CONTAINS

Sun 241-250 Audio Series
 
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Johnny Cash & The Tennessee Two
"I WALK THE LINE" - B.M.I. - 2:43
Composer: - Johnny Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 191 - Take 2
Recorded: - April 2, 1956
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - May 1, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 241-A mono
I WALK THE LINE / GET RHYTHM
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-2-2 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Johnny Cash - Vocal, Guitar
(paper woven between the strings to simulate the sound of
brushes on a snare drum, and possibly Washboard)
Luther Perkins - Guitar
Marshall Grant – Bass

Johnny Cash's third Sun single established him as a major country artist, capable of breaking through into the pop marketplace. As well, ''I Walk The Line'' became Sun's second major crossover hit in its last seven releases. There must have been a moment in mid-1956 when, after all his years of scuffling, Sam Phillips must have thought, ''Hell, this is easy''!.

''I Walk The Line'' virtually defines minimalist production. There was no sparser arrangement on the pop or, for that matter, country charts in 1956. There is no telling how this song might have fared with the standard Nashville treatment. In an interview with Billboard Phillips mused, ''Can you hear 'I Walk The Line' with a steel guitar''? It's not a pretty picture. (HD)

 
Johnny Cash & The Tennessee Two
"GET RHYTHM" - B.M.I. - 2:13
Composer: - Johnny Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 190
Recorded: - April 2, 1956
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - May 1, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 241-B mono
GET RHYTHM / I WALK THE LINE
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-2-1 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Johnny Cash - Vocal, Guitar
(paper woven between the strings to simulate the sound of
brushes on a snare drum, and possibly Washboard)
Luther Perkins - Guitar
Marshall Grant – Bass

Superficially, all he was doing was turning these country boys loose in his tiny studio and letting them do it on their own terms. Of course, there was a lot more to it than that. For one thing, Sam Phillips had hand-picked these artists. For every Johnny Cash, there were ten others whose records weren't selling, and dozens whose efforts had not been recorded or released. In addition, Phillips created an ambiance that allowed, even nurtured their creativity. Then, he had to select the best samples of their work for release. Phillips was, as he readily admits, a genius at all three stages. (HD)

 
Roy Orbison
"OOBY DOOBY" - B.M.I. - 2:10
Composer: – Wade Lee Moore-Allen Richard Dick Penner
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U-192
Recorded: - March 27, 1956
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - May 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 242-A mono
OOBY DOOBY / GO! GO! GO!
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-2-3 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Roy Orbison - Vocal and Guitar
Johnny Wilson - Guitar
James Morrow - Electric Mandolin
Jack Kennelly - Bass
Billy Pat Ellis - Drums

This is Roy Orbison's first Sun record and, years later, one in which he took no particular pride. This is Orbison the rocker, the electric guitar player. There is no trace of the sensitive balladeer who would emerge barely four years later.
 
Despite Orbi's misgivings, ''Ooby Dooby'' is a fine record. True, it is not high poetry, but as a driving southern rocker, it is a standout. There is an almost unprecedented degree of crispness in the recording balance. The snare drum is tightly tuned, the guitar work stresses the high strings and treble pickup, and the clicking bass is prominently miked. Aspiring rockabilly guitarists memorized every note of Orbi's piercing solo as if it were the holy grail. In case they missed it the first time, Orbi obliged with a repeat performance a minute or so later. The ending of ''Ooby Dooby'' is a moment to be reckoned with. The bass walks down of five note sequence after all the other instruments have gone silent. Planned or unplanned, this is a sweet moment in Sun music history.
 
From a point of view, the song is simply there to bracket the guitar solos. The solos, which are essentially identical, are two full choruses long (solos were usually only one verse long back then) and the record is built around them. The solo's first three lines follow the song's melody and then Orbison breaks free. He bends notes creating tension that gets resolved quickly; he attacks staccato chords; he runs up and down; and he closes with a satisfying final chord that leads back into the vocal. It's a well-crafted journey. In later years, Orbison did all he could to disavow his Sun recordings. But the evidence is clear: He was one hell of a guitar player. (HD)(SP)

 
Roy Orbison
"GO! GO! GO!" - B.M.I. – 2:08
Composer: - Roy Orbison-Billy Pat Ellis
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U-193
Recorded: – March 27, 1956
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - May 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 242-B mono
GO! GO! GO! / OOBY DOOBY
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-2-4 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Roy Orbison - Vocal and Guitar
Johnny Wilson - Guitar
James Morrow - Electric Mandolin
Jack Kennelly - Bass
Billy Pat Ellis - Drums

The flipside, ''Go! Go! Go!'' soon to be known as ''Down The Line'', made its first appearance on disc here. Written by Orbison and his drummer, Billy Pat Ellis (who mysteriously disappeared from the credits before the first pressing hit the streets), it may not be Orbison's strongest concoction, but the song has attracted its share of attention over the years. Jerry Lee Lewis would further establish the song's pedigree two years later when it appeared on the flipside of ''Breathless''. (HD)

 
Carl Perkins
"BOPPIN' THE BLUES" - B.M.I. - 2:48
Composer: - Carl Perkins-Howard Griffin
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 196
Recorded: - March 1956
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - May 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 243-A mono
BOPPIN' THE BLUES / ALL MAMA'S CHILDREN
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-2-5 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Carl Perkins - Vocal and Guitar
James Buck Perkins - Rhythm Guitar
Lloyd Clayton Perkins - Bass
W.S. "Fluke" Holland – Drums

What we casually refer to today as ''rockabilly'' or the ''Sun sound'' was new music back in early 1956. In fact, nobody knew what to call it. Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins were still being described as performing ''hillbilly pop'' when this record came out. Billboard rightly described it as ''loaded with flavor and with potential for all three markets''. The Memphis regional chart in May 1956 showed that Sam Phillips' vision had literally dominated the city's  taste. ''Boppin' The Blues'' sat at number 3, bettered only by ''I Walk The Line'' and ''Blue Suede Shoes'' (at number 1 and 2, respectively). The number 4-6 chart positions were filled by ''Heartbreak Hotel'', ''Ooby Dooby'' and ''Rock And Roll Ruby''. These were magic times to cruise down Union Avenue in your Chevy convertible with the radio blaring. (HD)

The notion that Carl's music was an irresistible and life-changing force (''I still love you baby, but I'll never be the same'') was a clever and powerful image. In fact, Carl took that idea one step further in ''Boppin' The Blues''. Like Doctor Ross (''The Boogie Disease'') before him and Huey Piano Smith (''Rockin' Pneumonia'' and ''The Boogie Woogie Flu'') after him, Carl likened his music to an infectious disease. One exposure and you've had it, whether you like it or not. Ironically, this was just the kind of perverse thinking that fueled anti-rock and roll boycots by the White Citizen's Council! (HD)

 
Carl Perkins
"ALL MAMA CHILDREN" - B.M.I. - 2:06
Composer: - Carl Perkins-John R. Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 195
Recorded: - March 1956
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - May 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 243-B mono
ALL MAMA'S CHILDREN / BOPPIN' THE BLUES
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-2-6 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Carl Perkins - Vocal and Guitar
James Buck Perkins - Rhythm Guitar
Lloyd Clayton Perkins - Bass
W.S. "Fluke" Holland – Drums

Sun 243 is a fine two-sided record, although a note on the instrumental work on ''All mama's Children'' is in order. W.S.'s drums and Clayton's slapped bass sound great, but Carl's guitar has never sounded cheesier. The problem seems to be that this side was cut in the Key of ''C'', thereby forcing Carl into some awkward chord inversions. This is odd because most pickers know that the Eleventh Commandment states, ''Thou shalt never play rockabilly in ''C''. The blurring of racial lines that is essential to Carl's deep south patois has never been clearer than on these sides. Although the disc did not achieve the commercial success of ''Blue Suede Shoes'', it did solidify Carl's reputation as a solid southern rocker - both as a vocalist and an inventive guitarist. (HD) 

 
Jean Chapel
"WELCOME TO THE CLUB" - B.M.I. - 1:52
Composer: - Mea Boren Axton
Publisher: - Murray Nash Association Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 196 SUN
Recorded: - April 1956
Music City Recording
804 16th Avenue South, Nashville, Tennessee
Released: - June 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 244-A mono
WELCOME TO THE CLUB / I WON'T BE ROCKIN' TONIGHT
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-2-7 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jean Chapel - Vocal
Possible Grady Martin - Guitar
Unknown Musicians

There's still some mystery surrounding these sides by Jean Chapel, whose list of aliases would fill this page. Sun collectors have tried to like this record over the years. many have concluded that it just doesn't sound like a Sun record, and with a good reason - it isn't. It was produced by Chapel's manager, veteran country A&R man, Murray Nash, who had worked for RCA, Mercury and Hickory before striking out on his own. He produced these sides in Nashville, and sold them to Sun in April or May 1956. Then, in a bizarre twist, the record re-emerged on RCA Victor in October. In between, Ms. Chapel appeared at the Apollo, and was holding down a club job in Montreal when the record was switched. Nash hyped her to the press at the Female Elvis. That RCA Victor would pick up this record was odd because it already had Charline Arthur's  recording of ''Welcome To The Club'' on the shelves.

It's a record that sits uncomfortably with other Sun records from mid-1956. To stretch a pun, it doesn't really belong in the club. There is some truth to Billboard's claim that ''Classification may be difficult in Miss Chapel's case''. It is also true that she owed as much of a debt to 1940s Hollywood as to 1950s Beale Street. (HD)

 
Jean Chapel
"WELCOME TO THE CLUB" - B.M.I. - 1:52
Composer: - Mea Boren Axton
Publisher: - Murray Nash Association Incorporated
Matrix number: - G2WW-7278 RCA
Recorded: - April 1956
Music City Recording
804 16th Avenue South, Nashville, Tennessee
Released: - October 1956
First appearance: - RCA Victor (S) 45rpm 47-6681-A mono
WELCOME TO THE CLUB / I WON'T BE ROCKIN' TONIGHT
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jean Chapel - Vocal
Possible Grady Martin - Guitar
Unknown Musicians

 
Jean Chapel
"I WON'T BE ROCKIN' TONIGHT" - B.M.I. - 2:08
Composer: - Mea Boren Axton-Tommy Durden
Publisher: - Murray Nash Association Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 197 SUN
Recorded: - April 1956
Music City Recording
804 16th Avenue South, Nashville, Tennessee
Released: - June 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 244-B mono
I WON'T BE ROCKIN' TONIGHT / WELCOME TO THE CLUB
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-2-8 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jean Chapel - Vocal
Possible Grady Martin - Guitar 
Unknown Musicians

Here Jean Chapel recorded an answer to Elvis Presley's ''Good Rockin' Tonight'' titled ''I Won't Be Rockin' Tonight''. Two songs by Jean Chapel on side 2 of a 1956 disc jockey promotional EP (RCA DJ-7) that featured Elvis Presley's ''Good Rockin' Tonight'' on side 1. When she after divorce in 1956, she moved for good to Nashville and devoted herself primarily to songwriting. (HD)

 
Jean Chapel
"I WON'T BE ROCKIN' TONIGHT" - B.M.I. - 2:08
Composer: - Mea Boren Axton-Tommy Durden
Publisher: - Murray Nash Association Incorporated
Matrix number: - G2WW-7279 RCA
Recorded: - October 1956
Music City Recording
804 16th Avenue South, Nashville, Tennessee
Released: - June 1956
First appearance: -RCA Victor (S) 45rpm 47-6681-B mono
I WON'T BE ROCKIN' TONIGHT / WELCOME TO THE CLUB
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jean Chapel - Vocal
Possible Grady Martin - Guitar
Unknown Musicians

 
Billy Riley
"ROCK WITH ME BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:09
Composer: - Billy Riley-Roland Wallace-Jack Clement
Publiser: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - F 11
Recorded: - April 1956
WMPS Studio
112 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - May 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 245-A mono
ROCK WITH ME BABY / TROUBLE BOUND
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-2-10 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Billy Riley - Vocal and Acoustic Guitar
Roland Janes - Lead Guitar
Ruble Shaw - Guitar
Slim Wallace - Bass
Jan Ledbetter - Bass
Johnny Bernero - Drums

The top side of Riley's first Sun record, and a gem. This one comes pretty close to defining what rockabilly  is all about It's tense, edgy, sexy and driving. This is not mindless, teen dance music. It can send shivers  down your spine. There's not a wasted note here. The vocal is perfect. The band work is stellar, not overly  complex, but perfectly orchestrated. When the guitar solos take off, you just have to stand back. Those  beautiful singlestroke drum rolls by Johnny Bernero let you know when to take cover as the two guitars  played by Ruble Shaw and Roland Janes, just soar. One slides into the chord while the second hits just the  right notes to maintain that bluesy countryish feel. Some critics tell you that real rockabilly needs a standup  bass, the kind Bill Black used to slap behind Elvis back in 1954. If that's true, then this record contains a  double dose of rockabilly drive. One slap bass was played by Slim Wallace, the second by Jan Ledbetter.

''Rock With Me Baby'' was recorded at the studios of WMPS. Sadly, having explored every inch of Billy  Riley recording tape known to exist at Sun, it seems thru second tide from this session - the countryish  ''Think Before You Go'' - is irretrievably lost.

"Rock With Me Baby" is likewise a standout track, with its guitar interplay between Billy Riley and Roland  Janes, and soaring drumwork during the solos. SUN 245 clearly promised that Billy Riley was capable of  producing memorable work within the tense and impassioned style Sun Records was beginning to forge.  (HD)

 
Billy Riley
"TROUBLE BOUND" - B.M.I. - 2:42
Composer: - Billy Riley-Roland Wallace-Jack Clement
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - F 10
Recorded: - Early 1956
Fernwood Recording Studio
158 Fernwood Drive, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - May 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 245-B mono
TROUBLE BOUND /ROCK WITH ME BABY
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-2-9 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Billy Riley - Vocal and Acoustic Guitar
Roland Janes - Lead Guitar
Roland "Slim" Wallace - Bass
Johnny Bernero - Drums
Bob Deckelman - Steel Guitar

According to Roland Janes, once Sam Phillips decided to release ''Rock With Me Baby'', he wanted a flipside that came closer to the rock music that was selling around Memphis at the time. Putting the tapes for ''Think Bare You Go'' aside, he turned Jack Clement loose in the studio at 706 Union Avenue to come up with a second recording. The result was this classic side.
 
Good luck finding a category for this music. Country? Blues? Rockabilly? It's hybrid music at us finest. The beat is incessant. The sound is bluest' The vocal is vaguely country. Just when you think you've got the arrangement figured out, it does something to confound you. The vocal is backed by a driving shuffle beat, courtesy of drummer Johnny Bernero. But don't get too comfortable with it. All of a sudden, it turns into a hard 4/4 backbeat during the instrumental solos. And the guitar fills around Riley's vocal are also hard to pin down. Everything is bluesy enough so you'd expect some flatted 7s chords (flatted 7s are the heart of the blues. 

You may not know them by name, but you'd recognize them in a heartbeat). Instead the fills consist largely of 6s, which don't sound very bluely, and undercut some of the tension in the song. Listen for them, for example, after lines like ''Drinkin'wine together... "or Laughin' and havingfun...''.

This track features Riley on that prominently miked rhythm guitar, with Roland Janes on lead guitar. We've found three alternates and a false start. They're not massively different, but if you listen closely, you'll hear the differences. They show up in the singing and playing. There's always the possibility in situations like these that you'll hear an alt take and think, "Why wasn't that one released? I like it better" There seems little chance of that happening here. (MH)(HD)(CE)

 
Malcolm Yelvington
"ROCKIN' WITH MY BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:17
Composer: - Malcolm Yelvington-Jones
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 206
Recorded: - February 2, 1956
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - August 3, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 246-A mono
ROCKIN' WITH MY BABY / IT'S MY BABY
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-2-11 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Malcolm Yelvington - Vocal and Guitar
Reece Fleming or Frank Tolley - Piano
Gordon Mashburn - Guitar
Billy Weir - Drums
Jack Ryles - Upright Bass

''Yelvington is one of the more recent of Sun's string of talented rockabillies'', said Billboard in September 1956, unaware that the man had been recording for the label since 1954. However, they were unfortunately correct when they concluded that ''Jumper... may not break out of the territories''. ''Rockin' With My Baby'' went on to sell approximately 8,500 copies, a respectable but unspectacular sale considering that Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins could move 20,000 or more copies a day. Yelvington, his false teeth removed, seems to be slightly ill at ease with the tempo but turns in a supercharged vocal performance. The song, of course, is a collage of song titles from across the eras: ''Birth Of The Blues'', ''Rootie Tootie'', ''Sixteen Tons'', ''Blue Suede Shoes'', etc. It's fun, if a little contrived, and makes an interesting comparison with an earlier version, ''Have Myself A Ball''. The guys had worked at shaking off their honky tonk-western swing-cowboy harmony roots and acquiring a harder-edged sound. Change or die, it seems. (MH)(HD)(CE)

 
Malcolm Yelvington
"IT'S MY BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:23
Composer: - Reece Fleming
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 207
Recorded: - February 2, 1956
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - August 3, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 246-B mono
IT'S MY BABY / ROCKIN' WITH MY BABY
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-2-12-B mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Malcolm Yelvington - Vocal and Guitar
Reece Fleming or Frank Tolley - Piano
Gordon Mashburn - Guitar
Billy Weir - Drums
Jack Ryles - Upright Bass

Yelvington does a better job on this side, an unpretentious blues featuring Frank Tolley's rolling piano. Yelvington continued to record at Sun, including the superb "Trumpet", but never again saw his name on a little yellow record.

"It's Me Baby" is so downhome, it rates as a thirteen bar blues. Equally intriguing is the stanza that bears a striking resemblance to Jay McShann's "Confessin' The Blues" - not that anyone was paying anything like that much attention to detail. The song's creator was Malcolm's longstanding piano player, Reece Fleming, a musician who covered his 88 keys in the stride fashion of a previous generation. The mastertrack emerged as a B-side in August 1956. (MH)(HD)(CE)

 
Sonny Burgess
"RED HEADED WOMAN" - B.M.I. - 2:07
Composer: - Sonny Burgess
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 198
Recorded: - May 2, 1956
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - August 3, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 247-A mono
RED HEADED WOMAN / WE WANNA BOOGIE
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-2-13 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Sonny Burgess - Vocal and Guitar
Joe Lewis - Guitar
Johnny Ray Hubbard - Bass
Russell Smith - Drums
Ray Kern Kennedy - Piano
Jack Nance - Trumpet

It is doubtful that any record exudes more unfettered energy and joyous enthusiasm than Sonny Burgess' debut single on Sun Records. Burgess was a true wildman, a free spirit whose allegiance to rhythm and blues was in better evidence than his hillbilly roots.

"We Wanna Boogie" and "Red Headed Woman" stand among the rawest recordings released during the first flowering of rock and roll. The lyrics were almost unintelligible (although they repay close attention with some very funny couplets), and the instrumentation teetered on the edge of atonality. It was a record that sported an air of total abandon, sounding as if it had been created under the heavy burden of alcohol, although Sonny Burgess remembers that everyone was stone cold sober, and nervous to the point of apprehension. Despite  being almost unmarketable according to established precept, "Red Headed Woman" reportedly sold over 90,000 copies. It did especially well in Boston, although Burgess was unaware of that fact until Jack Nance and Joe Lewis toured there a few years later with Conway Twitty. (MH)(HD)(CE)

 
Sonny Burgess
"WE WANNE BOOGIE" - B.M.I. - 2:24
Composer: - Sonny Burgess
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 199
Recorded: - May 2, 1956
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - August 3, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 247-B mono
WE WANNE BOOGIE / RED HEADED WOMAN
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-2-14 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Sonny Burgess - Vocal and Guitar
Joe Lewis - Guitar
Johnny Ray Hubbard - Bass
Russell Smith - Drums
Ray Kern Kennedy - Piano
Jack Nance - Trumpet

It wasn't too long ago that folks out to have a good time would refer to a night on the town as - "cuttin' a rug". When the rock and roll generation came into being, particularly south of the Mason Dixon line, the lingo got a tad more boisterous and mutated into "climbin' the wall". Growing up in Newport, Arkansas, Sonny Burgess understood such parlance and when the chance came to record at Sun, he conjured up in the mood perfectly with his all-pervading "We Wanna Boogie".

There is nothing particularly original about Burgess' work and his lyrics here are barely intelligible. Nevertheless, the first 12 bars of "We Wanna Boogie" establish an irresistible groove that elevates this record to greatness, although "Red Headed Woman" was the designated A-side. Once again, Sam Phillips knew what he was doing when he chose these sides to unleash on an unsuspecting world. Billboard commented that the record was "shouted and orked with plenty of spirit". Right they were.
 
But what it lacks in melodic construction and dazzling fretwork on ''We Wanna Boogie'', it makes up in aggression. Sonny Burgess might as well have been hitting his guitar with a piece of wood as a flat pick. This style is from a different universe than, say, finger picking. The results are percussive, not melodic. It's raw and attention-getting: two qualities that serve a band well when the hall is full and the juice is flowing. Sonny simply took what worked well at the clubs and brought it to the tiny confines of 706 Union. Bless his heart. (MH)(HD)(CE)

 
The Rhythm Rockers
"FIDDLE BOP" - B.M.I. - 2:24
Composer: - Sidney Gunter
Publisher: - Tannen Music
Matrix number: - U 208 - Vocal Buddy Durham
Recorded: - Unknown Date / Probably June 1956
Studio 56, Wheeling, West Virginia
Released: - August 3, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 248-A mono
FIDDLE BOP / JUKE BOX, HELP ME FIND MY BABY
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-2-15 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Sidney "Hardrock" Gunter - Guitar
Buddy Durham - Vocal and Fiddle
Robert "Bob" Tyston – Bass

In its way, ''Fiddle Bop'' has as much disarming appeal as ''Jukebox Help Me Find My Baby''. Old time fiddler Buddy Durham, whose act was a staple of WWVA, was obviously trying to bring his music into line with prevailing trends. Straddling two camps, he may have succeeded in getting neither pop nor country airplay. In any event, his efforts were destined to be overshadowed by Gunter's. Despite the presence of the magic buzzword 'bop', this tune really succeed as a charming country novelty. It was probably pieced together as a primitive exercise in overdubbing at the WWVA studios. (MH)(HD)(CE)

 
The Rhythm Rockers
"JUKE BOX, HELP ME FIND MY BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:14
Composer: - Sidney Louis Gunter
Publisher: - Tannen Music
Matrix number: - U 209 - Vocal Hardrock Gunter
Recorded: - Unknown Date / Probably June 1956
Studio 56, Wheeling, West Virginia
Released: - August 3, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 248-B mono
JUKE BOX, HELP ME FIND MY BABY / FIDDLE BOP
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-2-16 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Sidney "Hardrock" Gunter - Vocal and Guitar
Buddy Durham - Percussion
Robert "Bob" Tyston – Bass

"Juke Box, Help Me Find My Baby" is a fine recording was essentially a home-made record that, for a short period, looked set to break and then unaccountably died. Hardrock Gunter, Bobby Durham and Bill Tustin (of the Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper Band) recorded the song in the WWVA studio in early 1956. Gunter laid down the basic track with vocal and guitar and then Gunter, Durham (who is beating on a cardboard box with a letter opener) and Tustin added the rhythm track before the finished tape was fed through an echo chamber. They employed a number of novel effects, especially during the second chorus in which Gunter imitates a bass. At some point, Gunter contended that the lyrics referred to drug addiction (presumably by virtue of the line ''some monkey's got my baby...'') but if that is indeed the case, then it was his only journey into the murky water of double entendre. The completed tape was leased to Cross Country Records, a label formed in New Jersey by James Frishione, although the A&R guy, Eddie McMullen, pulled most of his acts from WWVA. The Rhythm Rockers' song was picked up by Bill Randle on WERE (Cleveland, Ohio). It looked set to break when Sam Phillips made some enquiries through Nat Tannen (the publisher) about the possibility of acquiring the record. While the deal was done, the momentum of the record was lost. Phillips also edited out about twenty seconds of bass thumping. Perhaps he thought that the single was too long or perhaps he thought that the cheap speakers on most radios would not be able to pick up the bass playing which would give the illusion that the record had died for 20 seconds. There was a cover version (by Tommy Michell on Mercury) but, to all intents and purposes, the record flopped after it was picket up by Sun. The Midas touch had worked in reverse. (MH)(HD)(CE)

 
Carl Perkins
''I'M SORRY I'M NOT SORRY" - B.M.I. - 2:25
Composer: - Wanda Ballman
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 210
Recorded: - March 1956
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - August 3, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 249-A mono
I'M SORRY I'M NOT SORRY / DIXIE FRIED
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-2-17 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Carl Perkins - Vocal and Guitar
Thomas E. Cisco (Eddie Star) - Rhythm Guitar
Lloyd Clayton Perkins - Bass
W.S. "Fluke" Holland - Drums
Jimmy Smith – Piano

To begin with, Sam had no idea what to do with Carl Perkins at this point. Perkins had come to him as a hillbilly singer in the Hank Williams mold. There was no denying Carl's talent as both a singer and songwriter, but Williams had been dead for over three years and his grip on country music was fading. Carl had shown a flair for songwriting, and his comic ode to a pair of shoes had made them both a lot of money. But the follow-up to ''Blue Suede Shoes'' had failed to sustain the momentum. Sam had better do something fast, or Perkins might become just another one-hit wonder. 

On one side of Sun 249, Sam placed the clever but commercially untenable ''Dixie Fried''. On the other side he force-fed Carl a piece of late 1950s pop balladry, complete with piano triplets and hiccuppy vocal gimmicks. Was this the stylistic path Carl might follow? Luckily for us, it wasn't a hit, although at this point, anytime seemed possible. Certainly buyers who came to the party for this song would wonder what hit them when they flipped the record over. But the same can be said for buyers who came to hear ''Dixie Fried''.

For the first time, Carl's record featured material admittedly composed by somebody else. The song had been written by Wanda Bellman, an aspiring, singer/songwriter from Jonesboro, Arkansas. She submitted the song via demo to Sam and went from being an unknown to a professional almost overnight when her copyright appeared on one side of a Carl Perkins record. Pretty impressive stuff. We do know that Wanda engaged in an extended correspondence with Sam throughout this period. He stoked Wanda's fires even higher when he had her come to Memphis in 1957 and record five sides. None were released at the time although they continue to be resurrected on Sun reissues internationally. It is possible that Sam, being Sam, made the most of Wanda Ballman's enthusiasm when he acted as her a new found benefactor and champion. In later years, Wanda persevered and had her material recorded by main stream artists like Loretta Lynn and Charley Pride. (MH)(HD)(CE)

 
Carl Perkins
"DIXIE FRIED" - B.M.I. - 2:25
Composer: - Carl Perkins-Howard "Curly" Griffin
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 211
Recorded: - March 1956
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - August 3, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 249-B mono
DIXIE FRIED / I'M SORRY I'M NOT SORRY
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-2-18 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Carl Perkins - Vocal and Guitar
Thomas E. Cisco (Eddie Star) - Rhythm Guitar
Lloyd Clayton Perkins - Bass
W.S. "Fluke" Holland - Drums
Jimmy Smith – Piano

Anyone who doubts Carl Perkins' status as a folk poet of the rural south hasn't heard "Dixie Fried". This  song may be an utter delight to fans of redneck rockabilly, but it stood as much chance of denting the  national charts in October, 1956 as a Bach chorale.

"Dixie Fried" was perhaps the high point of Perkins' career on record and probably the best song he had a  hand in writing. It was so determinedly rural in content and execution that it was inconceivable that Sam  Phillips could have entertained serious hopes for it in the pop market. Gogi Grant was sitting atop the pop  charts with "Wayward Wind" on the day that "Dixie Fried" was released. The two songs could have come  from different planets.

"Dixie Fried" was a slice of life from the Jackson honky tonks. Talking to Ronnie Weiser, Carl Perkins gave  a little background on the environment that had spawned the song: "The light from the jukebox was all we  had. They had chicken wire around us and the jukebox to keep the bottles from hitting us.

(The bartender) had an axe handle behind the bar and about four or five inches on the big end of the axe  handle was bored out and poured full of hot lead. When he said, 'That's it. That's enough. Get out!' you had  just enough time to do it or they'd swing". In "Dixie Fried", Carl Perkins wrote: "On the outskirts of town,  there's a little nitespot". Dan dropped in about "Five o'clock". He pulled off his coat, said "The night is
short".

Reached in his pocket and he flashed a quart, hollerin', "Rave on, children I'm with you, rave on cats", he  cried. "Its almost dawn and the cops are gone, Let's all get Dixie Fried". Dan got happy and he started  ravin. He jerked out a razor - but he wasn't shavin'. All the cats knew to jump and hop "Cause he was  borned and raised in a butcher shop...". (MH)(HD)(CE)

 
Warren Smith
"BLACK JACK DAVID" - B.M.I. - 3:08
Composer: - Warren Smith
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 218
Recorded:- Unknown Date August 1956
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - September 24, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 250-A mono
BLACK JACK DAVID / UBANGI STOMP
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-2-19 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Warren Smith - Vocal and Guitar
Al Hopson - Guitar
Marcus Van Story - Bass
Johnny Bernero - Drums
Brad Suggs - Guitar
Smokey Joe Bauch - Piano

Once again, Sam Phillips hedged his bets by coupling a rockabilly anthem with a hillbilly tune. Reportedly originating in Scotland circa 1600, ''The Gypsy Laddie'' began: ''The gypsies they came to my lord's castle/And O but they sang so bonnie/They sang sae sweet and soe complete/That down came our fair ladie''. And of course off went the lady. The first to chronicle the song's tortuous history was Francis James Child in his nineteenth century tome ''English And Scottish Popular Ballads''. After crossing the ocean with the early settlers, it changed in the hollows of Appalachia. Bits of another song called ''Seventeen Come Sunday'' were added as the woman lost her nobility along with her virginity. The first recording was by a folklorist, Professor I.G. Greer and his wife, in 1929. Another folklorist, John Jacob Niles, recorded ''The Gypsy Laddie'' for RCA in 1939. Cliff Carlise cit it that year, although he said he learned it from T. Texas Tyler, and Tyler copyrighted it in August 1939, one month after Carlise's recording. The Carter Family recorded it in 1940. Tyler's adaptation became the first post-War recording, and probably led to Warren Smith's recording. While unaware of the song's origins, Smith was undoubtedly aware that it was far from original. In fact, his lyrics were considerably less salty than the Carter Family's. In a 1956 interview in the Memphis Press Scimitar' Smith hurriedly pointed out that, even though ''Black Jack David'' was a rake and philanderer, ''the lyric is fixed so there's time enough that she could have gotten a divorce or something before she goes with him''. Of course, Warren. This is a stellar performance that needs no apologies. Sparse, achingly pure, and haunting in the best tradition of hillbilly music. A standout cut on every front. And, as on Johnny Cash's ''Folsom Prison Blues'', the hook is provided by a repeated guitar solo, in this case played by Bradd Suggs or Buddy Holobaugh. (MH)(HD)(CE)

 
Warren Smith
"UBANGI STOMP" - B.M.I. - 1:58
Composer: - Charles Underwood
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 219
Recorded: - Unknown Date August 1956
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - September 24, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 250-B mono
UBANGI STOMP / BLACK JACK DAVID
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-2-20 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Warren Smith - Vocal and Guitar
Al Hopson - Guitar
Marcus Van Story - Bass
Johnny Bernero - Drums
Brad Suggs - Guitar
Smokey Joe Bauch - Piano

Charles Underwood, then a student at Memphis State University, contributed "Ubangi Stomp".  ''I didn't like it, you know'', recalled Warren Smith. ''Then one night we were cutting, it was around 12:30 at night and I was up against the wall, really biting the bullet trying to find the fourth song. Charles came through the door and he changed four or five things I didn't like in the song and we went to work on it''. In a later era, Charles Underwood became a producer at Sun and, even later, engineered ''The Monster Mash'' and Herb Alpert's debut hit ''The Lonely Bull''. In 1956 he was a struggling student. He seems to have cheerfully assigned a common dialect to American Indians and Africans (''...heap big jam session'') and in all honestly, the song is as close to denigrating as anything released on Sun. However, it entered the Memphis charts and helped to sustain the momentum of ''Rock And Roll Ruby''. Rather than make a big splash, it appears to have sold over 100,000 copies throughout an eighteen month period. The guitarist is Brad Suggs, stalwart of the Slim Rhodes Show, and the drummer is Johnny Bernero. Other musicians are somewhat unclear although the bassist may be Jan Ledbetter. Smith's interpretation of the song has all the contagious enthusiasm of pure rockabilly which has enabled it to survive the years well, and even survive a beleaguered and belated cover version from Alice Cooper.
 
Johnny Bernero played here on ''Ubangi Stomp'' just about one year after he backed Elvis Presley on ''I Forgot To Remember To Forget''. During that year, when rock and roll took over American popular music, Bernero showed that he could be a rock and roll drummer in addition to his more country work. halfway through that year, he played on Warren Smith's ''Rock 'N' Roll Ruby'' and moved some distance toward rock and roll from his country starting point.
 
By the time of ''Ubangi Stomp'', those Western swing band origins are thoroughly subordinated to the new style. Here, Bernero is aggressive in a way very different from what he did behind Elvis. He creates a stop rhythm for the introductory guitar lines and a drum roll takes us into the song. During the song, Bernero inserts occasional brief decorative rolls and, especially during the guitar solos, he puts some variation in the rhythmic accents. And for the vocal line ''Heap big jam session 'bout to begin'' he beats the tom-tom appropriately for a cowboys-and-Indians movie. And a few times (the first comes after the line ''I seen them natives doin' an odd-lookin' skip'') he gets to play a one-stroke drum solo.
 
Sam Phillips was slow to adapt to having drummers as a cornerstone of the music he produced and often did not record drummers well. That sadly deprives us of getting to hear clearly just how Bernero added some drama with the crash cymbal in the reprise of the intro that ends the record. (MH)(HD)(CE)(SP)

 
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