CONTAINS
 
1953 SUN SESSIONS 2 
July 1 to December 31, 1953
 
Studio Session for The Ripley Cotton Choppers, July 11, 1953 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Boyd Gilmore, July 15, 1953 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Earl Hooker, July 15, 1953 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Pinetop Perkins, July 15, 1953 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Little Walker, July 15, 1953 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Little Milton, July 28, 1953 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Bonnie Turner, August 2, 1953 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Johnny O'Neal, August 2, 1953 / Sun Records
Studio Session for The Prisonaires, August 3, 1953 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Junior Parker, August 5, 1953 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Earl Hooker, August 10, 1953 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Onie Wheeler, August 29, 1953 / Okeh Records
Studio Session for Mose Vinson, September 9, 1953 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Doctor Ross, October 3, 1953 / Sun Records
Studio Session for The Prisonaires, October 17, 1953 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Rudy Grayzell, November 1953 / Abbott Records
Studio Session for Rudy Grayzell, 1953/1954 / Abbott Records
Studio Session for A.C. Moohah Williams, November 1953 / Starmaker Records
Studio Session for Onie Wheeler, November 22, 1953 / Okeh Records
Studio Session for Houston Stokes, December 4, 1953 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Charles White Jr., December 7, 1953 / Sun Records
Studio Session for James Cotton, December 7, 1953 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Little Milton, December 23, 1953 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Houston Boines, December 23, 1953 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Howard Seratt, Late 1953 / Sun Records
Studio Session for David ''Honeyboy'' Edwards, Probably Late 1953 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Albert Williams, Probably Late 1953 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Vincent Duling, Late 1953 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Unknown Artist, Probably End 1953 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Buddy Blake Cunningham, Unknown Date(s) 1953 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Hal Miller, Unknown Date 1953/1954 / Sun Records
 
Biography of Artists (See: The Sun Biographies)
 

JULY 1953
 
Jud Phillips (formerly involved in artist promotion with Roy Acuff and Jimmy Durante) joins  Sun Records to help with the increasing activity in promotion and sales required to build on  the success of Rufus Thomas' "Bear Cat". Working closely with Nashville-based Jim Bulleit,  Jud begins to get positive reaction with the Prisonaires' "Just Walkin' In The Rain" b/w ''Baby Please'' (Sun 186).
 
Ike Turner recommences bringing talent to Phillips (i.e. rather than the Biharis) for the first  time since 1951, starting with Little Milton and Johnny O'Neal.
 
Chess Records issues recordings by Joseph Dobbins, probably made in Memphis in June.
 
Sam Phillips makes his first recordings by a white group for the Sun label. The Ripley Cotton Choppers, who had appeared on Memphis radio for several years.
 
JULY 1953
 
United States President Eisenhower informs the Chinese that he would not be afraid to use nuclear weapons or invade China in order to end this, North Korea decides to allow voluntary repatriation. An armistice is concluded at Panmunjom, it provided for a demilitarized zone and a conference to discuss the future of Korea, however, the conference never came to pass. During the Korean War 33,629 US troops, about 3,000 UN troops, about 50,000 South Koreans, and an estimated 1.5 million Communists from China and North Korea died.
 
JULY 1, 1953 WEDNESDAY
 
Eleven-year-old Bobby Wright, the son of Kitty Wells and Johnny Wright, has his first recording session for Decca Records.
 
JULY 3, 1953 FRIDAY
 
MGM released Hank Williams' ''I Won't Be Home No More''.
 
JULY 4, 1953 SATURDAY
 
Kirk ''Jelly Roll'' Johnson is born in Lake Charles, Louisiana. He plays harmonica on Randy Travis' ''Hard Rock Bottom Of Your Heart'', John Michael Montgomery's ''Life's A Dance'' and ''The Judds ''Turn It Loose'', among others.
 
JULY 5, 1953 SUNDAY
 
''Old American Barndance'' debuts on TV's Dumas network, with Tennessee Ernie Ford and Pee Wee King as regulars.
 
Gene Autry and Smiley Burnette rally against a monopolistic Old West supply store in the debut of ''Pack Train''. Steel guitarist Frankie Marvin has a minor role as well.
 
JULY 7, 1953 TUESDAY
 
''The Eddy Arnold Show'' begins a short stint as an NBC summer replacement series.
 
Red Foley recorded ''Shake A Hand''.
 
JULY 8, 1953 WEDNESDAY
 
Don Robey wrote to Sam Phillips tanking him for the co-operation.
 
The singles, Sun 187 ''Feelin' Good'' b/w ''Fussin' And Fightin' (Blues)'' by Little Junior's Blue Flames; Sun 188 ''Tiger Man (King Of The Jungle)'' b/w ''Save That Money'' by Rufus Thomas, and ''Just Walkin' In The Rain'' backed with ''Baby Please'' Sun 186,  are released on this day, and a week later the Press-Scimitar ran a third of a page feature at the top of page 32 headlined, "Prison Singers May Find Fame with Record They Made in Memphis''. It recounted anecdotally just how the record had come about, scrupulous assigning roles to everyone from Governor Frank Clement and Warden Edwards to Johnny Bragg and the other Prisonaires, Joe Hill Louis, Red Wortham, Jim Bulleit, and, of course, the ''painstaking Mr. Phillips'', who had insisted that they work ''until the records were cut just right''. Phillips, the story pointedly made clear, ''has established a reputation as an expert in recording negro talent''. There were tentative plans, the Press-Scimitar suggested, ''to take them to New York to appear on big TV shows'' but these were all predicated, the reporter pointed out, on ''Just Walkin' In The Rain'' being as big a hit as Sam Phillips firmly believed that it would be.
JULY 8, 1953 WEDNESDAY
 
Don Robey's injunction against to Sun Records. The letter reads:
 
Dear Mr. Phillips,
 
Enclosed here with, is our copyright agreement (License), between Sun Records and Lion Publishing Company covering the composition HOUND DOG (known as Bear Cat), as recorded by Sam Phillips  SUN 181.
 
I have signed both copies, and you are sign both copies, retain one for your files, and return the other to me.
 
Thank you kindly for your cooperation in this matter,
Yours very truly
LION MUSIC PUBLISHING COMPANY
 
Don D. Robey
DDR:mn
Encl:2
 
JULY 9, 1953 THURSDAY
 
David Ball is born in Rock Hill, South Carolina. He scores one of 1994's biggest hit with his semi-novelty ''Thinkin' Problem'', returning to hitmaker status in 2001 with ''Riding With Private Malone''.
 
JULY 10, 1953 FRIDAY
 
Kitty Wells recorded ''Hay Joe'' and ''I've Kissed You My Last Time'' at Nashville's Castle Studio in the Tulane Hotel.
 
B.B. Watson is born in Tyler, Texas. his 1991 single ''Light At The End Of The Tunnel'' is the first to be released on RCA's subsidiary label, BNA Records.
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR THE RIPLEY COTTON CHOPPERS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1953
 
SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: SATURDAY JULY 11, 1953
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
 
"In 1953, after my Sun label really got started", says Sam Phillips, "I would record some country music but I was always still looking for somebody with a little different sound. I felt that there was the basis of a particular style to be found here in Memphis''.
 
''The Ripley Cotton Choppers came from a little town north of Memphis. They were the first country musicians I issued on the Sun label. They were a damn fine country band. I had some nice cuts on them, but Sun was very much geared to the blues market at that time and we were never able to promote them".
 
"Silver Bell"/"Blues Waltz" (Sun 190) by the Ripley Cotton Choppers remains one of the rarest records Sam Phillips ever recorded. After two years of releasing nothing but black music, Sam Phillips had decided to broaden his base of operations. In July 1953, he scheduled the first recording session with the Ripley Cotton Choppers, and later that year released Sun's first country record. It had "Hillbilly" stamped on the promo copies so that country disc jockey’s would take a second look and maybe listen.
 
Raymond Kerby also recalls Phillips' conduct in the studio. "He kept trying to get us to do something we never did understand. He wanted us to play and sing more like a colored man. He kept saying if he could just find him a white boy who...".
 
Phillips was fairly insistent about this but the Cotton Choppers were never able to cross that maggie line. Nevertheless, the title of the very first country record that Sam Phillips released on Sun still had the word "blues" in it.
 
An ironic footnote to Phillips' quest is that a year or so before their Sun audition, the Choppers had recorded a rough demo of an original song called "Paint Slinger Blues". It was a simple 12-bar blues written by Kerby, his brother James, and his uncle, Jesse Frost. It was composed spontaneously as the three men sat around after a hard day's work.
 
Raymond Kerby still had his paint splattered overalls on when the line "I'm an old paint slinger and I sling my paint all day" came into being. Because they never took the song seriously, the Choppers never even auditioned the song for Phillips. As an old acetate shows, "Paint Slinger Blues" comes surprisingly close to the sound and style that Sam Phillips was looking for. Kerby confides that most of his group was not overly impressed with Sam Phillips' operation. "Half of us figured we were wasting our time. We figured Sun Records wasn't big enough. They'll never do anything for anybody".
 
The Ripley Cotton Choppers came to Sun's attention because Hoyt Wooten, Sam Phillips' old boss at WREC told Ernest Underwood about Sam Phillips. Underwood was the only member of the Choppers who had also played with the original group, and he and Wooten were old friends. A phone call was made and Ernest Underwood and Raymond Kerby drove down to meet Sam Phillips.
 
When this 78rpm was finally released, it never appeared on 45rpm, Phillips told Kerby, "Now don't quit if this record don't make it. You too good a guitar player". By virtually any yardstick SUN 190 did not make it. It certainly got lots of local action and seems to have been on every jukebox between Memphis and Ripley.  Kerby recalls, "We never did see any royalties on it. But you could turn the radio on, sometimes ten or twelve different stations would be playing it at the same time. Bob Neal had a show on WMPS. He used "Silver Bell" as his opening and closing theme".
 
01 - "SILVER BELL"* - B.M.I. - 2:14
Composer: - Edward Madden-Percy Wenrich
Publisher: - Redwood Music Limited
Matrix number: - U 83 - Master
The title spelled as ''Silver Bells'' on the record label.
Recorded: - July 11, 1953
Released: - September 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78rpm standard single SUN 190-B mono
SILVER BELL / BLUES WALTZ
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-2-2 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1
 
As a vocal outing during the late forties, "Sugarfoot Rag" became a benchmark hit for Red Foley. It was equally effective as an instrumental by its creator, guitarist Hank Garland, and in time to come several other catchy workouts would follow its thrust. Taking their cue from Bob Wills, the rustic-sounding Ripley Cotton  Choppers (famous around Shelby County for their regular radio broadcast) homed in on their neat equivalent, "Silver Bell", for what amounted to an exploratory Sun one-off.
 
The song itself, composed by vaudevillian Percy Wenrich in 1910, was already a minor standard when the Choppers took it to Sam Phillips. The record is really a showcase for the guitar of Bill Webb who is backed by guitarists Raymond and James Kerby and the driving bass of Pete Wiseman. The back-country charm of the record, one of Sun's rarest releases, compensates for some technical flaws, not the least of which is Webb's slightly out-of-tune instrument. You'd think this wouldn't stand a prayer in the country music world of the 1950s, but in 1955, Chet Atkins and Hank Snow took ''Silver Bell'' to the country charts. The label of Sun 190 states ''Silver Bells'', which is the old Christmas standard).
This side, "Blues Waltz", it features twin guitar work by Raymond Kerby and Bill Webb who played lead. This first country release was hardly typical of Memphis country in the 1950s. Rather, this side harks back beyond the era of the honky tonk to a time when country music was performed at church socials and family gatherings. Only the electric guitar dates it to the 1950s rather than the 1920s or 1930s. This track features Ernest Underwood and Jesse Frost in a vocal duet backed by guitars, bass, and James Haggard's mandolin (an instrument that was not over-represented at 706 Union). 
 
The original 78rpm credited the composition to Mrs. R.M. Lawrence, a resident of Ripley, Tennessee.  This record was already doomed to obscurity by virtue of the fact it was twenty years out of date on the day of release but Phillips' lack of experience in marketing country music banished it to a distribution network that barely exceeded the Ripley City limits.
 
02 - "BLUES WALTZ"** - B.M.I. - 2:52
Composer: - Mrs. R.M. Lawrence
Publisher: - Redwood Music Limited
Matrix number: - U 84 - Master
Recorded: - July 11, 1953
Released: - September 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78rpm standard single SUN 190-A mono
BLUES WALTZ / SILVER BELL
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-2-1 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1
 
The primary meeting went well and a formal audition was set up. That went well also and the group's first session was arranged. It produced "Blues Waltz", the vocal side of the Choppers' release. As Raymond Kerby recalls, Phillips had them repeat the song over and over again until he was satisfied with it. "Blues Waltz"  featured a harmony vocal by Ernest Underwood and Jesse Frost, now both dead. James Haggard's madoline, the only time this instrument appears on an issued Sun record, is prominently featured.
 
With a strong female lead, this ''Roses And Sunshine'', a previously unissued song allows us a glimpse of what the Carter Family might have sounded like with an electric guitar. Vocal honours were shared by Jesse Frost and the Ripley heartbreaker, Jettie Cox. The song was a loose adaption of ''Down In The Valley'', itself set to a much earlier tune, ''The Happy Home Waltz''. Indeed, it includes bits of ''Down In The Valley'' (''Roses love sunshine, violets love dew...'' etc.). Tapes of the session have long since disappeared and only a single acetate, stored away by Raymond Kerby, has preserved the moment.
 
03 - "ROSES AND SUNSHINE"**/*** - B.M.I. - 2:46
Composer: -  Mrs. R.M. Lawrence
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - July 11, 1953
Released: - 1984
First appearance: - Redita Records (LP) 33rpm RLP 126-1-4 mono
COTTON CHOPPER COUNTRY
Reissued: - November 1986 Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-2-16 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-1-34 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959 
 
The session which lasted all night, also produced two unreleased vocal sides called "Roses And Sunshine" and "Pretty Baby". "Roses And Sunshine" features a vocal duet which includes Jettie Cox. This track still exists today on a well-worn acetate. Nothing is known about "Pretty Baby". The acetate is been lost.
 
04 - "PRETTY BABY" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - July 11, 1953
The historical importance of this record cannot be overlooked. It is the first country record issued by Sam Phillips on his fledgling label. It was, to say the least, a curious choice. Their lone Sun single released on September 1953, was probably never distributed more than 100 miles from where it was recorded.  It remains one of the rarest Sun releases and one of the least typical of anything bearing the Sun logo. 
 
Despite its title, the record contains not a trace of the blues, although an unissued home recording from 1952 of "Paint Slinger Blues" suggests that the Cotton Choppers did have at least a passing acquaintance with the blues.  Sam Phillips and The Ripley Cotton Choppers caught each other's eye at just the right moment in time. Within the next two years, Sam Phillips virtually abandon blues and traditional country music for Elvis Presley and the first generation of rockabillies and The Ripley Cotton Choppers would cease to be a group.
 
Because the Cotton Choppers came to Sun and were one of the first country groups Phillips recorded, they received a historic offer. Sam Phillips was looking for a backup band to work with his new discovery: a vocalist whom Phillips was sure would put the company on the map and make everybody rich. After their final session, late into the night, Sam Phillips came out of the control room and sat down with the Choppers for one of his patented 'heart to heart' talks. He made his offer: there were no guarantees, but he liked Kerby's picking and thought everybody might benefit from the merger. Were they interested?
 
It was late that night and Kerby asked if they could think on it a bit. "Sure", said Phillips, "take your time". The sun had already come up by the time the Choppers got back to Ripley, and they had already made up their minds.
 
The Ripley Cotton Choppers decided not to back up Elvis Presley. He was an unknown, and it would have meant dropping their present vocalist, Kerby's uncle Jesse Frost. In this casual moment, Raymond Kerby passed up his chance at immortality which, as we all know, fell into the nimble fingers of Scotty Moore.
 
Kerby's memories of Sam Phillips are borne out by information that has since come to light. "He was always saying 'These people in Memphis are making fun of me. They think if you don't play popular music, you ain't playing music. But I'm going to show 'em'".
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Ernest Underwood - Vocal**/** Fiddle***
Jesse Frost - Vocal**/***
Jettie Cox - Vocal**
Raymond Kerby - Guitar
James Kerby - Guitar
Bill Webb - Guitar
James Wiseman - Bass**/***
Pete Wiseman - Bass*
James Haggard - Mandolin**/**
 
The Choppers did little touring, virtually all of it confined to within 50 miles of Memphis. Kerby recalls playing on a bill with Carl Perkins at the Jackson Armory in 1954. They may have smiled 'hello' backstage, but really never made contact. The last contact Kerby with Sam Phillips was in early 1955. He had run out of copies of his record and called Phillips to buy some more. Kerby still has the shipping box that held a dozen 78rpms. It is postmarked January 10, 1955.
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
JULY 13, 1953 MONDAY
 
Dick Curless has a son, Rick Curless, in Maine. 
 
Blues man Louis Prima marries pop vocalist Keely Smith. As a songwriter, his tune ''Sunday Kind Of Love'' is destined to become a country hit for Reba McEntire.
 
JULY 14, 1953 TUESDAY
 
Guitarist/mandolinist Mike Henderson is born in Independence, Missouri. He becomes a linchpin in the bluegrass band The Steel Drivers and plays on two Travis Tritt hits, ''More Than You'll Ever Know'' and ''Where Corn Don't Grow''.
 
Woodwind player Pat ''Taco'' Ryan is born in east Texas. He joins Asleep At The Wheel, playing with the band on its Grammy-nominated 1977 album ''The Wheel''.
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
On this day, several recordings were made, among others for Boyd Gilmore, Earl Hooker, Pinetop Perkins, and Walter Horton.
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR BOYD GILMORE & EARL HOOKER
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1953
 
SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: WEDNESDAY JULY 15, 1953 (SESSION 1)
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
 
01(1) - "BELIEVE I'LL SETTLE DOWN" - B.M.I. - 2:15
Composer: - Boyd Gilmore
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - July 15, 1953
Released: - August 1977
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30127-B-8 mono
THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 12 - UNION AVENUE BREAKDOWN
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-5-19 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
 
This is the marginally different 1996 box version of the song and also issued on the original LP box.
 
01(2) - "BELIEVE I'LL SETTLE DOWN" - B.M.I. - 3:08
Composer: - Boyd Gilmore
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - July 15, 1953
Released: - 1989
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Charly LP 1060 mono
THE SUN BLUES ARCHIVES - VOLUME 1 - BLUE GUITAR 
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-9-10 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958
An altogether churchier song than Memphis Slim's 1940s song of the same name, this is the high water mark of one of the Earl Hooker's Sun sessions.   A fine rolling blues in the tradition that B.B. King was busy making his very own. Gilmore's vocal, although huskier than B.B.'s, follows the same familiar pattern, and Earl Hooker's guitar contrives to sound like a disciple - or at the very least, a close relative - of "Lucille". There's some fine two-handed piano from Gilmore's childhood buddy, Pinetop Perkins, but the tentative nature of the track is revealed at the end when Gilmore stops singing midway through the last verse, and we get a rather unexpected 4-bar instrumental ending. This take notable because Gilmore forgot the last line. As it turned out, Hooker didn't record again until 1956 and Gilmore never recorded again, as far as we know.
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Boyd Gilmore - Vocal & Guitar
Joe Willie ''Pinetop'' Perkins - Piano
Adolph Duncan - Saxophone
Earl Hooker - Guitar
Little Walter - Harmonica
Unknown - Bass
Willie Nix – Drums
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
Earl Hooker's Sun recordings are cloaked in some mystery. Sam Phillips' log notes two sessions, on July 15, 1953 and another on August 8. The personnel noted on the first session (above) was Boyd Gilmore, Little Walker (Hooker's warm-up act) on harmonica, Pinetop Perkins on piano, and saxophonist Adolph Duncan, all of whom worked together in Cairo, Illinois. 
 
For the second session, Phillips only noted session bassist Kenneth Banks. Hooker left two tapes mostly full of instruments. Clearly, he was running down his set-list, checking to see if Phillips hear anything he liked. And Phillips liked Hooker enough to offer a one-year contract at the time of the first session, but not enough to release anything.
 
The second session was marked non-productive, and Hooker never returned. We're figuring that all the titles here except ''The Hucklebuck'' and ''Pinetop's Boogie Woogie'' stem from the first session, which is notable for the presence of an electric bass, an instrument that had only been introduced in November 1951. The bass apparently belonged to Hooker, making him an early adopter. 
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR EARL HOOKER
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1953
 
SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: WEDNESDAY JULY 15, 1953 (SESSION 2)
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
 
Representing the blues men on instrumentals is guitarist Earl Hooker. His Sun recordings remained well concealed until eight tracks appeared on the "Blue Guitar" album in 1989, a short lived compilation. Whilst some of the tracks are of a bluesy nature, the ones selected here are real powerhouse rock and roll, from a guitarist who developed a hard hitting tough style.
 
There's a lot of energy here, but it resulted in nothing that Sam Phillips could release. In essence, it was two minutes of rejuggled blues cliches interspersed with some gloriously inventive guitar. The structure of the song is similar to Jimmy Rushing's 1937 outing with Count Basie, ''Don't You Miss Your Baby''.. itself a compendium of rejuggled lines. If Phillips had called for an earl Hooker vocal, this is what he got, and this is why he didn't call for another. The playing rates Hooker a mention in the same breath as the Kings (B.B., Freddie, and Albert), but his singing was never that strong. Perhaps that's why Boyd Gilmore was there. In 1953, Sam Phillips had very little money to spare, but he gave a thirty dollar advance to Hooker, another five to his manager, plus $4.75 for whiskey and another three bucks in gas to get them from and to Cairo, Illinois. By this point in the afternoon or evening of July 15, 1953, he must have seen that money slipping through his fingers.
 
01 - "MOVE ON DOWN THE LINE*" - 1 - B.M.I. - 2:15
Composer: - Earl Zebedee Hooker
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - July 15, 1953
Released: - 1981
First appearance: - Arhoolie Records (S) 45rpm Arhoolie 1066 mono
MOVE ON DOWN THE LINE / STEEL GUITAR RAG
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-5-20 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
 
As his future records would attest, Earl Hooker spent most of his time avoiding the role of singer - so this performance takes on a little extra significance. Although light and insubstantial its not an unpleasant voice, certainly capable of riding the rocking tempo driven by a drummer some have identified as Willie Nix. The call-and-response choruses which follow beg the involvement of a larger band, with more than just Adolph Duncan on tenor sax.
 
02 - "THE DRIVE" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Earl Zebedee Hooker
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - July 15, 1953
Released: - September 1977
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30126 mono
SUN: THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 11 - MEMPHIS BLUES SOUNDS
Reissued: - 1989 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUN 29 mono
BLUE GUITAR
 
On the evidence of this track alone, Phillips might have thought about bringing Earl Hooker in to push of those early rockabilly sessions. God knows what kind of hybrid music might have raised the rafters at 706 Union if he had.
 
03 - "INSTRUMENTAL (THE DRIVE)" - B.M.I. - 2:19
Composer: - Earl Zebedee Hooker
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 3 -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - July 15, 1953
Released: - 1996
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-5-21 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES 1950 - 1958
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-6-25 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958
As well as his sole vocal excursion, Hooker recorded a number of instrumental features which were left untitled at the time. This is a later, third take of one which other compilers have called "The Drive". In the early takes, Hooker had had some trouble with the introductory riff, which here he simplifies by leaving out a set of repeats.
 
What follows stays for the most part in the middle register, once again pointing to his awareness of jump band etiquette. Its not known who plays the electric bass on this session: it would be facile to suggest Boyd Gilmore, but he was a capable guitarist.  A variation on this theme eventually appeared under Hooker's name on Ace Records in Chicago circa 1961. At that time, it was called ''Blue Guitar'', so that's the title we're using.
 
The electric bassist is very busy but Hooker is the star of this show. His limpid slide tone is sometimes reminiscent of his mentor, Robert Nighthawk, but make no mistake Earl Hooker was a guitar star in his own right.
 
04 - "INSTRUMENTAL (BLUE GUITAR)" - B.M.I. - 2:44
Composer: - Earl Zebedee Hooker
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - July 15, 1953
Released: - 1989 - Not Originally Issued
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm SUN 29 mono
BLUE GUITAR
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-5-23 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
 
Earl Hooker had first recorded this tune, his arrangement of "Rock Me Baby", in Florida nine months earlier for King Records, and it was later issued by mistake on his cousin John Lee Hooker's King album as "Who's Been Jivin' You". The purity of tone which he achieves with a slide is the equal of his teacher and mentor, Robert Nighthawk. Later in the piece he alternates slide strokes with finger picket runs on the bass strings, evidence of the fact that he was one of the few guitarists who had no need of retuning his guitar to an open chord.
 
05 - "INSTRUMENTAL (MEXICALI SHAKE)" - B.M.I. - 2:57
Composer: - Earl Zebedee Hooker
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - July 15, 1953
Released: - 1989
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUN 29 mono
BLUE GUITAR
 
06 - "INSTRUMENTAL (RAZORBACK)" - B.M.I. - 2:32
Composer: - Earl Zebedee Hooker
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - July 15, 1953
Released: - 1989
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUN 29 mono
BLUE GUITAR
Reissued: - 1997 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8302-18 mono
706 UNION INSTRUMENTALS
 
07 - "RED RIVER VALLEY (VARIATION)" - B.M.I. - 2:42
Composer: - Earl Zebedee Hooker
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None  -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - July 15, 1953
Released: - 1989
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUN 29 mono
BLUE GUITAR
Reissued: - 1997 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8302-19 mono
706 UNION INSTRUMENTALS
 
In Europe toward the end of his life, Earl Hooker was filmed backstage playing and singing Ernest Tubb's 1941 hit ''Walking The Floor Over You'' and he recorded Bill Monroe's ''Blue Moon Of Kentucky''. Here he's taking a shot at ''Steel Guitar Rag'', Bob Wills'1936 feature for Leon Auliffe. Hooker probably didn't know or care, but ''Steel Guitar Rag'' was originally a blues tune recorded by Sylvester Weaver back in 1923. Hooker undoubtedly thought he was playing a hillbilly song. He takes it considerably faster than Wills, almost treating it like a polka. The electric bass is especially busy, but the whole show falls apart at the end, which was okay with Phillips because he wasn't about to release an instrumental he didn't publish anyway.
 
08 - "STEEL GUITAR RAG" - B.M.I. - 2:52
Composer: - Leon McAuliffe
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None  -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - July 15, 1953
Released: - 1981
First appearance: - Arhoolie Records (S) 45rpm Arhoolie 1066 mono
STEEL GUITAR RAG / MOVE ON DOWN THE LINE
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310 -6-23 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Earl Hooker - Vocal - 1 and Guitar
Joe Willie ''Pinetop'' Perkins - Piano
Little Walker - Harmonica
Unknown - Bass
Willie Nix - Drums
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
One of the few artists in this is still to be working, Perkins grew up around Willie Love and John Lee Hooker, and left Boyd Gilmore's band to join Robert Nighthawk.  During the 1940s he took to playing Pinetop Smith's magnum opus - and was accorded the nickname Pinetop for that, and to differentiate him from guitarist Joe Willie Wilkins.  His version of "Pinetop's Boogie-Woogie" is unspectacular but competent, with even Earl Hooker confine himself to comping chords of the beat-off.
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR PINETOP PERKINS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1953
 
SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: WEDNESDAY JULY 15, 1953 (SESSION 3)
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
 
So what changed between December 29, 1928 when Pine Top Smith recorded the original ''Pine Top's Boogie Woogie'' and when Pinetop Perkins recorded this version? Not much. Perkins had an electric guitar and drums reinforcing the beat, but his tempo and arrangement were much as Smith's. Sam Phillips visited enough disc jockeys and distributors to know that, as charming as this music was, it couldn't compete with Ray Charles and the other top sellers in rhythm and blues circa mid-1953, and so it remained until 1977 when the archivists came calling. Perkins' first recording under his own name wasn't released until 1988. That album, ''After Hours'', included ''Pinetop's Boogie Woogie'', a version that was, if anything, even closer to Pine Top Smith than this/ No one could accuse Perkins of pandering to fads and trends. By the time he died in March 2011, he was one of a handful of jazz/blues fans/musicians to remember the stir Smith's record created in 1929.
 
01 - "PINETOP'S BOOGIE WOOGIE" - B.M.I. - 2:44
Composer: - Clarence Smith
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None  -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - July 15, 1953
Released: - August 1977
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30127-B-6 mono
THE ROOTS OF ROCK – VOLUME 12 – UNION AVENUE BREAKDOWN
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-5-24 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958 
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Pinetop Perkins - Vocal and Piano
Earl Hooker - Guitar
Unknown - Bass
Willie Nix – Drums
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
 STUDIO SESSION FOR LITTLE WALKER
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1953
 
SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: WEDNESDAY JULY 15, 1953 (SESSION 4)
STUDIO HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
 
01(1) - "TALKIN" OFF THE WALL" - B.M.I. - 2:13
Composer: - Walter Jacobs
Publisher: - Tristan Music
Matrix number: - None  -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - July 15, 1953
Released: - August 1977
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30127-A-6 mono
THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 12 - UNION AVENUE BREAKDOWN
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-5-25 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
 
Here's a mystery that may never be solves. There's an Earl Hooker tape from July 15, 1953, and at the end of the reel, are several takes of ''Off The Wall''. Little Walter (Jacobs) recorded ''Off The Wall'' in March 1953; it charted in April on the flip-side of ''Tell Me Mama'' and charted in its own right in mid-May. Phillips' logbook noted that Hooker's group included Little Walker, and it appears as if Walker was a harmonica player introduced on-stage to play a few of Little Walter's songs and confuse people into thinking that they were seeing the real deal. As far as we know, there's no other recorded evidence of Walker, but according to Hooker's biographer, Sebastian Danchin, he could sound eerily like Walter Jacobs. Much of Hooker's repertoire that day was other people's songs, so ''Off The Wall'' was certainly consistent with that.
 
Previously this track was issued as by Walter Horton. On May 28, 1953 Horton was in Phillips' studio with Pat hare, Joe Hill Louis, and Albert Williams. The tunes recorded that day were not noted (although $1.28 for food was logged), so it's just possible that Horton recorded ''Off The Wall'' because Little Walter's song was popular then. The guitarist doesn't play enough for us to be sure if it's Hare or Hooker, thereby placing the issue beyond doubt, but we're betting that this was recorded by Little Walker.
 
01(2) - "TALKIN" OFF THE WALL" - B.M.I. - 2:13
Composer: - Walter Jacobs
Publisher: - Tristan Music
Matrix number: - None - Two Incomplete Takes  -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - July 15, 1953
This is the 1990s box version,
or rather two versions spliced together.
Released: - 1996
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-5-26 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-9-9 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958
 
Also present on the tape from this session is the crude combination of two incomplete takes included here to show how the arrangement was developed. The first of these takes runs just over a minute and shows how the drummer - be it Willie Nix or Edward Irvin - had started with Fred Below's machine-gun snare figure. Horton is noticeably less inventive at this stage but Earl Hooker pushes thing along, playing boogie pattens close to the bridge of his guitar. When this take falls apart, another cuts in at a roughly equivalent place. This time Horton is playing with a much more muted tone, whilst Hooker maintains his precise rhythm. The band once again attempt an ending worthy of the musicians they are copying.
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Little Walker - Harmonica (? Walter Horton)
Earl Hooker - Guitar
Unknown - Bass
Willie Nix – Drums
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
JULY 16, 1953 THURSDAY
 
Singer/songwriter Nanci Griffith is born in Seguin, Texas. Primarily a folk artist, she writes the Kathy Mattea county hit ''Love At The Five And Dime'' and ''Suzy Bogguss' single ''Outbound Plane''.
 
More than 20 years after the band's leader strated his career in Texas, Bob Wills and His Playboys return to the state, beginning a regular appearance on KGNC radio in Amarillo. 
 
JULY 18, 1953 SATURDAY
 
Elvis Presley pays $3.98 plus tax to recorded "My Happiness" and "That's When Your Heartaches Begin" at Memphis Recording Service.  (See: Elvis Sun Sessions / Elvis 1948-1953 / July 18, 1953).
 
JULY 26, 1953 SUNDAY
 
Guitar player Randy Bethune is born. He spends five years as a member of Bill Anderson's Po' Folks Band.
 
JULY 28, 1953 TUESDAY
 
Steve Duncan is born. After playing drums for the house band at The Palomino Club in North Hollywood, California, he joins The Desert Rose Band, propelling the twangy country-rock vibe of ''One Step Forward'', ''Love Reunited'' and ''Summer Wins''.
 
But the promise of a tripartite arrangement, if that was it was intended to be, barely survived the sales-and-promotion trip Jud Phillips and Jim Bulleit took together at the end of July on this day. ''I got back to Nashville this am'', Jud wrote to Sam Phillips after five-day visit to Washington and New York. ''Had a long talk with Jim. I put the fear in him regarding the business''. In fact, Jud, with no apparent authority to do so (he was at this point no more than a minister without portfolio on a salary of roughly $75 a week), had suggested to Jim that perhaps he should just leave the business. To which Jim, with that indefatigable good cheer that had so endeared him to Sam at the start, simply responded that he thought he would stick it out, that, as Jud reported, he continued to believe ''the three of us can make some good money out of the operation''. He didn't even seem to take it amiss when Jud made it crystal clear, with that same combination of brash confidence and disarming charm that he brought to all of his enterprises, that if this new arrangement were to be realized, Jim Bulleit would be under the authority mot just of Sam Phillips but of Jud, too. He would be in charges of sales, to be sure, but with certain very explicitly defined restrictions. It might all work out, Jud concluded his report to Sam Phillips, because now Jim knew ''where he would stand in this matter, and he knows, too, that I know why he acts like he does''.
 
JULY 28, 1953 TUESDAY
 
Jim Bulleit taken Jud Phillips out to the Tennessee State Penitentiary to visit with the Prisonaires, who, Jud wrote to his brother, ''are getting from 10 to 25 letters every day from all over the country. They plan to bring all of them to you when they come over to record again the following week. They make me think of a bunch of baby birds. They are fine boys, all of them. I get a great joy out of helping people that I think really appreciate it, and I know you to do''.
JULY 1953
 
While once he traveled through Mississippi in a jalopy, hustling gigs where he could, Little  Milton Campbell now travels North America in a converted Scenicruiser. Chart success has  been elusive for some time, but Milton continues to keep a full engagement book. Some of  his appearances today may seem half-hearted, the inevitable product of unpacking his guitar and walking out on stage ahead of the Miltonettes a few times too many. At his best, though,  Little Milton can still recapture the fire of his youth, and make one believe he is walking the streets crying.
 
''Big'' Milton was Milton's father, although his parents never married. Milton grew up with his  mother and stepfather near Leland, Mississippi, and developed an early fascination for the guitar. ''We lived on the outskirts of Leland'', he told Living Blues magazine. ''The town  would close up by . . . 11:00 at night, and most of the black people who could do so would  have suppers or juke joints out in the country, even if it was just outside the city limit's  where we lived. . . . My mom would put the kitchen table across the door and sell  sandwiches, lemonade, corn liquor. My stepfather would have a dice game going and they  would hire a guitar player, they'd look around and I'd be standing there, little long drawers
on''.
 
''Like many rural blacks, Milton's family listened to the Grand Ole Opry as regularly as any  other radio program, and Milton still cites such country musicians as Ernest Tubb and Roy  Acuff among his favorites. At the age of eleven he got his first guitar from a mail order  catalog, eventually parlaying his $14.52 Roy Rogers guitar into a career.
 
Married at fourteen and single again at fifteen, he started sitting in with the Eddie Cusic (or  Kusic) band in Leland. ''My older brother took me to this club in Leland. Eddie was playing  there. I picked up his guitar, which was an electric model and sounded much better than my  little thing, and I said, 'I'm really gonna get into this'. I'd come into town every weekend and  sit in. Finally, the lady who owned the club (who was B. B. King's mother-in-law), she started  throwing me a few bucks. Then Eddie hired me for $1.50 a night''.
 
Milton made his studio debut as a sideman for Willie Love, who recorded for the Trumpet  label in Jackson, Mississippi. But it was the ubiquitous Ike Turner who landed Milton his deal  with Sun. ''Ike lived seventy-five mites north of me in Clarksdale'', recalled Milton to David  Booth. '' We were all playing up and down the Delta; I'd meet him here and there. I'd get into  a car on Monday and travel to maybe three towns to set up my gigs, try and get a deposit,  you know. Ike was always a smooth operator. He had a lot of ingenuity. He'd act as a talent  scout for record companies, and he was solely responsible for getting me onto Sun Records''.
 
Milton suffered from two problems during his tenure at Sun. The first was that he lacked a  unique, identifiable style. His Sun output, considered as a whole, covered virtually the  entire spectrum of early 1950s blues styles; among those Milton imitated, with chameleon  like adaptability, were Fats Domino, B. B. King, Elmore James, and Guitar Slim. Milton  himself admits as much: ''Back then I didn't know who Little Milton was. I was just doing  whoever came out with a hit recorded''.
 
The second problem lay in Milton's writing. His songs were random collections of choruses,  without the kind of repetitive hook that would be remembered by listeners. Virtually all of  his recordings could have had any one of half a dozen title's (as those who later cataloged  Milton's Sun tapes would discover, to their dismay). Yet some of the writing was undeniably  good. ''It's got to the place lately where I can't tell that woman what to do'', Milton bemoans  in ''Running Wild Blues'', a song that Phillips chose not to release; ''She sticks her anger in my  face and says 'I'm working just like you'''. (Milton was so enamored of that cameo of domestic  grief that he reprised it word-for-word on ''That Will Never Do'' on Bobbin Records five years  later).
 
His paint-by-numbers approach to the blues nevertheless got Milton three shots on Sun. The  principal element to which Phillips responded was undoubtedly Milton's guitar playing. He  may have borrowed some licks, but the fire with which he delivered them bore an intensity  that emulation alone could never have produced. A master of the use of silence within a  solo, Milton played with passion and a sense of drama surpassed by few of his  contemporaries at Sun or elsewhere.
 
Milton's last Sun session was held in March 1954. Like Rufus Thomas, Milton probably  returned with new material later in the year, only to and that his place had been usurped by  Elvis Presley. Like Thomas, Milton went to Meteor Records, for whom he recorded one single  before relocating to St. Louis. ''Ike Turner was up there and was forever saying how good it  was'', he told Booth, ''so I finally moved''. Milton recorded for Bobbin Records in St. Louis  until Chess bought his contract.
 
After he moved to Chess, the guitar gradually assumed a lower profile in Milton's work; it  certainly never stood front and center again. He finally began to make it with ''So Mean To  Me'' in 1962, and he hit number 1 on the Rhythm & Blues charts with ''We're Gonna Make It''  in 1965. Milton subsequently recorded later for Stax and Glades during the 1970s before  settling with the keepers of the flame at Malaco Records in Jackson, Mississippi. Little Milton  died in Memphis, Tennessee on August 4, 2005 from complications following a stroke.
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©   

STUDIO SESSION FOR LITTLE MILTON
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1953
 
SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: TUESDAY JULY 28, 1953
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCED AND RECORDING ENGINEER - IKE TURNER
AND/OR SAM C. PHILLIPS
 
James Milton Campbell, late of Inverness, Mississippi, was first afforded an audience with Sam Phillips by the keen-eyed Ike Turner. Ike booked the players and together they cut "Beggin' My Baby" unashamed clone of Fats Domino's "Goin' To The River" for the topside of his first Sun single. Some five years later, partnered by one-time Sun musician, Oliver Sain, Little Milton went on to open Bobbin Records in Chicago, before returning to Memphis during the latter days of the Stax label.
 
''Ike Turner had a little three or four piece band'', Little Milton told Jim O'Neal. ''Himself, Junior (Jesse Knight) who was his nephew, Willie Sims who we called Bad Boy. And I took the saxophone from my band, C.W. Tate. Ike introduced me to Sam Phillips. 'You want to cut a record'? 'Yeah', So start singing and playing'. We had not rehearsed anything, but two or three of those tunes I was doing with my Playmates of Rhythm. Sometimes you'd get in (to Sun) around one or two o'clock in the afternoon and we'd be there all night, sometimes into the next day. Nobody worried about the time. Ike, he'd be playin' piano, showin' you different things. Sam Phillips, he'd be running the board'', said Milton.
 
01 - "BEGGIN' MY BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:23
Composer: - James Milton Campbell
Publisher: - Memphis Music
Matrix number: - U 92 - Master
Recorded: - July 28, 1953
Released: - December 24, 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 194-A mono
BEGGIN' MY BABY / SOMEBODY TOLD ME
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-2-9 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1
Milton Campbell was the second most talented performer Ike Turner brought along to Sun Records (Wolf being - unquestionably - the first), and whilst at this stage of the game he didn't possess an identifiable style of his own, he was capable of turning in an amazing range of convincing performances - truly a chameleon of the blues (although arguably, this was just about the last type of artist that lawsuit-prone Sam Phillips needed on his roster). 
 
Here, Milton turns his attention to a barely-disguised version of Fats Domino's "Goin' To The River" - but despite its derivative nature, his performance is totally arresting.  From the rolling and melancholy 4-bar piano introduction it was dear that "Beggin' My Baby" was a winner: even Billboard concurred, giving it highest marks and observing on January 23, 1954: "here's a sock rendition of a most melodic new effort by Milton over a pounding backing. The lyric has suspense, and Milton sings it for all he's worth. A solid slicing that could easily break out for the big coin'".
 
02(1) - "SOMEBODY TOLD ME" - B.M.I. – 2:52
Composer: - James Campbell
Publisher: - Memphis Music
Matrix number: - U 93 - Master
Recorded: -   July 28, 1953
Released: - December 24, 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records 78/45rpm standard single SUN 194-B mono
SOMEBODY TOLD ME / BEGGIN' MY BABY
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-2-10 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1
 
Once again Milton contributes a highly-charged blues performance, this time deep in B.B. King territory. However, it somehow lacks the impact of his best Sun work, predominantly because he seems constrained by the Mambo rhythm: in fact, Milton's vocal phrasing is clearly ill-suited to the latin rhythm and his guitar does not get the chance to shine, being limited to a supporting role. Fortunately, the band breaks free of the dreaded Mambo during the chorus and extended instrumental break.
 
Just as fats Domino inspired one side of Milton's first single, so this side ripped from B.B. King's 1953 hit ''Woke Up This Morning''. King used an almost identical arrangement down to the stinging guitar-over-mambo intro, and the switch to 4/4 on the chorus and break.
 
02(2) - "SOMEBODY TOLD ME" - B.M.I. - 2:22
Composer: - James Campbell
Publisher: - Memphis Music
Matrix number: - None - Take 1  -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -   July 28, 1953
Released: - 1976
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30102-B-5 mono
SUN: THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 2 - SAM'S BLUES
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Milton Campbell - Vocal and Guitar
Ike Turner - Piano
C.W. Tate - Tenor Saxophone
Jesse Knight - Bass
Willie Sims - Drums
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
JULY 30, 1953 THURSDAY
 
Webb Pierce recorded ''I'm Walking The Dog'' during a morning session at the Castle Studio in Nashville.
AUGUST 1953
 
Jud Phillips  is in Shreveport, Louisiana, negotiating with distributor Stan Lewis to get Sun product played  on the radio shows which Lewis sponsors. Jud's field reports indicate a "terrific advance  reaction" to "Tiger Man". 
 
According to the trade press, Sun 187 "Feelin' Good" is starting to sell significantly in in Atlanta.
 
Big Mama Thornton recorded "Hound Dog" with Johnny Otis and his band.
 
AUGUST 1953
 
The Soviet Union announces it has tested its own hydrogen bomb during August of 1953. The version that they tested was a “Layer Cake” bomb, a smaller and more portable version of the hydrogen bomb compared to what the US had tested in November of 1952. This announcement helped to increase the tension between the USSR and United States during the Cold War. It also greatly escalated the arms race between the two powers.
 
AUGUST 2, 1953 SUNDAY
 
Studio session with Bonnie Turner at Sun Records, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee.
 
AUGUST 1953
 
Following the success of ''Rocket 88'' on Chess in 1951, and the ensuing arguments about money and artist credits, Ike Turner spent much of the next three years employed by the Bihari brothers to help find and record blues musicians across the South. Starting with Howlin' Wolf in September 1951, Ike recorded in Memphis with various singers, he produced sessions in Little Rock that November. During 1952 he recorded with Houston Boines, Boyd Gilmore, Charly Booker, Elmore James, Junior Parker and others.
 
In January 1952 he was in Greenville, then in Canton, and during that year he was recording in makeshift studios in Memphis, Little Rock, West Memphis and Clarksdale. He was also touring with the Kings Of Rhythm. According to a future King, Eugene Fox, Turner came back to Clarksdale sometime in the summer of 1953. In July, Ike brought Little Milton to Sun; in August, he returned with Johnny O'Neal. And now, Ike's Sun recordings with Bonnie are most likely to date from around the same time, although, as always with Ike, you're never really sure.
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
Off the back of his involvement in a raft of pre-Sun recordings made at 706 Union Avenue by rhythm and blues pioneers like Jackie Brenston, Howlin' Wolf and B.B. King, Ike Turner was periodically apportioned studio time for his own needs.
 
As the itinerant leader of The Kings Of Rhythm, he introduced into the ranks a coquettish piano-player conveniently known as Bonnie Turner. One of the less-chronicled female acquaintances in Ike's life, she nevertheless showed great promise on the spirited "Love Is A Gamble".  In March, 1953, pianist Bonnie Turner traveled from Clarksdale, Mississippi to Memphis with her then boyfriend/husband Ike, and recorded these titles for Sam Phillips.  
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR BONNIE TURNER
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1953
 
SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: SUNDAY AUGUST 2, 1953
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - IKE TURNER
 
''Love Is A Gamble'' showcase Bonnie's stacato delivery, and her pleasant, nondescript voice. The pianist was a very emphatic boogie player. If, as seems likely, it was Bonnie, she was good, as Ike has said she was. Or it could be Ike. His adventures with the whammy bar and the cocaine spoon sometimes lead us to forget how good he was on piano.
 
 01(1) - "LOVE IS A GAMBLE" - B.M.I. - 2:12
Composer: - Ike Turner
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None  -  Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - August 2, 1953
Released: - 1976
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30103-A-4 mono
SUN - THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 3 - DELTA RHYTHM KINGS
Reissued - August 2002 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 166094-3 mono
MEMPHIS BELLES - THE WOMEN OF SUN RECORDS
 
 01(2) - "LOVE IS A GAMBLE" - B.M.I. - 2:09
Composer: - Ike Turner
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None  -  Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - August 2, 1953
Released: - August 2002
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 166094-4-21 mono
MEMPHIS BELLES - THE WOMEN OF SUN RECORDS 
 
To the ''Rock Me Baby'' riff, Ike set some new words. Presumably he's playing guitar, with Bonnie at the piano. The result, as Sam Phillips and probably Ike himself knew, was not releasable. Bonnie's vocal just wasn't that good. Fast forward to 1962. Bluesman Frank Frost was in the new Sun studio and recorded ''old brother Jack he was a jelly roll king'' as ''Jelly Roll King'', this time to a Jimmy Reed beat. Fast forward again to 1969. With Bonnie long gone and Tina fronting the band, Ike revisited ''Rock Me Baby'' for their ''Outta Season'' LP. It proved that Ike's idea of how to approach the song hadn't changed much in sixteen years; it also proved how much he needed Tina. ''Outta Season'' by the way, was a neglected classic, at least in part for the jacket. On the front, Tina ate watermelon in whiteface; on the reverse, Ike did the same. The message that Ike and his producer, Bob Krasnow, wanted to get across was that in 1969 if you wanted to play the blues, you had to be white.
 
02 - "OLD BROTHER JACK" - B.M.I. - 2:14
Composer: - Ike Turner
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None  -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - August 2, 1953
It will special notice of "Old Brother Jack", which predates Frank Frost's
"Jellyroll King" by nine years and was plainly descended from the same source.
Released: - 1976
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30103-A-3 mono
SUN - THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 3 - DELTA RHYTHM KINGS
Reissued: - August 2002 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16609-4-2 mono
MEMPHIS BELLES - THE WOMEN OF SUN RECORDS
 
From the evidence at hand, Bonnie was unlikely to build a career around her vocal chops. She did, however, make a major - even if invisible - contribution to the history of popular music. Bonnie was a good enough keyboard player to allow Ike to relinquish the piano stool and concentrate on his newly purchased Fender Stratocaster. In fact, it might have been his faith in Bonnie's piano playing that allowed him to browse the shiney new electric guitars of Houck's music store in Memphis in the first place.
 
03 - "WAY DOWN IN THE CONGO*" - B.M.I. - 2:48
Composer: - Ike Turner
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None  -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - August 2, 1953
Released: - 1976
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30103-A-8 mono
SUN - THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 3 - DELTA RHYTHM KINGS
 
04 - "CAMPING DOWN IN CANAAN'S LAND''
Composer: - Ike Turner
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None  -  Sun Unissued
Recorded: - August 2, 1953
 
 Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Marion Louise ''Bonnie'' Turner - Vocal and Piano
Ike Turner - Guitar & Vocal*
Jesse Knight Jr. - Bass
Willie Sims or Bob Prindell - Drums
Raymond Hill - Tenor Sax
Possibly Thomas Reed, James Wheeler - Saxophones
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR JOHNNY O'NEAL
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1953
 
SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: SUNDAY AUGUST 2, 1953
STUDIO HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
 
Johnny O'Neal had been in an earlier incarnation of the Kings of Rhythm, but left prior to ''Rocket 88'' to sign with King Records. Around the time that Ike Turner to Clarksdale in the summer of 1953, he brought O'Neal back into the fold. Eugene Fox joined in October and remembered that O'Neal left soon after. Sometime in-between, Turner married O'Neal's girlfriend, Alice. ''He was a fighting son-of-a-bitch'', said Turner. ''If I married her, he couldn't do nuthin'. One day, she thought I was going to Memphis, but the job was cancelled and I caught her on the porch with Johnny O'Neal's head in her lap''. Turner's memory of O'Neal as a ''fighting son-of-a-bitch'' is borne out by Eugene Fox's nickname for him ''Scarface brother''.
 
01(1) - "DEAD LETTER BLUES" - 1 -  B.M.I. - 3:39
Composer: - Johnny O'Neal Johnson
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 97 - Take 1  -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - August 2, 1953
Released: - 1976
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30103-B-2 mono
THE ROOTS OF ROCK – VOLUME 3 – DELTA RHYTHM KINGS
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-6-9 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958
 
The opening verse is an adaptation of one of the most celebrated stanzas in the blues. Ida Cox's 1924 ''Death Letter Blues'' became part of Son House's 1930 ''My Black Mama Part ii'', and was in turn adapted into Muddy Waters'1950 recording of ''Sad Letter Blues''. (The tape box calls this song ''Death Letter Blues'', but a dead letter was one that was undeliverable; it should have been titled ''Death Letter Blues''). This variation on an immemorial theme genuflects toward the Kingdom of B.B. As impassioned as O'Neal's vocal is, he's overshadowed by Ike Turner on guitar. This was a commanding performance that did not deserve to languish so long on a shelf.
 
01(2) - "DEAD LETTER BLUES" - 2 - B.M.I. – 3:37
Composer: - Johnny O'Neal Johnson
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2  -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - August 2, 1953
Released: - 1986
First appearance: -  Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-6-3 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-9-12 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958
 
This was a routine that Ike Turner cooked up for his nightclub act. He'd do it with the stage lights out, and only the amp lights on. As a song, it had its roots deep in vaudeville and in records like Bessie Smith's ''Blue Spirit Blues'' in which she dreamed she was dead and led into Hell. When Phillips first logged the song, he called it ''Devil's Dream''. It could be Ike as the Devil and the Doctor. O'Neal seems to call the Devil ''Ike'' at one point, and he wouldn't be the last to do that. It's certainly Ike playing guitar and Phillips' notes indicated that Bonnie Turner was at the session so she is probably playing the part of ''Mary''.
 
02(1) - "NIGHTMARE (JOHNNY'S DREAM)" - B.M.I. - 2:56
Composer: - Johnny O'Neal Johnson
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - August 2, 1953
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 105 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1956
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-6-10 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958
 
02(2) - "NIGHTMARE (JOHNNY'S DREAM)" - B.M.I. - 3:37
Composer: - Johnny O'Neal Johnson
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 2  -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - August 2, 1953
Released: - 1996
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-6-4 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-9-13 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958
 
This little psychodrama - which features the acting and musical talents of Ike and Bonnie Turner - was actually cut for release on Sun Records. Recorded in August 1953, it was mastered on both 78 and 45 rpm in January 1954 - but it somehow never quite made it onto the release schedule. The most likely scenario is that Sam Phillips ran short of cash and held this one back, alongside a couple of Mose Vinson sides which had been mastered at the same time. Meanwhile, Ike Turner decided the idea was too strong to be left on the back burner until Phillips' finances had improved, to which end he returned to Clarksdale, Mississippi, where he recorded essentially the same song as "Sinner's Dream", with Eugene Fox. He promptly sold it to the Chess brothers in Chicago, who lost no time in releasing it. Yet another version by Fox was produced by Ike Turner and flogged to RPM Records a few months later - whilst this original lay in the can for more than thirty years. (The take used here is different to that used on the original Sun Blues Box).
 
03(1) - "UGLY WOMAN" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Johnny O'Neal Johnson
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - August 2, 1953
 
 03(2) - "UGLY WOMAN" - 2 -  B.M.I. - 2:21
Composer: - Johnny O'Neal Johnson
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 96 - Take 2  - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - August 2, 1953
Released: - 1976
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30103-B-1 mono
THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 3 - DELTA RHYTHM KINGS
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-9-11 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958
 
03(3) - "UGLY WOMAN" -  1 - B.M.I. – 2:27
Composer: - Johnny O'Neal Johnson
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 3  -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - August 2, 1953
Released: - 1996
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-6-5 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
 
From the same session, this song, of course, has its origins deep in the dozens ("Your old lady is so ugly that...") welded to the "Rocket 88" riff. Things sound pretty spirited on this, the third take - although before the session was completed, Sam Phillips had the boys try the song ten times in all, and yet surprisingly, never released any of them. The lyrical content is strong throughout, and Ike Turner weighs in with a stinging guitar solo which never falls short of ideas on a memorable good-time record. (The take used here is different to that used on the original Sun Blues Box).
 
''Ugly Woman'' deserved to be on a record, and if Phillips' bankroll had been a little fatter, it might have been. Turner waited a couple of years before trying it again. With Billy Gayles aka Willie King singing, it finally appeared on Vita Records as ''Peg Leg Baby''.
 
03(4) "UGLY WOMAN" - 2 - B.M.I.
Composer: - Johnny O'Neal Johnson
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Takes 4-10 - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - August 2, 1953
 
04 "PEG LEG BABY'' - B.M.I. - 2:26
Composer: - Johnny O'Neal Johnson
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - August 2, 1953
Released: - October 1985
First appearance: Krazy Kat Records (LP) 33rpm Krazy Kat KK 7427 mono
MEMPHIS BLUES - UNISSUED TRACKS FROM THE 1950S
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Johnny O'Neal - Vocal
James Wheeler - Saxophone
Thomas Reed - Saxophone
Bonnie Turner - Piano
Ike Turner - Guitar & 2nd Vocal
Jesse Knight - Bass Guitar
Willie Sims – Drums
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
AUGUST 3, 1953 MONDAY
 
Songwriter/guitarist/producer Randy Scruggs is born to Earl Scruggs in Nashville. His credits include George Strait's ''Heartland'', Vince Gill's ''Go Rest High On That Mountain'' and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's ''Will The Circle Be Unbroken, Volume 2''.
 
Capitol released Hank Thompson's ''Yesterday's Girl''.
 
Jack Cardwell recorded ''Dear Jean''.

The Prisonaires (above) at Tennessee State Penitentiary, Nashville, Tennessee, 1953. From left: Ed Thurman inspects  cloth in prison textile school; Johnny Bragg clean the prison floors; Robert Riley, in his cell composing  music, Marcell Sanders working in prison textile school; William Stewart and night warden; John Drue at  rehearsal.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
On this date, the Prisonaires came back to Memphis to cut a follow-up session that comprised "Softly And Tenderly", "My God Is Real", "Prisoner's Prayer", and "No More Tears", featuring Ike Turner in the unaccustomed role of church pianist. Note how Turner's intro to "Softly And Tenderly" is cloned from his intro to "Rocket 88". Releasing the two religious numbers, Sam Phillips neatly shot himself in the foot. The record sold poorly, and oblivion was beckoning when the group came back into the studio on October 17, 1953.
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR THE PRISONAIRES
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1953
 
SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: MONDAY AUGUST 3, 1953
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
 
Sam Phillips thought enough of this record to release it as The Prisonaires, July 1953 follow-up to their hit "Just Walkin' In The Rain". It was a risky venture that paid few commercial reworks, and did little to convince Sam Phillips that he could sell gospel music. Track 1 on this session radiates an undeniable energy and "live" feeling that nearly a half a century has done little to dilute. Two things of note: - one is the appearance of Ike Turner in the unexpected role of church pianist. The other is the joyous uptempo arrangement. Listen to a hundred other versions of "Softly And Tenderly" and you'll be lucky to find a single one that doesn’t' approach it as a pious dirge.
 
Recorded through the years by Elvis Presley (1956 Million Dollar Quartet), Johnny Cash, Alan Jackson, and Countless others, ''Softly And Tenderly'' was written by Ohio businessman, Will Thompson, in 1880. The hymn remains immensely popular among white concregations, but was sung at the memorial service for Martin Luther King at the Elbenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, on April 8, 1968. It's hard to know who or what inducted the Prisonaires to record it jubilee style for their second single.
 
01 - "SOFTLY AND TENDERLY* - B.M.I. - 2:30
Composer: - Will Thompson-Public Domain
Publisher: - Babb Music
Matrix number: - U 82 - Master
Recorded: - August 3, 1953
Released: - September 1953
First appearance: - Sun Record (S) 78/45rpm single SUN 189-B mono
SOFTLY AND TENDERLY / MY GOD IS REAL
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-1-28 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1
 
In its way, the Prisonaires version of ''My God Is Real'' this classic is as good as any other, and others who've recorded include Mahalia Jackson, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Al Green. The piece was written in 1944 by an African American minister and hymnodist, Kenneth Morris, as ''Yes, God Is Real''. ''There are some places I cannot go'' was one of the most awfully true lines on a Sun record. That said, the Prisonaires were getting out of the prison gates on a fairly regular basis, and on one of their Sunday forays into the free world they attended a service with the legendary Clara Ward and her choir. Ward had recorded ''My God Is Real'' in 1949 and made it her own until Mahalia Jackson took ownership of it. Inspired by Ward, the Prisonaires h  olds a unique place among gospel records.   Out of every hundred versions of this classic title, ninety nine of them are dirge like, but, with Ike Turner in the unaccustomed role of church pianist, the Prisonaires approach the tune with uncommon energy and enthusiasm that must have raised a few sanctified eyebrows. The recording has a strong live feel, abetted by handclapping and shouts. This may have truly been a one take wonder, a warmup effort that became a contender for release simply by the spontaneous joy it projected. That feeling is undiminished sixty years later.
 
02 - "MY GOD IS REAL"*** - B.M.I. - 2:28
Composer: - Kenneth Morris-Public Domain
Publisher: - Babb Music - Morris Music
Matrix number: - U 81 - Master
Recorded: - August 3, 1953
Released: - September 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 189-A mono
MY GOD IS REAL / SOFTLY AND TENDERLY
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-1-27 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1
 
Only in the most technical sense is this a gospel recording. The subject matter is only remotely spiritual. More cynically, this is a pop record designed to capitalize on the unique status of the group. 
 
Johnny Bragg delivers an impassioned lead vocal. There must have been special meaning to singing lines like "There are some places I can not go".
 
Written by Jim Proctor, a white Tennessee Bureau of Investigations official, the song gave Sam Phillips a change to garner more attention and airplay by capitalizing on the group's unusual status. At some point, it would have been desirable to establish the Prisonaires in the marketplace, and let them stand on the merits of their music, not the novelty of their situation. A "Prisoner's Prayer" with its hokey reference to 'cellblock 23', was a step in the opposite direction.
 
The vocal performance owes little to the classic quartet tradition, and equally little to then-current vocal group music. It centres more upon the lead singing of Johnny Bragg, dueting with bass singer Marcell Sanders. Sparse and effective instrumental support was provided by Ike Turner on electric guitar and William Stewart on acoustic guitar. The problem was that Sam Phillips had seen the coverage of ''Just Walkin' In The Rain'', and decided that the Prisonaires' story was more significant than their music. In pandering to that, he got it wrong. After a gospel single pairing ''Softly And Tenderly'' with ''My God Is Real'', this was another commercial mis-step.
 
03 - "A PRISONER'S PRAYER"** - B.M.I. - 2:38
Composer: - James Proctor
Publisher: - Memphis Music
Matrix number: - U 85 - Master
Recorded: - August 3, 1953
Released: - November 1, 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 191-A mono
A PRISONER'S PRAYER / I KNOW
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-2-3 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1
 
04 - "NO MORE TEARS" - B.M.I. - 2:30
Composer: - Johnny Bragg
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None  -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - August 3, 1953
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15523-10 mono
THE PRISONAIRES - JUST WALKIN' IN THE RAIN
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Johnny Bragg - Lead Tenor Vocal
John Drue - 2nd Tenor Vocal
William Stewart - Baritone Vocal and Guitar
Marcell Sanders - Bass Vocal
Ed Thurman - Tenor Vocal
Ike Turner - Piano* and Electric Guitar
Unknown - Bass**, possible Ike Turner
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
AUGUST 5, 1953
 
The movie ''From Here To Eternity'' premieres in theaters with cast member Merle Travis performing ''Re-Enlistment Blues'' and appearing in several scenes. The picture, starring Burt Lancaster, inspires the 1997 Michael Peterson hit of the same name.
 
Justin Tubb recorded four songs for Decca Records at Nashville's Tulane Hotel in his very first session.
 
Fiddler Larry Franklin is born in Whitewright, Texas. After a stint in Asleep At The Wheel, he becomes a Nashville session player in the 1990s, appearing on hits by Shania Twain, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire and Gretchn Wilson, among others.
 
Rex Allen investigates diamond smugglers in the Old West, as the western movie ''Down Laredo Way'' appears in theaters. Clayton Moore, known for his role as ''The Lone Ranger'', has a secondary role.
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR JUNIOR PARKER
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1953
 
SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: WEDNESDAY AUGUST 5, 1953
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
 
In those seminal times when the birth pangs of rhythm and blues could still be felt, such diversities as be bop, smooth ballads and foreboding saga songs were all considered fair game as influences upon the new genre. It is in the latter category that "Mystery Train"slots most fittingly for its author, the suave Junior Parker from Clarksdale, Mississippi. That other son of the same city, Ike Turner, acted as the go-between here, thereby earning his talent scout bonus from Sam Phillips. 
 
The fight with Little Junior Parker that had been smoldering for more than six months was temporarily set aside when Sam Phillips brought him back into the Sun studio. Parker and his band the Blue Flames, cut three songs, including versions of "Love My Baby" and "Mystery Train"; the sessions were not successful ones. Parker had been touring with a package group of Duke Records' artists, and Don Robey was pursuing Parker to record for his label.
 
01 - "MYSTERY TRAIN" - B.M.I. - 2:19
Composer: - Herman Parker-Sam C. Phillips
Publisher: - Memphis Music - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 89 - Master
Recorded: - August 5, 1953
Released: - November 1, 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 192-A mono
MYSTERY TRAIN / LOVE MY BABY
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-2-5 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1
 
This beautiful poised blues is one of the widely acknowledged genuine classics to emerge from Sam Phillips' early output. Everything meshes together so effectively that the end result is something considerably greater than the sum of its parts. Mind you, those parts are disarmingly simple: Junior's melodic song and high-pitched vocal; the gentle rhythm established by bass and drums; a breathy sax; an instantly-memorable guitar riff (whilst the piano is buried in the mix). The disc is a deeply affecting, personal and atmospheric blues - which sadly, stood precious little chance of emulating the success of its predecessor. But perhaps the greatest "mystery" is the derivation of the song's title, as at no point is it either used or made clear. When it originally appeared, "Mystery Train" was credited solely to Junior Parker and published by Memphis Music: but by the time Elvis Presley recorded it in 1955, Sam Phillips had added his name to the copyright (possibly in part settlement of Parker's contract dispute) and the publishing had been transferred to Phillips' Hi-Lo Music. The mellow tone of Parker's original contrasts sharply with Elvis Presley's rather more famous version, which exudes a brash confidence and coll assertiveness.
 
02(1) - "LOVE MY BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:32
Composer: - Herman Parker
Publisher: - Memphis Music - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 88 - Master
Recorded: -   August 5, 1953
Released: - November 1, 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 192-B mono
LOVE MY BABY / MYSTERY TRAIN
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-2-6 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1
 
This extraordinary track certainly qualities for inclusion on any list of early rock and roll recordings - and it is also arguably one of the earliest Rockabilly records. However, because it originally appeared on the flip of "Mystery Train" it is frequently overlooked - but when Jud Phillips went out on the road in November 1953, many disc jockeys were picking up on "Love My Baby" as the follow up to "Feelin' Good". The track sports an instantly-catchy guitar riff (although the guitarist - Murphy - loses it momentarily, blowing a chord-change during the third verse), whilst Parker's high, creamy tenor soars over the instrumental backdrop. Three years later - when Sun's blues are was firmly consigned to back-catalogue status - Sam Phillips would play Junior Parker's uptempo numbers to his Rockabilly artists. instructing the guitarists to duplicate Floyd Murphy's riffs. Ironically, the guitar work on this track has crept into the psyche of a whole generation of Rockabilly and Rock guitarists who've probably never, ever heard of Junior Parker, much less guitarist Floyd Murphy. Perhaps the first to be influenced by this solo was Sun's most famous guitarist, Scotty Moore. 
 
02(2) - "LOVE MY BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:27
Composer: - Herman Parker-Sam C. Phillips
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - Unknown - Alternate Take  -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -   August 5, 1953
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Rounder Records (CD) 500/200rpm Rounder CD SS 38-6 mono
MYSTERY TRAIN
 
03 - "FEELIN' BAD" - B.M.I. – 2:41
Composer: - Herman Parker-Sam Phillips
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 87 & U 104  -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -   August 5, 1953
"Feelin' Bad" were to have made it into the release schedules, such a pessimistic title would have scuppered any potential airplay.
The track was replaced at the eleventh hour with "Love My Baby".
Released: - November 1977
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30135 mono
THE LEGENDARY SUN PERFORMERS - JUNIOR PARKER & BILLYLOVE
Reissued: - 1990 Rounder Records (CD) 500/200rpm CD SS 38-5 mono
MYSTERY TRAIN
 
It didn't take much thought to switch moods for this repetition of "Feelin' Good". Audibly, this is Floyd Murphy once again, although he takes a less demonstrative role, both in his solo and throughout the performance. The cause of Junior's malaise is his woman - naturally. Seems "some other guy was holdin' her tight" and Junior's solution is to slink off home and call her on the telephone. The idea of making your own answer record was a good one but the end result is rather mechanical. With Junior's defection, Sam Phillips might have considered putting this out to scotch any Duke releases - although perhaps his previous troubles with Chess and RPM Records dissuaded him from going down that road again.
 
Looked at another way, this is the weakest ''Feelin' Good'' squel in the Sun vaults. Sammy Lewis' and Willie Johnson's ''I Feel So Worried'', Hot Shot Love's ''Wolf Call Boogie'', and Albert Williams' ''Rumble Chillen'' ate better. Without ''Feelin' Good'', this would have been listenable, but as a sequel it offers nothing new.
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Little Junior's Blue Flames consisting of
Herman Parker - Vocal
James Wheeler - Tenor Saxophone
Floyd Murphy - Guitar
William "Bill" Johnson - Piano
Kenneth Banks - Bass
Houston Stokes or John Bowers - Drums
 
When Herman Parker's group reassembled at Sun in the fall, they had worked up two more countrified blues, "Love My Baby" and a "Feelin' Good" sequel, unimaginatively titled "Feelin' Bad". Sam Phillips originally scheduled those two cuts as SUN 192. However, at the last moment he replaced "Feelin' Bad" with "Mystery Train". One of the mysteries about "Mystery Train" is a stirring performance, though. The elements are disarmingly simple but they coalesce to the point where the finished product id truly more than the sum of its parts. 
 
By contrast, "Love My Baby" is almost the first black rockabilly record (and those wanting too see just how well it adapts to the rockabilly treatment should check out Hayden Thompson's version on Rounder's Sun Rockabilly Anthology, SS 37). An interesting footnote to this track is that it once again reveals that, despite his eminence as a producer, Sam Phillips was totally uncomfortable with fadeout endings. He either shunned them or never mastered the rudimentary skill of producing one during Sun's peak blues years.
 
Released in November 1953, "Mystery Train"/"Love My Baby" failed to sustain the momentum of "Feelin' Good" and Junior Parker began to get itchy feet. In an unfortunate sidebar, Sam Phillips once again found himself in a legal dispute with Don Robey, this time over Parker's contract. Perhaps in part settlement, the name 'Phillips' now appears appended to 'Parker' whenever the composer credits are listed for "Mystery Train". Considering the number of times this title has been performed, that turn of events has been anything but trival.
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
AUGUST 6, 1953 THURSDAY
 
Confederate Railroad's Mark DuFresne is born in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Heavily influenced by southern rock, the band earns 1990's hits with ''Queen Of Memphis'', ''Trashy Women'' and ''Daddy Never Was The Cadillac Kind''.
 
AUGUST 8, 1953 SATURDAY
 
Songwriter Todd Cerney is born in Detroit. He authors Restless Heart's ''I'll Still Be Loving You'' and Steve Holy's ''Good Morning Beautiful''.
 
AUGUST 9, 1953 SUNDAY
 
After an association with Columbia Records, The Stanley Brothers hold their first recording session in a five-year deal with Mercury.
 
''Old American Barndance'' airs on TV's Dumas network for the last time, after just six weeks in its Sunday night time slot. Tennessee Ernie Ford and Pee Wee King are regulars on the program.
 
AUGUST 10, 1953 MONDAY
 
Decca released Kitty Well's ''Hey, Joe''.
 
Studio session with Earl Hooker at Sun Records, Memphis, Tennessee.
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
 STUDIO SESSION FOR EARL HOOKER
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1953
 
SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: MONDAY AUGUST 10, 1953
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - UNKNOWN
 
Note: For some reason Sam Phillips marked the session up as "unproductive".
 
01 - "JIVIN' BOOGIE" - B.M.I. - 2:32
Composer: Earl Hooker
Publisher: - Sun Entertainment Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - August 10, 1953
Released: - 1997
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CPCD 8302-20 mono
706 UNION INSTRUMENTALS
 
02 - "THE HUCKLEBUCK" - B.M.I. - 3:05
Composer: - Paul Williams-Andy Gibson-Alfred
Publisher: - Tradition Music
Matrix number: - None -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - August 10, 1953
Earl Hooker's take on Paul Williams classic from 1949, is high on the list of outcast   Sun masters. Its overlong shelf-life is doubtless attributable to the casual free-for-all that accounted for his fleeting parley at Sun.
Released: - September 1977
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30126-A-4 mono
SUN: THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 11 - MEMPHIS BLUES SOUNDS
Reissued: - 1989 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUN 29 mono
BLUE GUITAR
 
In 1945, be-bop giant Charlie Parker recorded ''Now's The Time'', in 1948, Lucky Millinder began playing an adaptation of it called ''D-Natural Blues'', and  Andy Gibson adapted Charlie Parker's "Now Is The Time" and called it "The Hucklebuck". Baritone saxman and bandleader Paul Williams recorded it in December 1948 and it remained in the Rhythm and Blues charts for 32 weeks after its entry on February 11, 1949. Earl Hooker manages to give some idea of the original when he moves from playing the main melody on single strings to a riff that approximates the sound of a horn section. The lyric exhorted dancers to "start a little movement in your sacroiliac", at a time when 'ignorance with style' ensures that the young can hardly pronounce the word, let alone spell it, its lucky that Hooker's version is purely instrumental.
 
Accordingly, Hooker plays riffs where the horn section should have been, and he plays single string fretted lead instead of slide. This was probably a set-opener to get folks in the mood to drink, dance, and place some money in the kitty, but it was never going to be a Sun record.
 
Earl Hooker, a cousin of John Lee Hooker, learned to play the guitar as a child in Chicago. He recorded widely in the early 1950s, sometimes as a sideman and sometimes under his own name as either guitarist or vocalist. Hooker came to Sun and ran through his on-stage repertoire hoping to impress Sam Phillips and get a recording contract. He got his contract but never had a release on Sun. Happily for us, Sam kept that audition tape where it could be discovered decades later.
 
03 - "DYNAFLOW BLUES''
Composer: Earl Hooker
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - August 10, 1953 
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Earl Hooker - Guitar
Willie "Pinetop" Perkins - Piano
Kenneth Banks - Bass
Edward Lee "Shorty" Irvin – Drums
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
AUGUST 14, 1953 FRIDAG
 
Ernest Tubb recorded ''Divorce Granted'' during an afternoon session at the Castle Studio in Nashville.
 
Patti Page makes the cover of TV Guide.
 
AUGUST 15, 1953 SATURDAY
 
Lula Grace Wood is officially divorced from Mearle Wood. Seven years later, she is destined to score her first hit record under the name Jan Howard.
 
AUGUST 17, 1953 MONDAY
 
Songwriter and guitarist Eddie Hill has a son, Gary Wayne Hill.
 
AUGUST 20, 1953 THURSDAY
 
Jean Shepard and Ferlin Husky recorded ''Forgive Me, John'' during an afternoon session at the Capitol Studios on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles.
 
AUGUST 22, 1953 SATURDAY
 
Goldie Hill makes her debut appearance on the Grand Ole Opry.  at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee.
 
AUGUST 26, 1953 WEDNESDAY
 
Nearly 11 months after its debut, the Patti Page-hosted ''Scott Music Hall'' airs for the last time on NBC-TV.
 
AUGUST 29, 1953 SATURDAY
 
Future Sun recording star Onie Wheeler recorded four songs in his first session. One of them, ''Run Ém Off'', becomes a hit the following year after being re-recorded by Lefty Frizzell.
 
Bass player, Jerry Johnson joins Roy Acuff's Smokey Mountain Boys, where she is billed as the Smokey Mountain Sweetheart.
 
Dobro player Cousin Jody returns to the Grand Old Opry stage at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium following an absence of several years.
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
Future Sun Records country singer, Onie Wheeler landing a gig on KSIM, Sikeston, Missouri. At that time, the Nelson Brothers, Doyal and Aldon J., and Ernest Thompson were working in factories in St. Louis and playing local hillbilly bars at night. They were originally from Sikeston and went back there often; on one of those trips they met Onie Wheeler. 
 
Onie asked them to join him, and they decided to give up their day jobs, move back to Sikeston and try for a career in music. Billboard reported that Onie had started on KSIM in May 1952, the Nelson and Ernest Thompson probably joined him soon afterwards. They held down a regular show on KSIM and played the honky tonks all over north-east Arkansas, southern Illinois and southeast Missouri, but the trail from there to Nashville was not as straightforward as it might appear.
 
After a while, Onie Wheeler and the Nelsons decided that they had over-exposed themselves locally and should go to California. Every night they saved part of their earnings and put it into a California kitty. ''We'd saved about fifty bucks'', remembers Aldon J., ''so we decided to leave, go as far as we could in one day then find a club, maybe even play for tips. We left the women at home, and started out. We stopped the first night in Texarkana, another few nights in Lonview, Texas and then we ended up outside of Odessa in a place called Monahans. There was a club with cars as far as you could see. Doc Bryant was running a remote broadcast out of there. I guess you could spot musicians back then 'cause Doc walked right up and started talking to us. He told us to get our instruments and play. He loved us cause we were different from that Texas stuff. He offered to book us, and he got us a gig in Odessa for six months or so, before the place closed because of a liquor violation. Onie had a day job so he stayed in Odessa, and we headed off to Wichita, 'cause we heard it was wide open''.
 
''On the way to Wichita we stopped off to see Doc Bryant, who'd gone home to Chickasha, Oklahoma. He offered us a job with his band, so we stayed working the clubs and playing TV and radio. One night they called me to the phone. It was Onie. We hadn’t told him where we were, and he'd called clubs between Odessa and Wichita 'til he found us. He said the club in Odessa was open again and we should join him, so we went back''. 
 
''One Night Little Jimmy Dickens played there and told us we oughta be recording, so we headed back to Missouri, loaded down the car with tapes of all our songs and went to Nashville. We tried everyone in town, then finally someone said, 'Go see Troy Martin over at the Tulane Hotel'. We went and played him ''Mother Prays Loud In Her Sleep''. Troy asked Onie what he wanted for the song, and Onie said wanted a recording contract. Troy said, 'You got it'''.
 
Troy Martin (real name Jerry Organ) was one of the first operators in the Nashville music scene. He had started his career back in the 1930s as a recording artist of no great distinction. 
 
By the early 1950s he was working under several aliases depending upon which publishing company he was representing that week. Martin was especially tight with Don Law at Columbia who recalled their double-edged relationship in the following terms:  ''Troy was a big help to me. He'd make suggestions and bring people to me. He'd leave the impression that if you want to get to Don Law, you've got to do through me', although I didn't find out about this until a lot later''. 
Session Published for Historical Reasons
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR ONIE WHEELER
FOR OKEH RECORDS 1953
 
CASTLE RECORDING STUDIO,  TULANE HOTEL
EIGHT AVENUE / CHURCH STREET, NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE
OKEH SESSION: SATURDAY AUGUST 29, 1953
SESSION HOURS: 15:30-18:30
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER – DON LAW
 
Landing Onie Wheeler's deal with the Okeh division of Columbia Records was not an act of altruism on Martin's part. He secured the publishing on Onie's material for Peer, whom he was representing in 1953, and half of the composer credit for himself under the pseudonyms ''Tony Lee'', ''George Sherry'' and ''B, Strange''. Columbia offered a two year contract at two percent to commence August 28, 1953. On that date, Onie cut four songs including two that became closely associated with him: ''Run 'Em Off'' and ''Mother Prays Loud In Her Sleep''. It was an astonishing debut. In fact, Martin had such faith in ''Mother Prays Loud In Her Sleep'', that he persuaded Flatt and Scruggs to record it the following day. Onie had written the song with the three-part harmony of Doyal, Aldon J., and himself in mind, and it is Dayal's stilling high tenore heard to such good effect on the bridge.
 
Troy Martin and Don Law chose ''Run Ém Off'' for the first single, though. It was the song that went over best on show dates, and although it didn't chart in Onie's hands, it made a strong impact, and, according to Nelson, eventually sold 250,000 copies. It's worth remembering that in those days the Billboard country chart only had fifteen positions: a record such as ''Run 'Em Off'' could sell well, but slowly, and never show up on the chart. Lefty Frizzell certainly sat up and took notice of it; he covered ''Run 'Em Off'' in November 1953, and charted briefly with it the following year. Onie's version had subtle, but telling, differences from the country mainstream of the day; the steel guitar (an instrument that he personally disliked) was absent, drums (still no-go on the Opry) were present and hustled the rhythm along, and solo honours were shared by the fiddle and harmonica.
 
01 – ''RUN 'EM OFF'' – B.M.I. - 2:38
Composer: - Onie Wheeler-Tracy Lee
Publisher: - Peer Music
Matrix number : NASH 1717 / CO 49895
Recorded: - August 29, 1953
Released: - 1953
First appearance: - Okeh Records (S) 78rpm standard single Okeh 18022-4 mono
RUN 'EM OFF / WHEN WE ALL GET THERE
Reissued: - 1992 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15542-30 mono
ONIE WHEELER – ONIE'S BOP
 
02 – ''WHEN WE ALL GET THERE'' – B.M.I. - 2:01
Composer: - Onie Wheeler-Tracy Lee
Publisher: - Peer Music
Matrix number : NASH 1718 / CO 49896
Recorded: - August 29, 1953
Released: - 1953
First appearance: - Okeh Records (S) 78rpm standard single Okeh 18022-4 mono
WHEN WE ALL GET THERE / RUN ÉM OFF
Reissued: - 1992 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15542-27 mono
ONIE WHEELER – ONIE'S BOP
 
03 – ''MOTHER PRAYS LOUD IN HER SLEEP'' – B.M.I. - 3:23
Composer: - Onie Wheeler-Tracy Lee
Publisher: - Peer Music
Matrix number : NASH 1719 / CO 49897
Recorded: - August 29, 1953
Released: - 1953
First appearance: - Okeh Records (S) 78rpm standard single Okeh 18026-4 mono
MOTHER PRAYS LOUD IN HER SLEEP / A MILLION YEARS IN GLORY
Reissued: - 1992 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15542-29 mono
ONIE WHEELER – ONIE'S BOP
 
04 – ''A MILLION YEARS IN GLORY'' – B.M.I. - 3:23
Composer: - Onie Wheeler-Tracy Lee
Publisher: - Peer Music
Matrix number : NASH 1720 / CO 49898
Recorded: - August 29, 1953
Released: - 1953
First appearance: - Okeh Records (S) 78rpm standard single Okeh 18026-4 mono
A MILLION YEARS IN GLORY / MOTHER PRAYS LOUD IN HER SLEEP
Reissued: - 1992 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15542-28 mono
ONIE WHEELER – ONIE'S BOP
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Onie Wheeler – Vocal, Harmonica, Guitar
Alden J. Nelson – Lead Guitar, Vocals
Doyal Nelson – Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
Jerry Rivers – Fiddle
Ernest G. Thompson - Drums
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
SEPTEMBER 1953
 
Sun 189 ''My God Is Real'' b/w ''Softly And Tenderly'' by The Prisonaires is issued. Life magazine sends a photographer and a journalist to interview the Prisonaires and photograph them, but the story doesn't run.
 
Sun 190 ''Blues Waltz'' b/w ''Silver Bells'' by the Ripley Cotton Choppers is the first country release on Sun (78rpm only), and the first by a white  artist(s) on any of Phillips' labels. The record have a ''hillbilly'' stamp on the label to distinguish them from Sun's blues releases.
 
An article in the rhythm and blues magazine ''Beat'' read: ''Rosco Gordon and Ray Charles are prepping themselves for a road tour beginning in Decatur, Illinois and winding up on September 26 at the Belmont Ballroom, Toledo, Ohio''.
 
''A new package consisting of the Clovers, the Rosco Gordon Orchestra, Little Esther and Chuck Willis will be sent out by Shaw Artists Corp. for a 15-day swing thru Southern territory starting October 1. Trek will be handled by promoter Eli Weinberg''.
 
SEPTEMBER 1, 1953 TUESDAY
 
Steel guitarist Jerry Brightman is born in Akron, Ohio. He joins Buck Owens' Buckaroos during the 1970s, playing on several hits, including ''On The Cover Of The Music City News'', ''Big Game Hunter'' and ''You Ain't Gonna Have Ol' Buck To Kick Around No More''.
 
SEPTEMBER 2, 1953 WEDNESDAY
 
Eddy Arnold and his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, officially end their contract.
 
Lula Grace Wood takes her second husband, Lowell Smith, in Columbus, Ohio. She is destined to be best known through her third marriage, as Jan Howard.
 
SEPTEMBER 7, 1953 MONDAY
 
Decca released Red Foley's ''Shake A Hand''.
 
SEPTEMBER 8, 1953 THUESDAY
 
Tommy Collins recorded ''You Better Not Do That'', his first hit single, at Capitol's Melrose Avenue studio in Los Angeles, with Buck Owens playing guitar.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Pianist Mose Vinson worked some sessions at Sun. If nothing else, he had the virtue of proximity, living upstairs at Dell Taylor's Restaurant Fine Food, next door to the studio. Rooted in earlier times, he was nowhere close to the cocktail blues piano combos and equally far removed from Ray Charles, Amos Milburn, and their uptown ways.  Tracks all emanate from a session which took place on September 9, 1953, largely devoted to pianist Mose Vinson. All eight sides are of a uniformly high standard, which makes it all the more surprising that they should have languished unheard and unissued until the appearance of the original Sunbox. 

STUDIO SESSION FOR MOSE VINSON
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1953
 
SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 9, 1953
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
 
"Mistreatin' Boogie'", a fairly straightforward rip-of of "Pinetop's Boogie-Woogie" - is classic stuff (although drummer Israel Franklin occasionally muffs the tempo along the way), pumped along by Vinson's powerful left hand and repeated righthand triplets. Indeed, Mose really shines on this track, taking no less than five solo choruses, running through the whole gamut of tremelos, triplet figures, and other classic boogie devices.
 
01 - "MISTREATING BOOGIE" - B.M.I. - 2:31
Composer: - Mose Vinson
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None  -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - September 9, 1953
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 105 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1956
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-6-6 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
 
02(1) - "WORRY YOU OFF MY MIND" - B.M.I. - 3:12
Composer: - Mose Vinson
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -  September 9, 1953
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 105 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1956
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-6-7 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
 
02(2) - "WORRY YOU OFF MY MIND" - B.M.I. - 2:30
Composer: - Mose Vinson
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -  September 9, 1953
Released: - 1992
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15524-18 mono
JOE HILL LOUIS - THE BE-BOP BOY
 
02(3) - "WORRY YOU OFF MY MIND" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Mose Vinson
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 3 - Sun Unissued
Recorded: -  September 9, 1953
 
Several takes of this track were recorded, this version being the first. It is clearly a close relative of "44 Blues", being a fairly basic 12-bar blues carried by Mose's characteristically high, nasal, and somewhat garbled vocals. Joe Hill Louis vamps aggressively in the background, chiming in with the occasional set of slashing notes behind the first phrase of the verse, whilst a harmonica presumably, Walter Horton - although aural evidence would suggest perhaps not) is also present.
 
03 - "REAP WHAT YOU SOW" - B.M.I. - 2:44
Composer: - Mose Vinson
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None  -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - September 9, 1953
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 105 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1956
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-6-11 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
 
''Reap What You Sow'' is a medium-tempo blues with a typically fine Vinson vocal and a sprightly piano solo, marred only by Joe Hill Louis' difficulty in figuring out what key the rest of the band are playing - which particularly shows up in his low end runs. Nevertheless, the track is worth hearing for Mose's vocal and sprightly piano solo.
 
04(1) - "44 BLUES" - B.M.I. - 2:35
Composer: - Mose Vinson
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 1  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - September 9, 1953
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 105 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1956
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-5-19 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958
 
04(2) - "44 BLUES" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Mose Vinson
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 2  - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - September 9, 1953
 
04(3) - "44 BLUES" - B.M.I. - 2:31
Composer: - Mose Vinson
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - U 100 - Take 3  -  Not Originally Issued
Were scheduled for issue on Sun, but never released
Recorded: - September 9, 1953
Released: 1986
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 105 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1956
Reissued: - 1992 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15524-14 mono
JOE HILL LOUIS - THE BE-BOP BOY
 
This title was Mose's signature tune: "It was an old song way back in my father's day, and I just put some words to it". The ringing authority of Mose's opening descending line immediately announces that this is something special. The band generally just vamps along behind Vinson, double-timing everything, giving the impression that they are playing a 24-bar blues, whilst Mose sings a 12-bar over the top. The nett effect is a non-stop backbeat which sounds as though the drummer is hitting the offbeat of all four beats in the bar! Louis takes the solo playing out some call-and-response with himself. During the solo, Sam Phillips boosts the level of the drums and bass - and this, coupled with the bass playing double-time, gives the effect of speeding the track up.
 
05(1) - "MY LOVE HAS GONE (AKA "COME SEE ME)'' - B.M.I.
Composer: - Mose Vinson
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Possibly Summer 1953
 
 05(2) - "MY LOVE HAS GONE (AKA COME SEE ME)" - B.M.I. - 2:17
Composer: - Mose Vinson
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 1  -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - September 9, 1953
Released: - 1992
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15524-15 mono
JOE HILL LOUIS - THE BE-BOP BOY
 
05(3) - "MY LOVE HAS GONE (COME SEE ME)"** - B.M.I. - 2:12
Composer: - Mose Vinson
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - U 101 - Take 2  -  Not Originally Issued
Were scheduled for issue on Sun, but never released.
Recorded: - September 9, 1953
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 105 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1956
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-6-13 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
This is the second of three takes of this track. It opens with piano, bass, and hi-hat doodling on a variation of "Shortnin' Bread", and ''Hucklebuck'' riffs. The hi-hat is hitting all four beats while the bass accents 1 and 3. After a couple of 12-bar vamp verses, Vinson takes two solo choruses rooted in the swing style, throwing in a little boogie at the beginning of the second. Overall, the amount of variety in his playing throughout this session is quite remarkable. 
 
In 1954, Phillips assigned two master numbers to ''44 Blues'' and ''Come See Me'' (which he titled ''My Love Has Gone''). In the event, the record wasn't issued, and it's doubtful if it would have eased Phillips' pitiful financial situation at the dawn of 1954. And so Mose Vinson had to wait another thirty years for his Sun recordings to be issued.
 
06 - "MY LOVE HAS GONE (COME SEE ME) " - B.M.I. - 2:40
Composer: - Mose Vinson
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 3  -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - September 9, 1953
Released: - 1992
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15524-17 mono
JOE HILL LOUIS - THE BE-BOP BOY
 
Note: Mose Vinson was paid $1 for gas on November 7, so the session might date from then. On November 14, Phillips gave Vinson $5 to get married.
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Mose Vinson - Vocal and Piano
Joe Willie Wilkins - Guitar
Walter Horton - Harmonica
Joe Hill Louis - Guitar and High-hat
Kenneth Banks - Bass
Isreal Franklin - Drums and Handclapping
Possibly Thomas ''Beale Street'' Coleman - Drums
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
SEPTEMBER 11, 1953 FRIDAY
 
MGM released Hank William's  ''Weary Blues From Waitin'''.
 
SEPTEMBER 14, 1953 MONDAY
 
Capitol released the Jean Shepard and Ferlin Husky duet ''Forgive Me John''.
 
SEPTEMBER 15, 1953 TUESDAY
 
Though not yet divorced from his first wife, Jerry Lee Lewis marries a pregnant Jane Mitcham in Fayette, Louisiana.
 
SEPTEMBER 16, 1953 WEDNESDAY
 
Bass player Michael Rhodes is born in West Monroe, Louisiana. He plays on records by Trisha Yearwood, Lady Antebellum, Conway Twitty, Alabama, Brooks and Dunn, Toby Keith, Darius Rucker and George Strait, among others.
 
SEPTEMBER 17, 1953 THURSDAY
 
Kitty Wells recorded ''Cheatin' A Sin'', plus a duet with Red Foley, ''I'm A Stranger In My Home'', during a session at the Castle Studio in Nashville.
 
Carl and Valda Perkins have their first child, Carl Stanley Perkins, who later plays in his dad's band. Stan also joins his father and brother, Greg, to co-write Dolly Parton's ''Silver And Gold''.
 
SEPTEMBER 18, 1953 FRIDAY
 
Red Foley recorded a duet with daughter Betty Foley, ''As Far As I'm Concerned'', and a seasonal solo hit, ''Put Christ Back Into Christmas'', at Nashville's Castle Studio.
 
Banjo player/songwriter Carl Jackson is born in Louisville, Mississippi. His songwriting credits include Vince Gill's ''No Future In The Past'', Glen Campbell's '''(Love Always) Letter To Home'' and Pam Tillis' ''Put Yourself In My Place''.
 
Record producer Steve Fishell is born in Oak Harbor, Washington. After playing steel guitar with Emmylou Harris' Hot Band, he goes on to produce Jann Browne's ''Tell Me Why'', Radney Foster's ''Nobody Wins'' and Pam Tillis' ''Mi Vida Loca''.
 
SEPTEMBER 19, 1953 SATURDAY
 
The first full-time country station, KDAV, debuts in Lubbock, Texas. Among those who work for the station, Buddy Holly, who's frequently visited in the studio by rival disc jockey Waylon Jennings.
 
SEPTEMBER 20, 1953 SUNDAY
 
Roy Acuff kicks off a one-month tour of Pacific military bases, sponsored by the USO, just two months after the close of the Korean War. Moon Mullican sits in with the Smokey Mountain Boys.
 
Gene Autry sings ''Back In The Saddle Again'', ''Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer'' and ''Your Cheatin' Heart'' on CBS-TVs ''Toast Of The Town'', destined to become ''The Ed Sullivan Show''
 
Gene Autry performs the Stephen Foster classic ''Beautiful Dreamer'' in the debut of ''Saginaw Trail''. The script requires Autry and sidekick Smiley Burnette to keep restless Indians from attacking a settlement.
 
SEPTEMBER 21, 1953 MONDAY
 
Hank Snow recorded ''The Next Voice You Hear'' and ''When Mexican Joe Met Jole Blon'' during an evening session at Thomas Productions in Nashville, Tennessee.
 
Decca released Webb Pierce's double-sided hit, ''There Stands The Glass'' and ''I'm Walking The Dog''.
 
SEPTEMBER 22, 1953 TUESDAY
 
Hank Snow recorded ''Would You Mind?'' at Thomas Productions in Nashville.
 
SEPTEMBER 26, 1953 SATURDAY
 
Skeeter Davis makes her Grand Ole Opry debut,  at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee.
 
Less that a year after Hank Williams' death, Johnny Horton marries Williams widow, Billie Jean Williams.
 
SEPTEMBER 28, 1953 MONDAY
 
The western ''Shadows Of Tomstone'' debuts in movie theaters, with Rex Allen and his ever-present sidekick Slim Pickens.
 
Columbia released Carl Smith' ''Satisfaction Guaranteed''.
 
SEPTEMBER 30, 1953 WEDNESDAY
 
Deborah Allen is born in Memphis, Tennessee. She earns a Grammy nomination for her 1983 performance of ''Baby I Lied'', but also writes John Conlee's ''I'm Only In It For The Love'', Janie Fricke's ''Let's Stop Talkin' About It'' and Patty Loveless' ''Hurt Me Bad (In A Real Good Way)''.
 
POSSIBLY SEPTEMBER 1953
 
Studio session(s) with Doctor Ross at Sun Records, Memphis, Tennessee.
OCTOBER 1953
 
Sun 187, ''Feelin' Good'' enters the rhythm and blues charts at number 6 on October 10, climbs to number 5 and remains in the top ten during the month. ''Ebony'' magazine does a story on Junior Parker.
 
Jud Phillips is approached by Lillian and Wilard McMurry with a view to forming a working  relationship between Sun and Trumpet Records of Jackson, Mississippi.
 
Article in the rhythm and blues magazine ''Beat'' read: ''Duke Records has just released Rosco Gordon's ''Ain't No Use'' and Bobby Bland's ''Army Blues'' plus two spirituals.
 
OCTOBER 1, 1953 THURSDAY
 
Kitty Wells and Red Foley recorded ''One By One'' in an afternoon session at the Castle Studio in Nashville.
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
On October 3, 1953 Doctor Ross and Reuben Martin attended 706 Union Avenue to make the sides that would appear as Ross's first disc on Sun Records, ''Come Back Baby'' and ''Chicago Breakdown''. two days later Ross signed a one-year recording contract with Sam Phillips' still fairly new Sun Records.
 
On ''Come Back Baby'' Ross finally found the groove Sam Phillips didn't quite find worthy of release on ''Texas Hop'' or ''1953 Jump''. This one did catch his ear. It was not a song to sit still through. Its enduring appeal has a little to do with the singer's entreaties to his girl to come home and the recycled jokey lines about his baby having no hair, but mostly this is about his warm delivery and back country dance rhythm that charms the hell out of all his listeners. 
 
It was a fine track but Sam found an even better one in ''Chicago Breakdown'', the lick that had been threatening to fall into place for nearly a year. Ross was promoting the ''Chicago Breakdown'' as the next dance craze and it was an untamed, percussive joy. Phillips issued it just before Christmas 1953 and it proved a big hit that winter in Chicago and points South.
 
Billboard's rhythm and blues review section hailed ''Come Back Baby'' as ''a happy rumba blues sung by Ross with spirit and life while the combo goes to town behind him''. They thought ''Chicago Breakdown'' was a good juke side for Chicago and elsewhere. As Sun historian Hank Davis has said, ''The sheer amount of Ross material in the Sun vaults attests to the time and resources Phillips invested in recording him. There was much to like: the infectious rhythms, the primitive, unaffected emotionality. In short, the directness of the music, and the honesty. These are the hallmarks that Phillips sought most consistently''.
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR DOCTOR ROSS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1953
 
SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: SATURDAY OCTOBER 3, 1953
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
 
01 - "COME BACK BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:50
Composer: -  Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Memphis Music
Matrix number: - U 90 - Master
Recorded: - October 3, 1953
Released: - December 24, 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 193-A mono
COME BACK BABY / CHICAGO BREAKDOWN
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-2-7 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1
 
The music of Doctor Ross is instantly recognizable - and true to form, this track is totally engaging. But it certainly ain't music to sit still through. How this side manages to retain its charm more than forty years after its release is anyone's guess: surely it was nothing whatsoever to do with the entirely forgettable lyric, nor the one-chord musical backing - whatever, somehow the good Doctor with his warm delivery and back country dance rhythm manages to charm the hell out of all us patients. A damn fine track, and no mistake.
 
02(1) - "CHICAGO BREAKDONW" - B.M.I. - 2:56
Composer: -  Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Memphis Music
Matrix number: - None - Take 1  -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - October 3, 1953
Released: - 1996
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-6-19 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
Reissued: - 2013 JSP Records (CD) 500/200rpm JSP4239-2-23 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - THE MEMPHIS CUTS 1953 - 1956
 
 02(2) - "CHICAGO BREAKDOWN (DOCTOR ROSS BREAKDOWN)" - B.M.I. - 2:51
Composer: -  Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Memphis Music
Matrix number: - None - Take 2  -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - October 3, 1953
Released: - November 29, 2004
First appearance: - Arhoolie Records (CD) 500/200rpm CD 371 mono
DR. ROSS – BOOGIE DISEASE
Reissued: - 2013 JSP Records (CD) 500/200rpm JSP4239-1-23 mono
DOCTOR ROSS - THE MEMPHIS CUTS 1953 - 1956
 
There are three takes of "Chicago Breakdown", of which the third was issued on SUN 193. On this and the second take, the singer refers to it as "Doctor Ross' Chicago Breakdown", but drops his name from the issued version. This first take is slower than the following two and the verse structure is different: here his assertion, "You known, I was born and raised right down in Tunica, Mississippi", is almost an afterthought, whereas it becomes the second verse of version two. As he sings here, he prefers the Chicago Breakdown to the 'old Hambone'.
 
Up in Detroit some ten years later, Doctor Ross recycled ''Chicago Breakdown'' almost note-for-note and word-for-word as ''New York Breakdown''. He even re-used the wonderful colloquialism ''all y'll''.
 
02(3) - "CHICAGO BREAKDOWN" - B.M.I. - 2:53
Composer: -  Isaiah Ross
Publisher: - Memphis Music
Matrix number: - U 91 - Master Take 3
Recorded: - October 3, 1953
Released: - December 24, 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 193-B mono
CHICAGO BREAKDOWN / COME BACK BABY
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-2-8 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1
 
More than anything it is dance music. Its venue is the back country juke joint rather than the Savoy Ballroom, but it is dance music none the less.
 
Note: Doctor Ross recorded other versions of these songs at this session.
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Charles Isaiah Doctor Ross - Vocal, Guitar and Harmonica
Reuben Martin - Washboard
 
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OCTOBER 5, 1953 MONDAY
 
Earl Warren is appointed as the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Warren had previously been a three-term governor of the state of California and in 1948 he had been the republican candidate for vice president. Earl Warren was involved in several of the Supreme Court’s most important decisions on subjects like civil rights, most notably the decision that made segregation in public schools unconstitutional. He was also the head of the committee that investigated the assassination of President Kennedy. Warren remained Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court until he retired in 1969.
 
OCTOBER 7, 1953 WEDNESDAY
 
Drummer Tico Torres is born in New Jersey. He earns acclaim as a member of the rock band Bon Jovi, which nets a country hit in 2006 with ''Who Says You Can't Go Home'', featuring Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles.
 
OCTOBER 8, 1953 THURSDAY
 
Ricky Lee Phelps is born in Paragould, Arkansas. He sings lead for the Kentucky Head Hunters, twice named Vocal Group of the Year by the Country Music Association, before leaving the band in 1992 to form Brother Phelps.
 
Anthony Kenney is born in Glasgow, Kentucky. He takes over the bass player for The Kentucky Head Hunters when Doug Phelps and Ricky Lee Phelps leave to form their own duo in 1992.
 
Already married to his second wife, Jerry Lee Lewis divorces his first wife, Dorothy, in Monroe, Louisiana.
 
Pop singer Cathy Carson is born. She makes up one-third of Hot, whose 1977 hit ''Angel In Your Arms'' is remake as a country single in 1985 by Barbara Mandrell.
 
OCTOBER 11, 1953 SUNDAY
 
Paulette Carlson is born in Northfield, Minnesota. She becomes the sassy lead vocals for Highway 101, essential on such hits as ''The Bed You Made For Me'', ''Somewhere Tonight'' and ''Cry, Cry, Cry''.
 
OCTOBER 12, 1953 MONDAY
 
Harmonica player Terry McMillan is born in Lexington, North Carolina. Working with the likes of Elvis Presley, Ray Charles and Dolly Parton, he gains his biggest recognition for his parts on Garth Brooks' ''Ain't Goin' Down (Till The Sun Comes Up)''.
 
Decca released Ernest Tubb's ''Divorce Granted''.
 
Rosco Gordon's new rhythm and blues single ''Ain't No Use'' b/w ''Rosco's Mamboo'' (Duke 114) released.
 
OCTOBER 15, 1953 THURSDAY
 
Jimmy Boyd is hit with a $30,000 lawsuit in Los Angeles. The suit claims the ''I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus'' singer and two classmates assaulted a 13-year-old girl in Griffith Park September 24.
 
OCTOBER 17, 1953 SATURDAY
 
Carl Butler makes his Grand Ole Opry debut,  at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee.
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STUDIO SESSION FOR THE PRISONAIRES
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1953
 
SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: SATURDAY OCTOBER 17, 1953
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
 
On this date, the Prisonaires recorded "I Know" and re-cut "No More Tears". Sam Phillips decided to capitalise upon the group's novelty appeal by releasing the hockey "Prisoner's Prayer" (composed by a white Tennessee Bureau of Investigations employee, James Proctor) and "I Know", on November 1, 1953. Surprisingly, Sam Phillips released "I Know" without holding the publishing; it was originally recorded by the Jubalaires for Decca in 1945 - and was later revived by Johnny Moore and the Drifters in April 1957.
 
01 - "I KNOW" - A.S.C.A.P. - 3:41
Composer: - Jennings-Brook
Publisher: - Memphis Music
Matrix number: - U 86 - Master
Recorded: - October 17, 1953
Released: - November 1, 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 191-B mono
I KNOW / A PRISON'S PRAYER
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-2-4 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1
Revives a 1946 hit by the Jubalaires that may have needed reviving like a fish needs a bicycle. Johnny Bragg gives a credible reading in a style that was almost self parodying when the Inkspots' Bill Kenny worked it a decade earlier with its soaring falsetto, controlled vibrato.
 
02 - "NO MORE TEARS" - B.M.I. - 2:46
Composer: - Johnny Bragg
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None  -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - October 17, 1953
Released: - 1979
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30176 mono
FIVE BEATS BEHIND BARS
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15523-12 mono
THE PRISONAIRES - JUST WALKIN' IN THE RAIN
 
03 - "IF I WERE KING" - B.M.I. - 1:34
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None  -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - October 17, 1953
Released: - 1979
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30176 mono
FIVE BEATS BEHIND BARS
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15523-13 mono
THE PRISONAIRES - JUST WALKIN' IN THE RAIN
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Johnny Bragg - Lead Tenor Vocal
John Drue - 2nd Tenor Vocal
William Stewart - Baritone Vocal and Guitar
Marcell Sanders - Bass Vocal
Ed Thurman - Tenor Vocal
 
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OCTOBER 18, 1953 SUNDAY
 
While stationed in Germany with the Air Force, Johnny cash makes his first trip to Paris, where he takes in the Eiffel Tower and views the Mona Lisa at the Louvre. 
 
OCTOBER 20, 1953 TUESDAY
 
Rocker Tom Petty is born in Gainesville, Florida. He writes ''Thing About You'', by Southern Pacific, ''Never Be You'' by Rosanne Cash, ''You Got It'' by Roy Orbison. He also appears on Hank Williams Jr.'s ''Mind Your Own Business''.
 
Roy Acuff closes a one-month USO tour of the Pacific, where he performed for soldiers in Korea and Japan, among other locations. Moon Mullican also took part as a member of Acuff's Smokey Mountain Boys.
 
Songwriter Fred Ahlert dies in New York City. His song ''I Don't Know Why (I Just Do)'' has already been a hit for Kate Smith, Tommy Dorsey and The Andrews Sisters, among others, and is destined to score in country for Marty Robbins in 1977.
 
OCTOBER 21, 1953 WEDNESDAY
 
Guitarist Charlotte Caffey is born in Santa Monica, California. A member of the 1980s all-girl pop\rock band The Go-Go's, she teams with bandmate Jane Wiedlin and Keith Urban to write Urban's hit ''But For The Grace Of God''.
 
OCTOBER 23, 1953 FRIDAY
 
Eddy Arnold recorded ''I Really Don't Want To Know'' at Nashville's Thomas Productions.
 
OCTOBER 24, 1953 SATURDAY
 
Drummer Billy Thomas is born in Fort Myers, Florida. As a member of McBride and The Ride, he contributes to four Top 10 hits in the early 1990s, including ''Sacred Ground'', ''Going Out Of My Mind'' and ''Love On The Loose, Heart On The Mend''.
 
OCTOBER 25, 1953 SUNDAY
 
Patti Page performs ''The Tennessee Waltz'' on the CBS variety show ''Toast Of The Town'', destined to become ''The Ed Sullivan Show''.
 
OCTOBER 28, 1953 WEDNESDAY
 
Songwriter Tommy Brasfield is born in Jasper, Alabama. He writes Barbara Mandrell's ''Angel In Your Arms'', Ronnie Milsap's ''(There's) No Gettin' Over Me''.
 
OCTOBER 30, 1953 FRIDAY
 
Carl Smith recorded ''Dog-Gone It, Baby, I'm In Love'' during the afternoon at the Castle Studio in Nashville.
NOVEMBER 1953
 
On November 14, Sam Phillips paid Junior Parker and (Blue Flames leader) William Johnson $50.12 in royalties. Two days later, he paid Floyd Murphy and Kenneth Banks for a Junior Parker session for a share of Parker royalties. On November 18, Phillips paid Houston Stokes two dollars for taxi fare in conjunction with a Parker session in addition to a session fee, and paid James Wheeler a session fee nothing ''Blue Flames session''.   Sun 192 was issued on November 1, so it's possibly that one or more of the Parker titles listed below were recorded on November 14, 16, or 18.
 
Junior Parker joins a package   tour of Southern one-nighters headlined by Willie Mae Thornton and Johnny Ace. B.B. King   joins them for a big Thanksgiving Day concert in Houston, Texas.
 
''Ebony'' magazine profiles the Prisonaires, a four-page spread extolling the manner in which the group was acting ''as goodwill ambassadors for a revolutionary and sometimes condemned prison rehabilitation program''.
 
Jud Phillips is in Atlanta, reports that Southland Distributors want 1,000 copies of Sun 192 "Mystery   Train", and urges Sam Phillips to press up in significant quantities in anticipation of a major   hit.
 
Jud Phillips moves through Nashville to New York. He talks to Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI), in New York about Sun starting its own publishing company. So far, Sun has assigned most original copyrights to Delta Music or its affiliates, owned by Jim Bulleit.
 
Thus far, Sun has assigned most of its original copyrights to Jim Bulleit's Delta Music or its   affiliates.
 
Jud Phillips also reports that distribution of Sun Records via Nashville is becoming too   intricately tied in with Bulleit's promotion of his own Delta and J-B product.
 
David James Mattis, founder of Duke Records, announced that he will launch Starmaker Records, possibly in conjunction with WDIA, which calls itself the ''starmaker station''.
 
NOVEMBER 1953
 
By the fall of 1953, even though Sam Phillips was again riding the kind of wave he had  enjoyed with ''Rocket 88'' two summers earlier, he had not found the prosperity he had  doubtless anticipated. Phillips' margin per single was small; his profit was tied up in repressions, and with slow-paying distributors.
 
After ''Bear Cat'' broke, Sam's first move had been to bring his brother Jud into the picture.  Jud had the knack for promotion that Sam had for production. He was gregarious,  flamboyant, and, given half an opportunity, extravagant. By the time he joined Sam, Jud had worked as a singer, a gospel promoter, a front man for Roy Acuff's tent show, and a  production assistant to Jimmy Durante.
 
In November 1953 Jud was on the road by himself, where he learned that some of the deals  Bulleit had cut were not necessarily in Sun's best interest. From Richmond, Virginia, Jud  wrote, ''we've found the same thing here that I've found in several other places. Jim has  promised them (distributors) free Sun records to compensate for the bad stock they were  caught with on his other labels such as J-B. They were very fed up with the way Jim had  given them the runaround since he had been with Sun''.
 
By the end of 1953, Sam and Jud Phillips were pressuring Bulleit to sell his share of Sun  Records. In February 1954 Jud borrowed the money to buy him out. The amount, Bulleit  later recalled, was ''twelve hundred dollars, but it really wasn't worth any more than that''. During that same month Sam and Jud got a license from BMI to form their own publishing  company, Hi-Lo Music, so they wouldn't have to place their copyrights through Bulleit.
 
The infrastructure that Sam and Jud had created-reliable distributors, accommodating disc  jockeys, and so on, was built on the assumption that the hits ' would keep on coming. As it  happened, they didn't. Junior Parker left for greener pastures in Houston, Rufus Thomas  could not recapture the novelty appeal of ''Bear Cat'' and the Prisonaires, unable to support  their records with many personal appearances, found their popularity hard to sustain. The  new artists that Phillips recorded did not have the allure of those faded or departed
hitmakers. The most prolific artists during the demise of the blues era at Sun were Little  Milton and Billy ''The Kid'' Emerson.
 
NOVEMBER 1953
 
Cambodia declares its independence from France during November of 1953. King Sihanouk, having previously pushed for independence, took over as the country’s leader. Starting in 1946, Cambodian resistance fighters had launched armed attacks against French occupation in a push for independence. Cambodia had been under French-colonial rule for ninety years prior to its independence. After achieving independence the country remained the Kingdom of Cambodia until 1970 when Norodom Sihanouk was overthrown in a United States backed military coup.
 
NOVEMBER 1, 1953 SUNDAY
 
The singles Sun 191 ''A Prisoner's Prayer'' b/w ''I Know'' released by The Prisonaires, this one with accompaniment on one side by Ike Turner on guitar, but despite the continued allure of Johnny Bragg's voice, and  Sun  192 ''Mystery Train'' b/w ''Love My Baby'' by Little Junior's Blue Flames are released. Action is split between the two sides of 192,  although Billboard picks out "Mystery Train" as the likely hit. ''Mystery Train'' become a rhythm and blues hit for Elvis Presley two years later.
 
Jud Phillips was out for over a month promoting the two singles. Jud's letters continue to show a steady pattern of success both in collecting money owed and reorganizing the distribution system, most of all in helping to restore Sun's good name. ''I don't plan to leave a stone unturned'', Jud wrote on November 15, describing the pervasive sense of mistrust ''of any organization that Jim Bulleit was connected to''. It might look to Sam Phillips like he was ''taking a lot of time in each location'', he continued, ''but I'm taking no more than I feel is absolutely required''. But there is no sign of any emotional reciprocity on Sam's part.
 
Songwriter Max D. Barnes marries Patsy. Barnes' credits include Vern Gosdin's ''Chiseled In Stone'', Conway Twitty's ''Red Neckin' Love Makin;  Night'' and George Jones' ''Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes''.
 
Producer/songwriter Keith Stegall is born in Wichita Falls, Texas. Stegall produces Alan Jackson, The Zac Brown Band and Craig Campbell, and writes such hits as ''Don't Rock The Jukebox'', Minkey Gilley's ''Lonely Nights'', Glen Campbell's ''A Lady Like You'' and Mark Wills' ''I Do (Cherish You)''.
 
NOVEMBER 2, 1953 MONDAY
 
Pee Wee King appears on NBC-TV's daytime show ''The Kate Smith Hour''.
 
NOVEMBER 3, 1953 TUESDAY
 
Pee Wee King recorded ''Bimbo'' and ''Changing Partners'' in an afternoon session at the RCA Studios in New York.
 
Gene Autry and Smiley Burnette both perform in the debut of ''Last Of The Pony Riders'', a western built around the Pony Express. It's the last movie to feature Autry as a singing cowboy.
 
NOVEMBER 4, 1953 WEDNESDAY
 
Pee Wee King debuts a weekly program on WEWS-TV in Cleveland, Ohio.
 
Van Stephenson is born in Hamilton, Ohio. He writes Lee Greenwood's ''You've Got A Good Love Comin''' and Restless Heart's ''Bluest Eyes In Texas'', and has a pop hit as an artist with ''Modern Day Delilah'' before joining the 1990's trio BlackHawk. 
 
NOVEMBER 5, 1953 THURSDAY
 
Elton Britt begins a daily radio show on WCOP in Boston.
 
NOVEMBER 6, 1953 FRIDAY
 
The Osborne Brothers perform publicity for the first time.
 
NOVEMBER 7, 1953 SATURDAY
 
Rosco Gordon's single ''Ain't No Use'' (Duke 114) enters the local charts in New Orleans, Louisiana.
 
Sam Phillips lost Little Junior Parker to Don Robey at Duke Records in December. Junior had been out on tour with Duke artists Johnny Ace and Big Mama Thornton since the beginning of September, which Sam Phillips had originally thought could be a big boost to Little Junior's career. But then it was reported in Cash Box on this date, just as ''Mystery Train'' was beginning to break, that the ''terrific little blues belter currently being groomed by Peacock and Duke prexy Don Robey for mighty big things''. Sam immediately made a person-to-person call to Robey, his nemesis in the ''Bear cat'' lawsuit, but Robey was not one to be easily deterred, and Sam heard that he had Little Junior in the Duke studio in December. At this point Sam Phillips had his lawyer, Roy Scott, fly to Houston to confront Robey directly, and when that, too, failed and there was a subsequent announcement in Cash Box in December that Robey had signed Little Junior and the Blue Flames to an exclusive recording contract, Sam informed Cash Box that ''such a contract could not legally exist and that Sun Records Co., Inc. would take whatever action was necessary to protect our rights''. Which Sam followed up on with a $100,000 lawsuit.
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
Session Published for Historical Reasons
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR RUDY GRAYZELL
FOR ABBOTT RECORDS 1953
 
KWKH STUDIO
327 TEXAS, SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA
ABBOTT SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE NOVEMBER 1953
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER – FABOR ROBISON
RECORDING ENGINEER – BOB SULLIVAN
 
There were two more singles for Rudy Grayzell on Abbott. The second coupled another of Rudy's songs, ''Bonita Chiquita'', with Jack Rhodes' ''I'm Gone Again'' (Rhodes, for those who don't inspect composer credits, was the writer of several songs for Gene Vincent as well as country classics like ''A Satisfied Mind'' and ''Silver Threads And Golden Needles'').
 
01 – ''BONITA CHIQUITA'' – B.M.I. - 2:32
Composer: - Rudy Grazell
Publisher: - American Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - 147 A
Recorded: - Unknown Date November 1953
Released: - November 14, 1953
First appearance: Abbott Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single Abbott 147-A mono
BONITA CHIQUITA / I'M GONE AGAIN
Reissued: - 2010 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16837-25 mono
RUDY GRAZELL - LET'S GET WILD
 
02 – ''I'M GONE AGAIN'' – B.M.I. - 2:56
Composer: - Jack Rhodes-Lucille Dean
Publisher: - American Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - 147 B
Recorded: - Unknown Date November 1953
Released: - November 14, 1953
First appearance: Abbott Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single Abbott 147-B mono
I'M GONE AGAIN / BONITA CHIQUITA
Reissued: - 2010 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16837-26 mono
RUDY GRAZELL - LET'S GET WILD
 
Name (or. No. Of Instruments)
Rudy Grayzell – Vocal & Rhythm Guitar (Possibly)
Tommy Bishop – Guitar
Jim Reeves – Rhythm Guitar
James Clayton ''Jimmy'' Day – Steel Guitar
Don Davis or Kenny Hill – Bass
Kenneth ''Little Red'' Hayes – Fiddle
Floyd Cramer - Piano
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
Session Published for Historical Reasons
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR RUDY GRAYZELL
FOR ABBOTT RECORDS 1953/1954
 
KWKH STUDIO
327 TEXAS, SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA
ABBOTT SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE 1953/1954
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER – FABOR ROBISON
RECORDING ENGINEER – BOB SULLIVAN
 
Future Sun recording artist, Rudy Grayzell's third single for Abbott coupled ''Ocean Paradise'' (a song that Rudy wrote with his pal Tommy Jennings) with ''It Ain't My Baby (And I Ain't Gonna Rock It)''. The latter was a salty little song by Johnny Hicks, the emcee of The Big D Jamboree in Dallas, Texas, where Rudy performed occasionally. Again for those who don't memorize composer credits. Hicks wrote Charline Arthur's ''Honey Bun''. Producer Fabor Robison had just justifiably high hopes for ''It Ain't My Baby'' because it was a catchy bar-room singalong, and he had equally high hopes for ''Ocean Paradise'' because it worked the same groove as another of his big records, Mitchell Torok's ''Caribbean'', but neither took off, and Rudy either quit Abbott Records or was dropped after one year.
 
Unlike most of those associated with Fabor Robison, Rudy has nothing but fond memories of him. ''He was fantastic'', he says. ''He got the most out of me. He'd say, 'Rudy, do this, 'Rudy do that'. He was all the time thinking how to get the best performance''.  If Rudy had scored a major hit on Abbott and tried to extract money from Fabor, as Jim Reeves and the Browns tried to do, his opinion might have been a little more jaded. Reeves reportedly left his house one night intending to shoot Fabor, while Maxine Brown called him ''the sorriest bastard then infesting the industry''. Fabor Robison sold his label (more than once) and spent some time laying low in Brazil.
 
He returned to the United States in the early 1960s and promoted a song he'd produced in 1957, Ned Miller's ''From A Jack To A King''. After it became a hit on its second g-round, he sunk the profits into the Fabor Sunbathing Capsule. According to some reports, the capsule was used in an episode of ''Star Trek'', and was featured on the cover of ''Life'' magazine modeled by George Hamilton. Skin cancer scares bankrupted him, and he died in Shreveport, Louisiana in 1986.
 01 – ''IT AIN'T MY BABY (AND I AIN'T GONNA ROCK IT)'' – B.M.I. - 2:41
Composer: - Johnny Hicks-Jim Leisy
Publisher: - American Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - 157 A
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1953/1954
Released: - March 27, 1954
First appearance: Abbott Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single Abbott 157-A mono
IT AIN'T MY BABY (AND I AIN'T GONNA ROCK IT / OCEAN PARADISE
Reissued: - 2010 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16837-22 mono
RUDY GRAZELL - LET'S GET WILD
 
02 – ''OCEAN PARADISE'' – B.M.I. - 2:46
Composer: - Rudy Grayzell-Tom Jennings
Publisher: - American Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - 157 B
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1953/1954
Released: - March 27, 1954
First appearance: Abbott Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single Abbott 157-B mono
OCEAN PARADISE / IT AIN'T MY BABY (AND I AIN'T GONNA ROCK IT
Reissued: - 2010 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16837-24 mono
RUDY GRAZELL - LET'S GET WILD
 
Name (or. No. Of Instruments)
Rudy Grayzell – Vocal
Tommy Bishop – Guitar
Jim Reeves – Rhythm Guitar
James Clayton ''Jimmy'' Day – Steel Guitar
Don Davis or Kenny Hill – Bass
Kenneth ''Little Red'' Hayes – Fiddle
Floyd Cramer – Piano
Ace Lewis – Percussion
 
Note: Abbott 147 and Abbott 157 may have been recorded at one session.
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
Session Published for Historical Reasons
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR A.C. MOOHAH WILLIAMS
AT RADIO STATION WDIA FOR STARMAKER RECORDS 1953
 
WDIA STUDIO
2074 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: NOVEMBER 1953
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND ENGINEER - UNKNOWN
 
Rufus Thomas's fellow WDIA disc jockey and announcer was A.C. "Moohah" Williams, who had the Eheelin' On Beale show. Williams was still a biology teacher at Manassas High School whown he started at WDIA in 1949, but he soon became the first full time black employee of the station working on promotion and organization of events as well as hosting shows. He set up the Teen Town Singers group that changed personnel each year to include the best talent from all seven of the local black High Schools.
 
His recorded below features a band of musicians led by tenor saxophonist Bill Fort that often worked with Rufus Thomas, and because it adds another chapter to the "Answer" song saga in Memphis, Tennessee.
 
01 - "ALL SHOOK OUT" - B.M.I. - 2:48
Composer: - David James Mattis
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - WDIA 203
Recorded: - November 1953
Released: - 1953
First appearance: - Starmaker Records (S) 78rpm single Starmaker 501 mono
ALL SHOOK OUT / CANDY
Reissued:  - 2008 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16695-25 mono
RUFUS THOMAS – THE SUN YEARS PLUS
 
Moohah's comical song "All Shook Out" seems to have been the Answer to Faye Adams' number one rhythm and blues hit "Shake A Hand" on Herald Records. Adams disc had entered the charts that August and stayed for five months. In their response, Moohah and Mattis had clearly taken the blueprint from "Bear Cat", perhaps hoping that Starmaker Records could be launched into serious competition with Sun. The song may also have had secondary reference to the glad-handing that went on during the annual WDIA Goodwill Revue.
 
"All Shook Out" and its other side, "Candy" were both driving rhythm and blues honkers in the tradition of Wynomie Harris, Roy Brown and other blues shouters. "All Shook Out" opens deceptively slowly but soon stomps along in support of Moohah's nonsense lyric about the perils of hand shaking.
 
There is a storming sax  solo midway by Bill Fort and his tight band propels the whole performance with piano and drums to the fore. Actually the song was not Moohah's but was written by David James Mattis, as was the flipside. On the record, "Candy" is about the girl who sweet-talks Moohah out of his mind, but David James said he originally wrote the song about his dog.
 
02 – "CANDY" - B.M.I. - 2:31
Composer: - David James Mattis
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - WDIA 204
Recorded: - November 1953
Released: - 1953
First appearance: - Starmaker Records (S) 78rpm single Starmaker 501 mono
CANDY / ALL SHOOK OUT
Reissued:  - 2008 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16695-26 mono
RUFUS THOMAS – THE SUN YEARS PLUS
 
Original radio excerpts courtesy of Tim Davies, Radio WDIA, Memphis, Tennessee. Moohah's recordings were issued on Starmaker 501 among the new rhythm and blues releases at the en of November, just in time for the Goodwill Revue. There was also a Starmaker 502 which contained two blues ballads by Memphis singer Dick Cole recording under the name Danny Day, "You Scare Me" and "Wishing", issued at the same time. There was also one gospel release by Bessie Griffin, "Too Close To Heaven", Starmaker 101, but these three seem to be all that the label issued. David James told researcher George Moonoogian that the label failed because a WDIA secretary was too zealous in chaing up debts and threatened all his distributor contacts with legal action. Mattis was not the only one to try to get into the rhythm and blues business in Memphis in the middle 1950s.
 
B.B. King had the Blues Boy Kingdom label and there was another short lived label called Tan Town Records that issued recordings by the popular Spirit of Memphis Quartet and others.
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
A.C. "Moohah" Williams - Vocal / Bill Fort - Tenor Saxophone
Unknown - Alto Saxophone / Unknown - Piano
Unknown - Guitar / Unknown - Bass / Unknown - Drums
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
A.C. "MOOHAH" WILLIAMS - A.C. "Moohah" Williams was hired in 1949 as the first black  employee of Radio WDIA in Memphis, Tennessee, the only station he ever worked for, when station owners decided to make the switch to an all-black on-air staff. He stayed at the  station until 1983. Williams, who said his nickname was Indian for "the mighty", founded the  "Teen Town Singers" a rotating group of Memphis teenagers who had a Saturday morning  show on the station. Williams was also a songwriter and the inspiration for Otis Redding's "Mr. Pitiful", which  Redding co-wrote with Steve Cropper.
 
Williams had dubbed Redding "Mr. Pitiful" because of  the singer's anguished delivery. Memphis legend "Moohah" Williams died at the age of 87 in  December 2, 2004.
 
NOVEMBER 7, 1953 SATURDAY
 
Richmond, Virginia, radio station WXGI bans Webb Pierce's ''There Stands The Glass'' from its airwaves, suggesting the song's alcohol message would negatively influence younger listeners.
 
NOVEMBER 8, 1953 SUNDAY
 
Buddy Holly makes his radio debut, performing Hank Williams' ''Your Cheatin' Heart'' on ''The Buddy And Jack Show'' on KDAV in Lubbock, Texas.
 
NOVEMBER 9, 1953 MONDAY
 
Eddy Arnold recorded ''My Everything'' at RCA's New York studio.
 
Capitol released Hank Thompson's ''Wake Up, Irene''.
 
NOVEMBER 10, 1953 TUESDAY
 
Buddy Holly makes his first recording, playing guitar as one-half of Buddy and Jack at the studios as country station KDAV in Lubbock. Holly becomes the first to produce a session on Waylon Jennings.
 
NOVEMBER 12, 1953 THURSDAY
 
Drummer Steve Potts is born in Memphis, Tennessee. After appearing with such rhythm and blues figures as Al Green and Rufus Thomas, he lays down the backbeat for Wynonna's 2003 hit ''What The Worlds Needs Now''.
 
Roy Rogers and Dale Evans adopt a two-year-old Choctaw girl, Mary Little Doe, nicknamed Dodie.
 
NOVEMBER 13, 1953 FRIDAY
 
Del Wood joins the Grand Ole Opry,  at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee.
 
NOVEMBER 14, 1953 SATURDAY
 
The Carlisles join the Grand Ole Opry,  at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee.
 
Pat Boone marries Shirley Foley, the daughter of country singer Red Foley. The union produces another country hitmaker, Debbie Boone.
 
Bing Crosby recorded a pop version of Arlie Duff's country hit ''Y'all Come'' with Speedy West on guitar.
 
NOVEMBER 16, 9153 MONDAY
 
Decca released Red Foley's seasonal ''Put Christ Back Into Christmas''.
 
NOVEMBER 17, 1953 TUESDAY
 
Lefty Frizzell recorded ''Run 'Em Off'' during an afternoon session at the Jim Beck Studio in Dallas, Texas.
 
NOVEMBER 21, 1953 SATURDAY
 
I'll drink to that, Webb Pierce collects a number 1 country single in Billboard with ''There Stands The Glass''.
 
NOVEMBER 22, 1953 SUNDAY
 
John Jennings is born in Harrisburg, Virginia. He works as a producer and guitarist for Mary Chapin Carpenter during her peak commercial years, contributing to ''Shut Up And Kiss Me'', ''I Take My Chances'' and ''I Feel Lucky'', among others.
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Session Published for Historical Reasons
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR ONIE WHEELER
FOR OKEH RECORDS 1953
 
CASTLE RECORDING STUDIO, TULANE HOTEL
EIGHT AVENUE / CHURCH STREET, NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE
OKEH SESSION: SUNDAY NOVEMBER 22, 1953
SESSION HOURS: 19:00-22:00
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER – DON LAW
 
Future Sun Records recording star, Onie Wheeler's early work there was often a blurred tonality between sacred and secular music: honky tonk anthems like ''When We All Get There'' (August 29, 1953) and ''Closing Time'' were treated with gospelstyled harmonies on the chorus. Incidentally, ''Closing Time'' was a song dating back to Onie's days in Odessa, when Miss Mack who owned the bar and dancehall would walk from the bar into the dancehall at 1:00 am and shout, ''It's closin' time''. There were also some nods in stranger directions: ''My Home Is Not A Home At All'' seemed to have a distinct Celtic overtone.
 
Taken as a whole, Onie's early recordings were works of uncompromising beauty. The sacred songs had the feel of pure church, and the secular material had a loose-jointed swing and bristled with subtle humour. Onie's low pitched vocals were often complemented by bass strings runs from Alton J. Nelson. The endless nights on the bandstand gave the group a telepathic ability to frame each others' work to the point where recording appeared effortless. With the Nelson brothers beside him and rock and roll just barely on the horizon, Onie couldn't put a foot wrong. Rockabilly fans may have a soft spot for some of Onie's later sides, but make no mistake, these are the truly great recordings that Onie Wheeler made.
 
01 – ''I TRIED AND I TRIED'' – B.M.I. - 2:40
Composer: - Onie Wheeler-Tracy Lee
Publisher: - Peer Music
Matrix number : NASH 1745 / CO 50455
Recorded: - November 22, 1953
Released: - 1956
First appearance: - Okeh Records (S) 78rpm standard single Columbia 21500-4 mono
I TRIED AND I TRIED / NO, I DON'T GUESS I WILL
Reissued: - 1992 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15542-24 mono
ONIE WHEELER – ONIE'S BOP
 
02 – ''CLOSING TIME'' – B.M.I. - 2:41
Composer: - Onie Wheeler-Tracy Lee
Publisher: - Peer Music
Matrix number : NASH 1746 / CO 50456
Recorded: - November 22, 1953
Released: - 1954
First appearance: - Okeh Records (S) 78rpm standard single Okeh 18037-4 mono
CLOSING TIME / I'LL SWEAR YOU DON'T LOVE ME
Reissued: - 1992 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15542-23 mono
ONIE WHEELER – ONIE'S BOP
 
03 – ''LOVE ME LIKE YOU USED TO DO'' – B.M.I. - 3:05
Composer: - Onie Wheeler-Tracy Lee
Publisher: - Peer Music
Matrix number : NASH 1747 / CO 50457
Recorded: - November 22, 1953
Released: - 1954
First appearance: - Okeh Records (S) 78rpm standard single Okeh 18049-4 mono
LOVE ME LIKE YOU USED TO DO / LITTLE MAMA
Reissued: - 1992 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15542-26 mono
ONIE WHEELER – ONIE'S BOP
 
04 – ''I'LL SWEAR YOU DON'T LOVE ME'' – B.M.I. - 2:24
Composer: - Onie Wheeler-Tracy Lee
Publisher: - Peer Music
Matrix number : NASH 1748 / CO 50458
Recorded: - November 22, 1953
Released: - 1954
First appearance: - Okeh Records (S) 78rpm standard single Okeh 18037-4 mono
I'LL SWEAR YOU DON'T LOVE ME / CLOSING TIME
Reissued: - 1992 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15542-25 mono
ONIE WHEELER – ONIE'S BOP
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Onie Wheeler – Vocal, Harmonica, Guitar
Alden J. Nelson – Lead Guitar, Vocals
Doyal Nelson – Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
Benny Martin – Fiddle
Ernest G. Thompson - Drums
 
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NOVEMBER 28, 1953 SATURDAY
 
Hank Locklin makes his Grand Ole Opry debut, performing ''Let Me Be The One'' at the Ryman Auditorium.
 
NOVEMBER 29, 1953 SUNDAY
 
In his fourth attempt at the song, Webb Pierce recorded ''Slowly'' during an evening session at Nashville's Castle Studio. He also cuts ''Even 'Tho''.
 
NOVEMBER 30, 1953 MONDAY
 
June Pointer, of The Pointer Sisters, is born in Oakland. Primarily a pop act, The Pointer Sisters win a country Grammy award for their performance on ''Fairytale''.
 
Decca released Kitty Wells' ''Cheatin' A Sin''.
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR HOUSTON STOKES
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1952
 
SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: FRIDAY DECEMBER 4, 1953
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
 
In the original LP box notes, Bez Turner noted that, on the evidence of ''Blue And Lonesome'' and ''Baby's   Gone And Left Me'', guitarist Erskine McClellan was as good as Pat Hare. So good in fact, it probably was   Pat Hare. Houston Stokes actually recorded two sessions for Sam Phillips. The first in November 1952  featured the cream of Memphis's young jazz turks. The second, over one year later on December 4, 1953,   featured Pat Hare, Billy Love, and Kenneth Banks. No titles were noted, but it's almost certainly the latter   group we're hearing on this and ''Baby's Gone And Left Me''. The slow, grinding piano and fiery guitar   certainly sound like hare and Love. There's evidence of what McClellan sounds like on ''We're All Gonna Do   Some Wrong'', and it ain't like this. The day before this session, Stokes signed a one-year contract with   Phillips, but nothing was ever released. On the log sheet, two phone numbers were noted, one between 9 a.m.   And 6 p.m., and another after 6 p.m., so presumably he had a day job, but Phillips offered him no incentive  to quit.
 
01 - "BLUE AND LONESOME" - B.M.I. - 2:01
Composer: - Houston Stokes
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Original Issued
Recorded: - December 4, 1953
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 105 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1956
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-4-2 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
 
Taken at a very pace and with a galloping drum beat this ''Baby's Gone Left Me'' is mainly a guitar workout   for Pat Hare. The length of the guitar solo suggests that Stokes arrived without much in the way of lyrics,   leaving Hare plenty of space to fill, and fill it he does.
 
02 - "BABY'S GONE AND LEFT ME" - B.M.I. - 2:08
Composer: - Houston Stokes
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Alternate - Not Original Issued
Recorded: - December 4, 1953
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 105 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1956
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Record (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-4-3 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 – 1958
 
Note: All the musicians were paid $12.50 each for this session, but saxophonist Tom Roane was also paid   $5.00 suggesting that he played on some unissued version's of possibly one song.
 
Name (Or. No Of Instruments)
Houston Stokes – Vocal & Drums
Pat Hare – Guitar
Billy Love – Piano
Kenneth Banks – Bass
Tom Roane – Saxophone
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
DECEMBER 4, 1953 FRIDAY
 
Slim Whiteman recorded ''Secret Love'' in Baltimore, Maryland.
 
DECEMBER 7, 1953 MONDAY
 
Studio session with Charles White Jr. at Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee. 
 
Suddenly, on 7 December 1953, Billy Love reappeared with Harvey Simmons and other   known associates to record with vocalist James Cotton on a session that produced the Sun   rhythm and blues sides ''My Baby'' and ''Straighten Up Baby''. The band also backed singer   Charles White on sides that were not released and have never been found.
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR CHARLES WHITE JR.
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1953
 
SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: MONDAY DECEMBER 7, 1953
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
 
01 - "COUNTRY WISE MAMA''
Composer: - Charles White Jr.
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - December 7, 1953
 
02 - ''GOOD ROCKIN' MAMA''
Composer: - Charles White Jr.
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - December 7, 1953
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Charles White Jr. - Vocal
Pat Hare - Guitar
Kenneth Banks - Bass
Houston Stokes - Drums
Billy Love - Piano
Harvey Simmons - Saxophone
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR JAMES COTTON
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1953
 
SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: MONDAY DECEMBER 7, 1953
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS 
 
James Cotton was just seventeen when he began hosting his own radio show over KWEM in West Memphis, Arkansas. That same year of 1952 he was playing harmonica with Howlin' Wolf, hanging out with Bobby Bland and playing on his first recording at 706 Union with drummer Willie Nix. He was also driving an ice truck at the time and had to obtain special permission to leave work early to make this session. Showing all the force of rock and roll, "My Baby" was the liner of his two Sun singles.
 
01 - "MY BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:20
Composer: - James Cotton
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - U 98 - Dub Off Disc - Original Master Lost
Recorded: - December 7, 1953
Released: - April 15, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records 78/45rpm standard single SUN 199-A mono
MY BABY / STRAIGHTEN UP BABY
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-2-19 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1
 
Its not known whether James Cotton's pronunciation (i.e. in "My Vavy") was slurred by his Mississippi origins, or the contents of a bottle of sauce - but its readily evident that he must have attended the same school of diction as Jimmy Reed. Nonetheless, Cotton manages to crank up a pretty rocking opus out of a fairly modest riff, whilst the saxes of Harvey Simmons and Tom Roane, and guitar of Pat Hare, cover the ground that might normally have been handled by a full horn section. Both solos evince distinct jazz feelings.
 
02 - "STRAIGHTEN UP BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:19
Composer: - James Cotton
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 99 - Dub Off Disc - Original Master Lost
Recorded: - December 7, 1953
Released: - April 15, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 199-B mono
STRAIGHTEN UP BABY / MY BABY
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-2-20 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1
It really is unclear which side of SUN 199 was the designated plug side, as arguably both this and "My Baby" are competent performances with solid riffs. However, neither side quite possesses that special excitement which would distinguish them from the other thirty or forty rhythm and blues releases of that particular week in April 1954.
 
Another graduate of the Jimmy Reed School of Diction, James Cotton delivers a some what lackluster performance on "My Baby" (SUN 199) and the flipside "Straighten Up Baby" (SUN 199), both Cotton and the band are more focused and the results are far more engaging.
 
The May 1, 1954 issue of Billboard was singularly unimpressed, rightly observing that competent bank work was the high point here although, in their words, "nothing sensational happens".
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
James Cotton - Vocal
Tom Roane - Tenor Saxophone
Harvey Simmons - Tenor Saxophone
Pat Hare - Guitar
Billy Love - Piano
Kenneth Banks - Bass
Houston Stokes- - Drums
 
The local response must have been good, though, because one month after its release on April 15, 1954, Sam Phillips called James Cotton back into the studio to cut a follow-up.
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
DECEMBER 13, 1953 SUNDAY
 
''Back In The Saddle Again'' songwriter Ray White joins the regular cast, including Dale Evans and Pat Brady, in an episode of NBC's ''The Roy Rogers Show'' titles ''The Peddler From Pecos''. 
 
DECEMBER 14, 1953 MONDAY
 
Pee Wee King recorded ''Backward, Turn Backward'' at New York's RCA Studio.
 
DECEMBER 15, 1953 TUESDAY
 
Rex Allen portrays a marshall in a dispute over oil as the western ''Red River Shore'' debuts in theaters.
 
''Slipping Around'' singer Margaret Whiting is awarded an uncontested divorce from piano player Joe ''Fingers'' Carr in Santa Monica, California, on the grounds of cruelty. She claims he threw dishes at her in a fit of rage.
DECEMBER 15, 1953 TUESDAY
 
In an unfortunate sidebar, Sam Phillips once again found himself in a legal dispute with Don  Robey, this time over Little Parker's contract. Perhaps in part settlement, the name "Phillips'  now appears appended to Parker whenever the composer credits are listed for "Mystery  Train".
 
Jud Phillips write a letter to Don Robey and reads:
 
Dear Gene:
 
"Record 192 by Little Junior is showing movement around you... Looks like both sides are  selling but I think "Mystery Train" would be your side... How about checking it for me. I  know you must have had a great day and I sorry that I failed to see while in town but I feel  like I know you after our telephone conversation. Surely hope you can see fit to check this  number and I know if you feel like it has it you can put it on the map".
 
Sincerely yours
SUN RECORD COMPANY, INC.
 
By Jud Phillips
DECEMBER 16, 1953 WEDNESDAY
 
Hank Snow recorded ''I Don't Hurt Anymore'' and ''Yellow Roses'' during an afternoon session at New York's RCA Studios.
 
DECEMBER 17, 1953 THURSDAY
 
Sharon White, of The Whites, is born in Wichita Falls, Texas. Along with father Buck and sister Cheryl, she participates in several bluegrass-tinged early-1980s hits and joins husband Ricky Skaggs on the duet ''Love Can't Ever Get Better Than This''.
 
DECEMBER 21, 1953 MONDAY
 
Columbia released Carl Smith's ''Dog-Gone It, baby, I'm In Love''.
 
DECEMBER 22, 1953 TUESDAY
 
Pop songwriter Burt Bacharach marries Broadway singer Paula Stewart. He's destined to earn success in country music when his songs are recorded by Marty Robbins, Reba McEntire, Ronnie Milsap and Sonny James.
 
DECEMBER 23, 1953 WEDNESDAY
 
Freddie Hart recorded the original version of his composition ''Loose Talk''. It becomes a hit in 1954 for Carl Smith and again in 1961 for Buck Owens and Rose Maddox.
 
Teenager Jimmy Boyd and his mother file a lawsuit in Los Angeles charging an assault case initiated against him is an attempt at extortion. The original suit will eventually be dropped.
 
DECEMBER 23, 1953 WEDNESDAY
 
Studio session with Little Milton and Houston Boines at Sun Records, Memphis, Tennessee. This session was intended for Houston Boines. However, Phillips' notes indicate that some Little Milton titles were recorded. Milton himself recalls being in the studio all day.
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR LITTLE MILTON
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1953
 
SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 23, 1953
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS 
 
The recordings has been prepared from digital transfers off the original masters. Due to the age and conditions of the tapes, listeners may notice dropouts or distortion. 
 
The day before Milton's first Sun single was shipped, he was back in the studio with much the same line-up. This time, five songs were recorded together with two more by Houston Boines, but nothing was released. early in his career, Milton almost had it all; he was a guitar titan; he was young and good-looking; and his voice dripped emotion at any tempo. All he need was some really fine original songs. This, like the others he recorded that day, was unmemorable. ''Back then, I didn't know who Little Milton was'', he concluded. But it's still clear why Phillips gave him more releases than any other blues artist on his label with the exception of Billy Emerson.
 
01 - "I LOVE MY BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:30
Composer: - James Campbell
Publisher: - Memphis Music 
Matrix number: - None - Take 2  -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - December 23, 1953
Released: - 1976
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30102-B-1 mono
SUN: THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 2 - SAM'S BLUES
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-6-13 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958
 
02 - "IF CRYING WOULD HELP ME" - B.M.I. - 3:14
Composer: - James Campbell
Publisher: - Memphis Music
Matrix number: - None -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -  December 23, 1953
Released: - 1976
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30102-B-4 mono
SUN: THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 2 - SAM'S BLUES
Reissued: - 1990 Rounder Records (CD) 500/200rpm Rounder CD SS 35-10 mono 
LITTLE MILTON - THE SUN MASTERS
 
03 - ''SOMEBODY TOLD ME'' - B.M.I.
Composer: - James Campbell
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - December 23, 1953
 
An problem lay in Milton writing. His songs were random collections of choruses without a ''hook'' that would be remembered by virtue of repetition if nothing else. Virtually all of his recordings could have any one of half a dozen titles, as those who later catalogued the tapes discovered to their chagrin. However, some of the writing was undeniably good. ''It's got to place lately where I can't tell that woman what to do'', bemoaned Milton in ''Running Wild Blues''. ''She sticks her finger in my face and says 'I'm working just like you''. (in fact, Milton was so enamored of what cameo of domestic grief that he reprised it word for word on ''That Will Never Do'' on Bobbin Records five years later). 
 
04 - ''RUNNIN' WILD BLUES'' - B.M.I. - 2:38
Composer: - James Campbell
Publisher: - Memphis Music
Matrix number: - None -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - December 23, 1953
Released: - 1976
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30102-B-6 mono
SUN: THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 2 - SAM'S BLUES
Reissued: - 1990 Rounder Records (CD) 500/200rpm Rounder CD SS 35-8 mono
LITTLE MILTON - THE SUN MASTERS
 
05 - ''LONESOME FOR MY BABY'' - B.M.I.
Composer: - James Campbell
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - December 23, 1953
 
Name (or. No. Of Instruments)
James Campbell - Vocal & Guitar
Lawrence Taylor - Alto Saxophone
C.W. Tate - Tenor Saxophone
Ike Turner - Piano
Jesse Knight - Bass
Lonnie Hayes - Drums
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR HOUSTON BOINES
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1953
 
SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 23, 1953
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
 
01(1) - "CARRY MY BUSINESS ON" - B.M.I. - 2:29
Composer: - Houston Boines
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1  -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - December 23, 1953
Released: - 1976
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30102-B-8 mono
SUN: THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 2 - SAM'S BLUES
First appearance: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-6-23 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
 
Houston Boines remains something of an enigma, as very little is known about him. Even Little Milton, who played on this session and was responsible for bringing Boines along to the studio, knew little about him - as he recalled in a 1982 interview: "I met him in Leland, Mississippi... he played harmonica. I don't know where he is now - nobody seems to. He was quite an old guy when we recorded... he would be at least 70 by now". Nonetheless, Boines achieved an interesting feat: he wrote and performed the song which may well be the most lyrically noteworthy in this entire collection. (This is an alternate take to the version which appeared on the original Sunbox). However, we will probably never know, because his diction and delivery are sufficiently inaccessible to tempt, but ultimately frustrate, the listener. Its clearly a backwoods story/song, and it contains some fascinating couplets that can be instilled with as much (or as little) significance as you like - e.g: "I rode a white horse called Silver Streak one day/I met Old Man Quiggle and Old Boston along the way". There again, he could merely have been at the juice.
 
Undoubtedly, the song is rich in detail and rather obscure imagery - but you'd need an honours degree in deep South patois and backwoods mythology to get it all. Even Milton, from almost thirty years' distance, recalled during a Blues Unlimited interview: "We could never get the clarity on his recordings... we could never understand what he was saying. Sam Phillips didn't think it was good enough to release. We were supposed to go back into the studio and re-do the stuff because it was unfinished... but we never got back. We were in there all day long and part of the nights". Failing that, you can just sit back and marvel at the solid guitar work of Little Milton, or Ike Turner's fine piano - however, its Jesse Knight's simple slap bass which really propels this side along.
 
You might also notice that the disc is a strange paradox: a tale with roots way back in the country, yet sung to a modern-sounding blues backing. (The take used here is different to that used on the original Sun Blues Box). The melody was replicated from Boines' 1952 recording of ''Relation Blues''.
 
01(2) - "CARRY MY BUSINESS ON" - B.M.I. - 2:31
Composer: - Houston Boines
Publisher: - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2  -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - December 23, 1953
Released: -  1987 
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm Charly 67-20 mono
THE BLUES CAME DOWN FROM MEMPHIS
 
02(1) - "CRYING IN THE COURTHOUSE*" - B.M.I. - 3:00
Composer: - Houston Boines
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 1  -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - December 23, 1953
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 105 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1956
Reissued: -  1996  Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-6-24 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
 
It seems as if Milton of Ike Turner sent the saxophones home when Boines stepped up to the mic, leaving Ike Turner playing doomy piano chords and Milton on lead guitar.
 
There are no worries about diction with this slow blues, of which two takes exist. Whereas the second take starts straight in with the first verse, this starts with an instrumental chorus centred around the dolorous metronome of Ike Turner's piano, with sundry outbursts from Little Milton's guitar and some tentative harmonica phrases off-mike by Houston Boines.
 
Despite lasting just under three minutes, there are only two verses of lyrica, both of which are notable for their stark imagery. "Took me 'way, took me 'way in the mornin' soon/when I couldn't see nothin' but just the stars and moon". In the second take, the singer is taken away on the morning train, "I was handcuffed and shackled with great long lengths of chain". A further verse adds a poignance missing here: "Wasn't it sad when I left my baby crying?/she said, 'Daddy, I can't go with you, but you'll be always on my mind".
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Houston Boines - Vocal and Harmonica*
Milton Campbell - Guitar
Ike Turner - Piano
Jesse Knight - Bass
Lonnie Hayes - Drums
 
Houston Boines is an unknown, despite recording his fine side with Little Milton's band and broadcasting with him on radio KFFA.
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
HOUSTON BOINES - Houston Boines (or it may have been Huston) remains an obscure,  shadowy figure despite having broadcast on KFFS' King Biscuit Time during one of Sonny  Boy's regular prolonged absence.  He was born in Hazlehurst, Mississippi, near Jackson, on December 30, 1918, and was still living there when he enlisted in the Army in January 1941, almost one year before the United States entered World War II. It's unclear how long he was in the service. Charlie Booker and Houston Stackhouse played with him after the War when he was still in Hazlehurst, but had only fleeting memories of him. 
 
Boines played  played harmonica in Eddie Cusic's combo, The Rhythm Aces.  In 1952 he cut a couple of sessions in Greenville, Mississippi, which let to a releases ''Monkey Motion'' / ''Superintendant'' and ''Going Home'' / ''Relation Blues'', both recorded for RPM in January 1952,   (plus a belated mid-1960s release on Blues & Rhythm/Blue Horizon) - but his December 1953 session at Sun would appear have been his (rather glorious) swansong.
 
Little Milton roomed with him around this time, recalling a stockily builtman in his late forties, whom he took to Sun.  He was vaguely remembered by Charlie Booker and Houston Stackhouse, both of whom  played with him, but Little Milton, his one-tome room-mate - who'd actually brought him  along to 706 Union - remembered him best, recalling an "old man".
 
Stackhouse recalled that Boines was still playing harmonica in clubs until late in life. ''He used to be a terrible good harp player'', said Stackhouse, ''but he just faded on out. He'd drink so much''.  Stocky in build, whom  nobody could understand, was Boines the J.R.R. Tolkein of this publication, or merely a  raddled old soak who couldn't quite get his tongue around the words?... we'll probably  never know. Mississippi death records reveal that someone named Huston Boines died on November 8, 1970 in Jackson, and that could well be our man. Certainly, Houston Stackhouse confirmed that Boines died around that time. Those few memories underpinned by even fewer certain dates and a total of eight recordings are all that we know of him.
DECEMBER 24, 1953 THURSDAY
 
The singles Sun 193 ''Come Back Baby'' b/w ''Chicago Breakdown'' by Doctor Ross and Sun 194 ''Beggin' My Baby'' b/w ''Somebody Told Me'' by Little Milton are released.
 
DECEMBER 25, 1953
 
Patti Page joins Perry Como and Eddie Fisher on the Christmas cover of TV Guide.
 
DECEMBER 28, 1953
 
Ray Price recorded ''Release Me'' and ''I'll Be There (If You Ever Want Me)'' in an evening session at the Castle Studio in Nashville.
 
DECEMBER 29, 1953
 
Carl Smith Recorded ''Back Up Buddy'' at Nashville's Castle Studio,
 
DECEMBER 30, 1953
 
Eddy Arnold recorded ''Just Call Me Lonesome'' and ''Hep Cat Baby'' at the RCA Studios in New York City.
 
Pop singer Kitty Kallen recorded the original version of ''Little Things Mean A Lot''. It's remade by Margo Smith two dozen years later.
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STUDIO SESSION FOR HOWARD SERATT
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954
 
SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE LATE 1953
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
 
Despite Sam Phillips' affection for Seratt, there is not a single artifact in the Sun files to suggest that he was ever there. The tapes were probably recorded over when funds fell short. The session details were never entered in the log book and the record itself is obscenely rare. This side, while surprisingly melodic for its simple chord structure, does not have quite the same impact as ''Troublesome Waters''. Somehow the simplicity in Seratt's style is less in evidence here. Nevertheless, it is a beautiful recording. Even on another label or in another era, this would be a standard. Seratt or Phillips titled the song. It was a J.B. Coats hymn originally titled after the first line, ''In All My Sin There Was Not One Who Cared'', and first published in another 1940 songster ''Old Camp Meeting Songs''.
 
01 - "I MUST BE SAVED" - S.E.S.A.C. - 2:55
Composer: - J.B. Coats
Publisher: - Sesac
Matrix number: - U 53X - Master
Recorded: - Late 1953
Released: - February 20, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 198-B mono
I MUST BE SAVED / TROUBLESOME WATERS
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-2-18 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1 
 
One of the joys of being the sole proprietor of a record company is that one can issue titles that are commercial suicide but nevertheless deserve to be issued. Surely Sam Phillips could not have held out great hopes for this title but its overarching simplicity is so moving that it cried out for release. Even after the passage of 30 years, Phillips remembered Seratt, ''Oh that man. I never heard a person, no matter what field of music, could sing as beautifully. The honesty! The integrity The communication! He had such an unpretentious quality. It had a depth of beauty about it in its simplicity. Oh God Almighty, that was a sad thing because I could have recorded him 'ad infinitum' and never got tired'', told Sam.
 
The assumption underlying a lifetime pact with Sun, however, was that Seratt would have to switch to secular music and perhaps that would have been self-defeating because it is Seratt's faith, expressed in the understated gentleness of his style, that makes this performance outstanding. The hymn was an obscure one, Published in 1940 by Stamps-Baxter in a songster called ''Golden Key'' (another minor classic, ''Gathering Flowers For The Master's Bouquet'', first saw light-of-day there, too). The words were by Mrs. Karnes and the music by Ernest Rippetoe. Ten years later, Johnny Cash recorded it, crediting it to his mother-in-law, Maybelle Carter, her husband, Ezra, and their house-guest, Dixie Deen (the soon-to-be wife of Tom T. Hall). It's entirely possible that Cash remembered Seratt's record or remembered the song from the original hymnal. Flatt and Scruggs recorded it two years after Johnny Cash, similarly crediting the Carters and their housequest.
 
02 - "TROUBLESOME WATERS" - S.E.S.A.C. - 3:03
Composer: - J.B. Karnes-Ernest Rippetoe
Publisher: - Sesac - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - U 51 - Master
Recorded: - Late 1953
Released: - February 20, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 198-A mono
TROUBLESOME WATERS / I MUST BE SAVED
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-2-17 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1
 
Stunningly simple and beautiful record. It barely sold out its first scant pressing. And then Seratt and his acoustic guitar and harmonica were gone. Wheelchair and all. Back to Arkansas and the St. Francis Church in Blytheville, and then on to California.
 
03 - "PRECIOUS MEMORIES''
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued - Tape Lost
Recorded: - Late 1953
Sam Phillips never came to terms with recording gospel music, and it haunted him. From the frustration of not convincing Seratt to sing secular music, to fighting Jerry Lee Lewis' devils, to constant sparring with Johnny Cash about recording gospel music. Sam and Sun were located in the literal center of a gospel bonanza.
 
Black quartets shouted the Lord's praises from storefront churches every Wednesday night. The Evans Family and Blackwood Brothers were on his doorstep and even left a legacy of tapes, all of them unissued. Sam Phillips could simply not sell gospel music.
 
From left: Red Caudel, Lead Guitar, Harmony Vocals; Travis Burkett, Bass Guitar, Harmony Vocals; Howard Seratt, Lead Vocals, Harmonica, Rhythm Guitar; Keith Clayton, Lead Guitar, Harmony Vocals >
 
Years later, he reflected, "I known I missed out on a lot. But Sun was basically a one man operation. I had to draw some limits". SUN 198 is only a hint of what lay on the other side of those limits.
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Howard Seratt - Vocal and Guitar
Red Candel - Guitar
Travis Burkett - Bass
Keith Clayton - Guitar
 
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© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR DAVID ''HONEYBOY'' EDWARDS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE 1953
 
SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
 
STUDIO SESSION: PROBABLY END 1953
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
 
01(1) - "SWEET HOME CHICAGO" - B.M.I. - 2:57
Composer: - David Edwards-Sonny Boy Williamson
Publisher: - Arc Music Corporation
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: -  Possibly End 1953
Released: - 1996
First appearance: - Charlie Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-4-13 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-5-5 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958
 
In February 2012, President Obama hosted a musical evening at the White House that featured Buddy Guy and B.B. King. After a little prompting, Obama got up and sang a verse of ''Sweet Home Chicago''. That's how well known it is. Robert Johnson recording ensured its status as a totemic blues song, but Johnson didn't originate it. Kokomo Arnold reckoned that he wrote it as ''Old Original Kokomo Blues'', but its roots go back even further... almost to the dawn of recorded blues. That said, the song wasn't anywhere near as omnipresent when Honeyboy Edwards recorded it. It wasn't until Roosevelt Sykes recorded it in 1955 that the song began to be revived with any frequency; in fact, Junior Parker's 1958 record credits Sykes as composer. Edwards repeats Johnson's confusing geography: ''that land of California, sweet home Chicago''. His edgy slide tone precisely complements his coarse singing. It's hard, make that impossible, to date this recording. Edwards himself dated it to October 1952, telling Tony Burke and Norman Darwen in 1992 that he was living in Hughes, Arkansas, and came to Memphis with a harmonica player named Blue and Blue's brother Jesse. He remembered that Boyd Gilmore was there that day.
As far as we know, Gilmore only recorded once at Phillips' studio, and that was with Earl Hooker in July 1953, but of course he could have been present at other times. Compounding the confusion, Edwards' tape was credited to Albert Williams, and this song was first released on Charly Records under Williams' name. It almost certainly features some of the players who are on Williams' songs, heard on Williams session, though. 
 
One of those songs, ''Rumble Chillen'', seems to have been a purpose-built sequel to Junior Parker's ''Feelin' Good'', a hit in the late months of 1953. So October 1952? July 1953? Late 1953? Some other date? There's really no way of knowing. 
 
About the song itself, David Edwards' searing slide guitar all but overwhelms the backing here. A much- travelled, favourite song among Mississippians - Chicago was often their goal - this is a particularly powerful version with Honeyboy's hoarse, declamatory vocal creating a strong country feel.
 
01(2) - "SWEET HOME CHICAGO" - B.M.I. - 2:58
Composer: - David Edwards-Sonny Boy Williamson
Publisher: - Arc Music Corporation
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Possibly End 1953
Released: - August 1977
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30127-A-7 mono
THE ROOTS OF ROCK – VOLUME 12 - UNION AVENUE BREAKDOWN
Reissued: - 1990 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm Instant INS 5039-9 mono
THE SUN STORY VOLUME 1 - SUNRISE
 
You don't have to be a musician to notice the odd style of drumming on display here. Drummers normally accent on 2 and 4. For some reason this one punches the beat on 1 and 3. The effect is both leaden and unsetting. It's truly amazing that nobody, from Sam Phillips to one of the other musicians didn't run screaming from the room. This is more than a simple mistake. It changes the effect of the entire recording, and not for the good. This is the slightly different 1990s box version of the song issued on the original LP box.
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
David Edwards - Vocal and Guitar
Albert Williams - Piano
Joe Wilkins - Guitar
Dickie Houston - Drums
James Walker - Washboard
 
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© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR ALBERT WILLIAMS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE 1952
 
SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
STUDIO SESSION: POSSIBLY 1953
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
 
Albert Williams, a pianist known as ''Joiner'' who played for Willie Nix and Joe Hill Louis and regularly with Howlin' Wolf around this period, also reveals his vocal prowess on different songs from around 1952/1953. ''Sweet Home Chicago'', with nice slide guitar, shows the dominant influences of Wolf and Elmore James, while ''Chillen'' is a variation both on John Lee Hooker and the ''Feelin' Good' theme of Junior Parker.
 
01 - "RHUMBA CHILLEN" - B.M.I. - 2:29
Composer: - Albert Williams
Publisher: - Tristan Music
Matrix number: - None -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Possibly 1953
Released: - August 1977
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30127-A-8 mono
THE ROOTS OF ROCK – VOLUME 12 – UNION AVENUE BREAKDOWN
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-4-14 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958 
 
All the elements are here: even the vocal cry from flatted 7 back up to 1 (it's in Bb - an odd key for a guitar record - so it goes from Ab up to Bb). In every way, it's ''Feelin' Good'' redux. Joe Willie Wilkins is charged with playing Floyd Murphy's part, and covers almost as much territory. Previously, this was issued as ''Rumba Chillen'', but it seems pretty clear that Williams is saying Rumble. ''Ramble'' would make more sense, especially as Junior Parker's own ''Feelin' Good'' sequel was ''I Wanna Ramble'', but 'rumble' it appears to be. In fifties-speak, a rumble was a street fight (making lines like ''old folks rumblin', young 'uns too'' doubly incomprehensible), so perhaps it was a dance. One thing is for sure, Williams hews even closer than Parker to the progenitor of ''Feelin' Good'': John Lee Hooker. In fact, Williams' version is titled after Hooker's ''Boogie Chillen'' rather than Parker's Sun hit. He even starts by taken us to Johnny Curry's Tropicana club on Memphis's Thomas Street, much as Hooker took us to Henry's Swing Club on Detroit's Hasting Street.
 
02 - "HOO DOO MAN (MEMPHIS AL)" - B.M.I. - 2:48
Composer: - Albert Williams
Publisher: - Tristan Music
Matrix number: - None -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Possibly 1953
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 105 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1956
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-4-15 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
 
Albert Williams' vocal is rather more reflective on this - which is presumably his theme song - and he accompanies himself with swinging, but solid piano-playing. Joe Willie Wilkins' guitar solo is quite remarkable, being at once both forceful and lyrical.  
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Albert ''Joiner'' Williams - Vocal and Piano*
Joe Willie Wilkins - Guitar
James Walker - Washboard
Dickie Houston – Drums
 
Note: The two sessions listed David Edwards (above), and Albert Williams probably took place on the same day.
 
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PROBABLY 1953 UNKNOWN DATE
 
Studio session with Vincent Duling (Guitar Red) at Sun Records, Memphis, Tennessee. Session details unknown.
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR UNKNOWN ARTIST
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1953
 
SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: PROBABLY END 1953
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS
 
01 - "JUICE HEAD" - B.M.I. - 1:35
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably March 1953
Released: - 1976
First appearance: - Redita Records (LP) 33rpm Redita 131 mono
KEEP ON ROLLING
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-4-24 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
 
When ''Juice Head'' first appeared on a Redita Records LP, it was credited to Rosco Gordon. Redita owner, Robert Loers, found the acetate at Select-o-Hits, the distributorship owned by Sam Phillips' brother, Tom, where Sun artefacts were stored. The acetate had no name on the label, so Loers assigned it to Rosco Gordon. But it's not Rosco. It simply is not him. Really. Even Rosco confirmed that. It might not even be a Memphis Recording Service demo.  Just substitute the words ''Hound Dog'' for ''Juice Head'' and what have you got? Of course the inspiration for this song came from Big Mama Thornton' ''Hound Dog'' or perhaps even from Rufus's Thomas ''Bear Cat''.
 
But the song's other parent is Eddie Vinson's slowed down ''Juicehead Blues'' which harks to the previous decade (for a slightly later glimpse of the impact of the song at Sun, check out Charlie Rich's late night demo version that appears on BCD 16152). If indeed this originated from Sam Phillips' studio, it was nothing that Phillips needed to touch because it was another lawsuit waiting to happen.
 02 - "V.O. BABY" - 1 - B.M.I. - 2:07
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None -  Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably March 1953
Released: - 1976
First appearance: - Redita Records (LP) 33rpm Redita 131 mono
KEEP ON ROLLING
Reissued: - 1996 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-4-25 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
 
Another booze-related song by an unknown singer not named Rosco Gordon. This time the product moves to the decidedly upscale Seagram's V.O. and the rhythm shifts from a Yancey bass to triplets. Some off-mic vocal encouragement appears throughout the recording. The sound suggest that the source of this track is more likely to have been an acetate demo sent to Sun than anything recorded on the premises. But we truly don't know. 
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Unknown Artist - Vocal and Piano
Unknown Banter - 1
 
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© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR BUDDY BLAKE CUNNINGHAM
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1953
 
SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE(S) 1953
STUDIO HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER – SAM C. PHILLIPS
 
No Details
 
01 – ''HOW LONG WILL IT BE''
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number – None – Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1953
 
02 – ''JEALOUS STARS''
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number – None – Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1953
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Buddy Blake Cunningham – Vocal
Unknown Group
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
1953/1954
 
That fall and winter Memphis was a hotbed of musical activity. Sam Phillips was scoring with his black  artists. Memphis was becoming a secondary recording center, however small, to New York and Los Angeles.  Black entertainers were making records in vacant rooms all over town, Black radio was vibrant, shaking the  city to its foundations. 
 
Caught up in the excitement of it all, Scotty Moore put together his first real band, the Starlite Wranglers. To  front the group and sing lead vocals he recruited Doug Poindexter, a baker who had a Hank Williams type of  voice. He added Bill Black on bass, Millard Yeow on steel guitar, Clyde Rush on guitar, and Thomas Seals on  fiddle.
 
 
To cement the relationship, he had a lawyer draw up an ironclad contract that designated Scotty Moore as the  personal manager of the group. Each member of the group would receive 16 2/3 percent of the net proceeds,  except for Scotty, who, as manager, would receive an additional 10 percent. Under the terms of the contract,  Scotty would make all the business decisions and collect the money. The signees agreed to ''abide by''  Scotty's directions and to ''carry out all engagements, appearances, and performances, faithfully and unless  prevented by illness or good cause'' and to appear ''at all times promptly and faithfully for rehearsals under  the direction of the manager''. A contract like this was rare for groups in Memphis at the time. 
 
In the five years that had elapsed since he left the farm to join the Navy, Scotty had become savy to the ways of the world. The Starlite Wranglers contract offers a revealing glimpse of Scotty at that time. He wanted success, and all the trappings of success, but more than that he wanted control of his distiny. The best way to do that, in Scotty's mind, was to find people who were agreeable to ''fronting'' for his own ambitions. He was most comfortable when he was behind the scenes, pulling the strings that made the show work. The Starlite Wranglers were his creation. What did he care if people thought Doug Poindexter was calling the shots? More than glory, Scotty wanted anonymity.
 
Scotty booked the group at Shadow Lawn, then got bookings at various clubs around Memphis, including the Bon Air. Then he got the group on radio station KWEM in West Memphis. He dressed everyone in matching hats and shirts, and he constructed a large star out of Christmas lights and used it to illuminate the bands name.
 
Once he had all the pieces in place, he prepared for the final step. ''I knew that to get better jobs, we had to put a record out'', he says. ''You had to have a record to get radio play and you had to have radio play to get bookings. I had that much figured out''.
 
''At that time, there were two record labels in town. Modern/RPM. a West Coast label that had a branch office in Memphis on Chelsea Avenue, was operated by the Bihari brothers and specialized in blues recordings'', Scotty said''. Sun Records, a Memphis-owned label, was housed in Sam Phillips's Memphis Recording Service. Although both labels were targeting blues performers''. Scotty decided to focus his attention on Sun Records. As Elvis was going in one door of the Union Avenue studio, Scotty must have been going out another. They never met during that time, but they were wooing Sam and Marion at about the same time. It took a while, but Scotty finally talked Sam into giving the Starlite Wranglers a chance. ''Sam either came out to a club and saw us, or we went down to audition'', recalls Scotty. ''He finally agreed to put a record out on us''.
 
The Starlite Wranglers went into the studio in April 1954 and recorded two sides, bot written by Scotty Moore. The A-side was titled ''My Kind Of Carryin' On''. Scotty gave the songwriter's credit for the B-side, ''Now She Cares No More For Me'', to Poindexter because he was the singer, and he gave -one-third to his brother Carney because he wrote out the lead sheet for them. The song was released on May 1, 1954. It got a little airplay on radio, but not enough to generate sales. ''Of course, we didn't get anything to do the record'', says Scotty.
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
 
STUDIO SESSION FOR HAL MILLER
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1953/1954
 
SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: UNKNOWN DATE 1953/1954
STUDIO HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER – SAM C. PHILLIPS
 
Hal Miller is something of an unknown quantity at the moment. His contribution to this recording is, however,, exactly the sort of music that radio stations WMC, WREC, KWEM and the rest beamed out of Memphis in the early fifties.
 
01 - ''THERE OUGHT TO BE A LAW'' – B.M.I. - 2:21
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unknown
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1953/1954
Released: - 1984
First appearance: - Redita Records (LP) 33rpm RLP 126-2-2 mono
COTTON CHOPPER COUNTRY
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Hal Miller - Vocal
Unknown Piano, Steel Guitar,  Bass
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©
THE SATERDAY NIGHT JAMBOREE 1953-1954 - Was a local stage show held every Saturday  night at the Goodwyn Institute Auditorium in downtown Memphis, Tennessee in 1953-1954.  It was founded by Joe Manuel, a popular Hillbilly Radio Star of the 1930's and 40's. 
 
A lot of young musicians around Memphis grew up listening to Manuel's radio broadcasts  and as young adults would congregate around him during their off time. Manuel recognized  the talent in a lot of these young people. He realized that they they might succeed in the  music business if given the opportunity. What they needed was a forum to show their  talents to the public. He conceived the idea the idea of a stage show similar to the Grand  Ole Opry in Nashville. From this idea came the Saturday Night Jamboree.
 
The First show consisted of Joe Manuel and his band and Marcus Van Story and his band.  (Joe and Marcus were old friends). Marcus would open the show, then, after intermission,  He would come back on stage (hat turned around backward, front teeth blackend, tattered  clothes,etc.), Joe would play straight man, and they would do a comedy routine. Then Joe  and his band would close the show.
 
After a few weeks several of the young singers and musicians from the area started coming  on the show. They were rapidly joined by others. Even entire bands began coming on the  show. Soon the audience began to fill the Goodwyn Institute Auditorium. K.W.E.M. radio  began broadcasting the jamboree. The show took off far beyond anything Joe Manuel  expected.
 
Some of the Memphis area musicians who later became major artists, made some of their  first public appearances on the Jamboree. Johnny and Dorsey Burnette were early  performers before joining Paul Burlison to form the Rock N Roll Trio. Eddie Bond and his band came on the show. Charlie Feathers was a weekly performer. Johnny Cash was a  regular the second year. He sang gospel at the time. This was before he signed with Sun  Records.
 
Lee Adkins, Bud Deckelman, Harmonica Frank Floyd, Barbara Pittman, The Lezenby Twins,  Lefty Ray Sexton, Lloyd (Arnold) McCoulough, Tommy Smith, Major Pruitt, Johnny Harrison  and Larry Manuel (Joe's son), were all regulars on the jamboree.
 
A very young and totally unknown Elvis Presley performed on several of the early shows in  1953.
BACKSTAGE - But of more historical significance was something that was going on  backstage in the dressing rooms. Every Saturday night in 1953, this was a gathering place  where musicians would come together and experiment with new sounds - mixing fast  country, gospel, blues and boogie woogie. Guys were bringing in new "licks" that they had  developed and were teaching them to other musicians and were learning new "licks" from  yet other musicians backstage. Soon these new sounds began to make their way out onto  the stage of the Jamboree where they found a very receptive audience.
 
Within a year these musicians were going into the recording studios around town and  recording these sounds. A couple of years later these sounds were given a name:  "rockabilly." The Saturday Night Jamboree was probably where the first live rockabilly was  performed.

THE BUSINESS END - As the show became a success, Joe Manuel knew he would need help  in the business end. Joe was a highly talent entertainer, but he was not a businessman.

He  approached an old and close friend, M.E. Ellis to ask his help running the business. Ellis  had experience in business matters, owning a barber shop, half interest in another, and at  one time was involved in the automobile business. He was both a fan and a friend of Joe's,  and had been trying for some time to become Manuel's manager. After several discussions,  the men reached a handshake agreement. Ellis would become Manuel's manager and in  return would step in and help with the business needs of the Jamboree. M.E. Ellis played a  valuable role in the success of the Saturday Night Jamboree.

 

CLOSING DOWN THE SHOW - The shoe lasted for two years. At the end of 1954 the Goodwyn Institute  owners informed Joe Manuel that they were closing the auditorium for a year for remodeling. Also, by the  end of 1954, many of the performers had signed recording contracts, were having hit records played on the  radio, and were going out on the road on Saturday nights. With no other appropriate location available to  hold the Jamboree and the talent dwindling, Joe decided to close it down.
 
The Saturday Night Jamboree was never intended to play an important role in the launching of the Memphis  rockabilly movement, but it did. It was an event that was in the right place at the time. Not only did many  performers become major rockabilly recording artists, many members of the various bands became session  musicians at different recording studios around the Memphis area. Many of the sounds that were born in the  dressing rooms backstage at the Jamboree were making their way into the studios and would soon be heard  around the world.
 
After closing the, Joe Manuel began a slow withdrawal from doing stage shows on the road, but continued  doing radio broadcasts. He and M.E. Ellis dissolved their management agreement but maintained their close  friendship until Joe's death in 1959 (from melanoma cancer). Joe Manuel died, never realizing the unique  role he had played in the conception of rockabilly music. He did, however, know that he had proven his  point, that these young musicians that he saw around Memphis, could succeed in the music business if given the opportunity.
 
(See: Joe Manuel - Sun Sessions 1954)
 
 
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