CONTAINS

Sun 281-290 Series
 
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Jerry Lee Lewis & His Pumping Piano
"GREAT BALLS OF FIRE" - B.M.I. - 1:50
Composer: - Jack Hammer-Otis Blackwell
Publisher: - Unichappell Music
Matrix number: - U 277 - Master
Recorded: - October 8, 1957
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - November 3, 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 281-A mono
GREAT BALLS OF FIRE / YOU WIN AGAIN
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803 DI-1-5 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3
 
Reached number 2 on the Billboard's Pop charts; number 3 on the Rhythm and  Blues charts.
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jerry Lee Lewis - Vocal and Piano
Probably Roland Janes - Guitar
Unknown - Bass
Probably J.M. Van Eaton - Drums

New York publisher, Paul Case, gave Jack Hammer's irresistible title to Otis Blackwell, who came up with an entirely new discourse. After agreeing to cut the song, Jerry Lee initially wrestled with his conscience over the tone of the lyrics. The deliberation was worth it because many highlights resulted, particularly his demarcating piano solo that shamelessly hocks the bass riff from Little Richard's "Lucille".

"Great Balls Of Fire" was no song Jerry had plucked from his reliquary, though; nor was it dashed off in one or two takes. It was a conscious attempt to produce a hit record for the lucrative teen market, which Jerry Lee had just shown he was capable of penetrating. 
 
The song had been pitched first to Carl Perkins then Lewis as part of a deal in which they would appear in the movie "Jamboree". Then, in a move wholly untypical of Sam Phillips, he decided to forego the publishing on the flip side as well. (HD)(MH)

 
Jerry Lee Lewis & His Pumping Piano
"YOU WIN AGAIN" - B.M.I. - 2:54
Composer: - Hank Williams
Publisher: - Acuff Rose Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 276 - Overdubbed Master
Recorded: - August 21, 1957
Overdubbed session, October 8, 1957
Overdubbed October 1957
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - November 3, 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 281-B mono
YOU WIN AGAIN / GREAT BALLS OF FIRE
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803 DI-1-6 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3
 
Reached number 95 on the Billboard's Pop charts.
 
Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
J Jerry Lee Lewis - Vocal and Piano
Roland Janes - Guitar
Unknown - Bass
Otis Jett - Drums
 
 
Jerry actually recorded ''You Win Again'' at two 1957 Sun sessions; initially he taped three inappropriate fast takes, and then a few weeks later cut the more well-known slower version. The fast takes stayed in the can for over a quarter of a century, with the first of these being issued on ''The Sun Years'' box-set in 1984, while the slower cut (with a tasteful male vocal group overdub) was issued as the B-side to ''Great Balls Of Fire'' (in the United Kingdom it was even issued as an A-side in it’s own right but sadly sold poorly). The 1963 re-cut reinstates the final verse that Jerry didn’t sing on the Sun single, and the fuller backing (including girly singers & strings) perfectly suits the material. (HD)(MH)

 
Dick Penner
"CINDY LOU" – B.M.I. - 2:17
Composer: - Dick Penner
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 279
Recorded: - February 19, 1957
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - November 3, 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 282-A mono
CINDY LOU / YOUR HONEY LOVE
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803 DI-1-7 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Dick Penner - Vocal and Guitar
Don Gililand - Guitar
Unknown – Bass

Sam Phillips invited one half of 'the College Kids' back to the studio in an attempt to work up some of the elusive magic he had heard during the session for SUN 269. In truth, Phillips succeeded, although the rewards were not financial, and spelled an end to Penner's association with Sun.
 
Dick Penner seemed to gravivate to eerie, soaring minor key mid-tempo ballads with a decidedly romantic cast. "Cindy Lou", an ode to the woman he would eventually marry, is one such case. In fact, it is more than that. This is a really extraordinary record that has been overlooked in the reissue sweepstakes. There's a lot going on here and there are only three people doing it. The lead guitar work is incredibly assertive and its interplay with Penner's gentle understated vocal is brilliant. The drumming is restrained, although its use of the cowbell is quite unusual for 706 Union.  The electric bass player has the easiest job in town, and for a very special reason. "Cindy Lou" may be the only Sun record that never changes chords. This entire song is performed in a single chord. The bass player could have earned his fee by simply alternating two notes for the whole session. He adds a couple of grace notes here and there, perhaps to stay awake, but they were technically unnecessary. Not surprisingly, this limited structure creates a heap of tension, which the strident guitar player continues to punch at throughout the recording. This is a fine, fine record. (HD)

 
Dick Penner
"YOUR HONEY LOVE" – B.M.I. - 2:10
Composer: - Dick Penner
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 278
Recorded: - February 19, 1957
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - November 3, 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 282-B mono
YOUR HONEY LOVE / CINDY LOU
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803 DI-1-8 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Dick Penner - Vocal and Guitar
Don Gililand - Guitar
Unknown – Bass

The structure of "Your Honey Love" is a lot more conventional and again, the three musicians make a lot of music. The bass player is finally free to do some playing and uses the opportunity well, providing a fat sound to underpin the bluesy changes. The lead guitar is as strident as ever (where did this guy go?), and Penner's voice is, once more, disarmingly gently.

Now Dick Penner is retired, travelling around the world and taking very artistic pictures, but his  music is still played worldwide. (HD)(MH)

 
Johnny Cash & The Tennessee Two
"BALLAD OF A TEENAGE QUEEN" - B.M.I. - 2:09
Composer: - Jack Clement
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 284 - Overdubbed Master
Recorded: - November 12, 1957
Overdubbed Session November 22, 1957
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - December, 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 283-A mono
BALLED OF A TEENAGE QUEEN / BIG RIVER
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803 DI-1-9 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Johnny Cash - Vocal and Guitar
Jack Clement - Guitar
Luther Perkins - Guitar
Marshall Grant - Bass
 
Overdubbed Session
Cyd Mostelle - Lead Soprano
Asa Wilkerson - Vocal Harmony
Bill Abbott - Vocal Harmony
Don Carter - Vocal Harmony
Lee Holt - Vocal Harmony
Nita Smith - Vocal Harmony

You could spend an evening listening to all the outtakes of "Teenage Queen". You'd probably end up smirking at some of the cornier couplets Jack Clement came up with in his quest to siphon away some disposable income from middle America. For his part, Cash always insisted that he cut it under protest, but then, after years of refusing to do the song in concerts, he rerecorded it in 1987, finally reinstating one of Clement's lost couplets: "She was queen of the senior prom/She could cook just like her mom". The final product of the Sun session could have been a lot worse, and it is made infinitely more tolerable by the gem that appeared on its flipside. (HD)(CE)

 
Johnny Cash & The Tennessee Two
"BIG RIVER" - B.M.I. - 2:29
Composer: - Johnny Cash
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 285
Recorded: - November 12, 1957
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - December 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 283-B mono
BIG RIVER / BALLAD OF A TEENAGE QUEEN
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803 DI-1-10 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

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

"Big River" remains Johnny Cash's most explicit flirtation with rockabilly. It is a delight from start to finish, possessing both musical drive and integrity, as well as an uncommon lyrical flair. On the humorous side, there must have been a moment of disbelief back in early 1958 when Cash turned to Luther Perkins and said, "Ah, get goin' there". Luther get going? Fortunately, the instrumental break is as much rhythmic as musical and the band solos as a unit. Jack Clement still points to a careworn Martin guitar in his office, telling anyone who cares to listen that it was the guitar on "Big River". The lyrical reference to "cry cry cry", the title of Cash's first Sun Record, was a fine self referential in-joke. It is also a reminder that, much as this song has become a classic, it wasn't that far removed from the beginning of his career. SUN 283 was only Johnny Cash's sixth record. (HD)(CE)

 
Roy Orbison
"I LIKE LOVE" - B.M.I. - 2:30
Composer: - Jack Clement
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 283
Recorded: - October 1957
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - December 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 284-A mono
I LIKE LOVE / CHICKEN-HEARTED
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803 DI-1-12 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Roy Orbison - Vocal and Guitar
Roland Janes - Guitar
Stan Kesler or Sid Manker - Bass
Otis Jett - Drums
Jimmy Wilson or Jimmy Smith - Piano
Martin Willis - Tenor Saxophone
C. Buehl - Unknown

Can this be the same Roy Orbison who became the operatic balladeer of the 1960s? However atypical of Orbison's later sound, "I Like Love" was as trite as its title suggests, rocks at a fine pace and the surprising sax  solo at the close following a run of piano triplets leads the song to a strong fade. Released in December 1957, the single was Orbison's last shot on Sun as a contracted artist. (HD)
Roy Orbison
"CHICKEN-HEARTED" - B.M.I. - 2:15
Composer: - Roy Orbison-Bill Justis
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 282
Recorded: - October 1957
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - December 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 284-B mono
CHICKEN-HEARTED / I LIKE LOVE
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803 DI-1-11 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Roy Orbison - Vocal and Guitar
Roland Janes - Guitar
Stan Kesler or Sid Manker - Bass
Otis Jett - Drums
Jimmy Wilson or Jimmy Smith - Piano
Martin Willis - Tenor Saxophone
C. Buehl - Unknown

The flipside, "Chicken-Hearted", has always been a bit of an enigma to Sun and Orbison fans alike. More a sax instrumental (probably by Bill Justis rather than the credited Martin Willis) than a vocal track, it wails along in a groove that has survived the ravages of time rather well. The instrumental work is uniformly fine, including some excellent drumming by Otis Jett and driving piano work by one of Sun's resident Jimmys: either Wilson or Smith. When Orbison isn't singing, this is a well done, even typical late-1950s saxled instrumental that reminds one more of Duane Eddy or The Champs than the gang at 706 Union. (HD)(MH)

 
Sonny Burgess
"MY BUCKET'S GOT A HOLE IN IT" - A.S.C.A.P. - 2:17
Composer: - Clarence Williams
Publisher: - Pickwick Music
Matrix number: - U 280 - Master
Recorded: - August 14, 1957
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - December 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 285-A mono
MY BUCKET'S GOT A HOLE IN IT / SWEET MISERY
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803 DI-1-13 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Sonny Burgess - Vocal and Guitar
Jack Clement - Acoustic Guitar
Johnny Ray Hubbard - Bass
Kern Kennedy - Piano
Jack Nance - Drums

Overdubbed
Stan Kesler - Unknown
Dianne Stephens - Vocal
Carolyn Gray - Vocal
Don Carter - Vocal
Lee Holt - Vocal
Bill Abbott - Vocal
Asa Wilkerson - Vocal

Best known by Hank Williams, "Bucket" was taken for such a fine rockabilly ride by Sunny Burgess that fledgling rocker Ricky Nelson rushed out and recorded a cover version which revealed all his limitations as a Sun wannabee. Burgess' version is an even better record than many of us realized at the time. Discovery years later of the original undubbed track pointed out two things: first, an even more powerful and driving performance had been buried under the overdubbed chorus; second, this overdub had not been done to a poor, unwilling Sonny. He was a willing participant in the process, as we hear him shout "yeh, get going's" to 16 bars of empty space awaiting Jack Clement's overdubbed guitar solo. (HD)

 
Sonny Burgess
"SWEET MISERY" - B.M.I. - 2:09
Composer: - Jack Clement
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 281 - Master
Recorded: - August 14, 1957
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - December 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 285-B mono
SWEET MISERY / MY BUCKET'S GOT A HOLE IN IT
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803 DI-1-14 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Sonny Burgess - Vocal and Guitar
Jack Clement - Acoustic Guitar
Johnny Ray Hubbard - Bass
Kern Kennedy - Piano
Jack Nance - Drums
 
Overdubbed
Stan Kesler - Unknown
Dianne Stephens - Vocal
Carolyn Gray - Vocal
Don Carter - Vocal
Lee Holt - Vocal
Bill Abbott - Vocal
Asa Wilkerson - Vocal

Probably the less said about "Sweet Misery" the better. Having established their presence on "Teenage Queen", the shrieking Gene Lowery singers were beginning to establish their dreaded presence on Sun overdub sessions under Jack Clement's aegis. Commercially speaking, it was probably a move in the right direction, but arrangements like this were beginning to undermine the musical purity and quirky tension that had drawn fans and critics to those yellow Sun record in the first place.(HD)

 
Warren Smith
"GOT LOVE IF YOU WANT IT" - B.M.I. - 2:08
Composer: - James Moore
Publisher: - Excellorec Music
Matrix number: - U 286
Recorded: - October 16, 1957
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - December 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 286-A mono
GOT LOVE IF YOU WANT IT / I FELL IN LOVE
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803 DI-1-15 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Warren Smith - Vocal and Guitar
Al Hopson - Guitar
Roland Janes - Guitar
Will Hopson - Bass
Jimmie Lott - Drums

This is not so much a cover, this was more a spirited revival of the Slim Harpo tune from six months earlier which had caught Warren Smith's ear over radio station WDIA in Memphis. Taken in a higher key and with a major hike in tempo, the arrangement was purposely detailed for teenage ears. For once all of the elements seemed to be in place for Warren to break through, except to say that most of Sun's promotional energies by late 1957 were totally geared towards the latest singles by Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Among the song that Warren Smith heard on the car radio was Slim Harpo's "Got Love If You Want It". In Harpo's hand it was a mellow mid paced blues, delivered in a laconic bayou country drawl to a pseudorhumba beat. In Smith's hand it became another celebration of joyous, primal rockabilly. Al Hopson and Roland Janes trated licks on the intro and the solo (Hopson taking the lead and Janes the response). Smith contributed a hugely confident vocal and made some minor lyrical changes in deference to prevailing mores: "Your fine brown frame" became "You fine looking thing", for example. Warren Smith omitted Harpo's final verses and substituted lines adapted from another Slim Harpo record, "I'm A King Bee". Coupled with a lovely ballad by Al Hopson, "I Fell In Love", there was no reason that the record should not have been a hit - except that it was issued in the same month as Jerry Lee Lewis' "Great Balls Of Fire".

According to Sun's royalty statement, the record had only sold a shade over 7000 copies by the following June. Warren Smith was disgusted, and his band began to lose the faith. Marcus Van Story dropped out, to be replaced by Al Hopson's brother, Will. Jimmie Lott also packed his bags and headed back to Memphis.  (HD)(MH)

 
Warren Smith
"I FELL IN LOVE" - B.M.I. - 2:39
Composer: - Al Hopson
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 287
Recorded: - October 16, 1957
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - December 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 286-B mono
I FELL IN LOVE / GOT LOVE IF YOU WANT IT
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803 DI-1-16 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Warren Smith - Vocal and Guitar
Al Hopson - Guitar
Roland Janes - Guitar
Sid Manker - Bass
Otis Jett - Drums

Overdub Session
Vernon Drake - Vocals
Asa Wilkerson - Vocals
Lee Holt – Vocals

As on his first Sun outing, Smith's rockabilly stylings are paired with a country effort. Only this time, the sound of country music has been softened to welcome the burgeoning pop crossover market. In its own way, "I Fell In Love" is, as Billboard used to say, "potent stuff". Smith's vocal is beautiful recorded, surrounded by a tastefully arranged male chorus. This time, drum support is confined to rather assertively miked brushwork.  In a somewhat daring step, Smith's singing is left to stand a cappella during the last line. Its a rather eyeopening way to close a highly effective arrangement. During the first verse, Smith sings the curious phrase "Just to be made feel blue", a form of English spoken nowhere on the planet, including the deep south. (HD)(MH)

 
Carl Perkins - The Rockin' Guitar Man
"LEND ME YOUR COMB" - B.M.I. - 1:55
Composer: - Kay Twomey-Ben Weisman-Fred Wise
Publisher: - Alamo Music
Matrix number: - U 289
Recorded: - December 6, 1957
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - December 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 287-A mono
LEND ME YOUR COMB / GLAD ALL OVER
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803 DI-1-17 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

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

Carl Perkins needed a hit record. The days of ''Blue Suede Shoes'' were plainly over and Sam, not to mention Carl, was willing to try just about anything to rekindle his success. ''Lend Me Your Comb'' qualifies as ''anything''. Think of it as The Everly Brothers meet Mickey & Sylvia. How could you miss with such a mixture? And this wasn't just any Everly Brothers song; the lyric is straight out of ''Wake Up Little Susie''.

There's still the mystery of how this song, right out of New York's Tin Pan Alley, made its way to Carl. It seems the route may have been rather indirect. Carl's was not the first recording of the song to hit the market. There were at least two earlier versions. The original of ''Lend Me Your Comb'' featured a double-tracked vocal by Carol Hughes and appeared on Roulette 404 I. Her record (with some gender-appropriate lyrical differences) received a Spotlight review in Billboard on December 30, 1957 as a ''cute rockabilly ditty'' with ''good rock work support''. The industry bible concluded that this record ''might make it''. Bernie Nee's cover released almost immediately on Columbia 41090 was also well received as ''a fine vocal effort that could click with the kids''. At this point with a couple of versions already on the market, an enterprising publisher's rep may have pitched the song to Sam Phillips as a sure ticket for renewed pop success for his hungry artist. Mr. Nee is a story, himself. This singer, songwriter, entrepreneur may be familiar to some collectors as the voices of the Five Blobs who appeared in the soundtrack of the classic 1958 horror movie, ''The Blob'', featuring the screen debut of Steve McQueen.  (HD)(MH)

 
Carl Perkins - The Rockin' Guitar Man
"GLAD ALL OVER" - B.M.I. - 1:40
Composer: - Aron Schroeder-Sid Tepper-Roy C. Bennett
Publisher: - Magnificent Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 288
Recorded: - December 11, 1957
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - December 1957
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 287-B mono
GLAD ALL OVER / LEND ME YOUR COMB
Reissued: - 1990 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15494 EH-3-18 mono digital
THE CLASSIC CARL PERKINS

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

We are disappointed to report that there are no known outtakes of ''Glad All Over''. If Carl and the band did not nail this title in one take, where have the outtakes gone? It is possible, of course, that this title, which appeared in the 1958 film ''Jamboree'', was not recorded at Sun, even though it was released on the Sun label. Sam had already reached well beyond his usual business approach when he made a deal to get Carl and Jerry Lee Lewis into the teen music pic ''Jamboree'' in return for choosing two of the producers' copyrights (Carl famously chose to sing '' All Over'' rather than ''Great Balls Of Fire'', possibly denying himself a return to mass market attention)

''Glad All Over'' appeared on Carl's final Sun single (Sum 287) Drummer W.S. ''Fluke'' Holland thinks it might have been recorded in New York, but is not certain. However, Carl's bio suggest that the session was engineered by Jack Clement (at Sun). In the likely event the demo for the song came to Sun with the memorable drum hook already on it. W.S. would eve learned it right off that record. ''No doubt about it. I don a know why else I would have played that little drum thing right there'', observes W.S. He also agrees that learning the song and its arrangement straight off a demo might have reduced the session time it took for the band to record a final take, perhaps eliminating outtakes altogether. ''I don't know that we ever played it more than one''.

In any case, Sun Records contributed two songs and film clips to the movie. The songs share one striking feature: they are uncommonly short. ''Glad All Over'' runs l :40 and the issued version of ''Great Balls Of Fire'' times out at l:56. Given that the whole movie barely runs 70 minutes. these brief running times are not surprising. (HD)(MH)

 
Jerry Lee Lewis & His Pumping Piano
"BREATHLESS" - B.M.I. - 2:39
Composer: - Otis Blackwell
Publisher: - Homefolks Music
Matrix number: - U 291 - Master
Recorded: - January 21, 1958
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - February 1958
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 288-A mono
BREATHLESS / DOWN THE LINE
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803 DI-1-19 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jerry Lee Lewis - Vocal and Piano
Billy Riley - Guitar
Jay W. Brown - Bass
James M. Van Eaton – Drums

When you're hot, you're hot. Jerry Lee managed to follow his mega-hit "Great Balls Of Fire" with yet another blockbuster from the pen of Otis Blackwell. "Breathless" is another wild performance, complete with a heavy breathing hook that grabbed more than its share of disposablee teenage income. The song's structure is less than typical, and far from the blues and country music on which Jerry Lee cut his teeth. Although Jerry's piano plays a less central role here than ever before, the artist still manages to make this performance his own. Jerry's Louisiana pronunciation of "You know I 'doin' like a wood in flame" is a delight.

Reached number 7 on the Billboard's Pop charts; at number 3 on the Billboard's Rhythm and Blues Charts, and number 4 on Billboard's Country and Western charts.

This song was a calculated shot at the pubescent market, with Jerry's breathy delivery of the title as its hook. "Breathless" moved up the charts with the help of a ploy devised by Jud Phillips and Dick Clark. Beechnut chewing gum had sponsored the networking of Dick Clark's "Bandstand" show, but initial response was unfavorable until Jud and Dick Clark figured out how to kill two birds with one stone with a crosspromotion deal. Jerry Lee Lewis sang "Breathless" on "The Dick Clark Show". (HD)

 
Jerry Lee Lewis & His Pumping Piano
"DOWN THE LINE" - B.M.I. - 2:11
Composer: - Roy Orbison
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 290 - Master
Recorded: - January 16-18, 1957
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - February 1958
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 288-B mono
DOWN THE LINE / BREATHLESS
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803 DI-1-20 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Jerry Lee Lewis - Vocal and Piano
Roland Janes and/or Billy Riley - Guitar
Jay W. Brown - Bass
James M. Van Eaton – Drums

More serious rockabilly fans were instantly enamored with "Down The Line", of course a reworking of Roy Orbison's timeless "Go Go Go", which had adorned the flipside of Orbison's 1956 hit "Ooby Dooby". True to his edict, Sam Phillips selected a take that was long on feeling, if a bit short on technical perfection. From the first eight bars, you know this is a good one. Jerry's tight little combo cooks beautifully with the bass and guitar complementing his piano boogie. But then the seams start to show. Jerry Lee demonstrates his well known flair for blowing lyrics and ends up mumbling his way through the chorus. Worse yet, by the fourth bar of the solo, it has become painfully obvious that the guitarist has gone rather woefully out of tune. If you don't look too closely, this record is very exciting, especially if you don't mind your excitement tinged with sloppiness. (HD)

 
Billy Riley & The Little Green men
"BABY PLEASE DON'T GO" - B.M.I. - 2:06
Composer: - Billy Riley
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 293
Recorded: - November 25, 1957
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - February 1958
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 289-A mono
BABY PLEASE DON'T GO / WOULDN'T YOU KNOW
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803 DI-1-21 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Billy Riley - Vocal and Guitar
Roland Janes - Guitar
Pat O'Neil - Bass
James M. Van Eaton - Drums
James Paulman - Guitar
Jimmy Wilson - Piano
Martin Willis - Saxophone
Bill Justis - Saxophone

"Baby Please Don't Go" is much successful. James M. Van Eaton opens it with an atmospheric shuffle augmented by Riley's girlfriend banging two drumsticks together. Riley plays the electric lead on a Bird land guitar and uses his raspy voice in marked contrast to the smoother 'A' side. Riley felt that the absence of Sam Phillips from the studio had a noticeable effect. "We weren't as comfortable in the studio with Jack at the controls. Sam was always coming around and listening. He was in there making you feel good. He'd say like 'OK man, that was great. Gimme more black in it'. Jack never been happy with a cut on anything he's ever done. Sam knew when the record was cut". The record that would supposedly fulfill Riley's promise was released in February 1958. By June it had sold a dismal 3210 copies.

Riley's vocal and guitar work on "Baby Please Don't Go" was closer to expectations. There is a considerable tension to this record; it feels just on the verge of breaking free. Riley sings and plays with restraint, yet there is an unmistakable edge to his performance. Its a fine recording.

Billy Riley spent too much of his Sun career eclipsed by Jerry Lee Lewis. The story has often been told of how "Red Hot" was held back in order to focus Sun's meager promotional and pressing resources on "Great Balls Of Fire". What is often overlooked is the fact that this cycle of neglect continued with SUN 289. While perhaps not as commercial as "Red Hot", this recording was similarly overwhelmed by Jerry Lee's latest (SUN 288). Again. Riley was relegated to the back burner and watched this single sell barely over 3000 copies. It was at this point that Billy Riley quit Sun and went off looking for greener pastures. He never found them and would soon return to the familiar confines of 706 Union. (HD)(MH)

 
Billy Riley & The Little Green Men
"WOULDN'T YOU KNOW" - B.M.I. - 2:46
Composer: - John Marascalco
Publisher: - Robin Hood Music Company
Matrix number: - U 292
Recorded: - November 25, 1957
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - February 1958
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 289-B mono
WOULDN'T YOU KNOW / BABY PLEASE DON'T GO
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803 DI-1-22 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Billy Riley - Vocal and Guitar
Roland Janes - Guitar
Pat O'Neil - Bass
James M. Van Eaton - Drums
James Paulman - Guitar
Jimmy Wilson - Piano
Martin Willis - Saxophone
Bill Justis - Saxophone

Those expecting Billy Riley's vocal to be a repeat of "Red Hot" or "Flying Saucer Rock And Roll" were stunned by his style on "Wouldn't You Know". At the time, few fans realized how much of a chameleon Riley truly was. Even the instrumental sound of "Wouldn't You Know" was a departure. Everything from chord structure to tempo was a departure from typical Riley-Sun fare. Yet it all worked, highlighted by Martin Willis' highly melodic sax solo.

Billy Riley was unhappy with "Wouldn't You Know". "We should never have cut that record. It was something that we used to do on stage. It just wasn't a good record". In the absence of Ronald Janes, Billy Riley plays lead guitar and the solo spots are taken by Martin Willis' tenor sax. However, the highlight of the recording is Jimmy Wilson's ringing piano accompaniment. Note Riley's imitation of Jerry Lee Lewis' lascivious "Mmmm's".  (HD)(MH)

 
Rudy Grazell
"JUDY" - B.M.I. - 2:03
Composer: - Paiz-Dick Ketner-Rudy Grayzell
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 295 - Take 2
Recorded: - October 15, 16, 1957
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - April 9, 1958
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 290-A mono
JUDY / I THINK OF YOU
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803 DI-1-23 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rudy Grayzell - Vocal and Guitar
Roland Janes - Guitar
Jimmy Smith - Piano
Dick Ketner - Bass
Otis Jett - Drums

By the time he came to Sun Records in 1957, Rudy Jiminez Grayzell had already made his mark in country and rockabilly circles, recording for Talent, Abbott, Starday, and Capitol. 

Despite this gimmeckry, "Judy" rolls along in an engaging groove, largely assisted by fine work from Roland Janes and Jimmy Wilson, on guitar and piano.

The last two bars of "Judy" are an instrumental highpoint. Sun was apparently over its early period of awkward studio fades, and now featured some of the tightest endings in rockabilly music. Along with "Flying Saucer Rock And Roll" and "So Long I'm Gone", Grayzell's record of "Judy" closes with instrumental power and precision that almost redeems it. (HD)

 
Rudy Grazell
"I THINK OF YOU" - B.M.I. - 2:30
Composer: - Rudy Grayzell
Publisher: - Knox Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 294
Recorded: - October 15, 16, 1957
Memphis Recording Service
706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Released: - April 9, 1958
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single SUN 290-B mono
I THINK OF YOU / JUDY
Reissued: - 1996 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15803 DI-1-24 mono digital
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 3

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Rudy Grayzell - Vocal and Guitar
Roland Janes - Guitar
Jimmy Smith - Piano
Dick Ketner - Bass
Otis Jett - Drums

Billboard noted that Grayzell had a ''frantic sound'', and even had kind words for ''I Think Of You'', the  overwrought balled flipside. (HD)

 


 

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