CONTAINS
For music (standard singles) and playlists on YouTube click on the available > buttons <
> Back 1954 Sun Schedule <

1954 SESSIONS (1)
January 1, 1954 to January 31, 1954

Studio Session for Mississippi Slim, Probably Early 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Joe Manuel, Early 1950s, Probably 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Sidney Louis Hardrock Gunter, January 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Earl Peterson, January 4, 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Coy Hot Shot Love, January 8, 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Kenneth Banks, January 8, 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Billy Emerson, January 11, 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for Billy Love, January 19, 1954 / Sun Records
Studio Session for The Jones Brothers, January 28, 1954 / Sun Records

For Biographies of Artists see: > The Sun Biographies <
Sun recordings can be heard on the playlists from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on 
> YouTube <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

1954

Following more wives moving back into the workforce the economy continued to grow and consumer goods and television programmes included the popular "Father Knows Best" Marlin Brando starred in two of the most popular movies " On The Waterfront" and "The Wild One" The Movie " Blackboard Jungle" also featured the song " Rock Around The Clock" from Bill Haley and the Comets, and Elvis Presley cut his first commercial record. A new trend also started called DIY Do It Yourself projects as families wanted to improve their homes and do their own maintenance. Car engines continued to get bigger and more powerful and gas cost 29 cents. Following the discovery of a vaccine against Polio, the first mass vaccination of children against begins. Brown v Board of Education makes segregation in US Public Schools Unconstitutional.

The last detainee, a Norwegian merchant seaman named Arne Peterssen was released, and Ellis Island officially closed. What is often not realized is not all Immigrants entering the United States were processed at Ellis Island many were never required to undergo processing only those who arrived on "steerage" or third class passengers were processed at Ellis Island. First and second class passengers who arrived in New York Harbor were not required to undergo the inspection process at Ellis Island. Ellis Island is located in the upper bay just off the New Jersey coast, within the shadow of the Statue of Liberty.

Martin Luther King Jr. becomes pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Sometime in the early-1950s, a tall, rangy country singer named Lee Ausborn came into the Sun studio. he announced that he was the man who had taught Elvis Presley to play guitar, and proceeded to leave on tape fifteen demo songs. Sam Phillips was away at the time, so the singer left a temporary address, 951 Peabody Street, Memphis, and a message at the end of the tape... "This is Lee Ausborn of Tupelo, Mississippi. These songs was written by Trice Garner and Lee Ausborn". During the message, the sound of machinery of some kind can be heard in the background.

It is tempting to think that this was a harvester playing up and down a field outside Slim's home in Mississippi, and the 'tinny' sound of the demos might bear this out. On the other hand, the tape used was standard-issue bulk supply of professional plastic-base Audiotape, implying that these were just rushed, unbalanced 706 Union demos.

STUDIO SESSION FOR MISSISSIPPI SLIM
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: MID-1950S/PROBABLY EARLY 1954
STUDIO HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

The date of this demo recording is not clear, but it was probably made in the middle of the 1950s when Slim was resident in Memphis. A few earlier, Slim had recorded for the Tennessee label of Nashville in a variety of honky tonk and hillbilly styles. This demo recording has rather more energy than the Tennessee discs, and it is easy to see how Sun could have turned this an interesting record either in an uptempo style or as a rockabilly item. Slim's lyrics are in the best tradition of country laments about cheating partners, by they contain a humorous and lighthearted approach that lifts the song out the ordinary.

01 - ''TRY DOIN' RIGHT'' - B.M.I. - 1:35
Composer: - Carvel Lee Ausborn-Trice Garner
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: Mid 1950s / Probably Early 1954
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-10-14 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-6-14 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

02 - "COFFIN NAILS, I FOUND SOMEBODY NEW" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Trice Garner-Carvel Lee Ausborn
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None
Recorded: - Mid-1950s / Probably Early 1954
Released: - Sun Unissued

03 - "NICOTINE FIT" - B.M.I. - 1:39
Composer: - Carvel Lee Ausborn
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Mid-1950s / Probably Early 1954
Released: - 1984
First appearance: Redita Records (LP) 33rpm Redita 126-2-8 mono
COTTON CHOPPER COUNTRY

04 - "CHICKKASAW DAN"
Composer: - Carvel Lee Ausborn
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date

05 - "YELLOW MAN"
Composer: - Carvel Lee Ausborn
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date

06 - "NITESPOT ON THE HILL"
Composer: - Carvel Lee Ausborn
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date

07 - "PLAY HER LITTLE GAME"
Composer: - Carvel Lee Ausborn
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date

08 - "NO APPARENT REASON"
Composer: - Carvel Lee Ausborn
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date

09 - "CRAZY GAME"
Composer: - Carvel Lee Ausborn
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date

10 - "WHY DON'T YOU SETTLE DOWN"
Composer: - Carvel Lee Ausborn
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date

11 - "MARRIED MAN"
Composer: - Carvel Lee Ausborn
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date

12 - "LITTLE WOODPECKER SONG"
Composer: - Carvel Lee Ausborn
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date

13 - "UNPAID BILLS"
Composer: - Carvel Lee Ausborn
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date

14 - "MOVIE AND POPCORN"
Composer: - Carvel Lee Ausborn
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date

15 - "FOUND SOMEBODY NEW"
Composer: - Carvel Lee Ausborn
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date

16 - "SILVER PLATTER"
Composer: - Carvel Lee Ausborn
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - Unknown Date

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Carvel Lee Ausborn - Vocal & Guitar

Whatever the place of recording of the Sun demos, the interesting thing is that Lee Ausborn, also known as Mississippi Slim, really was the man who showed Elvis Presley how to make guitar chords. Slim had started a ''live'' country music show on WELO in Tupelo, Mississippi in June 1944, just one month after the station opened. Originally a 15-minute Saturday show, ''Singing And Pickin' Hillbilly'' increased to 30 minutes and finally yo one hour, five days a week.

There was also the ''Saturday Jamboree'' sponsored by the Black and White Store each Saturday afternoon. Sometimes the Jamboree came live from outside the Tupelo courthouse.

For nine year-old Elvis Presley, this was a real novelty. Particularly so when there was the opportunity to watch Slim perform at first hand. By all accounts, Slim was a quiet, easy-going fellow who sang country songs but liked to call himself an actor and paid as much attention to ''giving a show'' as to singing. He always wore a suit and kept well away from cowboy attire. He sometimes played with local country bands, including a relative named Clinton, but he was essentially a solo act. Still a young man himself, Slim was apparently not too happy to be approached by station announcer Charles Boren about playing guitar for a nine year old kid who had asked to be allowed to sing. However he did accompany Elvis Presley singing ''Old Shep'' one day in the summer of 1944. After this, the two developed a rapport, and Slim would find Elvis waiting around after every show to be instructed in the art of making three chords in two keys.

The Sun demos were either badly miked or perhaps recorded at home and subsequently copied in the studio. Either way Slim's voice sounds harder and higher pitched. Most of the songs are unexceptional, although "Coffin Nails, I Found Somebody New" and "Try Doin' Right" are worthy of release, Whether Sam Phillips ever heard the tape is anybody's guess.

For Biography of Mississippi Slim see: > The Sun Biographies <
Mississippi Slim's Sun recordings can be heard on his playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

1954

Rhythm and blues music explodes into the mainstream with black vocal groups leading the crossover thanks to such records such as the Crows "Gee", The Chords "Sh-Boom", The Charms "Hearts Of Stone" and The Penguins "Earth Angel". The often crude recording techniques, amateurish vocals and sometimes nonsensical lyrics give the indication the music is just a novelty.

Pop record companies try desperately to capitalize on the perceived fad by having white artists cover black vocal group records and the increased distribution and radio play assures many of those versions of becoming the bigger hits.

The Midnighters cause waves when their off-color "Work With Me Annie" and its equally suggestive sequels become the most popular rhythm and blues records of the year resulting in many communities calling for complete bans on rock and roll.

Among those records targeted for widespread bans are Clyde McPhatter & The Drifters explicit "Honey Love" and "Such A Night" and the Midnighters "Sexy Ways". Despite this they all become massive rhythm and blues hits.

10,000 fans attend Alan Freed's first east coast Rock And Roll Show held in Newark New Jersey, featuring the Clovers and Harptones. The success of it outside Freed's base of operations in Cleveland is further proof that rock and roll has national appeal.

1954

Ah, to be an American in 1954. Throw a steak on the grill, stir a chilled Martini, and enjoy endless white-picket-fence prosperity. On the Hi-Fi this year were Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, and – for the youngsters – the Crew Cuts, trilling "Sh-Boom." Skies were blue and worries were none. (Except, of course, for the rows of A-bombs the Ruskies had aimed at us, the fact that blacks couldn't vote and women were hardly allowed in the workplace – but if you don't talk about it, it's not a problem, right?)

The companies began to provide the equipment for stereo recording in major studios. The possibility of recording right hand and left hand signals simultaneously on separate tracks on quarter inch magnetic tape had already been demonstrated and some of the major problems inherent in transferring both signals to one groove of a disc had been solved by Baumann in 1930.

Bill Haley's "Rock Around The Clock" is the first rock song used in a movie soundtrack.

The record companies switch from 78 RPMs to 45 RPMs.

Japanese electronic company TTK (later Sony) introduces the world's first transistor radio.

Ray Charles forms his band.

In 1954, Big Joe Turner recorded the original version of the 1950s hit, ''Shake, Rattle And Roll''.

Johnny Cash forms the Tennessee Two with Luther Perkins and Marshall Grant.

1954

Zydeco pioneer Boozoo Chavis recorded ''Paper In My Shoe'' and James ''Sugar Boy'' Crawford introduces Mardi Gras Indian lore to popular music with ''Jock-a-Mo''.

Elvis Presley signs with Sun in the summer of 1954, whilst Carl Perkins does the same three months later. (see 1954 Elvis Presley)

In 1954, while in high school, Mack Allen Smith became lead singer in his first band, The J. Z. George FFA Band. This band consisted of Mack Allen Smith (lead singer), Charles Martin (lead guitar), Alton Alderman (rhythm guitar and harmony vocals), Sidney Nabors (rhythm guitar and harmony vocals), Junior Bailey (harmony vocals), and Clovis Harbin (bass tub). The J. Z. George FFA Band won the State FFA Band Championship contest two years in a row (school years 1954-1955 and 1955-1956). Mack Allen Smith recorded for Sun Records in 1959.

1954

After moved in 1947 to Hernando, just south of Memphis, future Sun recording artist Jimmy Harrell graduated from Hernando High School and then enlisted in the United States Navy. Stationed in San Diego, California, he saw Gene Vincent, and formed an onbase band, the Jim Bobs, with two guys named Bob. ''I got out of the Navy, and there were no jobs'', he said. ''Then we had family get-together in Forest, and my Aunt Peggy said I should come to Jackson. Alton (Lott) lived there then, working at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, so we lived in the same household. Alton didn't care for singing. He just wanted to play the guitar'', said Harrell.

JANUARY 1954

Sam Phillips has masters made of sides recorded by Johnny O'Neal and Mose Vinson in August and September 1953 respectively. Sun matrix numbers U 96/97 and U 100/101 are assigned, but neither record is released.

Marilyn Monroe weds Joe DiMaggio in San Francisco.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

These songs were found on an unaccredited tape in the Sun vaults and have been issued under two different names before now: Earl Perterson and Gene Steele, both of them wrong as it turns out. The singer is Joe Manuel, radio performer and emcee of the Saturday Night Jamboree in Memphis.

STUDIO SESSION FOR JOE MANUEL
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: EARLY 1950S PROBABLY 1954
STUDIO HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

Manuel's songs were first credited to Earl Perterson, but, apart from the yodel that did not sound right to us 30 years ago, and the researches Escott, Hawkins, and Davis asked many people who the singer might have been. Sam Phillips, Quinton Claunch, Bill Cantrell, Doug Poindexter and many others wished well but offered the no real leads. Although the artist appeared very assured before the microphone, the song was never registered with BMI and a comparison of the voice with a multitude of post-War Memphis recordings still left us nowhere. Then Bill Diehl, a bass player and country bandleader in Memphis came up with the view that this artist was undoubtedly Gene Steele. Steele was known as the ''Singing Salesman'' and appeared on Memphis radio for over 20 years. Subsequent enquiries of the Steele family appeared to support this, though unfortunately Steele himself died just before the search begin.

The real performer of ''Alimony Blues'' was also a radio veteran. Joe Manuel wrote the song in the early 1940s and it become much requested both in his radio mail bag and in live performance. Joe went through more than one divorce in his life and his heartfelt lyric obviously found a ready audience for the hard luck themes he unveiled here.

His recording is a very fine country performance that would have sat nicely on a yellow Sun 78 in about 1953, or come to that on a Bluebird 78 circa 1940. According to Manuel's son, Larry, who joined his father's band as a accordionist around 1953 and recalls playing the song many times, the guitarist playing the bluesy licks is Lee Adkins, making probably his first recordings, and the bass player is Danny Chambers.

The alimony theme had first been recorded in 1928 by Buddy Baxter on Victor, and then in 1933 by Bill Cox and by Jimmie Davis. Al Dexter recorded yet another ''Alimony Blues''. None of these songs is the same as Joe Manuel's though, whose recording is one of the best country performances on the new box set.

01 - "ALIMONY BLUES" - B.M.I. - 3:08
Composer: - Joe Manuel
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Early 1950s - Probably 1954
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-10-12 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-6-12 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

Like ''Alimony Blues'', ''Daisy Bread Boogie'' had us thrown for several years and the reference to ''Pennington'' had us checking out a string of singers to no avail. There was a Pennington Milling Company in Cincinnati and it now appears that Joe Manuel was commissioned to write a boogie song about their Daisy Bread. Whether Sam Phillips recorded this as a radio advertisement only or as a potential record release of one of Manuel's better known commercials, we will probably never know. No matter, really, for it is a bright and humorous country boogie that makes a welcome contribution here.

02 - "DAISY BREAD BOOGIE" - B.M.I. - 2:54
Composer: - Joe Manuel
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Early 1950s - Probably 1954
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-10-13 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-6-13 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Joe Manuel - Vocal and Guitar
Lee Adkins - Guitar
Danny Chambers – Bass

For Biography of Joe Manuel see > The Sun Biographies <
Joe Manuel's Sun recordings can be heard on his playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

(Above) Rare custom pressing for Holsum Bread radio commercials, recorded at Memphis Recording Service. Sources suggest either Joe Manuel or Gene Steele as the artist. Similar records for other breads were made.

GENE STEELE - Born in Kennedy, Alabama on October 22, 1908. He was widely known by Memphis resident as "The Singing Salesman", and had a long running show over WMC, and also WREC. An article in Memphis Commercial Appeal also referred to him as the "Kingpin Of The Hillbillies".

More recently Gene Steele was also remembered for his work as the track announcer at the Southland Greyhound Track in West Memphis. Gene's radio show became something of an institution in Memphis during the 1950s and many of Sun's artists were visiting performers.

Gene Steele's singing was widely heard locally, both in personal appearances and on the radio. He was obviously as comfortable with a love song as he was singing the praises of a 1954 DeSoto. In fact, there were times when Gene's singing commercials received as much air time in Memphis as the latest Top 10 hits. Strangely he made no records that were commercially released other than a 1939 session for Vocalion

Gene Steele's broadcast typically appeared at 8:30 a.m. and contained four songs interspersed with cheery banter and commercials. He was usually sponsored by Automobile Sales, a Chrysler dealership on Union Avenue, or by the King Cotton sausage company. His backup group was knows as the "King Cotton Revelers" on sausage days and reverted to the "Dixie Revelers" when the auto dealer paid the bills. During the mid-1950s, the announcer introduced Gene as a singer of 'hill, western and folk songs'. In actually, the group performed a curious mixture of contemporary country and pop hits (e.g. Marty Robbins "Pretty Words"; Jo Stafford's "Make Love To Me", western swing style instrumentals, often led by pedal steeliest John Hughey, and old time material, occasionally sung in harmony with Jack Pennington, such as "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" or "Down The Trail Of Broken Hearts"). Each broadcast was signed on and off with Gene's theme song, "Floating Down The River To Cotton Town".

Gene Steele died in West Memphis on January 8, 1984. He never lived to see the commercial release of the two long forgotten titles on this session recorded for Sam Phillips nearly 43 years ago.

JANUARY 1954

Sam Phillips' brother-in-law, mentor, and radio partner Jimmy Connolly tipped him to a sometime WJLD employee, Sidney ''Hardrock'' Gunter, who had acquired his felicitous nickname not from the music that he played but from an incident that occurred when he was a teenager loading up the car for his first musical gig and the trunk lid fell on his head. Amid cries of consternation from his fellow band members, he just said, ''Give me the banjo'', and his friends, concluding that his head must be hard as a rock, gave him the nickname. Gunter, who despite a long apprenticeship in country music had always been drawn to boogie-woogie, from the irrepressible drive to Pinetop Smith's ''Pinetop's Boogie Woogie'' to Erskine Hawkins' more sophisticated ''Tuxedo Junction'', in sharp comparison, Sidney ''Hardrock'' Gunter had already seen one massive hit, ''Birmingham Bounce'' in 1950, when he leased two titles to Phillips in February 1954. Gunter's Sun recording of ''Gonna Dance All Night'', a song he had already cut for Barna Records in 1950, approximated Bill Haley's fusion of western swing, jazz, and country boogie. It was certainly a mix of black and white musical styles, but it was a fair distance from the magic blend that Phillips would achieve with Elvis Presley a few months later. What Presley would do was evolve a black approach to singing grafted onto a backing that was equal parts country and blues; Gunter merely delivered his cornball vocals over a band that mixed rhythm and blues and western swing riffs. As Nick Toschess said of Gunter's single, ''Even though it was a bad record, it failed to sell''.

In 1956 Gunter leased another single to Sun. He had recorded a rockabilly novelty, ''Jukebox Help Me Find My Baby'', that was getting a good reaction around his new home base of Wheeling, West Virginia. He rushed a copy to Phillips, who promptly leased it, but again the Midas touch worked in reverse. After it was released on Sun, the record died, and with it, Gunter's affiliation with Sam Phillips.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Sidney Hardrock Gunter made his name in and around Birmingham, Alabama, but in 1952 he moved to WWVA in Wheeling, West Virginia. In July the following year he quit WWVA to return to Birmingham to resume his TV career. At the same time, he landed a disc jockey gig on an rhythm and blues station, WJLD, where the program director was Sam Phillips' brother in law, Jim Connally. Told by Connally that Gunter would record for Sun. Phillips asked Gunter to come to Memphis, but Gunter demurred. Instead he cut two songs at a Birmingham radio station.

STUDIO SESSION FOR SIDNEY LOUIS HARDROCK GUNTER 1950

RECORDED UNKNOWN STUDIO LOCATION
BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA

Sidney Louie "Hardrock" Gunter was unique among Sun country artists in that he had previously enjoyed a major hit. He was the closest thing to an established 'name' artist that Sam Phillips ever signed during the early of his recording activity.

01 - "FALLEN ANGEL" - B.M.I. - 2:44
Composer: - Sidney Gunter
Publisher: - Sheldon Music
Matrix number: - U 112 Master
Released: - May 1, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single > Sun 201-B < mono
FALLEN ANGEL / GONNA DANCE ALL NIGHT
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-2-24 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Sidney "Hardrock" Gunter made here his first of two appearances at Sun Records with these unusual sides: "Fallen Angel", most Sun fans would no doubt like to shoot the piano player, canonize the bass player and check the sax player's passport. Where did he come from? True to Sam's credo, this is hybrid music. To make matters worse, this is the ballad side. Only the sax break distinguishes ''Fallen Angel'' from the country mainstream of 1954, but the sax was very much in keeping with Birmingham's uptown blend of country music and swing (the same blend heard in Cuck Murphy's music). The theme is familiar (in fact, Bob Wills issued an unrelated ''Fallen Angel'' in March 1964) and Gunter's vocal owes a heavy debt to western swing balladry. This is a very straight performance with none of the off-the-wall character of Phillips' best work. It actually stood a fair chance of garnering some action in the country market of that far-off year. Gunter was a known quantity and the single was a strong double-sided contender by the standards of the time. It was probably Phillips' lack of promotional capital and his unfamiliarity with the market that doomed it.

02 - "GONNA DANCE ALL NIGHT" - B.M.I. - 2:20
Composer: - Sidney Gunter
Publisher: - Tannen Music
Matrix number: - U 113 Master
Recorded: - Unknown Date 1950
Released: - May 1, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single > Sun 201-A < mono
GONNA DANCE ALL NIGHT / FALLEN ANGEL
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-2-23 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

''Gonna Dance All Night'', sold to Sun in January 1954, is a fusion of rhythm and blues and country music, yet very different from the fusion that Phillips achieved later that same year with Elvis Presley. The reason are clear: Presley was drawing from hillbilly music and country blues; Gunter was drawing from uptown rhythm and blues and western swing.

This uptempo side was very close to the sound that Bill Haley was peddling with increasing success on Essex Records but, despite the fact that the group had a nice feel for the rhythm. Gunters' vocal is unmistakably white.

Gunter had recorded earlier versions of this song in 1950 for Bama Records, and, ironically, both the Sun and Bama records were numbered 201. Phillips' cheque register shows a series of cheques made payable to Gunter's then current band and the song was copyrighted with Tannen Music on June 24, 1954.

Gunter really takes off for parts unknown. (His steel guitar player seems to be on the same flight). It sounds cornball today. If nothing else, this material shows that Sam Phillips truly was looking for a different sound.

Both sides of Sun 201 were recorded in Birmingham, Alabama and shipped to Memphis, where Sam Phillips released them on his own label. Considering that Phillips had entered the record business by providing product for other labels, this was quite a reversal of form.

This two records, it was certainly a mix of black and white styles but a fair distance from the marginal blend Sam Phillips achieved with Elvis Presley a few months later. Gunter had grafted his country vocals onto uptown boogie riffs. In contrast Elvis Presley brought a black approach to singing and grafted it onto a backing that was equal parts hillbilly and country blues.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Sidney Gunter - Vocal and Guitar
Ted Crabtree - Steel Guitar
Linda Lane - Bass
Bob Summer - Drums
Alvin Tunkle - Piano
Tony Duke - Tenor Saxophone

For Biography of Sidney Gunter see > The Sun Biographies <
Sidney Gunter's Sun recordings can be heard on his playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

JANUARY 1954

On the same day that Howard Seratt's record was issued, Sam Phillips released the first Sun record with an identifiably contemporary country sound. ''Boogie Blues'' by Earl Peterson was a one-shot release by an artist who dubbed himself ''Michigan's Singing Cowboy''. A staple of live radio in rural Michigan, Peterson's driving force was his mother, who believed desperately in his talent. In the 1953 family Buick, Mrs. Peterson and her son ventured south to Memphis and knocked on Phillips' door in early 1954. Peterson demoed ''Boogie Blues'', Phillips liked what he heard, and together with some local backup musicians they cut a session. When Phillips calculated Peterson's royalty statement a year later, ''Boogie Blues'' had sold 2,868 copies, of which 196 had been returned. Total royalties came to $94.17.

EARLY 1954

Sam Phillips's musical compass served him so well with blues and later rock and roll, but didn't function as well with country music. Clearly, he was drawn to the primitivism of the Cotton Choppers and Howard Seratt, but soon realised that acts like that didn't sell. As Sun Records moved in 1954, Earl Peterson' ''Boogie Blues'' too Sam one small step nearer to the amalgam of blues with country he cherished, and one big step nearer to commercial country music. If he had a one-year contract with Peterson, he didn't release the remaining songs or pick up the option to prevent him from going to Columbia. The unrepentantly hillbilly Doug Poindexter was unlikely to sell, but his backing group included Scotty Moore and Bill Black. Phillips sensed that Moore and Black were willing to experiment and placed them with a young protegé.

JANUARY 1, 1954 FRIDAY

A decade after he earned a pair of country hits, Bing Crosby is featured on the cover of TV Guide.

JANUARY 2, 1954 SATURDAY

John Jarvis is born in Pasadena, California. A session keyboard player who recorded with George Strait, Wynonna and Mary Chapin Carpenter, he also writes Vince Gill's ''I Still Believe In You'', Steve Wariner's ''Small Town Girl'' and Conway Twitty's ''Julia''.

JANUARY 3, 1954 SUNDAY

Ray Whitley returns to NBC's ''The Roy Rogers Show'', appearing in an episode titled ''Little Dynamite'' alongside regulars Dale Evans and Pat Brady.

JANUARY 4, 1954 MONDAY

On Monday, January 4, 1954, Elvis Presley walked into Dell Taylor's Cafe for a coke. Marcus Van Story was sitting at the counter and they talked. Elvis Presley was going into Sam Phillips' Memphis Recording Service to cut his second vanity record, ''It Wouldn't Be The Same Without You'' backed by ''I'll Never Stand In Your Way''. Van Story agreed to go with him. "I told Elvis it would be fun to do a couple of songs", Van Story recalled. "To loosen Elvis up, I remember him it was four dollars he was wasting to cut the song". Elvis Presley laughed at Van Story's good-natured remark. As they entered the Sun Records building, Elvis Presley remarked that there was an interesting sign on the studio wall. "I guess I'm in the right place, Marcus", Elvis commented. The long lost recording is discovered in 1997. (See: Elvis Sun Sessions / Elvis 1954 / January 4, 1954).

The daily children's program ''The Pinky Lee Show'' begins aired on NBC-TV. The cast includes country music's Molly Bee.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR EARL PETERSON
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: MONDAY JANUARY 4, 1954
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

Earl Peterson's recording circumstances portend to be more fiction than fact. However, in the early fifties it was still possible to load up a truck, drive hundreds of miles to a record company, tape a selection of songs and head on home. Sam Phillips was no fool because Peterson sang and yodelled in a confident Hank Williams' manner which, to him, oozed commercial appeal. "Boogie Blues" found a release and the label copy read "Michigan's Singing Cowboy" - a ploy to woo his modest, but nevertheless established fan base.

"Earl Peterson was out of Michigan", recalled Sam Phillips, "I think he had the dynamics and everything to have been a real competitor for anything out of Nashville or the west coast. We made some good records with him - he had the "Boogie Blues" that I liked. But somehow we never quite pulled it off with him".

01 - "BOOGIE BLUES" - B.M.I. - 2:33
Composer: - Earl Peterson
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 102 Master 
Recorded: - January 4, 1954
Released: - February 20, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single > Sun 197-A < mono
BOOGIE BLUES / IN THE DARK
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-2-15 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Earl Peterson and his mother parked their 1953 Buick in front of 706 Union and went inside to audition "Boogie Blues". Whether Sam Phillips knew or remembered 'Michigan's Singing Cowboy' from his disc jockey days, or whether it was mother Pearle's stony insistence, the result was a recording session.

"Boogie Blues" is not a great record, but it is Sun's first foray into modern country music and market, some three months before Elvis Presley's debut.

Peterson apparently despised this recording of ''Boogie Blues'' but his vocal performance is strong and personable, and the innate drive of the song lends an astringent edge to Peterson's creamy style. The song derives from a number of pre-War songs in the Jimmie Rodgers-Gene Autry style. However, Columbia seemed to think that it had a place in the post-War market. They signed Peterson just a few months after his Sun debut and re-recorded two sessions of ''Boogie Blues'' that were apparently much closer to Peterson's heart. However, they lacked much of the sparkle of the Sun version.

02 - "IN THE DARK" - B.M.I. - 2:33
Composer: - Ollie F. "Mack" McGee
Publisher: - Perco Music
Matrix number: - U 103 Master 
Recorded: - January 4, 1954
Released: - February 20, 1954
First appearance:- Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single > Sun 197-B < mono
IN THE DARK / BOOGIE BLUES
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-2-16 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

The ballad ''In The Dark'' allows Peterson to show off his smoother side, and is close to the ''twilight on the trail'' style which was apparently Peterson's first love. This is a lovely song and Peterson turns in a finely crafted performance. Oliver McGee registered the song with BMI on February 26, 1954. By that point, he was probably living in Nashville but had been a friend of Peterson's from the old days in and around Lansing, Michigan.

03 - "NOTHING TO LOSE BUT MY HEART" - B.M.I. - 2:40
Composer: - Ollie F. "Mack" McGee
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 4, 1954
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-2-19 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-2-3 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

''Nothing To Lose But My Heart'' is the first of two unissued songs made up Earl Perterson's one and only 4-song session for Sun. ''Nothing To Lose'' is on a par with many a hillbilly recording from 1954, but it just lacks the drive of ''Boogie Blues'' or the quality of lyricism contained in ''In The Dark''. Peterson sings pleasantly and the musicianship is adequate without ever really catching fire.

04 - "I'M LEAVING MY HEART UP TO YOU" - B.M.I. - 2:55
Composer: - Ollie F. "Mack" McGee
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 4, 1954
Released: - November 1986
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (LP) 33rpm BFX 15211-2-20 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY YEARS 1950 - 1959
Reissued: - February 15, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17311-2-4 mono
THE SUN COUNTRY BOX 1950 - 1959

The final song from Earl's session is another weeper, again tending towards the cowboy sentimentally that Peterson would have heard in many country recordings from the 1940s. The main singer still having real success with this vocal sound and style in 1954 was Marty Robbins, and it is interesting to note how close Peterson's unissued titles were to Robbins' earlier Columbia recordings.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Earl Peterson - Vocal and Guitar
Unknown Guitar, Steel Guitar, Fiddle

Note: Earl Peterson's one and only Sun single reportedly sold a mere 2672 copies. He re-copyrighted and re-recorded ''Boogie Blues'' for Columbia Records in October 1954, whilst still under contract with Sun. Columbia released it in February 1955.

For Biography of Earl Peterson see > The Sun Biographies <
Earl Peterson's Sun recordings can be heard on his playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

JANUARY 5, 1954 TUESDAY

Verlon Thompson is born in Ardmore, Oklahoma. Briefly the lead singer for Restless Heart before the band becomes famous, Thompson writes ''Cross My Broken Heart'', ''The First Step'', ''Up And Gone'' and ''You Say You Will''.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR COY HOT SHOT LOVE
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: FRIDAY JANUARY 8, 1954
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

A product of Clarkedale, Arkansas where he came into the world in 1914, Coy Love was taught to play the harmonica by his father. His relocation to Memphis brought regular work as a sign painter and he was briefly pacted to the Sun label where he cut "Wolf Call Boogie", a remarkable track that had all the freewheeling abandon of a field recording. The Love career never developed any further and he became better known as a neighbourhood lothario before being killed in an Interstate pileup in June 1980.

A note under the session reads, ''Transportation for Stokes and Pat Hare P.C. $4.75''. Was P.C. an acronym for penal colony, prison camp, police custody, Plantation Club? We'll never know of course. The inspiration for this record was probably Sonny Boy Williamson's ''Jivin' The Blues'', but Phillips might have been drawn to it because of its passing similarity to ''Feelin' Good''.

01(1) - "WOLF CALL BOOGIE" - B.M.I. - 2:34
Composer: - Coy Love
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated 
Matrix number: - F 12 Master Take 1
Recorded: - January 8, 1954
Released: - February 20, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single > Sun 196-A < mono
WOLF CALL BOOGIE / HARMONICA JAM
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-2-13 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

This engaging and effective track was recorded in January 1954 with several of Sun's stalward sessionmen, including guitarist Pat Hare, pianist Mose Vinson, bassist Kenneth Banks, and drummer Houston Stokes. Coy Love (who blows harp a la Sonny Terry) jive talks his way along the bar of a juke joint which sounds like the distant prototype of a singles bar. At the time of this session Love was an itinerant musician based on Gayoso Street in Memphis. Before his death in 1980 he earned his living as a sign painter, both his jacket and his bicycle emblazoned with choice epigrams.

01(2) - "WOLF CALL BOOGIE" - B.M.I. - 2:33
Composer: - Coy Love
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 8, 1954
Released: - 1996
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-7-4 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
Reissued: - march 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-9-14 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958

Hot Shot Love was truly one of a kind. The free-spirited humor on display here is a sheer delight. His line about not being a pauper and having money to spare is a moment to treasure. Sam Phillips captured it all and wisely saw fit to issue it, although this is an alternate 1990s box version of the song.

01(3) - "WOLF CALL BOOGIE" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Coy Love
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 3 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 8, 1954
Released: - June 25, 2006
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm SUN 27 mono
WOLF CALL BOOGIE

In between the issued first take and a third released on a previous harmonica compilation, is a second which is pitched somewhere between the virtuosity and the garrulity of its neighbours. After some banter outside the bar - "Man, you sharp. Goodness knows, you really sharp. Looka there at them shoes". - Love gets into a mean exchange with the bartender: "No, I don't want no vanilla! What you think I am? I want something strong for my money. I'm spending a great big dime here...".

When he finally gets to 'calling' a woman, he switches back from amplified to acoustic harmonica. After some fetching rooster stuff, the woman discovers he's only got a nickel and Love waxes philosophical, viz: "You say I'm cheap, go 'ahead on. I ain't gonna beg you. Too many other women".

02 - "HARMONICA JAM" - B.M.I. - 2:31
Composer: - Coy Love
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - F 13 Master
Recorded: - January 8, 1954
Released: - February 20, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single > Sun 196-B < mono
HARMONICA JAM / WOLF CALL BOOGIE
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-2-14 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

A self-explanatory title for an enjoyable if unspectacular romp through Love's harmonica repertoire. He punctuates it with a brief plea to his woman to stay - "I wouldn't tell you wrong". As the tune proceeds the tempo increases, which may be why Love gets somewhat lost mid-way. Both Hare and Vinson make occasional forays but for the most part content themselves with providing solid back-up.

03 - "HARPIN' ON IT" - B.M.I. - 2:27
Composer: - Coy Love
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 8, 1954
Released: 1996
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-7-5 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-5-28 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958

In the real world, an instrumental recording needs a signature riff or theme, even if it's not as memorable as ''In The Mood'' or ''The Hucklebuck''. Phillips omitted to tell Hot Shot Love about the little requirement, with the result that ''Harmonica Jam'' and the slightly slower ''Harpin' On It'' don't leave you humming. Pat Hare did his best to follow Love, but it's doubtful if even Love knew where he was going. The call-and-response between the falsetto voice and the harmonica is often reckoned to be Sonny Terry's invention, but you can hear it on blues and hillbilly records back in the 1920s, so it probably stems back beyond that. The title ''Harpin' On It'' was assigned by reissuers. On tape, it had no title.

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Coy "Hot Shot" Love - Vocal and Harmonica
Pat Hare - Guitar
Mose Vinson - Piano
Kenneth Banks - Bass
Houston Stokes – Drums

For Biography of Coy Love see > The Sun Biographies <
Coy Love's Sun recordings can be heard on his playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

JANUARY 11, 1954 MONDAY

Decca released Red Foley's duet with Betty Foley, ''As Far As I'm Concerned''.

Capitol released Tommy Collins' first hit, ''You Better Not Do That''.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR KENNETH BANKS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN 2 SESSIONS: FRIDAY JANUARY 8, 11, 1954
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

Kenneth Bank's roots in the supper club scene are apparent here. He should have pitched this to Charles Brown, Floyd Dixon, or another of their ilk, or - failing that - a doo-wop group. The guitar-piano interplay followed the Nat King Cole - Johnny Moore - Charles Brown template. A little edgier perhaps, but not much. In the right hands, this could have amounted to something, but Banks was simple too weak as a vocalist.

01 - "BLUE MAN" - B.M.I. - 3:17
Composer: - Kenneth Banks
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 8, 1954
Released: - 1996
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOC 7-7-6 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-5-32 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958

Of Kenneth Banks, we know next to nothing. Back in the 1940s, he worked at the Plantation Inn in West Memphis, Arkansas, with Phineas Newborn Sr's eight-piece band, and he worked quite prolifically for Sam Phillips around 1954. On the same day that he played bass on Hot Shot Love's session, Kenneth Banks also crooned three takes of this Charles Brown-inspired opus. Perhaps he was at the quiet end of the bar in which Love whooped it up.After some trenchant opening piano chords from Vinson, Hare is uncharacteristically restrained in his accompaniment, even during the staccato chorus - "Oh, what's the matter? Why all this chatter?". Both musicians than play a restrained solo chorus. This first take repeats the vocal chorus, whereas both subsequent takes omit it.

02(1) – "HIGH" - B.M.I. - 2:20
Composer: - Kenneth Banks
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 8, 1954
Released: - 1996
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-7-7 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-5-31 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958

And then he went down the rowdy end of the bar and took advantage of the dime Hot Shot was spending to get roaring drunk. Like Love's "Harmonica Jam", this is largely an excuse for the band to cut loose, and Pat Hare takes full advantage of his opportunity. Banks starts to get into the spirit about halfway through this first take, achieving the pitch at which he begins the next, complete with hicks and belches. Sam Phillips must have thought there was something in this, because he brought Banks back into the studio and recorded "But High" with Ike Turner's band. But in the final event, neither version was issued at the time.

02(2) – "HIGH (BUT HIGH)" - B.M.I. - 2:35
Composer: - Kenneth Banks
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 8, 1954
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Krazy Kat Records (LP) 33rpm KK 7427 mono
MEMPHIS BLUES - UNISSUED TITLES FROM THE 1950
Reissued: - August 1, 2009 Fantastic Viyage (MP3) Internet Sample mono
LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THE BLUES MEMPHIS

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Kenneth Banks - Vocal and Bass
Mose Vinson - Piano
Jesse Knight - Bass
Pat Hare - Guitar
Houston Stokes – Drums
Willie Sims - Drums

For Biographies of Artists see: > The Sun Biographies <
Sun recordings can be heard on the playlists from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on 
> YouTube <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

JANUARY 11, 1954 MONDAY

Studio session with Billy "The Kid" Emerson at Sun Records, Memphis, Tennessee. It was now that Billy Emerson first had the chance to take his music to a wider audience, via records. Ike Turner had been involved in a number of good-selling recordings for Sam Phillips' Memphis Recording Service and he decided to promote two his two singers, Emerson and Billy Gayles, to Phillips for his new Sun label.

''Ike got me my first recording, with Sun Records, because he was already affiliated with them. My first numbers with Ike's band''.

These first numbers were made at Phillips small recording studio on Union Avenue in Memphis at a session held on 11 January 1954. Billy took along two songs he had written, blues ballads with unusually distinctive structures ''No Teasing Around'' and ''If Lovin' Is Believin'. He played piano and sang in an intense manner while Ike Turner opened and supported the songs with alternately growling and flowing guitar figures. The drums and horns were provided by Ike's road band augmented by another bandleader and arranger, Oliver Sain. Sam Phillips logged in a rather low key manner, ''got two numbers that were OK''. He paid Emerson 20 dollars, Turner 25, and a hundred in all for the band, and he noted that Emerson had signed a one year contract that day.

Phillips logged Emerson's permanent address as 513 Levis Avenue, Tarpon Springs. and he noted that Emerson was currently living at Ashton Street, Clarksdale.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR BILLY EMERSON
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: MONDAY JANUARY 11, 1954
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

01(1) - "NO TEASING AROUND" - B.M.I. - 2:58
Composer: - William Robert Emerson
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated 
Matrix number: - F 10 Master
Recorded: - January 11, 1954
Released: - February 20, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single > Sun 195-A < mono
NO TEASING AROUND / IF LOVIN' IS BELIEVING
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-2-11 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

William Robert Emerson broke the mould at Sun for the label's early affinity with Delta blues artists. A resident of Pinellas County, Florida, he experienced his first taste of the outside world when he served with the US Air Force in Greenville, Missouri. It was there that his keyboard abilities came to the attention of Ike Turner who swiftly ushered him in the direction of 706 Union. Once he'd proved himself, Sam Phillips issued "No Teasin' Around" on Sun and also chose it as the primer for his new label, Flip Records.

Driven by Ike Turner's eerie tremolo guitar work and Emerson's pleading but insistent vocal. "Don't mess with me" says Billy the Kid. "I'm not in the mood". Turner's guitar extends the message. It sounds fragile yet seems capable of considerable force if necessary.

01(2) – ''NO TEASING AROUND'' - B.M.I.
Composer: - William Robert Emerson
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 11, 1954
Released: - 1990
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CD 30 mono
SUN BLUES ARCHIVES VOLUME 1 – BLUE GUITAR

02(1) - "IF LOVIN' IS BELIEVING" - B.M.I. - 2:10
Composer: - William Robert Emerson
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - F 11 Master 
Recorded: - January 11, 1954
Released: - February 20, 1954
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78/45rpm standard single > Sun 195-B < mono
IF LOVIN' IS BELIEVING / NO TEASING AROUND
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-2-12 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Builds considerable tension but is ultimately hemmed in by its stop rhythm. The tag line is delivered in an unexpected minor key. Sun 195 released on February 20, 1954, curiously, Billboard missed the boat on these sides, giving them low marks and calling the material "rather weak". Sam Phillips knew better and kept going back to the well with Emerson.

Billy Emerson was one of the most musically sophisticated bluesmen ever recorded by Sam Phillips. His songs were consequently a cut above the average.

Several contain lyrical or musical hooks that rendered them borderline novelty records, so its little wonder his music has been covered by white artists, and crosses genres and decades.

02(2) - "IF LOVIN' IS BELIEVING" - 2 - B.M.I.
Composer: - William Robert Emerson
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 11, 1954
Released: - 2000
First appearance: - Titanic Records (CD) 500/200rpm TRC 6006 mono
RED ABOUT THE BLUES - UNRELEASED SUN RECORDINGS

04(1) – ''HEY LITTLE GIRL'' - B.M.I. - 2:26
Composer: - William Robert Emerson
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 11, 1954
Released: - 1976
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30103-B-4 mono
SUN: THE ROOTS OF ROCK - VOLUME 3 - DELTA RHYTHM KINGS
Reissued: - 2009 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16937 mono
BILLY THE KID EMERSON – THE SUN YEARS PLUS

04(2) - ''HEY LITTLE GIRL'' - B.M.I. - 2:24
Composer: - William Robert Emerson
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None – Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 11, 1954
Released: - March 5, 1996
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CD 8139 mono
BOPPIN' THE BLUES

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
William Robert Emerson - Vocal and Piano
Ike Turner - Guitar
Jesse Knight Jr. - Electric Bass
Oliver Sain - Trumpet
Eugene Fox - Tenor Sax
Willie Sims – Drums

The session appears a third song, a storming if slightly loose number called ''Hey Little Girl'' that Emerson remembered writing on the spot in homage to an appealing woman who walked by outside the studio. The Turner band really lets this one fly. Maybe Phillips felt that the rhythm of the song was scans like ''Rocket 88'' that he had already made with Ike Turner, or maybe he just found the arrangements on Emerson's slower songs more interesting. Either way, he scheduled the two ballads for release as Sun 195 in the in the week of 22 February 1954.

For Biography of Billy ''The Kid'' Emerson see: > The Sun Biographies <
Billy ''The Kid'' Emerson's Sun recordings can be heard on his playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on 
> YouTube <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

JANUARY 16, 1954 SATURDAY

Billy and Sara Holbrook are married. They will have a son, Corky Holbrook, who goes on to play bass for Billy Ray Cyrus.

JANUARY 17, 1954 SUNDAY

NBC's ''The Roy Rogers Show'' welcomes guest Ray Whitley in an episode titled ''The Kid From Silver City'', also featuring regular cast members Dale Evans and Pat Brady.

Lyricist Richard Adler has a son, Christopher Adler. Dad wrote the Ernest Tubb-Red Foley hit ''The Strange Little Girl''.

JANUARY 18, 1954 MONDAY

Decca recorded Webb Pierce's ''Slowly''.

Columbia released Ray Price's double-sided hit, ''I'll Be There (If You Ever Want Me)'' backed by ''Release Me''.

JANUARY 19, 1954 TUESDAY

EMI announces it will gain controlling interest of Capitol Records. The label already represents Merle Travis and Tennessee Ernie Ford, and will go on to house such artists as Garth Brooks, Merle Haggard, Buck Owens and Lady Antebellum.

Kitty Wells recorded ''Release Me'' at Nashville's Castle Studio in the Tulane Hotel.

Johnny Bond recorded ''10 Little Bottles'' at his home studio in Burbank, California. It's another 10 little years before another version of the song becomes a hit.

George Jones holds his first recording session, at a makeshift studio in Beaumont, Texas, home of Starday Records co-owner Jack Starnes, recording ''No Money In This Deal''.

JANUARY 19, 1954 TUESDAY

Billy ''Red'' Love returned as a session leader, again with a new band - local sax players Harvey Simmons, Jewell Briscoe, and Lucius Coleman, local bass player Kenneth Banks, guitarist Charles McGowan, and drummer Houston Stokes. Love was paid 20 dollars and the band 75, and the session was apparently an attempt to cut a disc for release on the Sun label. It produced five titles from which Sam Phillips selected two, ''Hey Now'' and ''Way After Midnight'' and scheduled them for release as Sun 205 in the early summer of 1954, registering their copyrights with B.M.I that May.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR BILLY LOVE
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: TUESDAY JANUARY 19, 1954
PRODUCER AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

01(1) - "HEY NOW" - B.M.I. - 2:46
Composer: - Milton Morse Love-Sam Phillips
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 19, 1954
Released: - 1996
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-7-9 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
Reissued: - 2011 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17149-14 mono
GEE... I WISH

Most blues musicians around this time had a crack at recording latin music, usually combining it with a fast 4/4 section for a featured soloist. With Ruth Brown's ''Mambo Baby'' and the Drifters' ''Honey Love'' hitting number 1, rhythm and blues was still with Latin rhythms, and Love and his rhythm section had no problem with that. This track is different, for whichever tenor man gets the ride (Harvey Simmons, Lucian Coleman or Jewell Briscoe), he stays in latin rhythm for his two choruses of fame. One thing these guys couldn't do was write a reasonable set of lyrics to fit the unusually busy backing - and Billy Love, for all his confidence, is no exception.

01(2) - "HEY NOW" - B.M.I. - 2:44
Composer: - Milton Morse Love-Sam Phillips
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 118 - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 19, 1954
Released: - 1992
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CD SUN 36-6 mono
THE SUN BLUES ARCHIVES - WAY AFTER MIDNIGHT - VOLUME 4
Reissued: - 2011 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17149-20 mono
GEE... I WISH

''Hey Now'' was another song based on a Latin rhythm upon which was built a riffing blues workout from Love on piano and probably Harvey Simmons on sax. The lyric essentially just asks why Love's baby loves to make him cry, but the overall effect of the performance is much more substantial than that. Love sings in a breathy, conversational style that is mirrored by the sax solo that really takes off before giving way to the hypnotic rhythm. The song, ''Way After Midnight'' was a desolate blues about a man whose baby keeps creeping in during the early hours of the morning.

Both Billy and the band keep the energy flowing though and the band builds up a repeating horn figure from which one of the sax men emerges to take a passionate solo complete with jazzy changes borrowed from the be bop saxophonists.

02(1) - "WAY AFTER MIDNIGHT" - B.M.I. - 2:53
Composer: - Milton Morse Love-Sam Phillips
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 19, 1954
Released: - 2011
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17149-15 mono
GEE... I WISH

Despite the sombre nature of the material, there's plenty of energy here. The disc has a highly charged atmosphere, established immediately by the boys whooping it up in the background, Billy's vocal sounds supremely confident, and is matched by his piano work (such a pity that he never lived to see some belated recognition). The (unidentified) alto sax player seems destined for outer space during his solo as he works some jazz changes into Billy's basic 12-bar blues. Sam Phillips registered this title with B.M.I. in May 1954, which would suggest that he'd considered releasing one of the takes as a single.

02(2) - "WAY AFTER MIDNIGHT" - B.M.I. - 2:47
Composer: - Milton Morse Love-Sam Phillips
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 19, 1954
Released: - 1986
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm Sunbox 105 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1956
Reissued: - March 8, 2013 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-9-15 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958

02(3) - "WAY AFTER MIDNIGHT" - B.M.I. - 2:43
Composer: - Milton Morse Love-Sam Phillips
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 119 - Take 3 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 19, 1954
Released: - 1992
First appearance: - Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CD SUN 36-7 mono
THE SUN BLUES ARCHIVES - WAY AFTER MIDNIGHT - VOLUME 4
Reissued: - 2011 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17149-21 mono
GEE... I WISH

03(1) - "THE NEWS IS ALL AROUND TOWN" - B.M.I. - 2:05
Composer: - Milton Morse Love-Sam Phillips
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 19, 1954
Released: - 1996
First appearance: - Charly (CD) 500/200rpm CDSUNBOX 7-7-11 mono
SUN RECORDS - THE BLUES YEARS 1950 - 1958
Reissued: - 2011 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17149-22 mono
GEE... I WISH

This is a beautiful poised after-hours blues featuring Billy Love as himself for once, instead of copying someone else's style. He sings confidently and keeps pace with the standout lyric "She shows me no mercy/she feels no pain", whilst contributing some fine, rolling piano.

There is a fluid and rather jazzy tenor sax solo, and Sam Phillips has miked the acoustic bass very prominently, achieving an unusually ballsy sound. Just about the only liability here is the drummer Houston Stokes who was woefully off-form, and could surely have used a short course in subtlety. (The take used here is different to that used on the original Sun Box).

03(2) - "THE NEWS IS ALROUND TOWN" - B.M.I. – 2:37
Composer: - Milton Morse Love-Sam Phillips
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 19, 1954
Released: - 2011
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17149-12 mono
GEE... I WISH

''The News Is All Around Town'' was a slow after hours blues where Love follows the strong vocal style of a Roy Brown or Big Joe Turner and there is something of the style of pianist Ivory Joe Hunter here too. Harvey Simmons plays a fluid and jazzy tenor sax solo that highlights the desolation Love feels.

03(3) - "THE NEWS IS ALROUND TOWN" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Milton Morse Love-Sam Phillips
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 3 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 19, 1954
Released: - November 1977
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30135-11 mono
THE LEGENDARY SUN PERFORMERS – JUNIOR PARKER & BILLY LOVE

Several versions of ''Gee I Wish'' were made at this session. ''Gone'' was the Latin beat of the earlier session and the song became faster and more raucous as the session developed. Take 3 is sax based and the band play riffs for all they're worth. Take 6 opens with a piano boogie from Billy before he rocks into a more impassioned vocal supported by more band riffs and sax solos. The saxman takes an audible run-up to his first solo, fluid and rocking all at once.

04(1) - "GEE I WISH" - B.M.I. - 2:15
Composer: - Milton Morse Love-Sam Phillips
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 3 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 19, 1954
Released: - November 1977
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30135-9 mono
THE LEGENDARY SUN PERFORMERS – JUNIOR PARKER & BILLY LOVE
Reissued: - 2011 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rom BCD 17149-16 mono
GEE... I WISH

04(2) - "GEE I WISH" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Milton Morse Love-Sam Phillips
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 4 - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - January 19, 1954

"Gee I Wish" works here because of the contrast between the tightly reined verses and the free wheeling 4/4 of the release.

04(3) - "GEE I WISH" - B.M.I. - 2:10
Composer: - Milton Morse Love-Sam Phillips
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 5 - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - January 19, 1954

This track (take 5) it is different, starting with a Latin rhythm instead of a horn riff and building at a slower pace than some of the many versions Love recorded.

04(4) – "GEE I WISH" - B.M.I. - 2:18
Composer: - Milton Morse Love-Sam Phillips
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 6 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 19, 1954
Released: - 2011
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17149-26 mono
GEE... I WISH

04(5) – "GEE I WISH" - B.M.I. - 2:14
Composer: - Milton Morse Love-Sam Phillips
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 7 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 19, 1954
Released: - 2011
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17149 mono
GEE... I WISH

Then we come to Take 7 where guitar and piano make the opening and the guitar figure stays more to the fore throughout.

The big guns were well and truly wheeled out for the this session: a full band comprising three saxes (Harvey Simmons, Lucian Coleman and Jewell Briscoe) together with a full rhythm section of Love on piano, Charles McGowan on guitar, Kenneth Banks on bass, and Houston Stokes on drums). The session cost Sam Phillips $92.50 to put together, compared with his average session cost of $20.25! The results are impressive, and were tentatively scheduled for release on Sun - perhaps Phillips' cashflow problems prevented their release. Love's vocal is brisk and confident, and whilst the sax solo betrays rather jazzy leaning initially, he revises and simplifies his approach quite markedly, more in empathy with the material: its almost as though someone had leaned over and whispered "too close to Jazz, man". The song sports a catchy hook and would have fitted in well with the uptown blues hits of 1954 - all of which conspire to make its non-release even more of a mystery. (The take used here is different to that used on the original Sun Box).

05(1)- "IF YOU WANT TO MAKE ME HAPPY" - B.M.I. - 2:18
Composer: - Milton Morse Love
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 1 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 19, 1954
Released: - Re-Issued of Deleted Track - November 1977
First appearance: - Charly Records (LP) 33rpm CR 30135 mono
THE LEGENDARY SUN PERFORMERS - JUNIOR PARKER & BILLY LOVE
Reissued: - 1992 Charly Records (CD) 500/200rpm CD SUN 36-3 mono
THE SUN BLUES ARCHIVES - WAY AFTER MIDNIGHT - VOLUME 4

05(2) - "IF YOU WANT TO MAKE ME HAPPY" - B.M.I. - 2:30
Composer: - Milton Morse Love
Publisher: - Hi Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Take 2 - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 19, 1954
Released: - 2011
Reissued: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17149-13 mono
GEE... I WISH

Finally the session produced ''If You Want To Make Me Happy'', a song with an arrangement along the lines of the emercing Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew band out of New Orleans. Charles McGowan plays sparse guitar figures, Harvey Simmons plays a good solo and the whole band sways along throughout. We have included both the more bluesy first like and the rather jauntier second cut.

Billy Love must have had a real expectation of seeing his Sun record out that summer, and so must Sam Phillips who made seven different small payments on account to Love between January and August.

Around May or June Sam assigned Sun master numbers to Love's two songs, ''Hey Now'' and ''Way After Midnight'', U 118 and U 119, but the record did not appear with the May batch of Sun discs.

By August, Phillips had recorded and released the first record by Elvis Presley and was embroiled in all the work that surrounded an emergent hot property. Billy Love's disc never appeared, and neither did other blues and rhythm discs scheduled for Sun by Johnny O'Neal, Mose Vinson, Little Junior Parker and The Prisonaires. It was the beginning of the end for most blues and rhythm and blues singers at the Phillips studio - and it was particularly so for Billy Love who had a reputation for unreliability and who must have done something particular to worry Phillips at this time. Sam told me: "Not all of the black artists would have made it. Billy Love, now, Billy was a supergood musician but he didn't have the gut desire to succeed. Not that he didn't want to; but I didn't have time to waste and I think Billy's problem was lack of patience and devotion to what he was doing. He played well but there is a kind of dedication and belief in your music that extends beyond the doors of the studio. He did not have that."

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
Milton ''Billy'' Love - Vocal and Piano
Harvey Simmons - Saxophone
Jewell Briscoe - Saxophone
Lucian Coleman - Saxophone
Charles McGowan - Guitar
Kenneth Banks - Bass
Houston Stokes – Drums

For Biography of Billy Love see: > The Sun Biographies <
Billy Love's Sun recordings can be heard on his playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

Back in 1954, as Billy Love's chances of having a disc issued on Sun were reducing, he was continuing his association with Rosco Gordon who had been signed to Duke Records of Houston in 1953. On June 10, 1954, Love was logged for the first time as the session pianist on a Rosco Gordon recording, ''Keep On Doggin'', made in Houston as a follow up to Gordon's earlier hit ''No More Doggin''.

It is possible that Love had played piano on earlier Gordon discs though for the most part Gordon's own less technical and heavier-handed style is apparent.

It seems that Billy Red Love may have spent a good part of the years 1954 to 1956 travelling with Gordon as his arranger and pianist. He crops up on a number of Gordon's recordings and Rosco spoke as though their association lasted well into the mid-1950s. Certainly Love was still around when Gordon re-signed with Sam Phillips to record for Sun Records between 1955 and 1957. When he spoke to interviewer Hank Davis, Rosco gave the impression Love was on the road with him at least until they were promoting his Sun recording of ''The Chicken'' during 1956 and that Love had been the pianist on Rosco's penultimate Sun single, ''Shoobie Oobie'', made at the end of 1956.

Saxophonists Willie Wilkes and Richard Sanders and drummer John Murry Daley were other members of the Florida Street rehearsal group who also stayed with Gordon off and on through the years. Although Gordon minimised it in later interviews, he and those who worked with him had a drinking and gambling culture and he told Peter Guralnick this was reflected in his song titles. He said he got his song ideas from drunks in the band: "Willie Wilkes and Billy drank a lot, Billy 'Red' Love, you know, the piano player, he did a lot of drinking."

In 1957 Rosco Gordon moved his base away from Houston and Memphis and started to tour more widely, spending some time in the North and even touring abroad. It was at about that time that Billy Love disappeared. Interviewer Cilia Huggins asked several Memphis-based musicians about Billy Love over the years and told me, "Everyone I ever asked said, 'He went to Texas' - and they knew no more''. Rufus Thomas said that Love moved to Kansas City and Rosco Gordon told Hank Davis "He was a winehead. Last time I saw him he was out west somewhere. He looked terrible. He had a wife and six kids. It was just too much for him to handle."

JANUARY 21, 1954 THURSDAY

Bill Monroe buys his second farm, a 288-acre property in Sumner County, Tennessee, with a $10 down payment for the $15,660 purchase. He will share the home with bass player Bessie Lee Mauldin while his wife Carolyn remains on his other farm.

JANUARY 22, 1954 FRIDAY

Little Jimmy Dickens recorded ''Out Behind The Barn'' in Nashville.

Woody Guthrie and Anneke Marshall have a daughter, Lorina Lynn Guthrie, at New York's Bellevue Hospital.

JANUARY 24, 1954 SUNDAY

Bass player Glenn Worf is born in Dayton, Ohio. A multiple winner of the Academy of Country Music's bass honor, he plays on several hundreds hits by the likes of Alan Jackson, George Strait, Faith Hill, Toby Keith and Martina McBride. In addition, he co-produces hits by Miranda Lambert and David Nail.

JANUARY 27, 1954 WEDNESDAY

Roy Rogers and Dale Evans adopt a six-year-old boy, John David, better known as Sandy Rogers.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

STUDIO SESSION FOR THE JONES BROTHERS
AT THE MEMPHIS RECORDING SERVICE FOR SUN RECORDS 1954

SUN RECORDING STUDIO
706 UNION AVENUE, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
SUN SESSION: THURSDAY JANUARY 28, 1954
SESSION HOURS: UNKNOWN
PRODUCERS AND RECORDING ENGINEER - SAM C. PHILLIPS

Memphis has been at the hub of gospel music ever since the era of pioneering songwriter, Thomas Dorsey (see below), during the 1930s. After World War II, there was a profusion of close harmony groups traveling the South (spreading the word and selling a whole lot of records), so it wasn't surprising that Sun might sooner or later enter the fold. The locally popular Jones Brothers boasted six very powerful voices, which, for Sam Phillips, proved difficult to balance and difficult to market.

Other than the Prisonaires, who are best viewed as a pop quartet, the Jones Brothers have the distinction of being the only gospel quartet Sam Phillips ever issued on Sun. Memphis was a city rich in black gospel, although Sam Phillips barely exploited this tradition. He did record the Brewsteraires back in 1951, but the results were issued on Chess Records.

01 - "LOOK TO JESUS" - B.M.I. - 2:47
Composer: - Eddie Hollins
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 107 Master 
Recorded: - January 28, 1954
Released: - January 8, 1955
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78rpm standard single > Sun 213-A < mono
LOOK TO JESUS / EVERY NIGHT
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-3-19 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

The Jones Brothers are not typical of the deep harmony a cappella tradition that still flourished in Memphis at the time. Their style is closer to the soulish/shouting approach which emerged after gospel's golden era' and continues to dominate the field. The Jones Brothers consisted of six vocalists and a guitar (the term 'quartet' does not imply anything numerical in gospel singing). The group Sam Phillips recorded had its origins in Marion, Arkansas in the late 1930s when Cas Jones formed a quartet.

"Look To Jesus" probably stood a greater chance of garnering some attention. The song is delivered in a classic call and response style. Again, however, this as not a noteworthy side. Truth to tell, the material is fairly ordinary, and although the lead vocalist acquits himself with panache, the backup harmony is surprisingly thin. This is a particularly strong indictment considering there were five voices available to echo the Lord's praises.

02(1) - "EVERY NIGHT" - 1 - B.M.I. - 2:39
Composer: - Jake McIntosh
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - U 106 Master
Recorded: - January 28, 1954
Released: - January 8, 1955
First appearance: - Sun Records (S) 78rpm standard single > Sun 213-B < mono
EVERY NIGHT / LOOK TO JESUS
Reissued: - 1994 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 15801-3-20 mono
THE SUN SINGLES COLLECTION - VOLUME 1

Although the rich gospel tradition in Memphis was a wellspring of deep harmony a cappella singing, Sam Phillips never released any examples of it. True, he did record the Brewsteraires and Southern Jubilees, but those sides were ultimately slotted for release on other labels, bot Sun.

"Every Night" is not a particularly successful recording. Although the lead vocal conveys style and passion, the backing is tepid. What might have been an intense outing is instead unfocussed. It fails to build the tension necessary for arrangements like this to work effectively. The lead guitar, which may have appealed to Sam Phillips, is overly intrusive. In fact, many of the guitar lines might have been sung to greater effect.

The hard bluesy edge of these sides was probably more appealing to Phillips than the smoother vocal blending of quartet harmony. In any case, his ambivalence about releasing gospel music was still in evidence - this single was held back almost a year after recording. Despite some local action, these sides were a commercial disaster and all but sealed the fate of gospel releases on Sun.

02(2) - "EVERY NIGHT" - 2 - B.M.I. - 2:21
Composer: - Jake McIntosh
Publisher: - Hi-Lo Music Incorporated
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - January 28, 1954
Released: - March 8, 2013
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-8-30 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958

A newly discovered version of one of the Jones' Brothers issued songs, this preliminary take of ''Every Night'' is inferior in every way. It's possible that this version stems from the same January 28, 1954 session that yielded the single release, but the only evidence for that is the tuning of the guitar. It is in tune only with itself (key of A) but flat to the outside world. It was also in that slightly flat tuning when the group recorded the subsequent version of the song that was issued on Sun. But there is a much stronger possibility that the quartet went in to the Memphis Recording Service some time in 1953 to cut this acetate for their own use. As noted above, they might have gone in with Brother Russell, but that is of little consequence. Sam Phillips might have been intrigued by what he heard of the quartet and said, ''You fellas bring me something original for the flipside and I'll do a session on you''. This account actually makes sense because it is odd that an acetate would have been cut that included this inferior version of a released song.

It is far more likely that the group took this one home with them before they worked up a second song for their session. It also accounts for why no trace of this take appears in the Sun logs pr tape files. It was truly a one-off event, kept among Johnny Prye's possessions until his death. In any case, this newly discovered alternative is much more subdued than the issued version and has a slightly different arrangement as well (an unlikely thing to change on the fly in the studio). Notice that the version of Sun features what amounts to a duet between the lead singer and the ''basser'' until the song arrives at its call and response section, during which the title phrase is repeated over and over.

The second difference, and this has a major impact on the song, is that the group's vocal renderings of the title phrase on this version are odd enough to sound wrong. They are not simply 1-3-5-8 or 1-3-5-flatted 7 harmonies and they have an unsettling effect as they are repeated over and over again. Fortunately the problem was rectified before the issued take was recorded. The timings of the two versions, by the way, are virtually identical at around 2:24 so nothing fundamental about the song changed between this and the single.

03 - "I'M SEALED*" - B.M.I. - 2:32
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Not Originally Issued
Recorded: - Probably 1953
Released: - March 8, 2013
First appearance: - Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17310-8-29 mono
THE SUN BLUES BOX 1950 - 1958

The identity of Brother R. Russel is unknown. His music turned up on the flipside of a 1953 acetate made at the Memphis Recording Service. Despite the label credit on the acetate, ''I'm Sealed'' is a vocal solo with piano and guitar accompaniment in a style that has almost no bearing on quartet singing. The extent of the connection between Russell and the Jones Brothers may be social, although it is possible that he ''borrowed'' their guitarist, Charles Bishop for the recording. It is also entirely possible that they went into the Memphis Recording Service together to split the cost of a vanity session. In any case, this track ''I'm Sealed'', is an oddity whose connection with either Sun records or the Jones Brothers quartet is indirect, at best. It informs the bigger picture of the range of black gospel music being performed in Memphis, circa 1953. If we can speculate, this is a style that would have turned up, not frequently, in the vanity recordings made by Phillips. it is highly unlikely he would have given it a second thought as far as being a candidate for commercial release.

04 - "DO YOU KNOW THE MAN" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - January 28, 1954

05 - "SOMEWHERE IN GLORY" - B.M.I.
Composer: - Unknown
Publisher: - Copyright Control
Matrix number: - None - Sun Unissued
Recorded: - January 28, 1954

Name (Or. No. Of Instruments)
The Jones Brothers consisting of:
William Gresham - Vocal
Jake McIntosh - Vocal
Charles Jones - Vocal
Eddie Hollins - Vocal
Johnny Prye - Vocal
James Rayford - Vocal
Charles Bishop – Guitar

Brother R. Russell - Vocal*

Note: On ''I'm Sealed'' the Jones Brothers not heard.

NOTE - NOTE - NOTE

Until recently no one knew that Elvis Presley made any studio recordings between 1953 and 1955 outside of those taped at Sun. Then Johnny Prye, front man with the Jones Brothers, a black gospel septet, revealed that Presley had cut acetates with them. Most recently, in 1992, RCA unearthed a recording of Presley singing "Fool, Fool, Fool" recorded for a radio station in Lubbock, Texas, during 1955. Perhaps Prye really did remember a long lost session with the Jones Brothers.

For Biography of The Jones Brothers see: > The Sun Biographies <
The Jones Brothers' Sun recordings can be heard on their playlist from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

THOMAS DORSEY - Blues and gospel musician and composer. An important figure in both blues and gospel music. Thomas Andrew Dorsey was born in Villa Rica, Georgia, on July 1, 1899. His father was a Baptist minister and moved the family to Atlanta, Georgia in 1904. During the years just prior to World War I Dorsey sang and played piano for private parties and at clubs throughout Atlanta. After briefly attending Morehouse College, he moved north and settled in Chicago, Illinois by 1916. The period between 1916 and 1932 was marked by a deep professional involvement with popular music, especially the blues.

Dorsey worked with several Chicago-based vaudeville acts and during the mid-1020s toured with a band that worked the TOBA ) known colloquially as Tough on Black Artists) circuit across the South and urban North. He and Tampa Red (Hudson Whittaker) formed an extremely popular duo, with Dorsey playing piano, Tampa Red performing on guitar, and both men singing a mixture of blues and risque numbers. This partnership remained strong for about four years, during which Dorsey also recorded with the Famous Hokum Boys, the Black Hill Billies, and the Hokum Jug Band.

Although much of his early life was spent as a popular entertainer and blues pianist, singer and composer, Thomas Dorsey always retained and avid interest in and respect for gospel music. In 1932 he decided to give up popular music entirely and devote his talent to sacred music. He met with some resistance initially, both from those who associated Dorsey with ''the devil's music'' and by the promoters and musicians who prospered because of his popularity.

Thomas Dorsey persisted in his gospel music career, however, and the period between 1932 and 1950 is marked by his influence. He worked extensively with Mahalia Jackson and also helped Roberta Martin and Sallie Martin early in their careers. Dorsey's promotion of these and other singers helped to move black gospel music into the realm of popular music after World War II.

Dorsey is perhaps best known as a gospel song composer. An early publication, ''Precious Lord, Take My Hand'' is one of the most popular gospel songs ever written. Over the lengthy career, Dorsey has composed approximately 500 songs, including ''When The Last Mile Is Finished'', ''Wings Over Jordan'', ''If You See My Savior'', and of course, ''There Will Be Peace In The Valley, Dorsey wrote for Mahalia Jackson in 1937, which also became a gospel standard. He was the first African American elected to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and also the first in the Gospel Music Association's Living Hall of Fame. In 2007, he was inducted as a charter member of the Gennett Records Walk of Fame in Richmond, Indiana. His papers are preserved at Fisk University, along with those of W.C. Handy, George Gershwin, and the Fisk Jubilee Singers.

Dorsey's works have proliferated beyond performance, into the hymnals of virtually all American churches and of English-speaking churches worldwide. Thomas was a member of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity. Thomas Dorsey died in Chicago, Illinois on January 23, 1993 and was interred there in the Oak Woods Cemetery.

JANUARY 29, 1954 FRIDAY

Fiddler Theron Hale dies. One of the early members of the Grand Ole Opry, he stayed with the cast from 1925-1933.

Talk show maven Oprah Winfrey is born in Kosciusko, Mississippi. She gets name checked in Patty Loveless' 1994 country hit ''I Try To Think About Elvis''.

> Page Up <

For Biographies of Artists see: > The Sun Biographies <
Sun recordings can be heard on the playlists from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on 
> YouTube <

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©