- SUN THE ROOTS OF ROCK SERIES -
 
Charly Records

This albums contains recordings from the legendary Sun Records Company of Memphis,  Tennessee whose story is the story of rock and roll music, its roots, its up surgence and its  tributaries. It is the story of how label boss Sam Cornelius Phillips was able to create a  legend out of the rockabilly sound he discovered by putting together elements of blues and  country music

The Sun label was formed in 1952, an extension of Phillips' Memphis Recording Service  begun in 1950. It reflected the blues and country talent of Memphis and the Mississippi  Delta-Atkansas area, and it later came to reflect Sam Phillips' search for a new sound in  popular music. In three years, between 1954 and 1956, Sam Phillips realized his ambition by  discovering white artists who could sing they blues, and he saw many of them become the  initial legends in rock music; first Elvis Presley, then Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison  and Jerry Lee Lewis. Finally, his subsidiary label, Phillips International, produced Carl Mann  and Charlie Rich. Rich is only the latest in a line of superstars to emerge from a career  begun in Memphis, Tennessee.

The Sun label lasted under Phillips until 1968, recording blues, country, rock and roll, soul,  pop and Phillips' own sound, rockabilly. The label went from local to national and  international importance, and it carried its unique sound around the world, influencing  many of the musical styles that have emerged since. This series, The Root Of Rock, includes  many of those influential sound yet demands that many fine, previously unissued recordings  be included.

Series compiled and annotated by Martin Hawkins (co-author of ''Catalyst - The Sun Records Story'' by  Escott/Hawkins published by Aquarius Books, I Wardour Mews, London W.I.

All covers design by Bernard Higton
All session details can be found on this website.


1976 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30101 mono
SUN - THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 1 - CATALYST
 
16-track vinyl LP compilation of recordings from the legendary Sun Record label, whose story is the story of rock and roll, with songs by the artists Howlin' Wolf, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and more, front laminated picture sleeve.

Side 1 of this album illustrates the blues strain in the product of Sun Records. It begins with one of the most important and influential artists in postwar blues and runs through the various jump blues styles into white rock and roll. Howlin' Wolf was one of the earliest discoveries during Sam Phillips' Memphis Recording Service days, and his typically forceful rendition of ''Highway Man'' fittingly opens the album. Fittingly, for his recordings did much open the Northern market to later Sun recordings.

During the time Southern bluesmen like Wolf were finding fame in Chicago, Sam Phillips was continually experimenting, and the legendary Sleepy John Estes'''Registration Day'' is a recently discovered item from that period. Likewise, Rosco Gordon's primitive boogie ''T-Model'', a rhythm song contrasting with Estes' prewar based style.

The first titles included here that were originally issued on the Sun label are Junior Parker's ''Mystery Train'' and Jimmy DeBerry's ''Take A Little Chance''. Parker's recording was far more than just model for a later Presley version; it is a controlled boogie, harbouring lead guitar work and vocals that each combine the country and city blues elements of the era. DeBerry's style is equally compelling though the sparse sound retains a thoroughly country approach.

Moving to the blue-eyed bluesmen, Joe Baugh's contribution is to combine a traditional vehicle of jive-talking blues with his own unusual rhythm and utilising his negroid vocal sound. In contrast, Jerry Lee Lewis's ''Hello Hello Baby'' appeared on a rock album yet the structure of the song and its performance in the tradition of black music. The same is true of Billy Adams' performance, a creditable of the recordings that emerged in the early sixties when white musicians and audience led the ''blues revival''.

Side 2 illustrates the equally important country influence in the Sun catalogue. The market at which most of these recordings were aimed was entirely opposite to the earlier blues recordings which catered for localised black audiences in the South and a few northern cities.

Perhaps Johnny Cash's original undubbed recording is the only truly country track, but Cash's alone is a powerful argument for the importance of Sun country.

Additionally, the country influence in rockabilly is vital to the sound as the following songs reveal. An obscure alternate take of Carl Perkins' excellent performance of ''I'm Sorry I'm Not Sorry'' is followed by Billy Riley's one-man-band recording, where he played each instrument separately and built up a very basic rockabilly sound. Jack Earls' recording is an adaption of a standard country song while Roy Orbison's song is a much more developed, less country, example of the ultimate Sun sound.

Charlie Rich, in the fifties as now, was an enigma. His solo performance and his contribution to Ray Smith's fine adaption of Rich's song ''Sail Away'', bot reveal his country-jazz roots. Finally, in complete contrast, Harold Dorman's ''Wait 'Til Saturday Night'' is a calculated shot at the pop charts and indicates the ultimate direction of the rock music Sun had helped so much to create.

Side 1: Contains
Highway Man (Howlin' Wolf)
Registration Day (Sleepy John Estes)
T-Model Boogie (Rosco Gordon)
Mystery Train (Little Junior Parker)
Take A Little Chance (Jimmy DeBerry)
The Signifying Monkey (Smokey Joe Baugh)
Hello Hello Baby (Jerry Lee Lewis)
Reconsider Baby (Billy Adams)
Original Sun Recordings

Side 2: Contains
Give My Love To Rose (Johnny Cash)
I'm Sorry I'm Not Sorry (Carl Perkins)
Rock With Me Baby (Billy Riley)
Crawdad Hole (Jack Earls)
You're My Baby (Roy Orbison)
Sail Away (Ray Smith)
Closed For Repair (Charlie Rich)
Wait 'Til Saturday Night (Harold Dorman)
Original Sun Recordings
 

Sun - The Roots Of Rock - Volume 1 - Catalyst



1976 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30102 mono
SUN - THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 2 - SAM'S BLUES

16-track vinyl LP compilation of recordings from the legendary Sun Record label, whose story is the story of rock  n roll, with previously unissued songs by Howlin' Wolf, Little Milton and Houston Boines, front laminated picture  sleeve.

When Sam Phillips opened the doors of his Memphis Recording and Sound Service in January  1950, it was in the belief that the surrounding area would reveal many talented blues singers whom  he could record, and whose recordings would appeal to the large urban markets for 'race' or rhythm  and blues music.

During the succeeding years he recorded most of the talented musicians and singers in Memphis the  first and most successful was B.B. King, and later Sam Scored hits with Jackie Brenston and Rufus  Thomas. At this time, Phillips became increasingly aware that the most successful, almost  legendary, local artist was performing over radio KWEM across the river in West Memphis. He was  known as the Howlin' Wolf, and Phillips heard that behind the powerful voice on the airwaves was a  large man, known for his intense, mysterious character, sometimes referred to as evil.

The Wolf seemed an ideal artist to record, and soon Ike Turner brought him to Phillips' studio. His  first release in 1951, ''How Many More Years'', bore out Phillips' hopes be becoming a top selling  rhythm and blues record.

Born Chester Burnett near Aberdeen, Mississippi on June 10, 1910, Wolf had only recently moved  to the Memphis area. He had become to West Memphis, Arkansas in 1948 and formed a band which  gained a regular spot on radio KWEM in 1949. Wolf had only then at the age of 38, become a  professional musician and disc jockey but his music went way back into the Delta traditions. He  met blues legend Charley Patton in 1928 and first learned guitar at that time. He was basically a  farmer, but he moved into Arkansas during the thirties and thereafter travelled those states  extensively and he knew most of the best musicians, the likes of Rice Miller who taught him to play  harmonica.

By the West Memphis era, which lasted until late 1952 when he moved to Chicago, Wolf had begun  to play electric guitar with a band comprising Pat Hare, Matt Murphy, Junior Parker, Bill Johnson  and Willie Steele. Like the band featured on this album, the band was modern in its loose, jazz-like  construction but was heavily imbued with country blues tradition. The guitarists, like Willie  Johnson here, were capable of strong, almost violent, improvisation while the piano drew the strong  drumbeat along behind Wolf's unique, howling, powerful vocal and his harmonica work.

The titles on this album are a tribute to the developed style Wolf had perfected for, though  previously unissued, they match the sides that were hit singles in the fifties. From Wolf originals  like ''Howlin' For My Baby'', also known as ''The Wolf's At Your Door'', to John Lee Williamson's  ''Decoration Day'', the music of the Delta, traditional and contemporary, came together in these  priceless Sam Phillips recordings.

The name of Little Milton is as well-known today as that of Wolf, for Milton has adapted successfully to subsequent rhythm and blues and soul stylings. During the early fifties, though, he was a far more anonymous figure. Yet his adaptability was even then evident. When he recorded for Sam Phillips in 1953, another find of Ike Turner, he had already recorded as a session man for Trumpet in Jackson, Mississippi and he displayed a readiness to record in approximations of virtually any blues style. 

Thus, on this album, Milton can be said to be copying B.B. King and Fats Domino, among others, but looking back, he doesn't lose all identity. His vocal and guitar work on these sides is uniformly excellent, if not outstandingly innovative, and he was only nineteen years old at the time. Born James Campbell on September 7, 1934 near Inverness, Mississippi, he was discovered by Ike Turner in Greenville with his band the Playmates Of Rhythm. Ike is added to the band on piano, and Sam Phillips captured on tape the band's current repertoire. Phillips was a first class session egineer and these recordings, like those of Wolf, extract everything from the sessions. Some credit as an arranger is due to Ike Turner, and his association with Sun is continued on Volume Three, ''Delta Rhythm Kings''.

All recordings were made at the Memphis Recording Service and the Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee.

Tracks recorded at the Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee, except Side 1 track 8 recorded at 639 Madison Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee, and Side 2 track 3 recorded at Fernwood Drive, Memphis, Tennessee, and Side 2 track 8 recorded Sam Phillips Recording Studio, 319 Seventh Avenue, Nashville, Tennessee.

Side 1: Contains
Howlin' For My Baby (Howlin' Wolf)
California Blues (Howlin' Wolf)
California Boogie (Howlin' Wolf)
C.V. Wine Blues (Howlin' Wolf)
My Troubles And Me (Howlin' Wolf)
Look-A-Here (Howlin' Wolf)
Decoration Day (Howlin' Wolf)
That's All Right (Howlin' Wolf)
Original Sun Recordings

Side 2: Contains
I Love My Baby (Little Milton)
Rode That Train All Night Long (Little Milton)
Lonesome For My Baby (Little Milton)
If Crying Would Help Me (Little Milton)
Somebody Told Me (Little Milton)
Runnin' Wild Blues (Little Milton)
Beggin' My Baby (Little Milton)
Carry My Business On (Houston Boines)
Original Sun Recordings
 

Sun - The Roots Of Rock - Volume 2 - Sam's Blues


1976 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30103 mono
SUN - THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 3 - DELTA RHYTHM KINGS
 
16-track vinyl LP compilation of recordings from the legendary Sun Record label, whose story is the story of rock and roll, with previously unissued songs by Ike Turner, Johnny O'Neal, and Billy Emerson, front laminated picture sleeve.

Among the blues talent recorded by Sam Phillips and Sun Records, there are betterknown names, and artists accorded greater genius than Ike Turner. But ultimately, Turner was the most important to Phillips.

During the period 1950-1954, he acted as talent scout, co-ordinator and session arranger, and musicians for Phillips (as well as for his rivals, incidentally). He brought Howlin' Wolf and Little Milton to Sun, and he was responsible for virtually every significant Mississippian blues artists visiting Phillips at one time or another. Side Two demonstrates this in some depth, while Side One reveals yet another aspect of Tuner; his own vocal recordings, and those of his girl friend, Bonnie, all previously unissued.

Ike Turner was born November 5, 1931 in Clarksdale, Mississippi. On leaving school in 1948 he became a professional musician, playing radio shows on WROX as a pianist and training as a disc jockey. He had formed a band the previous years with saxophonist Raymond Hill, and they played a mixed style based on the larger bands of Louis Jordan and Joe Liggins together with local country blues styles like those of Dr. Ross and Pinetop Perkins.

The band became known as the Kings Of Rhythm, and other founder members were Eugene Fox, Edwin Johnny Nash, Willie Kizart and Willie Sims. Having become known locally on WROX and on KFFA radio, Helena, the band auditioned for Sam Phillips in 1950 with Johnny O'Neil as vocalist. In 1951, Phillips recorded them with saxophonist Jackie Brenston as vocalist and the classoc rhythm and blues hit ''Rocket 88'' resulted. This increased Turner's standing with Phillips and gained him much work with Phillips and other labels, but it eventually led to personality clashes and to the break up of his band.

By 1952, when the first of the sides included here were recorded, Turner's band included Bonnie Turner, on piano. Ike had taught himself guitar and given up the piano stool. The other personnel altered over the next two years, but regulars were Raymond Hill, Bobbie Fields, James Wheeler and Thomas Reed on sax, Willie Sims or Bob Prindell on drums, Bonnie, Dennis Binder or Billy Emerson on piano, Willie Kizart or Ike on guitar and Jesse Knight on bass. The recordings included here, then, do not feature all the Kings, but the sound is representative of the band without a doubt. Ike's vocals are informative, not being derived noticeably from any one influence, while Bonnie's are truly collector's items. Tina's predecessor reveals a lighter vocal style, but one certainly worth hearing in its own right.

Side Two is devoted to three of the other Kings Of Rhythms, starting with the original vocalist, Johnny O'Neil who had already recorded with Tiny Bradshaw during 1951 and later ran his own band, the Hound Dogs, in St. Louis. The sides included here, one boogie and one blues, revel expreesionate vocalising suited to both styles.

The Raymond Hill vocal track was recorded at an earlier session in 1952, and involves local musicians in place of regular 'Kings'. Hill had briefly formed his own band and Turner is not present at the session. The title was sent to both Bullet in Nashville and Trumpet in Jackson, at a time when the Sun label itself was in its infancy and could not handle all the product being recorded, but incredibly it has remained unissued until now (1976).

By 1954 when Ike brought Billy Emerson to Sam Phillips, the situation was entirely different. A pianist from Tarpon Springs, Florida, Emerson joined Ike in 1954 and the first three, previously unissued, recordings here were made under Ike's guidance, Emerson giving up the piano stool to Dennis Binder. By 1955 when ''Red Hot'' was recorded, Emerson had formed his own band with himself on piano. Ike Turner had left for St. Louis since Sam Phillips was getting increasingly into the country music scene. That story is continued on Volume Four, Cotton City Country.

All recordings were made at Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee.

Side 1: Contains
Get It Over Baby (Ike Turner)
How Long Will It Last (Ike Turner)
Old Brother Jack (Bonnie Turner)
Love Is A Gamble (Bonnie Tuyrner)
I'm Gonna Forget About You (Ike Turner)
You Can't Be The One For Me (Ike  Turner)
Why Should I Keep Trying (Ike Turner)
Way Down In The Congo (Bonnie Turner)
Original Sun Recordings

Side 2: Contains
Ugly Woman (Johnny O'Neal)
Dead Letter Blues (Johnny O'Neal)
Somebody's Been Carriyn' My Rollin' On (Billy Emerson)
Hey Little Girl (Billy Emerson)
When My Baby Quit Me (Billy Emerson)
Cherry Pie (Billy Emerson)
No Greater Love (Billy Emerson)
Red Hot (Billy Emerson)
Original Sun Recordings
 

Sun - The Roots Of Rock - Volume 3 - Delta Rhythm Kings



1976 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30104 mono
SUN - THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 4 - COTTON CITY COUNTRY
 
16-track vinyl LP compilation of recordings from the legendary Sun Record label, whose story is the story of rock and roll, with songs by the artists Doug Poindexter, Miller Sisters, Mack Self and more, front laminated picture sleeve.

During the early and mid-1950s, Sun Records recorded a wealth of fine country music, much of it by local artists and in styles and to counter the myth, prevalent in the country music world, that Memphis produced nothing but rock and thus demolished country music in the fifties.

Charlie Feathers
A highly influential, if purely local artist from Mtrtle, near Holly Springs, Mississippi, who brought his own ideas to the basics style of Hank Williams. Still living (1976) and performing in Memphis.

Doug Poindexter
From Vandale, Arkansas, Poindexter came to Memphis in 1950 and ran a country band there for fice years. This recording shows the origins of the Elvis Presley sound, for Scotty Moore and Bill Black moved directly to join Presley, after recording with Poindexter in 1954.

Red Hadley
Gailey ''Red''Hadley and Jay Junior Hadley were from Covington, just outside Memphis and their playing and songwriting, which continues today, was certainly the equal of the nearby by Nashville product. They recently (1976) recorded for Shelby County and Glo-Like Records respectively.

Maggie Sue Wimberly
Now riding high in the country charts with recent hits ''I Just Had You On My Mind'', 'Sue Richard's first recordings were made for Sun. From Muscle Shoals, she was discovered in a gospel group by fiddle player Bill cantrell.

Luke McDaniel
A name country star and one-time Grand Ole Opry performer, Luke McDaniel recorded an unissued session for Sun in 1955, of which this track is the most spectacularly successful attempt at gentle rockabilly.

The Miller Sisters
From Tupelo, Mississippi, the Miller Sisters were brought to Sun to cover the market created by the success in Nashville of the Davis Sisters. Their harmonies and style are, if anything, even more appealing.

Billy Lee Riley
The first of Riley's hundreds of recordings in an eventual career, this was recorded in a garage in Memphis by overdubbing each instrument onto a master tape. It was bought by Sun at the instigation of Jack Clement.

Carl Perkins
Artistically, Carl Perkins was perhaps not only the best rockabilly artist on Sun, but as he shows here, one of the best country singers.

Jerry Lee Lewis
Lewis can only be summed up, euphemistically, as an individualist in all matters. This is one of his favourite adaptations of a country standard theme.

Ernie Chaffin
Like McDaniel, Chaffin was a Grand Ole Opry artist when he came to Sun. This is an unqualified syccess as an attempt to modify the rhythm already developed by Johnny Cash.

Mack Self
From West Helena, Arkansas, Self has recorded intermittently in Memphis since 1955 and is one of the best, unsuccessful local country artists.

Warren Smith
The origins of the style that took Smith to the top of the country charts in the early sixties may be seen in this excellent country recording from 1957. From Mississippi, Smith now (1976) lives and recorded out of Texas.

Johnny Cash
This is an interesting alternate, slower, take of one of Cash's best-known early songs. It is unfortunately positively the last of his unissued Sun recordings.

Jack Clement
This is Cowboy Jack years before he discovered Charley Pride, and the story ballad included here was recorded on one of his first ventures into Nashville. It is untypical of Sun country, but Clement was a native Memphian and contributed the engineering innovations to most of Sun's country recordings.

Jeanne Newman
A local artist who recorded country and pop for other labels, this version of Charlie Rich's fine song is Jeanne's best recording.

Dane Stnit
From Hartford, Kentucky, he was the last country singer recorded by Sun. Principally seen as a Johnny Cash imitator by Sam Phillips, this is a very successful recording in its own right.

Recordings were made at the Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee, except Side 1 track 7 recorded at Fernwood Drive, Memphis, Tennessee, and Side 2 track 7, 8 recorded at 639 Madison Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee.

Side 1: Contains
Defrost Your Heart (Charlie Feathers)
My Kind Of Carrying On (Doug Poindexter)
I'd Be A Millionaire (Red Hadley)
How Long (Maggie Sue Wimberly)
Uh Babe (Take 3) (Luke McDaniel)
Got You On My Mind (The Miller Sisters)
Trouble Bound (Billy Riley)
Sweetheart's A Stranger (Carl Perkins)
Original Sun Recordings

Side 2: Contains
It All Depends (Jerry Lee Lewis)
Feelin' Low (Ernie Chaffin)
Easy To Love (Mack Self)
Blue Days And Sleepless Nights (Warren Smith)
Come On Stranger (Johnny Cash)
The Black-Haired Man (Jack Clement)
Thanks A Lot (Jeanne Newman)
Sweet Country Girl (Dane Stinit)
Original Sun Recordings
 

Sun - The Roots Of Rock - Volume 4 - Cotton City Country


 
 
1976 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30105 mono
SUN - THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 5 - REBEL ROCKABILLY
 
16-track vinyl LP compilation of recordings from the legendary Sun Record label, whose story is the story of rock and roll, with songs by the artists Carl Perkins, Warren Smith, Billy Riley and more, front laminated picture sleeve.

Rockabilly music is the roots of today's Southern Rock; in the fifties it was the Southerner's rock and roll. It was new, it was aimed at youth, it provided a new rhythm for the juke-boxes and night-clubs. Most of all, it was Southern.

It didn't stay that way for long, of course, but long enough for the pioneering Sun label to capture scores of brilliant performances on tape. And from the vaults of Sun, we have pulled four rare collector 's items and twelve hitherto unissued examples of the style. These are not outtakes; they are part of the embarrassment of rockabilly riches within the Sun catalogue.

Carl Perkins
The acknowledged Rockabilly King opens the album with a recently discovered alternate take of his re-working of a traditional Southern song.

Ray Harris
A typically intense performance from one of the characters on the Memphis scene. Harris gave up singing with the passing of rockabilly and helped found other important labels and studios in Memphis

Gene Simmons
''Jumping Gene'' reached the top of the American popular charts in later years, but his first recordings illustrate an aptitude for rockabilly that was never again fully demonstrated.

Narvel Felts
Currently one of the superstars of modern country music, Felts began in the rockabilly era, and here turns in a creditable performance of Little Walter's rhythm and blues standard.

Patsy Holcomb
A real obscurity, this. There were few good female rock singers but Sam Phillips moulded this singer into the Sun sound to good effect. Nothing whatsoever is recorded about her in the company files or in the memories of the accompanist.

Warren Smith
A solid performance by the excellent Mississippian artist who recorded almost every variation the rockabilly form allowed .

Dean Beard
This performance was sent to Sun by the artist. He would later find recognition with the Champs of ''Teguila'' fame, but this song was not issued despite being superior to the version that later appeared eventually on Atlantic.

Tommy Blake
For a country singer, Blake handles the ''T.V. Slim'' blues number in an acceptably harsh fashion and this style illustrates the way rockabilly had begun to lose its country nature by 1957.

Jerry Lee Lewis
Though not strictly a rockabilly musician. Lewis was the major reason for the expansion of Sun Records in the late fifties and for the the wider recognition of the Sun sound. This track is relatively obscure and demonstrates Lewis's ability to love country music while transforming it.

Billy Lee Riley
With Lewis on piano, ''Pearly Lee'' is one of Riley's wildest rockabilly tracks and is a sought-after item. This adaptation of the Chuck Willis rhythm and blues hit ''B & Dupree'' is similarly successful and demonstrates his ability to adapt to rhythm and blues material.

Cliff Gleaves
A minor local artist who recorded for Sun at the tail end of the rockabilly era. The recording included here indicates that the basic rockabilly sound had been so successful that it continued to attract new artists into the sixties.

Ken Cook
A protege of Roy Orbison, Cook saw only one record issued by Sun originally, but he left behind several fine rockabilly recordings such as ''I Fell In Love''.

Johnny Carroll
''Rock It'' was part of an audition tape that Texan-based Carroll sent home to Memphis in 1957. Though only a regional name, Carroll did appear in a movie and even had records issued in England in the fifties.

Carl Mann
Currently a hot country artist, Mann scored great success in the early sixties with a personalised adaptation of the rockabilly sound. A pianist from Huntingdon, Tennessee, he was influenced by the success of his neighbour Carl Perkins and drummer W.S. Holland played with both artists.

Sonny Burgess
The real ''wild man'' of Memphis rockabilly, Burgess came out of Newport, Arkansas with a stomping rock sound. ''Sadie'' was his last single for Sam Phillips and though it bombed at the time its fanatic pace has subsequently made it one of the collectors items of rock and roll music.  

Side 1: Contains
Everybody's Tryin' To Be My Baby (Carl Perkins)
Lone Wolf (Ray Harris)
Crazy Woman (Gene Simmons)
My Baby (Narvel Felts)
I Wanta Rock (Patsy Holcomb)
Dear John (Warren Smith)
Rakin' And Scrapin' (Dean Beard)
Flatfoot Sam (Tommy Blake)
Original Sun Recordings

Side 2: Contains
Hillbilly Music (Jerry Lee Lewis)
Pearly Lee (Billy Riley)
Love Is My Business (Cliff Gleaves
I Fell In Love (Ken Cook)
Rock It (Johnny Carroll)
Betty And Dupree (Billy Riley)
Ubangi Stomp (Carl Mann)
Sadie's Back In Town (Sonny Burgess)
Original Sun Recordings
 

Sun - The Roots Of Rock - Volume 5 - Rebel Rockabilly


 
 
1976 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30106 mono
SUN - THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 6 - SUNSET SOUL
 
16-track compilation LP issued artists who recorded on the Sun Record label in Memphis. This volume features the work of Frank Frost, Lucky Big Carter, Arbee Stidham, Frank Ballard, Tony Austin, Billy  Adams, Jeb Stuart, The Climates & Brother James Anderson, front laminated picture sleeve with extensive sleevenotes.

The sixties, in Memphis particularly, saw the development of a soul music industry. Sun Records, as the founder of the recording industry in Memphis, incredibly, missed out on this development. It allowed itself to be left behind as the focus of the public changed and has never in any way been associated with soul.  Yet the title of this album is not a misnomer.

Since the Sun vaults do reveal the changes taking place in black music during the first half of the sixties and the recordings included here accurately reflect the many facets of the Memphis scene during that time. Thus, we have Frank Frost, a young but traditional bluesman and, at the other end of the scale, Tony Austin and Billy Adams, who were white rock artists whose musical environment was soul-blues oriented. Among the backing musicians on the album are several, such as Duck Dunn, Tommy Cogbill, Al Jackson and Chips Moman, who have become pillars of the Memphis soul industry.

The music included here is part blues, part soul, part rock and roll, part gospel and all Memphis. It was recorded during Sun's demise, but it inevitably leads one to conclude that it was quite a way to go!

Frank Frost
A bluesman of the older Delta school, Frost was influenced by many of the great names such as Robert Johnson, Howlin' Wolf, Sonny Boy, but in particular by Robert Nighthawk after whom he named his band. Drummer Sam Carr was Nighthawk's son. Frost was born in Auvergne, Arkansas in 1936, and though the sixties saw a general rejection of blues in the younger black community, his music still found audience enough to justify the release of an album in 1962.

Big Lucky Carter
Levester Carter's recording is a throwback to the early fifties era of jump blues and illustrates exactly the style from which soul emerged.

Arbee Stidham
By 1965, when he recorded for Sun, Stidham had become a well-known and much-recorded artist. His early recordings included a 1947 version of ''My Heart Belongs To You'', a song which he revives here to a new soul beat and bars line. The vocal stylings remain in the blues idiom, however.

Frank Ballard
This band was well-known in the Jackson area and adapted equally well to blues or soul. These 1962 recordings reveal the legacy of rock and roll and piano boogie styles.

Tony Austin
A drummer and vocalist, also from the Jackson area, Austin recorded with the Carl Mann band in a surprising white-soul style. The band is country rock and the song rockabilly, but the era was that of Soul and the result is dominated by the new bass line and vocal phrasing of the latter.

Billy Adams
The Adams. Yates band has been resident in Memphis on and off since the late fifties. For Sun, their recordings usually comprised unexpectedly successful, tough, white man's adaptations of blues standards.

Jeb Stuart
Perhaps one of the only two true soul singers on the album, Stuart was at one time on the verge of considerable success. Billed as ''The Great'' Jet Stuart his smooth voice was capable of considerable range and this is shown in his performance on the old Prisonaires' Sun hit ''Just Walkin' In The Rain'' and this alternate take of the contemporary song ''I Bet You're Gonna Like It''.

The Climates
James Thomas provides the second soul voice. The Climates were basically Thomas, whose alternate take of the single ''No You For Me'' is the closest thing on the album to what can be identified as the mainstream Memphis soul sound. The musicians are a fascinating blend of rock, country and soul stalwarts.

James Anderson
To finish with a gospel recording is not as inaposite as it may seem. Gospel gave more to soul and Memphis music in general than is usually recognised. The sparse accompaniments, strong bass lines, intensely expressive nature of the song, these are all elements basic to soul, and in fact to all black music.

All recordings were made at the Sam Phillips Recording Studio, 639 Madison Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee.

Side 1: Contains
You're So Kind (Frank Frost)
Pocket Full Of Shells (Frank Frost)
Lucky To Be Living (Frank Frost)
So Tired Living By Myself (Frank Frost)
Gonna Break That Lock (Lucky Big Carter)
Please Let It Be Me (Arbee Stidham)
My Heart Belongs To You (Arbee Stidham)
You Can't Live In This World By Yourself (Arbee Stidham)
Original Sun Recordings

Side 2: Contains
Trouble Down The Road (Frank Ballard)
You Gotta Learn To Rock And Roll (Frank Ballard)
Blue Suede Shoes (Tony Austin)
Rock Me Baby (Billy Adams)
Just Walkin' In The Rain (Jeb Stuart)
I Bet You're Gonna Like it (Jeb Stuart)
No You For Me (The Climates)
I'm Tired, My Soul Needs Resting (Brother James  Anderson)
Original Sun Recordings
 

Sun - The Roots Of Rock - Volume 6 - Sunset Soul


 
1976 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30114 mono
SUN - THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 7 - SUN BLUES
 
16-track compilation LP issued artists who recorded on the Sun Record label in Memphis. This volume features the work of Handy Jackson, Willie Nix, Hot Shot Love, and James Cotton, front laminated picture sleeve with extensive sleevenotes.

Between 1952 and 1955 the Sun label issued some of the finest contemporary blues and rhythm and blues from the American South. The trend for Southern musicins was to migrate with the black population to Chicago, as for instance did Howlin' Wolf. But the St. Louis and Memphis and smaller towns throughout the South, blues and rhythm and blues continued to be recorded. And, importantly, often by the younger musicians, Junior Parker and James Cotton on this album, for example.

The album brings together both sides of eight of the original Sun label issues. It may be seen as a representative selection of the sounds and styles to be heard in and around Memphis during the early fifties. It offers the blues collector an opportunity to hear the early music of some well-known names, and to obtain the rare recordings of several obscure figures, such as Hot Shot Love.

Sun 177
Handy Jackson's smooth combo is perhaps thought of as being untypical of Memphis but this type of West Coast rhythm and blues was very popular in the early fifties and these are good examples of Jackson's style. Sax player Johnny London had previously had his own disc issued on Sun.

Sun 179
This disc was representative of much indigenous Memphis-locality music of the period, rural based but containing elements of rhythm and blues, Williams and Wilkins are in themselves legendary local artists, while James Cotton went on to greater things. Nix remains a little-known but highly stylised artist.

Sun 187
Billed as being by Little Junior's Blue Flames, ''Feelin' Good'' was the first Sun record to make the American national rhythm and blues chart, this in October 1953, one year after the label was launched.

Sun 188
Rufus Thomas' second disc was the first to feature the 'animal' theme and weird vocal effects for which he much later became famous. In the early fifties he was an influental disc jockey in Memphis. These are both fine commercial rhythm and blues and attained much local popularity.

Sun 196
Coy Love was an itinerant musician-cum-signwriter who came up with a superb jive-talking boogie and fine harmonica jam, recorded with Sun's  best session bluesmen. These sides remain the only examples of his contemporary style.

Sun 206
Cotton, when he recorded these brilliant country-based sides in 1954 was late of Howlin' Wolf's West Memphis band of the early fifties and he had yet to join Muddy Waters in Chicago. These sides are very much his own style of that time.

Sun 212
The 'doctor' is one of the best-known Sun bluesmen, and these archetypal recordings show-case his successful approach to post-war country blues, reminiscent of many others yet at once distinctive.

Sun 226
Snow was pianist and vocalist with Elvin Parr's band, known locally as the 'In The Groove Boys'. It is likely that Parr's band was present on these powerful rhythm and blues recordings dating from the last year of Sun's blues era.

All recordings made at the Memphis Recording Service and the Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee.

Side 1: Contains
Got My Application Baby (Handy Jackson)
Trouble (Will Bring You Down) (Handy Jackson)
Seems Like A Million Years (Willie Nix)
Baker Shop Boogie (Willie Nix)
Feelin' Good (Junior Parker Blue Flames)
Fussin' And Fightin' Blues (Junior Parker Blue Flames)
Tiger Man (Rufus Thomas)
Save That Money (Rufus Thomas)
Original Sun Recordings

Side 2: Contains
Wolf Call Boogie (Hot Shot Love)
Harmonica Jam (Hot Shot Love)
Cotton Crop Blues (James Cotton)
Hold Me In Your Arms (James Cotton)
Boogie Disease (Doctor Ross)
Juke Box Boogie (Doctor Ross)
Ain't That Right (Eddie Snow)
Bring Your Love Back To Me (Eddie Snow)
Original Sun Recordings
 

Sun - The Roots Of Rock - Volume 7 - Sun Blues


1977 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30115 mono
SUN - THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 8 - SUN ROCKS
 
16-track vinyl LP compilation of recordings from the legendary Sun Record label, whose story is the story of rock and roll, with previously unissued songs by the artists Sonny Burgess, BillyRiley and Warren Smith, front laminated picture sleeve.

In the second half of the fifties, rock was what Sun was all about. The label had made half a dozen major stars and the queue of hopefuls outsite the door was growing always loner. Many of these queueing were literally being hopeful, but some were genuinely talented. Of these, Sun produced its three great unknowns; Sonny Burgess, Billy Lee Riley and Warren Smith.

These three were unlucky in not obtaining the breaks that would get them a hit record, but in the days of early rock and roll they were all dynamic artists capable of holding any audience. With one exception the tracks on this album have never been released before (1977) and they still hold the power and drive that created them back in the Tennessee of 1956 to 1959. With these tracks, the Sun legend not only lives, it expands.

Sonny Burgess
Born in Newport, Arkansas in 1931, Burgess was the wildest stage performer on Sun, and the artist most intro real rhythm and blues. Burgess had a style, that's very apparent from all his recordings with their muffled rhythm and beat and caustic vocals and lead guitar work, but his style was basically taken from rhythm and blues artists like Smiley Lewis, Lowell Fulson and later Jimmy Reed.

On this album, Burgess pays tribute to some of his influences, the Lewis, Domino, Presley hit ''One Night'', for instance, and ''My Babe'' and Crudup's  ''So Glad You're Mine''. This is all great stuff, as are the Burgess originals like ''Mr. Blues'' with fine interplay from guitar and piano and the ecstatic ''Little Town Baby''. ''I Love You So'' is an interesting alternate take of his own ''A Kiss Goodnite''.

Billy Riley
Like Burgess, Riley, from Pocohontas, Arkansas, was rhythm and blues influenced. They both came from country music backgrounds but they adapted well to rock. Riley had a fine edge to his voice which is capable of many styles. Here we have solid interpretations of the Coasters ''Searchin'''and Lewis's ''Let's Talk About Us'' plus a rockaballad ''Just One More Time'' and the frantic bass-slapper ''She's My Baby''. The latter is an alternate treatment of the theme of Riley's best known song, ''Red Hot''.

Warren Smith
Smith, from Louise, Mississippi, was much more of a country artist as shown in the rockabilly version of ''Who''. More solid are ''Do I Love You'' and ''I Like Your Kinda Love'' while ''Who Took My Baby'' again has a country rockabilly feel to it.

All recordings made at the Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee.

Side 1: Contains
My Babe (Sonny Burgess)
I Love You So (Sonny Burgess)
Mr Blues (Sonny Burgess)
So Glad You're Mine (Sonny Burgess)
One Night (Sonny Burgess)
Little Town Baby (Sonny Burgess)
So Soon (Sonny Burgess)
Tomorrow Night (Sonny Burggess)
Original Sun Recordings

Side 2: Contains
One More Time (Billy Riley)
Let's Talk About Us (Billy Riley)
Searchin' (Billy Riley)
She's My Baby (Billy Riley)
Do I Love You (Warren Smith)
Who Took My Baby (Warren Smith)
I Like Your Kinda Love (Warren Smith)
Who (Warren Smith)
Original Sun Recordings
 

Sun - The Roots Of Rock - Volume 8 - Sun Rocks


1977 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30116 mono
SUN - THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 9 - MORE REBEL ROCKABILLY
 
16-track LP compilation of recordings from the legendary Sun Record label, whose story is the story of rock and roll, with songs by the artists like Billy Riley, Smokey Joe Baugh, Ken Cook and Jerry Lee Lewis, to name but a few, front laminated picture sleeve with light corner crease and excellent vinyl.

Following the success of Volume Five in this series, here are sixteen more pounding Southern rock and roll performances in the best Sun label tradition. Again, the accent is on completely unissued tracks, and again we have a balance between hillbilly and rhythm and blues influences in the songs and their performers. The result is raw excitement from the original, but, it seems increasingly popular, white rock music form.

The album opens with Billy Riley, a minor-star at Sun. His riotous interpretation of the boogie styled rhythm and blues favourite sets a mood which is continued by Sonny Burgess's rocking version of an old country standard also known as ''Hand Me Down My Walking Cane''.

Joe Baugh was a total unknown in the fifties but as an artist he was brilliant on country, blues or rockabilly. Here the bluesy ''She's A Woman'' is followed by the countryish ''Hula Bop''. Baugh was from Helena, Arkansas, a famous blues area, and it shows in his music.

Ken Cook was a protege of Roy Orbison. Here he delivers a good version of Orbison's ''Problem Child'' and is joined by Orbison for the haunting ''I Was A Fool''. The studio band led by Bill Justis and Charlie Rich is perfectly acquainted with both styles.

Dick Penner of the duo Wade and Dick, a former country guitarist, interprets his own stereotyped rhythm and blues tune but manages to give the recording great energy and Sun sound vitality. Eddie Bond closes side one with a surprisingly solid sax-led rockabilly tune.

Side Two opens with Dean Beard's Fort Worth rockabilly style, purchased by Sam Phillips but not recorded by or with Sun in mind. Sun's big names follow, Carl Perkins with the original speed version of ''Your True Love'' which has a much more natural laid-back feel than the issued version, and Jerry Lee Lewis typically writes off this rivals on a little re-issued track from 1961.

The album is completed by two former country singers and three aspiring rock generation artists. McDaniel and Grayzell adapt well to rockabilly, while Vickery, Blake and Thomas each attack their material with feeling. In these fine sides every facet of rockabilly comes out, from Cliff Thomas with Ed and Barbara.

Side 1: Contains
Swanee River Rock (Billy Riley)
All My Sins Are Taken Away (Sonny Burgess)
She's A Woman (Smokey Joe Baugh)
Hula Bop (Smokey Joe Baugh)
Don't Be Runnin' Wild (Problem Child) (Ken Cook)
I Was A Fool (Ken Cook)
Move Baby Move (Dick Penner)
This Old Heart Of Mine (Eddie Bond)
Original Sun Recordings

Side 2: Contains
Long Time Gone (Dean Beard)
Your True Love (Carl Perkins)
It Won't Happen With Me (Jerry Lee Lewis)
High, High, High (Luke McDaniel)
Fool Proof (Mack Vickery)
You Better Believe It (Tommy Blake)
Judy (Rudy Grayzell)
Leave It To Me (Cliff Thomas)
Original Sun Recordings
 

Sun - The Roots Of Rock - Volume 9 - More Rebel Rockabilly


1977 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30117 mono
SUN - THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 10 - SUN COUNTRY
 
16-track compilation LP issued artists who recorded on the Sun Record label in Memphis. This volume features the work of Charlie Feathers, Johnny Cash, Warren Smith, and Onie Wheeler, front laminated picture sleeve with extensive sleevenotes.

Sun Records came from Memphis; country music comes from Nashville. Those are fairly well-known facts, but the greater truth is that country music comes from all over the American South. Many areas had and have their own style and sound. Sun, rock and roll label though it primarily was, had its own country sound.

There was a period during the late 1954 and though 1955 when Sun recorded a lot of country for the local market, and much of this is very obscure now though highly listenable for all that. Later, when rockabilly came in, there was a different, more solid Sun country sound. This album illustrates the two eras with a mixture of rarities and previously unissued sides.

The first two tracks were issued in 1955 on the Flip label, a Sun subsidiary. They are both uptempo jump-beat hillbilly in the Hank Williams mould. Bill Taylor is known to collectors for later rocking discs and also as a composer and trumpet player for Jerry Lee Lewis, but here he and Joe Baugh head Clyde Leoppard's excellent band. When Taylor left he was replaced as vocalist by Warren Smith, who contributes to the album with a much later recording, the melodic upbeater ''Goodbye Mr. Love''. The other Flip artist is Charlie Feathers, who gained good reviews in the trade papers at the time but no record sales. ''Peepin' Eyes'' is nevertheless a fine interpretation of the established hillbilly styles.

Malcolm Yelvington's boogie band offers the first country version of the blues and rock standard ''Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee'' and is a pointer towards the rock style Sun was trying to achieve. In contrast, Howard Seratt's beautiful country-gospel disc was a one-off event as Sun saw no profit in gospel. More standard country fare for the era was Slim Rhodes' recording, with Dottie Moore as vocalist. The Rhodes Band recorded no hits but was hugely popular thoughout Memphis and the South throughout the fifties.

The Miller Sisters harmonies are applied to a rockaballad titled ''Got You On My Mind'', and to a fine country song ''Someday You Will Pay'' originally issued on Flip. To complete side one, we have Jerry Lee Lewis's associates J.R. and J.W. Brown on a curious dialogue titled ''Drunk''.

Side two opens with Johnny Cas. The fiddles and steel guitar are largely gone now while the beatier 'Sun Sound' country takes over and it was Cash who was very much responsible for this change. Ernie Chaffin was a fine country artist who recorded in both styles for Sun, and always gave a perfectly clean sounding performance of considerable intensity.

Onie Wheeler recorded once for Sun, mixing the Sun sound musicians with his own popular country style that is always immediately identifiable. This song is a sequel to his better known ''Run Ém Off'' recorded five years earlier. Ken Cook was primarily a rock artist, but on his only country recording at Sun he also adapted another country song and the old Carter Family favourite ''I'm Thinking Tonight Of My Blue Eyes'' is transformed into a tribute to ''Jenny''.

Billy Riley, too, recorded little country at Sun but here he performs his own song to just a single guitar accompaniment. Finally, Jerry Lee Lewis gives a fine reading of Hank Williams' country hit ''Settin' The Woods On Fire''.
 
Recordings were made at the Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Mermphis, Tennessee, except Side 2 track 1, recorded at 639 Madison Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee.
 
 
Side 1: Contains
Split Personality (Clyde Leoppard Band)
Peepin' Eye s (Charlie Feathers)
Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee (Malcolm Yelvington)
Troublesome Waters (Howard Seratt)
I've Never Been So Blue (Unissued) (Slim Rhodes Band)
Got You On My Mind (Unissued) (The Miller Sisters)
Someday You Will Pay (The Miller Sisters)
Drunk! (Unissued) (J. R. and J.W. Brown)
Original Sun Recordings

Side 2: Contains
Two Timin' Woman (Johnny Cash)
Heart Of Me (Unissued) (Ernie Chaffin)
Laughin' And Jokin' (Ernie Chaffin)
Tell'em Off (Onie Wheeler)
Jenny (Unissued) (Ken Cook)
Goodbye Mr. Love (Warren Smith)
Sweet William (Unissued) (Billy Riley)
Settin' The Woods On Fire (Jerry Lee Lewis)
Original Sun Recordings
 

Sun - The Roots Of Rock - Volume 10 - Sun Country


1977 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30126 mono
SUN - THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 11 - MEMPHIS BLUES SOUNDS
 
16-track compilation LP issued artists who recorded on the Sun Record label in Memphis. This volume features the work of Raymond Hill, Earl Hooker, The Prisonaires, front laminated picture sleeve with extensive sleevenotes.

The recordings on this album represent a cross-section of the types of black music recorded between 1951 and 1955 by Sam Phillips for his Memphis Recording Service and his Sun label. They are not strictly blues, jump blues, rhythm and blues, vocal groups and gospel music that confronted Sam Phillips. He recorded something of everything, and as you'll hear a lot of it has lain unissued far too long.

Raymond Hill is known primarily as a sax player with Ike Turner, but he did record in his own right on several occasions. The songs here date from 1952, and possibly 1954, and they are part of the new approach among the younger delta musicians. It is rhythm and blues, city music, as compared with Hill's father Henry, a traditional blues piano stylist back home in Clarksdale, Mississippi. ''My Baby Left Me'' is an interestingly solid guitar-led variation on the Crudup theme made famous by Presley, while ''You've Changed'' might be termed a Kansas style. ''I'm Back Pretty Baby'' returns to the jump blues style, another facet of which is revealed by Eddie Snow's recording in 1952 with Elven Parr's In The Groove Boys. This band, from Osceola, Arkansas had a fine sound capable of both a fast shouter like ''I'm A Good Man'' which is similar to Wynomie Harris or Roy Brown, and the slow ''Got To Put You Down'' with its good intermingling sax sound.

In a similar vein are the recordings of Guitar Red (a.k.a Vincent Duling), whose restrained vocals complement the music of an unknown band which gives us several fine guitar and sax solos. James Cotton, too, weighs in with a sax-led band, forsaking his harmonica style learned from Sonny Boy Williamson and later to be heard behind such leading bluesmen as Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters.

The artists mentioned above have all been connected with Memphis and finding their recordings at Sun was no great surprise. Others are perhaps more surprising. Earl Hooker, for instance, whose recordings are more usually associated with Cincinnati of Chicago, and Thomas ''Shy Guy'' Douglas who apparently was based in Nashville. He recorded there. Also from Nashville, by reason that they were all in the State Penitentiary at the time, were the Prisonaires. Their semi-hit ''Just Walkin' In The Rain'' remains their most plaintive, effective recordings to black American vocal group music. ''Troubled'' credited only to Ed Kirby, is also in effect a group vocal. Nothing is known of the recording, except that it is a worthy addition to the album. Little more is known of the Five Tino's apart from ther names, but again, this slowest version of ''Don't Do That'' shows that Sun and Memphis had a thriving black music scene, even if it was no longer strictly a blues scene in the mid-fifties.

Finally, back to 1951, a time when Sam Phillips had yet to decide that he couldn't successfully market gospel music. In December, Wiley Ford and his Memphis-based Southern Jubilee Singers made an audition tape in acapella style. ''There's A Man In Jerusalem'' is a long way from of the secular sounds heard here, but is was certainly a part of the Memphis scene in the early fifties.

In 1953, and it may be that the recordings on this album were made by Jim Bullet of Nashville whose Bullet label was a distributor for Sun and who had a financial interest in Sun at the time. The songs, ''Detroit Arrow Blues'' and ''Shy Guy's Back In Town'' are in a personalised vocal and piano style with unknown bass accompaniment.

All recordings were made at the Memphis Recording Service and the Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee.

Side 1: Contains
My Baby Left Me (Raymond Hill)
You've Changed (Raymond Hill)
I'm Back Pretty Baby (Raymond Hill)
The Hucklebuck (Earl Hooker)
I'm A Good Man (Eddie Snow)
I Got To Put You Down (Eddie Snow)
Shy Guy's Back In Town (Shy Guy Douglas)
Detroit Arrow Blues (Shy Guy Douglas)
Original Sun Recordings

Side 2: Contains
Go Ahead On (Guitar Red)
Baby Please Don't Go (Guitar Red)
Reward For My Baby (Walter Bradford)
Straighten Up Baby (James Cotton)
Don't Do That (Five Tinos)
Troubled (Ed Kirby)
Just Walkin' In The Rain (The Prisonaires)
There's A Man In Jerusalem (Southern Jubilees)
Original Sun Recordings
 

Sun - The Roots Of Rock - Volume II - Memphis Blues Sounds


1977 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30127 mono
SUN - THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 12 - UNION AVENUE BREAKDOWN
 
16-track compilation LP issued artists who recorded on the Sun Record label in Memphis. This volume features the work of Jimmy DeBerry, Joe Hill Louis and Doctor Ross, front laminated picture sleeve with extensive sleevenotes.

Memphis in the early fifties was a gathering place for blues musicians. Partly because there were clubs and bars to play, partly because of the radio stations and partly because of Sam Phillips' studio at Union Avenue. In particular, Mississippi spawned many fine bluesmen and sooner or later most came to Memphis to record. This album presents sixteen recordings, most previously unissued, made by a dozen of the artists best associated with the contemporary blues of Memphis and Mississippi, and whose music has perhaps not been given the exposure it deserves.

Jimmy DeBerry, for instance, a vocalist and guitarist working with Walter Horton in Memphis in 1953. His ''Party Line Blues'' is a fine addition to the limited number of recordings so far available. Walter Horton, known by Phillips as 'Mumbles', did not have any singles issued under his own name by Sun, but he was recorded by Sam Phillips for Moderm, RPM and Chess and the instrumentals included here are representative of his style at that time. He was born near to Memphis and he grew up in Memphis, often playing gigs with the other local musicians heard on his recordings, such as Joe Hill Louis, Willie Nix, Albert Williams and Jack Kelly.

Joe Hill Louis, born Leslie Hill near Whitehaven just outside Memphis, was around the Memphis scene from the mid-thirties and by 1952 when he recorded ''Treat Me Mean And Evil (When I'm Gone)'' he was well known in the locality as the 'Be Bop Boy' and was a star of WDIA radio. The armospheric approach to the songs is certainly mean and evil in the best blues traditions. Louis acted as session guitarist for many Sun sessions, including Walter Horton on this album. He was not present, however, when his long-time friend Willie Nix recorded ''Prison Bound Blues'' and ''Take A Little Walk'' in 1952. Memphian Nix was primarily a drummer and he lays down a bopping beat on these tracks, but he was a more than passable vocalist and these are fine recordings. Note that ''Take A Little Walk'' is similar to Jimmy DeBerry's ''Take A Little Chance'' on Volume 1 in this series.

Albert Williams, a pianist known as 'Joiner' who played regularly with Howlin' Wolf around this period, also reveals his vocal prowess on two interesting songs from around 1953. ''Sweet Home Chicago'', with nice slide guitar, shows the dominant influences of Wolf and Elmore James, while ''Chillen'' is a variation both on John Lee Hooker and the ''Feelin' Good'' theme of Junior Parker, an early hit for Sun.

Mississippi blues is represented here in its comtemporary, electrified form, as evolved from the older cottonpatch styles. 

Woodrow Adams was a part-time musician who left his tractor driver's job in Robinsonville, Mississippi in May 1952 to travel to Memphis with his Boogie Blues Blasters to record at Union Avenue. His deeply felt vocal and bottleneck guitar make ''The Train Is Coming'' well worth the visit to the studio and they display not only his style but the influence of both Wolf and Robert Nighthawk, with whom Adams had played.

A much better known Mississippi figure is Dr. Ross, from Tunica. ''Texas Hop'' is a boogie instrumental in the best Ross style known to most blues enthusiasts. ''That Ain't Right'' sees Ross backing Henry Hill, a juke-joint owner and pianist from Clarksdale with a markedly different approach from the younger Memphis musicians. He was the father of Raymond Hill who is featured on Volume 11 in this series.

Continuing to reveal unissued recordings by renowned Mississippians, the album has Joe Willie Perkins' version of ''Pinetop's Boogie''. Perkins was from Belzoni, and though influenced originally by pianists Pinetop Smith and Leroy Carr he adapted to fit into the Helena, Arkansas group, the King Biscuit Boys. He has backed many top blues names from Robert Nighthawk to Muddy Waters, and he also appear here with his boyhood friend Boyd Gilmore, also from Belzoni. Gilmore, a relative to Elmore James and Homesick James, was traveling with Perkins and Earl Hooker in 1953 when these recordings were made. Gilmore has a healthy, deep vocal and Elmore-ish guitar style on the excellent ''Believe I'll Settle Down''. The song was not issued when recorded, but Phillips' reveal that Hooker received 25 dollars and Gilmore 3 dollars for gas and 4.75 for whiskey.

''Walked All Night'' is credited to Chris Booker in the same files, but this is probably Gilmore's friend, Charley Booker. The two were also recorded in Greenville in 1952 by Ike Turner. Finally, the solo vocal and guitar blues of Williams ''Talking Boy'' Stewart also have some uncertainties attached to them. Stewart's deep voice is reminiscent of William Stewart, baritone and guitarist with the Prisonaires group, but evidence conflicts as to wheter these could have been the same person.

All recordings made at the Memphis Recording Servive and the Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee.
 
 
Side 2: Contains
Party Line Blues (Jimmy DeBerry)
Treat Me Mean And Evil (Joe Hill Louis)
Prison Bound Blues (Willie Nix)
Take A Little Walk With Me (Willie Nix)
Walter's Boogie (Walter Horton)
Sweet Home Chicago (Honeyboy Edwards)
Rhumba Chillen (Albert Williams)
Original Sun Recordings

Side 1: Contains
The Train Is Coming (Woodrow Adams)
Rattlesnakin' Mama (William Stewart)
The Call Me Talkin' Boy (William Stewart)
That Ain't Right (Doctor Ross with Henry Hill)
Texas Hop (Doctor Ross)
Pinetop's Boogie Woogie (Pinetop Perkins)
Walked All Night (Chris Booker)
Believe I'll Settle Down (Boyd Gilmore  & Earl Hooker)
Original Sun Recordings
 

Sun - The Roots Of Rock - Volume 12 - Union Avenue Breakdown


1977 Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30128 mono
SUN - THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 13 - ROCKABILLY SUNDOWN
 
16-track vinyl LP compilation of recordings from the legendary Sun Record label, whose story is the story of rock and roll, with songs by the artists Ray Smith, Conway Twitty andErnie Chaffin, to name but a few, front laminated picture sleeve.

This album is the latest in the series of Sun Records' rockabilly albums with which I've been involved, commencing in 1973. Only that short time ago, the term rockabilly was known only to staunch record collectors, yet this album is released at a time 'rockabilly' has become accepted, widely referred to in the music press in reference to Elvis, Billy Swan, Delbert McClinton and Hank Mizzell, to name an assorted few.

So, Rockabilly Sundown rounds off a highly successful reissue programme of the Sun label's most famous sound. It attempts to collect together the best unissued, unreissued and most varied recordings available in the vaults. It takes us through time from 1956 to 1972 and through style from upbeat country to pounding rock and roll. It contains few stars; rockabilly is style, and sound. The Sun sound is the star.

Ray Smith starts the album with the riotous ''You Made A Hit''. His vocal is sharp and demanding, ably backed by a solid rocking group led by Charlie Rich on piano, in 1958 a Sun sideman. Smith is an excellent rock and country singer, now resident in Canada (1977). He never did find much fame but he left a lot of good music behind at Sun. Gene Simmons, Dick Penner, Dickey Lee and Harold Jenkins only recorded a few songs for Sun, and they were used as instruments of the Sun rockabilly sound. Nevertheless, their recordings each display individuality and they have certainly gone their separate ways. Simmons still plays in Mississippi, Penner is an English professor in Knoxville, Dickey Lee is a star country songwriter and Harold Jenkins is Conway Twitty (all at that time in 1977).

The energetic, urgent sound on ''Give Me Some Love'' captures Jenkins as a rocker, while he has become Twitty, the mainstream country singer. This seeming impossible has been a commonplace in rockabilly, though. Most of the singers on the album began or ended in country, and the two styles have always retained an interchangeability even though rockabilly began as a revolt against country standards. As a result, Mack Self from rural Arkansas, Ernie Chaffin who has appeared on many top country bills, Slim Rhodes and Eddie Bond, stalwarts of the Memphis country scene, all provide interesting variations on the rockabilly theme. The previously unissued songs, ''Linda'' by Chaffin and ''Vibrate'' by Mack Self both have a rocking guitar sound which immediately distinguihes the music from the pure country approach.

The last three songs on the album were recorded not in Memphis but in Nashville, after Sun had been sold by Sam Phillips to Shelby Singleton. There are differences, born of the changed recording techniques. More instrumentation with greater separate of individual sounds, a more professional approach perhaps. But the spirit of original rockabilly remains in the music.

Sleepy La Beef was recording in Texas during the mid-fifties at the time when the Sun Sound first appeared and he's recorded with that as his inspiration ever since. He creates a big sound, worthy of any rockabilly album even though it has an electric bass.

I've chosen Jimmy Ellis to finish off the album. Ellis is perhaps the best Elvis soundalike you'll hear and his version of ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky'' brings Sun rockabilly story back to its beginnings. No comparison is needed with Elvis in 1954 because there is that inbridgeable gap between a copy and originality. But on first hearing it fooled Sam Phillips. And its just a fine rockabilly record, like Rockabilly Sundown.

The titles on Side 1 and tracks 1 to 4 on Side 2 were recorded at the Sun Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. Track 5 was recorded at the Sam Phillips Recording Studio, 639 Madison Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee. Tracks 6 to 8 were recorded at the Singleton Sound Studio, 3106 Belmont Boulevard, Nashville, Tennessee.

Side 1: Contains
You Made A Hit (Ray Smith)
So Young (Ray Smith)
I Done Told You (Gene Simmons)
Good Lovin' (Dickey Lee)
Give Me Some Love (Harold Jenkins)
Vibrate (Mack Self)
Cindy Lou (Dick Penner)
Hey Slim (Jack Earls)
Original Sun Recordings

Side 2: Contains
Willie Brown (Mack Self)
Linda (Ernie Chaffin)
I'm Lonesome (Ernie Chaffin)
Take And Give (Slim Rhodes)
 Double Duty Lovin' (Eddie Bond)
Too Much Monkey Business (Sleepy La Beef)
Honey Hush (Sleepy La Beef)
Blue Moon Of Kentucky (Jimmy Ellis)
1-5 Original Sun Recordings
6-8 Singleton Nashville Recordings
 

Sun - The Roots Of Rock - Volume 13 - Rockabilly Sundown


 
 
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