© October 30, 2015 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 17254 (1-18) mono digital
JERRY LEE LEWIS AT SUN RECORDS THE COLLECTED WORKS

A Bear Family Records Product. 18-CD boxset with 2 hardcover clothbound books, 300 pages, in a clothbound slipcase. The story began at Sun Records almost 60 years ago. Now every surviving song and every surviving take that Jerry Lee Lewis recorded for Sun is here. All other sets are obsolete! Years of painstaking comparisons and tape vault research! 18 generously full CDs, 623 tracks, more than 100 previously unheard versions! All mono versions! All stereo versions! All original Sun era overdubs! Two comprehensive hardbound books: one with the discography and commentary, and another of photos, many of them previously unpublished!

These 18 CDs place you in the studio as Jerry Lee Lewis records one epochal session after another for Sun Records between 1956 and 1963. In the history of recorded music, no one created such an incredible and indelible body of work in such a short time. Jerry Lee spanned the breadth of American music: gospel, rhythm and blues, blues, country, pop, and of course rock 'n' roll. Incredibly, he only recorded one LP during the course of his career at Sun. Another LP mixed some older and some newer recordings, and that was it before Sun was sold. The floodgates opened after the sale in 1969. There have been countless Jerry Lee Lewis anthologies since then, more than anyone could possibly tabulate, many of them drawing on the incredible wealth of unissued songs. But now you can get rid of them all. This is the guaranteed ultimate Jerry Lee Lewis on Sun listening experience. You can hear recordings created in the studio. Some were done in one take. If that's all it needed, that's all it took. Some were painstakingly recorded and re-recorded through days and sometimes weeks. It's all here. Every complete take, every incomplete take, every piece of chatter. It took two years of analysis to compare all the sources, but now it's done. And it took years of research to find rare and published photos, and date them properly.

Producers:
Sam C. Phillips, Jack Clement, Billy Sherrill, and Scotty Moore
Re-Issue Producers:
Andrew McRae, Pierre Pennone, and Richard Weize
Tape Research:
Andrew McRae and Pierre Pennone
Tape Comparison and Analysis:
Valery ''Valerik'' Orlov and Willem Moerdijk
Compilation:
Willem Moerdijk and Andrew McRae
Disc Transfer and Mastering:
Christian Zwarg
Liner Notes:
Andrew McRae
Discography:
Valery ''Valerik'' Orlov and Pierre Pennone
Musicians and Sessions Detail:
Willem Moerdijk
Cover Illustrations:
Evelyyne Gerstenberger

Photos and Illustrations:
Wim de Boer, Horst Dieter Fischer collection, Rob Illingworth, Graham Knight,
Kay Martin, Augusto Morini, Now Dig This magazine, Pierre Pennone,
Jean-Louis Rancurel

Photo Restoration:
Sam Malbuch
Artwork:
Mychael Gerstenberger

Consultant:
Hank Davis

Acknowledgments:
Bear Family is indebted to all those involved in the production of earlier Jerry Lee Lewis box set collections, including Colin Escott, Martin Hawkins, Hank Davis, Cliff White, Barrie Gamblin and others associated with such works duly credited at the time.

Thanks also to:
Terry Adams, Freddy de Boer, Peter Checksfield, Chas Hodges, Per Kallin,
Anne Palmer, Scott Parker, Thomas Rund, J.M. Van Eaton
(in conversation with Hank Davis), and Myra Lewis Williams.

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

ALL ABOUT THE JERRY LEE LEWIS SUN TAPES Jerry Lee Lewis At Sun Records: The Collected Works, gathers together every authentic, original recording that Bear Family Records has been able to find Jerry Lee at work, on his own account, in the Sun studios. It's as simple as that; a straightforward, sonic encyclopedia of every traceable note he sang and played at Sun, just as they were electronically etched onto magnetic tape between November 14, 1956 and August 28, 1963. Many of the recordings are interspersed with vignettes of studio chatter, preserved for posterity as the spools kept rolling between rehearsals and takes; from the mildest self-rebuke at a false start, to the legendary, emotional confrontation with Sam Phillips during which Lewis contemplates the dangers to his immortal soul having embarked upon the recording of ''Great Balls Of Fire''.

Thus CDs 1 to 15 (BCD 17254) comprise, in a chronological sequence, all extant recordings Jerry Lee made at Sun, including a small number of damaged and clipped tapes, exactly as cut in the studio. Any recording that proved to be available at source in stereo only have been down-mixed to mono to achieve the desired continuity in sound, thereby enabling the systematic delivery of everything concerned as a coherent body of work. It will be noted that this continuum includes eleven recordings which, in the accompanying discography, are designated ''undubbed masters'', a term that some readers may, with some justification, consider paradoxical. The expression merely reflects the fact that the basic tracks concerned are the original studio tapes of recordings that were subsequently reinforced with a vocal chorus and/or instrumentation prior to their initial release.

Complementing the main presentation, all the stereo mixes dating from 1960 to 1963 that have come to light in the Sun archives then follow, commencing on the latter part of CD 15 and continuing on CDs 16 and 17. Save only for minor repairs being applied to one or two damaged items, the tapes concerned have been reproduced faithfully; no stereo remixing has been undertaken by Bear Family. CD 18 then draws together the masters, as originally issued, of those recordings that were overdubbed, or otherwise re-engineered, for release during Lewis's tenure at Sun. These encompass not only the tracks from 1957 to 1960 that feature dubbed vocal choruses but also the spliced master of both ''High School Confidential'' and ''I've Been Twistin''', as released on the singles Sun 296 and Sun 374 respectively. All these records as first issued are, of course, rather better known than the unadorned performances featured in the main concatenation; although the accent in this set is on authenticity, the exclusion of these embellishments on a point of principle simply couldn't be justified. And those who do wish to be reminded of a rather less well judged application of the technique of splicing, when Sam Phillips and his fellow producer Jack Clement conspired in cobbling together snippets from Lewis's hit records to synthesise the novelty item ''The Return of Jerry Lee'' will find this at the very end of the set.

The eighteen CD also covers a selection of less familiar augmented recordings, where a vocal overdub or instrumentation was added to the original work on an experimental basis. Foremost amongst these is a tape of ''Settin' The Woods On Fire'' embellished shortly after Lewis had finished his work in the studio. This, and the other overdubs featured, pass muster on the grounds that these alterations were generated contemporaneously by the original studio personnel. In the case of ''Settin' The Woods On Fire'' the recording dubbed with guitar, bass and drums, was first released in 1971 amongst the series of albums issued by Sun International Corporation following Shelby Singleton's purchase of the Sun catalogue. A not insignificant number of such tapes were concocted, many burdened with unappealing supplements that add little of interest to the raw productions. IN one or two instances, the items in question have been published on latterday CD Sun compilations but, given that the underlying original recordings are made available within this set, the enhanced tapes have not necessarily been included here. Rather, it has been decided to select a representative sample of such overdubs simply to unveil the process.

It should be also noted that a number of other tapes corrupted with added instrumentation, when leased in the mid-1960s to the budget label Pickwick, have been left to gather dust on the obscure vinyl on which they emerged fifty years ago. Adhering to the same principle, any tarnished material that Shelby Singleton contrived to transform from the original without, it might be said, a great deal of subtlety, will not be found in this box set. The only duets accommodated here are entirely genuine. And for the avoidance of any doubt, this set does not, of course, incorporate anything of the so-called ''re-processed stereo'' effect exhibited on Sun International LPs released between 1969 and 1972.

There is a further qualification. We are not concerned here with Jerry Lee's several engagements at Sun as a session musician during late 1956 and early 1957, when he played piano on the recordings of Billy Riley, Carl Perkins and others. The observation both of this principle and, it has to be said, issues of copyright, explain why the celebrated ''Million Dollar Quartet'' tapes, dating December 4, 1956, likewise do not feature in the box set.

Since the discovery in the late 1980s of tapes from a 1960 session that revealed ''The Great Speckled Bird, ''Don't Drop It'' and ''Keep Your Hands Off Of It (Birthday Cake)'', no ''new'' distinct titles as such by Jerry Lee Lewis have been found in the Sun storeroom. Since that time, in terms of unreleased material, fans have had to be satisfied by the occasional unheralded first outing of an alternate take, such as those of ''It'll Be Me'' and ''How's My Ex Treating You'' which slipped out on obscure US CD issues in 1996 and 1999 respectively, or an extra few seconds of a recording prematurely faded out on earlier releases, cases in point being ''Ramblin' Rose'', ''Hong Kong Blues'' and ''Money''. The full-length tapes of the latter have, of course, been used in compiling this collection.

Rumours of undiscovered titles nonetheless persist. The first to be mentioned in this connection is invariably Lewis's interpretation of ''We Three'', a 1940 hit for The Ink Spots. When introducing the song at a live show in Memphis in June 1961, Lewis stated ''...we intend to have it coming out on record pretty soon'', but was it recorded at Sun? The indications are positive. The surviving performance, familiar to fans thanks to an audience tape made public on a bootleg LP in 1972, bears witness that ''We Three'' had been worked on diligently; Jerry Lee's arrangement and a memorable piano solo suggest that it was well practised. Were it to have been recorded professionally, it would certainly have been worthy of a release. Noticeably, it possesses the hallmarks of Lewis's reading of another 1940s pop song, ''My Blue Heaven'', recorded in the Sun studio at 369 Madison Avenue on June 14, 1961. Moreover, on the ''live'' tape, ''We Three'' immediately precedes a jaunty recital of ''Hello Josephine'' which mirrors the arrangement of the song as cut at the same June 14 session. So it's not inconceivable that ''We Three'' was recorded in the studio and that the tape was lost or, heaven forefend, re-cycled. Perhaps it lies forgotten in a box abandoned in someone's attic outhouse, having been purloined from the official repository decades ago.

However, leaving aside that enigma, what have we actually got here that's ''new''? More than one hundred items included in this set are being issued officially for the first time, albeit as many as forty of these have been circulating privately on home-copied CDs amongst a few of Lewis's hard-core fans over the last twenty years or so, having somehow slipped out of the archives. Even so, at least fifty of the recordings here presented have escaped prior detection and have remained unheard until now.

Listening to these ''new'' takes, it is hard to understand quite how and why such an eccentric cut of ''It'll Be Me'' (BCD 17254-2-22) remained unacknowledged and unreleased. Equally, there are some remarkable prototype cuts of ''High School Confidential'' that have, it seems, lain undiscovered or been ignored for more than half a century. The tape boxes involved were examined by at least one authority back in the 1970s but it appears that these alternates were overlooked. One might argue that these earliest readings of the song are representative of a different, experimental, version of the song rather than being simply ''alternate takes'', which makes their fate in remaining unreleased until now all the harder to explain.

It has also been possible to accommodate a number of previously unheard false starts, fragments of incomplete ''lost'' takes and snippets of conversation and banter in the studio. At the same time, published examples of the latter have, where necessary, been restored to their rightful places in the continuum; for whatever reasons a number were, on earlier releases, re-edited with a cavalier disregard for their true origins and placed ahead of recordings to which they were wholly unrelated.

A great debt is owed to the producers of the several progenitors of this collection, including the first box set of Lewis's Sun recordings, the twelve LP set ''The Sun Years'', released in 1983 by Charly Records in the UK. Charly's ambitious approach which, for fans of early rock music, took the idea of a retrospective of an artist's work at a single company to an unprecedented level, established a template that was later adopted for the even more extensive eight CD box set issued during 1989 both by Charly Records and by Bear Family. At last, the collector could find almost every Lewis Sun recording thought worth having in one, or another, convenient package, the painstaking assembly of a library of scores of LPs, involving the repeated purchase of the same recordings of familiar songs for want of a particular title or an alternate take, was made a redundant exercise.

On all three occasions the compliers decided to present everything in a simple chronological order insofar as the dates of origin could reasonably be ascertained, it having been stated in the notes accompanying the 1983 vinyl set that a number of assumptions had been made to fill in the extensive blanks where conclusive information was unavailable, i.e. for almost entire two year period from November 1956 to the end of 1958. Notwithstanding this and similar disclaimers upon the release in 1989 of the rival CD products, Charly's ''The Sun Years'' and Bear Family's ''Classic'', such assumptions have subsequently come to be regarded by many as facts.

Thus the prevailing wisdom surrounding the chronology of Lewis's work at Sun dates from the materialisation of Charly's twelve LP collection and the dispositions arrived at in 1983 which since that time, subject only to minor revision in 1989, have remained largely unchallenged. To be fair, those involved were at pains to quality the vast majority of the quoted recording dates during the period concerned with either of the words ''probably'' or ''possibly''. Furthermore they conceded that much of their understanding, not only in respect of the allocation of particular recordings to discrete sessions but also the attribution of the names of backing musicians to specific events, amounted to nothing more than guesswork.

In 1993, Charly withdrew from sale its 208-track 1989 set and averred that it had produced ''The Ultimate'' collection of Jerry Lee's work at Sun, spread over twelve CDs nominally containing 318 separate tracks. Although the size of the box was increased by some fifty per cent it was again a case of simply adding to the inventory numerous alternates of familiar songs, the vaults having been emptied of any new titles per se with the release of ''Don't Drop It'' and others some four years previously. However, rather than proffer six or seven consecutive takes of ''Great Balls Of Fire'' or ''Breathless'', in ''The Ultimate'' Charly adopted an atypical course compared to that taken in the compilation of the earlier sets. The modus operandi was the marshalling of songs by reference to express themes; a collection of rock titles here, ''country roots'' there, ''rhythm and blues covers'' on the next CD and so on and so forth. This neatly avoided the tricky question of the assumed chronology, serious doubts about which, with the benefit of hindsight, were already beginning to surface.

The problem with ''The Ultimate'', leaving aside the misidentification and repetition of several recordings and the inadvertent exclusion of two titles altogether, was that from a fan's perspective the concept just didn't produce the goods. Amongst the well intentioned jumble, with different takes of individual titles scattered at random across the twelve CDs, there was no opportunity to make sense of how a particular song had been worked on by the musicians in the studio and how it had evolved into a finished master, something which the earlier sets had selectively allowed; rather, both the listener and, as it had turned out, the compilers, could become all too easily confused in trying to assess the distinctions between take ''x'' and take ''y'' of a particular title.

And so, to the current set, ''The Collected Works''. It has already been pointed out that the filing of session details at Sun had been notoriously lax, or, for much of the time, had been subject to deliberate obfuscation on the part of Sam Phillips. The rules of the American Federation of Musicians specified that recording sessions might comprise up to three hours work, involving work on four titles, but no more than that. Sam was required to submit returns to the union demonstrating compliance with these rules and it would seem that he wasn't averse to producing paperwork that would somehow stand up to official scrutiny, no matter that it bore little relationship to what had actually gone in the studio. As Colin Escott put it in his 1989 essay accompanying the ''Classic'' box set, Sam's reports were, to all intents and purposes, ''largely a work of fiction''. So, during the years 1956 to 1959, a key discipline had effectively been disregarded at Sun. And this was, of course, the period in respect of which such information would have proved most useful to the archivist, given that it was when Jerry Lee was at his most prolific in the recording studio, working intensively and regularly on the development of his hit records.

To complicate matters further, Phillips habitually used up any remaining free space at the end of previously recorded tapes and sometimes re-cycled them completely; this is yet another of the underlying causes of confusion about how sessions evolved, given that certain recordings had a habit of ending up in tape boxes where they bore no obvious relationship to many of the other contents. This consideration also begs the question of just what was lost by the indiscriminate erasure of many rehearsals and outtakes. What price just one ''alternate'' of ''Mean Woman Blues''?

In the absence of any definitive indication about exactly when particular recordings had been made, it was felt that there was every justification in trying to reassemble the jigsaw puzzle of the hundreds of tapes that have survived. The intention was to examine and where appropriate re-evaluate, though certainly not to traduce, any earlier studies of the subject. For the greater part the work of the 1983 team of experts has been revalidated. But it is deemed appropriate to amend the nominal chronology at certain points, in view of some fairly obvious anomalies in the 1983 list and with the benefit of thirty years hindsight.

The starting point was a conspicuous misunderstanding about the recording of Frankie And Johnny''. Having analysed various aspects of the performance it was realised that this track could not, as had been supposed by those involved in the compilation of the 1980s box sets, date from March 1958 but that it was much more likely to be the product of a session some nine months later. Listen to the drums and guitar; the much fuller sound indicates that this tape is out of place when set amongst relatively unpolished jewels such as ''Hello Hello Baby'' and ''Your Cheatin' Heart'', whereas it does share many of the atttributes of ''Lovin' Up A Storm'' and ''Big Blon' Baby'', songs with which it has now been realigned.

Prompted by that reflection, what else might be amiss? This narrative will not explain every change to the chronology; listeners accustomed to the 1983 running order can make comparisons and assess for themselves the conclusions put forward here. Perhaps some cherished notions have been subjected to what may be regarded by some as inappropriate revisionism, but the team which worked on this project throughout much of 2013 and 2014 is confident of the outcome of its findings.

It's only fair to acknowledge that one facility the pioneering researchers lacked was the luxury of time, a benefit granted in rather greater measure to those reassessing their work some thirty years later. The compilers of this set have been listening to the antecedent publications countless times over the course of several decades, rather than being new to much of the material and then having to make appraisals in a period of just a few weeks. Moreover, the ease of communication afforded by the internet, with the ability to exchange sound files instantaneously across vast distances, fostered the creation of a ''virtual'' committee that could pore over the details of each track with relative ease.

Modern technical conveniences not available to original researchers in the comfort of their own homes in the 1980s have provided other advantages. For example, the comparison of tapes from different sources is made possibly by listening at the same time to two recordings, with appropriate adjustment of their respective speeds as separate channels, in one test stereo track. In this way an undetected minor variation between successive takes may suddenly be made very apparent. Conversely, the existence of a supposedly distinct recording may be disproven; the dismissal of the identification of a bogus third take of ''Ramblin' Rose'' being an example of this.

Equally, for all the sins ascribed to digitalised sound files there's no doubt that ''flac'' files and MP3s provide an immense convenience when it comes to analysing subtle distinctions between successive takes of the same song. The fact that we can now enjoy no fewer than nine takes of ''Little Green Valley'', rather than the three previously determined, may well be down simply to the six new additions having been overlooked by the 1983 team, due both to time pressures and to the remarkably analogous sound across the entire suite of recordings. Is it possible that some alternates were dismissed by those erstwhile investigators in the belief that the tracks in the ''newly found'' batch were merely copies of other tapes found in another box? The nine variants of ''Little Green Valley'' also give a lie to the maxim that Lewis never recorded a song the same way twice; eight of nine are superficially consonant and one can spend hours poring over the detailed differences to tell them apart. Similarly, the manifold examples of ''Great Balls Of Fire'', ''Milkshake Mademoiselle' and High School Confidential'', though usually more recognisable as distinct entities, still require analysis of the slightest detail, be it a glissando buried in the mix during a guitar solo, or the substitution of an endearment such as ''sugar'' in place of ''honey'' somewhere in the lyric, to tell them apart with complete confidence.

The underlying methodology employed to arrive at the new timeline is much the same as that used hitherto, with the few irrefutable facts, such as the release of Lewis' singles, being taken as pointers to the recording dates of specific titles. Although an attempt has been made to define a calender of events, it often remains necessary to qualify the supposed date with an appropriate reservation. Consequently the emphasis is very much on treating the period concerned ''in the round'', and on simply charting the evolution of the Lewis sound over periods of months and years rather than trying to reconstruct what, given the deficiency of source date, will inevitably be an imprecise diary.

In so doing, we chart progress not simply in respect of individual titles, for example across the more than twenty takes of ''High School Confidential'', but also from one song to the next, as in the cases of ''Ubangi Stomp'', ''Rock 'N' Roll Ruby'' and ''So Long I'm Gone'', a trio which are obvious bed-fellows. This is an important principle to follow given that there are so many songs of which only one performance was recorded. In this way, we can accommodate everything into the story of the development of the Lewis sound and highlight, where appropriate, the significance of a notable aspect of one recording to other titles in a linked sequence.

The written analysis is purposely selective. A few of the songs that Lewis performed once only at Sun, or at least where only one take has endured, will not necessarily receive a mention here; the accompanying discography is the authoritative guide to the content. Nor does this text furnish comprehensive details of the origins of all the songs that Lewis recorded; it is reasoned that such facts will be known to many readers by virtue of earlier releases while in the twenty-first century online resources can easily be referred to for this information. A core function of this text is simply to emphasise the slight distinctions between separate takes of the same song where the listener might not be expected, without spending a disproportionate amount of time and effort, to be able to segregate recordings with confidence. But those who independently wish to analyse each track to establish their singularity may, of course, chose to leave this essay aside!

In providing this commentary it is hoped that the listener will become all the more cognisant of the often painstaking work undertaken, on the part of Lewis, the backing musicians and the recording technicians, in arriving at the finished product. This thought prompts a further word of explanation. The authors of the first detailed account of Jerry Lee's work at Sun, Martin Hawkins and Colin Escott, having invited Jerry Lee to help in trying to establish the facts, had been told ''I played on them, what the hell else do you need to know''? It remains difficult to offer definitive pointers to who else was actually involved on specific occasions, although some guidance is offered in the accompanying discography. The presence of Roland Janes as guitarist on most of the early sides is not in doubt, not least thanks to Jerry Lee habitually identifying him at the start of each guitar solo, while Jimmy Van Eaton is likewise an almost constant companion on the recordings made at 706 Union Avenue.

There is nonetheless cause to mistrust previously published session lists detailing the supposed involvement of certain personnel; and to be candid, good reason to be wary of some of the revisionism presented here! This work is not devoid of speculation. But much of that now postulated reflects the careful analysis of individual performance traits, while any obvious anomalies in earlier works have been addressed. For example although the Charly discographies stuck resolutely to the idea that Sidney Manker was the sole guitarist involved in the session which produced ''Ooby Dooby'', this suggestion openly disregards the fact that Jerry Lee is heard calling Roland to attention in the usual way before the delivery of his readily identifiable contribution.

It also needs to be said that the assertions of some of those directly involved have been treated with a degree of circumspection, given that all too frequently they contradict one another, and the statements volunteered sometimes don't tally with the few documented facts. In Rick Bragg's exposition' (''Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story'' - Rick Bragg: Harper Collins Publishers, 2014), Jerry Lee claims not to have known the name of the drummer on the ''historic recording'' of ''Great Balls Of Fire'', while his recollection of the bass player's identity, ''Sidney Stokes'', is at odds with that of Jay W. Brown, who suggests in his own book (''Whole Lotta Shakin''' - J.W. Brown with Rusty Brown: Continental Shelf Publishing 2010) , that it was Al Stanger. As Lewis also told Bragg, ''...people like to remember things in a certain way''. In this instance, though, they might both be right; the most positive lead we can follow out of the melee of memories is that these rival stories lend weight to the proposition that the recording of ''Great Balls Of Fire'' was by no means as straightforward as many would have us believe.

by Andrew McRae, 2015

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© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

CD 1 Contains 1956-1957

"Crazy Arms", originally recorded by Kenny Brown and Marilyn Kay for the small Pep label, "Crazy Arms" had been at or near the top of the country charts for months in the hands of Ray Price. Although it was late in the game, Phillips decided to test the waters with Jerry's version. Ralph Mooney wrote the lyrics of "Crazy Arms" after his wife temporarily left him because of his drinking.

And another story is: it didn't take long for Jerry Lee and teenage drummer Jimmy Van Eaton is forge a musical alliance. They had it here, the first time they met and recorded. Exactly which titles were recorded and in what sequence is a matter of conjecture at this point. One thing we can be sure of is that by the time they reached ''Crazy Arms'', which became Jerry Lee's first Sun release, they were soaring together. There was nobody there to fill in the blanks: no bass, no guitar, no strings, no voices. Just Jerry and Jimmy, whose combined ages at this point didn't total 40 years.

Van Eaton is doing so much more than keeping time, it's almost comic. He's kicking and prodding, and providing drum rolls and counter-rhythm. It's like having Jerry Lee accompanied by a marching band. When Jerry launches into his 16-bar piano solo, J.M. follows suit and begins to solo on his drums. Much of what Van Eaton does here he would continue to do for the next seven years in the Sun studio, but never so much of it in such a compressed time and place. ''Crazy Arms'' runs under three minutes (2:45, to be exact) and there's enough drumming to fill a dozen records. The amazing this is neither of these young men knew exactly what they were doing. They were ''feeling each other out'' musically, taking risks, seeing if the other would follow. They did, and we get to listen to it happen all over again 60 plus years after it ignited spontaneously that afternoon on November 14, 1956.

1 - Crazy Arms (1) (Master Sun 259) (2:45) 1956
(Chuck Seals-Ralph E. Money) (Pamper Music)

This tune, long thought to be that rarest of species, a Jerry Lee Lewis composition, is in fact a loose adaptation of Irvin Berlin's "Waiting At The End Of The Road", first a hit for Paul Whiteman in 1929, then a minor hit for Frankie Laine twenty years later. Although Jerry did a “solo” performance at the end of the famed Million Dollar Quartet session on December 4th 1956, there’s only been one released studio re-cut and that was for the 1963 ‘Golden Hits’ album, he also cut an interesting version of the song for Elektra in 1980 but this remains unreleased.

Moments like this in music history don't come about very often. What Billboard called "distinctively smart wax" launched a career that has transcended time, style and personal tragedy.

2 - End Of The Road (Master Sun 259) (1:49) 1956
(Jerry Lee Lewis) (Knox Music Incorporated)

''Born To Lose'', his superb mid-tempo country performance wasn’t released until 18 years later on the U.K. Phonogram ''Rockin’ & Free'' LP. The 1969 re-cut from the album ''Country Music Hall Of Fame Hits Volume 1'' is slower and more refined, but beautifully sung and played. It’s a very difficult choice, but if push comes to shove then I think the Sun cut has the edge…

3 - Born To Lose (2:41) 1974
(Frankie Brown aka Ted Daffan) (Copyright Control)

An obvious early favourite of Jerry’s, ''Blue Heaven'' was recorded at three separate sessions during the first couple of years of his career (four if you include the playful run-through at the end of the Million Dollar Quartet session), though none were released until years after he left the label. The 1956 version (actually 2 takes) was taped here at his very first professional session (along with both sides of his first single and ''Born To Lose''). Sounding a little hesitant compared to later versions, this wasn’t released until the ground-breaking ''The Sun Years'' vinyl box-set in 1983.

Much better (and faster) is the 1957 version, first released on ''Olde Tyme Country Music'' in 1970, unlike the 1958 version (which features a couple of additional musicians to the earlier takes) which again wasn’t released until ''The Sun Years'' in 1983.

4 - You're The Only Star (In My Blue Heaven) (1.1) (2:10) 1993
5 - You're The Only Star (In My Blue Heaven) (1.2) (2:40) 1983
(Gene Autry) (Shapiro Bernstein & Corporation)

1-5 Recorded November 14, 1956 at Sun Recording Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano), Roland Janes (guitar), Jimmy M. Van Eaton (drums)
Producer Jack Clement and-or Sam Phillips

Amongst Jerry Lee Lewis' earliest recordings are two examples of early twentieth-century ''folk blues'', again demonstrating the broad range of the material which he so easily embraced and adapted to his own style. The opening passages of each of two takes of ''Deep Elem Blues'' are in very much the same vein but, once past the mid-point of each, Lewis draws upon discrete sets of lyrics. The less familiar of the two have greater poignancy and perhaps deserve to have been more widely heard, in preference to those on the reading of the song selected for release in September 1970 on the Sun International LP ''Ole Time Country Music''. The rather less disciplined piano solo may have counted against its prospects when Shelby Singleton reviewed the tapes; or maybe, having heard the first half of the alternate take, no-one bothered to listen beyond the second verse.

The "Deep Elm Blues" is an American traditional song. The title of the tune refers to historical African American neighborhood in downtown Dallas, Texas, known as Deep Ellum, and a home to music legends Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Willie Johnson, Leadbelly, and Bill Neely. Sometimes the song's title is also spelled "Deep Elem" or "Deep Ellum."

The first known recording was made by the Cofer Brothers under the name of The Georgia Black Bottom on Okey Records. The Shelton Brothers recorded various versions of this song, the first being cut in 1933 with Leon Chappelear under the pseudonym of Lone Star Cowboys for Bluebird Records. They recorded it again in 1935 for Decca Records followed by "Deep Elm No. 2" and "Deep Elm No. 3". Les Paul (as Rhubarb Red) recorded "Deep Elem Blues" and "Deep Elem Blues No. 2" on Decca in 1936. The Sheltons also recorded it in the 1940s as "Deep Elm Boogie" for King Records. Other versions of the song were made between 1957 and 1958 by Jerry Lee Lewis for Sun Records; Mary McCoy and the Cyclones for Jin Records, and, later, by Jerry Garcia, the Grateful Dead, Levon Helm, the Infamous Stringdusters, Rory Gallegher and most recently by Redhorse Black.

In end 1962/early 1963 Charlie Feathers recorded ''Deep Elm Blues'' backed with ''Nobody's Darlin''' for Holiday Inn. Holiday Inn was owned by Sun's owner Sam Phillips, who bought shares in the hotel chain when it first began and most likely launched the label as a promotional device. Again, it's a very sought-after record, but only because it has Feathers' name is on it.

6 - Deep Elem Blues (1) (2:44) 1987
7 - Deep Elem Blues (2) (2:46) 1970
(Bob Attlesey-Joe Attlesey) (Copyright Control)

One of the many songs recorded during his early months at Sun that wasn’t released until many years later, this ''Silver Threads Among The Gold'' is a beautiful version of an old country song. It was first released on Sun International’s ''Sunday Down South'' in 1970, an album of mostly gospel songs shared with Sun outtakes by Johnny Cash. The re-cut is given a mid-temp ''High Heel Sneakers'' beat, and backed by instruments that include horns and steel guitar, an interesting experiment that didn’t quite work. Recorded during the sessions for ''Southern Roots'', this was finally released in 1987 on Bear Family’s ''The Killer: 1973-1977'' box-set.

"Silver Threads Among The Gold", first copyrighted in 1873, was an extremely popular song in the United States during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Today it is a standard of barbershop quartet singing. The lyrics are by Eben E. Rexford, and the music by Hart Pease Danks.

In 1930, an Associated Press story published in the New York Times gave some background on the writing of these lyrics. We quote the article: "Silver Threads Song Traced to Poet’s ''Re-Hash'' on Order'' Shiockton, Wisconsin. The love ballad, ''Silver Threads Among The Gold'', which has stirred the hearts of more than one generation, was not the inspiration of an aging poet but a ''re-hash'' produced on order. The story developed after the unveiling of a monument here in honor of the author of the words, Eben E. Rexford, who died in 1916. Rexford made a living by writing verse and flower and garden articles for magazines. When he was 18, he wrote and sold for $3 some verses entitled ''Growing Old''. Later, H. P. Danks, composer of the music for ''Silver Threads'', wrote to him requesting words for a song. Rexford dug into his scrapbook and revised ''Growing Old''.

When Rexford spoke about the song, he explained that he worked his way through college by writing, and it was when he was in college that Danks sent him a request for lyrics, offering to pay three dollars for each song. Rexford submitted nine songs and received $18.00, but no accounting of which six had been accepted or which three had been rejected. In telling the story of the song, Rexford said that he didn't know whether he had been paid $3.00 for it or nothing, since he didn't know if it had been among the six accepted or the three rejected. Rexford first heard the song when a company of Oneida Indians gave a concert in Shiocton, Wisconsin and sang it there. The sheer popularity of the song can be illustrated, among other ways, by news stories which continued to reference it for many years. For example, in 1932, it won a poll of WABC (AM) (New York) listeners asked to name their favorite songs, despite it already being 60 years old.

The song was the most frequently recorded song of the acoustic recording era, starting with its first known recording by Richard Jose in 1903. Later 20th century recordings of the song include those of John McCormack, Bing Crosby (1948), Jerry Lee Lewis (1956 and 1973), Georg Ots (in Estonian language and Finnish language, 1958), Tapio Rautavaara (in Finnish, 1967) and Jo Stafford with Paul Weston's Orchestra and the Gaslight Singers (1969).

8 - Silver Threads Among The Gold (2:06) 1970
(Eben E. Rexford-Hart Pease Danks) (Copyright Control)

The frantic 1956 ''Crawdad Song'' (first released on the ''Olde Tyme Country Music'' album in 1970) has a real party atmosphere with screams and yelps in the background, reminiscent of some of Gene Vincent’s early sides. The 1975 version is very different, with a slow and bluesy “High Heel Sneakers” beat and prominent harmonica, though both versions are great in their own way. Whenever Jerry’s very occasionally performed the song ‘live’ (such as on the 1987 ''Live In Italy''album, and at London’s 100 Club as recent as 2008) he usually chooses a tempo somewhere between the two studio versions.

''Crawdad Song'' aka ''Sweet Thing'' was written by Woody Guthrie and recorded his version of the song on April 24, 1944 on an Smithsonian 10”Shellac Acetate 1635, backing with with Cisco Houston on guitar and Sonny Terry on harmonica.

Crawdads are known to some people as crayfish and crawfish; they are eaten by both humans and fish, and among Cajuns they are a delicacy. Crawdads are essential to some people's livelihoods and possibly survival as their basic food source; this song has been popular even where crawdads are scarce. It was a play party song (a dance where the closest a man gets to a woman is holding hands or locking arms at the elbow), and among African Americans it was a blues. "Sweet Thing" was the blues from which the song came; fiddlers and banjo pickers adapted to their tempo and the lyrics became more satirical about poverty. There was a time when most young men in Texas and Oklahoma knew the song. The first known recording to be issued was by Honeyboy and Sassafras (Brunswick 417), cut in Dallas, Texas, in 1929, followed by Girls of the Golden West, Lone Star Cowboys, The Tune Wranglers, and a few others. In his unpublished manuscript, "Woody and Lefty Lou's One Thousand and One Laffs and Your Free Gift of One Hundred and One Songs," dated April 1938, Woody typed fourteen lines for individual verses; for lyrics for the best-known version.

9 - Crawdad Song (1:50) 1970
(Woody Guthrie) (Pont Neuf Music-Atway Music)

''Singing The Blues'', this 1956 version is typical of his early Sun recordings, with superb “pumping” piano and a youthful energetic feel. It wouldn’t have sounded out of place on an early album, and no doubt would’ve been released if Sam Phillips had released more of them (only two albums were released during Jerry’s 1956-1963 Sun period, and one of those was a semi “hits” collection), but instead had to wait until Sun International’s ''Monsters'' collection in 1970. The 1973 version is taken at a more sedate pace, and is notable for some superb slide bottle-neck guitar. Recorded at the all-star London sessions, it somehow wasn’t included on ''The Session'', and had to wait until Bear Family’s ''The Complete Session Volume Two'' album in 1986. Personally I’ve always found ''The Session'' a little overrated, but this is one of the more enjoyable recordings from those January 1973 sessions.

"Singing The Blues" is a popular song written by Melvin Endsley and published in 1956. The song was first recorded and released by Marty Robbins in 1956. (It is not related to the 1920 jazz song "Singin' The Blues" recorded by Frank Trumbauer and Bix Beiderbecke in 1927.) Robbins version made it to number one on the Billboard Country and Western Best Sellers chart for 13 weeks in late 1956 and early 1957 and peaked at number seventeen on the US pop chart.

The best-known recording was released in October 1956 by Guy Mitchell and spent ten weeks at number 1 on the U.S. Billboard chart from December 8, 1956, to February 2, 1957. An example of the U.S. recording is on Columbia 40769, dated 1956, with the Ray Conniff Orchestra. Mitchell's version was also number 1 in the UK Singles Chart for three (non-consecutive) weeks in early 1957, one of only four singles to return to number 1 on three separate occasions, with the other three being "I Believe" by Frankie Laine, "Happy" by Pharrell Williams and "What Do You Mean?" by Justin Bieber. Tommy Steele recorded his version of "Singing the Blues" made number 1 in the UK Singles Chart for one week on 11 January 1957, sandwiched by two of the weeks that Guy Mitchell's version of the same song topped the charts. Steele's recording of the song was not a chart success in the US. In 1983, Gail Davies recorded a cover version, taking her version into the top 20 of the Hot Country Singles chart in the spring of 1983. The song is often revived, and on three occasions new recordings of "Singing the Blues" have become UK Top 40 hits. These latter-day hit versions were by Dave Edmunds (1980), Daniel O'Donnell (1994), and Cliff Richard & the Shadows (2009).

10 - Singing The Blues (2:07) 1971
(Melvin Endsley) (Acuff Rose World)

''Honey Hush'' must be the unluckiest song in Jerry’s repertoire, as all three versions didn’t see the light of day until many years later (a further cut for Elektra in 1980 hasn’t been released at all!). A Big Joe Turner jump-blues tune, lyrics such as “If you don’t leave me alone I’ll knock you down with a base-ball bat” were hardly suitable for the 1950s pop charts. Nevertheless, all cuts sound inspired. This 1956/1957 version wasn’t released until the 1971 ''Monsters'' album, while the 1973 ''Southern Roots'' outtake (with none other than Carl Perkins on guitar) wasn’t released until the late 1980s, the same as the ''Boogie Woogie Country Man'' reject from the following year. All three are more than worthy versions.

Big Joe Turner, although he assigned the rights to his wife, Lou Willie Turner, and recorded ''Honey Hush'' in May 1953 in New Orleans, Louisiana and released that August by Atlantic Records. It was a number 1 song on the U.S. Rhythm and Blues chart for eight weeks, and number 23 on the pop chart.

Turner, a big Kansas City blues shouter, had been spending all his time out on the road, while Atlantic's Ahmet Ertegün was getting nervous that his backlog of Turner recordings was running low. When Turner was near New Orleans, Ertegün insisted he record. Atlantic's New Orleans recording studio was booked up, so Turner recorded some sides in the studio of a radio station, WSDU. He did not have his own band but was able to round up the raucous trombonist Pluma Davis and his band, The Rockers, as well as the wild boogie rhythm pianist, James Tolliver. Other musicians on the recording were Lee Allen on tenor saxophone and Alvin "Red" Tyler on baritone saxophone.

Like the session, the song is largely adlibbed traditional blues verses with various incongruous lines thrown in to a standard 12-bar blues. It opens with the bold statement, "Aw let 'em roll like a big wheel in a Georgia cotton field, Honey hush''! The title in this song Turner revealed his typical attitude toward a woman who will not do what he tells her to do, while the tailgate trombone gives the woman's raucous answers back. Although his songs talk about relationships as misery, his emotion in the song is upbeat. To quote Arnold Shaw in his book Honkers and Shouters.

The advent of rock and roll narrowed the content of songs to adolescent preoccupations and made simple the complicated rhythms of rhythm and blues. The explicitly sexual content was too adult, as was the singer's strong voice tone as well as his raw assumptions about life. A year later, in 1954, a Turner song very similar to this one, "Shake, Rattle and Roll," with its boogie-woogie rhythm and squawking saxophone was cleaned up by Bill Haley to become a huge hit as rock and roll changed the face of music. Turner turned to recording songs by rock and roll writers, but his blues shouter voice betrayed him and his career faded.

However, not long after the rock and roll craze hit, a new audience of intellectuals, college students, and eventually beatniks, and then another with European blues fans joining in, gave singers in partial retirement or obscurity new opportunities although they had to clean up some to fit the new role of authenticity, fueled by the writings of Samuel Charters, demanded by these new audiences. For urban blues singers, having grown up in cities, it was convenient to be labelled as country singers to fit the criteria of purity.

In 1959, Turner re-recorded "a much tamer, lamer, teenage rock and roll version of "Honey Hush" for Atlantic which was a mild hit and his last one. Turner returned to performing with jazz combos as the rock and roll founders settled in to please the suddenly important teenage market. Early covers include the 1956 version by Johnny Burnette's The Rock and Roll Trio (Coral 61719) and the song has since been covered by Jerry Lee Lewis, Screaming Lord Sutch, Foghat, Paul McCartney, Coco Montoya, Fleetwood Mac, George Jones, Elvis Costello, NRBQ, and John Lindberg Trio, and others.

11 - Honey Hush (2:06) 1971
(Lou Willie Turner) (ATV Music Publishing)

Jerry Lee's four recordings of Leadbelly's ''Goodnight Irene'' demand some attention. In the first alternate, the most telling diagnostic element is the exceptional use, at 2 minutes 24 seconds, of the determiner ''that'', as opposed to ''the'' ahead of ''river''. Take 2 serves up sufficient contrasts to the others courtesy of the much busier than usual right-hand on the keyboard providing background fills. One might then listen concurrently to the first one hundred seconds of both the undubbed tape of the issued master and the final alternate wondering just how to tell them apart, before Jerry Lee motions to bring the latter to a premature halt. It turns out he's just changing gear; an early example of the technique he would use to good effect on several later occasions in his recording career.

Before Jerry had any big hits, ''Goodnight Irene'' was overdubbed with a vocal group for Jerry’s first album ''Jerry Lee Lewis'' (Sun LP 1230) the following year. This is performed very respectfully at a slow tempo (though one of the alternate takes from the session is partly rocked-up), unlike the far sprightly 1975 re-cut for the ''Odd Man In'' album. Unfortunately the latter is marred by a rather distracting 2nd vocal in the background, which “bled” into the piano microphone prior to him doing a vocal overdub.

"Goodnight Irene" or "Irene Goodnight'', is a 20th-century American folk standard, written in 3/4 time and first recorded by American blues musician Huddie ''Leadbelly'' Ledbetter in 1933. The lyrics tell of the singer's troubled past with his love, Irene, and express his sadness and frustration. Several verses make explicit references to suicidal fantasies, most famously in the line "sometimes I take a great notion to jump in the river and drown'', which was the inspiration for the 1964 Ken Kesey novel Sometimes A Great Notion and a song of the same name from John Mellencamp's 1989 album, ''Big Daddy'', itself strongly informed by traditional American folk music.

The specific origins of "Goodnight Irene" are unclear. Leadbelly was singing a version of the song from as early as 1908, which he claimed to have learned from his uncles Terell and Bob. An 1892 song by Gussie L. Davis has several lyrical and structural similarities to the latter song; a copy of the sheet music is available from the Library of Congress. Some evidence suggests the 1892 song was itself based on an even earlier song which has not survived. Regardless of where he first heard it, by the 1930s Leadbelly had made the song his own, modifying the rhythm and rewriting most of the verses.

Leadbelly continued performing the song during his various prison terms, and it was while incarcerated at the Louisiana State Penitentiary that he encountered musicologists John and Alan Lomax who would go on to record hours of Leadbelly's performances. A few months prior to his release in 1934, Leadbelly recorded a number of his songs, including "Goodnight Irene", for the Library of Congress. An extended version of the song that includes narratives connecting the verses appears in Negro Folk Songs as Sung by Leadbelly. "Goodnight Irene" remained a staple of Leadbelly's performances throughout the 1930s and 1940s. However, despite popularity within the New York blues community, the song was never commercially successful during his lifetime. In 2002, Leadbelly's 1936 Library of Congress recording received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award.

In 1950, one year after Leadbelly's death, the American folk band The Weavers recorded a version of "Goodnight, Irene". The single first reached the Billboard Best Seller chart on June 30, 1950 and lasted 25 weeks on the chart, peaking at number 1. Although generally faithful, the Weavers chose to omit some of Leadbelly's more controversial lyrics, leading Time magazine to label it a "dehydrated" and "prettied up" version of the original. Due to the recording's popularity, however, The Weavers' lyrics are the ones generally used today. Billboard ranked this version as the number 1 song of 1950.

The Weavers' enormous success inspired many other artists to release their own versions of the song, many of which were themselves commercially successful across several genres. Frank Sinatra's cover, released only a month after The Weavers', lasted nine weeks on the Billboard magazine Best Seller chart on July 10, peaking at number 5. Later that same year, Ernest Tubb and Red Foley had a number 1 country music record with the song, and the Alexander Brothers, Dennis Day and Jo Stafford released versions which made the Best Seller chart, peaking at number 26, number 17 and number 9 respectively. Moon Mullican had a number 5 country hit with it in 1950, and a version by Paul Gayten and his Orchestra reached number 6 on the Billboard Rhythm And Blues chart in the same year. On the Cash Box chart, where all available versions were combined in the standings, the song reached a peak position of number 1 on September 2, 1950, and lasted at number 1 for 13 weeks. The song was the basis for the 1950 parody called "Please Say Goodnight To The Guy, Irene" by Ziggy Talent. It also inspired the 1954 "answer" record "Wake Up, Irene" by Hank Thompson, a number 1 on Billboard's country chart. In 1958 Jim Reeves covered the song for his LP "Girls I've Known''. In 1959, Billy Williams version reached number 75 on the US Billboard pop chart. And in 1962 the version of Jerry Reed reached number 79 on the US pop chart. In 2015 Keith Richards recorded the song, and gives praise to Leadbelly in several interviews.

"Goodnight Irene" is sung by supporters of English football team Bristol Rovers. It was first sung at a fireworks display at the Stadium the night before a Home game against Plymouth Argyle in 1950. During the game the following day, Rovers were winning quite comfortably and the few Argyle supporters present began to leave early prompting a chorus of "Goodnight Argyle" from the Rovers supporters, the tune stuck and "Goodnight Irene" became the club song.

12 - Goodnight Irene (1) (3:09) 2015 Sun Unissued
13 - Goodnight Irene (2) (3:02) 1983
14 - Goodnight Irene (3) (Undubbed Master) (2:55) 1986
15 - Goodnight Irene (4) (3:05) 1985
(Huddie Ledbetter-John Avery Lomax) (Red Balloon Technology)

The "Marines' Hymn" is the official hymn of the United States Marine Corps, introduced by the first Director of USMC Band, Francesco Maria Scala. It is the oldest official song in the United States Armed Forces. The "Marines' Hymn" is typically sung at the position of attention as a gesture of respect. However, the third verse is also used as a toast during formal events, such as the birthday ball and other ceremonies.

The lyrics are contained in the book Rhymes of the Rookies published in 1917. The author of these poems was W.E. Christian. The book is available online in several formats. The book consists of a series of poems regarding military life prior to World War I.

Some lyrics were popular phrases before the song was written. The line "To the shores of Tripoli" refers to the First Barbary War, and specifically the Battle of Derne in 1805. After Lieutenant Presley O'Bannon and his Marines hoisted the American flag over the Old World for the first time, the phrase was added to the flag of the United States Marine Corps. "The Halls of Montezuma" refers to the Battle of Chapultepec on 12/13 September 1847 during the Mexican-American War, where a force of Marines stormed Chapultepec Castle. While the lyrics are said to date from the 19th century, no pre-20th century text is known. The author of the lyrics is likewise unknown. Legend has it that a Marine on duty in Mexico penned the hymn. The unknown author transposed the phrases in the motto on the Colors so that the first two lines of the Hymn would read: "From the Halls of Montezuma, to the Shores of Tripoli", favoring euphony over chronology. The music is from the Gendarmes' Duet (the "bold gendarmes") from the revision in 1867 of the Jacques Offenbach opera Geneviève de Brabant, which debuted in Paris in 1859.

Some websites claim that the Marine Corps secured a copyright on the song on 19 August 1891, but this is in error; the copyright was vested on 18 August 1919. In 1929, the Commandant of the Marine Corps authorized the three verses of the Marines' Hymn as the official version. This older version can be heard in the 1950 film Halls of Montezuma. On 21 November 1942, Commandant Thomas Holcomb approved a change in the words of the first verse's fourth line from "On the land as on the sea" to "In the air, on land, and sea" to reflect the addition of aviation to the Corps' arsenal. Various people over the years wrote unofficial or semi-unofficial extra verses to commemorate later battles and actions, for example, this verse commemorating the occupation of Iceland during World War II.

16 - The Marines' Hymn (2:24) 1975
(Jacques Offenbach-Arranged by Jerry Lee Lewis) (Copyright Control)

'Dixie'' written on Sunday, April 3, 1859 for a minstrel show. The next night, the song was introduced by the Bryant Minstrels in New York City at Mechanics Hall. "Dixie" was first performed in the South in Charleston and Newcomb. Before General Pick - the troops' morale. Abraham Lincoln requested that the song be played by the Union band upon hearing the news of General Lee's surrender at the Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865. "Dixie" was one of several tunes played by the U.S. Army band as Elvis Presley boarded the USS General Randall to sail to West Germany in 1958.

Performers who choose to sing "Dixie" today usually remove the black dialect and combine the song with other pieces. For example, Rene Marie's jazz version mixes "Dixie" with "Strange Fruit", a Billie Holiday song about a lynching. Mickey Newbury's "An American Trilogy" (often performed by Elvis Presley) combines "Dixie" with the Union's "Battle Hymn of the Republic" (also called "From Dixie with Love") and the negro spiritual "All My Trials". Bob Dylan also recorded a version of the song for the 2003 film Masked and Anonymous.

Some consider the song a part of the patriotic American repertoire on a par with "America the Beautiful" and "Yankee Doodle." For example, Chief Justice William Rehnquist regularly included "Dixie" in his annual sing-along for the 4th Circuit Judicial Conference in Virginia. However, its performance prompted some African American lawyers to avoid the event.

For many white Southerners, "Dixie," like the Confederate flag, is a symbol of Southern heritage and identity. Until somewhat recently, a few Southern universities including the University of Mississippi maintained the "Dixie" fight song, coupled with the Rebel mascot and the Confederate battle flag school symbol, despite protests. Confederate heritage websites regularly feature the song, and Confederate heritage groups routinely sing "Dixie" at their gatherings. In his song "Dixie on My Mind," country musician Hank Williams, Jr., cites the absence of "Dixie" on Northern radio stations as an example of how Northern culture pales in comparison to its Southern counterpart.

17 - Dixie (1:31) 1974
(Daniel Decatur Emmett-Arranged by Jerry Lee Lewis) (Public Domain)

6-17 Recorded November/December 1956 at Sun Recording Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano), Roland Janes (guitar), Jimmy M. Van Eaton (drums)
Producer Jack Clement and-or Sam Phillips

There is virtually nothing left to say about this session. On only his second release, a young Jerry Lee Lewis produced the cornerstone of his recording career. Sam Phillips had already learned that the best way to record young Jerry Lee was to turn him loose in the studio, asking him to reach his archival memory and play whatever came to mind. Jack Clement hit the big time by placing his composition on this flipside of Jerry Lee's second single (Sun 267). "It'll Be Me" is rockabilly's ode to reincarnation. A comparison with other known takes of this song reveals just how different and truly unusual the arrangement of the issued version is. All it took was a life performance during the summer of 1957 on Steve Allen's network TV show, and the Killer's career was up and running. In Billboard's words, "This platter by Lewis is taking off like wildfire".

During the course of recording the early takes of ''It'll Be Me'', Jerry Lee concurrently toyed with his own arrangement of a number he'd come across a couple of years earlier while learning his trade at the Blue Cat Club in Natchez. The genesis of ''Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On'', which had already been a modest hit for rhythm and blues songstress Big Maybelle, remains the subject of argument to this day, what is certain is that Lewis made the song his own, rendering such debate almost irrelevant. Whereas the development of ''It'll Be Me'' had been meticulous, with subtle refinements being introduced into successive takes, Lewis simply launched into what was destined to become his magnum opus with characteristic abandon. In so doing, he put to good use the opening riff employed both in ''End Of The Road'' and in ''It'll Be Me'', albeit for the latter he had it moved a couple of notches up the keyboard. Four takes, spearheaded by an eight-bar snipped of fifth, survive of the early run-throughs of ''Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On'', all of which are solid enough but lack the magic ingredient.

This is an instance where it may be helpful to give close consideration to certain aspects of the recordings to help determine their dissimilarity. After a number of false starts, the first two complete takes of ''It'll Be Me'' have distinctive openings that make them readily identifiable. By take 3 the jaunty eight-bar introduction has been settled upon but there are still sufficient variations in Jerry Lee's delivery of the first line in each recording to tell them apart with some ease. Notice how, in take 3, the word ''hear'' is, ironically, almost inaudible, while in take 4 there is an emphasis on the word ''knocking'' and finally, in the master of the single version, it's on ''somebody''.

18 - It'll Be Me (1.1) (Chatter & Take) (2:4) 1989
19 - It'll Be Me (1.2) (4 False Starts) (1:05) 1983
20 - It'll Be Me (1.3) (2:37) 1987
21 - It'll Be Me (1.4) Chat, Take, Chat) (3:07) 1983
22 - It'll Be Me (1.5) (2:53) 1995
23 - It'll Be Me (1.6) (Single Master Sun 267) (2:46) 1957
(Jack Clement) (Knox Music Incorporated)

Billy Riley and his band played a little club in Blytheville, Arkansas, called the Twin Gables, on the waydown. It was just Jerry, his cousin Jay Brown, who had accompanied him to the studio when they cut ''Crazy Arms'' on November 14, 1956, and had by now acquired an electric bass, Roland Janes, Jimmy Van Eaton,and the club was barely big enough to accommodate a group of even that size. In fact there was just room for Jerry and Jimmy. van Eaton on the bandstand, Jay and Roland Janes had to stand on the floor, and every time Jimmy Van Eaton socked the drums, dust sifted down from the heavy draperies tacked up on the ceiling to deaden the sound, coating the new jackets they had bought to play the Jamboree.

It was a four-hour job, so you really had to throw just about every song you might be able to play together as a band into each set, and then some. Not long into the evening Jerry Lee Lewis played a boogie-woogie figure to introduce a song he said he used to sing when he was down in Ferriday, and the band fell in behind him. Before he had even gotten halfway through, Roland Janes said, the people just started going crazy,''bopping all over the floor, you know how they do in Arkansas''. And as soon as they finished, the audience wanted to hear it again. ''Play that ''Shakin'' song'', they kept calling out. ''They just loved it, man, they insisted on hearing it over and over''. And the same thing happened when they played the Big D Jamboree the next night and then an upstairs club nearby after the show. The song was ''Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On''.

It had first been recorded in 1955 without any real chart success, or anything like the boogie-woogie approach that Jerry Lee brought to it, by rhythm and blues belter Big Maybelle. Jerry had first heard it performed by a Natchez disc jockey named Johnny Little John at the little club across the river from Ferriday where he ordinarily performed. According to Jerry, ''and he was playing drums and singing, and I stood there and listened, and I said, 'Man, that is fantastic'. I said, 'That's a hit'. And I started doing it pretty close to exactly they way he done it. Word for word. The way he would say, 'Easy, Let's get down real low. Stand it in one spot, and wiggle it around a little bit'. I picket it up from, I didn't steal it. I just kind of took it''.

When they played it for Sam Phillips, he didn't hesitate for a minute. Memories differ, but if they didn't cut it on the spot, they went back into the studio the next day, and after four or five takes they had it.

There has never seen a more breathtaking iconic moment. Jerry Lee kicked the rhythm off, just the way he always did, it was at heart a boogie-woogie number after all, with Jimmy M. Van Eaton on drums and Roland Janes' muted guitar coming in close behind. But where in the early takes the vocal is mannered,almost as if the singer is not fully committed to a consistency of approach, with tempo flirting with the frenetic, and the piano wavering in its attack, the final take exudes a sense of pure command and rumbling authority that, as brilliant as all of his previous studio extemporizations may have been, had never been altogether realized before.

This sence of authority is unmistakably aided by the liberal application of slapback not just to the vocal but to the piano as well, and by the almost total eradication of Jay W. Brown's electric bass, which had been disconcertingly present in earlier takes. Most of all, there is a sence of sheer uninhibited fun, underscored by a selective use of glissando and the controlled variations of tone archieved in both the recordings and performing process. When Jerry Lee swings into his first solo with an ''Aww, let's go'', the record takes off,though nothing physically changes, and then when he calls out, ''Ro, boy'', to invite Roland Janes' string bending solo, there is simply no turning back.

The record concludes with the Johnny Little John spoken passage that may well take its original inspiration from Clarence ''Pine Top'' Smith's 1929 classic, ''Pine Top's Boogie Woogie'', in which the singer is directing similar double entendres at an unseen audience, who are bidden to dance to the music at his direction. ''Now when I say, 'Hold yourself''', says Pine Top. ''I want you get ready to stop / And when I say, 'Git it', I want you to shake that thing''. In this case Jerry Lee, after directing the band to ''get real low one time now'', turns his attention to one particular, imagined girl, whom he exhorts to ''kind of stand in one spot, wiggle around just a little bit'', before concluding, ''That's when you got something''. At which point he turns his attention back to the band, delivering a single irrefutable command (''Now let's go one time'') before capping the exuberantly throbbing finale with yet another glissando.

Neither Jimmy Marcus Van Eaton, nor Roland Janes had any point of comparison in their musical experience. They were, unquestionably, participants in the process, they were undeniably contributors, but there was no doubt in either of their minds that, without in any way underestimating their own contributions,they had never encountered such genius before, and they doubted that they ever would again. To Sam Phillips, what it all came down to was that Jerry Lee had found his voice, that, for all of the insecurity that Sam suspected lay just beneath the swagger, ''he had that basic sureness about what he was doing. And he believed that what he was doing was good''. For Jack Clement, whose recollection of the moment was as poetically true as it was factually fogged, ''We'd been working and working on a song I wrote called ''It'll Be Me'', and it was getting a little stale, and the bass player spoke up and said, 'Hey, Jerry, let's do that song we've been doing on the road that everybody likes so much. So I said, 'Okay, ell, let me go turn on the machine'. So I walk in the control room and sit down, just as, they're playing the chord, and we did it. No dry run, no nothing, just blap, there's ''Whole Lot Of Shakin''. One take. Now that was fun''.

Maybe that's the best description of how it actually happened, even if there were in fact at least three or four alternate takes, because that's what it sounds like. For all the discipline that was required, for all the careful attention to feel and sound, it came out as pure and unself-conscious as if it were a first take, as if it could never have been anything but what it was. It was the perfect definition of everything that Sam Phillips strove for in his ''little laboratory of sound''; a thoroughly professional recording that sounded as if it had been put together with a minimum of polish and maximum of spontaneity.

24 - Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On (1.1) (Fragment) (0:17) 2015 Sun Unissued
25 - Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On (1.2) (2:42) 1983
26 - Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On (1.3) (2:45) 2015 Sun Unissued
27 - Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On (1.4) (2:47) 1987
28 - Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On (1.5) (2:49) 1986
(Dave Curley Williams-Sunny David (aka Ray Hall) (Robert Mellin Music)

18-28 Recorded Probably January/February 1957 at Sun Recording Stdio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano), Roland Janes (guitar),
Jimmy M. Van Eaton (drums), Unknown (bass)
Producer Jack Clement and/or Sam Phillips

Jerry Lee Lewis like wise treated ''Ole Pal Of Yesterday'' with a great deal of respect and left us with little to help in distinguishing one from any other of four very similar takes of the song. Let's start with the easy one. The first of the four to be issued, though the last in the sequence presented here, fortuitously serves up a classic default marker; a glissando, executed only in this take, is heard at 1:55 during the course of the solo.

Next, consider take 2; this can be eliminated from the discussion by reference to the final line of the song, which is alone in not being prefaced with the word ''yes''; as is the case with the remaining two, take 1 and 3, while take 4 features a more casual ''yeah''. To split takes 1 and 3, listen carefully at around 1:05 to 1:10 in both; in the first, the line ''does your memory stray'' is anticipated by the word ''well'' while ''stray'' is delivered conventionally; in the second there's no ''well'' and the word ''stray'' is stretched on a rising inflection into two syllables. There's not much to pick between any of these alternates, but the clues are there.

29 - Ole Pal Of Yesterday (1) (2:36) 1992
30 - Ole Pal Of Yesterday (2) (2:37) 1986
31 - Ole Pal Of Yesterday (3) (2:36) 1983
32 - Ole Pal Of Yesterday (4) (2:36) 1974
(Gene Autry-Jimmy Long) (Songs Of Universe)

29-32 Recorded Probably February 1957 at Sun Recording Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano), Roland Janes (guitar), Jimmy M. Van Eaton (drums)
Producer - Jack Clement and/or Sam Phillips 

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© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

CD 2 Contains 1957

Jerry Lee Lewis took an extended break from the studio work throughout April and May 1957, during which he toured extensively in the mid-west and in Canada. But before leaving Memphis he worked on a second, so-called ''slow'' arrangement of ''It'll Be Me'' would itself in due course reap further rewards for Clement when it found a place on Lewis's first album and/or EP that year or so later. Again, successive takes demonstrated steady progress until the LP/EP master was settled upon.

With the exception of the initial pair and the last of the seven, these takes are not that easy to differentiate but there are some useful pointers. The opener is straightforward, as it is missing the emblematic ''knock on the door'' drum intro. Take 2, once it is underway following a false start, establishes the template for what is to come but this effort is set apart by Jerry Lee's vocal histrionics as they come out of the instrumental break. In take 3, during the same passage, the phrase ''in the night\\ is noticeably hurried compared to the norm. Take 4 alone features, in the fourth verse, the idea of ''something funny'' as opposed to ''a funny face'' being seen ''in a comic book''. In take 5 an untypical piano break confirms that we're on new ground. The second, LP master then follows; the main point of reference is simply that this is the most recognisable take, against which the variations perceptible in the others can be measured although one vocal nuance which can be highlighted is the clipped way in which the term ''sugar bowl'' is sung in the penultimate line. Take 6 has been presented as a postscript here because it presents a change of tempo that isolates it from the mainstream development of the song.

1 - It'll Be Me (2.1) (2:29) 1983
2 - It'll Be Me (2.2) (3 False Starts) (0:24) 2015 Sun Unissued
3 - It'll Be Me (2.3) (2:14) 2015 Sun Unissued
4 - It'll Be Me (2.4) (2:16) 2015 Sun Unissued
5 - It'll Be Me (2.5) (4 False Starts) (0:30) 2015Sun Unissued
6 - It'll Be Me (2.6) (2:15) 2015 Sun Unissued
7 - It'll Be Me (2.7) (2:20) 1992
8 - It'll Be Me (2.8) LP Master) (2:15) 1958
9 - It'll Be Me (2.9) (2:10) 1987
(Jack Clement) (Knox Music Incorporated)

10 - All Night Long (1) (Chatter & Take) (2:06) 1983
11 - All Night Long (2) (2:03) 1974
(Traditional Arranged by Jerry Lee Lewis) (Copyright Control)

''Old Time Religion" recorded here by Jerry Lee Lewis, is a traditional gospel song dating from 1873, when it was included in a list of Jubilee songs, or earlier. It has become a standard in many Protestant hymnals, though it says nothing about Jesus or the gospel, and covered by many artists. Some scholars, such as Forrest Mason McCann, have asserted the possibility of an earlier stage of evolution of the song, in that "the tune may go back to English folk origins" (later dying out in the white repertoire but staying alive in the work songs of African Americans). In any event, it was by way of Charles Davis Tillman that the song had incalculable influence on the confluence of black spiritual and white gospel song traditions in forming the genre now known as southern gospel. Tillman was largely responsible for publishing the song into the repertoire of white audiences. It was first heard sung by African-Americans and written down by Tillman when he attended a camp meeting in Lexington, South Carolina in 1889.

A popular version of "Old Time Religion" was done by The Caravans in 1954 with a young James Cleveland singing lead. Vocals in the group also included Cassietta George, Albertina Walker, Louise McDowell and Johneron Davis.

12 - Old Time Religion (1) (1:55) 1983
13 - Old Time Religion (2) (1:37) 1970
(Charles Davis Tillmans) (Copyright Control)

"When The Saints Go Marching In", often referred to as "The Saints", is an American gospel hymn. Though it originated as a Christian hymn, it is often played by jazz bands. This song was famously recorded on May 13, 1938 by Louis Armstrong and his Orchestra. The song is sometimes confused with a similarly titled composition "When The Saints are Marching In" from 1896 by Katharine Purvis wrote the lyrics and James Milton Black composed the music.

The origins of this song are unclear. It apparently evolved in the early 1900s from a number of similarly titled gospel songs including "When The Saints Are Marching In" (1896) and "When The Saints March In for Crowning" (1908). The first known recorded version was in 1923 by the Paramount Jubilee Singers on Paramount 12073. Although the title given on the label is "When All The Saints Come Marching In," the group sings the modern lyrics beginning with "When the saints go marching in...". No author is shown on the label. Several other gospel versions were recorded in the 1920s, with slightly varying titles but using the same lyrics, including versions by The Four Harmony Kings (1924), Elkins-Payne Jubilee Singers (1924), Wheat Street Female Quartet (1925), Bo Weavil Jackson (1926), Deaconess Alexander (1926), Rev. E. D. Campbell (1927), Robert Hicks (aka Barbecue Bob, 1927), Blind Willie Davis (1928), and the Pace Jubilee Singers (1928). The earliest versions were slow and stately, but as time passed the recordings became more rhythmic, including a distinctly up tempo version by the Sanctified Singers on British Parlophone in 1931. Even though the song had folk roots, a number of composers claimed copyright in it in later years, including Luther G. Presley and Virgil Oliver Stamps, R.E. Winsett, and Frank and Jim McCravy. Although the song is still heard as a slow spiritual number, since the mid-20th century it has been more commonly performed as a "hot" number. The tune is particularly associated with the city of New Orleans. A jazz standard, it has been recorded by a great many jazz and pop artists.

Both vocal and instrumental renditions of the song abound. Louis Armstrong was one of the first to make the tune into a nationally known pop tune in the 1930s for Decca Records. Armstrong wrote that his sister told him she thought the secular performance style of the traditional church tune was inappropriate and irreligious. Armstrong was in a New Orleans tradition of turning church numbers into brass band and dance.

14 - When The Saints Go Marching In (Undubbed Master) (2:11) 1983
(Traditional-Jerry Lee Lewis) (Range &Hill Music

1-14 Recorded Probably February 1957 at Sun Recording Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano), Roland Janes (guitar), Jimmy M. Van Eaton (drums)
Producer - Jack Clement and/or Sam Phillips

15 - It All Depends (1) (Undubbed Master) (3:01) 1983
(Billy Mize) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)

This standard, Jerry here cut three superb (but similar) takes during his early months at Sun, both performed fairly fast and with the trademark ''pumpin'' piano much in evidence. One take was issued on ''Olde Tyme Country Music'' in 1970, while the alternate take was first issued on ''The Sun Years'' in 1983. The re-cut is performed much slower, the prominent harmonica gives it a similar feel to his 1975 ''Odd Man In'' album and for once the overdubbed duet vocal (by Sheryl Crow) probably genuinely enhances what was a more than OK track beforehand. Released on the ''Mean Old Man'' EP in 2009 and again on the album of the same name this year, it’s an undoubted highlight of both the EP and the album.

"You Are My Sunshine" is a popular American song and it was first recorded in 1939. It also happens to be one of Louisiana's state songs. The songwriters for this song are Charles Mitchell and James Davis. While Jimmie Davis who sung the 2nd version of this song used his association with this song for immense political mileage when running for governorship of Louisiana.

This song is soaked in history and it has been featured in numerous films, television shows, television commercials, and radio commercials additionally numerous sporting teams, such as Wigan Athletic Football Club too have used this song. Today this song is a extremely well known song and is a standard for traditional country music and traditional jazz performers. The song "You Are My Sunshine" is frequently called "The Sunshine Song".

16 - You Are My Sunshine (1) (2 False Starts) (0:26) 2015 1st False Start Sun Unissued
17 - You Are My Sunshine (2) (2:14) 1983
18 - You Are My Sunshine (3) (2:12 1970
(James H. Davis-Charles Mitchell) (Peer International)

Elizabeth "Libba" Cotten (née Neville) born on January 5, 1893, was an American blues and folk musician, singer, and songwriter. A self-taught left-handed guitarist, Cotten developed her own original style. Her approach involved using a right-handed guitar (usually in standard tuning), not re-strung for left-handed playing, essentially, holding a right-handed guitar upside down. This position required her to play the bass lines with her fingers and the melody with her thumb. Her signature alternating bass style has become known as "cotten picking".

Elizabeth Nevills was born in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, to a musical family. Her parents were George Nevill (also spelled Nevills) and Louisa (or Louise) Price Nevill. Elizabeth was the youngest of five children. At age seven, Cotten began to play her older brother's banjo. By eight years old, she was playing songs. At the age of 11, after scraping together some money as a domestic helper, she bought her own guitar. The guitar, a Sears and Roebuck brand instrument, cost her $3.75. Although self-taught, she became very good at playing the instrument. By her early teens she was writing her own songs, among ''I Don't Love Nobody'' voiced here twice by Jerry Lee Lewis with his pumping piano style with the sharp guitar accompaniment by Roland Janes and the drumming of Jimmy Van Eaton, but one of which, "Freight Train", became one of her most recognized. Cotten wrote "Freight Train" in remembrance of the nearby train that she could hear from her childhood home.

Around the age of 13, Cotten began working as a maid along with her mother. On November 7, 1910, at the age of 17, she married Frank Cotten. The couple had a daughter named Lillie, and soon after young Elizabeth gave up guitar playing for family and church. Elizabeth, Frank and their daughter Lillie moved around the eastern United States for a number of years between North Carolina, New York, and Washington, D.C., finally settling in the D.C. area. When Lillie married, Elizabeth divorced Frank and moved in with her daughter and her family.

Cotten had retired from the guitar for 25 years, except for occasional church performances. She didn't begin performing publicly and recording until she was in her 1960s. She was discovered by the folk-singing Seeger family while she was working for them as a housekeeper.

While working briefly in a department store, Cotten helped a child wandering through the aisles find her mother. The child was Penny Seeger, and the mother was composer Ruth Crawford Seeger. Soon after this, Elizabeth again began working as a maid, caring for Ruth Crawford Seeger and Charles Seeger's children, Mike, Peggy, Barbara, and Penny. While working with the Seegers (a voraciously musical family) she remembered her own guitar playing from 40 years prior and picked up the instrument again to relearn almost from scratch.

In the later half of the 1950s, Mike Seeger began making bedroom reel to reel recordings of Cotten's songs in her house. These recordings later became the album Folksongs and Instrumentals with Guitar, which was released on Folkways Records. Since that album, her songs, especially her signature track, Freight Train, which she wrote when she was 11, have been covered by Peter, Paul, and Mary, Jerry Garcia, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Devendra Banhart, Laura Gibson, Laura Veirs, His Name Is Alive, Doc Watson, Taj Mahal and Geoff Farina. Shortly after that first album, she began playing concerts with Mike Seeger, the first of which was in 1960 at Swarthmore College.

In the early 1960s, Cotten went on to play concerts with some of the big names in the burgeoning folk revival. Some of these included Mississippi John Hurt, John Lee Hooker, and Muddy Waters at venues such as the Newport Folk Festival and the Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife.

The new-found interest in her work inspired her to write more material to play, and in 1967 she released a record created with her grandchildren, which took its name from one of her songs, Shake Sugaree. Using profits from her touring, record releases, and from the many awards given to her for her own contributions to the folk arts, Elizabeth was able to move with her daughter and grandchildren from Washington, D.C., and buy a house in Syracuse, New York. She was also able to continue touring and releasing records well into her 1980s. In 1984, she won the Grammy Award for "Best Ethnic or Traditional Recording" for the album on Arhoolie Records, ''Elizabeth Cotten Live''. When accepting the award in Los Angeles, her comment was, "Thank you. I only wish I had my guitar so I could play a song for you all." In 1989, Cotten was one of 75 influential African-American women included in the photo documentary, ''I Dream A World''. Elizabeth Cotten died in June 29, 1987, at Crouse-Irving Hospital in Syracuse, New York, at the age of 94.

19 - I Don't Love Nobody (1) (1:25) 1992
20 - I Don't Love Nobody (2) (2:10) 1974
(Elizabeth Cotten) (Copyright Control)

''Long Gone Lonesome Blues'' is a prime example of the session dynamic that both Roland Janes and Jimmy M. Van Eaton described. Jerry Lee would simply start to play and it was up to his sidemen to scramble until they caught up with him. The result, as on this track, is that it ends a lot more solidly than it begins. Even if you're not a studio musician, it stands to reason that you can play with more authority when you know the key, the tempo, and the song title.

That being said, this performance still has a lot to recommend it. It also underscores the fact that Hank Williams songs were a part of everyone's musical consciousness, at least in Tennessee in February 1957, barely four years after the singer's death. Two things to help put this track into context: (1) it stems from an early February 1957 session and was only the 22nd song title Jerry Lee recorded for Sun, and (2) if session logs are to be believed, it was followed almost immediately by the master recording of ''Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On'' (Sun 267). Would you have guessed listening to this Hank Williams title that within minutes the same musicians would produce one of rock and roll's classic recordings?

"Long Gone Lonesome Blues" is 1950 song by Hank Williams played on this session by Jerry Lee for Sun Records. The song was Hank Williams' second number one on the country and western chart. "Long Gone Lonesome Blues" stayed on the charts for twenty-one weeks, with five weeks at the top of the country and western chart. The B-side of the song, entitled "My Son Calls Another Man Daddy," peaked at number nine on the country and western chart.

"Long Gone Lonesome Blues" is quite similar in form and style to Williams' previous number 1 hit "Lovesick Blues." Biographer Colin Escott speculates that Hank deliberately utilized the similar title, tempo, and yodels because, although he had scored five Top 5 hits since "Lovesick Blues" had topped the charts, he had not had another number 1. Williams had been carrying the title around in his head for a while but it was not until he went on a fishing trip with songwriter Vic McAlpin that the inspiration to write the song took hold: "They left early to drive out to the Tennessee River where it broadens into Kentucky Lake, but Hank had been unable to sleep on the trip, and was noodling around with the title all the way. As McAlpin told journalist Roger Williams, he and Hank were already out on the lake when McAlpin became frustrated with Hank's pre-occupation. ''You come here to fish or watch the fish swim by''? he said, and suddenly Hank had the key that unlocked the song for him. ''Hey''! he said. ''That's the first line''!

As he sometimes did, Williams bought out McAlpin's meager share in the song and took sole credit. The tune was recorded in Nashville at Castle Studio with Fred Rose producing on January 9, 1950 and featured Jerry Rivers (fiddle), Don Helms (steel guitar), Bob McNett (lead guitar), Jack Shook (rhythm guitar), and Ernie Newton (bass). The song's bluesy guitar intro, high falsettos, and Hank's suicidal yet irresistibly catchy lyrics, sent it soaring to the top of the country charts on March 25, 1950.

21 - Long Gone Lonesome Blues (2:04) 1974
(Hank Williams) (Warner Chappell Music)

At a later stage here, Lewis entertain everyone in the studio with a casual yet innovative third version of ''It'll Be Me'' which, unaccountably, has been overlooked in any re-issue programme until now. This shows Jerry Lee a tad irreverent, and quite what Jack Clement would have made of it can only be guessed at. For all one knows, he may have been disappointed that Lewis didn't pick up on the original analogy and replace the line about u lump in a sugar bowl with an explicit reference to the scatological inspiration, although there's certainly a hint in the final refrain that Jerry Lee almost did exactly that. The rest of us can simply celebrate the fact that in 2015, fifty-eight years after this light-hearted gem was recorded, it's finally available for us to enjoy.

22 - It'll Be Me (3) Sun Unissued (2:38) 2015
(Jack Clement) (Knox Music Incorporated)

The master take of ''Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On'', is readily set apart from its forebears by the introduction of the ''slapback'' echo that invests the performance with its distinctive and memorable character. This process was never better illustrated than by the words of hank Davis, in his 1983 essay ''The Sun Sound'', published in association with the Charly box sets, viz; ''...the driving, pounding sound came from miking the piano just right and feeding the sound back on itself at just the right rate in order to fatten it up. By the time the drums join and Jerry Lee begins to sing, the record id throbbing with its own hypnotic life. Words like ''pounding'' or ''incessant'' don't even scratch the descriptive surface. In a sense, the entire record is the rhythm section. No wonder Jerry Lee's vocal or piano glissandi work so well, anything that moves in counterpoint to or breaks the underlying tension is bound to succeed''.

Rockabilly pianist Roy Hall, who, under the pseudonym of Sunny David, wrote ''Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On'' with black musician Dave Williams, also recorded his own version, before Lewis inspired a generation of teens by injecting the song with his inimitable brand of boogie-woogie, country, gospel and rhythm and blues-infused hellfire. Released in May 1957, the single rose to number eight in the United Kingdom, reached number three on what was then known as the Billboard Top 100, and became an rhythm and blues and country chart-topper. In the process, it launched the career of the piano-pounding, rocket-fuelled wildman whose manic, overtly sexual live performances provoked parental nightmares. As it happens, the self-described ''Killer'' only enjoyed four Top 20 hits before the scandal of his marriage to a 13-year-old cousin brought the successes to a screeching halt. Yet, courtesy of a wide-ranging career that has now spanned seven decades and comprised an impressive body of work, Lewis’s legend has remained intact, and the tale of how he first came to prominence is, like the man himself, quite unique.

After four recordings, disc jockey Johnny Littlefield received Roy Hall's latest Decca release in the mail in the fall of 1955. He immediately began playing the record in the air. He also began singing the song in his nightclub, the Wagon Wheel also called the Music Box in some sources). One of the members of his house band was piano player Jerry Lee Lewis. Reportedly, Lewis began begged Littlefield to allow him to sing the song in the club. Lewis has said that he first remembers hearing "Big Mama Thornton's recording of "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" sometime in 1955. Obviously, Lewis meant Big Maybelle, not Willie Mae Thornton. In any case, Jerry Lee Lewis incorporated "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" into his act. On April 15, 1957, Jerry Lee Lewis appeared "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On" on the Steve Allen show.

Jerry Lee didn't write many songs but he sure did breathe new life into virtually everything he performed. "Whole Lotta Shakin'" is a case in point. Listen to earlier versions of the song by Roy Hall or blues shouter Big Maybelle. What Jerry Lee has brought to this massive hit is truly worthy of composer credit.

23 - Whole Lot of Shakin' Going On (2) (Master Sun 267) (2:54) 1957
(Dave "Curly" Williams-Sunny David (aka Roy Hall) (Marlyn Music-Robert Mellin Music)

Jimmy Rogers (aka "The Singing Brakeman", "The Blue Yodeler", and "The Father of Country Music" recorded ''My Carolina Sunshine Girl'' on October 20, 1928 in Atlanta, Georgia, backed with ''Desert Blues'' for Victor (V-40096).

24 - My Carolina Sunshine Girl (1:51) 1974
(Jimmie Rodgers) (Peer International)

"Shame On You" performed here by Jerry Lee Lewis is a western swing song written by Spade Cooley and became Cooley's signature song. The title comes from the refrain that starts each verse: ''Shame, shame on you. Shame, shame on you''. In the song, the singer is rebuking his straying girlfriend.

First recorded by Spade Cooley, it was released January 15, 1945 (OKeh 6731). With vocals by Tex Williams, it reached number 1 spending 31 weeks on the charts. The "B" side, "A Pair Of Broken Hearts", also a hit reached number 8. The recording was Cooley's first after taking over the band from Jimmy Wakely, and the first of an unbroken chain of six hits which led to him being on the cover of Billboard in March 1946. "Shame On You" was the first song whose rights were owned by the Hill & Range publishing company, which later grew to become a dominant force in country music.

Later in 1945, "Shame On You" was recorded by The Lawrence Welk Orchestra with Red Foley. Their version also went to number one on the country charts. The B-side of the song, entitled, "At Mail Call Today" went to number three on the country charts. Coast Records, based in Los Angeles released a version by Walt Shrum and His Colorado Hillbillies. "Shame On You" has also been recorded by several other western swing bands.

25 - Shame On You (2:10) 1974
(Spade Cooley) (Hill and Range Songs Incorporated)

''Drinkin' Wine'' a long-time favourite of Jerry’s (legend has it that this was the first non-religious song he ever performed in public way back in circa 1949), and every version is great in it’s own way. The first version from 1957 has a very memorable piano intro (I wish he’d recreate it ‘live’) though due to the subject matter (getting paralytic drunk) it had to wait until the 1971 ´Monsters’ album before it was released. The 1958 version (actually 2 takes) wasn’t released until the 1983 ''The Sun Years'' box-set, and the 1963 Smash cut was one of the highlights of the 1966 ''Memphis Beat'' LP. Lastly, the 1973 cut from ''The Session'' was also released as a single (times had changed since 1957), deservedly reaching the United States pop top 40. The song is still more often than not part of Jerry's stage show today.

Granville ''Stick'' McGhee, in the military, Granville often played his guitar and one of the songs, that McGhee was best known for his co-written song "Drinkin' Wine, Spo-Dee-O-Dee". The original lyrics of the song were as follows: ''Drinkin’ that mess is our delight, and when we get drunk, start fightin’ all night. Knockin’ out windows and tearin’ down doors, drinkin’ half-gallons and callin’ for more. Drinkin’ wine motherfucker, drinkin’ wine! Goddam! Drinkin’ wine motherfucker, drinkin’ wine! Goddam! Drinkin’ wine motherfucker, drinkin’ wine! Goddam! Pass that bottle to me''! This song was one of the earliest prototypical rock and roll songs and was covered by Jerry Lee Lewis for his Sun International LP ''Monsters'' (Sun 124, April 1971) and Mike Bloomfield's Electric Flag (as "Wine"). The song lent its name to the alcoholic fruit drink, spodi.

In 1946, Granville and Brownie McGhee collaborated and modified the song into a clean cut version for Harlem Records. The song was released a year later in January 1947 at the price of 49 cents. The song did not get much airplay time until two years later, when Granville recreated the song for Atlantic Records. As a result, it rose to number 2 on the Billboard Rhythm And Blues chart, where it stayed for 4 weeks, spending almost half a year on the charts overall.

His songs attracted countless covers over the years. The first cover was by Lionel Hampton featuring Sonny Parker, then Wynonie Harris, and lastly, Loy Gordon and His Pleasant Valley Boys with their hillbilly-bop rendition. His song "Drinkin' Wine, Spo-Dee-O-Dee" maintained its popularity throughout the 1950s by various artists, including Malcolm Yelvington, recorded on October 10, 1954 for Sun Records (Sun 211), and Johnny Burnette (Coral 9-61869) in 1957.

26 - Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee (1) (2:36) 1971
(Stick McGhee) (Leeds Music Incorporated)

15-26 Recorded Probably February 5, 1957 at Sun Recording Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano), Roland Janes (guitar), Jimmy M. Van Eaton (drums)
Producer - Jack Clement and/or Sam Phillips

27 - Pumping Piano Rock (2:04) 1974
(Jerry Lee Lewis) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)

The first of the nine takes of ''Little Green Valley'' stands apart from the rest, featuring as it does Jerry Lee's malapropism ''constellation'' in place of ''consolation'', although the balance of the sound suggests that this might date from a separate occasion than the others. It is equally possible that the distinction, notwithstanding the vocal aberration, is simply down to a re-balancing of the levels at which individual instruments were miked, bringing the piano to the fore on the ensuing majority. Without having any definitive pointers as to when they were recorded it was thought appropriate to present all nine takes en bloc. Leaving aside the atypical first cut, the remaining eight lend themselves to being examined in four pairs. Take 2 and 3 both represent a storming attack on the song. The most obvious points of reference to distinguish one from the other are in the instrumental break; take 2 features a glissando absent from take 3 and, in the first of the two, there's no mention of ''Roland Boy'' until after he has come to the fore, instead of the customary introduction ahead of the solo.

Take 4 and 5 display a lighter touch and the tempo is reduced, the first obvious point of differentiation, revealed in the second of the two, is a brief upward piano figure at 0:36, missing from its predecessor. There's also plenty of evidence in the respective guitar solos of these two to tall them apart; in take 5 Roland Janes invests the ''valley'' with a sunnier, more cheerful outlook. The sixth take stands apart as the only take in the entire series to end with an upward run on the keyboard. Its nearest match is the seventh; in both of these variants the phrase ''…and that's the thought'' at 0:37 is delivered in a higher register than heard previously.

The remaining pair are marked both by the greater prominence of the guitar and by a departure from the established pattern in Jerry Lee's opening, where he helps regulate the rhythm by striking a beat with his left hand in the second bar, repeating a brief ''one-two-three-- pattern. These takes might be assumed to be identical were it not for two factors; one quite obvious, the other less so. In the second of the two takes the guitar is right up front almost from the off, but lest it be supposed this might be an engineered addition, a more telling reference point is at 0:51 on take 8 where there's a descending piano figure that isn't heard on the final attempt.

Carson Jay Robison was an American country music singer and songwriter, he wrote this ''Little Green Valley'', and Jerry Lee Lewis recorded here several takes at Sun Records. Although his impact is generally forgotten today, Robison played a major role in promoting country music in its early years through numerous recordings and radio appearances. He was also known as Charles Robison and sometimes composed under the pseudonym Carlos B. McAfee. Carson Jay Robison was born in Oswego, Kansas. The son of a champion fiddler, he became a professional musician in the American Midwest at the age of 15, primarily as a whistler working with Wendell Hall, "The Red-Headed Music Maker", on the early 1920s music hall circuit. He worked as a singer and whistler at radio station WDAF (Kansas City, Missouri).

In 1924 he moved to New York City and was signed to his first recording contract with the Victor Talking Machine Company. Also that year, Robison started a professional collaboration with Vernon Dalhart, one of the era's most notable singers. Through this relationship, Robison realized huge success, mainly as a songwriter but also as a musician, accompanying Dalhart on guitar, harmonica, whistling, and harmony vocals. In one of their first collaborations, Robison accompanied Dalhart on the landmark recording of "Wreck Of The Old '97" backed with "The Prisoner's Song" (1924), widely regarded as country music's first million-seller. During this period, Robison also became a successful composer of "event" songs, which recounted current events or tragedies in a predictable fashion, usually concluding in a moral lesson. Some popular examples of his topical compositions include "The Wreck of the Number Nine" and "The John T. Scopes Trial", about the famous Scopes Monkey Trial.

In 1928, after Dalhart made a personnel change without consulting Robison, their relationship ended. Although the breakup did not prove lucrative for either artist, Robison continued to record for decades to come. From 1928 to 1931 he teamed with Frank Luther, recording songs for various labels and appearing on WOR radio in New York City. In 1932, he started his own band, Carl Robison's Pioneers (later renamed The Buckaroos), and continued touring and recording through the 1930s and 1940s. It was during this period that Robison made some of the earliest tours of a country musician in the British Isles, appearing there in 1932, 1936, and 1938. According to Billboard, his 1942 recording of the standard "Turkey in the Straw" was that year's top selling country recording. In the late 1940s and early 1950s he appeared on the Grand Ole Opry. His most famous recording was 1948's "Life Gets Tee-Jus Don't It", a worldwide hit for MGM Records. Although he played country music for most of his career, he is also remembered for writing the lyrics for "Barnacle Bill The Sailor" with music composed by Frank Luther. Also, in 1956, he recorded the novelty rock and roll song "Rockin' And Rollin' With Grandmaw''. Robison died in 1957 in Poughkeepsie in New York.

28 - Little Green Valley (1) (1:53) 1974
29 - Little Green Valley (2) (1:54) 1983
30 - Little Green Valley (3) (1:55) 2015 Sun Unissued
31 - Little Green Valley (4) (2:11) 2015 Sun Unissued
32 - Little Green Valley (5) (2:06) 1989
33 - Little Green Valley (6) (2:03) 2015 Sun Unissued
34 - Little Green Valley (7) (2:02) 2015 Sun Unissued
35 - Little Green Valley (8) (1:58) 2015 Sun Unissued
36 - Little Green Valley (9) (1:59) 2015 Sun Unissued
(Carson Jay Robison) (Copyright Control)

"Tomorrow Night" is a 1939 song written by Sam Coslow and Will Grosz. The same year Horace Heidt peaked at number sixteen with his version of the song. In 1948, Lonnie Johnson had a crossover hit on King Records (Johnson had also previously recorded the song for Paradise records in 1947) with the song, which had Johnson on guitar and Simeon Hatch on piano. Lonnie Johnson's version hit number one on the rhythm and blues charts for seven non consecutive weeks and peaked at number nineteen on the pop chart.

Lonnie Johnson's version of "Tomorrow Night" would become his theme song and transformed the song into a blues standard. Lavern Baker had another hit on it in 1956. The song was recorded by Elvis Presley during his tenure at Sun records. Jerry Lee Lewis also recorded the song here during his time at Sun Records. Bob Dylan recorded the song on his 1992 album ''Good As I Been To You''.

37 - Tomorrow Night (2:57) 1974
(Sam Coslow-Will Grosz) (Bourne Music)

At around this time. Jerry Lee performed another 1930s pop song, ''Love Letters In The Sand'', with gently insouciance, probably just as he was loosening up in the studio with a more serious agenda to follow. Pat Boone's version of this topped the United States national charts for five weeks in June and July 1957, a factor that may offer some clues to the time-line of the recording events although it's feasible that Jerry Lee ran through the song while Boone recording was still climbing the Billboard Hot 100, ever ready to adsorb and interpret whatever he was hearing on the radio. Of course it can't be ruled out that he'd known the song long before Pat Boone ever thought to record it. ''Love Letters In The Sand" is a popular song first published in 1931. The music was written by J. Fred Coots and the lyrics by Nick Kenny and Charles Kenny. The song was "inspired" by an 1881 composition, "The Spanish Cavalier" by William D. Hendrickson. Ted Black's orchestra had the first major hit.

38 - Love Letters In The Sand (2:03) 1983
(Nick Kenny-Charles Kenny-J. Fred Coots) (Francis Day & Hunter Music)

27-38 Recorded Probably May 30, 1957 at Sun Recording Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano), Roland Janes (guitar), Russell Smith (drums), Jay W. Brown (drums)
Producer - Jack Clement and/or Sam Phillips

© Original Sun Recordings, licensed from Sun Entertainment, Inc.   

For Biography of Jerry Lee Lewis see: > The Sun Biographies <
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© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

CD 3 Contains 1957

"Hand Me Down My Walking Cane" was recorded by Jerry Lee Lewis in his usual upbeat fashion, but when it was written there was no such thing as pumping piano, and the concept of "rocking shoes", which the listener is also asked to hand down, would have left most audiences perplexed.

"Hand Me Down My Walking Cane" is regarded as a traditional song, but its authorship is often attributed to James Bland, spiritual heir of Stephen Foster, the finest minstrel composer of the late 19th Century, and the author of "Carry Me Back To Old Virginny". Bland is credited with writing some seven hundred songs, but copyrighted only about twenty percent of them, an unforgivable sin for the son of a patent lawyer!

Although there appears to be no direct evidence that he wrote the song, his entry in the African American National Biography (by reference librarian William Lichtenwanger), leads to some interesting speculation. Bland crossed the Atlantic with a minstrel troupe, and became a big hit in the British music halls, staying on when the others departed. As well as developing a taste for fine living he mixed with royalty, and is said to have been presented with a gold-headed ebony cane by the Prince of Wales (Edward VII). Could this be the cane alluded to in the song?

The story in the song is not an entirely happy one; although there is no mention either of a white sports coat as in the Jerry Lee Lewis version, the singer asks to be handed down "my bottle o' corn". And unsurprisingly ends up in jail drunk.

Bland suffered a worse fate than jail; although at one point he was said to be earning upwards of ten thousand dollars a year, a staggering sum then even for a college educated black man, he appears to have frittered away his money, and when minstrelsy was eclipsed by Vaudeville he found his talents were no longer in demand. He returned home after the turn of the Century, moving eventually to Philadelphia and died from tuberculosis in both poverty and obscurity on May 6, 1911.

In The Tin Pan Alley Song Encyclopedia, author Thomas Hischak dates "Hand Me Down My Walking Cane" to circa 1865 and refers to it as "a traditional American spiritual that compares dying and going to heaven to grabbing a cane and catching the midnight train now that 'all my sins are taken away'". If this is indeed, the case, it rules out James Bland as the author, as he was not born until 1854. Thanks, Alexander Baron, London, England, for all above.

1 - Hand Me Down My Walking Cane (2:19) 1970
(James A. Bland-Arranged by Jerry Lee Lewis) (Robbins Music-Francis Day & Hunter)

Another song from this session worth noting the development of is ''You Win Again'', ultimately chosen for release as one side of the next single. Jerry Lee Lewis' earliest portrayals here utilise the ''pumping piano'' in full measure, firmly distancing these from the plaintive heartbreak ballad as written which, until Lewis eventually made a hit out of it, had been one of the lesser lights in Hank Williams' oeuvre. In these early takes, rather than lamenting the loss of affection, it's almost as if Jerry Lee is saying, ''who cares, anyway''? There was clearly no serious intent to make a record in this style for commercial release; the likelihood is that the song was being used as a warming up exercise. There's not a great deal to serve to distinguish between the three ''fast'' takes of ''You Win Again''. In the first, Jerry Lee starts his vocal at the end of the second bar of the intro as opposed to doing so in the third bar of the remaining two, while take two incorporate a gratuitous ''here'' after the word ''out'' in the second line. As usual, each piano solo proceeds along its own spontaneous course.

Jerry actually recorded ''You Win Again'' at two 1957 Sun sessions; initially he taped three inappropriate fast takes, and then a few weeks later cut the more well-known slower version. The fast takes stayed in the can for over a quarter of a century, with the first of these being issued on ''The Sun Years'' box-set in 1983, while the slower cut (with a tasteful male vocal group overdub) was issued as the B-side to ''Great Balls Of Fire'' (in the United Kingdom it was even issued as an A-side in it’s own right but sadly sold poorly). The 1963 recut reinstates the final verse that Jerry didn’t sing on the Sun single, and the fuller backing (including girly singers and strings) perfectly suits the material.

2 - You Win Again (1.1) (2:05) 1992
3 - You Win Again (1.2) (2:07) 1983
4 - You Win Again (1.3) (False Start & Take) (2:08) 1986
(Hank Williams) (Acuff-Rose Music Publishing-Hiriam Music)

1-4 Recorded Probably May 30, 1957 at Sun Recording Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano), Roland Janes (guitar), Russell Smith (drums), Jay W. Brown (drums)
Producer - Jack Clement and/or Sam Phillips

Back in the mid-1930s, while Gene Autry was appearing on "The Old Barn Dance" radio show, he began receiving love letters from a woman in Iowa. After several months the woman's doctor wrote to Autry and told him she was mentally disturbed. The physician requested that Autry write to her and tell her that he was not at all interested in her romantic overtures. In the last letter Autry received from the woman, she described being alone. After hearing Autry on the radio she walked outside and stared at the night sky. She wrote: "I looked at the stars in the heavens. I saw millions of them, but you're the only star in my blue heaven". That line inspired Autry to write the song "You're The Only Star (In My Blue Heaven)". His recording (conqueror 9098) was released in December 1935. Roy Acuff had a popular 1936 recording of the song (ARC-7-04-51). Autry sang the song in his movie "The Old Barn Dance" (1938). Here an highlight from Jerry in 3 excellent takes behind his pumping piano.

In a further three readings of Gene Audry's ''You're The Only Star In My Blue Heaven'' there are plenty of clues to help separate them, leaving aside the question of the tempo employed on each take. Observe how in two of the three, the solos are preceded by the phrase ''...I'm waiting just for you'' while at this juncture in the third Jerry Lee sings ''… and you're shining just for me''. Use of the same personal pronouns is then maintained through to the conclusion of the song on each run through. In one of the two which share the corresponding lyric, the instrumental passage is announced with the interjection ''one time'' while in the each of the solos one can discern variations in the use of glissandi.

5 - You're The Only Star (In My Blue Heaven) (2.1) (Chord & Take) (2:50) 1992
6 - You're The Only Star (In My Blue Heaven) (2.2) (2:30) 1989
7 - You're The Only Star (In My Blue Heaven) (2.3) (2:23) 1970
(Gene Autry) (Shapiro Bernstein & Corporation)

Jerry Lee Lewis also turned his hand during his first summer at Sun to The Dominoes' 1951 hit ''Sixty Minute Man'', leaving three recordings of this risqué number with no prospect of the song being released. While all three takes are performed in essentially the same way, there are several reference points to tell them apart. The repeated opening chord of the first is hammered in a lower register than as heard in the other two. Of the latter, one features the wording ''lord, I rock and roll them'' in the first verse; the other ''I rock and I roll them''. Any doubters can always relish the spontaneity shown in the piano solos from one take to the next.

Although considered far too risqué to be released at the time, ''Sixty Minute Man'' is a tremendous recording with a very inspired and flamboyant vocal and superb piano playing (not forgetting the contributions from guitarist Roland Janes and drummer James Van Eaton, two very important elements of most of his 1950s recordings). Even Sun International during their prolific 1969-1971 releases somehow overlooked this track, and instead it had to wait until the 1974 United Kingdom ''Rockin’ And Free'' collection. The 1973 cut isn’t bad, but lacks the energy of the earlier version, and at over 3 and half minutes (almost exactly twice the length of the 1957 cut) it’s a little over-long.

Written by group member Billy Ward and his collaborator and business partner Rose Marks, this is an early doo-wop classic that held up to many rock and roll records that emerged later in the 1950s. The song is rooted in blues music, and follows the frequent blues theme of the singer bragging about his sexual prowess. This song had more of an rhythm and blues sound and was an early influence on rock music. With lead vocals by Billy Ward, this was one of the first double-entendre hits, one of the first rhythm and blues hits to cross over to the pop charts, and one of the seminal songs that helped shape the newly emerging rock and roll.

Billy Ward and His Dominoes were a big deal in the 1950s, being one of the best-selling acts of that decade and having three Billboard Top 40 hits by the end of the decade. It was an integrated group, named for the black and white on dominoes. Billy Ward, who played piano for the group, lived to the ripe old age of 80.

"Sixty Minute Man" was used in the soundtrack to the 1988 film Bull Durham. It was also performed as a kind of promotional joke by Ed Bradley, reporter for the TV news magazine, what else?, 60 Minutes.

8 - Sixty Minute Man (1) (1:51) 1987
9 - Sixty Minute Man (2) 1:49) 1983
10 - Sixty Minute Man (3) (1:50) 1974
(William ''Billy'' Ward-Rose Marks) (Windswept Music)

11 - I'll Keep On Loving You (1:50) 1970
(Floyd Tillman) (Copyright Control)

"Lewis Boogie" (Sun 301) is written by Jerry Lee Lewis in 1956 and released as a single in June 1958 on Sun Records and backed with "The Return of Jerry Lee". The recording was reissued in 1979 as a 7" 45 single as Sun 29 as part of the Sun Golden Treasure Series. The song was also released in the United Kingdom and Canada as a single. The first edition of the single listed "The Return of Jerry Lee" on both sides and was credited to "Louis" rather than "Lewis". The editing and recording of "The Return of Jerry Lee" was done by Jack Clement and George Klein on May 30, 1958. The single of "Lewis Boogie" was also released in the United Kingdom as a 45 single in 1964 on London Records as London HLS 9867 backed with "Bonnie B". The song was also released in Canada in 1958 as a 45 single on Quality Records. Jerry Lee Lewis recorded a live version of the song with the British band The Nashville Teens on the landmark 1964 live album ''Live At the Star Club, Hamburg'', regarded critically as one of the greatest live albums in rock and roll history.

The track appeared on the 1984 Rhino Records collection 18 Original Sun Greatest Hits which featured the most successful recordings by Jerry Lee Lewis on the Sun label. The song appeared in a new recording by Jerry Lee Lewis in the 1989 Orion Pictures biopic ''Great Balls of Fire''! during the closing credits. "Lewis Boogie" is featured in the 2005 Johnny Cash biopic ''Walk The Line''. It was performed by Waylon Payne in the film and its soundtrack. In 2007, the song was featured on the live album ''Last Man Standing Live'', recorded in 2006 in collaboration with other musicians.

Robert Palmer writes that the song "was a mixture of local black influences, the hillbilly boogie and rhythm and blues that were so popular on Southern jukeboxes when he was growing up, and - the most crucial ingredient - the Killer's individual musical genius''. Charlie Gillett writes that at "his best-as in..."Lewis Boogie (1958)" -Lewis epitomized the careless confidence that some people liked rock and roll for''.

12 - Lewis Boogie (1) (2:00) 1983
13 - Lewis Boogie (2) (Master Sun 301) (2:01) 1958
(Jerry Lee Lewis) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)

5-13 Recorded Probably June 1957 at Sun Recording Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano), Roland Janes (guitar),
Jimmy M. Van Eaton (drums), Unknown (bass)
Producer - Jack Clement and/or Sam Phillips

But first let's look at the development of the song ''I'm Feelin' Sorry'' it self. Clement obviously had high hopes for his composition, later to be realised when Ricky Nelson covered it on his second album, released in July 1958. Ricky's version is probably representative of what Jack Clement had in mind when he wrote the song and it shares the same modest gait we hear on Jerry Lee Lewis' first attempt. But when Jack presented ''I'm Feelin' Sorry'' to Lewis, most likely early in July 1957, they tried it at various speeds; initially, a slow ballad, as originally conceived; next, up-tempo; then at a medium pace, as heard in the complete take presented here, and finally demonstrating the increased momentum of the issued master. It's noticeable that on each successive take, the drumming becomes bolder and incrementally more improvised.

This stellar alternate version of ''I'm Feelin' Sorry'', together with the second version that follows, lay in a tape box assigned to Billy Riley for almost thirty years. For some reason, Jerry has chosen to deliver his vocal in a strangulated near-falsetto. The backing track is a little ragged in places but, once again, Jerry Lee and Jimmy van Eaton constitute a working definition of 'empathy'. This was an interesting approach to the song but understandably soon abandoned.

The standout feature of this version is Jerry's phrasing. He is taking amazing liberties, and pulling it off. The tempo is borderline frantic but no-one losses it. Roland Janes turns in a lovely little solo with some help from his tremolo bar and, as always, Jimmy Van Eaton is outstanding. Once again, it sounds as though this was an experiment that someone (probably Jack Clement) decided had little commercial merit.

14 - I'm Feelin' Sorry (1.1) (3:08) 1986
15 - I'm Feelin' Sorry (1.2) (2:24) 1986
16 - I'm Feelin' Sorry (1.3) (Fragment) (1:27) 2015
17 - I'm Feelin' Sorry (1.4) (Master EPA-107) (2:40) 1957
(Jack Clement) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)

When Sam Phillips mixed ''Honky Tonk Babe, Gal'' for release, he told Carl Perkins that he wanted a good country ballad to go on the flip side of ''Movie Magg''. The result was ''Turn Around''. Sam gave it that title; Carl had been calling it ''I'll Be Following You''. Sam brought in Quentin Claunch (guitar), Bill Cantrell (fiddle) and Stan Kesler (steel) to join the Perkins band on the session. He wanted a real country record.

The song is absolutely gorgeous - simple, heartfelt, and honest with a sing-along melody. Jerry Lee Lewis noticed that and included the song on his 1957 Sun EPA 107. If it had been a bigger hit, it would have been a natural for Ray Charles to resurrect in the early 1960s when he was recording country songs like ''I Can't Stop Loving You'' with a full orchestra and chorus. And Carl wrote it because Sam asked for a good country ballad. Sam should have sent in a request every week.

On the one complete outtake, Carl's vocal is every bit as pure and earnest as it is on the released version. The instruments - mainly the fiddle - are not all tuned up together, providing some truly uncomfortable moments which we guess were recognizable only when the tape was played back. This one belonged in the outtake box. There is also a few fragments and some studio chatter among musicians. At one point in the chatter there's a discussion of Elvis and someone, probably Cantrell, says he doesn't like that sort of music. The old guard passeth.

The coupling of "Turn Around" with "Movie Magg" was issued in February 1955 on Phillips new Flip subsidiary. The sincerity that Sam Phillips responded to was plainly on view in "Turn Around". It owed a measure of debt to Hank Williams in terms of both composition and execution but Phillips' hopes for Carl Perkins in the country market were not without foundation. "Turn Around", is a solid country outing that Jerry Lee Lewis recorded four years later here, and Carl himself continues to feature on his personal appearances some forty years later.

18 - Turn Around (Master EPA-107) (2:48) 1957
(Carl Perkins) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)

14-18 Recorded Probably Early July 1957 at Sun Recording Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano), Roland Janes (guitar),
Jimmy M. Van Eaton (drums), Billy Riley (bass)
Producer - Jack Clement and/or Sam Phillips

Let's now turn to the next major landmark, ''Great Galls Of Fire''. The related development work has been one of the more sensitive subjects to deal with, not least because it involves disputing a series of dates that have hitherto been regarded by many as reputable entries in the often far from dependable recording diary. It seems, however, that this is a case where Sam Phillips did deliberately draw a veil over proceedings when he reported studio activity to the musicians' union, while others involved in the recording of Jerry Lee's second million-seller have contributed to the confusion by claiming that the finished product was arrived at in a single take. This fancy was perpetuated by Jerry Lee's bass player, cousin and sometime father-in-law Jay W. Brown as recently as in 2010, but it's a weak proposition in the face of so many indications to the contrary. One might speculate that such a declaration was originally part and parcel of Sam's efforts to outwit the union; looked at in that light, abiding loyalty to such a deception would be laudable!

However, it's clear that such stories about only ''one take'' being required to arrive at an impeccable cut, be it of ''Great Balls Of Fire'' itself or others of Jerry Lee's hits, haven't always been inspired by any intention to mislead. Rather, they may be down to a basic misunderstanding between the musicians involved and some of those who have delved into these events in much later years. It's only fair to say that the likes of Jay W. Brown, Jimmy M. Van Eaton and Jerry Lee himself wouldn't necessarily have regarded as ''takes'' any performances which were, in effect, only ''rehearsals'', while their own perceptions of the process may have failed to acknowledge the fact that quite so many run-throughs were being captured on tape, far less being kept for posterity. How valid this argument is in respect of the work undertaken on ''Great Balls Of Fire'' remains open to question, though it's easier to sustain in respect of ''Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On''; as we have seen, the master of the latter was, as both Jerry Lee Lewis and Jack Clement were always keen to emphasise, nailed in ''one take''. What is undeniable is that those who contributed to the making of this history would never have imagined that their work in the Sun studio, however formal or otherwise, would decades later be the subject of such intense interest and analysis.

Leaving the ''single-take'' fable aside, the accepted wisdom is that each and every cut of ''Great Balls Of Fire'' dated from a three day span, Sunday 6 to Tuesday 8, October 1957. There is, however, no firm testimony in support of this suggestion, which was published in the 1983 LP set and has been repeated unchallenged in most subsequent accounts. And while the discography in the 1989 bear Family set ''Classic'' did at least cast doubt on the belief that all fifteen takes originated in October, and pointed to a less intensive schedule, it fell short of providing any detail.

The premise that everything was recorded over the course of three days in October fails to pay regard to Sam Phillips' own declaration in later years that, having been pressed by Warner Brothers to supply a tape of ''Great Balls Of Fire'' for use in the film ''Jamboree'', he had submitted to the producers the best of what he already had to hand, while remaining determined to achieve still better results for the eventually single release. The idea that Sam would have sent to Warner Brothers an inferior cut for want of a day or two in early October doesn't stand up to close scrutiny. And the fact that the film was premiered on November 12, while not making an October date for the recording of the audio of Jerry Lee Lewis' contribution impossible, adds weight to the argument against the traditional explanation.

Contemporaneous published accounts also discredit the notion of an all-embracing October session and signify a different chain of events; these sources indicate that the recording of the so-called ''movie cut'' and its numerous sound-alike takes predated that of the finished master, as heard on Sun 281, not by just one or two days but quite possibly by an interval of at least two months. In all likelihood, the version heard on the soundtrack was actually taped before Jerry Lee's first live television appearance on ''The Steve Allen Show'', broadcast from New York City on Sunday July 28, 1957. This deduction is supported by a report in Billboard magazine of August 5, 1957 signposting that the lip-synched contribution to ''Jamboree'' was filmed during the same excursion to the north-east, which in turn points to the ''movie-take'' having been recorded before Jerry Lee Lewis left Memphis on July 25, 1957.

What seems most likely is that Jud Phillips, Sam's brother, having been made responsible for promoting Jerry Lee nationally and securing the TV dates, made his way to the New York office of music publishers Hill & Range well in advance of the July 28, commitment. Jud's assertion that he introduced the staff writers to ''Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On'' and invited them to devise a potential follow up is entirely persuasive. In response, a demo and/or the score for ''Great Balls Of Fire'' would have been dispatched to Memphis in time to allow tentative recordings to be made in advance of Jerry Lee's visit to New York both for the TV debut at the end of the month and, during the same venture, to film the movie cameo.

Let's also consider the aural evidence. The fifteen takes of ''Great Balls Of Fire'' readily fall into one or other of two detached groups; those which exhibit a relatively laboured guitar and bass rhythm, as heard in the frenetic ''movie'' take, and those that evince a more accomplished pattern, revealing enhanced tape echo, with the piano and the drums supposedly combining to form a wall of sound in the absence, according to some, of other instrumentation. Might this sea-change have been accomplished overnight? While it can't be ruled out absolutely, it is considered highly implausible; as a result, these recordings have now been split into the two groups and placed apart. The first session, at which the musicians were required to learn the song from scratch, culminated in the taping of the movie version. It's remembered by Jimmy Van Eaton as a chaotic exercise with a studio full of people, though clearly not everyone was impressed when it came to the dominant characters exchanging views on the subject of divine retribution.

On the second date, Jerry Lee Lewis is in an entirely secular frame of mind; exegesis has given way to excess. But, in his singing and playing, we can witness the steady progression from a relatively carefree, illdisciplined couple of run-throughs to the climactic ''master''; the sublime single release. At each stage a refinement of one sort or another is embodied, whether a change in emphasis or tone in part of the lyric, the stretching of a particular word or the intro-mission of an uncommon exclamation, or a new twist to the piano solo. Close analysis of this group also indicates that a bass guitarist is present throughout the session, up to and including the final take. This becomes readily identifiable during the second phase of the instrumental break, in which Jerry Lee's left hand drives the rhythm at eight to the bar and in so doing diverges from the walking bass line.

And there is even more substance to the issued master itself than has been generally acknowledge in the past. In combinning this song and Jerry Lee's talent, Sam Phillips knew that he was dealing with something extraordinary and he was painstaking in his search for the perfect rendition of ''Great Balls Of Fire''. This was to be Sun Records' magnum opus, its greatest hit to-date; the sound had to be both innovative and flawless. Jerry Lee had already had upwards of a dozen cracks at it but still something was missing, an extra component to complete the masterwork. Here's what appears to have happened next, based on the composition of separate tapes found in outtake boxes.

Having secured the sixth take at this second session, yet still unsatisfied, Sam decided to experiment and asked a percussionist to add a metronomic ''rim-shot'', hitting the edge of the snare drum, to accentuate the beat. Listen to the most conspicuous discrepancy between the master and all the preceding takes from this session; on the master alone one can hear a sharp, consistent strike on the edge of the drum. It might, of course, be thought that this was accomplished in real time, but a recent discovery in the Sun archives renders this proposition highly questionable; the reality seems to be that it wasn't recorded concurrently.
What we can now listen to, on a previously unreleased tape here presented on BCD 17254-18-1, is the cut that forms the basis of the ''master'' take lacking this ''rim-shot'' sound. This tape does, however, also feature an enhanced drum pattern compared to earlier takes, involving a supplementary layer of conventional ''skin shots'' on the snare drum. But the pronounced metronomic beat that helps define ''Great Balls Of Fire'', as known to the world, is absent. The distinction may appear subtle, but it is contended that this amounts to proof that the recording originally issued in November 1957 embodies an overdub of the defining ''rim-shot'' sound.

There is little reason to doubt that these less emphatic ''skin shots'' heard on this alternate are dubbed, rather then being representative of what was taped live and subsequently masked, either by the ''rim shot'' and/or other mastering techniques applied when the engineer prepared the track for release in 1957. Hence it is believed that what we have are two different overdubs adding extra percussion to the real time performance, one of which, featuring the ''rim shot'', was selected for release as Sun 281. It can be argued that the alternate presented on BCD 17254-18-1 sustains a closer relationship with the other recordings of the song, whereas the more obviously augmented ''rim shot'' version stands apart. Moreover, given the order in which the tapes were found in the outtake boxes, the balance of probability is weighted in favour of the rejected ''skin shot'' experiment being the first of two distinct overdubs, both having been made the fulfill Sam's ambition of lending additional muscle to the record. But being unable to present an underlying, undubbed, tape we have opted to include the master originally released on Sun 281 as part of the main sequence, rather than consign it to the collection of overdubs on BCD 17254-18-1.

Debates about the origin and the precise composition of this recording may well persist for as long as people continue to listen to popular music. One conclusion is undeniable. Promethean it assuredly is, yet evidently there were several pairs of hands at work in the genesis of the master take of ''Great Balls Of Fire'', the supposition that it represents nothing more than the inspired efforts of Jerry Lee Lewis and a drummer, supplemented by ''slapback echo'', is the myth.

by Andrew McRae, October 2015

19 - Great Balls Of Fire (1.1) (1:56) 1992
20 - Great Balls Of Fire (1.2) (1:51) 1992
21 - Great Balls Of Fire (1.3) (1:52) 1987
22 - Great Balls Of Fire (1.4) (1:53) 1992
23 - Great Balls Of Fire (1.5) (1:51) 1983
24 - Great Balls Of Fire (1.6) (1:52) 2015
25 - Great Balls Of Fire (1.7) (3 False Starts) (0:24) 1983
26 - Great Balls Of Fire (1.8) (1:52) 2015
27 - Religious Discussion (4:01) 1974 Bopcat BR 100
28 - Great Balls Of Fire (1.9) )Movie Version) (1:50) 1957
(Jack Hammer-Otis Blackwell) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)

19-28 Recorded 2nd Half July 1957 at Sun Recording Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano), Roland Janes (guitar),
Jimmy M. Van Eaton (drums), Possibly Al Stranger (bass)
Producer - Jack Clement and/or Sam Phillips

29 - You Win Again (2) (Chatter & Undubbed Master) (2:57) 1983
(Hank Williams) (Acuff-Rose Music Publishing-Hiriam Music)

On what was probably the same date Jerry Lee revisited ''It All Depends (Who Will Buy The Wine)'', a more commanding example which was already ''in the can'' pending its overdubbing with a vocal chorus and unveiling on his first LP. This rather inconsistent recording, unreleased until now, suffers from some of the failings that are manifest on the several takes of ''I Forgot To Remember To Forget''; it appears as though those involved couldn't quite get to grips with either song on this occasion.

30 - It All Depends (2) (3:05) 2015
(Billy Mize) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)

Several takes of ''I Forgot To Remember To Forget'' were attempted during this August 1957 session, though none of them are totally successful, with Jerry and he band attempting to find the right key, rhythm and tempo. All takes remained unissued until at least the 1980s. Far superior is the February 1961 version, recorded in Nashville at the same session that produced the hit versions of ''What’d I Say'' and ''Cold Cold Heart''. Surprisingly this wasn’t released until 1974, via Charly's ''Rare Jerry Lee Lewis Volume 2'' compilation. Incidentally, this has never been issued in true stereo on CD, though it was available on the Sun International ''Roots'' LP in 1981, but not the CD reissue!

''I Forgot To Remember To Forget" is a country song written by Stan Kesler and Charlie Feathers. It was recorded at Sun Studio on July 11, 1955, by Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore, Bill Black, and Johnny Bernero on drums, and released on August 20, 1955, along with "Mystery Train" (Sun 223). It was rereleased by RCA Victor (47-6357) in December 1955. Moore's guitar had a Nashville steel guitar sound, and Black played a clip-clop rhythm. Elvis sang a brooding vocal. This is the closest the trio came to a traditional country song while at Sun.

The song reached the Billboard national country music chart number 1 position on February 25, 1956 on the Billboard Country &Western Best Sellers in Stores chart, and remained there at number 1 for 2 weeks, and spent 5 weeks at number 1 on the Billboard Country &Western Most Played in Juke Boxes chart. The record reached number 4 on the Billboard Most Played by Jockeys chart. It was the first recording to make Elvis Presley a national known country music star. The song remained on the country charts for 39 weeks. The flip side of this release, "Mystery Train", peaked at the number 11 position on the national Billboard Country Chart.

Jerry Lee Lewis recorded the song on August 21, 1957 and on February 9, 1961. Composer Charlie Feathers has also recorded it. The Beatles covered this song once for the BBC radio show, ''From Us To You'', on 1 May 1964, which was included on the Live at the BBC compilation in 1994. Johnny Cash covered and released this song in 1959 on the Sun LP ''Greatest!'' and on the album The Survivors Live in 1981. Chuck Jackson, Ral Donner, Robert Gordon, Johnny Hallyday, The Deighton Family, Hicksville Bombers, and Wanda Jackson recorded this song as well. Chris Isaak also covered this song on his 2011 album, Beyond the Sun.

The song is referenced in the Modest Mouse song "A Different City", on their 2000 album The Moon & Antarctica. The name of this song also appears as a quest in the video game Fallout: New Vegas where the Courier and Boone defend a small settlement from a full-scale attack while dealing with Boone's regret over a massacre that took place at that same settlement.

31 - I Forgot To Remember To Forget (1.1) (4 False Starts) (2:20) 1983
32 - I Forgot To Remember To Forget (1.2) (Chatter & Take) (2:36) 1983
33 - I Forgot To Remember To Forget (1.3) (False Start & Take) (2:38) 1992
34 - I Forgot To Remember To Forget (1.4) (2:27) 1987
35 - I Forgot To Remember To Forget (1.5) (False Start) (0:36) 2015
36 - I Forgot To Remember To Forget (1.6) (2:35) 1992
(Charlie Feathers-Stanley Kesler) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)

29-36 Recorded Probably August 21, 1957 at Sun Recording Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal), Roland Janes (guitar), Otis Jett (drums), Unknown (bass)
Producer - Jack Clement and/or Sam Phillips

© Original Sun Recordings, licensed from Sun Entertainment, Inc.   

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

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© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

THE ''GREAT BALLS OF FIRE'' THEORY - Let's now turn to the next major landmark, ''Great Galls Of Fire''. The related development work has been one of the more sensitive subjects to deal with, not least because it involves disputing a series of dates that have hitherto been regarded by many as reputable entries in the often far from dependable recording diary. It seems, however, that this is a case where Sam Phillips did deliberately draw a veil over proceedings when he reported studio activity to the musicians' union, while others involved in the recording of Jerry Lee's second million-seller have contributed to the confusion by claiming that the finished product was arrived at in a single take. This fancy was perpetuated by Jerry Lee's bass player, cousin and sometime father-in-law Jay W. Brown as recently as in 2010, but it's a weak proposition in the face of so many indications to the contrary. One might speculate that such a declaration was originally part and parcel of Sam's efforts to outwit the union; looked at in that light, abiding loyalty to such a deception would be laudable!

However, it's clear that such stories about only ''one take'' being required to arrive at an impeccable cut, be it of ''Great Balls Of Fire'' itself or others of Jerry Lee's hits, haven't always been inspired by any intention to mislead. Rather, they may be down to a basic misunderstanding between the musicians involved and some of those who have delved into these events in much later years. It's only fair to say that the likes of Jay W. Brown, Jimmy M. Van Eaton and Jerry Lee himself wouldn't necessarily have regarded as ''takes'' any performances which were, in effect, only ''rehearsals'', while their own perceptions of the process may have failed to acknowledge the fact that quite so many run-throughs were being captured on tape, far less being kept for posterity. How valid this argument is in respect of the work undertaken on ''Great Balls Of Fire'' remains open to question, though it's easier to sustain in respect of ''Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On''; as we have seen, the master of the latter was, as both Jerry Lee Lewis and Jack Clement were always keen to emphasise, nailed in ''one take''. What is undeniable is that those who contributed to the making of this history would never have imagined that their work in the Sun studio, however formal or otherwise, would decades later be the subject of such intense interest and analysis.

Leaving the ''single-take'' fable aside, the accepted wisdom is that each and every cut of ''Great Balls Of Fire'' dated from a three day span, Sunday 6 to Tuesday 8, October 1957. There is, however, no firm testimony in support of this suggestion, which was published in the 1983 LP set and has been repeated unchallenged in most subsequent accounts. And while the discography in the 1989 bear Family set ''Classic'' did at least cast doubt on the belief that all fifteen takes originated in October, and pointed to a less intensive schedule, it fell short of providing any detail.

The premise that everything was recorded over the course of three days in October fails to pay regard to Sam Phillips' own declaration in later years that, having been pressed by Warner Brothers to supply a tape of ''Great Balls Of Fire'' for use in the film ''Jamboree'', he had submitted to the producers the best of what he already had to hand, while remaining determined to achieve still better results for the eventually single release. The idea that Sam would have sent to Warner Brothers an inferior cut for want of a day or two in early October doesn't stand up to close scrutiny. And the fact that the film was premiered on November 12, while not making an October date for the recording of the audio of Jerry Lee Lewis' contribution impossible, adds weight to the argument against the traditional explanation.

Contemporaneous published accounts also discredit the notion of an all-embracing October session and signify a different chain of events; these sources indicate that the recording of the so-called ''movie cut'' and its numerous sound-alike takes predated that of the finished master, as heard on Sun 281, not by just one or two days but quite possibly by an interval of at least two months. In all likelihood, the version heard on the soundtrack was actually taped before Jerry Lee's first live television appearance on ''The Steve Allen Show'', broadcast from New York City on Sunday July 28, 1957. This deduction is supported by a report in Billboard magazine of August 5, 1957 signposting that the lip-synched contribution to ''Jamboree'' was filmed during the same excursion to the north-east, which in turn points to the ''movie-take'' having been recorded before Jerry Lee Lewis left Memphis on July 25, 1957.

What seems most likely is that Jud Phillips, Sam's brother, having been made responsible for promoting Jerry Lee nationally and securing the TV dates, made his way to the New York office of music publishers Hill & Range well in advance of the July 28, commitment. Jud's assertion that he introduced the staff writers to ''Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On'' and invited them to devise a potential follow up is entirely persuasive. In response, a demo and/or the score for ''Great Balls Of Fire'' would have been dispatched to Memphis in time to allow tentative recordings to be made in advance of Jerry Lee's visit to New York both for the TV debut at the end of the month and, during the same venture, to film the movie cameo.

Let's also consider the aural evidence. The fifteen takes of ''Great Balls Of Fire'' readily fall into one or other of two detached groups; those which exhibit a relatively laboured guitar and bass rhythm, as heard in the frenetic ''movie'' take, and those that evince a more accomplished pattern, revealing enhanced tape echo, with the piano and the drums supposedly combining to form a wall of sound in the absence, according to some, of other instrumentation. Might this sea-change have been accomplished overnight? While it can't be ruled out absolutely, it is considered highly implausible; as a result, these recordings have now been split into the two groups and placed apart. The first session, at which the musicians were required to learn the song from scratch, culminated in the taping of the movie version. It's remembered by Jimmy Van Eaton as a chaotic exercise with a studio full of people, though clearly not everyone was impressed when it came to the dominant characters exchanging views on the subject of divine retribution.

On the second date, Jerry Lee Lewis is in an entirely secular frame of mind; exegesis has given way to excess. But, in his singing and playing, we can witness the steady progression from a relatively carefree, illdisciplined couple of run-throughs to the climactic ''master''; the sublime single release. At each stage a refinement of one sort or another is embodied, whether a change in emphasis or tone in part of the lyric, the stretching of a particular word or the intro-mission of an uncommon exclamation, or a new twist to the piano solo. Close analysis of this group also indicates that a bass guitarist is present throughout the session, up to and including the final take. This becomes readily identifiable during the second phase of the instrumental break, in which Jerry Lee's left hand drives the rhythm at eight to the bar and in so doing diverges from the walking bass line.

And there is even more substance to the issued master itself than has been generally acknowledge in the past. In combinning this song and Jerry Lee's talent, Sam Phillips knew that he was dealing with something extraordinary and he was painstaking in his search for the perfect rendition of ''Great Balls Of Fire''. This was to be Sun Records' magnum opus, its greatest hit to-date; the sound had to be both innovative and flawless. Jerry Lee had already had upwards of a dozen cracks at it but still something was missing, an extra component to complete the masterwork. Here's what appears to have happened next, based on the composition of separate tapes found in outtake boxes.

Having secured the sixth take at this second session, yet still unsatisfied, Sam decided to experiment and asked a percussionist to add a metronomic ''rim-shot'', hitting the edge of the snare drum, to accentuate the beat. Listen to the most conspicuous discrepancy between the master and all the preceding takes from this session; on the master alone one can hear a sharp, consistent strike on the edge of the drum. It might, of course, be thought that this was accomplished in real time, but a recent discovery in the Sun archives renders this proposition highly questionable; the reality seems to be that it wasn't recorded concurrently.

What we can now listen to, on a previously unreleased tape here presented on BCD 17254-18-1, is the cut that forms the basis of the ''master'' take lacking this ''rim-shot'' sound. This tape does, however, also feature an enhanced drum pattern compared to earlier takes, involving a supplementary layer of conventional ''skin shots'' on the snare drum. But the pronounced metronomic beat that helps define ''Great Balls Of Fire'', as known to the world, is absent. The distinction may appear subtle, but it is contended that this amounts to proof that the recording originally issued in November 1957 embodies an overdub of the defining ''rim-shot'' sound.

There is little reason to doubt that these less emphatic ''skin shots'' heard on this alternate are dubbed, rather then being representative of what was taped live and subsequently masked, either by the ''rim shot'' and/or other mastering techniques applied when the engineer prepared the track for release in 1957. Hence it is believed that what we have are two different overdubs adding extra percussion to the real time performance, one of which, featuring the ''rim shot'', was selected for release as Sun 281. It can be argued that the alternate presented on BCD 17254-18-1 sustains a closer relationship with the other recordings of the song, whereas the more obviously augmented ''rim shot'' version stands apart. Moreover, given the order in which the tapes were found in the outtake boxes, the balance of probability is weighted in favour of the rejected ''skin shot'' experiment being the first of two distinct overdubs, both having been made the fulfill Sam's ambition of lending additional muscle to the record. But being unable to present an underlying, undubbed, tape we have opted to include the master originally released on Sun 281 as part of the main sequence, rather than consign it to the collection of overdubs on BCD 17254-18-1.

Debates about the origin and the precise composition of this recording may well persist for as long as people continue to listen to popular music. One conclusion is undeniable. Promethean it assuredly is, yet evidently there were several pairs of hands at work in the genesis of the master take of ''Great Balls Of Fire'', the supposition that it represents nothing more than the inspired efforts of Jerry Lee Lewis and a drummer, supplemented by ''slapback echo'', is the myth.

by Andrew McRae, October 2015

CD 4 Contains 1957-1958

In February 1955, Wade Moore and Dick Penner composed "Ooby Dooby", in fifteen minutes on the roof of the frat house, but nothing happened even when Roy Orbison recorded the song. That demo was sent to Don Law, a Columbia Records representative, in vain with "Hey, Miss Fanny" as B-side. However, Roy Orbison and The Teens Kings keep faith on the song and they will often perform it on stage. Soon Weldon Rodgers, himself a great singer, wanted to set a up session in Norman Petty's studio in December 1955. "Ooby Dooby" b/w "Tryin' to Get to You" was issued on JE-WEL 101.

That label was named from the first letters Jean Olivier (daughter of Weldon's label associate) and Weldon. The record was manufactured in Phoenix, Arizona and, in spite of good sales, Roy Orbison was still lookin' around for fame and fortune on a major label.

At last, Roy's demo record came between the hands of Sid King and The Five Strings who recorded the song for Columbia, on 5th March 1956. The session in Dallas and worked fine. One month earlier, as the same band had covered Carl Perkins "Blue Suede Shoes". Sam Phillips should have watching for them next record. In spite of the JE-WEL contract, Sam Phillips took on Roy and his band. A battle followed in court and the JE-WEL contract was cancelled as not signed by Roy's folks because he was still underage. The JE-WEL records had to be released from the records shops too. That's now a real rare record often gets bootlegged. So be aware if you are looking for one vintage copy.

On March 27, 1956, a Roy Orbison's session was at 706 Union Avenue. Sam Phillips was disappointed by the result and gave a phone call to Weldon Rogers in order to buy the JEWEL master. Weldon asked for a so high price than Sam Phillips issued what he got on the Sun 242. In June 1956, "Ooby Dooby" climbed to number 59 in Billboard's Hot 100 and quickly sold over 500.000 copies. Some covers followed, the better being recorded by rockabilly Queen Janis Martin for RCA records. The "Ooby Dooby" success led Sam Phillips to sign Dick Penner and Wade Moore on his label.

Around this time Jerry Lee Lewis twice romped through Ray Orbison's ''Ooby Dooby'', on the first run suggesting, some half-a-minute in, that you might ''wiggle all night'' while in the second the warning was ''you'll be jumping all night''; the reference to shaking like a rattlesnake, immediately following the solo in the first cut, didn't make it into the successor.

1 - Ooby Dooby (1) (1:59) 1983
2 - Ooby Dooby (2) (1:59) 1974
(Wade Moore-Dick R. Penner) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)

1-2 Recorded Probably August 21, 1957 at Sun Recording Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal), Roland Janes (guitar), Otis Jett (drums), Unknown (bass)
Producer - Jack Clement and/or Sam Phillips

''Why Should I Cry Over You'' recorded here by Jerry Lee Lewis was written by Zeke Clement and was an American country musician and songwriter often dressed in a Western outfit. He was known as "The Dixie Yodeler."

Clements was born on September 6, 1911 near Empire, Alabama. In 1928, his career began when he joined Otto Gray and his Oklahoma Cowboys touring show and was signed to the National Barn Dance at WLS in Chicago. In 1930, he performed on WSM Grand Ole Opry for the first time. In 1933, he became a member of the Bronco Busters, led by Texas Ruby. Zeke Clements and The Bronco Busters became members of the Opry in the 1930s. In the 1930 and 1940s, Clements appeared as a singing cowboy in several of Charles Starrett's B-Westerns. During this time, he also provided the voice of Bashful, the yodeling dwarf, in Walt Disney's ''Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs'', 1937 film.

Clements formed the Western Swing Gang and returned to the Opry in 1939. His first songwriting success was with the World War II saber-rattling "Smoke On The Water" in 1944. The song was recorded by Red Foley in 1944 and became the number 1 country recording of 1945. Clements also wrote the big Eddy Arnold hits "Why Should I Cry'', "Just a Little Lovin' (Will Go a Long, Long Way)" and "Somebody's Been Beatin' My Time''. Also in 1945, he started Liberty Records in Southern California. It was later renamed Blazon Records. After a short stint on the Louisiana Hayride in the later 1940s, he appeared on several radio stations in the South. In the 1960s, he moved to Florida and joined a Dixieland band as banjo player. Zeke Clements died in Nashville, Tennessee in on June 4, 1994.

3 - Why Should I Cry Over You (2:35) 1983
(Zeke Clements) (Hill and Range Songs Incorporated)

Despite having already recorded what proved to be the master, there may well have been a determination that a better version of the song might be secured using the ''clavi-chord'' sound set up, for inclusion alongside ''Mean Woman Blues'' on the planned EP (''The Great Ball Of Fire'', Sun EP 107). No fewer than ten further stabs at ''I'm Feelin' Sorry'' ensued but, at the last, Sam seems to have decided that the best of the earlier takes had the most worth after all. The results of the ''clavichord'' session reflect an understanding of the song that isn't so apparent in the first installment. Jerry Lee Lewis exhibits many frills in his playing, with more variety in the instrumental breaks and slight changes to the vocal which suggest that he's keen to find some way of distinguishing one take from the next; hesitating here, stretching a vowel there. The solos become steadily more assertive as the session progress. And yet the drumming reflects no great enthusiasm; whoever has the sticks, and it's not thought to be Jimmy Van Eaton, sleepwalks through their work here when compared to the effort made on the earlier recordings of the song. Jerry Lee himself also seems to be frustrated by tunning issues with the piano and eventually his pounding of the keys sounds almost aggressive. Despite there being no discernible use of the guitar on these ''clavichord'' takes of ''I'm Feelin' Sorry'', there is an understanding that Roland Janes was in the studio at the time. This is supported by the fact that the instrument is to be heard on the less than impressive run-through of ''Why Should I Cry Over You'', the only other title that flaunts the ''clavichord'' effect and which, it is reasonable to assume, dates from the same session.

4 - I'm Feelin' Sorry (2.1) (2:38) 1992
5 - I'm Feelin' Sorry (2.2) (Chatter & Take) (2:37) 1987
6 - I'm Feelin' Sorry (2.3) (2:35) 2015 Sun Unissued
7 - I'm Feelin' Sorry (2.4) (Chatter & Take) (2:37) 1983
8 - I'm Feelin' Sorry (2.5) (2:36) 1992
9 - I'm Feelin' Sorry (2.6) (Distorted) (2:33) 2015 Sun Unissued
10 - I'm Feelin' Sorry (2.7) (Distorted) (2:33) 2015 Sun Unissued
11 - I'm Feelin' Sorry (2.8) (2:34) 2015 Sun Unissued
12 - I'm Feelin' Sorry (2.9) (2:30) 2015 Sun Unissued
13 - I'm Feelin' Sorry (2.10) (2:30) 2015 Sun Unissued
(Jack Clement) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)

3-13 Recorded Probably September 5, 1957 at Sun Recording Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal), Unknown (guitar), Otis Jett (drums), Sidney Manker (bass)
Producer Jack Clement and/or Sam Phillips

The next track "Mean Woman Blues" is a 12-bar blues song written by Claude DeMetrius. It was first recorded by Elvis Presley as part of the soundtrack for his 1957 motion picture, Loving You. Presley also released the song on Side 2 of a four-song EP record. The Elvis Presley version of "Mean Woman Blues" went to number 11 on the rhythm and blues charts.

Jerry Lee Lewis recorded a version of the song on Sun Records which was released on September 1957 as part of an EP, ''The Great Ball Of Fire'' (Sun EPA 107). Lewis also recorded his version of the song on the 1964 live album ''Live At The Star Club, Hamburg'' with The Nashville Teens. The song was also featured as the B-side to the UK release of his hit "Great Balls of Fire" (London 8529). Jerry Lee Lewis' version differed significantly lyrically from the Claude DeMetrius version as recorded by Elvis Presley. Roy Orbison's 1963 recording used the lyrics from the 1957 Jerry Lee Lewis version.

In 1959, Cliff Richard and The Shadows recorded a studio version on their Cliff Sings album. 1950s rockabilly artist Glen Glen from Los Angeles recorded a version of this song for England's Ace label which was released on the album "Everybody's Movin' Again" (Ace CDCH 403) using the same musicians from his 1950s Era records. In 1963, the song was recorded with "Blue Bayou" as a 45rpm single by Roy Orbison that went to number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 music charts. The Roy Orbison version was based on the 1957 Jerry Lee Lewis recording. The song was recorded by The Spencer Davis Group on their album ''Autumn '66'' with Stevie Winwood on lead vocals. Jay and the Americans released a cover version of the song on their 1969 album, ''Sands of Time''. Although the song was written in the mid-1950s, many similarly titled though different songs with the same theme had emerged decades previously. These include "Jimmie's Mean Mama Blues," a Jimmie Rodgers composition covered also by Bob Wills, Moon Mullican's "Mean Mama Blues," and Ernest Tubb's "Mean Mama Blues''.

''Mean Woman Blues'' stands apart as a consummate performance, there being no outtakes or enduring evidence of any rehearsals. The other ''thumb tack'' recordings, of ''Why Should I Cry Over You'' and ''I'm Feelin' Sorry'', are looser, and far from perfect; the regrettable lack of any ''tasters'' of Lewis's definitive interpretation of ''Mean Woman Blues'' may well signify that it was recorded on a separate occasion, a few days later, with evidence of any run-throughs perhaps having been dispensed with once the surviving tape had been mastered and copies despatched to the pressing plants. Or maybe Jerry Lee simply cut it in one unsurpassable take.

14 - Mean Woman Blues (Master EPA-107) (2:25) 1957
(Claude DeMetruis) (Gladys Music Incorporated)

14 Recorded Probably September 10, 1957 at Sun Recording Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano), Unknown (guitar), Otis Jett (drums), Sidney Manker (bass)
Producer Jack Clement and/or Sam Phillips

''Great Balls Of Fire'' (1957 version, 1963 version, 1975 version, 1988 version, Jerry’s biggest and most famous hit. It’s incredible to believe that there are only two instruments on the Sun single cut; just piano and drums (no bass or guitar), unlike the 1963 ''Golden Hits'' re-cut which features at least 3 times as many people, and is probably the weakest of all the re-cuts on this album. The 1975 version is very different, being given a sort of “ragtime” treatment! This (probably wisely) wasn’t deemed releasable at the time and wasn’t issued until the late 1980s. Lastly but by no means least is the “movie” version, for the 1989 ''Great Balls Of Fire''! movie and soundtrack album. This is nearly twice as long as the original, and features much inspired piano playing, as well as a guitar solo.

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

"Great Balls Of Fire" was no song Jerry had plucked from his reliquary, though; nor was it dashed off in one or two takes. It was a conscious attempt to produce a hit record for the lucrative teen market, which Jerry Lee had just shown he was capable of penetrating.

The song had been pitched first to Carl Perkins then Lewis as part of a deal in which they would appear in the movie "Jamboree". Then, in a move wholly untypical of Sam Phillips, he decided to fore go the publishing on the flip side as well.

15 - Great Balls Of Fire (2.1) (2 False Starts & Take) (2:12) 2015 Sun Unissued
16 - Great Balls Of Fire (2.2) (1:55) 1992
17 - Great Balls Of Fire (2.3) (False Start & Take) (2:01) 1985 JLL EP 002
18 - Studio Chatter (0:52) 1983
19 - Great Balls Of Fire (2.4) (1:53) 1983
20 - Great Balls Of Fire (2.5) (Chatter & Take) (2:10) 1992
21 - Great Balls Of Fire (2.6) (Master Sun 281) (1:52) 1958
(Jack Hammer-Otis Blackwell) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)

15-21 Recorded October (8), 1957 at Sun Recording Studio, 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee
Jerry Lee Lewis (vocal and piano), Unknown (drums, bass)
Producer Jack Clement and/or Sam Phillips

This 1958 version of ''I Love You Because'' is performed at a very slow and plodding tempo, though it's not without its charm and features some nice piano. This remained unissued until the 1983 ''The Sun Years'' boxset. Far better is the faster 1961 version (though the backing singers are a bit annoying), first released on ''Original Golden Hits Volume Three'' in 1971. Lastly is the beautiful 1969 version, released on ''Country Music Hall Of Fame Hits Volume 1''.

"I Love You Because" is a 1949 song written and originally recorded by Leon Payne. The single went to number four on the Billboard Country & Western Best Seller lists and spent two weeks at number one on the Country & Western Disk Jockey List, spending a total of thirty-two weeks on the chart. "I Love You Because" was Payne's only song to make the country charts. "I Love You Because" has been covered by several artists throughout the years like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Hank Locklin and many more.

In 1950, Ernest Tubb a number 2 and Clyde Moody each recorded their own version both making the Top 10 on the Country & Western charts. In 1963, Al Martino recorded the most successful version of the song peaking at number three on the Hot 100 and number one on the Middle-Road (or Easy Listening) chart for two weeks in May that year.

In 1964, Jim Reeves took the song to number five in the United Kingdom. In 1976, the song was the title track of a posthumous Jim Reeves album, which peaked at number 24 on the Billboard Country chart. The single version reached to number 54 in the United States that year. In 1983, Roger Whittaker got the song "into the lower reaches of the country chart''.

The 1956/1957 version of ''I Love You Because'' is performed at a very slow and plodding tempo, though it’s not without its charm and features some nice piano. This remained unissued until the 1983 ''The Sun Years'' box-set. Far better is this faster June 1961 version (though the backing singers are a bit annoying), first released on ''Original Golden Hits Volume Three'' in 1971. Lastly is the beautiful 1969 version, released on ''Country Music Hall Of Fame Hits Vollume 1''.

22 - I Love You Because (1) (3:03) 1983
(Leon Payne) (Bourne Music-Acuff Rose Music Publishing)

"I Love You So Much It Hurts" is a song written and recorded by Floyd Tillman in 1948. His version reached number 6 on the Folk Best Seller charts and spent a total of nineteen weeks on the chart. In 1948, Jimmy Wakely had his second number one on the Folk Best Seller chart with his version of the song. Wakely's version spent a total of twenty-eight weeks on the chart and four non-consecutive weeks at the top. In 1949, the Mills Brothers recorded a version of the song which reached number