CONTAINS 1957 SUN SESSIONS 2

Studio Session for Jimmy Williams, May 12 or June 8, 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Cast King, June 1956 (Probably June 1957) / Sun Records
Studio Session for Cast King, July 1956 (Probably July 1957) / Sun Records
Studio Session for Eddie Bond, July 1957 / Mercury Records
Studio Session for Rosco Gordon, July 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Jerry Lee Lewis, July 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Jerry Lee Lewis, 2nd Half July 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Johnny Cash, July 1, 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Ed Kirby & Big Lucky Carter, July 2, 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Unknown Vocal Group (Ed Kirby), 1957/58 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Malcolm Yelvington, July 22, 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Magel Priesman, July 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Johnny Cash, Probably Summer 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Johnny Cash, August 4, 1957 (1) / Sun Records
Studio Session for Johnny Cash, August 4, 1957 (2) / Sun Records
Studio Session for Dickey Lipscomb (Dickie Lee), August 10, 21
or September 18, 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Ernie Chaffin, August 11, 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Sonny Burgess, August 14, 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Tommy Blake, August 18, 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Jerry Lee Lewis, August 21, 1957
Studio Session for Bill Justis & Sid Manker, August 22, 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Roy Orbison, August 26, 1957 / Je-Wel Records
Studio Session for Cliff Thomas, Ed & Barbara, August 31, 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Jerry Lee Lewis, September 5, 10, 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Hayden Thompson, September 6, 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Cliff, Barbara & Ed Thomas, September 15, 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Ernie Chaffin, Probably October 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Warren Smith, October 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Kenneth Parchman, October 5, 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Malcolm Yelvington, October 5, 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Malcolm Yelvington, 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Jerry Lee Lewis, October/October 8, 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Rudy Grayzell, October 15, 16, 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Warren Smith, October 16, 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Roy Orbison, October 16, 17, 19, 21, 22, 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Billy Emerson, October 23, 1957 / Vee-Jay Records
Studio Session for Narvel Felts, October 1957 / Mercury Records
Studio Session for Carl McVoy, October/November 1957 / Hi Records
Studio Session for Onie Wheeler, November 11, 22 / December 6, 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Johnny Cash, November 12, 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Mack Vickery, November 20, 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Ernie Chaffin, November 25, 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Billy Riley, November 25, 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Cliff, Ed & Barbara Thomas, November 29, 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Carl Perkins, Probably Late 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Carl Perkins, December 6, 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Carl Perkins, December 11, 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Roy Hall, December 12, 1957 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Gene Simmons, End 1957/Early 1958 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Vincent Duling, Probably 1957/1958 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Hunky Dory (Chester McDowell), Probably 1957/1958 (1) / Sun Records
Studio Session for Hunky Dory (Chester McDowell), Probably 1957/1958 (2) / Sun Records
Studio Session for Wink Martindale, Unknown Date 1957/1958 / Sun Records

Biography of Artists (See: The Sun Biographies)
 

1957-1958

If Sam Phillips could have hung onto Dickey Lee or Edwin Bruce, he would have had a couple of acts that   could have sustained him into the 1960s and beyond, and if he'd hung onto Mack Vickery, he would have had  songs in his publishing catalog recorded by Faron Young, George Strait, Tanya Tucker, Jerry Lee Lewis and  countless others. Dickey Lee appeared on Sun at the behest of disc jockey Dewey Phillips, and  acknowledges that he was out-of-place on the label. His records could easily have come from Philadelphia or  New York. Soon after leaving Sun and reuniting with Jack Clement, he became a teen star and the cowriter  of one of country music's all time greatest songs, ''She Thinks I Still care''. Ed aka Edwin Bruce knew how to  survive as well. Even as a teenager at Sun, he was surefooted as both a singer and songwriter. ''Rock Boppin'  Baby'' should have been a hit. ''King Of Fools'' was almost certainly meant to be recorded by Johnny Cash, and Cash could have done much worse. In 1992, a California thrash band, Social Distortion, made good on  Cash's oversight. Mack Vickery was no great shakes as a singer, but, like Ed Bruce, became a great  songwriter. Auditioning at Sun, he recorded one song that was not his own, Billy Hill's 1933 hit ''Have You  Ever Been Lonely''. Buddy Holly had just recorded it in his garage, but we'd have to wait awhile to hear that.  Holly and Vickery probably both remembered Ernest Tubb's late 1940s recording.
 

 
 
 
Jim ''Jimmy'' Williams >

Although only one record came out on Sun, Jimmy Williams recorded several tapes-full of material during a   year-long contract from June 1956 to June 1957. He possessed a naturally controlled and clear vocal style   best applied to ballads and mid-paced material and he produced some rich tones on the two rock-ballads Sam   Phillips chose to issue on Sun, ''That Depends On You'' and ''Please Don't Cry Over Me''. Before the record  came out, though, in the first half of 1957 Williams had experimented with two other styles with mixed success.

He tried some medium-paced rockers like ''My One Desire'' backed by ably by session players   Roland Janes and Jimmy M. Van Eaton. Before that, in mid-1956, Williams had arrived at Sun with his own   band and recorded seven songs in a totally different and much faster, rocking style.


 
Although some of the   early songs are acceptably good, it is clear throughout that Williams was affecting a breathless, mannered   higher-pitched vocal in the way of a dance-band vocalist trying his hand at being Elvis.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR JIMMY WILLIAMS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE / MAY 12 OR JUNE 8, 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
AND/OR STAN KESLER

Quite apart from the vocal, the instrumental work on this quiet; understated side is to kill for. Roland Janes' guitar and J.M. Van Eaton's drumming are thoroughly engaging, even in their minimal roles. In fact, the Little Green Men turned a throwaway B-side into an undiscovered Sun treasure.

01 - "MY ONE DESIRE" B.M.I. - 2:50
Composer: - Jimmy Williams
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - May 12 or June 8, 1957
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1030-5 mono
ROCKIN' ROLLIN' COUNTRY STYLE
Reissued: - August 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16210-1 mono
THAT'LL FLAT GIT IT! - VOLUME 14

02 - "ALL I WANT" - B.M.I. - 2:06
Composer: - Jimmy Williams
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - May 12 or June 8, 1957
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1030-4 mono
ROCKIN' ROLLIN' COUNTRY STYLE
Reissued: - August 2000   Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16405-2 mono
THAT'LL FLAT GIT IT! - VOLUME 17

Williams represents the softer side of rockabilly: mellow vocal and melodic constructions, although there is no shortage of tasty guitar work on "All I Want". This track is a winner, from the opening guitar riff borrowed from Bill Doggett's "Honky Tonk" to Williams' wordless chants over what would otherwise by the guitar solos. Williams turns in a fine vocal performance that becomes truly memorable with the addition of those little "huh" asides at the end of each line. The ending is pre class.

03 - ''WHY DON'T SHE NOTICE ME?''
Composer: - Jimmy Williams
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - May 12 or June 8, 1957

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jimmy Williams - Vocal and Guitar
Roland Janes - Guitar
Bill Riley - Guitar
Stan Kesler - Bass
James M. Van Eaton – Drums
Jimmy Wilson - Piano

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 


Cast King, 1950s >

Cast King was one of the major discoveries on the Bear Family Sun Country Box. There is no artist in the history of Sun Records who left a stranger, more consistent series of recordings in the archieves, yet never enjoyed a single release on the original Sun label.

At that time the boxed was compiled in 1986 and include an excellent body of work by a singer who was only tentatively identified in the Sun vault as Cast King.

We could hear the Miller Sisters on one song, but they could only remember the song not the singer. Elsie Jo Miller thought he might have been from Luka, Mississippi. In fact, he was Joseph D. King from Pisgah, Alabama and he remembered the Millers too.

In June 1956 (though it is possible he meant 1957) when he came to Sun with his group led by the Sartin brothers, also from Pisgah, to play some songs that their radio director...
 
 
...had already sent in as demos. King said that Sam Phillips asked his assistant, Jack Clement, to work with him and that on the first occasion Clement recorded one song with the Miller Sisters backing him and told him to come back with some more up to date material. King's home in northeast Alabama was within earshot of bluegrass on the Knoxville stations and that made his music very different from those who'd come to Memphis from the Delta or west Tennessee. King's music resonated with Clement, whose background was also in bluegrass.
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR CAST KING
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1956/1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: JUNE 1956 (POSSIBLY JUNE 1957)
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - JACK CLEMENT
 
  01(1) - "I CAN'T FIND TIME TO PRAY" - B.M.I. - 3:04
Composer: - Joseph Dudley King
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - June 1956 (Possibly June 1957)
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-6-14 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-4-9 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

Thirty years after this session, Jo Miller commented, ''I'll still find myself singing that song. It was beautiful''. Indeed it was. She remembered Sam Phillips phoning to ask the Millers to come into the studio specifically to work on the song, even though they didn't know Cast King and Phillips himself was not producing the session. Everyone connected with the session must have believed that they had a winner here because a considerable amount of time was invested in its production. The result is a convincing religious narration that should have been given a chance in the marketplace but never was. Cast King's understated narrative is very powerful and the whole track jells magically, especially during the deceptively simple punchline delivered in the last four bars.

01(2) - "I CAN'T FIND TIME TO PRAY" - B.M.I. - 2:52
Composer: -  Joseph Dudley King
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - Alternate Take – Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -  June 1956 (Possibly June 1957)
Released: - 2000
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16387-22 mono
SUN GOSPEL

 
 
Cast King in his home studio >

On this track, Kings works with the simply duet harmonies of Millie and Jo, who left their own recorded legacy in the Sun vaults. Surprisingly, there were over twenty takes made of this song.

Obviously, producer Jack Clement took the proceedings quite seriously, although ultimately all the work came to nothing as Cast King's recordings waited 30 years to appear. The track "I Can't Find Time To Pray'' is performed at a leisurely tempo before repetition began to take its toll.

The basic construction of King's narrative is masterful. In less than three minutes he literally convinces himself to go to church. The sound of King's voice blended with the Millers Sisters is a reminder of how wonderful pure country harmony can sound.

 
 
 Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Cast King - Vocal
The Miller Sisters consisting of 
Elsie Jo Miller - Vocal Harmony
Mildred Wages - Vocal Harmony

Possibly Oliver Brown - Second Tenor
John Walker - Guitar
James W. Sartin - Steel Guitar
John Sartin - Guitar
Gay Roberts - Bass
Robert Jones - Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

 
JULY 1957
 

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR CAST KING
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: JULY 1956 (POSSIBLY JULY 1957)
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - JACK CLEMENT

A month after his first session, in July 1956 (or possibly 1957) Cast King and the Country Drifters were back with Jack Clement, as requested, and King brought some rockabilly material as instructed. But first, he made this wonderful country record. History has shown that Sam Phillips made surprisingly few mistakes in deciding which track to release and which to leave for future generations of music archaeologists. ''When You Stop Loving Me'' may represent one of the biggest mistakes. It is a splendid song and must have stood a fair chance of success. Although neither the composition nor the performance are really polished, the end product is quite spectacular. The song is melodic, in fact, adjectives like memorable and beautiful don't seem out of place. Moreover, it has a hook strong enough to get the Titanic off the ocean floor. Instrumentally, the performance is a gem, featuring standout steel and lead guitar work from the Sartin brothers. As a matter of interest, and alternative take (with a somewhat flawed vocal) shows this beautiful country waltz to gain in strength with the temp slowed a little. This stands alongside Sun's finest country records and its non-appearance is a mystery, unless Jack Clement forgot to play it for Sam. Or unless you agree with Cast King when he mused, ''maybe my songs were so different than anything Sun had done. After all, why dig more holes when you've already got a gold mine''?

01 - "WHEN YOU STOP LOVING ME" - B.M.I. - 2:25
Composer: -   Joseph Dudley King
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - July 1956 (Possibly July 1957)
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-6-15 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-4-10 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

''Like A Weed In The Garden'' is another spectacular cut from Cast King from the opening steel notes to the Thoughtful lyrical reading, the harmony vocals, the slowly shuffling rhythm and the understated steel solo. It is an awesomely beautiful performance. The lyrics have elevated self-pity to a dizzying height but in King's hands the group and material achieve a magic blend. King's band was unusual because he carried a second tenor vocalist, Oliver Brown, and most of the musicians also sang along. On this one song, Bonny Sartin, who had come along with her brothers for the ride, also contributed to the hamonies.
 
02 - "LIKE WEED IN THE GARDEN"* - B.M.I. - 3:29
Composer: -   Joseph Dudley King
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: -   July 1956 (Possibly July 1957)
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-6-16 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-4-11 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

A mountain of tape was expended on ''Satisfied With Me'', probably because producer Jack Clement had his name on the song. Cast King recalled that he wrote the song with Clement and a man named Bill Pritcket in Taylor's Restaurant next to the Sun studio and they had never played the song before the session started. Take after take was recorded and then the little 7'' boxes were stowed away. There are some appealing bluegrass-styled harmonies and some fairly nifty picking from the guitarist, although King remained convinced in later years that the tapes had been speeded up somewhat. Perhaps Clement attempted to enhance the light, rhythmic feel of the music. However, it is the song itself that is so instantly attractive. The contrast between the high harmonies and the bullfrog baritone call to mind the Kershaw brothers with Wiley Barkdull.

03 - "SATISFIED WITH ME"** - B.M.I. 2:04
Composer: -   Joseph Dudley King-Jack Clement-Bill Pricket
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -   July 1956 (Possibly July 1957)
Released: -1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-6-17 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-4-12 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

''Round 'N' Around'' is perhaps the closest approximation of rockabilly that the group recorded. The references to ''rock and roll to the day'' certainly date the song to the early days of the rock and roll era but, in a charming throwback, the steel guitarist resurfaces for some very tasty interplay with the lead guitarist. This is very accomplished music and the local bar crawlers in Pisgah would have had a real reason to stay until closing time.
 
 04 - "ROUND "N" ROUND" - B.M.I. - 2:02
Composer: -   Joseph Dudley King
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -   July 1956 (Possibly July 1957)
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-6-9 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-4-14 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

There is a distinct pop flavour to the cuts of ''Baby Doll'' Cast King left behind at Sun. However, the light folky leanings still render the song an outside contender by the standards that Phillips was setting. The lyric refers to a ''party doll'' and indeed the sound is distinctly redolent of Jimmy Bowen and Buddy Knox's hit ''Party Doll'', and but that may not to be so surprising since it was Jack Clement behind the glass rather than Sam Phillips. The steel guitarist sits out this cut but it is still a fair distance from the Sun releases of that period. The unaccompanied intro was difficult to handle and there are several false starts where the group lacked a beat to focus their efforts. This is wonderful music and it is surprising that King did not make more efforts to get his group on record once it became clear that Sun was not going to come through with a record release. Perhaps he felt that he just could not accommodate the changes that had occurred in country music.

05 - "BABY DOLL" - B.M.I. - 2:04
Composer: -   Joseph Dudley King
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -   July 1956 (Possibly July 1957)
Released: - November 1986
First appearance - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-6-21 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-4-16 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

''Destiny'' is another exceptionally strong piece of writing and singing from the King band. Some of the lines such as ''a parasite living on love...'' are quite arrested but the real clincher comes with the approach of the chorus. The group joins King on the last syllable of the verse and they extend their support through the chorus. The steel guitar solo is followed by a little Luther Perkins-styled picking. This is wholly out of context with the pattern of Sun releases in 1956 and 1957, the rawness is not in the performance but in the striking hillbilly images and stone back-country vocal of King himself. It is rawness that must be searched out rather than rawness that leaps out of the grooves. Perhaps Phillips was looking for the latter and Cast King's tapes were tied together with an elastic band and stored away.

06 – "DESTINY" - B.M.I. - 1:54
Composer: -   Joseph Dudley King
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally
Recorded: -   July 1956 (Possibly July 1957)
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-6-20 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-4-15 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

''Please Believe Me'' is yet another strong entry from the highly accomplished Cast King band. It was one of his original demo songs and the one Jack Clement had told him to use as a model for some material that could be sold as rockabilly. This song had the hurrying rhythm of so many Sun records but the wonderful vocal harmonies, steel guitar solos, and light beat created by bass and drums probably stayed too close to country music to stand a chance in the musical ferment of the mid-1950s.

07 - "PLEASE BELIEVE ME" - B.M.I. - 2:35
Composer: -   Joseph Dudley King
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -   July 1956 (Possibly July 1957)
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-6-18 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-4-13 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

''When You Stop Loving Me'' issued under the name Doug Poindexter on RLP 126.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Cast King - Vocal
Oliver Brown - Second Tenor Vocal
Bonny Sartin - Vocal*
John Walker - Guitar
James W. Sartin - Steel Guitar
John Sartin - Guitar
Gay Roberts - Bass
Robert Jones - Drums

And so, now only one question remains about Cast King and the eight previously unknown songs that sat in a Sun tape box for over thirty years, why did music so good not appear on at least one Sun record? Possibly it was simply that Jack Clement did not rate the results highly and didn't play the tapes for Sam Phillips, filling them away instead. Perhaps he had a plan to do something himself with the recordings. Maybe it was something to do with publishing rights. Jack Clement doesn't remember the sessions even though they could have been among his earliest at Sun. Most likely, it was just that the Country Drifters were too country, too classy even, to become part of the new wave of rockabillies. King himself back in 1987, he just said... ''As to the reason the records were never released, I really couldn't say for sure. Sam Phillips had nothing to do with the actual recording sessions. Perhaps it was as you say that Sam Phillips didn't have the finance to back too many singers at one time. Maybe my songs were so different than anything Sun had done before. Afterall, why dig more holes when you've already got a gold mine''?

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 



© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Session Published for Historical Reasons

STUDIO SESSION FOR EDDIE BOND
FOR MERCURY RECORDS 1957

GOLDSTAR RECORDING STUDIO
3104 TELEPHONE ROAD, HOUSTON, TEXAS
MERCURY SESSION: CIRCA JULY 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - PAPPY DALLY

After this and his last Mercury session, Eddie Bond began label-hoping through the South, particularly around Memphis.

01 – ''LOVE, LOVE, LOVE'' – B.M.I. - 2:16
Composer: - Roger Miller
Publisher: - Starrite Music
Matrix number: - YW 14782
Recorded: - Circa July 1957
Released: - November 14, 1957
First appearance: - Mercury Records (S) 45rpm Mercury 71237-A mono
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE / BACKSLIDIN'
Reissued: 1993 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15708-1-15 mono
EDDIE BOND – ROCKIN' DADDY

02 – ''LOVIN' YOU, LOVIN' YOU'' – B.M.I. - 2:26
Composer: - Darrell Edwards
Publisher: - Starrite Music
Matrix number: - YW 14783
Recorded: - Circa July 1957
Released: - July 7, 1957
First appearance: - Mercury Records (S) 45rpm Mercury 71237-A mono
LOVIN' YOU, LOVIN' YOU / HERSHEY BAR
Reissued: 1993 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15708-1-16 mono
EDDIE BOND – ROCKIN' DADDY

03 – ''HERSHEY BAR'' – B.M.I. - 2:15
Composer: - Eddie Bond
Publisher: - Starrite Music
Matrix number: - YW 14784
Recorded: - Circa July 1957
Released: - July 7, 1957
First appearance: - Mercury Records (S) 45rpm Mercury 71237-B mono
HERSHEY BAR / LOVIN' YOU, LOVIN' YOU
Reissued: 1993 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15708-1-17 mono
EDDIE BOND – ROCKIN' DADDY

04 – ''ONE STEP CLOSER TO YOU'' – B.M.I. - 2:05
Composer: - Eddie Bond
Publisher: - Starday Music
Matrix number: - YW 14785
Recorded: - Circa July 1957
Released: - 1958
First appearance: - Mercury Starday Records (LP) 33rpm ME 20360 mono
A NIGHT AT THE LOUISIANA HAYRIDE – VARIOUS ARTISTS
Reissued: - 1993 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15708-1-18 mono
EDDIE BOND – ROCKIN' DADDY

Mercury's country roster was taken over by Starday Records to create the Mercury/Starday imprint. The last of Eddie Bond's six Mercury-Starday singles was released on November 14, 1957; one side was written by Bill Cantrell and Quinton Claunch, the other by Roger Miller. Eddie Bond returned to Sun. There were three sessions between November 28, 1957 and May 5, 1958, but no singles. The band is reckoned to be Bond's Stompers with the addition of Ace Cannon on saxophone.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Eddie Bond - Vocal & Guitar
Phil Baugh - Lead Guitar
Hal Harris - Rhythm Guitar
Herb Remington - Steel Guitar, Bass,
Unknown - Drums,
Link Davis - Fiddle
Jimmy Smith – Piano
Unknown – Saxophone
Pee Wee Wamble - Trumpet

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 


 
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR ROSCO GORDON
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERIVE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE JULY 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

The end of Gordon's affiliation with Sun is harder to piece together. He returned in 1957 to record the ersatz rockabilly tune "Sally Jo", which stands with some recordings by Ray Sharp, Tarheel Slim, and Roy Brown among the few examples of black rockabilly. Its appearance must have upturned a few eyebrows among Rosco's diehard constituency; but if Gordon can be said to have "sold out", he did it with style and boundless enthusiasm: "Sally Joy" was delightfully at variance with everything else he recorded.

01 - "SALLY JO" – B.M.I. - 2:02
Composer: - Sam Phillips-Rosco Gordon
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Knox Music Limited
Matrix number: - U 322   - Master
Recorded: - Unknown Date July 1957
For this swansong, Rosco applied the tried and tested adage of "why use any more musicians when two will do perfectly well". Fortunately, Sun was well-ersed in making sparse combos sound a whole lot bigger than they otherwise might. The credited guitarist here is Freddy Tavares, an Hawaiian born musician who helped design the Fender Jazzmaster.
Released: - September 20, 1958
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 305-B mono
SALLY JO / TORRO
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803-3-3 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

Rosco Gordon and Sam Phillips shows SUN 305, Sun Studio, Memphis, Tennessee >

The arrangement on "Torro" is quite strange and might not have been talked through too carefully. In fact, if Rosco Gordon had anything to do with this recording, it is unclear what he might have contributed.  Sam Phillips has already begun his fadeout during the last four bars when Freddy Tavares ends cold. Billboard described the sides as "background music for a bullfight", which isn't a bad call. Tavares' brief vocal describes just that ("El amigo de la tarde... / The friend of the afternoon").

If you listen closely to the sound of the guitar on "Torro", you'll hear the same musicians who drove the batterly bizarre and delightful "Sally Jo". Here, Rosco's contribution is obvious. No wonder Phillips was willing to issue yet another record by Rosco after all this time. Seven years on, and Sam Phillips was still recording him. What did Phillips visualize as the fate of this record? Was this his or anybody's idea of rhythm and blues, circa 1958?.
 
 
 
 
"Sally Jo" has been called an example, maybe even the first example of black rockabilly. Rosco, of course, never saw it that way. He was just making music, which is as it should be. The genres and categories were somebody else's problem. Billboard, for its part never even realized they had an oddity on their hands.  Perhaps no one knew that they were describing a black singer, much less one with an impressive list of rhythm and blues credits, when they observed "The artist uses a listenable shoutin' approach on this vigorous rockabilly. Typical Sun string sound is prominent in support". Some typical rockabilly! A black vocalist and a Latino guitar player. One more example of hybrid vigor at 706 Union.

Sam Phillips' secretary, bookkeeper and office manager Sally Wilbourn, shows Rosco Gordon's single ''Sally Jo'' b/w ''Torro'' (Sun 305), September 1958 >  
 
 
 
02 – "TORRO" – A.S.C.A.P. - 2:40
Composer: - Rosco Gordon-Freddie Tanares
Publisher: - Jerry Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 323   - Master
Recorded: - Unknown Date July 1957
Released: - September 20, 1958
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 305-A mono
TORRO / SALLY JO
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803-3-4 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

"Torro" is a strong contender in the strangest Sun record ever released sweepstakes. Even without Rosco Gordon's name on the label, this tune just has no business on a Sun label. Years later, Gordon revealed that "Torro" was the creation of his guitar player, Freddy Tavares. Sam Phillips was intrigued by the whole idea, and figured he had little to lose by throwing the concoction out on the flipside of "Sally Jo".

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rosco Gordon - Vocal and Piano
Freddie Tavares - Guitar
Unknown Musicians

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

 


 

The re-evaluation of previously published information about the recording dates of ''Great Balls Of Fire'' (see below) brings to the fore other vexing questions concerning the origins of the solitary take of ''Mean Woman Blues'' and the running order of the fourteen examples of ''I'm Feelin' Sorry'' now to hand. Ten of the latter share one of the defining traits of ''Mean Woman Blues'', namely the effect, reminiscent of a clavichord, which resulted from Jack Clement having re-tuned the piano and applied thumb tacks to the hammers such that, upon impacting the strings, a distinctive metallic sound was produced. It's thought that this technique, a strong hint of which remains discernible in the ultimate delivery of ''Great Balls Of Fire'', was first applied during the course of at least one, possibly two, Lewis sessions in early September at which material was prepared for a projected EP release. This innovation, which has been attributed by some source to session pianist Jimmy Wilson, is also manifest on a number of recordings made at Sun by other artists during September and early October 1957. Though soon thereafter the ''clavichord effect'', which Clement himself casually, and misleadingly, related to the dissimilar sound of a harpsichord, appears to have been abandoned. (*)


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR JERRY LEE LEWIS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE / PROBABLY EARLY JULY 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
AND/OR JACK CLEMENT

May have been recorded before September 5, 1957
 

But first let's look at the development of the song ''I'm Feelin' Sorry'' it self. Clement obviously had high hopes for his composition, later to be realised when Ricky Nelson covered it on his second album, released in July 1958. Ricky's version is probably representative of what Jack Clement had in mind when he wrote the song and it shares the same modest gait we hear on Jerry Lee Lewis' first attempt. But when Jack presented ''I'm Feelin' Sorry'' to Lewis, most likely early in July 1957, they tried it at various speeds; initially, a slow ballad, as originally conceived; next, up-tempo; then at a medium pace, as heard in the complete take presented here, and finally demonstrating the increased momentum of the issued master. It's noticeable that on each successive take, the drumming becomes bolder and incrementally more improvised.(*)

 
1(1) - "I'M FEELIN' SORRY" - B.M.I. - 3:05
Composer: - Jack Clement
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Slow
Recorded: - Early July 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-9-B1 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - September 1989 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15420-2-28 mono
CLASSIC JERRY LEE LEWIS - THE DEFINITIVE SUN RECORDINGS 1956 - 1963
 

This stellar alternate version of ''I'm Feelin' Sorry'', together with the second version that follows, lay in a tape box assigned to Billy Riley for almost thirty years. For some reason, Jerry has chosen to deliver his vocal in a strangulated near-falsetto. The backing track is a little ragged in places but, once again, Jerry Lee and Jimmy van Eaton constitute a working definition of 'empathy'. This was an interesting approach to the song but understandably soon abandoned.

The standout feature of this version is Jerry's phrasing. He is taking amazing liberties, and pulling it off. The tempo is borderline frantic but no-one losses it. Roland Janes turns in a lovely little solo with some help from his tremolo bar and, as always, Jimmy Van Eaton is outstanding. Once again, it sounds as though this was an experiment that someone (probably Jack Clement) decided had little commercial merit.

1(2) - "I'M FEELIN' SORRY" - B.M.I. - 2:22
Composer: - Jack Clement
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Fast
Recorded: - Early July 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-9-B2 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - September 1989 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15420-2-29 mono
CLASSIC JERRY LEE LEWIS - THE DEFINITIVE SUN RECORDINGS 1956 - 1963
 
1(3) - "I'M FEELIN' SORRY" - B.M.I. - 1:26
Composer: - Jack Clement
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Fragment
Recorded: - Early July 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released: - October 2015
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17254-3-26 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS AT SUN RECORDS THE COLLECTED WORKS
 
01(4) - "I'M FEELIN' SORRY" - B.M.I. - 2:38
Composer: - Jack Clement
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 4 - EP Master
Recorded: - Early July 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released: - September 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (EP) 45rpm EPA-107-A2 mono
THE GREAT BALL OF FIRE
Reissued: - September 1989 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15420-2-31 mono
CLASSIC JERRY LEE LEWIS - THE DEFINITIVE SUN RECORDINGS 1956 - 1963
 
 
02 - "TURN AROUND" - B.M.I. - 2:46
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - EP Master
Recorded: - Early July 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released: - September 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (EP) 45rpm EPA-107-B2 mono
THE GREAT BALL OF FIRE
Reissued: - September 1989 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15420-2-33 mono
CLASSIC JERRY LEE LEWIS - THE DEFINITIVE SUN RECORDINGS 1956 - 1963
 

When Sam Phillips mixed ''Honky Tonk Babe, Gal'' for release, he told Carl Perkins that he wanted a good country ballad to go on the flip side of ''Movie Magg''. The result was ''Turn Around''. Sam gave it that title; Carl had been calling it ''I'll Be Following You''. Sam brought in Quentin Claunch (guitar), Bill Cantrell (fiddle) and Stan Kesler (steel) to join the Perkins band on the session. He wanted a real country record.

The song is absolutely gorgeous - simple, heartfelt, and honest with a sing-along melody. Jerry Lee Lewis noticed that and included the song on his 1957 Sun EPA 107. If it had been a bigger hit, it would have been a natural for Ray Charles to resurrect in the early 1960s when he was recording country songs like ''I Can't Stop Loving You'' with a full orchestra and chorus. And Carl wrote it because Sam asked for a good country ballad. Sam should have sent in a request every week.

On the one complete outtake, Carl's vocal is every bit as pure and earnest as it is on the released version. The instruments - mainly the fiddle - are not all tuned up together, providing some truly uncomfortable moments which we guess were recognizable only when the tape was played back. This one belonged in the outtake box. There is also a few fragments and some studio chatter among musicians. At one point in the chatter there's a discussion of Elvis and someone, probably Cantrell, says he doesn't like that sort of music. The old guard passeth.

The coupling of "Turn Around" with "Movie Magg" was issued in February 1955 on Phillips new Flip subsidiary. The sincerity that Sam Phillips responded to was plainly on view in "Turn Around". It owed a measure of debt to Hank Williams in terms of both composition and execution but Phillips' hopes for Carl Perkins in the country market were not without foundation. "Turn Around", is a solid country outing that Jerry Lee Lewis recorded four years later here, and Carl himself continues to feature on his personal appearances some forty years later.


Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jerry Lee Lewis - Vocal and Piano
Roland Janes - Guitar
Unknown - Bass
James M. Van Eaton – Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

THE ''GREAT BALLS OF FIRE'' THEORY - Let's now turn to the next major landmark, ''Great Galls Of Fire''. The related development work has been one of the more sensitive subjects to deal with, not least because it involves disputing a series of dates that have hitherto been regarded by many as reputable entries in the often far from dependable recording diary. It seems, however, that this is a case where Sam Phillips did deliberately draw a veil over proceedings when he reported studio activity to the musicians' union, while others involved in the recording of Jerry Lee's second million-seller have contributed to the confusion by claiming that the finished product was arrived at in a single take. This fancy was perpetuated by Jerry Lee's bass player, cousin and sometime father-in-law Jay W. Brown as recently as in 2010, but it's a weak proposition in the face of so many indications to the contrary. One might speculate that such a declaration was originally part and parcel of Sam's efforts to outwit the union; looked at in that light, abiding loyalty to such a deception would be laudable!
 

However, it's clear that such stories about only ''one take'' being required to arrive at an impeccable cut, be it of ''Great Balls Of Fire'' itself or others of Jerry Lee's hits, haven't always been inspired by any intention to mislead. Rather, they may be down to a basic misunderstanding between the musicians involved and some of those who have delved into these events in much later years. It's only fair to say that the likes of Jay W. Brown, Jimmy M. Van Eaton and Jerry Lee himself wouldn't necessarily have regarded as ''takes'' any performances which were, in effect, only ''rehearsals'', while their own perceptions of the process may have failed to acknowledge the fact that quite so many run-throughs were being captured on tape, far less being kept for posterity. How valid this argument is in respect of the work undertaken on ''Great Balls Of Fire'' remains open to question, though it's easier to sustain in respect of ''Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On''; as we have seen, the master of the latter was, as both Jerry Lee Lewis and Jack Clement were always keen to emphasise, nailed in ''one take''. What is undeniable is that those who contributed to the making of this history would never have imagined that their work in the Sun studio, however formal or otherwise, would decades later be the subject of such intense interest and analysis.

Leaving the ''single-take'' fable aside, the accepted wisdom is that each and every cut of ''Great Balls Of Fire'' dated from a three day span, Sunday 6 to Tuesday 8, October 1957. There is, however, no firm testimony in support of this suggestion, which was published in the 1983 LP set and has been repeated unchallenged in most subsequent accounts. And while the discography in the 1989 bear Family set ''Classic'' did at least cast doubt on the belief that all fifteen takes originated in October, and pointed to a less intensive schedule, it fell short of providing any detail.

The premise that everything was recorded over the course of three days in October fails to pay regard to Sam Phillips' own declaration in later years that, having been pressed by Warner Brothers to supply a tape of ''Great Balls Of Fire'' for use in the film ''Jamboree'', he had submitted to the producers the best of what he already had to hand, while remaining determined to achieve still better results for the eventually single release. The idea that Sam would have sent to Warner Brothers an inferior cut for want of a day or two in early October doesn't stand up to close scrutiny. And the fact that the film was premiered on November 12, while not making an October date for the recording of the audio of Jerry Lee Lewis' contribution impossible, adds weight to the argument against the traditional explanation.

Contemporaneous published accounts also discredit the notion of an all-embracing October session and signify a different chain of events; these sources indicate that the recording of the so-called ''movie cut'' and its numerous sound-alike takes predated that of the finished master, as heard on Sun 281, not by just one or two days but quite possibly by an interval of at least two months. In all likelihood, the version heard on the soundtrack was actually taped before Jerry Lee's first live television appearance on ''The Steve Allen Show'', broadcast from New York City on Sunday July 28, 1957. This deduction is supported by a report in Billboard magazine of August 5, 1957 signposting that the lip-synched contribution to ''Jamboree'' was filmed during the same excursion to the north-east, which in turn points to the ''movie-take'' having been recorded before Jerry Lee Lewis left Memphis on July 25, 1957.

What seems most likely is that Jud Phillips, Sam's brother, having been made responsible for promoting Jerry Lee nationally and securing the TV dates, made his way to the New York office of music publishers Hill & Range well in advance of the July 28, commitment. Jud's assertion that he introduced the staff writers to ''Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On'' and invited them to devise a potential follow up is entirely persuasive. In response, a demo and/or the score for ''Great Balls Of Fire'' would have been dispatched to Memphis in  time to allow tentative recordings to be made in advance of Jerry Lee's visit to New York both for the TV debut at the end of the month and, during the same venture, to film the movie cameo.

Let's also consider the aural evidence. The fifteen takes of ''Great Balls Of Fire'' readily fall into one or other of two detached groups; those which exhibit a relatively laboured guitar and bass rhythm, as heard in the frenetic ''movie'' take, and those that evince a more accomplished pattern, revealing enhanced tape echo, with the piano and the drums supposedly combining to form a wall of sound in the absence, according to some, of other instrumentation. Might this sea-change have been accomplished overnight? While it can't be ruled out absolutely, it is considered highly implausible; as a result, these recordings have now been split into the two groups and placed apart. The first session, at which the musicians were required to learn the song from scratch, culminated in the taping of the movie version. It's remembered by Jimmy Van Eaton as a chaotic exercise with a studio full of people, though clearly not everyone was impressed when it came to the dominant characters exchanging views on the subject of divine retribution.

On the second date, Jerry Lee Lewis is in an entirely secular frame of mind; exegesis has given way to excess. But, in his singing and playing, we can witness the steady progression from a relatively carefree, illdisciplined couple of run-throughs to the climactic ''master''; the sublime single release. At each stage a refinement of one sort or another is embodied, whether a change in emphasis or tone in part of the lyric, the stretching of a particular word or the intro-mission of an uncommon exclamation, or a new twist to the piano solo. Close analysis of this group also indicates that a bass guitarist is present throughout the session, up to and including the final take. This becomes readily identifiable during the second phase of the instrumental break, in which Jerry Lee's left hand drives the rhythm at eight to the bar and in so doing diverges from the walking bass line.

And there is even more substance to the issued master itself than has been generally acknowledge in the past. In combinning this song and Jerry Lee's talent, Sam Phillips knew that he was dealing with something extraordinary and he was painstaking in his search for the perfect rendition of ''Great Balls Of Fire''. This was to be Sun Records' magnum opus, its greatest hit to-date; the sound had to be both innovative and flawless. Jerry Lee had already had upwards of a dozen cracks at it but still something was missing, an extra component to complete the masterwork. Here's what appears to have happened next, based on the composition of separate tapes found in outtake boxes.

Having secured the sixth take at this second session, yet still unsatisfied, Sam decided to experiment and asked a percussionist to add a metronomic ''rim-shot'', hitting the edge of the snare drum, to accentuate the beat. Listen to the most conspicuous discrepancy between the master and all the preceding takes from this session; on the master alone one can hear a sharp, consistent strike on the edge of the drum. It might, of course, be thought that this was accomplished in real time, but a recent discovery in the Sun archives renders this proposition highly questionable; the reality seems to be that it wasn't recorded concurrently.

What we can now listen to, on a previously unreleased tape here presented on BCD 17254-18-1, is the cut that forms the basis of the ''master'' take lacking this ''rim-shot'' sound. This tape does, however, also feature an enhanced drum pattern compared to earlier takes, involving a supplementary layer of conventional ''skin shots'' on the snare drum. But the pronounced metronomic beat that helps define ''Great Balls Of Fire'', as known to the world, is absent. The distinction may appear subtle, but it is contended that this amounts to proof that the recording originally issued in November 1957 embodies an overdub of the defining ''rim-shot'' sound.

There is little reason to doubt that these less emphatic ''skin shots'' heard on this alternate are dubbed, rather then being representative of what was taped live and subsequently masked, either by the ''rim shot'' and/or other mastering techniques applied when the engineer prepared the track for release in 1957. Hence it is believed that what we have are two different overdubs adding extra percussion to the real time performance, one of which, featuring the ''rim shot'', was selected for release as Sun 281. It can be argued that the alternate presented on BCD 17254-18-1 sustains a closer relationship with the other recordings of the song, whereas the more obviously augmented ''rim shot'' version stands apart. Moreover, given the order in which the tapes were found in the outtake boxes, the balance of probability is weighted in favour of the rejected ''skin shot'' experiment being the first of two distinct overdubs, both having been made the fulfill Sam's ambition of lending additional muscle to the record. But being unable to present an underlying, undubbed, tape we have  opted to include the master originally released on Sun 281 as part of the main sequence, rather than consign it to the collection of overdubs on BCD 17254-18-1.

Debates about the origin and the precise composition of this recording may well persist for as long as people continue to listen to popular music. One conclusion is undeniable. Promethean it assuredly is, yet evidently there were several pairs of hands at work in the genesis of the master take of ''Great Balls Of Fire'', the supposition that it represents nothing more than the inspired efforts of Jerry Lee Lewis and a drummer, supplemented by ''slapback echo'', is the myth.

by Andrew McRae, October 2015

 


 


 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR JERRY LEE LEWIS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE / PROBABLY 2ND HALF JULY 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
AND/OR JACK CLEMENT

May have been recorded before September 5, 1957

1(1) - "GREAT BALLS OF FIRE" - B.M.I. - 1:54
Composer: - Jack Hammer-Otis Blackwell
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Unknown Take
Recorded: - 2nd Half July 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released:  - April 1993
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/22rpm Sunbox 4-12-7 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS - THE ULTIMATE - THE SUN YEARS
Reissued: -  October 2015  Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17254-3-19 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS AT SUN RECORDS THE COLLECTED WORKS
 
1(2) - "GREAT BALLS OF FIRE" - B.M.I. - 1:49
Composer: - Jack Hammer-Otis Blackwell
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Unknown Take
Recorded: - 2nd Half July 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released:  - April 1993
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/22rpm Sunbox 4-9-5 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS - THE ULTIMATE - THE SUN YEARS
Reissued: -  October 2015  Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17254-3-20 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS AT SUN RECORDS THE COLLECTED WORKS

1(3) - "GREAT BALLS OF FIRE" - B.M.I. - 1:51
Composer: - Jack Hammer-Otis Blackwell
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Unknown Take
Recorded: - 2nd Half July 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released: - March 1987
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CD Charly 70-14 mono
RARE AND ROCKIN'
Reissued: - September 1989  Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15420-2-34 mono
CLASSIC JERRY LEE LEWIS - THE DEFINITIVE SUN RECORDINGS 1956 - 1963
 
1(4) - "GREAT BALLS OF FIRE" - B.M.I. - 1:51
Composer: - Jack Hammer-Otis Blackwell
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Unknown Take
Recorded: - 2nd Half July 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released:  - April 1993
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/22rpm Sunbox 4-11-3 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS - THE ULTIMATE - THE SUN YEARS
Reissued: -  October 2015  Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17254-3-32 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS AT SUN RECORDS THE COLLECTED WORKS

1(5) - "GREAT BALLS OF FIRE" - B.M.I. - 1:50
Composer: - Jack Hammer-Otis Blackwell
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Unknown Take
Recorded: - 2nd Half July 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released:  - January 1983
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 102-4-A8 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS - THE SUN YEARS
Reissued"-  October 2015  Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17254-3-23 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS AT SUN RECORDS THE COLLECTED WORKS

1(6) - "GREAT BALLS OF FIRE" - B.M.I. - 1:50
Composer: - Jack Hammer-Otis Blackwell
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Unknown Take
Recorded: - 2nd Half July 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released: - October 2015
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17254-3-24 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS AT SUN RECORDS THE COLLECTED WORKS

1(7) - "GREAT BALLS OF FIRE" - B.M.I. - 0:21
Composer: - Jack Hammer-Otis Blackwell
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - 3 False Starts
Recorded: - 2nd Half July 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released:  - January 1983
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 102-4-B1 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS - THE SUN YEARS
Reissued:  - October 2015  Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17254-3-25 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS AT SUN RECORDS THE COLLECTED WORKS

1(8) - "GREAT BALLS OF FIRE" - B.M.I. - 1:51
Composer: - Jack Hammer-Otis Blackwell
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Unknown Take
Recorded: - 2nd Half July 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released: - October 2015
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17254-3-32 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS AT SUN RECORDS THE COLLECTED WORKS

1 - RELIGIOUS DISCUSSION - 3:59
Probably on October 1957

1(9) - "GREAT BALLS OF FIRE" - B.M.I. - 1:49
Composer: - Jack Hammer-Otis Blackwell
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Movie Soundtrack Version
Recorded: - 2nd Half July 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released: - November 15, 1957
First appearance: - Warner Brothers (LP) 33rpm WB JAM 1/2 mono
JAMBOREE
Reissued: - October 2015  Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17254-3-28 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS AT SUN RECORDS THE COLLECTED WORKS

It was essentially a duet between Jerry Lee and J.M. Van Eaton. The barely controlled slapback echo almost ranks as a third instrument, it gives such depth and presence to the recording. Sam Phillips had obviously counseled against finesse during the solo, for Jerry starts with four glissandi before hammering away at the same note for six consecutive bars. When the finished product was released, there was nothing more that Phillips and Lewis could have done during the production to ensure its success. The movie "Jamboree", released in November 1957, and the pay-off was swift and overwhelming.

Note: The date and place where Jerry filmed his part in ''Jamboree'' for Warner Brothers has never been determined. Jay W. Brown can only remember that it was on a set used previously by The Thee Stooges. It is known that the film was pre-viewed on November 12, 1957. Biographers have often said that both the recording on the movie version of ''Great Balls Of Fire'' and the filming occurred in September 1957. However,  ...a press article (Billboard magazine) dated August 5, 1957. The article says: ''While in town last week, Lewis also completed his stint for the forthcoming Vanguard Productions films, ''Jamboree''. So Jerry took the opportunity of his stay in NYC between the Steve Allen show (July 28) and Alan Freed's Big Beat TV show (August 2) to finalize his appearance in Jamboree. The song, written by Otis Blackwell, was purchased from Hill & Range, which had offices in the same building as a restaurant owned by Jack Dempsey, the former world heavyweight boxing champion.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jerry Lee Lewis - Vocal and Piano
Roland Janes - Guitar
Unknown (Possibly Al Stanger) - Bass
James M. Van Eaton – Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

JULY 1957

Jerry Lee Lewis appears   on the Steve Allen national TV show.

Probably studio session with Rosco Gordon at Sun Records, Memphis, Tennessee.

Probably studio session with Levester ''Big Lucky'' Cater and Ed Kirby.
 
During July of 1957, test pilot and future astronaut, John Glenn Jr. set a new transcontinental speed record while piloting a F8U Crusader from Los Angeles to New York. He became the first pilot to average supersonic speed during a transcontinental flight and it took three hours and twenty-three minutes to complete. Glenn later became one of the first U.S. astronauts when he was chosen for the Mercury program by NASA in 1959. In addition to being an accomplished test pilot, he became the first American to orbit the Earth and the fifth person to go into space in 1962 aboard the Friendship 7 spacecraft.
 
JULY 1, 1957 MONDAY

Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers open at the Paramount theater in New York.

Johnny cash recorded ''Home Of The Blues'' and ''Give My Love To Rose'' at Memphis' Sun Recording studio.

RCA Victor released Elvis Presley's ''Loving You'' (LPM-1515) album, consisting partially of music from the movie of the same name.

A Philadelphia radio station begins repeated airings on The Tune Weavers' ''Happy, Happy Birthday Baby''. The song becomes an instant pop hit, covered nearly 30 years later in country music by Ronnie Milsap.

CBS-TV reintroduces the sitcom ''Those Whiting Girls'' as a summer replacement series for ''I Love Lucy''. The show stars sometimes-country singer Margaret Whiting and her sister, Barbara.
 

 


Johnny Cash and Luther Perkins with his 1955 Fender Esquire, 1957 >

THE TRUTH ABOUT JOHNNY CASH

Although there are conflicting dates Jack Clement took over as Cash's producer sometime in  early 1957. "Sam was getting tired of running the board all the time. I was his first full-time  assistant. He'd been strapped to that board for years and I came along and he seemed to like  what! was doing''.


''We agreed on most things although we didn't have to agree, he was the  boss. I cut tapes and if he liked them he would put them out. Johnny Cash and I were getting  along and so one day he let me start working with John. I guess he was busy one day and let  me work with him. One of the first things we cut was ''Home Of The Blues''.
 

 
He has fond memories of working with Cash. ''Johnny Cash was wonderful to work with. I  guess he is my all-time favourite. He loved music and he had a lot of energy for it, took it  very seriously but he had this great sense of humour. An ideal combination. We were about  the same age and we just liked the same stuff. I'd feel free to play him oddball stuff that  nobody else would go for, things like ''Ballad Of A Teenage Queen''.

Cash was riding high at this stage of his career but a situation was about to arise that would  cause bitterness and resentment between Cash and Sam Phillips. In August 1957 Cash played  the Town Hall Party show out on the West Coast and after the show he was approached by  Don Law, who was working for Columbia Records. He asked Cash if he wanted to join the  label after his contract with Sun had expired. Cash still had a full year to run on his contract  but indicated to Law that he was interested in joining the label. Negotiations continued over  the following few months and the news leaked out to Phillips through his distributors.  Angered by this he approached Bob Neal, whose company Stars, Inc, were booking Cash's  concerts, at first denied that there was any commitment between Cash and Columbia.  However, in early 1958 Sam had a showdown with both Cash and Neal where he just looked  Cash in the eye and asked, ''I understand that you have signed an option to go to another  label at the expiration of your contract with Sun. I want you to look me straight in the eyes  an I toll run, have you or have you not?" Phillips knew as soon as he opened his mouth that  that he was lying. Understandably Phillips was hurt and felt betrayed and ,despite offering to  match Columbia's offer Cash's mind was made up.

Jack Clement recalled this period during an interview with in 2004. "It did surprise me but  he didn't just leave, we knew about it eight months or so before he left. It surprised me,  because of all the people at Sun Records Sam seemed to admire Johnny Cash the most. He  would always tell me how great Johnny was and the authority he had in his voice, when he  sang he got people's attention. Just a powerful thing. He talked about how easy he was to  work with. How he would go out on the road and write some songs, work them up with the  Tennessee Two and come in and record them. He really admired Johnny Cash, he was his  fair-haired boy actually. I think what happened Jerry Lee Lewis came along and John's sales  were dropping, still very good, but he wasn't selling millions at that time, until ''Teenage  Queen''. Jerry Lee Lewis was taking off and Sam was putting all his energies into him. That  was one of Sam's weaknesses, that he couldn't really concentrate on more than one artist at  a time. There is something to be said for that. Johnny Cash came by one day and wanted to  go next door to Taylor's Restaurant and talk to Sam. He was busy talking to distributors and  didn't put him off but he was busy. Sam probably thought Johnny Cash would understand  that and didn't think much about it. But I think that little incident, maybe, is what sparked  him leaving. And of course by this time he was selling lots of records and getting offers from people in Nashville, people who wanted to manage him and sign him to labels. He went over  and signed with Columbia before his contract was up with Sun. It wouldn't go into effect  until his contract was over with Sun but in other words he didn't give Sam a chance to bid on  it''.

There were many reasons that Cash wanted to leave Sun Records. Obviously the the lure of  a major label was something he couldn't ignore and would be seen as finally making in the  music business. Columbia had also promised Cash that he could record a gospel album,  something that Phillips had consistently refused to do. From a financial point of view  Columbia would also be offering a better royalty deal.

''I remember another thing, Sam was paying people three per-cent which was honorable but  not all that great. It was a starting royalty and Cash was wanting four per-cent, to re-sign  and Sam argued about it. Well I know Sam would have given him the four per-cent, certainly  he would. But Cash felt he didn't need to argue about it, he had these people in Nashville  wanting to sign him, so he signed. Finally they agreed that John would come in and sing a  certain number of songs before he left. I had to talk John into coming in and cutting them  songs, unwillingly. John's heart wasn't really into recording that bunch of songs. I got  everything out of him I could. Some of them were pretty good and some of them were not so  hot, but that was my job. We got that done and he left''.

With a new label on the horizon it was obvious that Cash would keep his best songs for later  and Phillips was determined that he would get enough new material to last for the next few  years and wrote to Cash. He recalled this in an interview with Bill Flanagan in 1988. "It was a  letter (saying) that I would go into the studio on such and such a day and record a certain  number of songs. That really rankled me and I refused to do it. Then Jack Clement called me  and said, 'My job is on the line. I'm supposed to produce you. I think you have to do it. You  owe Sam some sessions.'I said, 'I'm not going to sing anything I don't like'. He said, 'Come in.  We'll go over songs and find ones you like.' So, I like the songs but what I hated was that they  overdubbed the vocal group on some of them. I hated that sound!".
 



Ruben Cherry's ''Home Of The Blues Record Shop'' at 105-107 Beale Street in Memphis (billed as ''The South's Largest Record Store'') >
 
 
Johnny Cash had released five singles within two years, and the striking originality of his formula was beginning to wear thin. When Cash went into the studio on July 1 and back in again for an overdub session at the end of the month, his sound was gradually eased uptown by Jack Clement, to whom Sam Phillips had entrusted the supervision of Cash's sessions.


"Home Of The Blues" was inspired by Cash's favourite Memphis record store located at Beale Street, and it was the first time he wasn't the sole writer of his material. Luther opens the song with a guitar intro that goes from one end of the scale to the other. There is a short false start where Perkins misses a note and is following by the undubbed master.

 
 © - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR JOHNNY CASH
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: MONDAY JULY 1, 1957
SESSION HOURS: 15:00-18:00
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - JACK CLEMENT

OVERDUB SESSION: WEDNESDAY JULY 31, & THURSDAY AUGUST 1, 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - JACK CLEMENT

01(1) - "HOME OF THE BLUES" - B.M.I. - 2:57
Composer: - Johnny Cash-Glenn Douglas-Lily McAlpin
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Undubbed Master - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - July 1, 1957
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15517-2-5 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE MAN IN BLACK 1954 - 1958
Reissued: - 2007 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16325-2-5 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE SUN OUTTAKES

"Home Of The Blues" (inspired by the record store on Beale Street that Cash had visited in leaner times) is as dolorous as any of Cash's previous efforts, but it sports a piano and a subdued vocal chorus.

01(2) - "HOME OF THE BLUES" - B.M.I. - 2:38
Composer: - Johnny Cash-Glenn Douglas-Lily McAlpin
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 268 - Overdubbed Master
Overdubbed Session July 31, and August 1, 1957
Recorded: - July 1, 1957
Released: - September 14, 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 279-A mono
HOME OF THE BLUES / GIVE MY LOVE TO ROSE
Reissued - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803-1-1 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

The two or three layers of overdubs account for the very muddy sound on this master.

If nothing else, "Home Of The Blues" established the fact that Luther Perkins' electric guitar contained high strings as well as his over-used low ones. His opening descending scale remains one of the more adventurous outings in the Johnny Cash Sun songbook. In fact, "Home Of The Blues" broke new ground in several ways. It turns out that the echoes, swampy mix (which resulted from a rare overdub session) contained several features not previously heard on a Johnny Cash record: piano and voices. Not coincidentally, it was the first Johnny Cash session that Jack Clement produced.

01(3) - "HOME OF THE BLUES" - B.M.I. - 2:47
Composer: - Johnny Cash-Glenn Douglas-Lily McAlpin
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - July 1, 1957
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-2-6 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-6-2 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

This ''Home Of The Blues'' marked Jack Clement behind the glass and Clement has said that he found the original Cash sound a little ''tubby'' and there is already one subtle addition here, a second electric guitarist. Sid Manker plays the treble strings while Luther sticks to safer ground after his 'guitar manual' intro. By the time the song was released in 1957, Clement had taken a different version and overdubbed a piano and subdued chorus which themselves produced a curiously muddy sound. This overdubbed version finds Cash singing marginally higher than he often did and there may be a slight loss of intensity, but it is a pleasure to hear the song without the piano and vocal additions after all this time. The song itself may have been inspired by the record shop of owner Ruben Cherry of the same name which was a feature on Beale Street of downtown Memphis until urban renewal took its toll.

"Give My Love To Rose" was a departure from almost anything recorded previously and is well-crafted performance. It covered a theme that Cash would return to time and time again throughout his career, prisons and prisoners. There are differences between the three takes featured here and the released version. Luther attempts a syncopated rhythm with a continuous guitar figure that he seems to struggle to keep up throughout the song and he slowed down ending is missing from these takes and had yet to be perfected. "Home Of The Blues" and "Give My Love To Rose" were issued as a single and reached a respectable number 5 on the  country charts.

02(1) - "GIVE MY LOVE TO ROSE" - B.M.I. - 3:07
Composer: - Johnny Cash
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - False Start & Complete Take - Undubbed Master
Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - July 1, 1957
Released: - 1963
First appearance: - Sun Records (LP) 33rpm SUN 1270-8 mono
ALL ABOARD THE BLUE TRAIN WITH JOHNNY CASH
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15517-2-6 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE MAN IN BLACK 1954 - 1958

02(2) - "GIVE MY LOVE TO ROSE" - B.M.I. - 2:46
Composer: - Johnny Cash
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - July 1, 1957
Released: - 2007
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16325-2-2 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE SUN OUTTAKES

02(3) - "GIVE MY LOVE TO ROSE" - B.M.I. - 2:42
Composer: - Johnny Cash
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 269 - Overdubbed Master August 1, 1957
Recorded: - July 1, 1957
Released: - September 14, 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 279-B mono
GIVE MY LOVE TO ROSE / HOME OF THE BLUES
Reissued - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803-1-2 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

"Give My Love To Rose" is more minimalist than ever. A western ballad, it represents the first time that Cash's infatuation with the Old West (which would later consume entire albums) intruded itself onto disc. "Rose" is a mournful tale of a dying man's wishes told to the minimalist accompaniment. The slight change in direction brought forth some reward when the single rose quickly to number 5 in the country charts and number 88 in the pop listing before dying away. That showing encouraged Jack Clement to persevere in his attempt at sweetening Cash's sound. Billboard was correct when they described this as a "very strong reading of an unusual piece of country material".

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Johnny Cash - Vocal and guitar
Luther Perkins - Guitar
Marshall Grant - Bass

Overdub Session July 31, and August 1, 1957
James M. Van Eaton - Drums
Sid Manker - Guitar
Jimmy Smith - Piano
Malcolm Yelvington - Vocal Harmony
Asa Wilkerson - Vocal Harmony
Bill Abbott - Vocal Harmony
Don Carter - Vocal Harmony
Lee Holt - Vocal Harmony

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 



© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR ED KIRBY & BIG LUCKY CARTER
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: JULY 2, 1957
STUDIO HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER – SAM C. PHILLIPS

No Details

01 – ''GONNA BREAK THAT LOCK''
Composer: - Ed Kirby-Levester Carter
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Sun Unissued
Recorded: - July 2, 1957

02 – LITTLE ROCK''
Composer: - Ed Kirby-Levester Carter
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Sun Unissued
Recorded: - July 2, 1957

03 – ''GOOD, BETTER, BEST''
Composer: - Ed Kirby-Levester Carter
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Sun Unissued
Recorded: - July 2, 1957

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Ed Kirby Vocal & Saxophone
Big Lucky Carter - Vocal & Guitar
Clarence Beaton - Bass
Charles Ballard - Drums
Lindberg Nelson - Piano

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 


 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR UNKNOWN VOCAL GROUP
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957/58

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION (3): UNKNOWN DATE 1957/1958 
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - UNKNOWN

Although this is taken at a similar to Little Walter's record of the same name, Walter was working with a real song from the pen of Willie Dixon; this is more a riff masquerading as a song. When first issued on Charly Records, it was credited to ''Unknown Vocal Group'', but it's not a vocal group in the commonly accepted sense because the parts aren't harmonized. Additionally, the guitarist isn't strumming chords innocuously in the background as a vocal group accompanist would; he's a front-and-center blues man, and a pretty good one. ''Oh Baby'' is on a tape with Bill Pinkney's ''Sally's Got A Sister'', an unknown hillbilly-rockabilly singer, and Ed Kirby singing ''Mean Old Gin''. Kirby recorded for Sun at various points in 1957 and Pinkney's session was dated February 1958. With all that in mind, our current best guess is that this is Kirby's group, the Rhythmaires, possibly with Kirby playing saxophone and an unknown lead vocalist. Although Sun book-keeping was lax, Pinkney's ''After The Hop''/''Sally's Got A Sister'' single was almost certainly recorded as stated in February 1958 because ''At The Hop'' was a hit in the early months of that year, so ''Oh Baby'' could have been recorded in late 1957 or early 1958

01 - ''OH BABY'' - B.M.I. - 2:01
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1957/1958
Released: - March 8, 2013
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-10-17 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Unknown Vocal Group
Probably The Rhythmaires including
Ed Kirby - Vocal & Saxophone
Big Lucky Carter - Vocal & Guitar
Unknown - Bass, Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

JULY 2, 1957 TUESDAY

Spade Cooley and Sonny James are special guests on a country edition of CBS-TV's ''The Spike Jones Show''.

JULY 3, 1957 WEDNESDAY

Songwriter Frank J. Myers is born in Dayron, Ohio. He builds such credits as John Michael Montgomery's ''I Swear'', Chris Young's ''Tomorrow'', Lonestar's ''I'm Already There'' and Reba McEntire's ''One Honest Heart''.

Actress Judy Tyler and her husband dies in an automobile accident. She had worked with Elvis Presley just months earlier, as his romantic interest, in the filming of ''Jailhouse Rock''.  In the early evening of July 3, their 1957 Chevrolet approached “Wild Bill’s Curio Store'' and Petting Zoo” on US Highway 30, three miles north of Rock River, Wyoming. When a car pulled out of the tourist site onto the highway, Tyler's husband LaFayette swerved, sending the couple’s car skidding into the oncoming lane. Their car was hit broadside by an northbound vehicle. Judy was killed instantly; her husband died the next day in a Laramie hospital from chest and back injuries. Also dead at the scene was a passenger in the other car. The only survivor  of the collision was the other driver.

JULY 4, 1957 THURSDAY

The Country Gentlemen form in the Washington, D.C., area. The bluegrass band later counts among its members Ricky Skaggs and dobro player Jerry Douglas.

Songwriter Woody Mullis is born. He authors George Strait's ''Adalida'', T. Graham Brown's ''Darlene'', Montgomery Gentry's ''Hillbilly Shoes'' and Skip Ewing's ''Burnin' A Hole In My Heart'', among others.

JULY 6, 1957 SATURDAY

Guitarist David Doucet is born in Louisiana. In 1975, he becomes a founding member of the cajun group BeauSoleil. The band contributes to Mary Chapin Carpenter's 1991 country hit ''Down At The Twist And Shout''.

John Lennon and Paul McCartney meet at a church picnic in Liverpool, England, where McCartney writes out the words of ''Be-Bop-A-Lula'' for Lennon. The two go on to form The Beatles, whose repertoire yields several country hits.

JULY 7, 1957 SUNDAY

Elvis Presley meets beauty contest winner Anita Wood, whom he dates for four years, in Memphis.

JULY 8, 1957 MONDAY

Imperial released The Scholars' ''Beloved''. The group includes 18-year-old singer Kenny Rogers.

JULY 9, 1957 TUESDAY

''Loving You'', Elvis Presley's second movie, premieres at the Strand Theatre in
Memphis. The movie opens National July 30.

Bobby Helms recorded ''My Special Angel'' at Nashville's Bradley Recording studio.

JULY 11, 1957 THURSDAY

Webb Pierce recorded ''Holiday For Love'' during an afternoon session at Nashville's Bradley Recording studio.

Kitty Wells recorded ''(I'll Always Be Your) Fraulein'' in Nashville at the Bradley Film and Recording Studio.

JULY 12, 1957 FRIDAY

Carl Smith recorded ''Why, Why'' at the Bradley Studios on Nashville's Music Row.

Alan Freed begins a 13 week National Television show devoted to rock and roll. The show is   broadcast from 10:00-10:30 every Friday on ABC-TV network.

ABC-TV introduces the short-lived Alan Freed music series ''The Big Beat''. The Everly Brothers, Ferlin Husky and Connie Francis all appear on the inaugural episode.

JULY 14, 1957 SUNDAY

Marvin Rainwater sings ''Gonna Find Me A Bluebird'' on the CBS prime-time program ''The Ed Sullivan''.

Chet Atkins recorded ''Walk Don't Run'' at the Methodist Television, Radio and Film Commission in Nashville. The song becomes a pop hit when The Ventures released their version in 1959.

JULY 15, 1957 MONDAY

Mac McAnally is born in Red Bay, Alabama. He scores a minor hit as an artist with 1990s ''Back Where I Come From'', teams with Kenny Chesney on ''Down The Road'' and writes such hits as ''Two Dozen Roses'', ''All These Years'' and ''Old Flame''. He also wins the Country Music Association's Musician of the Year six times.

Columbia released Marty Robbins' two-sided single, ''Please Don't Blame Me'' and ''Teen-Age Dream''.

The Everly Brothers net their first number 1 country single with ''Bye Bye Love''.

When Jerry Lee Lewis' ''Whole Lot A Shakin' Going On'' at number 30 on the pop charts, Sam Phillips placed a half-page ad in the July 15 issue of Billboard, announcing that there was ''gonna be a whole lot of shaking going on on the Steve Allen TV program on July 28, and three days before that date, Jud Phillips and Jerry Lee Lewis took the train to New York. 
 
JULY 1957

In July 1957, Kenny Parchman received an invitation from Jimmie Martin to record for his new Jaxon label in Jackson, Tennessee. Martin was a local musician with a good ear for what was current. He started Jaxon as a launch pad for his Jimmy Martin Combo, and he issued Ramsey Kearney's first record, albeit under his own name. Ramsey Kearney was another artist who, after recording two songs for Sun, saw no resulting record release. The Jaxon label was also the first step to an illustrious career for another young guy from Jackson, Carl Mann, who scored big with his rocked up ''Mona Lisa'' on Phillips International. Jimmie Martin used Sun's Hi-Lo publishing firm for his own releases. Possibly he hoped that Sam Phillips would re-record some of the songs with his artists. It is also possible that some or many of the Jaxon recordings were actually made at the Sun studio whose facilities were available for hire. That would certainly explain why Kenny was a frequent visitor there during 1957. However, we digress. Kenny was more than happy to record for Jimmie Martin and so ''Treat Me Right''/''Don't You Know'' became Jaxon 504.


Front: Elvis Presley, Tommy Blake, background: Hoyt Hawkins, Gordon Stoker, two members of The Jordanaires at the Louisiana Hayride, Shreveport, March 3, 1956 >
 

JULY 18, 1957 THURSDAY

Off RCA, Tommy Blake signed with Sun Records in Memphis, and around the same time he  was signed as a regular to the Louisiana Hayride. Sam Phillips loaned Blake ninety dollars.



Nine days later, Blake's name first appear on the Hayride schedule, but he disappeared from  the roster soon after Tillman Franks took over the show's management in September that  year. According to Tillman Franks, ''A bunch of us were downtown at a drug store drinking coffee one morning.
 
 
 
Tommy Blake was there, and he told me that he was the one who got (Louisiana Hayride owner) Henry Clay to hite me. 'I am the one who swung that deal for you', he said. I told him, 'Well, you had better go up there and un-swung it because I am letting you go first. He asked why, and I said, 'You are not good enough to be on the Hayride'. He would sell pictures and write a few songs and sell them. He said, 'I want to sell my pictures. I can't believe you are telling me this'. I replied, 'You are not the caliber that I want''. Then, according to Tillman, Tommy Blake issued yet another death threat.

Most weekends, Tommy Blake and his band The Rhythm Rebels played guest spots on the local Saturday night jamborees; the Big D in Dallas, the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport; the Grand Prize Jamboree in Houston, and smaller shows, but Ruston was their home base. The Hayride gave Tommy Blake a front row seat at the birth of rock and roll. Elvis was on the show nearly every week from late 1954 until early 1956. The audience was at first incredulous, then ecstatic. Watching intently, Blake declared himself for rock and roll.

JULY 22, 1957 MONDAY

Marty Robbins recorded ''The Story Of My Life'' and ''She Was Only Seventeen (He Was One Year More)'' in an overnight session with producer Mitch Miller at New York's Columbia Recording Studio.

Sonny James recorded ''Near You''. Twenty years later, it becomes a hit for George Jones and Tammy Wynette.
 


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR MALCOLM YELVINGTON
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: MONDAY JULY 22, 1957
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - BILL JUSTIS

Gradually, the original Yelvington band was breaking up as its members found other pressures more important than pursuing the recording dream. Frank Tolley replaced the Flemings on piano, and Reece Fleming dropped out of the band completely. He died during the 1960s. However, in 1957, Malcolm Yelvington was back at Sun hustling for another release. He made at least two sessions in 1957, now working not with Sam Phillips but with Bill Justis, a new producer Phillips had taken on. Justis was a trained musician who saw the future for a smoother kind or rock and roll than Phillips had. He encouraged Malcolm to use a different band and a different musical formula.

On this session, which produced three songs, Yelvington brought in Frank Tolley on piano and Bubba Winn on guitar, brother of the departed steel player, Miles. Justis augmented this group with members of Phillips' studio band. This first session in 1957 for Yelvington, worked up three rockballads, "Mr. Blues", "Did I Ask You To Stay", and "First And Last Love". A brooding, reflective mood was created on this session but none of the songs was quite developed to final release standard.

01 - "FIRST AND LAST LOVE" - B.M.I. - 2:32
Composer: - Louie Moore
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - July 22, 1957
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-4-17 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-3-8 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

''First And Last Love'', quite an interesting track. The instrumental backing has a surprising amount of drive and energy to it but Yelvington's vocal is decidedly laid back. In fact, it is quite a mismatch with the instrumental support. Perhaps a different lyric or a more animated vocal might have made this track a total winner. Lord knows, it comes close in many ways. The opening echoey 5-chord, repeated between verses, is riveting and the guitar track is redolent of the understated chord work on Billy Riley's ''Trouble Bound''. All in all, this track is quite a little gem.

02(1) - "MR. BLUES" - B.M.I. - 2:07
Composer: - Louie Moore
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - July 22, 1957
Released: - 2006
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16757-13 mono
MALCOLM YELVINGTON - THE SUN YEARS

Malcolm Yelvington became particularly enthusiastic about "Mr. Blues", but its progress was blocked by Bill Justis, who persuaded Phillips that this was not the song to go with. Maybe Justis preferred songs he had some commercial interest in, or maybe it was the lack of an authoritative guitar solo that made the difference. In any case, Yelvington's contract expired before the matter could be resolved and Phillips decided to drop Malcolm in favour of his younger artists.

Yelvington essay Moore's countryish ballad in his gentlest bass voice. The track's pop intension are signalled by the trip;et-wielding piano (similar to Carl Perkins's ''I'm Sorry I'm Not Sorry''). This piece of material was not the strongest in Yelvington's repertoire although the title is certainly repeated enough to 'hook' half a continent. Yelvington thought it was commercial at the time of recording.

02(2) - "MR. BLUES" - B.M.I. - 2:13
Composer: - Louie Moore
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - July 22, 1957
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-4-16 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-3-7 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

03(1) - "DID I ASK YOU TO STAY" - B.M.I. - 2:19
Composer: - Louie Moore
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - July 22, 1957
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-4-18 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-3-9 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

''Did I Ask You To Stay'', together with other material from the same period, confirms that Sun was considering Yelvington for a wider audience. The overall sound here is certainly not out of line with mid-1950s country crossover material and the surprisingly heavy backbeat might have garnered some rock and roll interest. Yelvington's vocal is a little shaky in places, as the guitar support. Had this track been worked through and perfected, then released to moderate success, Yelvington and his group might have appeared on Bandstand or played the record hops in New York. A new set of false teeth, a new rug and ol' Malcolm would have been all set for a career as the unlikeliest-ever teen idol.

03(2) - "DID I ASK YOU TO STAY" - B.M.I. - 2:20
Composer: - Louie Moore
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - July 22, 1957
Released: - 2006
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16757-14 mono
MALCOLM YELVINGTON - THE SUN YEARS

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments) 
Malcolm Yelvington - Vocal and Guitar
Bubba Winn - Guitar
Possibly Stan Kesler - Bass
Possibly James M. Van Eaton - Drums
Frank Tolley - Piano

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

JULY 1957

Magel Priesman recorded in July 1957 with a group that included a couple of veterans of Sun's rhythm and blues days, vibraphonist Onzie Horne and bassist/vocalist Wilbur Steinberg. By mid-1958, Priesman double-tracked vocal sounded unerringly like Connie Francis, who'd just leaped to the charts with ''Who's Sorry Now'', and her record suddenly found itself on the streets. A disc jockey in Charlotte, Michigan, she'd met Jerry Lee Lewis and Roland Janes when they'd toured there earlier in 1957, and she'd come to Sun of their behest.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR MAGEL PRIESMAN
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE JULY 1957
SESSION HOURS: 4:00 PM
PRODUCER - SAM C. PHILLIPS AND/OR STAN KESLER
RECORDING ENGINEER - JACK CLEMENT / ARRANGER - BILL JUSTIS

For many years, Magel Priesman was an enigma to Sun collectors. Her lone single - SUN 294 - was released in April 1958, nearly a year after it was recorded. Nobody, it seemed, had a line on the oddly named Ms. Priesman. Because her style was far removed from the qualities that attracted most Sun fans, there seemed little impetus to track her down. Fortunately, researcher Colin Escott made contact with her in time to include her story on Volume 3 of the Complete Sun Singles (Bear Family 15803). The double-tracked vocal seemed to hark back to the early 1950s sound of Patty Page.

01 - "I FEEL SO BLUE" - B.M.I. - 2:33
Composer: - Magel Priesman
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 302  - Master
Recorded: - Unknown Date July 1957
Released: - April 9, 1958
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 294-A mono
I FEEL SO BLUE / MEMORIES OF YOU
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803-2-7 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

"Memories Of You" was a lovely evocation of a lost love affair, but Sam Phillips delayed its release for almost a year, and by the time it hit the streets Connie Francis was high in the charts with "Who's Sorry Now". The passing similarity between Connie Francis' double-tracked vocal and Magel Priesman's doubletracket vocal might have convinced Sam that Magel's moment had come. Not so.

02(1) - "MEMORIES OF YOU" - B.M.I. - 2:25
Composer: - Magel Priesman
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Demo - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date July 1957
Released: - August 2002
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16609-6-22 mono
MEMPHIS BELLES - THE WOMEN OF SUN RECORDS

02(2) - "MEMORIES OF YOU" - B.M.I. - 2:35
Composer: - Magel Priesman
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 303  - Master
Recorded: - Unknown Date July 1957
Released: - April 9, 1958
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 294-B mono
MEMORIES OF YOU / I FEEL SO BLUE
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803-2-8 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

03 - ''FOR I NEED YOU'' - B.M.I. - 2:03
Composer: - Magel Priesman
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date July 1957
Released: - June 25, 2006
First appearance: - Charly Records (MP3) Internet Sample mono
ROCK CLASSICS - LIVING EYE

04 - ''TEENAGE QUEEN''
Composer: - Magel Priesman
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date July 1957

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Magel Priesman - Vocal
Roland Janes - Guitar
Unknown Bass, Drums
Jimmy Wilson - Piano
Nelson Grilli - Saxophone
Onzie Horne - Vibes

Vocal Chorus consisting of
Asa Wilkerson
Don Carter
Lee Holt
Wilbur Steinberg

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

RECORDED AT SUN, JULY 1957. MAGEL PRIESMAN'S JOURNAL  - In my biobook of Elvis was a   picture of Dewey, WHBQ, Memphis. My being a DJ. might strike interest, if I could meet him.   I hired a taxi at 9pm to take me where he was doing his "Red Hot And Blue" show, portfolio   of demo tapes under my arm. Inside, I discovered that I was at the television studio where   he did his day show. A secretary working late felt sorry I had come to the wrong place. She  phoned Dewey and told him I had come all the way from Michigan. He told her to tell   another taxi man to bring me to a certain door at WHBQ.

From left: Jerry Lee Lewis, Magel Priesman, and Roland Janes >

I went up the elevater and met Dewey. He did much showing off, and I much giggling. He   called Sam and told him about me. Sam said, "Bring her round after your show", which was   midnight. Dewey then called Dickey Lee, who he managed, he said "to kill two birds with   one stone". Dickey had met Sam before and questioned his honestly, so he wasn't number 1 on Sam's list. Dewey grabbed this chance to reacquaint Sam and Dickey, Barbara Pittman, and one of Elvis' buddies and...
 
 
...four others, came to the station, said there was a party going on at Elvis' place and they invited me along. I thanked them and told them I was going to  meet Sam that night.

Sam told me that he took a personal interest in all his artists. Carl Perkins was the most   difficult, he said. He had to stand in front of Carl and motion like a bandleader with extreme motion to keep Carl at the high peak his music called for.
It was 2:00am when Sam told me, "Come to Sun at 4:00pm to meet Jack Clement the  engineer and Bill Justis the arranger". Jack was casual, with dark blonde deep wavy hair.  Tallish and quiet. His writing talent was wrapped around the on and off relationship with his  ex-wife Doris. I noticed an affliction. He would blink his eyes, wrinkle his nose and distort  his mouth with a twist, and jerk his head side to side. I mentioned to secretary Sally  Wilbourn about how it was too bad a good looking man like Jack had this affliction. She said,  "You noticed that too? He didn't do that when he first started working here".
 
Johnny Cash and Magel Priesman >

Bill Justis was prematurely balding, round-faced and rosy color. His jive talk didn't fit his  looks. Every sentence started with, "Like, man...". His efficiency making arrangements was  so speedy, my head was in a spin watching him. Jack said that they went out in a boat and  Bill jumped into the water, down deep. Bill surfaced saying, "Like, glub", then he went down  again. Coming up he said, "Like, blub". Third time down, then up, he yelled, "Like man,  HELLLP".

 
My first recording session I met Roland Janes. Searching eyes, mild manner, patient. Later in  Grand Rapids, Michigan he was guitarist for Jerry Lee Lewis and we renewed acquaintance.  He said my record went terrific in the South. Later I wrote to Jerry Lee Lewis looking for a  record for my son. I mentioned Roland Janes, and I received a letter from Roland on his  studio letterhead in Memphis. He was so pleased someone remembered him. Told me of his  brother who was going blind and his sympathy and compassion for his brother leaped from  the paper. Roland is a most humble man.

I was staying at the Hotel Tennessee, across from the Peabody. I went into my room and a  maid was changing the linen. I said, "Go ahead, I have cards to buy, and write home". I went  outside, and people were coming from all directions. I saw a man laying face up on the  sidewalk, his head and neck sloping into the curb. I walked right up to him, my feet nearly  touching his left shoulder. His dark brown glazed eyes were open, and he was wearing  pajama bottoms only and a gold wristwatch. He had leaped from the sixth floor.

I heard someone calling, "Magel, Magel Priesman", over and over, but I was completely  transfixed by this dead man's eyes. Someone, who turned out to be Billy Riley, pulled on my  right arm toward a car. Bill Justis, his left arm covering the steering wheel, body turned  toward me, said, "What in hell happened?" I said, "I don't know". Bill said, "What the hell its  probably just another hillbilly waiting for a release".
 

JULY 23, 1957 TUESDAY

CBS-TV's ''The Spike Jones Show'' welcomes country singer Molly Bee.

JULY 24, 1957 WEDNESDAY

Pam Tillis is born in Plant Coty, Florida. The daughter of country singer Mel Tillis, she fashions a career of her own with a series of hits in the 1990s, winning the Country Music Association's Female Vocalist in 1994 and joining the Grand Ole Opry in 20.
 

JULY 26, 1957 FRIDAY

Fats Domino guests on Alan Freed's weekly ABC-TV show.

Imperial Records signs Ricky Nelson to an exclusive long term contract.

Sam and Jud Phillips and Jerry Lee Lewis flew to New York, where Jud had booked a luxure suite at the Hotel Delmonico on Park Avenue.  After a few calls, Jud Phillips got a fifteen-minute appointment with Steve Allan's manager, Jules Green, and Henry Frankel, NBC's talent coordinator. Jud and Jerry Lee walked in, and Frankel\s first question was, ''Well, Jud, what can you let me have? have you got any pictures or records?''. Jud told him no, and Frankel turned to Green and said, ''How do you like that? That's the first time we've had a salesman come in here without anything to sell''. ''The man'', recalled Jerry Lee, ''looked at Jud like he was crazy. I just sat there blowing bubblegum. This guy looked at me, and I looked at him. Finally he said, 'Okay, kid, let's see you play piano and sing'. I walked over to the piano, and this guy sat down and put his feet up on his desk like he was going to get a big laugh. The minute I started in on ''Whole Lot Of Shakin''', this guy came up out of his chair and got down behind me and just crouched down looking over my shoulder the whole time I was playing. When I finished, he said to Jud, 'I'll give you $500 if you don't show him to anyone else. And bring him back first thing morning. I want Steve to hear him.

JULY 27, 1957 SATURDAY

Bill Engvall is born in Galveston, Texas. He emerges in 1997 with the album ''Here's Your Sign'' to become a major country comic.
 

Jerry Lee Lewis at the opening at a New York Night Club, June 11, 1958 >


JULY 28, 1957 SUNDAY

Jerry Lee Lewis appeared for the first time on the NBC-TV's Steve Allen Show, one slot behind Ed Sullivan in  the ratings. Like Elvis' television appearances, Jerry's spots on the Allen show are landmarks  in the history of rock and roll. He pounded the piano, eyes fixed above with messianic  intensity.

When it came time to sing, he glared at the camera with a wild-eyed fury. "Whose  barn/ What barn/ Mah barn!" At the top of the last chorus, he kicked the piano stool back  across the stage, only to see Steve Allen send it flying back past him.

Set in the context of  the jugglers, ventriloquists, and singing sister acts that were the staples of television variety  in those days, Jerry's performance was nothing short of demonic.

 
Lewis appearance on the Steve Allen show gave "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On" the shot in  the arm it needed. Before the show, it had started to lose momentum, pegging out in the  lower reaches of the Top 30. It eventually rose to the number 1 slot on the Country and Rhythm and Blues  charts, though it was excluded from the top position on the pop charts by Debbie Reynold's  "Tammy".
Waiting for the flames >

"I took him to New York", recalled Judd Phillips, "and presented him to Jules Green, who was  managing Steve Allen, and Henry Frankel, who was talent coordinator for NBC. I took a real  gamble to see whether a mass audience would accept this man. Our distributors made sure  that every retail outlet in the United States had copies of "Shakin'"; that represented a lot of  merchandise that could have been returned".

Nashville promoter Oscar Davis was brought in to do for Jerry Lee Lewis what Colonel Tom  Parker had done for Elvis Presley. In fact, Davis had even worked as a front man for Tom  Parker. Jud Phillips was also a key figure in getting Jerry Lee Lewis off the ground.

He had  rejoined Sun at some point in late 1956 or early 1957; after falling out with Sam Phillips  again in 1958, he remained in Lewis' camp until the late 1970s in an ill-defined role based  primarily on the fact that he was one of the few able to match Lewis drink for drink.
 
 
His  flamboyance, cheery hustle, and willingness to pick up the bar tab and take care of the right  people made him a born promoter, something his brother never was.

According to Kay Martin, later successor as President of the Jerry Lee Lewis Fan Club, ''I first heard of Jerry Lee Lewis in April 1957 while reading a magazine named ''16'', which was totally dedicated to Elvis Presley. It featured pictures and an article which previously appeared in the Memphis Press Scimitar about the so-called Million Dollar Quartet. In the interim, I happened to hear ''Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On'' played on the radio one day by Alan Freed. I never heard it for a long time thereafter because it was banned. I tried to buy it, but it was unavailable. In mid-July, my friend Elaine Berman, who worked at the advertising agency for one of Steve Allen's TV sponsors, told me that she learned that Jerry would be on ''The Steve Allen Show'' on the 28th so we decided to go see the show. I made some phone calls and secured an appointment to meet Steve Allen's secretary, Doris Braverman, at the Hudson Theater where the show was performed. She was to introduce me to Jerry so I could interview him for my college newspaper''.
 


NEWSPAPER LINES - United Press Staff writer Doc Quigg reports, that headlined:  Jerry Lewis' 'Shaking' Show World  Phillips Brothers Find Another Singing Star

 
New York. - The brothers Phillips, two gents from way down yonder in Memphis, Tennessee,  who contributed Elvis Presley to world culture, are all shook up about a new boy in their  pasture.  This blond, curley-haired, blue-eyed, 21-year-old rock and roller from Ferriday, Louisiana,  who id going great guns with a two-month-old record named "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On"  and has another ready to bust out called "Great Balls Of Fire".

His name is Jerry Lee Lewis.  He plays the piano while he sings. He has sideburns but not as long as Elvis Presley.  Does he shake like Elvis? "Doesn't have to", says Jud Phillips. "When he feels like it, he just  jumps up and kicks the piano stool across the stage and plays standing up. And his legs get  real stiff. What's different about him is that he's got a beat, a rhythm, like you've never  felt".

 
Jud Phillips brought his boy into New York for his second national TV show in two weeks  while brother Sam Phillips stayed at home and tended store at the Sun Record Company,  which has sold 400,000 "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" records in two months.

Sam Phillips, the man who is given credit for discovering Presley, teaching him how to shake,  and telling him to let his hair grow, is president of the Sun Record Company, and runs an allgirl  radio station in Memphis named (WHER). Jud is national sales manager of the record  company.

They sold Elvis Presley to RCA Victor a couple of years ago, but Jud says they don't aim to  sell anymore artists to anybody - particularly not Lewis.

Lewis returned to Memphis Sunday after making several guest appearances in Kentucky and  New York. Jud Phillips came back home last week.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR JOHNNY CASH
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: POSSIBLY SUMMER 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
AND/OR JACK CLEMENT

The titles may not derive from same session or may derive from earlier sessions.

01 - "ROCK ISLAND LINE" - B.M.I. - 2:08
Composer: - Huddie Ledbetter
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - Summer 1957
Released: - 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (EP) 45rpm EPA 112-3 mono
JOHNNY CASH
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15517-2-9 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE MAN IN BLACK 1954 - 1958

02 - "WRECK OF THE OLD 97" - B.M.I. - 1:44
Composer: - Fred Jackson Lewey-Charles Noell
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 1
Recorded: - Summer 1957
Released: - November 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (LP) 33rpm LP 1220-10 mono
JOHNNY CASH WITH HIS HOT AND BLUE GUITAR
1963 Sun Records (LP) 33rpm SLP 1270 mono
ALL ABOARD THE BLUE TRAIN WITH JOHNNY CASH
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15517-2-10 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE MAN IN BLACK 1954 - 1958

03(1) – "BELSHAZZAR" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Johnny Cash
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - Summer 1957
Released: - Sun Unissued

03(2) – "BELSHAZZAR" - B.M.I. - 2:22
Composer: - Johnny Cash
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 506 - Master
Overdubbed on some pressings of LP 1275. Undubbed on Sunbox 103.
Recorded: - Summer 1957
Released: - May 1, 1964
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 45rpm standard single SUN 392-B mono
BELSHAZZAR / WIDE OPEN ROAD
Reissued: - 1998 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15805-1-24 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 5

On this side, "Belshazaar" (misprint on label as ''Belshazah'') had originally been passed over because of its religious leanings. That was just one of several bones of contention between Sam Phillips and Johnny Cash - Sun's unwillingness to give full commercial vent to Cash's spiritual side. Granted, there was one religious tune on Cash's original Sun LP, but "Belshazzar" was just a bit too much. Until the barrel had been scraped virtually clean in 1964, that is. Then it was hurriedly overdubbed with some annoyingly out of tune piano and foisted on the single-buying public. All in all, Cash entered the Sun catalogue a lot more impressively than he left in.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Johnny Cash - Vocal and Guitar
Luther Perkins - Guitar
Marshall Grant – Bass

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

The wreck of Old 97 at Stillhouse Trestle near Danville, Virginia, 1903. The photograph is believed to have been taken a few days after the occurrence of the wreck, as the locomotive, which had overturned, has been righted >

THE STORY ABOUT ''THE WRECK OF OLD 97'' - Occurred when the engineer, 33 year old  Joseph A. ("Steve") Broady, at the controls of engine number 1102, was operating the train  at high speed in order to stay on schedule and arrive at Spencer on time (Fast Mail had a  reputation for never being late).

Locomotive 1102, a ten wheeler (4-6-0) engine built by  Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia, had rolled out of the factory in early 1903, less  than a year before the wreck. After the wreck the engine was rebuilt and served for slightly  over 32 years before being scrapped on July 9, 1935.

On the day of the accident, Old 97 was behind schedule when it left Washington, DC and was  one hour late when it arrived in Monroe, Virginia. When the train arrived in Monroe, it  switched train crews and when it left Monroe there were...
 
 
...17 people on board. The train  personnel were Joseph Broady (the engineer), John Blair (the conductor), A.C. Clapp (a  fireman), John Hodge, (a fireman), and J.S. Moody (the flagman). Also on board were various  mail clerks including J.L. Thompson, Scott Chambers, Daniel Flory, Paul Argenbright, Lewis  Spies, Frank Brooks, Percival Indermauer, Charles Reames, Jennings Dunlap, Napoleon  Maupin, J. H. Thompson, and W. R. Pinckney, an express messenger. When the train pulled  into Lynchburg, VA, Wentworth Armistead (a safe locker) boarded the train so at the time of  the wreck, there were 18 men on board. Eleven of them died and seven were injured.

At Monroe, Broady was instructed to get the Fast Mail to Spencer, 166 miles distant, on time.  The scheduled running time from Monroe to Spencer was four hours, fifteen minutes, an  average speed of approximately 39 mph (62.4 km/h). In order to make up the one hour  delay, the train's average speed would have to be at least 51 mph (82 km/h). Broady was  ordered to maintain speed through Franklin Junction, an intermediate stop normally made  during the run.

The route between Monroe and Spencer was rolling terrain and there were numerous danger  points due to the combination of grades and tight radius curves. Signs were posted to warn  engineers to watch their speed. However, in his quest to stay on time, engineer Broady  rapidly descended a heavy grade that ended at the 45-foot high Stillhouse Trestle, which  spanned Cherrystone Creek. He was unable to sufficiently reduce speed as he approached  the curve leading into the trestle, causing the entire train to derail and plunge into the  ravine below. Nine people were killed, including the locomotive crew and a number of clerks  in the mail car coupled between the tender and the rest of the train.

The Southern Railway placed blame for the wreck on engineer Broady, disavowing that he  had been ordered run as fast as possible to maintain the schedule. The railroad also claimed  he descended the grade leading to Stillhouse Trestle at a speed of more than 70 mph (112  km/h). Several eyewitnesses to the wreck, however, stated that the speed was probably  around 50 mph (80 km/h). In all likelihood, the railroad was at least partially to blame, as  they had a lucrative contract with the U.S. Post Office to haul mail (hence the train's name),  the contract including a penalty clause for each minute the train was late into Spencer. It is  probably safe to conclude that the engineers piloting the Fast Mail were always under  pressure to stay on time so the railroad would not be penalized for late mail delivery.

Southern Railway's Train 97 was in another fatal accident earlier in the year of 1903. On  Monday, April 13, Train 97 left Washington, DC at 8 AM en route to New Orleans. As the train  approached Lexington, North Carolina it collided with a boulder on the track, causing the  train to derail and ditch, killing the engineer and fireman. The locomotive that was pulling  the train is unknown. Southern #1102 had yet to be delivered to the railroad at that time.
 

 
JULY 30, 1957 TUESDAY
 
Elvis' second movie and his first in color was the 1957 Paramount film 'Loving You'. Elvis Presley felt more comfortable in the role of Deke Rivers in Loving You than he had as Clint Reno since the role was based on his real-life career experiences. The musical drama opens as Deke - a truck driver with a natural talent for really belting out a song -- teams up with press agent Glenda Markle, played by Lizabeth Scott, in hopes of becoming the next singing sensation. Deke begins his new singing career as the opening act for a down-and-out country-and-western band headed by Glenda's ex-husband.
 

It soon becomes apparent that the female faction of the audience just can't get enough of Deke either on stage or off. Glenda capitalizes on Deke's sensual appeal by providing him with customized costumes and arranging publicity stunts. Deke is torn between the attraction he feels toward Glenda and the genuine affection he has for the band's lead singer, Susan, played by Dolores Hart in her film debut. When Deke discovers that Glenda has been manipulating him personally and professionally, he becomes confused and runs away. A wiser and more mature Deke returns just in time to perform at a major televised concert, which serves as his introduction to the big time. 'Loving You' was originally titled 'Lonesome Cowboy' and then changed to 'Running Wild'. Ed Sullivan referred to this title when Elvis made his last appearance on his show, January 6, 1957.

Production began on January 21, 1957 and was completed in early March. Finally, 'Loving You', the name of a song Leiber and Stoller wrote for Elvis for the movie, became the title. 

'Loving You' premiered in Memphis on July 10, 1957 at the Strand Theater. Elvis didn't go to that showing. Instead, he took his date Anita Wood and his parents to a private midnight screening. The film opened nationally on July 30, 1957 and peaked at number 7 on the Variety National Box Office Survey.

 

 
AUGUST 1957
 

 

AUGUST 1957

Roy Orbison and Claudette Frady marry in August 1957. Claudette died in a motorcycle  accident on June 6, 1966 in Gallatin, Tennessee.
 
Warner Brothers' movie poster ''Jamboree'', released in December 1957 >

AUGUST 1957

Jerry Lee Lewis was signed as a late addition to the movie "Jamboree", which was to star  Fats Domino and Carl Perkins. Originally, Alan freed was to have hosted the movie, but he  dropped out in a dispute over publishing royalties that almost certainly took longer to  resolve than it took to script and film the movie.

He was replaced by a clutch of DJs from  across the country, and even a few from Canada and overseas to ensure the widest possible  circulation. The basic premise was to cram as much music as possible into ninety minutes,  and in that at least the producers succeeded.

Jerry Lee Lewis had inherited a song from  Perkins called "Great Balls Of Fire". The idea had come from a black New York writer, Jack  Hammer, who had sold the title...
 
 
...to the movie's musical director, Otis Blackwell, in exchange  for 50 percent of the composer credit. Lewis labored for two days on "Great Balls Of Fire".

Sam Phillips knew how important it was to find a strong follow-up to a hit record: the  complete failure of Carl Perkins' follow-ups to "Blue Suede Shoes" and the relative failure of  Johnny cash's immediate follow-ups to "I Walk The Line" convinced Sam Phillips that he must  choose the material carefully and hone it to perfection.

AUGUST 2, 1957 FRIDAY

Jerry Lee Lewis appears on the ''Big Beat'' TV show hosted by Alan Freed in New York City.

The fourth episode of ABC-TV's ''The Big Beat'' is also the last for the half-hour music series from New York. The show is hosted by New York disc jockey Alan Freed, who co-wrote ''Sincerely'', set to become a country hit for The Forester Sisters in 1988. This day, Jerry Lee Lewis appear on this ''The Big Beat'' time.

Guitarist Les Dudek is born in Rhode Island. He plays on The Allman Brothers Band's 1972 hit ''Ramblin' Man'', referenced in Rascal Flatts' ''Me And My Gang'', The Eli Young Band's ''Always The Love Songs'' and Brad Paisley's collaboration with Keith Urban, ''Start A Band''.

AUGUST 4, 1957 SUNDAY

The Everly Brothers appear on CBS-TV's ''The Ed Sullivan Show'', singing ''Bye Bye Love'' and ''Wake Up Little Susie'' from New York City.
 


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR JOHNNY CASH
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: SUNDAY AUGUST 4, 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
AND/OR JACK CLEMENT

On this session Johnny Cash recorded both "Country Boy" and "Leave That Junk Alone" as demos. Both tracks find Cash accompanied by just his own acoustic guitar and they could be seen as an run-through of material he was considering for inclusion on his forthcoming debut album. You can only wonder why "Leave That Junk Alone" was passed over so many times when Sun were looking for new material to put out after Cash left the label. Despite only being a demo it is a strong song and surprising that Cash never returned to it later in his career.

01 - "COUNTRY BOY" - B.M.I. - 1:46
Composer: - Johnny Cash
Publisher: - Chappell Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - August 4, 1957
Released: - 1984
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 103-3 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE SUN YEARS
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15517-2-12 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE MAN IN BLACK 1954 - 1958

02 - "LEAVE THAT JUNK ALONE" - B.M.I. - 1:26
Composer: - Johnny Cash
Publisher: – Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1
Recorded: - August 4, 1957
Released: - 1984
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 103-3 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE SUN YEARS
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15517-2-13 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE MAN IN BLACK 1954 – 1958

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Johnny Cash - Vocal and Guitar

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 



© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR JOHNNY CASH
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: AUGUST 4, 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
AND/OR JACK CLEMENT

Johnny Cash was heavily influenced by the music of Jimmie Skinner and he recorded "Doin' My Time" a hot for Skinner back in the late 1940s. Covering two of Cash's favourite themes, trains and prisons, it was an ideal choice of material for him to record. The released version was used as the closing on Cash's only album released by Sun during his time with the label, although they would go on to release a further six albums after he signed with Columbia. In fact "With His Hot And Blue Guitar", released in September 1957, has the distinction of being the first album issued on the Sun Records label.

01(1) - "DOIN' MY TIME" - B.M.I. - 2:25
Composer: - Jimmie Skinner
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - August 4, 1957
Released: - 2007
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16325-2-7 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE SUN OUTTAKES

01(2) - DOIN' MY TIME" - B.M.I. - 2:35
Composer: - Jimmie Skinner
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - LP Master
Recorded: - August 4, 1957
Released: - November 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (LP) 33rpm LP 1220-12 mono
JOHNNY CASH WITH HIS HOT AND BLUE GUITAR
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15517-2-14 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE MAN IN BLACK 1954 - 1958

02(1) - "COUNTRY BOY" - B.M.I. - 1:46
Composer: - Johnny Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - August 4, 1957
Released: - 2007
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16325-2-8 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE SUN OUTTAKES

At this session Cash turned his attention to recording "Country Boy" with the rest of his band and his earlier work on the song paid off as he turned in a perfect country song that pays tribute to the life of a rural country boy. The alternate version featured here is almost as good as the released version.

02(2) - "COUNTRY BOY" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Johnny Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2
Recorded: - Sun Unissued

02(3) - "COUNTRY BOY" - B.M.I. - 1:50
Composer: - Johnny Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - LP Master
Recorded: - August 4, 1957
Released: - 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (EP) 45rpm EPA 112-1 (mono
JOHNNY CASH
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15517-2-15 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE MAN IN BLACK 1954 - 1958

03(1) - "IF THE GOOD LORD'S WILLING" - B.M.I. - 1:47
Composer: - Jerry Reed
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1- Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - August 4, 1957
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-11-5 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950-1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013  Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-6-26 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959
 
03(2) - "IF THE GOOD LORD'S WILLING" - B.M.I. - 1:40
Composer: - Jerry Reed
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - EP Master
Recorded: - August 4, 1957
Released: - 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (EP) 45rpm EPA 112-2 mono
JOHNNY CASH - COUNTRY BOY
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15517-2-16 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE MAN IN BLACK 1954 - 1958

03(3) - "IF THE GOOD LORD'S WILLING" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Jerry Reed
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 3
Recorded: - August 4, 1957
Released: - Sun Unissued
 
 
The legendary Hank Williams often ended his live shows with the line "If the good Lord's willing and the creeks don't rise, we'll see y'all again soon", and this was probably the inspiration behind the Jerry Reed composition "If The Good Lord's Willing". Maybe he was thinking of Hank Williams during this session as he turned his attention to the excellent "I Hear That Lonesome Whistle Blow". Three false starts are followed by an alternate version of the song.

04(1) - "I HEAR THAT LONESOME WHISTLE BLOW" - B.M.I. - 0:41
Composer: - Hank Williams-Jimmie Davis
Publisher: - Chappell Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - False Start Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - August 4, 1957
Released: - 2007
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16325-2-10 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE SUN OUTTAKES

04(2) - "I HEAR THAT LONESOME WHISTLE BLOW" - B.M.I. - 2"21
Composer: - Hank Williams-Jimmie Davis
Publisher: - Chappell Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - August 4, 1957
Released: - 2007
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16325-2-11 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE SUN OUTTAKES

04(3) - "I HEARD THAT LONESOME WHISTLE BLOW" - B.M.I. - 2:23
Composer: - Hank Williams-Jimmie Davis
Publisher: - Chappell Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 3 - EP Master
Recorded: - August 4, 1957
Released: - 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (EP) 45rpm EPA 112-4 mono
JOHNNY CASH - COUNTRY BOY
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15517-2-17 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE MAN IN BLACK 1954 - 1958

04(4) - "I HEARD THAT LONESOME WHISTLE BLOW" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Hank Williams-Jimmie Davis
Publisher: - Chappell Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - August 4, 1957
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-11-7 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959

05(1) - "I WAS THERE WHEN IT HAPPENED"* - B.M.I. - 2:14
Composer: - Jimmie Davis-R.D. Fern Jones
Publisher: - Peer Music
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - LP Master
Recorded: - August 4, 1957
Released: - November 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (LP) 33rpm LP 1220-8 mono
JOHNNY CASH WITH HIS HOT AND BLUE GUITAR
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15517-2-20 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE MAN IN BLACK 1954 - 1958
 
 
One of the final track recorded on this day was a song that they had auditioned for Sam Phillips back in 1954 when they were trying to get a deal with the label. "I Was There When It Happened" featured Luther and Marshall providing backing vocals en repeating some phrases in reply to Cash. This version is almost identical to the released version although the backing vocals appear to be more prominent. It was one of the few gospel songs that Cash recorded for Sun and based on this it is a shame that he wasn't given the chance to pursue his desire to record gospel music further.
 
 
05(2) - "I WAS THERE WHEN IT HAPPENED"* - B.M.I. - 2:17
Composer: - Jimmie Davis-R.D. Fern Jones
Publisher: - Peer Music
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - August 4, 1957
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-11-6 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-6-27 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

Johnny Cash's reasons for leaving Sun Records in 1958 included prominently among them his inability to record more gospel music. This wonderful track originally appeared on Cash's first LP in 1957, is a very notable exception. Featuring minimalist backing vocals by Luther Perkins and Marcell Grant, Cash performed this tune as part of his traveling show for years after he left Sun. It was one of the few non originals in his repertoire, further suggesting how important this particular song was to Cash.

06 - "REMEMBER ME (I'M THE ONE WHO LOVES YOU)" - B.M.I. - 2:46
Composer: - Stuart Hamblen
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - 3x FS, Complete Take 1 - LP Master
Recorded: - August 4, 1957
Released: - November 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (LP) 33rpm LP 1220-6 mono
JOHNNY CASH WITH HIS HOT AND BLUE GUITAR
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15517-2-19 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE MAN IN BLACK 1954 - 1958

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Johnny Cash - Vocal and Guitar
Luther Perkins - Guitar and Vocal Harmony*
Marshall Grant - Bass and Vocal Harmony*

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

 Dick Clark host of American Bandstand >

AUGUST 5, 1957

In August 1957, American Bandstand, a new television show broadcast out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,  featured local teenagers dancing to the new rock and roll music. The show had just ''gone national'' on the  ABC television network on August 5th. With its new young host, Dick Clark, the show aired every day at 3  p.m. for an hour-and-a-half.

Within six months of its national debut, American Bandstand was picked up by  101 stations. Soon there were about 20 million viewers tuning in, half of whom were adult. Fan letters  poured in by the tens of thousands. Teenagers came to Philadelphia from wide and far for a chance to dance  on the show.

But American Bandstand also became a place where new talent could be seen, as Clark allotted  featured spots on each show for new acts to perform their songs. ''Perform'', in this case, is a generous term  as the guest or guests typically...
 
 
...''lyp-synced'' or mouthed the words to their pre-recorded songs rather than  performing them live. They did, however, appear in person and typically sat with Clark in brief conversation,  answering his questions about their music, where they were from, what they were doing next, etc.

During American Bandstand's first national season - which ran a short five months from its August opening -  about 200 or so guests appeared. Typically, one or two acts were scheduled for each show. Among notable  guests appearing that first season, some making their television debuts, were: Paul Anka, Chuck Berry, Sam  Cooke, Bobby Darin, The Del-Vikings, The Diamonds, Buddy Holly, Johnny Mathis, Simon & Garfunkel  (''Tom & Jerry''), Andy Williams, Jackie Wilson, and others. Some guests appeared more than once that  season, including: Frankie Avalon, The Chordettes, The Everly Brothers, The Four Coins, Bill Haley & the  Comets, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Mello Kings, and Gene Vincent. A few acts in 1957 launched national and  international careers after appearing on Bandstand. Danny & The Juniors, for example, rose quickly to  national notice shortly after an early December 1957 Bandstand appearance. Their song, ''At The Hop'', rose  to the top of the music charts within weeks of their appearance.

On December 5, 1957, the Diamonds appeared with their song ''The Stroll'', which kicked off a new kind of  dance with the kids forming two lines facing each other with several yards of space between them, as dance  couples then took turns ''strolling'' down this middle aisle. Non-musical guests would also appear  occasionally, as in the case of actor Hugh O'Brian from the ABC-TV series ''The Life and Legend of Wyatt  Earp''. O'Brian appeared on the October 25, 1957 show. Some guests appeared only once and never emerged  as national stars. Among those who appeared in 1957, were artists from an older era of popular music that  continued in a period of transition to rock and roll music. A listing of many of those who appeared on  American Bandstand during its first national season appears below by show date, and when available, song  performed.

In addition to the regular American Bandstand weekday afternoon shows that aired in 1957, there were also a  series of prime time American Bandstand TV shows broadcast on Monday evenings in the 7:30-8:00 p.m.  time slot. Bill Haley & The Comets, for example, appeared on the prime time show, October 28th, 1957;  Mickey & Sylvia appeared there, November 25th, 1957. The prime time shows, 13 in all that year, were  much like the daytime show, with a bit more focus on the guests. These shows appeared to be experimental  and served to broaden the reach of Bandstand to more viewers who could not see the daytime version. Some  of these show dates are also included below. In any case, in 1957, American Bandstand - with its nationally broadcast  television dance show and a daily spotlight on new musical talent - was helping to build the  gigantic national and international business that would emerge around rock and roll music. (See also: 1956 Sun Sessions 2 / July 7, 1956).

Patsy Cline's self-titled debut album is released.

Columbia released Carl Smith's ''Why Why''.

AUGUST 5, 1957 MONDAY

Elvis Presley registers a number 1 country single in Billboard magazine with ''(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear''.

AUGUST 7, 1957 WEDNESDAY

''My Way'' songwriter Paul Anka makes his national TV debut, appearing on Dick Clark's ''American Bandstand'' on ABC.

AUGUST 10, 1957 SATURDAY

Patsy Cline performs ''Three Cigarettes In An Ashtray'' during ''Ozark Jubilee'' on ABC.

AUGUST 11, 1957 SUNDAY

Jerry Lee Lewis sings ''Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On'' in his second appearance on NBC-TV's ''The Steve Allen Show''. His record ''Whole Lot'' Sun 267 exploded, just as Jud Phillips had predicted it would, almost immediately bringing the label's overall record sales back to its previous peak of close to a million singles a quarter, a level Sun had not come close to achieving since ''Blue Suede Shoes'' had dominated the charts more than a year earlier.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR DICKEY LIPSCOMB (DICKIE LEE)
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: SATURDAY AUGUST 10, 21, 1957
OR SEPTEMBER 18, 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS,
JACK CLEMENT, STAN KESLER

Ever wonder what rockabilly sound like when it meets doo wop? Wonder no more. Singer Dickey Lipscomb   in his pre-Patches Sun mode reveals all on these sides.

''It was very spontaneous. You didn't have to watch the clock. In fact, the studio clock never worked. It   always had 4:30 on it. When we did our first AFM style session (four songs in three hours) it scared me.   When you're creating you shouldn't be tied down to a time schedule. The big thing in Nashville has always   been quantity. I'd prefer to use the whole three hours to get one quality single. ''Memories Never Grow Old''   was written by me and Stella Stevens, a movie actress from Memphis. We went to Memphis State at the   same time and we double dated once. She had a kid from another marriage and she was going out with this   football player. Anyway, the kid kept calling the football player 'Daddy' and he got scared off. Personally, my   favorite of the Sun cuts was ''Dreamy Nights''. That was pure Philadelphia''.

01 - ''MEMORIES NEVER GROW OLD" - B.M.I. - 2:15
Composer: - Dickey Lee-Camp-Staley
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 270  - Master
Recorded: - August 10, 1957
Released: - October 12, 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 280-B mono
MEMORIES NEVER GROW OLD / GOOD LOVIN'
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803-1-4 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

Dickey's sentiments need to be extended even further, because the coterie of buddies who were rounded up to   help fashion this full vocal retread of The Clovers' "Good Lovin", include Allen Reynolds, the producer   responsible for Garth Brooks' vast catalogue of global hits.

02 - "GOOD LOVIN'" - B.M.I. - 2:50
Composer: - Kirkland-Taylor-Jesmet
Publisher: - Barnhill Music Corporation - P. Maurice Music
Matrix number: - U 271  - Master
Recorded: - August 10, 1957
Released: - October 12, 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 280-A mono
GOOD LOVIN' / MEMORIES NEVER GROW OLD
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803-1-3 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

Dickey Lipscomb (Dickie Lee) >

More power to Lee and company for even knowing the Clovers' original version of "Good Lovin'" which   appeared on Atlantic in 1953. Not surprisingly, the original black version of the tune was much more   explicitly sexual; this is, after all, a song about a guy who is just overwhelmed by the boundless sexual  energy of his girlfriend.  In Lee's version, things are a tad more discreet. Musically speaking, doo-wop and  rockabilly are not oil and water, as Buddy Holly was busy proving. In fact, it is Holly's shadow more than the Clovers that hangs over these sides.

 
 
Sam Phillips continued to schedule sessions with Dickey Lee and a date   early in the following year produced one more Sun single.  In January 2002 in Nashville, Dickey Lee had nothing but heartfelt acclaim for the way in which Sun helped  prise open music industry doors during his season as an aspiring rockabilly.

 
 
  03 - "INTERVIEW DICKEY LEE" - B.M.I. - 1:05
Released: - 2002
First appearance: - Sanctuary Records (CD) 500/200rpm FBUBX002-8-10 mono
50 GOLDEN YEARS 1952 - 2002

04 - ''MEMORIES NEVER GROW OLD" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Dickey Lee-Camp-Staley
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - August 21, 1957

05 - "GOOD LOVIN'" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Kirkland-Taylor-Jesmet
Publisher: - Barnhill Music Corporation - P. Maurice Music
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - August 21, 1957

06 - "FOOL, FOOL, FOOL'' - B.M.I.
Composer: - Dickey Lee-Allen Reynolds
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - August 21, 1957

07 - ''MEMORIES NEVER GROW OLD" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Dickey Lee-Camp-Staley
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - September 18, 1957

08 - "GOOD LOVIN'" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Kirkland-Taylor-Jesmet
Publisher: - Barnhill Music Corporation - P. Maurice Music
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - September 18, 1957
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Dickey Lee - Vocal and Guitar
Allen Reynolds - Guitar
Marvin Pepper - Bass
James M. Van Eaton - Drums
Vocal Chorus
Bill Talmadge, Eddie Well, Daved Moore,
J.L. Jerden, David Glenn, Allen Reynolds

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 



© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR ERNIE CHAFFIN
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: SUNDAY AUGUST 11, 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - BILL JUSTIS

Ernie Chaffin remained an unapologetic country singer at a time when Sun was renowned as a breeding ground for rockabilly. He felt the pressure to conform, and even took some halting steps in that direction, as tracks like "Linda" reveal. But ultimately, he was as country as they came. If you want to know how he really felt about rockabilly, just listen to his fleeting attempts to discuss in the taped interview that appears below. The results couldn't be more revealing. Both times Chaffin attempts to say the word 'rockabilly' he stumbles over it. Hell, he could no more say it than sing it.

01 – "LINDA" - B.M.I. - 2:13
Composer: - Ernie Chaffin
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - August 11, 1957
Released: - 1977
First appearance: - Charlie Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30128-B-2 mono
SUN - THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 13 - ROCKABILLY SUNDOWN
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-5-10 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

On "Linda", this one probably drags Ernie closer to rockabilly than anything in his entire Sun catalogue. When interviewed in the mid-1980s, he had no memory of having recorded it. As you'll hear him say on an interview, he knew it was him, but the whole thing was blotted from memory. We don't even know who wrote the song at this point. It's not a bad track, although it is clear that the band (especially the lead guitar player) was a lot more comfortable with being assertive and bluesy than Ernie was. The guitar work really bristles and we'd love to assign credit where it's due. Unfortunately, we're stuck having to guess after all these years. Best candidate: Sid Manker.

02(1) - "I'LL WALK ALONE" - B.M.I. - 2:41
Composer: - Jules Stein-Sammy Cahn
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - August 11, 1957
Released: - 2006
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16780-11 mono
ERNIE CHAFFIN - THE SUN YEARS

"I'll Walk Alone" is a mystery. There are multiple takes in the vault and Ernie remembered they had really nailed one here. In fact, he was surprised it never was released. This version usually seen as the master (although that label is somewhat arbitrary where unissued material is involved), as well as a stunning fragment from a much bluesier alternative version below. Too bad it was never completed. In either case, there's an interesting tension between Ernie's rather bland vocal style and the edgy performance of the band. This title has been credited to Jules Styne and Sammy Cahn, but further research reveals that this "I'll Walk Alone" is not the standard recorded, for example, by Dinah Shore in 1944. So... another mystery. Same title, different song.

03 - "INTERVIEW WITH ERNIE CHAFFIN" - B.M.I. - 8:22
Recorded: - 2005
Released: - 2006
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16780-28 mono
ERNIE CHAFFIN - THE SUN YEARS

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Ernie Chaffin - Vocal and Guitar
Unknown Musicians
Other Details Unknown

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

 
From left: Dickey Lee, Allen Reynolds, Sam Cole, and David Glenn, Memphis, Tennessee >

AUGUST 1957

By this time, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash had been approached by Don Law from Columbia  Records, who proposed that both artists move to Columbia.  Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash are playing the Town Hall Party TV Show in Los Angeles this  month.

It is probably at this time that Columbia Records Approaches both artists. It is likely   that Perkins negotiated the termination on his contract at Sun, whereas Cash was forced to   fulfill his Sun contract which was due to expire in the summer of 1958.

 
 
Sam Phillips launches the Phillips International label, to be run in conjunction with Sun. He has already stopped using the Flip label. The first five PI releases come on September 23:...
 
 
...PI 3516 by Buddy Blake (''You Pass Me By''), PI 3517 by Hayden Thompson (''Love My Baby''), PI 3518 by Barbara Pittman (''Two Young Fools In Love''), PI 3519 by Bill Justis and His Orchestra (''Raunchy''), and PI 3520 by Johnny Carroll (''That's The Way I Love'').

AUGUST 11, 1957 SUNDAY

Jerry Lee Lewis appears a second time on The Steve Allen Show. This is the only time Allen  would  ever beat The Ed Sullivan Show.
 
AUGUST 12, 1957 MONDAY

Gene Vincent makes a rare television appearance on American Bandstand.

Decca released Patsy Cline's ''Three Cigarettes In An Ashtray''.

Columbia released Gene Sullivan's lone solo hit ''Please Pass The Biscuits''.

AUGUST 13, 1957 TUESDAY

Rusty Draper appears on the CBS variety series ''The Spike Jones Show''.
 


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR SONNY BURGESS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: SESSION FILED WEDNESDAY AUGUST 14, 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - JACK CLEMENT

OVERDUBBED SUN SESSION: AUGUST 14, 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - JACK CLEMENT

01 - "MY BABE" - B.M.I. - 2:02
Composer: - Willie Dixon-Walter Jacobs
Publisher: - Arc Music - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Mistitled "My Baby".
Recorded: - August 14, 1957
Released: - 1988
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30115-A-1 mono
SUN THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 8 - SUN ROCKS
Reissued: - 1991 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15525-1-23 mono
SONNY BURGESS - THE CLASSIC SUN RECORDINGS 1956 - 1959

02(1) - "SWEET MISERY" - B.M.I. - 2:11
Composer: - Jack Clement
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Undubbed Master - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - August 14, 1957
Released: - 1988
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm LP 1027-8 mono
SONNY BURGESS & THE PACERS
Reissued: - 1991 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15525-1-25 mono
SONNY BURGESS - THE CLASSIC SUN RECORDINGS 1956 - 1959

02(2) - "SWEET MISERY" - B.M.I. - 2:11
Composer: - Jack Clement
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Undubbed Master - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - August 14, 1957
Released: - 1974
First appearance: - Bopcat Records (LP) 33rpm Bopcat BLP 200-4 mono
WE WANNA BOOGIE
Reissued: - 1991 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15525-29-1-25 mono
SONNY BURGESS - THE CLASSIC SUN RECORDINGS 1956 - 1959

03(1) - "MY BUCKET'S GOT A HOLE IN IT" - A.S.C.A.P. - 1:39
Composer: - Clarence Williams
Publisher: - Pickwick Music
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - August 14, 1957
Released: - 1988
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1027 mono
SONNY BURGESS & THE PACERS
Reissued: - 1991 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15525-1-27 mono
SONNY BURGESS - THE CLASSIC SUN RECORDINGS 1956 - 1959

03(2) - "MY BUCKET'S GOT A HOLE IN IT" - A.S.C.A.P. - 2:16
Composer: - Clarence Williams
Publisher: - Pickwick Music
Matrix number: - None - Undubbed Master - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - August 14, 1957
Released: - 1991
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15525-1-24 mono
SONNY BURGESS - THE CLASSIC SUN RECORDINGS 1956 - 1959

For Sonny Burgess' third single, Burgess revived Clarence Williams' jazz hokum novelty "My Bucket's Got A Hole In It" which dated back to the 1920s. Hank Williams had made the song his own, though, and it was probably Williams' version that Sonny Burgess remembered. Sonny was the closest approximation of black Rhythm and Blues on the market, and, in a swift kick of irony, he suffered the fate of the Rhythm and Blues singer: he was covered by a white pop act, in this instance Ricky Nelson. Sonny's version was released in December 1957; Ricky recorded his in January 1958. Burgess did not even have the satisfaction of having written the song - thereby seeing some composer royalties.

04 - "WHAT'CHA GONNA DO"* - B.M.I. - 1:55
Composer: - Aghmet Nugetre
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably August 14, 1957
Released: - 1991
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15525-1-26 mono
SONNY BURGESS - THE CLASSIC SUN RECORDINGS 1956 - 1959

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Sonny Burgess - Vocal and Guitar
Jack Clement - Acoustic Guitar*
Johnny Ray Hubbard - Bass
Kern Kennedy - Piano
Jack Nance - Drums

Overdubbed Session

03(3) - "MY BUCKET'S GOT A HOLE IN IT" - A.S.C.A.P. - 2:17
Composer: - Clarence Williams
Publisher: - Pickwick Music
Matrix number: - U 280 - Master
Recorded: - August 14, 1957
Released: - December 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 285-A mono
MY BUCKET'S GOT A HOLE IN IT / SWEET MISERY
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803-1-13 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

Best known by Hank Williams, "Bucket" was taken for such a fine rockabilly ride by Sunny Burgess that fledgling rocker Ricky Nelson rushed out and recorded a cover version which revealed all his limitations as a Sun wannabee. Burgess' version is an even better record than many of us realized at the time. Discovery years later of the original undubbed track pointed out two things: first, an even more powerful and driving performance had been buried under the overdubbed chorus; second, this overdub had not been done to a poor, unwilling Sonny. He was a willing participant in the process, as we hear him shout "yeh, get going's" to 16 bars of empty space awaiting Jack Clement's overdubbed guitar solo.

02(3) - "SWEET MISERY" - B.M.I. - 2:09
Composer: - Jack Clement
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 281 - Master
Recorded: - August 14, 1957
Released: - December 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 285-B mono
SWEET MISERY / MY BUCKET'S GOT A HOLE IN IT
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803-1-14 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

Probably the less said about "Sweet Misery" the better. Having established their presence on "Teenage Queen", the shrieking Gene Lowery singers were beginning to establish their dreaded presence on Sun overdub sessions under Jack Clement's aegis. Commercially speaking, it was probably a move in the right direction, but arrangements like this were beginning to undermine the musical purity and quirky tension that had drawn fans and critics to those yellow Sun record in the first place.

 Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jack Clement - Acoustic Guitar
Stan Kesler - Background Vocals
Dianne Stephens - Vocal
Carolyn Gray - Vocal
Don Carter - Vocal
Lee Holt - Vocal
Bill Abbott - Vocal
Asa Wilkerson - Vocal

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

AUGUST 1957

Sonny Burgess record ''Ain't Got A Thing'', released in January 1957, died on the vine.   Burgess was disappointed, but there was worse in store. For his third single, Burgess revived   the old jazz hokum novelty ''My Bucket's Got A Hole In It'' that Hank Williams had made him   own in 1949. Burgess's record was further proof that he was among the closet white   approximations of black rhythm and blues on the market, and so, in a swift kick of irony, he   suffered the fate of the rhythm and blues singer: he was covered by a white pop act, Ricky   Nelson. Burgess didn't even have the consolation of having written the song, thereby seeing   some composer royalties from Nelson' version.

By this point, the Pacers started to disintegrate. The two unmarried members, drummer   Russ Smith and guitarist Joe Lewis, were let go. Jack Nance left in 1958. Smith joined Jerry   Lee Lewis's touring combo, while Lewis and Nance joined Conway Twitty's band (Nance   would later co-write ''It's Only Make Believe'' with Twitty). Burgess tried later to secure a   record deal on the West Coast without success, and returned to cut one last single for   Phillips International before joining Nance and Lewis in Twitty's road band. By the late 1960s, Sonny Burgess had come to the conclusion that he would never be able to sustain a   living from the music business, and he started another career as a salesman.

The recordings Burgess has made during the thirty years since he left Sun have never   captured the magic that he sparked there. He often sound anonymous and lukewarm, two   qualities that never come to mind when listening to his Sun output. Sam Phillips knew how   to capture the booming and assertive quality of Burgess's vocals, and his years recording the   blues gave him a feel for the dirty tone of Burgess's guitar and the Pacers' thunderous   bottom end.
 
AUGUST 15, 1957 THURSDAY

"That's Right" b/w ''Forever Yours'' (Sun 274) by Carl Perkins   and "I'm Lonesome" b/w ''Laughin' And Jokin''' (Sun 275) by Ernie Chaffin are released, along with   Sun 276, Edwin Bruce ''Rock Boppin' Baby'' b/w ''More Than Yesterday'' released.

A Nashville judge refuses to issue an injunction that would keep Brenda Lee from singing outside of ''The Ozark Jubilee''. It effectively marks the 12-year-old transfer from Springfield, Missouri to Nashville.

The Everly Brothers recorded ''Wake Up Little Susie'' at the Methodist Television, Radio and Film Commission studios in Nashville, Tennessee.

AUGUST 16, 1957 FRIDAY

Buddy Holly play New York for the first time at the Apollo Theater.

Ricky Nelson recorded the pop single ''Be-Bop Baby'', his first hit in a new recording contract with Imperial Records.

The Everly Brothers recorded ''Should We Tell Him'' in RCA's temporary Nashville studios at the Methodist Television, Radio and Film Commission on McGavock Street.

''True Love Ways'' songwriter Buddy Holly makes an unlikely appearance at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. The lineup also features Clyde McPhatter.
 
AUGUST 1957

The primal yawp of rockabilly circa 1956 was a thing of the past by the time Sam Phillips began planning his new studio in 1958. Phillips appeared to be boldly embracing the future with a bigger studio equipment for multi-track, but he never truly came to love fuller productions, written arrangements, or pop sensibility. And then, in March 1959, he missed the two guys who understood all of those, Bill Justis and Jack Clement.

Tommy Blake was always a wild card. He was the scam artist he sang about on ''Flat Foot Sam'', and an inventive country songwriter, but he was not a great singer. He knew how to make his records personable, and he picked a fabulous lead guitarist in Carl Adams, but, like ''Flat Foot Sam'', he was always in a jam. In exchange for some of the money Blake always needed, Phillips acquired the songwriting and the publishing on ''Story Of A Broken Heart''. Johnny Cash's recordings amply repaid that investment.
 

 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
It is hard to think of another artist from Sun's golden era who labored under such obscurity. Considering the fact that Tommy Blake had two, not one singles released on Sun Records, and that neither was particularly wimpy, it is curious that he remains such a nonentity. Both of Tommy Blake's singles (the other is SUN 300) were met with almost no financial or critical success and, other than their rarity, are not even prime collectables. What went wrong here?

Handwritten note on Sun's tapebox of the Tommy Blake demo recordings >

Blake worked out of Shreveport on the fringe of the country music business, and joined the Louisiana Hayride in September 1957 - around the time this single was recorded. A few months earlier he had been in town to brush shoulders with Elvis Presley on the latter's return. The details of Blake's rather tragic life and death are recounted in a recent Goldmine article by Colin Escott.
 
 
Its true that the lives of few hillbilly singers end in happy retirement, but Blake's ended worse than most when his wife murdered him.

STUDIO SESSION FOR TOMMY BLAKE
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: SUNDAY AUGUST 18, 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

01(1) - "LORDY HOODY" - B.M.I. - 2:25
Composer: - Johnny Blake-Eddie Hall-Carl Bailey Adams
Publisher: - Tree Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - August 18, 1957
Released: - 1976
First appearance: - Bopcat Records (LP) 33rpm Bopcat 400-14 mono
GOIN' BACK TO MEMPHIS

 01(2) - "LORDY HOODY" - B.M.I. - 2:25
Composer: - Johnny Blake-Eddie Hall-Carl Bailey Adams
Publisher: - Tree Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 267  - Master
Recorded: - August 18, 1957
Released: - September 14, 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 278-B mono
LODY HOODY / FLAT FOOT SAM
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802-4-26 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

"Lordy Hoody" is not a particularly good record. Recorded originally for RCA Victor (under the title "All Night Long") and relegated to the unreleased pile, Blake re-recorded the tune in slightly modified version for Sam Phillips. Ironically, the ballad side RCA Victor did release, an acoustic gem titled "Freedom", remains Blake's best recorded work. For some reason, Phillips or his studio disciples envisioned Blake as a rocker. It may have been a mistake. If you can discern the lyrics to "Lordy Hoody", you find a tale of a square old man who is at best mildly bemused by the young uns' wild music and carrying on.

Not much to get excited about here, except for Carl Adams' stinging Fender guitar work, which pushed the limits of 45rom reproduction and is pretty intense even for rockabilly fans.

02 - "FLAT FOOT SAM" - B.M.I. - 2:01
Composer: - Oscar Clara Wills
Publisher: - Hiphill Music
Matrix number: - U 266  - Master
Recorded: - August 18, 1957
Released: - September 14, 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 278-A mono
FLAT FOOT SAM / LORDY HOODY
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802-4-25 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

Tommy Blake's first Sun single "Flat Foot Sam", wasn't one of his songs. A Shreveport-area TV repairman named Oscar Wills (dubbed T.V. Slim by local music honcho Stan Lewis) wrote and first recorded it for the local Cliff Records, a label associated with Ram Records. The song was published by Ram's Hip Hill Music, and sold well enough for Chess Records to take an interest. Chess purchased the Cliff master and issued it on Checker Records before deciding that it was too ragged. They told Slim to re-record it in New Orleans and the new version was issued on their Argo label. It was a measure of Sun president Sam Phillips' faith in it that he issued Blake's version despite the fact that he didn't own the music publishing. In the studio, he paired Blake with session drummer Jimmy M, Van Eaton and a vocal group. For his part, Blake easily related to a song about a scam artist who can't win for losing: "Flat Foot Sam stole a ten dollar bill. Told the judge he did it for a thrill...". ''Flat Foot Sam" sold well enough for Sun to keep the faith.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Tommy Blake - Vocal and Guitar
Carl Bailey Adams - Guitar
Edward "Eddie Hall" Dettenheim - Bass
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums

The Singing Sons
Elijan Franklin - Vocal Chorus
John Franklin - Vocal Chorus
Andre Mitchell - Vocal Chorus
Johnny Pryor - Vocal Chorus

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 


Jimmie Rodgers Memorial Festival, May 26, 1957. From left: Myrna Lorrie, Tommy Blake, and Ed Dettenheim. > 

The Tragedy of Tommy Blake
by Shane Hughes

Tommy Blake was one of the more curious characters of the Big Beat era. He was a man with  talent, but seemed unable to channel his talent in the right direction. Instead of harvesting  the rewards he should have received for his genuine songwriting ability, he burnt too many  fingers and rubbed too many people the wrong way.

Bill Millar has said of Blake, "The records  of Tommy Blake afford a glimpse of a man of considerable imagination as well as flights of  indiscipline". He continued, saying Blake was a "headlong troublemaker" and concluded with  the lugubrious summary of his life being "-a psychodrama far cheaper than any he wrote  about".

 
 
Noted musicologist Colin Escott similarly opined, "Tommy Blake's life was a How-Not- To-Do-It manual", elaborating with the unfavorable retrospection ...

"He was one of the guys who never really made it but got close enough to know what 'making  it' was all about. Close enough to know that he wanted it badly. Some guys can give it a shot,  accept that the public doesn't want to buy what they have to sell, then move on, happy that  they at least tried. Not Tommy Blake. He couldn't accept the public's verdict with good  grace".

Tommy certainly did get close enough to being the success that he strove for. He was handed  many opportunities and, when all is said and done, he should have been firmly ensconced on  Music Row by the time of his death in 1985. He was his own worst enemy, though, as one of  the few people that was ever close to Tommy, guitarist Ed Dettenheim (a.k.a. Eddie Hall),  told me ...

Blake had talent. He could have been big but he inevitably did things that set him up for  failure. He was without a doubt the best salesman I have ever known. He could talk himself  into getting anything he wanted but would invariably keep on selling until the deal was  compromised. He knew that but could not seem to help it. My role was often to accompany  him and 'punch him' when it was time to end the hype and shut up".

There were just a handful of shining moments in Blake's long and tortuous music career.  Those few luminous moments did offer a concise glimpse of Tommy Blake's aspiring talent as  a songwriter and proved that he did indeed have a "-considerable imagination-".

Blake's beginnings proved to be a mirror image of the songs he would later write, as his  earliest years were far less than auspicious. He was christened Thomas LeVan Givens when  born illegitimately on September 14, 1931. His place of birth is speculative. Early research  by Jay Orr and Adam Komorowski indicated Tommy's birthplace as Shreveport, Louisiana. His  mother is believed t o be from Shreveport. However, more recent findings by Escott and  Millar reveal that he was actually born in Dallas, Texas. Apparently, the young Tommy never  knew his father and, due to his illicit birth, was never looked upon kindly by his mother. This  neglect seemed to instill a waywardness in Tommy's character. As he grew older and  matured, he became more of a rounder, a trait that would remain with him for the rest of  his life. During these early, formative years his abstinence first reared when he was,  according to Escott, supposedly jailed for statutory rape while in his teens. One of Tommy's  daughters from his first marriage has since denied this claim and irrefutable proof of Tommy  serving time has yet to be been uncovered.

He learned to play guitar and developed a liking for country music while he was still in  school. In 1951 he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, but never made it past boot  camp. During training in North Carolina he lost an eye and later claimed to anyone who  would listen that he sustained the injury in Korea. He did play regularly to the other enlisted  ranks before his discharge and when he eventually left the Marine Corps he settled in  Louisiana, taking up work as a performer and deejay on radio station KTBS in Shreveport.  Around 1954 Tommy married for the first time, tying the knot with Betty Jones in Carthage,  Texas. Soon after, he moved back to Louisiana, with his new bride in tow. This time he  settled in Ruston and found work at station KRUS.

Joining the Ruston station was a major turning point in Tommy's music career. He would  meet two other aspiring musicians with similar ideas to his; a chance meeting at an obscure  radio station that would present him with his first opportunity to crack the big time. These  two young musicians were the gifted guitarist Carl Adams and rhythm guitarist/occasional  bass player Ed Dettenheim. The pair had been active at KRUS as session musicians for some  time before Tommy found work there, and had first met years before. Carl Bailey Adams was  born in Rayville, Louisiana to Monroe Cleveland and Lura Elizabeth Adams on November 7,  1935. He was the last born of ten children, four of whom died at birth. His other siblings  included sisters Gladys, Myree, Genny and Vaudie and an older brother Clyde. Carl would  mature into a deeply troubled soul, more so than the irreverent Tommy in his later years.  His pain stemmed from a traumatic incident that occurred when he was only five years old  and would scar him physically and mentally for the remainder of his short life. On October  11, 1941, less than a month before his sixth birthday, his brother Clyde and his sister Gladys'  husband, Alton, were planning to go hunting and had asked their father for use of his double  barrel shotgun. Monroe retrieved the weapon, laying it on a table in the dining room of their  Epps, Louisiana home. Gladys and other members of the family were milling about the  kitchen sink, when Gladys heard her father say that he'd laid the gun on the dining room  table. When she realized that Carl and her two year old son Charles Alvis were in the dining  room, she screamed for her father to get the gun. As she did she saw that Carl had already  jammed two fingers into the barrels and her scream had startled him, causing him to jerk his  fingers out of the gun. Nobody knew that the safety was off and one shell had been loaded,  when Carl's sudden movement forced the shotgun to roll and discharge. Once the initial  shock of the blast had subsided, the scene that unfolded was of utter horror. The two fingers  Carl had pushed into the gun barrels were blown clean off his left hand. Worse still, his  young cousin, who was in the direct line of fire, had been decapitated by the blast. Carl was  devastated. He believed he was responsible for his cousin's death and the guilt would always  remain with him.

His hand was partially mended by surgery to shape his other fingers into a claw like grip so  he could grasp objects and, in an effort to prevent his left hand becoming a handicap, Carl's  mother bought him a guitar when he turned twelve. He taught himself to play the  instrument and eventually developed a technique whereby he played left-handed, with  thumb picks taped to his thumb and banjo picks taped to his little finger and holding the  guitar upside down and backwards. Totally unique and very much reminiscent of veteran  French jazz picker Django Reinhardt (whose left hand had been mangled by an accidental  fire), Carl's style of playing prevented his deformed hand from becoming an impediment,  and allowing him to create sounds that completely baffled other players and spurring Ed  Dettenheim to describe as his "screaming guitar sound".

Around this time, the pre-pubescent Carl first met future rocker Dale Hawkins while an  elementary school student in Mangham, Louisiana. The pair attended the same school and,  no doubt, shared similar interests. They struck a lasting relationship, but it would be at least  another decade before Carl and Dale would perform together professionally. Carl later  graduated to the Louisiana Technical College, where he met the man who would become his  closest friend, Ed Dettenheim.

Ed's upbringing was far less traumatic than his friend Carl's. He was born in Shreveport,  Louisiana on February 23, 1934 and took to playing drums at around the same time Carl  began learning the rudiments of guitar. By the age of 13 he was a guitarist in a teenage  band, but confessed he was not entirely proficient as a lead guitarist ...

"I learned to play left handed first and switched to right so I was never that great a lead  player. I simply could not move that pick in my right hand fast like flatpickers but I could put  harmony and rhythm to anything a picker could play. Filling in the gaps and surrounding  whatever melody one might play with supportive sound was why Blake sought me out I  suppose and why Adams and I made a unique team".

After meeting Carl at Louisiana Tech, they both gained work as session players at radio  station KRUS in Ruston. Not long after, Tommy Blake entered their world.

Contrary to previous accounts, Tommy did not form the Rhythm Rebels. As Ed clearly pointed  out, "I didn't 'join' the Rhythm Rebels. Carl and I were the Rhythm Rebels". By this stage the  duo had been working together for some time, but hadn't adopted a commercial name as  such. When Tommy joined KRUS and befriended Carl and Ed, he convinced them to become  his backing band and only on the occasions when providing support to Tommy was the band  known as the Rhythm Rebels. Carl and Ed frequently backed other KRUS acts, but not as the  Rhythm Rebels. The fourth addition to the group was a drummer by the name of Tom Ruple.  A fellow Louisiana native, Ed had known Tom since they had performed in a high school band  together. Collectively, the trio was known as the Rhythm Rebels when they hit the road with  Tommy, touring mostly around the confines of Shreveport. Ed recalls one of their first gigs in  Alexandria, a show that also boasted the prime billing of Johnny Horton, Johnny Cash and  Tommy Sands. Sands was minus his own band for the show, so the Rhythm Rebels played  behind him. For their efforts, the entire entourage was paid $200, which they were to  divide evenly amongst themselves. Hardly the star status Tommy Blake was aspiring to.

By 1955 Tommy and his band were playing further south. Following appearances on The  Ruston Hill Country Hoedown and The Big T in Texarkana, the group headed for Dallas and a  thirteen week engagement on the Big D Jamboree, topped with a ten month stint on The  Grand Prize Jamboree in Houston. This was still the small time, though. Tommy was looking  for that elusive break and it came when he and the band were invited to perform on Hoss  Logan's famed Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport. Still peddling country sounds, Tommy's  perspective soon changed when he witnessed the phenomenon that was Elvis Presley. The  Tupelo born singer had been a regular on the Hayride since late the previous year. By the  time Tommy and the Rhythm Rebels joined the show's cast, Presley's sound was still fresh  and sending larger ripples through the music industry as time progressed. Few were  unaffected by his hybrid music, least of all Tommy Blake. He was won over completely by  the new beat.

Sold on this new sound, Tommy found it easy to adapt to a repertoire of rock and roll, as did  Carl, Ed and Tom. Ed had now switched to bass after a "-twist of fate", as Ed called it, one  night on the Hayride. Carl had nurtured his abilities significantly by this time too, as is  evident on their first recordings made for A. T. Young's Buddy label in Marshall, Texas. Young  had been managing the Marshall Jamboree, aired over station KMHT in Marshall, and had  formed his own Buddy label (named after his son Noble 'Buddy' Young) a year or so earlier.  He likely became aware of Blake and the Rhythm Rebels following their appearance on  Johnny Horton's television show on KLTV in Tyler probably during the early months of '56.  Tommy was one of the first acts to record for Young and was followed closely by other  equally obscure Texas acts as Lucky Boggs, Jim Hadley, Don Boots and Joe Richie, all of  whom cut creditable rockabilly sides for Young's label. Ed recalls that the session may have  taken place at the KWKH studios in Shreveport, with Sonny Trammel brought in on steel. Tom  Ruple was conspicuously absent from the session that spawned just two titles, the first of  which proved a showcase for Carl's deft picking. The tune in question, Tommy's self-penned  Koolit, was seminal rockabilly. Carl's simple, yet robust melodic theme was complimented  superbly by Ed's propulsive rhythm. However, many may consider Koolit to be the bands
weakest and most contrived effort. In a sense, such criticism is not totally without  foundation. Lyrically, the song was pure corn. Regardless, this was the first recorded  example of Tommy Blake and the Rhythm Rebels expounding their version of the infantile  Big Beat and for this fact alone, Koolit is an important artifact. In contrast, Tommy and the  group remained loyal to their country roots for the flipside, If I'm A Fool. Issued as Buddy  107, the release wasn't the hit record that Tommy may have been hoping for. Tommy and the  Rhythm Rebels kept up their appearances on the Hayride though, with Carl and Ed even  signing to the show as regular session musicians.

When ''Koolit'' failed to set alight the popular music charts, Tommy mustn't have been too  perturbed. This was only a minor setback and his desire to make the big time was still strong  as is evident in the fact that he was fervently writing songs with Carl and Ed. Nashville was  now beckoning. Ed can still recall the day in April 1957 when he, Tommy and Carl decided to  head north to Tennessee and peddle their wares to Music Row publishers ...

"I wrote (songs) as did Blake. Together we had material galore. Carl, Blake and I loaded in an  old station wagon and headed for Nashville in search of a record deal and some publishing  contracts. Webb Pierce owned Cedarwood Publishing Co. He signed for several of our songs  as he knew (Johnny) Horton was hot to record a couple. Next day we went over to Tree  Publishing and Buddy Killen also wanted our material. He introduced us to Chet at RCA. Chet  wanted to sign us on RCA and asked us to return to Nashville a few days later to record 4  songs".

Blake's chance had arrived. Country music kingpin Chet Atkins had shown interest in the  material he had written with Carl and Ed and, better yet, he had been offered the  opportunity to record for one the country's major record corporations. The group went  home, probably overjoyed with the outcome of their foray into Nashville. Four days later  they made the return trip north, with Ed behind the wheel ...

"That session still sticks rather clearly in my mind. I was the 'designated driver' on the way  from Louisiana to that RCA session. It was around midnight and coming a rainstorm. I ran a  stop sign in a little town west of Nashville called Humbolt-never even saw the sign it was so  dark and raining so hard. The cops stopped me. We didn't have $10 to pay the speeding  ticket. I sat on a desk in the jail while Blake called Chet. Chet had to get up out of bed and  go down and wire me $10 so we could be there to cut the session that day. We were all tired  and sleepy but we made it somehow".

At two o'clock on the afternoon of April 15, Tommy and his band entered RCA's newly  constructed studio B on McGavock Street, where they were joined by a handful of Nashville's  finest session men. Carl played lead on the date, with Ed providing support on rhythm. To  bolster the rhythm section, Chet brought in Buddy Killen on bass, Farris Coursey on drums  and the ubiquitous Floyd Cramer was at the piano stool. The session kicked off with a tune  written by the trio of Blake, Adams and Hall (Dettenheim) called Honky Tonk Mind.

From the moment Carl struck the first chords of the introduction it was all too clear that the  band had matured as musicians and songwriters and, although the tune harked back to their  country roots, was a more convincing effort at recording rockabilly than their earlier Buddy  release. The lyrics were superlative and Carl's string bending was nothing short of  astounding. Next in the can was the ballad Freedom, a song that Hawkshaw Hawkins, who  was now an RCA act, would record twice for the label (his first version was cut on September  11 and remained unissued. His second take on the tune was recorded a year later on  September 8 and released as RCA 47-7389). An instrumental worked up for the session by  Carl and Ed followed (Mister Hoody), with the session closing on an aggressive note and the  first true installment of the Hoody saga, All Night Long (written in the living room of Ed's  home). Carl certainly left an indelible impression on Chet with this song. His take off solos  pierce the skull and are truly menacing. As always, Ed was filling in the gaps with a solid  rhythm. Conversely though, Tommy's vocals seemed too light for the atmosphere created by  Carl's riffs. At this stage, the trio was probably still perfecting their sound and may have  been finding it difficult to break the shackles tying them to their hillbilly beginnings.  Nevertheless, this was a solid session.

Tommy should have started counting the dollars roll in, but this was not to be. He had sold  himself out early and burnt his bridge before even reaching it. On his first trip to Nashville  with Carl and Ed the previous week, Tommy had offered Honky Tonk Mind to Johnny Horton,  who duly recorded it for Columbia on the 11th. When RCA executives heard of Horton's  version the situation rapidly deteriorated, particularly when competing music publishers  became involved. Tillman Franks, Horton's manager at the time, was more than aware of the  ensuing conflagration between RCA and Columbia and decided to rush Horton's version onto  the market (Columbia 4-40919) on April 22 under the title of The Woman I Need, with writer  credits to himself and a Cedarwood Music employee named Lee Emerson. Not surprisingly,  Tommy's version was held back by RCA. Infuriated, he invoked a lawsuit over the composer  credits to Horton's version of the song, which he eventually won. His efforts were to no  avail, though and recompense for his mistake was not forthcoming. Unwilling to continue an  association with the rogue singer, Chet was advised to issue Freedom and Mister Hoody back  to back (RCA 47-6925), then nullify his contract.

Success was close enough to touch. Carl and Ed were bitterly disappointed. Tommy had  blown it. What had gone wrong? Ever the salesman, Tommy had spread his product too wide  and found it difficult to keep control. As a result, he sold himself down the river before he  had a chance to strike gold. Ed certainly hit the mark when he said that Tommy would " -  invariably keep on selling until the deal was compromised".

Luckily, another chance for Tommy to record and take another shot at fame was enticingly  close. With Carl and Ed still in tow, he attended a disc jockey convention a few short months  after leaving RCA. Also in attendance at the meeting was renowned Memphis producer Sam  Phillips, who Tommy was fortunate enough to meet and chat with. During their conversation,  Sam may have inferred an interest in wanting to record Tommy and the Rhythm Rebels as  that Summer, the trio traveled to Memphis to solicit a recording date at Sun. Sam consented  and the group, bolstered by Sun session drummer Jimmy Van Eaton, cut a brief session. The  result was a solid reworking of TV Slim's Clif/Checker label recording of ''Flat Foot Sam'' and a  further addition to the Hoody saga with the very raw and unbridled ''Lordy Hoody'' (the term  Hoody derived from Who Dey?, itself a bastardization of Who are they?). ''Flat Foot Sam''  proved that Tommy and the Rhythm Rebels now had a firm grasp on rockabilly, while ''Lordy  Hoody'' was a perfect showcase for Carl's blistering or "screaming" guitar work. Similarly,  Tommy sounded far more comfortable with the new rhythm and blues tinged material. ''Lordy  Hoody'' was pure, lowdown rockabilly, rivaling the work of other Sun stalwarts as Jimmy  Wages and Ray Harris. Sam noted similar merit in both cuts as he chose to couple them for  release on September 14 as Sun 278.
 


Carl B. Adams >

''Flat Foot Sam'' sold reasonably well in regional markets and was Tommy's first real taste of  success, no matter how fleeting it may have seemed. Further, the records prosperity may  have instilled thoughts of greater fame in Tommy, as he returned to 706 Union early in March  1958 to record a demo session without the backing of Carl and Ed. Of the nine sides he cut  at this session, Ballad Of A Broken Heart possessed the greatest potential; a fact realized  when Johnny Cash recorded the tune just two months later on May 15 as Story Of A Broken  Heart.

Tommy may have prematurely dashed his hopes on the song becoming a hit as Sam  waited over two years to release Johnny's version of the song and when he did, he assumed  credit as the writer (Tommy may have been experiencing financial difficulty at the time and  sold the song to Sam shortly before it was released).
 
 
 
 
Only two other titles from this session  have survived (or, at least, have been located and since released), I Dig You Baby and You  Better Believe It. Both songs illustrate Tommy's creative and now tender grasp on the  teenage idiom of rock and roll, but proved to be worthy of revival a few weeks later when  he recorded his second full band session for Sun on March 16.

Carl and Ed had since parted company with Tommy. The Hayride was beginning to wind down  by 1958 and so too was the support that Carl and Ed particularly, had been showing him.  Appearing unforlorn over the split, Ed recalled that "the Hayride and personal appearances  were still receptive of Blake so Carl and I were still active, but the fire was gone and in our  mind Blake had blown it". The pair may have contributed to some of the material that  Tommy demoed at Sun in March; however, they were no longer Rhythm Rebels. Leaving the  Hayride cast, Ed returned to college (Louisiana State University) to complete a degree in  psychiatric social work. He remained active for a time, playing mostly blues on the college  circuit and recording behind various acts who breezed through the studios at KWKH. Shortly  after parting company with Tommy, Ed cut two sides for Chic Thompson's ill-fated Chic label  based in Georgia. He cut the session at RCA's studio B with Hank Garland and Chet Atkins  arranging the date. Recording only two songs, the countrified My Baby's Got A Picture For A  Daddy and the calypso tinged Little Love Light, he was robbed of a solo release when Chic  became embroiled in the Nancy Whiskey affair that followed the stateside success of Freight  Train. Ed later graduated from LSU and would go on to work prolifically for the state and as a  superintendent for various state institutions for the mentally retarded. He retired in 1986  and says, "I never quit writing or playing. I still write and I still play at least once a week. I  never played professionally again after the Hayride closed its doors and I went back to  college. I mostly play country, gospel and a bit of bluegrass today. I still play a few sessions  now and then when somebody needs my creative efforts, but it's mostly helping others demo  their material".

When the Rhythm Rebels dissolved, Carl found work with his old school friend Dale Hawkins.  He had joined Dale's band well before Tommy cut his demo session for Sun in March 1958.  Some time during the latter half of 1957, Carl headed to Fort Worth, Texas with Dale to  record at Clifford Herring's studio. When listening to the results of this impromptu session,  it's no wonder that Dale wanted Carl for his band. The high energy take of Tarheel Slim's  Number Nine Train is consummate rockabilly. So too was Carl's instrumental work out  Daredevil, which luckily still survives on acetate. Carl then followed Dale to Chicago and was  featured on a handful of his Checker cuts recorded late that year including Baby Baby  (Checker 876), Tornado (Checker 892) and Little Pig (flip of Tornado). Kenny Paulsen was  working with Dale by this time as well, and he remembers Carl and Kenny forming a  formidable pair on stage, " - when I had Kenny and Carl at the same time, we'd kill 'em! Just  knock 'em out! You talk about skinnin' it, boy!" A brief stint with Janis Joplin followed in the  mid sixties.

Not long after, Carl was gone, a victim of prescription drugs. The final years of his life were  hell. Playing long hours and too many gigs eventually took a toll on Carl's health. He became  addicted to over-the-counter drugs and on more than one occasion sort help (he had  checked himself into the Central Louisiana State Hospital late in '61), to no avail. Doctors  told him that it was not illegal to use such drugs and admitting him to hospital for  rehabilitation would prove costly. Finally, on the day before his death, Carl called his mother  from El Paso desperately pleading for help. He told her that doctors in El Paso wouldn't admit  him for rehabilitation. He managed to find the funds to purchase a bus ticket to Bakersfield,  California where his mother and sister Vaudie were residing at the time. The people who  bought the ticket for him had inadvertently purchased a ticket for Long Beach and not  Bakersfield. Carl took it anyway and was met in Long Beach by Vaudie. She was an operating  room nurse and immediately recognized the symptoms of kidney failure in her younger  brother. She drove him directly to hospital (where, ironically, his mother had been recently  admitted for pneumonia) and was whisked into surgery. He didn't pull through and died from  the effects of kidney failure on February 25, 1965. Carl was only thirty and at his peak.

Tom Ruple, the unknown third of the Rhythm Rebels, still resides in Louisiana and maintains  contact with Ed. He worked as a drummer at a club in Texarkana for quite some time after  the Rhythm Rebels folded. According to Ed, he is now involved with a group playing Christian  music, but his tenor singing voice is very much intact.

With the Rhythm Rebels gone, Tommy utilized Sam Phillips' prime house musicians in Roland  Janes, Sid Manker, Stan Kesler, Jimmy Van Eaton and Jimmy Wilson for his March 16 Sun  session. Also, Ed Bruce, who had recorded a handful of dates for Sun since March the  previous year, was added to the lineup on second guitar. Sweetie Pie* and the reworked I Dig  You Baby were the strongest cuts from this session, and sensing that the songs may have had  some teen appeal, Sam coupled them for release in June (Sun 300). Two other cuts from this  session, a revised version of You Better Believe It and an adaptation of Ray Smith's Shake  Around, remained in the can.

Tommy's second outing on Sun was far more polished than his first, in spite of Roland Janes'  presence on the record. The arrangements were certainly memorable, although Sweetie Pie  and I Dig You Baby lacked the hard edge of ''Lordy Hoody'', due primarily to the noticeable  absence of Carl Adams. Tommy's busy take on Shake Around was the only tune from the  March 16 session that possessed the same primitive nature as ''Lordy Hoody'' and ''Flat Foot  Sam''. It seems that Tommy's direction was beginning to change and, judging by the poor sales  of I Dig You Baby, he was heading the wrong way. The records lack of success was a clear  indication that Tommy Blake's talents did not lie in writing and arranging pop songs, so he  countervailed his contract with Sam Phillips and the hallowed Sun diskery and immersed  himself in the country music field.

Before leaving Sun, Tommy may have bequeathed Sam his Marine Corps pal, Jonas B. Ross  (otherwise known as Jerry or Gene). Late in 1958 or possibly early the following year, Jerry  supposedly submitted two demos to Sun, neither of which Sam saw fit to release. An  enigmatic figure, Tommy probably met Jerry while the two were enlisted in the Marine  Corps and both were based in Shreveport around the time that Tommy cut his second Sun  session. While working as head bell hop at the Captain Shreve Hotel, Jerry seems to have  struck a tentative songwriting partnership with Tommy shortly before the latter's contract  with RCA expired in '57. This speculative claim is based on the fact that Jerry co-inked I Dig  You Baby with Tommy, while both names appear erroneously as the credited writers of  Sweetie Pie, a song that Dale Hawkins first recorded in Chicago for Checker late in '57, at  least three months prior to Tommy's version hitting the market. Jerry's demos of Everybody's  Trying To Kiss My Baby and Little One that he submitted to Sun under the name of Gene Ross,  offer only sparse evidence as to the true nature of the partnership the two shared, as the  former title is the only demo since located and bares no indication of the writers responsible  for the tune. The sole clue that solidifies the affirmation of a partnership between the pair  is a seven-inch record that Jerry cut in 1959 for the Shreveport based Murco label owned by  Dick Martin and Harding Desmarais (could this be Dee Marais' real name?). The top-side of  the Murco single, Everybody's Tryin' (as by Jerry Ross on Murco 1016), is identical in every  aspect to the earlier Sun version and credits Thomas Givens and Jonah Ross as the writers.  As Givens was Tommy's given surname, it is fairly clear that the two singers did, for at least a  year or so, work together as songwriters. The flip of Jerry's Murco disc, Small Little Girl, may  be a reworking of his still missing Sun demo Little One.

Jerry wrote at least two other songs with Tommy, including Alright and a tune that Tommy  would record for Bragg in 1964 as Van Givens, titled You And I (Betty Givens was also  credited as part composer). Little else is known of Ross though, aside from a few records  that appeared under the name of Gene Ross in 1958 on Herald (the Al Silver owned label?),  Indie and Spry (a re-issue of the Indie disc) and one final release on Time in 1962. There may  exist unissued recordings by Jerry in the KWKH tape library too. Ed Dettenheim is sure that  he backed Jerry on two titles recorded at the station's studio, probably around the time he  and Carl parted company with Tommy. With Carl Adams on lead, Jerry cut a rendition of  Shadow My Baby (possibly the Glenn Barber song?) and a tune composed by Ed, Mr. Blues.  Ed's memory of the session is faint, "It was a low down blues (Mr. Blues) with Carl playing  awesome string bending walking stuff. He cut a couple more songs but I don't remember  what they were".

Still longing for that hit record and minus a record label, and even his own band, Tommy  returned to Shreveport. He supposedly worked for a time as a deejay on KWKH before  befriending a rising young talent in the country music field, Carl Belew, and forming a far  more lucrative songwriting partnership with him than his previous collaboration with Jerry  Ross. Carl had already hit pay dirt by the time he met Tommy. He was still riding high on  Johnnie and Jack's hit RCA recording of his Stop The World (And Let Me Off) (RCA 7137),  which had peaked at number seven on Billboard's country charts in February 1958. He had  also been a regular on the Louisiana Hayride since 1957 and appeared on the television  networked Ozark Jubilee in 1958. Carl knew what success felt like.

Born in Salina, Oklahoma on April 21, 1931, Carl was given his first guitar at the age of  thirteen. By his fifteenth birthday he had found work in the construction field as a plumber,  a vocation that saw him regularly traversing the mid-west. Carl frequently visited California,  where he met Kenny Sowder, a small-time entrepreneur who would eventually become his  manager. His first recordings appeared on the 4 Star custom imprint, Sowder. Further sides  were issued on 4 Star proper, while Carl was simultaneously performing on the Town Hall  Party in Compton and the Cliffie Stone Show in Los Angeles in 1956. Two years later, he had  left the Louisiana Hayride, joining the celebrated Grand Ole Opry and signing with Decca.  Around twelve months later his path crossed with Tommy Blake's when Tommy pitched his  banal Cool Gator Shoes (or Cool Alligator) to Carl. Reminiscent of his earliest attempts to pen  rock and roll, Tommy had written the song while recording sporadically at Dee Marais' studio  in Shreveport in 1958. Carl liked the song and cut his version for Decca at Owen Bradley's  studio in Nashville during the first week of June 1959. Only two months before, he had  scored a major coup when his recording of Am I That Easy To Forget became a Billboard hit,  spawning innumerable cover versions by the likes of Debbie Reynolds (number 25 Pop), Englebert  Humperdinck, Skeeter Davis, Jim Reeves, Orion, Don Gibson and Leon Russell. Trying to cash  in on Carl's good fortune, Tommy misleadingly claimed to be the song's co-writer. Posterity  proved otherwise. Tommy was clearly aware of Carl's success. His growing fame is what  Tommy had been striving for himself and he may have thought that associating and working  with a fresh and vivacious talent as Carl could relegate him the prosperity he had been  searching for the past few years. Conversely, Carl must have seen something in Tommy that  told him the budding songwriter had talent, as the duo's prolific partnership lasted into the  coming decade.

Before the year was out, Tommy took one final shot at cutting a rocker. Still based in  Shreveport and recording under the auspices of Dee Marais, Tommy waxed the superlative Folding  Money on Marais' own Recco label (Recco 1006). Acquired deviously a few years  earlier in Dallas, Tommy's F-olding Money was a Summertime Blues structured tune  possessing an infectious, rhythmic boogie beat evocative of his best recordings for RCA and  Sun. In contrast, the version Carl Belew recorded at his Cool Gator Shoes Decca date is  moderately more sublime and remained unissued until recently. Interestingly, both  recordings of the song credit Tommy, Carl and the pseudonymous W. S. Stevenson (4 Star's  Bill McCall in disguise) as the writers. A popular Texan country duo was the true genius  behind F-olding Money, but Tommy claimed it as his creation, much like he 'adapted' Dale  Hawkins' Sweetie Pie as his own. Regardless, F-olding Money and its western themed flip,  The Hanging Judge, sold poorly and Tommy was short-changed again.

The game was not over for Tommy yet, though. Working with Carl was bringing out the best  in him. While Carl continued making hit records for Decca into the new decade, Tommy was  busy putting ink to paper and rolling out one quality tune after another. The reward  eventually arrived in 1961 when Darrell Edwards expressed interest in a song the pair had  written titled Tender Years. Both Carl and Tommy could have cashed in on a superb deal, if  Tommy had only played his cards right. In need of money, he sold the song to Darrell who  wasted no time in pitching Tender Years to his pal George Jones. George was quick to cut the  tune for Mercury (Mercury 71804) under the supervision of 'Pappy' Daily, and saw a number  one country hit with it in 1961. To add to the hurt, James O'Gwynn and Reggie Lucas  recorded the song, turning it into an enticing future nest egg for Darrell Edwards.

By this stage of Tommy's life a firm pattern was beginning to emerge. He had already  cheated himself of the benefits that Johnny Horton had reaped with the success of Honky  Tonk Mind. Now, he'd cheated himself again with Tender Years and the bitterness was  growing stronger. Booze offered some solace, but the frustration would always linger. He was  determined to succeed and his partnership with Carl Belew continued for a few more years.  Tommy cut a few more records himself, as well. After waxing a disc for Chancellor in 1960  (coupling two tunes co-inked by Belew), he signed with the west coast based 4 Star label,  recording one disc for the company in 1961 (Back Door To Heaven b/w I Try Harder, 4 Star  1765). Released under the moniker of Van Givens, his 4 Star disc aired little better than any  of his previous efforts. Records followed on Bragg, Musicor and Paula through to 1967, but it  was now painfully obvious that Tommy's time had passed and there would be no more  chances.

He persevered. Feverishly writing songs on his own and occasionally with others (particularly  Clyde Pitts Jr. and Carl Belew's son, Bobby), he maintained contact with the Nashville  establishment, hoping that the elusive hit would soon arrive. Stonewall Jackson's 1967 chart  topping Columbia recording of the Blake/Belew composition Stamp Out Loneliness (Columbia  43966, number 5 Billboard) ensured the royalty cheques, however minimal, were still arriving.  However, to help further support his family, Tommy found work as a carpenter during the  early seventies. His alcoholism was getting worse, though and in 1972 he suffered a heart  attack. Colin Escott claims Tommy and his family was living in Carthage, Texas at this time  and in 1976, he moved to Nashville. Whether Betty and any of his six children followed is  another matter. He'd sworn off the booze after his heart attack in '72, but he wasn't  completely reformed. In his work, Tattooed On Their Tongues, Escott vividly depicted how  Tommy had reached his lowest ebb, "Like a dice player, Blake was looking for the win so high  and wild that he would never need to roll again. This time nobody wanted to listen, though,  and Blake ended up in Georgia without Betty. There he met Samantha, and they moved to  Shreveport". Escott's portrayal of Tommy's supposed self-destruction should not be taken too  literally. According to Sondra Hall, a close friend of Tommy's second wife 'Samantha' (her real  name was actually Luvenia Carter), the newly wedded couple lived briefly in Tyler, Texas  before moving to Bossier City, not far from Shreveport. While Tommy had resumed his  alcoholism, he wasn't the drug abuser that Escott depicted him as. Further, Tommy was no  wife-beater and tried to be the model husband to his wife, "Samantha was treated like a  queen. Van (Tommy) received a military disability pension along with royalty payments, but  Samantha was never satisfied with the money he brought in".

While he may have felt some resentment for not seeing the success he so desperately  wanted, he wasn't dwelling over his failures either. Sondra continues, "He was writing and  home-recording song after song. He was in contact with performers, notably Ray Stevens and  happier than he had been in years". She went on to outline how she had three ninety minute  cassettes of songs Tommy had written and primitively recorded in a one month period!  Escott's claims of Tommy's demise are completely unfounded, too. He stressed how Tommy  was virtually a wreck from alcohol and drug abuse, in addition to his total depression. He  also presented the assumption that Tommy's behavior towards Samantha is what caused his  death. Sondra disagrees and recollects the events of that fateful Christmas Eve in 1985 ...

"Samantha had been to the grocery market that afternoon - buying food with illegally applied  for food stamps. Ursula and Tamara, her daughters went with her. Van was at home with her  cousin Dale and they were playing music and maybe even talking about the "truckstop" tape  of nasty lyrics Van had taped & sold to buy Christmas for his family. He (had) bought Sam a  pair of diamond earrings. Sam & the girls returned home, not to a trailer park, but a  beautiful 4-bedroom Florida style home with master suite opening to a patio. Van was  drinking beer with Dale. Neither of the men would help with the groceries and this pissed  Sam off. Dale left, and Sam began to argue with Van. She slammed out of the kitchen, went  into the garage, where she had her office-unlocked the door, got her pistol, went out the  garage door across the patio, entered the master bedroom, got the bullets and loaded the  gun and went back to the garage. She called Van out there and he approached her with his  hands behind his back. He asked her Not to be mad and reminded her it was Christmas Eve.  He held out a small jewelers Box to her and said, 'These are for you'. She shot him. One  time-thru the heart. He was dead before he hit the garage floor".

Samantha was never indicted for murdering her husband. Why the charges against her were  dropped may never be known either. As Sondra observed, Tommy was "-happier than he had  been in years". What spurred Samantha to cut him down and end his life so coldly? From all  accounts, Samantha (she had assumed the moniker and Social Security number of her oldest  daughter to avoid paying debts) seemed shadier than Tommy had ever been. Maybe she had  a sinister motive for wanting to kill her husband. Surely, such a minor grievance wouldn't be  sufficient reason for murder? The truth will probably remain a mystery. As for Tommy, he  was cheated for the last time. Samantha made sure of that.

After thirty years of chasing his ambitions, Tommy failed to achieve what he wanted so badly  - to write a - number one country hit that he could spend his retirement reaping the  benefits from. He had enough chances, let them slip away at the last moment, then stood by  and watched as others benefited from the prosperity that should have been his. He may not  have always been legitimate in his business dealings, but he did have the desire to succeed  and genuine talent. Similarly, he could have easily become the star he envisioned, but he  always seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and never knew when to keep his  mouth shut.

Whatever is said about Tommy's integrity is no longer relevant, as the standard of his music  can never been altered. Nor can it really be faulted. He was a talented songwriter. His own  recordings illustrated that and, thankfully, he wrote and recorded enough quality material  for his name to remain in the limelight long after his passing. In hindsight, maybe Tommy did  finally achieve his ultimate goal.

ACKNOWLEGDEMENTS

The author expresses sincere thanks and appreciation to Ed Dettenheim and Sandy Lee for  their tireless assistance. Without their invaluable recollections, the life of Tommy Blake (and  many of the other players involved in Tommy's story) could not be fully told. Gratitude is  also extended to the following people for their help, Tapio Vaisenan, Sondra Hall, Terria  Givens Allen, Dale Hawkins, Brian Poole, Dave Penny, Dave Sax, Frank Frantik, Cees Klop,  Johan Lofstedt, Joe Wajgel, Dick Grant, Michel Proost and Alasdair Blaazer.
 


AUGUST 19, 1957 MONDAY

Jerry Lee Lewis performs ''Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On'' on Dick Clark's ABC-TV show ''American Bandstand''. The episode also features an appearance by future country producer Jimmy Bowen.

''Prime Time Country'' host Gary Chapman is born in DeLeon, Texas. A Christian singer, he writes T.G. Sheppard's hit ''Finally'' and Kenny Rogers' ''I Prefer The Moonlight'' and becomes the first husband of Amy Grant.

Decca released Kitty Wells ''(I'll Always Be Your) Fraulein''.

AUGUST 21, 1957 WEDNESDAY

The USSR Launches the first Intercontinental ballistic missile. On October 4, The USSR launches the First artificial satellite Sputnik 1. November 3rd The USSR launches the Second artificial satellite Sputnik 2 carrying the First animal in space (a dog named Laika). On January 31, 1958, the United States launches the first US satellite Explorer 1. Over the next few years the USSR and The United States continued to advance the technology, but the crowning glory of this period of history has to be the successful landing of a man on the moon by the United States on July 20th 1969 when Neil Alden Armstrong becomes the first person to set foot on the Moon.  Sputnik 1 is often quoted as the beginning of the Space Race, but in all truthfulness the Space Race began in Germany in World War II, and following the defeat of Germany, American, Soviet and British governments all gained access to the V-2's technical designs and the German scientists responsible for creating the Guided missile rocket technology ( Used in World War II, V-1 flying bomb nicknamed the Doodlebug and the V-2 rocket which was a single stage ballistic missile used against Great Britain ) The technology provided the beginnings of mans quest for space exploration.
 

 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR JERRY LEE LEWIS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: WEDNESDAY AUGUST 21, 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
AND/OR JACK CLEMENT
 
1(2) - "YOU WIN AGAIN" - B.M.I. - 2:55
Composer: - Hank Williams
Publisher: - Acuff-Rose Music Publishing - Hiriam Music
Matrix number: - None - Chatter - Undubbed Master
Recorded: - August 21, 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released: - January 1983
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 102-4-A3 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS - THE SUN YEARS
Reissued: - September 1989 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15420-2-27 mono
CLASSIC JERRY LEE LEWIS - THE DEFINITIVE SUN RECORDINGS 1956 - 1963 
 
On what was probably the same date Jerry Lee revisited ''It All Depends (Who Will Buy The Wine)'', a more commanding example which was already ''in the can'' pending its overdubbing with a vocal chorus and unveiling on his first LP. This rather inconsistent recording, unreleased until now, suffers from some of the failings that are manifest on the several takes of ''I Forgot To Remember To Forget''; it appears as though those involved couldn't quite get to grips with either song on this occasion.(*) 
 
2(2) - "IT ALL DEPENDS'' -  B.M.I. - 3:04
Composer: - Billy Mize
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Undubbed Master
Matrix number: - None -  Unknown Take
Recorded: - August 21, 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released: - October 2015
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17254-3-30 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS AT SUN RECORDS THE COLLECTED WORKS

Several takes of ''I Forgot To Remember To Forget'' were attempted during this August 1957 session, though none of them are totally successful, with Jerry and he band attempting to find the right key, rhythm and tempo. All takes remained unissued until at least the 1980s. Far superior is the February 1961 version, recorded in Nashville at the same session that produced the hit versions of ''What’d I Say'' and ''Cold Cold Heart''. Surprisingly this wasn’t released until 1974, via Charly's ''Rare Jerry Lee Lewis Volume 2'' compilation. Incidentally, this has never been issued in true stereo on CD, though it was available on the Sun International ''Roots'' LP in 1981, but not the CD reissue! 
 
3(1) - "I FORGOT TO REMEMBER TO FORGET" - B.M.I. - 2:19
Composer: - Charlie Feathers-Stanley Kesler
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - 4 False Starts
Recorded: - August 21, 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released:  - January 1983
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 102-4-A2 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS - THE SUN YEARS
Reissued: -  October 2015  Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17254-3-31 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS AT SUN RECORDS THE COLLECTED WORKS

3(2) - "I FORGOT TO REMEMBER TO FORGET" - B.M.I. - 2:35
Composer: - Charlie Feathers-Stanley Kesler
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Chatter - Unknown Take
Recorded: - August 21, 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released: - January 1983
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 102-4-A2 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS - THE SUN YEARS
- October 2015
First appearance: -  Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17254-3-32mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS AT SUN RECORDS THE COLLECTED WORKS
 
 3(3) - "I FORGOT TO REMEMBER TO FORGET" - B.M.I. - 2:36
Composer: - Charlie Feathers-Stanley Kesler
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - False Start - Unknown Take
Recorded: - August 21, 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released: - April 1993
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/22rpm Sunbox 4-8-15 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS - THE ULTIMATE - THE SUN YEARS
Reissued:  - October 2015
First appearance: -  Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17254-3-33 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS AT SUN RECORDS THE COLLECTED WORKS
 
3(4) - "I FORGOT TO REMEMBER TO FORGET" - B.M.I. - 2:25
Composer: - Charlie Feathers-Stanley Kesler
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Unknown Take
Recorded: - August 21, 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released: - March 1987
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CD Charly 70-19 mono
RARE AND ROCKIN'
Reissued:  October 2015
First appearance: -  Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17254-3-34 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS AT SUN RECORDS THE COLLECTED WORKS
 
3(5) - "I FORGOT TO REMEMBER TO FORGET" - B.M.I. - 0:31
Composer: - Charlie Feathers-Stanley Kesler
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - False Start
Recorded: - August 21, 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released: - October 2015
First appearance: -  Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17254-3-35 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS AT SUN RECORDS THE COLLECTED WORKS
 
3(6) - "I FORGOT TO REMEMBER TO FORGET" - B.M.I. - 2:36
Composer: - Charlie Feathers-Stanley Kesler
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Unknown Take
Recorded: - August 21, 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released:  - April 1993
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/22rpm Sunbox 4-4-2 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS - THE ULTIMATE - THE SUN YEARS
Reissued:  - September 1989  Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15420-2-26 mono
CLASSIC JERRY LEE LEWIS - THE DEFINITIVE SUN RECORDINGS 1956 - 1963

''I Forgot To Remember To Forget" is a country song written by Stan Kesler and Charlie Feathers. It was recorded at Sun Studio on July 11, 1955, by Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, Bill Black, and Johnny Bernero on drums, and released on August 20, 1955, along with "Mystery Train" (Sun 223).

It was rereleased by RCA Victor (47-6357) in December 1955. Moore's guitar had a Nashville steel guitar sound, and Black played a clip-clop rhythm. Elvis sang a brooding vocal. This is the closest the trio came to a traditional country song while at Sun.

The song reached the Billboard national country music chart number 1 position on February 25, 1956 on the Billboard Country &Western Best Sellers in Stores chart, and remained there at number 1 for 2 weeks, and spent 5 weeks at number 1 on the Billboard Country &Western Most Played in Juke Boxes chart. The record reached number 4 on the Billboard Most Played by Jockeys chart. It was the first recording to make Elvis Presley a national known country music star. The song remained on the country charts for 39 weeks. The flip side of this release, "Mystery Train", peaked at the number 11 position on the national Billboard Country Chart.

Jerry Lee Lewis recorded the song on August 21, 1957 and on February 9, 1961. Composer Charlie Feathers has also recorded it. The Beatles covered this song once for the BBC radio show, ''From Us To You'', on 1 May 1964, which was included on the Live at the BBC compilation in 1994. Johnny Cash covered and released this song in 1959 on the Sun LP ''Greatest!'' and on the album The Survivors Live in 1981. Chuck Jackson, Ral Donner, Robert Gordon, Johnny Hallyday, The Deighton Family, Hicksville Bombers, and Wanda Jackson recorded this song as well. Chris Isaak also covered this song on his 2011 album, Beyond the Sun.

The song is referenced in the Modest Mouse song "A Different City", on their 2000 album The Moon & Antarctica. The name of this song also appears as a quest in the video game Fallout: New Vegas where the Courier and Boone defend a small settlement from a full-scale attack while dealing with Boone's regret over a massacre that took place at that same settlement.

THE STORY ABOUT ''OOBY DOOBY''  – In February 1955, Wade Moore and Dick Penner    composed "Ooby Dooby", in fifteen minutes on the roof of the frat house, but nothing   happened even when Roy Orbison recorded the song. That demo was sent to Don Law, a   Columbia Records representative, in vain with "Hey, Miss Fanny" as B-side. However, Roy   Orbison and The Teens Kings keep faith on the song and they will often perform it on stage.   Soon Weldon Rodgers, himself a great singer, wanted to set a up session in Norman Petty's studio in December 1955. "Ooby Dooby" b/w "Tryin' to Get to You" was issued on JE-WEL 101.

 That label was named from the first letters Jean Olivier (daughter of Weldon's label   associate) and Weldon. The record was manufactured in Phoenix, Arizona and, in spite of   good sales, Roy Orbison was still lookin' around for fame and fortune on a major label.

At last, Roy's demo record came between the hands of Sid King and The Five Strings who   recorded the song for Columbia, on 5th March 1956. The session in Dallas and worked fine.   One month earlier, as the same band had covered Carl Perkins "Blue Suede Shoes". Sam   Phillips should have watching for them next record. In spite of the JE-WEL contract, Sam   Phillips took on Roy and his band. A battle followed in court and the JE-WEL contract was   cancelled as not signed by Roy's folks because he was still underage. The JE-WEL records had  to be released from the records shops too. That's now a real rare record often gets  bootlegged. So be aware if you are looking for one vintage copy.

On March 27, 1956, a Roy Orbison's session was at 706 Union Avenue. Sam Phillips was   disappointed by the result and gave a phone call to Weldon Rogers in order to buy the JEWEL   master. Weldon asked for a so high price than Sam Phillips issued what he got on the   Sun 242. In June 1956, "Ooby Dooby" climbed to number 59 in Billboard's Hot 100 and   quickly sold over 500.000 copies. Some covers followed, the better being recorded by  rockabilly Queen Janis Martin for RCA records. The "Ooby Dooby" success led Sam Phillips to    sign Dick Penner and Wade Moore on his label.
 
 4(1) - "OOBY DOOBY" - B.M.I. - 1:57
Composer: - Wade Moore-Dick R. Penner
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Unknown Take
Recorded: - August 21, 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released: - July 1974
First appearance: - Sun International (LP) 33rpm 6467 029-A3 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS - ROCKIN' AND FREE
Reissued: - September 1989 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15420-2-25 mono
CLASSIC JERRY LEE LEWIS - THE DEFINITIVE SUN RECORDINGS 1956 - 1963

Around this time Jerry Lee Lewis twice romped through Ray Orbison's ''Ooby Dooby'', on the first run suggesting, some half-a-minute in, that you might ''wiggle all night'' while in the second the warning was ''you'll be jumping all night''; the reference to shaking like a rattlesnake, immediately following the solo in the first cut, didn't make it into the successor.(*)


4(2) - "OOBY DOOBY" - B.M.I. - 1:57
Composer: - Wade Moore-Dick R. Penner
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Unknown Take
Recorded: - August 21, 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released: - January 1974
First appearance: - Sun International (LP) 33rpm NY-6-A6 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS - COLLECTORS EDITION
Reissued: - October 2015  Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17254-4-2 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS AT SUN RECORDS THE COLLECTED WORKS
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jerry Lee Lewis - Vocal and Piano
Roland Janes - Guitar
Unknown - Bass
Otis Jett - Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 



© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR BILL JUSTIS & SID MANKER
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: THURSDAY AUGUST 22, 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - BILL JUSTIS
AND/OF JACK CLEMENT

Not wanting to lose the momentum of "Raunchy", Sam Phillips was quick to issue yet another follow-up after "College Man" did its kamikaze imitation. This one was closer to what the doctor ordered. It didn't really make anybody rich, but it did re-establish some credibility for the label and the artist. 

01 - "THE STRANGER" - B.M.I. - 2:30
Composer: - Bill Justis
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - P 314 – Master - Roger Fakes and The Spinners
Recorded: - August 22, 1957
Released: - February 1958
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 78/45rpm standard single PI 3522-B mono
THE STRANGER / COLLEGE MAN
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15805-3-14 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 5

In truth, nobody had a clue how to follow-up the unexpected hit record of "Raunchy". Whatever the formula might have been, this wasn't it. Who in their right mind believed any disc jockey, especially those looking for successor to "Raunchy", would have gotten beyond the first four bars of "The Stranger"? Maybe Justis' moody 1940s alto work might have intrigued some, but that choral work and the whistling would have put an end to any serious attention.

02 - "COLLEGE MAN"* - B.M.I. - 2:26
Composer: - Bill Justis
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - P 313  - Master
Recorded: - August 22, 1957
Released: - February 1958
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 78/45rpm standard single PI 3522-A mono
COLLEGE MAN / THE STRANGER
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15805-3-13 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 5

"College Man" was clearly the side earmarked for spins, but it, too, has lost the feel and intensity of the original. Some of the same ingredients are here (Otis Jett's drumming is a standout), but the tune lacks the musical originality of "Raunchy". Worse yet, that stinging guitar break after Justis' sax solo is just awful. Two bars of that kind of strident playing might have had some impact, but to ride it this long simply enters the realm of fingernails on a chalkboard. What is most damning is that Justis' vision of a "college man" seems to have come from watching reruns of 1940s musicals with Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland. Thirty year old adults were dressing up and acting like their fantasy of college kids. Campus life in 1957 had very little to do with the image painted by Bill Justis on this record. Not surprisingly, this two-sided miscalculation crashed and burned so quickly that another "follow-up" was issued barely a month later in 1958.

03(1) - ''WILD RICE'' – B.M.I.- 2:01
Composer: - Bill Justis
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - P 319  - Master
Recorded: - August 22, 1957
Released: - March 1958
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 78/45rpm PI 3525-A mono
WILD RICE / SCROUNGIE
Reissued: - 1998 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15805-3-19 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 5

On this recording, "Wild Rice", plows different ground. It comes much closer to the 1940s (even 1930s) big band era that was close to Justis' heart. This tune is inspired, if not lifted, very carefully mind you, from Ralph Flanagan's 1953 pop hit "Hot Toddy".

03(2) - ''WILD RICE'' – B.M.I. - 2:26
Composer: - Bill Justis
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take with Count-In
Recorded: - August 22, 1957
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 106-12-4 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE ROCKING YEARS - RAUNCHY
Reissued: - 2006 Charly Records (MP3) Internet Sampler-1 mono
BILL JUSTIS - SELECTED HITS
 
 04(1) - ''SCROUNGIE (VILLE)'' - B.M.I. - 1:59
Composer: - Bill Justis-Sid Manker
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - P 320  - Master
Recorded: - August 22, 1957
Released: - March 1958
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 78/45rpm PI 3525-B mono
SCROUNGIE / WILD RICE
Reissued: - 1998 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15805-3-20 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 5

For one thing, after "Raunchy" we expected a title like "Scroungie". And we expected a straight ahead rocker featuring some weird country-rockabilly-sounding guitar mixed with slightly flighty, barely in-tune sax breaks. In many ways, Bill Justis was the first guy to take his sax to a country hoedown.

04(2) - ''SCROUNGIE (VILLE)'' - B.M.I. - 2:07
Composer: - Bill Justis-Sid Manker
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - August 22, 1957
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 106-12-6 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE ROCKING YEARS - RAUNCHY
Reissued: - May 27, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17313-8-19 mono
THE SUN ROCK BOX 1954 - 1959

 Name (Or. No Of Instruments)
Bill Justis - Tenor Saxophone
Sidney Manker - Guitar
Sid Lapworth - Bass
Otis Jett - Drums
Jimmy Wilson - Piano
Jamieson Bryant - Saxophone
Bill Riley - Vocals*
Band Chorus

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

AUGUST 22, 1957 THURSDAY

Holly Dunn is born in San Antonio, Texas. The 1987 winner of the Country Music Association's Horizon Award, the singer/songwriter emerges on MTM Records for a short run as a hitmaker, earning membership in the Grand Ole Opry in 1989.

Alternate-country singer/songwriter Duane Jarvis is born in Astoria, Oregon. Among his efforts is ''Still I Long For Your Kiss'', a song Lucinda Williams covers for the soundtrack to ''The Horse Whisperer''.
 
AUGUST 23, 1957 FRIDAY

Buddy Holly and the Crickets guest on Alan Freed's ABC-TV show.

AUGUST 26, 1957 MONDAY

Buddy Holly and the Crickets appear on American Bandstand.

Liberty Records sends its new recording artist Eddie Cochran out to Cleveland, Detroit,  Chicago and St. Louis.

Universal Pictures announces the signings of Fats Domino, the Dell Vikings and the Diamonds  to do cameos for the rock and roll picture "The Big Beat".

Decca released Bobby Helms' ''My Special Angel''.
 

 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

This was a session for Norman Petty
The session is published on the Sun vaults priority has been given to historic content.

STUDIO SESSION FOR ROY ORBISON
AT NORMAN PETTY RECORDING STUDIO FOR JE-WEL RECORDS 1957

NORMAN PETTY STUDIO, CLOVIS, NEW MEXICO
206 NORTH MAIN STREET, CLOVIS, NEW MEXICO
JE-WEL SESSION: MONDAY AUGUST 26, 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - NORMAN PETTY

01 - "A TRUE LOVE GOODBYE" - B.M.I. - 2:20
Composer: - Roy Orbison-Norman Petty
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - August 26, 1957
Released: - 1974
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 6467 028-15 mono
SUN ROCKABILLYS - VOLUME 3
Reissued:  - 2001 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16423-2-20 mono
ROY ORBISON - ORBISON 1955 - 1966

02 - "AN EMPTY CUP" - B.M.I. - 2:19
Composer: - Roy Orbison-Norman Petty
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Original Issued
Recorded: - Probably August 26, 1957
Released: - 1991
First appearance: - Je-Wel Records (LP) 33rpm Je-Wel 13011/12 mono
ROY ORBISON - HILLBILLY ROCK
Reissued: - 2001 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16423-3-21 mono
ROY ORBISON - ORBISON 1955 – 1966

03 - "CAT CALLED DOMINO" - B.M.I. - 2:06
Composer: - Roy Orbison-Norman Petty
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably August 26, 1957
Released: - 1991
First appearance: - Je-Wel Records (LP) 33rpm Je-Wel 13011/12 mono
ROY ORBISON - HILLBILLY ROCK
Reissued: - 2001 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16423-2-22 mono
ROY ORBISON - ORBISON 1955 - 1966

Roy had seen stardom fade as fast as it had come. If he was to go out rocking, it would have been better to release ''Cat Called Domino'' A moody, atmospheric rocker, ''Domino'' probably wouldn't have been a hit, but was arguably the finest recording Roy made at Sun?.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
The Teen Kings consisted of
Roy Orbison - Vocal and Guitar
Johnnie Wilson - Guitar
James Morrow - Electric Mandolin
Jack Kennelly - Bass
Billy Pat Ellis – Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

AUGUST 27, 1957 TUESDAY

Bill Anderson writes ''City Lights'' on the roof of the Hotel Andrew Jackson in Commerce, Georgia.

AUGUST 30, 1957 FRIDAY

Buck Owens holds his inaugural recording session for Capitol Records at the label's studio in Los Angeles.

The Maddox Brothers and Rose conduct their final recording session at Radio Recorders, 7000 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, California.

AUGUST 31, 1957 SATURDAY

After 25 years in the same location, WSL' ''National Barn Dance'' emanates from Chicago's Eighth Street Theater for the last time. The show lasts three more years.

Roy Clark marries Barbara Joyce Rupard.
 

 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR CLIFF THOMAS, ED & BARBARA
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: SATURDAY AUGUST 31, 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - BILL JUSTIS
AND/OF JACK CLEMENT

UNKNOWN TITLES

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Cliff Thomas - Vocal & Guitar
Ed Thomas - Vocal & Piano
Barbara Thomas - Vocal
Stan Kesler - Bass
Otis Jett - Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

 
Johnny Cash & The Tennessee Two  at Town Hall Party Country Show, 1957 >

AUGUST 31, 1957 SATURDAY

Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins playing on the Los Angeles TV/Radio show ''Town Hall Party''.  Backstage, they were approached by Columbia's debonair expatriate Englishman, Don Law,  who inquired whether either artist would be interested in singing with Columbia at the  expiration of their contracts with Sun Records.

The meeting had been set up by Bob Neal through California booking agent Stew Carnall when the two of them played the Town Hall Party equivalent of the Louisiana Hayride, (with a three-hour live television broadcast every Saturday night). They met with Law later that night at the home of Town Hall stars Lorrie and Larry Collins, the seventeen- and fourteen-year-old sister-and-brother act billed as the Collins Kids. Stew Carnall, who had become a half partner with Bob Neal in Johnny Cash's management contract and would marry...
 
 
...Lorrie Collins at the beginning of the new year, seems to have been the catalyst, though there is little question that Neal saw this as an opportunity to move up in the world of television and movie entertainment with his principal client, Johnny Cash, leaving Memphis and a meddlesome partnership with Sam Phillips far behind.

Both said they would, but Carl Perkins still  had a year.  The discussions proceeded surreptitiously, and Johnny Cash eventually signed a  Columbia contract on November 1, 1957, to commence August 1, 1958.
 
 
Blissfully unaware of  this, Sam Phillips prepared Cash's - and Sun's first album, launching it in November at the  annual Disc Jockeys Convention in Nashville. At the same function two years earlier, Sam  Phillips had been so desperately short of money that he had put his prize asset, Elvis  Presley's contract, on the auction block.
 

 
SEPTEMBER 1957
 

 
SEPTEMBER 1957

ANNOUNCING A NEW WORLD OF ENTERTAINMENT add reads:

If you're in any way connected with the music business, you're no doubt heard about Sam C.   Phillips, perhaps met him. Sam is his own best press agent - personable and friendly. He gets   around, makes a good impression, and for years he's been telling the Sun story. Now -   someone else is getting a change to tell the story. This account is biased only in that - I like   Sam and I believe in Sam, almost as much as Sam believes in Sam.

"Dynamic" is the key word in the 34-year life-to-date of Sam C. Phillips. For Sam, life has   been an adventure - market by change, change, change. At times hard, but never boring.   Home to Sam was Florence, Alabama, a rather humble but happy household with eight   children and "the finest Mother anybody ever had".

Like so many intellectually inclined persons, Sam took an intense interest in religion in his   early years. Sam says at one time he wanted to be a minister, but it was one of those heroic   young dreams which never was realized. We may surmise, however, that this reflective,   genuine spiritual inclination has shaped and still influences the record world's Sam C.   Phillips. radio is the route Sam elected to follow after graduating from high school. He was a   good radio man - engineer, announcer, production supervisor, what-have-you. He made the   leap to recording in 1950 - but that's a story for pages to come.

Sam's appearances is like his manner - informal and relaxed. Office attire means sport shirt,   loafers, and loud sox to Sam His blue eyes are humorous and his tongish hair is brown - and   all the girls think he's the greatest.

Sam says, "You don't have to figure me out. I'm the simplest man you ever met". And those   who meet him casually can do that. He is honest, straightfolward, even-tempered,   congenial. However, spend some time with him, and you'll observe that he was a mind that   gathers, sorts, and assimilates facts like an IBM machine; a powerful will that pushes right   through to its goal looking neither to the left nor to the right; tenacity like a snapping turtle;   and a strong, strong self-confident that likes challenge above all things.

And I said - I like Sam Phillips. You probably would, too, for there's a lot there to like.

Federal troops are sent to Little Rock, Arkansas, to escort nine black students to Central High   School, enforging integration of the public schools.
 

SEPTEMBER 1957

Johnny Cash has throat surgery in Memphis, and ceases touring until mid-October.

Jerry Lee Lewis' "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" is in the National Top 10 while holding the   number one spot on both the Country and Rhythm and Blues charts.

Sam Phillips launches the Phillips International label, to be run in conjunction with Sun   Records. Certainly, Phillips International releases were being recorded in the same tiny   magic studio at 706 Union Avenue. And even if some of the artist names were initially   unfamiliar, weren't those the same backing musicians playing on Phillips International as on   Sun Records. But what about the label itself. Gone were the bright yellow sun rays, not to  mention the rooster of 78rpm days. In their place was a subdued blue map of the world  (with most of Europe and all of Asia conspicuously missing). Even with these geographic   distortions, there were plainly bigger aspirations here. This was an international   corporation, or so the label suggested. Actually, the fine print on the bottom of the label   restricted its reach to New York, Memphis and Hollywood. Hardly international, but still   bigger than just Memphis.

That was the problem. Who needed another record company from New York or California?   There were plenty of those large, characterless corporations. We wanted a small, regional   label that exuded irreverent energy and marched to its own drummer (preferably J.M. Van   Eaton). In essence, we wanted Sun Records! If Phillips International was willing to provide   more of those, then fine. We'd make allowances for the tepid looking label. But if this was   going to be a way of selling out using a Memphis address, then we wanted no part of Phillips   International? And so Sun fans took a wait-and-see attitude in the fall of 1957.

In truth, if there was a corporate philosophy or musical direction in that first batch of five   Phillips International releases, it was hard to detect. They were, to put it bluntly, all over   the map. Two of them might have fit in with what Sun was releasing in 1957. Two of them   were plainly mellow poppish affairs that any true Sun fan would disdain, and one, an   instrumental, was hard to figure. Was it big band rockabilly? Needless to say, we now know   that the unclassifiable instrumental by Bill Justis was the one to take the nation by storm   and provide Phillips International with a massive hit almost as soon as it came into being.
As for whether a particular corporate philosophy ever guided the Phillips International   label, its really anybody's guess. On more than one occasion Sam Phillips expressed a   concern that disc jockeys and distributors would only give a certain amount of attention to   each label. If a package of sic Sun 45s came into a radio station, maybe only three or four   of them would get a serious listen before the dee-jay or program-director moved on to the   packages from Atlantic, Chess, Liberty and RCA. If two or three of those singles happened   to be by Johnny Cash or Jerry Lee Lewis, that made it even harder for a new or second   tier Sun artist to get a break or some airplay. By splitting releases between Sun Records   and Phillips International, Sam Phillips believed he was giving his artist (not to mention,   his copyrights) a better shot at fame and fortune. Whether or not Phillips International   was to represent a "softer", more commercial sound (as opposed to the backporch   rockabilly increasingly associated with Sun Records) is - with 40 years hindsight - still   unclear. Certainly, there was more pop music issued on Phillips International than Sun. But, then, just as you were ready to write off the Phillips International label as an uptown   sellout, they would issue something to turn your head around and drag you back into the   fold.
 
SEPTEMBER 1957

Hayden Thompson's "Love My Baby"/"One Broken Heard" in the first batch of releases on the   newly-lauched Phillips International disc, the instrumental "Raunchy" by Bill Justis, started   to become a major hit. The Sun?Phillips promotional campaign swung Justis, good as "Love   My Baby" was.
 


SEPTEMBER 3, 1957 TUESDAY

THE SAM C. PHILLIPS INTERNATIONAL LABEL...
The Sam C. Phillips International label is the latest outgrowth of an idea. The idea man was  this fellow, Sam, that we've been talking about, and the idea was two-fold:

(1) to develop new talent and (2) to bring universal acceptance to the country and race  music which a majority of people either shunned or furtively enjoyed when there was no  one around to take note.


When Sun Record Company was organized, it began solely as a colored rhythm and blues  operation. This was fine for awhile.

Then, Sam began to be obsessed with the idea, "if I  could just find a white man that sings like a Negro". That man finally came along, Elvis  Presley. Sun launched him, then sold his contract, and the rest is common knowledge.

 
Sun has also launched other unknowns with notable success: Carl "Blue Suede Shoes"  Perkins; Johnny "I Walk The Line" Cash; and most recently, Jerry Lee "Whole Lotta Shakin'"  Lewis.

These kids, and that's the only term for the foursome just mentioned, have been the living  realization of the "unknown talent" part of Sam Phillips' dream. Just turn on the radio, check  the top 40 tunes, and the answer to the second part of the idea is waiting for you. Rock and  roll not only carries no stigma, its the hottest thing out since sliced bread.

Now comes Sam C. Phillips International, a label which will devoted also to the development  of new talent. Many of the earlier releases will be rock and roll; future plans call for a wide  variety of music, including standard pop and jazz. Four artists are featured initially, and the  recordings of each will have an individual "sound", a production element which Sam Phillips  personally and constantly looks for, produces, and insists upon in any record. International  releases of Phillips International records is the objective of the new P.I. label, not only good  from a business standpoint, but also because the Phillips people believe that music is the  international language, can make friends, bridge the geographical and cultural barriers, and  perhaps promote a bit of international understanding. Who knows? Maybe so!

This whole story, the "why" and "how" that Memphis became the rock and roll capital of the  world, is largely Sam's story. To his dynamic personality and intense drive it can be largely  attributed. And yet, there are so many people who have played the supportive roll. Brother  Jud Phillips, sales and Promotion Director of Sun and Phillips International, a man behind the  scenes, but a powerful factor nonetheless. Sally Wilbourn, Girl Friday to Sam. Regina Reese,  promotion writer specializing in artist activities. Bill Justis, music director. Jack Clement,  Engineer. And many others who have played significant parts in P.I's development.

If you wonder, who is the author of this article, and wherein lies authority to speak, may I  say that I am in no way affiliated with Sun or Phillips International. Neither am I a relative. I  am friend, critic, observer, and more than anything else, one of the great public to which  the record company at 706 Union owes its almost unbelievable success.

Sam Phillips' Phillips International adds below reports:
HAYDEN THOMPSON

Hayden Thompson joins the ranks of young rock and roll recording artists with his Phillips  International disc, "Love My Baby" b/w "One Broken Heart".

Hayden is 19 years old and hails from Booneville, Mississippi. Answering random questions,  Hayden says concerning his career: "I've had a guitar as long as I can remember... My Mamma  and daddy are my biggest boosters.

He says on happiness, "Sure, I'm happy. But I'd be a lot  happier if I could sell a million records". On the success of rock and roll he says, "The world  was just run down and tired, and rock and roll put it back on its feet".
 
Billy Riley's band backs up Hayden on the disc, Jerry Lee Lewis' pumping piano is heard on  "Love My Baby". "One Broken Heart" is a Hayden Thompson tune. Here is a rock and roll singer whose enthusiasm and easy manner of putting over a song are  going to take him far. Meet Hayden Thompson!
BARBARA PITTMAN

Barbara Pittman makes her debut on the Phillips International label with two sides that are  different in mood, yet both sure to be popular with the young, record bying public these  days.

The first is a ballad, "Two Young Fools In Love" - and Barbara sings it with genuine feeling and  tenderness. The flip side really rocks - "I'm Gettin' Better All The Time".

Barbara aspires to follow in the footsteps of another Memphis songstress, Kay Starr. Barbara's  voice has been compared to Kay Starr's - husky, emotional, and vibrant.
 
 "Sweet and Sultry" - that's the intriguing Miss Pittman. The nickname "Tiger" fits her  perfectly - because of her tawny hair and an easy, catlike way of moving. Listen to her, and  see if you don't agree that the future looks definitely bright for this talented 19-year-old.
BUDDY BLAKE

The name of Buddy Blake has appeared on major records labels, although this is his first  release for Phillips International.

Both sides of Buddy's current release are ballads - the kind of song that fits Buddy's "tender  tenor" voice. The titles are "You Passed Me By" and "Please Convince Me".

Although its been quite awhile since Buddy was a teenager, he has a feel for youthful music  and is popular with the younger set. Perhaps he's hep because he has training on the home  scene" he's father of two high-school-aged children.

Buddy has had a fascinating and varied career. In addition to many show business stints  (including guest appearances on major TV networks), he pitched pro ball with the Detroit  Tigers farm system. His home is in Memphis.

Here he is, ladies and gentlement - Buddy Blake.
BILL JUSTIS

"Raunchy" by Bill Justis will be a hit, or all the people at Phillips International will miss a  strong bet. This tune is strictly rock and roll, but with a fresh approach by bandleader Justis.

Backing "Raunchy" is "The Midnite Man", with vocal by Roger Fake and The Spinners.

Bill Justis is a veteran in the music field, although he's only 30. As music director of Sun  Records Co. and Phillips International, Bill can take credit not only for recordings in his  name, but for production on other releases.
 
Although Bill plays rock and roll on his P.I. introductory disc, he also likes to play Dixieland  and modern jazz. Bill is the quiet type basically - devoted to his wife and daughter. He says  he went to all lengths to avoid a career in music (we don't know why!) - even to getting a B.A  degree in English. But here he is, with the newest and most unique record company in the  country, Phillips International! Bill's music is sure to please the record lovers of America.


UNKNOWN DATE SEPTEMBER 1957

Billy Riley and The Little Green Men performed at Municipal Airport, Jonesboro, Arkansas,  for the Craighead County Fair. The Fair is operated by a board composed of members of the  Jonesboro Jaycees and the Craighead County Farm Bureau.

SEPTEMBER 1, 1957 SUNDAY

Chet Atkins becomes the manager of RCA's Nashville operations when Steve Sholes is appointed to run the label's pop division.

Elvis Presley performs at Seattle's Rainier Ballpark. In the audience is future rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix.

SEPTEMBER 2, 1957 MONDAY

Drummer Joe Porcaro has a son, Steve Porcaro, in Hartford, Connecticut. Two years after Dad plays on the Glen Campbell hit ''Southern Nights'' Steve emerges as a member of the rock band Toto.
 
Decca released Webb Pierce's double-sided hit single ''Holiday For Love'' and ''Don't Do It Darlin'''. 

Candence Records released The Everly Brothers' ''Wake Up Little Susie''.

SEPTEMBER 3, 1957 TUESDAY

Jim Reeves recorded ''Anna Marie'' during a late-night session at the RCA Studios on McGavock Street in Nashville.

Columbia released Marty Robbins' ''The Story Of My Life''.

The Mello-Kings appear on "American Bandstand".

SEPTEMBER 4, 1957 WEDNESDAY

Jerry Lee Lewis files for divorce from his second wife, Jane, accusing her of adultery and cursing in public.
 
The National Guard on the order of Governor Orval Faubus is used to prevent nine African American students from entering Central High School in Little Rock and shortly after Federal troops charge defiant protesters with fixed bayonets to ensure nine African American Students can attend Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas. During September of 1957 nine African-American students enrolled at Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas, a formerly all-white school, in what was one of the most important moments during the early Civil Rights Movement. Known as the “Little Rock Nine,” Carlotta Walls, Elizabeth Eckford, Ernest Green, Gloria Ray, Minnijean Brown, Terrence Roberts, Melba Patillo, Thelma Mothers, and Jefferson Thomas were encouraged by the Arkansas NAACP to be the first determined students to integrate the school. The nine students attempted to enter the school on the first day of classes on September 4, but were blocked by the National Guard as ordered by the Governor, Orval Faubus. Later in the month, the National Guard was removed and the nine students attempted to enter the school again while escorted by police and were successful in entering the building. However, violence broke out within the crowd of protesters upon their entrance and the students were told to leave as the school administrators were worried for their safety. 5. Two days later President Eisenhower ordered federal troops to escort the students and they were able to complete their first full day of school on September 25th. Of the nine, eight students successfully completed their first year of school at the newly desegregated Little Rock Central High School. They faced harassment and attacks throughout the year. Minnijean Brown had been expelled during the year after she had retaliated against an attack by white students. Ernest Green became the first black student to graduate from Little Rock Central High School in May of 1958. After the school year had ended the Governor of Arkansas ordered Little Rock high schools to be closed as the state grappled with the issue of integration. The schools remained closed until August of 1959.

SEPTEMBER 5, 1957 THURSDAY

Elvis Presley recorded ''Blue Christmas'' to begin three days of sessions for his first holiday album. Elvis also cuts ''Treat Me Nice''. The session are held at Radio Recorders, 7000 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, California.

Studio session for Jerry Lee Lewis at Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee.
 


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR JERRY LEE LEWIS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: SEPTEMBER 5, 10, 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
RECORDING ENGINEER - JACK CLEMENT

Jerry Lee Lewis virtually lived in the Sun studio during 1957. To our benefit, the tapes appear to have been rolling continuously. Ostensibly, he was working on his forthcoming LP, but the truth is he was a virtual encyclopedia of the kind of music Sam Phillips loved best, and was turning the pages as the tapes rolled. 

1 - "WHY SHOULD I CRY OVER YOU" - B.M.I. - 2:33
Composer: - Zeke Clements
Publisher: - Hill and Range Songs Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Unknown Take
Recorded: - September 5, 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released: - January 1983
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 102-4-A7 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS - THE SUN YEARS
Reissued: - September 1989 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15420-3-2 mono
CLASSIC JERRY LEE LEWIS - THE DEFINITIVE SUN RECORDINGS 1956 - 1963
 

''Why Should I Cry Over You'' recorded here by Jerry Lee Lewis was written by Zeke Clement and was an American country musician and songwriter often dressed in a Western outfit. He was known as "The Dixie Yodeler." 

Clements was born on September 6, 1911 near Empire, Alabama. In 1928, his career began when he joined Otto Gray and his Oklahoma Cowboys touring show and was signed to the National Barn Dance at WLS in Chicago. In 1930, he performed on WSM Grand Ole Opry for the first time. In 1933, he became a member of the Bronco Busters, led by Texas Ruby. Zeke Clements and The Bronco Busters became members of the Opry in the 1930s. In the 1930 and 1940s, Clements appeared as a singing cowboy in several of Charles Starrett's B-Westerns. During this time, he also provided the voice of Bashful, the yodeling dwarf, in Walt Disney's ''Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs'', 1937 film. 

Clements formed the Western Swing Gang and returned to the Opry in 1939. His first songwriting success was with the World War II saber-rattling "Smoke On The Water" in 1944. The song was recorded by Red Foley in 1944 and became the number 1 country recording of 1945. Clements also wrote the big Eddy Arnold hits "Why Should I Cry'', "Just a Little Lovin' (Will Go a Long, Long Way)" and "Somebody's Been Beatin' My Time''. Also in 1945, he started Liberty Records in Southern California. It was later renamed Blazon Records. After a short stint on the Louisiana Hayride in the later 1940s, he appeared on several radio stations in the South. In the 1960s, he moved to Florida and joined a Dixieland band as banjo player. Zeke Clements died in Nashville, Tennessee in on June 4, 1994.

2(1) - "I'M FEELIN' SORRY" - B.M.I. - 2:36
Composer: - Jack Clement
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Unknown Take
Recorded: - September 5, 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released:  - April 1993
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/22rpm Sunbox 4-10-30 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS - THE ULTIMATE - THE SUN YEARS
Reissued:  - October 2015
First appearance: -  Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17254-4-4 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS AT SUN RECORDS THE COLLECTED WORKS 
 
Despite having already recorded what proved to be the master, there may well have been a determination that a better version of the song might be secured using the ''clavi-chord'' sound set up, for inclusion alongside ''Mean Woman Blues'' on the planned EP (''The Great Ball Of Fire'', Sun EP 107). No fewer than ten further stabs at ''I'm Feelin' Sorry'' ensued but, at the last, Sam seems to have decided that the best of the earlier takes had the most worth after all. The results of the ''clavichord'' session reflect an understanding of the song that isn't so apparent in the first installment. Jerry Lee Lewis exhibits many frills in his playing, with more variety in the instrumental breaks and slight changes to the vocal which suggest that he's keen to find some way of distinguishing one take from the next; hesitating here, stretching a vowel there. The solos become steadily more assertive as the session progress. And yet the drumming reflects no great enthusiasm; whoever has the sticks, and it's not thought to be Jimmy Van Eaton, sleepwalks through their work here when compared to the effort made on the earlier recordings of the song. Jerry Lee himself also seems to be frustrated by tunning issues with the piano and eventually his pounding of the keys sounds almost aggressive. Despite there being no discernible use of the guitar on these ''clavichord'' takes of ''I'm Feelin' Sorry'', there is an understanding that Roland Janes was in the studio at the time. This is supported by the fact that the instrument is to be heard on the less than impressive run-through of ''Why Should I Cry Over You'', the only other title that flaunts the ''clavichord'' effect and which, it is reasonable to assume, dates from the same session.(*)
 

  2(2) - "I'M FEELIN' SORRY" - B.M.I. - 2:36

Composer: - Jack Clement
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Chatter - Unknown Take
Recorded: - September 5, 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released: - March 1987
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CD Charly 70-7 mono
RARE AND ROCKIN'
Reissued: - October 2015
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17254-4-5 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS AT SUN RECORDS THE COLLECTED WORKS

2(3) - "I'M FEELIN' SORRY" - B.M.I. - 2:36
Composer: - Jack Clement
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Unknown Take
Recorded: - September 5, 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released: - October 2015
First appearance: -  Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17254-4-6 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS AT SUN RECORDS THE COLLECTED WORKS
 
 2(4) - "I'M FEELIN' SORRY" - B.M.I. - 2:37
Composer: - Jack Clement
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Unknown Take
Recorded: - September 5, 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released: - January 1983
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 102-4-A4 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS - THE SUN YEARS
Reissued: - September 1989 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15420-2-30 mono
CLASSIC JERRY LEE LEWIS - THE DEFINITIVE SUN RECORDINGS 1956 - 1963

2(5) - "I'M FEELIN' SORRY" - B.M.I. - 2:39
Composer: - Jack Clement
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Unknown Take
Recorded: - September 5, 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released:  - April 1993
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/22rpm Sunbox 4-11-2 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS - THE ULTIMATE - THE SUN YEARS
Reissued: - October 2015  Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17254-4-8 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS AT SUN RECORDS THE COLLECTED WORKS

2(6) - "I'M FEELIN' SORRY" - B.M.I. - 2:31
Composer: - Jack Clement
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Distorted Unknown Take
Recorded: - September 5, 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released: - October 2015
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17254-4-9 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS AT SUN RECORDS THE COLLECTED WORKS
 
2(7) - "I'M FEELIN' SORRY" - B.M.I. - 2:30
Composer: - Jack Clement
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Distorted Unknown Take
Recorded: - September 5, 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released: - October 2015
First appearance: -  Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17254-4-10 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS AT SUN RECORDS THE COLLECTED WORKS
 
2(8) - "I'M FEELIN' SORRY" - B.M.I. - 2:32
Composer: - Jack Clement
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Unknown Take
Recorded: - September 5, 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released: - October 2015
First appearance: -  Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17254-4-11 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS AT SUN RECORDS THE COLLECTED WORKS
 
2(9) - "I'M FEELIN' SORRY" - B.M.I. - 2:28
Composer: - Jack Clement
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Unknown Take
Recorded: - September 5, 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released: - October 2015
First appearance: -  Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17254-4-12 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS AT SUN RECORDS THE COLLECTED WORKS
 
2(10) - "I'M FEELIN' SORRY" - B.M.I. - 2:32
Composer: - Jack Clement
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Unknown Take
Recorded: - September 5, 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released: - October 2015
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17254-4-6 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS AT SUN RECORDS THE COLLECTED WORKS
Released: - October 2015
First appearance: -  Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17254-4-13 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS AT SUN RECORDS THE COLLECTED WORKS
 

The next track "Mean Woman Blues" is a 12-bar blues song written by Claude DeMetrius. It was first recorded by Elvis Presley as part of the soundtrack for his 1957 motion picture, Loving You. Presley also released the song on Side 2 of a four-song EP record. The Elvis Presley version of "Mean Woman Blues" went to number 11 on the rhythm and blues charts.

Jerry Lee Lewis recorded a version of the song on Sun Records which was released on September 1957 as part of an EP, ''The Great Ball Of Fire'' (Sun EPA 107). Lewis also recorded his version of the song on the 1964 live album ''Live At The Star Club, Hamburg'' with The Nashville Teens. The song was also featured as the B-side to the UK release of his hit "Great Balls of Fire" (London 8529). Jerry Lee Lewis' version differed significantly lyrically from the Claude DeMetrius version as recorded by Elvis Presley. Roy Orbison's 1963 recording used the lyrics from the 1957 Jerry Lee Lewis version.

In 1959, Cliff Richard and The Shadows recorded a studio version on their Cliff Sings album. 1950s rockabilly artist Glen Glen from Los Angeles recorded a version of this song for England's Ace label which was released on the album "Everybody's Movin' Again" (Ace CDCH 403) using the same musicians from his 1950s Era records.

In 1963, the song was recorded with "Blue Bayou" as a 45rpm single by Roy Orbison that went to number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 music charts. The Roy Orbison version was based on the 1957 Jerry Lee Lewis recording. The song was recorded by The Spencer Davis Group on their album ''Autumn '66'' with Stevie Winwood on lead vocals. Jay and the Americans released a cover version of the song on their 1969 album, ''Sands of Time''. Although the song was written in the mid-1950s, many similarly titled though different songs with the same theme had emerged decades previously. These include "Jimmie's Mean Mama Blues," a Jimmie Rodgers composition covered also by Bob Wills, Moon Mullican's "Mean Mama Blues," and Ernest Tubb's "Mean Mama Blues''.

 
 3 - "MEAN WOMAN BLUES" - A.S.C.A.P. - 2:23
Composer: - Claude DeMetruis
Publisher: - Gladys Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - EP Master
Recorded: - September 10, 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released: - September 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (EP) 45rpm EPA-107-A1 mono
THE GREAT BALL OF FIRE
Reissued: - September 1989 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15420-2-32 mono
CLASSIC JERRY LEE LEWIS - THE DEFINITIVE SUN RECORDINGS 1956 - 1963
 

''Mean Woman Blues'' stands apart as a consummate performance, there being no outtakes or enduring evidence of any rehearsals. The other ''thumb tack'' recordings, of ''Why Should I Cry Over You'' and ''I'm Feelin' Sorry'', are looser, and far from perfect; the regrettable lack of any ''tasters'' of Lewis's definitive interpretation of ''Mean Woman Blues'' may well signify that it was recorded on a separate occasion, a few days later, with evidence of any run-throughs perhaps having been dispensed with once the surviving tape had been mastered and copies despatched to the pressing plants. Or maybe Jerry Lee simply cut it in one unsurpassable take. (*)


 Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jerry Lee Lewis - Vocal and Piano
Unknown - Guitar
Sidney Manker - Bass
Otis Jett - Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

SEPTEMBER 1957

Hayden Thompson was one of the artists released on the initial pressings of Phillips International but who,   unfortunately, never became a household word. The interview Barbara Barnes had with him for the pamphlet   she wrote for the label's debut and learned he was from Booneville, Mississippi, just down the road apiece   from Barbara's home in Corinth. He said to her that he, like Jerry Lee Lewis, had sold eggs his mother   accumulated from raising chickens in order to finance his first trip to Memphis. He found studio sideman   work at Sun through playing the clubs with Billy Riley's band. He had high hopes for his first record, but it   fizzled. The second time Barbara recall encountering Hayden concerned a moment when he and Jack   Clement come close to blows.

The band wasn't there, it was just Hayden alone at the microphone going through some tunes, trying with   Jack Clement to work up something for his session. The guys said that Jack sometimes liked to goad   musicians to make them do their best, and don't know if that was his strategy that day or what. Anyhow, he   must have said something Hayden took exception to, because what heard coming out of the mike was   Hayden shouting, ''Ain't no son of a bitch in short pants gonna talk to me that way''.

Hayden was referring to Jack Clement's Bermuda shorts, a rare costume for men in the mid-South in those   days, and certainly not one you'd see in a place of business. Jack was in what they called his ''Dr. Livingston''   period, with a safari helmet to match the pants. According to Barbara, ''I rushed out of my office and through   the studio partly out of curiosity and partly in hopes my sudden appearance would forestall physical blows.   Hayden quieted down, and soon they were working on songs again''.

The only other time Barbara Barnes heard of Jack's almost getting into an altercation with a musician   concerned Billy Riley. It had to do with one of Jack's efforts to attract the opposite sex. Jack had been   married and divorced (a pretty lady named Doris was his ex) in June 1957, and he was thinking a lot about   girls. Sam Phillips had driven up one day with a head of wavy bright blond hair, a striking change from his   normal brown color. So Jack decided to go blond, too. His transformation was actually more effective, as the   bleach job was more subtle. He was also considering growing his hair long. ''Chicks dig long moss'', he told,   though, as time went on, he didn't let his hair grow nearly as long as Sam did his.

On the other hand, when he decided his nose wasn't his most attractive feature, he did something about it.   Elvis had a nose job and had paid for his friend, the sleek and voluble George Klein, to have an elegant new   nose, too. They thought Jack's nose was fine, a good Gallic nose as befit his ancestry. But he went in for   plastic surgery, and when Regina Reese and Barbara Barnes visited Jack in the hospital, they found him   swathed in bandages over much of his face. When they came off, he looked fine, but couldn't tell much  difference.

It was the nose job that was the focus of the narrowly averted fight with Billy Riley. The pugnacious Riley   took offense at something Jack said during a session and charged into the control room for a fight. Jack   backed off. ''No, man. My nose, watch my nose''. It had barely had time to heal, and Jack was terrified that   the surgical efforts would be destroyed.

Besides being the day-to-day musical contact that the Sun musicians looked to, some of them depended on   Jack for their nighttime entertainment. Jack had an apartment not far from the studios where he welcomed   the musicians to ''orgies'' which when heard them described seemed to be more like frat parties. The girls   weren't privy to many details, but the events seemed to involve some drinking and adolescent pranks, such as   jumping into the pool from the roof. Jack Clement and various others in the Sun crowd had motorcycles, and   they have heard that the guys, even Elvis in time past, sometimes went for nude bike rides. Nudity seemed to   be a big thing. Roy Scott, dignified lawyer though he was, attended one of the parties and reported seeing   Jerry Lee Lewis sitting atop a refrigerator in the altogether.

An accumulation of annoyances and complaints from other tenants moved the landlord to decide he no   longer required Jack as a tenant. Far from being nonplussed, Jack Clement considered being evicted some   kind of accomplishment and proudly showed a copy of his eviction letter. Then he got a house far from   Union Avenue and asked Barbara to help him shop for furniture, which she enjoyed doing. At that point,   Jack's role as party host toned down considerably.

On many Sunday nights, he still joined up with George Klein and other friends but to go to East Trigg baptist   Church, which reserved an area in the back of the church for young whites who came regularly to drink in   the sounds of the church's spirited gospel singers and musicians. The Reverent Herbert Brewster, who sang,   wrote songs that had been million-sellers, and preached the gospel, presided over a black congregation that   indeed could make a joyful noise.
 

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

On the strength of his Phillips International record, Hayden Thompson went into the Sun studio again in the fall of 1957. He was armed with two good songs and a lot of hope. Roland Janes led a slightly different version of the Riley band on this September session which produced passable versions of "Don't You Worry" and "Congratulations To You, Joe", although neither was quite a finished master.
 
 Hayden Thompson >

Not only was this career best recording passed over, it escaped its rightful heritage due to the master tape being misfiled. Rather that the artist taking on what would have been an unlikely pseudonym, the tape box apparently referred to a Sid Watson, who had no involvement in the session.

Beyond Sun, Hayden made his way to Chicago where he cut a custom 45 for the dimestore BEAT label, whilst further sides appeared on Profile and Arlen.

 
 STUDIO SESSION FOR HAYDEN THOMPSON
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: POSSIBLY FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 6, 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - JACK CLEMENT

Thompson himself confirmed it, as indeed does aural evident. Thompson believes that "Don't You Worry" and one other title were recorded at Hi circa 1959, although the recording has the signature Sun sound and J.M. Van Eaton and Roland Janes don't remember cutting with Hayden Thompson at Hi Records. Its hard to account for the song presence in a box marked "Sid Watson" the likeliest explanation is that the recording or copies or edits were done at Sun Records and that safeties were stored in a tape box previously used for Sid Watson, who might even have been one of Sam Phillips' commercial accounts.
 
 01 - "DON'T YOU WORRY" - B.M.I. - 2:09
Composer: - Hayden Thompson
Publisher: - Ridgetop Music
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - September 6, 1957
Released: - 1997
First appearance: - Gee Dee Music (CD) 500/200rpm 270131-2-4 mono
LOVE MY BABY
Reissued: - 2008 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16131-8 mono
HAYDEN THOMPSON - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

"Don't You Worry" is a considerable rocker with electric bass this time by Stan Kesler and piano by Jimmy Wilson. Hayden's vocal is as sharp and upfront as anything he had recorded to date, and this song could have been a real candidate for release given another take or two and maybe one more verse.

"Congratulations To You, Joe" is a rockaballad of equal promise, probably inspired by Presley's movie ballads but not performed as any kind of vocal imitation. Again, another take or two and a proper solo toward the end and this could have seen a release. For some reason, the tape was filed away under the name of Sid Watson and only surfaced when drummer Jimmy Van Eaton told researchers years later that he recognised it as a Hayden Thompson session.

02 - "CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU, JOE" - B.M.I. - 2:29
Composer: - Hayden Thompson
Publisher: - Ridgetop Music
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - September 6, 1957
Released: - 1997
First appearance: - Gee Dee Music (CD) 500/200rpm 270131-2-33 mono
LOVE MY BABY
Reissued: - 2008 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16131-9 mono
HAYDEN THOMPSON - THE SUN YEARS PLUS

Note: These two songs were originally issued in the 1980s under the name Sid Watson.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Hayden Thompson - Vocal and Guitar
Roland Janes - Guitar
James M. Van Eaton - Drums
Jimmy Wilson - Piano
Stan Kesler - Bass

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

SEPTEMBER 1957
THE FRONT ROW
__________________________

Does Elvis Have A Nom de Disc?
By Edwin Howard
Press-Scimitar Amusement Editor

THERE'S A RUMOR going around Europe that Hayden Thompson, who had a couple of sides   out under Memphis' Sun label a few years ago, was really Elvis Presley, under what you might   call a nom de disc.

I got the rumor from "Elvis News", a monthly newspaper mimeographed in Flemish, French   and English by Hubert Vindevogel in Antwerp, Belgium. Hubert is pretty incensed over the   report that "I Love My Baby" by Hayden Thompson was really an old Presley master which   Sun's Sam Phillips allegedly held back when he sold his discovery's contract and masters to   RCA. "To think" Hubert seethed, "that there are people who believe it, that RCA and, before  everything, Elvis and the Colonel, as well as Sam Phillips himself, would have agreed to such   a trick".

I didn't for a minute believe it myself. After all, if it had really been Elvis on that record,   wouldn't all his fans have recognized his voice and bought a million copies? Still, we   newspapermen have to run these vicious rumors down, so I called Stan Kesler, who runs   Phillips' Memphis studio now. Stan got a good laugh out of it. He remembered playing on a   couple of Hayden Thompson's sessions, though he doesn't think Sun ever released more than   one record. "He was a tall, black-headed boy from Mississippi as I remember", Stan said,   adding that he was not Elvis Presley.
 


SEPTEMBER 7, 1957 SATURDAY

Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps appear on the "Big D Jamboree" in Dallas, Texas.
 
SEPTEMBER 6, 1957 FRIDAY

Elvis Presley recorded ''Don't'' at Radio Recorders, 7000 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, California.

Joe Smith is born in Portland, Maine. He becomes the drummer for Sawyer Brown, behind the kit for such hits as ''Thank God For You'', ''The Race Is On'', ''Six Days On The Road'' and ''Step That Step''.

The Everly Brothers begin a major concert tour with Chuck Berry, Buddy Knox, The Drifters, Paul Anka, Fats Domino and Buddy Holly, among others.

Faron and Hilda Young gave a son, Robin Young.

Songwriter Liz Rose is born in Irving, Texas. She co-writes such Taylor Swift hits as ''You Belong With Me'', ''White Horse'' and ''Teardrops On My Guitar'', plus The Eli Young Band's ''Crazy Girl''\ and Little Big Town's ''Girl Crush''.

SEPTEMBER 7, 1957 SATURDAY

Elvis Presley receives letters of resignation from guitar player Scotty Moore and bass player Bill Black.

Margot Chapman, of The Starland Vocal Band, is born in Honolulu, Hawaii. The group has a 1976 hit on the John Denver-owned Windsong label with ''Afternoon Delight'', which is covered as a country hit by Johnny Carver.

SEPTEMBER 8, 1957 SUNDAY

Jimmie Rogers sings ''Honeycomb'' on ''The Ed Sullivan Show''. Others who appeared on the some, live from New York, include Paul Anka, Della Reese and The Chordettes.

SEPTEMBER 9, 1957 MONDAY

Jerry Lee Lewis takes ''Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On'' to the top of the Billboard country  and rhythm and blues singles charts to number 1, falling just short in the pop field, where in one of the great miscarriages of musical justice it was eclipsed by Canadian teenager Paul Anka's saccharine ''Diana'' and film actress Debbie Reynolds' even more saccharine ''Tammy''.

Barbara, Ed and Cliff Thomas >

SEPTEMBER 13, 1957 FRIDAY

The Everly Brothers sing "Wake Up Little Susie" on "American Bandstand and "Wake Up Little  Susie" is banned from the airwaves in Boston for lyrical content.

Mercury/Starday records sign song writer J.P. "Jape'' Richardson, a disk jockey at KTRM,  Beaumont, Texas.


The Nelsons are in litigation with Verve Records over Rickey's recording contract. Verve who  had issued his first two releases sues for breech of contract when Ricky signs with Imperial  Records.
 
The Nelsons countersue asking for $42,000 in unpaid royalties. Then Verve  countersues for one million dollars in damages.

SEPTEMBER 14, 1957 SATURDAY

The singles Sun 277, Billy Riley ''Red Hot'' b/w ''Pearly Lee''; Sun 278, Tommy Blake ''Lordy Hoody'' b/w ''Flat Foot Sam'' released.

"Home Of The Blues" b/w ''Give Me Love To Rose''   (Sun 279) by Johnny Cash released which reaches numbers 5 on the country charts in September.

''The Jimmy Dean Show'' airs on CBS-TV, ending a two-month run in prime time as it reverts back to a daily program.

The western ''Have Gun, Will Travel'' airs for the first time on CBS-TV. Johnny Western performs the theme song, ''The Ballad Of Paladin''.

SEPTEMBER 15, 1957 SUNDAY

Sun 270, Jimmy Williams' ''Please Don't Cry Over Me'' b/w ''That Depends On You'' released.

Patsy Cline marries Charlie Dick at her mothers home in Winchester, Virginia.

 
The Thomas family were frequent visitors to the Sun studio between 1957 and 1959. Their efforts resulted in two singles issued under the trio's name, one single under brother Cliff's name, and one single featuring sister Barbara. The Thomas siblings were masters (and a mistress) of white pop music, often with more bite than usual, owing to brother Ed's bluesy piano stylings. 

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR CLIFF & BARBARA THOMAS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 15, 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

Avoiding the temptation to exploit their family jewels, Sam Phillips label-copied the three Thomas siblings in several permutations, sometimes as Cliff Thomas, Ed and Barbara, then on other occasions as plain and simple, Cliff Thomas. The threesome hailed from Jackson, Mississippi and arrived on Sun's doorstep in the summer of 1957. Four quality singles emerged on the company's Phillips International subsidiary, although the smart-licked "Jumpin' Jack" wasn't one of them.

01 - "JUMPIN' JACK" - B.M.I. - 1:56
Composer: - Cliff Thomas
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - September 15, 1957
Released: - 1991
First appearance: - Sun England (CD) 500/200rpm CD 33-24 mono
THOSE ROCKIN' GALS 
Reissued: - 2002 Sanctuary Records (CD) 500/200rpm FBUBX002-5-7 mono
50 GOLDEN YEARS 1952 - 2002

02 - ''DANCE LITTLE GIRL'' - B.M.I. - 2:26
Composer: Cliff Thomas
Publisher: -Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - September 15, 1957
Released: - 1998
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8137-21 mono
UNISSUED SUN MASTERS

03 - ''TREAT ME RIGHT'' - B.M.I.
Composer: - Ed Thomas Jr.
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - September 15, 1957

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Cliff Thomas - Vocal and Guitar
Ed Thomas - Vocal - piano
Barbara Thomas - Vocal
Stan Kesler - Bass
Sid Manker - Guitar
Nat Tassinario – Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 


 
September 19, 1957, a professional show on the Mid-South Fairs Midway in Memphis featured one of  Memphis youngest successful artists, Travis Wammack, age 12, pictured € here with producer Eddie Bond  (lower left). Their jam session pulled in a crowd of Fair workers >

SEPTEMBER 16, 1957 MONDAY

Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps and the Diamonds appear on ABC-TV.

Imperial released Ricky Nelson's ''Be-Bop baby''.

SEPTEMBER 17, 1957 TUESDAY

Wanda Jackson recorded the pop hit ''Fujiyama Mama'' at the Capitol studios in Hollywood during an evening session.
 

SEPTEMBER 18, 1957 WEDNESDAY

Elvis Presley's father, Vernon, sends a letter to guitar player Scotty Moore and bass player Bill Black, accepting their resignation.

The CNS-TV series ''The Big Record'' debuts, with host Patti Page.
 

''Wagon Train'' make his debut , is an American Western series that ran on NBC 1957–62 and then on AMC 1962–65, although the network also aired daytime repeats, as ''Major Adams'', ''Trailmaster'' and ''Trailmaster'' (post-1961 episodes without original series lead Ward Bond), from January 1963 to September 1965. The show debuted at number 15 in the Nielsen rating, rose to number 2 in the next three seasons, and peaked at number 1 in the 1961–62 television season. After moving to ABC in the autumn of 1962, the ratings began to decline, and''Wagon Train'' did not again make the Top 20 listing.

The series initially starred veteran movie supporting actor Ward Bond as the wagon master, later replaced upon his death by John McIntire, and Robert Horton as the scout, subsequently replaced by Scott Miller and Robert Fuller.

The series was inspired by the 1950 film ''Wagon Master'' directed by John Ford and starring Ben Johnson, Harry Carey Jr. and Ward Bond, and harkens back to the early widescreenwagon train epic ''The Big Trail'' (1930) starring John Wayne and featuring Bond in his first major screen appearance playing a supporting role. Horton's buckskin outfitt as the scout in the first season of thetelevision series resembles Wayne's, who also played the wagon train's scout in the earlier film.

 

SEPTEMBER 19, 1957 THURSDAY

Carl Smith marries Goldie Hill.
 
SEPTEMBER 19, 1958

On this day start The Mid-South Fair is a fair that was held for many years held in Memphis, Tennessee, every year in  late September and early October. It is now held in neighboring northwest Mississippi. It hosts many shows  and attractions, as well as different types of rides and concession stands. Not only is it popular in the  Memphis area, but also in the adjacent states of Mississippi and Arkansas, and even nearby Missouri. The  fair's official website states, "As a non-profit organization, our mission is not to make money. Rather, the  Fair exists to create a cultural and entertainment experience that exposes the people in our community to  items and events they might not otherwise encounter. In addition, we serve as a focal point for all sorts of  organizations and communities."

The event was last held in Memphis from September 19–28, 2008, in its 152nd year. The fair has been held  at the Lander's Center in Southhaven, Mississippi since September 2009 and will remain there until at least  2019.

The Shelby County Agricultural Society agreed to host the second fair in the fall of 1856. During World War  I, the military used the Mid South Fair to find recruits. In 1908, the name was changed to the Tri-State Fair to  encourage more people in areas around Memphis to attend the fair. In 1911, African American Memphians  founded the Negro Tri State Fair, which was discontinued in 1959.

In 2008, the city of Memphis announced that it would not renew the fair's lease on the grounds, which is  owned by the city. The fair then announced that it would move to the casino resort area in Tunica County, at  a new site along U.S. Highway 61. The project was cancelled in 2009 due to poor economic conditions. The  fair planned to temporarily use the Lander's Center in Southaven as a temporary host; however, due to the  cancellation of the Tunica project, this location has been secured until at least 2019. The fair lasts two weeks  and begins the last weekend in September each year.

Events and attractions at the Mid-South Fair include a carnival midway and rides, concerts (Ronnie Milsap  and The Sugarhill Gang were featured in 2007), a home-made ice cream contest, a horticulture contest, the  Extreme Canines Stunt Dog Show, agricultural exhibits, a pig race, and the world's largest youth talent  contest. Previous entrants in the talent contest (first held in 1953) include Mississippi natives Elvis Presley  and Lance Bass and Tennessee native Justin Timberlake.

SEPTEMBER 20, 1957 FRIDAY

Sixteen days after Jerry Lee Lewis filed for divorce, his second wife, Jane, also files, accusing him of cruel and inhuman treatment. Among her accusations, that he once left her to fend herself and their child on 82 cents and six cans of milk.
 
SEPTEMBER 21, 1957 SATURDAY

Scotty Moore, electric guitar, and Bill Black, bass who have been with Elvis Presley through his entire  career, quit over a dispute over wages.

Songwriter/producer Mark Wright is born in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He writes ''Today My World Slipped Away'' and ''Take A Little Trip'', while producing hits for Lee Ann Womack, Gary Allan, Mark Chesnutt, Brooks and Dunn and Gretchen Wilson.

Screenwriter/director/producer Ethan Coen is born in Minneapolis. With brother Joel Coen, he creates ''O Brother, Where Art Thou?'', which leads to a multi-platinum soundtrack of American roots music, including bluegrass and gospel.

''Perry Mason'' starts and is an American legal drama series originally broadcast on CBS television from September 21, 1957, to May 22, 1966. The title character, portrayed by Raymond Burr, is a fictional Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer who originally appeared in detective fiction by Erle Stanley Gardner. Many episodes are based on stories written by Gardner.

Hollywood's first weekly one-hour series filmed for television, Perry Mason is one of TV's longest-running and most successful legal series. During its first season, it received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination as Best Dramatic Series, and it became one of the five most popular shows on television. Raymond Burr received two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor, and Barbara Hale received anEmmy Award for her portrayal of Mason's secretary Della Street. ''Perry Mason'' and Burr were honored as Favorite Series and Favorite Male Performer in the first two TV Guide Award readers polls. In 1960, the series received the first Silver Gavel Award presented for television drama by the American Bar Association.

''Perry Mason'' has aired in syndication in the United States and internationally ever since its cancellation, and the complete series has been released on Region 1 DVD. A 2014 study found that Netflix users rate Raymond Burr as their favorite actor, with Barbara Hale number seven on the list.

A 1973 revival of the series with a different cast was poorly received. In 1985 the first in a successful series of 30 Perry Mason television films aired on NBC, with Burr reprising the role of Mason in 26 of them prior to his death in 1993.

 

SEPTEMBER 22, 1957 SUNDAY

Bobby Helms performs ''My Special Angel'' in New York on CBS's ''The Ed Sullivan Show''. Elsewhere on the telecast, pop singer Jo Stafford covers Hank Williams' ''Jambalaya (On The Bayou)''.
 
SEPTEMBER 23, 1957 MONDAY

After Sam Phillips to launch his Phillips International label, according to Johnny Carroll, who recounted the  story, Sam had heard that the Dutch Philips company of Eindhoven were planning to move into the American  market. He therefore decided to launch his record label, and get right behind whichever of the five releases  showed signs of taking, with a view to having a national hit with Bill Justis' "Raunchy". Then when Phillips  moved in, they would be forced to pay compensation to Sam for him to remove the name. Johnny was  offered the chance of having a release on Sun, or take a one in five chance of having a national hit. Of course  he opted for Phillips International, little realizing the significance that having a record out on the yellow label  would assume in future years. From all this, you can gather that it was Justis whom Sam boosted into the  charts, and indeed it made number 3 in November 1957.

The first five PI releases come on September 23: PI 3516 by Buddy Blake (''You Pass Me By'' b/w ''Please  Convince Me''), PI 3517 by Hayden Thompson (''Love My Baby'' b/w ''One Broken Heart''), PI 3518 by  Barbara Pittman (''Two Young Fools In Love'' b/w ''I'm Getting Better At The Time''), PI 3519 by Bill Justis  and His Orchestra (''Raunchy'' b/w ''Midnight Man''), and PI 3520 by Johnny Carroll (''That's The Way I  Love'' b/w ''I'll Wait'').

SEPTEMBER 24, 1957 TUESDAY

RCA Victor released Elvis Presley's two-sided hit, ''Jailhouse Rock'' and ''Treat Me Nice'' ( RCA Victor 47-7035).

The Alan Freed biopic ''Mister Rock And Roll'' premieres at the Paramount Theater in New York City. Listed as a co-writer of the future Forester Sisters ''Sincerely'', Freed appears on-screen, as do Little Richard, Clyde McPhatter and Frankie Lymon. 

''Polka Time'' ends a 14-month prime-time run on ABC-TV. The show's regulars include bass player Jack Taylor and banjo player Chick Hurt, former members of The Prairie Ramblers who now perform in Stan Wolowic's Polka Chips.

SEPTEMBER 25, 1957 WEDNESDAY

Hank Thompson recorded ''How Do You Hold a Memory'' during the evening at Hollywood's Capitol Tower in Los Angeles.

SEPTEMBER 27, 1957 FRIDAY 

Jerry Lee Lewis headlines the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York City for nine days. During his nine minutes on stage he played four songs.

SEPTEMBER 28, 1957 SATURDAY

Buddy Holly recorded the pop hit ''Maybe Baby'' at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City. In 1978, the song is refashioned as a country single by Susie Allanson.

Comedian and future country singer George Burns shares the cover of TV Guide magazine with Gracie Allen.

SEPTEMBER 30, 1957 SUNDAY

''Those Whiting Girls'', featuring pop-and-country singer Margaret Whiting, ends its second session as a summer replacement series on CBS-TV.
 

 
OCTOBER 1957
 

 
OCTOBER 2, 1957 WEDNESDAY

In the New York Newspaper reported that his 9 minutes Apollo performance, there's a lot of animal vigor in the Jerry Lee Lewis Trio, an okay rock and roll team featuring the piano mitting and piping of Lewis and his associates on the drums and electric guitar.

Lewis, in the spotlight, carries the act. He has a style similar to that of Presley, using the piano though to beat on rather than a guitar. And beating on the piano is putting it mildly. rather he pounds, but to his credit he never misses a note or slips the beat, which all and all adds up to a showman like display.

He would be wise to cut out some of his antics for example, that of combing his hair after a frenetic number, and blowing his comb free in the direction of the audience. He could be the hillbilly he boasts that he is with good manners, too.

The trio sing and play ''Crazy'', Mean Woman, ''Great Balls Of Fire'' and ''Whole Lot Of Shakin''', to good effect.

 
Billy Riley >

OCTOBER 1957

Back in Memphis, Tennessee, just as Billy Riley's "Red Hot" was breaking, Riley sauntered  into the Sun studio at 706 Union Avenue. Only thirty-seven thousands copies were sold and  Billy Riley was furious. To compound the insult, he had stood in the office one day only to  hear Sam Phillips cancel orders for the record, telling distributors to work "Great Balls Of  Fire" instead. 
 
 
The upstart pianist who had played on "Flying Saucer Rock And Roll" was now  usurping Riley's fleeting place as Phillips' Great White Hope. Riley drove over to West  Memphis, bought a half-gallon of cheap wine, and returned to the studio drunk and vengeful.  He started taking the studio apart, beginning by kicking a hole in the string bass and pouring  some of his wine over the tape machines.

 
Sam Phillips was called in and his silver tongue  said the words that Riley, through the haze, confusion, and vitriol, wanted to hear.  "I'm looking at Sam's desk", recalled Riley, "and there's three telegrams open - one from  Detroit, one from Chicago and one from New York. 10,000 records (of "Red Hot" ordered) on  each one. Thirty thousand records, and these were initial orders. I'm going out of my mind.  This is fantastic. I'm thrilled. I'm goin' crazy".

"Sam comes in and after he says hello he sits down and picks up the phone and he calls every  one of these distributors. He tells them to get off "Red Hot" and get on Jerry Lee Lewis'  "Great Balls Of Fire". "I should have killed him. I got so mad I left. I walked out, got in my car  and just started driving. I stopped in West Memphis and bought what they call a Texas Fifth -  that's about half a gallon. I started drinking it while I was driving all the way to Truman,  Arkansas. I was pretty drunk by then and I turned around and came back to Memphis. I  walked into Sun, it must have been about three o'clock, and I notice Sam's not there. I start  screamin' and hollerin' at Sally Wilbourn and Sally don't know what to do. I get on the phone  and I call the Musicians Union. I said, 'I want to have a special meeting. I want to show you  what Sam Phillips has done. He's been working us down here and not paying us scale'. They  knew I was drunk. They knew me".

"I got out on the street and started hollerin'. J.M. and a few other guys were around and  they got embarassed and left. I was on my soapbox man, trying to get a crowd. I was gonna  tell everyone hos bad Sam Phillips was".

"So I go in and sit in the studio. There was that big old bass fiddle there. I walked right  through it, kicked the whole thing in. I still had about half of that Texas Fifth. I poured it all  down in the piano and then I went in the control room and poured it all down in his Ampex.  Right behind them things he had his filling cabinets. I tipped them over, split them all over  the floor. Sally gets on the phone. 'Sam, you'd better get down here. Riley's on the warpath  and he's going crazy'. Sam said, 'Lock the door and don't let him out".

"The charmer came down. He carries me back in that little office and he's got a fith of VAT  69. We both get to drinking his VAT 69. He's telling me what a great artist I am and that "Red  Hot" is nothing. 'We've got bigger and better things planned for you. Let's get this 'Great Balls  Of Fire' out of the way and we're gonna make you a star'. He charmed me. Drank all night",  recalled Riley.
Robert Riley in his cell composing music, Tennessee State Penitentiary, 1953 >

OCTOBER 1957

During 1957, with Robert Riley released from the Tennessee State Prison, and rarely  available for co-writing, Johnny Bragg took to writing with another con, Leon Luallen, who  was in prison for armed robbery. In October 1957 their song ''Don't Bug Me Baby'' was  recorded at RCA studio in Nashville by Milton Allen.

A couple of months later local publisher  Kenny Marlow was reporting to the trade press that a song written by Bragg, ''Linda Lou'',  was recorded at Marlow's Fidelity recording studio downtown by singer Mark Taylor and  seeing good action on Hi Records from Memphis.

While Johnny Bragg was doing most of his writing in his cell, Robert Riley was roaming free  in Nashville, his home town. He'd been in prison since January 1950...
 
 
...but now he was coming  to terms with writing on the outside. He wrote songs for Excello Records in Nashville and for  the King and Todd labels who held sessions there. He would work on musical arrangements  for Ernie Young at Excello, and he had an income-generation role too: blues singer Jerry  McCain told interviewer David Nelson how Young, ''had this black dude there. His name was  Robert Riley... What he would do is sit there and listen at the songs and everything, then  he'd pick out a verse that he says is not strong enough. But in turn he writes him a verse  that he want to insert in there so he can get writer's royalties. So Mr. Young says 'Jerry,  Robert said it was a good song but the second verse ain't strong enough'. I said 'I ain't  changing nothing', and Mr. Young said, 'well Jerry, see, there you go again. You supposed to  go along with me'''.

Over at Tree Records, owners Jack Stapp and Buddy Killen had focused initially on country  and popular songs but they took the decision to employ Riley to help broaden their range.  He started a writing career with them that saw his songs appear on Okeh, Todd, Dial, Re-ORee,  Sur Speed and other labels over a number of years. Riley wrote ''Baby Don't Leave Me,  You Can't Care'' and ''Right Now'' for Joe Henderson on Todd and ''Him Instead Of Me'' and  ''Top Of The World'' for Ted Taylor on Okeh. He joined Starday Records as a writer in the  1970s. Then he produced, wrote an arranged independently for local singer Levert Allison on  SBI Records with ''My All Is You'' and on Boyd Records with ''Hear That River''.

Buddy Killen had mixed feelings about whether he did right to hire Robert Riley for Tree  Records and for his Dial label. On the credit side Riley did write some good songs and,  crucially, he introduced singer Joe Tex to Killen at the start of the singer's career. But then,  on the debit side, Killen remembered: ''When Riley was released from prison he started  coming around to Tree hoping to get some of his songs recorded. I signed him to Tree as a  writer and ultimately hired him to work for the company. One day I asked him to take a  check to Jack Stapp over at the radio station. The check for $1000 was for royalties from a  Roger Miller song. Later that day... both the check and Riley were nowhere to be found. He  had forged a signature, cashed the check, and gone to a convention in Chicago... I was  furious. I'm going to have you arrested', I said. Riley began to cry and said that I was only  going to prosecute him because he was black. That was utter nonsense and he knew it... I  later found out that he had sold some of his songs for pocket change while under contract to  write for Tree''. Killin's warning may have been one he didn't intend to pursue, but the  threat of the Pen would have been very real to Robert Riley in those days.
OCTOBER 1957

Jack Nance quit Sonny Burgess and the Pacers out of economic necessity and he and Joe   Lewis joined Conway Twitty's band. Nance later co-wrote "It's Only Make Believe" and many   of Twitty's early MGM singles. Sun detail hounds may care to note that shortly before joining   Twitty, Joe Lewis and Jack Nance recorded some unreleased songs at Sun under the name   "Joe and Jack". Producer Jack Clement intended to overdub them for release, but they  remained as bed tracks. One title, "My Baby Loves Me", has been included for later release.

As 1957 wore on, Carl Perkins saw Johnny Cash become the best-selling country artist of the   year, and then saw Jerry Lee Lewis, who had begun his career at Sun playing backup on one   of his sessions, become the hottest new property in rock and roll. Every time Perkins went   to the Sun studio the talk was always of Jerry Lee: they were charting his airplay and logging   his sales on a blackboard. Jud Phillips was cutting deals to get him on the Dick Clark show or   an Alan Freed tour. It was galling, and no words from Sam Phillips' silver tongue could  assuage the frustration that Perkins felt. In later years, Perkins would say that they were all   pulling for each other, but Jimmie Lott, who played drums for Warren Smith on Bob Neal's   package shows remembers differently: ''Warren and Carl Perkins constantly fought Jerry Lee   Lewis. They'd sit around in the dressing room before on steel chairs with a fifth of Old Crow.   Jerry would say, 'I got a big record out now, I'm going on last'. Clayton Perkins would stick his  jaw out and say, If you're going on last, we're gonna fight'''.

OCTOBER 1957

Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis record songs for the movie "Jamboree", released in   November.

The final blow came with the movie ''Jamboree''. Original titled ''The Big Record'', the   project had been initiated while Carl was still a hot propert. He had been signed to the   production as a star, and Jerry Lee Lewis as an afterthought. Otis Blackwell (who had   written ''Don't Be Cruel'' and ''All Shook Up'' for Elvis Presley) was music director, and he   sent down a set of dubs for Perkins and Lewis to consider for the movie. Carl Perkins reportedly  passed on ''Great Balls Of Fire'' and chose instead to perform ''Glad All Over''. ''I thought both of them was junk!'' said Perkins. 

OCTOBER 2, 1957 WEDNESDAY

Ricky Nelson sings ''Be-Bop Baby'' and ''Have I Told You Lately That I Love You'' on the ABC sitcom ''The Adventures Of Ozzie and Harriet''.

OCTOBER 3, 1957 THURSDAY

ABC-TV debuts the rural-based sitcom ''The Real McCoys''. During the run of the show, star Walter Brennan earns a country hit with his recitation ''Old Rivers''.
 
 OCTOBER 4, 1957 FRIDAY

Jackie Wilson sings ''Reet Petite'' on American Bandstand.
 
The Soviet Union launches Sputnik I, the first artificial satellite to orbit the earth.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Session Published for Historical Reasons

STUDIO SESSION FOR ERNIE CHAFFIN

GULFPORT, MISSISSIPPI
STUDIO SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE PROBABLY OCTOBER 1957
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - PEE WEE MADDUX
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN

On this session, Ernie Chaffin recorded "My Heart Tells Me" and "No Fool Like An Old Fool". This is not going to make anyone's Top Ten Ernie Chaffin lists, but it is part of the Ernie's Sun vaults and needs some attention. This tape originated in Gulfport and features Ernie's vocal and Pee Wee's acoustic guitar. It was mailed to Jack Clement at Sun on August 12, 1957, just three days before Chaffin's second single was released by the label. Nothing about the two performances or the material itself seems noteworthy, given what we know about these men and their capabilities.

01 - "MY HEART TELLS ME" - B.M.I. - 2:05
Composer: - Pee Wee Maddux
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably October 1957
Released: - 2006
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16780-14 mono
ERNIE CHAFFIN - THE SUN YEARS

The demo of "No Fool Like An Old Fool" appeared on the same tape as ''My Heart Tells Me". This one at least shows a bit of energy and cleverness. Still, it is hard to imagine either of these songs impressing the folks at 706 Union Avenue very much.

02 - "NO FOOL LIKE AN OLD FOOL" - B.M.I. - 1:20
Composer: - Pee Wee Maddux
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably October 1957
Released: - 2006
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16780-15 mono
ERNIE CHAFFIN - THE SUN YEARS

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Ernie Chaffin - Vocal
Murphy Pee Wee Maddux - Acoustic Guitar

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 



© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR WARREN SMITH
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE OCTOBER 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
AND/OR JACK CLEMENT

01(1) - "DEAR JOHN" - B.M.I. - 2:44
Composer: - Tex Ritter-Aubry Gass
Publisher: - Micheal H. Goldsen Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - False Starts - Complete Rehearsal Take - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - October 1957
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 106-6-13 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE ROCKING YEARS - WE WANNA BOOGIE
Reissued: - 1992 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15514-20 mono
WARREN SMITH - THE CLASSIC SUN RECORDINGS 1956 - 1959

This minor hillbilly classic was first penned by Aubrey Gass in 1949. Hank Williams revived it two years later and probably discovered it on the flip side of ''Cold Cold Heart. The song's roots are well and truly obscured by Smith's treatment which replaced the jaunty hillbilly beat with a liberal dose of the blues, especially from the lead guitar. At first the bluesy intensity of the guitar carries the song but there is a hole after the first 12-bar solo. The song meanders for another 12 bars which suggests that a sax overdub was contemplated. Smith's vocal performance is first rate and a fair amount of tape was expended on this cut, suggesting it was a candidate for release at some point. Perhaps it was consigned to storage when Phillips realised that he was not recording a Hi-Lo copyright but, rather, stood to give 3 cents a side to another publisher.

01(2) - "DEAR JOHN" - B.M.I. - 2:39
Composer: - Tex Ritter-Aubry Gass
Publisher: - Micheal H. Goldsen Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - October 1957
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1031-12 mono
COUNTRY ROCK SIDES
Reissued: - 1992 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15514-20 mono
WARREN SMITH - THE CLASSIC SUN RECORDINGS 1956 - 1959

01(3) - "DEAR JOHN" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Tex Ritter-Aubry Gass
Publisher: - Micheal H. Goldsen Incorporated
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - October 1957
Released: - Sun Unissued

A lifelong opponent of rock and roll, Hank Snow was nevertheless one of its most important precursors. His songs obviously made a deep impact upon many rock and rollers with their contagious rhythm and nonsense lyrics (''While Madam Mazonga was teaching the conga...''). This tribute to the diminutive Canadian cowboy is a medley of ''I'm Movin' On'', ''The Golden Rocket'' and ''The Rhumba Boogie''. Smith even imitates Snow's high-pitched nasal vocal in places. The lightly stated beat of Snow's originals has been replaced by a sledgehammer but, for all that, Smith has retained the ''fun'' element in Snow's writing. This is an alternative take to those previously issued as ''The Golden Rocket''.

02 - "HANK SNOW MEDLEY" - B.M.I. - 2:03
Composer: - Clarence E. Snow
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take 3 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - October 1957
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-4-34 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

 ''Do I Love You'' features an unusually full sound for Warren Smith. The sax lends an added dimension to the proceeding but the song is not an unqualified success. The major problem is the gimmick embodied in the song itself. In fact, one of the little catch-phrases used in the song, ''Has a cat got a tail''? was used in a trade paper advertisement for ''Raunchy'' towards the end of 1957: ''Is 'Raunchy' big? Has a cat got a tail? Will Ike play golf tomorrow''? These questions were from a long tradition of folk saying that included ''Is the Pope a Catholic''? and ''Does a wild bear shit in the wood''.

03 - "DO I LOVE YOU" - B.M.I. - 2:40
Composer: - Stan Kesler
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - October 1957
Released: - 1978
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30115-B-5 mono
SUN THE ROOTS OF ROCK VOLUME 8 - SUN ROCKS
Reissued: - 1986 Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-4-35 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Warren Smith - Vocal and Guitar

Probably:
John "Ace" Cannon - Tenor Sax
Al Hopson - Guitar
Marcus Van Story or Sid Manker - Bass
Jimmy M. Van Eaton or Jimmie Lott - Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 


 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR KENNETH PARCHMAN
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: SATURDAY OCTOBER 5, 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORING ENGINEER - BILL JUSTIS

01(1) - "YOU CALL EVERYBODY DARLIN'" - B.M.I. - 2:18
Composer: - Kenneth Parchman
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - October 5, 1957
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 106-4-7 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE ROCKING YEARS - I FEEL LIKE ROCKIN'
Reissued: - May 27, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17313-3-7 mono
THE SUN ROCK BOX 1954 - 1959

The pop classic ''You Call Everybody Darling'' was written by Sam Martin, Ben Trace and Glenn Watts and was first published in 1946. It was number 1 hit in 1948 for Al Trace and his Orchestra, and in the rock and roll era it was revived by Bill Haley and Fabian.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Kenny Parchman - Vocal & Guitar
Richard Page - Guitar
Lemon Carroll or Willie Stephenson - Bass
Bobby Cash or Ronnie Parchman - Drums
Jerry Lee Smith - Piano

At the end of 1957 or early 1958, Parchman back to the Sun studio for the penultimate time to re-cut a few songs. He also laid down one new number, ''Tennessee Zip'' with Carl Perkins' influence shining through. Sometime early in 1958, Kenny Parchman received an offer from Lonnie Blackwell to record for Blackwell's Lu label, headquarted in Jackson. The songs were ''Get It Off Your Mind'' b/w ''Satellite Hop''.
 
After Smoochy Smith left the band, he relocated to Memphis and worked as a session musician around the city. He recorded with Billy Riley, Rayburn Anthony, Warren Smith, and others. Often, he insists that he wasn't listed on the session sheets filed with the union. He went on to become a founding member of both the Markeys (he played on their big hit, ''Last Night'') and  later The Sun Rhythm Section with Jimmy Van Eaton (subsequently D.J. Fontana), Stan Kesler, Sonny Burgess and Paul Burlison. With the Rhythm Section, he toured Europeon several occasions.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 



© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR MALCOLM YELVINGTON
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: SATURDAY OCTOBER 5, 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORING ENGINEER - BILL JUSTIS

For Malcom Yelvington's second Sun session in 1957, which produced two songs, the hesitant Bubba Winn was apparently replaced by Sun's star session guitarist, Roland Janes, and the guitarist's spacey, ringing sound comes to the fore. It is just possible that Gordon Mashburn was back on this session, but the union payments went to Janes.

The songs Yelvington cut in 1957 were mostly upbeat ballads written by Louie Moore, a young man from Alabama, who turned up at the Sun studio with a file full of good unpublished songs. 

01(1) - "GOODBYE MARIE" - B.M.I. - 2:47
Composer: - Louie Newton Moore
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - October 5, 1957
Released: - 1979
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30150-7 mono
SUN SOUND SPECIAL - TENNESSEE COUNTRY
Reissued: - 2006 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16757-22 mono
MALCOLM YELVINGTON - THE SUN YEARS

This is a strong, extremely melodic and bluesy song. Unfortunately, this version does not keep pace with the material, despite the presence of session stalwarts Roland Janes and Jimmy Van Eaton. The lack of planning is clearest during the pointlessly extended guitar solo and thereafter. It is really a shame that this song never received the careful reading that it deserved.

01(2) - "GOODBYE MARIE" - B.M.I. - 2:25
Composer: - Louie Newton Moore
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - October 5, 1957
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-3-6 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

This session producing wonderful takes of two memorable Louie Moore songs, the clever "It's My Trumpet", and "Goodbye Marie", where Yelvington really sings his heart out. "I didn't try to imitate Elvis", Yelvington declared defiantly. "That's the one thing I didn't do that all the younger guys came in and did. I had been playing music my way for years. I couldn't have done it if I'd wanted to. I wanted to be on Sun Records. I was trying to do something upbeat that would be new to Sam Phillips. I called it boogie-woogie. Later, they called it rockabilly".

02(1) - "IT'S MY TRUMPET" - B.M.I. - 1:22
Composer: - Louie Newton Moore
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - October 5, 1957
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1030-8 mono
ROCKIN' ROLLIN' COUNTRY STYLE
Reissued: - 2006 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16757-16 mono
MALCOLM YELVINGTON - THE SUN YEARS

The sharp lyrics and brisk tempo are offset by Malcolm's engaging bullfrog baritone. "Trumpet" (or to given the song its proper title, "Got Me A Trumpet") is written by Louie Newton Moore, a gospel and country songwriter from Alabama who turned up a Sun one day with a handful of songs.

02(2) - "IT'S MY TRUMPET" - B.M.I. - 2:25
Composer: - Louie Newton Moore
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Corporation
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally
Recorded: - October 5, 1957
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-3-10 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

By Malcolm Yelvington's own recollection, this was one of the strongest tracks that he recorded at Sun. Produced by Bill Justis, it was apparently considered as a single, but in the event was left in the can. Certainly, Justis expended a lot of tape on the song. The overall performance bears an uncanny resemblance to some of Onie Wheeler's Sun output, recorded at approximately the same time. Yelvington's vocal takes on an echoey and plaintive feel evoked by Wheeler. Also, the timbre of the lead guitar is virtually identical to the guitar on ''Jump Right Out Of This Jukebox''. Indeed, ''Trumpet'' is a fine bluesy rocker with enough primitive energy and country charm to have appealed to many different markets.

 02(3) - "IT'S MY TRUMPET" - B.M.I. - 2:40
Composer: - Louie Newton Moore
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - October 5, 1957
Released: - 2006
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16757-12 mono
MALCOLM YELVINGTON - THE SUN YEARS

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Malcolm Yelvington - Vocal and Guitar
Roland Janes - Guitar
Sid Manker - Bass
Otis Jett - Drums
Frank Tolley - Piano

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

OCTOBER 1957

There was still no sign of Sun Records getting an Andy Anderson disc on the marked so Anderson signed with Murray Nash at MNA Productions in Nashville who came up with a recording deal on the Felsted label owned by London Records. Nash had seen Anderson and the Rolling Stones at the Mid South Fair Talent Contest that month and quickly arranged for Nashville producer Owen Bradley to record Andy on another new version of ''Johnny Valentine'', backed by a team of Nashville musicians rather than his own band. Although they didn't play on the record, the Rolling Stones were a hot act for a while.

Andy Anderson and The Rolling Stones >

A show poster from February 1, 1958 says, ''Let's go to the world premiere of ''Johnny Valentine'' on Felsted Records. Andy Anderson and Rolling Stones - big parade down Capitol street 2 p.m. followed by shows at Wrights Music store, WLBT Teen Tempos, and the Rock House Inn on Highway 51 at 9 p.m.
 
 
 
Personal managers: Mabel McQueen and Jimmie Ammons of Delta recording''. Ammons remembered years later, ''after the release of this record the booking price for the band went from $35 to over $400. The band played at colleges and Universities throughout the South''.
 
OCTOBER 6, 1957 SUNDAY

The Everly Brothers performs ''Wake Up Little Susie'' during their third appearance of the year on ''The Ed Sullivan Show''. Also appearing, Danny Thomas, Kate Smith and Eva Marie Saint.
 

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
Malcolm Yelvington continued to play his music through the later 1950s at Memphis area clubs like the Wayside Inn, the Wagon Wheel, and the Gay Duck. As he moved into the 1960s, the opportunities started to dry up for his band and he eventually quit in 1961 to concentrate on his regular job as a welder, on his developing passion for ten-pin bowling, and on his family of five. Just before he gave up, he had been working on a song called "Disappointed", written years before by Reece Fleming, that was recorded in a local studio but not released.

Little Milton, right, and Malcolm Yelvington, left, will entertain in Ripley, Tennessee, July 11, 1998, during the Lauderdale County Tomato Festival >

While Yelvington was apparently out of music, in fact Malcolm kept his hand in all along, in gospel music. He joined a group Called the Carpenter's Crew at his local church, and even made some cassettes of their performances in 1993. He was also in a gospel group called the Dempsey's with Jimmy Van Eaton and Mark Bell.

STUDIO SESSION FOR MALCOLM YELVINGTON
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORING ENGINEER - UNKNOWN

Malcolm Yelvington left two vocal/guitar demos behind at Sun and they are the least typical of any songs he ever cut there. This also sounds wholly unlike any composition that ever emanated from Sun's little pool of writers. It is possible that Yelvington was demo'ing material for another writer or that ''Going To Sea'' or ''Let The Moon Say Goodbye'' were songs that he recalled from way back. The best that can be said about this little discovery is that it it interesting.

01 - "OCEAN (GOING TO THE SEA)" - B.M.I. - 1:20
Composer: - Louie Newton Moore
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1957
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-3-11 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

02 - "LET THE MOON SAY GOODNIGHT" - B.M.I. - 1:53
Composer: - Reece Fleming
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1957
Released: - 1988
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1010 mono
GONNA HAVE MY SELF BALL
Reissued: - 2006 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16757-19 mono
MALCOLM YELVINGTON - THE SUN YEARS

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Malcolm Yelvington - Vocal and Guitar
 

Then, in 1988, six months before his seventieth birthday, on the back of a decade of Sun reissues, he was invited to play some rockabilly revival shows in England and Holland. These were performed with Dave Travis's fine band to great acclaim from European fans of the Sun sound, most of whom were young enough to be Malcolm's grandchildren. The music was captured by Collector Records in Holland and issued three years later on the CD "A Tennessee Saturday Night". The disc enabled Malcom to record "Disappointed", at last.

This kick-strated something of a Yelvington revival, and when the old Sun Records studio was revamped and opened to tourists, Malcolm took his turn with others at showing people round, hanging out, and generally being revered. He continued to play special revival shows and local events. For instance, in July 1998, when he appeared at the Lauderdale County Tomato Festival, headlining with blues singer Little Milton, another veteran of Sun and Meteor Records.

Malcom Yelvington died at Memphis Baptist Hospital on February 21, 2001, press reports variously blaming cancer, heart failure, or pneumonia but in truth it was all three. His funeral service in Bartlett, Tennessee, included recordings of Malcolm's Christian songs, and was attended by his five children, eleven grandchildren, and two great grandchildren as well as friends and fellow musicians.

Remarkably, and pleasingly, there is still an audience out there for Malcolm's music, rooted in Southern country styles and recorded over half a century ago by a local band trying to tailor their style to the popular demands of the moment. Malcolm Yelvington and the Star Rhythm Boys created an effortless blend of western-swing and country blues that was badged under rock and roll at the time, and is still well worth reviving today.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

 
OCTOBER 7, 1957 MONDAY

''The Jim Reeves Show'' debuts on the ABC Radio Network. The one-hour show airs on weekdays for three weeks. His first guests, Marty Robbins and The Jordanaires.

ABC-TV introduces ''The Guy Mitchell Show'', featuring a theme song familiar to Marty Robbins fans, ''Singing The Blues''.

George Hamilton IV recorded the pop hit ''Why They Don't Understand'' at the Capitol studios in New York City.

OCTOBER 8, 1957 TUESDAY

Jerry Lee Lewis recorded ''Great Balls Of Fire'' at the Sun studio in Memphis, Tennessee.
 
 


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR JERRY LEE LEWIS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: OCTOBER/PROBABLY OCTOBER 8, 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORING ENGINEER - SAM PHILLIPS
AND/OR JACK CLEMENT
 
 1(1) - "GREAT BALLS OF FIRE" - B.M.I. - 2:09
Composer: - Jack Hammer-Otis Blackwell
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - 2 False Starts - Unknown Take
Recorded: - October 8, 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released: - October 2015
First appearance: -  Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17254-4-15 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS AT SUN RECORDS THE COLLECTED WORKS
 
 1(2) - "GREAT BALLS OF FIRE" - B.M.I. - 1:51
Composer: - Jack Hammer-Otis Blackwell
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Unknown Take
Recorded: - October 8, 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released:  - April 1993
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/22rpm Sunbox 4-9-24 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS - THE ULTIMATE - THE SUN YEARS
Reissued: - October 2015
First appearance: -  Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17254-4-16 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS AT SUN RECORDS THE COLLECTED WORKS

1(3) - "GREAT BALLS OF FIRE" - B.M.I. - 2:05
Composer: - Jack Hammer-Otis Blackwell
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - False Start - Unknown Take
Recorded: - October 8, 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released: - October 2015
First appearance: -  Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17254-4-17 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS AT SUN RECORDS THE COLLECTED WORKS
 
01 - STUDIO CHATTER - 0:50
Recorded: - October 8, 1957
Released: - October 2015
First appearance: -  Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17254-4-18 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS AT SUN RECORDS THE COLLECTED WORKS
 
 1(4) - "GREAT BALLS OF FIRE" - B.M.I. - 2:49
Composer: - Jack Hammer-Otis Blackwell
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Chatter - Complete Take
Recorded: - October 8, 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released: - January 1983
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 102-4-B1 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS - THE SUN YEARS
Reissued: - September 1989 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15420-3-1 mono
CLASSIC JERRY LEE LEWIS - THE DEFINITIVE SUN RECORDINGS 1956 - 1963

''Great Balls Of Fire'' (1957 version, 1963 version, 1975 version, 1988 version, Jerry’s biggest and most famous hit. It’s incredible to believe that there are only two instruments on the Sun single cut; just piano  and drums (no bass or guitar), unlike the 1963 ''Golden Hits'' re-cut which features at least 3 times as many people, and is probably the weakest of all the re-cuts on this album. The 1975 version is very different, being given a sort of “ragtime” treatment! This (probably wisely) wasn’t deemed releasable at the time and wasn’t issued until the late 1980s. Lastly but by no means least is the “movie” version, for the 1989 ''Great Balls Of Fire''! movie and soundtrack album. This is nearly twice as long as the original, and features much inspired piano playing, as well as a guitar solo. 

1(5) - "GREAT BALLS OF FIRE" - B.M.I. - 2:08
Composer: - Jack Hammer-Otis Blackwell
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Chatter - Complete Take
Recorded: - October 8, 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released:  - April 1993
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/22rpm Sunbox 4-11-5 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS - THE ULTIMATE - THE SUN YEARS
Reissued: - October 2015
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17254-4-20 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS AT SUN RECORDS THE COLLECTED WORKS
 
1(6) - "GREAT BALLS OF FIRE" - B.M.I. - 1:50
Composer: - Jack Hammer-Otis Blackwell
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Undubbed Master
Recorded: - October 8, 1957 - Not Originally Issued
Released: - October 2015
First appearance: -  Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17254-4-21 mono
JERRY LEE LEWIS AT SUN RECORDS THE COLLECTED WORKS

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jerry Lee Lewis - Vocal and Piano
Unknown - Guitar
Unknown - Bass
Unknown Jett - Drums
 
 Collectors of Jerry Lee's recorded output will recall this next segment of the discussion between Jerry Lee and Sam Phillips (with vocal punctuation by session man Billy Riley). The original tape runs for an additional three minutes, during which Sam and his fledgling artist debate the virtues of fundamentalist religion. Like most discussions of this nature, neither participant persuades the other to change his mind. The amazing thing about this particular exchange is that it was followed, almost immediately, by the recording of Jerry Lee's rock and roll anthem, the decidedly un-Christian "Great Balls Of Fire".

1 - "RELIGIOUS DISCUSSION (SERMON)" - B.M.I. - 3:58
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - October 8, 1957
Released: - 1974
First appearance: - Bopcat Records (LP) 33rpm LP 100 mono
GOOD ROCKIN' TONIGHT
Reissued: - September 1989 Bear Family Record (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15420-3-3 mono
CLASSIC JERRY LEE LEWIS - THE DEFINITIVE SUN RECORDINGS 1956 - 1963


Jerry Lee Lewis and Sam Phillips at Sun Studio, October 8, 1957 >

Sam Phillips, Billy Riley, and Jerry Lee Lewis were setting up to make "Great Balls Of Fire", the follow-up to "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On", Sun biggest record. In 1949, as a kid in Ferriday, he had talked his way onto a bandstand for a chance to bang out "Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee", but the road to Sun took him through the Southwest Bible College in Waxahachie, Texas; like all Sun rockabilly ravers, he was raised on the gospel.

Sitting here in Phillips' studio, reading over the lead sheet for "Great Balls Of Fire", the meaning of the image must have hit him. "Great Balls Of Fire"; that was a Pentecostal image, that meant Judgment Day - and now Sam Phillips wanted Jerry Lee to turn that image into a smutty joke, to defile it. Jerry Lee rebelled:
 
Jerry Lee Lewis:  H-E-L-L! 
Sam Phillips: I Don't believe it.
Jerry Lee Lewis: Great Godamighty, great balls of fire!
Billy Riley : That's right.
Sam Phillips: I Don't believe it.
Jerry Lee Lewis: It says, WAKE, MAN! TO the Joy of God! But when it comes to wordly music - that's rock and roll -
Billy Riley: Rock it out!
Jerry Lee Lewis: Or anything like that, you have done brought yourself into the world, and you're in the world, and you hadn't come on out of the world, and you're still a sinner. You're a sinner - and when you be saved - and borned again - and be made as a little child - And walk before God- And be holy- And brother, I mean that you got to be so pure! No sin shall enter there: No sin! For it says, No sin! It doesn't say just a little bit, it says, NO SIN SHALL ENTER THERE-brother, not one little bit! You've got to walk and talk with God to go to Heaven. You've got to be so good.
Billy Riley: Hallalujah.
Sam Phillips: All right. Now, look, Jerry. Religious conviction - doesn't mean anything - resembling extremism. (Phillips suddenly goes on the offensive). Do you mean to tell me that you're gonna take the Bible, you're gonna take God's word, and you're gonna revolutionize the whole universe? Now, listen! Jesus Christ was sent here by God Almighty. Did He convince, did He save, all the people in the world?
Jerry Lee Lewis: Naw, but He tried to!
Sam Phillips: He sure did. NOW WAIT JUST A MINUTE! Jesus Christ - came into this world. He tolerated man. He didn't preach from one pulpit. He went around, and He did good.
Jerry Lee Lewis: That's right! He preached everywhere!
Sam Phillips : Everywhere!
Jerry Lee Lewis: He preached on land!
Sam Phillips: Everywhere! That's right! That's right!
Jerry Lee Lewis: He preached on the water!
Sam Phillips: That's right, that's exactly right! Now-
Jerry Lee Lewis: And then He done everything! He healed!
Sam Phillips: Now, now - here's, here's the difference-
Jerry Lee Lewis: (speaking as if horns have prouted on Phillips head): Are you followin' those that heal? Like Jesus Christ?
Sam Phillips: (confused): Whatta you mean. I, I, what-
Jerry Lee Lewis: (triumphant): Well, its happening every day! The blind had eyes opened. The lame were made to walk.
Sam Phillips: Jerry-
Jerry Lee Lewis: The crippled were made to walk.
Sam Phillips: All right mow. Jesus Christ, in my opinion, is just as real today, as He was when He came into this world.
Jerry Lee Lewis: Right, right, you're so right you don't know what you're sayin'.
Sam Phillips: (back on the offensive): Now then! I will say, more so-
Billy Riley: Aw, let's cut it.
Sam Phillips: Wait, wait, wait lust a minute, we can't we got to - now look. Now, listen. I'm tellin' you outta my heart. I have studied the Bible, a little bit-
Jerry Lee Lewis: Well, I have too.
Sam Phillips : I've studied it through and through and through and through and Jerry, Jerry, if you think, that you can't can't do good, if you're a rock and roll exponent-
Jerry Lee Lewis: You can do good, Mr. Phillips, don't get me wrong-
Sam Phillips: Now, wait, wait - listen, when I say do good-
Jerry Lee Lewis: YOU CAN HAVWE A KIND HEART!
Sam Phillips: (suddenly angry): I don't mean, I don't mean just-
Jerry Lee Lewis: You can help people!
Sam Phillips: YOU CAN SAVE SOULS!
Jerry Lee Lewis: (appalled): NO, NO! No, no!
Sam Phillips : Yes!
Jerry Lee Lewis: How can the Devil save souls? What are you talkin' about?
Sam Phillips: Lissen, lissen-
Jerry Lee Lewis: I have the Devil in me! If I didn't I'd be a Christian!
Sam Phillips: Well, you may have him-
Jerry Lee Lewis: (Fighting for his life): JESUS! heal this man! He cast the Devil out, the Devil says, Where can I go? He says, Can I go into this swine? He says, Yeah, go into him. Didn't he go into him?
Sam Phillips: Jerry, The point I'm tryin' to make is - if you believe in what you're singin' - you got no alternative whatsever - out of - LISTEN! - out of-
Jerry Lee Lewis: Mr. Phillips! I don't care, it ain't what you believe, its (as if explaining to a child), its what's written in the Bible!
Sam Phillips: Well, wait a minute.
Jerry Lee Lewis : Its what is there, Mr. Phillips.
Sam Phillips: No, no.
Jerry Lee Lewis: Its just what's there.
Sam Phillips: No, by gosh, if its not what you believe (and Phillips hits the clincher), then how do you interpret the Bible!.
Billy Riley: Man alive...
Sam Phillips: Huh! How do you interpret the Bible if its not what you believe!
Jerry Lee Lewis: (confused): Well, its just not what you believe, you just can't-
Billy Riley: Let's cut it, man...

And so they did: "Good Rockin' Tonight", the bootleg from Holland on which this conversation first appeared, follows it with a furious take of "Great Balls Of Fire"- a take that, one might say, outsins the version Sam Phillips released to the public.

"Sam's crazy", Jerry Lee told John Grissim many years later. "Nutty as a fox squirrel. He's just like me, he ain't got no sense. Birds of a feather flock together. It took all of us to screw up the world. We've done it". ''We were discussing religion, who was right, who was wrong, we done everything but fist-fight, so to speak. And come to find out, he was wrong, and I was too, because there is no such thing as religion. The word 'religion' is not even in the Bible. It's salvation. Sanctification. Are you sanctified? Then you're Christian''.
 
 
 
Billboard advertisement, November 25, 1957 >

New York publisher, Paul Case, gave Jack Hammer's irresistible title to Otis Blackwell, who came up with an entirely new discourse. 

After agreeing to cut the song, Jerry Lee initially wrestled with his conscience over the tone of the lyrics. The deliberation was worth it because many highlights resulted, particularly his demarcating piano solo that shamelessly hocks the bass riff from Little Richard's "Lucille".


"Great Balls Of Fire" was no song Jerry had plucked from his reliquary, though; nor was it dashed off in one or two takes. It was a conscious attempt to produce a hit record for the lucrative teen market, which Jerry Lee had just shown he was capable of penetrating. 
 

The song had been pitched first to Carl Perkins then Lewis as part of a deal in which they would appear in the movie "Jamboree". Then, in a move wholly untypical of Sam Phillips, he decided to forego the publishing on the flip side as well.

OVERDUB SESSION: OCTOBER 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - JACK CLEMENT AND/OR BILL JUSTIS
 
1(6) - "GREAT BALLS OF FIRE" - B.M.I. - 1:50
Composer: - Jack Hammer-Otis Blackwell
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 277 - Master
Additional drums (rimshots) may have been overdubbed         
Recorded: - October 8, 1957
Released: - November 3, 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 281-A mono
GREAT BALLS OF FIRE / YOU WIN AGAIN
Reached number 2 on the Billboard's Pop charts; number 3 on the Rhythm and Blues charts.
Reissued - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803-1-5 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

He believed Jerry Lee could interpret Hank Williams songs and sell them to the country market. It was a lucrative  discovery that would not be forgotten by anyone associated with Jerry Lee's career.

(2d) - "YOU WIN AGAIN" - B.M.I. - 2:54
Composer: - Hank Williams
Publisher: - Acuff Rose Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 276 - Overdubbed Master
Recorded: - October 8, 1957
Released: - November 3, 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 281-B mono
YOU WIN AGAIN / GREAT BALLS OF FIRE
Reached number 95 on the Billboard's Pop charts.
Reissued - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803-1-6 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

Overdubbed Session:
Unknown - Vocal overdub
Unknown - Drums on ''Great Balls Of Fire''
Electric bass largely inaudible on tape but audible in rehearsal between cuts.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 


THE GREAT BALLS OF FIRE – Evidently, Phillips quickly warmed up to the number and, certain   of its sales potential, poured all of his resources into its marketing. He wasn't disappointed,   especially when, in October 1957, Jerry Lee Lewis followed ''Whole Lotta Shakin'' with an   even bigger, and more lascivious, hit. ''Great Balls Of Fire'', which he performed in the rock   and roll film Jamboree, went all the way to number one in the United Kingdom while   reaching number two in the United States. Again, Jack Clement was sitting behind the   console, as he was for Lewis's other major successes, ''Breathless'' and ''High School  Confidential''.

''He performed ''Great Balls Of Fire'' on the new piano and it took several sessions to get it   right'', Clement recalls. ''We knew it was a hit, so we kept messing with it until we got what   we wanted. Still, it was pretty straightforward and working with Jerry was usually fun. He   had a good sense of humour and I loved his playing. It was unique''.
 

OCTOBER 10, 1957 THURSDAY

Songwriter Tony Arata is born in Savannah, Georgia. His credits include Garth Brooks' ''The Dance'', Clay Walker's ''Dreaming With My Eyes Wide Open'', Patty Loveless' ''Here I Am'' and Jim Glaser's ''Man In The Mirror''. 

Don and Mary Sue Everly have their first child, Mary E. Everly, who dies the same day she is born.

''The Most Happy Fella'' featuring Frederick ''Shorty\\ Long, ends its 17-month run at New York's Imperial Theater. During its Broadway booking, Long took part in the Elvis Presley sessions that yielded ''Hound Dog'' and ''Don't Be Cruel''.

OCTOBER 11, 1957 FRIDAY

Sun SLP 1220 ''With His Hot And Blue Guitar'' by Johnny Cash issued.

Jerry Lee Lewis plays on the American Bandstand TV show hosted by Dick Clark.

OCTOBER 12, 1957 SATURDAY

Sun 280, Dickey Lee and The Collegiates ''Memories Never Grow Old'' b/w ''Good Lovin''' released.

During a show in Sydney, Australia, Little Richard announces he's quitting rock and roll, saying ''God doesn't like it''. The decision comes just months after he recorded ''Lucille'', a future Waylon Jennings hit.

OCTOBER 13, 1957 SUNDAY

In Sydney, Australia Little Richard announces he is quitting rock and roll. He plans to be  baptized in to the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

OCTOBER 14, 1957 MONDAY

The Everly Brothers earn a number 1 country single in Billboard with ''Wake Up Little Susie''.

TV producer Danny Petraits is born in Red Bank, New Jersey. He sings in the mass stdio choir on Brooks and Dunn's ''Rock My World (Little Country Girl)'' and plays harmonica on Johnny Cash's ''Red Hot - Country'' track ''Forever Young''.

OCTOBER 15, 1957 TUESDAY

RCA Victor released Elvis Presley's fourth studio album and his first Christmas album (RCA Victor LOC 1935).

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

By the time he came to Sun Records in 1957, Rudy Jiminez Grayzell had already made his mark in country and rockabilly circles, recording for Talent, Abbott, Starday, and Capitol.  Disc jockey Charlie Walker was the intermediary who set up a one-single Sun deal and Bill Justis, in one of his first productions for the label, took charge of the session that produced the breathless "Judy". Compared to most Sun rockabillies, Grayzell's vocal style was rather bubbly and mannered.

Rudy Grayzell >

Even the lyric to "Judy" contains self-conscious reference to hits by Larry Williams and Little Richard.  There was one session spread over two days in October 1957 with what Rudy described as Jerry Lee Lewis' band without Jerry Lee. He remembered that Bill Justis was the arranger. One single hit the market six months later. ''Potent teenage deck'', said Cash Box while Billboard praised ''Judy'', ''frantic sound'', but neither side clicked.
 
 
For some reasons, the 78s showed Grayzell as the composer of both songs whereas the 45s were credited to Paiz/Ketner on ''Judy''. The likeliest explanation is that Rudy was trying to duck a prior publishing commitment to either Starday or American.

STUDIO SESSION FOR RUDY GRAYZELL
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1958

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: TUESDAY/WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 15, 16, 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - BILL JUSTIS

01(1) - "JUDY" - B.M.I. - 2:15
Composer: - Paiz-Dick Ketner-Rudy Grayzell
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - October 15, 16, 1957
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1029 mono
SHAKE AROUND
Reissued: - 2 010  Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16837-15 mono
RUDY GRAYZELL – LET'S GET WILD

01(2) – "JUDY" - B.M.I. - 2:03
Composer: - Paiz-Dick Ketner-Rudy Grayzell
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 295 - Master Take 2
Recorded: - October 15, 16, 1957
Released: - April 9, 1958
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 290-A mono
JUDY / I THINK OF YOU
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803-1-23 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

Despite this gimmeckry, "Judy" rolls along in an engaging groove, largely assisted by fine work from Roland Janes and Jimmy Wilson, on guitar and piano. The last two bars of "Judy" are an instrumental highpoint. Sun was apparently over its early period of awkward studio fades, and now featured some of the tightest endings in rockabilly music. Along with "Flying Saucer Rock And Roll" and "So Long I'm Gone", Grayzell's record of "Judy" closes with instrumental power and precision that almost redeems it.

01(3) - "JUDY" - B.M.I. - 2:08
Composer: - Paiz-Dick Ketner-Rudy Grayzell
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 3 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - October 15, 16, 1957
Released: - 2010
First appearance: Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16837-17
RUDY GRAYZELL - LET'S GET WILD

02 - "I THINK OF YOU" - B.M.I. - 2:30
Composer: - Rudy Grayzell
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 294  - Master
Recorded: - October 15, 16, 1957
Released: - April 9, 1958
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 290-B mono
I THINK OF YOU / JUDY
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803-1-24 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

Billboard noted that Grayzell had a "frantic sound", and even had kind words for "I Think Of You", about this ballad.

03 - "I WON'T BE THE FOOL" - B.M.I. - 2:08
Composer: - Rudy Grayzell
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 3 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - October 15, 16, 1957
Released: - 1997
First appearance: - Sun Jay Records (CD) 500/200rpm SJ 70601 mono
THE LEGENDARY SUN ARTISTS - PART 1
Reissued: - 2010 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16837-18 mono
RUDY GRAYZELL - LET'S GET WILD

04 - "REMEMBER WHEN" - B.M.I. - 2:03
Composer: - Rudy Grayzell
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - October 15, 16, 1957
Released: - March 5, 1996
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8137-27 mono
UNISSUED SUN MASTERS
Reissued: - 2010 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16837-16 mono
RUDY GRAYZELL -– LET'S GET WILD

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rudy Grayzell - Vocal and Guitar
Roland Janes - Guitar
Jimmy Smith - Piano
Dick Ketner - Bass
Otis Jett - Drums

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 



© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR WARREN SMITH
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 16, 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN

OVERDUB SESSION: OCTOBER 20, 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
AND/OF JACK CLEMENT

For the second time in less than three years, a Sun rockabilly artist turned to the Nashville Excello label in search of rhythm and blues material to transform. Obviously, those orange and blue Excello releases were a source of inspiration throughout the deep south, and Warren Smith was as easily compelled here as Elvis Presley had been back in 1955 when he transformed Arthur Gunter's "Baby Let's Play House" into a rockabilly anthem.

01 - "I'VE GOT LOVE IF YOU WANT IT"** - B.M.I. - 2:08
Composer: - James Moore
Publisher: - Excellorec Music - Cambell Connelly & Corporation Limited
Matrix number: - U 286  - Master
Recorded: - October 16, 1957
Released: - December 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 286-A mono
I'VE GOT LOVE IF YOU WANT IT / I FELL IN LOVE
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803-1-15 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

This is not so much a cover, this was more a spirited revival of the Slim Harpo tune from six months earlier which had caught Warren Smith's ear over radio station WDIA in Memphis. Taken in a higher key and with a major hike in tempo, the arrangement was purposely detailed for teenage ears. For once all of the elements seemed to be in place for Warren to break through, except to say that most of Sun's promotional energies by late 1957 were totally geared towards the latest singles by Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis.
Payments for Warren Smith earned royalties for Sun 250, Sun 268, and Sun 286 signed by Sally Wilbourn, February 14, 1959 >

Among the song that Warren Smith heard on the car radio was Slim Harpo's "Got Love If You Want It". In Harpo's hand it was a mellow mid paced blues, delivered in a laconic bayou country drawl to a pseudorhumba beat. In Smith's hand it became another celebration of joyous, primal rockabilly. Al Hopson and Roland Janes trated licks on the intro and the solo (Hopson taking the lead and Janes the response).

Smith contributed a hugely confident vocal and made some minor lyrical changes in deference to prevailing mores: "Your fine brown frame" became "You fine looking thing", for example.

Warren Smith omitted Harpo's final verses and substituted lines adapted from another Slim Harpo record, "I'm A King Bee". Coupled with a lovely ballad by Al Hopson, "I Fell In Love", there was no reason that the record should not have been a hit - except that it was issued in the same month as Jerry Lee Lewis' "Great Balls Of Fire". 
 
 
According to Sun's royalty statement, the record had only sold a shade over 7000 copies by the following June. Warren Smith was disgusted, and his band began to lose the faith. Marcus Van Story dropped out, to be replaced by Al Hopson's brother, Will. Jimmie Lott also packed his bags and headed back to Memphis.

02 - "I FELL IN LOVE"* - B.M.I. - 2:39
Composer: - Al Hopson
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 287  - Master
Recorded: - October 16, 1957
Released: - December 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 286-B mono
I FELL IN LOVE / I'VE GOT LOVE IF YOU WANT IT
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803-1-16 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

Here, Warren Smith and company transform Slim Harpo's debut single on Excello (both this and its flipside "I'm A King Bee" were hits in 1957) into a storming uptempo rocker. In fact, Smith has taken lyrics from both sides of Harpo's single, turning this into the ultimate cover record. He's also reshaped the material for a white audience. Gone are such lyrical treasures as "Quit teasin' me baby / with your fine brown frame". Harpo's rhumba-tinged original version, while highly distinctive, had none of the fury of Smith's cover. From the opening four bars of Smith's record, you can tell these country boys have their own vision of the song. Roland Janes and Al Hopson have a wonderful time trading guitar licks, while the rhythm is propelled by Jimmie Lott's powerhouse drumming and Will Hopson's prominently miked acoustic bass.

As on his first Sun outing, Smith's rockabilly stylings are paired with a country effort. Only this time, the sound of country music has been softened to welcome the burgeoning pop crossover market. In its own way, "I Fell In Love" is, as Billboard used to say, "potent stuff". Smith's vocal is beautiful recorded, surrounded by a tastefully arranged male chorus. This time, drum support is confined to rather assertively miked brushwork.  In a somewhat daring step, Smith's singing is left to stand a cappella during the last line. Its a rather eyeopening way to close a highly effective arrangement. During the first verse, Smith sings the curious phrase "Just to be made feel blue", a form of English spoken nowhere on the planet, including the deep south.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Warren Smith - Vocal and Guitar
Al Hopson - Guitar
Roland Janes - Guitar
Will Hopson - Bass
Jimmie Lott** - Drums
Sid Manker* - Bass
Otis Jett* - Drums

Overdub Session
Vernon Drake - Vocals
Asa Wilkerson - Vocals
Lee Holt – Vocals

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 



Roy Orbison stayed in Memphis after the Teen Kings left. It was the studio rather than the stage that became his true medium. He worked sessions at Sun for other artists, performed on commercials and radio spots for Sam Phillips, and pitched one of his songs, ''So Long I'm Gone'', to Warren Smith. ''I don't think people know how good a guitar player Ray was'', said Phillips. ''He used the bass strings and played combination string stuff. He also had the best ear for a beat of anyone I recorded outside of Jerry Lee Lewis. If we had a session going, Roy would come in early and pick an awful lot just warming up and getting his fingers working. His timing would amaze me. He'd play lead and fill in with rhythm licks. I'd kid him and say, 'Roy, you're trying to get rid of the band and do it all yourself'. He just hated to lay his guitar down. He was either writing or developing a beat. He was totally preoccupied with making records''.

It's hard to know how long Roy hung around Memphis. ''Basically I don't really have anything. I'd just love to stay in town'', he told Phillips. As Phillips remembered it, he said, ''No problem. Nobody around here's going to bed hungry. I don't usually invite my artist out to my house, I want to get away from you damn fools. I brought him to my house. This is when he brought Claudette in. I said, 'We can make room for her, too'. They weren't married at the time and they didn't sleep together. They stayed a long time''.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR ROY ORBISON
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: OCTOBER 16, 17, 19, 21 & 22, 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS & JACK CLEMENT
MUSICAL DIRECTOR - BILL JUSTIS

01 - "FOOLS HALL OF FAME" - B.M.I. - 2:24
Composer: - Danny Wolfe
Publisher: - Golden West Music - Warner Chappell Music Limited
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - October 1957
Released: - 1973
First appearance: - Phonogram Records (LP) 33rpm 6467 028-14 mono
SUN ROCKABILLYS - VOLUME 4 - PUT YOUR CAT CLOTHES ON
Reissued: - 2001 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16423-1-11 mono
ROY ORBISON - ORBISON 1955 - 1966

02 - "A TRUE LOVE GOODBYE" - B.M.I. - 2:16
Composer: - Norman Petty-Roy Orbison
Publisher: - Wren Music Corporation
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - October 1957
Released: - 1973
First appearance: - Phonogram Records (LP) 33rpm 6467 028-15 mono
SUN ROCKABILLYS - VOLUME 4 - PUT YOUR CAT CLOTHES ON
Reissued: - 2001 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16423-1-12 mono
ROY ORBISON - ORBISON 1955 - 1966

03(1) - "CHICKEN-HEARTED" - B.M.I. - 2:15
Composer: - Roy Orbison-Bill Justis
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 282  - Master
Recorded: - October 1957
Released: - December 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 284-B mono
CHICKEN-HEARTED / I LIKE LOVE
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803-1-11 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

The change in direction and the fuller sound did nothing to revive Orbison's sales, so Sun's new musical director, Bill Justis, gave Roy Orbison one of his first efforts at rock and roll compositions, "Chicken Heard". It was a novelty song, the quintessential nerd's lament. Roland Jones, who played guitar on the sessions, recalled that Orbison was bitterly unhappy with the material - and with good reason - but didn't complain.

"Chicken-Hearted", has always been a bit of an enigma to Sun and Orbison fans alike. More a sax instrumental (probably by Bill Justis rather than the credited Martin Willis) than a vocal track, it wails along in a groove that has survived the ravages of time rather well. The instrumental work is uniformly fine, including some excellent drumming by Otis Jett and driving piano work by one of Sun's resident Jimmys: either Wilson or Smith. When Orbison isn't singing, this is a well done, even typical late-1950s saxled instrumental that reminds one more of Duane Eddy or The Champs than the gang at 706 Union.

03(2) - CHICKEN-HEARTED" - B.M.I. - 2:16
Composer: - Roy Orbison-Bill Justis
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Semi Spoken Vocal - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - October 1956
Released: - 2001
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16423-2-5 mono
ROY ORBISON - ORBISON 1955 - 1966

04 - "I LIKE LOVE" - B.M.I. - 2:30
Composer: - Jack Clement
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 283  - Master
Recorded: - October 1957
Released: - December 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 284-A mono
I LIKE LOVE / CHICKEN-HEARTED
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803-1-12 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

Can this be the same Roy Orbison who became the operatic balladeer of the 1960s? However atypical of Orbison's later sound, "I Like Love" was as trite as its title suggests, rocks at a fine pace and the surprising sax  solo at the close following a run of piano triplets leads the song to a strong fade. Released in December 1957, the single was Orbison's last shot on Sun as a contracted artist.

05(1) - "MEAN LITTLE MAMA" - B.M.I. - 1:54
Composer: - Sam C. Phillips
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Dubbed Master
Recorded: - October 1957
Released: - 1961
First appearance: - Sun Records (LP) 33rpm SLP 1260-10 mono
ROY ORBISON AT THE ROCKHOUSE
Reissued: - 1984 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDX 4 mono
ROY ORBISON - THE SUN YEARS

05(2) - "MEAN LITTLE MAMA" - B.M.I. - 1:55
Composer: - Sam C. Phillips
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Undubbed Master - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - October 1957
Released: - June 1988
First appearance: - Zu-Zazz Records (CD) 500/200rpm Z 2006 mono
PROBLEM CHILD
Reissued: - 1989 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15461-15 mono
ROY ORBISON - THE SUN YEARS 1956 - 1958

06(1) - "PROBLEM CHILD" - B.M.I. - 2:19
Composer: - Roy Orbison
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Undubbed Master - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - October 1957
Released: - June 1988
First appearance: - Zu-Zazz Records (CD) 500/200rpm Z 2006 mono
PROBLEM CHILD
Reissued: - 1989 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15461-17 mono
ROY ORBISON - THE SUN YEARS 1956 - 1958

06(2) - "PROBLEM CHILD" - B.M.I. - 2:19
Composer: - Roy Orbison
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Dubbed Master
Recorded: - October 1957
Released: - 1961
First appearance: - Sun Records (LP) 33rpm SLP 1260-1 mono
ROY ORBISON AT THE ROCKHOUSE
Reissued: - 1989 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDX 4 mono
ROY ORBISON - THE SUN YEARS

06(3) - "PROBLEM CHILD" – B.M.I. - 2:26
Composer: - Roy Orbison
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - October 1957
Released: - June 1988
First appearance: - Zu-Zazz Records (CD) 500/200rpm Z 2006 mono
PROBLEM CHILD
Reissued: - 2001 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16423-2-6 mono
ROY ORBISON - ORBISON 1955 - 1966

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Roy Orbison - Vocal and Guitar
Roland Janes - Guitar
Stan Kesler - Bass
Sid Manker - Bass October 22
Otis Jett - Drums
Jimmy Wilson - Piano October 16
Jimmy Smith - Piano October 17
Bill Justis - Tenor Saxophone
C. Buehl - Unknown

Roy Orbison was disillusioned with the way Sam Phillips was handling his career as a recording artist. He was locked into recording rock and roll novelties and, with hindsight, would even come to look askance at Sun's primitive recording conditions. "We had to make do", he recalled. "I had to write the songs, sing the songs, arrange the songs, and play the guitar". Yet to Orbison it was that independence that, he would reflect later, enabled his musical ideas to start taking shape in his own mind - even if they never crystallized in the Sun studio. Many years later, he would say, "I'm glad now there was no one to call on". Perhaps he had a point; one of his favorite stories involved a warning from Jack Clement that he should stay away from ballads - that he would never make it as a ballad zinger.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

OCTOBER 17, 1957 THURSDAY

''Jailhouse Rock'', Elvis Presley's third motion picture premiers at the Loew's State Theater  in Memphis. As a high school student Presley had been an usher there. The movie opens at  theaters on November 8, 1957. "Jailhouse Rock", considered the best rock film, starring  Elvis Presley introduces a precursor to the rock video, as the title song has an elaborate  setting in a jail cell choreographed by Presley himself.

The Osborne Brothers and Red Allen recorded ''Once More'' in Nashville at the Methodist Television, Radio and Film Commission studio.

OCTOBER 18, 1957 FRIDAY

Little Richard fulfills his recording contract with Specialty Records by recording a half dozen  songs in a three hour session at Master Recorders. It will be six years before he records  again.

Paul McCartney makes his first appearance with The Quarry Men at the New Clubmoor Hall in Liverpool, England. The group goes on to become The Beatles, and several of their songs emerge as country hits.

OCTOBER 18-23, 1957

Jerry Lee Lewis plays shows with Johnny Cash, George Jones and Bobby Helms.

OCTOBER 19, 1957 SATURDAY

Sonny James recorded ''Uh-Huh-mm''.

OCTOBER 21, 1957 MONDAY

Guitarist Steve Lukather is born in Los Angeles. A founding member of the rock band Toto, he also plays on the Kenny Rogers hit ''All My Life''.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

On October 23, 1957, former Sun blues whopper, Billy ''The Kid'' Emerson made his final session for Vee-Jay. The songs that would form his last release on the label were ''Do Yourself A Favor'', where Emerson urges his girl to come back to him above a catchy and interesting arrangement, and ''You Never Miss Your Water'', a blues with a firm beat and riffing horns and which sports an excellent guitar solo from Lefty Bates, a musician often associated with Emerson in the studio and on the road in those days.

It has been listed in various publications that Emerson recorded two other titles at this session: ''Lucinda'' and ''When It Rains It Pours''. In fact, he did not. A song called ''Lucinda'' has been catalogued by Vee-Jay as being by Emerson but it features a different vocalist altogether. Vee-Jay has also listed ''When It Rain It Pours'' on the Emerson master tapes, but the recording turns out to be a reference dub taken off a Sun 45.

Session Published for Historical Reasons

STUDIO SESSION FOR BILLY EMERSON
FOR VEE JAY RECORDS 1957

UNIVERSAL RECORDING STUDIO
46 EAST WALTON STREET, CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
VEE JAY SESSION: WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 23, 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER – CALVIN CARTER

01 – ''DO YOURSELF A FAVOR'' – B.M.I. - 2:31
Composer: - William Robert Emerson
Publisher: - Conrad Music
Matrix number: - 57-762
Recorded: - October 23, 1957
Released: - December 1957
First appearance: - Vee-Jay Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single VJ 261 mono
DO YOURSELF A FAVOR / YOU NEVER MISS YOUR WATER
Reissued: - 2009 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16937-24 mono
BILLY EMERSON – THE SUN YEARS PLUS

In December 1957, ''You Never Miss Your Water'' and ''Do Yourself A Favor'' were issued on Vee-Jay 261, and in January the trade papers were reporting that the disc was ''starting to climb''. However, once again, the climb was not as fast, as steep or as sustained as Emerson felt was his due. The events of his leaving Sun Records were repeated, and he said: ''I got mad with VJ because here I am with a record that's bust wide open in New Orleans and Texas and everywhere I had a stronghold, but they wouldn't put any money behind the record. Anyhow, I left and I went to Chess''.

02 – ''YOU NEVER MISS YUR WATER'' – B.M.I. - 2:20
Composer: - William Robert Emerson
Publisher: - Conrad Music
Matrix number: - 57-763
Recorded: - October 23, 1957
Released: - December 1957
First appearance: - Vee-Jay Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single VJ 261 mono
YOU NEVER MISS YOUR WATER / DO YOURSELF A FAVOR
Reissued: - 2009 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16937-25 mono
BILLY EMERSON – THE SUN YEARS PLUS

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
William Robert Emerson – Vocal & Piano
with Al Smith's Orchestra
William ''Lefty'' Bates – Guitar
Quin Wilson – Bass
Al Duncan – Drums
Earl Washington - Piano
McKinley Easton – Baritone Saxophone
Lucius Washington – Tenor Saxophone
George ''Sonny'' Cohn – Trumpet

In November 1957, Billboard reported that Billy Emerson was at the Coliseum in Joliet, Illinois headlining a show with Lefty Bates, Magic Sam and others. He was also at Chicago's Regal Theater on a show with Joe Turner, B.B. King, Jackie Wilson and The Dells, and then in December with The Five Satins and Jackie Wilson.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

OCTOBER 24, 1957 THURSDAY
 
Five years after his first wife's death, Bing Crosby marries Kathryn Grant at St. Ann's Catholic Church in Las Vegas. In 1944, the influential pop singer earned a country hit by teaming with The Andrews Sisters on ''Pistol Packin' Mama''.

OCTOBER 26, 1957 SATURDAY

A month after guitarist Scotty Moore and bass player Bill Black resigned, Elvis Presley employs them again, beginning with a show in San Francisco. They receive raises, from $200-per-show to $250.

Gene Vincent appears on "American Bandstand''.

OCTOBER 28, 1957 MONDAY

Elvis Presley makes his first appearance in Hollywood at the Pan-Pacific Auditorium. Actor Alan Ladd is angered by the concert, which The Los Angeles Mirror-News says is ''not basically music but a sex show''.

''IS 'RAUNCHY' A HIT?''Phillips International Records demanded in a red-and-black half-page ad edition of Billboard, just as the pop version by Billy Vaughn and the rhythm and blues one by Ernie Freeman were beginning to get attention.

In the end Sam Phillips' faith was amply rewarded. He shipped two million copies of ''Raunchy'' in the first two months of its release, but no matter the sales outcome, he would have won the competition hands down because he held the publishing on a song that went to number 2 pop in Bill Justis' version, number 4 in Ernie Freeman's, reached number 6 on the country charts (Justis), number 1 on the rhythm and blues (both), and got at least another million sales as the B-side of Billy Vaughn's pop hit ''Sail On Silvery Moon', which itself went to number 5, while ''Raunchy'' got to number 10 in his version.

OCTOBER 29, 1957 TUESDAY

On his second night at Hollywood's Pan-Pacific Auditorium, Elvis Presley's concert attracts Yul Brynner. A post-show part is attended by Carol Channing, Ricky Nelson and Sammy Davis Jr.

After recording for Columbia and Capitol, Roy Acuff holds his first recording session for Hickory Records.

Bobby Helms recorded ''Jingle Bell Rock'', destined to become a Christmas classic, just days before Halloween at the Bradley Film and Recording studio in Nashville.

Roy Acuff Recorded ''Once More'' in Nashville.

OCTOBER 30, 1957 WEDNESDAY

Johnny Park is born in Arlington, Texas. A member of the 1990's duo Archer Park, he authors Easton Corbin's 2010 hit ''Roll With It''.
 


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
 
Narvel Felts remembered that on his second Mercury session in Nashville, he and his band recorded an instrumental that featured Jerry Tuttle on saxophone, called ''Rocket Ride''.  ''That record came out and really started getting some action, this was early 1958'', he said. ''The story goes that Art Talmadge heard a radio station in Chicago play ''Rocket Ride'' on a slow speed and it sounded like a stroll record to him, and they had a hit at the time with the Diamonds ''The Stroll'', and so he slowed it down, and it was re-issued very quickly as ''Rocket Ride Stroll''. 

''That was actually a re-recording and I believe it was Sil Austin and the Orchestra who recorded ''Rocket Ride Stroll'' and they issued it under my name.  The original ''Rocket Ride'' was just us, the Rockets. We did that at RCA Studio B in Nashville in October of 1957, featuring Jerry Tuttle on saxophone''.
 
 
 

Session Published for Historical Reasons

STUDIO SESSION FOR NARVEL FELTS
FOR MERCURY RECORDS 1957

RCA STUDIO B
1610 HAWKINS STREET, NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE
MERCURY SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE OCTOBER 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER – BOB CLOUD & ART TALMADGE

01 - ''DREAM WORLD''* - B.M.I. - 2:28
Composer: - Narvel Felts-Jerry Tuttle-McMillan
Publisher: - Mayflower Music
Matrix number: - YW 16306
Recorded: - Unknown Date October 1957
Released: - January 2, 1958
First appearance: - Mercury Records (S) 45rpm standard single Mercury 71249-A mono
DREAM WORLD / ROCKET RIDE
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16220-23 mono
NARVEL FELTS - DID YOU TELL ME

This two recordings released in 1958 in which the A-side "Dream World" is a typical period ballad style that fellow rocker-turned-countryman Conway Twitty would specialize in. You already know if you like that kind of thing or not and while it's not too bad, the credit ''vocal by Narvel Felts with the Anita Kerr Singers'' might sound warning bells in some of you. However, "Rocket Ride (Stroll)" is indeed a nice surprise. It's a brassy instrumental with a slow-walkin' beat and lots of blazin' saxophone and ol' Narvel gets to kick in a few tasty guitar licks midway through. This kind of makes me wonder if anything else Narvel Felts recorded during this period is worth laying ears to.

02 – ''ROCKET RIDE (STROLL)'' - B.M.I. - 2:24
Composer: - Narvel Felts-J.W. Grubbs-Leon Barrett-Bob Taylor-Jerry Tuttle
Publisher: - Mayflower Music
Matrix number: - YW 16307
Recorded: - Unknown Date October 1957
Released: - January 2, 1958
First appearance: - Mercury Records (S) 45rpm standard single Mercury 71249-B mono
ROCKET RIDE / DREAM WORLD
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16220-24 mono
NARVEL FELTS - DID YOU TELL ME

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Narvel Felts - Vocal & Guitar
Leon Barrett - Guitar
J.W. Grubbs - Bass
Bob Taylor - Drums
Jerry Tuttle - Saxophone
Chet Atkins - Rhythm Guitar
Floyd Cramer - Piano

* - The Anita Kerr Singers consisting of
Anita Kerr, Dottie Dillard,
Gil Wright, Louis Nunley - Vocal Chorus

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 


OCTOBER 1957

Ray Harris's second record ''Greenback Dollar, Watch And Chain'' appeared at the same time as ''Whole Lotta  Shakin' Goin' On''. Every fibre of Sun's tiny operation was geared to Jerry Lee Lewis. ''Greenback Dollar''  sank without a trace. Even before ''Greenback Dollar'' hit the streets Ray Harris had decided that his future  lay the other side of the studio glass. ''I knew Carl McVoy. He was Jerry Lee Lewis's cousin and he was  working construction with me''.


At Hi Records studio, (from left) Joe Cuoghi, Carl McVoy, Ray Harris, and Gene Simmons >

''He played some dances with my group and he'd worked up a rock and roll  arrangement of the old Jimmie Davis song, ''You Are My Sunshine''. So, I took McVoy to this old lady's  house down on Poplar Avenue. She had an upright piano and a tape recorder''.

 
''I gave her $3.50 and we cut  ''You Are My Sunshine'' and Tootsie''. I had two partners, Bill Cantrell and Quinton Claunch. We said, 'Well,  we got the know-how but who's got the money'? We went down to Poplar Tunes which was owned by Joe  Cuogi and he remembered me on account of ''Greenback Dollar''. The four of us came to an agreement and  formed a little company, went to Nashville with the money we'd raised and re-cut those tunes by McVoy with  Chet Atkins and all the Nashville studio men''.

Joe Cuoghi hit on the name Hi Records. He thought it would conjure up images of a record high on the  charts. McVoy debut hit the streets to a good response but Hi didn't have much distribution so the partners  sold the masters to Sam Phillips for $2.600. The money was used to rent the Royal Theater on South  Lauderdale Street and buy an Ampex single track recorder, six microphones and two Altec boards. Bill  Cantrell strung the primitive equipment together. The Hi Records studio was born. And so began the second  act of Ray Harris's career in the music business. It would be infinitely more successful than the first. After a  shaky start, Hi hit its stride with the Bill Black Combo and Ace Cannon. Harris remained with the label until  1970 when he sold his share to Willie Mitchell and returned to Tupelo, Mississippi. He was sick of music and  sick of the record business. He had spent no more than four of five hours each day at home for years. In  addition to cutting most of the Hi sessions he was engineering custom sessions for Mercury, Backbeat,  United Artists and other labels (he remembers Chuck Berry, Junior Parker, Ike & Tina Turner, Slim Harpo,  among others).
 

 © - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

No sooner did the fledgling Hi label get its first release into the marketplace, but it appeared that they might  have a hit record on their hands. Totally ill-quipment to deal with such a possibility on the national level, the  master to "You Are My Sunshine" was sold to Sam Phillips in April 1958, who promptly issued it on his new  label and watched it virtually fall out of orbit. So much for this little tale.

Carl McVoy >

Only what happened before the  record was released is actually more interesting. For one thing, pianist and vocalist Carl McVoy can lay  claim to being one of the true musical influences on his cousin Jerry Lee Lewis. For another, its fair to say  that the Hi label began because of this record.
 
Think about the influence of Hi recordings on popular music in the 1960s and 1970s. Curiously enough, it all  began when Ray Harris (along with Sun alumni...
 
 
...Quinton Claunch and Bill Cantrell) invested the princely  sum of ten bucks in a McVoy demo of "Sunshine", which sufficiently interested record store owner Joe  Cuoghi to start his own label with McVoy as his premiere artist. In short, ithere is a lot of history  surrounding this disc which, ironically, went absolutely nowhere.

STUDIO SESSION FOR CARL MCVOY
FOR HI RECORDS 1957

RCA STUDIO B
1610 HAWKINS STREET, NASHVILLY TENNESSEE
HI SESSION: PROBABLY OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER – CHET ATKINS
AND/OR RAY HARRIS

When the single encountered distribution problems, the tapes were sold to Sam Phillips for $2600 who  reissued the some six months later on Phillips International. Chet Atkins took charge of the production as  well as leading the rhythm section which swings like a clock, right down to the Dixieland ending.

01 - "TOOTSIE" - B.M.I. - 2:26
Composer: - Bill Cantrell-Quinton Claunch
Publisher: - Peer International
Matrix number: - 2002  - Master
Recorded: - Probably October/November 1957
Released: - June 16, 1958
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 78/45rpm standard single PI 3526-B mono
TOOTSIE / YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15805-3-22 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 5

02* - "YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE" - B.M.I. - 2:22
Composer: - Jimmy Davis-Charles Mitchell
Publisher: - Peer International
Matrix number: - 2003
Recorded: - Probably October/November 1957
Released: - June 16, 1958
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 78/45rpm standard single PI 3526-A mono
YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE / TOOTSIE
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15805-3-21 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 5

03 - ''BE HONEST WITH ME'' – B.M.I. - 1:46
Composer: - Carl McVoy
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -  Probably October/November 1957
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm CFM 10 512-6 mono
THE SWINGIN' BLAST
Reissued: Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8352-14 mono
ESSENTIAL SUN ROCKABILLIES - VOLUME 6

04 - "MY CRAZY DREAM
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Probably October/November 1957

05 - ''OH YEAH'' – B.M.I. - 2:20
Composer: - Carl McVoy
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -  Probably October/November 1957
Released: - 1985
First appearance: Redita Records (LP) 33rpm Redita 125-12 mono
ROCK 'N' ROLL FEVER
Reissued: - 1997 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8236-13 mono
ESSENTIAL SUN ROCKABILLIES - VOLUME 4

06  - ''LONELY HEART'' – B.M.I. - 2:36
Composer: - Carl McVoy
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -  Probably October/November 1957
Released: - 1985
First appearance: Redita Records (LP) 33rpm Redita 125-13 mono
ROCK 'N' ROLL FEVER
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8161 mono
ESSENTIAL SUN ROCKABILLIES - VOLUME 3

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Carl McVoy - Vocal and Piano
Chet Atkins - Guitar
Johnny Ace Cannon - Tenor Sax
* - The Jordanaires - Vocal Chorus
* - Millie Kirkham - Vocal Chorus

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

 
NOVEMBER 1957
 

NOVEMBER 1957

Warren Smith and his band quit Stars Incorporated, and started booking through G.D.  Kemper in Charlotte, North Carolina. "We worked with Sonny James, Gene Vincent and Lash  Larue after Warren quit Bob", recalled Jimmie Lott. "Lash was a trip. No matter how much  he drank - and that was as much as two fifths of Crown Royal before the show - he could  handle a bullwhip like nothing I'd ever seen, although he never managed to persuade us to  participate in his tricks. We went all through Canada with Lash and the coal mining districts  in East Kentucky, playing on top of the concession stands at drive in movies". Kemper also  booked Smith on the State Fair circuit, which kept them away from home for six months''.

Along the way, Kemper had the group set for an appearance on the Ed Sullivan show but  Smith managed to alienate Kemper by booking his own gigs in Edgewood, Maryland.

Sun LP 1220 "Hot And Blue  Guitar" by Johnny Cash is released. It is the first from the label in an intermittent and never  consolidated approach to the album market. Albums by Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis are  released during 1958.

Onie Wheeler records for Sun but the results are not issued until February 1959.

NOVEMBER 1, 1957 FRIDAY

By the time the Carl Perkins's single ''Glad All Over'' hit the market, Perkins had quit the Sun  label. He and Johnny Cash had been approached in August 1, 1957 by Don Law from  Columbia Records, who proposed that both artists move to Columbia. On this date, Johnny  Cash signed a Columbia contract, but Carl Perkins sign a n agreement in principle, Carl  Perkins was signed with Columbia, and the contract was dated January 25, 1958.

With the heady days of 1956 long gone, Carl Perkins faced an insuperable uphill battle to  resur rect his career. He tried again to become a teen poet, writing or recording such songs  as ''Pop Let Me Have The Car'' and ''Pink Pedal Pushers'', but they didn't sound nearly as  convincing as the dark backwoods humor of ''That's Right''.

Faron Young and Marty Robbins have supporting roles with the debut of the western movie ''Raiders Of Old California''.

NOVEMBER 3, 1957 SUNDAY

Jimmie Rodgers makes a return appearance on ''The Ed Sullivan Show'', performing ''Honeycomb'' and ''Kisses Sweeter Than Wine'' on the CBS program. Also in the lineup are Sam Cooke and Paul Anka.

The Everly Brothers recorded the Ray Charles-penned ''This Little Girl Of Mine''.

The singles, "Great Balls Of Fire" b/w ''You Win Again'' (Sun 281) by Jerry Lee Lewis and Sun 282, Dick Penner ''Your Honey Love'' b/w ''Cindy Lou'' issued. Sam Phillips designed a one-sheet and an ad to go with it announcing: ''SUN has its' own SATELLITE - THE BALL OF FIRE JERRY LEE LEWIS SINGING HIS FABULOUS NEW SUN RELEASE ''GREAT BALLS OF FIRE'' INTRODUCED TO THE NATION SUNDAY, NOV. 3 ON THE STEVE ALLEN SHOW''.  Jerry Lee's single was released with a picture sleeve, along with an Extended Play 45 entitled ''Jerry Lee Lewis The Great Ball of Fire'', and earned a glowing lead review in Billboard, followed by a full-page ad replete with crude outer-space imagery and saluting the sensational success of Sun's very own Satellite on his rocketlike rise up the charts.

It was a moment of pure triumph for the company, but, not surprisingly, not everyone was in a celebratory mood. Carl Perkins for one was thoroughly disillusioned. Sam Phillips, he believed, had promised him the sun, the moon, and the stars, but nothing had gone right for him, really, since the automobile accident. His drinking was only getting worse, to the point that without acknowledging the fault he could recognize the shame. And it certainly didn't help to watch this strutting peacock, Lewis, that Sam Phillips was always going on about just sail right by him without so much as a backward glance. ''I tried to make him feel welcome and comfortable'', Carl later wrote of their first encounters, when it was carl who was the star, ''but he opened all them smart-aleck doors to start''.

Jerry Lee Lewis plays for the third time on The Steve Allen TV show on NBC-TV.
 
The Sputnik 2 Satellite is successfully launched into orbit around the Earth by the USSR. The spacecraft was the second spacecraft successfully launched into Earth’s orbit and the first spacecraft to carry a biological being into space. Sputnik 2 carried Laika, a female dog, into space. Laika was provided with food, water, oxygen, a padded area and enough room to lay or stand and she was expected to live for up to ten days while Soviet scientists collected data on the effects of space on living beings. Unfortunately, it was believed that she only survived for two days due to problems with the thermal control system. The craft fell out of orbit and into Earth’s atmosphere in April of 1958. The U.S. did not put a satellite into orbit until January of 1958. By July of 1969 the U.S. would put the first man on the Moon.

NOVEMBER 4, 1957 MONDAY

Jerry Lee Lewis sings his latest release "Great Balls Of Fire'' on American Bandstand'' TV show, hosted by Dick Clark.''.

NOVEMBER 6, 1957 WEDNESDAY

''Maybelline'' songwriter Chuck Berry is served with an attest warrent for armed robbery when he plays St. Louis Kiel Auditorium. The next day, he shows police an out-of-town contract for the date, and the charges are dismissed.

Alyce King and Robert Clarke have a son, Cam Clarke, in Los Angeles. As a member of The King Sisters, Mom participated in a 1946 country hit, ''Divorce Me C.O.D.''.

NOVEMBER 8, 1957 FRIDAY

Martha Susan McEntire is born in Atoka, Oklahoma. The younger sister of Reba McEntire, she becomes better known during her adult years as Christian country singer Susie Luchsinger.

Elvis Presley plays a convict, as the movie ''Jailhouse Rock'' is released.

June Carter makes the first of two guest appearances on the ABC-TV show ''The Adventures Of Jim Bowie''.

After three years in show business, Chuck Berry makes his television debut lip-syncing his  recording of rock and roll music on "American Bandstand".

NOVEMBER 11, 1957 MONDAY

Review in Billboard magazine says, ''Jerry Lee Lewis pours his all into ''Great Balls Of Fire'' (Sun 281) a rockabilly tune which he performs in the flick, Jamboree''. Side appears a strong bet to match the success of ''Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On''. The flip ''You Win Again'' is an appealing styling of Hank Williams's old hit that should also be a winner. Both sides figure in all markets''.

Ernest Tubb and The Wilburn Brothers recorded ''Hey, Mr. Bluebird'' in an evening session at the Bradley Recording studio in Nashville.

Elvis Presley performs on Veterans Day at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Ironically, it becomes his last show before his own induction into the Army.

Decca released the Webb Pierce and Kitty Wells duet, ''One Week Later''.

NOVEMBER 12, 1957 TUESDAY

The movie ''Jamboree'' previewed. Jerry Lee Lewis makes his film debut, singing ''Great Balls Of Fire''. Also in the picture, Fats Domino, Slim Whitman, Carl Perkins, Buddy Knox, Connie Francis, Jimmy Bowen, The Four Coins and Frankie Avalon.

Ernest Tubb recorded ''House Of Glass'' at the Bradley Film and Recording studio on Music Row in Nashville.

Songwriter Michael Garvin is born. He authors Conway Twitty's ''Desperado Love'', T.G. Sheppard's ''Only One You'', Michael Martin Murphey's ''From The Word Go'' and ''Tanya Tucker's ''Highway Robbery'', among others.

Johnny Cash recorded ''Big River'' and ''Ballad Of A Teenage Queen'' at the Sun studio in Memphis, Tennessee.

NOVEMBER 14, 1957 THURSDAY

Songwriter Gretchen Peters is born in Bronxville, New York. She writes such hits as Faith Hill's ''The Secret Of Life'', Martina McBride's ''Independence Day'', Patty Loveless' ''You Don't Even Know I Am'' and ''Pam Tillis' ''Let That Pony Run''.
 

NOVEMBER 15, 1957 FRIDAY

Billy Haley and His Comets make a rare television appearance on "The Big Record" on CBS-TV.

NOVEMBER 16, 1957 SATURDAY

Harold Traywick marries Bobbie Rose Tucker in Chesterfield, South Carolina. The relationship yields six children, including country singer Randy Travis.

Patti Page graces the cover of TV Guide.
 

 
NOVEMBER 16, 1957 SATURDAY

In The Cash Box music magazine published an ad about Bill Justis' new release at Phillips
International "Raunchy", that read:
PLEASE TAKE JUST A MINUTE:
IT WILL PAY BIG DIVIDENDS!!!

We at Phillips International and Sun Records have always tried to create, never copy. Why -  because that is the essence and life of the music and record business.

We were fortunate enough to come up with what looks like one of the biggest records to hit  the nation in modern times. We believe you know the record we are referring to. Now some  uncouth and very unrealistic claims are being made as to "who has the hot" - Our answer to  this is, we are willing to have you compare, if you haven't already, all records on it. But,  more than that, we are happy to just wait till, the verdict of the record buying public is in!.  Every major market in the country has put Bill Justis' version head and shoulders above the  sale of all cover records combined! And the reports from distributors and disc jockeys all  across the U.S., almost unanimously agree that "Raunchy" will probably be the biggest  instrumental since the original version of T.D's "Boogie Woogie".

We view this reaction with real pride, because we know it can be a tremendous "shot in the  arm" for instrumental music in months to come. This will add more of a balance and variety  to the music business which has been so good to us all. Let us never become stereotyped  and parasitic. The best in commercial music has yet to be discovered. Let's create - so as to  continually find it.

Anyway, in this case, you can rest assured we know the best record will win - then we can all  view the result together.

Appreciatively,
706 Union Avenue
Memphis, Tenn
U.S.A.

Phillips No. 3519
 

NOVEMBER 17, 1957 SUNDAY

Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps makes his first TV appearance on CBS' ''The Ed Sullivan Show'' sing "Lotta Lovin'" and "Dance To The Bop" . Traditional pop vocalist Georgia Gibbs also guests, performing ''Great Balls Of Fire''.

NOVEMBER 18, 1957 MONDAY

Sam Phillips had deep problem: his franchise act, Johnny Cash, was not only leaving the Sun label but refusing to bring any of his own songs to his remaining Sun sessions. Phillips put out the call to everyone on Sun's roster. Tommy Blake recorded a demo tape of songs that Johnny Cash might like to cut, and Cash recorded one of them, a cheerless ballad, ''Story Of A Broken Heart''. Sun later issued it as a single, but by then Sam Phillips had caught Blake in one of his many moments of need and bought the composer credit the song from him.
 
At this point, the notes in the frustratingly incomplete Sun files become impenetrably hard  to follow. Tommy Blake was probably on this date back in Memphis. At the time, Sam Phillips  paid Carl Adams, Eddie Hall, and Sun session drummer Jimmy M. Van Eaton. He also paid Blake  another ten dollar advance on royalties. Was there another session on that day (and if so,  what did he recorded?) or was Phillips settling up the single "Flat Foot Sam".
 

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Onie Wheeler >
 
Onie Wheeler was steppin' out with some of the most unregenerate rockabillies to walk the planet. Starting in March this year, Bob Neal had booked Onie Wheeler and the Nelson Brothers onto his Stars Incorporated, 1916 Sterick Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee, package shows with Jerry Lee Lewis, Billy Riley, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash.

By the end of 1957, Onie was pretty tight with the Memphis crowd and went to Sun to cut a record that November. O nie's opinion of Sun was that it was a bush-league operation in terms of recording, but he gave them "Jump Right Out Of This Jukebox", one of his best songs - and best performances. It didn't lack novelty appeal, but was unaccountably held back until February 1959. Unlike most records with a novelty slant, though, it had enough solid musicality to sustain listening.

 
 
 
 STUDIO SESSION FOR ONIE WHEELER
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: MONDAY TO FRIDAY NOVEMBER 11, 22, 1957 DECEMBER 06, 1957
SESSION HOURS: FRIDAY NOVEMBER 22, 1957 - 11:00 TO 04:30
SESSION HOURS: FRIDAY DECEMBER 6, 1957 - 12:00 TO 03:30
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - JACK CLEMENT
AND/OR BILL JUSTIS
 
Two other cuts, "That's All" and "Walkin' Shoes" were cut from pretty standard rockabilly cloth circa 1957, but the tempo was too fast for Onie to feel comfortable. In fact, Onie told Martin Hawkins that even the tempo on "Jump Right Out Of This Jukebox" was twice as fast as he would have liked. 

The undubbed track of ''Jump Right Out Of This Jukebox'' reveals that Onie Wheeler overdubbed his harmonica part during both the solo and the fadeout. The little duet on the fade is particularly nice. Onie's vocal is also a sheer delight (even his pre-song count-off is entertaining). The song is essentially a joyous piece of nonsense, taken for a ride by Onie and the stalwart Sun backup trio.

01(1) - "JUMP RIGHT OUT OF THIS JUKEBOX" - B.M.I. - 2:30
Composer: - Onie Wheeler
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Undubbed Master
With Count-In - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - November/December 1957
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-5-31 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

The master of ''Jump Right Out Of This Jukebox'' was held back for almost one and a half years before it finally saw the light of day. perhaps it had been considered to be too countrified for 1957. Despite his misgivings about the unprofessional atmosphere at Sun, this recording really showcases Onie's idiosyncratic style. The March 2, 1959 issue of Billboard rated the song with two stars and said that it had ''fair prospects''. Their review may have been commercially astute but failed to notice the distinctive and charmingly hybrid sound produced by Onie and Sun.

01(2) - "JUMP RIGHT OUT OF THIS JUKEBOX"* - B.M.I. - 2:19
Composer: - Onie Wheeler
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 344 - Master
Recorded: - November/December 1957
Released: - February 15, 1959
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 315-A mono
JUMP RIGHT OUT OF THIS JUKEBOX / TELL 'EM OFF
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803-3-23 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

This is a perfect Sun record. Deep voiced, bluesy, echoes countryish rockabilly. What Sun fan could ask fore more? The trouble is, this classic mid-1950s record was released in February 1959. It missed the peak market by nearly three years.

Mind you. none of this was Onie Wheeler’s fault. Wheeler cut these sides in late 1957 when they were a little closer to the mainstream. In fact, Onie had been cutting Sun-sounding records since 1953. The only trouble was they were being issued by Columbia, who viewed his music as lying somewhere between quaint and enigmatic. Onie's music is wonderfully represented in a 31 track compilation titled Onie's Bop (Bear Family BCD 15542), a collection that makes a case for Wheeler as a true original. While it would be comforting to say that he finally found his niche at Sun, the truth is that Onie didn't enjoy his experience at 706 Union, finding it too chaotic and disorganized for his taste. "Unprofessional" was the word he used. Nevertheless, Onie's unusual voice and style seem ideally suited to the classic Sun sound of these sides. His harp, heard in support of Roy Acuff for many years, is a nice tough here as well. A trouper to the last, Onie died on stage at the Opry house in 1984.

02 - "TELL 'EM OFF"* - B.M.I. - 1:55
Composer: - Onie Wheeler
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 345 - Master
Recorded: - November 11, 1957
Released: - February 15, 1959
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 315-B mono
TELL 'EM OFF / JUMP RIGHT OUT OF THIS JUKEBOX
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803-3-24 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

His one Sun outing, "Tell 'Em Off" was held back to over a year, by which time the veteran singer was working at a shoe factory in his home state of Missouri. Fortunately the respite turned out to be temporary, proving that you couldn't keep a man down who had a voice like s spilled barrell of tar. His distinctive vocal is enhanced by the slapback echo which also fattens up the echoey low string guitar figure.

03 - "WALKIN' SHOES" - B.M.I. - 2:11
Composer: - Onie Wheeler
Publisher: - Knox Music Limited
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - December 6, 1957
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1030-6 mono
ROLLIN' ROCKIN' COUNTRY STYLE - SUN RECORDS
Reissued: - 1986 Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-5-32 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

Having Memphis agent Bob Neal as his representative, Onie often shared the bill with local rock and roll acts and although "Walkin' Shoes" never secured a place in the catalogue, this was the closest his got to the genre. Once again, Onie lays into some straight ahead 1950s country rock. The charm of his mid-tempo recording has been replaced by a driving sound. The rhythm section of Stan Kesler on bass, Jimmy Wilson on piano and Jimmy Van Eaton on drums is outstanding but it is the guitar of Roland Janes rather than Onie's harmonica that grabs the solo honours. In the vocal department, Onie's little flashes of falsetto are especially effective.
 
 

Gunfighter and pianist, Jimmy Wilson >

''Bonaparte's Retreat'' is an oddity. Onie's harp finally gets its workout on this old warhorse, but there's a new wrinkle. The song is in a major key, a secret that no-one seems to have shared with the guitar player. Or, it is possible that he is well aware of it but chooses to play in the style that Sid Manker used to such good effect on ''Raunchy''. It features an abundance of flatted thirds that blur the tonality between major and minor.


There is an unquestionable amount of instrumental tension here, pushed even further by the incessant rhythm but, ultimately, the track suffers from a lack of variety. It begins to sound more like a tape loop than a jam session. It is a pity that someone did not dig into the chord changes and take a good solo.

 
 
 
 04 - "BONAPARTE'S RETREAT"* - B.M.I. - 2:25
Composer: - Pee Wee King-Redd Steward
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None – Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - November/December 1957
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1030-15 mono
ROLLIN' ROCKIN' COUNTRY STYLE - SUN RECORDS
Reissued: - 1986 Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-5-36 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

''That's All'' is a conventional stop-rhythm rocker that bears a marked similarity to the previous cut. On this occasion, the pianist sits it out and Roland Janes takes two wonderful little solos. One works in a few more flashes of falsetto but this was essential a skimpy piece of material that ends up sounding better than it should have. 

05 - "THAT'S ALL" - B.M.I. - 1:59
Composer: - Onie Wheeler
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - November/December 1957
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1030-7 mono
ROLLIN' ROCKIN' COUNTRY STYLE
Reissued: - 1986 Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-5-33 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

06 - "I'LL LOVE YOU FOR A LIFE TIME" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Onie Wheeler
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - November/December 1957
Released: - Sun Unissued

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Onie Wheeler - Vocal
Onie Wheeler overdubbed Harmonica* Unknown Date
Sid Manker or Roland Janes - Guitar
Cliff Acred or Stan Kesler - Bass
James M. Van Eaton - Drums
Jimmy Wilson - Piano
* Smokey Joe Baugh - Drums

"I didn't play with Onie on Sun", recalled Onie's friend and guitarist A.J. Nelson. "Onie did that one himself with their own studio musicians. See, Onie would work with our trio for a while, then he would break off and do things by himself, then come back again. So Sun was one of those things he did by himself. I think he was living in St. Louis at the time. I heard Sam Phillips pay Onie a nice compliment. Sam was talking to someone and Onie walked up and Sam reached up and put his arm around Onie's shoulder, and said 'This man right here, if I could have had him ten years ago, he would have been the biggest star going'".

"But Onie was a simple man. He wouldn't have changed his style. If you wanted him to do a session one way, like a producer might, you might as well forget it. Onie wouldn't do it. Sam did that with Elvis, got him to do it his way. He couldn't with Onie, by the time he got to him. But he thought he might have been able to if he had got to him ten years sooner".

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 



© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR JOHNNY CASH
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: TUESDAY NOVEMBER 12, 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - JACK CLEMENT

OVERDUBBED SESSION: FRIDAY NOVEMBER 22, 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND ENGINEER - JACK CLEMENT
MUSICAL DIRECTOR - BILL JUSTIS

After a brief break for that surgery, Johnny Cash reappeared at Sun in November. Jack Clement, convinced that the teenage market did not want to hear any more morbid sagas of the Old West, had written a teenoriented story song with an ending so sugary it could put a diabetic into a coma.

 
From left: Luther Perkins, Johnny Cash and Marshall Grand backstage at the Grand Ole Opry, 1956 >
 
"Big River" is a classic performance and one of Cash's greatest achievements as a songwriter. From the opening "I laugh the weeping willow how to cry" and lines like "cavortin' in Davenport", Cash was on top form lyrically. This the outtake from this session, which is preceded by two false starts, is very rough but has its own charm. The Tennessee Two are aided by Jack Clement who plays the prominent acoustic guitar.


It also features the extra verse, that starts with "Now I rode into Natchez the next day down the river", that was dropped, probably due to timing, on the released version. Cash's handwritten lyrics have the comment "It's the only verse I could possibly drop without losing my story. Every time I sing "Big River" without it my heart goes out to Natchez, and my right foot goes out to Jack Clement".
 
 
Although "Big River" was one of his own compositions Cash had refused to supply any more new songs for the session preferring to keep his best material back for the first session with his new label Columbia, It was down to Jack Clement to source some new songs.

Obviously, this next track is a rough take with its share of timing problems and the usual assortment of Luther Perkins fluffs. But beyond the obvious miscues, just listen to these lyrics! An entire verse that appears here ("I rode into Natchez...") was dropped for the single release. There are some subtle changes as well. The famous drawl line ("It tore me up every time I heard her drawl, southern drawl") started life here in slightly different form, as you'll hear. Unfortunately, one of this version's great asides "Bat it down!" never made it to the single version.

01(1) - BIG RIVER" - B.M.I. - 3:43
Composer: - Johnny Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - False Start & Complete Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - November 12, 1957
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15517-2-21 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE MAN IN BLACK 1954 - 1958
Reissued: - 2007 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16325-2-13 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE SUN OUTTAKES

Johnny Cash had written one of his more upbeat songs for this session. "Big River" had taken shape after he had read a magazine article bearing the headline "Johnny Cash Has the Big River Blues in his voice". Clements acoustic guitar is here prominent, but Luther Perkins was also on hand with a typically simple and tasty lick. Cash obviously reveled in some of his own lines, like the one about "cavortin' in Davenport", and, in truth, the song could have been a very credible A side if Jack Clement had not been determined to inflict "Ballad Of A Teenage Queen" on the world. "Big River" was banished to the flipside, although Shelby Singleton resurrected it as a successful A side after he bought the Sun catalog in 1969.

01(2) - "BIG RIVER" - B.M.I. - 2:29
Composer: - Johnny Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 285 - Master Take 2
Recorded: - November 12, 1957
Released: - December 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 283-B mono
BIG RIVER / BALLAD OF A TEENAGE QUEEN
Reissued - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803-1-10 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3
 
"Big River" remains Johnny Cash's most explicit flirtation with rockabilly. It is a delight from start to finish, possessing both musical drive and integrity, as well as an uncommon lyrical flair. On the humorous side, there must have been a moment of disbelief back in early 1958 when Cash turned to Luther Perkins and said, "Ah, get goin' there". Luther get going? Fortunately, the instrumental break is as much rhythmic as musical and the band solos as a unit. Jack Clement still points to a careworn Martin guitar in his office, telling anyone who cares to listen that it was the guitar on "Big River". The lyrical reference to "cry cry cry", the title of Cash's first Sun Record, was a fine self referential in-joke. It is also a reminder that, much as this song has become a classic, it wasn't that far removed from the beginning of his career. Sun 283 was only Johnny Cash's sixth record. Cover versions of ''Big River'' recorded by Chip Taylor (1975); Grateful Dead (1975); Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson (1978); Gene Summers (1982); and the Beat Farmers (1987). 

01(3) - "BIG RIVER" - B.M.I. 
Composer: - Johnny Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - November 12, 1957
Released: - Sun Unissued
 
 02(1) - "BALLAD OF A TEENAGE QUEEN" - B.M.I. - 2:23
Composer: - Jack Clement
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - November 12, 1957
Released: - 2007
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16325-2-14 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE SUN OUTTAKES
Marshall Grant, Johnny Cash and Luther Perkins on stage in the Brandon Arena, Brandon, Manitoba, Canada, late 1950s >

Around this time Jack Clement had started to experiment with the sound in an attempt to give material a more commercial, pop-oriented feel. As well as playing acoustic guitar on some of the tracks he added piano, drums, and a vocal chorus to certain tracks, including "Ballad Of A Teenage Queen". Clement recalled the song, "I wrote "Ballad Of A Teenage Queen" for me to sing myself and actually did a tape, it was going to be a record and Sam was going to put it out''.

''It was like a Johnny Cash record, it had a vocal group on it and all those answer part. John came in and I played it for him and he loved it and wanted to record it which kina surprised me. I would play him stuff not necessarily to record just because he might enjoy it''.

''I always did that and he always did it for me and you'd be amazed at the songs Johnny Cash would sing that he never recorded like The Wiffenpoof Song, a bunch of...
 
 
...Ink Spots songs, Mill Brothers songs and we'd sing a lot of that stuff together through the years. He liked to be entertained and he liked something funny and "Ballad Of A Teenage Queen" was kinda funny, it was silly, it was a total fairytale. Sam hated it. He told me one time, a month or so before it was released, the more he listened to that the more he didn't like it. Everybody around the studio liked it and Miss Taylor next door, and her daughter Rosemary liked it and Sam put it out of course it was a big hit. But he never did liked it".

02(2) - "BALLAD OF A TEENAGE QUEEN" - B.M.I. - 2:15
Composer: - Jack Clement
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Undubbed Master - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - November 12, 1957
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15517-2-22 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE MAN IN BLACK 1954 - 1958
Reissued: - 2007 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16325-2-15 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE SUN OUTTAKES
Bill Justis arranged the music and he said, ''My job at Sun was titled 'Musical Director' and I did arrangements. For the most part the rhythm section couldn't read music so I did a lot of arranging. One of the first things I started doing was overdubbing. We only had mono then but I'd get the vocal and rhythm tracks down, and then try to get the orchestra and choral tracks on. The first thing we tried was ''Ballad Of A Teenage Queen'' by Johnny Cash''.

''I bought in a barbershop quartet and a church soprano ( Cyd Mostelle)  and they had no blend at all they did sound commercial. The Sun Record Company was a colourful place. Mr. Phillips was the kinda man who had what you'd call a 'silver tongue', which is great if you want to sell something. He was able to take young artists and writers and tell them how great the business was and really inspire them. He inspired me, I know'', Justis said.

Justis continued, ''The studio we used on Union Avenue was not very advanced but for some reason it was a distinctive sound, probably because of the way Sam set it up originally. We had just two recorders and two tape echoes. No echo chambers, just slap-back through the machine. The company itself was almost totally devoid of any organization. The sessions were really funny. I remembers one day Johnny Cash came in to do a session and we needed a piano player so I went off to get Jim Wilson, who was really in need of the money at that time. I told him what I wanted, but he was a gun freak and he said, 'No man, I've just ordered myself a gun from the Army and Navy stores and I want to work on it'. He'd rather clean his gun and starve than come down and play some music. The whole place was crazy''.

02(3) - "BALLAD OF A TEENAGE QUEEN" - B.M.I. - 2:09
Composer: - Jack Clement
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 284 - Overdubbed Master* Take 2
Recorded: - November 12, 1957 - Overdubbed Session November 22, 1957
Released: - December, 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 283-A mono
BALLED OF A TEENAGE QUEEN / BIG RIVER
Reissued - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803-1-9 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

"Ballad Of A Teenage Queen", it was arguably the worst song Johnny Cash cut at Sun, and would have been worse still if some of Clement's original couplets had stood unchallenged ("She was queen of the senior prom / She could cook just like her mom"). Luther Perkins sat out the song, and Jack Clement himself played the prominent acoustic guitar.

"Ballad Of A Teenage Queen" showed its first signs of life in Canada. Johnny Cash, booked on a Canadian tour, asked Sam Phillips how many copies of the record he could expect to sell in Canada. Phillips projected twelve to fifteen thousand. "The fifteen-day tour took us from Prince Edward Island to Vancouver", wrote Cash in 1980. "We filled every hall but, more than that, we sold over 100,000 singles".

"Dan Bass, the promo man for Quality Records (the Sun licensee in Canada) set up a Teenage Queen contest in every city. I flew into a new city each morning and did radio and television interviews. Then in the afternoon I signed records at record shop. My last promo appearance of the day, before the arrival of the Teenage Queen contestants, was to draw a name out of a box at a large department store's record counter and name the Teenage Queen and the runner up. One requirement to enter the contest was to prove the purchase of the record. I autographed hundreds and sometimes thousands of copies of that record in every city. During my concert that evening I crowned the queen and announced the first runner up. In the city Saskatoon, the Teenage Queen died tragically, leaving the runner up to be enthroned. That runner up was already writing songs and singing. Her name was Joni Mitchell".

02(4) - "BALLAD OF A TEENAGE QUEEN" - B.M.I. 2:18
Composer: - Jack Clement
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - November 12, 1957
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-6-6 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

You could spend an evening listening to all the outtakes of "Teenage Queen". You'd probably end up smirking at some of the cornier couplets Jack Clement came up with in his quest to siphon away some disposable income from middle America. For his part, Cash always insisted that he cut it under protest, but then, after years of refusing to do the song in concerts, he rerecorded it in 1987, finally reinstating one of Clement's lost couplets: "She was queen of the senior prom/She could cook just like her mom". The final product of the Sun session could have been a lot worse, and it is made infinitely more tolerable by the gem that appeared on its flipside.

Huddie Ledbetter/John Lomax composition "Goodnight Irene" was an effective track featuring an intimate vocal from Cash. In a rare moment Luther puts is electric guitar to one side and plays lead acoustic.

03 - "GOODNIGHT IRENE" - B.M.I. - 2:28
Composer: - Huddie Ledbetter-John Lomax
Publisher: - Traditional
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - November 12, 1957
Overdubbed before release on LP 1275
Session held April 21, 1964, Phillips Studio,
639 Madison Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee.
Released: - 1964
First appearance: - Sun Records (LP) 33rpm SLP 1275-3 (stereo)
ORIGINAL SUN SOUND OF JOHNNY CASH
Reissued: - 2007 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16325-2-16 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE SUN OUTTAKES

04 - "COME IN STRANGER" - B.M.I. - 1:59
Composer: - Johnny Cash
Publisher: - Chappell Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1957
Released: - 1976
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30104-13 mono
SUN THE ROOTS OF ROCKABILLY - VOLUME 4 - COTTON CITY COUNTRY
Reissued: - 2007 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16325-2-17 mono
JOHNNY CASH - THE SUN OUTTAKES

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Johnny Cash - Vocal and Guitar
Jack Clement - Guitar
Luther Perkins - Guitar
Marshall Grant - Bass

After the session was over, Jack Clement and Sun's new musical director, Bill Justis, brought in a vocal chorus and an ear-rending soprano, Cyd Mosteller, who had sung with Justis' big band. Together, they dominate tire section of the record, carrying the narrative toward its inevitable and cloying conclusion.

Overdubbed Session
Cyd Mostelle - Lead Soprano
Asa Wilkerson - Vocal Harmony
Bill Abbott - Vocal Harmony
Don Carter - Vocal Harmony
Lee Holt - Vocal Harmony
Nita Smith - Vocal Harmony

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Nineteen years old and fresh out of Alabama (with a stop off in Michigan), Mack Willard Vickery landed in Memphis during November 1957 and promptly coerced Sun custodian, Stan Kesler, into arranging a demo session. The hormonal "Drive In" was one of his first attemps at songwriting - a craft that would hold him in good stead in time to come. During the interim he would have to humble down through a series of lighttouch singles made for Princeton, Gone, Jamie and far beyond.

Mack Vickery >
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 STUDIO SESSION FOR MACK VICKERY
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 20, 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - STAN KESLER

01 - "DRIVE IN" - B.M.I. - 2:14
Composer: - Mack Vickery
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - November 20, 1957
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16210-7 mono
THAT'LL FLAT GIT IT - VOLUME 14
Reissued: - 2002 Sanctuary Records (CD) 500/200rpm FBUBX002-5-6 mono
50 GOLDEN YEARS 1952 - 2002

Note: ''Drive In'' issued as ''Drivin''' on LP 1030.

02 - ''FOOL PROOF'' - B.M.I. - 2:35
Composer: - Mack Vickery
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None- Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - November 20, 1957
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1030 mono
ROCKIN' ROLLIN' COUNTRY STYLE
Reissued: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm SNAJ 713 mono
THE SUN RECORDS STORY

03 - ''HAVE YOU EVER BEEN LONELY'' - B.M.I. - 2:25
Composer: - Mack Vickery
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None- Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - November 20, 1957
Released: - 1985
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm LP 1030 mono
ROCKIN' ROLLIN' COUNTRY STYLE
Reissued: - May 29, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17313-6-11 mono
THE SUN ROCK BOX 1954 - 1959

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Mack Vickery - Vocal and Guitar
Roland Janes - Guitar
Stan Kesler - Guitar/Bass
James M. Van Eaton - Drums
Jimmy Smith - Piano

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 



© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR ERNIE CHAFFIN
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: MONDAY NOVEMBER 25, 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - JACK CLEMENT
 
On this session Ernie Chaffin recorded one song called "Heart Of Me". it's a good song, one of Pee Wee Maddux's best pop-country efforts. True, it's got that one line about treating me "as dirt" which ain't a winner (there had to be better rhymes for "hurt"), but still... Everyone must have seen the merit in this. A different version came out on Fine as Ernie's lone single there, then he cut it on at least two occasions at Sun. Surprisingly, neither version saw daylight. There are some very country versions in the vault (featuring Pee Wee's fiddle) as well as others pointing firmly in the direction of pop music. Whatever the arrangement, it's a really catchy song - those opening 7 notes of the melody can burrow their way right into your memory. 

01(1) - "THE HEART OF ME" - B.M.I. - 2:27
Composer: - Pee Wee Maddux
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - November 25, 1957
Released: - 1976
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30117-B-2 mono
SUN - THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 10 - SUN COUNTRY
Reissued: - 1986 Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-5-11 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

01(2) - "THE HEART OF ME" - B.M.I. - 2:26
Composer: - Pee Wee Maddux
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally issued
Recorded: - November 25, 1957
Released: - 2006
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16780-9 mono
ERNIE CHAFFIN - THE SUN YEARS

01(3) - "THE HEART OF ME" - B.M.I. - 2:25
Composer: - Pee Wee Maddux
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - November 25, 1957
Released: - 2006
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16780-22 mono
ERNIE CHAFFIN - THE SUN YEARS

02 - ''I'LL WALK ALONE" - B.M.I. - 2:43
Composer: - Jules Stein-Sammy Cahn
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Alternate Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - November 25, 1957
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-5-12 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

Here, Ernie Chaffin ventures into alien stylistic territory. While Ernie turns in a melodic ballad-like vocal performance the band offers a strongly contrasting shuffle blues. The backing track is anchored by brushwork from the drums and the piano but the highlight is the aggressive lead guitar. Ernie recallad, ''I thought we had a real good cut on ''I'll Walk Alone''. We left the studio thinking that it would be released but it never was''. Perhaps Sam Phillips and Jack Clement made the correct decision. It is interesting to hear tracks like this but, in the final analysis, Ernie's talent were best showcased in classic tracks like ''I'm Lonesome''.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Ernie Chaffin - Vocal and Guitar
Sid Manker - Guitar
Stan Kesler - Bass
Murphy "Pee Wee" Maddux - Fiddle
James M. Van Eaton - Drums
Jimmy Smith – Piano

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 

NOVEMBER 25, 1957 MONDAY

Ralph Emery begins working as the all-night disc jockey on Nashville's WSM Radio.
 
LATE 1957

In November and December 1957, Charlie Terrell was in Memphis with Onie Wheeler   supervising Wheeler's signing with Sun Records and the recording of his songs ''Jump Right Out Of This Jukebox'' and ''Tell `Em Off''. Terrell had known Phillips for three years and the two had a good working relationship.


© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR BILLY RILEY
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1957

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: MONDAY NOVEMBER 25, 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER - SAM C. PHILLIPS / RECORDING ENGINEER - JACK CLEMENT

01(1) - "WOULDN'T YOU KNOW" - B.M.I. - 2:46
Composer: - John Marascalco
Publisher: - Robin Hood Music Company
Matrix number: - U 292   - Master
Recorded: - November 25, 1957
Released: - February 1958
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 289-B mono
WOULDN'T YOU KNOW / BABY PLEASE DON'T GO
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803-1-22 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

Those expecting Billy Riley's vocal to be a repeat of "Red Hot" or "Flying Saucer Rock And Roll" were stunned by his style on "Wouldn't You Know". At the time, few fans realized how much of a chameleon Riley truly was. Even the instrumental sound of "Wouldn't You Know" was a departure. Everything from chord structure to tempo was a departure from typical Riley-Sun fare. Yet it all worked, highlighted by Martin Willis' highly melodic sax solo.

01(2) - "WOULDN'T YOU KNOW" - B.M.I. - 3:15
Composer: - John Marascalco
Publisher: - Robin Hood Music Company
Matrix number: - Non - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - November 25, 1957
Released: - 1982
First appearance: - Sun England (LP) 33rpm CFM 512-5 mono
THE SWINGIN' BLAST
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15444-2-9 mono
BILLY RILEY - THE CLASSIC SUN RECORDINGS 1956 – 1960

Billy Riley was unhappy with "Wouldn't You Know". "We should never have cut that record. It was something that we used to do on stage. It just wasn't a good record". In the absence of Ronald Janes, Billy Riley plays lead guitar and the solo spots are taken by Martin Willis' tenor sax. However, the highlight of the recording is Jimmy Wilson's ringing piano accompaniment. Note Riley's imitation of Jerry Lee Lewis' lascivious "Mmmm's".

''WOULDN'T YOU KNOW''

This comes from the pen of John Marascalco, an unlikely source for Sun material. We may never know exactly how this song found its way to Riley. On at least one occasion, Riley commented that Marascalco had "written the song, for me". The truth takes a less personal but more interesting path. Sometime in 1955, promoter Bob Neal suggested to Marascalco that he look into securing a booking for Elvis in Grenada, Mississippi, Marascalco's home town. On April 20, 1955 Elvis played the American Legion Hall there and during a backstage chat, Marascalco, a then-aspiring songwriter, played Elvis a song he had recently completed called ''Rip It Up''. Elvis liked it a lot and told Marascalco to talk to Sam Phillips who, according to the singer, had final say in what was recorded. Marascalco drove up to Memphis and met with Phillips who turned down the song ("We want to take Elvis in another direction'', Marascalco recalls Phillips telling him), but Phillips did encourage the songwriter to keep submitting material.
Marascalco took Phillips up on his offer, and one of the demos he sent to Sun included ''Wouldn't You Know''. The disc presumably sat in the vicinity of Sam Phillips' office, drawing occasional interest from Phillips and his stable of singers. Eventually, and we can't know how long it took, it caught Billy Riley's attention. It may have been love at first hearing - there's no way to tell at this point. In any case, Riley became adamant about recording Marascalco's tune, even though it was some distance from the style in which working.

Phillips gave the project the green light, perhaps in an attempt to pacify Riley, who by then had become incensed at Phillips for his lack of promotion of Riley's last two singles (''Flying Saucer Rock And Roll'' and ''Red Hot'').

By the time Riley got around to recording the song, Marascalco had become a national success story with hit records like ''Ready Teddy'', ''Good Golly Miss Molly'', ''Goodnight My Love'', and ''Send Me Some Lovin'' Elvis had gotten around to recording ''Rip It Up'' , the tune that Marascalco pitched to him back in April, 1955 and that Little Richard took to the top 20 in June 1956, along with the flipside of the Little Richard record, Marascalco's ''Ready Teddy'', for his second RCA album. In fact, Elvis had already performed ''Ready Teddy'' in his first appearance on the Ed Sullivan TV show in September 1956. Sam Phillips was by now so resigned to releasing Marascalco's song that he never protested the fact that Marascalco retained both the composer and the publishing share of the song. "Robin Hood Music was mine'', Marascalco proudly proclaims today. Did Phillips put up a fight over the publishing? "He never mentioned a word'', Marascalco confirms.

Most of Riley's fans neither knew nor cared about these backstories back in late 1957 or the start of 1958 when ''Wouldn't You Know'' appeared on Sun 289. However, Riley's fans, certainly those who had come to him from ''Flying Saucer Rock And Roll'' and ''Red Hot'', didn't know what to make of this latest single. Many of them were, to put it mildly, underwhelmed. After all, Riley had shed his raucous, Little Richard vocal chops and the song did not rock along in Riley's customary groove.
Billy Riley's Sun Outtakes >

This is by far the most melodic and musically complex song Riley had recorded for Sun to date. Martin Willis' sax solo leaves little doubt that Riley had found a completely different style with this record. And by the way, the Sun Records Discography has it wrong: That's Jimmy Wilson on piano, not James `Luke' Paulman. Paulman, discussed later in these notes, was a guitar player. It's a lot easier to appreciate the sophistication of this track a half a century later even if, back in the day, few of us were beating down the doors of our local record store.

In their liner notes to BCD 15444, Rob Bowman and Ross Johnson quote Billy Riley as saying that he was unhappy with ''Wouldn't You Know''. "We should have never have cut that record. It was something that we used to do on stage. It just wasn't a good record''. It is hard to reconcile. Riley's words with his statement elsewhere that his live performances of the era typically consisted of the dart's biggest hits, rather than his own records. So why include ''Wouldn't You Know'' on stage? It not only wasn't a hit, but it had yet to be recorded by anyone else.
 
 
 
Riley may have grown not to like the record over the years (poor sales can do that), but it's hard to imagine that's how he felt at the time. Moreover, if he truly didn't like the recording, then whose insistence drove its release?

The only alternate take of ''Wouldn't You Know'' that has survived reveals a completely different approach to the song. In fact, its barely the same song. Alternate Take 1 strips the song of all of its melodic advantages and forces it into a routine 12-bar blues structure. Putting it bluntly, if this is what the song originally sounded like, why bother to pay Marascalco or Robin Hood Music for the composition? Riley and the boys could crank out one of these concoctions in their sleep. Somewhere between this early take (Alternate Take 1) and Sun 289, this baby came to life. You may not have liked it back then, but what this became showed some distinction as well as some melodic flair. That's the kind of stuff you pay a publisher for. Sam Phillips must have agreed. Never one to piss away publishing revenue, he nevertheless agreed to issuing this outside composition.

Sax player Martin Willis has suggested that this was not an alternate take in the conventional sense, but rather an informal run-through of the title prior to recording. Willis claims that the tape was occasionally running under such circumstances with Jack Clement in the studio and Alternate Take 1 might have been the result of exactly such circumstances.

John Marascalco and Billy Riley finally did cross paths, although not until the singer had left Sun Records and moved to Los Angeles in the 1960s. "We finally got to know each other back then'', Marascalco recalls. ''Toward the end of of his life, after he went back to Arkansas, Billy recorded another one of my songs. He sent me a CD of 'Blue Collar Blues and it had 'Back Door Sally''' on it''.
''BABY PLEASE DON'T GO''

This is a remarkably simple song. Its got one chord, uncomplicated lyrics that don't tell a story, and a tune that you won't be whistling for days after you hear it. But it has great intensity, and its adaptable to a wide variety of musical arrangements. Under this title, the song goes back to Big Joe Williams'' 1935 record (Bluebird B-6200). Williams himself recut it twice during the 1940s. And since then it's been recorded by (among many others), Muddy Waters, Lightnin Hopkins, Mose Allison, Bob Dylan, the Animals, Them, Paul Revere & the Raiders, Beausoleil, AC/DC, John Mellencamp; Webb Wilder, Aerosmith, and most recently (2010) Lorenza Ponce. Billy Riley did it at Sun (he took writer's credit on Sun 289) and again on his 1965 Mercury album, 'Whisky A Go Go Presents Billy Lee Riley' (MG 20985). On that latter appearance, the song was credited to Jimmy Reed who, so far as we know, never sang it.

Billy Riley greased up this next old blues standard to suit his sandpapered larynx and with Roland Janes away on tour backing up Jerry Lee Lewis, he played lead guitar himself. The cornerstone of his arrangement was a muted riff in the verse, which is mighty close to a similar deal on Gene Vincent's "Dance To The Bop" - a hit single at the time. Inspired though it was, the record's sales didn't elevate Riley's status any higher in the company pecking order.

02(1) - "BABY PLEASE DON'T GO" - B.M.I. - 2:06
Composer: - Billy Riley
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 293  - Master
Recorded: - November 25, 1957