© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR CLIFF, ED & BARBARA THOMAS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1958
 
SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: SATURDAY NOVEMBER 29, 1957
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
AND/OR JACK CLEMENT
 
This recordings by the Jackson, Mississippi-based brother, sister, and brother team of Cliff, Ed and Barbara Thomas appeared in the second mailing of PI releases (the first five singles had gone out together four months earlier). Wisely, Sam Phillips waited until much of the reaction to Bill Justis' "Raunchy" had died down before releasing this efforts. Its hard to know whether Sun had a national market in mind when these sides were shipped. Like Ricky Nelson, the Thomasses had a TV show (although they didn't go coast-to-coast) and were guaranteed intense exposure for teen hreartthrob Cliff. A casual glance at the wholesome Thomas siblings gathered around the piano is not going to trigger the same response as watching Gene Vincent and the Bluecaps, but the truth is that Cliff, Ed and Barbara made some surprisingly good music. If nothing else, they were listening to (and absorbing) the right sources. But unlike their labelmate Johnny Carroll, they were not borrowing them literally.
 
01 - "I'M ON MY WAY HOME" - B.M.I. - 2:08
Composer: - Ed Thomas Jr.
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - P 312   - Master
Recorded: - November 29, 1957
Released: - January 1958
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 78/45rpm standard single PI 3521-B mono
I'M ON MY WAY HOME / TREAT ME RIGHT
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15805-3-12 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 5

"I'm On My Way Home" is better than it has a right to be. There's not a wasted note here, from Ed's powerful bluesy piano, to Cliff's socko vocal, to the minimal and effective choral work by Ed and Barbara. You could easily mistake the first eight bars here for a Fats Domino record until the vocal jumps in and takes this outing into its own original territory. There are touches of both Fats and Jerry Lee in Ed Thomas' piano but, ultimately, he's his own man. Although this production is decidedly minimalist, it is also competent and slick.

02 - "TREAT ME RIGHT" - B.M.I. - 1:58
Composer: - Ed Thomas Jr.
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - P 311   - Master
Recorded: - November 29, 1957
Released: - January 1958
First appearance: - Phillips International (S) 78/45rpm standard single PI 3521-A mono
TREAT ME RIGHT / I'M ON MY WAY HOME
Reissued: - 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15805-3-11 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 5
The debt to Fats is even more explicit on "Treat Me Right" (not to be confused with the Elvis tune "Treat Me Nice" from the same year). They're plainly pushing the limits of Cliff's very teenage vocal equipment here, but the track still works largely because of Ed's powerful piano. Everything about the vocal and choral work just exudes blues, yet it remains original and melodic (just listen to the last four bars). can you imagine how trite this kind of white brother and sister trio might have been if these sides had been recorded in New York or Los Angeles.
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Ed Thomas Jr. - Vocal and Piano
Cliff Thomas - Vocal and Guitar
Barbara Thomas - Vocal
Bill Justis - Saxophone
Sid Manker - Guitar
Jimmy M. Van Eaton - Drums
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©