CONTAINS

Sun 251-260 Series
 
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Roy Orbison & The Teen Kings
''ROCKHOUSE" - B.M.I. - 2:04
Composer: - Harold Jenkins-Roy Orbison
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 221
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1956
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - September 24, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 251-A mono
ROCKHOUSE / YOU'RE MY BABY
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-2-22 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Roy Orbison - Vocal and Guitar
Johnny Wilson - Guitar
James Morrow - Electric Mandolin
Jack Kennelly - Bass
Billy Pat Ellis - Drums

Roy Orbison makes a return engagement as a rockabilly singer here, but failed to capitalize on the momentum of "Ooby Dooby". Despite his prowess as a songwriter, Orbison turned to outsiders for this both sides of this disc. Its plain that he knew his way around the bluesy stop rhythm of "You're My Baby". In contrast, there is nothing funnier in the Sun archives than listening to Johnny Cash stumble his awkward way through the original demo of this tune.

There was a welcome surprise on MCA's recent Conway Twitty box: the original version of "Rockhouse". It really existed, and it revealed, among other things, that Roy Orbison had earned his half-share of the composer credit. He had more-or-less rewritten Twitty's themesong, although that did nothing to stop Twitty from griping at the time and for years after. The tune became the title track for Orbison's lone LP on the original Sun label, a compilation the singer reviled to his dying day. (CE)

 
Roy Orbison & The Teen Kings
''YOU'RE MY BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:05
Composer: - Johnny R. Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 220
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1956
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - September 24, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 251-B mono
YOU'RE MY BABY / ROCKHOUSE
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-2-21 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Roy Orbison - Vocal and Guitar
Johnny Wilson - Guitar
James Morrow - Electric Mandolin
Jack Kennelly - Bass
Billy Pat Ellis - Drums

Like Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison was unable to find a follow-up to his first hit. He recorded "Rockhouse", a song that another aspiring Sun act, Harold Jenkins (a.k.a. Conway Twitty), had worked up as a theme song for his group, the Rockhousers. It was coupled with Johnny Cash's execrable song, "You're My Baby", originally "Little Woolly Booger". Billboard once again was effusive in its praise of Orbison's "sock showmanship", but its recommendation failed to take account of the fact that "Rockhouse", released in September 1956, was already behind the times. 
 
''You're My Baby'' was an uncharacteristic song for its writer, Johnny Cash. Its verses consist of 8 bars of stop-rhythm and then proceed into the chorus. At the end of the stop-rhythm segment, Ellis's rimshots announce that the chorus is about to start. Otherwise, his drumming is pretty subdued - keeping time, marking the stops, and little else until the second guitar solo. But as that solo progresses, the drumming gets more energized, and reaches a peak behind the final vocal verse. That dramatic crescendo brings the record to an exciting climax, and it's all due to Billy Pat Ellis's drumming. (CE)(HD)(SP)

 
Kenneth Parchman
"LOVE CRAZY BABY" - B.M.I. - 2:03
Composer: - Kenneth Parchman
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - SUN 252 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1956
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - 1987
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm SUN 6 mono
THE SUN CD COLLECTION - ROCK AND ROLL ORIGINALS - VOLUME 2
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-2-23 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Kenneth Parchman - Vocal and Guitar
Ronnie Parchman - Guitar
Jerry Lee Smith - Piano
R.W. Stevenson - Bass
Probably Jimmy Lott - Drums

Sun 252-A Unissued

Kenny Parchman came achingly close to having a record on Sun. Two songs were cut, publishing contracts were signed, recordings were mastered, assigned an issue number, scheduled... then cancelled at the last moment.

For years the mystery of what was intended to be SUN 252 beguiled collectors. Then a Sun master number listing seemed to indicate that it was to be Kenny Parchman, and then a safety tape of compiled masters for SUN 251, 252, and 253 put the issue beyond doubt.

No one knows why SUN 252 was canned, leased of all Parchman. He said that his manager skipped town just before the record was due to be released, and perhaps Sam Phillips didn't want to release a record by an artist with no management. Perhaps. (MH)(HD)(CE)

 
Kenneth Parchman
"I FEEL LIKE ROCKIN'" - B.M.I. - 2:29
Composer: - Kenny Parchman
Publisher: - Knox Music Limited
Matrix number: - None - SUN 252 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1956
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - 1987
First appearance: - 1987 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm SUN 6 mono
THE SUN CD COLLECTION - ROCK AND ROLL ORIGINALS - VOLUME 2
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-2-24 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Kenneth Parchman - Vocal and Guitar
Ronnie Parchman - Guitar
Jerry Lee Smith - Piano
R.W. Stevenson - Bass
Probably Jimmy Lott - Drums

Sun 252-A Unissued

With nearly 40 years' hindsight, it is clear that these sides would have broken no new ground for Sun. Parchman's style is credible, if a bit mannered and lightweight. The truth is, if a Sun record from the 250 series had to be lost, better this than "Ubangi Stomp". Parchman came back to 706 Union to record again, although release of his work had to wait for Sun archaeologists a quarter century later. 
 
The version of "Love Crazy Baby" clearly comes probably from another session. The guitar is to the fore on this version, which probably dates from early 1957. (MH)(HD)(CE)

 
Barbara Pittman
"I NEED A MAN" - B.M.I. - 2:52
Composer: - Barbara Pittman-Stanley Kesler
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 204
Recorded: - April 15, 1956
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - September 24, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 253-A mono
I NEED A MAN / NO MATTER WHO'S TO BLAME
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-2-25 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Barbara Pittman - Vocal and Guitar
Roland Janes - Guitar
Buddy Holobaugh - Guitar
Marcus Van Story - Bass
Smokey Joe Baugh - Piano
Johnny Bernero - Drums

Still very much in her teens, Barbara Ann Pittman earned her professional grounding in familiar Memphis nitespots such as the Eagles Nest and the Cotton Club. She fronted an outfit led by local drummer Clyde Leoppard and several of his sidemen were on hand when her inaugural recordings were made at 706 Union. There was little doubting what she had in mind with this title, to wit, the light soprano she'd been displaying on stage was convincingly replaced by a hot-blooded growl.

Not many Sun labels have borne the names of women. One side of Barbara Ann Pittman first Sun single (several records later appeared on Phillips International) was a conscious attempt to expand the boundaries of rockabilly to include female vocalists or, as Billboard called it, "the backshack sound, female style". Along with Janis Martin, Wanda Jackson and several others, Barbara Pittman has been dubbed a "female Elvis". She was indeed a chum of the King, but as an artist she was much more.

"I Need A Man", was an obvious attempt by Sun to climb onto its own rockabilly bandwagon with a female artist. Driven by a slap bass, this track helped challenge rockabilly's 'men only' bias. Billboard magazine responded colorfully by saying "Here the back shack sound, female style". (MH)(HD)(CE)

 
Barbara Pittman
"NO MATTER WHO'S TO BLAME" - B.M.I. - 3:09
Composer: - Stanley Kesler
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 205
Recorded: - April 15, 1956
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - September 24, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 253-B mono
NO MATTER WHO'S TO BLAME / I NEED A MAN
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-2-26 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Barbara Pittman - Vocal and Guitar
Roland Janes - Guitar
Buddy Holobaugh - Guitar
Marcus Van Story - Bass
Smokey Joe Baugh - Piano
Stan Kesler - Steel Guitar
Johnny Bernero - Drums
John "Ace" Cannon - Tenor Sax
Bill Taylor or Hank Byers - Trumpet

This track presented here in its original as well as several alternate forms, offers an interesting and unusual blend of styles. The sound of 1950s pop is obvious in the vocal chorus and Hank Byers trumpet solo, but it is blended with some Memphis country (Stan Kesler's steel guitar is prominent). The final surprise is Barbara's unexpectedly sultry, late-night voice, which takes this under-rated record to a whole different level. Few records in 1956 were as unassumingly hybridzed.

In contrast, this song, which is rarely discussed or reissued, is an underestimated gem. Pittman's smokey vocal is showcased by a striking hybrid sound of Stan Kesler's steel and Bill Taylor's trumpet. Taylor's 8-bar solo is a standout. Sun fans seeking nothing but heavy breathing rockabilly will inevitably be disappointed; those with an open mind for hybrid music will discover the charms of this underrated side. (MH)(HD)(CE)

 
Ray Harris
"COME ON LITTLE MAMA" - B.M.I. - 2:14
Composer: - Ray Harris-Wayne Cogswell
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 200
Recorded: - June 20, 1956
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - September 24, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 254-A mono
COME ON LITTLE MAMA / WHERE'D YOU STAY LAST NIGHT
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-3-1 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Ray Harris - Vocal and Guitar
Winston Wayne Cogswell - Guitar
Joey Reisenberg - Drums
Unknown – Bass

There is a priceless anecdote about Ray Harris, practicing his vocal craft in a non-air conditioned Memphis  apartment in July, standing in his overalls, dripping with sweat, bellowing his heart out to his undeserving  neighbors. Folks living blocks away got to preview an a cappella version of these sides, which Billboard later  called "dangerous".

All the practicing apparently paid off for Harris, whose voice Billboard described as "extreme" and "emotion  packed". In his more staid later life, Ray Harris spent years as the resident engineer at the Hi Records studio  across town.

In its original 45rpm form "Come On Little Mama" proved to be a serious challenge for the avid listener as  the single was pressed on particularly low grade vinyl. Only in recent years, with the advent of the digital  format, has it been possible to soak up the full impact of what Ray Harris first set out to archieve. As a point  of interest, his right hand man was a fine guitarist by the name of Wayne Gogswell who saw success of his  own when he penned "Teensville" for Chet Atkins.

"Come On Little Mama" was one of the original Holy Grail Sun singles... and with good reason. Its one of  the most berserk records of the era. Ray Harris took his song to Sun. Sam Phillips, surely knowing that he  couldn't sell Harris to the mass market, nevertheless responded to his maniacal energu. "I'll never forget it, he  was so intense", says Phillips. "Ray was a very intense person. He really put himself into it. He looked like  he was going to have a heart attack every time he played. 'Rack 'em up, boy, let's go!. That was Ray's  saying".

"Come On Little Mama" was a definitive statement of supercharged rockabilly: a word apart from country,  but not identifiably rhythm and blues or pop. The lyrics were virtually unintelligible, the musicianship  limited, and the production sparse, but the performance was irressistible. "Come On Little Mama" apparently  sold well locally, and Ray Harris was invited back to cut a follow-up. (MH)(HD)(CE)

 
Ray Harris
"WHERE'D YOU STAY LAST NITE" - B.M.I. - 2:10
Composer: - Ray Harris-Wayne Cogswell
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 201
Recorded: - June 20, 1956
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - September 24, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 254-B mono
WHERE'D YOU STAY LAST NIGHT / COME ON LITTLE MAMA
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-3-2 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Ray Harris - Vocal and Guitar
Winston Wayne Cogswell - Guitar
Joey Reisenberg - Drums
Unknown - Bass

Ray Harris' unbridled enthusiasm comes through on both sides of his debut Sun single. The instrumental  work on these sides, while spirited, is thin - even by Sun's spartan standards. If there was a bass player on  this session, he might have been in Taylor's Cafe next door when they nailed these takes.

Tall and imposing, with sharp, angular features, Ray Harris carries about him a frightening intensity, and  speaks with an impenetrable accent that almosy demands subtitles for a listener not from Mississippi. He sat  in his wife's Chrysler one humid summer night a few years ago, holding a cassette of a band he had just  recorded. As it played, his eyes burned as it reached the parts he liked. He stabbed at the cassette deck.  "There! There! I tell you, them boys have got it!. As abruptly as it had arise, though, the energy subsided. (MH)(HD)(CE)

 
The Miller Sisters
"TEN CATS DOWN" - B.M.I. - 2:18
Composer: - Bill Cantrell-Quinton Claunch
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 212
Recorded: - Unknown Date Summer 1956
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - August 3, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 255-A mono
TEN CATS DOWN / FINDERS KEEPERS
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-3-3 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Elsie Jo Miller - Vocal
Mildred Wages - Vocal
Buddy Holobauch - Guitar
Jan Ledbetter - Bass
Johnny Bernero - Drums
Johnny "Ace" Cannon - Tenor Sax
Stan Kesler - Steel Guitar
Bill Taylor - Trumpet

Here was a prime opportunity for Sun to tap into the growing teenage market rather than service a faltering country audience. Sax replaced fiddle as the sidemen, this time largely made up of players from Johnny Bernero's band, worked hard to make the track jump accordingly. Vocally-speaking the girls exude a great deal of savvy which gained them an entirely new mantle, far removed from the indigenous harmonies that had set the standard on their earlier releases.


"Ten Cats Down" was about as close as the Sisters ever came to rock and roll. They were, first and foremost, a country act and while they had an admirable feeling for the blues (listen their version of "Got You On My Mind") they were never fated to climb onto the emerging rock bandwagon. Even Ace Cannon's sax meanderings sound curiously stilted.

And of course, Sam Phillips hedged his bets on the Miller Sisters last record by pairing the lovely ballad ''Finder Keepers'' with the girls one attempt at a solid rocker. ''Ten Cats Down'' was as close as the ladies came to rockabilly but their sound was really illequipped for it. It seems as though women and rockabilly have always had an unsteady romance, despite notable exceptions such as Wanda Jackson and Janis Martin. Arguably, the Miller Sisters were too country, too pure sounding to sound convincing on this type of song. The song needs a raging river and the girls are like a crystal stream. Nevertheless, this track is of considerable interest because it represent a previously unissued alternate take of the version issued on Sun 225. If anything, this version is closer to jazz than rock and roll and pushes the proceedings in the direction of western swing, which was surely not Phillips' intension in 1956. It marked the end of Quinton Claunch and Bill Cantrell's association with Sam Phillips, and Cantrell remembered it with a wince. (MH)(HD)(CE)

 
The Miller Sisters
"FINDERS KEEPERS" - B.M.I. - 2:54
Composer: - Bill Cantrell-Quinton Claunch
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 213
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1956
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - August 3, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 255-B mono
FINDERS KEEPERS / TEN CATS DOWN
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-3-4 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Elsie Jo Miller - Vocal
Mildred Wages - Vocal
Buddy Holobauch - Guitar
Jan Ledbetter - Bass
Johnny Bernero - Drums
Johnny "Ace" Cannon - Tenor Sax
Stan Kesler - Steel Guitar
Bill Taylor - Trumpet
 
Possibly the Miller Sisters' best side. This is a simple yet beautiful pop/country ballad that surely belonged in the charts in 1956. The  girls offer their usual seamless vocal with crystalline harmonies. The backing is an unorthodox combination of sounds. Stan Kesler's beautiful played steel guitar predominates and is abetted by Bill Taylor's totally affecting trumpet which shines through in an unexpected 4-bar solo. There is an interesting similarity between this record and ''No Matter Who's To Blame'' by Barbara Pittman which appears in the same release schedule. That song also featured an unusual trumpet/steel guitar mix. Both also had their sights firmly set on the pop and country charts and failed to reach either. (MH)(HD)(CE)

 
Slim Rhodes
"TAKE AND GIVE" - B.M.I. - 2:20
Composer: - Ronny Hesselbein-E.C. Slim Rhodes
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 216 – Vocal Sandy Brooks
Recorded: - August 14, 1956
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - November 21, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 256-A mono
TAKE AND GIVE / DO WHAT I DO
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-3-5 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Slim Rhodes - Guitar
Sandy Brooks - Vocal
Brad Suggs - Guitar
John Hughey - Steel Guitar
Speck Rhodes - Bass
Johnny Bernero – Drums

Slim Rhodes was really a misnomer on the Sun label. Sandy Brooks, aka Ronnie Hesselbein, is the artist of note. Slim was nothing if not a survivor. Here, his aggregation makes a valiant effort to come to terms with country music's crossover into pop ballads and rockabilly. Although Brooks offers credible emotional and breathy warbling on this both sides of the record, the band's capacity for teen music is streched to the breaking point. The ballad side, "Take And Give", reveals steel player John Hughey, who later joined forces with Conway Twitty, to be an engaging and inventive musician. Drummer Johnny Bernero adds a wonderful, if underrecorded shuffle rhythm to the proceedings, and contributes a memorable rimshot just before the first steel solo. Few Sun records employed as many minor chords as "Take And Give".

The record itself has a commanding presence from its driving intro to the final major 7th chord. It features a surprisingly pounding rhythm, virtually none of which is due to the drumming! What the drummer does contribute is a memorable but almost throwaway rimshot on the snare right before the first steel solo. The steel playing throughout is delightful, with swelling chords complementing Brooks' vocal. The song features an almost completely expendable lyric, but a full assortment of 6-minor chords to give it that haunting quality that might have carried it over into popular success.

For some reason, Billboard was quite unimpressed with both sides, calling the material "ordinary" and "quite thin". These sides made the Memphis charts with little effort, but evaporated into obscurity outside the limits of Rhodes TV show. These days, Hesselbein sell tires in Jackson, Mississippi. (CE)(HD)(MH)

 
Slim Rhodes
"DO WHAT I DO" - B.M.I. - 2:29
Composer: - Slim Rhodes-Ronny Hesselbein
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 217 – Vocal Sandy Brooks
Recorded: - August 14, 1956
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - November 21, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 256-B mono
DO WHAT I DO / TAKE AND GIVE
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-3-6 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Slim Rhodes - Guitar
Sandy Brooks - Vocal
Brad Suggs - Guitar
John Hughey - Steel Guitar
Speck Rhodes - Bass
Johnny Bernero – Drums

''Do What I Do'' is out-and-out rockabilly. Sandy Brooks contributes another strong vocal and Brad Suggs turns to the Carl Perkins guitar manual for his solo. Slim was obviously intent upon being a survivor and he was probably featuring rockabilly acts ob his new WMC-TV show. This is unrecognisable as a Slim Rhodes record of yore but, taken on its own terms, is a fine record for its time and season. It was the last time the names Slim Rhodes or Sandy Brooks appeared on a Sun record. The last anybody checked, Ronnie Hesselbein had gotten into the family business selling tires in Mississippi, a concern that has since expanded to include franchises in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. There turned out to be a lot more money in selling tires than singing rockabilly. (CE)(HD)(MH)

 
Rosco Gordon
"SHOOBIE OOBIE" - B.M.I. - 2:57
Composer: - Rosco Gordon
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 224
Recorded: - October 25, 1956
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - November 21, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 257-A mono
SHOOBIE OOBIE / CHEESE AND CRACKERS
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-3-7 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rosco Gordon - Vocal and Piano
Phillip Walker - Guitar
L.W. Canty - Bass
Joe W. Payne - Drums
James Jones - Tenor Saxophone
Lionel Prevost - Tenor Saxophone

When Rosco Gordon made his trumphant return to performing in Memphis in 1981, ''Shoobie Oobie'' was one of his featured numbers. He turned in a dazzling performance and, as he must have done in Phillips' studio, he left his trademark ''blood on the keys'' from playing so hard. The first twelve bars of this track are incessant and memorable. It's a but surprising that all of this musical tension and power abates so soon and the song resolves itself into a playful and scat-nonsense lyric with the band joining in the backing vocals. This track, and its utterly bizarre flipside, ''Cheese And Crackers'', attracted a fair bit of southern attention during its original release in January 1957. Billboard noted that it ''had some flash'' and was ''good for a few spins''. There had been seismic changes in blues, rhythm and blues and popular music in general in the six years since Gordon first recorded at Sam Phillips' studio. His shambolic, loping rhythms were framed differently... but not much differently. The core of his music was still essentially and delightfully the same. (HD)(CE)

 
Rosco Gordon
"CHEESE AND CRACKERS" - B.M.I. - 2:50
Composer: - Hayden Thompson
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 225
Recorded: - October 25, 1956
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - November 21, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 257-B mono
CHEESE AND CRACKERS / SHOOBIE OOBIE
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-3-8 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rosco Gordon - Vocal and Piano
Phillip Walker - Guitar
L.W. Canty - Bass
Joe W. Payne - Drums
James Jones - Tenor Saxophone
Lionel Prevost - Tenor Saxophone

Rosco Gordon used his larynx more as an instrument than as a vocal attribute: Witness his gargling fluid delivery on "Cheese And Crackers". Even more oblique is the rolling piano intro, which conjures up the accompaniment to a silent movie - the part where the villain makes his entrance. There must have been a permanent high at Sun cutting records like this.

"Chessie And Crackers", gives full vent to Rosco's zaniless. As Billboard noted, "Cat is on a real screaming kick here". The story goes that Hayden Thompson left the lyrics (or most of them, anyway) on the piano at Sun, and Rosco found them and worked them up into the song we know. Its an engaging tale if true, and almost too bizarre not to be true. (MH)(HD)(CE)

 
Johnny Cash & The Tennessee Two
"TRAIN OF LOVE" - B.M.I. - 2:21
Composer: - Johnny Cash
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 226 - Take 3
Recorded: - May 8, 1956
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - November 21, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 258-A mono
TRAIN OF LOVE / THERE YOU GO
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-3-9 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Johnny Cash - Vocal and Guitar
Luther Perkins - Guitar
Marshall Grant – Bass

It was a long seven months before Johnny Cash's next record hit the marketplace. Such was the continuing success of "I Walk The Line", that Sam Phillips wanted to wring every last play and sale it afforded before releasing Cash's next effort. The wait was worth it. This is a truly superb two-sided record, revealing all the dimensions of Cash as a performer and composer.

"Train Of Love" establishes Cash's love of train songs and rhythms better than virtually anything in his catalogue. His tiny, barely functional band turns in a taut performance and Phillips has miked the trio for maximum effect. Cash has written himself a perfect melody line replete with flatted thirds, within which his lonesome voice can soar without revealing its limitations. (HD)


 
Johnny Cash & The Tennessee Two
"THERE YOU GO" - B.M.I. - 2:16
Composer: - Johnny Cash
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 222 - Take 2
Recorded: - May 8, 1956
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - November 21, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 258-B mono
THERE YOU GO / TRAIN OF LOVE
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-3-10 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Johnny Cash - Vocal and Guitar
Luther Perkins - Guitar
Marshall Grant – Bass

Likewise, "There You Go" is a flawless affort by all. The song is plainly a more conventional 'pop' outing, yet Cash's unique sound and integrity as a country artist are never compromised. In his later career, Johnny Cash may have occasionally reached this level of artistic success, but he never surpassed it. A gem. (HD)

 
Jerry Lee Lewis
"CRAZY ARMS" - B.M.I. - 2:43
Composer: - Charles Seals-Ralph Mooney
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 229
Recorded: - November 14, 1956
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - December 1, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 259-A mono
CRAZY ARMS / END OF THE ROAD
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-3-11 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jerry Lee Lewis - Vocal and Piano
Roland Janes - Guitar off-mic on "Grazy Arms".
James M. Van Eaton - Drums
Billy Riley - Guitar last note on "Crazy Arms"

In 1956 Ray Prize had a number one country hit and million-seller with "Crazy Arms" (Columbia 21510) produced by Don Law. The song, which was written by Ralph Mooney and Chuck Seals, peaked at number 27 on the Top 100 chart. Mooney wrote "Crazy Arms" after his wife temporarily left him because of his drinking. In 1963 Marion Worth had a number 18 country hit with his rendition (Columbia 42703). On this track Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis sang a few lines of "Crazy Arms" during this Million Dollar Quartet session on December 4, 1956. Just three days earlier, Sun Records released "Crazy Arms" as Lewis's first record (SUN 259).

"Crazy Arms" must have sounded decades old the moment it was released, for Ray Price spends the whole record on the edge of a pure Jimmie Rodgers yodel and the fiddles and steel guitar belong to another era, one in which Elvis and Little Richard are barely conceivable, much less standing at center stage. On the other  hand, the concept of the pop star as a person on the edge of insanity has some of its most important roots in just this kind of country record, in which the singer confesses - and genuinely seems to feel - that his behaviour is a form of madness, that he has little or no control over what his body is going to do even though his mind (or at least, his conscious moral sense) urges him in a more godly (or at least sensible) direction. You tell me the difference in attitude between that posture and many random heavy metal band's.
 
It didn't take long for Jerry Lee and teenage drummer Jimmy Van Eaton is forge a musical alliance. They had it here, the first time they met and recorded. Exactly which titles were recorded and in what sequence is a matter of conjecture at this point. One thing we can be sure of is that by the time they reached ''Crazy Arms'', which became Jerry Lee's first Sun release, they were soaring together. There was nobody there to fill in the blanks: no bass, no guitar, no strings, no voices. Just Jerry and Jimmy, whose combined ages at this point didn't total 40 years.
 
Van Eaton is doing so much more than keeping time, it's almost comic. He's kicking and prodding, and providing drum rolls and counter-rhythm. It's like having Jerry Lee accompanied by a marching band. When Jerry launches into his 16-bar piano solo, J.M. follows suit and begins to solo on his drums. Much of what Van Eaton does here he would continue to do for the next seven years in the Sun studio, but never so much of it in such a compressed time and place. ''Crazy Arms'' runs under three minutes (2:45, to be exact) and there's enough drumming to fill a dozen records. The amazing this is neither of these young men knew exactly what they were doing. They were ''feeling each other out'' musically, taking risks, seeing if the other would follow.
 
They did, and we get to listen to it happen all over again 60 plus years after it ignited spontaneously that afternoon on November 14, 1956. (MH)(HD)(CE)(SP)

 
Jerry Lee Lewis
"END OF THE ROAD" - B.M.I. - 1:46
Composer: - Jerry Lee Lewis
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 230
Recorded: - November 14, 1956
"End Of The Road" probably recorded at a later date
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - December 1, 1956
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 259-B mono
END OF THE ROAD / CRAZY ARMS
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-3-12 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jerry Lee Lewis - Vocal and Piano
Roland Janes - Guitar
James M. Van Eaton - Drums

"End Of The Road" was the flip side of Jerry Lee Lewis's first record at Sun Records (SUN 259), which was released on December 1, 1956. The A side was "Crazy Arms". Lewis sang "End Of The Road" (his own composition) during this Million Dollar Quartet session on December 4, 1956, accompanying himself on piano. Elvis and Carl Perkins did not participate in this song.

Moments like this in music history don't come about very often. what Billboard called ''distinctively smart waz'' launched a career that has transcended time, style and personal tragedy (HD)(CE)

 
Billy Riley & His Little Green Men
"FLYING SAUCER ROCK AND ROLL" - B.M.I. - 2:02
Composer: - Ray Scott
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 233 - Take 10
Recorded: - December 11, 1956
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - January 23, 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 260-A mono
FLYING SAUCER ROCK AND ROLL / I WANT YOU BABY
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-3-13 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Billy Riley - Vocal and Guitar
Roland Janes - Guitar
Marvin Pepper - Bass
James M. Van Eaton - Drums
Jerry Lee Lewis – Piano

Note: "Flying Saucer Rock And Roll'' (misprinted as ''Saucers"" on the record label.

When Sam Phillips pressed the red button on his Ampex tape machine to record Billy Riley's single, he was taking the plot of a sci-fi drive-in movie and turning it into a mesmeric rock and roll classic. The elements that he'd gathered together were right on target. Riley's hoarse throat vocal, Jerry Lee's freestyling at the studio upright and Roland Janes, with his eerily-echoed whammy bar, were enough to frighten anyone's horses. No wonder they were dubbed "The Little Green Men".

Billy Riley performs what has become a rockabilly anthem. His raspy vocal on "Flying Saucer Rock And Roll" soars over a frenetic musical sound anchored by newly recruited session pianist Jerry Lee Lewis. The guitar breaks by Riley and session man Roland Janes have become models for aspiring rockabilly guitarists, but it is James M. Van Eaton who steal the show with some of the tastiest drumming in rockabilly history. His work during the spacy four bar intro, with that brief foray on to the tom-tom are permanently ingrained in the consciousness of most Sun fans. Similarly, the last ten seconds of this record are an eye-opener. The snare roll during the last sustained chord might have been enough, but the unexpected bass drum stomp raises the record to brilliance. (MH)(HD)(CE)

 
Billy Riley & His Little Green Men
"I WANT YOU BABY" - B.M.I. - 1:52
Composer: - Billy Riley
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 234
Recorded: - December 11, 1956
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - January 23, 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 260-B mono
I WANT YOU BABY / FLYING SAUCER ROCK AND ROLL
Reissued: - 1995 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15802 DI-3-14 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 2

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Billy Riley - Vocal and Guitar
Roland Janes - Guitar
Marvin Pepper - Bass
James M. Van Eaton - Drums
Jerry Lee Lewis – Piano

If you were a song, even one as sweet as ''I Want You Baby'', how'd you like to get stuck on the flipside of  ''Flying Saucer Rock And Roll''? Talk about being invisible! It is very easy to underestimate to this record.  The lyrics won't make anybody forget about Cole Porter. The sound has that "live in the studio, cooked up  spontaneously" quality. The results are endearing but just as easy to discount. Sun couldn't havepicked a  more perfect B-side for ''Flying Saucer Rock And Roll''. It would have been a rare disc jockey who listened  to this and decided to divert his attention from the A-side.

Ask yourself: What category of music is this? Everyone knows that Sun produced hybrids, but how would  you label this track? Is this country? Rock and roll? Pop? A large part of that confusion stems from  Roland's wonderful guitar playing. Some of the alternate takes push the results closer to either country or  rock, but the original 45 contains just the perfect measure of confusion.

On the master of "I Want You Baby", Riley and company also shine on this undervalued midtempo gem.  The smooth guitar work and pleading vocal reveal an exceptionally talented performer. Once again, it is  James Van Eaton, whose tasty licks and accenting raise this fine record to excellence. (MH)(HD)(CE)

 
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