Singers of Alabama
"WALK IN LIGHT'' – B.M.I. - 3:11
Composer: - Traditional
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - U 7378
Recorded: - August 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - December 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm standard single Chess 1486-B mono
WALK IN THE LIGHT / NEVER GOW OLD
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records BCD 17310 JK-10-20 mono digital
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Evangelist Gospel Singers of Alabama consisting of:
Willie McInstry - Lead Vocal
Leroy Terry - Tenor and Piano
Willie Banks - Baritone Vocal
John Davis - Bass Vocal
Unknown - Drums and Vocal Effect

This recording session is not logged in the (MRS) Sun files, but Chess Records' archieves indicate that the masters were purchased from Sam Phillips.

The Evangelists are back for another of their Chess outings of indeterminate provenance. If the source is Sam Phillips, then this is almost certainly from a different session than the one producing the first Evangelist disc. The piano is buried more deeply in the mix and there is a driving bass sound throughout. Is it a partial drum kit? Somebody's foot on the floor? There is no pitch to that bass sound so it can't have been sung or provided by a stringed instrument. In any case, it fills in a hole in the sonic range quite effectively. Likewise, handclapping helps to drive the record. All told, this is a good example of jubilee style in full flower. If you listen carefully, you'll hear the ''baser'' singing the wordless part that a Fender bass would play in just a few short years. (HD)

Chess 1486-B 78rpm


Rosco Gordon
"BOOTED" – B.M.I. - 3:04
Composer: - Courtney Harris-Robert Henry
Publisher: - Arc Music Corp
Matrix number: - U 7375
Recorded: - August 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - December 15, 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm standard single Chess 1487-A mono
BOOTED / I LOVE YOU TILL THE DAY I DIE
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-1-14 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rosco Gordon - Vocal and Piano
Bobby Bland - Vocal*
Willie Wilkes - Saxophone
Willie Sims - Saxophone
Unknown - Bass
John Murry Daley - Drums

In an interview with John Floyd, Rosco Gordon said that WDIA's David James Mattis set up the meeting for him at Sam Phillips' studio. In our biographical entry, Rosco gave two other accounts of how he came to Memphis Recording Service, but the account given to Floyd seems more plausible. ''The only reason I did it was for the wine money'', said Rosco. ''I didn't have sense enough to be nervous. Sam was very nice and he had this song that Courtney Harris wrote called ''Booted'' and he asked if I could play it'' Turns out he could. The mystery of Courtney Harris's identity has never been solved. The original composer credit said T. Courtney & R. Henry, the latter being a Beale Street bar owner, Robert Henry. Today, the song is registered to J. Courtney and David Henry. It's also registered as a Rosco Gordon composition. If it's ever featured in a movie, some lawyers will doubtless figure it out.

It's not hard to see why Chess grabbed this title from the stack of dubs Sam shipped north. Rosco's bibulous vocal is irresistible and his amateur-night piano sounds just right. The drummer manages to stay off-beat here (accenting 1 and 3 instead of 2 and 4) for a surprisingly long time. Rosco's charm covers a lot of musical sins. By conventional record-making standards, everything was wrong: Rosco was barely adequate on piano and sounds sloppy drunk. Phillips changes levels on the fly. Couplets are randomly re-used. And it's hard to suppress the feeling that Phillips faded the ending because it fell apart. But it's so wrong, it's right. And it was deservedly a huge hit''. (HD)(CE)
Chess 1487-A 78rpm


Rosco Gordon
"I LOVE YOU TILL THE DAY I DIE" – B.M.I.- 3:17
Composer: - Bobbie Bland
Publisher: - Burton LTD
Matrix number: - U 7376
Recorded: - August 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - December 15, 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1487-B mono
I LOVE YOU TILL THE DAY I DIE / BOOTED
Reissued: - 2010 Jasmine Records (CD) 500/200rpm JASCD 564-1 mono
BOBBY BLAND - IT'S MY LIFE, BABY

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rosco Gordon - Vocal and Piano
Bobby Bland - Vocal*
Willie Wilkes - Saxophone
Willie Sims - Saxophone
Unknown - Bass
John Murry Daley - Drums
Chess 1487-B 78rpm


Bobby Bland & Rosco Gordon
"CRYING" - 1 – B.M.I. - 2:57
Composer: - Robert Bland
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - U 7397
Recorded: - December 4, 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - December 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1489-A mono
CRYING / LETTER FROM A TRENCH IN KOREA

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rosco Gordon - Vocal and Piano
Bobby Bland - Second Vocal
Willie Sims - Saxophone
Willie Wilkes - Saxophone
John Murry Daley - Drums
Chess 1489-A 78rpm


Bobby Bland & Rosco Gordon
"LETTER FROM A TRENCH IN KOREA" - 1 – B.M.I. - 2:48
Composer: - Robert Bland
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - U 7398
Recorded: - December 4, 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - December 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1489-B mono
LETTER FROM A TRENCH IN KOREA / CRYING

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rosco Gordon - Vocal and Piano
Bobby Bland - Second Vocal
Willie Sims - Saxophone
Willie Wilkes - Saxophone
John Murry Daley - Drums
Chess 1489-B 78rpm


Rufus Thomas
"CRAZY ABOUT YOU BABY" – B.M.I. - 2:37
Composer: - Rufus Thomas
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - U 7400
Recorded: - Circa May/June 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - January 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1492-A mono
CRAZY ABOUT YOU BABY/NO MORE DOGING AROUND
Reissued: - 2008 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16695-9 mono
RUFUS THOMAS - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rufus Thomas – Vocal
Herman Green - Tenor Saxophone
Richard Sanders - Baritone Saxophone
Billy Love - Piano
Unknown - Guitar
Unknown – Bass
Houston Stokes - Drums
Chess 1492-A 78rpm


Rufus Thomas
"NO MORE DOGING AROUND" – B.M.I. - 2:36
Composer: - Rufus Thomas
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - U 7399
Recorded: - October 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - January 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1492-B mono
NO MORE DOGING AROUND/CRAZY ABOUT YOU BABY
Reissued: - 2008 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpmBCD 16695-10 mono
RUFUS THOMAS - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rufus Thomas - Vocal
Herman Green - Tenor Saxophone
Richard Sanders - Baritone Saxophone
Billy Love - Piano
Unknown - Guitar and Bass
Houston Stokes - Drums
Chess 1492-B 78rpm


Lafayette Jerl Thomas
"SAM'S DRAG" – B.M.I. - 2:49
Composer: - Lafayette Jerl Thomas
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - U7393
Recorded: - October 1951 - Instrumental
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - January 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1493-A mono
SAM'S DRAG / BABY TAKE A CHANCE WITH ME
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-1-15 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Lafayette Jerl Thomas - Guitar
Unknown - Saxophone, Bass and Drums

This instrumental is anything but a drag with its tough, grainy-toned guitar. Clearly, Lafayette Thomas had no shortage of talent, but at this stage in his career he over-reached occasionally. The off-key passage near the end indicated that he had some way to travel along the road to becoming a West Coast guitar star. Although Thomas was from Shrevenport area, he was already based in Oakland, California when this was recorded. Recording as a side-man since 1948, Thomas was touring with Jimmy McCracklin in 1951, so it's at least possible that McCracklin tour stopped in Memphis, and then stopped at the Memphis Recording Service. Certainly, Thomas and McCracklin recorded together in Houston a few months later with two saxes, piano, and rhythm section... in other words, the same line-up heard here. The tune hits a sweet groove, but not an original one; it was based quite closely on the hugely influential ''Junior Jives'', a hit for Roy Milton a few months earlier. Thomas's next solo record came in 1955. His only other oblique connection with Sun came in 1960 when he joined two other Sun alumni, James Cotton and Pat Hare, for one song on ''Muddy Waters At Newport'' LP. (CE)


Lafayette Jerl Thomas
"BABY TAKE A CHANCE WITH ME" – B.M.I. - 2:44
Composer: - Lafayette Jerl Thomas
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - U7394
Recorded: - October 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - January 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1493-B mono
BABY TAKE A CHANCE WITH ME / SAM'S DRAG
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-1-16
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Lafayette Jerl Thomas - Vocal* - Guitar
Unknown - Saxophone, Bass and Drums

Thomas's pinched vocal is clearly from the Texas tradition but his fluid guitar fills and inventive solos point clearly to the prime place such playing was to occupy in the post-war blues. His band plays in a wonderfully doomy vein in counterpoint to their leader. (BT)


Harmonica Frank Floyd
"HOWLIN' TOMCAT" – B.M.I. - 2:44
Composer: - Frank Floyd
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - 1504-A
Recorded: - Unknown Date December 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - January 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1494-A mono
HOWLIN' TOMCAT / SHE DONE MOVED
Reissued: - 1986 Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Harmonica Frank Floyd - Vocal, Guitar and Harmonica

''Howlin' Tomcat'' is not so much a blues as a loving parody of a blues, and an anachronism even in 1951. It is true that folk blues were still selling in 1951 but this is much more folk than blues. It seemed to belong in either the 1930s or the ersatz folk blues revival of the 1960s but barely at any point in between. If it had a direct antecedent, it was Bo Carter's 1931 recording of ''Howlin' Tom Cat Blues'', but that assumes Frank collected blues 78s, and it's a pretty fair assumption that he didn't. He must surely have heard Carter or someone else perform it, though. Perhaps Frank's animal noises gave Phillips a sense of deja vu in 1953 when he was grafting similar noises onto Rufus Thomas's first hits.
Chess 1494-A 78rpm


Harmonica Frank Floyd
"SHE DONE MOVED" – B.M.I. - 2:58
Composer: - Frank Floyd
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - 1504-B
Recorded: - Unknown Date December 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - January 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1494-B mono
SHE DONE MOVED / HOWLIN' TOMCAT
Reissued: - 1986 Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Harmonica Frank Floyd - Vocal, Guitar and Harmonica

''She Done Moved'', a straight blues rendering without even a harmonica. Nevertheless, there are still flashes of Frank's wonderfully idiosyncratic phrasing together with some playful touches in the phrasing where his vocal crosses bar lines. As with his other blues, Frank makes no effort to sound like anyone but himself. He absorbed the vernacular of the blues and made it his own. This song comes from the same deep well as Lonnie Johnson's ''Kansas City Blues'', but there are lines like ''she got eyes like a lighthouse on the sea'' that leave you wondering where Frank heard them.
Chess 1494-B 78rpm


Bob Price
"HOW CAN IT BE" – B.M.I. - 3:06
Composer: - Quinton Claunch-Bob Price
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - F 1002
Recorded: - December 2, 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - March 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1495-A mono
HOW CAN IT ME / STICKS AND STONES
Reissued: - 1986 Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Bob Price - Vocal
Quinton Claunch - Guitar
Roy Cooper - Steel Guitar
Harold Buskirk - Bass
Dexter Johnson - Mandolin
Bob Smith – Piano
Unknown - Fiddle

Sam Phillips records another country artist for Chess Records, Bob Price. Phillips' mid-1950s venture into country music was largely conducted in partnership with the A&R team of Quinton Claunch and Bill Cantrell, but it seems as if Claunch was there first. He appeared at Phillips' door with Bob Price, and was certainly not joking when he said that Price had an unusual voice. Price and Harmonica Frank marked Chess Records' inauspicious debut into the country market. Both were a long way from mainstream but, unfortunately, this outing has none of the period charm of Frank Floyd, nor the searing hillbilly passion of Phillips' later efforts. In fact it has not weathered the years at all well although Roy Cooper's dancing guitar fills are quite pleasant and Price's vocal has its moments. If Price was aiming for the pop-country mix of Eddy Arnold-George Morgan-Red Foley, he came up with an almost comically inept parody. He had previously recorded for Decca in 1949 together with Eddie Hill, suggesting that he may have been part of the same troup, although Claunch recalled that Price rarely sang except at home. Billboard, though reported in March 1952 that Price was on the point of joining the live on-air staff of KWEM, West Memphis, so perhaps he got around more than Claunch believed.
Chess 1495-A 78rpm


Bob Price
"STICKS AND STONES" – B.M.I. - 2:24
Composer: - Bob Price
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - F 1003
Recorded: - December 2, 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - March 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1495-B mono
STICKS AND STONES / HOW CAN IT ME
Reissued: - 1986 Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Bob Price - Vocal
Quinton Claunch - Guitar
Roy Cooper - Steel Guitar
Harold Buskirk - Bass
Dexter Johnson - Madolin
Bob Smith – Piano
Unknown - Fiddle

This uptempo side has a folky, almost nursery rhyme, quality enhanced by the instrumental break which sounds like a musical box. Hank Thompson was doing well with songs like this (''Humpty Dumpty Heart'', ''Whoa Sailor'', etc) but Thompson at least had visibility in the western half of the country. Released to little acclaim in January 1952, this singlel represented the beginning and end of Chess's involvement in hillbilly music until they allied themselves with Stan Lewis in Shreveport. However, shortly after this record was released, Billboard announced that Leonard Chess was heading south to secure more country talent. Perhaps the dismal sales of this outing convinced Chess to stay clear of the country market until Lewis started providing him with saleable product. Note that the master tape from this session was recorded over. Only the very last cut on the tape, a fragment of ''Why So Blue''? remains from the original tape.
Chess 1495-B 78rpm


Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats
''HI, HO BABY''* – B.M.I.
Composer: - Carl Germany
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - U 7405
Recorded: - December 15, 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - January 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1496-A mono
HI, HO BABY / LEO THE LOUSE
Reissued: 1984 P-Vine Records (LP) 33rpm PLP 6027-2-1 mono
JACKIE BRENSTON AND HIS DELTA CATS – ROCKET 88

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jackie Brenston – Vocal - Saxophone
Edna McRaney - Vocal
Phineas Newborn Jr. - Piano
Calvin Newborn - Guitar
Unknown Musicians

Note: The session may have been recorded for Chess in Chicago but Brenston was under personal contract to   Sam Phillips and Phillips notebook shows at least from the session(s) at December 15, 1951, as having been  recorded by him at the Memphis Recording Service.
Chess 1496-A 78rpm


Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats
''LEO THE LOUSE'' – B.M.I.
Composer: - Onah Spencer-Randolph
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - U 7411
Recorded: - December 15, 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - January 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1496-B mono
LEO THE LOUSE / HI, HO BABY

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jackie Brenston – Vocal - Saxophone
Phineas Newborn Jr. - Piano
Calvin Newborn - Guitar
Unknown Musicians

Note: The session may have been recorded for Chess in Chicago but Brenston was under personal contract to   Sam Phillips and Phillips notebook shows at least from the session(s) at December 15, 1951, as having been recorded by him at the Memphis Recording Service.
Chess 1496-B 78rpm


Howlin' Wolf
"THE WOLF IS AT YOUR DOOR" – B.M.I. - 2:58
Composer: - Chester Burnett
Publisher: - Burton Limited - Arc Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - F 1004
Recorded: - December 18, 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - January 14, 1952
Issued as "Howlin' For My Baby" original titled on log sheet.
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm standard single Chess-1497-A mono
THE WOLF IS AT YOUR DOOR / HOWLIN' WOLF BOOGIE
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15500-5 mono
MEMPHIS DAYS - THE DEFINITIVE EDITION - VOLUME 2

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Howlin' Wolf - Vocal and Harmonica
Willie Johnson - Guitar
Unknown - Bass
Willie Steele - Drums
Unknown - Tenor Sax
Chess 1497-A 78rpm


Howlin' Wolf
"HOWLIN' WOLF BOOGIE" – B.M.I. - 2:36
Composer: - Chester Burnett
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - F 1005
Originally titled "House Rockin' Boogie" on log sheet.
Recorded: - December 18, 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - January 14, 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm standard single Chess-1497-B mono
HOWLIN' WOLF BOOGIE / THE WOLF IS AT YOUR DOOR
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15500-4 mono
MEMPHIS DAYS - THE DEFINITIVE EDITION - VOLUME 2

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Howlin' Wolf - Vocal and Harmonica
Willie Johnson - Guitar
Unknown - Bass
Willie Steele - Drums
Unknown - Tenor Sax
Chess 1497-B 78rpm


The Brewsteraires
"WHERE SHALL I BE (WHEN THAT FIRST TRUMPET SOUNDS)" – B.M.I. - 2:43
Composer: - Reverend W.H. Brewster
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - F 1008
Recorded: - September 26, 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - April 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1502-A mono
WHERE SHALL I BE / WINGS FOR MY SOUL
Reissued: - 2000 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16387 AH-30 mono
SUN GOSPEL

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
The Brewsteraires
Odell Rice - Vocal
Nathaniel Peck - Vocal
Henry Reed - Vocal
Solomon Ouston – Vocal


The Brewsteraires
"(THE LORD GAVE ME) WINGS FOR MY SOUL'' – B.M.I. - 2:36
Composer: - Reverend W.H. Brewster
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - F 1009
Recorded: - September 26, 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - April 1951
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1502-B mono
WINGS FOR MY SOUL / WHERE SHALL I BE

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
The Brewsteraires
Odell Rice - Vocal
Nathaniel Peck - Vocal
Henry Reed - Vocal
Solomon Ouston – Vocal


Doctor Ross
"COUNTRY CLOWN" - B.M.I. - 2:54
Composer: - Isiah Ross
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - F 1012
Recorded: - November 29, 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - March 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1504-A mono
COUNTRY CLOWN / DOCTOR ROSS BOOGIE
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-1-17 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Isiah Ross – Vocal, Harmonica & Footstomping
Wiley Gatlin - Guitar

Just as ''Doctor Ross Boogie'' was based on Pinetop Smith's ''Pinetop Boogie Woogie'', so ''Country Clown'' was more of a country clown. In all but title, it was Li'l Son Jackson's ''Bad Whiskey, bad Women'', released on Gold Star three years earlier. That doesn't mean there isn't much to love. The long harmonica intro on an earlier version had been trimmed in the interest of sales, but the urgency remains. Phillips noted Ross's guitarist as 'Wilie Gallatin' but no one of that name appears to have been living around that time, and Ross later confirmed that he was really Wiley (or Wylie) Gatlin. Ross, Gatlin and Robert Moore aka Mook had played together for some years on Arkansas radio stations either side of Ross' stints in the Army and they'd found themselves a slot on WDIA, where A.C. Mooha Williams dubbed Ross the Medical Director of the Royal Amalgamated Association of Chitlin' Eaters of America. (CE)(MH)
Chess 1504-A 78rpm


Doctor Ross
"DOCTOR ROSS BOOGIE" - B.M.I. - 2:35
Composer: - Isiah Ross
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - F 1013
Recorded: - November 29, 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - March 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1504-B mono
DOCTOR ROSS BOOGIE / COUNTRY CLOWN
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-1-18 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Isiah Ross – Vocal, Harmonica & Footstomping
Wiley Gatlin - Guitar

Courtesy of Sam Phillips' developing relationship with Chess Records in Chicago, the good Doctor and his small band were able to treat the wider public to the hypnotic one-chord style that cured all ills. Ross was just out of the Army and came into the Memphis Recording Service as a singer and harp player accompaniment by his Jump and Jive Boys; guitarist Wiley Gatlin and Robert Moore aka Mook who used a broom to make a percussive sound. Ross would soon develop the ability to play rhythm guitar, harmonica, and drums simultaneously, but he and his boys already had the formula down pat. It ain't Gershwin or Charlie Parker but it sure is hard to resist. Can you imagine how Sam must have felt the first time he listened to this music coming through the speakers in his tiny studio? Probably much the same as when Joe Hill Louis began to play, because in some respects they were quite similar. One possibility is that Sam Phillips feared he might lose Louis to Modern in the fall-out from ''Rocket 88'', and saw the Doctor as a replacement. This is fact happened; Modern recorded a session or two with Louis away from Phillips' studio before dropping him. Ross bases this song on Pinetop Smith's  1928 classic ''Pinetop's Boogie Woogie'', the record that jumpstarted the boogie, but his approach goes back to the African dance music that underpinned the blues as we know it. (CE)(HD)(MH)
Chess 1504-B 78rpm


Billy Red Love
"DROP TOP" – B.M.I. - 2:41
Composer: - Milton Morse Love
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - F 1014
Recorded: - Possibly October/November 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - April 1, 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1508-A mono
DROP TOP / YOU'RE GONNA CRY
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-1-20 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Billy Love - Vocal and Piano
Charles Walker - Saxophone
Calvin Newborn - Guitar
Phineas Newborn Sr – Drums

''Rocket 88'' spawned many sequels, a fair number of them emanating from Phillips' studio (''My Real Gone Rocket'', ''T-Model Boogie'', ''Mr. Highway Man'', ''Hydramatic Woman'', etc.). This time it's the turn of Billy Love to follow in the slipstream of ''Rocket 88'', and using his own name too. He's cruising around town in his fantasy convertible. Musically, it's a simple 8 to the bar boogie driven by Love's rock solid left hand and hugely confident vocal. Once again, his dept to plummy-voiced Roy Brown is clear. The automobile becomes a metaphor for nookie by the halfway point. As a songwriter, singer, and pianist, Billy Love was a triple threat. (HD)(CE)
Chess 1508-A 78rpm


Billy Red Love
"YOU'RE GONNA CRY" – B.M.I. - 2:26
Composer: - Milton Morse Love
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - F 1015
Recorded: - Possibly October/November 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - April 1, 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1508-B mono
YOU'RE GONNA CRY / DROP TOP
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-1-21 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Billy Love - Vocal and Piano
Charles Walker - Saxophone
Calvin Newborn - Guitar
Phineas Newborn Sr – Drums

This a mid-paced blues about the perils of getting too high and mighty was the song backed ''Drop Top'' on Chess. There is a throaty sax solo, probably from Charles Walker, and good understated support from Calvin and Phineas Newborn, Sr, on guitar and drums. Phillips paid Love an advance of $70 on the disc on November 2, 1951 and loaned him $15 on December 11 when he noted that ''Chess has masters on ''Ain't No More'', ''You're Gonna Cry'' and ''Drop Top''. However the disc was not issued immediately and some months later on March 16, 1952 Phillips noted that he had sent another master of ''Drop Top'' to Chess. The disc was finally issued in April, but appears to have been given little promotional support and did not show up significantly on regional sales charts. (MH)
Chess 1508-B 78rpm


Howlin' Wolf
"GETTIN' OLD GREY" – B.M.I. - 2:35
Composer: - Chester Burnett
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - U 7426
Recorded: - January 23, 1952
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - April 15, 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm standard single Chess 1510-A mono
GETTIN' OLD GREY / MR. HIGHWAY MAN
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15500-7 mono
MEMPHIS DAYS - THE DEFINITIVE EDITION - VOLUME 2

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Howlin' Wolf - Vocal and Harmonica
Willie Johnson - Guitar
Unknown - Bass
Willie Steele - Drums
Albert Williams or L.C. Hubert - Piano
Unknown – Saxes

Again, Wolf is worried about preparing for his old age, and by all accounts it truly weighed upon his mind, perhaps because he was relatively old when he began recording. Johnny Temple's ''Getting Old Blues'' doesn't fret like this, and neither does any other blues song that comes to mind. Just as Sleepy John Estes extolled the virtues of the burial policy, Wolf almost seems intent on selling you a retirement account. Nevertheless, this track becomes a timing nightmare pretty quickly and despite Wolf's distinctive and spectacular voice, it could have used another couple of takes. (CE)(HD)
Chess 1510-A 78rpm


Howlin' Wolf
"MR. HIGHWAY MAN (CADILLAC DADDY)" – B.M.I. - 2:46
Composer: - Chester Burnett
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - U 7427
Recorded: - January 23, 1952
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - April 15, 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm standard single Chess 1510-B mono
MR. HIGHWAY MAN / GETTIN' OLD GREY
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15500-6 mono
MEMPHIS DAYS - THE DEFINITIVE EDITION - VOLUME 2

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Howlin' Wolf - Vocal and Harmonica
Willie Johnson - Guitar
Unknown - Bass
Willie Steele - Drums
Albert Williams or L.C. Hubert - Piano
Chess 1510-B 78rpm


Howlin' Wolf
"SADDLE MY PONY" - B.M.I. - 2:31
Composer: - Chester Burnett
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - 1028
Recorded: - April 17, 1952
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - July 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm standard single Chess 1515-A mono
SADDLE MY PONY / WORRIED ALL THE TIME
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15500 AH-9 mono
MEMPHIS DAYS - THE DEFINITIVE EDITION - VOLUME 2

Originally titled "Pony Blues", on the Chess 78, the full title is "Saddly My Pony
(Gonna Find My Baby Out In The World Somewhere)"

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Howlin' Wolf - Vocal, Harmonica and Guitar
Willie Johnson - Guitar
Unknown - Bass / The bass is barely audible
Willie Steele - Drums / May not be present on all cuts
Bill "William" Johnson - Piano
James Cotton - Harmonica
Chess 1515-A 78rpm


Howlin' Wolf
"WORRIED ALL THE TIME" - B.M.I. - 3:06
Composer: - Chester Burnett
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - Probably May-June 1952
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - July 1, 1952.
First appearance: - Chess Record (S) 78rpm standard single Chess 1515-B mono
WORRIED ALL THE TIME / SADDLE MY PONY
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15500 AH-8 mono
MEMPHIS DAYS - THE DEFINITIVE EDITION - VOLUME 2

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Howlin' Wolf - Vocal, Harmonica and Guitar
Willie Johnson - Guitar
Willie Steele - Drums
William Johnson – Piano
Chess 1515-B 78rpm


Billy Red Love
''MY TEDDY BEAR BABY'' - B.M.I. - 3:00
Composer: - Milton Morse Love
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - 1033
Recorded: - May 28, 1952
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - August 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1516-A mono
MY TEDDY BEAR BABY / POOR MAN
Reissued: - 2011 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17149 mono
GEE... I WISH

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Billy Love – Vocal & Piano
John Murry Daley – Drums
Richard Sanders – Baritone Saxophone
Willie Wikes – Tenor Saxophone


Billy Red Love
''POOR MAN'' - B.M.I. - 3:18
Composer: - Milton Morse Love
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - 1034
Recorded: - June 10, 1952
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - August 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1516-B mono
POOR MAN / MY TEDDY BEAR BABY
Reissued: - 2011 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17149 mono
GEE... I WISH

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Billy Love – Vocal & Piano
Arthur Martin – Drums
Jimmy Johnson – Tenor Saxophone
Harvet Simmons – Tenor Saxophone
Lee Patterson – Trumpet


Rufus Thomas
"JUANITA" - B.M.I. - 3:27
Composer: - Rufus Thomas
Publisher: - Burton Limite
Matrix number: - 1024
Recorded: - April 21, 1952
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - July 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm standard single Chess 1517-A mono
JUANITA / DECORATE THE COUNTER
Reissued: - 2008 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16695-13 mono
RUFUS THOMAS - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rufus Thomas - Vocal
Willie Wilkes - Tenor saxophone
Richard Sanders - Baritone Saxophone
Billy Love - Piano
John Murry Daley – Drums
Chess 1517-A 78rpm


Rufus Thomas
"DECORATE THE COUNTER" - B.M.I. - 2:23
Composer: - R. Henry-T. Courtney
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - 1025
Recorded: - April 21, 1952
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - July 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1517-B mono
DECORATE THE COUNTER / JUANITA
Reissued: - 2008 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16695-12 mono
RUFUS THOMAS - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rufus Thomas - Vocal
Willie Wilkes - Tenor saxophone
Richard Sanders - Baritone Saxophone
Billy Love - Piano
John Murry Daley – Drums

When Rufus Thomas come into the studio on April 21, he would have been able to hear two versions of this song on a tape by Rosco Gordon. They contained a number of vocal asides and had a generally anarchic sound, faithfully reproduced by Rufus. If anyone was going to be able to carry off the required histrionics on this sloppy-drunk song, then Rufus Thomas - the consummate entertainer - was probably the man. There is little wonder that the difference between the two men's recordings was small because with Rufus were Willie Wilkes, Richard Sanders and John Murry Daley - the same players Rosco used. Rufus calls ''What you say Richard'' as Sanders is about to take his solo, as had Rosco. Only Rosco himself is missing, replaced by Billy Love on piano. Rufus's vocals are slightly more prominen and assured than Rosc's even though it is not his own song. According to the session logs, Rufusrecorded four other songs at the ''Decorate'' session. One of these was the intriguing ''Beale Street Bound'', a recording that has not apparently survived. (MH)
Chess 1517-B 78rpm


Howlin' Wolf
"OH RED" - B.M.I. - 2:35
Composer: - Chester Burnett
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - 1037 - Take 3
Recorded: - October 7, 1952
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - November 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm standard single Chess 1528-A mono
OH RED / MY LAST AFFAIR
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15500 AH-10 mono
MEMPHIS DAYS - THE DEFINITIVE EDITION - VOLUME 2

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Howlin' Wolf - Vocal and Harmonica
Willie Johnson - Guitar
Unknown - Bass
Willie Steele - Drums
William Johnson - Piano
Walter "Tang" Smith - Trombone
Charles Taylor - Tenor Sax
Billy Love - Piano
Chess 1528-A 78rpm


Howlin' Wolf
"MY LAST AFFAIR" - B.M.I. - 2:56
Composer: - Chester Burnett
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - 1038 - Take 2
Recorded: - October 7, 1952
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - November 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm standard single Chess 1528-B mono
MY LAST AFFAIR / OH RED
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15500 AH-11 mono
MEMPHIS DAYS - THE DEFINITIVE EDITION - VOLUME 2

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Howlin' Wolf - Vocal and Harmonica
Willie Johnson - Guitar
Unknown - Bass
Willie Steele - Drums
William Johnson - Piano
Billy Love - Piano
Chess 1528-B 78rpm


Walter Horton
"LITTLE WALTER'S BOOGIE" - B.M.I. - 2:34
Composer: - Walter Horton
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - 1041 - Take 1 - Instrumental
Recorded: - September 15, 1952
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - Chess 1529 was cancelled before release.
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1529-A mono
LITTLE WALTER'S BOOGIE / WEST WINDS ARE BLOWING
Reissued: - 1992 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15524 AH-9 mono
JOE HILL LOUIS - THE BE-BOP BOY

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Walter Horton - Harmonica
Jack Kelly - Piano
Joe Hill Louis - Guitar
Willie Nix - Drums


Walter Horton
"WEST WINDS ARE BLOWING" - B.M.I. - 3:06
Composer: - Walter Horton
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Recorded: - September 15, 1952
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - Chess 1529 was cancelled before release.
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1529-B mono
WEST WINDS ARE BLOWING / LITTLE WALTER'S BOOGIE
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-3-14 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958

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


Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats
''BLUES GOT ME AGAIN'' – B.M.I.
Composer: - Jackie Brenston
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - U 7407
Recorded: - December 15, 1951
Released: - December 1952
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1532-A mono
BLUES GOT ME AGAIN / STARVATION BLUES
Reissued: 1984 P-Vine Records (LP) 33rpm PLP 6027-2-7 mono
JACKIE BRENSTON AND HIS DELTA CATS – ROCKET 88

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jackie Brenston – Vocal - Saxophone
Edna McRaney - Vocal*
Phineas Newborn Jr. - Piano
Calvin Newborn - Guitar
Unknown Musicians

Note: The session may have been recorded for Chess in Chicago but Brenston was under personal contract to   Sam Phillips and Phillips notebook shows at least from the session(s) at December 15, as having been   recorded by him at the Memphis Recording Service.
Chess 1532-A 78rpm


Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats
''STARVATION BLUES'' – B.M.I.
Composer: - Calvin Newborn
Publisher: - Burton Limited
Matrix number: - U 7412
Recorded: - December 15, 1951
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - December 1952
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm Chess 1532-A mono
STARVATION BLUES / BLUES GOT ME AGAIN

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jackie Brenston – Vocal - Saxophone
Edna McRaney - Vocal*
Phineas Newborn Jr. - Piano
Calvin Newborn - Guitar
Unknown Musicians

Note: The session may have been recorded for Chess in Chicago but Brenston was under personal contract to   Sam Phillips and Phillips notebook shows at least from the session(s) at December 15, as having been   recorded by him at the Memphis Recording Service.
Chess 1532-B 78rpm


Joseph Dobbin & The Four Cruisers
"BEALE STREET SHUFFLE" - B.M.I. - 2:37
Composer: - Joseph Dobbin
Publisher: - Arc Music
Matrix number: - U-7522
Recorded: - June 3, 1953
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - July 8, 1953
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm standard single Chess 1547-A mono
BEALE STREET SHUFFLE / ON ACCOUNT OF YOU

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Joseph Dobbin - Piano
The Four Cruisers
More Details Unknown

So what led discographers to think that this might be one of Sam Phillips' recordings? A couple of reasons: the leader of the Four Cruisers, Joe Dobbins, was based in Memphis throughout most of his long career, and Phillips was supplying masters to Chess around this time. Against that, you could argue that Dobbins's  single sounds nothing like a Memphis Recording Service session and Phillips had fallen out with Chess several months before it was recorded. Recently, some researchers have suggested that Howlin' Wolf's post-Phillips Memphis session was held at Lester Bihari's Memphis studio. Bihari, of course, ran Meteor Records, but it seems unlikely that Leonard Chess would record there because he'd stolen Bihari's  charter act, Elmore James. Dobbins' session was roughly contemporaneous with Wolf's last Memphis session, though, so it's at least possible that Leonard Chess A&R'd them both at a studio other than Phillips.

Over the course of a long and fairly detailed oral history, Dobbins didn't go into much depth about this single. ''I wrote my first number in 1943 or 1943'', he told Harry Godwin in 1967. ''I wrote ''Beale Street Shuffle'' and ''On Account Of You''. They didn't do so good because I didn't know how to arrange at that particular time, and I quit playing again for about eight or nine years''. Dobbins probably meant 1952 0r 1953, and gave no clue as to the identity of the three unidentified Cruisers or where he recorded the session. So we're left with a pleasant, if innocuous, instrumental that's of interest only because it appeared on Chess and might have been Sam Phillips' last recording for that label. (CE)
Chess 1547-A 78rpm


Joseph Dobbin & The Four Cruisers
"ON ACCOUNT OF YOU" - B.M.I. - 2:50
Composer: - Joseph Dobbin
Publisher: - Arc Music
Matrix number: - U-7523
Recorded: - June 3, 1953
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - July 8, 1953
First appearance: - Chess Records (S) 78rpm standard single Chess 1547-B mono
ON ACCOUNT OF YOU / BEALE STREET SHUFFLE

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Joseph Dobbin - Piano
The Four Cruisers
More Details Unknown

As Joe Dobbins (Nor Dobbin as the label stated) comes to the fore, it again becomes clear that this doesn't sound like one of Phillips' recordings if for no other reason than the vocal is poorly recorded. By 1953, Phillips had achieved a very bright, urgent, and ballsy vocal sound. It would be wrong to say that Phillips didn't record this type of music, though. Within weeks of Dobbins' session, wherever it was held, Philips recorded Big Memphis Mar Rainey, who played much the same places in much the same style. And although Chess has become indelibly associated with Chicago blues it's easy to forget that the Chess brothers began their music career in the nightclub business and always recorded what can best be described as suppperclub entertainment. Although not as studiedly cool as Charles Brown, this was still supperclub blues. Thus we're left with more questions than answers about a record that deserves few of either. (CE)
Chess 1547-B 78rpm




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