© August 1997 Bear Family Records (CD) 500/200rpm BCD 16210 mono digital
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.
Sam C. Phillips and Stan Kesler
Colin Escott and Don Powell
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
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.
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 <
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
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) <
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.
- 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
6 - Hula Bop (Smokey Joe) (1985) 2:52 > LP 1021 <
(Stan Kesler-Bill Taylor) (Ridgetop Music)
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
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
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
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 <
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)
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)
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 - ©