CONTAINS

Sun 231-240 Audio Series
 
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Charlie Feathers
"DEFROST YOUR HEART" - B.M.I. - 2:30
Composer: - William "Bill" Cantrell-Quinton Claunch
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 164
Recorded: - November 1, 1955
Memphis Recording  Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - December 1955
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 231-A mono
DEFROST YOUR HEART / A WEDDING GOWN OF WHITE
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-1-5 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Charlie Feathers - Vocal and Guitar
Bill Cantrell - Fiddle
Stan Kesler - Steel Guitar
Quinton Claunch - Guitar
Bill Black or Johnny Black - Bass

Although consigned to the flipside of ''Wedding Gown Of White'', this song was another stellar outing by  Feathers. The song is truly beautiful and is matched by Feathers' masterful phrasing. He 'worries' a word or  syllable in the same way as Lefty Frtixell but, at the same time, has the desperation of Hank Williams in his  voice. Once again, Kesler is outstanding while Cantrell limits himself to the intro. The melody of ''Defrost  Your Heart'' owes some debt to Hank Williams 1951 hit ''I Heard That Lonesome Whistle Blow'' but if all  plagiarism were as sweet as this, it would no longer be a crime. Sam Phillips could never understand why  this single was not a hit, and it's a mystery still. Phillips also insisted that Charlie could have been as big as  George Jones if he'd stuck with country music, and, on the evidence of this record, it's flattering George  Jones to say that he was as good as Charlie Feathers. Once again, Stan Kesler shows why the steel guitar  found a place in country music. Its wordless cry precisely echoes the sentiments of so many country songs,  none more so than this. Claunch's deadened bass strings provide all the pulse that these two sides need. After  Elvis Presley was signed to RCA, Sam Phillips concluded a deal that saw songs he published go to Presley's  new publisher, Hill & Range, for exploitation. The Aberbachs, who owned Hill & Range, sent ''Defrost Your  Heart'' to Canadian country artist Bob King. (MH)(HD)(CE)

 
Charlie Feathers
"A WEDDING GOWN OF WHITE" - B.M.I. - 3:05
Composer: - William "Bill" Cantrell-Quinton Claunch
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 165
Recorded: - November 1, 1955
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - December 1955
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 231-B mono
A WEDDING GOWN OF WHITE / DEFROST YOUR HEART
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-1-6 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Charlie Feathers - Vocal and Guitar
Bill Cantrell - Fiddle
Stan Kesler - Steel Guitar
Quinton Claunch - Guitar
Bill Black or Johnny Black - Bass

In a sense, ''A Wedding Gown Of White'' was more a follow-up to ''Daydreamin''' than to ''Peepin' Eyes''. This time, our hero has moved on to daydreamin' about his forthcoming marriage. You won't find a less cluttered storyline in country music: ''I love you, I'm going to marry you; Oh boy. Claunch and Cantrell certainly thought that this was a vein they could mine indefinitely. The dismal sales ( a shade over 900 copies) obviously proved them wrong. Feathers provides a wonderfully hard-edged vocal in a style that could strip paint off the wall, while full of earnest love. In fact, it goes beyond love to the point of adoration. Kesler's steel guitar is also outstanding, bracketed by the signature phrase from Wagner's ''Wedding March''. The bass player is either Bill Black, augmenting his meagre earnings with Presley, or his brother Johnny. Bill Black's name was filed with the AFM but Johnny recalls playing the session and was not a member of the AFM, which would have necessitated substituting his name with an AFM member on the session log. (MH)(HD)(CE)

 
Johnny Cash & The Tennessee Two
"FOLSOM PRISON BLUES" - B.M.I. - 2:48
Composer: - Johnny Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 173
Recorded: - July 30, 1955
Memphis Recording  Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - December 15, 1955
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 232-A mono
FOLSOM PRISON BLUES / SO DOGGONE LONESOME
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-1-8 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Johnny Cash - Vocal and Guitar
Luther Perkins - Guitar
Marshall Grant – Bass

''Folsom Prison Blues'' was not only a moderate country hit for Johnny cash in early 1956, but also a song which would later help to resurrect his career when he recorded it live in Folsom Prison.

Cash was quickly establishing himself as an exceptional country tunesmith. When he claimed ''I wrote ''Folsom Prison Blues'' in August (1955). I had seen a movie called 'Inside The Walls of Folsom Prison' which inspired the song'', there was little reason to doubt him. It now appears that more than a Hollywood movie inspired Cash. In 1953, Gordon Jenkins recorded one of his 'concept albums' called ''Seven Dreams''. It held a track sung by Beverly Mahr called ''Crescent City Blues''. The lyrics included"''When I was just a baby/My mama told me, Sue (a boy named Sue?/When you're grown up I want that you/Should go and see and do/But I'm stuck in Crescent City/Just watching life mosey by/When I hear that whistle blowing, I hang my head and cry''. It ended, ''If I owned that lonesome whistle/If that railroad train were mine/I bet I'd find a man? a little farther down the line/Far from Crescent City is where I'd like to stay/  and I'd let that lonesome whistle/blow my blues away''.

Sound familiar? Gordon Jenkins thought so when he finally heard ''Folsom Prison Blues''. Although he waited until Cash's tenure at Sun was over to sue, Cash suffered a major blow to the ego as well as pocketbook. Regardless of authorship, the original version of ''Folsom'' is a fine record, featuring one of Luther Perkins' most memorable solos.
 
Luther Perkins was known for his limitations more than expertise on the guitar. Johnny Cash's stage show frequently chided Luther in a good-natured way for those limitations, although the routine probably wore a bit thin on Luther over the years. That two-note background and those simple scales that Luther called solos were all part of his charm and the undeniable power of Johnny cash's earliest records. On ''Folsom Prison Blues'', Luther has outdone himself, playing one of the most memorable yet simple guitar solos in country music. In fact he plays it twice. Even more remarkable is the fact that Luther uses the top three strings on his guitar, suggesting he had mastery of the entire instrument. This was Johnny Cash's second record for Sun and that mastery never surfaced again, over 19 more releases and nearly 60 more titles. It's a rarity indeed, but Luther never played better than he does here. There is no telling how many young guitar players in the formative 1950s cut their teeth on this solo. Such was the beauty of Luther Perkins' playing: good enough to inspire, but not so good as to intimidate. It was almost a mantra: If Luther did it, so can you. (HD)

 
Johnny Cash & The Tennessee Two
"SO DOGGONE LONESOME" - B.M.I. - 2:35
Composer: - Johnny Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 172 - Take 3
Recorded: - July 30, 1955
Memphis Recording  Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - December 15, 1955
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 232-B mono
SO DOGGONE LONESOME / FOLSOM PRISON BLUES
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-1-7 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

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

The flipside, ''So Doggone Lonesome'', a true Cash original (as far as we know), actually received more of the chart action at the time of its release, a fact often obscured by the enduring popularity of ''Folsom''. (HD)

 
Billy ''The Kid'' Emerson
"LITTLE FINE HEALTHY THING" - B.M.I. - 2:29
Composer: - William Robert Emerson
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated - Knox Music Limited
Matrix number: - U 174
Recorded: - November 1955
Memphis Recording  Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - January 15, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 233-A mono
LITTLE FINE HEALTY THING / SOMETHING FOR NOTHING
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-1-9 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
William Billy Emerson - Vocal
Billy Love - Piano
Jewell Briscoe - Tenor Saxophone
Moses Reed - Tenor Saxophone
Calvin Newborn - Guitar
Kenneth Banks - Bass
Phineas Newborn Sr. - Drums

This is a catchy, melodic composition with more spice and variety than most rhythm and blues titles from the period. It also shows up Emerson's limitations as a vocalist, he was competent, even distinctive, but lacked  the aggressiveness of many of his contemporaries. Emerson seemed to have a penchant for woman who could make ''a bulldog hug a hound...'' a familiar line after Johnny Temple popularized it on ''Big Leg Woman''. Emerson, though, prided himself on being a songwriter, not just another reshuffle of blues cliches. What he says here is both loving and lecherous; a combination. She should have been flattered, who ever she was.

Billy the Kid Emerson's last Sun single was sandwitched between Johnny Cash's ''Folsom Prison Blues'' and Carl Perkins' ''Blue Suede Shoes''. Even before those two records became hits, Emerson saw the writing on the wall, and was gone from Sun Records. (MH)(HD)(CE)

 
Billy ''The Kid'' Emerson
"SOMETHING FOR NOTHING" - B.M.I. - 2:42
Composer: - William Robert Emerson
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 175
Recorded: - November 1955
Memphis Recording  Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - January 15, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 233-B mono
SOMETHING FOR NOTHING / LITTLE FINE HEALTY THING
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-1-10 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
William Billy Emerson - Vocal
Billy Love - Piano
Jewell Briscoe - Tenor Saxophone
Moses Reed - Tenor Saxophone
Calvin Newborn - Guitar
Kenneth Banks - Bass
Phineas Newborn Sr. - Drums

In November 1955, Billy Emerson was back at Sun to record what would prove to be his last session. On the twenty-second of the same month, he was recording for Vee-Jay in his newly adopted home town, Chicago. For his last Sun session, he was reunited with Phineas Newborn, Sr's nightclub band. Emerson rated his work on ''Something For Noting'' very highly, and with good reason, ''That was the best'', Emerson said later. ''That was when I really found my style. You're listening to the real Billy The Kid Emerson''. Talking to Jim O'Neal later, he was a little more forthcoming. ''That song came about from a Butterbeans and Susie routine. 'Now looka here, Susie, you sure is tight, you ain't never gonna treat yo' papa Butter right. 'She made a reply and he would sing, 'Something for noting seems to be your/You oughta get yourself a monkey 'cause you sure don't need no man''. He's remembering Butterbeans & Susie's 1930 record of ''Papa Ain't No Santa Claus (And Mama Ain't No Christmas Tree)''. Talk about handling it on. (MH)(HD)(CE)

 
Carl Perkins
"BLUE SUEDE SHOES" - B.M.I. - 2:13
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 176 - Take 2
Recorded: - December 19, 1955
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - December 1955
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 234-A mono
BLUE SUEDE SHOES / HONEY, DON'T
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-1-11 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Carl Lee Perkins - Vocal and Guitar
James Buck Perkins - Rhythm Guitar
Lloyd Clayton Perkins - Bass
W.S. "Fluke" Holland - Drums

Without a doubt, this single record has done more than any other to spread the gospel of rockabilly and draw the wave of collectors to San and Sun. Subtract ''Blue Suede Shoes'' from the Sun catalogue, and there is no telling how fundamental the changes might be. When this record hit, shock waves were felt all over. Billboard reported ''Difficult as the country field is for a newcomer to crack these days, Perkins has come up with some wax here that has hit the national retail chart in almost record time... Interestingly enough, the disk has a large measure of appeal for pop and rhythm and blues customers as well''.

''Blue Suede Shoes'' deserves its notoriety. Its impact is as direct today, nearly 55 years and millions of plays later. Perkins' vocal and guitar work are as energetic and full of goodnatured menace as the day were conceived. To understand the importance of slap bass rockabilly, try to imagine this record mixed differently, driven by drums and not the clicking bass strings. It is entirely possibly the results and fortunes of ''Blue Suede Shoes'' would have been radically different. (HD)

 
Carl Perkins
"HONEY DON'T" - B.M.I. - 2:49
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 177 - Take 3
Recorded: - December 19, 1955
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - December 1955
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 234-B mono
HONEY, DON'T! / BLUE SUEDE SHOES
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-1-12 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

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

None of the trade papers knew what to call Carl's ''Shoes'' or its flipside ''Honey Don't'' when it was released in December 1955. Terms like ''rhythm ditty'' or ''country boogie'' were tossed around, but it wasn't until the fall of 1956 that the world would begin hearing the phrase rockabilly to describe what had been born at Sun. (HD)

 
Carl Perkins
"SURE TO FALL" - B.M.I. - 2:30
Composer: - Carl Perkins-William E. Cantrell-Quinton Claunch
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 178 - With Jay Perkins Taking The Lead
Recorded: - December 19, 1955
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - 1955
First appearance: - Sun Records (EP) 45rpm standard single SUN EPA 115 mono
BLUE SUEDE SHOES
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-1-13 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

May have been scheduled as Carl and Jay Perkins
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Carl Lee Perkins - Vocal and Guitar
James Buck Perkins - Rhythm Guitar
Lloyd Clayton Perkins - Bass
W.S. "Fluke" Holland - Drums

May have been scheduled as Carl and Jay Perkins

Sun 235-A Unissued

''Sure To Fall'' is a lovely country song written by Quinton Claunch and Bill Cantrell. According to Cantrell, it was originally scheduled as the flipside of Sun 234. As Cantrell remembers it, he did little to further his own cause, persuading Phillips that the two rockers belonged together. In the cold light of history, there is no telling how much that touch of humility cost Cantrell. ''Tennessee'', another uptempo country song is a brag song by Carl about his home state, taking credit for everything from Eddy Arnold to nuclear waste. (HD)

 
Carl Perkins
"TENNESSEE" - B.M.I. - 2:58
Composer: - Carl Perkins
Publisher: - Knox Music Limited
Matrix number: - U 179
Recorded: - December 19, 1955
Memphis Recording  Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - 1958
First appearance: - Sun Records (LP) 33rpm SLP 1225 mono
DANCE - THE BEST OF CARL PERKINS
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-1-14 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

May have been scheduled as Carl and Jay Perkins
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Carl Lee Perkins - Vocal and Guitar
James Buck Perkins - Rhythm Guitar
Lloyd Clayton Perkins - Bass
W.S. "Fluke" Holland - Drums

Sun 235-B Unissued

Here is the famous missing single. The mystery wasn't that great. On the master log, the artist entry is left blank, and Sun 235 was probably to be issued under the name of the Perkins Brothers Band.

Both sides of what would have been Sun 235 are familiar to most Perkins fans. They appeared on Carl's first Sun album. Both relegate Carl to the role of backup singer and lead guitarist. Nevertheless, his presence is still strong here, so much so that most listeners never thought it odd when these sides appeared without special billing on Carl's album. The reason is quite simple: at this point, the name Carl Perkins really did mean the Perkins Brothers Band. It wasn't until the success of ''Blue Suede Shoes'' and the death of Jay that Carl became a solo act. Even then, his familiar vocals and driving guitar sound retained the illusion that nothing had changed.
 
The song itself (Sun 235) sat in the can until making an appearance as filler on Carl's first album. We include it here on the strenght of Carl's flowing, skilful and melodic solo. The playing is fluid and combines pure country touches with elements of dissonance that would become a hallmark of Carl's best rockabilly work. The second time through his solo Carl emphasizes chords over single notes, but again manages to integrate country and rock elements without breaking a sweat. Playing in the honky tonks prepared Carl Perkins to be as adept a country picker as he was a rock guitarist. (HD)(SP)
 

 
Jimmy Haggett
"NO MORE, NO MORE" - B.M.I. - 2:23
Composer: - Jimmy Haggett
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 180
Recorded: - August 23, 1955
Memphis Recording  Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - December 1955
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 236-A mono
NO MORE, NO MORE / THEY CALL OUR LOVE A SIN
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-1-15 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jimmy Haggett - Vocal and Acoustic Guitar
J.L. "Peed" Moody - Guitar
Billy Springer - Steel Guitar
J.G. "Gabby" McKinn - Bass
Bernie Gwatney - Fiddle
Euwin "Red" Mansfield – Drums

Jimmy Haggett drew his inspiration from different wellsprings than those that fed most of his contemporaries at Sun Records. His major influence was Jim Reeves and this is apparent in his phrasing. However, the backing on ''No More'' is pure, unadulterated hillbilly.  The guitarist J.L. ''Speedy'' Moody contributes some tasty fills and there is some very pleasant interplay between the steel guitar of Billy Springer and the fiddle of Bernie Gwatney. The long nights of working together obviously paid dividends here. The real mystery surrounding the song is its origin.  Haggett freely admitted that the song was not an original but denied all knowledge of a previous version by Luke McDaniel, recorded for Trumpet Records in 1952. The McDaniel version has some different lyrics and it would be easy to say that whoever gave Haggett this song simply ripped it off from McDaniel. However there is another wrinkle in the story provided by yet another out-take box where an unidentified artist sings McDaniel's lyrics to ''No More''. It is possible that this third version is indeed by McDaniel who may have auditioned at Sun earlier than had been thought. (MH)(HD)(CE)

 
Jimmy Haggett
"THEY CALL OUR LOVE A SIN" - B.M.I. - 2:12
Composer: - Jimmy Haggett
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 181
Recorded: - August 23, 1955
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - December 1955
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 236-B mono
THEY CALL OUR LOVE A SIN / NO MORE, NO MORE
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-1-16 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jimmy Haggett - Vocal and Acoustic Guitar
J.L. "Peed" Moody - Guitar
Billy Springer - Steel Guitar
J.G. "Gabby" McKinn - Bass
Bernie Gwatney - Fiddle
Euwin "Red" Mansfield – Drums

Both this next song and ''No More'' were reportedly given to Haggett by a musician in his band. ''I can't remember his name now'', recalled Haggett. ''I changed a few words and the melody and he said that all he wanted was to get his songs on record. He told me that they were unpublished and he released them to me''. As it happened, these were not especially valuable copyrights. Sun 236 had sold 448 copies a year after release. It was the rockabilly sound of Carl Perkins that pointed the way into the future for Sun Record, and for Jimmy Haggett. (MH)(HD)(CE)

 
Rosco Gordon
"THE CHICKEN (DANCE WITH YOU)" - B.M.I. - 2:48
Composer: - Rosco Gordon
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 182
Recorded: - Probably February 1955
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - December 1955
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 237-A mono
THE CHICKEN (DANCE WITH YOU) / LOVE FOR YOU, BABY
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-1-17 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rosco Gordon - Vocal and Piano
Billy Duncan - Alto Saxophone
Charles Taylor - Alto Saxophone
Richard Sanders - Baritone Sax
Willie Wilkes - Tenor Saxophone
Foree Wells - Guitar
Tuff Green - Bass
John Murry Daley – Drums

Although Sun collectors usually fail to give it much attention, Rosco Gordon claims that ''The Chicken'' was the biggest selling record of his Sun career. In a 1980 interview, Rosco repeatedly referred to it as his ''million seller''. According to Rosco, ''The Chicken'' was a ''spot record'', breaking in one regional rhythm and blues market after another, and taking a long time to run its course.

Although it never blazed a trail on national charts, the record stirred up enough regional attention to garner Rosco a movie deal (the notorious ''Rock Baby, Rock It!''). His performance of ''Chicken In The Rough'' is captured forever on celluloid, along with his trusty rooster dancing on the piano while Rosco pounded away on the ivories. ''They used to call me Rosco 'Chicken' Gordon. man, that record was so big!;; Rosco claimed that the rooster remained part of his act for quite a while, giving added credence to his version of the record's success.

For his part, Sam Phillips must have had an interesting view of ''The Chicken''. It was released on both the Sun and Flip labels, although the significance of that strategy remains unclear. Perhaps more tellingly, Phillips did not simply see this release an an rhythm and blues contender. Original versions of the ''Chicken's'' record label plainly say ''Rock & Roll Vocal''. In simple terms, that meant crossover potential. By 1956, Sam Phillips was not releasing much black music anymore. What little appeared on the Sun label had better have some potential to sell to white kids. (HD)

 
Rosco Gordon
"THE CHICKEN (DANCE WITH YOU)" - B.M.I. - 2:48
Composer: - Rosco Gordon
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 182
Recorded: - Probably February 1955
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - December 1955
First appearance: - Flip Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single Flip 237-A mono
THE CHICKEN (DANCE WITH YOU) / LOVE FOR YOU, BABY
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rosco Gordon - Vocal and Piano
Billy Duncan - Alto Saxophone
Charles Taylor - Alto Saxophone
Richard Sanders - Baritone Sax
Willie Wilkes - Tenor Saxophone
Foree Wells - Guitar
Tuff Green - Bass
John Murry Daley – Drums

Although Sun collectors usually fail to give it much attention, Rosco Gordon claims that ''The Chicken'' was the biggest selling record of his Sun career. In a 1980 interview, Rosco repeatedly referred to it as his ''million seller''. According to Rosco, ''The Chicken'' was a ''spot record'', breaking in one regional rhythm and blues market after another, and taking a long time to run its course.

Although it never blazed a trail on national charts, the record stirred up enough regional attention to garner Rosco a movie deal (the notorious ''Rock Baby, Rock It!''). His performance of ''Chicken In The Rough'' is captured forever on celluloid, along with his trusty rooster dancing on the piano while Rosco pounded away on the ivories. ''They used to call me Rosco 'Chicken' Gordon. man, that record was so big!;; Rosco claimed that the rooster remained part of his act for quite a while, giving added credence to his version of the record's success.

For his part, Sam Phillips must have had an interesting view of ''The Chicken''. It was released on both the Sun and Flip labels, although the significance of that strategy remains unclear. Perhaps more tellingly, Phillips did not simply see this release an an rhythm and blues contender. Original versions of the ''Chicken's'' record label plainly say ''Rock & Roll Vocal''. In simple terms, that meant crossover potential. By 1956, Sam Phillips was not releasing much black music anymore. What little appeared on the Sun label had better have some potential to sell to white kids. (HD)

 
Rosco Gordon
"LOVE FOR YOU BABY" - B.M.I. – 2:59
Composer: - Rosco Gordon
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 183
Recorded: - Probably February 1955
Memphis Recording  Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - December 1955
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 237-B mono
LOVE FOR YOU, BABY / THE CHICKEN (DANCE WITH YOU)
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801 DI-1-18 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rosco Gordon - Vocal and Piano
Billy Duncan - Alto Saxophone
Charles Taylor - Alto Saxophone
Richard Sanders - Baritone Sax
Willie Wilkes - Tenor Saxophone
Foree Wells - Guitar
Tuff Green - Bass
John Murry Daley – Drums

There is a final sidebar to the tale of ''The Chicken''. According to Rosco, the song ultimately got him into more trouble with Sam Phillips than it was worth. He claims that when he and his band were practising the song at the Club Handy, Bill Harvey (who represented Duke Records) got the song on tape and delivered it to Don Robey. Robey offered Rosco $450 for the publishing rights, which the singer gladly accepted. According to Rosco, Robey waited for the song to run its long and successful course before threatening legal action against Sun yet again. Rosco believes that this event helped sour Phillips on further business dealings with him. It's a fascinating tale, but it remains somewhat suspect in light of two further Sun singles by Rosco issued in 1957 and 1958, as well as a mountain of unissued tapes dating from this same period in the Sun archives. (HD)

 
Rosco Gordon
"LOVE FOR YOU BABY" - B.M.I. – 2:59
Composer: - Rosco Gordon
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 183
Recorded: - Probably February 1955
Memphis Recording  Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - December 1955
First appearance: - Flip Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single Flip 237-B mono
LOVE FOR YOU, BABY / THE CHICKEN (DANCE WITH YOU)
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rosco Gordon - Vocal and Piano
Billy Duncan - Alto Saxophone
Charles Taylor - Alto Saxophone
Richard Sanders - Baritone Sax
Willie Wilkes - Tenor Saxophone
Foree Wells - Guitar
Tuff Green - Bass
John Murry Daley – Drums

There is a final sidebar to the tale of ''The Chicken''. According to Rosco, the song ultimately got him into more trouble with Sam Phillips than it was worth. He claims that when he and his band were practising the song at the Club Handy, Bill Harvey (who represented Duke Records) got the song on tape and delivered it to Don Robey. Robey offered Rosco $450 for the publishing rights, which the singer gladly accepted. According to Rosco, Robey waited for the song to run its long and successful course before threatening legal action against Sun yet again. Rosco believes that this event helped sour Phillips on further business dealings with him. It's a fascinating tale, but it remains somewhat suspect in light of two further Sun singles by Rosco issued in 1957 and 1958, as well as a mountain of unissued tapes dating from this same period in the Sun archives. (HD)

 
Slim Rhodes
"GONNA ROMP AND STOMP" - B.M.I. - 2:19
Composer: - Dot Rhodes-Dusty Rhodes
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 188 - Vocal Dusty and Dot Rhodes
Recorded: - February 2, 1956
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - April 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 238-A mono
GONNA ROMP AND STOMP / BAD GIRL
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-1-19 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Slim Rhodes - Guitar
Dusty Rhodes - Vocal and Fiddle
Dottie Rhodes Moore - Vocal and Guitar
John Hughey - Steel Guitar
Speck Rhodes - Bass
Brad Suggs - Vocal and Guitar
W.S. Holland – Drums

Dusty and Dot came back into the spotlight here on a side that reflects the changing times. All of the lead instruments take spirited breaks and there is a rockabilly consciousness underpinning the hillbilly harmonies. Clearly, by early 1956 Slim had grudgingly accepted the fact that Elvis and the rockabillie were a force to be reckoned with. There is some fire on this side and it has helped ''Romp And Stomp'' to survive better than some of the country sermonettes. (CE)(HD)(MH)

 
Slim Rhodes
"BAD GIRL" - B.M.I. - 2:25
Composer: - Brad Suggs-Slim Rhodes
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 189 - Vocal Brad Suggs
Recorded: - February 2, 1956
Memphis Recording  Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - April 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 238-B mono
BAD GIRL / GONNA ROMP AND STUMP
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-1-20 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Slim Rhodes - Guitar
Dusty Rhodes - Fiddle
Dottie Rhodes Moore - Guitar
John Hughey - Steel Guitar
Speck Rhodes - Bass
Brad Suggs - Vocal and Guitar
W.S. Holland – Drums

Singer/guitarist/composer Brad Suggs recently listened to ''Bad Girl'' for the first time in over 50 years. It stirred some memories, not the least of which was the source of the strange, underwater-sounding instrumental break that occurs right after John Hughey's steel solo. This was no small mystery! In fact, we'd be hard pressed to find another piece of recorded music featuring this odd sound. After a moment's reflection, Brad laughed and reported that it was Dusty Rhodes fiddle played through a vibrato. ''I think Sam liked it. It sounded different to him''. Suggs emphasised that this was a song about a girl with a reputation. He was quick to add that reputations were sometimes pretty far from the truth. Suggs recalled that some folks misread the point of the song. ''Slim Rhodes told me that, disc jockey. Eddie Hill wouldn't play the record because he was convinced it was about a prostitute. I guess he thought he was saving his listeners''. A half a century later, Suggs could laugh at that. (CE)(HD)(MH)

 
Warren Smith
"ROCK 'N' ROLL RUBY" - B.M.I. - 2:49
Composer: - John R. Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 186
Recorded: - February 5, 1956
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - April 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 239-A mono
ROCK AND ROLL RUBY / I'D RATHER BE SAFE THAN SORRY
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-1-21 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Warren Smith - Vocal and Guitar
Buddy Holobauch - Guitar
Stan Kesler - Steel Guitar
Jan Ledbetter - Bass
Johnny Bernero - Drums
Smokey Joe Bauch – Piano

''Johnny Cash and Sam Phillips came in one night when I was playing with Clyde Leoppard'', recalled  Warren Smith. ''They invited me to come back to their table and sit down. To begin with, I thought it was  some kind of fluke, then Sam Phillips asked me to come over to Sun the next day, and Johnny Cash said he  might have a song for me''. Smith's performance of ''Rock 'N' Roll Ruby'' belies his lack of professional  experience. It is a supremely confident debut. Sun 239 was released in March 1956 and entered the Memphis  charts on May 1. It reached the number 1 slot on May 26. By that point it had climbed onto some other local  charts and there was a surprising number of cover versions considering that the record never hit the Hot 100.  Among the most notable were Johnny Caroll's Decca version, Lawrence Welk and Dave Burton's big band
versions. Even a black vocal group, the Saints on Salem Records, covered the song. There was also a  Canadian cover version.

It appears as though the song was not actually from the pen of Johnny Cash, but was bought by Cash from  George Jones for $40. A solid investment, as it transpired. Despite all of the activity surrounding the song,  Smith's national breakthrough was still over a year away. However, this did not impede him from acquiring  the attitudes and demeanour of one whose place in the pantheon of rock and roll was already assured. The  portents were extraordinarily good. Neither Carl Perkins nor Elvis Presley had done so well with their debut  release. (MH)(HD)(CE)

 
Warren Smith
"I'D RATHER BE SAFE THAN SORRY" - B.M.I. - 2:55
Composer: - Stan Kesler-W.E. Taylor
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 187
Recorded: - February 5, 1956
Memphis Recording  Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - April 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 239-B mono
I'D RATHER BE SAFE THAN SORRY / ROCK AND ROLL RUBY
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-1-22 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Warren Smith - Vocal and Guitar
Buddy Holobauch - Guitar
Stan Kesler - Steel Guitar
Jan Ledbetter - Bass
Johnny Bernero - Drums
Smokey Joe Bauch – Piano

"I'd Rather Be Safe Than Sorry", is one of Smith's finest outings.  The presence of this out-and-out hillbilly weeper on the flip side of Warren Smith's debut single shows how uncertainly Sam Phillips was feeling his way through the confusion in the early months of 1956. Perhaps he was hoping for airplay on the country stations in case the whole rock and roll craze went the way of other crazes, like the calypso craze a year or so later. Perhaps he simply did not appreciate that the mass audience beyond Memphis would have preferred a pop ballad to a slice of unadulterated hillbilly music. However, the mass audience's loss is our gain. This is very pure country music, and astonishingly beautiful. Smith's vocal is perfectly pitched and it allows us to eavesdrop on the way that he sounded before Elvis Presley turned his head around. Stan Kesler said that Smith was supposed to be the front man for Clyde Leoppard's Snearly Ranch Boys, and it's certainly the Ranch Boys backing him on his first single, possibly with Johnny Bernero replacing Leoppard. According to Kesler, Smith was housed with the Ranch Boys in West Memphis and they paid him money to live on. After ''Rock 'N' Roll Ruby'' took off, Smith quickly reneged on the deal, and went solo.   (MH)(HD)(CE)

 
Jack Earls
"SLOW DOWN" - B.M.I. - 2:15
Composer: - Jack Earls
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 184
Recorded: - April 14, 1956
Memphis Recording  Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - April 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 240-A mono
SLOW DOWN / A FOOL FOR LOVING YOU
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-1-23 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jack Earls - Vocal and Guitar
Johnny Black - Bass
Danny Walker - Drums
Warren Gregory - Guitar
Luther Perkins - Guitar

Is it possible for a Sun fan not to like this record? ''Slow Down'', indeed Jack Earls himself, embody the very heart of Sun's appeal. This is a sparse, tense, minimalist, brooding record. It may also be the only rockabilly record with a 12 bar bass solo. (HD)

 
Jack Earls
"A FOOL FOR LOVING YOU" - B.M.I. - 2:42
Composer: - Jack Earls
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 185
Recorded: - October 15, 1955
Memphis Recording  Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - April 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 240-B mono
A FOOL FOR LOVING YOU / SLOW DOWN
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-1-24 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jack Earls - Vocal & Guitar
Warren Gregory - Guitar
Johnny Black - Bass
Danny Rehnquist - Drums

Jack Earls was a baker who lived in Memphis and, for all his time in the studio, saw only this disc released by Sun. His life and music are recounted in detail on Bear Family BFX 15273. Earl possessed a nasal tenor voice with almost no range; in short, it was perfectly suited for the music he made. His sidemen would have been comfortable jamming with Luther Perkins, whose lack of instrumental prowess was legendary. If Sun 240 improved tenfold it would not be a slick record. But there is much to love here. Not quite as stinging and electrified as the wildest of Sun's rockabilly, there is drive and energy to savor here.

As a historical document, the portents of this record were good. Released immediately following ''Rock And Roll Ruby'' and coming at the start of the 240 series, it literally ushered in the golden era of rockabilly at Sun. (HD)

 
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