CONTAINS

Flip 227-228-237  Audio Series 

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Rosco Gordon
"JUST LOVE ME BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:23
Composer: - Rosco Gordon
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 162
Recorded: - Probably February 1955
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - September 1955
First appearance: - Flip Records (S) 78rpm standard single Flip 227-A mono
JUST LOVE ME BABY / WEEPING BLUES
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-4-17mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1 
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rosco Gordon - Vocal and Piano
Billy Duncan - Alto Saxophone
Charles Taylor - Alto Saxophone
Richard Sanders - Baritone Sax
Willie Wilkes - Tenor Saxophone
Foree Wells - Guitar
Tuff Green - Bass
John Murry Daley – Drums
 
This was the first record by Rosco Gordon to appear on the Sun label (technically it was on both Sun and Flip), although Gordon was no stranger to 706 Union Avenue. For two years, Sam Phillips had recorded him, peddling his music to Chess and RPM. He had also custom-recorded a Rosco session for Duke. In fact, it was Rosco's hits like ''Booted'' and ''No More Doggin'''that helped to convince Phillips that he could compete in the cut-throat rhythm and blues business. So, in June 1955, when Rosco's Duke deal was up, Sam signed him to Sun on a three-year contract. Rosco was still living in Memphis when he signed, although by 1957 he had moved to New York. 
 
Although he brings a confident and idiosyncratic vocal to ''Just Love Me Baby'', this remains one of Rosco's least distinguished offerings. The band finds a fine mid-tempo groove and the saxes riff like they tell you in the manual, but somehow this side never rises above mediocrity. (HD)(CE)

 
Rosco Gordon
"WEEPING BLUES" - B.M.I. - 3:10
Composer: - Rosco Gordon
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 163
Recorded: - Probably February 1955
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - September 1955
First appearance: - Flip Records (S) 78rpm standard single Flip 227-B mono
WEEPING BLUES / JUST LOVE ME BABY
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-4-18 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rosco Gordon - Vocal and Piano
Billy Duncan - Alto Saxophone
Charles Taylor - Alto Saxophone
Richard Sanders - Baritone Sax
Willie Wilkes - Tenor Saxophone
Foree Wells - Guitar
Tuff Green - Bass
John Murry Daley – Drums
 
This B-side, ''Weeping Blues'' is rooted in a gimmick, one that had worked for Clyde McPhatter on Billy Ward's recording of ''The Bells'' in 1953, but one that fell flat here. (HD)(CE)

 
Smokey Joe
"THE SIGNIFYING MONKEY" - B.M.I. - 3:18
Composer: - Bill Taylor-Stanley Kesler-Joseph Bauch
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Knox Music Limited
Matrix number: - U 170
Recorded: - August 25, 1955
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - September 15, 1955
Reissued: - Flip Records (S) 78rpm standard single Flip 228-A mono
THE SIGNIFYING MONKEY / LISTEN TO ME BABY
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Smokey Joe Baugh - Vocal and Piano
Johnny Bernero - Drums
Stanley Kesler - Steel Guitar
Buddy Holobaugh - Guitar
Jan Ledbetter - Bass
Johnny Bernero - Drums
Bill Taylor - Trumpet
Stan Kesler - Steel Guitar
 
The story about ''Monkey'', of course Smokey Joe, Stan Kesler, and Bill Taylor can no more take credit for writing this song than anyone else. Its origins are embedded deep in African American myth, as far back as Yoruba folklore according to some sources. One of America's preeminent African American scholars, Henry Louis Gates, wrote a book about literary signifying within black culture titled ''The Signifying Monkey - A Theory Of African American Literary Criticism''. The question to which we don't have a good answer is where Smokey Joe became acquainted with the potty-mouthed primate. His contribution was to clear it up, although Johnny Bernero remembered that Joe would sing the unexpurgated version from time to time. Once again, the backing is disarmingly simple. Bernero sustains the show with some rock-solid drumming while Buddy Holobaugh works a repeated boogie riff. There had been other attempts to get the ''Monkey'' on record, most recently by the Big Three Trio (featuring Willie Dixon) back in 1946. Cab Calloway and Count Basie covered Dixon song. Joe's version appears to have sold quite well in late 1955, certainly in excess of 25,000 copies, and the song reportedly gained him an invitation to play at the Apollo Theatre in New York, where his white face and blonde hair would have created a stir. Stan Kesler remembered the ''Monkey'', and prevailed upon Sam the Sham to record it for a label he co-owned, XL Records. It was the record before ''Woolly Bully'', but probably sold sufficiently well to incentivise Phillips to re-release this one in 1964.  (MH)(HD)(CE)

 
Smokey Joe
"LISTEN TO ME BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:29
Composer: - Stanley Kesler-Joe Bauch
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Knox Music Limited
Matrix number: - U 171
Recorded: - August 25, 1955
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - September 15, 1955
Reissued: - Flip Records (S) 78rpm standard single Flip 228-B mono
LISTEN TO ME BABY / THE SIGNIFYING MONKEY
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Smokey Joe Baugh - Vocal and Piano
Johnny Bernero - Drums
Stanley Kesler - Steel Guitar
Buddy Holobaugh - Guitar
Jan Ledbetter - Bass
Johnny Bernero - Drums
Bill Taylor - Trumpet
Stan Kesler - Steel Guitar
 
There is a wonderful drive to ''Listen To Me''. The little combo works the off-beat for all it's worth, overlaying it with a steady boogie woogie. There are some early Jamaican rhythm and blues and ska records that sound kinda like this. Johnny Bernero and Buddy Holobaugh power the record, and Stan Kesler contributes some tasty work on steel. Bill Taylor can be heard on trumpet from time to time. The lyrics are hardly groundbreaking but, once again, The Snearly Ranch gang reveals a genuine feeling for this type of music. It is a matter for conjecture whether the patrons of the Bel Air lounge or the VFW club knew what a treat were getting when this combo climbed on to the stage. Overlooked in the rush to deify the rockabilly musicians who leaped out of Memphis the following year, this group combined black and white styles with as much verve and enthusiasm as the rockabillies. In many ways, they comprised the best that Memphis had to offer at that point.   (MH)(HD)(CE)

 
Rosco Gordon
"THE CHICKEN (DANCE WITH YOU)" - B.M.I. - 2:49
Composer: - Rosco Gordon
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 182
Recorded: - Probably February 1955
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - December 1955
First appearance: - Flip Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single Flip 237-A mono
THE CHICKEN (DANCE WITH YOU) / LOVE FOR YOU, BABY
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rosco Gordon - Vocal and Piano
Billy Duncan - Alto Saxophone
Charles Taylor - Alto Saxophone
Richard Sanders - Baritone Sax
Willie Wilkes - Tenor Saxophone
Foree Wells - Guitar
Tuff Green - Bass
John Murry Daley – Drums
 
Although Sun collectors usually fail to give it much attention, Rosco Gordon claims that ''The Chicken'' was the biggest selling record of his Sun career. In a 1980 interview, Rosco repeatedly referred to it as his ''million seller''. According to Rosco, ''The Chicken'' was a ''spot record'', breaking in one regional rhythm and blues market after another, and taking a long time to run its course.
 
Although it never blazed a trail on national charts, the record stirred up enough regional attention to garner Rosco a movie deal (the notorious ''Rock Baby, Rock It!''). His performance of ''Chicken In The Rough'' is captured forever on celluloid, along with his trusty rooster dancing on the piano while Rosco pounded away on the ivories. ''They used to call me Rosco 'Chicken' Gordon. man, that record was so big!;; Rosco claimed that the rooster remained part of his act for quite a while, giving added credence to his version of the record's success.
 
For his part, Sam Phillips must have had an interesting view of ''The Chicken''. It was released on both the Sun and Flip labels, although the significance of that strategy remains unclear. Perhaps more tellingly, Phillips did not simply see this release an an rhythm and blues contender. Original versions of the ''Chicken's'' record label plainly say ''Rock & Roll Vocal''. In simple terms, that meant crossover potential. By 1956, Sam Phillips was not releasing much black music anymore. What little appeared on the Sun label had better have some potential to sell to white kids. (HD)

 
Rosco Gordon
"LOVE FOR YOU BABY" - B.M.I. – 3:02
Composer: - Rosco Gordon
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 183
Recorded: - Probably February 1955
Memphis Recording  Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - December 1955
First appearance: - Flip Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single Flip 237-B mono
LOVE FOR YOU, BABY / THE CHICKEN (DANCE WITH YOU)
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rosco Gordon - Vocal and Piano
Billy Duncan - Alto Saxophone
Charles Taylor - Alto Saxophone
Richard Sanders - Baritone Sax
Willie Wilkes - Tenor Saxophone
Foree Wells - Guitar
Tuff Green - Bass
John Murry Daley – Drums
 
There is a final sidebar to the tale of ''The Chicken''. According to Rosco, the song ultimately got him into more trouble with Sam Phillips than it was worth. He claims that when he and his band were practising the song at the Club Handy, Bill Harvey (who represented Duke Records) got the song on tape and delivered it to Don Robey. Robey offered Rosco $450 for the publishing rights, which the singer gladly accepted. According to Rosco, Robey waited for the song to run its long and successful course before threatening legal action against Sun yet again. Rosco believes that this event helped sour Phillips on further business dealings with him. It's a fascinating tale, but it remains somewhat suspect in light of two further Sun singles by Rosco issued in 1957 and 1958, as well as a mountain of unissued tapes dating from this same period in the Sun archives. (HD)

 

 

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