CONTAINS

That'll Flat... Git It! - Volume 14
That'll Flat... Git It! - Volume 16
That'll Flat... Git It! - Volume 17
  
For Biographies of Artists see: > The Sun Biographies <
Sun recordings can be heard on the playlists from 706 Union Avenue Sessions on > YouTube < 
 
© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© August 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16210 mono digital
THAT'LL FLAT... GIT IT! - VOLUME 14

Compact disc. An Bear Family Special Products. Black disc. Yellow label have circle of musical notes and staff around the entire label, with excepted of the bar wherein "Memphis, Tennessee" appear. The letters SUN with sun rays pressed in light brown at the top of the label. On the back cover Bear Family logo left at bottom. Catalog number in upper right.

Sun recordings and demos many of them previously unissued complete with studio chatter. Also included in the box, 40-page booklet biography with liner notes by Colin Escott. Contain tracks from the guys who wanted to get a deal but couldn't get Sam Phillips' interested in their new stuff. In the chaos and confusion of Sun in the mid-1950s, their tapes were just marked and tossed into the back room. On this volume, features all great unknowns such as Ray Harris, Curley Money, Jesse Lee Turner, Roger Fakes, plus two completely unidentified artists. 

Producers
Sam C. Phillips and Stan Kesler
Re-Issue Producers
Richard Weize
Compilation
Dave Booth
Tape Research
Colin Escott and Don Powell
Mastering
Bob Jones
Liner Notes
Colin Escott
Discographical Data
Colin Escott
 

Photos and Illustration
R.A. Andreas, Bo Berglind, Colin Escott, Michael Ochs Archives,
Willi Pittman, The Showtime Music Archive (Toronto),
Dave Travis, Hans-Peter Zdrenka
Artwork
Clive Blewchamp
Thanks to
Trevor Cajaio, Adam Komorowski, Robert Loers, and Wayne Russell  

Here's the other side of Sun; to pun Pink Floyd, the dark side of the Sun. These are the guys who wanted to get a deal but couldn't, or guys who once had a deal but couldn't get Sam Phillips interested in their new stuff. In the chaos and confusion of Sun in the mid-to-late fifties, their tapes were just marked (or sometimes not even marked) and tossed into the back room. In a sense, we're doing the job now that should have been done then: sifting through them, trying to figure out which ones were worth a shot.

Let's get our criteria straight. Not all of these are Sun recordings, although most are. We've broadened the scope to include a few demo's sent to Sun because that's the only way some of this music will ever see the light-of- day. At the same time, ,we've stayed away from artists like Billy Riley and Warren Smith who have been anthologized on Bear Family CDs, and we haven't included any records that appear in our definitive Sun Singles Collection series. The focus is squarely on worthy unknowns or little knowns. 

The key that unlocks nearly every recording here is Elvis. Everyone knows Elvis started on Sun, and several of these guys knew him, maybe shared a Coke with him after a gig. Elvis was desperately real to them. If they could get on Sun, they could stand where Elvis had stood. What happened to Elvis would surely happen to them. As absurd, even vain, as that sounds in hindsight, you have to remember that it was a different world when these guys parked outside Sun. Elvis's throne looked very attainable. Ray Harris remembers thinking to himself? "Hell, that boy ain't doing anything I can 't do'', and that was a common sentiment. In a sense, this set is a little walk down a boulevard of broken dreams. Very few of these artists managed to sustain any kind of career in music, but in the act of trying and failing they tell us more about grass roots fifties rock and roll than any formal history.  

Rockabilly from the vaults of Sun Records
For the music can be heard on YouTube click on the available > buttons <

Contains

1 - Rock All Night (Glenn Honeycutt) (1985) 2:02 > LP 1025 <
(Glenn Honeycutt) (Copyright Control)

Glenn Honeycutt got as far as having one record out on Sun. A quiet, unassuming man, he recognizes he had just a small role in the Memphis musical firmament. Much like Roy Orbison, he was a balladeer in the wrong place at the wrong time. Born in Belzoni, Mississippi on May 2, 1933, Glenn grew up in Memphis after his father died. He auditioned at Sun with country songs and was told by Sam Phillips that Nashville had country locked up. Glenn was gigging around town with Jack Clement and Slim Wallace when Clement went to work at Sun and convinced Phillips to give Glenn a second shot. ''Rock All Night'', recorded in late December 1956, was intended to be the first single, but it was considered too risqué and was bounced in favor of two other songs. The backing musicians include Roland Janes on guitar, Jimmy Wilson on piano, and Jimmy M. Van Eaton on drums. Glenn went on to record for other labels, like Fernwood, Black Gold and Topp-Ett, but his longterm prospects were with the U.S. Postal Service. 

2 - Move Baby, Move (Dick Penner) (1976) 1:59 > CR 30116 <
(Dick Penner) (Coyright Control) 

Dick Penner and his buddy Wade Moore wrote ''Ooby Dooby'' on the flat roof of the frat house at North Texas State University. ''Ooby Dooby'' is Penner's claim to fame in rock and roll circles - and a tidy little earner it must have been through the years, especially after Creedence Clearwater Revival cut it. Penner was from Chicago. 

He was born there in November 1936, and grew up in Dallas. Elvis's appearance at the ''Big 'D' Jamboree'' encouraged him and Moore to try their hand at rocking and rolling. After ''Ooby Dooby'' was a hit for a fellow Texas undergraduate, Roy Orbison, Sam Phillips invited the duo to Memphis. One joint single resulted, followed by one solo single for Penner ''Move Baby, Move'' was an abandoned cut from late 1956 or early 1957. It features Don Gilliland on guitar; the others are unknown. Penner stayed in school, and was last seen as a professor of English at the University of Tennessee. 

3 - Pop And Mama (Gene Simmons) (1985) 1:41 > LP 1008) <
(Gene Simmons) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)

As a performer,Gene Simmons is a one-hit-wonder. Better one hit than no hit, of course, and Simmons managed to keep at least a toehold in music even when he was working in construction. That persistence paid off in 1993 when his song ''Indian Outlaw'' became a country hit for Tim McGraw. Originally from Tupelo, Gene knew someone who was Elvis's third cousin and met Elvis when Elvis came to see his grandma in early 1954. Gene was already a local hero on WELO, and helped line up a schoolhouse date for Elvis in 1954 or 1955. Elvis told Gene about Sun, and Gene went to audition some country songs. Sam Phillips told him to come back when he'd learned something new, and the date on the tape box suggests that Gene recorded his first rockabilly sides, including ''Pop And Mama'', on June 18, 1955 - a year earlier than previously thought. The group is probably rounded out by Jesse Carter on bass and Carl Simmons on guitar. Gene went back several more times and eventually recorded a single around January 1957. Phillips held it back until June 1958, but by then it was a couple of years out of date and sank without a trace. It was probably around 1957 or 1958 when Gene went back to Sun with ''Peroxied Blonde'', a song that survives only as a tape fragment. 

4 - Rock Me Baby (Jimmy Haggett) (1985) 1:49 > LP 1018) <
(Jimmy Haggett) (Ridgetop Music) 

Jimmy Haggett or James Clecy Haggett to give him his full name, cut two very different sessions for Sun. The first resulted in a rather lackluster country single that did little or no business; the second was raw, pumped-up rockabilly. Nothing from the second session was released at the time, and the tape box was unmarked. When the rockabilly sides were first issued, it was under Junior Thompson's name. "Yes they are different," conceded Jimmy, who hung onto an acetate of the songs given to him after the session, "but I was trying to get in with the rock and roll craze because we were entertainers''. Originally from Granite City, Illinois, where he was born on December 2, 1928, Jimmy was first and last a radio man. He went on to record for Meteor and Caprock Records, but long after he stopped performing he continued to work as a dee-jay and then as part-owner of a radio station. As far as Jimmy remembers, ''Rock Me Baby'' was recorded in late 1956 and featured Charlie Hardin on guitar, Jackie Lee Adkins on bass, and Don White on drums. The spirit of Carl Perkins looms, large over the session, and as Sam Phillips was having a hard time selling Perkins after ''Blue Suede Shoes'' he probably concluded that he didn't need someone who sounded like Perkins. 

5 - Take Me (Garden Of Evil) (Jimmy Wages) (1985) 2:25 > LP 1026 <
(Jimmy Wages) (Sun Entertainment Incorporated) 

Jimmy Wages was one of the great finds in the Sun vaults. A man of singularly warped vision and a true musical primitive, he was a little too deep into left-field even for Sun in its heyday. Quasi-religious images and a distinctly ambivalent attitude toward women color his work (''Miss Pearl'' and ''Take Me'' - a song originally titled ''Garden Of Evil''), are prime examples. Jimmy has lived in Tupelo all his life, and says he's not only the same age as Elvis, but went to school with him. He followed the familiar path to Sun's door, and Jack Clement recorded him. James Wood and his band backed Jimmy on one session, and on another it's Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimmy M. Van Eaton et al. Wood and his band called Jimmy ''The Catman'', and that apparently became his local nickname. His early shows must have been something to behold. After Sun, Jimmy tried out at Hi and for Stan Kesler. He became a club act, touring as far afield as California. "I'm just one who tried and didn't make it'', he says with remarkably little rancor. "I got a lot of company''. 

6 - Hula Bop (Smokey Joe) (1985) 2:52 > LP 1021 <
(Stan Kesler-Bill Taylor) (Ridgetop Music) 

Smokey Joe was one of the more intriguing characters to land at Sun. His version of Stan Kesler and Bill Taylor's ''Hula Bop'' was the first Hawaiian bop record, predating Buddy Knox by a couple of years. A pianist, Smokey Joe Baugh arrived in Memphis in 1949 from Helena, Arkansas. He had a naturally gravelly voice, and impressed Phillips with his feel for barrelhouse blues. He was featured on two singles, one on Flip, and another on Sun. ''Hula Bop'' was recorded on August 25, 1955 during the sessions for the Sun single, and Smokey is backed by Stan Kesler on steel guitar, Buddy Holobaugh on guitar, and Johnny Bernero on drums. Sam Phillips didn't like ''Hula Bop'' enough to issue it, but a year later Jimmy Knight (who, like Smokey Joe, was a member of the Snearly Ranch Boys), recorded it on Crystal Records. Smokey was a pillhead and a prolific drinker, and eventually left Memphis for Texas when he owed everyone he knew. Gene Simmons remembers one showdate when someone played a joke on Smokey. They told him the police were going to bust him, so Smokey emptied his pills onto the floor beside the piano. The stage sloped forward, the pills rolled onto the dance floor, and the dancers near the bandstand began slipping over. 

7 - Drive-In (Mack Vickery) (1985) 2:12 > LP 1030 <
(Mack Vickery) (Copyright Control) 

Mack Vickery has been one of the most successful unsuccessful Sun artists. Born June 8, 1938 in Town Creek, Alabama, he was raised in Michigan. He went to Memphis to audition at Sun, and the studio logbook says it was November 20, 1957 when he recorded three songs with Roland Janes, Stan Kesler on bass, and Jimmy M. Van Eaton. Audio evidence suggests that there's a piano player on the session as well. Apparently, Vickery just walked in during a break in a Carl Perkins session. He told ''Now Dig This'' that he was invited to stick around, but got homesick. His first record was on Gone the following year. From that point, Vickery recorded prolifically and unsuccessfully for many years, but he became a remarkably gifted songwriter. ''She Went A Little Bit Further'' was a hit for Faron Young in 1968, ''Jamestown Ferry'' was a big hit for Tanya Tucker, and ''I'm The Only Hell (Mama Ever Raised)'' was a Top 10 country hit for Johnny Paycheck. It was writing songs that Jerry Lee Lewis would have written if he could that really cemented Mack's reputation, though. From the braggadocio of ''Meat Man'' and ''Rockin' My Life Away'' to the almost unbearable poignancy of ''That Kind Of Fool'', almost every one was a gem. Mack also deserves a place in the history books for one of the cheesiest LP jackets of modern times; in fact, his ''Live At The Alabama Womens Prison'' is a model of epic bad taste on every level. 

8 - Somehow We'll Find A Way (Roger Fakes) (1986) 2:27 > Sun Box 106 <
(Roger Fakes) (Copyright Control) 

Roger Fakes just about appeared on Sun. He was part of a group called the Spinners that sung on some Bill Justis cuts. In June 1957, Fakes cut a solo session at Sun with Sid Manker on guitar, Jimmy Wilson on piano, Billy Riley on bass, and Jimmy M. Van Eaton on drums. It's not hard to tell that rock and roll wasn't Fakes' first love. Harry Belafonte was his idol. Born in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1938, Fakes moved to Memphis with his family at age 11. In July 1956 he was photographed at an Independence Day benefit in Memphis when he won the door prize: a ring donated by the show's Star, Elvis Presley. Fakes' singing-career got off the ground when he appeared on Top Ten Dance Party, a television show hosted by his Memphis State University fraternity brother, Wink Martindale. He soon gave up on music, though. "I didn't want to stay in it if I couldn't be as successful as possible'', he said in 1986. "I looked at where I wanted to be in the long term, and music didn't fit in with my goals''. Fakes became vice-president of a company that sells and services washing machines. "I've no regrets'', he said. "I play the Hammond organ at home and sing at church. That's as close as I want to be to the music business''. 

9 - Treat Me Right (Kenny Parchman) (1985) 2:12 > LP 1038 <
((Kenny Parchman) (Copyright Control)

Kenny Parchman came achingly close to having a record on Sun. Two songs were cut, publishing contracts were signed, recordings were mastered, assigned an issue number, scheduled... then cancelled at the last moment. Originally from Jackson, Tennessee - where he still lives, Parchman went to Sun in August or September 1956. His single was to be ''Love Crazy Baby'' b/w ''I Feel Like Rockin''' (now available on Bear Family's 'Complete Sun Singles Volume 2). ''Treat Me Right'' came from sessions the following year. Passed over yet again, Parchman went on to record ''Treat Me Right'' for Jaxon Records, and then recorded another single for Lu before going into the construction business. "God, man,'', he said years later, "I don 't know why Sam Phillips never released my record. My manager left town shortly before the record was to be released. Maybe Phillips didn't want to release a single if I didn't have a manager behind me. I felt for sure we were going to have a record out on Sun, though''. No one ever came closer. 

10 - Christine (Roy Hall) (1985) 2:24 > LP 1035 <
(Roy Hall) (Sun Entertainment Incorporated)

Roy Hall arrived at Sun in December 1957. He was paired with guitarist Reggie Young, Stan Kesler on bass, and Otis Jett on drums. Jimmy Smith was paid to play piano, so perhaps it's not Hall we hear. It might have been the success of his disciple, Jerry Lee Lewis, that prompted Hall to come to Memphis. James Faye Hall was born in Big Stone Gap, Virginia on May 7, 1922, and took his stage name from a fairly popular Virginia bandleader, Roy Hall, who died in a car wreck in 1943. Our Roy Hall first recorded for Fortune Records in Detroit, then for Bullet. He moved to Nashville around 1952, recorded two singles for Tennessee, then founded an after-hours drinking spot. He joined Webb Pierce, and signed with Pierce's label, Decca. His first Decca single was ''Whole Lotta Shakin ' Going On'', which he claimed to have co-written under the pseudonym Sunny David. From that point, the story gets wilder and wackier, and involves a prodigious amount of alcohol. It ended with Hall's death on March 2, 1984. 

11 - Don't Be Runnin' Wild (Problem Child) (Ken Cook) (1976) 1:58 > CR 30116 <
(Roy Orbison) (Knox Music Incorporated)

Ken Cook is almost completely obscure. All we know is that Roy Orbison brought him from Texas to Sun. Cook had an almost astonishing vocal similarity to Roy, and Phillips was persuaded to issue one single by him on Phillips International in October 1958. For his part, Orbison always refused to talk about Cook, leading to speculation that maybe Ken was bonking Claudette while Roy was on tour. ''Problem Child'' was recorded at the session on September 4, 1958 that produced Ken's single. To that point, Roy's version hadn't been released. It's audibly Roy himself on guitar, with Billy Riley on second guitar, Charlie Rich on piano, Jack Clement on bass and Jimmy M. Van Eaton on drums. 

12 - Chain Gang Charlie (Curley Money (Lee Mitchell) (1995) 1:29 > CPCD 8137 <
(Curley Money) (Sun Entertainment Incorporated)

Curley Money didn't record for Sun, unless you count a name-check on Phillips International 3530 beneath Lee Mitchell's name. One of the songs that Mitchell recorded but didn't release was ''Chain Gang Charlie'', a song Money had recorded for his company, Rambler Records, in Columbus, Georgia. It's Curley's original we have here, and it sits at Sun in a Rambler Records tape box. Robert Earnest Money was born in Halesburg, Alabama in March 1925. He moved to Columbus in 1942 and remains there. He recorded prolifically for his own labels, Rambler and Money, and went to Memphis in 1957 or 1958 to pitch Lee Mitchell to Sam Phillips. He seems to have left behind the tape of ''Chain Gang Charlie'', a ''Flat Foot Sam'' style ditty about a scam artist who can't win for losing.  

13 - My One Desire (Jimmy Williams) (1985) 1:51 > LP 1030 <
(Jimmy Williams) (Sun Entertainment Incorporated) 

Jimmy Williams, a TWA pilot, musician and studio owner, made just one record for Sun - but a good one. During a year-and-a-half in and out of Sun, he recorded several permutations on his pop flavored rockabilly. In a 1973 letter, he gave a brief rundown on his life to that point. "I was born in Memphis. In fact, I lived in a government housing project along with Elvis. I had a dance band called The Dixie Landers, a 16-piece band that pretty well had the market for dance and show gigs in the mid-South sewn up. In 1956, Sam Phillips was beginning to hit big with Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins, so I took the nucleus of my dance band and started a rock band. What we knew about rock, we learned from Elvis and the movies''. At various sessions during the early months of 1957, Jimmy recorded his Sun single and several other tracks, including ''My One Desire''. It's audibly Roland Janes on guitar and Jimmy M. Van Eaton on drums; the others are harder to pinpoint. "After a while'', Williams continued, "seeing the way Elvis was received (clothes torn off and thousands of girls) and the way I was received (rotten eggs, tomatoes and Coke bottles), I decided to join the Air Force as a pilot''. It was a real surprise to find. 

14 - Touch, Touch, Touch (Andy Anderson) (1985) 2:34 > LP 1026 <
(Andy Anderson) (Sun Entertainment Incorporated) 

Andy Anderson among the 1300 out-take boxes and rejected masters at Sun. Edgar Anderson Ill was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi, on May 15, 1935, the son of one of the largest plantation owners in Mississippi. He and his band, the Rolling Stones, first auditioned for Delta Records in Jackson, Mississippi, then went to Sun in 1956. "We called and said we wanted to come up'', Andy remembered. "They knew who we were 'cause we had one of the hottest groups in the South''. The Rolling Stones consisted of Joe Tubb on lead guitar, Billy 'Cuz' Covington on bass, and Bobby Lyon on drums. "Jack Clement worked with us at Sun, and they kept saying they were going to put it out'', said Andy, "but they never did''. Meanwhile, the William Morris Agency in New York had contacted. Murray Nash & Associates in Nashville to find some of this new rock and roll, and Nash contacted Andy. The two Sun sides were re-recorded in Nashville with session-men and placed with London Records' Felsted division. "We wouldn't join the Union, so Ray Scrivener, who worked with Murray Nash, recorded us again at a little studio in Nashville'', remembered Andy. ''Then Ray placed 'You Shake Me Up ' with Apollo Records, and we told Felsted to shove it. Didn't realize London was the biggest record company in the world''. In 1960 Andy formed the Dawnbreakers; then, in 1965 he broke up the group to go to California. He has since returned to Mississippi, and is still recording. 

15 - Gonna Give A Party (James Wood) (1997) 2:24 > Sun Unissued <
(James Wood) (Sun Entertainment Incorporated) 

James Wood made a demo tape in Houston, Mississippi and brought it to Sun in 1957. He and his band were sophomores in Saltillo, Mississippi at the time, and they were playing in the Tupelo area with Jimmy Wages. The band comprised Wood, John Gassaway on piano, Virgil Hutchinson on guitar, Bozie Hutchinson on bass, and Billy Farrar on drums. They'd started as Big Joe Turner fans, and were playing rhythm and blues for dances some time before rock and roll erupted. The band was in and out of Memphis for several years. Someone at one of the Memphis stations took an interest in them, and they dropped off tapes at Sun and Hi and recorded at Pepper studios, but never quite landed a deal. Gassaway played piano on some of the Jimmy Wages sides at Sun, then quit the line-up in 1960 to go to the Medical School at Ole Miss. His brother worked with Wood for a while, and Wood got a record out on Kid Glove Records, ''Bo Diddley/Nothing Takes The Place Of You'', around 1967. He went into the business end of the music business, working for the local Liberty/UA distributor and then for Warner Brothers Records in Nashville and Atlanta. He eventually returned to Tupelo-Saltillo and opened a photo shop.

16 - Wampus Cat (Howard Chandler) (1995) 2:06 > CPCD 8137 <
(Howard Chandler) (Sun Entertainment Incorporated) 

Howard Chandler or James Howard Chandler to give him his full name, mailed a tape of his song ''Wampus Cat'' to Sun from his home at 1 171 Central Avenue, Memphis. Presumably this was before he issued it on his own Wampus Records. The two versions aren't quite the same; the version mailed to Sun is a little more rural and slightly shorter. The Wampus Cats were the Conway, Arkansas high school football team, but the name had additional meaning in Memphis because radio station WMPS called itself the ''Wampus'' station (detail hounds will know that when Bill Justis originally titled he called it ''Cattywampus''). Despite the fact that Chandler's records commanded quite large sums at one time, little is known about him except that he went on to record for other lilliputian labels like Marble Hill, which he apparently co-owned with John and Margie Cook. He continued to live on Central Avenue until his death some years ago. 

17 - Take Me To That Place (Jack Earls) (1996) 2:18 > LP 1024 <
(Jack Earls) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)

Jack Earls' record of ''Slow Down'' was one of original ''must-have'' singles on Sun. It typified all that was great about rockabilly in general - and Sun rockabilly in particular. The musicianship was painfully limited, but Earls' vocal made up in intensity and commitment what it lacked in polish. To have set his vocal against a slicker Nashville backing would have destroyed its impact. Jack was born in Woodbury, Tennessee on August 23, 1932, and came to Memphis in 1949. He married in 1950 and began work as a delivery man for Colonial Bakery. He put together a group that comprised Bill Black's brother, Johnny on bass, Warren Gregory on guitar, and Danny Wahlquist on drums. They played a steady gig at the Palm Club and took their music to Sun. ''Take Me To That Place'' was inspired by a chronic care home for the mentally infirm on Jack's rounds for the Bambi Pie Company. It probably features Black, Gregory and Wahlquist along with a - bassist who might have been Billy Riley and possibly Jerry Lee Lewis on piano. It was recorded at Jack's last Sun session on January 19, 1957 when he was trying to interest Sam Phillips in potential follow-ups to ''Slow Down''. Soon after, he moved to Detroit to work in the Chrysler plant, and subsequently re-recorded the song for Ry-Ho. 

18 - False Start/That's The Way I Feel (Jimmy Pritchet) (1985) 2:42 > LP 1029 <
(Smith-Hyde) (Crystal Music)

Jimmy Pritchett is featured in one of the few pieces of video to survive from Sun's early days. One by one, the Riley band (Roland Janes, Jimmy Wilson, and Jimmy M. Van Eaton) come out of the studio, along with Jack Clement, Sam, and Bill Justis. Jimmy Pritchett comes out too. Pritchett worked with the Snearly Ranch gang in West Memphis, and when Stan Kesler started up Crystal Records with the money of bottling don Drew Canale behind him, he signed Jimmy. Stan told Bo Berglind that he intended to record the session with Jimmy at WHBQ, but the equipment malfunctioned so he asked Sam Phillips if he could hold the session at Sun. Usually, Sam refused to let the studio out for custom work, but he agreed to let Stan use it. Stan believes that the personnel comprised Johnny Bernero on drums (although Jimmy M. Van Eaton recalls playing on the session), Billy Riley on guitar, Smokey Joe on piano, Jan Ledbetter on bass, and Hank Byers on guitar. Van Eaton reported that Pritchett had died several years ago. We know very little about. 

19 - Apron Strings (Curtis Hoback) (1979) 2:38 > Redita LP 124 <
(George David Weis-Aaron Shroeder) (Sun Entertainment Incorporated)

Curtis Hoback (aka. Hobeck), except that he recorded for C&C Records, and had singles on the Jackson, Tennessee-based Lu Records and on a couple of other small Tennessee labels. One of his singles was a rather lame rock and roll version of ''Tom Dooley''. In 1960 he covered ''Lonely Weekends'' for the Musicenter label, and at some point that year he turned up at Sun. One of the songs he recorded, ''Apron Strings'', has a surprisingly convoluted history. It was co-written by Aaron Schroeder, who co-wrote ''It's Now Or Never'', ''A Big Hunk O' Love'', etc., and was Gene Pitney's manager. The first version was by Little David (Schroeder), presumably one of Aaron's relatives. Music publisher Freddy Bienstock took the song to Germany to play for Elvis, and although Elvis recorded a version at home he apparently passed on it, and Beinstock gave it to Cliff Richard, who put it on the flip side of '''Livin' Doll''. Jay B. Loyd, another hard luck Memphis singer, recorded it for Hi, although it wasn't released, and Sam Phillips chose not to release Hoback's version either. It's not without its flaws, but if they'd given it another couple of takes they might have nailed it. 

20 - Miss Pearl (Jimmy Wages) (1978) 2:34 > CR 30147 <
(Jimmy Wages) (Ridgetop Music)
(See: Track 5) 

21 - Lonely Wolf (Ray Harris) (1976) 2:52 > CR 30105 <
(Ray Harris) (Ridgetop Music) 

Ray Harris had never been vice-president of Hi Records, his place in music history would be assured on the basis of ''Come On Little Mama''. In its go-for-broke looniness, dark impenetrability, and excoriating passion it was one of the greatest rockabilly records ever made. Homer Ray Harris was born in Mantachie, Mississippi on September 7, 1927. By 1953, he was married, living in Memphis, and working alongside Bill Black at the Firestone plant. Bill invited him to an Elvis session the following year, and Ray became convinced that Elvis wasn't doing anything he couldn't do. He first recorded at Sun in 1956, and ''Lonely Wolf'' probably dates from the 1957 sessions that produced his second and last Sun single, ''Greenback Dollar''. It's probably Wayne Cogswell on guitar, Red Hensley on rhythm guitar, and Joe Reisenberg on drums. When ''Greenback Dollar'' stiffed, Ray went into the construction business, then hooked up with Bill Cantrell, Quinton Claunch, and Joe Cuoghi at Poplar Tunes to form Hi Records. Among the acts he produced for Hi were Bill Black, Ace Cannon, Gene Simmons. 

22 - Me And My Rhythm Guitar (Johnny Powers) (1985) 2:37 > LP 1031 <
(Johnny Powers) (Asterisk Music) 

Johnny Powers was a northerner with the southern sound. To an extent, he cartooned the southern sound, but no one could possibly doubt his sincerity. A southern rockabilly was what he really wanted to be. Born John Pavlik in Detroit in 1938, his background was in country music, but his earliest recordings were rock and roll. After a single on Fortune, his manager, Tommy Moers, got him on Sun. Arguably, he arrived a couple of years too late. It was 1959 when he set foot in the old Sun studio, and although he saw one single released on the yellow label, his remaining recordings were tucked away until the reissuers came calling. By then, Powers had worked for Motown and run his own studio and publishing company. The rockabilly revival found him ready to dust off his Old guitar, grease up his hair and go to Europe. 

23 - Don't You Worry (Hayden Thompson) (1985) 2:09 > LP 1029 <
(Hayden Thompson) (Ridgetop Music)

It seems almost certain that the two songs in the Sun vault under the name Sid Watson are infact by Hayden Thompson. Talking to the 'Now Dig This' magazine, Jimmy M. Van Eaton identified the artist as Thompson. Thompson himself confirmed it, as indeed does aural evidence. Thompson believes that ''Don 't You Worry'' and one other title were recorded at Hi circa 1959, although the recording has the signature Sun sound and Jimmy M. and Roland Janes don't remember cutting with Hayden at Hi. It's hard to account for the songs presence in a box marked ''Sid Watson'' the likeliest explanation is that the recording or copies or edits were done at Sun that safeties were stored in a tape box previously used for Sid Watson, who might even have been one of Sam Phillips' commercial accounts. For the rest of Hayden's story, we refer you to Fairlane Rock'' (BFXI 5263), an LP devoted to his work for Sun and for Roland Janes' labels. 

24 - Got Me A Trumpet (Malcolm Yelvington) (1985) 1:24 > LP 1030 <
(Louie Newton Moore) (Sun Entertainment Incorporated) 

When Martin Hawkins and I first spoke to Malcolm Yelvington in 1971, he assured us that the best recording he made at Sun was ''Trumpet''. At that time, we didn't know that it had survived, and that he was dead right. The sharp lyrics and brisk tempo are offset by Malcolm's engaging bullfrog baritone. Born in 1918, and raised in Covington, Tennessee, Malcolm began working on his mixture of honky tonk and western swing back in the thirties. He auditioned at Sun in 1954, but the audition was heading nowhere until he struck up ''Drinkin ' Wine Spo-Dee-O- Dee''. Phillips issued it between Elvis's first two records, and that is Malcolm's claim to fame. He recorded another single for Sun 1956, and returned in July and October 1957 to try for a third. Sam placed him with producer Bill Justis and the Sun house band, comprising Roland Janes, Jimmy M. Van Eaton, Sid Manker or Stan Kesler on bass, and Jimmy Wilson or Frank Tolley on piano. They worked on four songs, none of which was issued. ''Trumpet'' (or to give the song its proper title, ''Got Me A Trumpet'') was written by Louie Newton Moore, a gospel and country songwriter from Alabama who turned up at Sun one day with a handful of songs. As for Malcolm, he still performs and occasionally acts as a tour guide (1997) at the refurbished Sun Studio. 

25 - She's Gonna Away (Ernie Barton) (1985) 2:35 > LP 1024 <
(Ernie Barton) (Ridgetop Music) 

Ernie Barton was a jack-of-all-trades at Sun: producer, songwriter, musician, and featured artist. Spectacularly unsuccessful in every role, he was quickly turfed out. Ernie is a native Floridian. His father was a sea captain, and he was born in Tallahassee in 1930, and raised in Daytona Beach. Elvis convinced Ernie that Memphis was the place to be, so he sold his house in Daytona Beach and built another in the Memphis suburb of Frayser. One of Ernie's first efforts at Sun, ''She's Gone Away'', had a spiky, brooding quality that should have earned it a place on the release schedule. There are no dates on the tapebox, but it was probably recorded circa 1957. Ernie finally got a record out on Phillips International in 1958, and the following year he convinced Sam Phillips that he should take over from Jack Clement and Bill Justis as in-house producer/arranger. He married a Little Rock lawyer, Bobbie Jean Farrabee, who also recorded for Sun, but they both ran afoul of Sam Phillips at some point in 1960. Ernie eventually moved on to Midland, Texas, but when we spoke in 1987 he was studiedly vague about what he was doing there. 

26 - Peroxied Blonde And A Hopped Up Model Ford (Gene Simmons) (1976) 1:37 > Redita LP 110 <
(Gene Simmons) (Sun Entertainment Incorporated)
(See: Track 3)

It was probably around 1957 or 1958 when Gene went back to Sun with ''Peroxied Blonde'', a song that survives only as a tape fragment.

27 - Uh Huh, Oh Yeah (Tracy Pendarvis) (1985) 1:53 > LP 1031 <
(Tracy Pendarvis) (Sun Entertainment Incorporated) 

Tracy Pendarvis was one of the acts Ernie signed, and for that we should be grateful. Tracy was the real deal; he even had a name ready made for rock and roll singles. His misfortune was to arrive at Sun three years too late. He was born near Cross City, Florida on February 8, 1936, and developed a real fondness for hardcore country and gutbucket blues. Even Fats Domino was a little too slick for Tracy. He recorded for Scott Records (the prophetic ''It Don 't Pay''), before he and guitarist Johnny Gibson and drummer Punk Williams decided that they needed to be on Sun. They drove to Memphis, auditioned for Sam and Ernie Barton, and got signed. Tracy eventually saw three releases on the magic yellow label. ''Uh-Huh, Oh Yeah'' probably dates from the first session in early 1959. As this set went to press, the word reaching us was that Tracy had died of lung cancer early in 1997. 

28 - Put Me Down (Jesse Lee Turner) (1995) 1:59 > CPCD 8137 <
(Roland Janes) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)

Jesse Lee Turner's career is surprisingly undocumented for someone who had a Top 20 hit. He was born in Bowling, Texas, and was a cousin of Nashville session musician and RCA artist Floyd Robinson. He hired on as Jerry Lee Lewis's driver 1957, and was driving for Jerry Lee on the day of the Homecoming in Ferriday, Louisiana. Jerry Lee was late, so Jesse Lee and Jerry's sister, Frankie Jean, sang some duets. ''Put Me Down'' was probably Jesse Lee's first recording, although its possible that his Fraternity record was made first. It was written by Jerry Lee's guitarist, Roland Janes, and was recorded by Jerry for his first album. Jesse Lee probably quit Jerry's retinue after the debacle in England, and recorded e Little Space Girlith Kenny Rogers' brother, Lelan, in Houston. Carlton Records picked it up in late 1958, and it was a Top 20 hit early the following year. From that point, Turner recorded for a plethora of labels (Top Rank-Jaro, Sudden, Foxie, Imperial, and GNP-Crescendo; he even cut a duet with cousin Floyd for MCA). At some point, he doubled as a cropduster pilot and actor (southern drive-in patrons saw him in Smokey & The Good Time (Outlaw), but beyond that we know little. 

29 - What A Beat (Unknown Artist/Probably Chuck Stacy) (1997) 2:02 > Sun Unissued <
(Unknown) (Sun Entertainment Incorporated)

Finally we enter the land of the truly obscure. There are a number of tapes with Buddy Blake on the spine; one of them ''What A Beat'' on it. Now Buddy Blake was Buddy Cunmngham who had a record out on Sun in 1954 and another on Phillips International in 1957. Clearly, this not Buddy Cunningham, but around the time this was recorded. Cunningham took leaf out of Sam Phillips' book and started a label, Cover Records. One of the artists he signed was Marlon Grisham, and the singer on ''What A Beat'' sounds somewhat like Marlon Grisham. 

30 - Red Hen Hop (Unknown Artist.Probably Gene Simmons) (1995) 2:25 > CPCD 8137 <
(Ira and Charlie Louvin) (Acuff-Rose Music) 

We're also unsure who recorded Red Hen Hop, (similar to an Ira and Charlie Louvin song
first recorded by George McCormick), although a comparison with Gene Simmons' recording of ''Crazy Woman'' and ''I Don't Love You Baby'' suggests that it might come from yet another unmarked Gene Simmons tape box. 

31 - Rakin' And Scrapin' (Dean Beard) (1985) 1:57 > LP 1021 <
(Dean Beard-Ray-Willet) (Copyright Control) 

Dean Beard was born in Santa Anna, Texas on August 31, 1935 and grew up in Coleman, Texas, where his father was a produce wholesaler. He auditioned at Sun in March 1956 and cut two sessions but never saw a release. The fact that he asked Sam Phillips' girlfriend-secretary out on a date probably did little to improve his chances. ''Rakin' And Scrapin''' was written by Dean with veteran country songwriter/entrepreneur Slim Willet (the writer of ''Don Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes'') and Ray Doggett ('Elmer Ray' in the credits). The musicians were James Steward on guitar, Jimmy Seals on sax, Johnny Black on bass, and drummer Johnny Bernero. It was Willet who later placed Dean with Atlantic Records (where ''Rakin''' finally made it onto a single), and with the Champs. Beard was brought into the Champs as a chaperon for Seals and Croft, and subsequently cut eight singles for the Champs' label, Challenge. An unissued Challenge cut, ''Shiverin' And Shakin''', continued the ''Rakin' And Scrapin''' theme. Beard died in Coleman, Texas, on April 4, 1989 after a long debilitating illness. 

Other labels operating at this time, especially major labels, were a model of organization, but their attempts to record rockabilly were stilted. Jack Clement and Bill Justis tried to bring some elements of organization to Sam Phillips' ramshackle empire, but they were ultimately thwarted the looseness and informality that made the music great, though. Most of it is in the state of becoming. Phillips was listening for something, anything that sounded original and exciting to him. Clearly, he didn't hear it in these songs, but we might be inclined to be a little more generous. 

Colin Escott, Toronto, April 1997
Thanks for assistance: Bo Berglind, David Booth at Showtime Archive, Trevor Cajaio, Stefan Kohne, Willi Pittman, Wayne Russell.

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

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© 1999 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16311 mono digital
THAT'LL FLAT... GIT IT! - VOLUME 16

Compact disc. An Bear Family Special Products. Black disc. Yellow label have circle of musical notes and staff around the entire label, with excepted of the bar wherein "Memphis, Tennessee" appear. The letters SUN with sun rays pressed in light brown at the top of the label. On the back cover Bear Family logo left at bottom. Catalog number in upper right. Sun recordings and demos many of them previously unissued complete with studio chatter. Also included in the box, 28-page booklet biography with liner notes by Colin Escott. Contain tracks from the guys who wanted to get a deal but couldn't get Sam Phillips' interested in their new stuff. In the chaos and confusion of Sun in the mid-1950s, their tapes were just marked and tossed into the back room. On this volume great unknown artists , plus hidden gems by better-known artists such as Billy Riley, Warren Smith, Sonny Burgess, Narvel Felts, and Conway Twitty. 

Producers
Various
Re-Issue Producer
Stefan Kohne
Tape Research and Tape Comparison
Stefan Kohne
Mastering
Duncan Powell
Liner Notes
Colin Escott
Discographical Data
Stefan Kohne
 

Photos and Illustration
R.A. Andreas, Bo Berglind, Howard Cockburn, Colin Escott,
Steve Kelemen, Klaus Kettner, Michael Ochs Archives,
The Showtime Music Archive (Toronto), Davis Travis,
Martin Willis, Hans-Peter Zdrenka
Artwork
Clive Blewchamp
Thanks to
David Booth, Trevor Cajiao, Wayne Russell  

We're back at 706 Union Avenue in Memphis. ''That'll Flat Git It!'' is about rockabilly, and 706 Union is where, to all intents and purposes, rockabilly came into being. It's now almost 30 years (1999) since the first Sun rockabilly reissue hit the streets. In that time, the Sun vault has been excavated like an Egyptian sarcophagus, but just when you thought every last bauble had been retrieved, an unmarked tape box yields something that cries out to be released, It's not hard to understand why these songs weren't issued at the time. The performers were too rural, too raw, too unpolished to stand a chance. Without exception, though, they all imagined that they were as up-to-date as the morning paper.

This is our second volume of Sun rockabilly. Unlike the previous volume, it includes a few recordings by better- known artists such as Billy Riley, Warren Smith, Sonny Burgess, Narvel Felts, and Conway Twitty (Harold Jenkins) , all of whom are the subject of exhaustive Bear Family retrospectives. The focus is still squarely on the great unknowns, though. These were the guys who came to Sun hoping to stand where Elvis stood, hoping that what happened to him would happen to them. Several indeed went on to greater things, but not singing the type of music you hear on this collection. This is unvarnished first generation rockabilly from the gravitational centre of early rock and roll, Sun Records. 

Rockabilly from the vaults of Sun Records
For the music can be heard on YouTube click on the available > buttons <

Contains

1 - My Baby Don't Rock (Luke McDaniel) (1985) 1:57 > LP 1025 <
(Luke McDaniel) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)

Luke McDaniel always stood high among rockabilly fans for ''Whoa Boy'', a seminal proto-rockabilly number from 1952 on Trumpet Records. Luke Jefferson McDaniel was born in Laurel, Mississippi on February 3, 1927, and grew up in Ellisville, just north of New Orleans. He formed a hillbilly band in the 1940s, and first recorded in June 1952 (the aforementioned ''Whoa Boy''). His last shot on Trumpet came with a Hank Williams tribute (McDaniel had opened one of Hank's last shows - and that was sufficient proximity to inspire ''A Tribute To Hank Williams, My Buddy''). In 1953, he moved to WKAB in Mobile, Alabama, and a local star, Jack Cardwell, helped him land a King Records deal. From there, McDaniel went to the Louisiana Hayride which gave him a backstage pass at rockabilly's birth. By then, he was recording for Mel-a-Dee Records in New Orleans, but after working a show with Elvis and Carl Perkins, he took their advice and went to Sun. By this point, he was writing songs with Jimmie Otto Rogers (a distant relative of the blue yodeller, Jimmie Rodgers), and they'd already written one rockabilly classic, ''Midnight Shift''. McDaniel and Rogers arrived at Sun in September 1956. The first session, at which McDaniel recorded ''Go Ahead, Baby'', was om September 4th or 5th and featured an unknown group probably led by guitarist Brad Suggs. A second session was held in January 1957. It featured a saxophonist, and probably Roland Janes on guitar. ''My Baby Don't Rock'' came from the second session. McDaniel expected to get Musicians Union scale for the sessions, but Phillips saw them as demo sessions and wouldn't pay. The two argued outside the studio, and McDaniel's already slim chance of getting on Sun was reduced to nil. He went on to record the hillbilly classic ''You're Still On My Mind'' for Venus Records. Starday's Pappy Daily heard it and gave it to George Jones, who elevated it to the top rung of beer-hall classics. Jimmie Rogers reckoned that he had co-written ''You 're Still On My Mind'', and he and McDaniel split. Rogers went on to produce two singles for Sun by the Teen Angels and the Quintones. McDaniel had some on going success as a songwriter. ''Honey, Won You Please Come Home'' was covered by Jim Reeves, and Carl Perkins cut ''Foxy Dan'', but his involvement in the music business declined after the Sixties. He died on December 2, 1998. 

2 - You Better Believe It (Tommy Blake) (1975) 2:40 > CR 30116 <
(Tommy Blake) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)

Tommy Blake's life was a How-Not-To-Do-It manual. He angered Chet Atkins, changed names and aliases as often as he changed his socks, sold songs, then sold them again, drank, pilled, and beat up his wives. Thomas LeVan Givens was born in Dallas on September 14, 1931. He was jailed for rape while still in his teens, worked as dee-jay in Shreveport and Ruston, Louisiana, and then landed a spot on the Louisiana Hayride. He got on RCA, but gave his best on ''Honky Tonk Mind'', to Johnny Horton a week before thesession. Chet Atkins then threw him off the label, and Blake landed at Suns doorstep. There were two Sun sessions in 1957 and 1958, ''You Better Believe It'' dates from March 16, 1958 and features Roland Janes and Sid Manker on guitars, Stan Kesler on bass, Jimmy M. Van Eaton on drums, and Jimmy Wilson on piano. It might have been one side of Blake's third Sun single, had there been such a thing. Blake moved on, now often galling himself Van Givens. He hooked up with Bill McCall at 4-Star Records, and sold him songs. He hung around George Jones' co-writer, Darrell Edwards, and sold more songs (including ''Tender Years''). He and Carl Belew reportedly wrote ''Lonely Street'' and ''Am I That Easy To Forget'', but Blake had sold his share by the time they appeared. He kept a little photo of himself and Elvis by his bedside wherever he went as a reminder of what should have been. His second wife, Samantha, shot him to death on Christmas Eve 1985, during a drunken brawl under the Christmas tree. 

3 - What's The Reason (Kenny Parchman) (1987) 2:20 > Sun Box 106 <
(Kenneth Parchman) (Hi-Lo Music Incoporated)

Kenny Parchman came achingly close to having a record on Sun. Two songs were cut, publishing contractswere signed, recordings were mastered, assigned an issue number, scheduled... then cancelled at the last moment. Originally from Jackson, Tennessee - where he still lives, Parchman went to Sun in August or September 1956. His single was to be ''Love Crazy Baby'' b/w ''I Feel Like Rockin''' (now available on Bear Family's Complete Sun Singles Volume 2). This version of ''Love Crazy Baby'' clearly comes from another session. The guitar is to the fore on this version, which probably dates from early 1957 sessions. ''Tennessee Zip is very much in the mode of Sun's big star from Jackson, Carl Perkins. Parchman has nailed Perkins' style right down to the scats. He generally worked with local bands, and it might be his brother Ronnie we hear dueting with him on ''What's The Reason''. Jerry Lee Smith is probably the pianist. Parchman went on to record for Jaxon Records, and then cut another single for Lu before going into the construction business."God, man'', he said years later, "I don know why Sam Phillips never released my record. My manager left town shortly before the record was to be released. Maybe Phillips didn't want to release a single if I didn't have a manager behind me. I felt for sure we were going to have a record on Sun, though''. 

4 - I Need Your Loven' Kiss (Harold Jenkins) (1987) 1:58 > LP 1021 <
(Harold Jenkins) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated) 

For the complete story of Harold Jenkins (aka Conway Twitty) on Sun, we you to our boxed set of his rockin' years (BCD 16112). I'' Need Your Lovin' Kiss'' which also sounds as though it might have been titled ''LoveAnd Happiness'', was recorded on November 16, 1956 with a group that included Jimmy Ray Paulman on guitar, Bill Harris on bass, Billy Weir on drums, and Martin Willis on sax. Sam Phillips was right on both counts when it came to Twitty: he definitely had talent, but he didn't display it at Sun. This is good journeyman rockabilly with all the energy and contagious enthusiasm that Twitty brought to his work, but it lacks the spark of originality that informs the very best Sun recordings, and would later inform Twitty's best recordings. 

5 - Drinkin' Scotch (Gene Simmons) (1985) 3:02 > LP 1019 <
(Gene Simmon) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated 

Gene Simmons is the guy who just hung in there. He was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, in 1933, and worked on WELO starting in 1947. He was still there when Elvis dropped by in 1954 and recommended that Gene visit Sun Records. There was a country demo session at Sun, but Sam Phillips told Gene to wrap his fiddle and mandolin around tree, work on something new; and come back. On June 18, 1955, Gene returned to Sun with rockabilly on his mind. ''Drinkin ' Scotch'' was a prototypical version of ''Drinkin' Wine'', a song that Gene recorded in 1956 but wasn't released until August 1958. It's probably Gene's brother, Carl, on electric guitar, and Jesse Carter on bass. The sound clearly echoes the recordings that Phillips was making with Elvis at the same time. Once again, Phillips was onto something with Gene, but didn't persist long enough to see it pay off. Gene scuffled around Memphis for several more years before breaking through in 1964 with ''Haunted House''. In 1993, he returned to the charts as a songwriter when his ''Indian Outlaw'' became a number 1 country hit for Tim McGraw. There are several tape boxes in the Sun vault with Buddy Blake on the spine. The music clearly isn't by Buddy Blake aka Buddy Cunningham, but might have been produced by him in preparation for the launch of his Cover Records. 

6 - Between Here And There (Unknown Artist) (Probably Chuck Stacy) (1999) 2:05 > Sun Unissued <
(Unknown) (Copyright Control) 

We don't know the identity of the artist who recorded ''Between Here And There'' and ''I'll Be Rockin''''on this set (and ''What A Beat'' on 'That'll Flat Git It Volume 14). Cunningham later recorded a rockabilly singer named Marlon Grisham who sounds somewhat like the artist here, but it could easily be someone else. All we know is that the music justifies inclusion, even if the artist remains forever unknown to us. 

7 - Sentimental Fool (Barbara Pittman) (1989) 2:30 > BFX 15359 <
(Barbara Pittman) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated) 

In 1989 Bear Family issued a complete volume of Barbara Pittman's Sun recordings (BFX 15359) in which Barbara's story was told in full. She was, as she's fond of saying, one of the few female singers at Sun. Her voice had enough raw power for her to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with any of the male singers at Sun, Here, on a 1956 recording, she's backed by the Snearly Ranch Boys (Buddy Holobaugh on guitar, Stan Kesler on steel guitar, possibly Hank Byers on bass or guitar, and possibly Clyde Leoppard on drums). The band hits a solid country boogie groove€and Barbara's vocal is appealingly husky. Earlier, Barbara hung out at Sun with Elvis, but Phillips wouldn't sign her until he heard her demo of Stan Kesler's ''Playing For Keeps''. This number probably dates from around the time that Barbara's first single was recorded in mid-1956. There were three more singles on Phillips International spread over the next three years, all far more commercial than this. Any one of them could have made it. Barbara's treatment at Sun galls her to this day. She says that Sam Phillips preferred female singers to sound like Doris Day. If that was the case, he definitely should have left Barbara Pittman alone 

8 - Slewfoot Sue (Unknown Artist) (Probably Jerry Arnold) (1999) 2:14 > Sun Unissued <
(Jerry Arnold) (Copyright Control)

It's likely that the artist who recorded ''Slewfoot Sue'' will never be known to us. The distortion on the recording suggests that it wasn't even a Sun recording, but a demo tape dropped off at the studio. The singer, whoever he was, has some timing problems with the song's unusual structure. The half-tempo ending was a device that Elvis had popularized on songs like ''Got Lott Of Livin' To Do'' and a televised version of ''Hound Dog'', this likely comes from the same era (1956 or 1957). Beyond that, we're in the dark. 

9 - Cry Baby Cry (Narvel Felts) (1995) 1:52 > CPCD 8137 <
(Narvel Felts-C.V. Bryant) 

There were strange parallels between Narvel Felts early career and Conway Twitty's early career. They both began recording at Sun but newer saw a release on the label. They then migrated to Mercury and MGM, were managed by Don Seat, worked long stints in Ontario, and eventually found success in country music. There are also a million differences between Narvel and Twitty they're dollars, and Twitty made them.''Cry Baby, Cry'' was recorded on January 23, 1957 with Leon Barnett on guitar, J.W. Grubbs on bass, and Bob Taylor on drums. Jack Clement, who engineered Narvel 's sessions, promised to release something in a year or so, but Roy Orbison, who was also at the session, told Narvel to look elsewhere. A month after his second Sun session, he was on Mercury Records. The full story of his early career has been told in the notes to our ''Did You Tell Me'' collection (BCD 16220). The story of his post-MGM career is taken up on ''Memphis Days'', a CD of recordings for Roland labels, and on ''Drift Away - The Best of Narvel Felts 1973-1979''. 

10 - Count-In/Rabbit Action (Jimmy Haggett) (1985) 1:39 > LP 1018 <
(James Haggett) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)

James Haggett or James Clecy Haggett to give him his full name, cut two very different sessions for Sun.The first resulted in a rather lackluster country single that did little or no business; the second was raw, pumped-up rockabilly. Nothing from the second session was released at the time, and the tape box was unmarked. When the rockabilly sides were first issued, it was under Junior Thompson's name. "Yes they are different'', conceded Jimmy, "but I was trying to get in with the rock and roll craze because we were entertainers''. Originally from Granite City, Illinois, where he was born on December 2, 1928, Jimmy was first and last a radio man. He went on to record for Meteor and Caprock Records, but long after he stopped performing he continued to work as a dee-jay and then as part-owner of a radio station. As far as Jimmy remembers, ''Rabbit Action'' (whatever that was, and, while we're on the subject, what does "cabbage on you" mean?) and ''How Come You Do Me Like You Do'' were recorded in late 1956 and featured Charlie Hardin on guitar, Jackie Lee Adkins on bass, and Don White on drums. The spirit of Carl Perkins looms large over the session, but as Sam Phillips was having a hard time selling Perkins after ''Blue Suede Shoes'' heprobably concluded that he didn't need someone who sounded like Perkins. 

11 - Rockin' With My Baby (Malcolm Yelvington) (1985) 2:29 > LP 1021 <
(Malcom Yelvington) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated) 

Malcolm Yelvington was probably the only artist who didn't come to Sun looking to emulate Elvis for the simple reason that he was there before Elvis. According to Malcolm, he turned down an opportunity to go with RCA in the early fifties because RCA wouldn't take his band, and came to Sun because it was the only game in town. His first single appeared between Elvis's first and second single. Malcolm was then left contemplating his future in a world that Elvis increasingly dominated. "I went back to Sun with ''Rockin' With My Baby'', Malcolm recalled. "It's the only song I ever wrote in my life. We made a demo tape oneSunday and carried it down to Sam to listen to. He liked it, and he setup a date for us to come in and record''. This is a slightly mellower, more countrified version of what became Malcolm's second and last Sun record. It probably features Gordon Mashburn on guitar; Billy Weir on drums, and Reece Fleming or Frank Tolley on piano. The date was logged as February 2, 1956. Martin Hawkins and I first spoke to Malcolm in 1971, and he has been an engagingly unpretentious interviewee through the years. Lately, in his retirement, he has taken to conducting tour groups through the old Sun studio on weekends while his wife gets herhair done. 

12 - Come On Little Mama (Alternate Take ) (Ray Harris) (1999) 2:19 > Sun Unissued <
(Ray Harris) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated) 

Ray Harris's ''Come On, Little Mama'' was one of the original Holy Grail Sun singles... and with good reason. It's one of the most berserk records of the era. Surely Phillips didn't imagine that it could have been a hit, "I never will forget Ray Harris'', Phillips said later. "Ray was a very intense person. He really put himself into it. He looked like he was going to have a heart attack every time he played. 'Rack 'em up, boy; let's go,' that was Ray's saying!' This alternate take is, if anything, even more frantic than the original. It features guitarist Winston Cogswell, who later recorded for Phillips International as Wayne Powers. Cogswell was in the cattle trucking at the time. The drummer was Joey Reisenberg, and the recording date was probably June 20, 1956. Ray, born in Mantachie, Mississippi on September 7, 1927, later became one of the partners in Hi Records, and the architect of Bill Black and Ace Cannon's success. In the seventies, he Sam Phillips became partners in a studio in Tupelo, Mississippi, that was under contract to Playboy Records, but the agreement dissolved in a flurry of lawsuits. 

13 - Waiting For You (Alternate Take 1) (Johnny Powers) (1992) 1:25 > Norton LP 229 <
(Johnny Powers) (Asterisk Music) 

Virtually all first generation rockabillies came from the South, but those who followed in their wake came from everywhere. Johnny Powers or (Pavlik to give him his real name) was born in Detroit in 1938. He heard Elvis's ''Milkcow Blues Boogie'' and some early Carl Perkins singles and decided that he needed to be on Sun. After a single on the Detroit-based Fortune Records, Johnny's manager landed him a deal at Sun. There were several sessions, but just one single that appeared in September 1959. ''Waiting For You'' didn't appear until the eighties. The backing group includes a very jazzy Charlie Rich on piano, Brad Suggs on guitar, Billy Riley on bass, Jimmy M. Van Eaton on drums, and a saxophone probably played by Martin Willis buried deep in the mix. Like many of the songs on this collections it's a work-in-progress that was neverfinished. Johnny went on to record for Motown (surely the only artist ever to record for both labels); and for other labels in the Detroit area. He has been a fan favourite in Europe tour years, often appearing overseas as much as three or four times a year. 

14 - Tennessee Zip (Kenneth Parchman) (1992) 2:21 > Sun Box 106 <
(Kenneth Parchman) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
(See: Track 3) 

15 - Everybody's Trying To Kiss My Baby (Gene Ross) (1995) 2:12 > CPCD 8137 <
(Gene Ross) (Copyright Control) 

We know very little about Gene Ross. ''Everybody's Trying To Kiss My Baby'' is a spirited performance thattries to integrate the vocal group sound with good old three-chord rockabilly. Judging from the cohesion, Ross was performing with his own band, but it's unclear if this is an actual Sun recording or a submitted demo. Ross became much-travelled but little documented. He went on to record for Spry Records in Los Angeles (the highly regarded ''Rockin' China Doll''), Herald Records in New York (a cover of ''Endless Sleep'' that was issued on Parlophone in England), and for Time in New York. Beyond that, we know nothing. 

16 - I'll Be Rock (Unknown Artist) (Probably Chuck Stacy) (1999) 2:14 > Sun Unissued <
(Unknown) (Copyright Control) 

17 - Got Rockin' On My Mind (Curley Griffin) (1955) 2:28 > Atomic 305 <
(Curley Griffin) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated) 

Curley Griffin is chiefly revered by rock and roll collectors for his role in the creation of ''Dixie Fried'' and ''Boppin' The Blues''. Curley wasn't content to sit in the background, though; he wanted to be on Bandstand, too. Born Malcolm Howard Griffin on June 6, 1918, he was partially sighted and attended a School for the Blind. He was on WDXI in Jackson, Tennessee when he met Carl Perkins. According to Perkins, Curley came up with the idea for both ''Dixie Fried'' and ''Boppin' The Blues''; but Curley's claim-to-fame really ends there. He recorded several self-produced singles for Atomic Records. ''Got Rockin' On My Mind'', featuresCurley's son, Ron, on lead guitar, and has clear allusions to ''Dixie Fried''. A tape was sent to Sun because Sun's publishing company, Hi-Lo, handled the publishing. As can be deduced, Curley really wasn't much of a vocalists although he made up in enthusiasm what he lacked in finesse. According to Perkins, Curley died in 1964 or 1965. 

18 - My Gal Mary-Ann (Jack Earls) (1985) 2:10 > LP 1024 <
(Jack Earls) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated) 

Jack Earls' appearances in England in 1996 confirmed that his raw mountain tenor was engagingly intact. The many years out of the music business had kept him healthy and a kept his voice from the burn out thatafflicted so many of his peers. Jack was born in Woodbury, Tennessee on August 23, 1932, and moved to Memphis in 1949. He formed a country band, and auditioned for Sun in 1955. Phillips saw something in his untutored voice and brought him back. ''My Gal Mary-Ann'' suffers from an almost crippling dearth of musicianship, but Earls' contagious enthusiasm goes a great distance toward redeeming the performance. It was recorded on June 4, 1956 and features Warren Gregory on electric guitar, Johnny Black on bass, and Danny Wahlquist on drums. Jack's full story can be found on our complete (now deleted) LP of his Sun sides, '''Let's Bop''. 

19 - Go Ahead Baby (Luke McDaniel) (1984) 2:08 > LP 1025 <
(Luke McDaniel) (Ridgetop Music)
(See: Track 1)

20 - I Fell In Love (Ken Cook) (1975) 2:02 > CR 30105 <
(Roy Orbison) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)

Ken Cook has long been one of the little mysteries of Sun discography. He was brought to the label by RoyOrbison, who produced his recordings and played lead guitar. ''I Fell In Love'' probably stems from Cook's sole Sun session on September 4; 1958 that resulted in a single on the Phillips International label. In addition to Orbison$ it features Billy Riley on guitar, Jimmy M. Van Eaton on drums, and Jack Clement on bass, For his part, Orbison always refused to talk about Cooks so at this point he remains an enigma wrapped up in a tape box. 

21 - How Come You De Me Like You Do (Jimmy Haggett) (1977) 2:06 > CR 30147 <
(Jimmy Haggett) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)
(See: Track 10) 

22 - Prisoner Of The Blues (Tommy Ruick) (1985) 1:39 > LP 1026 <
(Tommy Ruick) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated) 

Tommy Ruick is another name on a tape box with neither a face nor a biography to go with it. He probablycame to Sun in the mid-fifties. Phillips' assistant Marion Keisker maintained a notebook from earliest times until 1956, and Ruick merits one entry accompanied by the names Hank Hanlain (a guitarist who later worked with Bill Black), drummer Johnny Bernero, Dexter Johnson (a country musician from Alabama), and Johnny ''Ace'' Cannon (who is clearly not playing saxophone here). Ruick has an appealing vibrato-laden voice, but his demo's weren't worked up for release. 

23 - Bop Pills (Macy Skipper) (1985) 2:24 > LP 1023 <
(Macy Skipper-McNatt) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated) 

The fact that Macy Skipper recorded for Sun wasn't revealed until a serious excavation of the out-take boxes was conducted in the eighties. He was born in St. Louis on September 2, 1920, and became a bit player on the Memphis music scene for several decades, starting with the Swift Jewel Cowboys. The Cowboys consisted of Pee Wee Wamble on trumpet, Jose Cortez on fiddle, Kokomo Crocker on accordion, Slim Hall on guitar, and Macy (then known as ''Cactus Pete'') on bass. Jim Sanders and Bill Thompson were the vocalists. On June 29, 1941 Macy married Marie ''Sally Carter'' Ehrett, who had sung with Gene Austin (the originator of ''My Blue Heaven''), and they moved to Oak Ridge, Tennessee in 1943. They began performing together in Memphis around 1951. "In recent 'Memphis Press Scimitar'' reported in November 1957, "Skipper has had his biggest following among the teenage crowd with a seven-piece orchestra.''. After failing to secure a release on Sun, he recorded for a start-up label, Light Records, owned by a local theatreowner, M. A. Lightman. The Sun sides, which date from 1956, feature Brad Suggs on guitar, Skipper's longtime collaborator Melton McNatt on piano, Nelson Grilli on tenor sax, and Slick Glissom on drums. Skipper is clearly drawing on traditions quite different from the majority of Sun rockabillies. The veneer of sophistication makes his music more akin to Bill Justis than anyone else. After Light Records, Skipper recorded an instrumental for Stax Records in 1960, and the Stax correspondence file reveals that they tried to lease it to RCA without success. From that point, he worked society functions, country clubs and the like, all the while holding down a day job as a government equipment inspector. 

24 - Stop The World (Warren Smith) (1985) 1:56 > LP 1025 <
(Warren Smith) (Copyright Control)

Warren Smith's Sun recordings are the subject of a definitive retrospective, ''Classic Recordings, 1956-1959'' (BCD 15514). The full story of Warren's early career can be found there too. ''Stop The World, I'll Jump Off Is Grade'' a Sun rockabilly. It features Al Hopson's edgy lead guitar, Marcus Van Story or Will Hopson on bass, Jimmie Lott on drums, and an unknown pianist. It of the follow-up sessions to Warren's only charted hit on Sun, ''So Long, I'm Gone'', but was eventually passed over in favour of ''Got Love If You Want It''. The writer(s) is/are unknown, but it was a polished performance ready for release. As it was, it remained buried until the eighties. Warren, of course, went on to greater things at Liberty Records in the early-to-mid sixties, and those recordings are also the subject of another comprehensive Bear Family retrospective, ''Call Of The Wild'' (BCD 15495). 

25 - Love Crazy Baby (Kenneth Parchman) (1987) 2:09 > LP 1025 <
(Kenneth Parchman) (Copyright Control)
(See: Track 3) 

26 - Ain't Gonna Do It (Sonny Burgess) (1985) 2:31 > LP 1022 <
(Dave Bartholomew-Pearl King) (EMI Music Publishing)

It's doing Sonny Burgess an injustice to call him a rockabilly singer. There wasn't much ''Billy'' in his style. Sonny was, and is, one of the great white rhythm and blues singers, and that was never more obvious than on his 1957 recording of Smiley Lewis's rhythm and blues hit ''Ain't Gonna Do It''. Sonny, incidentally, also covered the other side of Lewis's, record, ''One Night''. The backing group includes Sonny's original Pacers: Joe Lewis on guitar, Johnny Ray Hubbard on bass, Kern Kennedy on piano, Jack Nance on trumpet (sitting out this song), and Russell Smith on drums. This as a travelling rhythm and blues band, and Sonny's unsubtle bullhorn voice underscored the fact. ''Ain't Gonna Do It'', written by Fats Domino's producer and co-writer Dave Bartholomew, was seriously considered for Sonny's second single. Sam Phillips or Jack Clement got as far doing vocal overdubs before the idea was scotched. For the complete story on Sonny Burgess's Sun recordings see our double CD retrospective, ''Classic Recordings 1956-1959'' (BCD 15525). 

27 - Mad Man (Jimmy Wages) (1987) 2:06 > Sun Box 106 < 
(Jimmy Wages) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated) 

Jimmy Wages one of the undiscovered jewels of the Sun out-take boxes. This was dark, perverse, impenetrable music from the bowels of Mississippi. The warped view of women, reflected on both ''Mad Man'' and ''Miss Pearl'', was especially disturbing. Jimmy believes that ''Mad Man'' was cut at his first session in April 1956, and featured Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmy M. Van Eaton, but that cannot be the case because Jerry Lee and Van Eaton weren't around Sun at that time, and there's no piano on the session. Jimmy also remembered that drummer Jack Rearkic from Amory, Mississippi was on one of the sessions, Grady Pannel from Tupelo was on guitar, and Jesse Carter was on bass, so it might be those local musicians that we're hearing. Jimmy has worked in music all his life, and has done so without a hit, in fact without even very many records. As far as we know, he had one record on Tombigbee and another on the Nashville-based Cavalcade International Records. His brother, Ben, also worked in music as a band-leader and dee-jay on KWAM, Memphis. Jimmy believes that it was only Jack Clement's intervention that prevented him having a record out on Sun (his contention being that Clement liked to get his own compositions on Sun releases). In truth, the commercial prospects for Jimmy Wages singing ''Mad Man'' weren't too bright at any point, but that doesn't mean that this isn't stark and compelling music. In its way, it's as good as anything ever recorded at Sun. 

28 - Me And My Blues (Teddy Reidel) (1978) 1:51 > CR 30150 <
(Teddy Reidel) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated) 

''Me And My Blues'' was a polished performance from Teddy Riedel. The song is well-constructed, wittyand rocks along at a jaunty pace. The musicians, as faras can be determined, are Riedel himself on piano, Roland Janes on guitar, J.C. Caughron on bass, and Bobby CrafTord on drums. The two latter musicians were working with Sonny Burgess's Pacers when this recording was made in November 1960. Theodore Delano Riedel was from Quitman, Arkansas, and was a pianist for Lloyd Southerland's Smiling Mountaineers on KWCB, Searcy, in 1954. His moment of glory came when his recording of ''Judy'' (first issued on Vaden, then on Atco) was recorded by Elvis for ''Something For Everybody''. 'Teddy also appeared on Hi around the time that he auditioned at Sun, but later concentrated on songwriting for Sonny James' companies. A firm favorite among Dutch rock and roll fans, he toured frequently overseas. 

29 - Vibrate (Mack Self) (1977) 1:59 > CR 30128 <
(Mack Self) (Knox Music Incorporated) 

Mack Self was in and out of Sun on several occasions between 1956 and 1959. The result was two singles.''Vibrate'' came from a January 4, 1958 session when Mack had rock and roll on his mind. It features Roland Janes and Therlow Brown on guitars, possibly Stan Kesler on bass, and Jimmy M. Van Eaton on drums. It was very different from Mack's sole Sun single, which was pure unadorned hillbilly music, and very different, from his sole Phillips International single, which was a Tom Dooley sound alike number. Mack was born in Helena, Arkansas on May 22, 1930, and worked with Conway Twitty in the forties (Twitty, incidentally, recorded a different song called ''Vibrate''). He was with a band called Johnny Farmer & the Farm Hands when his demo of ''Easy To Love'' got his foot inside the door at Sun in 1956. His rather bitter assessment of his years at the label was revealed in an interview with Martin Hawkins: "The stars 'pink Cadillacs would be parked upfront on Union Avenue. Out back would be the beat-up Fords and pick-up trucks of country boys trying to make it''. After Sun, Mack was with M.E. Ellis's Zone Records and then Sabor Records in 1976. He returned to country music after the brief flirtation with rock and roll heard here. 

30 - Two Timin' Baby (Unknown Artist) (Probably Bill Bowen) (1999) 1:54 > Sun Unissued <
(Bill Bowen) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated) 

Yet another unknown artist contributes ''Two Timin' Baby''. This was almost certainly a demo session, and the woeful level of musicianship enscued that the guys didn't get beyond first base. The singer is engagingly rural and the song is quite funny, but the guitarist and drummer weren't destined for prime time in the mid-fifties (when this was almost certainly recorded) or any other era. 

31 - Rock-A-Bye Baby (Jimmy Williams) (1987) 2:03 > Sun Box 106 <
(Jimmy Williams) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)

We close with Jimmy Williams, who came twice to Sum once with a dance band and again with rockabilly on his mind. It's Jimmy and his dance band we hear on ''Rock-A-Bye Baby''. In a 1973 letter, he gave a brief rundown on his life to that point. "I was born in Memphis. In fact, I lived in a government housingproject along with Elvis. I had a dance band called The Dixie Landers, a 16- piece band that pretty well had the market for dance and show gigs in the mid-south sewn up. In 1956, Sam Phillips was beginning to hit big with Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins so I took the nucleus of my dance band and started a rock band. What we knew about rock, we learned from Elvis and the movies''. "Rock-A-Bye Baby'' comes from June 12, 1956, and features an unknown unit drawn from Williams band. "After a while'', Williams continued, "seeingthe way Elvis was received (clothes torn off and thousands of girls) and the way I was received (rotten eggs, tomatoes and Coke bottles), I decided to join the Air Force as a pilot''. Later, he became a TWA pilot on the transatlantic route, and kept his hand in the music business by running a studio.

- Colin Escott, Toronto, December 1998. Thanks to: Wayne Russell.

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

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

© - 706 UNION AVENUE SESSIONS - ©

© August 2000 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16405 mono digital
THAT'LL FLAT... GIT IT! - VOLUME 17

Compact disc. An Bear Family Special Products. Black disc. Yellow label have circle of musical notes and staff around the entire label, with excepted of the bar wherein "Memphis, Tennessee" appear. The letters SUN with sun rays pressed in light brown at the top of the label. On the back cover Bear Family logo left at bottom. Catalog number in upper right. Sun recordings and demos many of them previously unissued complete with studio chatter. Also included in the box, 34-page booklet biography with liner notes by Colin Escott. Contain tracks from the guys who wanted to get a deal but couldn't get Sam Phillips' interested in their new stuff. In the chaos and confusion of Sun in the mid-1950s, their tapes were just marked and tossed into the back room. On this volume, great unknown artists like Fred Prentiss, Allen Wingate, Ray Scott, and John Tolleson, alongside classic Sun rockabilly from the likes of Slim Rhodes, Jimmy Wages, Carl McVoy, Charlie Rich, and Sonny Burgess. 

Producer
Various
Re-Issue Producer
Hank Davis and Scott Parker
Tape Research and Tape Comparison
Hank Davis and Don Powell
Mastering
Duncan Powell
Liner Notes
Hank Davis
Discographical Data
Hank Davis
 

Photos and Illustration
R.A. Andreas, Bo Berglind, Colin Escott, Paul Harris,
Steve Lester, Dave Travis, H.P. Zdrenka
Artwork
Wolfgang Taubenauer
Thanks to
Tapio Vaisanen, Dave Sax, Johan Lofstedt,
Malcolm Chapman, Stefan Kohne 

This is Bear Family?s third trip through the Sun rockabilly vaults (see also Volumes 14 and 16 of 'That'll Flat Gitlt'), Once again, we are emphasizing the lesser known artists and tracks. 'In fact, despite the ever-growing number of Sun collections out there, we are pleased to point out that approximately two thirds of the tracks included on this set are being released for the first time anywhere. The remaining selections represent some of the best alternate takes and rarities that have not been reissued to death in the ever-widening scope of Sun archeology.

As we noted on Volume 14, it is again worth pointing out that not everything here was recorded at 706 Union Avenue, although it is fair to say that everything here was inspired directly by the music that was. About half the tracks we've selected qualify as demos - music made by southern boys who spent much of their spare time singing in the shower and looking in the mirror, convincing themselves that a little of that Sun magic was all they needed to become household names. After all, What did that boy from Tupelo have that they couldn't equal? 

These demos provide a glimpse of the thousands of recordings that flooded into Sun during the mid- to late-'50s. In some cases, these demos reveal the original version of a song later recorded by another artist. In other cases, we car appreciate the demo as a showcase for one of the Elvis or Jerry Lee wannabees who hoped to interest Sam Phillips in their performing or songwriting talents. 

When listening to these demos, all of which still reside in the Sun tape vaults, it is worth remembering that in just about every case, these same artists went on to record for other companies. It is probably fair to say that having their names on those other labels was quite an accomplishment in their young lives (and is probably still something they talk about.) But how much sweeter it should have all been to see their name on one of those yellow 45s from Memphis. 

Rockabilly from the vaults of Sun Records
For the music can be heard on YouTube click on the available > buttons <

Contains 

1 - Jungle Queen (Fred Prentiss) (2000) 2:37 > Sun Unissued <
(Fred Printess) (Copyright Control) 

A seven-inch tape box sits in the Sun vault bearing the name of Lynn Pratt and Hornet Records - the Tennessee label owned by Pratt in the 1950s. We first thought that these tracks were the work of Pratt, himself, although aural evidence suggested otherwise. An interview with Lynn Pratt confirmed that he was not the vocalist, although identifying the singer proved a bit tricky. 

"I knew it wasn't me when you played that tape'', Pratt began, "but I couldn't recall the name of the singer. I called all the guys in my band from back then and asked them if they could recall. The name that everyone came up with is Fred Prentiss. It wasn't so much his vocal that stood out to me, but his guitar work. Fred was a great guitar player - he was with us for about a year and a half - and this just reminded me of his style; I know I recorded some stuff on him to see if we could get a record out on him. I sent one of the demos to Sun. I think everybody turned us down, including a few labels in Nashville''. 

Relatively little is known of Fred Prentiss. Lynn Pratt recalls that the singer left his group and went to live in Chicago. "I know he also lived in Arkansas for a while before moving back to Tennessee. He got involved in agricultural work after he left us. I know he still has family in Tennessee and has a sister who is involved in gospel music''. 

''Jungle Queen'' holds a touch of the exotic as Prentiss takes his best ''Cattle Call'' wail into the jungle. The song uses a minor key and gives the guitarist a chance to show off the tremolo bar on his stratocaster. On the flipside, Prentiss romps through ''Lazy River'', a Hoagy Carmichael tune introduced in 1931. The versions Prentiss was most likely influenced by were by the Mills Brothers (1952) or Rusty Draper (1953). The problem with rocking up standards - a tradition that pre-dates Carl Mann on Sun - is that standards usually feature music that is more complex than 3-chord rockabilly fare. ''Lazy River'' is such a case and Prentiss and his band get predictably lost during the less conventional parts of Hoagy's construction. 

2 - All I Want (Jimmy Williams) (1985) 2:06 > LP 1030) <
(Jimmy Williams) (Copyright Control) 

Jimmy Williams recorded this engaging title using the Sun house band (Roland, Riley, Stan Kesler, J. M. Van Eaton). It was cut at the same session that produced his lone Sun single 270. Williams represents the softer side of rockabilly: mellow vocals and melodic constructions, although there is no shortage of tasty guitar work on his sides. This track is a winner, from the opening guitar riff borrowed from Bill Doggett's Honky Tonk to Williams' wordless chants over what would otherwise be the guitar solos. Williams turns in a fine vocal performance that becomes truly memorable with the addition of those little "huh" asides at the end of each line. The ending is pure class. 

3 - Little Woman Fried Of Mine (Chatter) (Charlie Rich) (1985) 2:30 > CDX 10 <
(Charlie Rich) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)

Some tracks by Charlie Rich include session chatter which gives quite a glimpse of the singer's feelings about rockabilly. At his best, Rich was one of the best, most Presley-ish rockabilly singers ever recorded by Sun Records. But Rich was not altogether comfortable with the style. On ''Little Woman Friend Of Mine'' he begins by good naturedly trying to quiet down the studio so he can get some work done. He is obviously alone, trying to record his piano demo. When he finally succeeds in clearing out the studio, you can hear him parody the worst of rockabilly's breathless mannerisms. For all his disdain for this kind of excess, Rich turns in a flawless vocal with some pounding piano support. Rich never worked up this tuneful song for release, nor did he place it with another Sun artist. All that remains is this one take demo showing yet again how versatile Charlie Rich was. 

4 - Greenback Dollar (Alternate Take ) (Ray Harris) (1985) 2:38 > LP 1025 <
(Ray Harris) (Knox Music Incorporated)

Given the number of alternate takes in the Sun vaults, it is amazing how rarely one can second-guess Sam Phillips' decision of which take to release. Having said that, this may be one of those few cases where the alternate was stronger than the version originally released. What distinguishes this take of ''Greenback Dollar'' from the single? Clearly, both are full of enthusiasm and energy. However, this version - which was first issued nearly 30 years after it was cut - has some qualities missing from the original 45. 

Harris's vocal is strong, perhaps more focussed and melodic than on the single. The guitar solo is noticeably more stinging here, but things really come together during the piano solo. On this version there is a decidedly bluesy edge to the playing that is wholly missing from the single. The final verse is different here ("Mama said... "), although it is hard to imagine that the lyric was cause to bury this version in the can for three decades. There is amazing drive on this take without any of the assertive drumming that graces the single. Also missing is the memorable ending of the original 45 - Joey Reisenberg's famous drum roll to nowhere. 

5 - What Else Could I Do? (Allen Wingate) (2000) 2:55 > Sun Unissued <
(Allen Wingate) (Sun Entertainment Incorporated) 

Allen Wingate saw his name on one Sun/Phillips International single - as composer of both sides of Ernie Barton's 1958 ''Rainin' The Blues'' (PI 3528). That label actually reads "Al and Jo-Ann Wingate''. As these demos reveal, Wingate was a competent composer and performer with a genuine feel for the darker, more sullen side of rockabilly. These are simple recordings - only ''What Else Could I Do'' features a string bass and some Sun-sounding echo. The opening to this track recalls the instrumental figure used by Barton on his version of ''Rainin' The Blues''. The lead guitar provides some countryish licks in a style not unlike Scotty Moore's on Elvis's earliest recordings. Of Wingate's three demos, this one alone sounds as if it might have been recorded at Sun. Certainly, it embodies the best of understated rockabilly - a sparse instrumental track (acoustic guitar, lead electric and heavy slap bass to drive the rhythm). The vocal is sexy and understated, and the overall effect is quite hypnotic in a style that finds expression today in some of Chris Isaak's recordings. The remaining two demos (Tracks 17 and 29) have a different recorded sound and are more likely to have been mailed in from home. 

6 - Searchin' For My Baby (John Tolleson) (2000) 1:27 > Sun Unissued <
(John Tolleson) (Sun Entertainment Incorporated) 

The Sun Vaults seem to hold an inexhaustible supply of material like this. It is almost certain that Tolleson recorded these demos around 1958 and mailed them into Sun. That interested somebody enough to keep them for future reference, neatly filed away with Tolleson's name misspelled. Unfortunately for the artist, that magic phone call or letter never came. And when John Tolleson died in 1997, he never had had the thrill of seeing his name on a yellow Sun label. 

The release of this material would no doubt have pleased him, although there was no shortage of material out there bearing the names John Tolleson or Johnnie Tolleson or Tommie Tolleson - all of which appear to have been noms du disque for our man, John. All leads seem to point to the fact that Tolleson - born July 5, 1936 - came from Texas, At least one source suggests that he was confined to a wheelchair. He recorded from the mid-50s until the late 1960s for Gulf Coast, a Palacios Texas label. He also recorded for the Houston-based Kool label in 1959. There is also a release by Johnny Tolleson on Chance 31761 (obviously not the Chicago-based, blues label). Much of his work has been reissued on the Dutch Collector CD 4407. 

These previously unissued raw demos form an important part of Tolleson's discography. In attempting to interest Sun, Tolleson was obviously showing off his composing and performing prowess here on music ranging from rock to country. 

''Don't Sweetheart Me'' (Track 33) surely represented one of the more creative titles in the demo in-basket, although it features some odd rhyming patterns. ''Rocky Road Blues'' (Track 25) was probably learned from Ronnie Self's 1957 single, although it's possible that Tolleson also knew Bill Monroe's original. 

''Searchin' For My Baby'' (Track 6) shows that Tolleson could rock his way around the keyboard, although he saddles himself with some stilted lyrics when he starts rhyming "gal" with "pal''. Those kinds of lyrics were at home on a Jimmie Rodgers record thirty years before Tolleson walked into a studio. 

''Hickory Nut Mountain'' (Track 15) features a Bo Diddley rhythm - a less ordinary approach to rockabilly that will be familiar to Sun fans from Billy Riley's ''No Name Girl'' and Tommy Blake's ''Sweetie Pie''. Buddy Holly fans will think of ''Not Fade Away''. And on the more obscure front, there's Jody Reynolds' ''Daisy Mae''. 

7 - Do What I Do (Alternate Take) (Slim Rhodes Band) (2000) 2:39 > Sun Unissued <
(Slim Rhodes-Ronny Hesselbein) (Knox Music Incorporated)

The relationship between country band leader Slim Rhodes and Sam Phillips goes back to the dawn of the Memphis Recording Service in 1950. Rhodes was nothing if not a survivor. Working local gigs and a popular Memphis television show, Rhodes had a close-up view of musical trends. In 1956 it was clear to everyone (especially 'in Memphis) that the look and sound of Elvis Presley were serious business. There was no one in his regular aggregation who could fill the bill, so Rhodes brought in Roy Hesselbein from neighboring Mississippi. Hesselbein had the right look and sound, but the wrong name. And so Roy became Sandy Brooks. 

A lot of studio time was invested in recording both these sides in the summer of 1956. On the ballad ''Take And Give'' (Track 19), Brooks' vocals remain passionate in true Elvis fashion almost from the first take. Steel man John Hughey (who later made a career fronting the Conway Twitty Show) provides powerful support for Brooks' vocal work, and session drummer Johnny Bernero (who had backed Elvis in this same studio just a year earlier) uses his patented hillbilly shuffle to good effect. This alternate take features some great rhythm guitar strumming at the start of Hughey's solo, and an interesting ending that did not appear on the issued take. 

The version of ''Do What I Do'' (Track 7) we have selected is of particular interest. Taken from an earlier session than the one that produced the master for Sun 256, this take reveals that Brooks' song began life in a style far more country than the released version. The slower, more deliberate tempo and countryish finger picking during the instrumental solo offer a new glimpse at a song most of us have only heard in its breakneck rock and roll arrangement. Brooks offers one vocal difference here during the last release, singing the line "When you know" an octave above his take on the single. In many ways, this version works better than the original single, although it was plainly passed over in the interest of surviving in the rock 'n' roll marketplace in 1956. 

8 - If You Need Me (Unknown Artist) (2000) 1:51 > Sun Unissued <
(Unknown) (Copyright Control) 

Another of the anonymous demos submitted to Sun in the 1950s, this one features a bluesy rocker with a somewhat quirky lyric. When is the last time you heard lines like "You acted real sincere" rhymed with "I realized one of my greatest fears"? A bit artsy for the rockabilly crowd, but it's quite clear this guy knows how to sing and play the guitar. In fact, the lead-in to the guitar break and first few bars of the solo are really vintage stuff that would have been very much at home on a yellow Sun label. 

9 - I'm Gonna Make You Love Me (Ray Scott) (2000) 1:18 > Sun Unissued <
(Ray Scott) (Copyright Control) 

Memphis singer/songwriter Ray Scott is assured of eternal recognition in the rockabilly Hall of Fame as the composer of Billy Riley's ''Flyin' Saucers Rock And Roll''. He also saw his name on several small Memphis labels, including an early Satellite (soon to become Stax) release, and composed one side of Thomas Wayne's first Fernwood record - the rocker ''You're The One That Done lt''. 

As these two demos reveal, however, Scott's heart was a lot closer to the country side of rockabilly. On these sides, which have remained unissued in the Sun Vault for 45 years, we have the original demo of ''Tonight Will Be The Last Night'', a song he managed to place with Warren Smith. Smith's version, cut in 1956, remained unissued until the golden era of rockabilly archaeology in the 1970s. ''I'm Gonna Make You Love Me'' fared less well and has remained unrecorded (by others) and unreleased until now. It's a stone country song in a style that would have been at home on a Hank Williams session, but also features the kind of rhythmic energy that pointed the way to rockabilly. The melody is quite catchy but the song is undercut by some awkward rhymes. Scott paints himself into a lyrical corner when he chooses to use "hug my neck" as a payoff line for "bottom of the deck''. Material like this, despite all its rural charm, was not going to thrive in the country or rockabilly marketplace in 1956. If anyone could get away with such hackneyed rhymes it was Elvis, which is precisely what the King did two years hence. "Won't you wear my ring / around your neck / to show the world / I'm yours by heck''. 

10 - You Can Break The Chains Of Love (Gene Simmons) (1985) 2:36 < LP 1024 <
(Gene Simmons) (Copyright Control) 

Gene Simmons recorded about a dozen titles for Sun over a three year period. Although he has become something of a Memphis legend, there was relatively little to show for all his Sun recording work at the time. Simmons enjoyed one release on the Sun label, and that itself was something of an afterthought when Sam Phillips released Sun 299 about a year and a half after it had been recorded, and only because Simmons was on the cusp of success with another label. 

''Chains Of Love'' is somewhat unusual fare in the Simmons catalogue. There is a decidedly swinging feel to this side that steers it from rockabilly toward pop. It isn't just the chorus that works this effect. It is largely the tempo. Indeed, you can hear Simmons taking surprising liberties with both the lyrics and his phrasing. On the other hand, the extended guitar breaks contain their share of stinging high note work, which brings things back to familiar territory. Was this track intended for release or simply to serve as a demo for fellow Tupelo residents, the Miller Sisters? In any case, Millie and Jo did record this Simmons tune in July, 1957. Their version also went unissued. 

11 - Red Cadillac And A Black Moustache (Warren Smith) (1985) 2:14 > LP 1024 <
(Lilly May-Wriston Auguste Bea Thompson) (EMI United Partnership Limited)

This is an alternate to the better known verson of this rockabilly anthem recorded by Warren Smith sometime in 1957. Smith undoubtedly learned the song from Bob Luman, who recorded it for Imperial at his second session on February 27, 1957. Whether Smith heard Luman's record, which was a sizeable regional hit, or learned it from performing with Luman on some shared venue (Luman was argely a West Coast artist in early 1957) is unknown. Also a mystery is why the track was never issued by Sun at the time. Perhaps the simplest reason has nothing to do with the quality of the song or Smith's performance. It is simply that Sam Phillips did not own the copyright to this title (composed by Lillian May), and preferred to release singles that contained Hi-Lo/Knox material. Each of Smith's first three singles featured compositions by Sun alumni, published by Sam Phillips. 

Whatever its origins, the track contains some of what makes rockabilly special. Warren's vocal reveals a fine combination of swagger and country stylings; Guitarist Al Hopson manages to return to his roots and work in some fine fingerpicking rather than depend on stinging high string work; and drummer Jimmy Lott finds good use for his cowbell - a part of the drum kit all too rarely used in rockabilly. (It was put to best use on Dale Hawkins' ''Susie Q''. Smith's performance, not to mention the song's construction, produce what sounds like a vocal duet between an alto and a tenor. Each couplet starts with a high line, and is answered in the second by the lower half of the vocal range. You can find another instance of this kind of songwriting on Don Gibson's ''Sea Of Heartbreak'' - a 1961 hit. This song might have been a natural for an act like the Everly Brothers. Phil sings the top lines, Don follows with the low part, and the brothers harmonize on the chorus. Warren had a lot of ground to cover here and handles himself admirably. 

12 - Snake Dance (Unknown Artist) (2000) 2:07 > Sun Unissued <
(Unknown) (Copyright Control)

OK - these guys aren't the tightest or slickest band in the south, but there's something engaging about this little tape fragment that appears unannounced and uncredited in the middle of a Sun out-take box. 

Who were they? It's any body's guess. It's obviously a man having fun with the high end of his stratocaster in ways that - in better hands - have provided the high points to some rockabilly records. If someone told you this was a garage tape Roy Orbison made when he was 15 years old, you'd probably believe it. After all, the beginning isn't that far from the opening to ''Go! Go! Go!''. It even sounds a bit like that wild picker on Dick Penner's ''Cindy Lou''. If this guitarist kept practicing, there's no telling who he might turn into. 

13 - Little Girl (Alternate Take) (Ray Smith) (2000) 2:25 > Sun Unissued <
(Charlie Rich) (Charly International) 

This is one of the rarest titles in the Ray Smith Sun catalogue. Like much of the Smith session file, it is all but impossible to determine information about date and personnel. Having said this, aural evidence strongly suggests that this is a tune written by Charlie Rich. Listen to the first line of the release. It is virtually identical to the melodic line in ''Breakup - Don't you remember the time we were so true". It is also probably Rich playing piano on this date. In fact, there was a strong tie between Charlie Rich and Ray Smith at Sun. Rich wrote (and played on) four of the first six titles Smith recorded for Sun. There is also a wealth of unissued material by both Rich and Smith revealing their connection. The Charlie Rich tape vault at Sun contains demos like ''Deep Freeze'' written and/or recorded specifically for Smith (see BCD 16152), and Smith, himself, recorded more tunes written by Charlie Rich than by any other Sun composer. The performance here is even more enthusiastic than previously issued versions and shows once again that Stanley Walker was one fine guitarist. 

14 - It Makes No Different Now (Alternate take) (Johnny Bernero) (2000) 2:08 > Sun Unissued <
(Floyd Tillman-Thurman Enlow) (Sun Entertainment Incorporated)

According to vocalist/pianist Thurman Enlow, this and six other tracks recorded by the Johnny Bernero band were never released by Sam Phillips simply because they were "'too good''. By good, Phillips was no doubt referring to the distance between Bernero's style and the more primitive rock and roll sounds that were sweeping the marketplace. And who knew this better than Sam Phillips? 

Bernero and his drums were no strangers to the Sun studio. In an interview with Colin Escott, Bernero reflected that he'd sat in Taylor's Cafe next door to Sun. "I looked at the jukebox and there were maybe five or six Sun records on there and I'd played on all of them. All the guys were driving Cadillacs, making big money and I was getting $15 a session. That's when I got the idea of bringing my own band in''. 

Even if Bernero's perception of his Sun brothers' fortunes was a bit exaggerated, this was plainly not the music Sam Phillips was looking for in 1956. These guys were too good. Their style was firmly rooted in western swing and big band music. Nevertheless, on this track the band comes as close as it could to the sound Phillips was after. Enlow's vocal may be a bit laid back, but there is a real edge to the playing here, with a fine sax break by Dick Horton and a wonderful guitar solo by Buddy Holobaugh when he comes in for the final eight bars. 

The song, composed by Floyd Tillman in 1938, has one of the finest pedigrees in country music. In 'Billboard' magazine's first-ever country hit parade listing in 1939, this tune was number 1. Later versions by Jimmie Davis (who added his name to the composer credit) and Eddy Arnold hit the charts as well, and it has even crossed over into pop music with Bing Crosby and rhythm and blues with Ray Charles. 

Music sleuths will notice that the first line here is the melodic inspiration for the first line of Harlan Howard's ''Heartaches By The Number'', a mega hit in 1959. This kind of unconscious plagiarism is the essence of country songwriting. Fortunately for Howard (and Ray Price and Guy Mitchell), the fleeting memory of ''It Makes No Difference Now'' evaporated after only one line. 

15 - Hickory Nut Mountain (John Tolleson) (2000) 1:23 > Sun Unissued <
(John Tolleson) (Sun Entertainment Incorporated)
(See: Track 6) 

16 - No More Crying The Blues (Alternate Take) (Alton & Jimmy) (2000) 2:00 > Sun Unissued <
(Alton Lott-Jimmy Harrell) (Cajun Publisher-Hi-Lo Music Incorporated)

Mississippi-born singer Jimmy Harrell prefers this alternate take of ''No More Crying The Blues'' to the version issued on Sun 323. Although the differences are subtle, there is an undeniably tougher edge to this track, which first appeared in error on Charly Sun box 106 (mistakenly credited as the original 45). "That's Alton playing the lead guitar'', Harrell was quick to inform me. "For years the credit has gone to Roland Janes, but it's not him. Roland was on the session, but when he heard how good Alton was, he just sat back and let him take it''. 

The April 5, 1959 session (not June 5, as appears in most discographies) that produced their lone Sun single was arranged by a phone call from Tillman Franks. ''We thought we were going up there for an audition, but Sam was waiting for us with a recording contract and a studio full of musicians: We couldn't believe it''. Alton and Jimmy, who recorded two unissued sides for Ace Records in 1958, never saw a penny in royalties for Sun 323. Despite the lack of financial reward, Jimmy concedes that "having recorded for Sun is probably the main thing people will remember me for, no matter how much else I accomplish in my life''. 

In truth, there were few Sun records released in 1959 that sounded this good. 

Alton and Jimmy were clearly among the few keepers of the flame that had burned so brightly in the mid-1950s and drawn aspiring Elvises to the label. 

17 - Should Be You (Allen Wingate) (2000) 1:43 > Sun Unissued <
(Allen Wingate) (Sun Entertainment) 

''Should Be You'' features a stop-time rhythm and tine performance by Wingate, again revealing his affinity for this music, Wingate, who came to Tennessee from De Land, Florida, had some measure of success not with Sun Records, but rather with the Moon label. owned by Cordell Jackson. Wingate recorded for Moon under the name Allen Page and was a member of The Big Four - who served as the label's de facto house band. Page/Wingate had at least five records appear under his name for Moon and wrote several songs recorded by other artists for the label. Other than his connection with one single by Ernie Barton, it seems that Allen Wingate had far more impact on Moon Records than its better known celestial rival across town. 

18 - I'll Satisfied (Carl McVoy) (1999) 1:43 > CPCD 8318 <
(Carl McVoy) (Sun Entertainment Incorporated) 

There are still some folks out there who don't accept the science of behavioral genetics. That's because they've never met Jerry Lee Lewis, Mickey Gilley and Carl McVoy. These three cousins, or in the case of Gilley - second cousins, make a strong case for the inheritance of temperament and talent. 

The relationship between McVoy and Sun Records is a curious one. In 1957 he traveled to Nashville to record a session for Hi Records. It resulted in ''You Are My Sunshine'', which began stirring far more interest than the fledgling Hi label could handle, so the results and the artist were sold to Sun (who released ''Sunshine'' on their Phillips International label). From there, McVoy became a Sun artist. 

Despite the fact that he recorded at least 14 titles for them over the course of six sessions in 1957 and 1958, nothing more was released. It's hard to know just why all this music was shelved during some of the most active of Sun's rocking years. McVoy recorded ''My Bucket's Got A Hole In It'' three months before Sonny Burgess did. Nothing. He cut ''Born To Lose'' one year before Johnny Cash did. Again, nothing. Like his cousin Jerry Lee, McVoy cut ''You're The Only Star In My Blue Heaven''. In July, 1958, he cut ''Right Behind You Baby'', three months after Ray Smith's record had come out. At that same session, he recorded the Charlie Rich song ''Little Girl'', presented on this compilation in a version by Ray Smith. That same July, 1958 session resulted in McVoy cutting ''A Woman's Love'' - a song bass player Stan Kesler later placed with Elvis Presley (retitled ''The Thrill Of Your Love'') on the 1959 ''Elvis Is Back'' LP. Again, close, but no cigar. 

''I'll Satisfied'' is the last song that Carl McVoy cut for Sun before moving back to Hi Records to concentrate on production work - as engineer and studio musician. The track is a good blend of sanctified gospel and pop music. This kind of hybrid - with its 1 - 6 minor chord riffs - has great staying power within rock and roll. (Its black equivalent was a career-launcher for the Isley Brothers.) Even cousin Jerry Lee dabbled in the genre with ''It Won't Happen With Me'', Sun 364, but by the time Jerry Lee's record appeared in 1961, cousin Carl was working across town behind the scenes at Hi Records. 

19 - Take And Give (Alternate Take) (Slim Rhodes Band) (2000) 2:16 > Sun Unissued <
(Ronny Hesselbein-E.C. Slim Rhodes) (Knox Music Incorporated)
(See: Track 7) 

20 - Goodbye Mary Ann (Chatter) (Alternate Take) (Charlie Rich) (1998) 3:15 > BCD 16152 <
(Charlie Rich) (Sun Entertainment) 

Goodbye Mary Ann was recorded several times by Charlie Rich and two other versions have been previously issued. This version - which appeared for the first time on Bear Family's Charlie Rich boxed set in 1998 - is special for two reasons. First, it is recorded in stereo. Second, it is preceded by a fascinating exchange between Charlie and Sam Phillips, in which the label owner tries to get his reluctant artist to crank up the Presley sound a bit. 'That spend nearly a minute arguing over the "we..ll...ll'' that begins the song. At one point, Charlie breaks off the debate and launches into the opening lines of ''Whirlwind'', his first single for the label. Later, he tells the incessant Mr. Phillips "Don't put me down like that or I can't hit it at all''. Ultimately, Phillips gets his way and Charlie tears into one of his best unreleased Sun recordings. 

21 - Little Boy Blue (Jerry Arnold) (1958) 2:39 > Challenge 590 <
(Jerry Arnold-Clyde Turner) (Sun Entertainment Incorporated) 

Texan Jerry Arnold will be known to fans and collectors as one of the second tier of 1950s rockabillies. His singles on the Security label (owned by Burton Harris) routinely fetch small fortunes at auction. Both Arnold and label-owner Harris wanted more for Arnold than the small East Texas label could provide, and attempts were made to place him with more mainstream labels (there was some success with Cameo and Challenge). 

It is in this context that Jerry Arnold and Sun records crossed paths. Tapes of both ''High Class Baby'' (Track 31) and ''Little Boy Blue'' were delivered to 706 Union Avenue some time around 1956 or 1957 and both still reside in the Sun archives to this day - rejected but retained. Both of these titles have turned up on rockabilly anthologies released in various countries over the years. There are two reasons for including them here: (1) they both spent their early years as Sun demos, and (2) they are both damn fine records. ''High Class Baby'' is a great rocker about social class differences that must have hit a resonant chord with many first generation rockabillies. The arrangement is quite catchy; this is one of the rare times that a vocal chorus adds to rather than detracting from a rockabilly record. The handclapping during the guitar solo adds energy and verve to the sound. Arnold's vocal chops are just fine as well. He has clearly done his share of listening to Elvis and practicing in the mirror, ''Little Boy Blue'' is also a fine record - representing the gentler side of rockabilly. The repeated four note (3 - 5 - 6 - 8) instrumental figure behind the vocal makes the track quite memorable, and the melodic release ("Monday, Tuesday") also adds to the song's strength. There is a strong Elvisy feeling here without the performance ever becoming frantic. Huelyn Duvall recorded a cover version of the song for Challenge which may have earned Arnold some money from airplay, but the record never sold in sufficient quantities to earn him a serious payday. This recording should not be confused with the 1959 RCA release of ''Little Boy Blue'' by Hoyt Johnson - an effective but altogether different song. 

22 - That's All (Onie Wheeler) (1985) 1:59 > LP 1030 <
(Onie Wheeler) (Sun Entertainment Incorporated) 

Onie Wheeler recorded four vocal sides for Sun in 1957 and they are all - each in its own way - a pure delight. Interestingly, the two chosen for release, Sun 315 were the two non-rockers. But even Onie's uptempo work, such as this track, is laced with country charm. Sam Phillips has said innumerable times that he preferred to work with artists who had not already recorded for other labels. Onie Wheeler was an exception, and it is easy to see why. Although Wheeler never came close to a hit record at Sun, and is somewhat disdained by some rockabilly collectors for his country leanings, Wheeler was a true original. It is hard to imagine that anything he recorded - certainly anything for Sun - would not be instantly recognizable as Onie Wheeler. In that way, he was true to Sam Phillips' credo. 

23 - Tonight Will Be The Last Night (Ray Scott) (2000) 1:28 > Sun Unissued <
(Ray Scott) (Ridgetop Music)
(See: Track 9) 

24 - Red Hot (Alternate Take) (Billy Riley) (1987) 2:29 > Sun Box 106 <
(William Robert Emerson) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated) 

The Little Green Mens were real close to nailing it on this take. But there are still differences, and it's fun to hear all those subtle changes in vocal intonation or phrasing, and instrumental chops. Admittedly, it is a bit of a disappointment to hear Riley sing "Sleeps in the kitchen with her 'feet' out the door''. Feets was so much classier. Guys like Roland and Jerry Lee never really played it the same way twice and that works to our benefit 43 years later which, incredibly, is how long it's been since this track was recorded. 

Listening to a tape full of ''Red Hot'' out-takes reveals that the original 45 was overdubbed - which was something you'd never have expected. Of course, Sun's idea of overdubbing in 1957 didn't mean sweetening with strings and voices. Rather, it was a bunch of wild men gathered around a mike enunciating the immortal words "Your gal ain't doodley squat''. 

25 - Rocky Road Blues (John Tolleson) (2000) 1:48 > Sun Unissued <
(John Tolleson) (Southern Music)
(See: Track 6) 

26 - Find My Baby For Me (Sonny Burgess) (1985) 2:09 > LP 1027 <
(Sonny Burgess) (Sun Entertainment Incoporated) 

With the exception of Jerry Lee Lewis, Sonny Burgess probably left more prime material unreleased in the Sun vaults than any other artist. Even given the high standard of what Burgess left behind, this track is a gem - eminently worthy of release back in 1957 or so when it was recorded. What stands out for us today is the wonderful Chuck Berryesque lyric (rhyming radio stations with U - nited nations); the great instrumental sound; and, not least, Roy Orbison's vocal support behind Burgess. Any student of Orbits career will recognize that it's a short distance between the "bop bop badi do wah's" here and "Dom dom dom dornbie doo wah's" - that began Phase 2 of Orbison's career in 1960 with ''Only The Lonely''. The great chord changes here are anchored by an all but ordinary flatted 6 chord - a touch introduced to rockabilly by Carl Perkins in ''Honey Don't''. And that memorable guitar figure that drives this record also makes a brief appearance in Joe Maphis's stellar guitar solo on Ricky Nelson's ''Waitin' In School''. 

27 - Big River (Alternate Take) (Johnny Cash) (1990) 3:41 > BCD 15517 <
(Johnny Cash) (Hi-Lo Music Incorporated) 

If you haven't heard this rare warm-up track for ''Big River'', you're in for a treat and a bit of a surprise. Of all Cash's Sun releases, this title surely comes closest to rockabilly and, fortunately for us, we have an early glimpse into its development. Obviously, this is a rough take with its share of timing problems and the usual assortment of Luther Perkins fluffs. But beyond the obvious miscues, just listen to these lyrics! An entire verse that appears here ("I rode into Natchez...'') was dropped for the single release. There are some subtle changes as well. The famous drawl line ("It tore me up every time I heard her drawl, southern drawl") started life here in slightly different form, as you'll hear. Unfortunately, one of this version's great asides "Bat it down!" never made it to the single version. 

28 - Lazy River (Fred Prentiss) (2000) 1:31 > Sun Unissued <
(Hoagy Carmichael-Sidney Arodin) (Copyright Control) 

29 - Rainin' The Blues (Allen Wingate) (2000) 1:41 > Sun Unissued <
(Allen Wingate) 

Wingate's version of ''Rainin' The Blues'' is far sunnier than Barton's released version. Despite a fine lead guitar track, the absence of vocal echo and slap bass on this demo show just how important these elements were to the overall mystique of rockabilly. Despite these lacks, it is interesting to hear how Barton's memorable record began life as a mailed-in demo. 

30 - Life's Too Short To Live (Joe Lewis) (1985) 1:49 > LP 1022 <
(Joe Lewis)(Copyright Control) 

This track by Burgess band member Joe Lewis is an absolute gem and has been buried for far too long. When it has appeared, it has been unceremoniously lumped as lesser fare with other Burgess tracks. 

While it is immediately clear that Lewis was not going to take away any-body's job as vocalist, the sound of this track just bristles with energy. The lyric is surprisingly rural (a reference to round and square dancing that immediately calls to mind Carl Perkins' ''Gone Gone Gone''). Yet it also quotes "Womp Bomp Alooma..." from Little Richard's ''Tutti Frutti''. Rock and roll was truly becoming a cultural melting pot. 

But if Lewis' lyric is semi-rural, the instrumental work surely isn't. Following a tame, almost Oriental 4-bar intro, Burgess's hard edged electric guitar virtually tears through the speakers during his first solo. The second break is even more dramatic. The solo starts with four empty bars that leave you wondering if someone forgot to turn on his amplifier. Then suddenly, Wham! Sonny is again putting your tweeters at risk. This is precisely the approach that Carl Perkins used on ''Gone Gone Gone'' - a record that seems to have influenced this track in more ways than just its lyrics. On Sun 224, Perkins actually scats his way through the first four bars of his final solo, seemingly going nowhere on guitar, before tearing into a startling 4-7 chord and bringing the track back to life. Joe Lewis and Sonny seem to have borrowed the trick perfectly here. Through it all, Russ Smith's drumming is all over the place. His playing crosses the line between assertive and aggressive, yet the sound of his snare is curiously dead - the same sound we hear on the early session that produced We Wanna Boogie. 

Joe Lewis joined (and named) Burgess' band The Pacers and was on hand for their second audition at Sun and their earliest recording sessions. He and fellow band member (trumpet/drums) Jack Nance later toured with Conway Twitty. Nance made more of the affiliation, co-writing a number of Twitty releases including the mega-hit ''It's Only Make Believe''. Before leaving Sun, Joe Lewis recorded seven vocal duet titles with Jack Nance. One track was finally issued on BCD 15525 (a Sonny Burgess compilation). The others have remained unissued for over 40 years. 

31 - High Class Baby (Jerry Arnold) (1958) 2:29 > Security 107 <
(Bob Milsap) (Sun Entertainment Incorporated)
(See: Track 21) 

32 - Driving Home (Unknown Artist) (2000) 1:22 > Sun Unissued <
(Unknown) (Copyright Control) 

Appearing unexpectedly in the middle of a mislabelled Ernie Chaffin tape, this track is one of those discoveries that keep Sun archaeology a rewarding adventure. We have no idea who played on this brief track. It may well have been a session warm-up, but nothing stored anywhere else in this out-take box offers a clue. The track has a simple elegance and bluesy power to it in a style not altogether removed from Lonnie Mack's. The occasional missteps that are present here would have easily been rectified with a few more takes. But we found none. Instead there is barely 1:30 of instrumental jam that only hints at how good this track might have been. 

33 - Don't Sweetheart Me (John Tolleson) (2000) 1:21 > Sun Unissued <
(John Tolleson) (Sun Entertainment Incorporated)
(See: Track 6) 

34 - Unknown Tapes Fragment (Jimmy Wages) (2000) 0:30 > Sun Unissued <
(Jimmy Wages) (Sun Entertainment Incorporated)

Aural evidence suggests that this 29-sec fragment is the work of rockabilly legend Jimmy Wages, The only problem is that what we have here, brief as it is, is not part of any of the four titles Wages is known to have recorded for Sun - all of which have been issued, along with various alternate takes. In a 1981 interview, Wages indicated to me and Colin Escott that he had recorded more than the four titles we knew about over the course of several sessions. Until how, no trace of those recordings has been found. On the evidence of this tape fragment, Wages' memory may indeed be right. 

Despite its fragmentary nature, this tantalizing snippet comes, close to near-perfect rockabilly. The instrumental sound, is wonderful and the swampy recording style only enhances the bluesy tension of the performance. If this is indeed Jimmy Wages, we can only hope that future visits to the Sun vault will unearth a more complete version of this track, which may well be Wages' finest recording for the Sun label. 

- Hank Davis, Guelph, Ontario, January 2000

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

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