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1953 SESSIONS (4)
April 1, 1953 to April 30, 1953

Studio Session for Big Memphis Marainey, April 19, 1953 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Dusty Brooks, April 1953 / Sun Records 

For Biographies of Artists see: > The Sun Biographies <
Playlists of the Artists can be found on 706 Union Avenue Sessions of > YouTube < 
 

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APRIL 1953

"Bear Cat" enters the Rhythm and Blues charts, giving Sun its first national hit and it will reach at number 3 in an 8-week chart run.

Billboard reported that Stan Lewis of Stan's Record Shop in Shreveport, Louisiana was the focus of much attention by independent labels, whose bosses were queueing up to pitch him their goodies. These included, "Jim Bullet of the new Sun label, who arrived to chase Willie Mae Thornton's "Hound Dog" with his punchy new answer "Bear Cat" by Rufus Thomas", Bullet had been hard on the case, achieving some seriously good publicity for the new label and for "Bear Cat" even before the disc hit the stores. "Bear Cat" was the Billboard Buy o' the Week on April 11: "The answer to "Hound Dog" broke loose this week with fury. Hit a number of territorial charts and also is registering strongly in Chicago and around Nashville". It reached the national rhythm and blues charts on April 18, 1953, stayed for eight weeks in the top ten and peaked at number three.

APRIL 2, 1953 THURSDAY

Ernest Tubb and Hank Snow arrive back in Nashville after a trip to Korea to entertain American troops in the war. During the trip, Tubb discovered the North Koreans are using a re-worded version of his song, ''Soldier's Last Letter'', as propaganda.

APRIL 3, 1953 FRIDAY

TV Guide is introduced nationally with Lucille Ball's baby on the cover. The weekly magazine is mentioned in the lyrics of Steve Wariner's ''What I Didn't Do''.

APRIL 4, 1953 SATURDAY

Don Robey's injunction against Sun Records' "Bear Cat".

Meantime Sam Phillips was still handling the fallout of his success. Don Robey's Lion Musical Publishing Company had used Sun for infringing the copyright on "Hound Dog" and the U.S. District Court had ruled that Sun had indeed perpetrated an infringement. B.M.I. denied Sun clearance on the disc until Sun agreed to pay two cents per record on all discs sold to Lion Music.

The nature of the independent record business was such that by July, Lion itself was in court defending the contention of Syd Nathan of King Records in Cincinnati that he had an interest in the song "Hound Dog" and should have a fifty per cent share of its success.

APRIL 4, 1953 SATURDAY

Don Robey's injunction against Sun Records also set some kind of speed record. What our gang lost in royalties, they gained in wisdom. The letter reads:

Dear sirs,

I have been advised by Mr. Harry Fox, Agent and Trustee for Lion Publishing Company of Houston, Texas, that license were issued to you authorizing the use of our composition "Hound Dog", your identical copy, being "Bear Cat", but to date, the licence have not been returned.

Please be advised that first, you should have contacted the owner prior to the release of the record, as release of the composition leaves you liable for 5 cents to 8 cents per record royalty for the intrusion upon the rights of others.

I advised Mr. Harry Fox to license you for the statutory 2 cents per record royalty, allowing you to continue with pressing the record, the same as all of the Companies who were properly licensed prior to the release of their own versions of our composition.

This is to also inform that unless contracts are signed and in the office of Mr. Harris Fox by Wednesday, April 8th, 1953, I will be forced to take immediate steps with Court Actions, plus apply charges for full 5 cents to 8 cents per record royalty.

Both Billboard and Cash Box questioned how such quick release was arranged on our material, so is everyone else questioning how the record was released so soon.

I, do hope that this will not cause any unfriendly relations, but, please remember, I have to pay, when I intrude upon the rights of others, and certainly must protect my own rights.

Very truly yours

LION PUBLISHING COMPANY
Don D. Robey
DDR:J

APRIL 1953

During the early years, the Sun label was distributed by Nashville record man Jim Bulleit and several deals were made between Sam Phillips and Jim Bulleit's Delta and J-B labels. Dusty Brooks' band apparently recorded these titles in the mod-west and sold them to Bulleit, who in turn leased them to Sun. Certainly the creamy jazz club sound and Juanita Brown's Billie Holiday-influenced vocals were not the sort of music that has become associated with Sam Phillips' studio, "Tears And Wine" features a duet between Brown and Joe Alexander.

Actually, Brooks was no stranger to the entertainment business. He had previously recorded and enjoyed some limited success on the west coast, where he had also won some fame as an actor in black films. The Vegas lounge act sound of "Heaven Or Fire", or the torchy crooning of "Tears And Wine" were in no way out of character for Brooks. Rather, it is collectors who have trouble reconciling this form of black music with what know and love most about Sun Records.

APRIL 6, 1953 MONDAY

Decca released Red Foley's ''Slaves Of A Hopeless Love Affair'', and Gene Autry's ''But That's All Right''.

APRIL 9, 1953 THURSDAY

"Elvis Prestley, guitarist", as he was mistakenly listed in the program, was 16th on a bill of 22 acts in the Annual Minstrel Show put on by Humes High School to raise money for various school projects. On the 8:00 p.m. revue he reportedly sang "Cold Icy Fingers", which appears to have been the same song remembered by Ms. Elsie Marmann. Due to the enthusiastic response following his performance, Elvis was allowed the program's only encore and he sang "Til I Waltz Again With You". There were an estimated 1500 students, faculty and parents in attendance that night.

"I wasn't popular in school, I wasn't dating anybody there. I failed music - only thing I ever failed. And then they entered me in this talent show, and I came out and did my "Till I Waltz Again With You" by Teresa Brewer, and when I came on stage I heard people kind of rumbling and whispering and so forth, 'cause nobody knew I even sang. It was amazing how popular I became after that. Then I went on through high school and I graduated", recalled Elvis Presley.

Singer/songwriter Hal Ketchum is born in Greenwich, New York. He joins the Grand Ole Opry in 1994 on the back of suck melodic singles as ''Small Town Saturday Night'', ''Past The Point Of Rescue'' and ''Sure Love''.

APRIL 11, 1953 SATURDAY

Patsy Cline, visiting from Winchester, Virginia, sings two songs on Ernest Tubb's Nashville radio show ''The Midnite Jaboree''.

Hank Williams' ''Your Cheatin' Heart'' own the top spot in the Billboard country chart.

APRIL 14, 1953 TUESDAY

''Mooney'' Lynn gives his wife, Loretta Lynn, a $17 Sears & Roebuck Harmony guitar for her birthday. The gift lays a foundation for a career that lands her in the Country Music Hall of Fame''.

APRIL 15, 1953 WEDNESDAY

Peacock Records in Houston purchases David James Mattis's remaining share of Duke Records.

Peacock signs Phineas Newborn to launch its new Progressive Jazz imprint, and signs the Spirit of Memphis gospel group away from King Records.

APRIL 18, 1953 SATURDAY

Red Foley hosts the Prince Albert segment of the Grand Ole Opry for the final time, at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Lillie Mae Glover was a Memphis-based classic blues songstress in the style of Bessie Smith or Ma Rainey, the woman from whom she took her stage name. This recordings is a fascinating amalgam of Handy Park blues from Pat Hare and Houston Stokes on guitar and drums, and schooled musicianship from Onzie Horne on vibes and Tuff Green on bass. Onzie Horne was an arranger and an educator who tutored Phineas Newborn and Charles Lloyd. Horne hosted a talk show on WDIA. At one time or another, he was the musical director at the Beale Street theatres where Glover plied her trade, and, for a time, worked with Duke Ellington's manager, Billy Strayhorn. One of his last arrangement was Isaac Hayes' ''Theme From Shaft''. Horne died in 1963, aged 49.

"You got to sing the blues with your soul. It looks like you hurt in the deep-down part of your heart. You really hurt when you sing the blues. Blues can make you cry. I was singing at a little old club and I'd just sit down and sing, just sing, I'd sing the blues. I remember times I singed the blues, I just cried, just deliberate cried. And I told the people I didn't know what was wrong with me, but it just got me. And my boss man used to tell me, 'Go on and get it out of you, old lady, just help yourself".

STUDIO SESSION FOR LILLIE MAE GLOVER MARAINEY
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1953

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: SUNDAY APRIL 19, 1953
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

There was never enough money to live on from either of Mama's career, and so almost always she had an outside job. She worked as a cook, as a cleanup woman for a trucking line, as a stacker for a fence company, and at a lumber company where "my boss said I was the best man he had there".

The truth is, Big Memphis Marainey's lone Sun single is more interesting to write about than listen. It is best seen as a failed experiment; one of the few hybrids attempted at 706 Union Avenue that went wrong.

Lillie Mae Glover's approach to music is clearly rooted in the classic blues shouting tradition of her namesake, Ma Rainey. On these recordings she was paired with Memphis jazz vibist Onzie Horne and blues guitar King, Pate Hare. Onzie Horne had paid the rent by transcribing music for Sam Phillips' publishing companies. When he was sober, Hare worked the local blues scene and brought to it the same barely controlled rage that appeared in other areas of his personal life.

At its best, the fury and distortion of Hare's guitar work truly defined a genre within the blues. On these sides, he plays competently, but without the passion of his best work.

On "Call Me Anything, But Call Me", there is an uneasy alliance of styles, as Hare's bluesy guitar fills clash pointlessly with Horne's jazzy supper club stylings. Though it all, and seemingly oblivious to the chaos, Lillie Mae belts out her message. Lillian Mae Glover sings in a style which has its origins in a musical era entirely different to virtually everything else on the recordings, her full-throated vocal delivery being derived from Vaudeville and classic blues - and the Lady herself obviously considers herself an heir to this tradition, by virtue of her adopted pseudonym. On this session she was paired with Onzie Horne, the late Memphis musician who originally worked for Sam Phillips transcribing songs for copyright purposes (Horne would work with Isaac Hayes in a later era). This track is a fascinating experiment which frankly, does not work, presenting a curious clash of styles - most notably with Pat Hare's decidedly blues guitar battling out for pole position with Onzie Horne's irksome vibes.

> CALL ME ANYTHING, BUT CALL ME <
Composer: - Dubrover-Milton ''Mitt'' Addington
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 71 - Master (2:58)
Recorded: - April 19, 1953
Released: - June 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single Sun 184-A mono
CALL ME ANYTHING, BUT CALL ME / BABY NO! NO!
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-1/17 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

A few weeks after ''Call Me Anything, But Call Me'' was recorded, one of its writer, Milton ''Mitt'' Addington, pitched another song, ''Burned Fingers'', to western star Wade Ray, who did fairly well with it. One year or so later, Sam Phillips asked him to write songs for Elvis Presley, but he demurred. In 1964, he wrote a by-god hit, ''Laurie (Strange Things Happen In This World)'', during the short-lived craze for death discs. Performed by another Sun alumnus, Dickey Lee, it was published by yet another, Jack Clement. Around the same time, Lee and Addington combined to write ''Memphis Beat'' for Jerry Lee Lewis. Addington, who made his career as a psychologist, died in 1979, aged 55.

> BABY, NO, NO! <
Composer: - Marion Keisker-Milton ''Mitt'' Addington
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 72 - Master (3:00)
Recorded: - April 19, 1953
Released: - June 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single Sun 184-B mono
BABY NO! NO! / CALL ME ANYTHING, BUT CALL ME
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-1/18 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

"Everybody say my voice still strong, and when I get a band, I can swing. My words get tied up a little bit on account of my teeth, and I can't stand those. I do get hoarse. I are easy to get hoarse quickly. But my voice is not trembly like some of the old singers. My voice ought to be wore out by now as much as I have hollered - screamed and hollered all night long. I sing the blues for myself. Sometimes they do me some good. It helps you to sing the blues when you're feeling blue".

This is a considerable improvement on its A-side, being a standard jump blues complete with stops in the verse, although performed with none of the usual instrumentation. Here, Ma Clover's husky vocal is backed only by a trio - fronted by the ubiquitous Hare, who sounds a little less distorted than usual. On balance, this disc is a real oddity: it seems to have been aimed squarely at the black habitues of the local nightclub scene, and Sam Phillips probably had little ambition of selling it outside Memphis - hence its phenomenal scarcity value (at the time the original Sun Blues Box was being compiled, Ms Glover commented that she was unable to get a copy).

Willie Mae Glover, a.k.a. "Baby Ma Rainey" and "Big Memphis Ma Rainey" performing on Beale Street in the city of Memphis, Tennessee sometime during the 1970's >

The song had been composed by Milton "Mitt" Addington, a consulting psychologist who also wrote Sonny Burgess' "Restless", and amateur songwriter, together with Marion Keisker, who typed it out at her desk in the front office at 706 Union.

Almost until her death in April 1985, Lillie Mae Glover was still performing without a marked diminution of exuberance. Records never really mattered to her.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
"Big Memphis" Lillie Mae Glover - Vocal
Pate Hare - Guitar
Houston Stokes - Guitar
Onzie Horne - Piano and Vibes
Tuff Green - Bass
Houston Stokes - Drums
T.S. Lewis - Drums

For Biography of Big Memphis Mae Glover see: > The Sun Biographies <
Big Memphis Mae Glover's Sun recordings can be heard on her playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

APRIL 20, 1953 MONDAY

Capitol released Hank Thompson's ''Rub-A-Dub-Dub''.

APRIL 23, 1953 THURSDAY

Pop songwriter Peter DeRose dies in New York. He authored Ted Lewis' 1933 hit ''Have You Ever Been Lonely (Have You Ever Been Blues)'', which is re-configured as a 1981 country duet for two artists after their deaths: Jim Reeves and Patsy Cline

APRIL 24, 1953 FRIDAY

MGM released the Hank Williams single ''Take These Chains From My Heart''.

END APRIL 1953

Everything seemed to be clicking for Sam Phillips. The one exception was the partnership with Jim Bulleit. For one thing, Jim was getting more and more jumpy. The nervousness that had first manifested itself with the ''Bear Cat'' lawsuit showed no sign of abating, and, perhaps not coincidentally, he seemed to be increasingly desperate for money. From Sam's point of view, Jim's principal failing was that he always took the short-term view, whether with respect to people or finances. His approach to marketing, for example, amounted to little more than throwing as much product out there as you could, then seeing what stuck. Which might make sense if your primary commitment was to churning up activity for your distribution business. But it was the exact opposite of Sam's commitment, what he was firmly convinced was the only course you could take if you truly believed in what you were doing, to put everything you had behind every record you released and not give up until the market proved you wrong. Sam Phillips allowed himself to be thrown off course one time when he put out a ''cocktail-hour'' record by Dusty Brooks and His Tones that Jim Bulleit had picked up somewhere or other, but he was not going to do it again. And he was tired of getting letters and phone calls every other day pleading for new releases in the most dire and doom-filled terms.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR DUSTY BROOKS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1953

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: SATURDAY APRIL 25, 1953
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

Juanita Brown appeared as one of two female vocalists with pianist/bandleader Dusty Brooks. Brooks and his music catered to sophisticated west coast night club audiences, a segment of the market that is rarely associated with Sun Records. Although "Heaven Or Fire" was released by Sam Phillips (Sun 182) in 1953, it most certainly was not recorded by him. The sides were probably cut in Los Angeles and leased to Jim Bulleit, Phillips' partner in the fledgling Sun label at the time.

> HEAVEN OR FIRE <
Composer: - Bernstein
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 65 - Master (2:38)
Recorded: - April 25, 1953
Released: - May 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single Sun 182-A mono
HEAVEN OR FIRE / TEARS AND WINE
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-1/13 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Sun 182 remains one of the most obscure and, ultimately, one of the most disliked records ever issued by Sun. Could this material actually have been recorded by the same man who had just issued "Bear Cat" and was holding preliminary sessions with Little Junior Parker?

> TEARS AND WINE <
Composer: - Bernstein
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Delta Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 67 - Master (2:36)
Released: - May 1953
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single Sun 182-B mono
TEARS AND WINE / HEAVEN OR FIRE
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-1/14 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

> TWO BLUE DEVILS <
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued (2:45)
Recorded: - Probably April 25, 1953
Released: - August 2002
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16609-4-11 mono
MEMPHIS BELLES - THE WOMEN OF SUN RECORDS

The only thing we know for sure about Janie McFadden is that she recorded with the same Dusty Brooks band that produced Sun 182. Session logs indicate that Janie sang on one title ("Two Blue Devils") out of the seven that were sent or leased to Sam Phillips in 1953. All of which tells us nothing about Janie McFadden. Might she have been the sister of Ruthie McFadden, who recorded pop/rhythm and blues for Old Town Record in the 1950s and later reivented herself as a soul singer (on Gamble and SureShot Records) in the 1970s?

> DOWN IN TEXAS (MY BABY'S A LUSH <
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued (2:37)
Recorded: - Probably April 25, 1953
Released: - June 24, 2006
First appearance: - Charly Records (MP3) Internet Sample mono
DUSTY BROOKS & HIS TONES - I'M SHEDDING TEARS OVER YOU

> I'M SHEDDING TEARS OVER YOU <
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued (2:40)
Recorded: - Probably April 25, 1953
Released: - June 24, 2006
First appearance: - Charly Records (MP3) Internet Sample mono
DUSTY BROOKS & HIS TONES - I'M SHEDDING TEARS OVER YOU

> THAT'S WHEN I'LL STOP LOVING YOU <
Composer: - Traditional
Publisher: - B.M.I. - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued (2:53)
Recorded: - Probably April 25, 1953
Released: - 2002
First appearance: - 2002 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rom BCD 16609-5/21 mono
MEMPHIS BELLES - THE WOMEN OF SUN RECORDS
Reissued: June 24, 2006 Charly Records (MP3) Internet Sample mono
DUSTY BROOKS & HIS TONES - I'M SHEDDING TEARS OVER YOU

MY GUSHER WON'T GUSH
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Probably April 25, 1953

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Dusty Brooks And His Tones consisting of
Juanita Brown - Vocal on "Heaven Or Fire"
Janie McFadden - Vocal on "Two Blue Devils"
Joe Alexander – Vocal*
Arthamus Maryland - Guitar
Ruby Thrasher - Bass
Virgil Johnson - Drums
Lucius ''Dusty Brooks'' - Piano
Bernard Hunter - Vibes

For Biography of Dusty Brooks and His Tones see: > The Sun Biographies <
Dusty Brooks and His Tones' Sun recordings can be heard on the playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

APRIL 28, 1953 TUESDAY

Fred Knobloch is born in Jackson, Mississippi. He earns hits as a solo artist and as a member of Schuyler, Knobloch and Overstreet during the 1980s. He also writes George Strait's ''Meanwhile'' and Lorrie Morgan's ''Back In Your Arms Again''.

APRIL 30, 1953 THURSDAY

Merrill Osmond is born in Ogden, Utah. With his brothers, he forms The Osmonds, gaining major pop success in the 1970s and netting a 1982 country hit, ''I Think About Your Lovin'''. The group sings backing vocals on Conway Twitty's ''Heartache Tonight''.

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